Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I Used to Hate Brussels Sprouts

I really used to hate Brussels Sprouts till I found out how good they taste roasted.

Here's my favorite recipe for roasted sprouts.
Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, rinsed, ends trimmed, rough outer leaves of larger sprouts removed
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Method

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Place brussels sprouts in a cast iron frying pan (or a roasting pan, but a cast iron frying pan will work great for this recipe). Toss in the garlic. Sprinkle Brussels sprouts with lemon juice. Toss with oil so that the sprouts are well coated. Sprinkle generously with salt (at least a half teaspoon) and a few turns of black pepper grinder.
2 Put brussels sprouts in oven on top rack, cook for 20 minutes, then stir so that the sprouts get coated with the oil in the pan. Cook for another 10 minutes. Then sprinkle with Parmesan (if using) and cook for another 5 minutes.
Adjust the timing depending on the size of the sprouts and your particular oven. The sprouts should be nicely browned, some of the outside leaves crunchy, the interior should be cooked through. So if the sprouts look like they are getting too browned (they should be well browned, not burnt), move them to a lower rack or lower the heat.
Add more salt to taste. (Salting sufficiently is the key to success with this recipe.)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Tractor Update

The evening of the part replacement turned into a comedy of errors.

1. Appt time change phone call from the mechanic turned  from 5 pm to the ubiquitous later turned into 7:30. Remember I live in the NE and that means daylight outside at 5 pm and no need for extra lighting to pitch black at 7:30 and the yell of, "Phyllis where are the  *%?#^  flashlights?"

2. Mechanic arrived at our house without the part. Didn't realize it till he pulled into our driveway. Good thing he only lives 20 minutes away. Had to race home to get it. One of the reasons for the need for the flashlights.

3. Parts originally removed from the tractor to get to the broken part, "Phyllis, where are the extra parts at? We need them so we can reinstall the part now and I can't find them."

4. I am particular about saving receipts and instruction manuals that come with big ticket items. Our mechanic had used one of those saved books to order the part for the tractor. Promised me he would return it. Funny thing, once he had left that evening.... I was asking hubby about the missing booklet and the phone rang. It was my favorite mechanic laughing on the other end of the line. He still had the booklet on the front seat of his truck. Which was now parked in his driveway. AGH! What else?

The end shot? The tractor works like a charm. BIG sigh of relief here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Lawn Tractor

Never really thought I'd be so dependent on a machine before . But, this summer showed both hubby and myself exactly how much we need and depend on our lawn tractor.

We bought the damn thing from Sears, four years ago. That was after we moved into our first ever home and were buying tools for this and tools for that to maintain the home. One thing I did learn, I will never buy another Sears product ever again.

That bears repeating, EVER AGAIN.

We bought the tractor from Sears.... so excited we were. But, I should have known better when I had to fight with the store manager to get a bill of sale for the tractor. That took me probably close to 4 months. I won't go into details but, it got pretty nasty and I am sure my blood pressure was 20 digits higher than normal during all the time it took me to get the bill from the manager.

Then there was the mulching. Something I wanted to do with the mower. I had to special order four bolts I would be needing to hold the mower deck on in a certain manner. I fought and fought with the 1-800 Sears people all summer long after I placed the order for those bolts. Needless to say those "special" bolts never arrived. Hubby jury rigged 4 extra long 10 penny nails in place of those bolts.

Now this summer.... something (not sure what to call it) broke that held the mower deck up off the lawn
at specific heights. Our mechanic (god love him) tried to get the part ordered from Sears. To no avail. He quit after two months of trying with 1-800 Sears telling him lies about the part being in Calgary.... and then it was not there any number of times.

He finally after many phone calls got the money credited back on his credit card.... and then took the part to a machine shop. They fabricated the piece in less than a week. My favorite mechanic is coming over this
evening and reinstalling the part. Woo Hoo!We will once again have our lovely tractor working again.














Thursday, September 18, 2014

AGH!

That day I fear each and every growing season has finally arrived. 

The temperature is going to drop to zero tonight.

AGH!!! Patchy frost predicted.

Must, must, must get out in the garden today and pick everything left there.

Run and do not stop till all is harvested. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tomatoes

It's way past time to do something with all my tomatoes. 

The cheery cherries I have been dehydrating at an incredible rate. Those little buggers are still coming on strong. Thing is, I only planted one plant. And, it won't stop producing. But, that's okay, I'm not complaining.... they will be very tasty this winter when anything that bears resemblance to a tomato in the grocery store will taste like cardboard. These dehydrated honeys are such pretty little things in the mason jars.... a bold bright vivacious red colour. (Can red be vivacious?)They look like jewels. 

