Friday, September 30, 2011

Monarch Madness

As the days get cooler you are more likely to see some more Monarchs fluttering around. It is so nice to see these beauties after the lack of butterflies we had this summer. I wish them luck and a safe journey. Hopefully, next summer we will be able to enjoy more butterflies in our gardens.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gnocchi Two Ways

Gnocchi with a Mushroom Arugula Sauce
Gnocchi with a Lamb Ragu

This past weekend we had a Gnocchi throw down. With two wanna be chefs in the house there is always room for some healthy competition. We started with some homemade Gnocchi... Yes, we are crazy enough to make Gnocchi from scratch. Then came the sauces. I made a Mushroom Arugula sauce while the hubby made a Lamb Ragu. The throw down was considered to be a tie... mostly because the participants wanted to come back and eat at our house again.

Mushroom Arugula Sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced
 2 cups beef broth
4 large portobella mushrooms, chopped
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup arugula 
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon white truffle oil 
parmesan to garnish

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add minced garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add chopped portobella mushrooms. Saute for 3-5 minutes. Add beef broth and cook for 15 minutes or until the sauce has reduced. Add in Arugula, salt & pepper. Cook for another 3 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream.  Add homemade or store bought Gnocchi to the sauce. Drizzle with truffle oil and garnish with parmesan cheese.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sugar High

If you want to get your sugar fix without actually consuming any, then this is the place for you: The Cake Bar. It is full of sugary confections that are a feast for the eyes.

Featured was this  Double Chocolate Malted Tart I made a while back.
This tart has a decadent malted chocolate-y taste. It goes perfectly with sweet raspberries. The recipe can be found on the Food Network's site here.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Fall - Pumpkin Carving

I'm ready to carve pumpkins and drink hot apple cider. Yes, I'm so glad fall is finally here. Unfortunately, I have amateur pumpkin carving skills, so I'm thinking of taking the easy route and just busting open a can of gold spray paint, painting my pumpkin and calling it a day. If you happen to be a pumpkin carving professional, here are some ideas for you: 

{Image via DecoDir}

{Image via Fun Gallery}

{Image via Standard Madness}
{Image via Standard Madness}

Friday, September 16, 2011


Rockport-Fulton Hummerbird Festival 2010

I want to start this post by saying that I'm very grateful for the rain we got last night. I also want to say that the large white drops in the photo are not bird excrement, but large rain drops. Just wanted to clear the air so to speak.

Last year I attended the Rockport-Fulton Hummerbird Festival. I watched in amazement as these little birds fueled up with a fervor for their big journey.

If you've never been to the festival, it is definitely worth checking out. There are speaker programs and a hummingbird mall. Of course,  if you want to see the actual hummers, you have to go out to the hummingbird stations. These feeding stations attract lots of birds, but the best bang for your buck is the banding station. This station has numerous feeders filled with sweet nectar to lure in the birds. 

The festival is this weekend if you want to check it out. To get more information click here. 

It is difficult to see in the video, but the hummers were swarming like bees.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Chilled Avocado Soup

I'm a soup-0-holic. There is nothing better than a hot, steaming bowl of soup, unless it is 100 degrees outside.  A chilled soup is a better option in the heat of summer. One of my favorites is this Chilled Avocado Soup. I first tasted this wonderful soup at the Peach Tree  in Fredericksburg TX. I thought I was going to lick the bowl. The avocados give this soup a buttery, rich flavor. Since I bought the Peach Tree cookbook, I've been able to recreate this tasty soup. Unfortunately, I was told the cookbook is out of  print, but you might be able to snag a copy here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Wildflower Wish List

I've never planted wildflowers before, however this year I thought I would give it a try. Since we have had crazy, hot weather this summer, I devised a plan on when to plant my seeds. Now...if I could just have some cooperation from mother nature. 

My seed planting plan is this - Wait for at least two good soaking rains (Yes, I'm trying to be positive and assume that this will happen). Plant the seeds around mid October or the end of October. 
I will be utilizing the information shared by Toni at  Signature Gardens in her Fall 2011 Newsletter on planting wildflower seeds.

 My wildflower wish list includes:

California Poppy photo by Muller, Thomas L.

Dwarf Larkspur Photo by Bransford, W.D. Mrs

Pink Buttercups Photo by Bransford, W.D. Mrs.

Gotta have the State Flower Photo by Flaigg, Norman G.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hawk Watch 2011

 I've had the pleasure of observing this majestic hawk from my own backyard. This particular hawk is a Broad-winged Hawk. In the early morning and evening, I can hear it's distinct call, which sounds similar to "teehee". Thanks to the hawk, the rodent population is under control... I guess this is nature's exterminator. These birds are migratory, so he will be leaving in the fall or winter. I'm sure going to miss him and hope he will be back next year. To get more information on the Broad-wing hawk, click here.