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Archive for March, 2011

Well, spring has finally sprung around here and that means it is gardening season!!! YAY!  As some of you know, I have one raised garden bed in the backyard already and I hope to build another this year.  Here is a shot of last year’s garden at the end of May:

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I have already purchased quite a bit of the seeds that I will need so there will just be a few things that I will pick up later, like sweet pepper plants and a few herbs.  This year, the seeds came from R.H. Shumway’s because Nanny wanted some tomato seeds that only they carried, so I ordered mine from there, too.

Hopefully in just the next couple of weeks I will get the lettuce and carrot seeds in the ground, then around the first of May, the remaining “crops” will be planted.  Here are the lettuce and carrot varieties that I am trying this year:

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I also ordered the cucumber seeds and a package of sunflower seeds as well.

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My father-in-law raises bees and he went to the “bee store” for supplies a couple of weeks ago and brought me these:

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I think I am going to make a small bed around the corner of the fence in the backyard and make that a  “bee garden”.  Hopefully these seeds, along with my sunflower seeds, will draw in bees and birds alike.  I can’t wait to get started!  Happy gardening!

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Wordless Wednesday

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Menu Plan Monday

Another week has flown by and it is Monday all over again.  It is also back to cooler temperatures after a few beautiful, warm days so this week is chili/soup week one more time.  Easter is so late this year, we may have a few more chili/soup days before it stays warm for good.

Saturday is C’s birthday (love you!), so this week’s dessert is just for him!  I also have to venture to the big grocery store this week, so one evening will be used for that. Oh, joy!!!

Chili

Grilled pork chops & roasted potatoes (I didn’t make this last week as planned because I had a night of leftovers.  Yay!!)

Beef vegetable soup with cornbread

Pizza Night

Steak/Seafood Night

Beef Roast Italiano (new)

Oreo Pie

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Basic Meatloaf

Meatloaf is one of those foods that you either love or hate.  I used to hate it but now I love it!!  C still hates it and will not touch it with a 10 foot pole, so when I make this, it gets taken to a family dinner.  I had searched for a good, easy meatloaf recipe that resulted in a firm, dry loaf because I did not want it to be too wet and sticky. 

This quick and easy recipe is perfect!  It was given to me by my co-worker, K, who is a great cook.  If you like a dense, solid meatloaf that has just the right amount of moisture in it, try this one.  I think you will love it. 

P.S.  It also makes great leftover sandwiches.  You just can’t beat two pieces of white bread with a warm slice of meatloaf in between them.  Yummy!

1 lb ground beef

8 oz can tomato sauce

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2/3 cup crushed saltine crackers

salt & pepper to taste

1/4 cup ketchup

1 tbsp brown sugar

pepper to taste

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Please ignore the sleeping dog in the above photo!!  Ha, ha!  Ellie has such a hard life!  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet.  Since I didn’t want the meatloaf to sit in the juices while it was cooking, here is what I did.  Put a piece of foil on a baking sheet to catch the drips.  Take a baking rack that is smaller than the sheet pan and cover it with foil.  Punch a bunch of holes in the foil on the rack to allow the juices to drain.  This results in a slightly drier meatloaf which is how I like it.  If you want it wetter, just skip this step.

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Combine the beef, tomato sauce, onion, and cracker crumbs in a large bowl.  I just use my hands to mash it all together.  Season with salt and pepper.  Shape into a loaf and place it on the rack.

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Cook for one hour.  Just before the hour is up, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, and a little black pepper.  Spread this mixture on the top of the meatloaf and cook for 10 more minutes.  Enjoy!!

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Whew!  What an afternoon!  Thunderstorms hit our area just at going-home time and left quite a sight in their wake.  While I was at work this afternoon, the heavy rain and hail came down.  Thankfully, the hail was small, but there was a lot of it.  It looked like snow in the landscaping at work.  The street in front of the building next door flooded for a short time, and the rain still came down! 

The drive home was not much better.  I ran through at least two more heavy pour-downs with a little bit of hail in those, too.  Just a few minutes ago, I looked out the back door and, behold, a gorgeous double rainbow!

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I couldn’t get the whole rainbow in one shot because it was so big and made a complete half circle.

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What a sight!

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Spotlight

Check out Eat At Home Cook’s site today for a spotlight on pudding mixes. Yum!!!

