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In the Garden-Five Tips for Fall Cleanup

Pumpkins Make Me Think Fall Fall in the garden is not my favorite time of year, primarily because the garden activities fall into the drudgery category.  You know what I mean don't you?  It all seems like way too much work, and where's the payback?  I know, I know, the payback comes next spring.  I do keep that in mind and that's what keeps me in the game, so to speak. There's plenty to do around my home and garden this fall.  Here's what's on my short list.  I'm happy to say that some of this is complete already. Five Tips for Fall Cleanup 1.  Winterize the deck by cleaning it and giving it a fresh coat of to protect it from the harsh weather.  Yes, this task is done. 2.  Clean the gutters.  The first round of this dirty activity was completed as a result of Hurricane Irene's debris.  3.  Remove spent vegetable plants from the vegetable garden.  Plant some garlic for harvest late next summer.  Cleaning up my vegetable garden is in proces

Pantry Essentials-The Spice Rack

Are you ready for another installment of the well-stocked pantry?  This week we're talking about essential herbs, of the dried variety, and spices.  Herbs and spices are the elements that deliver flavor to your recipes.  They are what turn the "ho hum" into the "more please" dishes.  I need herbs and spices.  You need herbs and spices.  We all need herbs and spices.  Herbs are usually the fragrant leaves of a plant while spices come from the harder parts of a plant; from the bark, seeds, roots or fruit.  Sometimes a plant provides both an herb and a spice, like cilantro. My Spice Cabinet I keep my dried herbs and spices all together in one cabinet in my kitchen island.  I do most of my food preparation on the kitchen island that is right near the stove.  This makes the location handy for the prep and in process cooking steps of recipes.  Do you keep your herbs and spices in a handy location near your stove? You'll see from the picture that I have qui

Fall Gardening-Time to Plant

As the leaves change colors and the nights grow cooler it's the perfect time to think spring.  That's because fall the best time to prepare your Northeast garden for a bountiful show next spring and summer.   You can plant any time until the ground freezes, but it's best to give your new plantings some time to get established.   Your perennials and woody plants should be kept cool and moist until you get them in the ground.   This is the perfect time to plant bulbs for those beautiful spring flowers.  Just a little effort now will reap big rewards in a few months.  If not planting your bulbs right away, keep them in a cool location.  Remember to water those perennials and bulbs after planting if there isn’t enough rainfall to take care of it for you.   Keep watering until the ground freezes. Location, location, location…   Yes, plants care about their real estate.   Be sure to choose a location that will meet the particular needs of each plant. Your daffodils prefer

No Time to Cook: A Quick and Easy Pork Dinner

Regular readers of Just One Donna know that I like to cook.  No, I'm not a fancy chef, just a home cook.  I like making food that my family enjoys.  Are you like me? A Home Cooked Pork Dinner Well, if you are like me, you don't like to cook every single day of you life.  No, other priorities do slip in.  Maybe it's work, maybe it's family obligations, or maybe it's your son's soccer game.  Whatever it may be, we have to be prepared for those days when we can't be "from scratch" cooking.   One of the things I keep in my freezer is marinated pork loins, or tenderloins.  It really doesn't matter what brand or what marinade.  Choose whatever your family likes.  Whatever you choose, pork tenderloins are a flavorful and quick to cook.  They are a great base for a delicious family dinner. Start with a Marinated Pork Loin The other night I needed a quick family dinner.  It started with a teriyaki pork loin.  The dinner ended up to be orange t

Cranberry Orange Scones

Scones.  Do you love them?  I'm a scones fan.  I think they are a perfect pastry to have with a piping hot cup of coffee or tea.  I like their flaky consistency and their not too sweet flavor.  Somehow when I'm eating a scone I feel like I'm only being a little bit bad. Cranberry Orange Scone For this recipe I went into test kitchen mode.  I had seen Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, make these scones on her television program on the Food Network.  What caught my eye was her technique.  When I make scones I usually cut in the butter by hand with a pastry cutter, or I use my food processor.  Both techniques work well, by the way.  Ina used her stand mixture during the entire scone making process.  I wanted to try it that way and see how it would work. The  Cranberry Orange Scone recipe from the Food Network makes sixteen scones, so I cut the recipe in half.  You may want to make the whole recipe if you decide to try this, because you can freeze the dough and bake o

Chicken Salad with Walnuts and Dried Cranberries

As a rule I stick to the same old boring lunches day in and day out.  That's one of the ways I monitor my calorie intake.  If I stick to the same few choices I allow myself for lunch, I know that I am appropriately managing my daily calories.  Sometimes, I don't want the same old, same old though.  I call these days my wild and crazy days.  OK, not really wild and crazy, but I do occasionally step out of my rut.  Don't we all? Chicken Salad Sandwich The other day I was hankering for something out of the ordinary for my lunch.  A look in my refrigerator gave me the ingredients for this chicken salad with walnuts and cranberries.  Yes, that is what I wanted for lunch.  I had two chicken breasts as a result of cooking a chicken to make a stock for soup.  Chicken salad was a perfect use for them, don't you think? Chicken Salad with Walnuts and Dried Cranberries Chicken Salad Ingredients 2 boneless chicken breasts, poached and diced 1 stalk celery, chopped

Pantry Essentials-Pasta, Rice and Bread

Today's post is the third post in my well-stocked pantry series.  Previously we talked about selecting the right space for your pantry and the baking essentials.  Today let's focus on the essential pasta, rice, and bread products you'll want to keep on hand. Remember, creating your well-stocked pantry is a function of the foods you and your family like to eat.  No two families will have the same well-stocked pantry and that is exactly as it should be.  I'm sharing this look into my pantry as a starting point for those of you looking for help in getting your pantry organized.  If you already have a fully stocked pantry it may be fun to compare and contrast how we are alike or different. The Roll of Pasta, Rice, and Bread in a Well-Stocked Pantry A Glimpse of My Pantry Let's see what is on my pasta, rice, and bread shelf... The Pasta Essentials I like to keep on hand the various pastas I use to make most of the soups and main dishes my family likes.