Spinach Balls

Spinach Balls

We are in the midst of a dry spell here at the little house in the city, it is almost a drought. The drug addicted expanse of lawn behind our property has not been watered, and it is mostly crispy brown at this point. Even so, yesterday a fellow on a riding lawn mower was cutting the grass, moving along in a cloud of dust, which seemed completely redundant to me. Surprisingly, despite things being bone dry, the mosquitoes are noticeable. They aren’t anything like the swarms we get at the country house at this time of year, but even one mosquito is a constant pest.

I have had to water the garden every morning. We spot water our transplants and seeds, not wasting any of the precious wet stuff on trifling things like a green lawn. It takes over an hour to repeatedly fill the watering can, and trek out to every plant and seedling. Hopefully the watering will pay off, with home grown vegetables this summer. A rabbit has been killing, not eating, just decapitating, the new seedlings. I sprinkled black pepper on all the plants yesterday, and am hoping that the rabbit leaves at least some of our garden intact.

The rabbit age two more of the bean plants. Pepper is not an effective deterrent. And to think that I thought Peter Rabbit was so cute, and Mr. McGregor seemed so curmudgeonly. I am not so keen on Peter these days.

Spinach Balls

Rice/Quinoa Macaroni with Olive Oil, Roasted Garlic and Pepper, and Spinach

This is a cross between a recipe and story, probably succeeding at neither, but fun to write.

Last summer I decided I wanted to try rice/quinoa macaroni. It was expensive. Last winter I used it to make macaroni and cheese. I didn’t care for it, and the dry macaroni has been sitting in the cupboard since then. Today I decided I needed to eat the food I had purchased, even if I didn’t like it all that much. So I cooked the pasta according to the instructions on the bag, drained it, added two tablespoons of olive oil, and two teaspoons of dried garlic and red pepper herbs, then set the pot aside.

This is where the spinach comes into play. In the freezer yesterday, I found a package of frozen whole spinach leaves. It was a commercial product, a solid little square of spinach, usually not very good, but adequate as an ingredient. Oh yes, and it was a year past its expiry date. I boiled the spinach until it was well done. After draining it well, I turned the green mass onto a cutting board and cut it into small cubes. When the cubes were the desired size, they were returned to the pot, olive oil and dried garlic and red pepper herbs were added, and the lot was mixed together.

All that there was left to was to mix the macaroni and the spinach together.

It tasted divine!

The spinach remained in little balls, much like meatballs. So there is my new discovery, macaroni and spinach balls! It made a lovely lunch. Since quinoa is a complete protein, my lunch provided me with my daily meat equivalent.

The packaging for the macaroni says that the packager is a member of the WFTO, World Fair Trade Organization. That would explain the high price, as I believe neither rice, nor quinoa of any great quantity, are grown in North America.

I can’t wait to try this with fresh spinach, which is so much better than frozen spinach!

Since the rhubarb has been ready to harvest in the garden, I have been eating stewed rhubarb for breakfast, in a sort of rhubarb crisp format, preparing one serving each morning.

Rhubarb Crisp for One

I take 3 tablespoons of oatmeal, 2 tablespoons of flour, and one tablespoon of sweetener, blend them, then rub in 2 teaspoons of margarine with a fork or your fingers, the mixture is somewhat dry. Spoon one third to one half cup of stewed rhubarb into a bowel, top with oatmeal mixture, microwave for 1 minute 20 seconds, let stand for five minutes, and enjoy.

Another house showing is booked for Saturday. That would be showing number six, which is great. Now all we need is for one of the showings to result in a reasonable offer.

The realtor is doing a great job. Attila has a booklet the realtor produced for the house, it almost makes us want to keep the house! His great promotion certainly makes it harder to let the house go to someone else!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 3:00 PM EDT Thursday 28 May 2015
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 24.2°C
Dewpoint: 12.4°C
Humidity: 47%
Wind: NW 19 km/h
Humidex: 27

Date: 9:00 AM EDT Friday 29 May 2015
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 14.7°C
Dewpoint: 12.9°C
Humidity: 89%
Wind: S 11 km/h


“May your walls know joy; May every room hold laughter and every window open to great possibility.”
Maryanne Radmacher-Hershey


  1. I really liked the macaroni and spinach Joan, I think it will become one of my “old reliable” recipes.

    I hope your right about the getting an interested buyer soon. It does seem very likely this summer, that the house will sell.

  2. I am so glad your country home is seeing some activity. Isn’t it interesting – we spruce up a home to sell and it looks so good we start to have second thoughts. 🙂

    Your recipe looks wonderful! I like all the ingredients.

    I think I missed something – why does it take over an hour to fill the watering can? What an impossible chore! And then to have the bunnies munching your labors. Oy. This makes me sad for you because you work so hard and responsibly – Not fair!

  3. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    Your spinach recipe reminded me of a tasty combination I found some years ago: spinach, butter, and a bit of lemon juice. Cook the spinach in a skillet with butter until it wilts, then add a bit of lemon juice. It’s amazing how much lemon juice can change the taste of spinach!

    Thanks for the one serving recipe for a mini-crisp. I’m going to have to try that some time!

    Sorry to hear that you’re also having the drought. DH went out and watered our rhododendron a few days ago and it really perked up, so if we don’t start getting some rain soon we’re going to have to keep watering it periodically just to keep it alive.

    That said, it looks like we may have a good chance for rain tomorrow. I hope so.

  4. Why oh why, I wonder, has it never occurred to me to add olive oil to my pasta instead of butter or cheese? Pfft. So obvious and so much healthier! I’ll be trying your recipe or some variation of it.

    When I got home from work tonight and got out of my car, a rabbit when scooting off down the driveway, wasting no time getting away. I wonder what the little bugger was up to!

    It froze hard here last night and is supposed to go to minus-3 tonight. So much for promising myself not to transplant anything before the second week in June. Now I’ll pay with a broken heart when I see some of my green darlings decimated. One should always keep one’s promises to oneself!

  5. I had to laugh… when you wrote:
    “Spoon one third to one half cup of stewed rhubarb into a bowel…” If you only knew how many times I’ve made that exact same typo… I was a medical transcriptionist most of my life and the word “bowel” was a very common one to me in typing, so whenever I had to type the word “bowl” – it always came out “bowel” and sometimes I’d catch it and sometimes I wouldn’t.

    It’s good to know I am in good company!!!

    We are having somewhat of a drought here too in Mass. We did have a little rain the other night but it was over in 10 minutes. So I, like you, go out and water only the plants I think are tender and need a drink to survive and let the rest fend for themselves. WE haven’t gotten to the dust-for-grass stage yet but we sure would welcome a bit more of rain… just not that stuff Texas is getting!

    And finally, one of my favorite things is to take left-over cooked spaghetti (or any pasta) and put some olive oil on it and some garlic powder, salt & pepper, and heat it up – even better at the end sprinkled with a bit of parmesan cheese… heavenly!

  6. Reenie, lol, you did not miss something re the water can being filled. 🙂

    It should read “repeatedly fill”.

    The rabbits are not good for the garden! We will eventually figure out a way to work around their eating habits. As Elmer Fudd would say, “those pesky wabbits”.

  7. Teri, that skillet spinach with butter and lemon sound really good! We planted spinach, but don’t hold out much hope for it, between drought and rabbits, lol. Soon though, fresh Ontario spinach will be available. I love spinach.

    I do hope it rains soon, most of our grass is dead, and the only substantial green is dandelions.

  8. Kate, I hope your precious garden makes it through those cold nights. I remember seeing a movie where the farmers, I think it was hop farmers, used smudge to keep the frost from killing blossoms. Hard work, keeping a smudge barrel going through the night, from downwind in a garden.

  9. Bex, hilarious!

    It could have been that darn auto-fill tormenting me again.

    It could have been a typo, my spelling is not improving with time.

    But the thing is, you know, I am not really at all sure it was just a typo. I had been reading about rhubarb yesterday, and how good it was for the bowel. My unconscious mind is always playing word and phrase substitution jokes on me; it thinks it is funny. And I guess I do too, because it always makes me laugh, when these seeming gaffs come to light.

    Anyway, nope, you are not alone!

  10. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    Smudge barrels? Most smudge barrels I’ve heard of are used to keep frost away from fruit trees.

    We did have a short rain last night and are getting spitting showers today, with good poyential for more.

  11. Yes Teri, the use of smudge barrels was quite common in fruit tree orchards, on our farm and many others. We used them for a variety of applications, not just our fruit tree orchards. I would try them on flower gardens, if I wanted to prevent frost damage.

  12. Maggie:

    I’m behind a beat or two here. Well, I’m relieved to know you don’t have to spend an hour filling the watering can. You cannot begin to imagine how befuddled I was. I kept on thinking that I could never have a garden if it took an hour to fill the watering can.

    I didn’t catch the *bowel* typo but maybe because I’ve made the very same mistake when working on a cookbook for my children many years ago. Thank goodness I caught the error.

  13. Reenie, glad you pointed out the watering can wording. I shudder to think of the size of the watering can that would take an hour to fill!

    The bowl/bowel typo is a common one I think. It would not surprise me if some mutant software engineer has hard wired that word substitution into the autofill features in writing software. They are not all above that sort of thing. 🙂

  14. NORA

    “Spoon one third to one half cup of stewed rhubarb into a bowel…”

    I wanted to share a little story I have about this same type of typo. In the 70s my beau opened a restaurant.
    He asked if I would please do the menu which included the front cover and then the choices inside with a few ‘downhome’ illustrations here and there. I agreed but really I was not feeling qualified.

    In the end he was happy with what I did. I was not . Apparently no one bothered to proof read it and the lucky quests ended up having a choice of either a bowel of French onion soup or split pea!

  15. Thanks Kate, I hadn’t thought about wild rice. I never learned to cook wild rice, and have assumed that it is a non-renewable resource, in that it is harvested from the wild, into canoes, by hand, and so does not represent a viable food source for “the many”. Come to think of it, I have a similar assumption about quinoa, which was the staple food of a small population in South America. I guess the local people found something else to eat when their food supply was co-opted by entrepreneurial interests, I sure hope so. Or maybe they had to migrate to cities to find food, I sure hope not. The food chain gets very complicated!

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