There’s no beating around the bush, the title says it all.. we planted our tomato seeds! There’s lots of “firsts” of the season but this is always one that really pushes along the garden season to appear closer.
So on Saturday night, March 22, the tomato seeds were planted! High 5′s all around. Last year, they were planted on March 14 but we decided to push it back a week as we sometimes feel they grow too big inside before we can transplant outside, so this adds a few days of cushion.
What seeds were planted?
Tomatoes – Beef, Roma, Cherry
This is the first year growing Jalapeno peppers so hoping for good results so I can make this mac and cheese and cornbread all summer long.
I took a few pictures below that documents planting our seeds. We usually always do this late at night, around 11PM so there’s no pretty natural light, sorry.
First we start off with potting mix in our cups. We really love using the Self-Watering Seed Starting Kits that Burpee sells.
The we gather our seeds, here are all the tomatoes and peppers.
Then we plot out what seeds are going where in the tray. This is where you have to decide how many plants you’ll grow. For tomatoes, we’ll grow 4 roma tomato plants, 3 cherry tomato plants and 2 beef tomato plants.
And because we’re super professional, we use a Sharpie Marker to make the holes to put our seeds into.
Then the moment of excitement comes, the first seed goes in. It’s always amazing to think about how this little seeds grows into one big plant.
How this turns into a 7 foot tall plant full of delicious vegetables is magic.
After the seeds go in, then we cover them up.
Our tomato and pepper seeds will grow under lights until they move outside in a few weeks. We put the plastic on top to keep the moisture locked in. When the seedlings emerge, then we’ll remove the plastic sheet.
Do you grow your tomatoes from seed?
Tell me what you’re most excited about growing!
These cookies taste like clouds because they are that light and fluffy. You will throw one in your mouth and it will melt away with sweet flavor. Oh these cookies guys.
These cookies taste like if a sugar cookie got cozy with a butter cookie. They have the taste of a sugar cookie, but the melt away in your mouth affect that a butter cookie has. To me this is pretty much a match made in cookie heaven.
Matthew surprised me with the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion cookbook and I’m pretty much obsessed with it. One night while in bed I bookmarked way too many calories in cookies, flipping through each page declaring “I must make this!”. With that said, prepare for a bunch of cookie recipes in the next few weeks, but you guys don’t mind that right?
It’s Spring, right? I mean technically it is and we’ve had a few days where it feels like it. Ok, I mean today is a day where it doesn’t feel like it, but soon it will really be Spring. You believe me right? Ignore the snow in your yard if it’s there, let’s not think of that!
To get in the Spring mood, I wanted to share some of my favorite accessories for Spring.
Here are my 3 favorite accessory categories for the season:
Umbrellas - April showers bring May flowers, so let’s get ready for a rainy month.
Sunglasses – I’m obsessed with sunnies!
Bookbags- Let’s get out of the house and go on some trips!
First, let’s talk umbrellas!
You’ll see many umbrellas on the sidewalks when it’s raining but usually it’s a crown of dark colors. Why not stand out from the crowd and make your day brighter by making your umbrella a pastel color or fun design? I really love transparent ones too, great for not walking into people on the sidewalk!
I found the items on Fab.com which if you don’t know about is awesome for shopping! I still swoon at the rainbow leather rug I got there last year, but that’s another story!
I have a cat umbrella that always cheers me up!
Wouldn’t this heart umbrella just steal your heart during a rainstorm?
Next up, sunglasses! I’m obsessed with them! I like them colorful, I like them big, I like them with designs, I love them all!
Want to know a quick story? I went to Disney World a few years ago (best place on Earth) and fell in love with sunglasses I bought there. They were cheap plastic but there was just something about them that sung to my heart. Imagine the tears when my sunglasses broke one day! So I set off on trying to find them online but came up empty! Then my friend Erin told me she was headed to Disney World and would find them for me again, and she did! I was one happy girl when I was able to wear my Mickey glasses again!
Aren’t the flowers on this pair beautiful? Pastel floral sunglasses? Yes, please!
And last but not least, the item I love most of all, a bookbag! I don’t use purses often, I’m more of a bookbag kind of girl. It has lots of benefits including more storage (I always carry my laptop and more in this), I can lug groceries inside of it on my back and I’m less likely to leave it places. It has become a permanent fixture with me when I leave the house. I use a soft white Baggu bag which has held up over the years, and I made minor adjustments by adding some neon to the string and adding my pom pom balls which people just love to talk about!
Here’s some bags for Spring, ranging from luxurious to something you’d take on a picnic hike. I really love the floral print one too, I think I need to add it my Spring wardrobe! The red bag in the bottom left is from Baggu. I have a bunch of Baggu grocery bags that I use every single day as well, they hold up great!
