Sunday, May 6, 2012

Garden success!

Who knew that growing some lettuce and potatoes and onions could be so easy?  Put the seed in the ground, walk away, water it a bit, and watch the plants appear!!

The caterpillars and ants may be attacking in a destructive sort of way as I type, so I need to revel in my past 3 nights' salads' glories quickly :)  I'm not sure what to do about the roly polys either... Oh, bugs!  So forgive my bragging, but I'm sure my success won't last too long!

 April 8th- Still small, but showing signs of growth...
 April 14th- Definitely growing, awesome baby lettuce!  This is when I realized I totally planted the potato plants too close together.  Oops!  We'll see what happens.
 April 22nd- Now I think the bed is too small!  The potato plants are taking over!  The lettuce is looking good here, though.  And, if you can believe it, I think everything has doubled since this last picture was taken!
This is one of my hanging baskets with ferns and lobelia--looking good! It's amazing how 2 baskets can really brighten up the front of the house.

My salad, with chickpeas, sunflower seeds and craisins, and the lettuce is fresh from the garden !

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Granola


Have you ever tried making your own granola? We hadn't until 2 weekends ago. And it was actually not very hard at all. Seriously, it is actually easy to make once you get all the ingredients, and it is unlike any 'boxed' cereal or granola that you can get. Nathan said that he is 'not going back' anytime soon. And this is from a guy who was a granola fanatic!

So, here is my recipe, adapted from both the
Moosewood Restaurant New Classics cookbook
and
Simple Vegetarian Pleasures cookbook granola recipes:

Dry Ingredients:
6 cups of oats
1 cup of unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup of wheat germ
1/2 cup of oat bran
1/2 cup of flaxseeds
1/2 cup of almonds (I did sliced, but slivered would work well too)
1/2 cup of pecans
1/2 cup of walnuts
2 tbsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of salt
pinch of nutmeg, allspice, or cloves (if you like their taste)

Wet ingredients:
1/2 cup of canola oil
1/3 cup of honey
1/3 cup of maple syrup
2 tbsp of molasses (unsulphured)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Combine all the dry ingredients except for the oats in a big bowl.
3. Combine the wet ingredients in a stock pot. Turn stovetop on at medium heat. Stir ingredients until combined--but don't let them boil! Right after the oil & honey mixture starts to get bubbles, turn off the burner and dump in all the dry ingredients EXCEPT the oats. Stir until all the dry ingredients are wet. Then add the 6 cups of oats and stir until they are pretty coated too.
4. Dump out 1/3 of the mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Remove, stir around, and bake for about 4 more minutes. Keep your eye on the nuts--you don't want them to burn. Dump into a big bowl to cool.
5. Repeat with the rest of the granola.
6. If you want to add dried cranberries or raisins, etc., do so after the mixture has cooled. Granola should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and will last for up to 3 months (but it will only last a week at our house!!)

*Note: I think most of the dry ingredients are flexible--like you can do more or less depending on what you have. Just make sure you have enough of the liquid to get everything 'wet'.

Like the hosts on Reading Rainbow used to say, but you don't have to take our word for it!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Garden time!!!

Sorry for the long pause in posts... I know everyone was waiting in anticipation :)

Well, expect this blog to blow up because we've got a garden!!! That's right, a real, live garden! And plants are actually growing in it! And we have a grill! Yippeee!!!



So here is me, super-excited about the first raised bed Nathan and I build together one Saturday.






This is our indoor herb garden, getting ready for the transplant outside.








Here is Nathan, cooking some dogs and chicken for our second cookout ever!!! (The only previous one was on the patio in Rock Creek Springs during the hottest summer in DC with Molly, Kevin, Beth, and Domenico!)





This is the construction of the second bed. (The wire mesh is to prevent ground hogs from digging up into our veggies!)







And here is a potato plant! They are even bigger since I took these pics--but I'll photograph them again soon. Onions, potatoes, and lettuce are all a-growing in the first bed!






I also have made some banjo artwork--so check out this post on my art blog to enjoy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Exercise & Art... Check it out!!

Seriously, this will be a good use of your sitting time :)
A video about the importance of exercise, illustrated with perfection.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUaInS6HIGo

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza!



A little food AND art for you today!






I had some girlfriends over this Saturday and we made TONS of cookies!! We used tons of fun cookie cutters, ranging from presents to stars to candy canes to reindeer. We made some pretty elaborate icing designs too! We had a chance to listen to some fun Christmas music and discovered our mutual love for country music. Fun times! Nathan was our taste-tester and helped with set up and clean up.

One of the best things about food (whether its sweet treats or a hearty meal) is the fact that it brings people together for conversation. Time spent with others, slowed by the pace of the cooking and cleaning, is so enjoyable--every time.

Enjoy feasting with your eyes--and maybe you will be inspired to make some cookies yourself!