Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Big 1000!

My little blog that could has hit over a 1000 views today!  Thanks everybody, it makes it so much more fun to know that people are actually looking at it and reading :) 

There will be some more exciting things to talk about this summer, here's a short sneak peek list:

Bedroom makeover
Office makeover
Gardens galore
The story of a farm stand
AND some other exciting things to come in the future :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cupcake Break!

I had promised my hubby some baked treats recently and I had a desperate craving for chocolate cake so I had to make some cupcakes.  But not just any cupcakes...Chocolate with a surprise of Cheesecake Filling, topped with Caramelized Walnuts. 

How to create these lovelies:

Make it easy on yourself and buy a box of chocolate cake mix.  Mix it up. 

Cheesecake filling:
1 pkg of light cream cheese
1 egg
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract (or both!)

Keep cool, so it stays firm. 

Fill paper-lined muffin cups 1/2 full with the chocolate cake.  Add 1-2 tsp of the cream cheese mix, or more if you want more.  It cooks up cake-like, so don't worry.  Cover the cream cheese with chocolate cake mix until the cups are 3/4 full.  Bake as directed on the box, mine took around 18 mins I think. 

Before, During or After, make the walnuts.

Caramelized Walnuts:
(I made this up as I went, so just trust your candy thermometer!)

1/3 stick of real, unsalted butter
1/4-1/3 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 bag of walnuts (you may have to use more or less, depending how candy-coated you want them)

On med high heat, melt the butter and add the sugar and syrup.  While stirring continuously, heat to 300 degrees on a candy thermometer.  It should be a thick caramel-looking syrup at this point.  Add the walnuts, remove from heat and stir.  Do not let the caramel start smoking, as it will burn extremely quickly at this point.  Dump out on a wax paper covered cookie sheet and let cool.  Once hard, it will break apart easily, so don't worry about big clumps.

--It will also taste delicious, so don't try tasting the caramel before you put the nuts in like I did.  Even though I just saw on the thermometer that is was about 305 degrees, I still had to stick my finger tip on the spoon and burned the sh*# out of it. 

Frost your cupcakes with your favorite chocolate frosting (I used the sugar free version-hey less calories too!) and top with a pile of walnuts.  You will have extra walnuts, but they are a delicious snack by themselves or on ice cream :)

You also will probably have extra cream cheese filling.  I added 3 more eggs to it and the juice of a lime and made mini-key lime custards out of them.  Essentially mini cheesecakes (graham cracker and cinnamon bottoms) but more of a custard taste and feel. 

Who needs the glucose tabs in the background when I can eat one of these?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Teen-age Rabbit Strikes Again!

After all the crazy rain yesterday and all of last night, I walk out this morning on my way to work during a moment of no rain and walk towards the patio garden to see if anything popped up with the warm rain.  Well, what popped out was that little sh*# of a rabbit, whom I call Bun-Bun.  I was hoping the human-scented and noisy cement patio would keep him in the back yard but to no avail.  More ugly fencing to come to the patio now and some blood meal.  

Another curious thing, I planted a whole packet of Lima Beans and only one has shown itself after about 3 weeks.  I thought Burpee was better than that.  That's what I'll be re-planting this weekend.  Of course I threw away the receipt.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Scary Low at Lowe's

Yesterday after work (BG was 145 with a little insulin on-board, but nothing to worry about) I sauntered over to Micheal's to grab some foam boards for my pelmet boxes I'm making for the kitchen windows.  What's a pelmet box, you ask?  Check out this tutorial at Little Green Notebook.  Cheap and awesome decoration!  

So, after leaving Micheal's, Lowe's is right next door, so I went over there to check on some brackets for hanging said pelmets and after having a helpful worker make a couple suggestions that just weren't working at all in my head, I thanked him and he left on his merry way.  I was still pondering the brackets and noticed it was really hot in there, like they didn't have the AC on all day.  So I'm fanning my face with my papers and I just start sweating all over.  My back was sweating, my face had beads of sweat rolling down.  And only after noticing that noone else was hot or sweating and that I couldn't pay attention to what the hell I was doing, I bothered to whip out the blood tester and check,  37.  It crashed from 145, LESS THAN AN HOUR AGO.  There was no way enough insulin in me to do that.  

So, thank God I was at the end of the isles near the checkouts and there happened to be a nice lady who asked if I was ready to go, and I just said, "I need candy, where are your candy bars?"  All I could see was beef jerky, no carbs anywhere!  She showed me where they were and I think could tell that I was a little out of it, covered in sweat, probably white as a ghost, just about ripping open a giant Snickers bar without paying...and offered to check me out quickly in the self-check out lane.  I told her I'm diabetic and she said, "oh, ok I thought better eat that fast so you don't pass out!"  I went and sat on a little bench by the doors.  I actually ate the whole, King-Size Snickers I felt so crappy-that's 60 carbs!  Apparently I needed that many, as I checked again for the next hour or so and it only went up to 147.   Boy, was it was delicious.  

