My feelings about poinsettias swirl from thinking they are so very cliche to appreciating plant breeders working their tails off to provide fresh colors and styles. What’s a lady to do when she adores the simple beauty of the plant, but lived the labor of love growing this crop, often wishing they would just go away like the proverbial monkey on the back? No matter how I feel I always buy one. I am a poinsettia snob so it takes me an eternity to select the one I want. I hold them up, set them on the ground and check them from every angle. Mine must come from a local locale. Lucky for me I work at a top notch nursery. This year pink is the color with fat, slightly drooped bracts. I knew exactly where I wanted to showcase this princess. Towering above my monkey on an over turned pot. Every day I see this beauty and smile at the hilarity of the arrangement. My monkey offering a pot of fragrant pinyon pine to the plant gods and a pretty in pink poinsettia towering above.
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I walk by this gardenia multiple times during my work day. I always take a moment to inhale its intoxication. I instantly feel content and at peace with whatever is going on in my day. It has become my secret love. This is fitting since secret love is one meaning for gardenia. I would never own one to grow in my home. Gardenias are too fickle for me. My experience with them is droopy, dingy flowers, bud drop and spider mite infestations. My opinion may be lightening up a bit with the spell this one has cast over me, and a story a friend relayed to me. She said her gardenia blossoms made more than one appearance. She purchased the plant in bloom and when the first show was over, more buds popped up and popped open. The leaves on her plant are a rich, shiny green just as they are meant to be. Hers sits in indirect bright light on a pebble filled tray to boost the humidity. And she mists it. As far as I am concerned, misting is an act of pure love and commitment when it comes to a plant. Although her story gives me immense hope, I will continue to admire and smell my secret love until some unsuspecting fool falls for it and takes it home. There will be a sense of loss when this happens, but I heard the greenhouse manager ordering a new plant shipment the other day. I am sure there will be a heart-breaker in the mix. A beauty that catches my eye, a new secret love to stop me in my tracks every time I walk by.
My Mama gave me a worry stone years ago. She told me whenever I have a worry whisper it to this little guy, then rub the smooth spot on the back of his head and he will work on making it go away. Some people carry worry stones in their pockets. I hang mine in my bathroom so I see it every morning and night. Many of the stones are pretty, polished gemstones. Mine is a dollop of clay with a seriously cute face.
This year it struck me that this stone would make a nice ornament for the holidays. I am not decorating a traditional tree this year so I hung him on the hibiscus tree that lives indoors during the winter. He dangles from a sturdy stem, peaking out from the leathery green leaves catching a glimpse of almost everything that happens in the house. How could there be a worry in such a lively spot? This season he will act as a symbol of healing all the worries of the world.
I had to take a closer look at the perfection the moisture created on the leaf. Kneeling down for inspection I still had this sensation that my eyes were playing tricks on me. It appeared as though someone had taken the time to place each drop in its exact location. I captured the stillness of this moment to remind me how mesmerizing nature can be.
I can take down a bag of corn chips dipped in tangy tomato delight like nobody’s business. A jar of salsa does not last long in our home.
When homegrown tomatoes are ripe, it’s time to, Salsa! Pineapple, Glacier, Red Siberian, Brandywine, Black Krim, or Cherokee Purple diced = mouth-watering sight.
Chopped garden fresh peppers, cucumbers, carrots, onions and garlic tumble into the mix. A squeeze of lime, handful of cilantro, salt to taste and now we’re dancing- Salsa!
Loving hands cradle the bowl then spin me around the kitchen as we pulse to the beat of the food processor.
And finally we get to dip.
Beets are beautiful and delicious. Until recently my husband thought they tasted like dirt. After I grew these beauties, he had a new flavor for beets. This spring I lovingly tucked the seeds for detriot dark red, chioggia and a random beet blend into my raised garden bed. As the tops pushed through the coco coir in my Soil Mender raised bed mix I knew it would be a delightful season for beets. I patiently watched them grow and wondered how big they would be when I pulled them. After harvesting, I wished I had planted more. I kept it simple with this crop and boiled them to experience the pure flavor of the beet. We ate them like slippery apples and relished every bite. I did not have luck with slipping the skins. In theory it sounded simple, but I resorted to peeling them. A fall crop of beets will go in my bed this weekend for my first try at extending the beet eating season!
My first attempt at zucchini pizza boats! I saw a picture of these a while back and they looked yummy. I thought I can make that. Then my mother-in-law was telling me all about them the other day. And again I thought I need to make those. I discovered some big zucchini in the garden that I needed to do something with. As usual I looked at one recipe and jumped right in to cooking. So now I am saying to myself, next time I’m going to…
Either way these were quick and simple and edible. My boat is filled with spicy chicken sausage and tomatoes, peppers and onions grown in my garden tucked in the filling. The sauce is canned tomatoes a friend gave me and topped with mozzarella cheese. For a gal who is still learning to cook, my zucchini pizza boats were a success and can only be improved in recipes to come! Any tips or feedback from all you zucchini pizza boat bakers out there would be appreciated. And what else do you make pizzas from?