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Eclecticisms: May 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tickled Tuesday

I know, I know... once I post this it will no longer be Tuesday. Having Monday (Memorial Day) off really threw my clock off. I tried using June train tickets twice today, and thought it was Monday pretty much until now. It still feels like a Monday, but that's a good thing, right? Short work weeks= yay!

Here's a great video I ran across a couple of years ago (the first of many in a series) that will make you laugh and teach you about Photoshop techniques at the same time. Check them all out for some fun lessons!



Monday, May 30, 2011

Lentil Soup

The original plan last week was to make cookies, but I heard my G-ma had a bad cold so that plan quickly turned into making lentil soup. I wanted to surprise her with something that would be good for her, plus she obviously wasn't feeling up to making any meals. And really... who doesn't love homemade food brought to their door?

It took me quite awhile to find a recipe that seemed perfect for what I had imagined making. This Alton Brown recipe looked fantastic, and it really was. The Cardamom, cumin and coriander were the absolute perfect compliment to the lentil and veggie flavors. This soup is great when you're feeling sick or on a cold or rainy day. (Or make it in May when you just want to eat soup apparently, since I ate a big bowl of it as soon as it was done!) As well as it turned out,I think it's time to try out some more of Alton Brown's recipes!


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 teaspoons salt 
1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed
1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes 
2 quarts vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground toasted cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground grains of paradise (I substituted cardamom)

Wash and chop up all of your veggies. Add olive oil to a 6 qt
Dutch oven (large pot) and set over medium heat. Once warm, add the onion, carrot, celery and salt, and cook for about 7 minutes, or until the onions begin to appear translucent.

While the veggies are cooking, you can get your tomatoes ready. I'd never peeled a tomato before, so I looked up some tips online and it's surprisingly easier than I expected, though it does require boiling some water. Remove the stem and cut shallow "x" marks in the bottom of the tomato. Using a utensil (I used a fork), dunk the tomato in a small pot of boiling water for a few seconds and then run it under cold water, to stop it from cooking.

Once those steps are complete, it's REALLY easy to peel the skin away. New technique learned... yay!

Next, add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, coriander, cumin and cardamom. Stir well, and cook over high heat until it comes to a slight boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover, cooking for approximately 45 minutes.

Once the soup is ready, take about 2 Cups of it and puree in a food processor to your liking. This will help the soup's consistency. The original recipe calls to use a skick blender in the pot, but I don't have one, and pureeing only some of it worked just fine.

Serve and enjoy!

Happy eating!

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Scrumptious Saturday

Summertime means BBQs, which means left over grilled potatoes for breakfast! I love breakfast food for dinner, and this is a fast and really delicious meal  you can whip up in about 15 minutes. I ate this the other day, and man, was it good.

I cut up the potatoes, sprinkled them with onion powder and sauteed them in some butter until they browned.

Then, I sauteed some fresh spinach (which cooks in about 2 minutes), cracked a couple of eggs into a small pans, added the spinach, some cut up tomatoes and some feta cheese, then mixed it up with a spatula for an awesome scrambler.

Man, was this good. If only I'd had some kalamata olives!

Left overs + fresh veggies= Dinner time!


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Featured Ingredient: Rhubarb!

Rhubarb in my garden
Rhubarb is one of the first plants that springs up in my yard each year which makes me excited for several reasons. To begin, the rhubarb I have was Marge's and has been growing there for years, so I think of her each time I finally see it sprouting up. Secondly, it's a sure sign spring has arrived/is arriving/came and left but will return again soon (it's hard to tell for sure in Chicago). Lastly, rhubarb means I can finally get back to walking out to my garden for ingredients! (I also grew up on my Grandma's strawberry rhubarb pies, so I've loved this stuff for a long time.)

Check out these other rhubarb recipes I've tried:

Strawberry-rhubarb pie
Strawberry Rhubarb crumb bars
Rhubarb Cobbler

"What's so great about rhubarb?", you ask? Pft. Where do I start?

