1
No Boil Rotini Pasta With Plenty of Vegetables – Quick Dinner Recipe!
2
How to Build Cat Shelves That Your Cat Will Love
3
Here comes the onions and kale… more Spring planting!
4
Is Your Laptop Your Best Friend? Meet My YOGA 3 Pro + I’m giving away one! (Worth $1499!)
5
Planting Sugar Snap Peas for Spring!
6
Chocolate Lovers Banana Mug Cake
7
Spring Cleaning the Tea Cabinet, Tea Party With teapigs
8
First Planting In The Garden This Year….
9
Betty’s Swedish Meatballs Recipe – Mad Men Post!
10
Creamy Ranch Potato Salad

No Boil Rotini Pasta With Plenty of Vegetables – Quick Dinner Recipe!

“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Barilla®, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #OnePotPasta http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

It’s not often that taking photos of a recipe actually takes longer than how long it took me to make the dish!

We’ve been busy with work lately so when we get home we usually want a quick  meal so we can gather in front of the television and watch NBA playoffs (best time of the year, go Cavs, go Net).  Pasta is a great quick meal but are you ever so hungry that you can’t even wait for the water to boil?    Let me introduce you to Barilla’s Pronto pasta which is one pan, no boil, no drain pasta.   I wasn’t sold on it when I first heard about it – I mean seriously, I didn’t have to boil the water? But after multiple recipes, I’m hooked.  A great tasting pasta dish with fresh vegetables that actually only takes 10 minutes?  Totally sold.  

No Boil Rotini Pasta With Plenty of Vegetables_1

Say hello to No Boil Rotini Pasta With Plenty of Vegetables, it’s my new favorite quick dinner recipe. Fact: We had it for dinner last night!  This recipe calls for red peppers, yellow peppers, tomatoes and basil so it’s a fresh harvest meal!  I can’t wait until Summer time when I can pick our peppers and tomatoes from our garden and throw them right in this dish.   This dish is entirely customizable too,  add whatever vegetables you want!  It’s a great dish to clean out that refrigerator!   Never let a pepper go bad, life motto to live by. :D)
No-Boil-Rotini-Pasta-With-Plenty-of-Vegetables_Combo-1

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How to Build Cat Shelves That Your Cat Will Love

If you have a cat your goal in life is to probably wow them.   If it isnt, then you should get on it right away.  There’s a cat waiting!

Ways to wow them? You can try:
Singing and dancing to them, or even better with them. Most likely they won’t be wow’d at all and will ask you to put them down.
Buying them a new toy.  They might get wow’d, but most likely they are going to like the box it came in better.
Buying them a new bowl.  They don’t care, it only matters what goes in it.
Dressing up like a cat. Ok, I did this over the weekend and the cats were just weirded out by it.

Mom and babies.

What I found is that the best way to wow them is to make them feel special.  Rub their bellies when they provide it, rub under their chin for a few seconds longer than expected, or next time you’re reading snuggle up with your cat and let them sprawl out as big as they want.

What else do they love? Entertainment that doesn’t involve a human.  Sure, they love when you play “chase the fly” with them but you aren’t always home.   They love to sleep while you’re going (so they can store up all their energy for when you’re trying to sleep)  but they also love to play by themselves.   Instead of a cat tree, we decided that we were going to build cat shelves on our wall.  This would be a spot for the cats to climb, sleep and let the cats show each other who’s boss (answer always: Xanadu).

The outcome is a series of brightly colored shelves for our kitties to climb up.  Goblin loves relaxing on the shelves.  He’s a little guy so he doesn’t go very high.
How to build cat shelves your cat will love! This is a easy DIY project that will be done in 30 minutes!

 

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Here comes the onions and kale… more Spring planting!

Every time it rains I remind myself I need to get a raincoat.  Then the raining stops and I forget.  Then it rains again and I remind myself I need to get a raincoat. Then the raining stops…  Does this happen to anyone else?   April showers bring May flowers they say and this week is a rainy one.   

On Saturday it was near 80 degrees (too soon!).  We no longer have to worry about frost during the night.  Now it’s the usual garden business to worry about.   One thing that is looking good is all the Spring seedlings.  Besides the carrots and radishes, the Spring garden is officially planted.  We were able to get the onions, kale and pak choi planted a day after we planted the broccoli and friends.  It feels nice to be back up on the roof everyday checking on the plants and watering the containers.  