Tell me, what’s your must have Spring accessory item?
Do you love pastels and colors or prefer classic black and white?
I love it!
I also love the comments that the Chicken and Broccoli recipe gets. Nothing makes me happier seeing a new comment that someone made it for dinner and loved it. It makes my Chinese Takeout loving heart so happy!
So after I completed the Chicken and Broccoli recipe I had one more on my “Must Master” list. That was General Tso’s Chicken. How do they make it so good? How does the sauce stay on so well? How do you keep the chicken crispy with the sauce? How do you get a hint of spice? I must have tried to make this dish a million times (ok not that much, but you get the idea) and every time it just didn’t turn out right. Then finally I got it! It was a beautiful moment. I cheered, I cried, I ate it, I made it again and ate more. I love this General Tso’s Chicken! Finally… you can have the takeout version at home! No wok required!
On Saturday last week it was nearly 60 degrees so knowing it was going to get cold again later that week we knew we had to make our way to the garden and take advantage of the temperature to make it a Spring garden clean up day. Gardening cleanup usually takes a few days, and usually it’s here or there as “warm” days show up occasionally. When they do, you have to take advantage of them! Even though it was 60 degrees, it was extremely windy on the roof (very windy! I chased lids and plastic across the roof multiple times while yelling at them to “stop” but they never listen.) so I had still had to wear a winter coat and hat! One of these days I’ll be able to ditch the coat…
(By the way, how awesome is it to have a World Trade Center and NYC skyline view in your garden?)
So on to the first day of garden clean up. Today we had a few goals:
1. Clean up the 3 4×4 wooden boxes. We were worried they were going to be frozen and unable to shovel but thankfully they weren’t. We wanted to take all the soil out, replace the sponges underneath, cover the insides with plastic, turn the soil and add compost. I’ll talk about all that below. DONE.
2. Clean up multiple containers that had plants in it that needed to be yanked out. Also in these containers the plastic on top needed to be removed. DONE.
3. Take off the greenhouses, clean out the plants, get some harvest. NOT DONE, TOO WINDY.
4. Clean up a neighbor’s garden who tried, failed, and then moved out… all while leaving their garden and trash on the roof. Don’t be that person. I will cuss you under my breath while I pull all your trash across the roof. I will also be extremely upset when said trash breaks open and I have to clean it up half way across the roof. DONE.
Here’s the before:
Here’s the after. Small visible changes, but yet big jobs that had to be done.
We have 3 4×4 boxes that we grow peas, beans, carrots and spinach in. We started with these boxes many years ago before we started using sub irrigated containers, let’s say they were a learning process. These boxes use potting soil, but we need to replenish them every single year to get them healthy. Also to be completely honest the containers kick the boxes butts in terms of better growing because they do such a better job at locking in the moisture, while these boxes tend to dry out. We have grown corn in them in the past and the results were always a bit lackluster due to the soil drying out in the hot months of July and August. To attempt to improve the growth in these boxes we decided to line them with plastic to help the moisture. To do this though, we need to get to the bottom of the boxes.. one at a time.
While the boxes were empty this was a great time to also change the sponges that we put under the boxes. These protect the building’s roof so the boxes don’t leave marks or damage it. These are just basic sponges, I think they’re $4 for 3 at Home Depot.
Then we lined the boxes with plastic. We cut out a few strips and staple it to the boxes side. The plastic is loose as water can still get through the bottom to drain accordingly. It sure gets hot on the roof so I’m really hoping this plastic helps these boxes.
Then we fill each box half way with the soil. We don’t use soil for any of our containers, instead they are filled with potting mix, but since we have accumulated so much soil due to these 3 boxes we have to use it… because where else are we going to put this soil?
To make it better than just regular ol soil, then we put a nice healthy layer of compost on top that was breaking down all winter. Look at this beautiful brown compost! Can I just tell you how great it smells (honestly)? So Earthy.
It’s also pretty awesome to see the steam come off of compost when you dump it out. The sight of steam rising from a compost pile sure makes me a happy girl. It’s the small things in life…
Then we continue to fill each box to the near top with soil. After we finish one, then it’s on to the next one. If you’re doing this on a roof or some place you might not want to get that dirty, you’ll need some containers to shovel the soil into while emptying out.
All boxes ready to go! Almost time for those sugar snap peas to get planted!
The other big job we had was removing some of the old kale and broccoli plants from these 4 containers here. These containers will be used for new veggies in the Spring so their old plants were pulled out. It’s hard work. I almost threw my back out about 8 times.
It’s pretty amazing to see the roots on these kale plants when pulled up. Container gardening is awesome!
