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Time to plan your gardens, flowers

For the last couple months, most of us have been confined to our homes with no choice due to the COVID-19 virus that is upon us.

The weather has been bad and I must say that the rainy gloomy days does not help brighten our spirits and along with people that are not working, no income and can’t get out and about due to the majority of the stores being closed.

I do have an idea that may encourage you to get out of the house.

How about planting your own personal garden? And yes, I know many of you plant gardens regularly and also put in flower gardens. As soon as the weather breaks a little more, this project will get you out of the house, exercising, getting fresh air and help relieve stress that you may have.

As you drive around our area you can see now all the plants, veggies, flowers and miscellaneous shrubs and trees displayed.

Last Saturday (the day before Mothers Day) we made the mistake of going out to buy our annual tomato plants, however, we should have known better for the flower and fruit markets were packed with people buying mostly Mothers Day flowers. We did not stop at any of the markets, but it was very nice to see people out and about and most also wearing a mask and keeping distance as suggested.

We however, did go out on Monday and ended up purchasing our tomato plants and even a few flowers to plant.

Now with good weather just around the corner, we are all getting the itch to be out and about more, but we still all need to be careful and take precautions as suggested by our medical experts.

I was really excited to put out the Geraniums I purchased and on the same day our weather forecast was for freezing temperature so I had to set them in the garage.

It is amazing as to how many variety of flowers exist and how many different varieties and choices of veggies are out there.

I think this year we possibly will see more gardens than in any other year due to the fact that people have been closed in and have cabin fever and looking for ways to do outside projects.

It is also a great joy and rewarding in the end to see your beautiful flowers blooming and more rewarding to pick and eat fresh produce from your own garden. I may sound like I know a lot about farming etc. but I do not. My gardening consists of only tomato plants. Last year we planted 12 tomato plants but did not have much luck, some say because of the weather last summer, but wish me luck on the 12 plants I will be putting in when the weather gets a little better.

I must say that home grown tomatoes make great Greek Salads, BLTs and also taste so much better than bought tomatoes. We do have a large yard and I could have a big garden IF I could just find someone to put it in and take care of it, I would be more than happy to cook some of the veggies for them also. I have many recipes for and with veggies and later on I will share some of them later on when your gardens are producing foods.

Gardening is a lot of work putting them in and taking care of them, but the end results are great.

If I were a genie where I could twist my nose and all the garden work would be taken care of, I would be so happy and thrilled to go out and pick all the great fresh produce. Since I am not, however, I guess I will do like many do and stop frequently at the produce markets around town to purchase what I need.

I love to drive around later in the summer and see all the beautiful flowers and gardens and really admire the people that produce them.

Till next week stay safe and healthy!

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Italian Barbecue

1 pound bulk sausage, uncooked

1 pound chipped steak, uncooked

4 large onions, cut in rings

2 medium-sized green peppers, sliced

1 4-ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained

1 28-ounce jar spaghetti sauce

1 tablespoon dried oregano

salt to taste

8-10 hoagie rolls

In a large skillet, brown the sausage. Remove from pan and set aside. Brown chipped steak in the sausage drippings in the same skillet. Pull steak apart with 2 forks. Remove from pan and set aside. Brown onions and peppers in skillet drippings. Stir meats back in and add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer 1 hour. Serve on hoagie rolls.

***

Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches

1 pound pork tenderloin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup flour

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon horseradish

romaine lettuce

red onion, thinly sliced

4 bread rolls

Slice tenderloin into 1/4-inch thick slices and pound flat. In a small bowl, mix flour with salt and pepper. Dip meat slices into flour and then into beaten egg. Fry in oil until brown. Turn and brown other side. Be careful not to crowd the pan so the meat can brown well and cook through. Set finished slices aside and keep warm while you brown the rest. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix sour cream with horseradish. To serve, place meat, lettuce and onion on rolls and top with sour cream mixture.

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Ham and Cheese Ring

1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons prepared mustard

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 tablespoon chopped onions

1/4 cup parsley

1 cup chopped broccoli, fresh or frozen, thawed

1 cup chopped or shredded ham

1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together butter, mustard and lemon juice. Add onions, parsley, broccoli, ham and cheese. Blend well. In a lightly greased baking dish, arrange crescent rolls in a circle with points out like a star and centers overlapping.

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Applesauce Cake

1/2 cup butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 1/2 cups applesauce

1/2 cup nuts

Cream butter. Add sugar and mix. Add eggs. Beat well after each. Add flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice; mix. Add applesauce and chopped nuts. Mix well. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

***

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 20-ounce can sliced pineapple, drained and juice reserved

1 6-ounce jar maraschino cherries, drained

1 package yellow cake mix

oil and eggs as called for on cake mix package directions

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in a 13×9 pan in oven. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter. Arrange pineapple slices and cherries over top, pressing gently. Add enough water to pineapple juice to measure 1 1/4 cups. Make cake batter as directed on package except use pineapple juice mixture instead of water. Pour batter over pineapple and cherries. Bake 40-45 minutes or until done. Immediately turn pan upside down onto heatproof serving dish.

***

Correction: In the May 3 column, a wrong temperature was included. The recipe is reprinted, corrected:

Polka-Dates

1 8-ounce package dates, chopped

1 cup hot water

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 cup butter

1 3/4 cups flour

2 1/2 teaspoons soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips, divided

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Mix dates and hot water. Set aside to cool. Beat eggs, sugar and butter until creamy. Add flour and soda. Stir in undrained dates and vanilla. Add 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Spread into a greased and floured 9×13 pan. Top with nuts and remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cut into squares.

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Kiki Angelos is a food columnist for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

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