Tag Archives: cooking,

Salad, Yoga and Brazil Butt Lift

New Year’s resolution: to lose the 25 pounds of fat and blah I put on since 2008 mostly by going back to eating super healthy meals. Also going to attempt to maintain some level of exercise, something I never had to do for my first 42 years in order to stay svelte. Most difficult part of this resolution will be getting my mother to eat health-ily as well. Made a large salad on happy fish plates for supper the other night, which she loved: chicken pieces, raisins, pecans, crushed Stacy’s garlic pita chips crumbled as croutons and a light raspberry vinaigrette along with homemade wine coolers fit the bill. Now, if I can get her to eat like this with me all the time……she keeps slipping in donuts, cookies, ice cream, etc. Augh! Keep that stuff out of the house!

Also on the agenda will be the exercise videos: Booty Ballet (yoga) and Brazil Butt Lift. We’ll see how they go. Ain’t posting no photo of me in a bikini at this point, nuh uh, no way!

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Plum tree knowledge

Not that I have much expertise in the way of fruit trees except to pluck fruit and eat it, but I could answer this recent question:

What are you doing to make your plums grow? I have two plum trees and last year they produced about thriteen plums a piece. This year one did not produce at all and the other only set two plums.

Believe it or not, I do nothing except keep the long branches pruned so they don’t bend way over and break, no fertilizer, no bug spray, etc. I was very surprised that the tree was so fruitful this year, and only three were found with any sort of blemish whatsoever. How weird is that, right? They were just perfect and about the size of apricots.

I bought the house in 2005 and the tree was small, about a year or two old then, so it’s maybe a seven year old tree just bearing now. Same with the peach tree, which isn’t doing quite so well. For starters, the entire tree consisted of one puny vertical branch up until last year when I threatened to yank it out entirely if it didn’t grow. My threat worked and all of sudden, the tree is bushy and about 9 feet high. It, too, had a proliferation of tiny peaches. Has, actually – it’s fruiting now. But since it’s the first year, even though there are hundreds of 1.5 inch peaches all over it, peach trees apparently are needy in the way of insecticide to keep the little bug nibbles and spots off of them. I don’t do bugs (ick) but I also don’t do bug spray, so I dunno.

I can, however, pass on this advice from my father-in-law who has a hugely successful peach orchard of nearly 900 trees in several varieties about five miles from here (in NE NC): after the peach tree (and I assume this could apply to the plum, too) blossoms have turned to little fruit nubs, if you want decent sized fruit, you need to snap off nearly a third or more of the baby fruit so that there is not too much on any one branch – about a full hand’s spread apart, he says. Yes, it seems crazy and he thought so, too, when the Ag guy showed him how to prune and “pinch” fruit that first year! First, it keeps the branches from getting heavy and breaking (which if you keep it pruned to under 10 ft high and no more than 4 ft branch extensions should help). Second, it allows more nutrients to flow into the remaining fruit and thus bigger size. He sells them to the local supermarkets as well as a private client list, so I trust his know-how. He does use pesticides and fertilizer, which ick me out, but the peaches are the size of baseballs, so he’s the expert.

The only other contributing factor for the plums I can think of (besides age of trees and maintenance on my part) is that we had a particularly long (for here) and wet cold snap this winter which must have benefitted the trees.We’re original from NW NJ, so we know from apple trees needing a frost to produce sweet fruit and that bulb flowers need to “chill” in the ground to get good flowers in the spring – here, it doesn’t get cold long enough for either. Speaking of which, the five-variety apple tree that came with the house and is more like ten years old, is also having a bountiful year – but same as the peach tree as far as size and quality of fruit. Next year (if I”m still here), I will definitely do the “pinching” off of the excess fruit!

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Ask Sister Mary Martha

It’s been a long week here. Since last week’s drenching by Ida flooded a lot of local areas, the schools were closed the balance of the week, again on Monday this week and late start on Tuesday. Since the teachers lost nearly a week of instructional time, there was no way anybody was calling in sick. Good for them, bad for me, the substitute teacher who doesn’t get paid unless I work.

