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Monthly Archives: June 2012

  • House and Bedding Plants

    Tuesdays at the market are always very special.  And that's because we receive a truckload full of flowers for our garden.  There's always the regulars such as Peace Lilly and Zebra.  Peace Lilly is a very versatile plant.  It works great inside your home or outside in the shade.  Another great quality of the Peace Lilly is that it doesn't need much attention.  The Zebra plants require a little more hands on care, but the rewards are worth it.  Zebra plants thrive in bright, filtered light, high humidity and never allowing the soil to completely dry.  Here's a great video on keeping your Zebra plants alive.

    And then, there's the show stoppers: Celosia and Mona Lavender.  Celosias have a very bright showy color which makes them perfect for annual beds or edging in your garden.  They love full sun, so they do great in our Florida weather!  Mona Lavender is also a Florida Friendly Plant because it can tolerate our heat, rain and humidity.  They flower year around and they work great in the garden as a bush or in a container as the "thriller".

    Are you planning any gardening for your house this Summer?

  • Kids lunch boxes

    Last fall I started making lunch boxes for my daughter who was attending preschool.  Being around fresh food all day, I knew I would have to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into her lunches.  It all started when she saw these PackIt lunch box commercials.   The makers of PackIt claim that the food stays cold for up to 10 hours.  She had memorized the entire commercial.  Marketing genius.


    Just like prepping for dinner, putting her lunch box together is still sort of a scramble every morning.  The key is to have a few essentials around and your imagination.  I've found that at her age, its just more fun to eat a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  Sorta, like a picnic.  Also, allowing her to choose one or two items has always worked.

    Hard boiled egg, cheese wheel, oranges, grapes and olives.  She really likes deviled eggs, which I've only attempted to make a couple of times in my life.  I find she still enjoys my version just as much. ;)

    Peanut butter and jelly or ham and cheese sandwiches are always winners.  To make it fun, I used a cookie cutter for a nice surprise.  Sliced apples, with a squirt of lemon or lime juice to keep them from browning, always make regular appearances in our lunch boxes.

    Here's a homemade version of the popular lunchables.  I just added some carrot sticks with peanut butter, raisins and olives.  To make her lunch even more fun, I bought a few different cupcake liners to keep her food separate.

    And of course, we can't forget our very own Parkesdale strawberries.  Peanut butter and jelly, cheese stick, grape tomatoes and sliced apples.  So, maybe she didn't get her vegetable servings for the day, but she definitively got her fruit servings!  It probably took me about 5 minutes to put her lunches together, but I hope she remembers to always "eat the rainbow".

  • Creamy Chicken Mushroom Pasta

    It seems like lately every dish I cook has mushrooms in it.  Luckily, everyone in our household likes mushrooms so as long as we have them at the market they'll be appearing in our food.

    You can use fresh button mushrooms or baby bella mushrooms for this recipe.  I've also used our Parkesdale Farms Marinated Mushrooms when we don't have fresh mushrooms available.  The marinated mushrooms are seasoned with spices, vinegar and red peppers.  They are really great just by themselves too.

    While we were at the market, my youngest daughter decided to pick out some fresh green beans.  Who am I to argue with a 4 year old? :) I love how she used her Easter bucket to bring home the green beans.

    This time I used green onions, but you can use any onion you like.  I like to cut the green tops to sprinkle over the finished dish.



    Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pasta

    Ingredients (makes 4 servings):

    4 slices Troyer Thick Sliced Smoked Peppered Bacon

    2 garlic cloves (minced)

    1 ½ chicken breast

    1 bunch green onions (reserve green tops for garnish)

    1 cup Marinated Mushrooms (sliced) or 1 fresh mushroom package

    Fresh Thyme (1 teaspoon dried Thyme)

    ½ cup milk *

    2 tablespoon Troyer Butter*


    Cut chicken breast into one-inch pieces and season with salt.  Cut bacon into small pieces and cook.  Remove bacon once cooked and reserve.

    Add chicken and minced garlic to the pan used to cook the bacon.  Sprinkle the chicken with thyme; add mushrooms and sauté for approximately 12 minutes.

    Mix milk and butter into pan until creamy consistency.

    Serve with pasta, add halved grape tomatoes and sprinkle with green onion tops.

    *If you want more sauce, double the milk and butter for a creamier, saucier dish.

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