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

Sunday, June 27, 2010

corn and black bean salsa

every salsa recipe uses tomatoes in some quantity, but this one is very different.  this salsa recipe omits the tomatoes and adds black beans.  perfect for tostito chips, this salsa is a great topping and wonderful appetizer.  using 1/2 cup of drained and rinsed black beans, add 1/2 cup of thawed frozen corn, 1/2 chopped red onion, and 1/4 cup chopped red pepper.  mix and if desired, add a mixture to taste of lime juice and olive oil.

this easy recipe can be adapted to taste and will be a treat for your guests.

orecchiette pasta salad

over the years i have tried many pasta salad recipes, but this one is the classic.  i vary the type of pasta used but the ingredients usually stay the same.  this recipe can be made in any amount for a large or small crowd.  i usually only boil 1-2 cups of pasta, and then cool the pasta in a colander under cold water.  to the pasta i add, chopped celery, green and/or red pepper, green onion, salt and pepper. 

for the dressing, i usually use 1/4 to 1/3 cup of low fat light mayonnaise thinned with milk.  i whisk in milk until the dressing is creamy and able to be easily added into the mixture.  by adding a little milk at a time, it is easy to obtain the correct consistency.  another option for this pasta salad includes adding part mayonnaise to prepared peppercorn dressing.  this is a great option and also delicious.

croutons

one of the best things to add to a salad is fresh croutons.  somehow the crispy bread cubes make a difference in the overall salad 's appeal.  i visited the midland farmer's market and purchased a loaf of Russian black bread from the whole grain country bakery and made these wonderful croutons for our dinner salads.

after slicing in small cubes, i place the croutons on a baking sheet and lightly drizzle the cubes with olive oil.  then, select the seasonings.  today, i used Mary's gourmet seasoning along with parsley.  other choices would be a garlic and herb seasoning or any other herb mixtures.

bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until browned and crispy.  serve and enjoy.

Friday, June 25, 2010

baked potato soup (low fat version)

homemade soup is so much better than anything found in a can.  there is not a comparison and soup recipes are so easy.  this baked potato soup has 10 grams of fat per serving compared to 38 grams of fat with a traditional soup recipe. it was made from start to finish in less than one hour on the stove.  i did bake four potatoes in the morning and cooled them in the refrigerator to save prep time at the dinner hour. this recipe is also a great way to use left over potatoes from a holiday meal. the recipe is from cooking light magazine, october 2002.

the ingredients are simple: flour, milk, reduced fat cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, reduced fat sour cream, chopped green onions, and toppings of choice.  the soup has all the flavor of a rich potato soup but is more healthy and low in fat. i used skim milk, although the recipe calls for 2% milk, and i believe that the richness from the milk will increase the flavor of the soup.  using 2/3 cup of flour to 6 cups of milk was the right balance and the soup was thick and creamy.  any seasonings could be added to this soup without compromising the calorie count.

toppings can include:  shredded cheddar cheese, sliced black olives, chives, or shredded cooked bacon. i serve the soup in small le creuset crocks. this is a great dinner served with a side salad, and some crusty baked ciabatta bread.


 


blueberry pancakes and powdered sugar


blueberry pancakes are a favorite of mine for breakfast or anytime.  i enjoy using pancake rings to keep the pancakes uniform and pretty.  these heart forms work especially well for blueberry pancakes.  to avoid using too much syrup, i usually top the pancakes with some type of fruit and a bit of sprinkled powdered sugar. today, i used fresh raspberries.

if syrup is still desired, the sweetness of the fruit and sugar should decrease the amount needed, thus saving lots of calories.

grilled sesame ginger chicken with pineapple

i am always looking for different ways to prepare grilled chicken and this is one of our favorites.  i simply marinate the chicken in a prepared sauce for at least four hours in the refrigerator.  i usually pierce the chicken breast slices in several places to allow more marinade to soak through the meat.  either fresh pineapple or sliced pineapple chunks will work for this dish, and after the chicken is partially grilled, i add the pineapple to the grill pan.  in order to make certain that the chicken is fully cooked, i usually decrease the heat and cover the pan with foil for several minutes, to allow the chicken to cook thoroughly.  just prior to serving, i sprinkle sesame seeds over the pan to lightly garnish the dish.

