Friday, June 27, 2014

Dinner in 5 Ingredients or Less

Sometimes when I'm in a rush and hungry I just want to cook the food I have. I don't want to do anything fancy with other ingredients or seasonings, I just literally want to COOK. THE. FOOD.

Which brought me to this post. I have a feeling I'm not the only one.  Well this meal is just that. Cooked food.  Takes no brain power whatsoever and is done in no time. 

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 pork sausage
2 bell peppers
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup marinara sauce

Cook sausage 10-20 min on med heat in a large skillet until browned
Add peppers about half way in, cook in same skillet 5-10 min depending on preference of tenderness.
Add to roll or bowl and serve. Add marina and/or mozz cheese if desired.

Prep 5min; Cook 20min; Serves 2

First, I heat up the olive oil on med heat, then add the sausage and cook for about 15 min turning them every so often so not to blacken one side more than another.

Meanwhile I got my peppers ready.  I'll share this with you because I one point I thought it was the coolest thing.  Some of you will already know this little trick and think it's old news, but for the rest of us...

Just cut the peppers in half along the stem and take out the stem with your hand! Rinse out all the seeds and viola!  Then cut them into strips, then cut the strips in half. Another good tip: cut with the peppers in this position. The peppers are softer on this side and it's not as slippery making it less likely to slip off and cut your finger. (Yup that happened a few years ago, so thought I'd share)

After the sausage is about 1/2 way cooked throw in your pepper and stir occasionally. At this point I put it up to med-high (or just a little hotter). In total the sausage take about 15 min to cook through.  I like to cook them a little on the slow side so the outside doesn't get too crispy but if you like them a little crunchier turn it up a little and they'll be done quicker too.

Then your done! Eric's likes his plain on a roll, but me, I like mine cut up...

With some sauce on it...

And some peppers on top...

Sure why not, throw some cheese on there too...

And a little more sauce for good measure.

And that's it! Dinner in less than 5 ingredients!  Quick and easy!

Enjoy! What are some quick meals you guys like to throw together when you're hungry and just NEED FOOD? These recipes are my favorite! 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Beauty of June Continues

I'm so excited with how beautiful our gardens are this year that I couldn't wait to give you guys an update!

I don't know if it's because we're paying more attention or if it's because we've been working so hard on them this year, but everything is saying, "Thank you!" in a big way.

I mean, check out this Peony, would you!
According to The Plant Expert (and if I picked the right one in the list) this beauty is called Mother's Choice and was the winner of the American Peony Society Gold Medal in 1993!  Why am I not surprised?!

If you're looking to grow peonies, they're pretty easy once they get their feet down.  I do virtually nothing to these and they keep coming back every year.  Just a little weeding around their base.  I've heard that some will cut them back after they bloom, but I never have.  In the fall I will take away the dead from the year before, but only if it's not connected anymore.  I don't ever clip anything off.  I've heard that the leaves and stalk from tulips actually feed the bulbs, so maybe that's true for the peonies as well.  Whatever I'm doing (or not doing) they seem to like it.  There are a few things suggested by the Plant Expert to help you out if you'd like to take the extra mile.  Also, if you're planting them for the first time, or moving them, tho pretty hardy, they can be temperamental, so definitely check out that sight on the how too's for best results.

And our roses have started blooming.  I'm not certain enough about the names to list them, yet, but that's some homework I'm going to do.  Always learning!

For all my roses, I can't say I do much to keep them looking great.  They pretty much take care of themselves.  I try and cut back the dead from the previous year but only after the buds of the new growth start to form as some of those dead looking stalks have surprised me with growth, even blooms before.  So around this time, right when they're about to bloom, I cut the dead off (about three inches above the green) to make way.  A little weeding at the base, but leaving some leaves or something to cover it's feet is always good to keep the moister after it rains. 

If I move any though I take great care to make sure everything is just so for them when they get to their new home.  First thing I make sure of is making the new hole good and deep and big.  Then I throw in fertilizer and horse manure (magic ingredient to any rose transplant).  Then when I take the rose from it's original home, I do my best to make it like it never left.  In other words, I take as much original dirt as I can.  Then I place it so gently in it's new home and give it lots of water.  I kind of think of it like moving a sleeping baby.  As long as they don't realize their being moved, they'll stay sleeping.  And when they wake up the hope is, they won't be cranky, but they'll love their new environment.  

