Basil, Glorious Basil!

I have a small plot on the side of the yard just big enough to have a couple of tomato plants and basil. Impatiently I wait for the temperatures to warm enough to dispel the fear of frost. As soon as possible, I find a couple of plants, I do not have the patience for seeds. A few weeks later I have an abundance of basil.

I need to use it, but pesto is not my favorite use of this aromatic herb. I turn to the handy helper Pinterest to tantalize my taste buds (and use massive amounts of basil).

First discovery is Soft Batch Basil Lime Sugar Cookies. Although they don’t use a massive amount of basil, they are rather tasty. My mother declared them addictive.

These are made with a 2 inch scoop, but I only had enough dough for 12 cookies (recipe says it will make 16). Next time I will use a smaller scoop.

Every few days I had a new recipe to try, so I would snip, snip away at the basil. Here are my new discoveries:

Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce was spicy! If you look at the recipe, don’t be intimidated by the number of ingredients, most of them are spices to create the curry flavor. Did you know that the curry you have on your shelf is actually a blend of many spices? That was new information to me! The only change I would make, would be to use only one jalapeno.

Photo is from website:

How does Sweet Corn and Basil Pizza sound? Another successful recipe with a few modifications. Lots of basil needed for the basil vinaigrette which is the sauce for the pizza. I used a flat bread from Aldis and regular mozzarella cheese. I divided the ingredients from the recipe since I only wanted to make one pizza. Side note: I had enough ingredients with the half portion to make the pizza again a few days later.

Before baking on the left, after baking on the right.

The weather has been unbearably hot, which led me to Shawarma Chicken Bowls with Basil-Lemon Vinaigrette. This recipe used a lot of my basil! Since it was basically a salad I added a few more crunchy ingredients to the bowl {cucumbers, red peppers, celery, radishes}. Sorry, no pictures for this one.

I still have one recipe that I have not tried yet, Creamy Parmesan Basil Chicken. I will let my basil recover from the snipping of the past few weeks before I snip it again. If you check out this recipe, you will note it calls for 1.5 cups of heavy cream, that might be the reason I have not made this one.

So if you find yourself with lots of fresh basil, try something new. You might discover a new favorite. 🙂

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What Lurks in the Dawn

5:30 a.m.

It’s predawn as I begin my stroll down the driveway, looking ahead for water hazards (a.k.a. automatic sprinklers) when I spot movement in the dim light. Something, no wait two somethings emerge from the culvert drain.

The culvert on the right is where they emerged. They hustled over to the culvert on the left.

Could that be a pair of cats? I have often seen cats disappear and reappear through this opening to the street. No, they don’t move like cats. They are small like cats, but cats have a lithesome quality. These critters waddle as they scurry from one culvert to the one on the opposite side of the street.

My steps slow as I cautiously draw closer to this pair. I remember the skunk family that waddled down our street years ago. I do not want to alarm these critters if they are skunks. I keep my distance, but have my phone ready for a snapshot.

Click, click, no that’s no good. The phone camera doesn’t like the dark. The images are blurry. I find the flash button. Click, click, their image is captured but their eyes reflect in the light so they have a possessed look.

Two teenager raccoons checking out the neighborhood before returning home to sleep the day away.

I wonder what other creatures lurk in the neighborhood.

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“We plan our days, but we don’t control them.” I read this sentence in the book Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. I stopped reading. I grabbed a notebook to save those words to ponder their truth.

Life rolled along allowing us to do what we wanted, when we wanted, where we wanted with a few restrictions. That’s the way it was and would always be, so I thought. I guess I thought I was in control of my days because life followed my plan, usually. Then a virus appeared and spread around the world ending everyday life as we knew it.

Before the virus, I could make plans. Sometimes the plan worked out, sometimes the plan needed a little tweaking. The tweaking was no big deal.

Now, I might make a plan, but changing that plan turns into a big deal. Is the risk worth the change in plans? Usually not. Who would have thought that going to the grocery store, eating in a restaurant, or browsing in a shop might alter one’s life?

This virus has taken control of our days. It dictates when one should go to the store. It makes you wash your hands after getting the mail or picking up the newspaper from the driveway. It is the first thing one needs to do when entering the house. I wear a mask and plastic gloves anytime I am out in public. There is a bottle of hand gel and a canister of antibacterial wipes in a basket in the front seat of my car (plus a ziplock bag of cloth masks and an empty ziplock for used masks). I worry a lot about family members and friends. Will I ever see them in person again? (That has never been a concern before.) I hope so.

So for now, I will keep the plan for my day is simple, because I know I don’t have total control.

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5:30 VS 8:00

Let me make this perfectly clear, the times in the title are a.m. not p.m. This is the time of day you will find me on the sidewalks of my subdivision.

I am not happy about the 5:30 time, but the temperature and humidity have risen too high to make my original start time (8:00) survivable. As I walked, I considered the pros and cons of the two start times.

Pros for 5:30

At 5:30 it should be cooler (although the humidity often makes it just as miserable). Just for the sake of argument, I will state it is cooler than the later time period. The light is more muted because it is before sunrise, but it is not dark. The sun does not blind me and make me squint as I look ahead. Occasionally, there might be some color to the sky in the east. More often than not, there is no spectacular sunrise.

The beauty is not just in the sky. When the conditions are just right I find ground fog in the field. A gauzy veil draped over the ground.

There is no social distancing to worry about. NO ONE else is out and about at that time of day.

Cons for 5:30

When I need to be on the move by 5:30, I cannot snuggle back into my bed, for another hour of drifting between asleep and awake. I must get up, get dressed, and get out the door. No time for caffeine to simulate my conscious being. Awake and moving are the order of the day.

At 5:30 there is a water hazard to contend with on my journey. Sprinklers on timers often run at that time of day. Usually I see them and can veer down a driveway into the street and use another driveway to get back on my route. However, there have been times I’ve been caught off guard. When I hear a sppp-sppptttt-ssppttttt I need to pick up the pace or be pelted with water. (Which might offer a little coolness.)

Pros for 8:00

There is no water hazard. The sprinklers are finished. The sun shines brightly revealing the sparkles not seen in the muted light. Dew is not the only thing to glimmer in the bright light. Slugs have been laboring across the concrete leaving their secret code behind. Those faint white lines glisten in the morning light. I must say that even though I admire the glistening lines, I loathe slugs.

Look to the left for the squiggle to start and go up.
Does X mark the spot?
Look at the top middle, the trail stops. Where did the slug go?

I have time to savor my coffee and allow the jolt of caffeine to take effect before beginning my walk.

Cons for 8:00

There are others walking, so we play the game of chicken (more commonly referred to as social distancing). Who’s going to step off the sidewalk onto the road?

That brilliant sun makes it HOT! Sweat rolls down my nose. Sweat slides down my forehead stinging my eyes. Sweat lingers at the roots of each hair follicle. I am MISERABLE! I am a dripping mess!

The conclusion of analyzing the pros and cons of the two times is to stick with the early time slot and just suck it up. When it gets cooler, you will find me still in bed at 6:00. I can’t wait for those days to return!

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Dewy Morning

The sun rises to reveal the diamonds left in the night.

They glitter. They glint. They glisten as I continue on my walk. With each step, I marvel at the sparkle.

I look closely.

Dew drops of all sizes rest on the petals.

Grass is a slip and slide for each droplet.

Dew is formed when the object is cooler than the air around it. Lately, there has been no dew when I walk. The nights just don’t cool off enough to create the conditions for dew to form. Dew cools the plant down in much the same way that evaporating sweat cools your body on a hot day. I bet the plants around me are wishing for dewy mornings. I know I am.

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