So the Spring garden is: broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, onions, kale, pak choi, sugar snap peas, carrots and radishes.    Don’t forget you can follow along with planting dates in my seed calendar too.  

Now to the planting, first up, the onions.  Like the sugar snap peas, we went a bit crazy with onions this year.  We planted 68 onions this year, which is about 48 more than we were planning.  What happens is you plant what you were going to, and then you look at the sad leftover onion seedlings and know they will just go to waste if you don’t plant them.  So you save those onions and make room in other containers.  The funny part of all this is that onions are one thing in the garden I don’t eat. I’ve never been a onion fan so I’m going to leave it to Matthew to eat all those onions, good luck! 
Planting Onions and Kale Spring 2015

Onion seeds are itty bitty tiny little things, so when you see how big this little seeds roots are already before you plant, you need to smile.
Planting Onions and Kale Spring 2015_5

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Is Your Laptop Your Best Friend? Meet My YOGA 3 Pro + I’m giving away one! (Worth $1499!)

First, I’m so happy to make this post because I’m giving away a Lenovo YOGA 3 Pro Laptop (worth 1,499.99) to one of my readers.   Please make sure to enter because I know you’ll love it as much as I do!  Now keep reading….

There’s a photo of me taken once.  I’m at a party, dressed like Hello Kitty sitting on a couch.  Sitting on my lap isn’t a drink, it’s a laptop.  I’m on a laptop at a party dressed like Hello Kitty.  If we had some cats sprawled out on my lap too it would be the perfect description of my life.

My laptop is one of my best friends, I can’t live without it.   It goes to work with me, it travels with me on flights, it goes to bed with me, it helps me in the kitchen, it inspires me, it lets me create films and animations and it lets me communicate with you guys on Brooklyn Farm Girl.  It’s the perfect fit for my artist + blogger + cat  mama lifestyle. 

If my laptop is reading this, because it totally is because I’m typing this on it, then this is for you.
d2909982313e58021ba173b6409cfcba

 Are you guys ready to meet my BFF? Ok, here she is (yes, it’s a girl).  Her name is Computer!  She enjoys tea and cats too.  Of course my beloved Essy is on my desktop photo. 🙂
Lenovo YOGA 3 Pro _16

 

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Planting Sugar Snap Peas for Spring!

It’s that time of the year again… a sugar snap pea planting post!
Every year I post about them with pretty much the same pictures and details, and every single year I post about them with crazy enthusiasm.  I mean there’s no garden without sugar snap peas growing!  

Last year we grew a bunch of sugar snap pea plants but this year (as always) we kicked it up a bit.  There will be 93 sugar snap pea plants!  There’s 22 in one 4×4 box in the back, 22 in another 4×4 box in the back and then 49 plants that will take up a entire 4×4 box.   We’re one sugar snap pea loving family as you can tell. 

About a week ago we started pre-sprouting the peas inside.  Pre-sprouting will make sure your peas will grow once they’re in the soil as you’ll visually see they have already started.   This makes growing more stress free as if it’s already pre-sprouted you can be pretty sure it will pop through the soil in a few days and that it’s not rotting underneath.  Here’s a how to pre-sprout your peas tutorial I made a couple years ago.

After they sit in their plastic baggy for a few days, you’ll take them out and see they’ve all sprouted.  That means they’re ready for the ground!

Sugar Snap Pea Planting Spring 2015

Sugar Snap Pea Planting Spring 2015_1

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Chocolate Lovers Banana Mug Cake

Chocolate Lovers Banana Mug Cake that only takes 2 minutes in the microwave to make.  You won’t believe how fudgy this cake is!

Mug cakes are great because they are fast and small serving (either single or double).  This recipe makes 2 so I will share or I make it for breakfast one morning and have it for the next morning as well.   If you’re saving the second cake, make sure to heat it up in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds before eating. It’s going to get all ooey gooey chocolaty in the middle and you’re going to fall in love.  Believe me.    On lazy mornings I will eat it directly out of the mug, bu sometimes I like to get all fancy and push it out of the mug onto a plate.  This is also great because if you’re having guests over you can very quickly make up a few cakes and throw them on a plate.  Pour some chocolate on top (I used white chocolate) and everyone will ooooh and ahhhh them while thinking you were baking all morning.  
Chocolate Lovers Banana Mug Cake that only takes 2 minutes in the microwave to make. You won't believe how fudgy this cake is!

