1
Weekly Round Up
2
Confetti Cake Batter Brownies
3
Harvesting Onions and Radishes
4
Overnight Cookie Dough Oatmeal
5
Preserving Strawberries, Kale and Basil
6
Gardening and Cooking in Atlanta
7
Banana, Strawberry, Pineapple Smoothie
8
Tri Color Pasta Salad
9
Weekly Round Up
10
Vertical Growing Green Beans
11
Slow Cooker Pot Roast
12
Sugar Snap Pea Update
13
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
14
Weekly Round Up
15
Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
16
For The Love of Pineapple
17
Planting The Tomatoes
18
Gingerbread Popcorn
19
Soho House Berlin Review
20
Weekly Round Up

Weekly Round Up

What’s your favorite season?  Mine is the Fall – best holidays, best food, best weather.  Don’t get me wrong, the summer makes the garden come alive that delights me, but personally I can’t deal with heat or humidity.   For the past week the weather remains confused on what kind of clothes it would like me to wear – is it a sweatshirt and stocking cap, or a sundress?  After starting chilly this week, it’s warmed up to the point of I am already declaring to Matthew “I’m not going to make it” to which I dramatically fall on our cold (feels nice) cement floors.    You can sense the heat is starting with the cats too, they’re starting to do their lazy stretches against a cool wall.    Or in Bofinkles case, just a long stretch anywhere with her hot pink belly.

 photo.JPG

Recipes I shared:
Overnight Cookie Dough Oatmeal – great to have on those hot days!
Confetti Cake Batter Brownies – these win my heart.
Banana, Strawberry, Pineapple Smoothie – simple and refreshing.
Tri Color Pasta Salad – a get together favorite!
How to preserve kale, basil and strawberries to use in recipes months from now!

Here are some recipes I pinned this week:

Sweet and Snacks
Best Ever Banana Bread – do you love banana bread? I do! Especially with this cream cheese frosting!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cannolis – I love cannolis, especially with chocolate chips!
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet – one giant skillet cookie, yes please!
Basil & sun-dried tomato crackers  – would love to mess around with some other herbs here too!

Dinner Time
Cheesy Chicken Doritos Casserole – Doritos for dinner? Yes, please!
Taco Pizza – The 2 best foods combined.
White Bean, Potato, Kale Soup – I’ve been craving soup, even with the heat.
Baby Bok Choy with Ground Chicken Stir Fry – I love bok choy!
Cheesy Chicken Noodles – A comfort food.

 

Internet Finds This Week

How amazing are these Mr Men and Little Miss nails?  It includes Mr. Tickle!  Mr. Men series are my favorite, I love them dearly.    I was feeling blue a few nights ago and Matthew read me Mr Tickle in bed – it was one of those moments I’ll remember with a smile forever. 🙂
mr men

It’s not Halloween, but that doesn’t mean I can’t already start planning.  Halloween is my favorite holiday!  How great are these scrap wood signs?  They can be applied to anything!
8106862977_d10b0976d7_z

Scotland’s nonprofit James Hutton Institute have developed a transparent soil that more closely resembles the real deal. For the main ingredient, they use small particles of the polymer Nafion, which holds nutrients and becomes clear when mixed with water. With the transparent soil, scientists will be able to observe how roots grow, take up nutrients, and associate with microbes without having to destroy the setup. – Popular Science 
soil_beforeandafter

Later this year, a team from the Geor­gia Tech Research Institute in Atlanta will put the finishing touches on an autonomous robotic chicken butcher. The Intelligent Deboning System, a one-armed knife-wielding automaton, has the brains and dexterity to debone a bird in four seconds flat, on par with a human butcher.   During the part where it looks at the chicken before cutting, each chicken passes through a kind of photo booth. Inside, two pairs of stereo cameras scan the bird, one pair per side. A computer instantly renders the images into a 3-D map of the bird. It also identifies useful markers, such as the humerus and the coracoid bones.- Popular Science
chicken

 

 Home This Week
I picked some pretty flowers that have lasted all week on our farmhouse table.   Flowers just make a space feel special.
blogIMG_2505

Matthew is making my dreams come true and is building me more kitchen shelf space!  If you live in the city you know how small kitchens are, but what do you do when you like to use your kitchen and have no more room for your beloved appliances and gadgets?  The Great: Getting more shelf space!  The Bad: Waiting, Seeing the kitchen a mess!  The shelves are going to be open, do you think I should paint them or put some type of design paper on them? 
WP_20130529_00720130529225600.jpg
We spent a long time deciding how tall the shelves should be.  As you can see from all the X’s, I changed my mind alot!
Camera360_2013_5_27_090210.jpg
And now it’s joint compound time!
Joint Compound Timez

Pretty sure Matthew needs a  new closet just for his sneakers.  
IMG_2519

 

Around The Neighborhood
Pratt is a popular Brooklyn art university, and since I live in the neighborhood I get to walk on it’s open campus.  They have the most gorgeous flowers,  beautiful green grass and sculptures all over.  They also have a handful of cats that I love dearly.
WP_20130529_004.jpg

I love when people add some good kitsch to their sidewalk.
WP_20130525_018.jpg

Who would throw this BOO treasure out?
WP_20130524_001.jpg 

Food and Friends:
Checked out a new pizza place nearby, called Speedy Romeo.    It was Tuesday night which is apparently jazz nigh which adds a nice vibe.  

Camera360_2013_5_28_102539.jpg

Here are the pizza choices.  The pizzas used Provel cheese which is very popular in St. Louis.  It’s a cheese made up of provolone, Swiss and cheddar.  It has a unique taste and melts nicely.
Camera360_2013_5_28_102040.jpg

We each ordered a different personal pie and then just split everything. top left: Roast Garlic, Ricotta, Provel, Pecorino, Bechamel. top right: Wild Mushrooms, Smoked Mozzarella, Farm Egg, Sage. bottom left: Provel, Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, Pickled Chilis. bottom right: Speck, Pineapple, Provel.  I decided the winner was the bottom left which is odd because I’m usual a plain pizza lover.  
6b58cbff-e0af-4954-b1e5-58087c7e6f7c_jpeg

We had a S’more chocolate pie for dessert which was yummy.  We also had overpriced ice cream which they gave us a scoop the size of a gum drop, I am not sharing a picture of it because it still depresses me.
Camera360_2013_5_28_102351.jpg

Lunch at our local diner which is a hidden gem.  It’s never over $10 for 2 big dishes, I love it there!
WP_20130523_016.jpg

We went to a friends house for Chilean hotdogs.  The traditional version “completo” is chopped tomatoes, mayonnaise (a large amount) and sauerkraut on a hot dog. 
WP_20130525_019.jpg

Because mayo is one of the scariest things in the world, I went for the good ol American hot dog with just ketchup.  I did put sauerkraut and tomatoes on the side to eat.  I’m sorry, I’m not adventurous! 
WP_20130525_020.jpg

I brought my peanut butter chocolate chip pretzel granola bars to enjoy for dessert!  My friend Paul is a fan.  WP_20130525_021.jpg

 I have been keeping cool and refreshed with this strawberry, apple and mint smoothie.  I’ve been using my frozen strawberries! 
WP_20130530_015.jpg

Cat News:
It was Xanadu’s birthday, she turned 7!  She got to play with whatever toy she wanted to.  
WP_20130525_012

I hugged her tightly and baked her a custom sized cupcake.
happybirthdayxanadu

Then she got to sit in any bag she wanted to. Cats, they live crazy lives!
WP_20130527_004

Brother just continued to be the best boy this week.
Camera360_2013_5_27_115322.jpg
Yes, they are.
WP_20130527_005

 

Garden Update:
All the corn is up!
WP_20130527_032.jpg
Sugar Snap pea flowers mean sugar snap peas soon!
WP_20130527_015.jpg
We have a cabbage head in there! We have a few, 4 to be exact! 
WP_20130527_017.jpg
First year growing Brussels Sprouts,  anxiously awaiting to see those grow fully!
WP_20130525_004
Our tomatoes are loving the heat.  They have exploded. 
WP_20130527_026.jpg
Spotted our first few roma tomatoes too!  We usually pinch the flowers off in May, but since they are growing so rapidly this year we are trying to let them grow earlier.
WP_20130527_022.jpg
Broccoli, my love of the garden!
WP_20130529_015.jpg
I am pretty sure we will be enjoying some broccoli and noodles shortly!
WP_20130529_014.jpg

One late windy night  we checked on the garden.  We were greeted by the most beautiful moonlight when stepping out on the roof. 
WP_20130526_00320130526133926.jpg

 

Are you doing anything fun this weekend? What’s the weather like where you are?
I hope you have a good one!

Confetti Cake Batter Brownies

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies – these are ooey gooey good!

Do you know how much I love cake batter? No.  Well let me tell you.. I love cake batter!

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!

I can eat cake batter brownies, cookies, cupcakes, cake, pudding, popcorn, milkshakes.  If it begins with the word “cake batter” I’m in 100%.  I even  (guiltily) enjoy a bowl of just cake batter, to be enjoyed with a spoon, or your tongue as you look around to  make sure noone is watching you act like a human dishwasher (totally ok, do it all the time, I’ve even been caught a few times, just ignore it and keep going).

Now you can call them blondies if you want, but I’m going to go with brownies because it feels more comfortable.   A vanilla brownie, let’s call it that.  Or  a albino brownie, we can do that.  I’ve googled this brownie vs blondie debate and the wounds go deep with those on both sides, but I think we can come together and just enjoy this.  Let’s just call this amazing, because that’s what it is.  I am pretty sure these bake batter brownies can stop wars.  In fact, I am going to send a letter to the White House letting them know of this.  Thank me later POTUS!

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!

The other great thing is these can be stored for about a week, but seriously – these won’t even last 3 days.   If I stop by, 2 days at the most! Beep Beep, one cake batter monster coming through…
Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!

Confetti Cake Batter Brownies
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 box Confetti/Funfetti cake mix
  2. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1/3 cup milk
  5. 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
  6. 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray 11x9 baking pan with nonstick spray.
  3. Combine cake mix, vegetable oil, egg and milk into a bowl. Mix around.
  4. Add sprinkles and white chocolate chips, continue to mix.
  5. Pour into baking pan, sprinkle a few more rainbow sprinkles on top.
  6. Bake 25-30 minutes until your edges are slightly brown.
  7. Allow to cool, then cut into brownies.
Notes
  1. Store in container.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
 So let’s begin baking these beauties.  

 
Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!You want to use cake mix for these, the Funfetti or Confetti variety.  I used Confetti.  It’s the same thing.  It’s  made of rainbows and it makes me very happy!

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
What else makes me happy? Additional rainbow sprinkles and white chocolate chips.   


Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!Mix cake mix, oil, egg and milk together…


Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!To this beautiful mixture.  Now take a spoon and eat it.  I’m kidding.  No, I’m not.  Really, I’m not.


Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!Then add your white chocolate chips and sprinkles.  This amount of color makes my day happier.


Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!Mix it all around.  Get those sprinkles and chocolate chips mixed in there.


Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!And then take another spoonful because you’ve been a very good (bad) girl.

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
Then before you eat all the cake batter, put it in a baking dish.  I used a 11x9ish dish and I feel this made them just the right amount of soft and gooey that I wanted.  Put in the oven.

Now wonder around your house while cake batter fills the air.  During this time I like to lay near the kitchen, close my eyes and enter a magical world of rainbow happiness.  
And when it’s time… 

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
These gorgeous cake batter brownies will appear!

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
You want to keep them in the oven just until the edges are very slightly brown.  25-30 minutes, mine took 26 minutes to be very exact.

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
Then let them cool.  During this time just sit near them and stare lovingly at them.

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
Cats will show up and marvel at the wonder you just created! Then hug your cats because this is a great day.

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
Don’t you just love how it bubbles up slightly around the edges to give it a nice soft crust?  Oh it’s lovely.

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
When they’re cool, you can cut into brownies.  You can cut the into small squares or go big.   
Then serve yourself one as soon as possible.  It’s like when you’re on a airplane and they tell you to first put the oxygen mask on yourself, then your child.  This is the same exact thing.  You eat the first cake batter brownie.  Children come later.

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
Can we talk about how gooey the middles are?  It’s the perfect combination.  The edges are firm, enough to cut and move around, but the middles still have that cake batter that brings sunshine to my life.
Hello Pretty Princess!

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
When Matthew got home, the first thing he asked was “What is that smell?”.  I answered “Perfection”. Then smiled creepily because I was in a sweet high coma.

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
These are perfect for parties, dessert after dinner, a gift to your friend (you can sneak one two before giving) or just a Thursday because Wednesday wasn’t a good day.