Rhubarb is a large and leafy plant with tart, edible stalks. The flavor gives a wonderful balance to strawberry or cherry desserts and has a consistancy similar to that of celery. One cup holds only 26 calories, but has 2 g fiber, 10% DV calcium and 16% DV Vitamin C. You can do worse with dessert ingredients in those fields, am I right? (Hint: I'm always right! haha)

*Don't forget that the leaves are poisonous, so make sure you're only eating the stalk of the plant.*
*Unless you are a member of Steely Dan. Then eat the leaves.*

I kid, I kid!

Today's recipe is an extremely easy and fast way to dress up some vanilla ice cream, frozen yogurt or a great dairy-free vanilla "ice cream". You can experiment by mixing it up by using other berries, too. Because this taste a lot like pie filling (yum) I plan to try this with blueberries and peaches at some point. The strawberry rhubarb mixture was amazingly delicious though, so I'm definitely doing that one again this summer! I plan to try a more innovative recipe with the rhubarb soon, such as a chutney, but wanted to get started using it now.

This recipe came from the Martha Stewart site.

(Everything I used was organic. Yum!)

Frozen Yogurt or Icecream
1 lb strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 Cups rhubarb (2 stalks) cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup water

Hull and quarter strawberries, and cut rhubarb into 1/2" pieces.

Put all ingredients (except the ice cream, of course!) into a large sauce pan and set on high heat.

Once the water starts to simmer, continue cooking on high heat for 8 minutes, or until the rhubarb begins to break down, stirring occasionally.

Let cool and then refrigerate for at least one hour. The longer you wait, the thicker this topping will get. I debated using cornstarch as an emulsifier since it seemed a bit watery, but I definitely didn't need to, so I'm glad I opted against it! (The good old, "Should I try to fix it just in case something goes wrong?" conundrum.)

Serve over ice cream and enjoy! This is a PERFECT summer dessert treat.

Happy Eating!

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chicago Commuting, or, How I'm Learning to Save My Sanity

"When we get too caught up in the business of the world, we lose connection with one another- and ourselves."

-Jack Kornfield
Psychologist and Meditation Teacher

It's so hard to find ways to slow down without falling behind. I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed lately, and I've found my stress level peaking while commuting to work. My commute is just over an hour each way, which really isn't bad, but it adds up. The rat race gets to you after awhile.

I leave my house before 7, and walk to the Metra. I catch that to the Loop (Downtown Chicago), arriving around 7:35ish. That part of my commute is fine. Relaxing even (sometimes). It's once I join the thousands of people fighting their way through downtown when I really start to feel overwhelmed. It's every man for himself, no agreed upon rules of the road, no promises you won't want to have a good cry once you reach your destination. Tell them you have something in your eye.

Am I exaggerating? How bad can it be?

Once I get downtown, my normal walk to the CTA train I take next wasn't bad, but thanks to construction, my route has been blocked since Jan 1 and I have to walk a couple extra blocks. This wouldn't be a big deal, but those couple of blocks are MUCH busier and crowded (plus they now have all the other walkers on the detour) and full of angry people. Damn are they angry. Well, some of them. Here's the types I see most often.

1. The Business Man- Possibly my most loathed, perhaps because I have some outdated, sexist ideal that they should be courteous. (I'm not giving up on this ideal, by the way.) Many of these men refuse to move for you, no matter what the situation. They'll push past you in their ill-fitting suits and smelly loafers. I'm sorry, but I don't care if Jane in copyrighting turned you down, or if you didn't get that bigger fancy office you wanted that would have surely made up for your lacking man parts. I once passed one of these guys up, who'd been walking quite slow, and apparently he was annoyed that so many people were going around him. He proceeded to speed up and for half a block STEP ON the backs of my feet. I finally turned around and asked if he seriously felt the need to do that. His reply? He stepped on my foot again.

Who ARE these people?!

2. The Fashionista- These types come in all ages, shapes and styles. Their main goals in life (M-F, anyways) seem to be wearing the most uncomfortable, skin tight, ill fitting, blister forming clothing and shoes possible. This would be their business, only their inability to walk in said shoes is the highway equivalent to a car with a flat tire. Buy some flats. (Pun not intended.) These women are also often wearing enough perfume to kill a cat, which hurts my stomach and sets my allergies off. It's probably the reason these kinds made the no.2 slot.

