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How-to Overwinter & Propagate Your Geraniums

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul.” Luther Burbank

I recently posted on how-to save your canna’s & I thought now is the perfect time to talk about overwintering your geraniums. As the nights grow colder and frosts are right around the corner, it’s time to bring in your geraniums if you plan to overwinter them. In my post about canna’s I mentioned how much my grandmother loved them, well she was equally as passionate about her red geraniums!

I know so many of my readers are gardeners, so I thought this would be the perfect time to share this great bit of information! I use all of these methods myself and have had great success with them. Let’s get ready for old man winter and keep as many of our beautiful blossoms as possible!

If you missed my post on saving your canna’s, here’s the link for easy reference: https://fordragonfliesandme.com/2022/10/08/how-to-preserve-your-canna-rhizomes/

1. Bring your potted geraniums inside to enjoy all winter long!
This is by far the easiest way, however depending on how many you have and how large the containers are you may need to utilize a few other methods for some. Care for your plants as you would outside with respect to sunshine & watering.

One of my porch pots with several plants in it including a beautiful salmon colored geranium.

Hard pruning your plants will give them an upper hand from the stress of coming indoors. Cut back at least one third of the plant, however you can try to keep any stems with buds. When cutting them back, be sure to cut at the swollen part of the stem, called the ‘node’. This will stimulate growth on your plant!

Pro Tip: Before you bring in your potted geraniums, be sure to carefully snip off any dead or decaying blossom heads & leaves. Also be sure to check for any hiding insects on the bottom of the leaves, in the blossom heads, and around the dirt. I recommend cutting the plant back & then using an insecticidal soap spray a few days prior to bringing them in. I use Garden Safe Insecticidal Soap.

2. Store your geraniums using the Bare Root method! This method is also super easy. Here’s the skinny on how-to:

  1. The first step is to cut back your geranium. You will want to use sharp garden shears and cut the plant 6” above the soil line. DON’T throw the plant away, you can use it for stem cuttings! Hold on for that info coming. 
  2. Once your plant is cut back, remove any excess leaves carefully plucking off from the stem as closely as possible. Next, take a hand trowel and carefully dig straight down around the base of the stem, about 5” away, sliding down on each side- think North, South, East & West; gently lift the plant out of the pot or ground.

3. Once you’ve carefully dug up the plant, gently shake off any dirt clumps clinging to the roots.

4. The final step is to store the bare roots in either a thick paper bag or cardboard box. Keep them in a dark, cool, dry space that stays between 50 to 60 degrees. Check them once a month for any mold. If mold is found, carefully cut off the area and place in a clean bag or box. 

Pro Tip: Be sure to tag your bare root stems by color. You can simply write the color & variety on the outside of the paper bag or box. Store the same colors together unless you only have one.

Pro Tip: Removing any excess leaves will help prevent mold from growing on your roots.

3. Take cuttings from your plants & rooting them in water! Taking cuttings & rooting is very easy and can be done right in your kitchen! This is a great solution for small spaces, or if you just want more plants! Here’s how!

  1. Be sure to take green stems that are not woody or old, and at least 4 to 6 inches in length. 
  2. Be sure to remove any flower stems & buds. 
  3. Leave 2 to 3 leaves at the top of the stem. 

4. Take a sharp pair of kitchen shears or a scalpel and carefully cut just below the swollen part of the stem called the ‘node’ on an angle. Cutting at this part of the stem will stimulate root growth. This is the opposite of what you want to do to encourage new stem growth on the plant.

Place cut side down in fresh water covering about 2 to 3 inches of the stem. I recommend giving the stems fresh water every 1 to 2 days. 

Pro Tip: If you want to use rooting hormone you certainly can, but I don’t feel it is necessary. I’ve used this method for years with great success!

Generally it takes about 3 to 6 weeks for a cutting to root in water. Keep the cuttings in a sunny window with an average temperature of 65 to 75 degrees. Once you see roots sprouting, you can plant your new geranium. Place them in fresh potting soil in any container you may have. Just be sure they have proper drainage & don’t overwater! 

Pro Tip: If you are using the bare root method,  you can use the tops of the plants you cut back. If you intend to do this, be sure you have some totes of weather to place the cut tops stems in while you are working. Keep them in water until you are ready to start this method.