Chocolate Lovers Banana Mug Cake that only takes 2 minutes in the microwave to make. You won't believe how fudgy this cake is!

Chocolate Lovers Banana Mug Cake that only takes 2 minutes in the microwave to make. You won't believe how fudgy this cake is!

Go ahead, make this Chocolate Lovers Banana Mug Cake.  I’m positive you will love it!  Enjoy!
Chocolate Lovers Banana Mug Cake that only takes 2 minutes in the microwave to make. You won't believe how fudgy this cake is!

Cocoa Banana Mug Cake
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 overripe banana
  2. ¼ cup peanut butter
  3. 1 large egg
  4. 2 teaspoons sugar
  5. 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  6. 1/4 cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Mash the banana in a large mug with a fork. Add the peanut butter and egg and mix thoroughly. Stir in the sugar and cocoa and beat until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips. Divide the better between two mugs. Microwave (on HIGH) separately for 1.5 to 2.5 minutes each until risen and firm.
  2. Eat out of bowl or gently pull out of mug to present on plate.
Notes
  1. You can add chopped nuts or dried fruit along with the chocolate chips if you'd like.
  2. For a wow factor, pop your cakes out of the mug and serve on a plate. Melt some chocolate and drizzle on top of the cakes.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
Chocolate Lovers Banana Mug Cake that only takes 2 minutes in the microwave to make. You won't believe how fudgy this cake is!

Spring Cleaning the Tea Cabinet, Tea Party With teapigs

With the garden ready for Spring, I set my sights on something that needed cleaning.  No, not the windows, or floors or closet, this was a big job…

THE TEA CABINET! (insert detective drama music here).

I have a tea cabinet.  Actually, I have 2.  Actually I have 2 tea cabinets and a place on top of the countertop that is visible that is storing my new tea treasures.  When I took over the bottom cabinet Matthew was ok with it, after all, I love tea. When I took over the 4 shelf cabinet next to the stove with tea, he gave me a side glance and a little mumble under his breath.  When he noticed the tea boxes sitting next to the cooking utensils on the counter a few days ago he said “Really?”.  Ok, Ok! I will clean it up.  But I have so much tea.  And it’s so pretty! And why are you making me do this! It’s so unfair.  Can’t I fill the kitchen with tea?  

Tea Party With teapigs_2

So muttering under my own breath, talking sweetly to my teas, I ventured into the kitchen yesterday to finally straighten out the tea area.  Boxes were recycled, teas were sorted by green and black, loose tea that is seasonal was moved to the back, teas that I will never learn to love were boxed up for tea loving friends and memories were had with each smell of the leaves.  

If you’re a tea lover, then you probably know the feeling, which is why it’s a great time of the year to clean out your teas!   By cleaning out your shelves you might find that special jasmine tea that you loved last Spring but totally forgot was there.  Also, the more you clean out the more room it leaves to try new brands and varieties. No, I’m not saying fill up those cabinets again with tea, but when you’re browsing the tea aisle maybe you won’t feel as bad buying that one new box.

Tea Party With teapigs_13

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First Planting In The Garden This Year….

With the weather slowly transitioning to Spring we decided to make use of the 55 degree temperatures (but windy!) this weekend and get the garden rolling out.  In January we planted our Spring seeds and they have anxiously been waiting to move outside.  The broccoli grew so tall inside that we couldn’t raise our grow lights anymore.  Besides the sugar snap peas, carrots and radishes that will be planted directly into the soil, here’s the lineup of the Spring garden.
First-Planting-of-the-Year-2015-Seedlings

This year we planted many more broccoli plants then cauliflower.   We use broccoli in so many more dishes and it freezes great so it seemed like the best choice to take advantage of the container space.  We also have a ton of onions for Matthew to enjoy.   We are going to be trying to grow collard greens for the first time this year and I’m hoping for success so I can make this recipe every single day.

The seedlings were moved outside a few days ago to slowly transition.  We do this so they can harden off and not get shocked by the new weather they’re experiencing.  For the first week we’ll throw fabric on top of the seedlings to protect then from the sun. Everyday they’ll be exposed to the sun a bit longer so by the time the week is over they will be able to hand it completely.
First Planting of the Year 2015 Broccoli

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Betty’s Swedish Meatballs Recipe – Mad Men Post!