this dish is great cold over a green salad or can be served with wild rice and steamed carrots.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

chocolate thumbprint cookies

one of my favorite cookbooks is Martha Stewart's cookies cookbook.  published a couple of years ago, it has been a wonderful guide for a variety of types of cookies that can be easily reproduced.  the cookbook is divided into sections, so it is quite easy to make a selection of cookies to serve with a variety of shapes and textures.  these chocolate thumbprints are partially baked, then thumb printed, and returned to the oven to complete the baking process.

once cooled, the chocolate filling is added and allowed to harden over three hours prior to serving.  i chose to serve the cookies as a nice addition to vanilla ice cream topped with a bit of chocolate syrup.  the chocolate filling is neither sweet nor bittersweet, but offers just the right amount of chocolate goodness.
Martha's recipe makes approximately three dozen.  they stored well in a covered container with layers of waxed paper.

veronica

in keeping with my central theme of pink, white and blue flowers in my colonial garden is veronica.  this plant is commonly named speedwell and has a wonderful spot in the garden at the corner of one of the front beds.  the beautiful blue spikes gradually flower over a few days once the spikes have formed.

this compact plant is bright blue and has grown in size since last year.  although only about 12 inches tall, the flowers are striking and would be a nice addition to floral arrangements. speedwell is a hardy perennial that has been a reliable complement to the garden.

caramel dipped strawberries

for a special father's day treat, i made caramel dipped strawberries for brian.  to make the caramel dipping sauce, i melted six ounces of kraft caramel bits in a small glass bowl in the microwave with 3 tablespoons of whipping cream and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  after the caramel is melted, gently dip the strawberries in the caramel and roll in chopped nuts. place on waxed paper and refrigerate until ready to serve.

this is a wonderful easy treat for a special day.  remove the berries from the refrigerator fifteen minutes before serving to guests.




Sunday, June 20, 2010

cantonese orange pork

one night this past week, i experimented with a recipe i found in a saved fine cooking magazine from june and july 2003.  this stir fry recipe is one of my favorites, since it is categorized under their regular feature cooking without recipes.  using a basic template, many different dinners can be made last minute.  the recipe is divided into three easy steps.  first, slice and season a choice of meat, chicken or shrimp.  then, choose the vegetables, and finally, create a sauce.

for tonight's dish, i used boneless pork and sliced into thin strips.  next, i chose carrots, broccoli, red onion, and green peppers.  i sliced each of these vegetables into small pieces.  for the sauce, i chose the cantonese orange sauce recipe given.  other selections are: spicy sichuan sauce, sesame soy sauce, or the chinese black bean sauce.

after the pork is cooked, stir fry the vegetables, and add the sauce.  here is the recipe for the orange sauce:
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1/4 cup homemade chicken broth, 2 tbsp thawed frozen orange juice concentrate, 2 tbsp red wine, 1 1/2 tsp oyster sauce, 1 tsp sugar, and 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger. i purchase ginger at the grocery store in the produce aisle, and first remove the skin with a potato peeler.  then grate the amount needed for the recipe.

 after the sauce is mixed in a small bowl, and the vegetables are complete, add the sauce, heat for a minute or two and serve.  there are countless number of combinations to create with this recipe and it will always seem like a new dish.

ginger and cream biscuits

cook's illustrated offers a variety of great simple recipes, and this one is a classic.  it can be varied a number of different ways for breakfast, lunch or tea.  these biscuits use the standard ingredients including heavy cream, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  but, the choices make the difference. 

for these, i  tried crystallized ginger. using only 3 tablespoons mixed into the batter made the difference.  they were tasty and not sweet.  personally, i think even adding more would make the biscuit even more flavorful.  other suggestions given in the recipe would be to make these biscuits adding fresh herbs or 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.  baking time would increase by a minute or two to make certain the cheese is fully incorporated.

time for a picnic

i have been reading this book by DeeDee Stovel for the past week looking for some new ideas for picnic fare.  every wednesday during the summer months, dow gardens offers lunchtime concerts under the white birch trees.  for the past couple of summers, brian and i seem to make a couple of these concerts and have never been disappointed.  so, i am planning our picnic lunch for an upcoming noon time rendezvous.