If you enjoyed this blog, please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

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Happy Day,
Jean

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All text and images on this site are copyright of For Dragonflies And Me. Unless otherwise noted, you may not use this content without written permission.

Roasted Root Vegetables & Balsamic Glaze

“I feel a recipe is only a theme which an intelligent cook can play each time with a variation.” 
— Madam Benoit

My super yummy Roasted Root Vegetable recipe pairs wonderfully with Dave’s Bourbon Chicken seen here on a bed of Basmati rice!!!

Summer has her bounty, but oh how autumn glory abounds in the garden! If you are a gardener you know exactly what I’m talking about. Here is Michigan we have 3 full seasons we can relish in our gardens sustenance! Spring with her lovely greens, summer with a bounty of tomato’s, and autumn with squash, potato, onions, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots… and so much more. Root storage crops, which all the above mentioned are, flourish in the cooler days of fall.

This savory blend of root storage crops including Brussels sprouts, fingerlings, baby purple potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions and more tossed in a blend of Balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and olive oil is absolutely delicious. This recipe pairs well with any meat dish, but especially delicious with Dave’s Bourbon Chicken. This recipe will be coming next week… so keep posted!

Our Favorite Recipes

Ingredients:

1 quart or 4 cups of cleaned Brussels sprouts, halved
1 cups cherry tomatoes, mixed Heirlooms are awesome
2 cups of mixed purple & red baby potatoes, halved OR use Fingerlings
1 large sweet potato peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 cup carrots, cut into 1/4 inch coins
1 cup parsnips, cut into 1/4 inch coins
1 medium red onion, sliced lengthwise
2 garlic cloves, minced or 2 tsp jarred
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 cup Olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Pro Tip: You can add any veggie you like to this recipe!

You will need a large bowl to toss all the veggies in once they are cleaned, sliced & diced.

Sweet Dumpling Squash

Root storage crops are very easy to store over winter.

I wanted to share more root storage crop recipe’s. Click this link to see my post with several super yummy recipes!

Click this link: https://wordpress.com/post/fordragonfliesandme.com/2477

Heirloom veggies are so beautiful!

1. Cut off the stem end; then remove the first layer of leaves and any bad spots off your Brussels Sprouts; slice in half.

Pro Tip: Cut the stem end off first, then the outer leaves will fall off much more easily!

2. Wash potatoes well, do not peal; Cut in half or quarters depending on the size. If you use fingerlings, cut them into 1″ coins if they are large or cut horizontally if they are smaller.

This would be considered a small fingerling potato.

3. Peel sweet potato; slice 1″ thick.

4. Peel carrots & parsnips; cut into 1/4 inch coins.

5. Peel onion skin off and slice lengthwise.

6. In a large bowl toss all prepared veggies in; mince garlic into veggie mixture.

7. Add remaining ingredients and toss until evenly coated.

8. Put all ingredients into a 9x13x2 inch baking dish making sure all veggies are coated.

9. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes covered stirring every 15 minutes; remove cover & cook for an additional 30 minutes stirring every 15 minutes making sure potatoes and sprouts are cooked through. A knife should slide through without resistance.

Be sure to keep posted for Dave’s Bourbon Chicken coming next Wednesday!

If you enjoyed this recipe post, please LIKE, share, & of course follow me to receive notifications on all my posts. 

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Added bonus: You can go to my blog at www.fordragonfliesandme.com to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!

Happy day,
Jean

Thanksgiving: How-to host the perfect holiday dinner!

“Thanksgiving just gets me all warm and tingly and all kinds of wonderful inside.
~Willard Scott

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year right along with Christmas. Autumn is so beautiful with the splendid colors, the rustic smell of fallen leaves, and of course the cackling of the blue jays. But even better than all that, I love to decorate for the the holidays.

I wanted to share a few of my holiday decorating tips with all of my wonderful Dragonfly friends. I thought I’d start with Thanksgiving as I don’t really do a lot of Halloween décor. I generally keep to a fall theme. I hope you enjoy this post, and please be sure to leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

My delicious recipes will be coming the week before Thanksgiving, so if you aren’t already following me on Facebook, click this link & hit the LIKE & Follow buttons so you don’t miss any of my wonderful posts!  https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100049613212778

I always prep the day before I host a holiday meal or party. I love to entertain and make my guests feel incredibly special. As most of you know I am a mother of six with two grandsons, so we often gather at my home as it has the most space.

