1
Northeast Gardeniere
2
My Favorite Breakfast Sandwich
3
Planting Green Beans
4
I’m In Love With Brother Bear
5
Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips
6
Welcome to Brooklyn Farm Girl!
7
Weekly Garden Round Up
8
Strawberries Showing Signs of Spring
9
Fresh Spinach Cupcakes
10
Spring Onion Planting
11
WOWZA Baked Beans + Bacon
12
Tea for Cats
13
Lunch Time – Cilantro shrimp and Edamame Beans
14
Bofinkles on the Telephone
15
Sugar Snap Peas Are Planted!
16
Tomato Seed Planting
17
Start of Garden Season 2013!
18
Irish Potato Candy
19
Presprouting Peas
20
Removing a Carpet Is Hard Work

Northeast Gardeniere

Last year I begun collaborating with Home Depot and Miracle Gro to be their Northeast Gardeniere.  The Gardenieres are described on their website as “A group of hand-picked green thumbs led by gardening master, William Moss. They’re passionate, real-life gardening personalities with real-world experience when it comes to growing anything, most anywhere.”  A film crew came out to visit our roof and we made some fun videos that hopefully gave helpful tips on how urban gardening can be easy (and cheap!).   This year I will be working with them again and in the next few weeks we’ll be filming more videos both on the roof, as well as I will be visiting some other locations to help share the garden vegetable love.

Here are the videos we filmed.  You can also see me on the Home Depot website here.   It’s a dream to be on the Home Depot website as the store is like my 2nd home, and conveniently only 2 blocks away!  

Some people have mentioned that they have seen me on Hulu and on TV in Gardeniere commercials.  I’m sorry for interrupting your show, think of it as a great time to grab a snack together!  Also sorry for some (many) of my cheesy moments, it’s just how I am

Happy Gardening!

Here are some behind the scenes pictures from the filming:

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Here’s some of the crew on the roof.  Our vegetables behaved their very best that day.   It does look like it’s going to pour though..

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The strawberries were a little shy, but eventually they loved the spotlight.  

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I work bright green socks..

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So they could match my bright green broccoli and kale.

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I believe Matthew took this picture, he snuck up to the other roof.

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I can’t wait to show you some more videos as the season continues.
Is there anything you think I should film – tips, how-tos? Let me know in the comments please.

 

My Favorite Breakfast Sandwich

Hello, I’m Pamela and I love this breakfast sandwich.  

I have 2 things I really want to say about this beautiful egg and cheese sandwich.

1).  I debated posting this on the blog for a long time because of how easy it is.  Finally I decided simple or not, it’s special to me and deserves it’s own glory in a post.

2).  I really really love this sandwich.  Let me tell you how it all started…

A couple years ago we started teaching a early AM digital photography class.  Prior to this I did not eat breakfast as I would usually wake up later in the morning and go straight to lunch, but needing something to eat in the morning and wanting to sleep in, I started a dangerous route in eating breakfast sandwiches from 7-11.    This would be my breakfast right  before class began:
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Now don’t get me wrong – I love 7-11 breakfast sandwiches, after all it started my love affair with making my own, but one day I took a look at the nutrition facts on these and looked at my scale rising and realized these were not going to be good in the long run.  So I set out to make my own.   My rules were they had to be quick to make and delicious. I wanted them to be better than 7-11, it was a competition (7-11 just didn’t know about it).

So I gathered the simplest supplies at the grocery store:   Thomas English Muffins, American Cheese Slices, Eggs.  There the love of my life was born, my favorite breakfast sandwich in the world.  To say I am crazy in love with these would be a understatement.  I have approximated I have eaten 325 of these in the past year.    I find I actually eat healthier when I start my day off with sandwich because I consider it a favorite treat so by 1PM, I feel like I have spoiled myself.  Then for the rest of the afternoon I can snack on fruit and nuts and totally be happy with it.   Just thinking of this egg sandwich makes me so happy. I can’t wait for tomorrow morning!

How much do I love them?
When I wen to London, I made them every single morning for breakfast:
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I ate one for Christmas breakfast last year:
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I ate one for Easter breakfast this year:
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Do you see the path I’m leading you down? I’m trying to make you love his egg sandwich as much as I do so you can have 30 pictures of the same egg sandwich on your phone like I do.

So here it is, your 260 calorie breakfast sandwich.   

My Favorite Breakfast Sandwich
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 Thomas' Original English Muffin
  2. 1 large egg
  3. 1 slice of American cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat your toaster oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Crack your egg into a bowl, whisk it and microwave for 1 minute.
  3. Take your English Muffin and cut it in half.
  4. Take your egg out of the microwave, remove it with a fork and put on bottom part of muffin.
  5. Take your cheese, rip in half, and put on top of the egg.
  6. Put top half of muffin on top of sandwich.
  7. Put in toaster oven until the top is slightly browned, this usually takes about 8-10 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
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These are your ingredients, simple. I love Thomas’s, I love them more when they are on sale.  A word about cheese, I’m a Kraft singles girl, I can’t help.  I bought some organic American cheese slices from Trader Joe’s last week and was underwhelmed so I use it on Matthew’s egg sandwich when I make him one.  For me, it’s Kraft all the way.

