Monday, September 29, 2014

Fall Planting


 I know, you would think I would be sharing pictures of planting mums, not hydrangeas!  It all started when I casually went looking for fall pansies.  No pansies to be found, but instead all kinds of shrubs on sale.  I had no idea this is the time of year to buy... not just on sale, but "let me make you a bargain so I can clear out my nursery to make room for Christmas trees".  Justus and I both looked at each other and I knew we were thinking the exact same thing - looks like we'll be planting this weekend. 


 We had 28 shrubs sitting in our front lawn and then we were trying to figure out where and what we were going to do with all of them! 


 Ever since we tore out all kinds of ground cover four years ago in the front, we haven't planted anything in that space.  It was on the list, but just one of the many things we hadn't gotten to yet.  So Justus tilled, we planted and Justus even ran to the store to pick up a quick load of mulch just to see how our beds would look finished.  Now we're wondering how we went this long!     


Once we finish the mulch, the beds will wrap around the entire front and sides of the house.  Yesterday afternoon we sat on the swing for a while and I was thinking how pretty everything would hopefully look in five years... and then I realized I would have an 11 year old in five years, and I couldn't think further than that!  ;-)


Next on my list (once we finish the mulch, of course): more mums, pumpkins and pansies for the planters.  I did get out my fall pillow covers though! 


Love these burgundy leaves... 


 When we finished the chicken coop, I planted two boxwood on each side of the door.  This weekend we added more slowwww-growing boxwood to match on the side of the coop. So maybe we'll get to enjoy these in about 20 years or so.  ;-) 

 Hope you had a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Salmon with Spice Rub Recipe


 This is one of my favorite recipes to use for cooking salmon.  The main reason I love this recipe is because it doesn't require any marinading or much prep.  I cook supper nearly every day, but I am not much of a meal planner.  I never have a menu for the week (despite my best attempts) and it's not unusual for Justus to call me as he's leaving work (he has an hour commute) and the only thought I've given to the evening meal is setting out some chicken to thaw.  Especially in the summer!  Now that we have some after-school activities and the weather will cool down soon, I do have to put a little more thought into meals, but this salmon still ranks up there as a great meal to cook when I'm putting a meal together in a hurry! 


 This salmon has a delicious variety of seasonings that are mixed together and used as a rub.  If you want to add a little kick, you could even include some cayenne pepper, but since I have little ones, I keep the seasonings mild. 


The salmon is rubbed with the spice mixture...


And seared briefly in a skillet with some olive oil before putting in the oven. 


I always add some parchment paper to my baking pan before placing the salmon on it.  It saves on clean up! 


 The salmon is then placed in the oven and baked until done. 


(I always test with a fork to make sure it's cooked through.  You can tell by how easily it flakes.)


 We usually have salmon once a week and I always make a batch of brown rice as a side.  It's such a great pair and is even delicious mixed together.  An easy, healthy meal you can have on the table in less than an hour!   


Salmon with Spice Rub Recipe

Ingredients:

2 lbs salmon fillets 
2 Tbsp organic brown sugar
1 Tbsp paprika
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin in a small bowl.  

Rub spice mixture on salmon fillets (the salmon I buy usually has the skin on, so I only place the spice rub on the top side of the salmon).

Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium-high heat.  Once hot, place the salmon in the skillet and sear on each side for 1-2 minutes.  

Transfer the salmon to a baking pan or dish lined with parchment paper and place in the oven until done (the salmon will flake easily with a fork).  This will usually take about 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon.  Enjoy immediately! 


P.S.  This particular evening I was craving poppy seed dressing to go with our salad.  I combined kale, spinach & chard greens with sliced strawberries and chopped almonds and used this easy recipe for the poppy seed dressing.  It was pretty tasty! 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

September Randomness

 The last days of summer are here and this year is no exception to any other for me.  Although I love fall, summer's departure feels a little bittersweet.  I'm still soaking in the warm days and snacking on the last of the cherry tomatoes in the garden. 


Still, I notice I've started craving things like warm scones out of the oven and pots on the stove simmering with all kinds of flavor.  (I think chili is a must on the menu this week.)  I'm watching for those little seeds I planted to start popping out of the ground in the garden with our (hopeful) fall bounty.  The fall flowers are starting to bloom in the flower garden and we're dreaming of a stand packed full with bouquets in shades of fall. 

 The farmers markets are starting to bring out all the delights of fall.  So far I've managed to resist the pumpkins, but definitely not the apples! 



Our big project to start this fall is our upstairs bathroom.  We've been putting it off for... oh, a year or so.  ;-)  But I noticed Justus sketching away this weekend with ideas, and I'm dreaming away. 

Happy early fall to you! 

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