5 Essential Positives

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These 5 positives really struck me; I had to share them:

5 Positive Things

1) Don’t let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.

2) Never let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.

3) It’s never too late to be what you might have been.

4) If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.

5) Begin each day with a grateful heart.

We saw these at Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen from a trip to Chicago a while ago.  (As a side note, the food we had was excellent and recommended.  I had one of the bowls- spicy Thai brown rice with tiger shimp, along with the butternut squash soup.)

I Heart Food

Valentine's Day Meal (from Food and Wine)

Valentine’s Day Meal (from Food and Wine)

No matter your Valentine’s Day plans– with family, friends, a significant other, or yourself, there is plenty of love for delicious food to go around.  There are plenty of rich main courses (duck!) or decadent (self-made!) desserts.  Chocolate. Is. Essential.  (Calorie-counting is not allowed.)  Enjoy a February 14th full of flavor!!

All About the Wings…

Buffalo Wings (from Tasting Table)

Buffalo Wings (from Tasting Table)

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest venues for the home preparation (or takeout, I suppose) of chicken wings.  Learn the tips to make the best wings (and you can even make them healthier, if that’s your inclination).  There’s no limit to what you can do with recipes and sauces.  While there is conjecture about the best approach, sometimes nothing beats a classic.  Enjoy!!!

Happy New Year! (A Future Toast and Dandelion Redux)

Dandelion Wine (from Allrecipes)

Happy New Year to all!  Wisconsin’s January still means we are still in winter’s grip, but that reality doesn’t stop my thoughts of upcoming warmer days or garden planning!  I’d be lying if I wrote that I wasn’t thinking about what to plant and harvest in the upcoming year, even though we are still a ways away from anything resembling spring planting weather.  New this year for our family and for my blog will be recipes for homemade baby food.  I am hoping to avoid store bought mush as much as possible.  But first- a springtime recipe more for adults!

We are in pre-dandelion status, and I have written before about my ‘natural’ and dandelion-strewn lawn.  Now that we have a larger yard and undoubtedly a forthcoming abundance of the not-a-menace-for-me, I thought I would find a recipe to eventually try making dandelion wine.  I never have before, but there appears to be no shortage of recipes online.  (It almost goes without saying that it likely is not a good idea to spray your lawn with herbicide if you intend to make some…)  Cheers to 2015!

The Great Pumpkin!

Happy Thanksgiving! There is never a bad time to be thankful and enjoy food (even if you aren’t in the U.S. for this specific holiday)!  If you have not yet had your fill of Turkey Day delicacies, perhaps some pumpkin will tantalize… and not that stuff in the can, either:

(via http://www.marthastewart.com/1089860/diy-pumpkin-pur%C3%A9e#1089860)

Hmm… a pseudo-pumpkin is filling our store shelves?

I grew the sugar pumpkin variety this year to a fair level of success.  I may have to expand to the additional variety he mentions, as well!  I have used pumpkin as a base for a risotto- it can be so much more than dessert… the recipes abound (for slow cookers and more.)  And who can forget the not-quite-so-unexpected bonus of toasted pumpkin seeds- sweet or savory? (After saving some to plant for next year, of course.)  I enjoyed ours fresh from the oven with a little salt.  (Parchment paper was a good tip to keep them from sticking/burning and to cut the fat.)

Enjoy!

 

State of the Garden Address

Friends and Fellow Gardeners,

My wife and I had the blessing of quite a bit of outdoor space with the purchase of our new house.  I wasted no opportunity to start our garden this spring.  I had a box full of old seeds, so I wasn’t expecting a true garden of eatin’.  Space was no issue (though I do remember the days that our patio was our garden).  It took a few passes with our trusty tiller to carve out our space.  The previous owners had no garden, so the sod stood in our way.  Given this reality, it has been quite the battle  (as you may note) to keep the weeds out.  gardenI’ve had others tell me that it takes about three years to eliminate some of that, so the tiller will be busy.

One other battle has been with the critters of the area: birds, chipmunks, deer, and rabbits.  All seem to frequent the garden at different times.  We lost most of our peas that were already on the vines, and something has been digging by/eating our potatoes!  I cannot say I have seen that before.  I had a garden out in the country growing up and had seen my share of creatures.  Being near a somewhat large highway doesn’t do much to scare anything away.

Yet another battle has been with what I think is an occurrence of a plant disease.  I mentioned something similar earlier on the blog.  So far, much of our tomato crop is in the process of succumbing.

tomato with plant disease  Whatever it is, it has also affected the nearby clover and a flowering vine.  The tomatoes have all had similar issues- the leaves have turned grayish silver and seem to have stopped growing.  We still have had some tomatoes ripen (though some critters have helped themselves…)  Regardless, we’re not planning to compost any of these so nothing spreads, hopefully.

The weather has been somewhat bizarre.  We had a cool spring, so no early start this year.  We had a steady pattern of rain, but now we are behind for July- and only one day above 90 degrees so far.

On a more positive note, our vines seem to be growing well enough.  More of the garden germinated than I was expecting, but the weeds have kept some of that in check.  The potatoes may hold out if something stops eating them.  The radishes earlier this season were robust, and the cucumbers have been producing.

Thus, there is much to improve on for next year, but a garden is a process- with fun and frustration (emphasis on the fun for me).

Keep gardening, friends!

 

What have you planted this year?  Successes/difficulties?