Monthly Archives: October 2012

Succulent Candles

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Candace sent me this link to some awesome succulent candles at one of my favorite stores, Tuvalu in Laguna Beach. Only $6 each, they would make a great accent for a dinner party placesetting. Also says you can float them in water. When you visit Tuvalu, make sure to check out Candace’s Neckcandy jewelry creations!

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Here Fishy Fishy

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My friend Carrie moved from California to Colorado and back to California just like me. She’s a quilter and painter and crafter, so when I started this blog, she was one of the first to reply. Today she sent me her own succulent project – her brother just put in a pond and she found this fish container and added succulent clippings from her own garden. She’s gifting it to him, and I bet he will love it! Thanks Carrie!

Pumpkin Pot

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I saw this Pumpkin Pot in the Los Rios District of San Juan Capistrano. I had to take a close look because the pot looked just like a pumpkin…and it was – a real one! This would make such a fun Thanksgiving centerpiece. When the pumpkin starts to soften too much you could just repot the whole thing in a new container. Great idea!

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Today’s post features our latest yard sale find – three rustic green wine glasses for 25c. Yes, a whole quarter. My daughter Chelsea snapped them up and brought them home – I filled them with a layer of spanish moss, added potting soil, and snipped some of my backyard succulents. I dipped the snips in a little rooting hormone, then added some more spanish moss to the top to lock the cuttings into place. Because there is no drainage in the glasses, they require very little watering – maybe just once every two weeks, and never to the point of soaking. Great find Chelsea! Image

Yard Sale Find!

Hostess Gift to Go

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Bought this classic Don the Beachcomber mug at a yard sale for a quarter. Filled it with potting soil, took three snips from my succulents, dipped them in rooting hormone, plugged them into soil and added a few shreds of spanish moss on the top. Taking it to my daughter’s boyfriend’s house for dinner tonight! A nice little gift from the garden.

BKTA Kale Salad

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My new favorite vegetable is KALE! I’ve been eating mostly whole foods for the last six months, and kale was something new to my diet. A cruciferous vegetable, it’s said to be one of the healthiest veggies around. It’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and also a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins K, A and C. Kale has anti-inflammatory properties and helps fight many types of cancer! This recipe serves two but I make it and eat the whole thing for lunch. You can also make it with the dressing and store it in the fridge, as kale stands up to salad dressing and does not get soggy like lettuce.

BKTA Salad

Serves 2-4

4 cups thinly sliced kale, spine removed

Lime juice from half a lime

2 t olive or grape seed oil

1/2 t cayenne pepper

dash of sea salt

12 grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 avocado, cut into chunks

1/2 cup sliced english cucumber

2 tablespoons bacon bits

1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese

Put kale in large bowl and squeeze lime juice over top. Sprinkle with olive oil, cayenne and salt; toss to combine.

Add remaining ingredients, toss and serve! Can be made one day ahead. Leave out the bacon bits for a meatless Monday dinner.

Nutrition Facts 

2 Servings

Calories 272.2

Fat 17.7 g  Cholesterol 17.6mg Sodium 461.4 mg  Potassium 832.9 mg  

Total Carbohydrate 23.2 g   Dietary Fiber7.8 g   Sugars 5.2 g  Protein 10.9 g

Succulent Ice Cream

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I picked up this old, peeling and rusty ice cream maker at one of my favorite San Clemente finds, La Casa Verde for only seven bucks! I added Senechio, Jade, Sedum Angelina, and Sedum. After only two months, it’s thriving in the new habitat.

Spicy Lasagna Soup

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A great soup when the weather cools off and hot liquid meals are needed!

It’s the middle of October, and just the time when Fall seems to peek it’s seasonal head around the corner. And a little snap of cold in the morning is enough to make me think about making a big pot of soup! The other day I tried this recipe and it was amazing. I used spicy italian sausage instead of mild and the heat was perfect. The balance of meat, tomatoes, spice, and pasta weighs in more like a stoup, ala Rachel Ray. I left the dollop of cheese in the bottom and topped it with a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese, then ladled the soup on top — I like the little creamy bit of surprise on the end of my spoon. My husband Tom stirred it all in together and made one big mess in the bowl. Whatever.

Spicy Lasagna Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage, removed from casings and crumbled
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 small can (8-oz) tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 8 ounces spiral pasta, cooked separately
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Ricotta mixture

  • 8 ounces ricotta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (a pinch of salt, depending on how salty your cheese is)
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with the back of a spoon until browned, about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute more. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring another 3-4 minutes or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.
  3. Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves and chicken stock and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove bay leaves, add cooked pasta and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  5. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  6. To serve, place a dollop of ricotta cheese mixture in each soup bowl;  ladle the hot soup over the cheese. Serve hot.

Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 45 minutes. Serves 6

Succulent!

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Succulent…What a great word with a variety of meanings! When trying to come up with a name for this blog, I started with one idea – my love for the many varieties of succulent plants! But in looking up the definition, the meaning of succulent is also “full of juice, juicy, moist and tasty, toothsome (now there’s one I haven’t heard in a while!) and especially love…rich in interest!

The past two years I became interested in the new assortment of succulent plants and their unique variation, colors, textures and ease of care. My yard is basically made up of all the same fifteen or more plants, which I cut and replant (more on this to come.) I have planted them in pots, in a vintage wood ice cream maker, in flower beds, margarita glasses, crates, inside frames, and on wood blocks. I can’t wait to share with you many ideas on the joy of succulents.

Another passion I have is cooking! Back in the early 80’s I got married and only knew how to open a can of Spam and make scallop potatoes from a box – that was the extent of my know-how. But over time, I was inspired to try new things, thanks to great magazines like Cooking Light  and Bon Apetit. Things didn’t always turn out perfectly, but I found out there was more to cooking than canned pork and dehydrated vegetables.

Succulent also says in a word the location in which I am blessed to live: San Clemente, California. It’s a small beach town on the far end of Orange County and just north of San Diego. Our family vacationed here over the past several decades, and when we had an opportunity to move here two years ago, we jumped on it. Known for it’s amazing climate and small surf town feel, it’s a place I hope you can come and visit. I can’t wait to write and tell you all about the great little finds in my neighborhood: eateries, consignment stores, “locals only” spots, the best hidden beaches, and striking sunset locations!

One way we spend many of our weekends is hitting the variety of yard sales in the southern Orange County area! I go looking for new and inexpensive ways to display plants, plate food, and decorate the yard. I would love for you to share your great finds as well! It’s good for the planet when we reuse, recycle, and repurpose old junk!

Well this is a good start! I hope you enjoy reading and exploring. Please join us for updates!