Monday, April 25, 2011

An Unseen Artist

After celebrating a wonderful Easter I begin to think of what God has created. Can you imagine how he designed every little thing to work together and to sustain our lives? Imagine the artwork in it all? And what artwork it is.

As I wait until May 8, the day we plant corn,beans and everything else that goes in the garden, I get anxious. I am anxious to see a harvest, to do something. It is hard to imagine that a month ago there was a foot of snow, now foot high grass. God is an artist and shows his best work in the Spring.

Pine continues to grow in the Spring, the little pine cones and future needles are a beautiful contrast to the green needles.

Sustenance, life gives way to death to provide life to others. God designed life to be that way. Young birds are lucky to survive their first flight without a predator attack, little tufts out feathers show that life come full circle.

Spiderwort is beginning to emerge from the flower beds. It is hard to walk through the mountains and not notice their little purple flowers in clusters. Did you know that Wandering Jews are related to this wild plant known as Spiderwort.

Isn't it amazing how plants grow from the tips outward with little buds that hold the new leaves.

There are so many Dogwood blossoms, they are hard to see.

If you still don't believe in God being an artist, look at the sunrises and sunsets; they make you believe.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

An Easter Greeting

I wish everyone a blessed and wonderful Easter, full of remembrance of Christ's sacrifice and the love of your families. Thank you to my followers and to the readers that find my work insightful; it has been a blessing to be able to find what you need and make good friendships at the same time. Have a wonderful Easter, everyone.

"And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." Matthew 27:5-6

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Southern Sweets: Georgia Cornbread Cake

There is always one dessert that shows up around my great aunts house during a celebration or chance of sweet tooth: Georgia Cornbread Cake. We all call it Cornbread Cake, but if you look the recipe up for that you find a whole different recipe. It is kind of redundant when you call something Georgia when you live in Georgia. The product is crisp on the top and creamy and semi-gooey, nuts add a bit of texture to the cake. The cake is not really a cake, it is dense like a brownie or blondie. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as our family has.

Georgia Cornbread Cake:
1 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
1 Cup Chopped Nuts, Pecan preferably
1 Cup Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3 Large Eggs

1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Grease a 9"X13" cake pan with oil. Pour about 2 tablespoons of oil into the pan and wad a paper towel and use it as a brush to coat the entire inside of the pan.

3. Sift your flour, to add lightness and remove clumps of flour, into a small bowl. Remeasure sifted flour to account for one cup of flour. Add to a mixing bowl.

4.  Add packed brown sugar to flour in the mixing bowl. Before adding the white sugar you should check for clumps, you may easily sift the sugar. Add sugar to the  flower-brown sugar mixture.

 5. Add eggs, oil, vanilla, and nuts to flour mixture.

 6. Mix everything together until completely blended. I recommend doing this with a spoon, not any electric mixers. The batter is very sticky and a spoon is easier to clean.

7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan in a centralized as possible in your oven.

7. Allow to bake for 20 minutes, then check for stiffness; pat the top, if it wiggles it is still undercooked: cook 5 more minutes. It should take approximately 25-27 minutes to bake. Please check often after twenty minutes; because, ovens bake at different times.

8. Remove when done and allow the cake to cool before serving.

9. When cool, cut into sections like you would a brownie: approximately 3"X3" squares.

10. The best step of all, serve warm with milk. Leftovers taste good also, warm or cool.

Friday, April 15, 2011

What's Really Done in the Dark: Plant Edition

Have you every forgot something; just pushed it out of your mind? Well, I did. A week ago was a prime time for planting squashes and cucumbers; I planted many different varieties. I brought my squash and butternut inside after planting them. I had college classes and didn't get home until after dark. About three days ago I found the plants had done a mysterious deed, you'll see.

These are the cucumbers and Nasturtiums planted and left outside, they began to emerge yesterday.

These are not bean stalks. They are squash, they had struggled to find light and grew a bit too tall. I had set the seedlings on a really dark shelf and they still grew. And Grew.

The butternuts were the same way. When I found these seedlings they were yellow, now the chlorophyll reacted with sunlight to create a beautiful shade of green.

The zucchini on the other hand, is just right and huge. Zucchini is wonderful in a stir-fry with sliced squash. Delish!

The peas are loving their trellis. The little tendrils are delicate, yet they hold the plant upright even on windy days like today.

Are they not cute as can be. Just wait for the flowers, they are cute too.

Have a great Friday!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Princess's Bed as a Pea Trellis

"The Princess and the Pea" was not told as much when I grew up; because, Disney princess were all the rage: Aurora, Ariel, and so on. Peas are a vavorite of mine and a jar of them can be put in anything as a serving of delicious vegetables. When the time frame came for peas to be planted about two weeks ago, I planted a tester bathc of Wando Garden Peas purchased from Baker Creek this Winter. For my test batch I need a test trellis, one that is sturdy and easily installed. My answer to this was a bed frame that we had just dismantled from my old twin bed. In the South we are taught to reuse items and repurpose them for good, my objective is to do this tastefully and productivly. Here is my was of doing things.