 I'm thinking I'll be watching my afternoon basals more closely today.  

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Herb Spiral and Patio Garden

As promised the other day...I finally have some pictures of my herb spiral and my patio garden.  

New Herb Spiral

So far I have two basils, rosemary, an interesting fuzzy oregano, cilantro (coriander,) and lemon thyme.  I will be adding a Greek oregano and possibly a nice plain chive to fill the bottom space.  I haven't quite thought of what to fill the surrounding area with yet.  I am leaning towards some bright flowers since there's so much green!

Patio Garden 
The above is my patio garden, which this year is mostly vegetables.  I will be filling in all the empty space with annual flowers though, as I can't NOT have color!!!  Who loves that ugly fence as much as me?  

The far corner is the catnip grove as I call it, it has 6-8 bushes that will grow about 3-4 ft. each.  The stuff is very potent, according to my cat, Stickee.  Our mild winter had a couple little volunteer bushes that grew near the steps and my cat escaped one day and we found him 6 ft. from the door, in the snow, chomping on some freeze-dried catnip :)   I will probably sell some this fall, as I have some ideas for some cute little cat toys.  

***Update:  after the vast amount of rain and heat this past weekend, everything in the gardens grew about 1-2 inches!  I also have a pea flower!  Can't wait to eat those.  It's been an amazing spring, as we'd usually be just starting to plant!  I love having a jump start.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Herb, Herbs, Herbs

Check out my blog post at the Farm Bell Recipes forum at the Chickens in the Road site today!

My herb spiral is in and looks amazing!  Photos to follow, tonight.  Thank you to my hubby for helping me build and re-build it many times :)  

The gardens are flourishing with this week of close-to 80 degree weather and so is that pesky toddler-age rabbit that has now discovered my garden!  So far the carnage:  one cucumber plant (totally gone, not a bit left) and a large marigold plant chopped in half!  Didn't even bother eating it!  Little sh*! 

I think I'll be installing some fencing tonight...though I hate how it looks! 

See you later with pictures.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I'm Being Featured!

My post about Micro Greens is being featured on the Chickens in the Road Blog and Website in the Farm Bell Recipe section!  If you haven't come across this blog/website/forum yet, it is a must read.  Susan McMinn (yes, she used to write romance novels too!) posts hilarious stories and pictures from her farm and funny little animal-inhabitants.  There is also a recipe forum and lots of other reader advice areas.  My little story is going to be featured on May 16th, so go, my 7 followers and check it out next week! 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Busy little bees!

My hubby, JB and I have been very busy this past week and this weekend!  He has been extra productive, leveling some spots in our yard and throwing down some grass seed.  The gardens were also all tilled, compost added, seedlings and seeds planted, my herb spiral has started to take shape but needs lots more dirt and filler.  JB also mowed the vacant house next to us, since the lawn was looking pretty bad and the landlord was very appreciative.  We also decided we'd donate some Hostas to their front area as well, because our previous neighbors weren't that into keeping up there yard.  Hopefully this brings in some decent people to fill the space.  I'll be taking some pictures of my gardens so I can have some decent before and after photos for this year, as I think it will be a good one!

This week's list of to-do's:
1.  Finish planting all of my seedlings and seeds
2.  Finish the herb spiral and start purchasing the plants
3.  Get a bird feeder
4.  Purchase more flowers to fill in the empty spaces
5.  Clean my house thoroughly before my surgery on Thurs!
6.  Make some dinners to have on hand for the rest of the week while my hand     is laid up
7.  I probably should tie up loose ends at work too :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Weather gods are smirking?


Doesn't this look lovely?  A bit stormy, but the rain and warmth are needed.  I'm hoping my little plants will get all jazzed up with the warmth and double or triple in size by this coming weekend.

This week I planted the Scarlett Runner Beans, Scarlett O'Hara & Grandpa Ott Morning Glories, and Trionfo Violetto beans.  I came across a description of these heirloom beans on the You Grow Girl blog-which has tons of useful garden info on it-recommend reading this for urban-gardening info also. 

The rest of the patio garden (6'x25'+?) is now all weeded and chopped up, waiting for the rain.  I have chosen to fill my gardens with vegetables first and then pack in the flowers once the veg are established.  Last year I planted over 100 annuals in the patio garden and it was amazing and jungle-like...though I only had about a 6'x12' area for vegetables and it wasn't enough for me!  I think I may put a couple of the tomato and pepper plants in here just to have them close to the house. 

My new garden plot is 4'x16' and was supposed to be tilled last night, but the little Mantis wouldn't start.  I had manually cut the sod out and shook all of the dirt from the grass hunks, so it is usable, but I feel it needs a good till before I dump in my many bags and buckets of compost.  I do need to get this done and plant my other seeds by this weekend, as I am having my carpal tunnel surgery on the 10th and won't be able to work in the garden for a while.  At least until I can't stand it and start doing things left-handed!