Pro tip: If you are bringing in additional tables & chairs, bring them in the day before and get them set with whatever linens, dinnerware, flatware, glasses, etc. This will alleviate so much day-of event stress! As you can see from these pictures, each guest has a linen napkin tied with a piece of raffia and then a special name tag at their place.

Layering makes a showy table! As you can see, I have a table cloth, table runner, dinner & salad plate along with a linen napkin. Each place setting is different which adds to the elegance of the table.

Name tags make people feel special! When your guests arrive and see the extra effort you made to the point of making handmade name tags, they will feel all the love you put into this task!

Use real greenery & gourds!
I have a smorgasbord of living vines including bittersweet in my woods and the ditches around me. I love to incorporate beautiful fall leaves as well. A table centerpiece is so inviting!

Pro Tip: To make name tags I simply cut 4″ x 4″ squares of card stock, fold in half to make a tent style card, and then place a black name label on it. I used chalkboard paint markers to write my guests names. Be careful to let them dry adequately or they will smudge!

Pro Tip: Be eclectic!!! I do love things to match, but I also love showing off several different styles of linens & plates.

My grandson’s love to see their special plates and personalized name tags!

Pro Tip: Shop the dollar stores & thrift shops! I love to find interesting, one-of-a-kind pieces of glassware, linens, and glasses.

Our Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

All these wonderfully yummy recipes will post on November 16th right before Thanksgiving, so keep posted on my Facebook page for that reminder!

What is a holiday with a Mimosa!

Pro Tip: DON’T use Brut Champaign, it is too bitter!

Herb Roasted Turkey

Our Favorite Pecan & Apple Pie Recipes!

Pro Tip: If you are not a baker like my daughter Taylor is, don’t feel bad to purchase pies from a bakery new you. Supporting local is awesome!

So-Yum Mashed Potatoes & Dad’s Delicious Stuffing

Grandma’s Cabbage Rolls!

Mimosa’s are so easy to make! All you need is a Spumante Champaign, some orange, pineapple & cranberry juice.
Mix 1 part Champaign with 1 part juice. I like to mix the orange & pineapple, but my favorite is a cranberry mimosa!

Pro Tip: If you don’t want all the work of making cabbage rolls, you can make a cabbage roll casserole! You can find this recipe in my popular cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats & Treats. Purchase at this link: www.fordragonfliesandme.com

Of course we will have my famous Real Pumpkin Pie as well. For those of you who have my cookbook, this recipe can be found on page 304 of my cookbook.

If you enjoyed this blog, please LIKE, Follow & of course Share! Let me know what you think ! I love your feedback!

Happy Day,
Jean

Stuffed Peppers & Bonus Italian Seasoning Recipe!

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”
– Harriet Van Horne

It’s amazing how the garden produces with just a bit of tender loving care, some sunshine, and of course water. This summers garden produced an abundance of tomatoes & peppers. This recipe is for sure one of our summer time favorites, & I sure hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do!

Pro tip: You can use canned tomato juice, but making your own is soooo easy if you have extra tomatoes! Read below for a quick how-to!

Our Favorite Recipes

Ingredients:

5 peppers, halved
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound lean ground pork
2 cups Jasmine rice, cooked
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups PLUS 3 ½ cups tomato juice
1 cup mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ cup minced red OR yellow onion
2 fresh cloves of garlic minced OR 2 tsp jarred
1 tsp salt- divided
1 tsp pepper- divided
1 tsp Italian Seasoning- See link for the recipe on how to make your own!

Home Made Tomato Juice

Here’s a simple how-to make homemade tomato juice!

Wash your tomato’s; cut off any bad spots and stem ends.

Cut the tomato’s into large chunks and blend in a food processor.

Once they are blended, measure out how much you will need for the recipe. Anything extra you can freeze or can.

Pro tip: There is no need to remove seeds as they will never be noticeable once processed. I have done this for years & no one has ever noticed!

1. Cut your peppers in half & clean out all seeds & white membranes.

2. In a frying pan add oil and minced onion; sauté on medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes until golden, and then add minced garlic; sauté for an additional 5 minutes.

3. In the meantime while your onions & garlic are sautéing, cook rice according to package instructions. Set aside until ready to use.

Pro tip: You can add a TBSP of butter to the rice to prevent it from sticking.