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Take an egg.

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Crack it in microwave safe bowl.

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Whisk it with a fork.  Now put the bowl in the microwave for 1 minute.  
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What comes out is one cooked egg that is easy to get out with a fork.
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Cut your muffin in two.  Get your cheese slice ready.

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Throw your egg on the bottom part..

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I like to rip my cheese in half as it assures no cheese will be wasted melting off the sides.  I want all the cheese!

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Put the top of the muffin on..

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Then into the toaster oven it goes..

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There is a smell the muffin makes when it is ready. You will learn to love and appreciate this delicious smell.

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Oh beautiful, how are you doing?  Be careful and let it cool for a minute or the cheese will burn you.

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This is  my go to breakfast usually served with dried fruit and decaffeinated tea.  

Treat yourself to one tomorrow morning.. Enjoy!

Planting Green Beans

This year we are flipping our boxes around a little bit.  In the past we have grown 2 boxes of sugar snap peas and 1 box of some type of variety of pole bean, but this year we are growing 2 boxes of pole green beans and 1 box of sugar snap peas which will grow up the trellis.  Did that confuse you?  

So with the sugar snap peas all planted (and all have sprouted!) we moved on to planting the green beans.  We’ve had pretty good success with pole beans as we support them with built in box trelis or wire fencing.   I know some of you probably grow bush beans but we’ve always found that pole beans grow better for us. 

This year we are trying 2 types of green beans:
Kentucky Wonder (description found online: Kentucky Wonder is a wonderful heirloom variety with good old-fashioned taste. Pioneers depended on the harvest from this 6-8 foot tall variety, and generations of children have snapped the flat, straight, 6-8 inch long, silvery green pods. Many remember Grandma serving the freshly steamed tender pods, so full of that rich beany flavor.)
Blue Lake (description found online: This vigorous 7 foot tall variety made Oregon’s Willamette Valley famous in the 60s and 70s for canning beans. The smooth, 6-7 inch, dark green pods have a canning jar straight, round shape. Harvested at their peak, you’ll find them tender, meaty, and full of hearty, fresh bean flavor.)

We get very excited for bean and pea season here.  Afternoon summer lunches are filled with fresh beans and a little pasta.  For dinner they get eaten fresh, stir fries, casseroles.  And snacks – green beans with a little sea salt on – does it get any better?

 So let’s plant some green beans..

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The box above and below are the boxes we are planting the green beans in.  They are 4×4 wood boxes.

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We dug out trenches near where the beans will grow because we wanted to give the soil a energy boost!

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Worm castings – mmmm! Your soil will love you if you can give it some of this!

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Then we just fill in each trench with the castings.

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And the other trench.

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Then we cover the castings up, pat it all down.  Good now your soil is feeling revitalized!

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Poke holes in the ground where you’re going to plant your beans.  We do 2 rows of 7 holes – which means every box will have 14 green bean plants.  

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A fence will eventually go up between the row of plants for them to climb up.  We won’t put the fence in until all the plants have risen to the surface so we can see them.

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These are the 2 types we’re trying.  I got them at the Home Depot.  The variety of pole beans isn’t as wide as bush beans.  I wish we could have found some wax pole beans – maybe in the Fall I will special order them.

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Kentucky Wonder beans are brown.

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We always plant 2 to be safe.

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Here’s the Blue Lake beans.  They’re nice white in color.

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Again, 2 per hole.  Usually they both come up, and then we have to pick favorites and yank one out. I usually cry. 

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This year we used this pea booster on the sugar snaps so we’re doing it again on the beans.

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You sprinkle a little bit in each hole..

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Enough is sprinkled so you cover up the beans.

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Then you’re going to cover up the  beans, and pat down the soil.  Pat  it down so they’re all tucked in.

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Then comes your plants favorite drink – water.  Get them nice and wet.  

Now we wait…

Are you growing any beans this year?  

I’m In Love With Brother Bear

Brother Bear is our very special cat.   He gets lots of special attention for many reasons:

-He’s the only boy.

-He’s the baby.

-He’s very fluffy.

-He has the softest meow in the world.

-He is scared of thunder.

-He loves kisses.

-He just wants to hang out, he’s our bodyguard cat.

-When we first got him, he was going through tough times with different illnesses.  After many trips to the vet, operation, quarantine, we gained his trust for always being there and telling him it was going to be ok.  It wasn’t easy in the beginning.

Brother is a Maine Coon, also known as the breed of gentle giants, and that is what he is.  He’s 15 pounds of strong body, but has the gentlest baby like personality.    