one of the best sandwiches that i make starts with a great bread, and i like to try different country breads.  DeeDee recommends lots of vegetables thinly sliced, such as paper thin cucumbers, transparent onion rings, and roasted red bell peppers.  these are my favorites as well, with lots of fresh spinach leaves instead of the usual lettuce.  brian prefers either peppercorn turkey breast or a maple ham slice added, whereas i can make a sandwich half from simply the crispy vegetables. cheese is optional, but i often like a very thin slice of provolone, with a condiment of peppercorn dressing.

a nice side to a sandwich is always fruit, and easily packed are beautiful red strawberries and an assortment of red and blue grapes.  these are always easy for a picnic and seem to be recommended by DeDee as well.

for dessert, a number of choices are offered in the book:  raspberry brownies, apricot almond bars, carrot cake, lemon bundt cake or even cookies. i am certain to find a couple of great cookie recipes and offer brian a selection. i truly enjoy a picnic and with live music and the beauty of dow gardens, summer is here to be enjoyed.

sweet woodruff


one of the best ground covers for shade also happens to be classified as an herb commonly known as sweet woodruff.  another name for this scented plant is galium.  the pretty leaves carry a scent throughout the summer and can be used when dried for sachets.  for the first year, i am going to try to dry some of the leaves on some screen.  another highlight of this plant is the beautiful white star-shaped flowers in the springtime, which brighten up my shady border.  this herb likes the shade, but without any sun at all may fail to bloom. this plant grows in my shade garden in my backyard and was given to me by my friend jennifer, who i met at the midland master gardener association.  thanks jennifer, i love this plant.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

dianthus and delphinium

two flowering perennials in my garden are blooming quite nicely this year, although neither has reached a full maturity in age.  for the second year, these flowers have shared their lovely blooms in june and add delightful color to my perennial beds. to protect the dianthus from the bunnies, i added a ring of green covered chicken wire at the base for an extra level of security, and so far, those plants that have been protected with the wire have survived the family of babies this year.  right next to the delphinium is planted a large group of pink hollyhocks which have never bloomed since the bunnies seem to find them every year before i can protect them.  they seem to be the first plants that they search out in the spring, while i am busy doing other work in the garden.  within the tuteur to the left of the delphinium are morning glories which are growing nicely from seeds, and should be vining soon.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

almond crunch biscotti



one of the most delicious recipes for biscotti comes from the book written by lou pappas.  biscotti are twice baked italian cookies that have a wonderful crunch.  they can be served with coffee or tea, or just for an afternoon snack.

mixed in just under fifteen minutes, the biscotti bake in the oven first for 25 minutes, then are removed, cooled for 10 minutes, sliced into strips, turned on their sides, and baked again for another 10 minutes.

here is the recipe:
in a standing mixer, mix 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs, and 1 tsp vanilla together until well mixed.  in a separate bowl, mix 2 cups of flour with 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, and 1/4 tsp salt.  then add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients already mixed in the mixer.  as the final step, add 3/4 cup of sliced almonds.  stir to mix. 

form the mixture into 2 logs on a baking sheet prepared with spray oil/flour.  flatten the logs into 1 inch tall, 3 inches wide and about 13 inches long.  as they bake, the logs will widen some, so allow for the spreading of them on the baking sheet.  bake in a 325 degree oven for 25 minutes until lightly browned.

remove from the oven and cool about 10 minutes.  slice on the diagonal into strips and turn the cookies onto their sides on the baking sheet.  bake another 10 minutes.

this cookie is one that will be enjoyed by all generations.  they offer a crunch and tasty alternative to soft cookie textures.

swiss breakfast squares

for an easy breakfast entree, these swiss breakfast squares can be made in less time than a standard quiche and offer a delicious alternative when preparation time is limited.  this recipe can be altered to taste and varied for different events.

begin by using a standard refrigerated crescent dough as the base in a 9 by 13 casserole pan.  mix together 3 eggs, 3/4 cup skim milk, 12 oz of shredded swiss cheese, and herbs to taste.  for this recipe, i used cut basil, chives, and italian parsley from the garden.  pre-baked maple bacon was added in broken crisps to the mixture as well.  this would be an option, and could be substituted with brocolli pieces, red or green pepper pieces, green onion, or even mushrooms. 