What else is awesome and super wild? Some of the kale plants had new kale growth at the bottom. Somehow the plants made it through this winter and still wanted to stick around for Spring!
Here’s some container suggestions too since I’ve received some comments asking what type of containers we use. One big recommendation is to pay the extra 1 or 2 bucks to get stronger containers. These are often labeled “Tough” or “Strong” or “Roughneck”. More specifically we use these ones and these ones. Why? Winter is brutal and if you have super cheap plastic containers, they are going to crack at first touch. I’m talking you are going to lightly touch the handle and it will fall apart. These tough ones last season after season, so definitely invest in some sturdy ones as it will save you money quickly!
This is one of the Roughneck variety that comes in multiple sizes, we have 2 different sized ones depending on how many plants we grow.
And this is one of the Tough ones. Sometimes during Winter you can even find these on sale for 7 bucks. I love these ones because they come with yellow lids that the containers can actually sit in. Then during the winter if you don’t use them, you can just use the lid to close them up. These hold up so well.
This is a cheap container as you can tell as the handle just broke off completely.
Have you started to get ready for Spring or are you still covered in Snow?
What’s next on your Garden calendar?
I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.
This is the time of the year where basketball shines, you wake up everyday and check your bracket and curse to yourself because honestly how did that #12 seed beat that #5 seed? North Dakota State, I’m looking at you.
So far as of today I already got 3 picks wrong:
North Dakota State
Come on the state of Ohio, can you be nicer to a girl?
And you might not think this bracket means anything but when you do brackets with family, they mean everything. Weeks of pride and glory will continue. So far, I’m tied in first with my father, but if my father is reading this, I’m coming for you!
As a kid, I loved basketball. I played on basketball teams of all types, elementary, middle school, high school and AAU. I wore the sneakers and the head band, I watched every game that was on TV and my room was covered in Startling Line Up Dolls from all my favorite basketball players. Actually, want to know what my first website ever was? It was a “Pamela2323″ website dedicated to my favorite person, Michael Jordan. I wish I could still find that website, I’m sure it’s a marvel to look at! Just today we were cleaning out the loft and I came across a big book of basketball cards that I collected as a kid, all organized by player and rookie season. Of course the first page is all special Michael Jordan cards.
Basketball has continued to be a love although I don’t play often anymore. We still occasionally play a pickup game at the playground where sometimes people watch us play and I get super embarrassed about. Fact: Matthew has never beaten me in a game of HORSE. I would like to state on that record. I am undefeated throughout 11 years. Girl’s got a shot. And now that we live in a big city, we have access to many basketball games we can go to. That’s why that when the New Jersey Nets became the Brooklyn Nets, we had to have season tickets. This is the 2nd year they’ve been here and we’ve had season tickets for both years, it still blows my mind that we walk to a NBA basketball game from our house. Speaking of, there’s a game tonight we’ll be heading to. GO NETS.
Let’s take a quick look back.
Here’s me in the early years, my number was always 23. I like how I paired my jersey with Chicago Bulls shorts.
And here’s when I won a shooting award and needed to wear my full Bulls warm up suit for the post celebratory picture.
The weirdest thing about this picture is that my style pretty much never changed after this. I need to find this hat again. And that cardigan.
And then there’s AAU basketball, with my headband and giant Nike AIR sneakers. Look at my massive muscles too. I think this picture was taken at Princeton, it was pretty cool to get to play there, even if I had to be number 14 that year due to sizing.
But what was my college team of choice? That was easy.
The love was strong for Michael Jordan so The University or North Carolina (UNC) Tarheels was always my team. How much? Check out my birthday cake when I was 13.
And my UNC t-shirt. All I wore for a large part of my youth was basketball clothes. I still love those sneakers by the way.
So I love basketball, but as a viewer, there’s something extra special that comes along with this time of the year. SNACKS!
Thanks to #DRMunchMadness and #CollectiveBias I headed over to my local Duane Reade to pick up some Munch Madness snacks for the upcoming games. I had a few things in mind:
First, I was able to get the “Sweets” part pretty quick. These cookies are called Dunkers, can they be more perfect?
Then for snacks I got some Kettle Chips and my new obsession Honey Wheat Braid pretzels. Have you tasted these? They are so good.
For finger foods, I browsed the frozen food section and found both mini hot dogs and bbq chicken wings. For the wings I got a few boxes because as a wing lover I knew I’d be back for more and more.
I wanted to do something cute with the finger food, so I set them up on a board or plate with basketball themed cards in front of them. You can do this for all your snacks! It’s fun coming up with names. I thought Slam Dunk Dogs and Pass The Wings were perfect for these finger foods.