4. Once the onion & garlic are finished sautéing, add both pork & beef, Italian seasoning, ½ tsp each salt & pepper to onion garlic mixture; fry while cutting into the meat until crumbly and done, about 20 minutes; drain grease from meat mixture in a colander. 

5. In a large bowl add meat mixture, cooked rice, 2 cups of the tomato juice, remaining salt & pepper, and parmesan cheese; mix until well blended; add the remaining 1 ½ cups of tomato juice reserving the additional 2 cups.

This is what your meat & rice mixture should look like.

6. Pour remaining 2 cups of the tomato juice into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish, spread until covering the entire bottom.

7. Take ½ cup of meat and rice mixture and fill each pepper half; place in the baking dish side by side until all are filled. Use the remaining meat and rice mixture and fill around the peppers.

8. Divide mozzarella cheese evenly across the tops of each pepper half.

9. Bake at 350 degrees covered for 45 minutes; uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and peppers are soft enough for a knife to go through. 

I really enjoy making things from scratch, which is why I wanted to share a super easy how-to make your own tomato juice.

Here’s the link to my blog post with my recipe for homemade Italian Seasoning. https://fordragonfliesandme.com/2013/09/28/dry-spice-blend-recipes-easy-to-make-salad-dressings-and-dips/?preview_id=2324&preview_nonce=61871f6394&preview=true&_thumbnail_id=2325

If you enjoyed this post, please LIKE & Follow me for more great recipes and home & garden tips. Be sure to visit me at my Facebook page for more informative & fun posts! Be sure to say “Hi!”. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100049613212778

Happy Day,
Jean!

Feeding the Birds: Cooler days are ahead so lets help out our little feathered friends!

“There is an unreasonable joy to be had from the observation of small birds going about their bright, oblivious business” – Grant Hutchison, The Complete Lachlan.

Rose Breasted Grosbeak

I have always enjoyed the quiet stillness that resonates while observing these little feathered friends flirt about.  I feel very fortunate to have been visited by so many varieties here with our five acres of woods. We have been able to observe several bird species including Baltimore Orioles, rose breasted grosbeaks, ruby throated hummingbirds, and the elusive pileated woodpecker. My personal favorite is the little garden wren who comes and sings while sitting on one of my plant hangers on my deck. I just know they are saying, “Good morning Jean, thanks for the yummy bird seed!”

I’ve always loved watching the birds and teaching my children their species name & different qualities. Feeding the birds has been something I’ve done with my children for many years. I thought why not share a few easy recipes for suet’s & other treats they love!

Bird feed and treats can get a bit expensive, although I feel it is money well spent for the reward of being able to watch such intricate & beautiful creatures so closely.

PRO TIP: The territorial Blue Jay can be very defensive around bird feeders, so I grow a row of sunflowers on the edge of our garden just for them. I also have a special dried corn cob holder I put in a tree away from the other feeders. They are very happy and I believe they feel a bit spoiled by me!
Sweet Autumn Clematis
Bird house in the clematis
Gold Finch
My favorite, The House Wren
Cardinal

I have a beautiful Sweet Autumn Clematis growing on my pool deck, and the birds just love these vining havens. They gather for shelter as well as nesting! Last week I put a bird house in the inside corner… I can’t wait to see who makes it a home!

My good friend Pam, Owner & baker extraordinaire of Cookie Cutter Tweets & Treat the Dog can be found at The Farmington Farmers Market on Saturday & at The Birmingham Farmers Market on Sundays. Be sure to check to make sure she will be there! Besides bird & dog treats, she has super cool pet swag, lovely bird themed décor she creates, and gobs of other cool stuff. Check her out at her Facebook page!





Grilled Chicken Pesto Pasta

“A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe.”
– Thomas Keller

This recipe has become an all time favorite for my family, so I thought I’d share it with my Dragonfly family to enjoy as well!

A few years back I was invited to prepare this recipe on Fox TV2 while promoting my cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. It was so fun to share my pesto recipe on air. You can find my original recipe at the link provide below.