once the mixture is ready, spread over the base and bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until browned.  the casserole will puff into a quiche-like presentation.

serve with a side salad for a luncheon alternative to a sandwich or as a breakfast entree. this recipe will serve 8-10 squares.

baked spinach and artichoke spread

here is another way to offer a fresh summer appetizer made from ingredients from the herb garden.  i chose to use chives, basil, and italian parsley in the standard mixture. first, choose a one quart baking casserole for the recipe.  next, thaw and reduce liquid from a small size box of frozen spinach.  drain a small can of artichoke hearts.  chop them if they are not bite sized.  mix these two ingredients in a bowl, and add 8 ounces of shredded mozarella cheese, and either one cup of plain yogurt or one box of low fat cream cheese. add selected herbs, along with sliced green onions and diced red pepper.  i also added some sliced black olives on top for decoration.  bake this casserole for 25-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  serve this casserole while warm along with crispy toasts, bagel crisps, crackers, or breadsticks.


first lilies of the season

today the first lilies of the season opened in the garden.  since many of them were consumed last year by a family of hungry bunnies, this year comes with a welcome celebration for their blooming.

the orange lily photographed to the right is mrs. backhouse, given to me by a midland gardening friend.
i have over 40 lilies planted in the garden with a combination of asiatic and oriental lilies selected.  their colors were selected in a combination of pinks and whites.  even though they were moved from last year's unprotected location outside of my picketed fenced area to within the garden, i have continued to protect their bases with green coated chicken wire circles.  still, a few hungry bunnies have managed to chew a few of the grouping. however, it looks as if i have over 30 plants that should produce blooms this year.

these lilies should offer several weeks of color in the garden and will complement other perennials in bloom/

easy dinner

one of my goals is to eat fish twice every week.  not only is fish a healthy protein, but it is very low in fat and very speedy to prepare.

for this dinner, i chose to bake the fish in a ceramic dish, topped with a bit of ground black pepper, dried parsley flakes, and an herbal seasoning in a jar.  with a few tablespoons of water from the tap around the fish, i simply place the dish into the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

during this time period, i boiled several small red potatoes for brian on the stovetop.  when their time was completed, i covered the fish in the oven with tin foil and lowered the temperature, until i could complete the vegetables.  i drained the water from the potatoes, and mashed them with their red skins intact, adding a couple tablespoons of margarine, and a 1/4 cup of skim milk.  at the same time, i lightly boiled the green beans and within five minutes the dinner was completed.

preparing cod in this manner, creates a flaky and delicious fish entree, low in calories and fat grams.  over the years, i have tried a variety of seasonings, including lemon, fresh thyme, chives, a selection of peppers, and i have even baked the fish with grape tomatoes.  any of these choices are tasty and quick.

breakfast fruit butters

although trying to maintain a lower carbohydrate diet, sometimes a breakfast treat has to be available.  fruit butters add so much flavor and glamour to any breakfast bread selection.  these two butters are simply made with favorite jam flavors.  i used 1 tablespoon of red raspberry jam with one-quarter stick of softened margarine.  for the other one, i used 1 tablespoon of orange marmalade mixed with the same portion of margarine.

most recipes use freshly mashed fruit for the butters, and of course "real" butter.  i think using lower fat margarine works just as well and the taste from the jam is wonderful. 

try this easy way to brighten up your breakfast table, as these can be served with muffins, scones, croissants or even toast.

Monday, June 14, 2010

roasted asparagus

i am roasting all of my vegetables these days.  fresh michigan asparagus was wonderful this week, and we enjoyed it two different days.  i served the asparagus one day roasted alongside a small portion of roasted pork rib, which was placed under the broiler for a couple of minutes to finish the flavor with a sweet barbecue sauce.

the second day we added the roasted asparagus to a side dish to serve with chicken. roasted vegetables are easy to season, cook rather quickly, and the flavor is so much more improved over boiling.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

lamb's ear and loosestrife

my lamb's ears are doing very well in the herb garden this year.  i enjoy this plant for the flowering spikes, although i realize that deadheading helps the plant's overall growth and maturity.  my lamb's ears are spreading and i plan to divide them this year in the fall.  the soft grey leaves and the woolly feeling when they are touched makes this plant one of my favorite herbs in the garden. planted next to my lamb's ears are chives and thyme which are also blooming right now.