Peas grow great inour Georgia clay; when the rocks are removed. Since this frame trellis can bear a lot of weight (I should know) and tall, I planted more seeds than necessary. There is a row on the outer facing side and one on the inner, two peas per hole, and 36 plants total.

With lots of Spring showers I don't only get May flowers; but, early and healthy peas.

It is ture, clay is the perfect medium for peas. Clay is rich in nutrients and cooler than other soils.

This is a pead pod from last year. The pea plant was grown in a pot of plain potting soil; hopefully, this year's larger crop, in clay, will yield darker pods with more peas.


Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Dogwood's Mournful Story

After a post a week or so ago about the Dogwoods and Strawberries in bloom, I now want to show an example of the story of the Dogwood. I am unsure of where I heard the story at first, maybe in church growing up. These pictures are of the recent blooms and exhibit the blood stains of Christ. A more in depth telling of the story: Legend of the Dogwood Tree.

Little and beautiful blooms among a barren forest.

The crimson symbols of Christ's blood; sad, yet beautiful.

The cross shape is more visible in the mature bloom in the foreground. The bloom in the background will gradually change its shape into a more cross like shape in a few days.

Sunday Blog hop at Three P's in a Pod. Have a Happy & Blessed Sunday!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Pimento Cheese and Green Jackets

With the 2011 Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta ending tomorrow I thought I would provide you with a sandwich spread that is a staple at the Masters and in Georgia homes: Pimento Cheese Spread. I started making my own last year after becoming dissatisfied with the taste of store bought spreads that had a preserved and plastic taste. My recipe can either be mixed together, chilled, and served or mixed together in a food processor for a smooth consistency, then chilled, and served. The products I use are specific for a reason, they're good. I have tested different cheeses (some too salty, others to large) and mayonnaise (some brands are just plain nasty). My main objective when making this recipe was to lower the salty taste and make a chunkier spread. I hope you enjoy while watching the last rounds of the Masters.

1 Cup Kraft Mexican Four Cheese Blend
1/4 Cup Hellman's Mayonnaise
3 Tbs. Dromedary Diced Pimentos
Bread for sandwiches (toast or plain) or Buttery Crackers

1. Put the cup of cheese into a mixing bowl.

2. Add the 1/4 of mayonnaise to the cheese and blend together.

3. Add the pimentos; you can add more or less according to your preference. Blend together again.

4. You can either cover and chill at this stage or put into a food processor for a smooth texture. The pimento spreads purchased in stores are more than likely to be blended in a food processor. Either process you choose, the spread should be covered and chilled for at least one hour before serving.

5. Remove the spread from the refrigerator and the cover. Put on anything you like; I like toast or you can do it the Masters way: sandwich bread with cold spread.

6. Enjoy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

How to Purchase and Divide Perennials

When perennials are planted to closely together or grow closely together over time it is best to divide the plants before they become stunted. I purchased a pot of Sweet Williams aka Dianthus from Walmart last Fall; Sweet Williams are bi-ennials, yet they willl still come back in our climate. It is best to buy perennials, from Walmart and other super stores that have garden centers, in during the last weeks of Summer or Fall. Plants are discounted later in the season, because they lack blooms and are not as pretty at the moment; you only need to inspect the roots by gently pulling the plant out of its pot. Look for white and thick roots with no sign of being root bound. These plants can be discounted 25% or more, this is good for perennials that will continue to grow each season.
Once you have purchased your plants or dug the plant and its root ball up, you can either plant them soon or wait until the Spring. The Sweet Williams were overwintered in their pots and need to be divided. The plant to be devided needs to have at least three inches of growth, this guides you so you do not cut the stems. Lets get to work.

1. Remove the plant from the pot. Shake of any bugs that may be in the rot ball, I commonly find rolly-polly bugs at the drainage hole site. Cut the plant ball in half, using a knife or the blade of a hand trowel. I used the trowel to cut the ball.

2. Now divide the halves into quaters. Be careful to not cut into the stems of the plants.

3. Remove any dead leaves and stems. You can pull the quaters apart.

4. These plants were very dry and easrier to divide this way. To rehydrate you can place the plants into a wash basin and set a rock or brick under the side with the stems to allow the roots to only get soaked.

5. Water the plants and alow to set in the water for at least 10 minutes. Be sure to rotate the plants so that all sides are drenched.

6. Now you can plant your new plants into pots or straight into the ground now.
Happy Rainy Friday!