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, November 20, 2011

cinnamon and sugar pumpkin seeds

last week, i removed the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkins i had on display for Halloween.  after cleaning the pumpkins, i rinsed the seeds in a colander in the sink with cold water.  after the seeds were cleaned, i placed them on paper towels to dry off the excess moisture.  the seeds are then placed on an oiled baking sheet.

these seeds can be prepared with salt or with cinnamon and sugar.  the directions for roasting the seeds can be found on my blog under roasted pumpkin seeds.  i used cinnamon and sugar this year and the seeds were tasty, crunchy, and perfect for a fall snack.

fall at dow gardens

every time of year is a good time for a walk throughout dow gardens in midland michigan. the gardens were started by herbert dow, the founder of dow chemical, in 1899.  although the gardens began as a lovely place for dow and his family to enjoy; they have grown to 110 acres of lovely rooms of flowers, plants, vegetables, amazing trees, shrubs and more.

the stone, paved and mulched pathways lead visitors around the gardens, however; the best paths are those taken off the suggested routes.  over the gr ass and through the backways of the gardens are some of the most beautiful trees and scenic views.

everyone can become a photographer in the gardens, because every view is spectacular.  several styles of bridges allow visitors to cross streams to reach a conservatory, azalea island, a vintage barn and a tour of sculptural objects. a conifer garden lines the boulder walkway that leads to a spectacular waterfall.

this view from the pathway along the "bumps" is one of my favorite spaces in the gardens.  in the spring, azaleas bloom, a kousa dogwood lights up the focal point of the walk, and the sounds of the waterfall become clear at the intersection ahead. last week, this space was equally beautiful along the path.

take time to visit the gardens and enjoy the quiet, the beauty and the feeling of oneness with nature.

for more information, visit the website:  http://www.dowgardens.org/

chicken, wild rice and mushroom soup

it really feels like soup weather outside, so last week i made a pot of chicken, wild rice and mushroom soup.  this recipe comes from the rotisserie chicken cookbook, by michelle ann anderson.  the cookbook is filled with ideas of what to do with roast chicken.

i have used several of her recipes when planning my weekly menus, for the next day after a roast chicken meal.  for this soup recipe, i use my le creuset heavy soup pot, and begin with one tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon of margarine.  on a medium heat, i stir in 1/4 cup of wild rice. when it begins to crackle, i add in some diced carrot, celery and white onion. saute for about four minutes.

next, i add a teaspoon of crushed garlic, a teaspoon of fresh rosemary, and 8 ounces of sliced white mushrooms. cook this mixture for about four minutes.  next, add 2 tablespoons of flour and mix in for about another minute.  then, add 4 to 6 cups of chicken broth. add sliced or chopped cooked chicken.

add a bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste.  simmer for at least 10 minutes and serve with crusty bread.  this is a delicious winter soup. it is so tasty and filled with nutrients to keep everyone healthy in the cold weather.

fall window boxes and outdoor decorations

on a recent trip to petoskey, Michigan, i admired several fall window box displays.  the speciality shops in town seem to decorate their windows beautifully with natural materials each season.  i am always pleased to see how beautiful the shops look both indoors and for their window shoppers.

arrangements can be found hanging on the sides of the buildings, and in large heavy urns to welcome guests into the various cute gift shops.

by using a variety of colors, shapes and textures, these arrangements attract attention and provide a lovely street scape for a sidewalk display.

each display is unique.  i plan to use some of these design techniques for my own fall porch display next year.  i find them quite appealing.