Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Bright Colors!


It's a beautiful September evening!  Walking up our driveway a group of many brightly colored Zinnias greet us on the right hand side.  The reds, the yellows, the pinks and the oranges are just beautiful!

This is also a reminder to me to save the seeds from this year's crop.  These Zinnias were grown from saved seeds harvested from last year.

Soon, it will be time.  For now, we are enjoying the bright colored flowers!!

Enjoy!
    

Monday, September 2, 2019

Have a Safe Labor Day!!

"The Lineman"
by Norman Rockwell in 1948
courtesy of the Norman Rockwell Museum


The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA has been one of my fave places for a number of years!  Every visit brings me back to view paintings that I have enjoyed so many times before like "Home For Christmas"- 1967 (Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas).  Some works are on view on a rotation basis, so it is a welcome surprise to see them.

On this Labor Day when we honor and remember the American workers, how fitting it is to spotlight Norman Rockwell's "The Lineman"- 1948.  This was an advertisement for the American Telephone and Telegraph Company.  With Hurricane Dorian on the east coast, there are many dedicated workers spending their time making preparations.  Currently, everyone is getting prepared.

Thank you to all of the workers who are coming to the aid of the people who will find the next few days very challenging!

To all in the path of Dorian, be safe! 

      

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Peach Freezer Jam



Suddenly, it was time to prep the Peach Freezer Jam!  This is the last variety that I make every summer.  Yes, it's been every summer for- well, years.

The easy to follow directions are located inside the box of 2 pouches of CERTO.  The local peaches were purchased.  The easy way to ripen them is to place 3 (stem side down) in a small paper lunch bag and fold the top of the bag down 2- 3 times.  In about 2- 3 days the peaches will ripen.  Depending on the size of the peaches.

Then the clean containers and all of the ingredients are located.  Follow the directions exactly when making Freezer Jams.

An easy method to remove the peel is to place 2 peaches carefully in a pot of simmering water.  Let sit for about 55- 60 seconds.  Then, remove carefully with a slotted spoon and place on a dish to cool, slightly.  The skin will peel off easily and then the delicious juicy peach can be removed from the pit.

Peach Freezer jam
(File Photo)
The directions were followed and the containers filled.  Lids were placed on top and snapped shut.  Then the Peach Freezer Jams sat on our dining room table undisturbed for 24 hours.  After the time period was up, the Freezer Jams were placed in our large freezer.  They will be enjoyed during the coming months. 

This is so yummy and it is easy to prepare!

Enjoy!
Yummy!

 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Summer Dinner Salad!

Summer Dinner Salad!
A colorful nutritious dinner in the summer does not get much easier to prepare- when you've enjoyed Grilled Chicken the day before!  The local fresh tomatoes and cucumbers are readily available to use.  Add them to a bed of greens of choice along with a few small chunks of cheese and craisins.  The salad dressing is your fave and dinner is oh, so good!

A slice of Basil Parmesan Toast is a great addition.  It is one of my fave ways to serve bread.

Summer is a great time to enjoy the seasonal views that come only once a year!  This past week a Monarch butterfly stopped in for a visit to our colorful Zinnias!  The plants we grew from saved seeds.  That was a great surprise!


Enjoy the Summer!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

August Flowers

Salmon Daylily
Our gardens have been bursting with so many different colors this summer.  Different perennials blossom at different times.  That was the plan!  We wanted to have rotations of flowers and colors.  The annuals add in color where needed and the plan worked!

Our Salmon Daylilies blossomed for 1 month!  Each blossom lasted for 1 day.  There was always another to pop open on the long stem.  This past Saturday the last flower opened!  It's amazing to view and appreciate a close up of the blossom!

Zinnias planted from previously saved seeds!  
It has been a tradition with me from my childhood to save the Zinnia seeds from the current season's gorgeous flowers.  They are dried and then stored to plant the next spring!  Now, the flowers continue to surprise us each day with new buds opening.  There is a great sense of accomplishment when one views the colorful flowers that were grown from saved seeds!

Purple Phlox   
This is another beautiful view- out of our kitchen window.  The small purple flowers form pretty clusters of blossoms on the stems.  More of the Phlox is opening!  It's great to view this perennial every year!

So, while I am preparing Freezer Jams and freezing fresh summer fruit, our gardens are adding beautiful colors to our yard!  Summer in New England is beautiful. 

The 4 seasons we have each year bring different scenes of beauty.  They are all appreciated!

Enjoy!
  

Friday, August 2, 2019

Freezing Blueberries and Blueberry Freezer Jam

Suddenly, it was blueberry season!  Oh, you know what that means.  You know the ole' saying- when the fresh local juicy blueberries are ready, purchase a large quantity to freeze and also to prepare Blueberry Freezer Jam!  That was on my agenda the middle of last week.

On Blueberry Day 1- A large quantity were triple rinsed in cold water, drained in a colander and then packaged in freezer bags.