Looking for a new book to read? Maybe “Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening” is the book to you.
Based on the title you’d think this was a simple guide to gardening, but it’s so much more than that. This is a book about friendship, a journey and struggles of life.
The details read “Carol Wall, a white woman living in a lily-white neighborhood in Middle America, was at a crossroads in her life. Her children were grown; she had successfully overcome illness; her beloved parents were getting older. One day she notices a dark-skinned African man tending her neighbor’s yard. His name is Giles Owita. He bags groceries at the supermarket. He comes from Kenya. And he’s very good at gardening. Before long Giles is transforming not only Carol’s yard, but her life. Though they are seemingly quite different, a caring bond grows between them. But they both hold long-buried secrets that, when revealed, will cement their friendship forever.”
And here is a video trailer for the book. I really love when publishers and authors create visual trailers.
The book is uplifting as before Carol meets Giles she’s battling a rough time in her life, something we can all relate to on different levels. Giles shows Carol how to create beauty in her lawn garden which leads to a brighter day. I think we can all agree that a little green and sunshine always cheers us up. In the book we learn about Giles own obstacles in his personal life but somehow he always looks at each day as a positive one, waking up with positivity every morning.
Oh guys, this chicken. It’s hard to explain in words how good this chicken just was. I’d like you to just come over for dinner and try it. All of you, come over.
This chicken is:
Baked – I always prefer this method!
Crispy – Thanks to some bread crumbs, it has a great crunch to it.
Moist – The meat is still juicy inside!
Flavorful – Thanks to marinating in Buffalo Ranch Dip this chicken is bursting in flavor boldness.
And even better, I made this with assorted pieces, drumsticks and breasts, so everyone was happy at the dinner table. I’m a drumstick kinda girl, Matthew is a breast kinda boy (too easy, going to ignore) so when we both get our chicken of choice then it’s a happy night.
When I saw that Dean’s Dip now had a Buffalo Ranch flavor I knew I had to do something with it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great for just dipping chips and broccoli florets in, but I wanted to take a step further. The flavor of the dip tastes like spicy buffalo wings, so what better than to use it on some chicken? What I came up with is using the dip as a coating for the chicken to marinade in, this really is going to help in the flavor department. Then after a few hours, I coat it in some Italian bread crumbs for that crunch and then into the oven it goes.
It’s such a simple meal to make, one that I’ll definitely keep coming back to for dinner time. I can totally see this start being a weekly dinner for us and for you… as I totally invited you over. If you’d like to try this dip look for it in the dairy section at your local grocer. Why not try Dean’s Dip at parties, special occasions or just everyday snacking? And buy 2 because you’re going to want more.
One of my fondest memories as a kid was Pizza Hut.
Remember Pizza Hut’s BOOK IT program where they talked students into reading as a activity in return for free pizza? If there’s one way to get kids into reading, it’s pizza. I’m totally serious. When I found out the more reading I did meant more pizza, I turned into a library monster. One of my life achievements is winning my city’s Winter Reading Contest. I received a picture in the newspaper with my gold medal in one hand, a book in another. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well it was because it meant pizza!
My parents would sometimes surprise me while I was in middle school by picking me up when school was over and taking me to Pizza Hut for dinner on Fridays. I was pretty pumped because this meant pizza and their bread sticks which I loved. Also, total highlight but one time they picked me up and surprised me with a black velvet hat with a red plaid flower on it, just like my hero Blossom wore.
Wasn’t she just the coolest?
So back to bread sticks. We are big pizza eaters in this house and always love a few bread sticks on the side to dip in additional marinara sauce. Buying frozen bread sticks is quick, but one night I was craving home made bread sticks so I made these. If you have any left over (good luck) they are equally delicious the following day.
Oh, our furry critters, they’re just so special to us.
Our beloved feisty FiFi Bofinkles is feeling under the weather right now and it’s breaking my heart. When our pets are sick we just want to take care of them. We want to tell them to tell us what hurts, if they know what caused it, and they really need to eat because it’s important. Most of the time they just stare at you.
Here’s how it went down:
Saturday night around 8PM: FiFi Bofinkles threw up. It was clear liquid and I didn’t think much of it as cats throw up.
Saturday night: She went into the litter box, peed and then got out of there quick. This was a big warning sign as 1) Bofinkles is a crazy litter box cleaner, she leaves no litter piece untouched. 2) I was in the shower and she always stays in the bathroom with me.
Saturday late night: I came into the bedroom and she was already in her sleeping spot right above my pillow. This was the biggest warning sign to me as Bofinkles never comes to bed before me, ever. I lay down and then a few minutes later she will walk into the bedroom, I’ll call her name, she’ll lick my hand, jump up, push my Kindle out of my hand and then demand 8 thousand kisses before finally laying down.
