August 1, 2010

Friday Prunings by the Gallon......Green Tea, Milk and .........Blood Donations

Okay, I'm giving the name "Friday Prunings" a makeover.  Already?.....I know.  A new moniker, since I can't seem to get this post done until the weekend.  So how about this?  "Weekly Prunings" .... There, that takes some of the pressure off .  Thank you very much for concurring. 

Pomegranate Green Tea
So it's no surprise to anyone that it's hot as blue blazes outside.  And no self-respecting gardener would let a post that complains about the infernal heat go by without invoking the summertime ritual of drinking iced tea.  (No, I will not consider here the merits or cultural implications of sweet vs. unsweetened tea....)  Just gallons of iced tea.  Gallons of Bigelow Pomegranate Green Tea  to be specific.  At least that's what I prefer for the summer of 2010.  My friend Spitfire has a penchant for their Wild Blueberry Acai, which is also very good.  However, since I have declared it pomegranate in my kitchen, that will be the vintage the House  serves this season as its tea of choice.  Refreshing and delicious....but beware; your ice will melt way too fast, whichever variety you choose.

I won't extol the many merits of drinking green tea here (you probably know them already), but here is a benefit you may not have considered.  Stick with me for a moment, please.  One of the too few things I do to give back to my community is donate blood.  Back in my twenties when I started donating, they would declare you a member of the so-and-so-many gallon club, depending on your donation level.  I am proud to say my gallon count was quite impressive.  Then I got older,   and started having an iron deficiency problem do in part to how much tea I drank (and how the tannins in the black tea somehow affected my iron levels).

But  here's my point: that's not an issue when you drink green tea.  You can still drink gallons of it in one sweltering summer and then, without issue, donate away to the Oklahoma Blood Institute.  Voila!  No more excuses.                    Unless you're scared of needles.

Glass-bottled Milk As long as my thought metric is in gallons, and since I just made a batch of Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies from The Barefoot Contessa Parties! Cookbook

I decided to talk about milk.  In GLASS milk bottles.  I don't know why exactly, but milk in glass bottles seems to make a big impression on teenage kids.  I know for sure that my boys' friends will notice a couple of things about my kitchen.  Either there is something wonderful on the stove, and freshly baked cookies in the cookie jar, or.........there is nothing to eat at all; no junk food, no sandwich fixins............nada.   And that our skim milk comes out of two half-gallon old glass milk jugs.  And that it tastes better and colder that way.  It's just a fact.

Especially when getting that couple-of-swigs milk chaser right after dinner.  (I will not reveal whether or not these chugs come straight out of said milk bottle or not). 

Trust me on this. Put your milk in glass milk bottles. I guess it has a certain retro charm about it.  And it is a lot more attractive than an old plastic milk jug.  Plus, there are not too many ways to impress teenage boys.

Boxwood by the gallon
It should be no surprise to you by now that I have a boxwood fixation.  As large and encompassing as a border for a potager............or just two or three gallon size boxwood, carefully clipped into perfect a pot........or three pots.
Over the years, I've done many variations of this sophisticated little scheme.  Try it with other gallon plants too............maybe small-leaved euonymous?  or the ubiquitous dwarf Alberta Spruce?  or rosemary?  or if it's too how to plant anything..........

then just buy a gallon of ice cream and make ice cream sandwiches out of those cookies.
That will really impress those teenagers.


  1. Okay Linda. You have got to tell me how you keep your chocolate chip cookies "fluffy." Mine ALWAYS flatten out when I cook them. Thin as a cheese slice. I've tried butter, I've tried margarine. Please share your recipe.

  2. Here's my technique. First, I like my cookies chewy, so I usually undercook them and cool on a cooling rack. But I think the real secret is to slightly freeze the batter (or refrigerating for a while), so the batter is very firm when you scoop them out (with an ice cream scoop, preferably). This seems to keep them tidy, but no easier to resist!

  3. Butter melts faster and consequently, you get flatter cookies than you do when you use Crisco. So for a less flat cookie, try the same amount of Butter Flavor Crisco. Linda is right, chilling the dough is a really good idea and scooping with an ice cream scoop is neater and makes for more uniform baking.

    Here is the really great secret - I do this all the time for my husband's lunches. Use the ice cream scoop to portion the dough out on a cookie sheet. Freeze. Put the dough balls in a tupperware for storage in the freezer, then Poof! Pop several in the oven for fresh baked cookies anytime you want. No need to change the baking time. This gives my husband fresh cookies every day. I keep several flavors in the frig for variety.

    Now that I have revealed the secret of my wifely success, someone tell me where to find a glass milk bottle! Loved that idea!!!!!

  4. Where can one obtain glass milk bottles these days?


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