Monday, September 28, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie in a Crescent Roll

That's what my dinner tonight reminded me of.

I don't have a recipe. I just sauteed onions, carrots, and celery until they were soft. While they were cooking, I cut up 4 chicken breasts that were grilled last night. I tossed everything with one jar of chicken gravy. Then I opened up two tubes of crescent rolls--any brand will do.
Each tube has 4 rectangles (two triangles together). You just press the indentation from the triangle together to make one rectangular piece. Sorry, but I did not take any pictures while I was making these.

Put a big spoonful of the chicken mixture in the center. Pull up all the edges to the middle. Twist it and pinch closed all the openings. Brush a little butter or oil on the top and sprinkle some seasoned bread crumbs mixed with paprika on the top. Then bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until they look like this:

They were very good. I had leftover chicken mixture, so I put some extra filling on each plate.

Now I am puttering around with some fall leaf quilt blocks. I made four so far.

I made two and then decided that the stems were too wide, so I made the second two more narrow. That's why the center does not match up. I won't worry a bit about it. It's the spot where the centerpiece will go, so it will be covered.

I have some salad plates with fall leaves that need a table runner, so that is probably what this will become.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

It Does Not Look Like My Big Blue Container will Bloom

Thursday when I got home from work my Breck's order was waiting for me.

I was not really into planting that night, but I knew I was going away for the weekend, so I forced myself to get it done. It's always best to plant any mail orders as soon as they arrive.

I always forget just how bad my soil is in certain areas. See all the rocks in the box?
They all came from that little hole I dug to plant some Tango lilies. There are areas where I really cannot dig more than three inches. I was reminded of that again today as I was digging out some asters to move to the left side of this planter.I think I had some there before, but I removed them all last year!! LOL. Yes, now I am putting them back. Don't ask me why I do these things. :) I decided today that without the asters, the garden would be very blah.

Did you notice that the blue planter had no flowers? I think this area is too shady and the Tropicanna is not going to bloom. So I decided to swap planters. That's the beauty of using a big container like this and just inserting other containers into it. I can grow them up on the deck and swap them out whenever I want a change.

I had a new canna blooming on the deck. It's one I bought from Breck's two years ago. I think it's 'Wyoming', but I am not sure. It has a similar color flower as Tropicanna.

I miss the lighter green from the Elephant Ears in the previous container, but it's nice to see an orange bloom next to the purple asters

I also moved a few more colchium to the arbor path.
This forever hydrangea has been blooming all summer. It's great to buy something that actually behaves as they say it does.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September Garden Views

Remember those colchiums on the shovel I showed you a few days ago? This is where I moved them to--right next to the walking path. That way I can enjoy their cheery little faces every time I walk by. I plan to move more here as soon as they appear in the rock garden. Notice the color of the Sedum Autumn Joy. ..It's in phase two of its color progression.

Here is a peek at the main arbor through the asters which are next to the second arbor. Sally, they do like pretty here, don't they? That's why I said I have a love/hate relationship with them. In some areas they look nice, in others they look like weeds. I guess I just need to work with them and make sure they are planted in the areas that show them to their best advantage.
Here's a long shot of these gardens: You can see quite a few Black-eyed Susans.

And a bit further back.And further back yet to the right--almost to the end.

It is very hard to get a picture of the full area and all the little gardens that make up this garden area. I usually show you the areas near the arbors, because that is where I plant my favorites--along the three walking paths.
I have so many more gardens than I usually show. I think you can see how I am getting overwhelmed caring for all of them. I am trying to eliminate everything that now is more work than joy. It's a big job!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall Asters

I have a love/hate relationship with these asters. I think they are just one step above a weed. Last fall I removed tons of them, but as you will see, I still have tons left!

Most of the ones I moved last year ended up behind this small rock wall.
I think this is a good place for them. The rockwall hides their lower leaves which are pretty shabby. However, I think the first photos look decent, too. If I remove all of them from the gardens, then I won't have much blooming in September.

So I think I will leave them where they are--at least for this year.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Do You Dress to Match Your Garden?