When I finally came to sleep I nuzzled up to her ready for our nightly bedtime kisses, but she didn’t react. I rubbed behind her neck where she loves it and always does a big stretch for me to then get her belly, but she didn’t react. I called Matthew in right away and told him she didn’t seem right. He said she seemed fine, I told him she wasn’t fine and that she never ever ignores me. It’s pretty amazing how close we are that I picked up her feeling sick so quickly. It’s like she knew all the signs to give me and I was there to receive them. Then we noticed she kept opening and closing her mouth, licking her lips, whipping her tail. Matthew then agreed that she definitely was not ok. We laid with her and I begun to worry about her, like a cat Mom does. As many of you guys know, we lost Essy almost 2 months to the day so I began to quickly fear for the worse even though it was uncalled for. It was just the way she was moving her mouth was what Essy did when she was saying goodbye to us, and it just all hit me so hard. We slept that night, with me cuddled up to her, getting not much sleep as I constantly woke up, rubbed up and checked on her.
Sunday morning came and Bofinkles was still the same. The last time anyone saw her eating was Friday night so it was a full 24 hours without food or water. I called the Vet as soon as they opened. They said they had no open appointments but I could walk in, there would probably just be a wait. Ok, that’s fine, off into a cab I went with Bofinkles.
Have you heard the sounds of a cat mixed with cab dispatching? It’s quite a remix.
So we got to the vet and as soon as we arrived a vet nurse came out to help. No wait, you aren’t no nurse…..
Also want to note here that Bofinkles did not hiss at this cat, she only hisses at her sister Xanadu.
I only had to wait about 30 minutes which was nice, even though the vet office was popping with sick walk-ins that morning. After a quick examination (she never likes the temperature part) they couldn’t really spot anything physically wrong with her. I did notice she was a few ounces lighter than a few months ago though and the vet commented she seemed a bit light in the back (bodacious Bofinkles glares in response). Bofinkles was dehydrated though so they did give her IV fluids and just to be blunt, she was pissed off. Her Southern Belle (she’s from the South) attitude really shined here, growls and hisses and everything we love about her.
Because Bofinkles is 13 years old they then ran a series of blood and urine tests on her, which meant more pointy things in her body, which again, did not please her. Her test results would be back in 24 hours. This series of tests is a Senior Screening and checks things like Blood Count, White Blood Cells, Red Blood Cells, Kidney and Liver values, blood sugar, URI inflammation, Cancerous cells, etc. You know, all the most terrifying things.
RESULTS: AS I WAS WRITING THIS POST HER VET CALLED, ALL THINGS LOOK GREAT AND NORMAL. THANK GOODNESS! *KISSES BOFINKLES A MILLION TIMES*
Which leaves us with… what is wrong with her?
It’s now been 48 hours with no food or water. I have tried to tempt her with every type of food and treat possible. Her favorite sandwich, a bowl of noodles, cheese, every type of soft food she loves, greenie treats, etc… all a failure. She seems to want to sniff the food now, but won’t eat it. I have a tea cup full of water and a plate of bread crumbs (a favorite) next to her, just in case she gets hungry. The vet is leaving me a appetite stimulant to pick up from the office later today.
Then the Vet asked me if we had a kitten, which big news that I didn’t announce yet, WE DO. His name is Goblin and he is glorious but more about that later. She said that perhaps his fecal matter could have caused Bofinkles to be sick which would be a reason why she had very wet stool this morning, but then I reminded the vet that we took the kitten to them last week for a check up exam and fecal test and everything came back negative. So she suggested I bring a fecal sample of every single cat in, which is just going to be a adventure to get. I guess I’ll be on bathroom duty for the next 24 hours.
I set up a little Bohemian blanket spot for Bofinkles and me to lay, but every time I leave I find Brother Bear checking on her. He’s just the sweetest boy ever, honestly.
A positive is that this afternoon she seems more responsive to talking to her. If I call her name, she will look, if I kiss her she will raise her head. She also appeared down by my desk, so I put her on my lap and there she gave me a handful of sweet head butt kisses which is what we do together and that basically warmed my heart with happiness.
So right now she lays behind my laptop, that’s her spot. I’m hoping by the end of the night we can get some food in her… wish her luck!
I’ll be sure to keep you guys updated on her, I just want a healthy Bofinkles back!
I think it’s Spring…
I think it’s Spring…
I think it’s Spring..
Ok totally not Spring. On Thursday it was freezing out, I was shivering while walking to the store! The sunshine is pretty mean to tease me with it’s rays and hopes of garden green while throwing miserable coldness to freeze off my ears.
