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Showing posts from July, 2013

Garden Pic Wednesday: Black Swallowtail Caterpillars!

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I noticed my car's battery indicator on this morning, so decided not to go to the Y. We'll take it to a shop to determine the exact problem. I'm pleased to say I've had numerous little "guests" munching away on my parsley this week. I have a pot of flat parsley on the patio and a clump of curly in the back garden bed that's been going to seed this year. I actually saw the Black Swallowtail butterfly visiting my parsley a couple weeks ago and hoped she was leaving eggs. She was a huge, healthy sized butterfly. This morning I had 7 caterpillars. Two in the pot, five in the clump in the far back. I moved one of the 5 from the back to the patio pot, so they're 3 in it now. Since then the 4 in far back clump have vanished. Birds don't like 'em because they taste bad, so I can only assume they've all taken off to find a safe place to cocoon. Now I only have the 3 in the pot parsley and think they'll most likely disappear in the next

Good Eating Monday: Stuffed Flank Steak!

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  Greetings!  July is nearly up! First I worked-out this morning at the Y, then worked outside some more when I got home, spreading bags of top soil and some mowing.   Today's Good Eating recipe is one I recently tried: "Stuffed Flank Steak." I saw it on Pinterest and, turns out, it's absolutely delicious! It's little bit of trouble to make, but the results are worth it. The stuffing makes this cut moist and tender. It's a Family Circle recipe and you can see the full step-by-step directions with pictures at the link below: http://www.familycircle.com/recipes/comfortfood/stuffed-flank-steak/?page=1   That being so, I'll just be giving bare-bones directions along with a couple things I did differently along the way.     Stuffed Flank Steak Makes: 6 servings Prep: 20 minutes Roast: at 425 degrees F. for 35 minutes Broil: 10 minutes Ingredients 1 flank steak (1 1/2 to 2 pounds) 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed 1/2

Garden Pic Wednesday: Gardenia & Green Sweat Bee

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Welcome back! I have several pictures for you today: First, our Gardenia bush with it's new hair-cut!  I finished that up yesterday. I cut about 3 to 4 feet off all around. Don't worry, it likes it. It will leaf out in by fall with a bunch of fresh growth and set up for bloom next year! Next, an amazing shot of a metallic green Sweat Bee on my Cone Flower below: And finally, the interesting orange blossoms of a spikey succulent in my double pot front that sits by the tree just in front of that Gardenia shrub. The stalk is about 20 inches tall. Also I caught a great shot this morning of a Tree Frog that apparently has taken up residence in one of my bird houses hanging in a low tree in back. I was about to take a peek inside, to see if it'd been used by a Wren, when a Tree Frog crawled up and perched himself in the opening. I plan on adding it to my Critter Calender for 2014, so I won't be posting the photo here, though is was sooo funny!

Good Eating Monday: Taco Biscuit Pie

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It's raining lightly today, off and on. I was just working on loading an "AFDAP" design onto a mug and also a hat today. (AFDAP is an acronym for "As Few Distractions As Possible" from 1 Cor 7:35 thought up by one of the young military guys who attends our singles Bible study.) Today's Good Eating recipe is one I found back in the late 80's in a magazine , called "Taco Biscuit Pie."  (Before PC's and IPhone's!) At the time my 14 year old step-son was living with us and I was looking for kid-friendly recipes. I located this one, which, luckily, he really liked.  It's the only recipe from that time that I still use and is sooo easy and delicious! I just made some this past weekend! Plus it's a really good way to use those leftover Tostitos or Corn Chips! (Photo is my own) Taco Biscuit Pie Ingredients: 2 8oz cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls 1 lb ground beef or chicken or turkey 1/2 cup diced onion 1 envelope Taco Se

Friday Finds: AFDAP Shirt & Funny Thor

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 Greetings! I have two "finds" today: First my "AFDAP" Shirt Design: Available on any colors or style shirt for any gender! AFDAP is an acronym for " As Few Distractions As Possible ." The idea came from one of the young Air Force guys who attends our Bible Study. It's based on 1 Corinthians 7:35, where Paul writes that is his goal for all people he's trying to encourage to grow in Christ. To turn the expression into an acronym was his application for the study and he was very pleased I used the idea on a shirt. My husband has one and it looks as good in person as it does in the picture. For more Christian shirts, visit my Art Boutique ! Next find is a funny pic from Pinterest.  It's a series of frame shots from the first Thor movie of him going into an ordinary pet store, trying to find a horse. Some clever person thought Falcor, the dog-like  " Luck Dragon" from Never Ending Story a good solution to his problem. 