We’re in love with him.  I just wanted to tell you.  You can totally be in love with him too.  He is a good guy.

Below is one morning with him..

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When I wake up I can usually find him in this blue bed during the Spring time mornings. He has the best yawns.

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He has the fluffiest “wings”.

 

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Then he jumped down onto a box and put his head down.  This is his preferred way of laying.

 

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He can stay like this for hours, and does.
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So I like to crawl under him and rub his chin.

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Every now and then he will let me touch his toes.

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But not much.  “Don’t touch the toes Mom”.

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Then Xanadu showed up and plopped herself on my belly.  But back to the Brother show..
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He will follow airplanes in the sky…
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His paws are always stretched out in the most elegant manner.
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When he looks up at you with those eyes – Oh man, I melt.  After I took this picture I just picked him up and kissed him all over.

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And when you call for him, he runs.  He’s happy, he’s excited.  It’s the best feeling in the world to get home and see Brother Bear run for you, just to rub his cheeks all over your ankles.

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So that is what we did.  We rubbed, we cuddled.  

I love Brother Bear.

Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

Tortilla chips are a favorite of ours to snack on, especially Matthew’s.  I’ve found a number of sharp tortilla chip crumbs in bed that stab me to know he likes a good bowl of chips to snack on while reading before bed.  With the chips running low, I set off to create our own.   There are a few great things about making homemade tortilla chips.  You get to mix and match! You can try a bunch of different flavors instead of just picking one flavor in the store.  The other great thing is the price!  Tortilla chips usually cost us $4-$5 for a bag, more if they are gourmet/fancy flavored.  A bag of 30 (!) corn tortillas in my local grocery store cost me $1.25.   I haven’t done the price comparison by weighing them yet but I can bet you I’m saving more than a few dollars here.

I wanted to try a few different flavors with these so I did made 3 kinds:
Regular Salted
Cinnamon Sugar
Parmesan

I thought I was going to have a winner on picking but when trying to pick a favorite I can’t.  The salted were expected to be great and they were.  The cinnamon sugar was like a dessert chip, it hit  my sweet tooth that needs daily love.  The Parmesan was savory.  

Next time I’m going to try to make some seasoned with cumin – can you imagine cumin tortilla chips with salsa?  Oh my.  I think I just created my new favorite snack.

Make these for your snack. 🙂

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Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips
Print
Ingredients
  1. Corn Tortillas (one equals 4 chips so use as many as you need)
Seasonings (This is up to you!)
  1. Sea Salt
  2. Cinnamon + Sugar
  3. Parmesan Cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Stack tortillas and cut them into 4 triangles.
  3. Spread them out on a on a cookie sheet. They need to be 1/4-1/2 inch apart from each other.
  4. Put desired seasonings on top.
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes (check every minute after 8) until edges are brown.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool.
  7. Enjoy!
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
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Grab your handy bag of corn tortillas.  Can I tell you how much I love pepper steak tacos on these? That’s another post though…

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Take them out the bag, it’s up to you how many you want to make.  Each tortilla will make 4 hearty chips.

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It’s totally ok if your tortillas are weird in shape, it adds character.

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Grab a knife..

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Cut in half..

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And again..

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Gather your pile of soon to be delicious chips.

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Now, something important.  To get them to bake crisp you need to make sure there is at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch in between each one.  If they are closer, they are going to be soft.  We want crunchy for these.

Now on to the seasonings..
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You can do sea salt, just a sprinkle goes a long way.

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Or a little bit of Parmesan cheese.  You can add some Cheddar too – yum!

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Or possibly my favorite (I haven’t decided yet), cinnamon sugar!

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First the sugar..

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Then the cinnamon! Oh my!

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Throw them  in the oven and keep a eye on them.  They should take 8-10 minutes until the edges turn brown.  Mine took about 9 minutes.  Watch them for every minute after 8. Seriously, keep a eye on them, keep checking, don’t be too careful – they will burn quick.

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These are the sea salt chips.  Just a simple taste of salt…

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These are the Parmesan cheese…

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And these are the magical cinnamon sugar! I’m still not picking a favorite..

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Pull up a chair, let’s eat a few together!

 

Welcome to Brooklyn Farm Girl!

Hello old and new friends.  Welcome to Brooklyn Farm Girl!  

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This site has been in the works for many years in my mind but it was never made due to guilt for my previous blog.  It was hard to say goodbye to such a great blog that housed so many of my thoughts and contents for  years.   Finally I found a way to merge together all the worlds I love on Brooklyn Farm Girl.

World Garden – From Seeds to Harvest
World Food – Cooking anything and everything
World Cats – I just love cats a whole lot

This place now feels like home.  I invite you to sit down and let me attempt to entertain you.  Even if the jokes aren’t funny, try to smile a little bit, it makes me feel better. 🙂

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 I will be working hard to make new posts often with gardening tips, yummy recipes and life adventures.

