Friday, August 30, 2013

Charlotte's Web to Kick Off Season at Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis

Quote of the Day:  It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. E.B. White, Charlotte's Web

Photo by Dan Norman featuring Emma Thvedt as Fern

Above is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite stories. I'm so excited that The Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis is bringing Charlotte's Web to their stage, Sept. 17-Oct. 27, 2013.

Charlotte’s Web
By Joseph Robinette
Based on the Book by E.B. White
Directed by Greg Banks
UnitedHealth Group Stage
September 17 – October 27
Recommended for grades K+

Phone: 612.874.0400

Click on the website above to read more about the show and the cast and crew. I want to put the word out early that this show will be offered in the Minneapolis area, a fine show, indeed. "Terrific, terrific, terrific," as the Goose says. I might even have a few tickets to give away. Check back later!

Continue to support the arts wherever you live, take a new class, attend a concert, play, or art show, and watch how it opens your own creative corridors.

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt:  Who are some of your favorite storybook characters?

7 minute Shrimp (Gamberi alla Mediterranea)

This Louisiana  Shrimp from Breton Sound is said to be some of the best in the country.  The key to cooking Shrimp is timing and experience.  There is nothing worse than undercooked shrimp or shrimp that tastes rubbery.   This dish is popular on the Mediterranean Coastlines in Europe.  Easy to do and oven to table in 7 minutes.  I was almost tempted to toss it with Pasta.  I served it as an appetizer and shared it with friends.  I unexpectedly found some beautiful banana peppers in my garden, all from a plant I thought was actually not producing anymore.   It's funny the things you find in the garden.  Buon Appetito!
Preheat your oven to 425/bake.  Make adjustments for convection cooking. 
Ingredients:   (Serves 4)
One pound and half of extra large (Jumbo) Shrimp. If you are using frozen, this will work too.  Be sure and thaw them thoroughly.  
2 Banana peppers, split, cored and sliced.  Leave them hole if you like and discard them after cooking or serve them up.  Any pepper you like will do.
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of pepper
2 cloves of garlic diced or you can leave them hole then smash them for flavor and remove them before serving.
1/2 lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Handful of parsley diced or left whole for decorating the plates.  (Whatever you like)
One oven to table baking dish 
Method: Remove your shells from your shrimp, remove the black vein across the back.   Slice open across the back, leaving the tails intact.  Just like opening a book.  
Carefully toss your shrimp in a bowl with all the above ingredients. Place in as circle in your dish.  Pour your marinade over your shrimp.  
Bake for approximately, 7 minutes. 

Might have to rename dish 7 Minutes of Heaven.
Just serve with some garlic toast.

Just a little squeeze of Lemon too.  Discard the garlic if you like.  I did not.    Buon Appetito! 
Special Note:  Timing is everything.  Jumbo shrimp vary in size.  Don't be afraid to open your oven and take it out early.  These were approximately 3 inches in length.  (Not including the tail). Enjoy!

Back-to-School Fashion Show

Skinny markers- check.
Fat markers- check.
Box of Tissues, Ziplock bags, Red pens, Black pens-
Check, check, check, AND check.

Everything is there, painstakingly sorted into each child's bulging backpack, now hanging neatly in the foyer...just waiting.

My eighth-grader got his schedule today and together we walked through the halls of his new school. Tomorrow my elementary school kids find out who their teachers are and which friends are in their classes. I'll have the rest of the weekend to pretend it isn't coming, but with meet-your-teacher day on Tuesday there will be no denying it. The crazy rush of the school year will swoop down on us in just five short days.

Mornings will be early. Breakfasts will be rushed. Lunches will be packed...and sometimes forgotten. And the gas tank? It will barely keep up with the relay race. Four kids to shuttle in two different directions every morning. Then, squeeze in all the errands and appointments before repeating the entire process in reverse, adding and being careful not forget anyone at basketball, piano, gymnastics, or scouts.

It's not just the hectic school-year schedule that makes me want to cry. It's the idea of losing my kids in all different directions. I will miss the togetherness of summer. The three meals a day all gathered around the table. The family puzzles. The zany skits they put together and beg me to "sit right here" and watch. I'll even miss the way Halle and Lyla love, hate, love, hate and love each other all over again every ten minutes.

If I'm being completely honest, I have a bit of the back-to-school blues.

In an effort to dispel them, we held our first annual back-to-school fashion show. Oh yes, this will definitely be an annual event. I got the idea from my friend, Lynnae, who held her first back-to-school fashion show years ago with her three daughters. Even better, Lynnae has videos that go way back to when her now married daughters were itty-bitty, prancing around, showing off their new school outfits. I may have to see that priceless footage someday. I wonder if it looks anything like what went on here tonight.

The combination of these five kids and classic tunes like "She's Got the Look" and "I'm Too Sexy" were clearly beyond my point-and-shoot camera skills.

What back-to-school traditions do you have?

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Madden's Resort Food & Wine Extravaganza

Quote of the Day:  
They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.

The phrase "days of wine and roses" is originally from the poem "Vitae Summa Brevis" by the English writer Ernest Dowson (1867–1900)

I was invited to the Madden's Resort Food and Wine Extravaganza on Saturday night. Guest chefs from the metro joined forces with the on-site chefs at Madden's for a three day event. It included cooking demos, food and wine tasting, and a charity event on Friday night for Kids Against Hunger. I attended the food and wine sampling on Saturday night with my friend and publicist Krista Rolfzen Soukup.

Mary and Krista
We had a blast, not to mention a tasting adventure, at this event. Some of the chefs were really personable, demonstrating their fare with a flair. The line for the scallops from the St. Paul Grill was always long. The flames from their portable grill heated up an already steamy night. 

Adam Bartos, Executive Sous Chef at the St. Paul Grill

He said, "The next time you're down for a show at The Ordway, come to the St. Paul Grill!"
I think we will!

The swordfish and blue crab from Oceanaire were scrumptuous!

John was all smiles and full of information, explaining why this swordfish is the best I've ever tasted!

Playing to the camera. Give him his own show!

Robert Wohlfeil is the Executive Chef at Oceanaire.
They also invited the Biker Chef and me to come enjoy a meal at Oceanaire next time we're in the cities.
After that delicious bite, I'm in!

It's best to go into an event like this with an open mind, willing to expand your tastes. Sometimes, though, the food is just too far off your palate. I did not try the duck or the lamb tartar because I was skeptical from the start, then the women at my table made faces at it. Sorry. I'm a midwestern farm girl. I always feel safer when I see something I might have grown up with. The Chefs at Madden's Resort came through for me!

The best dish of the night...

Farm raised, naturally fed, handled with care, hog.

The man on the left is Lee. He works for the Compart Duroc company. He explained that their pork can be confused with a good Black Angus steak, it's so good. The Biker Chef made a simple sauce to compliment the pork's natural, good flavor. I felt like I was back home on the farm.

While we love to travel to other lands and seasonings, we always feel most at home with the familiar. Food is personal. We want it to taste good and feel good about eating it. We want to know that it was handled the way our grandparents would do it and served with the same affection. That's why they call it "Culinary Arts". It needs to look good and taste good too. And, of course, there is room for creativity, keeping in mind that not every dish is for every eater.

Bob Schuld, Executive Chef at Madden's, and the Fish Guy served chocolate and orange shrimp, an interesting combination of flavors.

Thanks, Bob, for getting us tickets for this event. Thanks, Madden's, for bringing in guest chefs and letting your own chefs shine. Thanks for the fundraiser for Kids Against Hunger. And, thanks to the sweet people at our table who shared the evening, and their tasting opinions, with us!

A good time was had by all! 

I have more pictures and a few side notes (dishes) to share, but this post is getting too long, and I seem to have overloaded blogger. Actually, I've been having some computer issues lately. Hoping to get those remedied soon!

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt:  What's the weirdest thing you ever tasted?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Wine and...

Quote of the Day:  The days of wine and roses laugh and run away, like a child at play. Henry Mancini

I started my weekend by waving good-bye to my big boy as he drove off into the sunrise of another year at college (in Texas, far, far away from his Mom in Minnesota). Off to the continued adventures of education, college life, and driving further down the road to a career. It was his first big road trip alone. I worried. He sent a text "Made it past OKC" (Oklahoma City), where he rested, then got up again the next morning and drove on, and texted one more time. "Made it to ttu."

Wasn't it just last year that he was wearing his Star Wars t-shirt and holding my hand as he walked to Kindergarten?

Bye, Mom, see you in December.
To distract myself from separation anxiety, I attended the Wine and Words library event in the evening.
Ran into my hair-stylist and character inspiration, Aubrey!

Joined the writers and word lovers with the Blue Cottage Agency


We lingered long at the event of librarians, linguists, and lovers of words. The food was delicious and the wine was wonderful. I bid on a couple silent auction items (Chocolate & wine which went high) and stampers, which I thought I'd won, but alas, was outbid at the last minute.

It was a great basket of stampers.
Would have been fun at our Art Spa!
The library committee went all out and brought in five fabulous authors. Lorna Landvik, one of my favorite Minnesota authors and speakers, was the emcee. She used the song in the above quote to introduce the other authors, hilarious! I heard her speak a few years ago at the library, where I confessed that I am also a writer, and she wrote in her book, The View from Mount Joy, which I bought that day, "never accept no as the final answer".
Lorna Lanvik with my friend and publicist Krista Rolfzen Soukup

I bought Welcome to the Great Mysterious. Love that title. It will be the first in my new stack that I crack open and start reading today!
I told her that her comment that last time I met her meant so much to me. She asked me how my writing was going. I told her I was writing plays and reviews. She said that she also likes to write for the stage, which I knew. She's a fabulous actor, speaker, writer, stand-up comic. If she's ever speaking or performing near you, go! She's a hoot and a half. Plus, her books are terrific, her characters like friends.
I also met William Kent Krueger, author of Cork O-Connor mystery series and admitted that I was new to his novels, so I bought two.

The gals in my group, laughing about how many books we bought!
The other authors that shared their inspiration were Wendy Webb, also a mystery author, The Tale of Halcyon Crane and The Fate of Mercy Alban which is a murder mystery set at the Congdon mansion in Duluth (but, not the infamous murder, a fictional one). I had to buy that book! And, I met Sarah Pekkanen (a good Finnish name) who writes great women's fiction. I bought The Best of Us which is set in Jamaica, because it would be fun to go to Jamaica, at least virtually through a great girlfriend novel. Also, Sandra Brannan was there from the hills of South Dakota. (I think she sees dead people.) Her family runs a mine out in the hills and she seems influenced by the underbelly of the world, those dark tunnels where things are hidden, waiting to be discovered and brought to light. I bought Widow's Might after she described a very intriguing beginning of an 80-year-old widow, dying of cancer, who is being strangled...but why? I thought I was all set, standing with my gal group (since we're the wild and crazy book girls lingering to the last), waiting for Sandra to sign my book. She started talking about Lot's Return to Sodom which takes place during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. I just returned from the rally, my second one (read all about it on Ride off the Page). She told us that the details in that novel are real, as told to her by an FBI agent and a member of the Hell's Angels. It's a look into the dark side of motorcycle gangs, the part that the tourist industry doesn't really want us to know. I couldn't resist. I went back to the table and bought it, and had her inscribe it to The Biker Chef. She offered it up with a warning, "It's dark, hard to read at times, and very real." I'll let the Chef read it first.
I have one more confession, while the speakers were changing places, I checked my phone. (I thought it might be my big boy, and I was still a little worried even as I enjoyed the event.) I read a message from the Biker Chef that I might get an invite to the Food & Wine Extravaganza at Madden's for Saturday night. I'll give you the culinary tour in my next post. Until then,
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt:  Have you ever bought a book that you were afraid to read, and yet, had to open it just to see?

A Spider, a Thief, and a Marriage

I'm still trying to figure out this whole blogging thing. It's been, what? Eight months since I left my comfortable seat along the blogosphere wall and joined the dance? And since becoming a contributor for Mormon Mommy Blogs earlier this summer, I'm now trying to figure out which posts to publish on MMB and which are better suited for Five in the Foothills. I think I'm working it out okay, but occasionally I feel like my dance card is double-booked. 

Below is a reposting of one of my first MMB articles (go here for the original post), including the same freaky photo that still makes my skin crawl...

a spider in the bathroom
Photo credit: Amy Selleck

It was definitely a battle-cry, but what kind of war could he possibly be waging up there?

I heard the the toilet flush and then saw him at the top of the stairs; my husband was flexing his biceps and trying not to smile. His eyes glimmered with accomplishment.

I smiled back in complete understanding. "You just killed a spider, didn't you?"

If by divine design...fathers are responsible to provide... protection for their families, well...when it came to spiders Wes was still working on it.

It was only a few months later, though, when he would stand to protect his family from much more than an eight-legged pest.

Every moment of that night is still vivid in my mind. It was sometime around 2 AM when I woke up with the feeling that something was wrong. I got out of bed to check on Beau, who at the time was our only child. His body was sprawled out on top of his bed and yes, his chest was rising and falling in rhythm with his breathing. I went back to bed.
But I still couldn't sleep. Not knowing what else to do with the growing pit in the bottom of my stomach, I crossed the hall again, scooped up Beau, and carried him back to our bed.

Wes normally sleeps like a rock, but by this time he was fully alert to my anxiety. Finally, I had the distinct impression that someone was lurking around downstairs. No noise. Just an undeniably clear impression. With decision in my hushed voice, I turned to Wes:

"Someone is in our house!"

He stood to act on my prompting immediately, calling out from the top of the stairs and demanding that the possible intruder leave. It was then that we heard an object drop and the intruder make his exit.

Over the years, this experience has become more than just a scary story to retell around the campfire. As we continue to reflect on the events of that night, we are first and most importantly grateful for the Lord's hand in protecting our family. We are also reminded that there is no competition between whose role is more important in our marriage. It was Wes who stood to protect our family that night, but not without my intuition.

On those days when my husband drags through the door after working a 12-hour shift only to be greeted by a disheveled wife with peanut butter in her hair, a half-naked screaming toddler in her arms, and ANOTHER six loads of laundry at her feet, any argument over whose role is more important is just not helpful.

Marriage is not a competition. 

Both my husband and I continue to make unique and equally vital contributions to the success of our family.

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150 Mile Summer- Part 2

Hiking Tip #1: Being chased by a pack of ankle-biting zombies can be highly motivating. 

As our family has hiked deep into the Cascade mountains, we've found that packing plenty of snacks, donning imaginary "flying shoes," and yes, a good game of zombie tag all help to subdue the waning enthusiasm that inevitably kicks in somewhere around mile two. When all else fails, three-minute piggyback rides come in pretty handy, too.

Surprisingly nobody ever wants to be left behind on our next hike.

Some of our little hikers are better accessorized than others.
Taking a break along the Denny Creek Trail.
Hiking Tip #2: Planning day hikes along rivers where the kids can swim, climb waterfalls, and skip rocks is the way to go.

Keekwulee Falls
Nothing like a well-skipped rock along the Cooper River to put a smile on this boy.
Which is exactly what we had in mind when we tried to find an old trail that we had hiked with a much younger Beau over ten years ago.

As our memories helped navigate our way closer to the trailhead, we remembered the beautiful drive along the Skykomish River. Through the trees we caught glimpses of the sunlight as it danced playfully along the same current my husband, Wes, kayaked years before.

Then, about five miles down the road, we stopped the car.

Because we came across something we did NOT remember.

I think it might be a while before we ever hike Troublesome Creek trail again. Or even GET TO the trailhead.
Hiking Tip #3: Be prepared to enjoy a spontaneous change of plans.

Thirty miles left to go of our 150 mile summer.

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Roasted Chicken alla Nonna

Nonna's make everything better.  I am not sure why my Nonna Maria added tomatoes to everything.  My guess would be she had them left over from opening a larger can of peeled tomatoes.  Italians do not like waste, especially Italian Nonna's. It all makes perfect sense to me now.  While the chicken cooked, she could get so much done at home, including setting the table and pour some wine for herself and Nonno.   The wonderful flavor of  roasted tomatoes, onions, potatoes merging with bland chicken, turns that chicken into something wonderful.  Nonna's are always right, aren't they?
I had a whole bunch of grape tomatoes from my garden, I needed to use up. 
My grandmother worked when she came to this country, helping my Mother take care of us and sew up blouses and mens ties  for what we now know as the Ladies Garment Union.   They worked, side by side, in our home in The Bronx.  I was so jealous.  One day in 1968, when she wasn't looking, I actually hit her over the head with a kitchen broom.  She never forgot that.  She laughed and reminded everyone about it until her death in 1995. (Pictures of their sewing adventures to come).
This chicken dish was a very popular dish in her home and it's so easy.  She used a few peeled tomatoes cut up.  I can remember walking into her house and smelling those onions cooking. 
 Here is my Version.  I love you Nonna and miss you every day.
Ingredients:  One whole chicken cut up, cleaned, skin on.  (Based on a 4-5 pound chicken).   I like to buy chicken pieces. I used 4 chicken breasts and one leg.
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
4-5 red potatoes quartered into chunks
25 grape tomatoes cut in half
One large red or yellow onion/ sliced into thick pieces about 1/4 inch.
plenty of fresh Rosemary (some for your baking pan, some for serving)
One large baking pan.  I used a non stick baking pan
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F
1/2 cup white wine
Cooking time/ one hour (Depends on the size of your chicken pieces.  Mine were quite large.
Make adjustments for convection cooking.
Method:  Lay your chicken pieces skin side up in your baking pan. 
Into a bowl, toss your quartered potatoes, tomatoes and your sliced red onion.  Toss until everything is glossy.  Lay your vegetables alongside your chicken.  Sprinkle your salt, pepper all over the top.  

