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Monthly Archives: July 2012

  • Gardening: Gaillardia, Gazania and Pentas

    To my surprise the annual greenhouse is packed full today!  We just got a shipment from one of our local nurseries.  There are plenty of flowering plants for your garden beds.

    We’ll start with the Gaillardia Daisy or blanket flower.  The beautiful combination of orange and yellow petals reminds me of sunflowers.  The Gaillardia Daisy will grow up to 2 inches in height and can spread up to 3 feet in width.  They are sun loving so they’ll be just fine in our high summer temperatures.  For more info, check out the University of Florida IFAS Extension.


    The Gazania Daisy or treasure flower is also a sun loving plant.  There’s yellow, white, purple and orange varieties so they'll make wonderful color displays in your garden.    The Gazania Daisy is an annual, perfect for zones 8b-11.  Typically Gazanias are annuals, but can live 18 months or more if no freezing occurs. (Source)


    Another great sun-loving plant is the Penta.  If you are looking for beautiful butterflies to come to your garden, then you must plant some Pentas.  Pentas are sun loving, but will do okay in part shade.  Just remember, the more sun they get, the more blooms they'll produce.  Pentas are perennials (in zones 8-10) so they’ll keep flowering for years to come.

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  • Spicy Chicken Enchiladas

    Have you ever tried making Chicken Enchiladas?  It may sound like a lot of work, but I think they are totally worth it.  To make the shredded chicken, I  take a couple of seasoned chicken breast in a pan with a bit of water or chicken stock.  You'll basically boil the chicken for about 20 minutes.  Once the chicken is cooked, pull the chicken apart with the fork and you can add shredded cheese and greek yogurt to make your filling.  If you don't like greek yogurt, you can add sour cream.  My girls can't tell the difference between sour cream and greek yogurt :).

    Once you got your filling ready, then it's time to roll the tortillas.  Place the filled tortillas in a single layer in a glass casserole and pour your favorite salsa on top.    Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top and put back in the oven (without the foil) for another 5 minutes.

    This time, we used our Parkesdale Farm Market Five Amigos Salsa.  Be warned, this is very hot.  We've always used it with chips as a snack but never cooked with it.  Oh my!  I was glad I had saved some tortillas without the salsa for the girls because it was almost too hot for us to eat.  I guess cooking the salsa made it even hotter.

    I think next time, we'll try it with the Pepper Patch Salsa instead.  The Pepper Patch Salsa is on the mild-medium side, so hopefully it won't turn too spicy!

    • What's your favorite Mexican dish?
    • Do you like mild or hot salsas?



  • Cleaning out the fridge

    In an attempt to eat more veggies, I tend to pack our refrigerator full of veggies.  I figure, if it's in my refrigerator I will have to cook it.   I think this may have been a record at our house for most vegetables cooked in one night!  First easy veggie side dish: Roasted Kale with olive oil, salt and pepper.

    Second easy side dish: Avocado.  Just slice it and add some salt.  If you are feeling adventurous, squeeze some lime on top.  Third easy side dish: Roasted butternut squash.  Peel the squash, dice, add olive oil salt and pepper. Roast it under the broiler for 15-20 minutes.  To make eating vegetables more interesting to the girls, I offered them some cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on top of the butternut squash.

    Fourth vegetable side dish: steamed corn.  With these many vegetables, the girls may not have eaten everything on their plates, but they tried at least one bite.  At their age, that's really all anybody can ask.  The point is to expose kids to new foods and new flavors.

    Cooking a meal like this really puts the food pyramid into perspective.  There were no boxes with a mile long list of ingredients I can hardly pronounce or let alone remember.  It felt good to know that we could fill our plates up with veggies instead of preservatives and additives.  Yes, there were a lot more dishes to clean after cooking a meal like this, but at the end of the meal we all agreed it was worth it.

    • What's your family's favorite vegetable side dish?


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