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!
And when there’s only one left, please wrestle anyone in your way to get it!

Confetti Sprinkle Cake Batter Brownies - these are ooey gooey good!

Harvesting Onions and Radishes

*Does the happy harvest dance*
What, you don’t know what that looks like?  Good.  You don’t want to see it.  You will get too much second hand embarrassment.

 We have harvested our first onions and radishes of the season! And boy are they delicious!  This was our first time growing radishes, we grew the french breakfast variety.  Verdict?  I need to plant these again, asap, but about 10 times the amount because they’re so good! We’re talking, snack happy radishes.  They taste like a carrot, but with a bit of heat.  They’re fresh, they have the crunch.  They are perfect!

The great thing about radishes? They’re super quick to grow.  In just one month you will have radishes from seed to harvest.  Cool, right?

After about 2 weeks you will spot the bright pink…
WP_20130512_023.jpg

Then before you know, they will be pushing through begging for you to pull out!
WP_20130524_016.jpg

Can we talk about how beautiful these are?  Radishes are in the group of “perfect looking” vegetables.  Even covered in dirt they look fly.
blogIMG_2417

Sometimes they don’t even make it down from the garden, I just nibble on them right there.
WP_20130527_057

Sigh, they’re just perfect looking!
WP_20130527_059

So for dinner one night, I picked a bunch of lettuce, kale, spinach, mixed greens…. hello beautiful greens!
blogIMG_2416

Then threw in some tomatoes, black beans and avocado.  Put a little lime juice on top.  Cut up a radish.  It was perfect!  It was exactly what I needed after a few days of eating not so great out of town.
blogIMG_2420

And because I’m radish crazy right now, I just planted a whole new box of them!  I can’t wait to see them…WP_20130527_042

Next up… the wonderful world of.. onions!
Disclaimer:  There is one thing I don’t eat in the garden, that is onions.  Since a child, I have been frightened of onions.  Very very frightened.  I’ve learned to love almost everything I’ve been scared of as a kid, but there are 2 things I can’t break: onions and mayo.    Matthew, my love, is a onion fan.  

Onions are pretty easy to grow, we start them from seed then I go through the process of separating them.  One onion grows per seed.  We grow onions year round, so there’s always some in beginning stages while others are finishing up.

It’s pretty easy to know when they’re ready to pick.  One day you will just have large green stems sticking out…
photo 3.JPG

Then you will look one day and spot big onion bulbs poking out.  Don’t be afraid to dig around the soil to see if you got any, and how big they are. 
photo 4.JPG

This one is ready to pick!  Just dig around, and pull it up!
WP_20130506_020

Then you better cheer because you just grew a onion!
WP_20130524_028.jpg

Let’s check this beautiful onion out.  These plants are huge.  Not only are the bulbs a good size but the green stem is huge.  It’s easily over 18 inches high.  Tip: You can chop the green stem up, use it just like scallions.  If my dad is reading this he’s probably swooning at the thoughts of growing scallions!
blogIMG_2429

Look at the roots on this guy!
blogIMG_2426

Is there anything more pretty than a dirty perfect onion sitting on your cutting board?  
blogIMG_2440

Even as a non onion eater, I can appreciate the perfection of a onion.  I mean come on, this complex vegetable starts as one little seed. It always amazes me.  It will never stop.
blogIMG_2437

Then peel, chop, use however you want.  I caught Matthew at the cutting board just chopping them guy up, throwing it straight into his mouth.  Then his eyes closed. He was in onion ecstasy.  Later that night we made homemade taco bowls, Matthew’s was packed full of onions!
blogIMG_2443

 

So get out and plant some radishes and onions!
Are you growing any?

Overnight Cookie Dough Oatmeal

Did you ever wake up in the morning and the last thing you want to do is make breakfast? Actually, the last thing you want to do is wake up, but after that.. you just don’t want to make anything.  As some of you know my go to breakfast is my usual breakfast sandwich, and although it’s quick to make, sometimes I just want breakfast in 10 seconds.  My solution?  Overnight cookie dough oatmeal.  Get ready… this oatmeal is magical!

Knowing you will want a few extra minutes to sleep, or knowing you are going to have a hectic morning, or just knowing this oatmeal is so darn good you want to plan in advance, this is a overnight recipe.  Before you go to sleep, stir together all these ingredients, it takes 2 minutes.  Throw it in the fridge.  When you wake up the next morning, splash a little bit of milk on top, and eat away.  It’s that easy!

Can I tell you how much this breakfast fills me as well?   This breakfast easily gets me through until lunch wanting no snacks in between.  And because the oatmeal has peanut butter in it and tastes like cookie dough, it’s like a breakfast dessert.  Dessert for breakfast – can life be any grander?

blogIMG_2511

Overnight Cookie Dough Oatmeal
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
  2. 1/2 cup milk
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter (you can use another nut butter of your choice if you'd like)
  4. 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon flax seeds
  6. 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  7. topping to your liking
Instructions
  1. Stir all ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Cover bowl with lid, put in refrigerator overnight.
  3. Right before eating, add a small splash of milk and mix again.
  4. Add toppings that you'd like!
Notes
  1. Topping ideas: sliced bananas, dried or fresh berries, shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
blogIMG_2477
For this recipe you need flax seeds.  I didn’t know much about flax seeds, but here’s what I found out: they rule.   Putting them in the overnight oatmeal is going to make the oats thicken, so they aren’t runny.  You can also add them to muffin and cookie recipes.  And because of how little you use, this bag is going to last me at a long time.  Flax seeds are a good investment.

blogIMG_2485
Just a side note, Matthew’s younger brother was terrified of the Quaker Oats man as a kid.  Matthew (because he’s a loving brother) still sometimes sends him Quaker Oats wrapped up as a gift (to terrify him more).

blogIMG_2490
Night before, easy.  Just put all your ingredients in a bowl.   

blogIMG_2495
Then mix it all around.  If you notice, it looks runny because of the milk.  Your flax seeds are going to take care of that though and thicken it!

blogIMG_2510
The next morning, thick!  Delicious! I add a little splash of milk, stir it around, then it’s breakfast time.

blogIMG_2511
You an eat it plain, it’s delicious that way, or you can add a topping. Topping ideas: sliced bananas, dried or fresh berries, shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips. 

blogIMG_2516
I love some dried blueberries so that’s what I added.

blogIMG_2514
Enjoy your breakfast! This one is a keeper.

 blogIMG_2503
Here’s some flowers I picked to start the day off bright too!

What’s your favorite oatmeal topping?

Preserving Strawberries, Kale and Basil

As the garden season takes off, I will be doing a series of posts on how to preserve everything you grow so you can enjoy them now and many months later.   We won’t let any of our hard work that went into planting and caring for these plants go to waste here!

I often say “I garden because I cook”.    My love for being in the kitchen goes hand in hand with getting my nails dirty pushing down seeds.    My fulltime job is being an artist with my partner Matthew, and I would say our “day job” couldn’t be farther away from gardening and cooking.   Did you ever go from shooting a pair of shoes that cost close to your monthly rent, to sprinkling manure over your soil?    But it’s amazing because away from the stressful world of advertising, fashion and due dates, there is the kitchen and garden.    These are the stress-free zones for me.  Sure, there comes stress like weather that can destroy crops, oven temperatures that can burn cookie bottoms – but those are all you, noone is judging.  It’s just you with your apron or garden raincoat on, singing along to a rap tune, cats at your feet, enjoying your time.   One hour we can be in our home, sending over files to complete a job.  But wait, the creative director didn’t like that change, so now redo those last 8 hours you spent cutting it together.  Take a deep breath.  Eat a cookie.  Then go up to the garden.  None of this stress exists there.  You can just sit in your garden, with NYC surrounding you, listen to the hum of police sirens (it turns into a hum after you’ve lived here for a while) and forget about everything else.  I love it.

Here are other reasons why I love bringing these worlds of gardening and cooking together:

-You learn where everything comes from.  Did you know Brussels Sprouts grow the way they do? I didn’t either!    By gardening you see the process from seed to harvest, it often surprises you!
-You respect everything you grow.   Those pumpkins that I grew? They came from me pollinating them for a week straight at 5:30AM in the morning.   Those tomatoes that are beautiful red and perfect?   They stayed alive because you ran out into the pouring rain to make sure their windblocker fabric was up and everything was secure.    Those sugar snap peas?  Do you know how long they take to pick? Oh my!
-You try new vegetables.   I hated lettuce before we had our garden, now I’m like a rabbit where Matthew has to shoo me away.    I never tried radishes before, now I eat them whole.  
-This results into trying new dishes in the kitchen.  Pesto? Never made before, except now I have about 10 different recipes for it with every different plant.   I scour websites and cookbooks looking for new ways to use tomatoes, broccoli, carrots.  Dinner, Lunch, Desserts – I try it all!    The most important part is starting with a base you love.  So grow what you like!  
-Preserve! Preserve! Preserve!   This is the big one for me.  There are a few weeks in July and August that I am spending many hours every single day preserving our tomatoes to last us (forever).  So you just grew those kale plants – but did you have any idea how much kale grows on a plant? Or those edamame plants that I grew last year – did I know that I would get 20 pounds of edamame, all at once?  What are you going to do?  Well you just spent so much time and energy and love on these plants to grow great vegetables so now we’re not going to let it go to waste! Oh no we aren’t!  We are going to preserve it!    Did you know I had to buy my first can of diced tomatoes earlier this month because I had enough saved from last summer’s harvest?  Do you know how awesome of a feeling that is to have fresh vegetables you grew in your freezer all winter long?  Oh it’s snowing out and 3 degrees, let me just grab a extra fresh pack of frozen green beans that I grew a few months back.  *High 5’s*

 I spend quite a bit of time preserving everything we grow, and figuring out new ways to try.  One year I went as crazy as literally not wasting any of the broccoli plants, by finding ways to use the leaves and chop up the stems.    I blanch, I freeze whole, I puree,  I turn into sauces, I chop, I husk, I dry.  I do whatever it takes to preserve everything.   This post will be dedicated to strawberries, kale and basil.    Sometimes in future posts, I will give you another idea for the same vegetable.  There are many ways to preserve each plant, so I want to share some options for whatever is best for you in your kitchen. 🙂

Strawberries
Who doesn’t love strawberries?  And is there anything better than a sweet strawberry picked right off the vine and plopped straight into your mouth?  Oh yum!  But what happens when you are are harvesting pounds of strawberries?  Or what happens when you go the grocery store and find out that they are selling pints of strawberries for 89 cents.  Buy a bunch, we can keep your strawberry love stocked up for months!

We are going to freeze strawberries.   Strawberries keep in a freezer for a long time, I’m talking  a year.  Amazing, right?

What can we do with frozen strawberries? Well I’m glad you asked.
Smoothies!  My favorite.  Throw frozen strawberries in your blender and continue as usual in creating your favorite smoothie.
-Throw them into pies.
-Strawberry jelly!
-Strawberry sauce! Blend them up and pour over ice cream, cakes and waffles.
-Strawberry butter.  Yup,  you heard me right!
-Make strawberry bread.
-Strawberry salad.

Here are your beautiful strawberries.  
preserveIMG_2394
Seriously, aren’t they the most loveliest things in the world?   I hope one day I can be at least 1% cool and classy as strawberries.
Now you want to wash them, wash them real good.
preserveIMG_2396
Then once they are washed, you want to hull them.  Basically you want to rip off their green tops and cores.  You can do this a variety of ways with special tools, or just a knife.  Personally I just use my finger nails to get in there.   Then lay them on a cookie sheet and let freeze.    Once they are frozen, put them into freezer bags.  
preserveIMG_2398
Then when you need some strawberries, take them out of your freezer and bask in the glory of them!  Use them however you want.  I will be making myself one happy strawberry smoothie. 🙂
preserveIMG_2464


Kale
Kale, the winner of everything cool in 2013. Do you hear all the buzz about kale?  What a popular guy.    It seems to be the king of greens!  One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6, 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K.  It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.  Can we say it’s healthy?  


So what to do with kale?  When you’ve eaten your share of fresh raw kale, let’s figure out ways to preserve it, so you can be eating this vegetable powerhouse for months to come!
I like to make kale cubes, which is basically kale all chopped up, frozen into cubes.  It’s all kale, nothing else added in. 

What you can do with those frozen kale cubes?
-Smoothies! Again!  Want a real pick me up?  Throw a kale cube into your next smoothie.  
-Defrost and mix into pasta.  Warm through.  
-Throw a cube or two into any soup or stew.   Just a little bit of frozen kale goes a long way in getting your vitamins in!
-Defrost and mix with meats to make delicious ravioli.
-Defrost and mix with meats to make delicious meatballs!

