Cake Batter Granola Bars
How To Get Your Sick Pets Healthy and Back to Wrestling!
Let’s plant our Spring Seedlings!
Fudgy Kidney Bean Brownies
Top Tips For Keeping Pesky Squirrels Away!
How to Grow Radishes and Carrots in Containers
Broccoli Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Baked Kale Meatballs and Is it Spring? Are you sure?
How’s Baby Bofinkles Doing? She’s living the Goodlife!
RoC Skin Care Giveaway Worth $143!
Childhood Summers at the Jersey Shore
How to Build a Square Foot Garden Box With Kids
Pasta al Gratin Macaroni and Cheese
How To Get Your Containers Ready for Spring + Hardening Off Seedlings
Chicken and Cherry Tomato Toss Stir-Fry
Lorena Garcia Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Review
Want to See Puerto Rico?
Growing Snap Peas for Container Gardening
How to Get Cat Lady Nails
Game Of Thrones Sweet Oatcakes

Cake Batter Granola Bars

Cake Batter Granola Bars that taste just like birthday cake and are topped with chocolate chips and sprinkles! This is such a easy recipe, that even kids can help with!

One of my absolute favorite afternoon snacks is a granola bar to add some fuel, but who says your granola bars can’t be sweet too?

Basing this on my Chocolate Chip Granola Bars and Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars recipes I wanted to create a granola bar that was filling with oats but tasted more like a pastry.  To be exact I wanted it to taste like cake batter because shouldn’t everything?  Alongside the other ingredients I added in some dry cake mix which was a great partner to pair with the oats when the wet ingredients are added in to make everything stick together.

Not only do these definitely taste like cake batter, but they smell just like cake too.   Isn’t it just wonderful?  You can totally be fun with the sprinkle colors too.  Maybe add red and green for Christmas, or bright yellow for Summer time picnic treats! 

Next time you’re craving granola bars or cake batter, give these a shot and let me know what you think!

Birthday Cake Batter Granola Bars that taste just like cake and are topped with chocolate chips and sprinkles!

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How To Get Your Sick Pets Healthy and Back to Wrestling!


I hope everyone found some help in my 4 Ways to Pill a Cat Post I made last week. If you haven’t checked it out, go ahead.  I hope one of the methods work great for you!

I know how difficult it is dealing with a sick pet, so below I wanted to share some tips for taking care of  a pet who has a strict medicine schedule.    If you have multiple pets on medicines I know how hard it can be to keep track of who took what and when.  So here’s some things I do to make sure all our furry critters get their pills.

Each of our cats right now take 1 Fluconazole pill a day.  Because they are different sizes in weight some of them have different MG in terms of size.  That means that I have to be extra careful when grabbing their pill bottle to make sure that take the right pill.  That means that I have to make sure I physically give them the right pill and that also means I have to be sure that if I’m giving it to them in soft food, that they eat it… and someone doesn’t come up next to them and steal it.  Have you ever had to feed 4 cats at the same time?  Imagine being the most popular girl in the world, it’s a great feeling.
Easter Dinner.  #cats #cat #easter #dinner #catlady #family #kitty #persiancat #mainecoon #siamese #calico

To keep track of the pill bottle situation, we always mark the top of the bottles with the letter of their first name.   So when I go into the medicine cabinet I don’t have to spend a minute reading everyone’s bottle to find who’s who is who, this makes it quick and easy.   Making names on the bottles bigger is great for pet sitters as well. Right now I’m out of town so we have a pet sitter stopping by daily to give them their pills.   I’m always nervous when someone else has to give our cats pills so this makes me at ease more.  Since we need to make sure everyone takes their pill we always make a chart on the chalkboard too.  Every single time someone gets their pill we mark it down.