Example of Not Spring, me in layers. What part of my body always is the coldest? My thighs freeze first, but that’s a whole other story.
But there’s hope at the end of the Winter rainbow, do you see Spring? Do you see it? Look for the green grass, the bushy vegetables, look for me waving my arms at you!
And even more Spring hope? Taking a walk to the other side of our loft to check out our seedlings.
All of our seeds have come up, there’s a quiet a variety of veggies happening here.
Matthew always gets most excited for the onions. I’m always stuck taking these onions apart which is a timely process but I do it out of love for the onions.. and Matthew.
And there’s the beloved broccoli and cauliflower, two of my favorite vegetables to grow (don’t tell the others). I am craving fresh broccoli from the roof, so the time where I can cut it and throw it right in my basket cannot come soon enough!
Want to see how little they were just 3 weeks ago? I love seeing them grow!
And the kale? It’s totally ready. Kale is always ready.
Some of you guy have commented that you don’t grow from seeds and you just buy the plant at your local nursery, but if you really want to save money (think about it: 1 tomato plant: $4.00, one pack of tomato seeds that last you multiple years and can grow you 50 plants: $2.00) you should try to grow from seeds. Besides the economical value, you will feel like a total garden mother (or father) when you see these seedlings pop through your potting mix. And when they grow big and strong and you cut them off the plant and eat them for dinner, you will feel totally awesome and totally horrible because you just ate your child. Oh, the circle of life.
Tips for growing from seeds:
Plan! Read the back of the seed packet to figure out your calendar you definitely need to plan ahead of time. It always feels silly for us to start seedlings in January when it’s snowing, but once you do it a few times you’ll have your calendar dates ready to go every single year.
We use a quality potting mix, like Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix. Our entire garden is almost completely container based so knowing that you need to use potting mix for containers, you need to start your seedlings out the same way. That way when you transplant the seedling from indoors to your big container (to get big and strong!) the potting mix already matches. You want to make sure your potting mix is also environmentally safe as you will be digesting these veggies, so a potting mix like this is great for herbs and vegetables to grow.
Afraid of over watering? Then get a self watering seedling kit (they are sold at your local garden/home store right near the potting mix and seeds). This kit will help keep the right amount of moisture so you water just right.
Adjust your growing lights as the seedlings begin to get taller. When they’re starting out your light will be fairly close to them, but as they grow, you will have to raise the light. Don’t raise the light too tall as you don’t want your seedlings to get leggy and be begging for light.
Want to get your seedlings ready for the wind? Put a fan on them. This will get them prepped for the windy weather (especially like we get on the roof!)
If you’re keeping up to date with my Seed Calendar you’ll see that we have some upcoming dates:
Sugar Snap Peas will be planted directly into the garden soon.
Tomatoes and Pepper seeds will be planted inside in a few weeks.
And then after that we really start to move outside with transplanting. With the cold weather we’ve been having this year it appears all the dates will be moved back a week or two.
Also, I’ve been busy organizing the recipe section on Brooklyn Farm Girl and made a new section specifically for Garden recipes. Anything I make with our garden harvest is featured here, from pumpkins to strawberries to spinach and of course plenty of tomato sauce recipes.
First thing I’m going to make with our garden broccoli after throwing in many pieces straight into my mouth? My Chinese Takeout Chicken and Broccoli has become a BFG reader favorite so I’m happy to see so many of you have tried and loved it!
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I had a donut. Are you that way too?
I have a bit of a sweet tooth that I’ve always battled, basically my eyes tell me to eat all sugar treats in front of me. Most recently I broke open a bag of Halloween Oreos that I have been saving. Do you want to know what is the most depressing thing about these delicious cookies? They’re 100 calories, a cookie. My heart breaks just thinking about that. These cookies are so good I’d like to eat 6, not 1. And then there’s my middle of the night chocolate kisses I have been eating. I found a bag of kisses in the back of my cabinet and suddenly I feel like I need to eat multiple ones when I wake up during the night. Do you hear someone opening a plastic bag at 4AM in the morning? Don’t worry, it’s just me, standing in the dark, eating kisses, while cats circle me because they think it’s time to play. Then with chocolate melting in my mouth, I make my way back to bed. Horrible, aren’t I? Do you have a sweet right now that you are misbehaving with?
What else do I love? These peanut butter donuts with vanilla frosting. I had it in my head I wanted to start baking more with peanut butter so these sweets were made. I’m so happy I made this choice, the peanut butter is a great addition and it sure makes a filling donut. These would be pretty perfect for breakfast too. Start out your day with a donut, talk about a reason to wake up in the morning!
