Growing Flowers for the Monarch Butterfly

We live in Santa Cruz, California, one of the areas where the Monarch butterflies gather after their migration, and we regularly see Monarchs in our garden. Their populations have been declining drastically. Scientists have said that planting milkweed would help, since Monarchs require milkweed for their life cycle. They lay their eggs on the milkweed and the young feed on the toxic plant, making the caterpillars undesirable to birds other prey. Planting milkweed also provides flowers for bees and other butterflies as well. So we added some milkweed to the garden this year.

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Making Garlic Olive Oil

We ramp up the flavor on may dishes by adding garlic olive oil. It makes a great substitute for butter and is a healthy alternative. We make it ahead and consider it part of the routine of stocking the pantry. By leaving the garlic in the oil, we also have sauteed garlic, or garlic confit, ready to use.

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Sparkling Cider

Sparkling Cider for New Year’s Eve

We always include a non alcoholic drink choice when we entertain. Martinelli’s sparkling cider is perfect for the holidays, especially for New Year’s Eve, since it looks lovely in a champagne glass. We are also shopping local, because the Martinelli’s apple juice company is very close to our house. The south part of Santa Cruz county is filled with apple orchards. The ocean fog creates the environment that the Pippin apples prefer, making Santa Cruz ideal for cider.

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