Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Time to think garden

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I can’t wait for anything green to replace this blanket of snow.  At least it has melted down just enough for the top of the raised bed frames to peep through.

Many more snow storms stand between now and gardening season.  Yet, it is time to think of the garden and start the plants indoors.  Our garden season is short and can be brutally cold.  Having healthy and strong plants to set out when the weather finally warms makes a big difference in the garden’s productivity. 

Nursery centers have a nice selection of purdy vegetable plants all ready for you to purchase.  But they have gotten so expensive!  Last year they were $2-$5 PER PLANT! Unless you only need a plant or two for a small container garden – YIKES!

Starting plants indoors will give you a much broader choice of seed varieties.  Next week I’ll share how to make your own seed starting pots from newspaper.  Until then, here are some of my favorite seed companies:     

Pinetree Garden Seeds
Seeds of Change
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange 
Totally Tomatoes  
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Vermont Bean Seed Company

Once you order seeds your mailbox will be perpetually filled with colorful seed catalogs to dream over during the cold wintry months.  Do you have a favorite seed catalog?

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Posted to Works-For-Me-Wednesday

Monday, February 22, 2010

Intro to sprinkles

Nolan helped make the Valentine cookies this year.  You can find the recipe here

He was very interested in the goings on. 

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And he really, really wanted to help put the sprinkles on. 

Turns out.  Nolan loves the sprinkling of the cookies.  A LOT.  And he has a very specific sprinkle style.  Which includes a large quantity of sprinkles.

And looks something like this:

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That boy loves his sprinkles!

Especially when Aunty Lacey is helping him.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Chocolate-Strawberry Cake

It has fresh fruit.  Therefore, it is not bad for you.  

Right?

Okay.  Maybe not.  Still.  It’s really fun for a special celebration.  We enjoyed  it as a Valentine’s treat.  It  takes a little more time to make, but it’s not hard and the results are so pretty! 

The recipe starts with a boxed cake mix, but you definitely could make your own from scratch cake for the layers instead.  This chocolate frosting is so good.  Not too sweet and it tastes like French silk pie!! :)

CHOCOLATE-STRAWBERRY CAKE

CAKE:
1 chocolate cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/4  cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water 

Dump it all in a bowl and mix on low for 30 seconds.  Scrape bowl and beat for 2 additional minutes.  Pour into 2 greased and floured 9” cake pans.  Bake at 350 degrees 28-32 minutes or until cakes test done with a toothpick.  Cool in pans 10 minutes.  Remove from pans  and cool completely on wire racks.  

CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
5 to 5-1/3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup half and half, cream or milk
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Sift the sugar and cocoa together to remove any lumps.  Cream butter.  Blend in vanilla.  Add powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with the cream.  Beat well; until desired texture is achieved. 

STRAWBERRIES:
1 pound fresh strawberries

Wash, hull and core.  Place with points up onto paper towels and allow to air dry. 

CHOCOLATE SCROLLS:
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate or 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Melt until smooth.

ASSEMBLY: 
Frost the cooled cake layers with chocolate buttercream. 

Put the  melted chocolate into a zipper bag and snip off a tiny part of one corner.  Pipe squigglies onto wax paper and refrigerate until cool and solid.1February1 027

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use the remaining chocolate to drizzle onto the frosted cake.
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Arrange the strawberries on top and gently push the cooled chocolate scrolls into the frosting. 
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The end.  

More recipes at Tasty Tuesday and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday :)

Shabby Bunny and Rag Eggs

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Shabby Bunny is looking for a basket to call home:)

 

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Rag eggs made from rescued and recycled 2-part plastic Easter eggs and fabric.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

HaPpY VaLeNTiNe’s dAy!

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May the Lord make our LOVE increase and fill our hearts to overflowing today.  God’s love has been POURED out and LAVISHED upon us as His sons and daughters.  God’s love is patient and kind, it ALWAYS protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres.  Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).  May we fully EMBRACE the love of God today and extend that love to the world around us.  May the abundance of God’s love for us OVERFLOW in patience, KINDNESS, hope, trust, and perseverance as we care for family, friends, co-workers and others around us today.  In JESUS’ name I pray,  Amen.

"May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for every one else, just as ours does for you."  1 Thessalonians 3:12 (NIV)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I ♥ Whipup

I do. I really do.  I read it every day.  So much inspiration, ideas and even tutorials.  How could you not ♥ Whipup?

So on my daily perusal of the Whipup I  was just reading along, looking at all the pretty pictures in their Flickr picks, when… HEY!  I made that!! One of my very own creations right there. On Whipup.  And further down… Another one. 

As in, 2.  T-W-O.  In 1 week!

Yes. Really.

You can imagine my elation.

Can you tell which are mine? 

Here’s the first one.

And here’s the second

(A little hint): 

 

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Valentine Sodas

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I’m posting an easy one this week.  We have these every Valentine’s Day as a special treat.  You probably don’t even need the recipe, but just in case…

Valentine Floats

Strawberry Soda
Vanilla Ice Cream

For each serving:  In a tall glass, put two scoops of vanilla ice cream. Pour the soda over the ice cream. Slap in a straw and prepare to slurp.

 

Find more recipes at Tasty Tuesday and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday:) 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bliss for your coffee

Indulge in one of these rich and soothing treats for your coffee without the big price of syrups and liquid creamers.  Only four ingredients or less and with the help of your food processor they are very quick too!  You can use Splenda or another sugar substitute if you prefer a sugar-free creamer. 

Directions are the same for all flavors and are at the end.  

Vanilla
3/4 cup powdered coffee creamer
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Amaretto
3/4 cup powdered coffee creamer
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Peppermint Mocha
3/4 cup powdered coffee creamer
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract 

DIRECTIONS:  Blend ingredients well in a food processor.  Store in a glass jar or other airtight container.  Add 1-2 tablespoons of creamer to 6 ounces of coffee. 

Thanks Tasty Tuesday and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!

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