Packaged, labelled & ready
to be placed on our freezer!
 On Blueberry Day 2- That was Blueberry Freezer Jam Day!  This year I prepared 2 batches- each batch was prepared separately.  All of the clean utensils, freezer containers and ingredients were taken out and I started in.  CERTO is the pectin I use- it is a liquid pectin.  The directions are in the CERTO box.  Follow directions exactly!  No shortcuts here! 

After Freezer Jams are prepared and placed in the containers with the lids snapped on and labelled, the containers sit on a table undisturbed for 24 hours.  Then, they are placed in the freezer until needed.  Taking a container out and placing in the fridge is easy enough and it is ready to enjoy on toast, English Muffins or as an addition to plain Yummy Yogurt.

Blueberry Freezer Jam
sitting on the table undisturbed for 24 hours!
It's amazing how time just flies by!  I had intended to post this last week.  The week just went in a flash!  We have also been enjoying fresh local blueberries in cereal, in fruit salads and yes, there was baking going on, too.  That is for other posts.  :)

Enjoy the local fresh fruit!
Yummy!
    

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Yikes!!

2019

A big contrast from this winter!  It's a hot day today!  The New Guinea Impatiens are hinting and we did quench their thirst.  They are now in the shade and we are indoors!  Phew!! 

Stay cool my friends!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Freezing Strawberries + Freezer Jam

Yummy Strawberries!

Summer is here and suddenly it was time to purchase the local, yummy, juicy strawberries!  It's a tradition!  The already freshly picked quarts were purchased and after they arrived home it was time to prep/ freeze most of them to enjoy during the colder months here in Massachusetts.  Fresh local strawberries taste just sooo goood!!  Even the prepped local strawberries that are taken out of our freezer and defrosted.  There is something great about eating just ripe fruit.  Yum!!

To Freeze Strawberries:  Each berry was checked and the tops were cut off.  A triple rinse with cold water and draining them was the next step.  I like to cut the larger strawberries in halves or thirds before freezing. 

2 Cups of prepared fruit were placed in each freezer bag.  (Adding a little sugar to each bag is optional.)  Then, the bags were labeled and into our large freezer they went.  Oh, definitely there was a taste test and some strawberries are in our fridge ready to eat!

Strawberry Freezer Jam
Yes, the containers are recycled every year. :)

On Strawberry Day 2- three batches of Strawberry Freezer Jam were prepared.  We are not really partial to the commercial jams/ jellies/ preserves that are sold in supermarkets.  Making Freezer Jams has been another tradition of mine for over 40 years.  WoW!  It is that long.

After following the directions found in the CERTO package, the containers then sat on our dining room table undisturbed for 24 hours.  After the 24 hour time period they also found their place in our freezer.  Yum!

Our local, fresh, ripe, juicy Strawberries make their appearance in the fields once a year.  It's great to take the time to purchase them and then prep them to enjoy for the next 11 months.  Until there are no more found in our freezer, that is.

Enjoy!
Yummy!

Friday, July 5, 2019

The First Daylily!


Suddenly it happens!  It's always during the first week of July and it was today!  The first Daylily in our yard has blossomed.  This year it was a bright orange flower in our back perennial garden.  The plant has survived harsh cold winters and hot humid summers for over 39 years.  It does quite well here in New England.

There is another blossom and also more stems with blossoms.  We will be seeing orange on quite a few beautiful summer days.

Enjoy!
      

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Wishing you-


A happy

and
a safe
4th of July!!!


Enjoy!

 

Sunday, June 30, 2019

June Flowers!


It's the last day of June and there is so much color in our yard!  Yellow Stella de Oro Daylilies, red Roses, purple Petunias and light pink Citronella (Mosquito Plant) flowers.  Yes, even the Citronella (lower right corner) is blossoming!  We have 3 plants on our deck.  They sure do help keeping the mosquitoes from visiting us when we are sitting on our deck.   Every year we have 3 pots of these Mosquito Plants on our deck.

We are enjoying this last day of June!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Free Fun Fridays!

FREE FUN FRIDAYS
Schedule
Coming soon!  Beginning this Friday!  FREE FUN FRIDAYS!!!   That's tomorrow!!


It's a great program for anyone living in, vacationing in or driving through Massachusetts this summer.  It's offered by the Highland Street FoundationBeginning on Friday- June 28 and then on every Friday this summer
through Friday- August 30 there are specific venues with free admission in Massachusetts.  Summer is here, but that does not put a halt on the learning process.  

If you have an opportunity to visit one, two, three or more of these great places, do so.  Adults and children will all be welcomed to enjoy their day at any of these great venues!  Zoos, history and art museums, music and hobbies are all represented with these choices.

Some of my favorite places to visit that are included on this list this summer are:

Norman Rockwell Museum



The Mount:  Edith Wharton's Home



Springfield Museums

5 museums on the campus including The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum  




Old Sturbridge Village

 
There are so many more great places to visit! 
For the complete list visit The Highland Street Foundation's Free Fun Fridays!

