Sunday, August 26, 2007


I've been cooking quite a few dishes from the blog Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. We're not vegans, but I try to cook meatless meals every once in a while. I found the blog while I was looking for a good way to use patty pan squash I had gotten at the farmers' market in Jackson, Mississippi. Turns out the blog author, Susan, is from Jackson! I made her Patty Pan Squash Stuffed with Cajun White Beans and it was fabulous. She probably got her patty pan squash from the same farmer at the market. Anyway, last night I tried her Eggplant and Tofu in Spicy Garlic Sauce, and it is another winner! Both of these meals were so flavorful that we didn't even miss the meat. I served the eggplant dish over brown basmati rice with a side of sauteed zucchini and onions.

I think the key to cooking tofu is to get it crispy and brown on the outside so it has some chewy texture to it and it doesn't feel like mush in your mouth. When I worked at Ruby Chinese in Oxford, Mr. Phat made the BEST deep fried tofu. I don't deep fry it at home, but I try to get that same crispy exterior by baking it in a hot oven or sauteeing it in a hot n0n-stick pan.

This week I plan to make another meal from the Fat Free Vegan's recipe box: Eight-Ball Zucchini Stuffed with Rice, Basil, and Sun-dried Tomatoes. I only have regular zucchinis, not the eight-ball kind so I'll have to make some adjustments. This recipe caught my eye because Chip loves sun-dried tomatoes.

Chip has eaten every bite of these dishes because they are really that good. Do yourself a favor and rediscover veggie cooking!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Spiders on My Front Porch

In early-July a very large spider showed up on my front porch, making a big, bad web in one of the corners. We didn't notice it at first. Then one afternoon while Chip and I were enjoying a glass of wine on the front porch, I saw it. There it was perched just a few feet above Chip's chair. I freaked out, of course. Chip was kinda grossed out, too, because the darn thing was just so big.

I read about it at Dave's Garden, found out that it was a black-and-yellow argiope, that wasn't poisonous, and that it was probably a female. We decided to leave her there and leave her alone.

A few weeks later, I was sweeping off the porch and cleaning up the patio furniture when I saw that she had shed her outer skin! Yuck!! I must have jumped a mile when I saw that skin blowing in the wind on my front porch.

Then, just last week ANOTHER black-and-yellow argiope, a little smaller than the first, showed up and made a web right outside my office window. I read that this smaller one was probably a male.

Once again, we decided to leave him alone because he wasn't hurting anything by being there.

After a few days, Chip and I started to change our minds about these two. Anyone who walked up on to the front porch could easily see our spider collection, and we were beginning to feel a little like the Addams Family. Neither of us said that we thought the spiders should die, but neither of us really liked where they were. Sunday Chip went outside to turn off the sprinkler in the front yard. He got a little carried away with the water hose, and in a matter of minutes the spiders were sprayed from their webs and smooshed.

Had they been on the side of the house or somewhere a little less noticable, I'm sure these spiders would still be alive. I'm not the kind of person who will catch a bug in the house and then go let it out outside. Nope. If the bug is in my house it deserves to die. Inside is my realm. But outside is their realm. Outside we should be able to co-exist. I feel bad that the spiders got smooshed, but I certainly feel a lot less anxious about going on to the porch now.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Semi Circle Bed - Tomatoes

My tomatoes are almost ready to pick! I just have one little plant. I was experimenting, really, because I'd never tried to grow a mater bush. Looking good! Can't wait to try more next year in a raised bed!

On July 28th:

On August 2nd:

Semi Circle Bed - Sunflowers

In May I started some sunflowers from seed. They've been blooming all over the place! I took some photos over the past week of the sunflowers, zinnias, and cosmos in the semi circle bed. And of the tomatoes in that bed.

On July 28th:

On August 2nd: