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Now that it is spring, I have started thinking about gardening. It has been such a long time since we last put in a garden, and I cannot wait to get one going where we live now.
The ground was plowed a few days ago, so I know we are going to do it. We are planning ways to deter the deer, and I have also been told I must also try to repel the raccoons, possums, squirrels and whatever other critters there may be out there.
The raccoons have made their presence known on our deck. Every evening, we quietly open the sliding door and politely tell them to go home, knowing full well we have only scared them away temporarily. One old guy, and he really is old, looks at me and chatters as if to say, “Do you have to keep telling me to go home? I won’t hurt anything.” In the end, he saunters off to his little hideaway just across our driveway.
The deer have chosen to wander beyond the drive all around the house. That may be due to the stomp out they had with Bob when we first moved into the house. The deer and Bob were defining their territory, and since that time, they have not come too close to the house. If you need lessons in how to stomp with a deer, just contact my husband; he is a pro. Hopefully, he can stomp them away from the garden.
We have already decided what vegetables and herbs we will plant. I definitely will plant some mint, but only in pots. I learned my lesson; they take over the garden. We will do the usual, a few tomatoes, green peppers, green onions, cucumber, zucchini, green beans. We are at the ‘keep it simple’ stage of our lives. We thought about potatoes, but decided against them. I am looking forward to gardening, seeing new growth and anticipating the fruits of our labor.
Speaking of potatoes, a friend recently gave me another potato casserole recipe that I have since made several times. It makes enough for a couple of meals. It really is quite good and simple to make. I cannot remember where she said she got the recipe, so I will just give it a name and hope you will try her gift of:
Mary’s Hash Brown
1 32-oz. package frozen hash brown potatoes (shredded type)
¾ cup melted butter
½ cup chopped onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz. sour cream
2 cups shredded Colby cheese
1 cup crushed Ritz or Town House
Defrost the potatoes in a colander lined with a paper towel to absorb some of the moisture. Once they are defrosted, put the potatoes in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the butter, onion, cream of chicken soup, sour cream and shredded Colby cheese. Pour mixture over potatoes and mix well. Pour into a greased 13x9-inch casserole dish. Top with crushed crackers. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes.
This casserole would be great served for brunch or along with your Easter ham for dinner. I have put it together the night before, covered and refrigerated it, then baked it the next day. If you have refrigerated it overnight, it will take a little longer to bake. Enjoy!
Lonnie Sundermeyer is a professional caterer living in Ghent, Ky.