Kale!  You hearty animal you (not really a animal). 
preserveIMG_2400
I destem it.  I do this with my hands too, I just rip it off.  Maybe I’m the animal here.  Then I rip it into pieces to fit it into my food processor.preserveIMG_2401
A few pulses later and your once entire food process cup hardly has any kale in it.  Kale likes to shrink.  preserveIMG_2403
Then spoon it out and throw in some ice cube trays.
preserveIMG_2406
Fill them up to the top.    A entire bushel of kale filled up one ice cube tray, so pack it down.  Now put into the freezer.
preserveIMG_2407
Once they’re frozen, poke them out with a fork.    I find it works best to let them sit on your counter for a few minutes, then poke them out.  They defrost pretty quickly for you to grab one out of the tray.  From here you can keep them in the tray and use as you want, or throw them in freezer bags.
preserveIMG_2468
Because you packed them in, they stay in cube form nicely.preserveIMG_2475

 

Basil
Who else loves the smell of basil?  I love picking fresh basil and putting it in pasta, and especially on pizza! A slice of margarita pizza with basil is the key to my pizza loving heart.   But what do you do when you have pounds of basil and you can’t eat 8 pizzas a nights (don’t try this, just believe me).  You can dry it!
I love dried herbs.  Almost 80% of the time if a recipe calls for fresh herbs, I will ignore it and use dried herbs.  Why? Because I know the dried herbs are ones I grew, loved and they will taste just as good in the dish!  
What can you do with dried basil?
-Any dish call for fresh basil? You can substitute with dried basil.
-Use in any tomato pasta.
-Sprinkle over each lasagna layer.
-Sprinkle over pizza.
-Use in rices.
-Use in a varieties of stews and soups for extra seasoning.
-Use in pasta salad.
-Sprinkle on garlic bread.

So let’s pick your basil!  What you want to do is wash it, then let dry.  I do this by putting it on paper towel sheets and then help blotting excess water on top.  Let dry completely.
preserveIMG_2410
Then find a space of your home that you want to smell like basil for the next few weeks.  Grab a rubber band and hang on something.  We have screws in the top of our loft that we drilled in just for drying herbs.  This is at the very front entrance of our loft, so as soon as you walk in… it’s fresh city USA.preserveIMG_2412
Then just let dry until they are completely brittle.  If the basil seems “fresh” and flexible they aren’t dry enough.  You basically want them to the point of if you touched a leaf, it would crack.  You can see in the top right of this picture I have some dried oregano ready to go.  
preserveIMG_2414
Then pick the leaves off the plant (do this over a bowl, the leaves are going to fall apart beautifully).  Throw in your food processor and you’re done.  If you don’t have a food processor, just crumble with your fingers.  Now you have dried basil ready for whenever you want!preserveIMG_2467

 

Gardening and Cooking in Atlanta

YAWN.  YAWN.  YAWN.  Takes a sip of caffeinated tea.  Eyes start to close.  Oh, sorry! Hello there!

The last week has been go, go, go go!  Do you know what I’m doing tomorrow? I’m sleeping in!  You won’t even be able to wake me up if you tried (I’m talking to you cats).    Since late last week I have been gardening pretty heavily to get everything ready for my Gardenieres shoot on our rooftop garden.  Saturday and Sunday was spent building some containers, picking some vegetables and showing everyone around our space.   The weather wasn’t supper cooperative though, Sunday it rained (it poured actually), so I apologize for having wet bangs and squinting as rain drips into my eyes.  

WP_20130519_036.jpg

The film crew left on Sunday afternoon, but it wouldn’t be too long until I saw them again.. infact it would be less than 24 hours! We were flying to Atlanta to shoot more Gardeniere videos!  So bright and early Monday morning I headed to LaGuardia Airport to  make my way down South.  The next few days I gardened, I cooked, I melted.  I can’t do humidity.   I had the opportunity to meet Mary Katherine, fellow Gardeniere, of the South.  I showed her how to plant some vegetables container style!  Then I had the great joy of cooking some delicious dishes with Bridget from America’s Test Kitchen.  She taught me some great tips that I think you guys will love!  Can’t wait to share those videos…

So first up, I took alot of pictures.  I always do. If you want to see the entire Atlanta set feel free to hop on by here (btw, how do you feel about the new Flickr layout?).   Thanks to Lisa who helped take some pictures of me while I was on camera!  It was lovely to meet you and share pet stories!

Secondly, I love to take some of our stuffed animal family on tour when we travel.  The Grandpas have been to London, Berlin, Disney World and more.  This time though, Shudder the Ghost was accompanying me. 

WP_20130520_001 (1)
This is Shudder.  He’s a happy ghost, always smiling.  We took a cab to the airport so I buckled him in.  

 WP_20130520_007 (1)
For the next few days Shudder and I will be inseparable!  We’re best friends, traveling hand in hand, well he’s traveling in my bookbag for comfort, but he pokes out to see everything.

WP_20130520_008
While waiting to board our plane, I fed us smoked almonds.  I was craving almonds in the morning so I sucked it up and bought this tiny bag for $5. 

WP_20130520_013
And now we’re off!  Note that Shudder took his pumpkin with us to Atlanta.  I’m not sure how he got it through security, but he did.

WP_20130520_017
We arrived!  The flight from NYC to Atlanta is only 1 hour, 40 minutes.  Isn’t flying amazing?

WP_20130520_042
This was our hotel.  A backyard paradise!

WP_20130520_046
Shudder said he felt like Don Draper in California. 

WP_20130520_043
I promised him a dip in the pool later, but we had to get cleaned up for dinner with the crew.  Shudder took a few minutes to nap.

WP_20130520_056
That night we went to Southern City Kitchen.  Let me tell you something.  The South knows how to do cornbread.  They aren’t messing around.  This here is some of the best cornbread I ever had, it was so light. If you told me I was only having cornbread for dinner, I would have been ok with that!

WP_20130520_058
Then I tried the fried green tomatoes.  This was a keeper!

WP_20130520_062
For dinner I had go all out for my first Southern meal.  I got Buttermilk fried chicken, mac and cheese and collared greens.  Oh my!  Absolutely delicious.  Surprisingly the best part though was the collared greens, they were so full of flavor. I have to figure out how to perfect this recipe.    Shudder was really into the mac and cheese.

WP_20130520_070
After dinner we came back to the hotel and went to the pool.  Shudder didn’t forget the promise I made to him.

WP_20130520_07920130520215714
We had a nice little shoulder massage under the waterfall in the Jacuzzi.  I could have stayed there all night, but eventually I got kicked out as they were closing up.   Boo.

WP_20130521_032
Tuesday was all about gardening.  We shot Mary Katherine’s beautiful backyard.  Everything in Atlanta is so green and lush.  It’s crazy.

WP_20130521_033
Shudder liked smelling all the fresh flowers.

WP_20130521_022
First up, I needed some grub in me.  The salad was great, so were the pickles.  I’m a pickle lover.

20130521_150030_resized
Now time to garden!  I showed Mary Katherine some tips on how to start her own vegetable and herb container.  I gave the thumbs up.  It’s just what I do.  I’m a naturally cheesy and smiley person in real life so I try hard to just let it roll on camera, even if seconds later I think “Why did I just skip off camera?”.  Just let it happen.

20130521_145816_resized_1
The crew is great to work with.  They keep me in good spirits, even when my face is melting off or I squirt myself with the jet hose.

20130521_130324_resized
I also met this pup and this toad.   Hello.  Toad ended up scaring the pup.  Toads. I love them.

WP_20130521_052
For dinner that evening, we went to a fancy place called Aria.    This car was in the parking lot, how beautiful is it?  Best part, iPhone port in the radio.

WP_20130521_061
First up, let’s get to the best part.  Their bread to me was a mixture of corn bread + garlic bread. It was light, fluffy, but with a buttery garlic taste baked inside.  No additional butter was needed on the top.  It was the real highlight of the meal for me.  I ate too many pieces.  

WP_20130521_062
This was some of the appetizers we got.  I tried Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Homemade Potato Gnocchi, Fried Oysters.    Now warning, I want this to be a honest review so Aria lovers look away.  I kinda felt “meh”.   The fried oyster might have been good, but the bottom was caked in white sauce that totally ruined the avocado for me.   I would have preferred just eating more bread to be honest.

WP_20130521_067
For the main course I got Angus Beef Filet Mignon which said I was supposed to get some mushrooms,  but it wasn’t hard to sort through the 3 grape tomatoes, 4 green beans, 2 sugar snap peas and 1/10 of a potato to not find any.  Ok, here’s my verdict.  The taste was fine, but I can’t deal with fancy pants dinners that cost enough to feed me a entire week and I only get 3 grape tomatoes.   Seriously.   Could you not have given me at least 1/8 of a potato?  Maybe 2 more sugar snap peas.    

WP_20130521_068
Now that the anger has passed for the lack of snap peas, let’s move on to dessert.  This is a better subject.   I got chocolate cream pie and earl gray tea.  This was perfect, minus not offering me sugar or milk for my tea.  This is dessert, come on.  The pie was good and rich.  I also tasted someone’s cheesecake which was delicious. The cheesecake was hot,  not cool like I’m used to it served.    

So come to Aria for great bread and desserts.  Don’t come if you’d like 4 grape tomatoes, they are only willing to give you 3.   I will never forgive them. 

WP_20130522_002
That night I fell asleep to this show, it was a special on Furries on National Geographic Channel.  I don’t have cable so when traveling I turn into a crazed tv person trying to catch up on all the programming.  The National Geographic Channel was the best, between shows on Furries, I also learned more about Polygamy,  and what to do if I’m arrested in India for hiding drugs in a statue that I sent to the United Kingdom.    Also I tried to catch every episode possible of House Hunters on HGTV.  That is quite possibly my favorite show. I can’t get enough of it, so when I have cable I devour it.  Sometimes they surprise me! But that bedroom on the International version that had gold monkey mural art in the bedroom, horrible choice!  

Now onto something weird.
After dinner my belly was hurting a little bit so I took 2 Pepto Bismo tabs before I went to sleep.  The next morning I woke up with this horrible taste in my mouth, it was metallic tasting.  That can never be good.  So I brushed my teeth.    Then I checked my email on the laptop and could not get over how bad my mouth still tasted.  What was wrong? I went into the bathroom  to look in the mirror… my tongue was completely black.   I nearly fainted.  A million horrible thoughts went into my head.  Did I eat something bad?  Was I dying?  Did a slimy critter crawl into my mouth while I slept?  Was this like Alien the movie?  So I took this picture below and texted it to Matthew.  I declared in the text that I loved him, but thought I would never see him again, kiss the cats for me, I will love them all forever.  Then after I sent the text, I did what we all do, google your problem.  I typed in “black tongue” and Google quickly completed it to “black tongue, woke up this morning”.   The first search was this website here that quickly told me that taking Pepto Bismo the night before can result in black tongue the next morning due to it’s chemical breakdown.  Within minutes of thinking I was done, I found out I was going to make it!    I love the Internet. 
WP_20130522_00320130522115236

 Ok, back to not being so weird.

 WP_20130522_03920130522165358201305220130522171332
That day I had the great pleasure of helping Bridget from America’s Test Kitchen in the.. well, kitchen.    Since my love for gardening stems from my love of cooking, I felt pretty comfortable helping her out with the dishes.   She’s great to work with and kept me laughing.  She also kept me hungry.  Really really hungry.  Do you know how good this strawberry pie tasted?   Really good.   Come on, let’s do another take.  And another.  Alot more with me tasting it.  Yeah, keep it rolling.  Please, one more.

WP_20130522_052
Shudder, you bad boy! (Good boy!)

20130522_150852_resized
Then we cooked with kale and basil! Can you guess what we are making…? It smells really really good.

20130522_150918_resized
Can we talk about how pretty the lighting was on set too?

20130522_152833_resized
It’s like I was on a beautiful cooking soap opera.   Look out that window, how gorgeous!

20130522_164123_resized
To end the day they talked me into pretending to be part of Charlie’s Angels.  This is how much I love them, I am willing to do this.  Truth:  I never saw a episode of Charlie’s Angels in my entire life.   Or the movie.

WP_20130522_018WP_20130522_029
Behind the scenes of a cooking show is pure magic.    It was cool to see how it’s done and how much work goes into it.   The food stylist who prepped everything was amazing. They had the cutest Anthropologie napkins to use on set…  I’m eyeing them up now to buy.

WP_20130522_051
The day was over.  I was melted.    This was later in the afternoon, what was it earlier in the afternoon? Atlanta, how do you do it?  Teach me how to be strong.

