Surprise

30 Aug

SURPRISE, yes, I am trying to be more consistent just like the article that I recently read entitled “How to create a successful website”-hey no guarantees, but I hope to bundle all the components needed to produce my website, which includes compiling all the research needed to actually report my findings, recipe development, cooking, writing my draft, proof reading, computer work, selecting my photos from my photo gallery-the photos are taken continuously though out the month and uploaded to my computer and finally publishing and sending out my e-mail blast to my members to notify them of a new update an announcing my update on Face Book.   I am setting aside 2 days a week and to treat these 2 days as a 9-5 job an just learn to say NO and SORRY I AM BUSY! 

 Well summer is finally here without a warming spring to ease us into the hot humid heat of summer.  Although last week we have had 3 days of on and off rain which was welcomed after the hot dry days of the previous week. Today it is 90 degrees and we are having a heat wave until Wednesday an the possibility of a brief shower or thunderstorm. Nix the thunderstorm, but I will welcome the shower so that I can skip watering the grass and gardens. Not complaining after viewing on television the terrible hardships people in other parts of the country are enduring. Hopefully all the nasty and dangerous storms throughout the country will finally subside.

 Both of my sons and I have been working very hard to bring back my front lawn. Ordered a load of top soil and the boys spread it and seeded and covered the seeds with hay and I was told to water it every day.  I watered and watered and nothing happened for weeks with the exception of my water bill being off the charts.  But finally I am happy to report that the grass is growing along with the weeds. Although as everyone knows summer is not the perfect time to grow grass and we will do better in the fall.  As of now, my allotment for home maintenance is just about depleted.

 We spruced up the grounds with some flowers and some simple landscaping and my son spread some fertilizer and it is looking A-OK, at least it is green.  So much so, that a neighbor driving by complimented me on it last week.  Isn’t that what the realtors call curb appeal.  Hey I’m trying!

 My sons steaming my porch and planting sod along my driveway.  I always said “Invest as much time and love in your kids and you will receive dividends for the rest of your life.” By the way that is without even asking.  I am blessed.

 

 Son dug out around the tree on the front lawn and utilized all the large rocks that he could find and circled the tree.  I purchased 6 hostas at the super market on sale for under $25.00 dollars, planted them and filled the mound with mulch on sale at Home Depot for 4 for $10.00.  It looks great and so much easier cutting the grass around the tree without hitting all the perturbing roots.

 In the back ground you can see the flag pole flower garden and my birdhouse, which by the way both floors are occupied and both have nests.  It is fascinating to watch how the birds guard their nest and how they supply food for their babies.  Nature is so wonderful-take a look around you some day and marvel in it.

 

 This is the stump from the tree that I had to have removed.  I use it as stage for seasonal displays.  I just love how it brighten up the yard.

To my surprise my perennial garden has perked up this year-readers will recall that I thought that it was completely destroyed when the one of the trees on the double trunk tree at the edge of the garden had to be removed and it landed smack on my garden that I have been tending for many years.  Last year it was very sparse, but this year it has flourished, although it is still a work in progress.  My herb garden is doing OK, although my basil doesn’t look that healthy.  I am going to pinch the tops today and make some pesto and as the saying goes, “The more you pinch it the better it will grow” The tomato plants which I planted in containers are coming along slowly.  Last year I was picking tomatoes until the last week in October.  Here’s hoping!

 

 

This is just the early stage of the garden and just in the last few days it seems like the garden just popped over night.


 I always broadcast hands full of seeds-actually I just throw them in the air and where they land is always a wonderful surprise. If you look closely you can see some zinnias coming through.  Also to my utmost amazement an Easter lily gift that I planted a few years back made its debut this year.

 

  That is the lily behind the pot.  Actually I wasn’t aware that is was there and I almost set the pot on top of it.  I enjoy my garden so much and now that the plants are mature, it is great.  NO WEEDING!  Unfortunately the herb garden takes up a good deal of time and has to be weeded continually or you can’t find the herbs.  However, I use every one of them and after all these years I just can’t give it up.

 

Most of the more difficult work has been accomplished, with most of it being done by the boys.  My job now is to try to maintain it and that isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Although my son comes every week to cut the grass, trim and edge and does a Yeoman job, I find that I still spend a good part of each day working in the yard.  I am longing to just sit on my bench and read a book and enjoy it and have some friends and family over for a yard party.

 July has always been known as the Grilling Month and I am anxious to start experimenting with some healthy recipes to compliment or to replace our old standby grilled hot dogs and hamburger.  Although many expect those delicious grilled hot dogs and hamburgers-and yes they are fine to eat in moderation and some times it is not a cookout without them. As a friend told me recently how she was invited to a yard party and she was excited to be having her first grilled hot dog of the year.  Unfortunately her host was serving catered food.  Bummer!

 Another old standby at summer parties is potato salad and over the years I am sure you have tasted many versions of potato salad.  It seems that every nationality has their take on potato salad.  Last week I perused my recipe collection and discovered so many different potato salad recipes that I have tried over the years and I thought that it would be fun to share them with you and perhaps someone would like to share their special recipe by e-mailing it to my contact number.

 It has always been said that there is no such thing as a bad potato salad.  Unfortunately, some cooks do not follow the 3 simple rules for a great potato salad.