Our Favorite Recipes

Ingredients:

2 boneless, skinless chicken Breasts- about 2 pounds
1 TBSP Garlic Salt, divided
1 cup Shredded Parmesan cheese for topping
1- 16 ounce or 1 pound box of Cellentani Pasta or similar
1 cup Pesto- see recipe link for Pesto recipe
2 cup Alfredo Sauce:
Ingredients for sauce:
1 stick salted butter or 1/4 cup
1 cup whole milk
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1- 8 ounce container of whipped cream cheese
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black Pepper

Pro tip: I recommend making the pesto sauce first, as this can be refrigerated allowing the flavor to intensify!

Pro tip: For the best results with the alfredo sauce, use as quickly as you can so it doesn’t begin to firm up. However if it does, simply warm on low heat until desired consistency, stirring constantly.

Click here for my Pesto Recipe. https://wordpress.com/post/fordragonfliesandme.com/3166

As a side dish, my yummy Bruschetta recipe makes a great accompaniment! You can find that recipe here: fordragonfliesandme.com/2022/09/14/bruschetta-with-feta-cheese-balsamic-glaze/

1. Sprinkle half the garlic salt on one side of chicken, flip and season second side.
Grill chicken breasts until fully cooked and juices run clear;

2. Once chicken is cooled, using kitchen shears cut chicken into bite size chunks; set aside

3. Prepare both your pesto and alfredo sauces; see recipe link for instructions for pesto above.

4. Put a large pot of water on high heat while you are making your alfredo sauce. Add pasta once the water comes to a full rolling boil; cook until Al Dente. Follow box instructions for cooking time.

5. While water is heating, prepare the alfredo sauce:

i. In a medium sized pot melt the stick of butter.

ii. Once the butter is melted, add cream cheese and half the milk; whisk until well blended.

iii. Once cream cheese is melted and blended evenly, add remaining milk and parmesan cheese; mix until completely melted and is a smooth consistency.

iv. Add salt & pepper; blend thoroughly. Set aside while pasta is cooking.

6. Once pasta is done, drain and then place in a large serving bowl.

7. To drained pasta, add chicken and both sauces; blend until both noodles and chicken are evenly coated with sauce. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and serve with bruschetta or any other garlic bread.

Pro tip: Once you’ve drained your pasta, add a tablespoon of olive oil, blend thoroughly. This will prevent the noodles from sticking. Butter works too!

If you enjoyed this blog & bonus recipes, please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

If you aren’t following me on Facebook, go on over & give a LIKE & Follow me for daily tips & tricks for your home & garden! https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100049613212778

Happy Day,
Jean

How-to Host the Best Holiday Cookie Exchange!

“Friends are like sprinkles on the cupcake of life!”
Author unknown.

I love to entertain, and what better time to do so than the holiday season? 

Several years ago, 2012 to be precise, I wrote a detailed article on how-to host a holiday cookie exchange. I wanted to provide an update with a few new ideas I’ve come up with. After all, it’s been a few years! I’ll provide the link to the original post which has several of my cookie recipes down below. You won’t want to miss that!

I want to touch on some older points, and expound on them here. Let me know if you are planning a cookie exchange & what tips would you have to share?

First we need to determine how many guests you plan to have which will determine how many cookies you will each need to bake. There are generally two methods to determine how many dozen cookies each participant will need to bake.

Pro tip: Be sure to be specific when inviting guests! Don’t expect them to know they need to make just 1 variety, not a mixture.

Small Group 5 to 10 guests

Each person will bring 1 dozen cookies for each guest. Therefore if you are having 5 guests plus yourself, each person will bake 6 dozen cookies of the same variety. At the end, everyone will leave with 6 dozen cookies of 6 different varieties.

Large Group 11 or more guests

With a larger group you will want to choose an easy number of cookies for each guest to bake. Generally 12 dozen is reasonable as most recipes will make 3 to 5 dozen.
Once you know how many guests you will be attending, you will use this simple formula  to determine how many cookies each guest will take home.

Formula: # of cookies divided by # of guests = total number of cookies to take from each guest.

Example: If you have everyone make 12 dozen cookies and you are planning on 20 guests you will take 12 dozen multiplied by 12 cookies= 144 cookies; then divide by 20 guests = 7.2 cookies of each variety for each guest. 
Take the .2 extra cookies and give them to a friend who couldn’t attend, a neighbor who doesn’t get out much, or bring them to work. Generally the host takes the extra’s.

There are a variety of containers you can bring your cookies in to the exchange. See my previous post for ideas!