This is a wonderful program for visitors of all ages!!!  Have FuN!!!

Thank You Highland Street Foundation!

Enjoy!

 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Flatbread

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Flatbread!
There had been just a few slices of grilled Pork Tenderloin on the serving platter after dinner.  Just a few was just enough!  Two days quickly flew by.  Suddenly, it was time to prepare another dinner.  I knew that on the second shelf of our fridge there was a container of Fat Free Ricotta cheese.  The packaged Flatbreads were located and fresh zucchini were ready to saute, also.  I envisioned another dinner- Grilled Pork Tenderloin Flatbread.  Yum!

So, 2 nights later dinner was quick and easy!   The 2 zucchini were sliced and sauteend on the stove.  Then, the FuN part started.  On a large cookie pan 3 Flatbreads were placed in a 375°F oven for 2 Minutes.  After removing from oven the layering starts.

Drizzling a little barbeque sauce (that has been diluted with a little water) over the top before adding the shredded cheese really adds that extra pizzazz.  If you have a few slices of grilled Pork Tenderloin remaining after dinner some night, save it to make Grilled Pork Tenderloin Flatbread for dinner.

Ingredients: 

Flatbreads- I use 3.
2 Zucchini-  sliced, then sauteed in Olive Oil with Basil + Oregano
1/4 Cup Ricotta Cheese (can be Fat Free)- for each flatbread
Grilled Pork Tenderloin- cut into small chunks
4 teaspoons BBQ Sauce
1 teaspoon Water
Shredded Cheese- desired amount

Method:
  1. Place Flatbreads on a large cookie pan.  Bake for 2 Minutes in a preheated 375°F oven. 
  2. Remove from oven.
  3. Slice and saute Zucchini in Olive Oil with Basil + Oregano.
  4. Place on top of Flatbreads.
  5. Cut grilled Pork Tenderloin into chunks.  Place on flatbreads.
  6. In a small container mix 4 teaspoons BBQ Sauce with 1 teaspoon water.
  7. Drizzle BBQ Sauce/ Water mixture on top of Flatbreads.
  8. Sprinkle desired amount of Shredded Cheese on top.
  9. Bake for 5 Minutes in 375°F oven.
  10.  Remove from oven.
  11. Cut each Flatbread into 3 or 4 slices.
  12. Cover & refrigerate any leftovers.
Ordering take- out pizza is easy, but after enjoying these Flatbreads, I would rather have this for dinner!  It is not difficult to prepare.  Just prepare all of the ingredients first.

Enjoy!
yummy!
               

Sunday, June 2, 2019

New Colors of Spring!


I always appreciate the beautiful colors that Spring brings to our yard.  From the early sprouting Hyacinths, the flowing yellow Forsythia bushes to the yellow Daffodils.  Outside my computer room a burst of pink blossoms have erupted.  I often view them while glancing outside the window.  Admiring them outdoors is so much better.  The tall stalks are staked up, because of the recent rain.

Vibrant purple Irises have now made their appearances.  I had been watching the large clump in our front garden.  Yesterday, a smaller group in our back perennial garden started to blossom.

 
The Variegated Iris usually has one blossom every Spring.


Today was the day it blossomed!

New England's 4 seasons bring changes to our scenery throughout the year.  Each season is enjoyed, because it will change- yet again!  The pastel and also vibrant colors of Spring are just gorgeous!!

Enjoy!
         

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Memorial Day


On Memorial Day
we remember
and we honor 
the men and the women
who have died 
in service 
to our country!!
 
Thank you!
 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

A Little Color!


This Spring brings warm- then cold- then warmer weather!  The pink Canadian Bleeding Hearts seem to be very hardy.  They continue to blossom and add beautiful color to our perennial garden.  The white Bleeding Hearts now look very graceful.

With this change of weather- daily- the beautiful Ivy Geranium has a new home.  It stays in our garage!  Today, it was enjoying the warm afternoon- but- to play it safe it's back in the garage.

Waiting to plant some colorful annuals.

Enjoy the color! 
   

Saturday, May 4, 2019

~May~


Every day the outdoor scenery looks a little different!  Spring in New England is beautiful!  Green, maroon, pink and white colors are in one view.

Enjoy!
   

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Perennials!


The pinks, the whites, the lavenders along with the greens are popping up in our back perennial garden!  What a welcome sight!  Enjoying the beautiful colors of Spring is always a treat after the snow disappears.  Our weather is a bit warmer now, so the blossoms are here.  It's so very cool that so many shades of color are now found in our yard.

We are enjoying!!
 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Color-

Bright Yellow Daffodils!!
(Photo taken yesterday)
The sky is overcast and the raindrops have started to come down.  But, a quick look outdoors is proof that Spring is here.  The color of the day is YELLOW!!

Delicate Yellow Forsythia Blossoms!! 

It's a great sight to view the Forsythia bushes this year.  Last year the long branches only had green leaves.  This year we can see the flowers, first.

Enjoy!
Happy Gardening!