Wednesday, March 24, 2010

TROPICAL SCAVENGER HUNT

Good morning everyone! How are you doing this crazy day? I’m rather exhausted actually. Remember I said I was going to my mom’s for the berry vine hunt? Well it turned out to be a full out botanical scavenger hunt and boy let me tell you… it was fun but now my body is saying WHOA! LOL. Just hope the doctor doesn’t ask me how I’m doing today LOL! I have to share some of the cool things we found with you. We found a lot of poison ivy, but that’s not cool and we didn’t get any of that LOL! (Sorry for the less than perfect pictures… I took them with my phone cause my camera cord is caput!)



This big old boy and his purple offspring are called Yucca plants. These are growing like crazy out behind my parent’s house. They are very pretty when they flower, putting off white or purple flowers from a stalk in the center of the plant. The spines are razor sharp and do a lot of damage if you are not careful. The Yucca plant is a member of the Agave family and there are 49 different types. Yuccas are widely grown as ornamental plants in gardens. Many yuccas also bear edible parts, including fruits, seeds, flowers, flowering stems, and more rarely roots, but use of these is sufficiently limited that references to yucca as food more often than not stem from confusion with the similarly spelled but botanically unrelated yuca. I brought home 3 of these fellas and there are BUNCHES more to save!



Here you see a piece of a plant called a Purple Heart. It is a tropical plant, related to Wandering Jew, which performs well as an annual in Kentucky flower gardens. The plant has purple colored foliage and grows well during the summer. Purple Heart grows well in full sun but can tolerate shady conditions and can be grown as a house plant. Purple Heart is easy to propagate from cuttings, even in a glass of water on the windowsill.



These are my little “Purple figlets” LOL. There are 11 cuttings from a Celeste Fig Tree. Most varieties require very warm weather but the Celeste fig is a cultivar that's unusually resistant to cold. It can thrive in USDA zone 8, meaning that it can withstand winter temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The Celeste fig tree is very productive and the main crop of fruit ripens in the middle of June. I love this fruit! It makes EXCELLENT homemade jams and desserts. Now ya wanna know the funny part? I’m very allergic to the leaves and sap from this tree! So does that make me insanely crazy or a devoted gardener? LOL!



Ah the Sago Palm tree baby. It is seen in almost all botanical gardens, in both temperate and tropical locations. In many areas of the world, it is heavily promoted commercially as a landscape plant. It is also quite popular as a bonsai plant. First described in the late 1700s, it is native to various areas of southern Japan and is thus tolerant of mild to somewhat cold temperatures, provided the ground is dry. These are 2 younger sprouts and there were many more to harvest in the wilds of my parents property.



The time honored Aloe Vera plant! There is a HUGE patch of these little green beauties running all over the place out there! Aloe vera, also known as the medicinal aloe, is a species of succulent plant that probably originated in Northern Africa, the Canary islands and Cape Verde. Aloe vera grows in arid climates and is widely distributed in Africa\India and other arid areas. The species is frequently cited as being used in herbal medicine. Many scientific studies of the use of aloe vera have been undertaken, some of them conflicting. Despite these limitations, there is some preliminary evidence that Aloe vera extracts may be useful in the treatment of wound and burn healing, diabetes and elevated blood lipids in humans.

I also brought home some Cacti and a few other plant cuttings, clippings, etc. We shall see over the next few days if they take or not. Keeping my fingers crossed! Now I didn’t have much time to craft yesterday, obviously, so there is really no craft for today.

And then of course, you need something to eat right? Well seeing that I was so dog tired, the DH made spaghetti (well under my supervision he made it LOL). Today I need something quick and easy… so I am thinking this shrimp dish will satisfy everyone!



Peppered Shrimp Alfredo

Ingredients

12 ounces penne pasta
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 pound portobello mushrooms, diced
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 (15 ounce) jar Alfredo sauce
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup cream
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Directions

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

Meanwhile, melt butter together with the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion, and cook until softened and translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in garlic, red pepper, and mushroom; cook over medium-high heat until soft, about 2 minutes more.

Stir in the shrimp, and cook until firm and pink, then pour in Alfredo sauce, Romano cheese, and cream; bring to a simmer stirring constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir drained pasta into the sauce, and serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Well gang, I gotta get off here and run to the doctor’s office. I will let you know what all happens. Be safe today in your adventures and live life to the fullest! HUGS!

2 comments:

  1. Debbie "MOM"March 24, 2010 at 10:14 AM

    You got a lot of new plants to work with yesterday. Remember some of those plants can get pretty big and somewhat intrusive (like the yucca and purple heart plants) so be careful not to put them near your veggie or berry gardens. And if your get your berries to trellis and keep them maintained and pruned and fed, they will last a long time....years. Good luck.

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  2. hi Renee do all those plants grow wild at your moms? my moms house in upstate NY in the Adirondacks had wild strawberries growing all over the yard... I took some and now have them here.....
    i love freebie nature plants
    jean

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