WP_20130522_063
Even though we were hot, Shudder was still smiling.

WP_20130522_064
After I went back to the hotel I decided to take a little walk.  That night for dinner I decided to sit out and instead find my own and relax in bed while watching game 1 of Heat vs Pacers.  I love Paul George, just wanted to tell you that.    But the Heat won – agh.  Where was I?  Ok, I decided to walk for dinner.  I missed walking.  In New York I walk everywhere.  I would say that this sidewalk in Atlanta although beautiful was not very pedestrian friendly.  Also I could not find walk signs or crosswalks, so instead I just had to do the journey of “ok no cars that way, no cars that way, run run run run”.  

WP_20130522_068
Now please let me explain.  I talked my way out of having dinner at a lovely restaurant  to end up at Jimmy John’s sandwiches.   Why yes I did!  When we lived in Pittsburgh many years ago Jimmy John’s stole my heart, I ordered a Slim #5 with much love.   They have the absolute best rolls.  Because there are no Jimmy John’s in NYC I have went many years without one of these beauties.  When we were driving around Atlanta, I spotted one and my heart dropped.  I found my love again. So I knew exactly where I was going, this was going to be  my dinner.    I got a delicious Italian sandwich, I loved every bite of it.  Matthew found out I was going here and begged for me to bring him home a sandwich as well.  I had a refrigerator in my hotel room, so it worked out.  It made it’s journey from Atlanta to NYC safe.  The sandwich was still in perfect condition.  My husband swooned at the first bite.  Jimmy John’s, I love you.

WP_20130522_071
While walking, I wanted to find a cupcake store.  I found CamiCakes.    I’m so glad! I decided quickly on a carrot cupcake that had a cinnamon cream cheese icing.  Oh my! Oh my!  Let the rainbows and hearts fly by my head.  I would have this again. Right now.  Please.


Then after 2 hours of sleep, I headed home to NYC.    This was the takeoff, from cement to clouds.

WP_20130523_008
The sky was blue, the sun was out.

WP_20130523_012
Shudder, look down friend, we’re home!

Hope you guys enjoyed the pictures!
Can’t wait to show you the videos!

Banana, Strawberry, Pineapple Smoothie

The last few afternoons I have been craving a smoothie.  We’ve been hard at work gardening and all I want is a cold “pick me up” when I’m exhausted.  This does the trick!  The best thing about this recipe is that you can match fruit to your liking and create your own. Other examples:  banana, orange, pear watermelon, kiwi banana, orange, strawberries banana, blueberries watermelon, orange, pineapple banana, apple, orange pineapple, kiwi orange, strawberries banana, peach strawberry, banana blueberries, apple, banana banana, cherries pineapple, blueberries blueberry, pomegranate, banana There are so many more variations.  Isn’t it amazing?   I also love this recipe because it gets rid of any fruit where you aren’t sure what to do with.  Many times I’m left with a few random strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, a banana that is very ripe, half an orange, etc.    Put all the soon to go bad fruits in your blender and you’ll quickly have a delicious drink.

Read More

Tri Color Pasta Salad

As I’m writing this, it’s raining.  It’s a dreary morning.  The sky is grey, the weather requires a sweater, the “drip drip” sound is heard on the windows.   May brings rain showers, and it’s definitely brought rain this past week.  It seems like this week it was either extra sunny to the point of sunburn, or you needed a umbrella.    Even when I wake up in the morning and check the weather, it would give me high hopes, then afternoon would come and suddenly I’d get a unexpected alert on my phone “Rain is coming”.  By the way, who else sets up weather alerts on their phone? We do it for the garden.  It’s good to know when a heavy storm or high winds are about to roll in, gives us a few minutes to throw on some shoes and get up to the garden to protect it.    With all the rain I needed some cheerful colors in my life, and something that reminds me of picnics in the park or on the roof.  I made pasta salad.   What kind of memories does pasta salad give you?  As a kid pasta salad was always served at family picnics, it was a fork happy staple of my youth.

 The great thing about pasta salad is once you have the basics of pasta, salad dressing, herbs – the vegetables are really up to you.  There needs some type of tomatoes (I prefer halved grape tomatoes).   There needs to be celery chopped up.   What else?  Well that’s up to you.  You can add carrots.  You can add onions.  You can add broccoli.  You can add chopped up cauliflower.  You can can add black olives (yum!).  Mushrooms are always a hit too, especially when they get marinated by the salad dressing.  Peas, corn, sundried tomatoes, chopped up kale – throw in whatever you  like.   To finish it all, you need some type of cheese to sprinkle all over, I like to add some shredded mozzarella.   How do you like your pasta salad?

You can make your pasta salad with a wide variety of noodles, so use what you like.  I’ve been making our pasta salad with tri color rotini pasta.  The extra color  kick of this pasta makes it special in my opinion.   Bow ties and penne pasta are great too!

Finally, pasta salad is a favorite because you can make it advance.  You want it chilled, so all the pasta and vegetables pick up that salad dressing taste.  Plus when it’s a hot summer day, a little chilled pasta salad will bring your spirits up.    You can make this a few hours in advance, or even the day before.  If I have leftovers, I will eat it for a few days after.   The celery stays crunchy, I love that.  

So go ahead, let’s make it feel like summer and make some pasta salad.  

blogIMG_1974blogIMG_1978

 

Tri Color Pasta Salad
Print
Ingredients
  1. 12 oz bag of tri color rotini pasta
  2. 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  3. 3 stalks of celery (chopped up)
  4. 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes (halved)
  5. 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  6. 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  7. 1 tablespoon dried basil
  8. 1 tablespoon dried oregano
Instructions
  1. Prepare your pasta as directed. Drain.
  2. Put your pasta in a big bowl.
  3. Add your chopped vegetables, salad dressing and dried herbs.
  4. Mix together so everything is coated in salad dressing.
  5. Add in your mozzarella cheese, toss around.
  6. Cover, put in fridge to chill.
  7. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. If your pasta salad looks a little dry when it comes out of the fridge, add a tablespoon of salad dressing and mix.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

blogIMG_1970
Pretty vegetables.  I love black olives, but Matthew hates them.  When he eats pasta salad, it’s just a bowl left of black olives.  Then  I steal his bowl and eat them all.

blogIMG_1968
Tri color pasta – it’s a beauty, isn’t it?

blogIMG_1971
This serves up a big fresh bowl of pasta salad.  

blogIMG_1976
This can be a side dish or main dish.  In my opinion, it makes a great dinner!

Weekly Round Up

Happy weekend everyone!  It’s Saturday evening and I’m soon going to retire to watch the Knicks/Pacers game, eat pepperoni and mushroom pizza and change into my pajamas.   Who doesn’t like comfy Saturday nights?   

The last few days Matthew and I have been preparing the garden.   Home Depot and Miracle Gro are back visiting our roof garden this weekend to make more Gardeniere videos.  The entire crew is so great to work with, they really make me feel at ease, especially when I have to 9 takes because I can’t remember the word “home center”.   This time around we are doing more how to videos for urban gardeners who don’t have a backyard to grow in, this mean lots of tips on container and bucket gardening!    It’s really fun to show everyone around the garden and talk about what’s growing and how anyone can grow – no matter if you have a farm, yard, rooftop or fire escape.   

blogIMG_2391
Later in the afternoon, it began raining, but rain does not start gardening!  So we trekked on.  I’m sorry in advance if I look like a wet puppy.

WP_20130518_006.jpg
I was also spoiled with some Earl Gray.  It made a early Saturday morning that I’m usually asleep much better!

Food Network Magazine
Also check it out, I’m in Food Network Magazine.  What a surprise!

WP_20130516_005
To prepare for this shoot we had to stock up on some Miracle Gro potting mix.  We’ve been using this stuff for years, potting mix is the only way to go for container gardening.

WP_20130516_009
Then I had to stop by Gowanus Nursery.  What a great place, it was my first time there. I picked up some strawberry plants and salad green mix.

WP_20130516_011
There was also a dinosaur there which makes this place even cooler.

WP_20130516_013
Now comes the hard work, but first a picture of me in the back up of a parked pick up truck because I’ve never climbed into a back of a pickup truck.  Ever.

WP_20130516_015
Very heavy bags of potting mix get carried from the truck down a few stairs to the freight elevator.  This all needs to be done by hand.  Then it goes up the freight elevator to the 5th floor.  Then it gets pushed and carried down the longest hallway.    Then there’s stairs, 2 flights of them.  That means you lift one bag at a time. This is not a job for the weak.  Just a job for the crazy.

WP_20130516_016
Then Matthew, my strong man, carries them all up.  At the top of the stairs I am waiting with a little dolly.

WP_20130516_017
With 3 or 4 bags at a time, I push them with all my strength across the roof.   This might look easy, but it’s not.  There’s no handle on the dolly, so I push a small cart with my hands on a bag.  This dolly is close to maximum weight so it’s so hard to push. The amount of times that a bag falls off, the cart tips over, or I sit on the ground and cry is alot.

WP_20130516_021
Finally when we get them all over, I take a nap.  I hate manual labor.

WP_20130517_004
So now we prepare the boxes to get them all camera ready. 

WP_20130517_006
The supplies of my life.  I can’t wait to show you all the videos we’ve been making!

 In other garden news:
may18IMG_2252
We are hardening off the cucumbers, watermelon and pumpkin seedlings which will be transplanted to their containers in a few days!

may18IMG_2278
We spotted the first broccoli head, omg yes!! HUGS! LOVE! GREAT!!

WP_20130517_008
Added another Rhododendron to the family because I’m absolutely in love with them.  Now we have pink, white and red.  It’s my dream come true!

WP_20130512_008.jpg
The white one starts pink, turn into white. How beautiful!

may18IMG_2308
Such dramatic light fell over this flower.

WP_20130516_040.jpg
We put up 2 big fences for the green beans to climb up.

blogIMG_2111
Picked lettuce and spinach for the first time of the season.  Ate it and swooned, so crisp and delicious!

In food news:
blogIMG_2217
Picked some lettuce and cilantro and put it into a black bean, avocado salad for dinner.  This is such a simple meal, but it’s so good.

WP_20130517_007
Been back on a peanut butter and jelly kick.  We usually snack on these late in the afternoon while sitting in the shade to take a break from gardening.  

WP_20130516_053.jpg
We also treated ourselves to ice cream.  Matthew got cookie dough, and I got chocolate and vanilla soft serve.  We put in the freezer, got  a shower, grabbed our ice cream and ate it in bed.  Bofinkles helped me eat it.  This was such a treat after a day full of sun headaches.

blogIMG_2241
We’ve had cheeseburgers 3 times this week and I’ve loved every single time.  Matthew is a champion at making burgers, he does the meat seasoning so good.  Also, check out those fries.  Did you know ARBY’s sells their curly fries at supermarkets? I was shocked and thrilled.  If you love ARBY’s fries you will not be disappointed by these, they were great.

WP_20130511_001.jpg
Had a needed work brainstorming meeting at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants, Kum Kau.  This giant bowl of pork, cabbage, noodle soup was only $5.50. And you get free unlimited crispy noodles! And their homemade best in the world duck sauce! And tea!  I  love that place.

In cat news:
WP_20130513_010.jpg
Essy fell asleep so hard. I watched her from the minute she started to drift,  to her head going lower and lower and lower, until it bounced off the desk.  She didn’t wake up.

may18IMG_2383
Bofinkles also passed out.  Against a wall.  She was out.

may18IMG_2386
When she finally woke up, she looked at me and yawned.  Then she went back to sleep.

 WP_20130513_01220130513211350.jpg
I told Xanadu many times how much I love her.

WP_20130517_002.jpg
She’s just my girl.  My very curious, intelligent, trouble maker girl.

WP_20130514_037.jpg
We got a ROOMBA (best thing ever), cats were fascinated by it for the first few days.  Days later, they don’t seem to care about it.  

WP_20130514_02320130514121714.jpg
Everyone was more fascinated by the box.  Boxes are super cool to cats.

photo.JPG
Brother Bear showed up to the box party, laid on it and caved it in.  And we loved him because of it.  He is perfect.

blogIMG_2127
Bofinkles tanned.  I tried to get her to look but as soon as I said her name, she hopped up, ran to the camera and smothered me in  kisses.

WP_20130512_066.jpg
The cats got me a Mothers Day balloon. 🙂

In other news that I don’t know where it fits:
WP_20130516_027
These are my favorite sunglasses.  I got a pair in Disney World in 2011 and in 2012 they broke during the summer. I was devastated.  My friend Erin was in Disney World a few weeks ago and shipped me a new pair.  Erin is the best.  I love these glasses!

blogIMG_2121
We cleaned up some of our props in the loft.   The last few years we have accumulated many props but it’s hard to get rid of them.  Each one tells a story, makes us remember a time.  Sadly though our props aren’t usually small and we’re running out of prop space.   Some of these in this picture were thrown away, and by thrown away I mean put by the trash can where almost always someone in our apartment building saves them and gives it a few more months of fun.

may18IMG_2388
Goodnight moon.

