welcome

Come along with me as I journal about my latest cooking and gardening adventures. Discover what grows in my zone five garden, and see what new recipes I try from my cookbook collection each week.



As I share recipes and information from my kitchen, I invite readers to comment and share ideas along with me in this blog. I am looking to increase followers to my blog, so that I may learn more about cooking and gardening.



Since moving to Midland, Michigan, I have been reading and researching many cooking journals, cookbooks and collected recipes from the past thirty years. Organizing pictures of gardens I enjoy has also been a joy for me, as I continue to learn about garden design and horticulture.

angel food cakes

angel food cakes
this kitchen is seasoned with love

Friday, April 30, 2010

cleanup in the garden today


i spent some time today in the garden doing spring clean-up. i trimmed spent flower blooms from all of my daffodils and hyacinths. i still have many bulbs blooming throughout the yard. it is hard to believe the some of my bulbs have already finished blooming. my tulips are just beginning to open and my iris are starting to form flowers. i fed my bulbs with bulb booster today and used osmocote on my flowers.the viburnum are flowering and the bleeding hearts are just lovely. i planted more daylily, ferns, and hosta yesterday after spending an hour with my friend in her garden. she has been working on her garden for more then twenty years and is dividing plants and sharing them with me. she also shared forget me nots and virginia bluebells. it was a wonderful day.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

leeks, tomatoes and peppers

for the past few months, i have been experimenting with cooking techniques for vegetables. it seems that i have been drowning my vegetables for years in too much water. so, i have taken a new approach and have been working with a steamer over boiling water, as well as trying a quick sautee or even roasting them in the oven. i am finding that i enjoy the flavor of my vegetables so much more with these techniques. the leeks i made recently were cleaned very well, almost scrubbed after sliced in half and then peeled in layers, and finally cut into rings. i love to soak leeks in the sink, and they seem to come alive with their bath before cooking. i added just a touch of olive oil, some salt and then pepper and gently tossed them in a sautee pan on the stove top for about ten minutes. they were delicious with baked cod that night, along with roasted tomatoes and golden yellow peppers. i simply sliced the yellow pepper and added some grape tomatoes, with only a few sliced in half, and then baked this side dish alongside my fish in the oven. this meal was so tasty and very healthy.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

relax and enjoy


although spring has arrived in midland, the mornings still remain chilly, and the afternoons quite breezy. i enjoy walking around my yard each day to admire how many of my little green plants seem to adapt to the change in temperature. and, i continue to be fasinated in how they are growing on their own, and becoming larger with years. i try to appreciate my walking time in the garden, which shouldn't be confused with working time in the garden. the walk is what nourishes my love for the garden and helps me to better understand the daily development of each plant. many of my plants have come from gardening friends that i have met since i have moved to midland, and i so appreciate these plants. i think of my friends as i look at the plants, and hope that my care of them will bring the plants to the beauty i have enjoyed in other's gardens. i remind myself to relax with a stone that i made several years ago, and i move it around during the seasons, so i can be reminded of both the thought and the border plant that it neighbors. currently, it is next to a clump of grape hyacinths. today, i also stopped to admire my weeping cherry tree near the road along with more grape hyacinths in full bloom.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

mason bees


more than one month i ago i attended a talk given at our nature center, by a fellow master gardener. he spoke about attracting native bees to our homes by using nesting blocks. making these nesting sites for bees is quite easy, and i was motivated to make a bee house when i left the short seminar.

it seems that bees really enhance our gardens' splendor by pollinating flowers and truly ensuring the growth of many plants. i was told to place my mason bee house in a sheltered location on a fence or tree, away from my house, about three to six feet from the ground. our back fence made a perfect spot, since the nest should face east or southeast, so it does receive the morning sunshine.

before i could even start on my house construction, i saw my fellow master gardener, and he gave me a house he had made just for me. i am thrilled to see if mason bees come to my garden this year, and will be anxious to see if my flowers benefit from their new home.

Monday, April 26, 2010

baking


yesterday i baked white chocolate peanut cookies. this recipe is a variation of a recipe i have saved from cooking light magazine, march 2007. they are chunky and nutty cookies and taste amazing, and could be made with chocolate chips, raisins, walnuts or even oats. they are easy to change based on what is available in the pantry.

martha has a similar recipe in her cookies book, and although i haven't tried hers, it looks to be a bit more caloric. this recipe only uses 1/4 cup of unsalted butter, and martha's uses 2 sticks of butter.

i have found by reading similar recipes from many cookbooks, and by changing an ingredient or two, the overall flavor of the cookie will not change, but the calorie count can drop dramatically.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

spring rain


spring rain is falling today on my garden, and my plants seem to be welcoming the brisk raindrops. they seem to be blowing back and forth with the breeze, and growing right before my eyes. i am watching my beautiful daffodils through the windows, and noticing how much my sedum, hosta, lily of the valley, daylilies, lupines, and bleeding heart have grown in a matter of days. my rock garden near my mailbox is filled with fragrant hyacinths and grape hyacinths, while my weeping cherry tree is just about ready to burst open with pink blooms. it makes the walk down the driveway to pick up the mail ever so delightful!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

a garden visit


yesterday i visited greenfield village and took a walk to see their spring gardens. since the village is about two hours south of me, it is about two weeks ahead in bloom time. some of my favorite spots in the village are the gardens next to the burbank house, where a picket fence holds the many perennials in place. i just love to see this garden in each season, and it is always refreshing to compare my picketed garden space with an historic plan. i photographed the five leaf akebia in bloom over the arbor with my iphone, and it was certainly a spectacular sight this year. my akebia lost a major branch, so i am hoping that it grows quickly this year over my arbor at 6110. i also admired the beautiful fragrant lilac bushes just outside the fenced area and stood by them for quite awhile to appreciate their fragrance. enjoy the photos and imagine the beauty!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

scones and blackberries


today is the start of something great! a new project to keep my thoughts and dreams alive....a blog. for years i have looked forward to time that i can spend cooking and gardening and doing all things around my home.. although i do enjoy volunteering in the community, i seem to come alive when i can have time to bake, cook, decorate, and plant...and, now i can write more about what i love and share my passion with others.

i appreciate all of my gardening and cooking friends over the years, and what they have shared with me and taught me about their own love for cooking and growing. i welcome eveyone to share with me as i journey in the days ahead, through the seasons.

today just felt like a day for scones. this recipe comes from tracy sterns' book called tea party. the scones can be varied with coconut, tea leaves, dried fruit or even chocolate chips. they are best served warm from the oven. i chose to make them into hearts, but they can be cut into any shape for any occasion.