The romas did well. I am happy to report. They make canning tomato recipes so much easier as they are mostly meat with far less seeds and water than a "normal" tomato has. Which if you know anything about tomatoes, you gotta know they are approximately 95% water. And, when you make things to can like tomato paste, spaghetti sauce, ketchup and tomato soup you have to let these things cook down for a long periods of time if you are using a standard versus Roma tomato. Bet you didn't know that, eh?

Since hubby is now a vegetarian.... it's a meatless spaghetti sauce I'll be doing today. 

Below are pictures of some of the tomatoes I have been jawing about. 




 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Summer Update

Here it is September already. I can hardly believe how this summer had flown by. Weather is cooling down and the maples are starting to turn colours.

Garden did very well this year. Nothing untoward happened unless you count the big holes under the raised garden boxes. Thank you Sonny. Oh and Sonny.....







He is doing well. He's settled in and he and Gracie have bonded well and are truly good friends. Only problem is he puts everything in his mouth and chews these very same things. Rugs, phone cords (dangerous), underwear, stuff out of the recycling bins, paper, hats, shoes... do I need to go on? Hard wood floors, pillows, books, grass, weeds, floor tiles in bathroom. Okay enough. You get the idea. Problem in all this... is how to get him to stop? We have tried lots of things, but, nothing has worked so far. Might be because we just never know what he'll chew next. Any ideas? Please leave me a comment.

Both lawn mowers, the tractor and the push type are down for the count right now. The lawn tractor purchased less than 4 years ago from SEARS (NEVER BUYING ANYTHING FROM SEARS EVER AGAIN!)  has a part that broke about 3 months ago. It's been on back order for all this time. With the service people saying.... they don't think they make that part. WHAT????????? It's already been prepaid for on a credit card... and here we wait with our lawn probably 10 - 12 inches tall. We had been mowing pathways in and around the acre with the push mower till it broke it's pull cord. I went to fix that and with the problems with my hands (fingers actually) I can not loosen the bolts on the mower to get to the starter area to repair the cord. Damn it. Going to have to call our favorite mechanic to come and help me do this.

Mark has been working on the rust repairs on the vehicles. Little car is well on to almost being done. Next
up will be my truck. Then it will be time to switch over the summer tires for the winter ones. The jobs they
never seem to end.

And, how was your summer?















Sunday, June 29, 2014

Our Newest Family Member



His name is Sonny and he is a mix of Treeing Walker Coonhound and a little something else. He is a rescue from a kill shelter in Ottawa. His time was drawing to a close when Melanie Young of Mel's Animal Farm went and got him out of that damn kill shelter. (A heartfelt thank you to Mel for all her good work in saving animals... any animal... and wherever the need is greatest, you will find her.)

She put Sonny's picture on her website (www.melsfarm.ca) and asked for either a foster family or, someone to adopt him. He was showing lots of anxiety and depression as he had been in a kennel for a number of months. I responded as soon as I saw that beautiful face of his and read his story on Mel's site.

He came to us thrusday the 19th of June to visit and see how he and Gracie got along. The good news, is they get along great! We adopted him legally on June 27th. It's a match made in heaven!

He's settled in easily and he and Gracie are becoming fast friends. There's a bit of jealousy on Gracie's part but, we are dealing with it. All of us are learning and finding out what works for the best.

We love this sweet and gentle soul.

Here's my musically tribute to him:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkUsGkxZSvM&list=RDgkUsGkxZSvM#t=0

Here are a couple of pictures of our new family member, Sonny.

A little tentative at first meeting
Meeting his sister, Gracie
Relaxing and enjoying the day.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Gardening and Climate Change

I am sitting here thinking about my garden this year. With the hard, long and difficult winter we have experienced this year... climate change echos around in my brain pan. Our last frost date is May 2 or, there about. Some say as late as May 10th.

I have been talking to all sorts of different gardeners as winter closes (hopefully). Including some local farmers this year. Asking for advice about the planting out time for this year after this horrible winter we have had. Everyone is shaking their heads and telling me they just don't know.

Environment Canada, the weather forecasting for all of Canada is stepping out and saying, we are going to have below average temperatures this summer. Oh no... this means problems for the tomato, melon and pepper group as they are heat lovers. Enough... I won't sit here and do the "what ifs" with the maybe forecasts.

Just like every gardener around.... you take what Mother Nature hands you and hope for the best.



Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Tribute to a friend with breast cancer



I so remember this show. But, little did I know at the time, I would be touched by the demon of breast cancer.

Little old me...

My Photo
Canada
An american yankee up past the 49th parellel.

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