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So here’s the situation. You were really busy with work this week, time got the best of you, your schedule got changed a few times, and you’re about to kick back for the weekend. Suddenly you realize it’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend which means that party that you totally agreed to bring a snack to a few weeks ago is happening. You look on Pinterest and although those custom shamrock glitter icing cookies look great, you’re feeling a bit exhausted and now overwhelmed. Take a deep breath, I got some Duane Reade seasonal ideas for you.
Let’s make it easy green for St. Patrick’s Day.
Not everything has to be complex or require a bunch of special ingredients for the holidays. In fact I stopped by my local Duane Reade and picked up multiple things that are totally in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit without any work needed.
I haven’t had Rolo’s since I was a kid so picking up a bag made me feel pretty nostalgic quickly. What do these caramels in milk chocolate look like in their wrapper? Little pieces of gold! What leprechaun can resist some treasure at the end of the rainbow? Put these out on your table and watch people come collect their milk chocolate gold.
Need other candy options? The candy aisle has so many green gummy ideas too!
This is such a easy trick! Get some chip dip, like this French Onion Dip, and throw a few squirts of green food dye (a little goes a long way) in it.
Mix it around a little bit and you’ll be left with a festive green chip dip that everyone loves! Arrange a bunch of different potato chips around the dip and let people dip away! This is also a great idea for a small personal snack tray.
Other Ideas thanks to #DRStPattys and #CollectiveBias:
Want a festive dinner for St. Patrick’s Day? Easy. Instead of making your regular pasta, substitute spinach pasta for it. This will give you a nice looking green dinner dish.
Need a dessert? Get some Lime gelatin and create personal size cups of it, or be even more creative and get a clover mold to pour it into.
Want a green drink? Grab some Lemon Lime sparkling water. I love Nice! variety of lemon lime as it’s 0 calories and delicious.
So fresh and so delicious delicious.
So fresh and so sweet sweet.
So fresh and easy easy.
So fresh and so good good.
And then I won’t continue with the possible “So Fresh, So Clean” lyrics as not to offend anyone.
Isn’t Outkast the best though? Quick, don’t think about it, favorite Outkast song? I’m going with B.O.B and the addicting Hey Ya! because every single time I hear it I just want to shake it and behave on my baddest behavior.
This is totally not how I saw this recipe post going but once I start I can’t stop.
Ok so this post is about delicious, sweet, easy and good Pineapple Juice. Oh and it’s so fresh too.
A few days ago I was craving pineapple juice like crazy. I wrote on my chalkboard “PINEAPPLE JUICE” a million times with arrows pointing to it. Sometimes I need a big reminder. So to the store I went, would I get pineapple juice in a can or a fresh pineapple? A beautiful big fresh pineapple of course! And best of all, it was on sale for $2.50. Goodness, pineapple why are you so beautiful and why are you so darn delicious?
This recipe is so incredibly basic but because I can’t get enough of this juice I had to share it. When I make pineapple juice I love to add a little bit more sweetness to it, so in this case I went with throwing in a Fuji apple as well. The ratio is 1 pineapple to 1 apple. The great thing about juices is you can add whatever you want to it. Why not try bananas, or kale, or collards, or oranges? All those combinations sound awesome. This juice was able to fill me a few glasses and it was easily gone in a few days because I could not keep my hands off it.
Enjoy this juice, it’s great for breakfast or for a afternoon snack (my preferred way of enjoying it!).
Sometimes I want a good soup for dinner, you know what I mean? Just some good pasta, plenty of vegetables and enough broth for me to slurp through dinner. This Hot and Sour Udon Noodle Soup definitely delivers that!
I made this soup a few nights ago and I loved every bit of it, especially how long it takes to make. Want some delicious Chinese soup in less than 15 minutes? Done. You just throw in your soft doughy udon noodles, your vegetables (want more vegetables? pile them in!), your broth and some seasoning and your soup is done. Can we also talk about how delicious udon noodles are? I found this pack of noodles in my local grocery and immediately knew they were destined to be in a soup.
I love meatless dinner nights although Matthew loves when dinner begins with “chicken” or ends in “burger” so I’m always happy when meat eaters and non meat eaters can enjoy dinner together and feel “full” afterwards. One of my favorite cookbooks right now is this 125 Best Vegan Recipes which I’ve been obsessing over. Other recipes in the book I can’t wait to make?
Baked Portobello Mushrooms
Broccoli and Red Peppers with Lime Ginger Soy Sauce
Baked Beans and Rice Casserole
Asian Vegetable Turnovers
This cookbook is a gardener’s dream and I know I’ll be turning to it quite often once late Spring and Summer hits. Harvest time!