3. Diagonal Walkers- "We walk diagonally with no mind to the people around us, with the occasional, unnecessary, veer in the opposite direction, just to throw you off and, if we're lucky, slam into you!", they seem to say. Are these people on medications with diagonal-walking and lack of balance as horrible side effects? If so, they need off them, fast.

4. The Retaliators- They're out for vengeance. These folks were bumped into or yelled at recently, and are going to take out their aggression on YOU. Well, you and everyone else they pass. Retaliators can be identified by an angry scowl and insistence upon walking into the paths of others, and then side-body slamming them as they pass. Not a fun lot, let me tell you.

5. The Tourist- I run into these most often on my way home, as they're snuggled up in their hotel beds at 7:30 AM, the lucky bastards. The tourists are more of a nuisance than anything else, but make the list to close it out, none the less.

There's more types. Plenty of them, actually. I'll probably think of 10 others as soon as I post this, but I think that's a fairly complete list and helps you get the idea.

Once I make it alive to the CTA, I take a second train, two stops to work.

My point? I did have one, believe it or not, though it felt damn good to rant. I've been trying extremely hard to find ways to stay positive on my commute. I don't want to be angry at the world when I'm on my way home. Overall, I've focused a lot on bringing positive energy into my life and it's worked. It's just this damn commute I can't seem to shake. I figure the more aware of it I am and the more I work on it, the less likely I am to become one of these people. That being said, I've had a couple traits of "The Retaliator" when trying to make it up the stairs at the train.

Anyone want to become my chauffeur?

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tickled Tuesday

My brother recently started making my dog "talk" using a voice that I thought made him sound stupid. I've been yelling at him to stop (which he finally did), and he sent me this link to show me where he got the idea.


Happy Tuesday!


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cranberry, Mango and Blueberry Muffins

I'm a firm believer that one of the perfect snacky/breakfast foods is a muffin. (OK, when it comes to breakfast, a feta, black olive, tomato and spinach scrambler might beat that!) Lucky for me (you, too!) they/re generally pretty easy to whip up and are very versatile. Throw on some streusel topping, add some berries, mix in some nuts; muffins will work them. Think RuPaul, "Work it girl" kind of work them.

A few weeks ago, I ran across a blueberry, cranberry and mango dried fruit trio at Trader Joe's. Many people would think, "Score! Great snack food!", but I thought, "Score! Muffins!". After weeks of procrastinating looking for a recipe, I found a streusel one that looked so good that I just had to try it. I'm so glad I did! These babies are moist and tasty, and my only regret is that I didn't double the recipe. 12 muffins are great, but when you share, 24 is even better.

I used a very slight variation of this recipe.


2 Tbs quick-cooking oats
1 Tbs flour
2 Tbs brown sugar
1/4 tsp gound cinnamon
2 tsp coconut oil
2 tsp water

3/4 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup milk
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 Cup dried fruit mix
1 1/3 Cups flour
2 tsp baking powder

Pre-heat your oven to 350° and line your muffin tin with paper liners.

In a small bowl, mix together all topping ingredients. Mix with  a fork until thoroughly combined. I used coconut oil which solidifies unless it's kept in a warm spot, and didn't think to warm it first. My solution was to just leave the bowl on the oven while I made the muffins, which ended up working out fine.

In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, milk, oil, egg and vanilla. Once this is all combined, add the fruit. Almost exclusively, I've seen recipes call for adding fruit, nuts, or chocolate chips last. However, the more you beat flour, the tougher your baked item will be as gluten will start to form, so I gave this method a whirl. Apparently, it works just fine.

In a seperate bowl, mix the flour and baking powder.  Gradually add it to the fruit mixture and beat on low until just combined. Divide mixture evenly between muffin cups (about 3/4 full) and top with the streusel.

Bake for 28 minutes at 350°. Allow to cool before enjoying!

Happy eating!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Crazy for treats!

Each morning before I leave for work, I give my dog a treat of some sort. It started when it was just he and I in my apartment, because he was alone so much. I felt so bad for the poor guy that I figured it would make me leaving less of a bad thing for him. It became a habit and I can't deny him of his M-F morning treat now.