While shaking a rug over the deck railing, I thought this little back-of-the-deck garden was looking pretty with it's bright pinks, golds, and purples.

While ironing tonight, I noticed that the clothing I have been wearing matches my gardens!

I just found that interesting. I certainly did not plan to dress to match the garden. I guess I have just been in a bright color mood lately.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Busy,Busy Weekend

Yesterday we went to DH's Aunt and Uncle's 50th anniversary celebration. It was in a town about a 100 miles away.

The event was a catered dinner held under a tent at their home set in a wooded 120 acres. It turned out to be a beautiful day for the party -- in the high 60's with sunshine.

We had a very nice time.
I even won the centerpiece on our table. That little tag was taped under my chair.

This morning I decided to enhance it a bit and use it for a fall counter decoration.

This morning I slept until 8:00 a.m., which is unheard of for me (I always get up at 5:00 a.m. or before). I don't know if it was all that fresh air yesterday or the new 1000 count sheets I slept on last night. I know I woke up a few times and it was pretty cold, so I snuggled in those sheets and my handmade quilt. It was pure bliss.

The only negative is that I lost three hours today. It's my only day to get things done outside, so I really don't like losing the time.

I had planned to spend a few hours in the rockwall garden digging out all of this grass from the creeping phlox in the front area that spans 100 feet.

I let it all go this year. I always do a good grass cleaning at least 3 times a year. This year I only did it once in the spring.

I spent two hours in the rockwall area and only did two sections. I ended up digging out all the phlox and throwing it on the compost pile in one area.

It was just too much work trying to get the grass out.

So I left the rest of the phlox and decided to dig up some of the colchium bulbs and move them to my new arbor area. Right now they are in the rock wall garden and I don't really go out there in the fall.

This is NOT the proper time to move them, so don't do it unless you are OK with losing a few bulbs.

I ended up splitting a bulb in half, so it will probably die, but that's OK with me. I have to move them when I have the time and this is the first weekend I have not had to go into work for 3 weeks.

Next weekend I will not be around to move plants, because I am going on a 150 mile journey to hear this man sing. He is a Canadian opera singer.

We went last year and really enjoyed it. I called my Mom & Dad and asked them if they would like to go. At first they did not really want to, but we told them how much we enjoyed it last year and they decided to go with us.

So we are looking forward to leaving at the end of the work week.

So next weekend I will not have any time to work out in the gardens.

When I planted these massive gardens, I had planned to be retired by now so I would have time to care for them.

It seems not much happens in life as we plan, so here I am still working and having very little time to tend to the flowers.

Either I have to quit working soon, or get rid of some of these gardens.

I can no longer do both.

We are having an English pot roast for dinner tonight. It looks pretty good. I hope it is!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I've Got a Bone to Pick with You

I recently made this centerpiece from foliage plants for my dining room table.

It's just canna leaves, ipomea, and coleus.

This morning it occurred to me that it might make a nice background arrangement for my Halloween table.

Remember this guy that I bought in May while browsing some tourist shops at the Soo Locks?

Mr. Bones.

He's been laid to rest in a box in my computer room just waiting for his big day -- when he gets to be the main attraction on my dining room table. Today's not the day, it's just a dress rehearsal.

He's a cutie, isn't he?
He's even a candle holder.
I think he's going to be just great.
A few weeks ago I bought him some friends.

I could not resist -- I tried to walk away, then DH kept saying, "If you want them, buy them."

So I did.

They are made to go on stakes outside. But I never had plans for them to be outside. My first thought was a table decoration. Not sure how they will work out, but it will be fun to work with them.

I just hope I still have some foliage plants for the background in mid October.

What would be a good meal to serve with these guys?

I am thinking hot wings and finger sandwiches. That would be sandwiches shaped like a human finger. Yum! Yum!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Urge to Purge

This is the fourth box of magazines I have thrown away in the past two weeks. I did mention I was a mag addict, didn't I?

I used to get something like 15 subscriptions, but I have been letting them all expire and now I would guess I have about 6.