I hope you stick around.  If you ever want to say hi, just leave a comment or say hi to me on facebook or twitter.  I love when people say hello.

Big Hugs from Pamela the Brooklyn Farm Girl

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Weekly Garden Round Up

This week it ranged in the 40’s and 50’s, and next week it’s set to have multiple days in the 70’s.  I guess Spring is officially saying hello to us as it’s been acting like a tease.  Last year at this time we already had some hot days where we could plant in shorts, but so far this year I haven’t had a day in the garden yet where I haven’t complained about being cold.

Many of the plants are on their own in the garden and don’t need much help in the early stages.  They’re in green houses, doing what I imagine (and hope) is having lazy days and throwing dance parties at night.  I still have hope one night I will catch the broccoli under the green house lit up with some strobes, hearing some music while the cauliflower yells to “turn it up”.  I have a garden imagination.

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This is said green house where parties could happen at night.  Right now is that awkward period of watching the seedlings grow, wondering when you should move on with the next plants, but mostly just idling walking around the garden hoping that something sprouts.

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Which is what happened when we checked out the sugar snap peas yesterday.  Every single day for the past week we have raced across the roof to see who can spot the first pea.  Usually it’s noone and we leave the roof disappointed, but yesterday – there were cheers!   The first (and a few others who did not get this photo op) have emerged from the soil.  I checked again today and not many more have appeared, so hoping by the week’s end we’ll have a full house in the sugar snap pea box.

Inside the loft we have been helping the tomato seedlings grow strong.  I have to say the seedlings are looking the best they ever have this year.  Every single seed came up and they’re growing at a pace where the tomato leaves are tangled up in the base of  the cage of the growing light.  A few days ago we had to pick favorites and weed them out.  We always grow 2 seeds per cell incase one doesn’t grow but this year every single one grew.

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This is the part that I can’t do and make Matthew. I feel like I’m picking a favorite child.   You go through the plants and find which one looks most healthy, and cut the other one.  This way the tomato plant now has the entire cell to grow and isn’t sharing space.  They can let their roots spread out now, get a little more comfortable.

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What you’re left with is a little sad bouquet of tomatoes that hoped to grow strong, but weren’t chosen.  I can’t make this sound happier, I’m sorry, it hurts me.

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Here’s the 10 tomato plants that have made it.  Congratulations!

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We are growing 2 beef tomato plants, 2 cherry tomato plants and 6 plants of roma varieties.

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We also have a lonely spinach plant which will eventually be transplanted to the roof.  I planted another seed to give it a soul mate.

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The ones in the back are green pepper plants.  We usually grow 2 of them and I swear (I say it every year) green pepper plants are the least hassle plants.  You just grow them and leave them be.  They are magical.  Up front we have some basil which will be transplanted to grow downstairs in our hydroponic system.

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This year we are growing our herbs downstairs.  I meant to take a picture of Cilantro, Oregano and Basil but I got a little Oregano crazy I guess.  We decided to plant it in the loft instead of the garden as it’s easier access to pick herbs for dinner that way, plus I love the way it grows in our Window system.  I’ll be sure to make a post on that later on…

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So now the tomatoes will continue to grow downstairs for a few more weeks until they move to the roof.  We’ll just keep giving them water and I will sing them to sleep every night.

Hope your preparations for your garden are going well.
Treat those tomatoes nice.  They deserve it.

 

Strawberries Showing Signs of Spring

Although some people cover their strawberries up in the winter, we don’t.  We don’t feel like it affects the berries either way so we just let them be their natural selves and collect the snow on top of them.
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Here’s all the strawberry buckets now with their crisp leaves.  Each bucket has 3-4 strawberry plants, aged from 1 year to 3 years.  There’s about 40 strawberry plants here total.
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We started to see signs of green spring in the younger plants…
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And then finally some green in the older plants this past week.
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Hopefully I will have some plump berries in my hands in a few months.  They truly are the sweetest strawberries I have tasted!
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If are you thinking about growing strawberries, I would definitely recommend trying the bucket method.  We’ve had great results.  I talk more about growing strawberries in this video (starts around 0:35).

Fresh Spinach Cupcakes

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won’t believe how good these are!

Now before you go reading the title and thinking I’m crazy, I just want to make it clear that I’m a genuine cupcake lover.  I’ve been known to go to Crumbs, get the biggest cupcake in the display with vanilla frosting, rainbow sprinkles and eat it up in a couple bites.  I’ve been known to go  back for seconds.  I love sweets, I love cupcakes.  So when I found a recipe a few months ago saying  I could make cupcakes with fresh spinach and it would taste amazing, I didn’t quite believe it.  Even while making these and mixing the spinach in, I still was worried.  Really, I could make cupcakes full of spinach and it was going to be good? Really? Well folks.. I have the verdict..