this is my first year growing yellow loosestrife.  although the purple cultivar has been banned in several states due to the invasive nature, this yellow variety seems to be more compact and cooperative.  i plan on shearing it down to keep it blooming longer.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

camembert and jam



one of the easiest appetizer recipes is made with athens mini fillo shells. these light and flaky layers of fillo dough are fully baked and great tasting.  it is easy to just fill and serve these shells either with a cold filling or heated filling like camembert and jam.

for these appetizers, i slice small quarter size pieces of camembert or brie cheese, and place into the unfrozen shells.  then i add a teaspoon of jam, which could be blackberry or any desired flavor of choice.  place these tarts into the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  when the cheese is melted, remove and serve to guests. 

other options for cold appetizers with these shells include:  chicken salad, cream cheese and dickinson's red pepper jelly, fresh fruit, or even roasted peppers.  i have also served these shells with chopped tomatoes, onion, and basil from the garden with a small bit of shredded swiss on top.  heated for 10 minutes, these tarts will be a delicious start to any meal this summer.

homemade cream puffs

one of our favorite desserts happens to be cream puffs.  i think i first fell in love with them at the greenbrier hotel in lewisburg, west virginia.  when our children were young, we would always take them there for a special visit and meal.  it was so much fun to see our son jeff order the cream puff swans.  the greenbrier chef would fashion the cream puff shell into a baked swan, which seemed to float over the white whipped cream filling.  and, it was always swimming in a small pool of chocolate.  it became a tradition to order the cream puff swan, because it was delicious and so beautifully presented. the french name for this dessert is profiteroles, and many recipes are often listed under this name.

i found a very easy recipe for these cream puffs in gourmet magazine, march 2008.  this recipe comes together quite quickly and the baking time is only 20 minutes. by using a pastry bag, the puffs are formed into uniform circles and bake evenly.  this recipe makes 12 puffs.  after they have dried, remove the top portion of the puff, fill with either sweetened whipped cream or ice cream, and top with chocolate sauce. my ganache recipe works well with this recipe, and provides a glossy coating to the puffs.

i will be happy to share the recipe with you upon request.

oregano in the garden

my friend sherry shared some of her oregano plant with me in 2008.  the plant has grown so well without much care in a full sun space in my herbal garden bed.  it is bordered by garlic chives and a perennial purple geranium that i purchased at our nature center.

with this oregano, i plan to make a fresh tomato spaghetti sauce this summer to use for pasta dishes and even for homemade pizza later in the summer.  this week, i will harvest the oregano and save in the refrigerator after soaking lightly in the sink basin.  then i will dry the herb thoroughly and place into a plastic storage bag wrapped in a white paper towel.  this method keeps the herb quite fresh and ready for use within the next couple of weeks.  without the paper towel, the fragile leaves will stick together, become soggy and spoil rather quickly.

growing fresh herbs for use in the kitchen is more than fun, it is a true delight.

pita crisps




when serving homemade salsa, i often make my own pita crisps.  there are quite easy to make and  whole wheat pita pockets or even quesadillas can be baked to make flavorful crispy dippers.  i usually use the mini pita pockets and slice them into quarters and then slice the pocket in half to complete.  place on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet.  i often use Pam olive oil cooking spray, and then season to taste.  here, i used the brand simply organic garlic and herb dried seasoning.  sometimes i use parsley with mary's kitchen port seasoning from traverse city.  spray the tops lightly with Pam olive oil spray and place in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes while watching to make certain the crisps do not burn.

up north flowers

we spent the day shopping in petoskey, harbor springs and charlevoix yesterday.  the flowers along the street are just splendid.  i truly enjoy stopping and looking at the individuality of each shopkeeper's street flowers, and they certainly make a lovely entrance to their store.

each of these three cities have a wonderful selection of gift shops, art, boutiques, and food stores.  we enjoy visiting american spoon foods in charlevoix and cutler's kitchen and home shop in petoskey.  i also enjoy horizon books in traverse city and petoskey. their selection of gardening and cooking books, as well as their books about michigan life are not the standard fare found in most traditional book stores.