My "go to" treat for him is Busy Bones, because he can eat them (he can't eat rawhide), he likes them and they affordable. I get the minis for him usually, but when I saw this huge one at the store tonight I couldn't help but get it for him. He's still eating it as I write this (and chasing the cats away when they get near him... he gets so protective of his treats!) and I snapped a few pictures, one of which I HAVE to share. I turned the flash on because they were coming out blurry, knowing his gorgeous blue eyes would look red. I had no idea I would end up with a photo like this.

Tell me this isn't THE best picture. Ever.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Interview: The Type A Housewife

I'm lucky to say that I got to know Kiersten, AKA “The Type A Housewife” through blogging a few months ago, and we've been corresponding via e-mail ever since. We don't live close, but she's originally from a suburb of Chicago so we do have that in common, along with our love of blogging, vegetarian food and crafty stuff. She's a pretty awesome gal, even if she doesn't like feta cheese. (Blasphemy!)

One thing I love about Kiersten is that she knows a lot about the best blog practices and how to implement them. Because she has such a great blog and has been so helpful to me, I asked if she would do a quick interview and she agreed! Go check out her blog at, take a peek around, and enter some of her great giveaways!

When did you start blogging? Why?

I started blogging in January, but I wanted to start for a long time before that. I was certain that no one would want to read what I had to say, so that was my big excuse not to do it--fear of failure, I guess. As to why I wanted to blog, well, I've always liked to write and I saw all these amazing blogs out there about cooking, crafts, shopping, and other domestic things and I thought, "Hey, I want to do that!"

What is one of your favorite blogs that you've written? Do you have a favorite topic?

If I had to choose one favorite post, it would be Are we even reading each other's blogs anymore?. The favorite topic is a bit trickier because I love everything I write about, otherwise I wouldn't do it! If you force me to choose, I suppose I'd say the recipe posts. I make up a lot of my own recipes and it's really gratifying to have someone email or tweet to say they tried something I came up with and loved it.

You have a great following on blogger, and get lots of non-giveaway comments! What's your "secret"?

It's really a combination of a lot of things. I think a lot of people start a blog and sit back and wait for people to come to them. That's not how it works! You have to put yourself out there, otherwise no one will know you exist. I've worked really hard at networking. A lot of bloggers are under the mistaken impression that this means hopping from blog to blog, leaving "I'm following you, now follow me!" type comments. No! For me, networking is finding blogs I love and really actually for real following them, helping other bloggers when they need it, leaving substantive comments, etc.

I think my other secret is to write often and write things that people connect with. Before I start writing a post, I ask myself, "Would I read this if it were on someone else's blog?" I never post anything that I wouldn't read myself. Maybe that sounds really obvious, but believe me, I see a lot of posts out there that probably wouldn't exist if the blogger in question had asked herself this before posting!

What are your top three tips for someone trying to expand their blog? Do you have any favorite instructional sites?

I guess I sort of addressed one of the tips I'd give--network! There are many different ways to network (right now I'm really loving Stumble Upon), so find one that works for you. Try to really build connections with other bloggers. The friendships I've made and help I've gotten from other bloggers have been invaluable. And always respond to comments! That's an important part of networking and cultivating a loyal following. Remember that on Blogger, people probably aren't going to come back to check to see if you replied to them, so it's best to do it via email.

My second tip is to connect with readers in as many ways as possible. I get traffic from my email RSS feed, my regular RSS feed, Twitter, and Facebook. People have different ways that they like to subscribe to blogs so give your readers as many options as you can.

Finally, if you want to expand your blog, I think you need to post regularly. I subscribe to all of my favorite blogs through email or on Google Reader. If several weeks go by without a post, I'll delete a blog from my reader. I'm not alone in this. If people visit your blog and there's never anything new, they're going to stop visiting eventually.

...and if I can throw in a few other quick tips: make your blog attractive! It should look contemporary, not outdated. Your design should tell your readers who you are before they even read a word. And your blog should be easy to navigate too. The best websites are uncluttered websites. Look at every single thing you have on your blog and ask if it's really something that people are using. If you're serious about growing, monitor your Alexa ranking and compare it to other blogs that write on similar topics.

