Saturday, July 26, 2008

Basil Pruning Tutorial ... Really!

Basil 5
One of the tastiest treats from the garden has to be fresh pesto.
You can get my recipe for fresh pesto here.
With this goal in mind I planted some basil in my garden a couple of years ago.
Basil Tutorial
What a pretty little basil plant. I put it in my garden and watered it and weeded it and waited.
basil tutorial 2
This is what happened. (obviously these aren't the actual pictures at that time but they do illustrate my point.)
There wasn't enough basil there to make a good spring roll let alone a cup of pesto.
I decided that there must be some secret to growing basil that I just wasn't allowed to know because it sure didn't work for me.
Then.... last year at the Baker's Creek Spring Garden Show I met a lovely man selling gorgeous plants that let me in on THE SECRET. I didn't have to sell one of my kids to get it either. hee hee I just just had to look pathetic which I did to the best of my ability. Then I bought several of his basil varieties and had the best basil patch ever.
Here is THE SECRET. . . . . . You have to prune it. Easy hugh!?!
Here is how.
Look back at the picture of the cute little plant. See how it has two leaves? That is important. On a basil plant the leaves grow in twos opposite each other. As the little plant sends up the stalk it will grow two more leaves.
Basil 3
You need to go to those two leaves and prune about one inch or so above them.
Basil 4
Here is another example on my purple plant.
When you cut the stalk the two nodes at the leaves grow branches. On those branches will be two more leaves. Cut there and you will grow four more and so on till you have a bush big enough to make a gallon of pesto. Happy thought. :o)
Here is what my little plants looked like after about three or four pruning.
Basil 2 I pruned them way back this week and they are even bigger now.
Basil 1
Good luck with yours.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Vintage Scalloped Potato Recipe

My mother has talked about her mother's scalloped potatoes for years. Scalloped potatoes is not something I do well. They are not my favorite way to have potatoes because they often go horribly wrong and have no flavor. Well...... Those days are over! I gave my mother's memory a try. Mom never made these potatoes for me, she just told me how good her mother's were and basically what she did.
Scalloped Potatoes

Grandma Wood's Scalloped Potatoes (in true grandma Wood recipe form)

Wash and thinly slice some potatoes.

Butter the pan.

Layer the potatoes in a thin layer on the bottom of the pan.

Sprinkle with flour seasoned with salt and pepper.

Repeat layers till your pan is full.

Pour milk over the potatoes making sure they are covered.

Now here is where I added my bit.

Sprinkle the top with some Parmesan cheese.

Top it off with some cream.

Bake in a hot oven till they are done.
(When are they done? When they are bubbly, brown on top and the potatoes are tender.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My dear friend Vea invited me (and the other Prairie Hens) over for a Tea Party this week. It was so much fun. That should really happen a lot more often! Big girls need parties too. I am on the quest now for grown up girl parties now.

Tea Party 1

The party really was quite simple but made us have so much fun. She fixed us lunch with sandwiches, veggies and dip, cookies and Lemon Aid. It was delicious.
Tea Party 3
The best part of the party was that she and her daughter Natalie had also planned a water party for the kids. They had pools, sprinklers, and food too. They thought the party was all about them. hee hee. I loved it. We had our grown up fun in total peace.
Tea Party 2
THANK YOU VEA!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I am looking for sponsors for some prizes for my Fall Sassy Apron Swap. If you have an Etsy Store or Website that deals in something related to aprons, kitchen items, flirty fun stuff, or foodie things. I am looking for at least three sponsors. If I get more I might consider running some giveaways here at My Byrd House.
You help me reward my good swappers and You get free advertising here and at the Sassy Apron Swap.
You can contact me at byrhouse1(at)windstream(dot)net or leave a comment with a link back to you please.
Oh, If you are wanting to donate something to give-away here it can be anything to do with home and family and wonderful craftiness.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

I have always loved a good bowl of oatmeal and am so thrilled to see so many varieties on the shelves now. I just don't like the sugar they add to the mix. I would rather be in control of that part of it.

A Friend of mine clued me into a great oatmeal mix that you can make from home. It is made with few ingredients that you just might have at home already.
Oatmeal Recipe

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
(one serving)

1/2 cup old fashion oats
1/2 water
1/2 cup milk
pinch of salt
1/2 apple
2 tbsp nuts
Cinnamon to taste

I put the oats in the blender and give them a quick pulse. Then I put the oats, milk, water and salt into my saucepan and heat on Med-high. I stir constantly as I bring it to a boil. Remove from heat when it starts to thicken up. It will thicken more as it cools.
I put the nuts and the apple in the blender or food processor and chop fine. Then stir the nuts and apple into hot oatmeal. I sprinkle with cinnamon and stir it all up and eat it all up.
You can add some honey, brown sugar, sucanant or stevia if you want it sweeter. I like it just the way it is and like it best with a Fuji apple because they are so sweet.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Old Red Barn Quilt...

