Cover Image

I have talked about it before but I thought that I would share my enchilada soup recipe with the colder months here.

Brown meat with onion and garlic.

Add cumin and chili powder, cook a few minutes. Add tomatoes and green chilies, bring to simmer. Add chicken broth and heavy cream. Bring to near boil, cut cream cheese into manageable blocks.

Add cream cheese. Cook until cream cheese is melted.

  • 1 pound hamburger meat
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 3 teaspoons garlic
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 can tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 package (8oz) cream cheese

Sometimes I will leave the onions out. This brings it down to 37.8 carbs for the whole recipe and 6.3 carbs per serving. This recipe reheats really well, and I also like to add avocado, cheese, sour cream or all of the above.

Cover Image



Some older heirloom roses, like old-fashioned June-blooming ramblers, are reputed to be more tolerant of shade than modern flower-heavy hybrids.

Roses with white or pale flowers are supposed to need less sun than deep red colors.

But that doesn't mean that they are ideal. And no matter what you choose they will need sun.

I'd actually probably try a Dr. Huey there.

That's the rootstock that a lot of grafted roses revert to after heavy winterkill? It's all over my end of town as a nearly unkillable rose, always right next to the front porch.

I rescued one of them from the house next door when the old lady went into a nursing home. The new neighbors thought that they had dug it up and killed it, it actually took them about 10 years before it quit sending up suckers periodically.

The Climbers

One of the most popular types of rose are the climbers. And yet they might not be right for your area or your skill level.

Climbing varieties aren't impossible to grow but they can be a challenge. Climbers bloom on old wood, and that's what gets damaged in winter, so you lose height and blossoms in tough winter areas.

The soil is another thing to consider.

Honestly, I won't make any specific suggestions since amendments to the soil can be very tricky. For amendments, the only way to get a sure answer is to do a soil test and work from that.

But nutrients are a big part of the reason people do not get good results from their rose garden.

Prepare your bed by digging in a LOT of manure or compost. Roses are heavy feeders, like a soft bed, and require lots of water to be at their best - compost or manure will help with all of that. They also help buffer ph, so you don't need to worry what your mulch might be doing.

The Don

Find Your Zone

Do you know what zone you are in? If you don't, a local authority can tell you, try calling the DNR or extension office in your area.

I have been told the best way to safe guard against winter is to choose a climber, "One zone colder." Unless you bury the canes in the fall, depending on the variety you can expect a certain amount of winter kill.


I will say it again. Sun. Sun, sun, sun. Roses love the sun. Your desired location for the roses and the actual place where you plant them might differ. For example, between two lots.

Does it get enough sun?

Not if it is like the bottom of an urban canyon.

If it only gets a few hours of midday sun when the sun is directly overhead, that may not end well. It's not just a question of photosynthesis, it's also a question of overall dampness vs. dryness and diseases, as roses do better if they're in a sunny, warm, well-ventilated location.


Dead Heading

Dead heading is where you cut off the flowers so that the plant doesn't keep putting energy into the flower and instead focuses on foliage growth, which then gives it more energy to make more flowers.

I dead headed the rose the first season after planting, basically never letting buds develop. This season it's non-stop bloomed since March.

For dead heading, just cut from the bud to the first leaf.

Some people just use their fingers to snap the stalk, if it's an old flower. I prefer to cut with a sharp gardening knife. Here is something you could read for more about dead-heading.

Cover Image

My favorite soup that my husband and I sort of came up with ourselves is a chicken tortilla soup.

We use blended zucchini as a thickener.

I always tell myself to write down the recipe, but it hasn't happened yet. Hopefully this is enough info:

Cook up a chicken breast or two. This works well with either chicken that has been lightly browned and then poached in the soup liquid & shredded or with chicken that is grilled all the way through and then chopped & added at the end. Up to you.

Sautee a yellow onion, a few carrots, 2-ish zucchini, and a bit of garlic with some cumin, coriander, oregano, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Add a big can of whole tomatoes. Add some chicken broth (I usually do 4-6 cans).

Add a mix of peppers (I use poblano, red bell, anaheim, jalapeno...but it's kinda up to you how much spice/sweetness you want). You can roast these or not. I always used to roast them, but now I'm not so sure that it makes a huge difference.

In any case, simmer all of that together for a bit. Then blend until smooth (not the chicken!). Add chicken after the rest of the ingredients have been blended. Simmer a bit more. Serve with a small amount of crushed tortilla chips, a squeeze of lime, some cheese (cotija or queso quesadilla, preferably), a bit of avocado, a dollop of greek yogurt, and some cilantro.

Cover Image

I will whip up a quick batch of cream of mushroom soup for my husband and myself when we're hungy. It is such a simple cream of mushrooms soup and yet it is so yummy!

Makes 2 portions:

  • 1 small onion
  • 3 or 4 cups sliced mushrooms (I used white button mushrooms and chestnut mushroom)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • punch of nutmeg
  • ground black pepper
  • 2tbsp heavy cream

Fry onion for a couple of minutes in a little oil or butter. Add mushrooms and stir until they're soft and have released liquid. Add the stock, nutmeg and black pepper. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Use immersion blender to blend about half of the soup, then add in the cream (or you could use cream cheese) and stir.


You will be enjoying the soup in less than half an hour!

Cover Image

A lot of people try and fix their roses and only end up making things worse. Then they need to bring it back. This can take a lot of time, and it might not always work. We tried to kill our roses bushes but failed, so rest assured unless there is a problem, if the bush is healthy it should bounce back.

Here are some of the things that you need to look at if you think your rose bush is right for the grave: If the rose branches are crispy, brittle, and brown, and you can snap them like twigs, it's dead, Jim, and it's not coming back. If the branches are flexible, and you can see green if you scratch it a little bit, it's not completely dead.

Did you snap it? Green?

So far so good!

Some types of roses don't hold up well under benign neglect, other types of roses flurish, but especially with competition from weeds and lack of fertilizing they will die. Roses need a lot of food. And if they don't have it they can die.

One thing that we like to do is get rid of weed competition is to plant something that is equally beautiful to roses.


They are wonderful because once you remove the weeds you can lay down about 2-3" of loose mulch and plant the tulips. They will keep the weeds out and you will avoid using things like landscape fabric which you will just have to remove later anyway.

See, all is not lost.


When the coldest day of the year comes around I will usually make us a nice warm chicken noodle soup and it always hits the spot.

But don't take my word for it, try it yourself.

You'll Need

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion, chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 pound cooked chicken, chopped
  • 48 ounces chicken broth
  • 14 ounces vegetable broth
  • 6 ounces egg noodles
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

You'll Then

You will then get busy and cook up a nice meal the whole family will love. The directions are so simple:

  • In a large pot, begin to melt the butter on medium heat.
  • Add the garlic and onions, sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Toss in the green onions, celery, and carrots.
  • Continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the chicken and egg noodles.
  • Pour in the chicken and vegetable broth, add all spices.
  • Combine Ingredients and bring to a boil.
  • Continue to stir and simmer for 20 minutes on med/low heat.
  • Serve hot and you’re good to go!