WP_20130516_047.jpg
Here’s to happy weekends!  Hope you are having a great one, are you doing anything fun?

 

Vertical Growing Green Beans

ZZZzzzZZzZzzz.. That’s how I feel right now.  We’ve been doing so much garden work that my arms are barely able to lift my tea cup up to my mouth.    My arms are itching all the way down to my fingers due to getting some sun (even after making sure to apply a high SPF specially made for us ghostly creatures).   And my mind, well my mind just wants some mashed potatoes and sleep. And ice cream.  

Last Fall during the morning before Hurricane Sandy arrived, we ran up to the roof and quickly ripped out our vertical fences (along with our beautiful Sugar Snaps that were so close to start producing peas *cry cry*).   We did it quickly.  I was crying, both scared from wind and because of having to kill my sugar snap peas.    So with the fences down, we had to re-construct them, but this year we wanted them even stronger.  Instead of just putting up poles and a fence, Matthew created a rectangular structure that supports the fence in multiple spots.  One day in and we can already tell it’s going to withstand wind gusts (we get high ones up on the roof) much better. 

Lots of friends always talk about gardening on their roof, but they aren’t sure how to grow vertically as there’s no natural fence, wall, or tree to help assist plants that want to grow high.  You need to be crafty.  You need to be extra safe, the last thing you want to think about is your structure blowing off the roof.   It’s not that expensive to get some PVC pipe and wire fencing.   

To get a idea of how tall peas and beans can grow in a garden, these fences are 10 feet high from last year where our sugar snaps grew:
photo 2.JPG

And to get a idea of how windy it can get 6 floors up, this is before Hurricane Sandy hit.

 Crazy, right?

So this year we set out to build a stronger and more secure fencing structure.

Supplies:
6 – 1″ PVC x 10ft
4 – 1″ PVC 90′ Elbows
4 – 1″ PVC Tees
PVC Glue
4 – 2.5″ x 1/4″ Bolts + Lock Nuts
16 – 4″ x 5/16″ Bolts + Lock Nuts
32 5/16″ Washers 
10′ x 4′ Roll of Chicken Wire
8″ Zip Ties

Tools:
drill
screwdriver
ratchet
hacksaw
adjustable wrench
safety glasses

So let’s first by talking about Home Depot.  How do men love that entire place so much? I love the garden section.  I love the appliance section.  I even like the hangers section.  But have you ever been dragged to the piping section? Or worse, much much worse, the screws and nails aisle.  It’s a bunch of guys with giddy stars in their eyes, skipping from screw bin to screw bin, hands full of nuts and bolts.  Matthew has to drag me kicking and screaming down those aisles, which noone seems to notice.  Sometimes I meet eyes with another female and we connect on the bond that we both are thinking of ways to escape.    I’m sure there are females who love the screws and nails aisle, but I’ve yet to meet one.

WP_20130514_043.jpg
We had to buy PVC elbows and tees.  My term for them is usually “the white things we put together”.  I’m very good with building terminology.  Matthew had to strategically put them on the ground like this to plan.  Then he told me to stay there with them while he went to another aisle.  So for the next 10 minutes I stood in front of them, anxiously, while people walked by at the poor girl who felt out of place.  I kept thinking in my head “Please noone ask me what I am guarding on the floor”.  Noone did.  Whew, close one.

blogIMG_2242
When we got home we put together PVC pipes with the elbows and tees.  These rectangular structures would be the top of the fence.  Having 4 sides will make the fences much more sturdy.

blogIMG_2245
Eventually the 10 foot tall PVC pipes will be bolted into these tees.

blogIMG_2243
There’s alot of measuring and mathematics.   Anyone else scared of math?

blogIMG_2258
And after the math, there’s alot of sawing.

 blogIMG_2271
To attach the PVC pipes we use PVC glue.

blogIMG_2269
It dries very very quick.  So as soon as you swab it on, you have a few seconds to put your pieces together.

blogIMG_2284
Ok, great, both were built.  Now we have to make them 10 feet tall.

blogIMG_2300
The long 10 foot PVC pipes get bolted in.

blogIMG_2303
You have to use a ratchet for this.   Amount of times I’ve called this tool a hatchet?  Many.  Matthew loves his ratchet.  Every time he uses it he shows me how to use it, forgetting we have done this exercise multiple times.  I let him go through the procedure though, I know he gets a kick out of it.

blogIMG_2302
Ok, it’s built.  Now we have to flip it upside down.

blogIMG_2305
I held it into place while Matthew bolted it into the 4×4 wood boxes.  But first, take a picture of me because I feel so strong.

blogIMG_2326
Bolted in.  Be careful if you have plants growing around this area.

blogIMG_2319
One in place…

blogIMG_2325
Both in place.

blogIMG_2327
Now comes the fencing! To attach this you need zip ties.  Time out:  They have neon rainbow zip ties at Home Depot!  I know, how exciting.  After spending 5 hours in the nuts aisle, Matthew let me talk him into getting colorful zip ties instead of the regular white ones.  I told him I deserved it.

blogIMG_2333
This part is a 2 person job.  One person holds the wire fence and rolls it out as we go along while the other zip ties it to the PVC pipe.

blogIMG_2349
You do it in little sections, don’t be afraid to attach too many zip ties.  Get it tight and straight. 

blogIMG_2330
And you go higher and higher..

blogIMG_2342
All the way to the top.

blogIMG_2340
This is a job for people who are brave.  This is not a job for me.  I will stay on the ground and take pictures thank you very much.

blogIMG_2345
blogIMG_2357
We always grow 2 rows of peas or beans so the fence goes in between them.  That way they can grow up both sides of the fence.

blogIMG_2348
Then encourage them to grow tall! Once they see the fence in front of them they will get big dreams.  Be prepared! 🙂

blogIMG_2363
Finally both fences were up.  We were exhausted.  

A few special thanks you:

blogIMG_2301
Thank you to my almonds and dried pineapple. I wouldn’t have made it through the day without you.

blogIMG_2336
Thank you to the beautiful NYC sunsets.  It’s pretty special to be putting up a bean fence, look over and see the World Trade Center as the sun goes down.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

MELT in your MOUTH Slow Cooker Pot Roast!  This Crockpot recipe is the best and is so easy to make!  Add your roast, cream of mushroom soup, beef soup mix and vegetables to the slow cooker and dinner will be ready in 7 hours! This beef roast is my husband’s favorite meal, and our family loves the leftovers! 

A few weeks ago Matthew turned 30 and because it was his birthday I asked him to pick out any meal he wanted.  We could go somewhere, I could travel to South Brooklyn and bring back some of the best pizza in the world, we could take out – the choice was his.  What did he decide?  Homemade slow cooked pot roast.  This is a recipe that I have been making for a while now but we don’t have it that often.  Every time we have it, we both swoon at the dinner table discussing how moist and soft the meat is.  It just falls apart! It’s like magic.  And the gravy that it creates while sitting in the crockpot all day, oh my.    So I made it for his birthday and then we both sat at the dinner table, forks in hand, eyes closed, pot roast in mouth….. What a birthday dinner!

I love meals that you can throw in your crockpot, let sit all day, then you come back and somehow it transforms into one of the best meals.   You can customize this meal with vegetables on the side that you throw in the crockpot as well.  I prefer carrots and celery, but this time I threw in mushrooms as well which might have been the best idea I had all week.  If you aren’t having mashed potatoes on the side, throw in some cut up potatoes in the crockpot too!

 If you are cooking for a couple people (2 or 3) this recipe will easily last you a few meals.  We often have this 3x in a row using the leftovers for roast beef sandwiches which are equally delicious.

Might I recommend you serve creamy mashed potatoes on the side?  Please do! 

MELT in your MOUTH Slow Cooker Pot Roast!  This Crockpot recipe is the best and is so easy to make!  Add your roast, cream of mushroom soup, beef soup mix and vegetables to the slow cooker and dinner will be ready in 7 hours! This beef roast is my husband's favorite meal, and our family loves the leftovers!

MELT in your MOUTH Slow Cooker Pot Roast!  This Crockpot recipe is the best and is so easy to make!  Add your roast, cream of mushroom soup, beef soup mix and vegetables to the slow cooker and dinner will be ready in 7 hours! This beef roast is my husband's favorite meal, and our family loves the leftovers!

Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3.5 pound pot roast
  2. 2 cans of condensed cream of mushroom soup
  3. 1 package dry onion beef soup mix
  4. 3/4 cup water
  5. flour and rosemary to cover
  6. chopped vegetables of your choice
Instructions
  1. Cover pot roast in light flour and then add a pinch of rosemary on all sides.
  2. Pan fry pot roast until it’s a light brown.
  3. In a slow cooker, mix mushroom soup, dry onion mix and water together.
  4. Add pot roast into slow cooker and cover with soup mixture.
  5. Cook on high for 3 hours.
  6. Change temperature and cook on low for 4.5 hours.
  7. Add your vegetables to the slow cooker 3 hours before it’s done. I recommend potatoes, onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms *See note for mushrooms*
  8. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you are using mushrooms, only add them when there is 30 minutes left.
  2. In a hurry? Cook on high for 4.5 hours.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Here’s all your pot roast ingredients, nothing too fancy here.

 A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Before we put it in the crockpot we are going to pan fry it.   Lightly dust it with some flour.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Then put some dried rosemary on top.  By pan frying it first we are going to lock in all the flavors and yummy juices that we want.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
So throw it in a pan and cook until all sides are lightly browned.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Keep flipping every single side.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Even right side up!

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
The smell of rosemary through your house is worth the extra work to pan fry it first.

While it’s browning, prepare your other ingredients in your crockpot (or slow cooker as you might call it).

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Add in your cream of mushroom soup, beef onion mix and water.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Then stir it all around.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Once your pot roast is all browned (and beautiful might I add)..

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Then carefully transfer it to your crockpot.  There lower it in.  During this step I’m always 100% sure I am going to drop it on the ground. 

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Then cover it with your wet ingredients.  Make sure to completely cover the roast. 

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Then put on high for 3 hours.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Once 3 hours is up, then turn it on low for 4.5 more hours.  You can see after 3 hours how nicely it’s looking with the soup mixture you added.  The smell too! 

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Add your vegetables in 3 hours before it’s done.  Add in carrots, celery, potatoes, onions – whatever you want.  Note: If you are adding mushrooms, only add them 30 minutes before it’s done completely.

And when it’s done….

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Just take a minute and admire the masterpiece of your slow cooked pot roast.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Bask in the beauty of this roast.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
And those vegetables, how pretty are they? Especially those mushrooms.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
This roast is a keeper.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
And when you slice through it, it will be like cutting butter.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
The meat falls apart in a moment of glory.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
The meat is moist and has so much flavor due to the slow cooking.

A melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe. Throw vegetables in at the end and you have a complete meal. This is perfect for Sunday dinner or holidays!
Enjoy your dinner!

MELT in your MOUTH Slow Cooker Pot Roast!  This Crockpot recipe is the best and is so easy to make!  Add your roast, cream of mushroom soup, beef soup mix and vegetables to the slow cooker and dinner will be ready in 7 hours! This beef roast is my husband's favorite meal, and our family loves the leftovers!

Sugar Snap Pea Update

Sugar Snap Peas – don’t you love them?  Sugar Snap peas with some noodles easily becomes a favorite lunch or dinner for us in the summer just because there’s nothing than picking your Snap Peas and minutes later crunching away.  

 In late March we planted the Sugar Snap Pea seeds – so how are they doing?  Let’s check in!

On April 22 all the Sugar Snaps rose… 
blogIMG_1112
blogIMG_1110
blogIMG_1115

The problem with this is that they all sprouted.  We plant multiple seeds in each hole just in case one seed doesn’t work out.  But when they all sprout, we have to kill some off.  It’s heart breaking.

blogIMG_1117
So we go one by one and pick the strongest looking one.  The weaker one gets cut.   I can never do this part. I look away and cry quietly.

blogIMG_1121
I make Matthew do this.

blogIMG_1124
And when we have all the Sugar Snap Peas that would have grown big and strong, I bury them. But not before saying a few sad words. And crying more.  I WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER.

blogIMG_1120
By doing this, we assure that the 2 pea plants won’t fight for root space choking themselves out.  Now there is just one per hole, to grow big and strong in their own space.

blogIMG_1130
Then we put up wire fencing and sticks for the Sugar Snap Peas to grow up.  We do this early because they will begin growing quickly and need something to latch on to.

blogIMG_1134
We also like to throw some other greens like spinach (pictured middle) and lettuce (pictured center left) in the box.  

blogIMG_1132
We also will put wind blocker fabric up to  make sure the plants won’t blow over  as they are still in the small stages.

