Friday, December 28, 2007

I'm looking for...

A quad-ruled, 5-subject spiral notebook. Has anyone ever seen one?

I use a 1-subject, quad-ruled spiral notebook for my garden journal. But lately a lot of non-garden related items have made it into my notebook, and I don't like it. For example, page 1 is garden related, but pages 3-10 are Fall 2007 fashion ideas. Then there are home ideas and Christmas lists, and a "note-to-self" that I am way too short to wear ankle boots with a pencil skirt. The problem with having everything in one notebook is that I can never find the tid-bit of info that I need. (Now, where did I put that recipe for natural hardwood floor cleaner... or which handbag did I decide I liked best... or where is my list of heirloom seeds for spring planting?) I'd love to have a 5-subject notebook with sections for Garden, Home, Finance, Fashion, and Web Design. Now that I have this photoshop program I've got to have a place to write down all the things I learn about how to work it. One of my resolutions for 2008 is to get my finances in order, and I certainly can't do that unless I have a notebook to write it all down in, right?! At the rate I misplace just this one notebook, it wouldn't make sense for me to have five of them. I know exactly what would happen if I had five. I'd come up with an excellent idea, go looking high-and-low for the correct but misplaced notebook, then when I couldn't find it anywhere, resign to putting my great idea in the WRONG notebook. Devastating.

During my vacation I plan to get organized. For me, getting organized means starting with a fresh notebook to capture all my ideas.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. My husband and I sure did. I didn't get much time off, but I'll be off Monday and Tuesday and I can't wait. I have some garden projects planned. The weather is supposed to be nice on Monday - sunny and 62F - so I'll be able to get outside and do some gardening.

My blog readers are lucky because one of my Christmas gifts was Photoshop CS2! Soon A Shower Fresh Garden will be getting a makeover. I've grown very tired of this color scheme and I want a better page header. I hope I can come up with something good during my vacation.

Have a safe and happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Cookies

And here are the rest of my Christmas cookie photos. I baked on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. There are Angel Thumbprint cookies, White Chocolate Dipped Oatmeal Cranberry cookies, and Coconut Macroons. They are all divine. I didn't get around to baking the Red Velvet Cake. Maybe next year.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Story of Stuff

Emma at posted a link to this video and I thought I'd pass it on. It really hit home here at Christmastime when we are buying gifts for our friends and family. I learned a lot and so will you...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Turkey Meatloaf

I've been looking for a good meatloaf recipe for ages. I've tried a ton of them, but I never found one I liked enough to make again. I ran across a Turkey Meatloaf recipe on recently and decided to give it a whirl. The ingredients sounded delicious, and I am always looking for ways to make old-standby recipes healthier.

This recipe is a hit. It was not at all greasy like a beef meatloaf. This meatloaf is very moist and flavorful. The mushrooms are fantastic. I really didn't miss the beef at all. I even think meatloaf might be better with ground turkey.

Turkey Meatloaf
Gourmet, January 2003

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/8-inch dice
3/4 lb cremini mushrooms, trimmed and very finely chopped in a food processor
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ketchup
1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs (from 2 slices firm white sandwich bread)
1/3 cup 1% milk1 whole large egg, lightly beaten1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 1/4 lb ground turkey (mix of dark and light meat)

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Cook onion and garlic in oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened, about 2 minutes. Add carrot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and they are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and 3 tablespoons ketchup, then transfer vegetables to a large bowl and cool.
Stir together bread crumbs and milk in a small bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in egg and egg white, then add to vegetables. Add turkey and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to vegetable mixture and mix well with your hands. (Mixture will be very moist.)
Form into a 9- by 5-inch oval loaf in a lightly oiled 13- by 9- by 2-inch metal baking pan and brush meatloaf evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup. Bake in middle of oven until thermometer inserted into meatloaf registers 170°F, 50 to 55 minutes.
Let meatloaf stand 5 minutes before serving.

Christmas Baking

The Christmas baking frenzy has begun!! I'm baking this week. Three batches of cookies and a red velvet bundt cake. Am I crazy? Probably, but I loooove Christmas baking. I am giving most of the cookies away as gifts for my co-workers and friends. The bundt cake is for my family Christmas celebration on Sunday night. Here's the breakdown:

Tonight - Angel Thumbprint cookies. I love these! I made them last year for my family for Valentine's Day. Yum! This recipe is from the Macrina cookbook.

Tuesday - White Chocolate Dipped Oatmeal Cranberry cookies. Enough said. This recipe is from Southern Living.

Thursday - Coconut Macroons. This recipe is also from Southern Living.

Friday - Red Velvet Pound Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. A Paula Deen recipe. It sounds sinful and probably is. My grandmother gave me a bundt pan for Christmas a few years ago, so I really wanted to bring a bundt cake to Christmas dinner. This recipe looked good, and I thought the red color would be festive.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba Tree
Madison Avenue
Oxford, Mississippi

I grabbed a shot of my favorite tree last month just as it was turning its electric shade of yellow. I wish I had been around a week later. This tree just shines from within with a golden shimmer.

The ginkgo biloba species has thrived on planet Earth for around 270 million years. Ginkgos have become known as symbols of longevity, memory, and hope -- all for good reason. The oldest standing ginkgos are in China and Japan where some are said to be over 2,500 years old. Extract from the ginkgo leaves is thought to be a memory enhancer and an antioxidant. Ginkgo trees are hardy and resilient, resistant to disease, pollution, and fire. So hardy in fact, that four Ginkgo bilboa trees survived the atomic bomb blast on Hiroshima in 1945. These four trees are still thriving today. If you have room for one of these massive trees (they can reach heights exceeding 100 ft) Ginkgo bilobas are great choices for any garden.