Tag Archive for Food

The Tomatoes are Growing

Hello neighbors.  Yes I’m still here and no I haven’t gone anywhere.  You see Travel Man got home from his second international trip last Saturday, and we’ve been spending some much-needed time together.  He’s only been home 8 days in the last 30, and now he’s home all of this week (anxiously keeping my fingers crossed).  We’ve been having some great meals together, and working in the garden together.  Always a lot to do in the garden.

This year I planted 5 tomatoes plants.  The varieties I purchased from Lowe’s and Home Depot were; Roma, Better Boy, Big Boy, and Celebrity.  A pretty ambitious effort for me, because at the end of last summer I had proclaimed I would only plant two tomato plants this year.  I’m crazy like that, sometimes I just like to go for the gusto!  So I had intended to share these pictures with all of you about a month ago, and somehow they got lost in the “Camp Grandma” menagerie of pictures.

This little contraption is what I am using to water the tomatoes this summer.  Of course in Southern California we have some extreme heat in the summer.  Travel Man found these for me at one of his favorite hardware stores, and I was readily willing to try them.  The spike holds a two liter soda bottle.  It has little holes down each side of the spike to allow the water to flow through to the roots.  With the heat we are having right now I am filling the bottles up twice a day.  In the morning and again in the early evening.  So far so good as the tomatoes are thriving.

This picture of the Roma tomato plant is from a month ago.


And this is the same plant today.  I finally added the cages and staking to all of the tomato plants last weekend.  Now it’s just keeping up with the watering and weeding, and waiting for the arrival of the first tomato!!  I cannot wait to have my first BLT with a garden tomato!

We (meaning Travel Man and I) are having an ongoing discussion about the best way to let the tomatoes grow.  My mindset has always been to just put the cages up and let them go to town.  Travel Man’s theory is we should keep them pruned inside of the cages to get a better crop of tomatoes.  I am trying it Travel Man’s way this summer, so I can see how the plants to in the raised bed they are growing in.  And I have to give his idea a chance too.  I like to try to see things from all sides, and not be the “fathead”.  So that being said it brings me to my question for all of you who garden or have gardened in the past.  “To prune the tomatoes, or not prune the tomatoes?”   That is my question to all of you.  Looking forward to hearing some great gardening opinions.  Happy Wednesday to everyone!

Zucchini Bandit

My 2012 garden is coming along nicely, except for my poor little zucchini plants that I started from seeds.  I had two little baby zucchini plants, got them in the ground, and then a couple of days later I went out in the morning to water the garden, and BOOM, there was a plant pulled up out of the ground.  I’m thinking this was either the work of a lizard or a fatty black crow.

I put the poor little thing back in the ground, as I will not be defeated by a lizard or a crow.  Then I gave it a nice drink of water, and the next morning it perked back up and was staying green.  That evening I go back out to water all my little seedlings, and my poor little zucchini had been munched to pieces.  Here’s how it looked.

Then a few days later the same thing happened to the other baby zucchini.  and I put it back in the ground, watered it hoping it will spring back to life.  I will not be defeated.

As of this writing I have given in to the zucchini bandits, and will be heading to Home Depot to buy two new plants.  The pesky varmints got a hold of the zucchini’s and they were never to be seen again.  Poor little zucchini plants. They were my little babies. I started them from seeds.  

But the garden must go on and I want to have a nice crop of zucchini.  Grilled zucchini, zucchini bread, zucchini muffins, zucchini in stir fry.  The possibilities are endless.

This is just a small sneak peek of my garden adventures.  I have been spending a lot of time tending the garden while Travel Man’s away.  Lots of plantings and things going on out back.  He hasn’t seen the whole garden yet, so I’m not posting too many pictures of it until after he is home next week.  There has to be some surprises!

So for all of you who are gardening this summer, how does your garden grow so far?

Thanksgiving Feasting and Family

 This year marks the 8th or 9th year that my hubby and I have hosted Thanksgiving dinner for the family.  The Thanksgiving turkey dinner torch was passed to me when my parents retired and started RV-ing  full-time.  In any given year we have 15-20 people around the table, and always for a sit down dinner.  No buffet style serving for Thanksgiving Day.  This is my favorite family day of the year.  No birthdays are being celebrated, no gifts are being exchanged.  This is just a day of family.  This is our family feast right before we toasted with Almond Champagne, and of course pink lemonade for the grandson. 

The menu planning and preparation for the big turkey day were especially fun for me this year.  With my new-found Domestic Goddess status,  I had lots of time to plan the menu, decorate, and recruit the help I needed with dinner.  Now each year what I ALWAYS stress about is the timing of this event.  You ladies or gents who get the feast on the table know what I am talking about.  The turkey’s done on time, the side dishes heated on time, and the gravy tastes good, on time.  Every year I have had the same level of stress as the first year I put this feast together without my amazing Mom.  And every year , so far, the feast has come together, on the table, on time.

All of the girls in the family contributed amazing side dishes. We had spinach bake, sweet potato casserole, creamy mashed potatoes (with real cream cheese), green bean casserole, steamed green beans with bacon, mushrooms and onion, and of course the usual stuffing and gravy.

For the desserts my oldest son, Bryan, baked the pumpkin pies, and we tried a new Pumpkin Cream Pie recipe.  These were amazing.  My brother brought his traditional apple pie.  He’s famous for this pie with our family.  And of course we had some awesome whip cream to dollop on top of the desserts. (Jim claims he makes the best whip cream, but being his older sister I can’t give him too many compliments in one paragraph.  You older sister’s know what I mean.) 

We also had these amazing little turkey’s, created by my brother’s girlfriend,  Elaine.  She made hens and toms.  Very cute and yummy.  Grandson Evan tried to sneak a few extras off of the table for himself.

After the stomachs’ settled from dinner there was Xbox Kinect in the living room, or an intense card game called Phase 10.  I love having the activities for a big crowd.  The only thing we didn’t get a chance to play was the Wii bowling.  We’ll save that tournament for Christmas time and our New Year’s Eve party.

We always miss our long distance family at this time of year.  My sister, Laura and her husband in Montana;  my grandparents in Illinois; and our nephew, Jim,  in San Luis Obispo.  Thank goodness we can hook up on Skype whenever we want too.

We hope that each and every one of you had an amazing family day like we did.  These are the moments that you hold dear in your heart, and for me personally the traditions that I love to be a part of creating.

Do you Have a Favorite Comfort Food?

My absolute favorite is Toasted Cheese sandwiches and soup.  For a long time when Travel Man left on a trip this would be our dinner on the day that he left.    I was just telling my Mom the other day if I am alone for dinner just give me a cheese sandwich every day of the week, and I am a happy camper. Comfort food.

Then for a while after that our first dinner after Travel Man hits the road would be chicken patty sandwiches and macaroni and cheese. Comfort food.

I also love to bake, and this always gives me some sort of warm and fuzzy comfort.  My favorite cookies to bake would be chocolate chip bars, or brownies.  Love those brownies. Comfort  food.

When I find myself really stressed out it’s all about having some chocolate, and sometimes a glass of red wine with it.  There’s nothing better than a Twix or Reese’s to soothe your stressed out soul.  Comfort  food.

Or how about when you get sick?  I must have a bowl of chicken noodle soup and some saltines to dunk in it.  It’s especially tasty if someone makes it for you.   It’s the only food that makes me feel better.  Comfort  food.

We all have moments in our lives that require our comfort foods to get us through to the next day.  If we took a poll of everyone’s comfort foods I’m sure we’d come up with quite a list.  Then I was thinking,  are comfort foods the same for men and women?  Being on the woman side of life I know my comfort food choices are tied to my emotions, but what about the guys?  Do the guys even recognize comfort foods?  And what about you what’s your favorite comfort food?

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