Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I Have Nothing to Wear...on my feet....

I see so many posts about favorite garden tools, etc., and I can't help wondering what do other gardeners wear on their feet to keep off dirt/plant stains, etc.? I never see this mentioned. I usually wear an old pair of walking shoes that can be hosed off and left on the deck to dry. Not very glamorous, but they do the job. I have been on the lookout for a pair of lightweight boots that I can wear on our walks in rainy/damp weather. J has an assortment of shoes/boots. I have no problem in the summer with the walking shoes, but this winter weather is another issue. I don't want an expensive pair, as I wouldn't be wearing them outside our yard and don't mind the looks if they are comfortable.

Winter Comfort Food

February is being ushered out here in NE Mississippi by very chilly-almost dreary weather. Is it just to have something to do, or do we really need something hot and cheery to chase away the doldrums? In the pantry, I still have some canned turnip-mustard greens. How good would be cornbread be with that? Is it obvious I am very Southern? Also, I see I have a package of October/cranberry beans. Have been meaning to get that washed and prepped, so that is definitely something to do today. Those beans are SO delicious and quite nutritious.

Speaking of October beans, I recently had an enquiry about where I purchase seeds. We simply plant the beans we buy from the grocery store. They don't need to be treated and are definitely less expensive than from seed companies. I don't know if they are carried by every grocery store, but we have not had a problem finding them at Wal-Mart in the dry beans section. They are labeled "Siler's Selected Cranberry Beans." Then in another label, they are called "October or cranberry beans."

I have read in gardening tips (and do this) to soak the beans in tepid water about an hour so so before planting. This speeds sprouting. We will definitely be planting these again this spring and have the spot already prepared.

The sun is out now and temps are rising to almost a heat wave--40 degrees at 11:45 a.m. Maybe a simple lunch will suffice--this time!

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Beautiful Day

What a gorgeous day! My plan was for a walk-for-exercise around our garden track about 9 a.m. We had started spading a little strip in the garden a few days ago, and that just beckoned me. I was going great guns when J came down, and seeing how nice the soil was turning, he decided to bring the rototiller and finish that little spread. I did not object. He tilled in the compost that I had spread there last fall. Surprisingly for a February day, it looked ready for planting, but that is about two months away yet.

We went looking for black plastic to "mulch" that strip from the spring rains, etc., but were dismayed that what we had used in the past is not available here now, only a different kind that is way too expensive for our purpose. Will keep looking, though.

The rest of the garden was too wet to till. We did clear off the turnip-mustard greens row, because that is a definite go for this spring. We had very good luck there this past year. As soon as the plants come in for the "cold weather" stuff such as cabbage, onions, etc., we'll have a place to put them. That should bridge nicely until the real veggies are ready to plant.

Speaking of bridges, our plans for tomorrow do not include the garden. The weather man tells us to expect rain, so we won't feel too put out that I have to go once again to the dentist and have a temporary bridge re-attached. I was supposed to get the final one done on the 21st, but this temp had a mind of its own. When I was there last, I was so entertained by a 4-year-old girl who had to have some work done, and she was not happy, to put it mildly. A lot of little 4-year-old girls are SO dramatic. She proceeded to lie down in the floor and proclaim "I hate teeth!" I was impressed that the dentist, the father of a 4-year-old who is the friend of this little girl, understood her little drama and charmed her into cooperating. This was after banishing her mother from the room. This usually does the trick, and it did in this case. Before long, she was chatting away and probably came away with less dread of her next visit.

I don't think that a tantrum will fix my teeth. I don't think my dentist would appreciate it, either.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


This is a favorite for a quick side dish. I found this in a Heloise column. I might add a bit of shredded carrot. Also, how about a bit of thinly sliced onion.


1 head of cabbage (about 2 lb) shredded)
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
½ teaspoon prepared mustard
¼ teaspoon celery salt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of paprika

Mix oil with vinegar in a bowl. Add prepared mustard, celery salt, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and paprika. Mix well. Pour mixture over shredded cabbage, toss and refrigerate. For the best taste, make this a day ahead so the flavors have a chance to blend.

Friday, February 8, 2008


I don't need to update our weather if anyone has had TV on for a minute! The storm that really hit Oxford, MS tracked across just a few miles northwest of us. It probably was the one that did such damage in Alcorn County and beyond into Tennessee and Kentucky. Today's weather is so beautiful it is hard to picture the devastation not too far from us.

While taking the kitchen scraps to the compost bin, I decided to get my vitamin D fix for today and stayed outside about 20 minutes, soaking in the sun. Although there was a cool wind, the sunshine was so pleasant, and I enjoyed my walk around the garden, wishing it could be spring already. Too wet still to do any work there, though.