Rule #1-choose the right potato-I like using red potatoes because they keep their shape and texture when cubed and a added bonus when the red skin is left on they add color to your salad and because many healthy nutrients are in the skin of the potato your body is getting nourished.  Also by using the mini red potatoes, which only need to be halved, it saves time in the preparation of the salad. Rule #2-do not over cook or undercook the potatoes and test often with a toothpick for doneness-cook potatoes in a saucepan covered with cold water.  Bring to a boil, than simmer until tender but firm. Rule #3-the potato is the star of this dish, so please do not drown it in dressing.  My hint is to pour a small potion of dressing at a time and gently combine with the potatoes; you will know when you have enough. 

 When my mom would make potato salad and after the potatoes were cooked, she would pour 2 or 3 tablespoons of cider vinegar over the potatoes and let them marinate for approximate 10 t0 15 minutes in the refrigerator while making the dressing.  Yes, and because mom did it that way, so do I.  I have substituted light Italian dressing as well for the vinegar and the results were very tasty.  Although the recipes that I am sharing are being copied exactly from the cards from my file, you can use the above method suggested for using the vinegar.  Also you can eliminate or add what ever you desire.

 

 Slovac Sour Cream Potato Salad

5 cups cooked and cubed potatoes

½- cup cucumber, sliced

1 small onion, minced or grated

4 ribs celery, diced

Salt and pepper, to taste

4 slices crisp bacon, diced

3 hard cooked eggs

 

¾ cup sour cream

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons vinegar

Paprika to garnish

 

Combine potatoes, cucumber, onion, celery, salt and pepper to taste.  Remove yolks from eggs and dice whites.  Add crisp bacon.  Mash yolks and combine with sour cream, mayonnaise and vinegar.  Mix well and pour over potato mixture.  Toss lightly.  Chill.  Sprinkle with paprika before serving.

 

Spicy Potato Salad with Ham

Dressing

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

¼ cup Dijon Mustard

½ -cup mayonnaise

1-teaspoon chili powder

1-teaspoon lime zest, grated

1-teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and black pepper to taste

 

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes

8 ounces baked ham, cut into chunks

½ cup diced red onion, or to taste

Snipped fresh chives for garnish

 

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, and stir until smooth.  Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain and rinse under cold water and drain again. 

 In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, ham and red onion with the dressing and season with salt and pepper and sprinkle on chives, if using.

 Red Skinned Potato Salad

 6 medium red skinned potatoes, boiled in their skins and cubed

2 hard cooked eggs, chopped

2 medium tomatoes, diced

1-     Red or green pepper, chopped

2 scallions, minced

1 cucumber, chopped

Fresh parsley, chopped

½-cup toasted cashews, chopped

¼- cup toasted sunflower seeds

½-cup mayonnaise

½-cup Greek yogurt

`     ½ cup cider vinegar

1-teaspoon horseradish

½-teaspoon dry mustard

½-teaspoon dry tarragon

Dash of tamari

Reserve cooked potatoes in large bowl.  In a medium bowl combine remaining ingredients and gently add to potatoes.

 To toast the cashews and the sunflower seeds add them to a non-stick skillet on low to medium heat and toast, shaking pan so the nuts do not burn.

 

 Creamy Potato Salad

6 medium red potatoes

1/2 –cup light mayonnaise

¼- cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup low fat sour cream

1-Tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1-tablespoon white wine vinegar

½ teaspoon celery seeds

½ teaspoon onion powder

1/8- teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

 Prepare potatoes by peeling or leaving skin on and cutting into cubes. Place in saucepan. Combine remaining ingredients and toss gently to coat.  Cover and chill until serving.

 DRUM ROLL PLEASE-Now for the finale of my Potato Salad Extravaganza Recipes a special one for all those low carb-no carb people-actually I am not appeasing you and it actually upsets me when I think of all the nutrients that your body is being deprived of as many of you are not distinguishing the good carbs from the bad for you carbs.  Remember any diet that eliminates any food group is not beneficial to your health.

 Mock Cauliflower Potato Salad

 

 Actually you can use anyone of the above recipes for the dressing in this salad.  I made this last weekend an I must say, it was delicious, and so I will print it with the ingredients that I used.  The next time that I make it I will try a different dressing recipe.  Also, you can try a salad with ½ potatoes and ½ cauliflower.

 1 large head of cauliflower

1-tablespoon cider vinegar or Light Italian Dressing

1/3 cup of light mayonnaise

1/3-cup Greek yogurt-I used Fage

2-tablespoons hot dog sweet pickle relish

1-tablespoon Dijon mustard

¾ teaspoon celery salt-the lonely piece of celery that I had looked very sad!

4 hard boiled eggs, chopped

1/3- cup scallions

Cut cauliflower head into bite-size florets.  I cooked mine in the microwave oven with about 2   tablespoon of water covered and micro waved approximately 12 minutes.  Check for tenderness-as time to cook will depend on he size and the age of the cauliflower. Stir once or twice for even cooking Rinse cooked cauliflower under cold water; and drain well.  Toss with the cider vinegar. Marinate  while you prepare trhe dressing.  Add to the cauliflower mixture and stir gently.               

 I do hope that you enjoyed this elongated Home Page as much as I enjoyed creating it. I am excited planning my new format for my site.  I ask you to be patient as it is more complicated then I imagined and I am not the only person who is busy. Also being a member is free and only means that you will get an e-mail Blast announcing when the site is updated and occasional ideas, food tips and recipes. Simply sign up at the bottom of the page.

 

Just a reminder, the members only and the regular blog have not been updated and I am eliminating both in the new format.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: