Hello moonfuls, and happy Friday!

Welcome back to the Good To Grow site, and thanks for being here.

We’re happy to see Friday’s smiling face again!

Let’s get our Experts Panel started by saying hi to the Experts. Hi Experts!


“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

You’re so cute! From left to right, that’s Andy Williams, Tim Thackaberry, EZ Ed Johnson, Dottie Correll and Lewis Casey. If you’d like to know more about them, please click here.

We’ve been getting to know our Experts better this year, with questions about their personal lives. Some subjects, like cooking, we’ve touched on in the past. Today we’ll continue in that same vein. (I’m sorry that I didn’t ask about Fathers – I missed the holiday when I was making up questions a couple of months ago. Happy Father’s Day weekend, everyone!)

Here’s this week’s question:

Q. Do you like to cook, and would you like to share a cooking story or recipe?

Expert Andy, you’re up first as usual, fine sir:

A. I love to cook!  And for the past two years I have been getting a lot of mileage from my Traeger smoker.  I use it for almost all of my grilling now.  It’s a lazy man’s smoker; I just pour in wood pellets, set the temperature and the automated auger basically does the rest with minimal maintenance.  However, the real secrets are in the marinade.  I use beer a lot.  Bad beer, like Coors Light and Miller Lite.  It works well and does the job and I don’t have to drink it.  I usually marinade chicken or pork in beer and then use a dry spicy rub before it goes on the smoker.  One time I used Hatch green chiles overtop of the chicken in the smoker.  I cooked it for about an hour at about 200F and was amazed at my own creation.  When in doubt, smoke it a low temperatures.  You cannot go wrong in life with that advice.

A. The extent of my cooking ability is boiling water, then adding noodles. Anything beyond that would probably result in a loss of life…mostly mine.

So my recipe is:
Add water to thing you’re going to boil in
Turn up heat on burner until water starts bubbling
Add noodles to boiling water
Wait 7 minutes
Drain water from pot using thing that looks like a round window screen
Pour on sauce and serve!

A. A hundred years ago and for some strange reason, I was nominated to be homecoming king. Among the tasks for us would-be kings was to diaper a baby doll in front of the school assembly. I engineered the diaper perfectly, only to have it fall off when the doll was lifted for all to see.
That left me to have to perfect the cooking portion of the proceedings. We were to create a cake from scratch. After much flailing of flour and spraying of sugar my cake was baked. It emerged from the oven a bit lopsided, which I tried to cover with frosting. The judges were skeptical as they tasted. But they all agreed. It tasted great.

Still, I lost to the football player. It must have been the damn diaper.

A. YIKES!  Friday the 13th reminds of me of my first try at following a favorite recipe of my Mother’s –( as an unaided seven year old )—- as a surprise for my Mother’s birthday!  In fact the recipe was called, “Ruth’s Chocolate Surprise”.

I made sure I had all the ingredients, set the oven at the right temperature and began my first adventure of cake making.  I followed all the directions exactly.  It was to be a two layer cake.  I completed the mixing and poured it evenly into the two layer pans and placed it in the oven to bake.

I sat there and watched the oven to make sure I baked the exact time —even tested with a tooth pick as I had seen my mother do.  The layers were baked perfectly!  I was so excited.  I let them cool for 15 minutes, —removed the layers without breaking them—and prepared to frost the layers and put them together and top with frosting and candles.

There it was — a beautiful cake for my mother.  I was so proud of my self and I couldn’t wait for my mother to come home.

The moment arrived.  My mother was amazed to say the least.  She asked. “Did you really bake this yourself?”

Jumping up and down I said, “Yes, Yes, I did it all myself!
“Try it, Try it!”   Famous last words.

We went through the traditional lighting of the candles and singing Happy Birthday and the cutting of the cake. I watched with joy as my mother took her first “delicious” bite and saw this pained expression on her face as she started to “gag” and spit out the cake.  She said, “ What in the world did you put in this cake?”

Horrified, that I had poisoned my mother and crying, I replied, “I just followed your recipe.” I was devastated! Calming me down, my mother said, “Let’s just go through the recipe and you tell me what you did, ok?” We went thru all the steps and when it came to the salt, the recipe called for ¼ tsp.   I couldn’t find a ¼ tsp, so in my childish mind I thought one fourth is one fourth.— so I used a ¼ CUP of salt!  My mother started to laugh and assured me that all was ok and said maybe we should share the cake with the birds.
(I’m better at Math now)

A. I thought about telling you about the special green herbal stew I made one time and served at a family gathering but I wouldn’t be that crass

Here in the Southwest we have a meal that people swear is a cure for a previous night’s inebriation

Now I would not know for I would not waste a good bowl of Menudo on a bad nights drunk

MENUDO takes a special person to love, for you either love it or you hate it because of what it is

Tripe the second stomach of a cow, or steer that has been cleaned and prepared

A good pot of posole (dried corn) a handful of red chile pods, a good chunk of pork or a smoked ham hock and heap of onions chopped small with a clove or six of garlic

Sometimes when I want to change up a meal I will use smoked turkey leg instead of pork, green chile, maybe a handful of dried vegetables and dried tomatoes, some dried blue, red or yellow corn and and I always love a pinch or pounder of sage or rosemary, they go fantastic with everything

And always there is the menudo cut in big piece for the dislike r’s to pick out and cut small the way I like it, mum

Dished up hot with a buttered tortilla or hunk of bread and I didn’t even have to get drunk to enjoy it

So come in, enjoy one of the great dishes of the Southwest, sit here with the family, welcome the feast awaits

Haha, you’re all awesome. Your answers made me smile, as usual. I believe that was the first mention ever on the blog of eating stomachs. So, way to go for that milestone!

Again, it would’ve been more appropriate to be talking about Dads on this Friday before Father’s Day. Sorry about that. We’ll slate it for another time.

Thank each of you for being here. I appreciate it very much!

That does it for our Panel of Experts. The Experts will return in one week. They hope to see you back here.

Up next, the answer to the puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Last week, I asked if these flowers were real or fake:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Let’s see how you answered:

Claude from Random Rants and Prickly Plants wrote, “Real begonias. Although Ive always thought these things verged on fake looking.”

mr_subjunctive from Plants Are the Strangest People wrote, “I think these are fake.”

Terrence from Dynamic Gardening wrote, “The blooms do not look authentic, I’ll go with fake. 🙂

The ficus wrangler wrote, “Fake.”

Joseph Brenner wrote, “Very fake.(B>{D}”

That’s one vote real, four votes fake.


What’s the correct answer?

Let’s take a wider view:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

So fake! I thought this one would be easier. But then, I saw them in real life, and could plainly see the flowers were made of fabric. It’s always harder to tell whether flowers are real or fake when you’re looking on a computer or on your phone. Obviously, that’s my advantage in these puzzlers – since I know the answer, I can use bad angles or fuzzy photos to make the puzzle even harder.

mr_subjunctive, you were first with the correct answer, which makes you the best answerer. Well played! For being so speedy, you’ve earned a special Friday the 13th full moon title good for this weekend only. Here it is: The Spookiest, Mysteriousest, Aaaahhhh What’s That Noise, Spine-Chillingest, Scariest, Ghoulest, Hoooooowwwwwwwwwwwllllllllest, Frightfulest, Eeriest, Most Terrifying Monster on the Planet and Also the Grandest Champion of the Plant Puzzler.

For example, if you’re at a party this weekend and meet someone new, you should introduce yourself as mr_subjunctive The Spookiest, Mysteriousest, Aaaahhhh What’s That Noise, Spine-Chillingest, Scariest, Ghoulest, Hoooooowwwwwwwwwwwllllllllest, Frightfulest, Eeriest, Most Terrifying Monster on the Planet and Also the Grandest Champion of the Plant Puzzler. Be sure to emphasize the scary part over the puzzler winner part – for all they know, you could be haunted! Play it up, and have fun with it. Let us know if you find a way to frighten children with your title, because that would be awesome! Gotta keep ’em on their toes!

Congratulations! You may multiply all the prizes by three werewolf-flavored cupcakes as my thank you to you.

Everyone’s a winner. Thank you so much for playing! To show my appreciation, I’d like to award you each the following prizes: One strawberry full moon, four genuine compliments, 48 soccer balls, a fire and brimstone themed vacation, six inspirational quotes, two beef burritos, Fatherly advice, a new sofa, one blue ribbon, 13 blessings, avenida de la luna, one pre-summer weekend, the recipe for success, teal, one candlelight dinner, an above-average approval rating, five birdhouses, a world cup, a local saucer, 15 bonus points, three clean slates, a spare ear, one bowl of grasshopper stew, seven accolades, baked zucchini and two new succulent houseplants. Congrats, and thanks again for playing!

Up next, the new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Are these flowers real or fake?

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Oooh – tricky!

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section. You have until midnight MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) next Thursday, June 19th, to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) after next week’s Panel of Experts. The prizes may be imaginary but the link to your site and the glory of winning are oh-so-real.

I’ll be back tomorrow, hope to see you here.