 Bake for one hour or so total cooking time.  At the 30 minute mark,  carefully, add your wine (Optional).  Wine, however, adds great flavor.  Do not be afraid to use it.  The alcohol will evaporate and leave behind fabulous flavor.  If you choose not to use it, do not worry.  Let the fat of the chicken, keep things moist.  It will work just the same. 
  At the 45 minute mark, carefully poke a hole into one of the thickest chicken pieces to test that your chicken is done.  If liquid comes out of the meat when poked, it needs it's full cooking time of one hour.  You should see a nice, even, golden color.  Remove from oven, remove your darkened Rosemary.  Toss your vegetables into a serving bowl and let your chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.  It's so easy and uncomplicated.  Just like Nonna's cooking.   Buon Appetito!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Holy Cannoli!

It seems there is a first time for everything, even at my age.  I can't believe I made cannoli!   My Uncles were in the Pastry business in Manhattan,  so there was never a need to make a pastry in my house.  I ate so many as a child, it was the furthest thing from my mind. 
I woke up determined to make Cannoli.  I have no idea why.  They are unavailable in this areas as Pastry shops are non existent here.  I decided to give it a try.  How complicated could it be anyway?  What a wonderful surprise.  It brought back such memories.   If I can do it, you can too.  Enjoy!

Makes 12-15 / 4 inch Cannoli Shells

Ingredients:  For the shells
one package of Metal Tubes (sold in sets of 4)

1 plus 1/3 cup unbleached flour ( 1/4 cup for you board or counter)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 tablespoon shortening  (This is what I used)
You may substitute 2 tablespoon butter if you like
about 1 cup of white wine
Method:  In a bowl of a food Processor add your flour, sugar, salt and pulse.  Add your shortening or butter and mix.   Add your liquid a little at a time until your dough comes together like a pie crust.  Should just take a few seconds.  Carefully remove your dough ball onto a floured surface.  Roll over once with some additional flour if necessary so your dough doesn't stick to your hands.  Place it in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
You will need a rolling pin.  Carefully remove your dough from refrigerator.   Working with a one inch piece at a time.  Roll out a piece of dough into a small circle.  Working from one end, carefully wrap you dough around your metal cannoli form.  Let your end overlap slightly as you roll your dough around the tube.  Your tube will be slightly be exposed on each end as the dough will slightly overlap.  Carefully seal by brushing your egg wash across the seam. 
 Be sure your dough is rolled out as thin as you can get it without breaking and continue in the fashion.  This will keep your cannoli from breaking.
 In the meantime,  heat up some good frying oil about an inch up the pan.  Your cannoli's do not have to be submerged in oil while frying.  You will have better control this way. 

To remove the cannoli from the metal tube, carefully remove your cannoli from the hot oil and let drain on paper towels to cool.  When cool enough to handle (just a few minutes should do),  Carefully squeeze the very end of the exposed metal tube above the Cannoli.  The cannoli now should slip right off. 

 Keep your cannoli shells  frying 2 at a time.  You will notice tiny bubbles forming on the shell itself.  This is what you want to have happen.  This is a reaction the oil has with the wine in the batter.  It causes a light, crisp shell to form.  This is the ideal cannoli.   Do not try to overcrowd the pan.   You should only fry about 30 seconds on each side.  They will cook quickly because they are so thin.  Be sure your dough is rolled out as thin as you can get it.   Fry until golden by gently turning the cannoli's once in the hot oil.