And the Spirea have taken off this year and are more beautiful than they've ever been.  Maybe it's because all the weeds have been yanked out from their centers for once!
Spirea are hardy and reseed like crazy.  This one came up on it's own one year!  Eric takes to them with the hedge trimmer whenever he feels like it and they just keep on truckin.  They're a great little shrub for anyone that doesn't have the time to really trim on the regular though because they don't grow like crazy or shoot runners out.  They're pretty tame (besides sending volunteers out every once in a while) and just stay in their little spot and look pretty.  They do like full sun as well, and the butterflies, honey bees and bumble bees just love them.

Narrowleaf Evening Primrose is so cheery!
These can be easily mistaken for a flock if you're not careful in the early spring before they bloom.  But they are much shorter and their leaves are a bit deeper green.  You'll also start to see the fuzzy red bloom so watch for those so not to pull them out, because they are such an eye catcher.

Sweet Summer Love Clematis is very happy this year. 
They like full sun and something to climb. This clematis has even outgrown it's little trellis but I keep putting the shooters down through the trellis again to make it fuller and it seems to be working beautifully. 

And our Lambs Ear is right below that because they like to have something by their feet just like the roses, and is blooming too. I don't think we've ever seen this bloom before.  These perennials can get out of hand if you let them.  They need a little tough love every once in a while.  My rule, if they're out of bounds they get yanked.  It take a couple of years for them to get to that point, but they always do.
Whatever is going on this year, it's all good!

After our hard work, we took a walk on the backtracks behind our house and a little on the edge of the freshly cut farm behind that.  It was a beautiful day.

Till next time!  Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Let the Transformation Begin

Now when I tell you I've neglected the gardens for the past.. well.. since we moved in, I don't think you quite understood.  So let me just give you a taste of what they really looked like...

Yea, I know.. It was pretty bad.. but with so many gardens, a full time job, and the fact that I've had little interest until recently, I guess it comes to no surprise that I was completely overwhelmed by them all so I just let it go.

But this year!  THIS YEAR is the best year for everyone! My fiance' got ambitious with weed whacker!  The weeds always take over every year, but this year, he got fed up and went to town on them suckers!  I helped by cleaning up what was left behind and showing him the base of any good plants.  Of what I knew of anyway.. I mean, you can't miss a rose, so that's easy, and Peonies as you probably have figured out are my favorite so those were easy, but we did chop some Monarda and Lysimachia, but not all of it, so we're good. :)  And frankly, even those were getting out of hand, so they were fine to have a little taming.  But see, it's not all gone!

But even if we did take down some of it, the end result was well worth it!

Ta Da!
John Cabot Rose can breath now!

And another bed he tackled.  There are roses in here, I just know it!

Yup! There they are!

And Iris too! Well look at that!

This bed, especially, drove me nuts being out of hand because it was right by the road.  If I'm going to neglect my gardens, I'd rather not punish the passerby that has to look at the mess.  But for the first time in years, we can see what's in here and start making it look nice!

We mulched the shed's Spirea too.  

I forgot to take a before picture of these beds on either side of the arbor, but just look at the previous pictures and use your imagination.. it was just as bad, if not worse.  But now, we can see our roses and our peonies!  We have some pretty great stuff in there, and now they can breathe! Poor things.

Maybe New Dawn can finally give us a bloom this year?  She's looking awfully happy now!

And not only did we take down all the weeds, but we also shortened the bed so that, hopefully, they'll be more manageable.

And what's a better ending to a great, productive day but a freshly cut field.  I'm so happy he helped me (ok, well I helped him if we're being completely honest).  Every year, I would just sit back and watch as the gardens took over and I would feel so defeated.  But this year is different in so many ways.  And the plants feel it too.

Till next time! Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Garden Update!

June is easily becoming my favorite month of the year.  May was wonderful with the tulips, but man, these peonies take the cake!  And the weather seems to finally be deciding that it's going to stay warm, maybe even hot on some days, but the nights are cool and beautiful for sleeping comfortably.  All the birds have found and established their little boxes and some have babies chirping away when you walk by while mom sits and watches you closely.  Hi, Baby Wrens!

My seedum that I saved and learned about last year is doing wonderfully.  It's so nice to see something I touch not die in protest of their new owner not really knowing what the hell she's doing.

My peonies are making lovely cloud-like pillows for the bumble bees, while my iris are as majestic as ever this year.

Peony as big as my fist!
These, I've decided, are my favorite in all the land... well, my land, that is.

I'm not sure what this is called, but this will be what I learn this year.  I'll let you know after I call my mom, or bug my neighbor :-)  I figure if I learn a few each year, I'll be a pro by the time I'm fifty, right?!

And I don't know why, but one of the most beautiful things to me is our field right after it's been mowed.
Till next time! Thanks for stopping by :)