Summer Days in the Garden

IMG_5307The black-eyed and brown-eyed Susans are coming into their own, and as they open and bloom so gloriously, I know we are at the high point of summer.

IMG_5306The feathery plant is amsonia.

IMG_5311Brown-eyed Susans with rose phlox. Brown-eyed Susan flowers are smaller and chubbier than black-eyed Susans. Also, brown-eyed stems are multi-branched.

IMG_5332A closeup.

IMG_5329Here are the phlox you can see in the background.

IMG_5331They look as soft and fluffy as the summer clouds.

IMG_5335More phlox

IMG_5364Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, I am still in the gentle clutches of Jiffy Mixes. As a matter of fact, I just received the free cookbook from them that I had requested at their website. It’s the cutest thing, and I know I will be trying many of the recipes. So yesterday, on a Jiffy Mix roll, so to speak, I baked Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies, using their Fudge Brownie Mix. They are amazingly good–light, moist, and fudgy, like a brownie peanut butter cup. Here is the recipe:

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies

Mr. Jiffy

1 package JIFFY Fudge Brownie Mix
1 egg
3 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5″ loaf pan.

Combine ingredients and mix well. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Peanut Butter Glaze

In a small, microwavable bowl, melt one teaspoon of butter with one teaspoon peanut butter. Take from microwave and add a 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar. Then mix in two teaspoons of milk or cream, and beat until smooth. Pour and spread over the still warm brownies. It will cool to a shiny glaze.

Note: You’ll notice that you can’t see much of the brownies in the above shot. That’s because I fell into a food styling black hole, and am glad to be alive. I baked the brownies in a little English clay ceramic pie plate, and when I took them out of the oven, it all looked a bit boring. Also, I liked the idea of dressing the brownies up a bit with an easy peanut butter glaze. No sooner had I spread the glaze than I realized that the pan of glazed brownies looked like a beige blob–not easily photographable for someone of my skills! So I had a bright idea. Sieve some cocoa powder on top! As I was sieving, I saw the brownies turn from merely being blah, to looking like a pit of quicksand. Nothing for it but to decorate with brown-eyed Susans, and show as little as possible in the photo! So the Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies  will be best baked in the indicated pan, glazed, and then no funny business with cocoa powder!

IMG_5314Meanwhile, the birds have been chowing down, going through three containers of black oil sunflower seeds a week. Here is a female cardinal.



IMG_5336Cardinal closeup.

IMG_5337A glamour shot of this sweet bird.

IMG_5379And all is well in the finch world. They have been eating like little sumo wrestlers getting ready for their next match.

IMG_5304Lastly, this is still day lily season, and they are looking magnificent this year.





IMG_5357Friend Susan gave me these beets. Aren’t they gorgeous? I cut the stems off, leaving only an inch of stem, and boiled them for about 45 minutes until they could be pierced with a sharp knife.  Then I rinsed them under cold water and slipped off their skins. Then sliced them and cooked them in a bit of butter and salt and pepper. Oh, yum.

Hope your week is a good one. Namaste. Fran


3 thoughts on “Summer Days in the Garden

  1. Jiffy!!! Love it. Jiffy mix has been around for what? 500 years or so?? Just used some to top a taco casserole and it was yummy. Fran, don’t you love the species orange daylilies? I hate it when folks turn their noses up at them. (“Ditch lilies”, indeed!) They’re gorgeous! I have tons of them and love every one. And, those yellow ones . . . are they H. citrina? (I think that’s the name for species yellow; orange being H. fulva??) So lovely!!

    1. They’ve been around since 1930–it just seems like 500 years!

      I do love the orange day lilies–I’ve never heard them called “Dutch lilies.” Wonder why they are called that. The yellow ones are very tall and are called “Minaret.”

      Nice to hear from you, Sherri! Take care. Fran


  2. Well, it’s “ditch” lilies – so called because they are commonly seen in ditches by the side of the road where homes used to be. Old homesteads are commonly located by the presence of these beautiful daylilies (used WAY before hybrids made the mass market) and other heritage type plants. I worked in Wooddale a few years ago and used to lunch by a patch of land that was just left . . . fallow, I guess, for many years. Every spring a beautiful “Bridal Wreath” spirea would come into bloom along with some daylilies and other plants that told you a home was there once. Maybe 50 years ago, or so.

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