It's best to let them cool and use them right away.  If you are doing this the day before, you can make the cream filling, but do not fill them until you are ready to serve them.  This will ensure they don't get soggy. 
For the cream:
One pastry bag with a small tip on end
1  container Whole milk Ricotta (15oz),  drained  (store variety is fine).
3/4 cup of confectioners sugar
2 cups whipped cream with pinch of confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon Vanilla extract (Good Bourbon Vanilla)

Method:  Carefully whip your cream to stiff, fluffy peaks.
In a bowl combine your Ricotta, sugar, vanilla and set aside.  Carefully fold your whipped cream into your ricotta mixture a little at a time.  You should get a beautiful, fluffy, consistency. Place in your refrigerator until you are ready to use.  It doesn't take long to make at all.  You can make it in just a few minutes. 
Carefully fill your pastry bag with the cream filling.  Slowly insert the tip into one end of your Cannoli and fill to the opposite end.  Keep going until they are all filled.   Serve immediately.  They can be made up to several hours in advance.  It is best to fill your Cannoli's and serve.   Top the ends off with chocolate chips if you like.   Enjoy! Buon Appetito

Special note:  If you want a more flavorful Cannoli shell try adding a teaspoon of Cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder to your batter in your food processor.  If you do not get at least 12 shells from this batter, you have not rolled out the dough thin enough.  Just keep trying.  Practice makes perfect!  Follow the steps above for the shells.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Pinch of Basil

Several years ago I had a neighbor with an amazing basil bush. I've never known anyone who could grow such quality basil. When it was ready to be harvested she invited several friends, including myself, over for fresh pesto. It, too, was amazing.

Little did she know then how she cultivated within me the desire to emulate her basil growing prowess.

And so, when we began our own garden here in the Pacific Northwest, I eagerly sowed basil seeds. I could almost taste that fresh pesto again as they began to sprout. For a short while I enjoyed coming out to my garden to observe the bright green leaves. Gradually, though, the leaves began to pale, eventually looking more yellow-brown than green.

These looked nothing like my friend's basil bush. In fact, in addition to their sickly color, they were gangly-looking. Stick-like. Just not...pretty.

I started pruning. You're supposed to prune basil... right? 

Pluck. Pluck. Pluck.

Great. Now instead of 8-10 yellow-brown leaves on each plant, I had 4-5. 

It must be the seed, I thought, as I noticed some healthy looking starts in the local nursery. I'll try again. So I ripped out my miserable first attempt at basil, replacing each plant with the lovely nursery starts. 

There! See? For the first few days it looked like I really could grow basil. But within about a week the new basil started to look just like those I had started from seed. 

Maybe basil and I just weren't meant to be. I gave up. In fact, I made a resolution to never plant basil again. Ever.

This spring, however, I walked past the most beautiful starts in the nursery and somehow they made it home with me AGAIN. And guess what? Within two weeks they looked spindly and sickly. Arg! Why did I do this to myself again!?

Constant Moisture
I made a special trip to back to the nursery. In total frustration, I explained my issues with basil to the nice lady watering all the beautifully PERFECT basil starts.


"Well, are you certain you are giving them enough water?" she asked.

I'm sure my reply was much more cordial than what played out in my thoughts-


But heading home that day, I knew I had no choice but to try watering more. And so I did. Twice a day even. Turns out basil is pretty delicate. It requires CONSTANT moisture. Within a week, my basil cheered up, sending forth more and more bright green leaves.

Pinching Back
A little more research convinced me that I had been pruning my basil the wrong way. So thanks to Pinterest, I began following step-by-step photo tutorials on how to properly pinch back my basil. It was hard because I FINALLY had green leaves! But the more I paired a constant supply of water with rigorous pruning efforts, the greener and bushier my basil grew. 

Can you taste the pesto?!

Lessons Learned
The spiritual parallels here are well-worth some personal reflection, but as far as basil is concerned, I learned the absolute necessity of a constant supply of moisture and how to pair it with just the right sort of pruning. 

You just wait. Next summer there will be a mouth-watering post featuring fresh pesto recipes. 


I'm linking up again this week with the Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage. Go check it out!

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