THE HOW DO GARDENER: The ‘Court’-yard garden project

The court-yard garden project. (Photo by Rick Bickling)

By RICK BICKLING After playing basketball for the past 45 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that my knees are much better off gardening than they are jumping and running around on a hard surface. With this realization in mind, and with the kids pretty much grown and done playing basketball, I now have a […]

FOOD WISE: Julia Child’s influence celebrated on her 100th birthday

Beouf Bourguignon prepared according to Julia Child is well worth the extra effort. (Courtesy Photo)

By CHEF RENEE MORGAN Happy birthday, dear Julia! Happy birthday to you! She would’ve been 100 years old on August 15th. Of course, I’m talking about the Grand Dame of the Kitchen, Our Lady of the Ladle, the great Julia Child. You knew I couldn’t let her 100th birthday go by without talking about her […]

FOOD WISE: Pair wine with food for a delicious dining experience


By CHEF RENEE MORGAN What exactly is wine? Duh, you say…the elixir of the gods, of course! Yeah, you’re right. But more than that, it is an explosion of taste and flavor and when paired correctly with food can be the consummate fulfillment of the dining experience. The technical definition of wine is a beverage […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: Carrots – a complete planting guide

Fresh picked carrots (Photo by Rick Bickling)

By RICK BICKLING Carrots (Daucus carota) have been grown as a food crop for more than 2,000 years. They were brought to the early United States colonies in 1609. They are rich in carotene (a source of vitamin A) and high in sugar. Carrots are hardy cool-season biennials that are frost tolerant and can be […]

FOOD WISE: Choose a light menu for a summer picnic

Shrimp Mango Salad is a recipe that will liven up any summer picnic. (Courtesy Photo)

By CHEF RENEE MORGAN What in the world is going on with July? Last week I told you about all the special food celebrations going on in July. Well, guess what? There is more food fun this month. Apparently, July is also National Picnic Month. Who comes up with this stuff? Don’t get me wrong, […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: Two plants that can take the summer heat

Bird of Paradise is a hearty plant to endure Central Texas summer heat. (Photo by Rick Bickling)

By RICK BICKLING The extremely hot and dry summers of the past few years, along with the accompanying water restrictions, have made finding plants that not only survive but thrive the never ending quest of gardeners here in Central Texas. Let’s take a look at two plants that really fit the bill. Tecoma stans, also […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: Firewise landscaping in Central Texas

A properly pruned Live Oak Tree can minimize the fire risk to a home. (Photo by Rick Bickling)

By RICK BICKLING With the rain we’ve had here in Central Texas the past week or two, last summer’s wildfires seem to fade ever farther into the recesses of our memory. But in the words of George Bernard Shaw, “If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning […]

FOOD WISE: Making memories with homemade ice cream

Watermelon Sorbet (Courtesy Photo)

By CHEF RENEE MORGAN I remember making ice cream with my grandpa on my grandparents’ breezeway as a little girl. He had an old fashioned hand crank style ice cream maker. We would make the ice cream with cream, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla. He always made vanilla ice cream. The mixture was cooked, cooled […]

THE HOW DO GARDENER: It’s time to plan your fall garden

Add fall color with Gerbera Daisies. (Photo by Rick Bickling)

By RICK BICKLING It seems like just the other day that we were talking about planning your spring garden. Well, here it is in the middle of July, and even as the temperatures soar, the excitement of fireworks are still fresh in your mind, and the garden is producing at its peak, it’s time to […]

FOOD WISE: Fried chicken – a little bit of heaven in July

Fried chicken is an all-time favorite, but perfecting it is often a challenge in the kitchen. (Courtesy Photo)

By CHEF RENEE MORGAN Good gravy! Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition! Can you believe the luck? Not only was July 6th National Fried Chicken Day, but July is also National Ice Cream Month. Have we died and gone to heaven? July must be God’s favorite month. Oh sure, the French have their Coq […]