Auntie Em's Guide to Life

A guide to all the important things in life- marriage, family, cooking, gardening, reading, travel, Christian living… And whatever else grabs my attention!

I Saw it on Pinterest! Zucchini Fries

oven fried zucchini fries

oven fried zucchini fries

I love zucchini, and it’s supposedly one of the most prolific producers in home gardens.. Of the 3 years I’ve planted it, that’s been true only 1 year. I harvested exactly *two* small ones this year before the vine borers got my plants. I’ve planted more since then but they aren’t yet mature enough to produce.
I tried these “fries” and they were a big hit! I repined it from my “food” board to my “I DID IT!” board.

Start by slicing the zucchini in strips about 1/2 x 1/2 and 4 inches long.

The recipe called for dipping in an egg wash but I used buttermilk. (like I do for my fried chicken) I like lots of pepper too! Here is where you season them, though you can add seasons in your bread crumbs too.

oven fried zucchini friesThen dip in some kind of breading. I used Italian style Panko. I got some rice-flour “Gourmet Fish Fry” that I want to try, too. Cornmeal would also be good.

Line a pan with parchment paper, then lay the strips on a wire rack and bake at 450 for about 15 minutes. Lots of variables can change the cooking time– the thickness of the zucchini, how much water it has– so check often. Cook it to the degree of brownness you like. Delish!

oven fried zucchini fries oven fried zucchini fries


Auntie Em’s Easy Microwave Corn on the Cob

microwave corn on the cob

Did you see that pin floating around Pinterest about microwaving corn on the cob in the husk? How the silk would slip right off? I was skeptical! I’ve dug little strings of cornsilk out of boiled corn plenty of times, only to leave enough to floss my teeth with!

But in the spirit of adventure (and the fact that the ears were 16 cents apiece!) I decided to try it.

First I peeled off the thick, dark green layers, leaving only a thin covering. See the outline of the kernels?


Next I rinsed them off and cut the outside husk off.

microwave corn on the cob

Put them on a damp paper towel on a plate in alternate directions:

microwave corn on the cob

I microwaved on high for 2 minutes; turned them over and did 2 more minutes. Let them cool in the microwave about 5 minutes (so you can handle them), then peel the husk off. The moisture holds the silks together, stuck to the husk!

I like mine with butter– ahh, simple, golden deliciousness!

Microwave corn on the cob


A Merry Heart– June 2

A merry heart is good medicine…

Proverbs 17:22

Auntie Em has been working in the garden during every spare minute. School will be out in one more week, and I’m looking forward to being able to write a bit more– in the meantime, let me share my garden with you! It makes my heart merry; hopefully it will do the same for yours!

Some pretty flowers– black and blue salvia (spreads by underground roots, so if you have good soil, be vigilant about keeping it in its place!) and giant iris. I love blue in the garden!

In the garden- black and blue   image

Easter lilies that waited till Mother’s Day to bloom– but when they did, it was pretty spectacular! And I was inspired by Pinterest to make a shade pot– I love the way it turned out.

In the garden-- Easter lilies In the garden- shade pot

Mr X moved a baker’s rack that was holding junk in a junk room/extra bedroom, and I straightened up the front porch. I also made a sun pot and gave a hibiscus a buddy.

image image

I cleaned up a front bed after buying some time planting potatoes, and am halfway to having it done. I’m putting a few things in the front, then laying newspaper and mulching. Don’t the hydrangeas look happy?

In the garden- hydrangeas image image image

But the veggie garden has been taking up most of my time. Before long it will be brutally hot outside and I want to get as much as possible done before that. We have planted asparagus, corn, beans, lettuce, and herbs in existing flower beds around the house.

In the garden - veggies in the flower bed image

But because we have all this dirt, and one of my rules is Be Frugal, I started talking about expanding. Mr X took the ball and ran with it, mowing and bagging leaves, raking them up for mulch. He built a beautiful sturdy trellis and walkways with treated lumber, and we’ve added a lot of space to plant. It’s not all planted yet but the newspaper and leaves are killing the grass, making a wonderful topsoil that will be great when it does get planted.

