Gardening in the Heat

Yesterday the actual temperature reached 90 degrees and the humidity was typical for a Michigan summer day. In other words, it felt like I’d been hit in the face with a hot, wet cloth when I stepped outside. A sensible person would have gone immediately back into the air-conditioned house. But I’m me so I decided to do a little gardening in the heat.

Gardening in the heat

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Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches

When I woke up I knew it was going to be a lazy day. The sun was already well up in the sky and when I looked at my clock it was nearly 8 a.m.! I decided instantly to make Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches. They’re delicious and they don’t take a lot of effort so they were perfect for a take-it-easy kind of day!

Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches

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Bowtie Pasta & Ham with Cream Sauce

Having an empty nest allows me to cook food that may be too spicy or exotic for kids. But Pete and Andi’s youngest daughter comes for dinner frequently and I sometimes I like to make meals geared specifically to the taste of an 8 year old child when she eats here. Tonight Estrella will be having dinner with us so I’m making Bowtie Pasta & Ham with Cream Sauce.

Bowtie Pasta & Ham with Cream Sauce

 

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Making Your Own Worm Farm

I admit, in most ways, I’m not a fan of worms. When we go fishing I still prefer my son baits my hook . And if I see a worm on the surface of a street I get the shudders. But in my vegetable garden I’m thrilled to see lots of these wonderful creatures in the soil. Making your own worm farm is easy and inexpensive!

Making Your Own Worm Farm

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Peas with Caramelized Red Onions & Balsamic Vinegar

Entrees would be nothing (well, not as good) without delicious side dishes. I grow a lot of peas each summer and we eat them all winter long. But peas with salt and butter are pretty plain so I like to jazz things up from time to time. Peas with caramelized red onions & balsamic vinegar are a great way to serve peas in a new way.

Peas with Caramelized Red Onions & Balsamic Vinegar

 

This recipe is super easy and fast. Just cut thin slices of red onion (for the two of use I use about 6 slices) and melt butter in a skillet. Toss the onions in with the butter over medium high heat and let the onions caramelize. I use my cast iron skillet and it doesn’t take more than about 10 minutes to cook them. I like some pieces pretty dark and others just a nice caramel color.

Peas with Caramelized Red Onions & Balsamic Vinegar

Next I add in a couple of teaspoons of balsamic vinegar and stir it to coat the onions.

Finally I add the peas right in the skillet and stir them gently to coat them. I only cook them for a couple of minutes; just enough to get the peas nice and hot.

Peas with Caramelized Red Onions & Balsamic Vinegar

I season them with a little salt and pepper and they’re ready to serve! Easy peasy, right? Get it?

Peas with Caramelized Red Onions & Balsamic Vinegar

Peas with Caramelized Red Onions & Balsamic Vinegar

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced thin and then cut in half
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons butter (I start with 1 and add the second if I need it)
  • 3 – 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cups peas (fresh or frozen)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add sliced onions and cook until caramelized (10 – 12 minutes).
  3. Add balsamic vinegar and stir to coat onions.
  4. Add peas and gently stir to coat with vinegar.
  5. Cook until peas are hot (2 minutes).

 

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Yooper Pasties Troll Version

I live in Michigan where two types of Michiganders reside. There are the Yoopers (U’pers) who live in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula) and the Trolls who live under the (Mackinac) Bridge. I’m a Troll but I love the U.P.! It’s a lovely part of our state and boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the Midwest. The U.P. also has some unique foods. Pasties (pronounced “pass-tees”) are a favorite of mine since I was a little girl. But, since I’m a Troll I make Yooper Pasties Troll Version!

Yooper Pasties are a Michigan favorite!

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Green Beans with Caramelized Red Onions

If you’re looking for a different way to serve green beans this dish is a wonderful change from just plain old green beans with butter. Sweet and spicy red onions paired with tender green beans are a tasty side dish. Add some balsamic vinegar and brown sugar and yum! Even if they’re not vegetable lovers green beans with caramelized red onions will have your family asking for seconds!

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Farmer's Casserole

Sweet peppers, earthy mushrooms, tangy cheddar, and juicy chicken make this casserole a truly satisfying meal. The creamy sauce and crunchy panko topping are added delights. And in this harvest season Farmer’s Chicken Casserole allows you to use all the great produce available at the grocery store, the farmers market, or even your own backyard!

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