3 weeks later  to the day – May 13!

blogIMG_2182
Holy Moly! I will give a few minutes to scroll up and compare these 2 pictures.  What a difference 3 weeks makes.

blogIMG_2196
Their tendrils have latched on and climbed up the fence rather quickly.

blogIMG_2183
Isn’t it amazing how they climb? We help them out some in the beginning by wrapping them around slightly, but once they found their way they just do it.  

blogIMG_2185
And they just  keep climbing, hooking, climbing, hooking, twirling, climbing, hooking.  In some order like that.

blogIMG_2208
Even if they see a piece of rope they will grab on.  They are wild like that.

blogIMG_2201
As they start to get taller we help support them by wrapping little pieces of Velcro around them.  We tend to to do this with any vertical plant in the garden.  It helps incredibly with wind gusts.

blogIMG_2194
It’s pretty magical to watch the Sugar Snaps grow.  They are one of my favorites in the garden.  Just don’t tell the green beans, there will be a battle.

blogIMG_2189
Want another crazy comparison? Go up and look at the spinach previously, now look at it. I know!

blogIMG_2205
Do the same for the lettuce.  I know!

blogIMG_2209
So now the Sugar Snaps continue their journey into new great heights.  They will grow further up the trellis where eventually I will have to stand on a crate to reach them.  The next Sugar Snap update hopefully will be full of harvest.. stay tuned!

 

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

This is my go to, make you weak in the knees, mashed potatoes recipe.  I started making these a few years ago when I wanted to try a new mashed potatoes recipe for Thanksgiving.  I made them and all our dinner guests gave rave reviews, making these the must have for holiday dinners.  

I believe this recipe is unique for a few reasons:
-There is cream cheese involved.  In my younger days, cream cheese wasn’t commonly used in our mashed potatoes.  Now I have to say I don’t like cream cheese by itself, it scares me, but I love these mashed potatoes.  Go figure.
-There is no hand mixer involved in these potatoes.  What?  There is no hand mixer involved in these potatoes.  Seriously.  How do they get so creamy then?  Next point..
-You boil these potatoes for a pretty long time until they’re almost ready to fall apart.  This makes a hand mixer not necessary, as just a spoon and a potato masher makes them blended pretty quickly.
-You can make these ahead of time, no problem.  For holidays I usually make these the night before so the actual holiday cooking is a little more relaxed.  I just throw them in the oven 30 minutes before we’re ready to eat.  

If you are looking for a mashed potatoes recipe to try, please give these a chance.  They make me very happy.

blogIMG_1809

blogIMG_1812

 

Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2.5 pounds Russet Potatoes (half a bag)
  2. 1/2 cup butter + few slices on top
  3. 3 oz. cream cheese
  4. 1/4 cup Half-and-Half
  5. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  6. Pinch of sea salt
  7. fresh or dried parsley to garnish
Instructions
  1. Peel potatoes and then cut them up into about equal sizes.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add your potatoes. Keep boiling and cook these for 30 minutes. They’re going to be so soft your fork will just slide into them.
  3. Drain the potatoes.
  4. Put your potatoes that you drained back into the pot and put back on the burner, low heat. You are now going to just mash them with a spoon or potato masher.
  5. Add your butter, cream cheese and half-and-half.
  6. Mix and whip these until creamy.
  7. Add in your salt and pepper, mix more.
  8. Put your potatoes in a oven safe baking dish.
  9. Add a few slices of butter on top of the potatoes.
  10. Put foil on top and bake for 25 minutes at 350.
  11. Add fresh or dried parsley to garnish before serving.
Notes
  1. If you want to make them the night before, put foil on top and store in refrigerator. Take them out of the fridge 2 hours before baking to bring them to room temperature. Continue then baking for 25 minutes at 350 (or until completely hot in the middle).
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

blogIMG_1698
You will use half a bag of potatoes for this recipe.  If you are having  a large dinner, duplicate the entire recipe and use a whole 5 pound bag.

blogIMG_1701
One of the worst things in my life: peeling potatoes.  Agh, I never look forward to this.

blogIMG_1702
Compost the peels if you can!

blogIMG_1704
Then we cut them up into similar size pieces.  This will assure everything is cooked about the same with equal softness.

blogIMG_1705
Pretty potatoes.

blogIMG_1710
Now boil for 30 minutes.  Turn your oven a little down if it starts to spit water at you.  I know 30 minutes seems like a while, but we want to get these potatoes soft.

blogIMG_1722
So soft that a fork will just slide through..

blogIMG_1728
Drain, then put back onto your burner on low.  Take a potato masher or spoon and break the potatoes up.  Because they were cooked so long they should fall apart pretty easily.

blogIMG_1730
No mixer, just a potato masher.  Look how soft they are already!

blogIMG_1737
Add your butter, cream cheese and half-and-half.

blogIMG_1739
Now stir, stir, stir.

blogIMG_1741
Look at the creaminess already.. Oh my!

blogIMG_1742
Add salt and pepper.

blogIMG_1744
Stir more.  How beautiful they are!

blogIMG_1747
Put them into a baking dish.

blogIMG_1748
Put a few slices of butter on top.  Why not, you know?  YOLO.  Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

blogIMG_1811
These glorious potatoes will come out of your oven.  Garnish with fresh or dried (what I used) parsley.  

Serve and enjoy!

 

Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday everyone!

Doesn’t the week go by so quick sometimes?  One day it’s Monday and I’m yawning, then the next thing I know it’s almost the weekend full of hopeful walks in the park, pancakes in the morning and  lazy evenings.  Every week doesn’t go so smooth, but this week sure felt quick!  How was yours?

I found this great link of 56 things to do instead of spending money.  I’m really feeling the ideas for:
Get Organized! I have a whole cabinet shelf full of tupperware that must be straightened out.  I need some type of system here that works out.
Use Those Gift Certificates! We have one that is almost a year old now, we need to get to the store and use it.
Spa Day At Home! Soak those feet! You deserve it!
Make Gifts! Make someone smile, it’s the best feeling in the world.
Clean! Must be done, usually not fun.
Catch Up On Your Reading! I have had Marie Antoinette’s biography for a few months that I keep renewing from the library. I was 75% into the book but then I stopped. I have to finish it!
Make Cookies! Of course.
Start a Happy Book! This for me means scrapbooking.  I need to dive back into this dangerous world.
Hike! We are planning a hiking adventure soon.

In recipes I made this week and shared with you:
Gingerbread Popcorn – easy to make, healthy and yummy!
Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars – hands down, one of the best things I ever made!

In recipes that I saved to hopefully make soon:
I started to use Pinterest (again) to organize all my recipes.  I found a great app for my Windows Phone so I can easily open up Pinterest in the grocery store and have all  my recipe lists.
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Dough Overnight Oats – looking forward to try this for breakfast soon.
Lime Cake Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze – need I say more?
Easy Cinnamon Rolls – really… come on.. look at this magic!
Roasted Red Pepper Parmesan Baked Eggs – look how good this looks!
Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza with Sunny Side Up Egg – thinking of adding ricotta too…
Mexican Pizza – I got all the ingredients for this, probably will be made this weekend.

Things I ask you:
What’s your favorite pizza topping?
Do you have any fun plans this weekend?
What do you do when you are feeling guilty from eating too many sweets?

Garden News:
blogIMG_1964
It is very close to being able to pick lettuce, spinach and kale.  Starting the next week we will start picking harvest for yummy lunches, dinners and snacks.    I couldn’t help myself so I picked a small amount of buttercrunch lettuce earlier this week.  Man, it’s so good.

WP_20130506_051
I love seeing all the green appear in the garden!

WP_20130506_048
We’ve had 2 big days of rain which is great because we were going on 3 weeks with no rain.  The garden did well with the first storms, it actually really enjoyed them and seemed to grow stronger.  Especially that kale, watch out for it.

WP_20130506_024
Massive leaves on the Brussels Sprouts plants.  This is the first year growing them… very excited to see how it turns out.

WP_20130506_030
Giant broccoli leaves!

WP_20130507_006.jpg
We spent some time this week getting our compost situation back in order.  We were able to get a few bags of cocoa  husks.  I’ll do a full post on this next week.  Just think about how 200 pounds of cocoa husks smell….mmmmmmm.

House Updates:
blogIMG_1967
We finally mounted the tv to the wall.  It’s been sitting on our farmhouse table for months.   Also the “FAMILY” portrait series on the wall is growing.  

WP_20130504_009.jpg
I desperately want this chair from a furniture store in Soho.  It’s even on sale! If by sale you mean $10,000.  I’ll just dream about it..

WP_20130508_017.jpg
Love how the light makes my desk area look purple ombre. 

WP_20130510_00320130510122555.jpg
Game of Thrones fans?  My lovely friend Jessie surprised me with this Jon Snow doll in the mail.  He now lives on my desk so we can talk to each other all day  long.

NYC Update:
Long Walk For Shoes 5/4/2013
We love taking long walks.  You can usually find us walking somewhere (or Matthew biking) instead of taking the subway if possible.  This past weekend we took a big walk from our home to Soho.  There we bought some sneakers and then walked back.  One of my favorite parts of New York is the ability to walk almost anywhere.

WP_20130506_077 (1)
These are the shoes we bought.  They’re both from the Adidas store.  Mine were 30% off!  *High Five*  I love the zipper in the middle, such a unique twist on a sneaker.

WP_20130508_00720130508233927.jpg
It rained, Manhattan was barely visible from our rooftop.

WP_20130507_01220130507213205.jpg
Birds flew…

WTC
You can see One World Trade Center pretty clearly with some binoculars from our apartment.  Here you can see the Spire was raised and is now on top…

Meowza Update:
Or as I like to call it, the loves of my life update:
WP_20130505_00420130505180739.jpg
FiFi Bofinkles passes out in front of me.

WP_20130506_068
FiFi Bofinkles sleeping.

WP_20130509_005.jpg
Waking up to FiFi Bofinkles in the morning looks like this. 

WP_20130506_06620130506170332.jpg
Xanadu being the queen on her pizza pillow throne.

WP_20130506_06520130506170246.jpg
FiFi Bofinkles questioning her position while Xanadu looks down at her.

 WP_20130506_067
Brother’s tail is furry too.

WP_20130507_00120130507010816.jpg
Brother Bear’s favorite spot to lay is in my underwear drawer (TMI?).  As soon as I open it up, he runs full speed (as fast as a big guy can run and jump) and dives in.  He loves it there.  Why?

WP_20130509_009.jpg
I worked out while Brother took a nap in front of me.  Not fair.

WP_20130508_009.jpg
This is the cat at our local pet store, her name is Lilly and she’s huge.    Often they have bags of cat food 50% off because Lilly decided to try to open them up with her teeth.  She’s a good girl though and is extra sweet.  Everytime I go in the store I look for her first.   Then she gives me her belly.

Food Update:
WP_20130503_006.jpg
Chia seed brownies? Yes, please.  Going to try to figure out the recipe for these for a future share…

WP_20130506_080
Matthew had a belated surprise party!  I told him it was just 2 friends then he walked out and everyone was there.  It was great seeing him light up.

WP_20130506_087
The Calamari Fritti was delicious!

WP_20130506_088
This was Mediterranean octopus  which was char-grilled.  It was my first time eating octopus and I found it good, especially since it was grilled and crispy on the outside.  The inside was very chewy, but still enjoyable.

WP_20130506_091
Pepperoni and mushroom pizza are always our go to’s.  The surprise party was at Lisola’s in Williamsburg Brooklyn.  I would highly recommend it, the service was so good too.  The pizza is made in wood fired ovens, which is always the way to go with pizza.

WP_20130506_094
Prosciutto is my favorite topping on pizza.

WP_20130506_100
And then I ate a cannoli.  It was one of the best I ever had.  I actually ate 2, I’m a bad girl. They even had chocolate chips inside.  Oh my! I loved the restaurant because the entire balcony is filled with herbs that they pick and use on the dishes.   This always makes me so happy to see.


Matthew got a piece of cheese cake because he was the birthday boy. 🙂

WP_20130507_075.jpg
During the week Matthew made some buttered noodles with steamed broccoli.  I added in cherry tomatoes and some fresh garden lettuce.   This was so simple but so yummy.

