Merlot Mushrooms - pictured with Feta Meatballs

Makes approx 1 Cup.  Serve as its own side dish or a topping for burgers or steak.  Easy and quick.

Saute 1 large minced garlic clove and a 1/4 C yellow onion or shallot in 1 T olive oil and 1 T butter.  Cook on med/low heat until soft, about 3-5 minutes.  Add a 1/2 C of merlot.  As that cooks down slightly, chop a cup of mushrooms and add to the pan.  Pop the heat up to a boil, then reduce to low heat and allow the mushrooms to cook for about 5-10 minutes, until the liquid is almost evaporated.  Serve warm, but taste first and add a bit of salt and pepper to taste.

Italian Feta Meatballs


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Makes 25 one-inch meatballs.  I use food grade disposable gloves to mix the meat quickly and cleanly.

1 lb ground beef 85%

1 large egg

1/2 C bread crumbs

1/2 C crumbled tomato basil feta

1/4 C milk

1/4 C finely diced onion

1 T seasoning salt*

Herb Spiral Complete

Received the last of the herbs and flowers, and planted them in their new home in the herb spiral.  I wanted to try some new types of herbs, so added a few more than I planned.  Isn't that always how it goes?    I purchased some Thai basil, even though it has notes of black licorice.  Now that I am venturing into cooking Indian and Asian dishes, I would like to have fresh herbs that complement those dishes.  I have listed all plants included in the herb spiral, from bottom to top:

Caravella Orange - Orangecello

This is my favorite liquor.  It's harder to find around these parts, so I have my favorite liquor store stock it for me, upon request.  I tell everyone I know how great it is, and give a bottle as a gift every chance I get.  I will single-handedly get my orangecello stocked so I can stop special ordering it.  It's *that* good.  Orangecello is made by stuffing orange peels in a bottle of vodka and waiting a while.  It can be home-made, but as of yet I would rather simply buy it.

The Only Chicken Salad I Like - MINE

I am kind of a picky eater.  I'm working on it but there is a good side of being picky.  If you are motivated, you learn to cook, if only to create an incredible dish you'll actually eat. Then you feed others, they love your food and you are on your way to loved ones referring to you as a good cook.  Scratch that goal off the bucket list.  This chicken salad can hold its own as a salad or work with bread as a sandwich. The celery supplies fiber and crunch without the additional calories nuts typically add to a chicken salad.

C's Delectable Apple Cake

This is a popular cake I bake in October; a kind of an introduction to the fall season, using the last of the freshly picked apples in our area.  It's a moist, bouncy cake with a crisp, flavorful topping.  I think it adds depth and flavor to many dishes to not peel some fruits and veggies where it makes sense, i.e. apples and carrots.  It also saves time and work.


2 C all-purpose flour

1/2 C oats.  I like the chew of old fashioned oats, however, quick oats will work too

1/2 t table salt

...and some gardener's are not dicks.

At the Farmer's Market, looking to replace a couple...ok, a few...plants that were looking sickly after transplant.  Two of us shoppers ended up at the same tomato stand at the same time.  I read the label, Gold Medal tomato, and hunt for the bushiest plant in the bunch.  The other gardener next to me snatched one particular plant before I could take a look at it.  Fine, there were about 20 plants.  Then I notice the tag on any of the maters does not match the display sign.  I mention that to my fellow shopper and she suggests finding someone to ask.

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