A lot of bloggers swear by Pro Blogger, but I don't think it's suited to the type of blogging I do. I know I'm not going to make a fortune off of my blog, so selling ebooks and such just seems ridiculous to me. Once in a while, I'll find posts that pertain to The Type A Housewife, but for the most part, I skip it. I recently discovered Will Work 4 Followers and I like it because the blogger who writes it has an outlook on blogging that's similar to my own--I want to grow a real readership, so things like SEO are secondary to me. This is kind of a controversial stance to take in the blogging world, so it's awesome to see such a well-known blogger take it.

More about Kiersten!

I'm originally from the Chicago area, moved to Wisconsin for school, and now I'm about to move to the Raleigh area with my husband and our four cats. I have a master's degree in Information Science and I work doing search engine evaluation. And I work from home! Which is awesome!

What's your favorite color, music and hobby?

I don't have a favorite color--I like them all except purple. But even purple is okay sometimes. I like a wide range of music, but my favorite band is Pavement. And the hobby, well, I guess that would be cooking or gardening.

How many states have you lived in?

Two, but soon three...

What's one fun fact or surprising thing about you that most people don't know?

I'm obsessed with Japanese Kit Kats. I've tried 67 different flavors (and counting!), including cheese, vegetable juice, miso, and buttered corn. Yes, I have issues.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Vegetarian "Chicken" Noodle Casserole

The weather has turned cooler over the past few days, so making a casserole in mid-May didn't seem all that out of place, really. I've really been enjoying veggie-chicken lately, and had been trying to come up with a recipe that I could use it in, other than my usual (albeit delicious) sandwich. (Grilled on rye, with swiss, tomato and lettuce!)

After deciding on a casserole as the dish to try and checking out several recipes, I ended up making my own concoction up. I love making casseroles because they're the perfect combo of baking and cooking, and are usually pretty easy to prepare with room for experimenting and substitutions. They're also great to serve to guests! The possibilities are limitless with what you can try really, but here's what I came up with.


11 oz. condensed cream of portabello soup
1/2 Cup milk
2 Tbs butter
2 cups vegetarian "chicken"
2 Cups broccoli, steamed
2 medium portabello mushroom caps
1 Cup shitake mushrooms
1 bag/ 16 oz. farfalle noodles (or less, I used about 14 oz)
3/4 Cup parmesan
Black Pepper to taste, if desired

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Begin by steaming your broccoli and and sauteeing your mushrooms in the butter. While these cook, you can boil your noodles until soft or al dente, however you prefer them. Because the ingredients are all going into a casserole, you don't have to worry too much about timing. If something cooks fast and gets cold, you're going to be baking it anyways.

While the veggies and noodles are cooking, mix together the soup, milk and "chicken" in a 1 1/2 qt casserole dish. (If the noodles are done early, make sure you add a little butter or oil to them and stir well, so they don't begin to stick together!)

After the mushrooms are cooked, stir them into the casserole. I cut up the broccoli after it was cooked so I wouldn't lose much of it since it falls apart so easily when you steam it, but it really doesn't matter when you chop it up. Mix in the broccoli and, finally, the noodles.

Now, mix in the freshly grated parmesan cheese. You can save a bit of it to sprinkle on the top as well. (Or just use it all and grate up a little more cheese... why not, right?)

Bake the casserole at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve when ready!

This is a delicious, easy and affordable dish. Feel free to substitute regular cream of mushroom soup or a different veggie. I love the broccoli in this, but I would think spinach might work well, too.

Happy eating!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tickled Tuesday

One of my favorite things to watch is Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K), and there is plenty of it on Netflix streaming to keep my itch for a laugh satisfied. Here is a short they played before one of the movies that I thought was hilarious! "One of my classmates died in the kiln today, mother!"

Happy Tuesday!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Garden Feature: Marigolds!

Marigolds... what's not to love about them? They smell great, look great, keep away pests such as aphids and you can use their dried seeds as a great exfoliant in soap!

Marigolds are a perennial as they re-seed themselves, and come in a variety of beautiful oranges and yellows, sometimes with white or maroon highlighting. They're easy to grow here in Chicago, and in many other areas. When planting, check your zone for what plants will thrive best.

Although I'll have some come back from last year, I planted Lulu and Antigua Orange marigolds this weekend. I always surround my birdbath with them, since they're so hearty and fill out the space well.