The Invitation

 I am all about the details when entertaining, and that includes the invitation. This will emphasize the theme of your cookie exchange. Here are some cutesy ideas from my previous post & some new ones!

Pro tip: Be sure to invite your guests at least three weeks in advance. This will allow them ample opportunity to find the perfect containers or make them!

What to include on the invitation:

  1. Date, time & location is essential.  
  2. Explain how many cookies to bring, and to bring ONLY 1 variety! 
  3. Encourage guests to bring cookies in cute containers- purchased or homemade!
  4. If you have a theme, include that information. For example everyone is to wear an ugly sweater, Victorian hat, or pajamas. It’s your party, have fun with it!
  5. Ask your guests to include a copy of the recipe on a cute recipe card for each guest with their name and date on it.  Be sure to stress that they would be so extra special if they are hand written. A family member or friend’s handwriting is so special.

Pro tip: Once you know how many guests will be attending, you can prepackage each guests cookies in cute containers. Grab & Go!

Should you create or purchase the invitation? If you choose to make the invitation, here are some super cute idea’s!

Invitation Ideas!

1. Using vintage postcards or the front of an old Christmas card is a super cute idea. Using an adhesive place the postcard or card on a piece of cardstock and put all the info on the back of the card.
2. Attach a mini cookie cutter to the invitation as a keepsake! Simply punch a hole in the top corner of the invitation, tie the cookie cutter with a length of raffia or ribbon. 
3. If you love to stamp or scrapbook, you more than likely have oodles of supplies and ideas. If you have a theme, make your invitation reflect it. 
4. Paper die-cuts in the shape of cookies, snow flakes, or any winter theme would work; get a rubber stamp that has Invitation info on it; or print off your computer with a cute font.
5. Photo Greeting Cards make beautiful invites as well. Take a photo of your cookie, a bowl full of vintage cookie cutters or whatever your theme might be. Have enough 4×6 prints made for the amount of invitations you need. Crop about an inch off either the top or bottom of the photo and then adhere to a piece of card stock. Too cute!

To read more suggestions on setting your cookie table, the luncheon menu, tips on how-to get your cookies home, & of course several of my yummiest cookie recipes, head over to my original blog post! https://fordragonfliesandme.com/2012/12/26/host-a-cookie-exchange-luncheon-making-the-invitation-and-some-yummy-cookie-recipes/?preview_id=392&preview_nonce=78c99accd2&preview=true

If you enjoyed this blog & bonus recipes, please LIKE, Follow & of course Share! Let me know what you think,  I love your feedback! 

Added bonus tip: To find recipes like the ones you’ll find in my posts, you can go to my blog at www.fordragonfliesandme.com to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!

If you aren’t following me on Facebook go on over & give it a like & follow me for daily tips & tricks for the home and garden! https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100049613212778

Happy Day,
Jean

Here are some great sites for free printable invitations, recipe cards,
stickers & labels: 

Copyright Policy

All text and images on this site are copyright of For Dragonflies And Me. Unless otherwise noted, you may not use this content without written permission.

Black Bean & Corn Salsa Nacho Skillet!

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”
– Harriet Van Horne

Dave said, “Lets make some black bean & corn salsa!” Of course it was game on… & of course I said, “Let’s give it a twist!” You can make this recipe as is served with chips, or you can add the Queso & chorizo to give it that special Jean twist! Let me know how you like it in the comments below!

Our Favorite Recipes

Ingredients for the Salsa:

  • 1-15.25 ounce can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1-15.25 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained & rinsed
  • 1 cup diced Roma tomato- about 2 large
  • 1/2 cup diced red shallot- about 1 medium to large
  • 1/4 cup diced jalapeno pepper, ribbed & seeded- about 1 large or 2 medium
  • 1 glove fresh garlic OR 1 tsp jarred
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 TBSP Lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • Bag of your favorite tortilla chips!

    Ingredients for Nacho Skillet:
  • 1 pound chorizo pork sausage fried & drained
  • 1 TBSP Extra virgin olive oil to fry sausage in
  • 1 cup taco blend shredded cheese
  • 1 cup your favorite Queso- I like On The Border with Monterey Jack

We have been feasting from our garden daily. Using fresh ingredients gives this recipe such wonderful flavor.

Pro tip: If you would like to use fresh sweet corn, simply purchase 2 ears, steam until cooked, and then cut the kernels off. Super easy, & super yum!

