Life On Regal Hill: April 21, 2010

One of the most popular spring bushes is out in full bloom, so enjoy the forsythia while you can. No matter where you go it is out. Apparently it all came out at once this year. You can’t miss it with its yellow color. Another bush that is also out now which is white, is called spirea, commonly known as Old Fashion Bridal Wreath. I like spirea because of its fountain-like shape with arching branches and many small white flowers.

We no longer have forsythia here at Regal-Hill. It got so it was too much in the shade as the trees around it were growing taller all the time, thus shading the forsythia so it couldn’t grow or blossom properly, so it was dug up and thrown away.

I have never had a spirea bush but after seeing one today, and then looking in one of our many seed and plant catalogues, found it and I would really like to get one. Since they are in blossom now maybe it would be better to get it in the fall for spring blossoming. Hopefully, if I do get one and get it planted it will live and we can enjoy it for a long time.

I already have my vegetable seeds that I plan to plant this year, even onion sets, so hopefully soon I can plant peas and set out the onion sets and maybe lettuce to get the garden started. I tried to get some broccoli plants but they weren’t ready yet to buy and set out. I was surprised as I didn’t think it was too early to set out broccoli plants, but maybe it is.

Actually I have expected we would get more snow before May. We certainly could, since it is still April. The wonderful warm weather earlier in April certainly has spoiled me and got me to thinking about all kinds of gardening. I did get some pansies and violas today and can’t wait to set them out.

Ramen Noodles are quite helpful in planning meals; just remember they are high in sodium so don’t use them very often in your meals even though they are very inexpensive to buy. I hope these recipes will help you when you are in a hurry to get a meal on the table.

Beefy Noodles
Brown 8 oz. of ground beef and 1 chopped onion in a large skillet. Add 2-1/2 cups water; bring to a boil. Crumble in noodles from two 3-oz. packages beef-flavor ramen noodles. Add seasoning packets and 2 cups thawed frozen vegetables. Simmer covered 3 minutes; uncover and simmer 3 minutes more or until liquid evaporates and noodles are tender.
Serves 4
Woman’s Day March 2010

Tuna Noodle Salad
Break noodles from two 3-oz. packages shrimp-flavor ramen noodles in half. Cook in boiling water until tender. Cool under running water, drain well. Whisk 1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp. each lemon juice and water and seasoning packets in a large bowl. Stir in 2 sliced Kirby cucumbers, 1/4 cup diced onion, 1 drained can (about 7 oz.) tuna and the noodles.
Serves 4
Woman’s Day March 2010

Pork Lo Mein
2 packages (3 oz. each) Oriental-flavor ramen noodle soup
2 tsp. oil
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bag (1 lb.) frozen stir-fry vegetables, thawed
12 oz. pork cutlets or boneless thin-cut pork chops, cut in strips
1 Tbsp. corn starch
Garnish: sliced scallions
Bring 6 cups water to a boil on stovetop or in microwave. Add ramen noodles (reserve flavoring packets). Let stand 5 minutes or until tender, drain.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp. of the oil in a large skillet. Add onion and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute or until fragrant.

Add vegetables; stir-fry 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove to a bowl.
Heat remaining oil in same skillet. Add pork (in 2 batches if necessary). Stir-fry 2 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Remove to bowl with vegetable.

Stir 1 cup water, the seasoning packets and the corn starch in skillet until blended; bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened.

Add noodles; toss to coat. Add vegetables and pork; toss, until warmed through.
Serves 4
Woman’s Day March 2010