I absolutely love my house and my neighborhood, but I really wish my yard was bigger. When my husband and I moved here from a more urban setting a few years ago, I thought this yard had plenty of space, but now I have developed a passion for gardening. It started with the existing flower beds which showered me with endless summer flowers and a beautiful backdrop for reading and relaxation. It has now morphed into a vegetable passion, bordering on obsession.
Last Mother’s Day, my husband and children bought me a raised garden, and I put a few standard plants in.
Wow! I never expected to feel so much excitement. That is where the stalking behavior started. I checked my tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers multiple times daily and cheered when new sprouts appeared. My garden was the highlight of my summer (With the exception of the great pickle experiment which yielded some of the most horrifically tasting pickles ever created.)
Now I am no longer a rookie gardener, and I am stepping up my game. My existing garden was quickly filled with Roma tomatoes, basil, zucchini, and peppers, but there was no room for my cucumbers… I asked my husband for another raised bed, but he balked. So out of desperation, I have resorted to “guerilla gardening”. Now my cucumbers are secretly nestled between my crepe myrtles, my gourds and pumpkins are hidden in my flower beds, and I built a teepee for my green beans.
Now I stalk my green beans and marvel at the lettuce as I lounge on the patio. Let this be a lesson to those of you who don’t think you have the space. A little creativity, and a patient husband can make a gardener out of any of us.
Fishy Fingers—Make a “SPLASH” with these SEAsoned Chicken Bites
Before a big meet or a romp at the pool
Whip up these goodies for a meal that is cool
Your kiddos will flip for this tasty new treat
Because frozen chicken nuggets are just plain old beat!
• 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin, and sliced into strips
• 2 C. of flour
• 2 Tbsp. of garlic season all
• 3 eggs, beaten
• 1 bag of cheddar goldfish crackers, crushed
1. Pound chicken until thin, and slice into strips
2. Mix flour and season salt in a Ziploc bag & coat the chicken strips
3. Dip each strip in the beaten egg and shake in another bag of crushed goldfish.
4. Placed on a greased cookie sheet and repeat until all strips are coated
5. Bake in the oven for 20-25 min until browned and chicken is completely cooked through.
Fairy Fantastic Pool Side Salad
It’s bathing suit season
And salad gets lame
So try this alternative to spice up the game.
Smear on your sunscreen and grab a good spot
Don’t stress about diet… give healthy a shot!
• 1 C Baby Arugula
• 1 C Lamb’s Lettuce
• 3 Tbsp. Marcona Almonds – roughly chopped
• 2 Tbsp. golden raisins
• 10 thin shavings of fresh Paive or Parmesan cheese ( I use my carrot peeler)
• 2 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
• ½ tsp. honey
1. Mix greens in a bowl.
2. Toss with cheese, almonds, and raisins.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk oil, lemon juice, & honey
4. Drizzle dressing on top of salad.
• Top salad with grilled chicken, fish, or pork.
Positively Perfect Pasta Sauce
Italian I’m not
But the garden, I love
Here is a recipe that stands all above
So roll up your sleeves
And get a big pot
For a perfect red sauce
That is savory and HOT!!!
• 15-20 Red Roma Tomatoes (enough to cover the bottom of a large roasting pan)
• Large pot of boiling water
• Large pot of ice water
• 3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1 head of garlic, peeled
1 medium onion chopped
• 10-15 fresh basil leaves chopped
• 2-3 pinches of fresh oregano chopped
2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
• 1-2 Tbsp. of sugar
• Salt & pepper to taste
1. Wash tomatoes, remove the core, and slice a shallow “X” on the bottom of each tomato.
2. Drop tomatoes into boiling water until the skin splits. (about 2 min)
3. Remove with tongs and drop in ice bath.
4. Pull tomatoes out of the ice bath and slip the skin off. Discard skin and place tomato into the roasting pan.
5. Once the tomatoes are skinned, add olive oil, onion, and garlic to the pan and mix.
6. Place in the oven at 425 degrees and roast for about 30 minutes. Tomatoes will start to break down and get browned on the bottom. Garlic should also be soft and browned.
7. Add basil, bay leaves, oregano, salt, pepper, and sugar. Roast for 10-15 more minutes.
8. Remove from the oven and puree with a hand blender.
9. Serve over pasta or with fresh garlic bread.
• This recipe can be made with whole cherry or grape tomatoes (skip the blanching process–just wash and skip to step 5)
• You can also add cheese, such a parmesan or Romano, or meat to individualize the flavor.
A sip by the pool
A mommy time-out
A night with the girls is what it’s about
So sip without guilt
Just rest and de-stress
This punch you’ll soon see…that it is the best!
• 1 large bottle or Moscato or other white wine
• 1 2L bottle of Fresca
• 4 cups of diced, frozen tropical fruit—(available pre-cut in the frozen foods section)
1. Mix wine & soda, add fruit, and stir.
2. Serve in a glass pitcher or large beverage dispenser.