Category Archives: Garden

Garden Fresh Pasta Dinner

I had friends over on Sunday and by request, made a garden fresh entrée. The advantage with this type of dinner is, it is quick and easy to prepare while guests are there. We had pleasant conversation as I put it together, which from start to finish was less than 20 minutes.

I apologize in advance, I have no photos of the final dish because I was having such a good time I completely forgot to even get my camera out.

Garden Fresh Pasta

  • 4 tomatoes
  • about 4 basil leaves (or 1/2 tsp dry)


  • 12 oz linguine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper (or red or orange as desired), chopped into large pieces
  • 2 zucchini, cubed
  • 1 large eggplant, cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tomatoes (I used a variety from my garden and my friends’ garden), chopped into large pieces
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil (or 1 tsp dry)

saucepan, skillet, large pot

Blend 4 tomatoes and 4 basil leaves together until smooth and add to saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer while prepping the remainder of the dinner.

In large pot, cook pasta according to package directions, to al dente. Drain, but don’t rinse.

In skillet, heat 1 tbsp of oil, add onions. Saute for a minute and then add peppers. Stir occasionally until they are softened and onions are translucent. Add additional tbsp of oil, once heated, add garlic, zucchini and eggplant. Saute until tender. Finally, add tomatoes and basil, cook for one to two minutes and then add the tomato mixture from the saucepan. Stir together gently and bring to a low boil for about 1 minute. Serve over pasta.

I served it with grated Parmesan, tossed salad and fresh baked bread

Go wild and add whatever fall garden vegetables you have on hand….


Random Wildlife

20160918_0955221600x1200Something has been sampling my jalapenos but I didn’t spot the caterpillar responsible till yesterday.  I first thought it was new new one because I had never seen one with those white things.20160918_0954181600x1200Next to the jalapeno is an ornamental pepper – a “Black Pearl”.  It has a visitor with the same white things.  A quick search online resolved the mystery, the caterpillars are the familiar hornworms with cocoons of a parasitic wasp.

Random Wildlife

20160917_1457181600x1200Saw this gal on the hummers’ favorite feeder the other day and nudged her off.  She came back to it yesterday.DSC_0926 [1024x768]I’ve seen them on there before.  I took a few pictures of this one a couple of years ago and didn’t think any more about it until someone mentioned that they have actually captured and eaten hummers.  That kind of freaked me out.20160917_1612111600x1200So I flipped her off of the feeder again.  Remarkable how much grip they get on plastic and glass.  I wish I had waited a little – there was a wasp just the other side that I didn’t notice until the mantis was on the ground.  You can just make out the tips of the wasp’s wings in this photo.  Click on the photo to for larger size.

Not Quite Ripe

20160910_111014Mrs J brought in a fig that was soft and starting to turn from green to brown.  We both had a half and concur – not there yet.

Blog Needs Moar Hummingbird Moth! I Fix!!



20160904_122601(1600x1200)We had enough chicken and sauce left over from those sour cream enchiladas for another go.  The side dish is a black bean and corn salad with onions, peppers, and diced celery in a cumin vinaigrette.IMG_20160830_122526604(1600x1200)Here’s that chihuahua mix before she got after the chicken in that bag before her.  Cute as a button!20160901_164720(1600x1200)Roast/BBQ chicken quarter with rosemary garlic potato wedges and an ear of grilled corn.  The local Kroger has been offering seasoned leg quarters off and on for a while now and pricing them decently.  I generally buy some to cook right away and extra to freeze for later.DSC03743 (1600x1200)This is Spots, we’ve put up her picture here before – she’s about 2 years old and is a sweetheart.  Mrs J reminds me that St Francis has lowered their adoption fees during “Happy Cat Month” to $25 and that includes vaccinations, chipping, and spaying/neutering.  They also test for FeLV/FIV.20160905_080654(1600x1200)That new toaster oven has slo-cook settings that work pretty much like on a dedicated crock-pot style cooker.  I have it set on low, it is showing the default time setting of 6 hours.  I had a brisket in the smoker overnight and I’m finishing it here.  It’s wrapped in foil inside the pan.IMG_20160814_132009849(1600x1200)Moar Gabe!  Here he is, studiously ignoring Bea Kitteh.  We’ve since ripped out everything in the garden except for the figs.  Still waiting for them to ripen.IMG_20160827_125640142(1600x1200) Here’s Bea again, luxuriating in catnip that Mrs J was cleaning up in the front from under the little dogwood tree.20160901_121953(1600x1200)I’ll wind this up with this sammich.  It has deli sliced ham, roast chicken, and cheddar under all that salad.  That green salad in the back is one of Kroger’s frequent forays into artisinal salads, this one is predominately kale and was pretty bad.  Baby spinach maybe would work but the kale really needed cooking.

This Week In Photos

Evening Harvest

Last night’s harvest. I processed the batch in the blue colander today. I’ll do the rest tomorrow and start the jelly. I should have plenty.  I think I’ll give away the rest of the harvest.

Green door

No recipe exchange this week. Been very busy. Today I bought a door. I love our local salvage yard, got a great deal. I may be sacrificing a bit of energy efficiency with the window, but the living room needed the light. It is an upgrade from the plain wood door to insulated steel, so there is that. I need to touch it up a bit and then paint it before it’s installed.

The animals are settling in. Jake is back to his favorite spot:

Don't touch my bunny

Zander is always up for a belly rub:

Belly rubs

And looking for a game of laser light:

Who's a good kitty

He and Bixby play it together and I need to get video, but it’s tough to capture the action. Speaking of the Beast:


He happily has his own couch (for now). We’ll see what happens when I find the new sectional. But for now, he’s comfy. LOL

The yard is coming along. I had a surprise gladiola hiding in the chard that made a smashing debut yesterday:

Glad for Glads

The window box outside my office that has been host to butterflies, bees and a hummingbird:


That’s it for tonight. I hope you have a great holiday weekend.  – TaMara




DSC03724 (1600x1200)This is Roma, she’s 4-5 months old and loves to be petted and enjoys playing games.  She looks pretty comfortable in one of Mrs J’s cat beds.


It looks as if this hummer set off the camera we have overlooking the garage.  This particular camera is fairly new and it’s quite a bit cheaper than most of the others we have.  I like it pretty well, it seems to take decent pictures and I like the info in a strip on the bottom rather than overlaid on the photo itself. I’m not as happy with the way the camera mounts – it snaps into a plastic mount that stays with the tree and doesn’t feel all that secure.

PICT0666(1600x1200)Here’s our fox.  This camera is one of the older models with the picture info stamped right onto the photo.DSC_5524(1600x1200)It’s been a while since Bitsy had a spot in a post.  I never did see what she was looking at but it kept her attention for a couple of minutes.DSC03712 (1600x1200)Here’s Catsanova.  I’m assuming it’s a boy cat, given that name, but I’m not sure.  He’s very affectionate, per Mrs J.  She stressed the very in that description.  LOLIMG_20160830_122536289 (1600x1200)This Chihuahua “blend” loves her some chicken!  Mrs J didn’t catch  her name.DSC03737 (1600x1200)

This is the cat whisperer.  All the shelter cats love her, and she loves them right back.
20160901_112418(1600x1200)We decided the tomatoes were done and cleaned the garden out.  I no longer wonder where all the tomato leaves went.  These were all released back into the wild.  Note that there are no pictures of sammiches or other food in the post.  I didn’t want to squick you out.  You’re welcome!

On the Vine This Morning


Patio Garden Bounty