Cold Chicken Rice Salad – Naturally Gluten Free

*I just made this for company that was driving in for a visit. It would have been difficult to time a cooked dinner, so this was perfect and ready to eat. I served it with garden fresh cucumbers and onions salad. I thought it was worth posting it again.  It is a recipe that just happens to be Gluten Free.

This is a great dish for summer or a picnic as it is very easy to transport.  The recipe serves about 4, but could be easily doubled. Best of all, it is made ahead and ready to go at meal time.  And of course, it is naturally gluten free.  As always, if you have to eat GF, check all ingredients.

CHICKEN RICE SALAD

1 cup of  Texmati Royal Blend Rice or wild rice cooked according to directions

2 – 6 oz jars of marinated artichoke quarters **save liquid

4 cups of cooked chicken breast cut to bite size (I use 1 boneless breast,  but more can be added)

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

2 celery ribs, thinly sliced

5 green onions, chopped

1 – 2.25 can of sliced ripe olives, drained

Dressing

1 cup of mayonnaise

1 1/2 teaspoons of curry powder

1/2 cup of artichoke liquid saved from the jars

******

DRAIN artichokes saving 1/2 cup of the liquid.

STIR together the first 7 ingredients in a casserole size container

MIX in a small bowl the mayonnaise, curry powder and 1/2 cup of artichoke liquid. I prefer to keep the dressing separate and add to taste to each serving.  Experiment and see what works for you.

Chill for 8 hours and serve cold.


Lots of Chocolate … Plants

I have been trying to increase my Chocolate Plant, Pseuderanthemum alatum, population. The plant was a passalong from my mother-in-law. I found it tricky to collect the seeds, as they seem to pop and disperse the minute they become ripe. I kept the original plant in a pot, but stumbled on a solution of just letting the seeds drop to the ground and germinate on their own. Then I search the for the seedlings and group them together. I have been able to get this nice colony going and increased last year’s yield.

My best Chocolate Plant is not in an ideal location. It is several years old and dies back every winter, but amazingly reappeared after the freeze.

A close-up without the down spout, makes the plant more attractive. This is the “dark” chocolate variety.


Frick and Frack

My favorite little birds, Frick and Frack the Carolina Wrens, are at it again. The pair is determined to build a nest on my back porch. On this day I was sipping my coffee when they appeared. Not to disturb them, I snapped the photos with my cell phone and are not the best quality.

Frick showed up with a beak full of nesting material landing on the rain gauge in the bed next to the porch

The bird could clearly see me on the porch and moved in closer.

Frick then decided to try a stealth move and head under the grill. But I was still there on my chair.

Meanwhile, Frack came in from the other direction and landed on a chair across the table from me. I am still there.

Nonetheless, the Wren headed over to the plant that was chosen for their nest and added the nesting material. Unfortunately, the Peace Plant was given to me for the birth of my last child and I do not want to give up watering it, so it had to be moved.

I set up an alternative nesting site with a bird bottle. But the Carolina Wrens showed no interest and were gone for awhile. I thought I had discouraged them from building on the porch.

Suddenly, Frick and Frack were back, quickly built a nest in another plant with the help of a third wren (can’t figure that one out) and laid eggs.

The wrens are sitting on the nest which is located near the busy backdoor.

Unfortunately, there was a sad ending to the story. One morning when I checked the nest, all the eggs were gone. Some animal found the nest and ate the eggs. Yes it is the “circle of life”, but it is hard to witness.

*This happened about a month ago and it was difficult to write the unhappy ending. Of course, this is how nature works.


Dew Drops

Perfect little dew drops on the Balsam Impatiens are just right to quench the thirst of hummingbirds and lizards.


Love Those Lizards

We got it covered.

Visiting the desert.


Moses is Back

Another post freeze success. My Moses-in-the -Bullrushes came back from being frozen to a mushy mess. Quite frankly, they were very happy and getting out of control, looking more like a shrubs than individual plants. The Automatic Garden has come through again.


Blood Lilies

The Blood Lilies (Scadoxus multiflorus) came back this year with fabulous blooms.

The one or two lilies I bought years ago have reproduced on their own making a nice colony.

The beautiful Blood Lily is poisonous and I was told by the seller to never touch it again after I planted it.


A Surprise in the Garden

I love a surprise in the garden and one morning I spotted a dark red flower blooming on the far side of the bed.

I did not purposely plant this flower, but I am guessing it was in a packet of mixed wild seeds I received for free. I believe it is Red Plains Coreopsis. Hopefully, it will drop its seeds and come back next year.


The Comeback Shrubs

I am so thrilled to see my shrubs coming back after our record breaking February freeze. I was heartbroken when I saw so many gone. My blog is a good way to document their comeback and will ease some of my and others’ distress who live in this zone if it happens again. The tallest plant in the above photo is the Angel Trumpet (Brugmanis) and is making good progress. It will be interesting to see how long it will take before it blooms again. It could be one or two years.

Surprisingly, the Bottlebrush (Callistemon viminalis) is coming up from its roots. I have let these shrubs get out of hand and now they can have a new beginning. The Bottlebrushes are a pollinator favorite.

My favorite Confederate Rose (Hibiscus mutabilis) is growing with vigor. The one that I have in my wooded area has not made any new growth. No matter, as I have already started a new plant. The Confederate Rose is easy to root which made it a passalong favorite in the South.

I did not expect my Cardboard Palm (Zamia furfurace) to come back. The plant is incorrectly named and is actually a cycad.

Variegated Ginger is not exactly a shrub, but when planted en masse, it looks very shrubby. The ginger has frozen before and will take another year before it blooms.

The Split Leaf Philodendron has frozen back at least three times. It has a long way to go, but it is trying.

The Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow ( Brunfelsia pauciflora) was completely gone. It came back quickly, but the deer felt it needed a trim. I don’t think it will flower this year.

And the shrub that is the favorite of all pollinators, is the Hummingbird Bush (Hamelia paten). I spent many months filling the sugar water feeders daily to keep hummers, bees and other pollinators alive during our flowerless spring. The Automatic Garden has proved itself and the beds are now full of flowers allowing the nectar loving creatures to feed naturally.


Hungry Caterpillars

I have been holding on to these photos and now seemed like a good time to post them. Every time I see a hungry caterpillar, I think of the picture book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”.

Thank you Eric Carle, for bringing delight to so many.