Bananas Thursday: Tips and Tricks

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Well, none of Mama Kat's prompts inspired me today, so it's "Bananas Thursday," meaning I can talk about any topic I like! So, I decided, today, I'll share tips and tricks for various things ranging from cleaning house to ideas for using various products, such as baking soda. Tip #1)  What to do with a bottle of Avon Skin-So-Soft bath oil? I had a BIG bottle a guy, who was eliminating post-divorce clutter, offered me. He said it was "bubble bath," but, when he actually gave it to me, I discovered it was  bath oil instead, which is not the same thing. It sat around a long time until I finally looked up a link for ways to use the stuff other then in a bath ! h ttp://www.avon-review-tammy.blogspot.com/2012/04/100-uses-for-skin-so-soft-oil.html One tip from that list I used today was : wipe Skin-So-Soft around the ports and the base of your hummingbird feeder to keep bees away. I'll have to let you know how it goes! Bees are a big issue wi

Garden Pic Wednesday: Pinterest Gardening Ideas

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Since having a Pinterest board, I've discovered it's a boon of wonderful gardening & landscaping ideas or home-made pest remedies. So, below are some things I've found on Pinterest that I'm either trying or interested in trying:   New From Old Did you know you can re-grow  Romaine from the stump?  Just cut it off, put it in 1/2 inch of water, which you change daily, and, voila, eventually new leaves! It will grow roots, too. Mine are currently showing evidence of new leaves. I've read you can either use the young leaves off the stump in water or it can be planted to grow a new head. I'm considering planting, if roots develop.             Get More Peppers with Epsom Salt        In a spray bottle: add 1/2 teaspoon and fill bottle with warm water. Shake and spray on peppers once they start blooming. Reapply in 10 days, then periodically through-out productivity. I've used this on my bells and they're  loaded  with peppers now,

Good Eating Monday: Tuscan Sausage & Grapes

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Ever had cooked fresh grapes? I never had, but I discovered they are absolutely  delicious! Which brings us to today's Good Eating recipe: Tuscan Sausage & Grapes. I saw it on Food Network and had to try it. The recipe calls for roasting in an oven, but since it's summer and I'm generally don't bake, I tried a slow-cooker, though I think the sausage could be sliced and sauteed with the grapes more easily then going through the roasting process. I had leftover brats and that's what I did with the brats: sliced & sauteed with fresh grapes, onions, etc, then served then  served it over re-heated leftover German potatoes. Yummy! Here's the original roasted recipe: 1 1/2 lbs hot sausage (any type you prefer) 1 1/2 lbs sweet sausage (any type) 3 Tbsp unsalted butter  5-6 cups fresh grapes, any color or mixed colors 2-4 Tbsp red wine  (I substituted grape juice.) 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar Parboil the sausages in boiling water for 8 minutes to reduce

Friday Finds: Pinterest Fun

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 Amusing Finds from Pinterest: Because sometimes , when you dress up like Darth Vader, you have to ride a unicycle to work while playing the bagpipes. **** Certainly a creative way of channeling rain water! **** But when they do... That expression just cracks me up! **** Wishing you  plenty of laughs, snickers and chuckles!

