Who Is Anastasia?

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New Castle, Indiana Zone 5, United States
When I was 55, I decided to embrace the things I love and hold precious and dear, regardless of anyone else's thoughts and opinion. I am a visual folk artist who loves flowers - my own flowers, grown and/or painted by me. I love good, hearty, exotic foods, and I love to prepare them myself. I love the secret garden situated in my backyard, regardless of how overgrown and wild it gets. No longer able to afford a vacation, this will have to be it for the time being. In the winter months, I still enjoy it. Anyway, here I am sharing my art, favorite recipes, cocktails, gardening tips, and just my usual vents and bantering. After all, I'm old enough to say whatever the heck I want to now ...


My Book Available on AMAZON

Stacey Torres ART Prints

Stacey Torres ART Prints
A very limited selection of reproductions from my paintings can be found here

September 18, 2009

September Song

So, there's weirdness - as usual - going on in the garden this morning. We've had a cool, dry summer, and everyone is confused as to whether they should keep on keeping on, or pull their blankees up to their chin and snooze until Spring.

In the front yard, my Magic Fountains Delphinium, which always comes way too early and scares me - blooming from March until April - even through ice and frost (it's supposed to bloom in June/July) - has decided to make a repeat foolish appearance, sending up shoots this week, threatening to bloom any day. I warned it this morning that pulling this particular prank in the spring is one thing, but to try it now ... I don't know ... Autumn in Indiana can come swift and biting. She just shrugged, and shot another shoot up in my face. However, this is the first year I actually pruned it after it bloomed ... 'twas an after thought ...

Zinnias are only now climbing up through the wretched butter 'n eggs, and the whole yard just looks like hell! My perennial sunflowers are being their usual bully-like self ... and now Rudy is afraid to walk through the tiny paths because stray cats may jump out at him and send a flea his way.

Today, however, my Mountain Bluett was thick and lush and just showed up as if to say, "well, of course!"

And finally, my green peppers (seedlings planted in May) are only now blooming and sprouting - silly things. They're about 2" long. I'll pray for them. As always, I'm ready to give up on it all.

Maybe I can get some school kids next year to help me with the weeds and haul quik-crete back there to put on my paths ... who knows ... time for some tea and a nap.

September 8, 2009

Zucchini Falafel

This is an amazing dish that reminds me very much of my Blackeyed Pea Fritters. It's a terrific end of summer dish! Hats off to cookalmostanything!
Zucchini Falafel

September 4, 2009

By Request Zucchini Pie

Don't forget your zucchini!
Once again, it's that time of year when we have so much zucchini. Either we are buying it, growing it, or inheriting it from friends and neighbors ... what to do with it? By request, I've been asked to provide more veggie recipes. So, I found it on wholeliving.com -- I think this is SCRUMPTIOUS!

Serves 6

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound (about 2 or 3) green zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 scallions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound (about 2 or 3) yellow zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup freshly chopped dill
1/4 cup freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
5 large eggs plus 5 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 tomato, thinly sliced
2 ounces low-fat feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add green zucchini, half the scallions, half the garlic, A teaspoon marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until zucchini has softened and is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; transfer to a large bowl; set aside.

Rinse skillet; repeat process with yellow zucchini and remaining teaspoon olive oil, scallions, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Transfer to bowl with cooked green zucchini; let sit until cooled. Drain and discard any liquid.

Add dill, parsley, and eggs to zucchini; stir to combine. Pour into a 9 1/2-inch round, deep baking dish. Cover with tomato; sprinkle with feta. Bake until set, about 1 hour. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Backseat Boogie or Wedding Night Punch

I was introduced to this fantastic cocktail just the other day. It is sparkling, refreshing and absolutely delicious. Here, at the end of the summer, it will be perfect to sip on while luxuriating in the backyard, as well as a pleasant surprise in the upcoming fall season.

1 oz Absolut® vodka
1 oz gin
1 part ginger ale
1 part Ocean Spray® cranberry juice

Pour vodka and gin over ice in a collins glass. Fill with equal parts of ginger ale and cranberry juice. Garnish with fruit, and serve.

September 2, 2009

This Morning's Gift

Today, I ventured out into the garden with my tea. This is the time of the year when the garden acts up, become belligerent and aggressive; bees hover and quarrel, trying to sneak in the back door; birds begin to argue over the thistle and coneflower seeds; and the zinnias I so diligently broadcast in the spring, barely get through the nasty Butter 'n Egg weeds I so hate and STILL can't get rid of! Weeds are everywhere, blocking my path. My favorite Queen Anne's Lace is beginning to fade, and my roses are finally deciding to wake up and give a booming encore - sometimes this performance lasts well into November. Considering how cold and damp the summer's been, I doubt if they make it through September.

But this morning, I noticed my morning glories aren't there, and in their place is a lovely Moon Flower. I planted the seeds together, hoping they would compliment each other by overlapping their morning and evening bloom times. But, it seems the Moon Flower actually beat Morning Glory at her game, and took over. This bloom is close to 4" in diameter, and stays around til almost lunch time. She's hot, and she knows it!

The Backyard --Today's Vacation Spot

The Backyard --Today's Vacation Spot
A simple garden meal in the shade. No, it's not my backyard, but it looks identical to the one I grew up with at our home in Queens. Looking for an original pic of it to post soon!

Old Fashioned Tips