October 28, 2012

Eggplant Parmesan via Skinnytaste


A neighbor of mine recently gifted me with a whole bag of garden fresh produce, including some beautiful eggplant.  

I will tell you, rather sheepishly, that I have on more than one occasion bought eggplant only for it to go bad in my produce drawer.

NO MORE! I recently tried the recipe for Eggplant Parmesan on that wonderful blog, Skinnytaste.  The fact that this delish recipe is also heart healthy and calorie conscious is, I promise, secondary.  It is truly fabulous, both on the day of, and as leftovers.  It also freezes beautifully.

Want to try it yourself?  Find it here.  I predict it will become one of your favorite go-to's for a vegetarian, heart and waist friendly meal. Let me know what you think. I heartily (hee hee) recommend the formula below.

Eggplant Parmesan + garlic bread + salad + red wine = Bliss


October 27, 2012

Zombie Amaryllis



Ah....there's nothing like a good ol' Zombie at Halloween, now is there? Unless it's a Zombie at Christmas of course.  


LC and I can be a little competitive when it comes to gardening.  You know...which one of us can find the best deal around town on three gallon boxwood...who ordered their bulbs first...whose ivy topiary is still alive...which one of us hates the Oklahoma heat more...and on and on. 

So it seemed appropriate to resurrect (these being zombies and all) a tradition of my in-laws -- an amaryllis race to see whose bulb blooms first.  We both potted up our respective 'Zombie' Amaryllis  on our 4 Your Garden segment yesterday. Here's how we did it;

* In snug pots...about an inch larger in circumference that the width of the bulb; 

* With a coffee filter over the drainage hole to hold in the dirt;

* Leaving about 25% of the bulb exposed at the top to keep the emerging stem from getting waterlogged;

*And then watering well JUST ONCE before the green tips start to appear.  Then we'll water them regularly while they continue to grow in a brightly lit area.


As is typical for the two of us, food was the wager---whoever loses has to buy the other breakfast. 

 Note how appropriately ghoulish we look under the harsh studio lights, images compliments of our iPhones...a little (okay, very) goofy too.

Important measures were taken to insure fairness and prevent illegal doping. We used different style pots in case LC tries to pull a switcharoo...a producer suggested we put our initials on the bottom of the pots for additional security. 

Off the record (of course) LC threatened to use a blow dryer to speed up the process, but I refused to be bullied.  We'll provide status updates periodically to see who has the lead.  

This year I selected my amaryllis bulbs on the basis of their funky names alone.  'Razzle-Dazzle', 'Elvas', 'Zombie', 'Trentino'. You can find them all HERE  if you want to grow them yourselves...they are all Christmas bloomers I believe. 

Wouldn't this be a fun thing to do with your kids over the holiday season?!













 




October 26, 2012

Unusual Amaryllis For the Holidays on News Channel 4

Today at 4:30 LC and I will be potting up unusual varieties of amaryllis for the holidays...with a fun little twist.  Please join us! 



October 25, 2012

Reading Time



On our most recent trip to Charlottesville, Virginia to see my eldest son at UVA, we took him 

(finally, I might add... husband and I have been there many times)

to our beloved Monticello.

As we were touring Jefferson's famous garden, we came to an area that immediately evoked a memory in my son...

"Mom", he said, "this area of the garden reminds me of that book FEATHERTOP (find it here) that we used to read this time of year."

The book, a story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is one we would read each fall, along with other children's books about witches, pumpkins, and autumn.

A seasonal classic, it became, resurrected lovingly each fall as we would retrieve the umber season's treasured stories and pages.

Today, I pulled our prized copy of FEATHERTOP from its  location in the living room book shelves.  Shelves that now protectively house the most cherished books and words from their bedtime...from their childhood...from my early mothering. 

Even before I opened the cover I was overwhelmed by its distinctive, nostalgic scent.  A cross between moth balls and juniper berries...a scent I noticed on its pages the day I bought it many years ago...a scent that permeates it still.

Ouch. Those goblin memories here to haunt.

Of all the things I miss from their childhood...and there are many, 




I think I miss reading time most of all.

October 22, 2012

Fiat 500 Cabrio


Unlike my friend Sunshine, I have never considered myself a 'car person'.  Get me from here to there...give me good mpg, an ample cup holder...a nice looking, but decidedly not ostentatious vehicle...economical, practical, clean and hail-dent free (always an extra goody here in stormy Oklahoma), and I am good to go (so to speak).