Planning lunch was easy enough. We had purchased boneless chicken breasts yesterday at a wonderful discount, using comp ads. I had remembered seeing a recipe on a box of Bisquick for Ultimate Chicken Fingers. I had the ingredients, so that is what I did for a quick and easy lunch. As I am giving Bisquick full credit, I don't think they'd mind if I share. We will definitely be doing this again, especially when the grandchildren visit!

Ultimate Chicken Fingers

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb) cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
2/3 cup Original Bisquick mix
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt or garlic salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

HEAT oven to 450. Line cookie sheet with foil; spray with cooking spray. In 1-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag, mix Bisquick mix, cheese, salt and paprika.

DIP half the chicken strips into egg; place in bag. Seal bag; shake to coat. Place chicken on cookie sheet. Repeat to use up remaining chicken. Drizzle butter over chicken.

BAKE 12-14 min, turning chicken halfway through bake time with pancake turner, until no longer pink in center.

4 servings.

Note: I did add black pepper. I used Fleischman's spread, which is healthful. Also, I keep a container of grated parmesan, so that was a no-brainer. If one wishes, the chicken can be marinated in buttermilk for 30 min. or so, and the egg could probably be left off. I have done the marinade this way, and it makes the chicken so incredibly tender!

That's all for today.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Quiet Tuesday

We are experiencing ominous weather today. Old time weather prognosticators always knew that the hot weather such as we are having the first of February was not good. Nothing we can do about it but be watchful.

I did make the Coca Cola chicken today, but in my cast iron "chicken fryer" in the oven instead of the crockpot. We had it for lunch, and of course there will be leftovers for dinner. The chicken was very tender. Hubby and I had a nice serving of that sans the gravy. That is where the fat was, and of course the sugar, with the Coke and catsup. But the onion was heavenly. For dinner, I plan to make more onion in the microwave in my favorite little microwave dish.

One productive thing I have done today was to set out the rose bushes I got yesterday. The yard is far too mushy to do anything there now, so I have borrowed a barrel that still had good rich dirt from last summer's flowers, set the roses in that, mulched them well, and will keep my fingers crossed that they will survive until I get a permanent place fixed.

Also, I am beginning to collect gallon plastic jugs to use as mini-irrigation systems this summer. To look at the garden now, one would find it difficult to picture how dry and hot it will be later. But it will!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hamburger Pie #2

Found this today, also. Very similar to the one I posted earlier, and probably easier. This was a favorite of my family, especially when the kids were home. It is easy to do and very tasty. Kids will eat it! Why couldn't we use ground turkey? I think I will try that.


1 lb. ground beef
1 can tomato soup
1 cup green beans
5-7 medium potatoes, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Brown the ground beef in a skill over medium high heat. When brown, stir in tomato soup and green beans.

Stir until green beans thaw. Cut up 5-7 medium potatoes into tiny pieces. Blend the potatoes up with 2 tablespoons of butter. Transfer meat mixture from skillet into a 9 x 11 pan.
Layer the potatoes on top of the meat mixture. Broil in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until potato is golden brown!

Coca Cola Chicken

Something reminded me today of a recipe we had years ago, probably passed along by some of my husband's friends from a cookout. Here it is! We have not had this in some time, but I remember that it is SO good. I don't know if it could substitute diet Coke. It may be something in the Classic Coke that does the tenderizing. However, I can attest to the goodness. This can be made in the oven, as I have done it many, many times. Delish!


Serving Size : 4

1 cup Coca-Cola Classic
1 cup catsup
1 medium onion, sliced
1 1/2 pound whole chicken (or chicken parts)

Wash and pat dry chicken. Salt and pepper to taste. Put chicken in crockpot and onions on top. Add cola and catsup and cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours. When cooked place in refrigerator to cool and then skim off the fat. Reheat and eat.


What to do in February

Actually, I have been doing more than I have talked about, some of it kinda boring. We are being faithful in returning kitchen scraps to the compost bin. Today's contribution was lemon rinds from the wonderful fresh lemonade we made this weekend, using Splenda. So good. Also, we saved the parings from purple top turnips from the garden. All that along with egg shells, coffee and tea grounds make fairly frequent trips to the garden.

Something that we enjoy so much is feeding the flocks of birds that have found our back yard. We have many, many cardinals. They add so much cheer on a dreary day. We haven't bothered to identify all the different species of birds out there, but they are many and varied.

Today, I am being ambitious and bought three rose bushes. They are: Mr. Lincoln, one of my favorites. (I probably already have that, but you can't have too many, IMO); Gold Medal (grandiflora) (who can resist a beautiful yellow rose), and another yellow, New Day (hybrid tea). If I had my way, I'd have a garden full of roses, but compulsive as I am about everything green and growing, I must save room for the veggies! We buy our seeds at the local co-op, so today on our excursion, we checked to see when they would have their onion sets and seeds, and that should be in another two weeks. We want to get there early this time and get first choice.

Looks like more rain today. Good day for doing on-line research or catching up on reading.