white chocolate coconut praline ice cream




after reading the ingredients listed on most ice cream packaging, i continue to make our own ice cream.  here are just a few ingredients that i see frequently on some of the popular brands:  food starch, locust bean gum, citric acid, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, corn syrup, whey, mono and diglycerides, xanthum and cellulose gum, and polysorbate 80.  why are these added?  they must affect the taste, because my ice cream tastes so much better!

i can make my own ice cream in less than 30 minutes, and the flavors can't compare to anything in the store, including any of the fancier brands.  this week, i made white chocolate coconut praline. i use half and half for part of the recipe to decrease the caloric count as well. i have found that by using milk with less fat, the ice cream may not freeze as well, so some fat is required to have a better consistency.

using my cuisinart ice cream maker, here is the recipe taking from the william sonoma ice cream cookbook:
in a bowl, combine 2 cups heavy cream with one cup half and half.  add in 3/4 cup sugar and a pinch of salt. mix well.  add flavors as desired.  some of my favorites have been:  coconut, almond, vanilla, peanut butter, rum, and maple.

pour into the cuisinart ice cream maker while it is turned on.  mix for 20-25 minutes.  then, add in desired ingredients.  for strawberry ice cream, add in 2 cups mashed strawberries.  Other ideas include any nuts, butterfinger chips, chopped chocolate mint squares, heath toffee bits, or chopped chocolate bits.

some favorite flavors are:  coconut almond, chocolate pecan, blueberry, chocolate chip almond, maple pecan, and coconut with fresh coconut flakes.  i store the mixture in a stainless steel pan, which allows me to scoop the ice cream very easily.  summer ice cream never tasted so good.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

lemon flavored marshmallows


a few weeks ago, i posted a photo on facebook of my homemade marshmallows. i received several comments about them, so i decided to make them again and blog about the recipe.

they are suprisingly easy to make and are nothing like store bought marshmallows. they are spongy and can be flavored with any extract from your baking cabinet. yesterday, i chose lemon extract for these marshmallows.

i use martha's marshmallow recipe from her first indexed cookbook, dated 1995. i decrease the recipe in half, since 1/2 of a sheet pan is plenty of marshmallows for us. they must be stored in a covered air-tight container, and should be eaten within a few days. that isn't difficult to do at all.

lightly spray a 1/2 sheet pan with pam spray. i also line the sheet pan with waxed paper and cover the bottom with powdered sugar. soften 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin with about 3/8 cup of water in an electric mixer. it is important to not use too much water. just enough to make the gelatin soft.

then, place 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 1/2 and then 1/8 cup of light corn syrup, and 3/8 cup of water, along with 1/8 tsp of salt into a heavy saucepan. bring these ingredients just up to a boil.

then, pour this mixture into the standing mixer with the gelatin. then, add 1 tsp of flavoring (vanilla, lemon, orange, rum, coconut, etc.) beat the hot syrup slowing until stiff, at least 8-10 minutes. i use a medium fast speed on the mixer and just wait. suddenly, the mixture becomes marshmallow fluff.

quickly, remove the fluff from the bowl and place into the sheet pan. dust the top with more confectioner's sugar. cover the top with the waxed paper overlaps. allow to rest over night, at least 24 hours before cutting into squares. as i cut the marshmallows, i use the extra powdered sugar to coat the sides of the marshmallows.

the beal gardens in east lansing

yesterday, we drove to east lansing to tour the beal gardens on the campus of Michigan State University. their horticultural students maintain the gardens, labeling the plants and categories. it was a beautiful day for a garden walk, and a wedding party was just leaving the gardens when we arrived.


there are rows of plants that are each labeled by category. some of the groupings include: injurious, medicinal, indian food plants, fixed oil, flavoring, dye, honey, fiber, useful, or threatened plants. i noted that some of the plants were growing in more than one category.

weeds of north america are also growing in their own section, as are historical plants grown from seeds. the trees surrounding the gardens are beautiful as well, and many are labeled.

this garden walk is a delightful experience for anyone who likes plants and wants to learn more about them. it was quite educational to me, as i saw several plants that i didn't think i could attempt to grow outdoors in zone 5, such as this pineapple plant.