Old Red Barn is giving away this scrumptious quilt.

Old Red Barn Quilt

Yes giving it away. If you want a chance at it go to her blog and read all the juicy details for yourself. This quilt makes me weak.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Missouri Peach Pie - PPP

Peach
Peaches have to be one of my favorite fruits. Thus one of my all time favorite pies is Peach Pie.
On the way home from the Zoo last weekend I found a road side fruit stand with fresh Missouri peaches. I had to have some. We made Jam and saved a few for pie.
Peach Pie
Missouri Peach Pie
Pastry for a 2-crust pie
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
5 cups sliced, peeled peaches
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
2 tbsp butter
  1. Combine sugars, flour, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Sprinkle peaches with lemon juice and almond extract.
  3. Add sugar-flour mixture to the peaches and mix gently. Pour into a pastry lined 9" pie pan. Dot with butter. Adjust top crust and pinch the edges. Cut vents.
  4. Brush the top of the pie with cream and sprinkle with sugar. (this is optional but makes a pretty pie.)
  5. Bake at 450 deg F for 40-45 minutes, or until juices are bubbly and the crust is golden.
  6. Serve slightly warm with vanilla ice cream.

Peach Pie 2

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fall Sassy Apron Swap Time

Fall Leaves

Yes it is that time again. I have started the sign-ups for the Fall Sassy Apron Swap.

For more information and how to join, go visit the Sassy Apron Swap Blog.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Reunion Fun

OK I have a spare minute this morning to post some of the fun we have been having.

On day one we had some Old World activities for the kids. Each family got the assignment to come up with an activity booth to teach the children something about life in the Middle Ages. It was so much fun. We had Alchemy, Spinning, Heraldry, Shield making, Tunics, and Folk Medicine. Here are some of the photos of the fun we had.

Alchemy
My niece Rebekah is a chemist and she taught the kids about Alchemy. Her booth was always full. She told what basics of chemistry they did know back then. It was so much fun. My sister Mary also was in this booth and she did sun reactive dyes with the kids. I forgot to get a photo of that.
Alchemy 2
You can see here that she let the kids do experiments. It was really fabulous!

Medecine shop
My booth was the Folk Medicine. I am into herbs and so I had several samples of the herbs that they would have used back then and what they used them for and what we use them for today.
They kids loved the fact that the top property of most of the herbs and spices back then was to prevent flatulence. The all giggled. We took some especially fragrant herbs like, mint, lavender, rose petals, and such and made little sachets to wear around our necks. We talked about how most people didn't bath and that you would have these handy to sniff and especially stinky times. They also ward off bugs like lice.

heraldry
My niece Anna had the kids making Shields. She had lots of information about crests and what the symbols stood for. All the kids had fun painting them. I even noticed many of the adults painting their own that afternoon.

My sister Lil and her husband Doug brought natural fibers and taught the kids how to make yarn with drop spindles.
Spinning shop
The kids had so much fun and kept bringing me their bits of string to show me what they made.

My sister Anne (who was in charge of all the activities) and her daughter Rebecca had a booth where the boys could make tunics and the girls made flower garlands for their hair. The boys got to design the front of their tunics with crayon drawings that they ironed in.
Brave Little Knight

The last booth the kids got to go to was Grandma's Nursery Rhymes. Most of our nursery rhymes come from the middle ages and were political statements about their times. The kids had to recite any rhyme they know to her to get a bag of sugared and spiced nuts from her. They were so tasty!
Grandma
The smart grand kids stuck around and got more nuggets of wisdom from grandma.

My sister Jeanne and her daughter Alisa also had a booth where the kids were making family crests. They are still being finished and are really great but I forgot to take a picture of that.

Here are some more photos of the corsets I made. We have to show off the funness of it all!

I don't know just what Josie was doing that day but she did look impressive.
Wench

Wenches 3
Jeanne, Alisa and Amanda looking lovely. I have to tell you that I actually made Jeanne's for her last year and she has lost enough weight that she took the back of the corset in 6-8 inches. I am very impressed!

Backs
Here is a view of the back of the corsets.

Runs in the Family
Josie and Jeanne in their loveliness. They made their own skirts.

This one is one of my favorites though. This is little Hannah and it is her 6th birthday today. She is my littlest princess.
Princess

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Reunion 2008

Since 1999 my family has had a reunion almost every year. The last several have been here in the Midwest so we would be close to my parents. This year is right here.
The theme of the reunion is The Knight's Quest. We all get to dress up in Renaissance festival cloths and play all day.
I contributed to the fun by making corsets for all the women that wanted one.
Here are just a few.
Reunion 08 013
I am off now to George Washington Carver National Monument with the kids. I think we are late. Blogging takes so long.
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