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Menu Plan Monday

Happy spring!!!  I am so glad that spring has finally showed its lovely face around here!  The daffodils are blooming and new leaves are starting to bust out everywhere.  I am also happy to report that C and I had a successful car shopping day on Saturday.  We purchased a 2008 Chevrolet Equinox All Wheel Drive in black and it is sharp if I do say so myself.  I do not know anyone who actually likes to car shop and I don’t either, but it was time.  It had been almost six weeks since our accident and I had spent a lot of time in the last couple of weeks looking at vehicles online and, boy, are they expensive!  We still had to give a little more than I wanted to for this one, but I think overall we got a pretty good deal.  I am really glad that it over!

Back to the fun stuff…food!  The only thing I did not have time to make last week was the lemon chiffon cake since we were out all day Saturday, so I am moving that one to this weekend.  I have a 20 year class reunion meeting on Saturday (gulp! 20 YEARS!), but I should have time to make the cake as well.  Here is what I have planned:

Leftover pineapple pork loin

Sausage bake and fruit

Round Steak Italiana (new recipe)

Grilled pork chops with butter roasted potatoes

Salisbury steak

Lemon Chiffon Cake (new recipe) For some reason, I just can’t get this recipe made.  Last week, I didn’t have time, and this week I discovered that I was missing some ingredients.  Oops! 

Southern Plate’s Banana Crumb Cake (new!)

Pizza night

Neighborhood restaurant night

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This is recipe number two in my Picture Perfect Cooking/Southern Plate Project and it is a keeper!  My dad loves lemon-flavored desserts so I decided to try this one and I was not disappointed.  It has a great buttery taste with a kick of lemon, but don’t worry about it being too strong.  These bars strike the perfect balance of sweet and sour in my opinion.

For Crust:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar

For Filling:

4 eggs, beaten

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 cup granulated sugar

4 tbsp powdered sugar

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup flour

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For crust:

Preheat oven to 350.  Sift together flour and powdered sugar over the softened butter.  Combine these until the mixture clings together.  I just used my (clean) hands to do this so the crust would not get tough.  Press into a greased 13×9 inch baking dish and bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

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For the filling:

Beat the eggs until the yolks are completely broken and liquid.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Pour over the baked crust.  Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly browned and set.  My oven cooks slow so I had to cook mine for an extra 10 minutes, but check the bars after 15 to see if they are set.  If not, cook at 5 minute increments until they no longer jiggle when the pan is moved.  Cool and cut into bars.  Enjoy!!
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Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Kerrygold

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A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that C & I were traveling for a few days.  C had a work conference in Louisville, Kentucky, and I tagged along for a mini-vacation.  There is nothing like a few days of resting, reading, watching tv in the hotel room, and eating out to refresh me!  Don’t get me wrong, I love my home and it is always my first choice, but sometimes it is nice to get away from all of the chores and just relax!

Back to my story…I took my camera along, naturally, and I ended up with some pretty nice architecture shots in downtown.  I had never really paid attention to all of the different styles of buildings; there are modern office buildings right along side older buildings with unique characteristics.  The Aegon Center is probably my favorite building there. 

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I love the dome on top and during the Christmas season, it is lit with red and green lights.  Also, check out the entrance on the left in the photo below.  It is very art-deco.

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C & I always enjoy going to Fourth Street Live while we are there.  There are numerous restaurants and a few shops, too.  One of my favorite places to browse is Borders Books & Music, but, alas, they are going out of business. 

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Here is a shot at night of Fourth Street Live from the other directions.  You can see the Aegon Center in the background.

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Back to the subject of a previous post, Bistro 301.  I had wanted to try one of the independent restaurants in the downtown area and decided on this one.  They have some good old stand-bys, such as steak, cheeseburgers, and fish & chips.  They also have some dishes that you just don’t usually see in a chain restaurant, and the atmosphere was great.  The name stems from their address, 301 West Market Street.  Here is their entry:

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I loved the old brick work in the interior…

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Say “Hi” to C!!!

Then the food arrived!  Every meal comes with a basket of French baguette with butter:

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I ordered the crab cakes with romesco sauce and baby greens.  It was so yummy!

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Chad the steak and frites.  It looked good, too!

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I would definitely go back there again!  I hope you enjoyed a little virtual tour of downtown Louisville!  I will leave you with a few more photos.

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Wordless Wednesday

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