Since the cats get their pills at different times of the day as they have different schedules this makes it easy to remember that yes, Goblin got his at 10AM, but Brother did not get his and it’s now 8PM.  Time to track Brother down and give him that pill.
Brother Magestic Man

One easy thing that I found out is that lots of my cats prescriptions can actually be filled at my local Walgreens, which is the same pharmacy I use.  Doctors and veterinarians commonly prescribe the same medications for people and animals so Walgreens pharmacists can actually fill human-analogous pet prescriptions.  How much easier does it get to be able to pick up your own prescription and your pets at the same time?  Our vet is not that close so that makes a immediate refill not the easiest thing to get, but Walgreens is 3 blocks a way which means I just have to throw my shoes on, grab my wallet and keys and go.  Also I noticed another bonus at refilling your pets prescriptions at Walgreens pharmacy and that it’s sometimes cheaper than your veterinarian office.   This is because the markups are higher and there’s usually a dispensing fee.  Along with using your Balance Rewards card this is a great way to save because we all know a trip to the vet is not a cheap event.

Because I manage all my own personal prescriptions and refills online I also love that Walgreens Online Prescription Management allows me to add my pets right on the online portal. That means that I’m 2 clicks away from adding each pet to  my account.  
Also if you don’t want to use the online portal Walgreens has a mobile app where you can track all prescriptions there too.  Walgreens is great with monthly reminders to refill so this makes sure I always have their medicine on hand when they need it, with plenty of time to spare in case the pharmacy is out of stock and has to order it.   The way I do this is by getting email reminders that I can hit reply and send directly to the pharmacy.

So go on and get your pets healthy! With healthy cats that means they can get back to enjoying their nap and play time.. or in our house that means plenty of wrestling time!

 Boys… they all love to wrestle!  

 #WalgreensRx #CollectiveBias 

Let’s plant our Spring Seedlings!

Well we had a storm scare but the garden is officially up and running! Our hearty Spring vegetables have been planted marking this the official start of the gardening season!  

On April 1 we planted all of our broccoli, cauliflower, pak choi, onion, kale and lettuce seedlings which just sprinkled the empty garden with green! I love this time of the year where you watch the empty garden transition into a green wonderland, cheering on every single seedling to grow big and strong!    When we transition the seedlings into Spring we always spend a few days to harden them off, and then we spend one long afternoon planting everyone in their new home. 

With your instructions for how to build a container and how to plant a raised bed garden box all read already (I hope!), alongside your seeds you’ve been growing for months (you have been, right?) then we’re ready to push the garden into Spring and wait for baskets full of harvest!

First let’s say hello to our baby garden beauties (aka the seedlings).

First, we have our 12 broccoli seedlings! 
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_5

Oh they’re just adorable when they’re so little.
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_6

Then we have our 12 cauliflower seedlings, equally as cute (of course).  Note that they are in sets of 4 as we will grow 4 plants in each container.
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_7

Then we have 6 kale plants which I always get so excited to watch grow.   We’ll be planting these in the long container but I’m spoiling the pictures below by telling you this already.
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_8

Well, we were only going to grow 4 lettuce plants but we ended up with 8 because we couldn’t kill of any of the seedlings.  We are horrible at killing off seedlings, it hurts our feelings so bad.
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_9

There’s a ton of onions, so many I forget.
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_10

And there’s 6 pak choi plants which are just gorgeous with their purple and green colors!
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_11

Now let’s take a look at each as we plant…

Hi broccoli.  Are you as amazed as I am to know a little seed turns into this which turns into a full plant producing a giant head of broccoli?  I’m like a broken record about this but it’s just really special to think about this and watch them grow.
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_12

Broccoli baby, you are growing to grow so big!
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_13

Cauliflower you guys are going to grow big too!  When planting, we cut 4 X’s in the plastic and then plant in them.
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_14

Broccoli and cauliflower is all planted!
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_15

In the first few weeks when we’re unsure of the nights might get too cold we’ll keep them under the greenhouse.  We always put filled water bottles inside the greenhouse.  The water bottles will warm up with the sun during the day, keeping the warmth to last through the night heating up the seedlings.
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_16

