Saturday, April 30, 2016

My visit to Gibbs Gardens


Photo Credit: Gibbs Gardens

I was able to visit Gibbs Gardens during the daffodil festival along with my friends Mary and Katie. Gibbs Garden's was featured in the 50th anniversary edition of Southern Living magazine where is was rated one of the south’s most famous gardens. From time to time it even features "strolling musicians". Anything from flutes to violins.

After traveling the world visiting various gardens Jim Gibbs wanted to create his very own oasis. He found, property in Ball Ground Georgia, complete with springs and streams, and he started to work. He designed 24 ponds, 32 bridges and 19 waterfalls. The 220 acres now feature 16 gardens including the Manor House Gardens, Japanese and Waterlily gardens plus the Manor house which is currently occupied by the family.

Photo Credit: Erica Glasener

Gibbs is an official American Daffodil Society display garden. March 10 - April 15 is the official Daffodil Festival and is breath taking with over 20 million narcissus flowers of some 100 different varieties filling up the rolling hillsides. Colors vary from yellow to blush pink and cream. Mark your calendars for next year!

For more information and beautiful photographs of Gibbs Gardens please visit http://www.gibbsgardens.com/

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Egg in a Nest - Gluten Free Easter Treats


Photo Credit: CK Worley
They are fun to make and simpler than they look. I created this recipe by using a Martha  Stewart base recipe and changing it up.

Here is what you’ll need.

Ingredients:

3 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 drops doTERRA Wild Orange essential oil
( http://www.mydoterra.com/growit/#/ )
8 ounces semi sweet chocolate morsels
1  3/4 cups pistachios (I roasted then ground them up)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray that with cooking spray.

Combine egg whites and sugar in a double boiler and whisk until the sugar is melted.

Next add the salt and cram of tartar. Remove from heat.

Beat with a mixer until stiff peaks form, then add the vanilla extract and the wild orange essential oil. It will smell really great and strong but don’t worry - it will even out.
Photo Credit: CK Worley

Place the meringue into a large sandwich bag, then cut the tip off one corner.

Pipe the meringue onto the cookie sheet making little dollops. They won’t spread so you can put them pretty close together.
Photo Credit: CK Worley
Bake for an hour and 20 minutes until they get hard enough to move off the cookie sheet easily.

While you are waiting for them to cool put the chocolate in a microwave safe dish and set the microwave in 30 second intervals - mixing as you go along until the chocolate is completely melted.
Photo Credit: CK Worley
Now take a little meringue egg and dip the bottom into the melted chocolate and then roll that into the ground pistachios.

Put them on a sheet of waxed paper to dry.

These are light and so delicious! The Wild Orange really makes a difference. And they are gluten free!

So! Now what do you do with those egg yolks?
You can freeze them! Just add a 1/2 teaspoon per egg, whisk them up and put them in an ice cube tray. Once they freeze you can remove them and store them in a freezer bag until you’re ready to use them.
Photo Credit: CK Worley
Why the sugar? It helps keep the proteins in the yolk from breaking down. Just remember when you use them for baking that you’ve added a little sugar.
Photo Credit: CK Worley
 Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Lichen and Turkey Tail Mushrooms on Trees and Branches

Lichens are pretty cool and harmless to trees. They come from the marriage of Fungus (which grows on the tree) and Algae (which likes the moisture Fungus creates and becomes food for the Fungus). So one thrives on the other.

I was walking with my friend Katie at Kennesaw Mountain Battle Field.

http://www.nps.gov/kemo/index.htm

They have lots of nature trails but this particular trail was new to me. The Little Kennesaw trail.  All along the path we found Lichens and mushrooms on the trees. They were so pretty that I began taking photographs of them.
Here is an example of both Lichen and mushrooms. The mushrooms look like butterflies.

Photo Credit CK Worley
Lichen is sensitive to pollution and likes clean fresh air so it’s a good sign. If you have some on your trees and don’t like it, just scrub it off with soapy water. That should do the trick.

The rest of my pictures are mushrooms, possibly "Turkey-Tail". These mostly grow on dead hardwood. Turkey-Tail mushrooms have been used in Chinese medicine and now research is being done on it's curative abilities here in the United States.

One of the more humorous things I have read is that ladies used to decorate their hats with some of the more colorful ones. Leave it to the girls to find a way to use mushrooms as a fashion accessory!

Here are some of the photos I took of the mushrooms.

Photo Credit: CK Worley
Photo Credit: CK Worley
Photo Credit: CK Worley