Everything was a bit over grown here, but here are my marigolds from a couple of years ago.
Marigolds are easy to grow from seed, and I use a combination of store bought and seedlings from my Mom. Here are the ones I put in already!

The larger flowers you see are the Lulu variety, and have lemon scented leaves!

When pulling out the old lilac bush near the marigolds last spring, my Mom found this stone that had been long covered up by dirt and grass. Marge made it in 1956 (obviously). I'm not sure how many years it's been hidden, but I'm so, so glad she found it.

Once the rosebush blooms I will be posting pictures. I wish I had some from last summer, because it was honestly had the most beautiful blooms I'd ever seen. It was LOADED with flowers, and even my neighbors couldn't help but to stop and enjoy it. This year I have pansises and violas at its base, right next to the marigolds.

After I get the rest of my plants in, I'll put some sort of edging in to keep the weeds and grass out, and to just make it look cleaner and sharper. Can I reiterate how impatient I am for everything to grow? Well, I am!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Metra Train Fun

I just got a great laugh, and wanted to share. A few minutes ago, a business man, suit and all, walked down the aisle of the train, softly singing to himself... "Scoobie Doobie Doobie, where are you....".

It's people like that, that keep life interesting!


Time to Plant!

I didn't get to putting in any plants last weekend, but since Mother's Day came and went, it was time to get some plants in the ground! I spent Monday night preparing my garden by ripping out renegade grass, tearing out weeds and making sure the soil was ready to go by loosening it up with some garden tools. Today I got some plants in, though I still have a few left that I hope to get to tomorrow.


As I've mentioned before, my parents use my yard for a most of their vegetable gardening, so I don't want to take false credit here. (As much as I'd love to!) My Dad got tomatoes in, and the veggie patch is full of seeds! Marge's rhubarb came in already, and I hope it continues to come back until well after I'm gone. It always reminds me of her when I was a kid, healthy, baking and ALWAYS in high heels.

The roots of day lillies I ripped up. All those bulbs... I guess it makes sense that they come back sporadically year after year, after being ripped up. The bulbs are EVERYWHERE!

When I moved in, Marge had two areas in the back yard filled with these day lillies, as well as along the house. I pulled them out of one area to make my herb garden a couple summers ago, but couldn't bring myself to remove them all since they'd been hers. (Not that she cared for them all that much, as far as I know.) In total, I've spent the last 3 summers trying to get rid of them gradually, and let me tell you, it isn't easy. They're like weeds!

Here they are a couple of summers ago. See Bo in the window?

My neighbors were ripping out a peony bush last weekend and offered it to me, so we transplanted it where I had just ripped out about 400,000 of those day lillies. OK, that's obviously an exaggeration. It sure feels like that many though. The peony bush seems to be doing quite well! The neighbors that gave it to me were close with Marge, so it's a special hand me down. As my G-ma would say, the best plants in your garden are ones you inherited from the gardens of friends.

We also relocated a couple of hosta plants that were in front, but have been replaced by a gorgeous service berry bush. I'll share pictures of it after I get to gardening in the front. (So many flowers came back this year out there... I'm "super jazzed"!)

Relocated hostas and peony bush. This is where I just ripped out many, many pounds of day lillies. The ones in the front of this pic got ripped out shortly after I took this.

My Mom and Dad put in a new lilac tree to replace the one that was VERY old and had stopped blooming, and it really rounds out the yard. As much as I love that a blooming lilac bush means it's springtime, I wish they bloomed all year.

One of my favorite parts of summer are the fresh herbs in my garden! I still have lemon thyme and rosemary to plant in pots (you can move them inside in the winter) but I need to go get the soil for that.

Oregano; The back plant came back from last year.
Chamomile... tea time!
Lemon balm that came back. It smells sooo good!
These stupid day lillies grow under the fence, so it's really hard o get them. I pull some out through out the summer each year as they grow. Ugh.
My FAVORITE, lavender! I have three kinds.
Here are the two lavender plants that came back.
I also got my hanging planters set up with vinca maculata (the vine), lobelia and impatients.

There's still so much work to be done, but a gardeners job is never done. I'm looking forward to trying new recipes this summer, and making saches with dried herbs. Once those tomatoes and cilantro are ready, it's time for some pico de gallo!

What do you grow in your gardens?

Happy gardening!