New garden bed image New garden bed image




Auntie Em’s DIET Rolo/Pretzel Snacks

Have you seen this picture from Pinterest?

Wow Pecans, Rollos and Pretzels why didn't I think of that?

I pinned it and decided to make them! They were SO easy, and wonderful. I decided to make some more for our family Thanksgiving dinner at Granny’s house. (By the way, in Texas, Thanksgiving DINNER is at noon, not in the evening.) I got “mini” pretzels just like before, but noticed they were a good deal bigger than the last ones I used. Mr X said these are a different brand than before. Then I got out my bag of  UNWRAPPED Rolos, which I was happy to discover because all that unwapping was a pain! I began placing them on the pretzels and noticed they were smaller than the last time. Mr X said, “See? It says MINI.” oops. All I saw was “unwrapped” and my laziness resourcefulness took over and I skipped over the much larger “mini.” However, my optimism decided that they will now be DIET candies.

ingredients rolo pretzel pecans rolos on pretzels

Here’s the skinny (HAH… get it? Diet candy?) on how to make them.

Preheat your oven to 350.

1. Place pretzels on a cookie sheet. In hindsight, I’d use one with sides. I got nervous moving this sheet in and out of the oven.

2. Put a Rolo on each pretzel.

3. Bake 3-5 minutes, till soft. If you use mini Rolos, it will be less time!

pecan rolo candy pecan rolo candy

4. While they are hot and squishy, mash a pecan half into it. 5. Let cool and eat ’em up!

*NOTE If you use the large pretzels, the Rolos will melt down onto the pan and make removal difficult. Let it cool some. But not too much or the pretzel will break when you try to remove it from the pan! I think I’ll try lining the pan with parchment paper next time. broken pretzel candy

Auntie Em's holiday cooking Collage12 Days of Christmas 2012


Every Little Helps!

“Every little helps,” said the old woman as she wet in the sea.

                                                                              My mother was raised by her grandmother, Lizzie Adkisson Forrest. This is one of the sayings she liked to quote! (And you’re right, I wondered too why she didn’t put “bit” in there!)

This is a great mantra for recovering perfectionists. I say it to myself and my friends over and over. Here are a few instances where my great-grandmother’s wisdom helped this week:

A friend and I were talking about how we loved Pinterest. I was admiring the wonderful elementary classroom ideas she had collected. She said disparagingly, “Now if I’d only USE them I’d be a good teacher!” But I  reminded her that even if she used just a few, she would be a better teacher than she was last year. Every little helps!

Blue Ribbon For First Place Royalty Free Stock Photo - Image: 10708795Along the same idea, my colleague and I have come up with a methodical system of skills and checklists to move our choir students from “zero to hero,”  so to speak. There are ribbons to be awarded, and videos to record… lots of bells and whistles. We’ve put the checklists and lots of the material we use for teaching all on a website, with the idea that the kids can practice at home. I don’t know how much that happens, and we’ve been hit-and-miss about ribbons, but I can tell you, we’ve brought our kids much further than we ever did without the whole system. Every little helps!

I am really realizing that I need to exercise! My mother had her first stroke and retired early at 54. I plan to live a long, healthy life, so I won’t have to move into Sis’s guesthouse, so it’s really hitting home. But I’d so much rather read or write! It’s so hot outside! My feet hurt! But I did bicycle for 21 minutes this week with TeeKay. It’s not great, but it’s something. Every little helps! 

And finally, for the job at hand. One of the projects I always put on my to-do list at the beginning of any period of time off, is to straighten every closet, drawer, and storage receptacle in my house. (A perfect goal for a perfectionist, no?) And I have one week more until I go back to work. So I think I’ll start today with my freezer, and when I’m done I’ll be one step closer. Every little helps!

How do you deal with big projects that weigh you down?


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