WP_20130509_006.jpg
Lately I’ve been craving fruits and lots of it.  This was my breakfast one morning.

WP_20130508_016.jpg
I also made a pineapple, strawberry, apple, ginger ale smoothie.  This was also great.  For my smoothies I pretty much mix anything I have that is a sweet fruit and it turns out wonderful.

WP_20130508_012.jpg
I bought these tortilla chips based on the character on the bag.

WP_20130508_005.jpg
Almonds are also a current weakness.  These are cinnamon sugar almonds, I have a hard time not coming back for seconds or thirds.

WP_20130509_016.jpg
We met a friend in town from London at Pinche Taqueria.  

WP_20130509_018.jpg
I had a wonderful tortilla soup and a steak taco.  The tortilla soup still didn’t beat my favorite recipe, but this was unique as it had more of a bbq taste to it.  

WP_20130510_004.jpg
She brought us delicious Cadbury chocolate from London.  When we got home we ate some Crunchie bits while laying in bed.  I almost ate  a bar for breakfast but I held back.  I will wait for later in the day. 🙂

WP_20130509_012.jpg
We met another friend in Soho that we haven’t seen in quite a while.  We went to Cafe Select and our waiter was a bit uppity.  When he gave me my change he totally didn’t give me back any of the coin change (it was 40 cents, not like 1 penny).  It’s like he took my amount due and rounded up to the nearest dollar.  Who does that?  Anyways, I had some earl gray tea.

WP_20130509_013.jpg
And we split a warm apple strudel  with glazed caramel sauce that had whipped cream, strawberries and ice cream.  For the hefty price of $8 it was pretty big.

 Fashion:
WP_20130506_07620130506234711.jpg
I like to wear cat print anything, including denim dresses that make me look like a first grade teacher (or first grader).

 WP_20130509_011.jpg
I got bored with  nail polish..

WP_20130509_024.jpg
So I came up with this dot/sparkle/pastel combination.

Work:
Sunday night, calibrating RGBD, then on to Game of Thrones.
On the work front we have been experimenting a bunch with new technology.    This past week has been a good week to regroup after finishing a bunch of projects.  It’s a time to breathe, experiment and see where the next projects will lead.


This is a new project we just released for V fashion magazine.  It went live this week and we’re super proud of it.  You can see the entire project here

 

 Happy Weekend everyone!! Have a great one!

Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

These Homemade Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars are about to become your new favorite breakfast, snack and dessert!  This is a healthy copycat recipe for Quaker Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.  Are there any words more beautiful?

After I made the first batch of chocolate chip granola bars, my mind started to wonder to the wonderful world of peanut butter.  Soon later it floated to the island of pretzels.  There peanut butter pretzel chocolate chip granola bars was born.

 About these delightful bars:

Do you enjoy chocolate + salty at the same? I do!  These are for you.
Do you like a bit of crunch in your granola bars? I do!  These are for you.
These are dangerous to have around your house.  Proceed with caution.
I don’t listen to my own advise and made multiple batches.   We annihilated these batches.
I have given these to friends as a “hey you are pretty cool” gift.  Friends swoon.
After the first time I made them I declared “These might be the best thing I ever made”.  

 So now I present you.. the future love of your life that will always be there for you, Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.

blogIMG_1178

 Is there a better afternoon snack than this?
blogIMG_1184

blogIMG_1685

 

Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups quick cooking oats
  2. 1/2 cup crispy rice cereal
  3. 3/4 cup chopped pretzels
  4. 1/4 cup butter
  5. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  6. 1/4 cup honey
  7. 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  9. 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Spray a 8x8 pan lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Mix your oats and cereal together in a large bowl.
  3. Chop your pretzels up and mix with oats and cereal.
  4. In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar, honey and peanut butter on medium high heat until melted. Once it begins to bubble change heat to low and stir for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove saucepan from burner and stir in your vanilla.
  6. Pour your hot mixture over your oats mixture. Stir well. You want to make sure every single piece of oats and cereal is coated.
  7. Pour your mixture into your greased pan and push down with spatula to flatten it.
  8. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top evenly. Use your spatula to press them down so they are embedded in the bars.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to set for 1 hour.
  10. Cut into granola bar sizes.
  11. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you would like to make a larger batch, use a 9x13 pan and double everything, except use 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips.
  2. Store these in the fridge.
Adapted from Rachael Ray
Adapted from Rachael Ray
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
 

blogIMG_1152
Here’s all the ingredients you need!  Note: When I use peanut butter in recipes like this I usually get the cheap stuff and don’t use my gourmet peanut butter cinnamon swirl magic that I usually eat on bread.  The cheap stuff does the job for these, very well!

blogIMG_1154
Do you love pretzels as much as I do?

blogIMG_1155
We need these chopped though, so I put them in a baggie and get a potato masher and just take out all my frustration on these poor pretzels.

blogIMG_1156
Add your pretzels with your quick oats and cereal.

blogIMG_1157
And give it a good stir to mix everything around.

blogIMG_1158
Now we create the delicious peanut butter cream.  When  making this unicorns will arrive at your home, sparkles will fall, the clouds will open, rainbows appear.  I’m not kidding. This creates magic.

blogIMG_1162
Take this magical peanut butter mixture and add it to your oats/pretzels/cereal.

blogIMG_1163
Now mix, mix, mix, mix.  Nope, still not done, mix it more.  Make sure every single piece of oat, cereal and pretzel is sticky.  This is going to hold everything together.  Think of it as a glue that you can eat.

blogIMG_1165
Then put it in your pan and pat it down with a spatula so it’s flat.

blogIMG_1166
Add your chocolate chips and push them down too.  You want them inserted in the granola mixture.

Now you throw them in the fridge for 1 hour while walking around anxiously whispering “hurry up, hurry up, hurry up”.  You can even lay in the middle of the floor and whisper this.

blogIMG_1172
And when they’re ready, HOLY MOLY.

blogIMG_1170
Cut them into granola bar sizes, or squares if you’d like.

blogIMG_1174
While cutting the bars I smile nonstop.

blogIMG_1176
I also smile inside because my belly is waiting for this..

blogIMG_1183
The granola bars are firm and hardly crumble at all.

blogIMG_1181
When you flip it upside down you will see there’s good pretzel distribution as well.

blogIMG_1192
These granola bars are hard to just eat one.  I’m warning you.

blogIMG_1684
I wrapped some up and gave to friends.  Friends will have a hard time just eating one at a time.  Warn them!

blogIMG_1408
And then 2 days later I made a double 9×13 batch because I like to live life on the wild side and can’t get enough of these!

Give these granola bars a chance, I think you will love them. 

These Homemade Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars are about to become your new favorite breakfast, snack and dessert!  This is a healthy copycat recipe for Quaker Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.

For The Love of Pineapple

Do you love pineapple? I do.  Pineapple is beautiful and delicious, the 2 best qualities in food.     I got this gorgeous pineapple from my local grocery store for only $2.50.  It’s enormous! My arms tired carrying it home.

blogIMG_1636

But then after I bring it home, I always fall into the question “What should I do with it?”

blogIMG_1638
So you cut off the top and admire the beauty.  (Note:  We were going to plant the pineapple top but I cut  too high, oops.)

blogIMG_1649
Then you cut it into slices.  Your fingers are sticky, the pineapple aroma is building.  But what are you going to do with it?  

blogIMG_1652
One solution that I usually always fall for is just eating pineapple by the slice.   Nothing else.  Just plain ol great pineapple slices.  

blogIMG_1656
The other solution is cubed pineapple with a little bit of shredded coconut on top.

blogIMG_1662
MMMMM!

blogIMG_1665
For breakfast I like to add some blueberry granola, shredded coconut and dried apples to it.  This breakfast is super filling!

blogIMG_1869
My other favorite pineapple use is blended up. I throw some chunks in the blender with 1/2 half an apple (cut up) and about 1/4 cup of orange juice.  Blend until smooth.  You can even throw some mint on top.  I love this drink for a mid afternoon pick me up!

How do you like to use pineapple?
Anyone have any great pineapple recipes? If so, please share them in the comments, I need ideas!

 

Planting The Tomatoes

About a week and a half ago we transplanted our tomato seedlings to their summertime home, the roof.  Tomatoes for us are the keepers of the garden.  If it’s a good tomato season, then it’s a good garden season.  If there’s tomato issues, then we get sad and cry every single day.    The last few years we’ve had incredible success with the tomatoes, where there is a few weeks in July/August where we are throwing 5-10 pounds of tomatoes in a bowl every single day.  Last year it got so hectic I would sit on the floor, surrounded by my 100 tomatoes just staring at them in panic (and in awe).  With that many tomatoes, I took some time every single day to freeze sauces, diced tomatoes, stewed tomatoes and tomato juice.  I would boil, deseed, simmer and bag.  I am proud to say that from the months of July – April we didn’t buy one container of spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, cans of diced or stewed tomatoes.   We just recently finished our last bag of frozen tomato sauce out of the freezer and it was a bit sad (although endearing to see my freezer bottom again).  

With the transplanting of the tomatoes to their containers, the tomatoes truly mark garden season for us.  These guys will hopefully be around until the beginning of Fall, where I will (hopefully) continue to pick them off the vine and throw them straight into my mouth.

Let’s plant some tomatoes!

Here’s how the calendar works with our tomatoes.
March 14tomato seeds are planted inside.  Then they live under a fluorescent bulb setup until they are strong enough to go outside and the weather permits their arrival.
April 19 – the tomatoes are enormous inside.  They are so big they are growing into the light as we can’t make our loft ceiling any taller for them.  It’s been a little too risky to move them directly outside due to the weather temperature changing so sporadically so they are moving under the greenhouse instead…outside but inside.  
blogIMG_0847
Their roots are expanding every single day.
blogIMG_0839
I walk by them every single day, touch them and then enjoy the fresh tomato smell that all tomato growers love.
blogIMG_0843

April 19 – They move into their temporary home, under the greenhouse, where they enjoy steamy days.  Tomatoes love their heat…
blogIMG_0890
blogIMG_0892
Just wanted to note that after taking this picture, I slid on some dirt, fell on the ground, bruising my hip and right leg, while risking my health to save the life of our camera.  “Don’t look at me, I’m so embarrassed” I whispered to Matthew as he rushed to my side.  Then I cried.  “Dont look at me” I mumbled .   

April 25 – THE DAY IS HERE.
Can I get a drum roll?

(Thank you).
THE TOMATOES WILL MOVE INTO THEIR CONTAINERS.

blogIMG_1224
Open up the green house, pull the tomatoes out! Say goodbye to living with the cauliflower and broccoli!

 blogIMG_1265
As you can see by their size and roots, they need a larger space asap! They need room to grow, to stretch out their legs and arms and cute little noses.

blogIMG_1242
Get ready little tomatoes.

blogIMG_1207
We prepared the containers a few days before.  We make them the exact same way as the broccoli and cauliflower containers.

blogIMG_0570
By the way, this is a good time to note our A-clamp collection.  This is less than a quarter of them.  How do we get sponsored by A-clamps?

blogIMG_1241
Get ready.

blogIMG_1266
We rearrange all the tomatoes, putting all varieties together in separate bins.

blogIMG_1279
Hello beautiful(s).

blogIMG_1282
Then one by one we cut holes in the plastic and put the tomatoes in their container.  We plant the tomatoes DEEP.  About half of their stem is already under potting mix in this picture.  This will root them good.

blogIMG_1289
We do this to every single one.  Hello Hybrid Salsa tomatoes.

blogIMG_1290
Hello Aroma tomatoes.  How are these different than Roma tomatoes? Well they have a “A” in front of their name, that’s really all I have so far.

blogIMG_1286
Then there’s two of  my favorites (they’re all my favorite), cherry tomatoes.

blogIMG_1293
And the big beefs!

blogIMG_1269
During this time we plant the green peppers too.  They live well with their tomato friends.

blogIMG_1274
I say it all the time, I know, but green peppers are stress free.  We’ve never had any problem with them.  They just grow big and strong with some water and hugs.

 blogIMG_1294
Then we give every single plant their own cage immediately.  Tomatoes tend to grow pretty quickly and with the wind on the roof, extra support is always helpful. 

blogIMG_1296
All caged up.

blogIMG_1301
All tomatoes got their cage? Yup!

blogIMG_1305
Would you believe we have to put 2 cages on top of each other by the end of the season because they grow that tall?  We start with one then mid season attach another on top. (I squint constantly on the roof,  having blue eyes is rough).  

photo 2.JPG
To give you a idea, see those super tall green guys in the back with the cages sticking out of?  Yeah that’s our monster tomato plants last year.  They grow big.  

blogIMG_1306
And the last step… the tomatoes are planted, they have their cages, but they need a little more protection.  The roof gets super windy, I can’t stress how windy it can get (even when there’s not hurricanes named Sandy knocking us down) so we help the tomatoes stay upright and protected  by wrapping the entire tomato structure with wind blocker fabric.  This is also called row cover fabric.  We buy it in a big bolt and it lasts a long time. 

blogIMG_1309
Then  you hold one side while the other person wraps it around.  This is a 2 person job, especially if it’s windy!  

blogIMG_1311
Then it gets clamped and it stays up.  We will keep this up on windy days, and bring it down on non windy days.  The fabric is light weight so it doesn’t restrict sunlight too much.