Mama Kat Thursday: Morning Ritual

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The Mama Kat Challenge today is to: " Write a 12 line post." Morning Ritual She presses her damp nose against my eyelid, purring loudly. Somehow she's figured out "eyes open" equals "awake." If I don't respond, she throws herself above my head on the pillow and starts rubbing her head back and forth against mine, still purring loudly. If that doesn't work, she leaps off the bed, thunders down the hall, then back again, landing on me just long enough to launch herself off the bed again. When that fails, she takes a delicate paw and tries to tap my face. I cover my face with a pillow. If any fingers are sticking out she'll lick them and give them a little nibble, forcing me to suck them back under the covers. Sometimes, when all else fails, she'll post herself at the far end of the house in a hallway where she can echo and wail her plight as a starving waif. Finally, it's time to get up and she pran

Garden Pic Wednesday: Miniature Hosta

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There's a brief thunder shower going on. There's a daily chance of a heat shower always during this time of year. Today I do light garden duty: I turned a metal tea storage tin that has an antique look to it, sprayed it with clear spray paint, then planted some succulents in it and put it out to join my other display potted things under the tree, next to my huge Gardenia bush, where it's shady. A couple of the succulents in the larger double pot seemed over-crowded, so I thought they'd do better in the tin. Apparently , some succulents are more aggressive then others. Todays Garden Pic photos of the Day are: Hosta Lilies  First, my miniature Hosta.  I needed something small and varigated to add some contrast in pot large pot garden out front and found this adorable, tiny Hosta. It's called "Cameo" and grows no larger then 6 inches. It even put up this teeny-weeny bloom stalk. How cute is that? (The ceramic blue cat here is only 6 inches tall

Good Eating Monday: Beef Hash

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It rained piteously all of the 4th of July weekend. It left my back yard a squishy sponge and my garden a swamp. Finally it was dry and sunny yesterday (Sunday) and I managed to get out and bail the garden out. (It's arranged higher in the center, so rain water can accumulate along the bottom edge, if there's that much rain.)  Still tomatoes don't enjoy wet feet. I did find 2 Box Turtles nestled into that bog of water and grass mulch along the garden edge. One cute small one and one adult. We could hear the explosions of the public fireworks going on last night---the show was delayed till Sunday. We escaped the rain by going to see new Lone Ranger movie. People were buying up tickets for both matinee shows, so it seemed popular enough to me. It's a great popcorn movie, full of both humor and adventure. The scenery is fantastic, though bear in mind all those fabulous rock formations are native to Utah; not Texas.   Today's Good Eating topic is:

Garden Pic Wednesday: Purslane

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Looks like no mowing today!  Rain chances tripled since yesterday. Rain percentages are now 90% over the next several days (though  not a down pour; just intermittent periods of steady drizzle so far). That certainly could put a twist in the public fireworks schedule! (Not that we're going---too crowded. Here, they launch them over the bay and everyone packs out the public parks!) If there's a suitable break, though, I will try and spread some weed & feed on the other side of the front lawn anyway, so the rain will water it in.   Today's Garden Pic is Purslane:   A member of the  Portulacaceae family, it's basically a giant sized Moss Rose. This one is in a pot on my back patio, which might be a good thing, since it can spread rather easily. I didn't know anything about it, except it's got pretty blooms and is obviously a succulent, so I looked it up on-line. Guess what? It's edible ! I said, "Shut the door!" ran outs

Good Eating Monday: Safe Grilling Tips For Meat

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For those who are Americans, Happy 4th of July! What will you be doing? Having a cook-out? Apparently hamburgers are the #1 preferred 4th grilling meat! But--there's been a lot of recent articles about a cancer connection between the high heat grilling and meat fat. Here's some recommended suggestions for getting around that little problem:   Good example of properly grilled brats--no dark burn marks! .   1) Marinade. Using a marinade on your meat can reduce the cancer side-effect by 90%. 2) Cook low and slow. Avoid high flames, high heat and blackening meat!   3) Turn your meat more often to avoid dark  grill marks. Or make it easier by covering your grill with heavy foil to protect meat from direct flame and also from the fumes getting back on the meat from the burning fat. 4)  Choosing leaner cuts of meat or carefully trim off fat helps, too. Be sure to choose uncured brats, sausages or dogs to escape  that truckload of nitrates common to processed mea