YES YOU CAN.

THESE CUPCAKES ARE AMAZING.

WE ARE TALKING  “OMG THESE ARE MADE WITH SPINACH?! WHAT? ARE YOU LYING TO ME? NO IM NOT. “

They will probably change your life.

I have had a post-it note on my desk since June to post the recipe and finally today, I am!

Rejoice! Bake these cupcakes.  They will change your life.  I’m totally serious
These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!

Fresh Spinach Cupcakes
These cupcakes will change your life.
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup of applesauce
  2. 4-5 cups fresh raw spinach
  3. box of store bought yellow cake mix
  4. icing and sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line your cupcake tins with baking cups.
  3. Puree the applesauce and spinach in a food processor.
  4. Put cake mix in a bowl, then add your spinach puree to it.
  5. Beat with mixer until it’s combined evenly.
  6. Fill up your cupcake baking cups.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, put a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean.
  8. Let cool, decorate with icing and sprinkles.
  9. EAT THEM. ALL OF THEM.
Notes
  1. I used spinach picked from our garden - if you can pick it fresh, please do!
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
These are all your ingredients for the cupcakes.  Can it get simpler?

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
Puree spinach and apple sauce.

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
It will look like this.  Very green.

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
Add your puree with your cake mix.

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
Mix it up.  It will look light green now.

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
Add to your baking cups… into the oven it goes.  Can you believe we’re making spinach cupcakes?

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
Out it comes, exactly how you imagined!

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
Aren’t they beautiful plain?

 

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
I put my icing in a plastic bag so I can pretend I’m a pro cake decorator when I put the icing on them.



Look at these beautiful cupcakes.

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
Now add your sprinkles..

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
There you go, you just made spinach cupcakes.  I know, it’s amazing.

These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!
Now try one. I KNOW, IT’S AMAZING.  Life changed, right?
These Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes made with fresh spinach is a sneaky way to include vegetables in your kids diet.  You won't believe how good these are!

 

Spring Onion Planting

Today we did alot of work in the garden which I will break up into separate posts.  This one will be dedicated to the enemy I love, onions.  What does this mean? I don’t eat onions – I cry if they are in my food. I am that person who takes very long in line because I request everything be made without onions, and if they ignore my request, then I will send it back.  I will pick the onions out of salsa even if it means it will take 20 minutes and everyone will be done eating already.  I don’t like the smell of onions, I pout and moan when I have to make something with onions for Matthew.  But with that said, I am the garden mother of these onions so I cherish and worship them.  No, I won’t eat them, but I want them to grow big and strong.    Even though it’s the one thing in the garden that I will not eat, somehow I am always stuck sorting and planting them every year.  Matthew calls me the “onion whisperer” because he says I am good at the meticulous job of picking all the onion seedlings apart.  Man, I hate that job.  It’s the worst.  And let me tell you something, even if they are onion babies right now, they smell of onions.  I totally overreact too. I will sit on the ground with those onion seedlings, crying, pretending I can’t breathe, holding my nose (which really makes it worse because I have onions on my fingers). It’s tough work, but it’s all for the love of one of my children, the onions.
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First, let’s look at the box where all the new onions will be planted in.  These onions off to the left have been there for a few months over winter, and they look like they are bouncing back so we are going to leave them and see.
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Speaking of onions that made it over winter – will you check out this box of onions that are looking amazing? Matthew had fears they wouldn’t survive, but I told him to keep some hope in these onions, and look at them! Look at them!
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No bulbs were spotted (yet) but they are looking strong.  They’re all about 1 foot high.  When they get bulbs I am going to do the happy onion dance.  They deserve it.
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Back to the onions we planted today.  Here are all our onion seedlings.  Each little soil cup has a bunch of onion seedlings in it – anywhere from 5 to 8.
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Then comes the fun (not fun at all) part of sorting these onion seedlings out, one at a time.  While holding each one delicately you try to untangle all the roots.
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This take some time, but I have worked out a system of shaking them so they come loose pretty quickly.  Onion whisperer I am.
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The seedlings already have pretty intense roots going on.  Each seedling grew into a big onion last year and produced a bulb larger than a baseball.  Matthew said they were delicious. We are hoping for similar results this year!
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So now they’re all planted. There’s 38 onions here, not counting the ones in another box.  We’ll check back on them in a few months…

WOWZA Baked Beans + Bacon

Two weekends ago Matthew made these amazing baked beans.  I’m going to give credit where it’s due, these were the hit of the picnic.  I was in love with them, so much so that I made him save some here for me to eat later.  So when I came home from the picnic after eating too many beans, I immediately sat down and continued to eat more beans.  They are so amazing!
The original recipe comes from here.  Matthew said he followed the ingredients and instructions pretty spot on.
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Lots of onions and green peppers in this. I was worried because I don’t like onions.  Boy, was I wrong!

