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County Extension

  • Deer-resistant native plants can enhance the beauty of your landscape

     By Sam Marshall

    Horticulture Agent

     

    Looking for native plants? Worried about Bambi sneaking into your garden and destroying your hostas? A problem for many gardeners, deer seem to feed on just about everything, aside from maybe those inflatable palm trees you see at the pool. Battle-weary gardeners can take heed (and maybe sit down), because believe it or not, there are more than a few native plants that will resist deer and also enhance the beauty of your landscape.

     

    Why native plants?

  • Lots of options for sweet-smelling shrubs in the garden

     Ask most gardeners about sweet-smelling flowering shrubs for the garden, and gardenia will be at the top of the list. This prom corsage favorite is a little too sickeningly sweet for my taste, but it does a great job of perfuming the garden.

    Once you get past gardenia, the consensus on making your garden life sweet breaks down, but luckily, there are lots of options for sweet-smelling shrubs in southeastern North Carolina.

  • Quick desserts –– adding an extra vegetable to your day’s meal

     For the past six weeks, I’ve been sharing ideas on five-ingredient recipes. We’ve done breakfasts, soups, chili, oven meals and even cereal dinners. You may be wondering about desserts, too.

  • Cereal for dinner: Taking cereal to a new level

     You’re tired, there’s no one else to fix dinner for tonight and all you feel like doing is pouring a bowl of cereal. But wait! Take an extra five minutes and prepare this luscious parfait, full of foods from three of the five food groups. This dish takes cereal to a new level.

  • Five-ingredient main dishes

     For the past several weeks in this column, I’ve been talking about a lesson developed by Alice Henneman from the Extension Service at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Alice works in Lancaster County, Neb. She tested many recipes for all meals of the day, including snacks and desserts. She was going for good for you, as well as good and easy.

  • Quick soups and chili –– not from a can!

      

    Soups are always a good choice, either as a meal starter or as a complete meal in itself. In most cases, they are good choices nutritionally because of the variety of foods.

    Usually, soups contain lots of vegetables and small amounts of fat. A little meat can go a long way in even the heartiest soup. Adding beans and brown rice provides fiber, as well as flavor.

  • Five-ingredient recipes

     Over the years that I’ve been teaching about food, cooking and nutrition, the one request I seem to get over and over again is people wanting ideas on how to prepare quick meals. They also want these meals to be good for them. That’s always a challenge.

  • Let’s talk a little about storing sugar

     Basically, sugars are simple carbohydrates that provide calories for energy. They also add the sweet taste to many foods. You can find sugars in two different forms: dry or liquid. There are many sources of sugars, but some of the most common are beet sugar or sugar cane (also called sucrose), corn sugar (dextrose), maple syrup and honey (fructose).

  • One food that fits the definition ‘smart snack’ is popcorn

     The National Popcorn Board (yes, there is such a group; I don’t make this stuff up) says popcorn is one snack food that always makes the grade: “As a snack or complement to any meal, popcorn is delicious, easy to prepare and fun to eat. Best of all, it’s good for you.”

  • Musical beans

    Every little kid knows the song: “Beans, beans the musical fruit ...” I’ll let you do the next line in your head.

    Not only are beans musical, they are inexpensive, tasty and a powerhouse of nutrition. On any given day, at least 14 percent of the U.S. population is eating beans. Good for them! Pinto beans are the most popular, closely followed by Navy, black, Great Northern and garbanzo beans.