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Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Fish Tacos with Sun and Soul

My Southern Style Fish Tacos w/ Hawaiian Slaw as featured on the Cook's Cook.
 Well Folks, the weather seems to have 'broken' and the time is nigh to begin to enjoy the warmer weather, the fabulous summer grilling and chilling and maybe a fish fry or 20.  With the Covid 19 cases on the steady decline, for the first time in a year for Virginia, vaccinations are enabling us to finally gather again.  Normalcy is just around the bend.  I finished up my rounds of the Moderna vaccination last week and I  breathed a sigh of relief, I feel empowered again.  I hadn't expected to feel such a weight lifted from my shoulders and a renewal of zest and zeal, because  I thought I was doing okay, as far as keeping my eyes forward and not losing sight of a 'regular' day some time in the future, not plagued with new cases and our countrymen dying at every turn.  I continued to rally my troops to keep Hope alive and trust in the process of this terrible time running its course.  I had no idea that I was as oppressed, suppressed and depressed as ever, putting on an inwardly apprehensive face with a plastic smile, as not to worry my children.  Very much like the commercial with the people holding up those smiley faced fronts, hiding in plain sight, an internal mess.

I was unaware  I would feel this good again, mentally, A mentally more serene (in some aspects), happier place.  I implore you to seek that same relief, cerebral restitution if you will, of which we all are entitled to, quoting Niccolo Machiavelli "the end, justifies the means..." Humans are  social creatures of habit, gathering and congregating is inherent.   Studies even support the power of being social and the benefits bestowed upon us as a result.  We need each other, in one way or many.  What is the fun in a great recipe, if there's no one around with whom to share it?

Cooking and entertaining with friends and family is something that has always brought my family joy.  This featured recipe was created during the darker days of this Pandemic, and highlighted by one of my online cooking families, The Cook's Cook.   Now is  a great time to click on the following link and have the taste of summer right at your fingertips! southern-style-fish-tacos-w-hawaiian-slaw/ .   Exhale and take a delicious bite out of the wondrous times ahead, with this Pandemic in our rear view mirrors and a magnificent dish in hand, that you can take to the next cookout! The only Zoom will be the sound the car makes, on its way to fellowship with the world once again.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Simply Vanilla Gourmet Cheesecakes: Simply Scrumptious

Simply Vanilla's Cheesecake Case
IN A WORD, Yessss!
We sampled our myriad of mini cheesecakes in front of the fireplace in the mall!

Cookies and Cream Cheesecake

Simply Vanilla's wonderful selection of bars and brownies

Whoopie Pies, Massive Danishes, Muffins and Cookies

Simply Vanilla offers Vegan and Keto options




Social Distancing Parameters at Simply Vanilla

Key Lime Cheesecake by Simply Vanilla


Simply Vanilla Menu



 

Sharing is Caring, Simply Vanilla Gourmet Cheesecake

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Say Cheese!

Katiebug Turns 21!
Katiebug turned 21 (3) and we had a party.  She was the Belle of the Ball and had a great time, you can tell by her smile.  We just wanted to share her special day with you all and hope it brings on the same smiles we have, every time we see this photo.  Her menu consisted of pizza, cheesy puffs and kibbles and bits, bone shaped treats, plus T bone steak and Rib shaped treats for her and her pet guests, the humans had Scooby Snacks!
 

Monday, May 3, 2021

Hanging Strawberry Moss Baskets- Vertical Gardening Technique


Vertical Strawberry Moss Basket
I came up with this idea as I embark on my first season of growing strawberries at home.  I wanted to test out more vertical growing techniques and so, I in turn wanted to have a successful harvest.  Moisture is a big part of that equation and moss is a perfect candidate to help retain a good balance.  I gathered moss in sizable clumps and used it to line the shelves of a shower caddy I purchased specifically for this project, because I wanted it to hang flush against any wall space outside and hang downward, not sprawl across the ground, using vital grow space.  I also wanted to protect it from the animals, so suspending it  seemed like the best method to implement my idea.  
The moss adds a beautiful and organic touch to my hanging basket, which I secure with twine on the backside, enclosing the moss to serve as containers to house the strawberry plants.  The end result is a very cute and functional work of edible art, worthy of sharing and a focal point for a small grow space.  I am excited to see how it progresses and I will certainly keep you posted.  I chose three different types of strawberries, two of which are touted as best for growing when using a hanging basket, Allstar and Quinault, I also use Ozark Beautys.  These are June bearing plants, but do not make a surplus of viney connections, which is not ideal for this type of vertical gardening.  If you have more tips for growing strawberries vertically, myself and other readers would certainly appreciate your feedback.  You may leave comments in the space below and I will also take questions, if you have any about assembling your very own moss 'growing' basket.  Happy Gardening, the sky's the limit, literally!


 


Sunday, May 2, 2021

A 'Moss' Beautiful Gardening Idea



Freshly harvested Moss helped to elevate my planting vessel!
Turn an ordinary, inexpensive and planting suitable vessel into a work of art, with Moss.  I harvested this moss from our church yard, by a prominent tree, near the resting place of one of my little brothers, Keith.  Going to the church is always such a bittersweet destination, Alas, I digress, my Dad and one of my big brothers is there too.  In fact, generations of Smiths and Bergers are.  They are in a better place now and that comforts me, when I miss them sorely and feel despondent.  

I carefully peeled tufts of the softest and most durable sections of the expansive patch for my project.  
The moss is plush and feels like memory foam underfoot and beckons for you to take off your shoes and scrunch your toes in it and feel like a kid again.  Highly resilient and masterful for retaining moisture, moss is a versatile and beautiful plus textured plant, appealing to several senses at once, in a most flattering way.  

With a little creativity, a little moss can go a long way.  Have fun with it and stay tuned to see what I've planted here when it starts to peek above the soil.  The moss used for this featured project, is actually remnants of another project idea, coming up soon, I'm elated with those results as well!

Recipe:

A  plastic container, basket or bowl, with holes preferably

A knife or other sharp object to make small holes for draining 

Fresh moss

Planting soil

Desired suitable plants for vessel

Take a few moments to carefully bore several holes in the bottom of the vessel for draining.

The design will of course vary by container, but for this one, I simply tore off pieces to plug the larger holes on the container, on all four sides.  You want the pieces to fit somewhat snuggly in each of the holes.

Once desired pattern is achieved, carefully fill the vessel with potting soil.  

Plant your desired seeds for your personal needs. 

Enjoy the project and the bounty. 


  

 

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Smokinhotchef
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