1. Drain & wash both the black beans and corn in a colander until the water runs clear.

2. Combine the remaining ingredients into a large bowl; mix well, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.

3. While the salsa is chilling fry chorizo sausage in olive oil until cooked thoroughly; once cooked drain in a colander.

4. Place fried sausage in a 6×9 baking dish.

5. Spread 2 cups of the salsa over the sausage evenly.

6. Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheese over salsa. Then pour 1 cup of Queso over cheese.

7. Cover baking dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.

You can also warm this in the microwave on high for 10 to 12 minutes if you prefer.

Serve with your favorite tortilla chips!

Pro tip: I purchase all my pork & beef from local farmers. The taste is genuinely so much more flavorful!

One of the meat, egg, & cheese vendors at The Royal Oak Farmers Market

If you enjoyed this post & thought this was a super yummy recipe leave me a comment.
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Jean

How-to Preserve Your Canna Rhizomes

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.”
Alfred Austin

I can still remember my grandmother’s cannas towering up against the back of our house. I can still see the tall, red blossoms amongst the elegant tropical leaves. Every year she planted the rhizomes she’d saved from the year before. She just loved those tall, blazing red blooms. 

As an adult I also have grown to love them and have saved my own for years. And believe me, there is always plenty to share! Today I want to share my technique for harvesting & storing my canna’s, along with another that you may prefer.

1. Once your canna’s leaves have died back- generally after the first light frost, cut back the leaves leaving about 4-6 inches of the stem.
NOTE: Do not allow your cannas to suffer a hard frost otherwise they will more than likely parish.

2. Carefully begin to dig up the rhizomes with your shovel.
NOTE: Use a large pointed spade or garden fork and cut into the soil straight down rather than angling in. This will help prevent cutting any of the rhizomes.

3. Carefully lift the thick mound of roots from the soil. You may need to work the soil from all sides with the shovel to lift them without damaging them.

4. Next, carefully pull the rhizomes apart trying not to snap them. Don’t worry if any of them do snap, you can still store them.

Once they are separated, lightly rinse off the dirt with a misting spray of water without rubbing them.

Did you know: Cannas are commonly referred to as a bulb although they are not a true bulb.

Cannas multiply beneath the soil from a fattened extension of the stalk called a rhizome.

Fun Fact: Although canna’s are a tropical plant, they can be overwintered in zones north of zone 8 if brought in, or by digging up the rhizomes and storing.

NOTE: Rhizomes that may have been cut by your shovel are still salvageable.

There are many types of canna’s varying in height, blossom & leaf color. Blossoms range from all shades of reds, corals, oranges, & yellows. Heights can range from 2 feet up to 12 feet tall… which are simply magnificent!

However, the most intriguing element these beauties offer are their wide range of leaf color. My personal favorites are the green variegated. Other colors include purplish-red, bright red or green, as well as a variegated red. The varieties offered are sure to please any gardener.

Now lets talk storage!

Digging up & storing over winter

Once you’ve dug up your cannas according to my instructions above, you must cure them before storage begins.
To do this simply air-dry them in a dry, warm location for seven to ten days. This can be done in your garage or in an outdoor shed. The key is to keep them dry. Curing toughens the outer skins in order to help the rhizomes resist rot during storage.
Once they are cured, you will take the rhizomes and wrap them individually in newspaper or in paper lunch bags. You can then place them in a cardboard box for winter storage. Keeping them in a dry basement, in a garage as long as it doesn’t freeze, or even a closet will work. Temperatures should remain above 40 degrees, but not get over 60.

Keeping your potted cannas indoors over winter

If you planted cannas in your summer garden pots, you can bring them in to over-winter! This is a great way to save them if you have the room. Depending on how many you have, it may be easier to do the first method, or split them up if you have several.
Simply cut the stems back to the soil. Keep them in the same conditions as the digging up method.

Monitoring your rhizomes throughout the winter!
Over the winter months, periodically inspect the bulbs to make sure they are not rotting. Inspecting does take a bit of time, but you won’t be disappointed if you do this just once a month.

Marking it on your calendar helps to remember. 

Once spring arrives, carefully inspect all your rhizomes discarding any bad ones… & then happy gardening planting the rest!

Losing a few over the winter is normal as bad spots can easily be missed. If 70 to 80 percent of them make it, you did a great job!

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Happy Day,
Jean