I have, at various times and for varying reasons over the years, driven: three different VW bugs, a Volvo station wagon, an Isuzu Trooper, a sage green Jaguar, two or three unexceptional company business cars, 

and, most recently, a much-loved, rust colored  (one of the first to appear, I might add...) Honda Element... 

and now,

quite unexpectedly,

an adorable,

Inspector Clouseau-inspired

tiny

verdigris (or dark olive) with

khaki roof, cabriole topped,

40 mpg, 

5 star safety rated,

zippy handling, 

droplet (like a similarly colored Land Rover we once owned) of a car,

a...




Fiat.


And, my, but I do love her.


It's always so nice to make a purchase

and have friends say, "Oh, it's so YOU!"  or "I knew right away that was your new car!",  or

"It matches your hair!" 

(Okay, not quite sure what that one meant, but I'll assume it was a compliment...).

Because we want to feel as if we have spent our money well,


that our personality approves and was consonant  with the purchase,

that "cute" and "practical" can go hand in hand,

and that even though we may have loved our previous companion (i.e. my sweet and boxy Honda Element that chauffeured no end of plants and dirt and kids over the past eight years),

it's time to make a change...life, finances, and garden permitting, of course.

L'il Sis and a few of my friends have told me that I simply MUST name her.  At such a young age it is IMPORTANT to give her a moniker to live up to, a persona...

a disposition, if you will.  So, in reference to how I first described her to Husband...

and as an homage to a dear, tee-tinsy aunt of the same name...

and because I think it reflects her perky and practical nature, I have dubbed her (drum roll please...)


dot.

With a small 'd' because that is how I see her in my head.






We shall have many adventures, the two of us.


We won't be touring the Italian countryside, wind whipping through our hair and all,

but,

I've not doubt we will have experiences full of


charm, laughter, companionship, and 


little delights.



Tally ho,  dot!





October 16, 2012

Dover Saddlery 'Muck' Boots

We had a gloriously wet and rainy couple of days this past weekend.  Lots of blessed moisture that our gardens dearly loved and that almost pulled us out of this year's drought.

Consequently, I spent much of this time mucking around  the garden and about town, in my Dover Saddlery Rubber Boots. (Find them here.)

I've had them for years; I think at least ten or so.
I saw them in an IN STYLE magazine...one of their style-for-less feature products I think.  Around $60.00 for a virtually indestructible pair of equestrian vibe wellies.

I get asked about them a lot - one of my trademark pieces I guess - so I thought I'd share their source with you.  I wear them with everything:  jeans, skirts, leggings. Great for both slogging in the dirt and as a fashion statement...and also for channelling your fourth grade self who undoubtedly was a horse nut...whether or not you had a horse...I didn't :( .

I'm wearing them in this picture and you can see how high up the calf they rise...roomy enough to tuck in even bulky jeans.

The inside is lined with a cushy, spongey material that makes them ever so comfortable. You can literally hose them down and they look brand new.

For more equestrian inspired ideas, check out one of my new favorite blogs here on HOUSE APPEAL... a fun, October-ish way to spend a few minutes of the day.





October 1, 2012

Mum and Pumpkin Selection on News Channel 4


If you have a moment, please join LC and me tomorrow at 4:30 on News Channel 4. We'll be discussing what to look for when selecting gourds and mums for your fall garden.

See you then!




Pink Dahlia: the Flower Whisperer

She started out as an item on my to do list for this fall's garden.

My try something you haven't tried before list.

She had been on it for quite a while, but I just hadn't gotten around to buying her...planting her...believing in her.  

You know how it is.  You see a bloom, a fruit, a berry...

and you think 'I should try that ...it is so dramatic/lovely/fresh/unusual'...and then...for some reason...you don't do it.

Sometimes it's laziness, sometimes your timing is off. 

Sometimes, you are feeling just so dejected about the weather or your garden...that you lose your green thumb confidence...and your willingness to experiment.

Then, your window of opportunity passes. And that thing is relegated to next year's list.  Next year's possibilities.

She started out as a shriveled up brown clump in a plastic bag from Lowe's.  A seemingly inauspicious beginning.  A humble one.

She didn't even have a name.

But her temerity didn't dissuade me

and she made it into my basket, and more importantly,

























into my garden.

Before I knew her, I had thought her type was big and brash and bold and, yes,

even a bit 

bodacious.

But much to my surprise, she wasn't any of those things.

Brave, yes (as is any summer bloomer in an Oklahoma garden). But also sweet and delicate and feminine and amiable. 

Ever so pleasant and polite and soft-spoken.

And this fall, she spoke to me...

whispered really, and said




"Thank you...ever so much...


for giving me a chance."