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BBQ Sauce + Apple Cider Vinegar.  I was worried because I don’t like apple cider vinegar. Boy, was I wrong!

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Glorious bacon. Bacon is one of the best foods, ever.

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Mix the beans and peppers/onions together…

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Then the BBQ Sauce mixture..

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You need a big pan, just a warning.

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I needed to taste test. It’s very important.  Or something.

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Then pour into pans/pots that you can bake.   This makes quite alot of beans..

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Then put the glorious bacon on top. You can either bake this right away, or we let it sit in the fridge over night and baked it the following day.

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ENJOY!

Tea for Cats

My good pals William and Lia brought us back us back some goodies from Japan (aka, my dream destination).  In this bag of goodies were a couple satchels of this cat tea.  Not being able to read Japanese, I wondered, is this tea for a cat? Is it for me? Is it for both of us? What is this?  I mean there’s a cat on the front who looks like they are drinking some tea – really? What kind of tea is this?
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So a quick text sent to my friend Saya who is from Japan confirmed this is in fact tea for your cat.  Not any type of tea – this is CATNIP TEA.  I know, take a second to think about this..
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So I opened up the package and inside was just one tea bag – very catnip smelling by the way. How catnip smelling? FiFi Bofinkles showed up to smell it.  Then I confirmed with Saya the amount of water (16 ounces), temperature (hot or cold would work) and then I made it.
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I used 8 ounces cold, 8 ounces warm water. I let it cool down to room temperature.
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You can see it turned a slight yellow/green color while steeping.  Omg guys, I’m steeping tea for my cats.  I question my sanity.
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Then I put it into a bowl because I thought a tea cup might cross the line for me….
And I waited.
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FiFi Bofinkles showed up first.  She wasn’t interested.  She knew the smell but in liquid form? Not having it. She moved away to a food bowl and ate instead.
The real girl I was waiting for was Essy.  Essy is catnip obsessed, I’m sure some would say she needs to rehabilitated or needs a detox.  Girl likes her nip.  She’s 19.. she does what she wants.
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I left the bowl for a few minutes and Matthew called out “Is Essy ok?”  I walked over and Essy was laying on the ground rolling around, rubbing her paws into her cheeks.  “She’s all wet” Matthew said feeling her face.  ESSY HAS A TEA FACE.  That sneaky girl.  So Essy was really feeling the magic of the catnip tea.  She was doing her stretches and rolling movements when she’s under the influence.  Then I played with her and she bit my finger because she probably thought it was a dinosaur.   She felt good.
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I waited until she went back to the tea and she did.  Where she then slid her cheeks all over the bowl, inside the bowl, dipped her chin.  Basically she bobbed for tea.   After rubbing her cheeks in the tea some more, she just stood there and stared at her Dora the Explorer plate.  I wish I could know what was going through her head during those 36 minutes of non movement.  Was Dora talking to her?  Was she plotting to hurt Dora? Was she living in a animated rainbow? Who knows.
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20 minutes later, she was still here.  I rubbed her face and she was soaked.  I’m pretty sure she just put her head in it, so in fear of Essy drowning in catnip tea, I removed it.  The tea bowl was full of Essy fur.

If you can get this, I would try it.  I have a few more teabags that I will let Brother and Xanadu try.  Just watch out for Essy!

Lunch Time – Cilantro shrimp and Edamame Beans

Say hello to my new favorite lunch and hopefully yours too! This is low in calories but high in flavor.
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Cilantro shrimp and Edamame Beans
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 pound shrimp, peeled
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. salt + pepper
  5. 1/8 cup chopped cilantro
  6. 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  7. 1/2 cup frozen edamame
Instructions
  1. Defrost Shrimp.
  2. Chop up Cilantro.
  3. Mince garlic.
  4. Pour olive oil in your pan on medium heat. Heat up until hot.
  5. Add your shrimp to the heated oil and heat up for about 3 minutes.
  6. Add salt/pepper.
  7. Flip each shrimp over to get the other side.
  8. Add minced garlic.
  9. Heat these up for another 2 minutes.
  10. Move your shrimp to a plate.
  11. Add your lime juice. Since lime is intense I like to add 1/8 tsp and keep building up by adding a little bit more at a time.
  12. Add your cilantro on top.
  13. Then toss everything all around.
  14. Add your edamame on the side, or mix together with shrimp.
To Cook Edamame
  1. Edamame are young soybeans. The beans are young and green when they are picked, so they are soft when you eat them. To make them just simply bring water to boil, add your beans and some salt and then continue to boil for 5 minutes. Drain and serve. I don’t even put anything on top of them, they’re that good by themselves.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
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Ok, yes, I don’t mind if I do…

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Bofinkles on the Telephone

This is a tale of FiFi Bofinkles and the telephone.  As soon as I get on the telephone, Bofinkles jumps on my  lap.  Bofinkles doesn’t understand I’m on the telephone, she think it means “Bofinkles Time”.
Example from  today:
Me on the telphone “Hey, how are you doing?” and continues conversation…
Bofinkles sprints over, jumps on my lap “What Mom? Do you need me”?”
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Bofinkles: “Hey, I’m talking to you.  Do you need me, do you?”
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Bofinkles: “Ok, I am getting closer to you.  I will jump on your shoulder.  Are you talking to me?”
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Bofinkles: “Why aren’t you responding to me standing here, looking at you? Maybe if I pretend I fell asleep while you were talking to me you would notice..”
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Bofinkles: “PLEASE JUST RUB MY CHEEKS! PLEASE!”
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Bofinkles: “Ok, so about that conversation we were having.  How are you?”
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Bofinkles: “Omg, are you ignoring me again?  What If I just fall down..?”
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Bofinkles: “Just look at me.  Please!”
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Sugar Snap Peas Are Planted!

The sugar snap peas are this years first plants to be covered up by soil in the garden.  Yesterday, while shivering in the cold sunlight, we took our pre-sprouted peas and planted them.  It is still cold out, so even though growth might be slow in the beginning for them to emerge, hopefully we will see them big and strong soon.
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This year we are changing things up and are growing them not up the fence, but instead around our gazebo like trellis.
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Here are the peas that we pre-sprouted.
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Nature, isn’t it amazing?  If you haven’t tried presprouting, give it a shot.
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Holes are made with our fingers, then peas are inserted in.
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This year we are trying this pea booster – hopefully it works well.
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So that gets sprinkled in each hole…
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Then we do a little song and dance involving lots of cheering and the words “love” and “grow big” before covering them up with soil.
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Then we get some water that was collected from the rain.. Can I tell you how freezing I am in this picture? My hands felt as red as the water container.
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Then each pea spot gets watered.

Now we wait… hope to see you soon sugar snap peas!

Tomato Seed Planting

Last year we planted the tomatoes and green peppers seeds on March 1.  This year we planted them March 14 (yesterday).  Time is running by quickly here at the moment, and thankfully we realized this 2 weeks late and not 1 month, 2 weeks late.  So yesterday we got out the supplies and planted our tomatoes for the year.  You know the usual characters:
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There’s the roma, sweet aroma, beef, cherry tomatoes.  Then there’s the green bell peppers.
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See the container to the left? ?That’s Burpee’s eco friendly self watering cell seed starting system.  It’s magical. We thought it might have been a gimmick when we bought the bigger cell version for our other seedlings, but those seedlings in it have grown so much bigger than the other seeds not in a self watering system. If you can find this, get it.  It’s great.
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Beautiful soil, get your hands dirty.  I love the feeling.
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I know I say it ALL the time, but these 2 little sees will turn into full blown tomato plants. It amazes me every single time.
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We also are getting the sugar snap peas ready by presprouting them inside.  This always works better for us than planting them directly in the soil as we are never quite sure if they all are growing to sprout or not, and if they don’t you are left with a few that need to be replanted.  With presprouting, you are guaranteed to know they all will grow into plants.   I did a post on presprouting sugar snap peas if you want to read it.
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I would like to give a shot out to my gardening helper, Xanadu Pluto, who climbed into the seed starter box…
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But realized she couldn’t fit all the way and just stayed like this. No shame.  <3

Start of Garden Season 2013!

Today felt like the official start of the garden season.  It was 50 degrees out, we were shoveling soil, taking care of seedlings, building boxes.  I was complaining that my  back hurt.  It’s just like old times, meaning every single year we’ve had our rooftop garden.   Our main goal today was to get the greenhouses rebuilt and if time permitted build a new box to replace one that was falling apart. Not only did we get all that done, but we were able to remove the soil from all the boxes to turn it over and feed it compost.  Woo!  I won’t be able to move tomorrow.
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It was sunny and nice out today.  Since there is so  much empty space on our roof we are able to have lots of room to build.
Garden 2013: commence greenhouse rebuild
First up was the long greenhouse that had some holes in the plastic, so the plastic was ripped off.
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And then replaced.
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Woo! I’m excited too. Greenhouse is built.  The broccoli and cauliflower will probably hang out in here soon enough.
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Then it was the smaller greenhouse.  In this picture it’s off to the left and it was destroyed by the wind.  It had a few holes in it, then suddenly the wind just ripped it apart.
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So we covered that up with some new plastic..
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Then it was all set to protect when the seedlings go under it…
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Speaking of seedlings.  Say hello to them! I will do another post focused on them. :D)
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Then it was time to replace this box.  This has been with us since the beginning of the garden and it’s seen it’s last days.
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So I hulked up and shoveled all the soil out of this box.  My heavens, there is alot of soil in one box!
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Box is now all empty.. time to take it apart.
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Before we put the new box down we built we put sponges down.  This will protect the roof so the wood won’t lay on it.
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New box all filled back up now! High 5. I’m exhausted.
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Then we had to empty every single box to turn over the soil.  This is such hard work.  I almost took a nap.
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This is Mr. Pumpkin who has been with us since October.  He’s finally saying goodbye and needs to be released back into the soil.  We will miss you Pumpkin man who has brought me so much joy every single day seeing him in the kitchen
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So I did the sad honors of cutting him open so we could compost him.
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Isn’t the inside of a pumpkin amazing?
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While Matthew was smashing the pumpkin up I pretended to be the pumpkin and said things in my pumpkin voice such as “Oh don’t hurt me”, “OOO that feels good”, “hehehe that tickles”.  I amuse myself.
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I saved some pumpkins from him.  I will try to grow these.  I like keeping it in the family if possible.
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Then we brought over the compost that has been working it’s magic all winter.
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Oh delicious compost soil that the garden loves.  This will cause big strong plants!
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We worked hard this afternoon.  So hard that by 5PM I already had my Fuel Points goal!
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Excited for the new year of growing..  Happy gardening!

