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Showing posts from June, 2010

More Recipes on the way

I tried to explain to my mother that I was making her and her recipes a star in my blog but I don't think she understood what I meant by a blog. So I just told her it was like writing an article but on the computer. She was so excited to share her favorite recipes that she is writing some down for me. When I called her the other day to get her recipe for tomato sauce(I want the exact amounts that can be measured, not just a little bit or to taste, some of her favorite measurements) she was busy making what else her sauce and meatballs. And a blueberry pie. If she had time she was going to make a chocolate cake too. Her granddaughter-in-law and three great-grandchildren were coming for lunch. In my family we eat just meatballs in sauce with just some bread to soak up the wonderful sauce for lunch. Skip the spaghetti, the bread is the only carbs you need.
Over the phone my mother was sharing her secrets about making a great sauce. Remember simmer your sauce for a long time, she tel…

Mangia, Mangia!

I know that I call this Good Dinner Mrs. Mellen and as I’ve been reminded I haven’t shared much dinner. I have been spending most of my time in my gardens, that has been my focus this spring.
As much a I love to garden,I do love to cook and entertain. I learned to cook and appreciate good food from my Mother and Grandmother. I have fond memories of growing up sharing wonderful meals with my extended family. My Grandmother made everything from scratch including growing the herbs, garlic and plum tomatoes for her sauce. Yes in my Italian family we call it sauce not gravy.(Gravy is what you made from turkey and beef). My Grandmother made the most wonderful meals without recipes, fancy tools or gadgets, just the best ingredients and some simple kitchen tools. She didn’t even measure her ingredients she just knew how much by sight. Everything that she made was just delicious, even a simple cheese sandwich was heaven to taste. My Mother carried on this tradition of being an exceptional coo…

Ode to Hot Power Yoga

I can't intelligently explain why I love to practice hot yoga and to drip, drip, drip like a leaky faucet - it just feels so good. But yoga is more than just physically feeling good, even more wonderful is mentally feeling good. I started practicing yoga over 30 years ago when I quit smoking. Originally I started the practice to avoid packing on weight when I quit smoking and it worked. As I continued with the practice(I took a class a week and practiced an hour at home every day) I found that not only was I feeling physically changed but mentally changed. Life didn't seem so hard, problems not as large as before, my mind was clearer and life felt wonderful. I practiced yoga for many years and then I had my first child. I continued to still take exercise classes but I don't know why I abandoned my yoga practice. I never went back to my yoga practice even though I loved doing yoga. A moved to another state took me far way from my yoga teachers and I didn't think to loo…

Garden, Garden, Garden and more Garden

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Yes I know that I sound obsessed with my garden, but I am so happy when I am working on producing more and more beautiful gardens. Saturday I wasn't torn about my plan of action. After a fun Girls Night out at Pandora's in Legacy place and martinis with fun names like French Manicure at Aquitaine, I still managed to get up early. But no Hot Power Yoga for me (sorry Masaaki I do love your class), out to hot power gardening.
I needed to separate day lilies that were not producing many blooms because they had multiplied too much. These lilies had grown so thick in a few years because they had been planted in top soil that we had trucked in to our garden. I should wait until the fall but with the cool rainy weather that was projected for this weekend, I think that it will be fine. And I will make sure that I keep them watered until the roots take hold. Separating perennials is best done in the fall before it gets too cold but sometimes you just have to break the rules.(Don't…

Off to the woods you go!

The fate of my failed hydrangeas is sealed. Off to the woods they go, never to remind me of my failure to get beautiful blooms all summer long from one of my favorite variety of hydrangeas. I almost transplanted these thorn in my side plants to a garden that I call my overflow garden. This garden is located at the edge of the woods and this past spring when the Charles River flooded the whole area was under water. When I separate plants and don't have room in my more formal gardens, this is where the plants end up. I even wondered "What would Martha do?" I think that I know the answer, she would never get rid of a plant, she would know immediately where she should transplant the under producing plant and finally have wonderful blooms (or better yet one of her many gardeners would take over). I, having had enough of looking at bloom less hydrangeas all summer long, made a hard decision for me and through the plants away!

On to more a much nicer topic Delphiniums. I like …

Win some, Lose some

This is the sad tale of my biggest failure in gardening! Today I finally gave up on the Lace Cap Hydrangeas that I purchased many years ago at Hammersmith Farm in Newport, Rhode Island, the estate where John and Jackie Kennedy were married. In all the years that I have tried to get these beautiful plants to bloom, nothing has worked. I have never had a single bloom, not one, even with extra special care and attention. One day I did see a snake sun bathing on the bushes enjoying the lush vegetation that I cultivated. These beautiful plants only bloom on old wood, with the harsh winters in Dedham the plants completely die back only producing new shoots each year.
Today I decided that I had to accept the the truth and dig the Hydrangeas out. I must say it was not for lack of root structure that these plants failed, they were hard to dig up. After a very strenuous hour of digging, tugging, pulling and falling on my butt, I finally succeeded at my task. Now I am having a very hard time …

Living in the Present Moment

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So I ended my day yesterday very concerned about what I was going to do this morning. Actually I was agonizing over it. Would I go to my favorite 7:30am yoga class or would I get an early start in the garden. I was really feeling bad about having to make the decision. I was adding stress to the end of the evening and I finally decided that I'd wait until the next morning to decide.
When I woke up the next morning it was raining so I had no choice. I went to yoga. So why didn't I follow my own advice, what I always talk about, living in the present moment, the now. If I did that I wouldn't have even thought about the next day, I would have just enjoyed the end of my evening, peacefully. Instead I kept thinking I want to go to yoga because I enjoy that class and instructor,(plus I have to fit into the dress that I bought for my son's wedding) but then I really have so much that I want to do in the garden. And on and on and on, that little voice in my head creating a usele…

Peonies, Peonies and more Peonies

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Gardening is in my blood! I come from a long line of gardeners who love to spend hours cultivating a lush garden. My Mother who is eighty eight still spends her mornings working in her garden and it is just beautiful. She claims that she is slowing down because now she can only spend 2-3 hours working in her garden before she is tired instead of 4-5 hours.
It is hard to explain to a non gardener how you can spend endless hours getting lost in your garden and losing all sense of time. And the exhilaration you feel working the soil and planting. Or the joy and satisfaction you experience after a long winter and you see all the work you did in the fall bursting into bloom with the first harbingers of spring, the crocuses, tulips and daffodils. As much as I love the spring bulbs, I am just crazy about perennials especially Peonies. But like a mother with her children I tell all my plants that they are my favorite.
When I started planting Peonies, I was only…

Why "Good Dinner Mrs Mellen"

The idea for a blog called "Good Dinner Mrs Mellen" came from my family. My family was always complementing me on my cooking, not only the food but my presentation. So after enjoying the dinner that I prepared, they would always tease me and say "Good Dinner Mrs Mellen " And it stuck. When I told them I wanted to do a blog and asked what I should call my blog, there was only one suggestion. I love to cook and entertain. I am passionate about all that I love, family, friends and my home. I love not only to cook but to garden, decorate and make my surroundings beautiful. Some might say that I am at times over the top, (especially by New England standard) but I accepted a long time ago that this is who I am and what makes me happy. Oh, and to all my friends that are reading this and think I'm going to blog about clothes, this is not about my love of clothes and fashion. (that would take a whole new long blog to cover that topic. I do love clothes and fashion!!…