My urge to purge was enhanced because we got a new hot water heater installed today. That meant that someone had to go down to my basement. There is nothing like embarrassment to bring on my desire to tidy things up a bit!

Today was also garbage day. I have been adding at least one extra box of junk to the garbage each week for the past month.

One week I tossed a couple bags of clothes. That's another item I buy all the time. While I am pretty much over the excessive magazine subscriptions, I am still a compulsive clothes buyer.

Sometimes I take stuff to the Salvation Army. But I really prefer just to toss them. Thrift stores are way too particular these days. They want items in season, in near perfect condition, and they don't even pick up anymore. It's way too much work for me to box them up, make sure they are in season, find time to haul them over when we both work every day, etc. Forget it. I usually just toss them out now.It's much easier to haul to the roadside and let my garbage service pick them up.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Autumn Swirl Cookies

Or as the author named them, "Party Cookies".

I renamed mine since I did them in fall colors.

The recipe is from the book, Carrot Cake Murder, by Joanne Fluke.

I am a big fan of the culinary mystery genre.

Since my job revolves around catering and I like to cook, I can relate to all the food/catering references. Most culinary mysteries also print the recipes they write about and I often make a recipe or two from the novels I read. I think it adds to my overall enjoyment of the book.

The first cookie I decided to bake is a very rich butter cookie.

You make the buttery dough and then divide it into 4 blobs. (I think "blobs" is more descriptive than the term "sections", so I shall continue to use "blobs" throughout my descriptions of these dough bundles.)

You toss one blob at a time back into the mixer to add the food color.

As it turned out, I could have only made two blobs because I decided to only use two colors--orange and brown.
I used these Wilton colors, which I was very happy with. The colors held up well in the baking process and produced nice vividly-hued cookies.
Each blob is divided into 8 smaller blobs.
Then rolled into long ropes.

The ropes are then stacked in fours, alternating colors. The end will look like this: You then roll it up in waxed paper, patting it a bit to even it out, so it's almost the same size all the way down. Then it needs to chill. I stuck mine in the freezer for about 30 minutes because I wanted to get them done last night. The last batches had been in the freezer for about an hour and, I think, those were the best.
When removed from the freezer, the log was nice and firm and I cut it into sections.
Each cookie was dipped into sugar on both sides. I sprayed the cookie sheet for the first batch only. On my next four trays I only put 12 cookies to a sheet. They really spread out!

Here they are all packed in a tin. I think the recipe made a little over 4 dozen.
I thought these cookies were very good. On my first batch I cooked them 11 minutes. It was not enough. I added minutes on each batch. I ended up cooking them about 15 minutes and I liked those best. The cookie was nice and crisp on the outside with a softer buttery interior.

If you click the recipe, it will get larger.

The heroine of this book runs a bakery. The book has a number of recipes that sound good. On her website, the author publishes recipes from her books that you can print out. The one she has now is for Red Velvet Cookies, which were also in this novel. I plan to try them next.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This Magazine is a Bargain--so Why Did I Throw it in the Garbage?

Traditional Home. I used to get this magazine. Today I got an offer that I almost could not refuse.
Three years for the price of one! But how much is it? I grabbed three papers before I caught a glimpse of a price-- $14.97................but wait............look postage/handling.
So how much is the P/H? I had to spend more time rummaging through the pile until I finally found the paper with the real price - PLUS $5.00. Notice that no place does it actually say $19.97.

They like to play the little game of trying to make the consumer think it's less than it really is.


I think $19.97 is a great price. Had they stated that to begin with, I would have subscribed because I am a sucker for a good mag price.

But now I had to toss the whole thing in the garbage.

It's the principle. I simply refuse to buy a magazine that tries to hide its real price. If everyone would do that, they would stop that irritating practice.

I got the same offer from another magazine last week and I took that one. It was $19.99, but it stated the full price up front. No games.

I like that.

Jean,if you are out there, do these leaves look like your hollyhocks?

Update: Jean never sent me hollyhock seeds! She sent me foxglove seeds. That's why these leaves look different than the hollyhock leaves I googled!
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