So I’m beyond bored at home this week, having redecorated Sparky’s room, vaccuumed the house, done laundry, blah, blah, blah. Might make peanut butter cookies later since when I checked my email this morning, one of the daily recipes in my inbox was for chocolate & peanut butter pie, which after printing that out, I then found the Jif recipe for the cookies. I actually have the ingredients in the pantry for that, so it’s a possibility this afternoon. If I ever get my butt up away from the computer.

Oh, yes. The computer, on dial-up that keeps dropping on me, running so slow and draggy we actually went out and bought a new one last weekend, hooked it up and internet still ran like crap on dial-up at all of 28.8 or 26.4 kbs so we packed it back up and returned it to Wal-Mart. Didn’t want Windows 7 anyway. Since they took away Outlook that my hubs uses and Moviemaker that I use, why should I stick with Windows?? We’re saving up for a Mac. So, since it’s so aggravating to be online, why in the world am I still on the computer today, you ask?

Because I found a blog that has had me in stitches more often than not and made me forget about the clock, which for such as week as this, is nothing short of wonderful. I started off with my weekly visit to They Look Like Trees to cheer for the success of the one-year old Church Relevant plant down in New Bern, NC. Then I was off to visit the Ironic Catholic to see how she was coming along with her newest baby. Then I clicked one of her links to check out another blog, then I think another, and I wound up on Sister Mary Martha’s blog.

And that is where I have spent the last few hours, even bringing my lunch in here to eat while reading some of her hysterical recounts of daily life as an older nun living in the world but not of it outside of Los Angeles. If she can make it there, she can make it anywhere, right? She also answers readers questions about Catholic stuff. I wish I had had her for CCD! Her wisdom and matter of fact, straight forward and honest narratives coupled with a sense of humor that reminds me of a combination of my Gramma, my best friend and a few priests I know has gotten me hooked.

My new favourite blog: Ask Sister Mary Martha. Well worth your time to visit. And be a pal and order your next patron saint medal from their shop online.

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Lions and tigers and pears, oh my!

2009-08-19 pickled pears

A neighbor’s pear tree was ripe and the fruit was starting to fall, so they  invited us over yesterday for a tree-shaking. We gathered six 5-gallon buckets full of pears – only four of which came home with me!

I ran out of canning jars after the first two dozen pint jars were full and the hubs graciously went out and brought back three dozen new quart jars. Don’t think I’ll need all of them, but man oh man do my feet and back still ache after standing all day over the sink peeling and coring. He likes sweet pickled pears so that’s what we made. We should be good for another year (ya think???) with these for sure.

Picked all the rest of the peppers and even did two quarts of sweet pickled peppers last thing before I went to bed, too. I know, how “over achiever” of me. Maybe but, yawnnnn! I am SO tired.

Couldn’t sleep in this morning because later this afternoon I’m heading down to a three-day church music conference down on the Bogue Sound. Trying to get the rest of these pears canned so I can pack a few days’ clothes, clean up and head out. Back to blogging on Monday!

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In a pickle

Pickles: what to do with the ones that got away.

2009-08-18 pickles

Our neighbor’s cucumbers “got away from him” and he had some monster sized cukes in swollen and twisty shapes. Although easiest to pickle cukes as spears when using small 3 to 6 inch straight cukes, I accepted the challenge nonetheless. The results: seven pint jars of pickles. And yes, that is yet another full pot of spaghetti sauce on the stovetop in the background. Them tomatoes just keep on coming.

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Garden vegetable and meatball soup

This is one of my favourite soups, and I made it for dinner on Friday night. Since I filmed the making of spaghetti sauce, I kept the camera out and filmed this one, too. One might say I’m camcording my daily activities like there’s no tomorrow because I don’t have enough on my plate right now – pardon the food pun.

PS – If you don’t wet the bread crumbs first, the meatballs will expand in the water, so make them as tiny as you can – even smaller than I show in the vid.

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Homemade spaghetti sauce

Was making spaghetti sauce Friday morning and decided to film it for my second cooking video!

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