Irish Potato Candy

Irish potato candy is a favorite where I’m from in the coal mines of Pennsylvania.  There used to be a candy store in the mall that sold these that I would crave every time we walked by.  The candy has the sweet smell of cinnamon.  They are best serve chilled, and when you take a bite you will taste the sweetness mixed in with coconut.  Irish potato candy is a magical experience to eat.  As a kid I used to actually think they were made of potatoes, but boy was I wrong.  There is nothing healthy about these, warning.  But they are very good, so have one or two for dessert.  If you make these there is a strong chance you will declare your love for me, so give them a try.

These are easy to make – there is no cooking, just chilling involved.  There is also some mixing involved so you will have some bowls to clean (preferred to clean by mouth first).
Why are they called potato candy?  Because they look like little cute potatoes!  These would be extra cute to make for St Patrick’s Day!
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Hey little beautiful spud.
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And when you take a bite…. just wait!
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Irish Potato Candy
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup butter softened
  2. 8 ounce cream cheese
  3. 4 cups confectioners powdered sugar
  4. 2 1/2 cups flaked sweetened coconut
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. few tablespoons of ground cinnamon to roll them in
Instructions
  1. Beat your softened butter and cream cheese together with a mixer until it’s smooth.
  2. Add your powdered sugar and vanilla. Keep beating until this is smooth.
  3. Mix in the coconut, with a spoon or your hands.
  4. Roll into potato shapes with your hands. I like to keep them about 2 inches big.
  5. Roll in cinnamon to make them brown.
  6. Place on wax paper lined cookie sheet and chill for a few hours in the refrigerator.
  7. Store in a container in refrigerator.
  8. ENJOY!
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
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Simple ingredients.
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Mix your butter and cream cheese.  It’s a little hard to do, use power.
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Then mix  in vanilla and powdered sugar. Then take a beater and lick it clean.
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Add your coconut.
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Mix it with your hands.  You are going to get dirty.  Totally ok.
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Roll in cinnamon.  Add more as you need it. You will only need 2-3 tablespoons.
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Put your little potatoes on wax paper and chill.
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YUM!

Presprouting Peas

Presprouting is great to do for peas.  By doing this you’re promised that your seeds won’t rot before they sprout under the soil (due to cold temperatures).  It also guarantees that you won’t be wasting your time planting some seeds that might not even sprout at all causing you to wait and fall back in the garden season schedule.

Directions:
Take your pea seeds and dip them in some water to get them wet.
Then take a paper towel and wet it.  Put your peas in the middle of the paper towel and wrap up, like a envelope.
Put in a plastic bag with the top corner vented a little bit.
Leave sit for a few days, soon enough they will sprout. 🙂

Here they are dry:
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In the moist paper towel all wrapped up:
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Sealed up for a few days:
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When you take them out, magic!
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They sprouted!

Then plant them as you regularly would.

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Removing a Carpet Is Hard Work

I am sitting here with a heating pad on my back that wraps all the way around my chest.  I can’t bend down.  This body was not built for manual labor, no way.  Today we continued our series of renovations and removed a carpet we glued down years ago.  Many years later we would regret this when we wanted to remove it.    We are moving things around in our loft, the farmhouse table is going to be in the kitchen area which excites me beyond belief. This hideous carpet has been bugging me for years, so I have been waiting anxiously to get rid of it.   I already bought a new area rug to put in its place but it doesn’t arrive for a few weeks – I can’t wait for it!
Quick process:
This was before we removed the carpet.  We did put the cats away, don’t worry.
Here the cats know something is going on and are spending as much on the carpet as they can. I believe Brother Bear thought this entire carpet was his new area.
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Adhesive remover put all over..
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Carpet all scraped up:
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Area all sanded:
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Area all clean now:
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Didn’t that look easy?
Yeah right.
Full process:

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