“Hot or cold? Swedish meatballs or chicken salad” asks Betty Draper when Don comes home late from work one evening.  Don chooses the chicken salad, but in my opinion he misses out. Betty’s Swedish Meatballs are where the magic is at.

If you’re reading this and wondering who Betty Draper or Don it, let me grab you for a quick hug and tell you what you’re missing out on.   The Drapers (or previously were – no spoilers!) are 2 of the main characters on the hit show Mad Men which I’ve been obsessed with since the beginning.   On Sunday night they will air the first episode from the final season – weep weep.   If you’re a Mad Men fan, do you have predictions?  How’s it going to end?  How’s Don going to end up?  Are you rooting for him?  Do you think Don Draper is amazingly sexy no matter what horrible things he does?  Me too, I can’t help it.  Smoking, drinking, overtly sexual, heart breaker, etc. “Don Draper cheats on his wife, never does any housework, hardly spends time with his kids—he shouldn’t be sexy, but he is.”    All the things that your mother told you to stay way from.  Except with Don he chases you in and you’re like “Ok”. Why do you have to be so complicated Mr. Draper?

Don-Draper-has-so-much-control-seduction-situation

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Creamy Ranch Potato Salad

CREAMY Ranch Potato Salad that doesn’t require potato peeling!  This loaded, easy to make potato salad recipe has the classic taste you grew up with and is ready in 20 minutes! It’s made with ranch dressing (no mayo!) to make it extra creamy! Enjoy this warm in the Winter or chilled in the Summer!  It’s a must have your next grilling session!

Potato salad is a family staple at so many events, especially at picnics.  Maybe it’s for a graduation, or a family get together, or a bbq; most likely there is a big bowl of potato salad there.  I love how versatile potato salad can be.  When chilled in the summer, it’s the perfect food to cool off with next to your hot dog.  In the winter time, you can serve it right off the stove to warm you up.
CREAMY Ranch Potato Salad that doesn't require potato peeling!  This loaded, easy to make potato salad recipe has the classic taste you grew up with and is ready in 20 minutes! It's made with ranch dressing (no mayo!) to make it extra creamy! Enjoy this warm in the Winter or chilled in the Summer!  It's a must have your next grilling session!  
CREAMY Ranch Potato Salad that doesn't require potato peeling!  This loaded, easy to make potato salad recipe has the classic taste you grew up with and is ready in 20 minutes! It's made with ranch dressing (no mayo!) to make it extra creamy! Enjoy this warm in the Winter or chilled in the Summer!  It's a must have your next grilling session!

This potato salad is made in 20 minutes and only uses 6 ingredients.  And what a bonus, no peeling potatoes, we’re just washing and cubing these red potatoes up!  With every bite you’re going to get a nice crunch of vegetable with the help of celery and onion.  To make it super creamy we’re going to smother it with Ranch Salad Dressing.

CREAMY Ranch Potato Salad that doesn't require potato peeling!  This loaded, easy to make potato salad recipe has the classic taste you grew up with and is ready in 20 minutes! It's made with ranch dressing (no mayo!) to make it extra creamy! Enjoy this warm in the Winter or chilled in the Summer!  It's a must have your next grilling session!

CREAMY Ranch Potato Salad that doesn't require potato peeling!  This loaded, easy to make potato salad recipe has the classic taste you grew up with and is ready in 20 minutes! It's made with ranch dressing (no mayo!) to make it extra creamy! Enjoy this warm in the Winter or chilled in the Summer!  It's a must have your next grilling session! 

So when it comes Summer or Winter or any time between, give this Creamy Ranch Potato Salad a try! I’m pretty it will cause some happy taste buds!  Enjoy!

Creamy Ranch Potato Salad
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 pounds red potatoes – washed and cubed
  2. 2 stalks celery
  3. 1/2 cup green onion or yellow onion
  4. ¾ cup Ranch Salad Dressing
  5. 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  6. salt + pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring pot of water to boil and add potatoes. Simmer the potatoes for 20 minutes.
  2. Drain potatoes.
  3. Put all ingredients in bowl and gently toss.
  4. Serve immediately or if preferred chilled, put in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
 CREAMY Ranch Potato Salad that doesn't require potato peeling!  This loaded, easy to make potato salad recipe has the classic taste you grew up with and is ready in 20 minutes! It's made with ranch dressing (no mayo!) to make it extra creamy! Enjoy this warm in the Winter or chilled in the Summer!  It's a must have your next grilling session!

 

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