Homemade Natural Weed Killer

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“A weed is but an unloved flower.”  Ella Wheeler Wilcox

If I spent every waking hour weeding, I still could not keep up with the weeds on my property.  I eschew any form of chemical weed control and pretty much remove weeds by hand.  There are not enough hours in the day nor is this the way I want to spend my time!  Preventing weeds from growing in the first place would seem to the best plan of attack. Try I did:  I had zero success with corn gluten preemergent treatments.  I didn’t want to use chemical preemergents.  Mulching helps slow down the growth of weeds but is in no way effective as weeds grow right through it or seed themselves via airborne transmission. Continue reading

Peach Caprese Salad

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Simple perfection: a ripe juicy peach.  A peach caprese salad is as fresh and welcomed as a summer breeze.  It showcases the peach in all its glory.  To make it, slice a couple of peaches, add some marinated fresh mozzarella balls, a drizzle of honey, a squeeze of lime and a handful of fresh basil.  Simple perfection.

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Peach Upside Down Cake

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“Come clean with a child heart
Laugh as peaches in the summer wind
Let rain on a house roof be a song
Let the writing on your face
be a smell of apple orchards on late June.”

Carl Sandburg, Honey and Salt

While you can still get peaches, run and make this cake!  Made in a skillet, the peach slices are set in a quick rich caramel.  The cake layer is spooned on top of the peaches.  With added sour cream in the batter, it is super moist, fluffy and not too sweet:  a lovely counter point to the decadent, oozing caramelized peaches. I spiked mine with some Amaretto liqueur.   Similar to a tarte tatin, it is super easy to make.

I adapted the recipe from one of my favorite bloggers, Mollie at Frugal Haus Frau.  You can find the original recipe here.

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Yellow Wax Bells: The belle of the late summer garden

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Yellow Wax Bells, Kirengeshoma palmata, are a little known but dramatic herbaceous perennial for the full to partial shade garden.  A late summer bloomer, its striking clusters of pendulous bright yellow flowers bloom when just about nothing else does, making it a favorite of gardeners in the know.  This exotic-looking perennial is a great addition to the woodland garden and can be planted under high trees.   Good companion plants include ferns, hostas, astilbe.  It can also be grown in a container. As I get older and travel more, I have planted more and more perennials in planters as they are lower maintenance and return year after year.

The flowers emerge in tight spherical buds and will open in 1-2 weeks after appearing. You can see some buds are tighter than others, leading to sequential opening and an extended blooming period.

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Sheet Pan Stuffed Cornish Game Hens with Mustard Brussel Sprouts

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“Fairest of the months!
Ripe summer’s queen
The hey-day of the year
With robes that gleam with sunny sheen
Sweet August doth appear.”
– R. Combe Miller

Is it sweater weather where you’re at yet?  Are you ready to turn the oven back on? I hope so because this dish is nothing short of ah-may-zing!   This elegant sheet pan dinner is quick enough for a weeknight meal but good enough for company.  It comes together in less than an hour with most of that time hands-off roasting time.  It practically cooks by itself, getting you out of the kitchen fast to enjoy the last weeks of summer. Using ready made rice such as Uncle Ben’s “Seeds of Change” blend makes it super easy.  One pouch is perfect to stuff 2 hens.   The brussels sprouts roast beautifully with all those nice caramelized bits that add so much flavor and texture.  Tossing them in grainy mustard and chopped almonds and finishing them with a balsamic glaze puts them over the top of taste charts.  The hens are moist and succulent and the whole dish cooks in 1 easy-to-clean  pan.  I cannot rave enough about this sheet pan dinner.  As tasty as it is gorgeous!

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Summer Ceviche Appetizer

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Ceviche is a seafood dish that is cured in citrus and served ice cold. It originated in Coastal Latin America and the Caribbean.  It is the perfect summer appetizer because it can be made a day ahead and requires no cooking. Choose mild flavored fish and cut it in similar sizes so it cures evenly.  I used a mixture of bay scallops, small shrimp and calamari rings.  Trader Joe’s sells 1 pound bags in the freezer section which are perfect for ceviche and don’t require cutting.  I cured mine in lime juice and a splash of orange muscat champagne vinegar.  After curing, some chopped tomato, a splash of orange juice and fresh cilantro is tossed in for an easy appetizer. I prefer my ceviche simple where the seafood  shines but sliced olives and cubed avocado can be added.  Serve with a cold Chilean Sauvignon Blanc or a crisp Rosé.

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Middle-Eastern Zucchini Dip

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“Pennsylvanian Tom Roy designated August 8th as “National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day”. To celebrate it, you simply wait until the dead of night and quietly creep up to your neighbors’ front doors, leaving plenty of zucchini for them to enjoy.”

Farmer’s Almanac

After tempting you with Snickers zucchini cookies last week, I am here to redeem myself with a more wholesome recipe that packs 6 cups of zucchini.  So if you are like me and have neighbors gifting you with humongous zucchini, this is a delicious way to use up this bountiful summer crop.  Middle Eastern cuisine is one of my favorites and this zucchini dip is a spin on the popular baba ghanoush. Its texture is a lot like artichoke dip.  Serve with warm pita wedges. Really delicious.

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