Friday, May 29, 2009

Ah, to Lay in the Dirt on a Warm Spring Day

Unusual title for a post isn't it? Puppy was just so cute. After I finished digging out a bed, and hauled away the excess foliage, she decided to soak up the sun while lying on the warm soil. Maybe she's trying to germinate some plants.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Those Sneaky Invasive Plants

We all fall victim to it - beautiful plants that take over our gardens. They look so pretty in the nursery's and garden centers. And we are thrilled when they thrive and multiply during the first year. Then, without warning, these plants invade every inch of our yard. Ok, I'm being dramatic.

Did you think lamnium was a wonderful ground cover? What about day lily's? That little beauty can suddenly turn into a monster that should be in , "The Little Shop of Horrors."

A friend called me yesterday asking about an unusual plant in their yard. What could it be? A rare species? They described it as 4-5 feet tall with reddish stalks and purple flowers that appeared in their wooded area with dappled sunlight. Each year it got bigger. They couldn't describe the leaves which limits identification.

After many questions, I thought it might be giant hog weed. Giant hog weed is an invasive species from Asia. It causes blister-like burns on the skin and can cause blindness. It's so dangerous that the DNR will send people in white Tyvek jumpsuits out to erradicate the plant. After searching images on-line, my friend said this wasn't their plant.

Perhaps it was the Castor Bean plant, a self-propagating plant with deadly seeds that should not be grown in the home garden. Turns out, it wasn't this plant either.

My friends finally said it had ruffled leaves like spinach. I'm thinking they have rhubarb. Can't be certain until I actually look at the plant.

My point in this story is that even though a plant looks pretty, it can sometimes do more harm than good. Research your plants before buying and investigate all unusal species that "appear" in your landscape.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Radish Pesto

What to do with all the young, immature radishes I am thinning from my garden? Well, I recently read a recipe for radish pesto on Chocolate and Zucchini's blog. Perfect! Of course, I made some adaptations to the recipe. Here's a rough outline.

Take one cup of radish thinnings, greens and red portion. Chopped the vegetables very fine in a food processor and add 1- 2 tablespoons canola oil, quarter of a shallot, half a clove of garlic, an ounce or 2 of Feta cheese and a sprinkling of pine nuts. Use as a topping with pasta or rice. Voila'!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Poppies

The local American Legion sells paper poppies around town each Memorial Day. Initially, it was a remembrance of the blood that was shed in World War I at Flanders Field. It has since come to symbolize the lives sacrificed in all American conflicts and those brave souls who gave their lives for our freedom. Each donation helps veterans in need.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Clematis in Bloom

Clematis is such a lovely vine. I have several varieties that bloom at different times of the year. This is a late spring version with light, light pink flowers. Wish I could recall the variety. It was a rescue plant. A manager's special reduced to a dollar, that I babied until it was healthy. Look at the results.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Strawberry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt

Sounds yummy doesn't it? Strawberry Cheesecake frozen yogurt. But, you're probably thinking, "It's got a TON of calories." I borrowed the recipe from Cooking Light magazine's August, 2003 edition and made some modifications.

Place a large bowl in the freezer. Let 3 cups of non-fat, plain yogurt stand at room temperature for 45 minutes or until softened. Softened 8 ounces of 1/3 fat cream cheese. Place cream cheese and yogurt in a large bowl. Add 16 ounces of thawed, frozen strawberries (no sugar added). Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Beat the ingredients with a mixer at medium speed one minute or until blended. Add in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Sprinkle 1/2 cup graham crackers crumbs into the mixture and stir. Transfer the ingredients into the cold bowl and freeze.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bird in the House

It's true. There was a young male robin making himself to home in my living room this afternoon.

The incident is my fault for being lazy and leaving the back door open while puppy was patrolling the back yard for rabbits.

I heard a "thud" and thought it was puppy coming in the house. When I looked around, I found the robin on the carpet. I tried opening the doors in the hope that the bird would fly toward freedom. No good. The bird just ran under furniture and into corners. I finally took a broom and scooted the little guy out the door where he decided to stay on the porch and sun himself.

After moving all the furniture around in an effort to catch the robin, I decided I have too much stuff in the living room. Time to downsize a few things. And I have Mr. Robin to thank for this decision.

Bertolli Frozen Meal Deal at Meijer

Better hurry to snag this deal. Meijer has the Bertolli frozen garlic shrimp, penne and cherry tomatoes dinners reduced to $1.77 (previously $6.99). And there was a $1.25 coupon set to expire for the product around the end of May. After using the coupon, you can get the frozen entree for just 52 cents!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Kroger Deals

Lots of clearance items at Kroger. Look for Colgate WISP 4 pack reduced to $1.19. Pay just 19 cents for the item after using the 50 cent coupon (doubles).

Other products spotted include Duracell batteries, New York lipstick, and tons of other health and beauty items too numerous to mention. Also in the clearance area were pet treats and cold/allergy medications.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Money Saving Products that Help the Planet

Being careful with money is good. There comes a time when you should open up those purse strings and spring for items that cost a bit more or take more time than other available products. Or, as the Wise Bread web site puts it, "Spend money to save money."

Use a Reel Mower
This lawn mower operates not by gasoline or electricity. This low noise mower is fueled by muscle power. You push the mower to engage several sharpened blades that rotate quickly in a circular pattern. After the initial cost of the mower, anywhere from $89 -$250, the only maintenance is sharpening the blades once in awhile. Highly recommended for small city lots. And you get the added benefit of exercise so you don't have to go to the gym as often.

For those of you with acreage, consider a buying a goat. Goats keep the grass low, provide a much sought after milk and if you have the angora version, the fibers of the coat can be spun into textiles.

Install a Power Flush Toilet
Buy a 1.0, 1.28, or 1.6 gallon toilet. Save on your water bill and save water for the planet. Cost is around $500 for most toilets. Contact your local plumbing distributor for purchase information.

Install LED Lights
A little pricier than incandescent or CFL's, but these babies last for 10 years on average. Technology has improved and prices are gradually becoming more affordable. LED's have the advantage of staying cool to the touch and lasting longer in frigid temperatures found in the northern hemisphere.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bumble Bee Tuna at Kroger

Don't know how long this lasts. I stopped into Kroger to get two packages of StarKist Albacore Creations and use my coupon for $1.00 off 2 packages. The $2.19 package ended up costing $1.69 which isn't bad. At the checkout, two catalinas printed for $1 off Bumble Bee seasoned tuna medley bowls (5 oz.). That's a pretty good deal. Thanks Kroger.

Healthy Fudgie Brownies

Is there such a thing as healthy fudgie brownies? Not in this recipe. Dark chocolate is good for you in small doses and the ground flax I added has the Omega's. Let's be real. It's got sugar and butter and eggs and anything that good probably isn't the healthiest. As my Grandma would say, " You need some fat in your diet. Eat."

This recipe is courtesy of SACO Dutched Process Cocoa.

Melt a stick of butter (1/2 cup). Add to the melted butter a 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 large eggs, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup flour. I added 1 tablespoon finely ground flax seed to the mixture (for the omega's). Stir until well blended. Place mixture into an 8"x8"x8" well greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees until done.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

29 Cent Tacos at Del Taco

From 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Del Taco has its classic taco for just 29 cents!! This deal is only good on Cinco de Mayo or May 5th.

Del Taco has locations in many of the Great Lakes states, Missouri and several Western States.