Back to Life, My Florida Hydrangea Looks Good

Over winter here in Florida my hydrangea shrub became a bunch of sticks. The stems lost nearly all their leaves.

Hydrangea winter Florida January
January

After all danger of frost – around the end of February – I cut the stems back removing the old leaves. There were new leaf bud growths already forming along the stems.

hydrangea February garden Florida stems
February, after cutting back

Attempting to Propagate a New Plant

In the photos above and below I have placed a rock over a low hanging stem. I’m hoping that roots will form so I can cut this part off and plant it creating a new hydrangea plant!

Florida hydrangea garden perennial Spring
Rooting a stem

This hydrangea is growing in a nice shady location beneath a larger shrub. It seems to be happy and now I’ll just wait for the flowers.

All I’ve used for fertilizer is some bone meal and fish emulsion.

  • Florida hydrangea garden perennial Spring
  • Florida hydrangea garden perennial Spring
  • Florida hydrangea garden perennial Spring

Low Carb Meals, Simple and Healthy

After nine months on the Keto diet, my low carb meals have evolved to become simple and healthy.

Meals don’t have to be difficult and I rarely follow a recipe. Vegetables are at the top of my list when I shop, and they make up the bulk of the food I eat. Often I eat vegetables, with an egg, for my “breakfast”, which I eat at noon.

Keto breakfast food eggs, mushrooms, bacon, kale and biscuit
Egg, kale with bacon, mushrooms, and keto muffin

Many Meals Begin With Homemade Broth, or Stock

One thing I do quite often is make my own broth, or stock. The beef broth is made with bones I buy from the butcher. I bake the bones first to brown them, then add to water in my LeCrueset along with the bones, and fat that leaks out of the bones while they bake. Don’t skim off the fat! This is the good fat we need in our diets!

Chicken stock is made from the carcass of a baked chicken. Vegetable broth is of course made from only using vegetables.

Vegetables such as onion, celery, carrots, peppers, and herbs such as parsley and basil can be included. The vegetables don’t have to be perfect – use up older veggies this way. I usually add bay leaves too. The vegetables I add depends on what is around the house. Nothing has to be added, but the veggies add nutrients and flavor.

Make beef or chicken broth

Simple Scallops and Green Beans Meal

Seafood is a favorite of mine and this simple meal consists of fresh scallops which cook up quickly in a frying pan. The frozen green beans were boiled in water then topped with butter. That’s it! Serve with a salad if you like.

keto scallops green beans meal
Simple scallops and green beans meal

Ground Turkey, Asparagus and Shallots

Cook ground turkey (or chicken) in a pan. Remove the meat. Add butter and / or oil with pieces of fresh asparagus and sauce until nearly tender, then add sliced onions and return ground turkey to the pan.

Tamari or soy sauce can be added at this point, unless sodium is a problem.

keto meal turkey asparagus shallots
Ground turkey dinner

Beef and Cabbage Keto Meal

In a large pot brown ground beef. Add spices and herbs as you like. Remove the beef once it’s cooked and use the same pot to cook the cabbage. Slice a head of cabbage into “noodles” and boil them until tender. Either use water with (sodium free) bullion, or use homemade beef stock if you have it. I cook the cabbage in a small amount of liquid and don’t drain it.

Add the beef back to the pot, and some tomato sauce, or chopped tomatoes. Cook a bit longer (10-15 minutes) for flavors to combine.

Beef and cabbage Keto meal
Beef and cabbage

Cheeseburger Using Lettuce as “Bun”

Buy lettuce with big leaves and wrap a juicy bacon-cheeseburger inside. I honestly don’t eat much bacon, but this burger was delicious with onions, pickles, cheese and bacon.

Keto burger, no bun
Bun-less bacon burger

Plant Florida Native Milkweed to Save Monarch Butterflies

My Florida yard is small but I am trying to fill it with native plants to attract bees, butterflies and wildlife. After reading another blog about planting milkweed to help monarchs survive and thrive, I began researching the types of milkweed to plant here in central Florida where I live.

Do Your Research and Plant Native

Big box stores sell plants that look nice, and are not necessarily concerned with native species. Customers usually want pretty things to brighten up the home landscape.

Bringing non-native plants into the yard can end up being a problem. Florida contains many invasive species – the air-potato and Brazilian Pepper trees come to mind. They invade and push out more native plants. This is also true for wildlife that has been imported, but that is another blog post.

Although this page is about milkweed, researching all types of native plants for the landscape will go a long way in helping the butterflies and birds. Native plants will survive nicely, with little help, when planted where they should be.

Butterfly weed orange flowers for monarch butterflies
Butterflyweed

Types of Florida Native Milkweed

There may be more types, but this is what I found when writing this page. Visiting a local nursery that sells local plants could be very helpful.

  • Butterfly Weed – reddish orange flowers, blooms late spring through fall
  • Pink Milkweed – light pink flowers, summer blooming
  • Swamp Milkweed – light pink to white, tolerates some shade
pink milkweed plants to save monarch butterflies
Pink Milkweed

Read more about milkweed and the Monarchs at this page on the Florida Wildflower Foundation site.

Plant Real Florida is a great site for anyone wishing to fill their yard with native vegetation.

Florida Milkweed pdf With Photos and Info

The link above goes to a file found on the Xerces Society site which has many articles about Project Milkweed and has Regional Milkweed Guides in printable pdf. form for many areas of the country.

monarch butterfly milkweed
Monarch butterfly on milkweed

Super Easy, One Pan, Keto Dinner of Ground Beef and Veggies

To cook this super easy, one pan, Keto dinner all you need is three ingredients. Buy some lean ground beef (1 pound), a can of organic, low sodium, diced tomatoes, two medium size zucchinis, and some chopped onion, which is optional.

one pan Keto dinner
Quick Keto Dinner

Order of Preparation

Brown the ground beef in a large frying pan. While the meat is cooking, dice a zucchini into pieces. The easiest way to do this is to cut off the ends and cut the zucchini in half. Stand each half and make cross-cuts all the way down so the piece is in quarters. Lay it down on a cutting board and slice.

Open a can of diced tomatoes. Chop some onion if you want. I did to add flavor.

When the meat is cooked, remove it from the pan and set aside. I put it into a bowl I would be using to eat from to save dishes.

Add a pat of butter and heat the frying pan to cook the zucchini. Stir and cook, with the onions, until it is mostly tender. Dump in the can of tomatoes and add the cooked ground beef. Simmer for a few minutes to heat the tomatoes and blend the flavors.

This delicious and quick meal is now ready to eat! Add salt and pepper as you like.

Any vegetable you like would work in this dish. Some options would be broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, eggplant, and peppers. To stretch it, for those who eat carbs, eat it with rice or pasta. Crusty bread would be good too.

See more of the meals I like to make.

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