May 6 – The tomatoes have transitioned quite nicely to their new home.  The first few days are always hard as you see them slightly struggle to get used to the direct sun all day long and the wind.
WP_20130506_045
But then  you see the new green growth on every single plant and take a sigh of relief.  The tomatoes have moved in and made themselves at home. Grow strong little guys! (Soon to be Mr. Big Guys!)

WP_20130506_037
Looking good peppers!

WP_20130506_039
This post brought to you by a girl who has to stick her head between fabric to take pictures of her beloved tomatoes and peppers.

Are you growing tomatoes this year?  Did you already plant them? What kind are you growing?

Gingerbread Popcorn

We recently got a air popper which is changing our lives.    With a air popper you don’t have to use any butter or oil.  It’s fresh, low calories and each kernel is so puffy and light.   Not to mention it’s so quick to pop.  The product claims you can pop 18 cups in 2.5 minutes – wow!  For now we have stuck to single servings or a bowl for both of us, but because of how quick it works for us, I trust it can do that amount too.  On the calorie side, one big bowl of popcorn for one clocks in at 110 calories plain.  It always fills me!  On our counter now sits a 12 pound jar of popcorn ready for you to scoop and pop!

blogIMG_1918

A few nights ago during the night I whispered to my husband “give me your phone”.  There I sent myself a email that only had a subject line.  The email looked like this:
gingerbread

I knew when I woke up the next morning I would understand it, I needed to make gingerbread popcorn.  But where to start?

I had a few rules:
-Needs to taste like gingerbread
-No butter
-No oil of any kind

The result: A  simple gentle ginger tasting popcorn which was eaten in a few minutes.  I have a bunch of popcorn thoughts in my head so stay tuned for more popcorn recipes!

blogIMG_1956

Gingerbread Popcorn
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons unpopped popcorn
  2. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  3. 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 1 single packet of Splenda
Instructions
  1. Use a air popper to pop your corn. Put in a bowl.
  2. Mix ginger, nutmeg, salt, cinnamon and splenda in a bowl.
  3. Mist your popcorn with water 1-2 times.
  4. Sprinkle seasoning mixture over popcorn and toss popcorn around.
  5. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. This recipe is for one serving. Duplicate for as many as you need.
  2. If you'd like to use real sugar or Stevia you can use that instead of Splenda. A packet of Splenda measures a little less than 1/2 teaspoon, so measure accordingly.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

 blogIMG_1934
Air popping.. 

blogIMG_1939
Your gingerbread spices..

blogIMG_1942
If you aren’t using oil or butter, the seasoning is not going to stick to your popcorn.  The solution to keep this oil and butter free is to mist your popcorn with a water mister (or a cheap one from the dollar store) 1 times, toss it so the bottom is now the top, mist again.  Misting it 1-2 times will not cause your popcorn to get soft.  The water will allow the seasoning to stick to it, plus it will keep your popcorn low calorie. 

blogIMG_1952
Eat as a afternoon snack..

blogIMG_1958
Or while you’re watching your favorite television show…  The only 2 shows I watch right now is Game of Thrones and Mad Men.  What do you watch?

blogIMG_1959
Enjoy every single piece! (PS.  My nails are supposed to look like this – I’m lying). 

Soho House Berlin Review

I want to move into the Soho House you guys.  Seriously.

We were recently in Berlin where we stayed at the beautiful Soho House.  I could not have picked a better place to fall asleep at after a long flight across the Atlantic.  

The first thing as we walked into the hotel we noticed was how it was decorated for the holidays, simple but yet arty.  
photo 2.JPG

There were ping pong tables to the other side so you could have a cup of tea and then get your game on.
photo 4.JPG

 

After we checked in we made our way to our floor and found our room. As soon as we walked in I gasped with happiness.  This was my new home.
photo 3.JPG

Matthew had a great idea which was to just dive into those blankets.
photo 1.JPG

Want to know a funny story?  We wanted to set our alarm on the first day to wake up early and see the city but the bed was that comfortable and we were that tired we slept in until it was dark out the following day. Oooops.  
photo 2.JPG

Between this bed, the bathtub and the robe I basically was never going to get anything else done.
photo 5.JPG

What I loved about the room was how it was decorated with modern but yet classic design in style.  Little things like the stainless steel clock or the beautiful glasses to enjoy a cup of water.  
photo 4.JPG

Do you see what I see too? Zoom in to the right on the dresser.
photo.JPG

Yes, my very own tea kettle filled with the best teas and sugars.  Little things like this really make a hotel special as it feels like home. 
photo 4.JPG
photo 2.JPG

But my absolute favorite part of the hotel – that’s easy. That was the bathroom.  One giant bathtub and a enormous rainshower.  At this point I told Matthew I was moving in.
photo 5.JPG

photo 2.JPG

photo 1.JPG

What would be a review without getting some room service on a lazy cold night?  Matthew got the burger. I got the macaroni and cheese. I might or might not have ate this mac and cheese while lying in the bathtub in pure happiness.   I was seriously obsessed with that tub.
photo 1.JPG

photo 1.JPG

 

We were there in Berlin to celebrate the opening of the Green Box Project where we showed our project AR_Avatars.  This happened right in the bar floor at the Soho Houses and was packed with guests that were having fun.
photo 2.JPG

Hope you guys enjoyed the trip with me – now let’s go back on a group trip!
photo 1.JPG

 

Other Hotel Pics:

The pool was closed in Winter or I would have been floating across it.

This is their very own restaurant in the hotel.  I can testify that their pizza is delicious!

Movie night!

Soho House Berlin is a private members’ club with 65 rooms, 20 fully serviced apartments and 4 spacious lofts. Set over eight floors of a restored Bauhaus building in the Mitte district, Soho House Berlin includes a Cowshed Spa and gym, a rooftop pool, restaurants, bars, a screening room and private Event spaces. It can be found at  Torstraße 1, 10119 Berlin, Germany.  To make a reservation please visit their website

Weekly Round Up

Another week has ended and now it’s May!  Today I was outside with a short sleeve shirt on, it always makes me feel slightly uncomfortable going from winter to  short sleeves. I feel so…unprotected, short sleeve insecurities is what I call it.

This week I’ve had a flux of feelings dealing with life, work, future.  These are some words I tell myself, sometimes they help.
-Everything is going to be ok. Breathe.
-Remember as a kid you thought adults had it all figured out? Turns out adults don’t have it figured out.
-Keep doing what you love. It will pay off.
-Save = Security.
-Hugs can quickly turn a bad day around.  
-Take some time for yourself.  If that means sitting down with a cup of tea and reading a magazine for 20 minutes, then do it.  Everyone needs this time.
-Sleep more.  

In recipes this week I got you covered for Cinco De Mayo. I made:
Cilantro + Lime Basmati Rice
Fried Ice Cream
Tortilla Soup
Crockpot Chipotle Chicken Tacos

In recipes that I saved to hopefully make soon: 
Creamy Shrimp and Rigatoni with Sweet Peas and Peppers
Avocado, Mozzarella, and Jalapeño Chimichurri Grilled Cheese
Sweet Coconut Popcorn
Spaghetti with Pesto Trapanese
Stir Fried Shangai Noodles with Ground Pork and Cabbage
Chili Cheese Dip (plan on making this for Sunday afternoon of watching basketball playoffs)

Garden Update:
This week has  been about general upkeep and starting a regular watering schedule.  The broccoli and cauliflower are finally able to handle a full afternoon of sun as we have been protecting them with fabric.   All the hearty greens such as the kale, sprouts, cabbage, lettuce and spinach have showed large signs of growth!    The radishes I planted a week ago have all started to appear above the soil.  We also planted some herb seeds both in pots on the roof as well as in our loft in a hydroponic system we have.    I will have a few more indepth garden posts next week.. including.. TOMATO PLANTING!

Things I ask you:
What are some things I can make with 2 apples ready to go bad?  It needs to be delicious and easy.
What are your plans for the weekend?

And now I share you with snapshots from the past week:

WP_20130428_00520130428130409
A friend is thinking about starting a garden so he invited us over to get some vegetable advise.  I spotted a few garden flamingos which made my day.  Who doesn’t love garden flamingos?

Here’s some eye candy I spotted around my neighborhood that are true signs that it’s May.
WP_20130502_004

 WP_20130502_003

WP_20130502_001
One of our Rhododendron plants bloomed. I’m in love.  Every single day we go up to the roof I shout out “Look at it!”.

Weekly cat round up:
blogIMG_1901
Essy has been rowdy this week.  Essy is our 19 year old queen of the household.  

blogIMG_1424
Xanadu continues to fight NBA players for the basketball.

blogIMG_1418
Brother Bear continues to just look at me and I melt right away.

Speaking of Brother.. a few days ago I was sitting at  my computer while Brother and FiFi Bofinkles were sleeping nearby.  Suddenly 2 pigeons landed on our air conditioner in the window and started to flap their wings.  Brother and Bofinkles woke up and immediately formed a Private Investigations team where they vowed they would get those pigeons.
WP_20130430_01320130430112210.jpg
“Brother, did you get them yet?”

WP_20130430_01520130430112501.jpg
“Bofinkles, did you get them yet?”

WP_20130430_02020130430112427.jpg
And then both just sat staring out the window, waiting.  The pigeons never came back.

blogIMG_1889
We shook out our comforter cover that had a comforter inside that somehow got a hole in it.  Let’s just say we weren’t expecting a feather apocalypse.

blogIMG_1830
This is a new magazine that I have been following online.  Matthew surprised me by getting me the first issue.    I love it!

WP_20130430_021
Matthew turned 30! 

WP_20130430_025
Is there anything more exciting than watching someone open up presents you got for them?

WP_20130430_052
I commissioned an artist on Etsy to make Matthew these ceramic plates for his birthday.  Jolly and Jolly’s Brother are stuffed snowmen we have that love pizza.   I think I made him cry a little when he opened up this gift…

 

 

blogIMG_1688
I made a few little snack gift bags for a friend who deserved it.

WP_20130501_013.jpg
I started Book 3 of Game of Thrones.  Anyone else crazily obsessed? When Sunday night is over I cry inside because I have to wait an entire week for the next episode.  

WP_20130501_01420130501140908.jpg
My one doctor I go to has a waiting time of about 2 hours after your scheduled appointment time.  It’s brutal waiting, but he’s a great doctor.  Thankfully he has a aquarium full of fish so I just watch them and smile as everyone is creeped out by me in the waiting room.

In food time this week..
blogIMG_1401
I made homemade pumpkin pancakes for breakfast over the weekend.  You can find the ultra delicious recipe here.

blogIMG_1402
Powdered sugar, always a must!

WP_20130430_055
For Matthew’s birthday, I made a slow cooked pot roast, creamy mashed potatoes and biscuits.  I will be posting the recipe for the pot roast and potatoes soon.  This dinner was thoroughly enjoyed!

WP_20130428_007
Do you know about Momofuku Milk Bar? There’s a few locations but there’s one close to me in Brooklyn.  To put it into a few words, it might be the best place in the world.   They are famous for their cereal milk specialties which is exactly what it sounds like.  Ever have a bowl of cereal, finish the cereal but then you have that sweet milk left over that you sip?  Well they sell that in jars! And in soft serve ice cream! And in shake! OMG THE SHAKES.  They have a pretzel cake shake which has pretzels completely ground up so the shake is salty delicious.  It will change your life, I’m not kidding.  I got one. I swooned.  I do it all the time.

WP_20130428_009
One of their other specialties are birthday cake truffle balls which causes me to go weak in the knees.   They are balls of sugary cake. They are the joy of my life.   If you ever visit, get the cake truffles and a pretzel shake,  please please please.  

Have a good weekend!

For more information contact Pamela at pamela@pamelareed.com.    |     Privacy Policy    

Do you want donut recipes sent to your inbox?

I think you do. Sign up for the Brooklyn Farm Girl newsletter and I will send you my newest recipes, gardening tips and other updates.

You can also follow me on Facebook for daily recipe updates!

This information will never be shared.