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How Does My Garden Grow? July

One of the things I most appreciate about my home is the yard and gardens that surround it.  We are not the first owners of our house.  Thankfully the first owners had thoughtfully landscaped the yard, planting a variety of trees, bushes and perennials that would bloom and provide color throughout the year. Since moving here twenty years ago we have continued to selectively enhance and edit the plantings with an eye to maintaining that evolution of change throughout the year.  July is a challenging month.  The heat of the summer kicks in and the plants begin to droop. The perennials require watering and deadheading.  What was a cacaphony of color just weeks ago is now a clump of dry stalks and pods requiring me to clip and snip in the 90 degree heat. We do our best to keep up because we love it.  We love to sit on our deck and admire our handy work.  We love to watch the birds, butterflies and other critters who make our yard and gardens their home. We

July Gardening To Do List

How is your garden holding up this season?  Here in the Northeast a cool and rainy spring caused our gardens to be about three weeks behind schedule.  Lawns are green and growing abundantly.  We've been mowing a couple of times per week to keep our yard looking tidy. My roses have gone by.  Just today I deadheaded the rose bushes and cut back some of the lanky growth.  It certainly doesn't look like much today, but hopefully this will encourage a second bloom.   The vegetable garden has produced spinach, lettuce, radishes and snap peas.  We may have picked the last of the snap peas today.  The tomato plants are growing tall and setting fruit.  We have cute little baby jalapenos on the pepper plants.  The basil plants you see in the picture below were cut back this week to make my first batch of pesto.  I pulled a couple of the onions today to use in a mixed vegetable stir fry for dinner.  It's early too early for the onion, but the young onions added nice flavor to th

A Perfect Summer Drink-The Mojito

A few years ago we went out for a special dinner to a lovely restaurant in Newport, Rhode Island called the Spiced Pear .  It is located in the Chanler Hotel overlooking the Cliff Walk and the water.  It is a lovely location for a special summer celebration.  It was during this dinner that I had my very first mojito and loved it.  It was so delicious that hubby went to the bar and asked the bartender how he made the drink.  That started our experimentation in making mojitos at home. Mint A great mojito depends on fresh mint.  This is one reason that mint is on my list of essential herbs to grow in your summer garden.   You may actually find it smarter to grow your mint in a pot on your deck or patio.  Once established, mint can be very invasive in your garden making you very sorry you planted it.  Growing it in a pot controls that problem. Let's see how we make a mojito, shall we? Mojito Ingredients The Perfect Mojito Serves one 1/2 lime, cut in half 6-8 fres

Two Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto is a relatively new addition to my life.  I didn't start eating it until about a year ago.  Oh, I had had it once or twice before in a pasta salad or with tortellini, but didn't develop a love for it.  That is, until I made my own pesto with basil I grew myself.  Faced with an abundance of Italian basil from the couple of potted plants I was growing on my deck I decided to make batches of pesto for the freezer.  That was the beginning of my love affair with pesto.  I now regard it as a staple in my freezer. Why is that?  Well, if you have pesto on hand you can turn any ho-hum dinner into yummy deliciousness just by adding the pesto.  Do you have some salmon or boneless chicken breasts?  Add the pesto, some diced tomatoes and some fresh mozzarella cheese and happy you will be.  Do you need a quick appetizer?  Stop at the store and buy some fresh artisan bread.  Slice it, brush it with some olive oil and toast it in the oven.  Serve the warm toasts with your b

Tequila Lime Shrimp with Mixed Vegetables

Oh, how I love the summer months. I love grilling.  I love fresh produce.  I love the simple meals that can be quickly pulled together with a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  Today I am sharing one of those meals with you.  It came together with mostly things I already had in my refrigerator, pantry or little garden.  It was oh, so simple, but oh, so spectacular.  I can say that because I never cease to be amazed at just how wonderful a simple meal can be.  That's what Just One Donna is about.  Keep it simple, but wonderful. I made this dinner last Sunday.  Now, you should know that in general, I don't like to have complicated meals on the weekend.  My family is together on the weekend and I like to spend as much time as I can engaged with them and our home.  I look for simple, but pleasing meals to serve on the weekend.  Last Sunday was a lovely, sunny day.  We spent much of the day working in our yard, transplanting bushes and keeping up with the garden.  There

Lemon Chess Pie

Are you crazy about anything lemon flavored? You are not alone. This Lemon Chess Pie is the perfect antidote to a lemon craving. Lemon Chess Pie for Lemon Lovers My lemon craving reared its ugly head this week when I started to get lemons on the brain.  Thoughts of lemons would enter my head at odd, but frequent moments.  Luckily, this lemon chess pie recipe came to mind.   You'll need fresh lemons and an unbaked pie crust.   The other ingredients you will most likely have on hand.  I like to keep a frozen pie crust tucked away for just such an occasion as this.  Store-bought pie crusts tucked away into your refrigerator will also work. Fit the pie crust into your pie plate and just pop it into the refrigerator to keep cool while you make the filling.   The filling is easy peasy so it will just be a few minutes of cooling time.  Preheat your oven on to 375 degrees F. Lemon Chess Pie Ingredients The Lemon Chess Pie Filling 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 3/4 cup fresh le

Thai Basil Green Curry with Chicken, Snap Peas and Spinach

Don't you love finding out about a new food or recipe?  I certainly do.  In May while perusing The Perfect Pantry blog I saw a post about making Thai Green Basil Curry with Chicken, Asparagus and Spinach .  Have you checked out The Perfect Pantry yet?    If not, please do.  I know you'll enjoy Lydia's posts.  She's always has an interesting recipe to share with us.  In this case, the recipe included Thai basil, an herb I had neither seen, nor used before.  Thai Basil I was intrigued by Thai basil.  Lydia said that Thai basil has a unique flavor that makes this dish.  I had to seek out some Thai basil.  Luckily I found a Thai basil plant at my local Home Depot.  I planted it in a pot on my deck and have watched it grow.  It finally reached a size where I was ready to harvest some of the leaves and try out the Thai green curry recipe. The day I decided to make this recipe it was raining cats and dogs.  So what's new, you ask?  I know, you've been hearing a