1 1⁄3 cups snow peas, ends trimmed and cut (can also use frozen peas)
1 can baby corn
1 bunch chopped bok choy
3 green onions (white and green parts) coarsely chopped
1⁄4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1⁄4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 1⁄2 teaspoon sesame oil
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 lb udon noodles
In a large pot, combine vegetable stock, snow peas, baby corn, bok choy, green onions, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Add noodles. Increase heat to medium and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until noodles are tender.
For a more heartier soup you can add broccoli florets, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts or 1 inch cubes of tofu. Add this when you add the bok choy.
Last week at Penn Station commuters got a bit of a surprise when on their daily commute they were treated to some Life is good Coffee! And if you keep reading, 2 lucky blog readers are going to get a coffee treat too!
Life is good is a clothing company that has one goal: Spread Optimism. Don’t you just love that, and don’t you think we all can do a better job of spreading some positivity? I’ve written about this before but honestly just the smallest action can really turn someone’s day from bad to good. I’ve been in one of those depressing moods then someone on the street or the subway says or does something (as simple as holding open a door) and suddenly I’m feeling better. Optimism can do that for you.
Life is good just teamed up with Smucker’s to bring some yumminess to your morning time coffee. Not only is the coffee fairly delicious, but Life is good is helping out kids in the process as it donates 10% of it’s profits to helping children in need.
Life is good Coffee comes in five flavors:
Light Hearted, a light roast ground coffee
Happy Medium, a medium roast ground coffee
Dark & Daring, a dark roast ground coffee
S’more to Love, a s’more flavored ground coffee
Banana Bread Bliss, a banana bread flavored ground coffee
I can tell you that the S’more to Love will change your life. You’ll thank me later. I wish you could smell this, you would faint, but then I would help you back up, and you’d be ok. See, I’m full of sunshine and support!
Because you guys rule, 2 of you are going to win a pretty amazing Life is good prize package that includes:
1 coffee mug
5 bags of Coffee
1 woman’s shirt (it’s so soft!)
1 men’s shirt
Post a comment saying hi or any other positive thoughts you have! Cat discussion is totally always positive.
Winners must be US based.
Contest ends March 16th, 2014.
It’s March, that means soon it will be April, and then after that it’s pure green garden season.
Need some inspiration? I got you covered. Recently I was asked to review Judy Condon’s book “Simply Country Gardens”. The book is 500 color photographs from 21 family homes in Georgia, North Carolina, Illinois, Ohio, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland.
The book really is a true “picture book” as from beginning to end it’s full of collages on every page from the gardens. In the back of the book you can find little blurbs on each family and more about their green yards and farmhouses.
The houses are beautiful, the gardens are lush, they scream “Simply Country” down to every single ornament you’ll see (you’ll see many decorations!).
I do wish there would have been at least one urban landscape garden featured. I know the book is titled “Simply Country Gardens” but that doesn’t mean there aren’t gardens in the country that are using urban gardening techniques. Also I would have loved to seen some more vegetables growing along side these gardens. Being a urban gardener, I’m more into practical functionality than ornamental decorations, so it’s nice sometimes to be able to see something a little different as I could be inspired to take some of these country ideas and then put a big city spin on it. I’m hoping in Judy’s next book she will branch out into Urban Gardens. Speaking of… stop on over Judy!
So tell me, did you get any inspiration from these gardens? Let me know your ideas!
Lucky Charms is my childhood. Do you have a cereal that is like that?
You might have seen on Instagram a few weekends ago where I was having my Saturday morning breakfast with my beloved Lucky Charms. Rewind the clock 20 years and you’d see the same picture, except I grew a few inches and have a few more cats.
Do you notice the marshmallows are all green? I know, adorable right? It’s because this year Lucky the Leprechaun is turning 50 years old (his Birthday is March 17) so they created a limited edition green Lucky Charms! Are you like me and can just eat the marshmallows by the handful? They’re addicting.
Want some marshmallow history? I got it for you. Red balloons? A rainbow? The blue diamond? These are childhood memories!
To get in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day and to show some yummy green love, why not use Lucky Charms to make something not expected, like a Rainbow Martini? This is a adult Martini here, but why not be creative and make a juice martini for the kids? Little Sally can have a orange juice with marshmallows crushed on the cup lid while Mom boozes it up along side her on a Monday afternoon. Cheers.
Do you love Chop Suey in the can? I’m totally guilty of loving it. I’m also totally guilty of eating that sauce by the spoonful. Goodness, it’s delicious.
If you love it you can probably agree that it’s not the most healthy for you. Low in calories, sure, but not exactly the best homemade ingredients that a dinner can offer you, so I set out to make a homemade version of La Choy’s Chop Suey.