The kale was planted next to it’s 6 older brother kale plants.  We found that the kale grows much better in this long wooden container than in a plastic container so we’re going back to that this year.  This box is located in front of a big wall so it helps keeping them in shadow during the Summer, keeping the roots cooler.
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_17

The onions are always crazy looking. Each long green piece is a onion, so we have to separate them all to grow individually.   To do this you just carefully shake them out, while gently (!) pulling it away.  After a while you’ll get quick with this, it’s a technique you’ll learn to love! 
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_19

I’m holding what’s going to be about 6 onions just between my fingers.  Awesome, right?
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_18

Onions are planted!  There’s 2 batch of them this year, but here’s one of them.  In the back of this box 2 rows of sugar snap peas are growing.
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_20

Lettuce is planted! Off to the left some carrots will grow and to the back more sugar snap peas! This is going to be a happy box!
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_21

Now I just have to figure out what I’m going to do with 8 lettuce plants…!
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_22

High 5 garden boy, now our garden is ready to grow! (We don’t plan on matching.. I swear!)
Long day of rooftop farming. Also we don't plan on matching, it just happens. #vegetables #healthyeating #garden #gardening #urbanfarming #urbangarden #containergarden #harvest #brooklyn #couple #gardenchat #farmer #rooftopgarden

Have you planted your seedlings yet?


Fudgy Kidney Bean Brownies

This Fudgy KIDNEY BEAN Brownies recipe is the BEST!  These brownies are easy to make, moist and made with red beans to make them more healthy!  They have a thick chocolate frosting on top that everyone will love!  This is a sneaky way to get your kids to eat more vegetables!  Trust me, everyone will think they’re the best brownies ever!

A few days ago I was craving brownies (when aren’t I)?    Because I always love some adding some vegetables to sweets, I went into the cabinet to grab a can of black beans to make my favorite black bean brownies but sadness hit, I was all out of black beans.  So then I sat on the floor, pantry door open, and begun to think.. could I use another bean?  So I grabbed a can of dark red kidney beans and these Fudgy Kidney Bean Brownies were made!

This Fudgy KIDNEY BEAN Brownies recipe is the BEST! These brownies are easy to make, moist and made with red beans to make them more healthy! They have a thick chocolate frosting on top that everyone will love! This is a sneaky way to get your kids to eat more vegetables! Trust me, everyone will think they're the best brownies ever!

These brownies are incredibly fudgy, incredibly rich, incredibly chocolaty and made out of magic.  Did I sell you on them yet? The kidney beans worked as a perfect substitution for the black beans.   This recipe is now one of my favorite brownie recipes that I can’t keep my paws off of!  

This Fudgy KIDNEY BEAN Brownies recipe is the BEST!  These brownies are easy to make, moist and made with red beans to make them more healthy!  They have a thick chocolate frosting on top that everyone will love!  This is a sneaky way to get your kids to eat more vegetables!  Trust me, everyone will think they're the best brownies ever! 

This Fudgy KIDNEY BEAN Brownies recipe is the BEST!  These brownies are easy to make, moist and made with red beans to make them more healthy!  They have a thick chocolate frosting on top that everyone will love!  This is a sneaky way to get your kids to eat more vegetables!  Trust me, everyone will think they're the best brownies ever!

Because I love double chocolate,  I added a thick layer of brownie frosting to the top of these that set perfectly.  When you take a bite you’re just going to fall into chocolate heaven.  So go ahead and make these….. I’ll meet you there!

This Fudgy KIDNEY BEAN Brownies recipe is the BEST!  These brownies are easy to make, moist and made with red beans to make them more healthy!  They have a thick chocolate frosting on top that everyone will love!  This is a sneaky way to get your kids to eat more vegetables!  Trust me, everyone will think they're the best brownies ever!

This Fudgy KIDNEY BEAN Brownies recipe is the BEST!  These brownies are easy to make, moist and made with red beans to make them more healthy!  They have a thick chocolate frosting on top that everyone will love!  This is a sneaky way to get your kids to eat more vegetables!  Trust me, everyone will think they're the best brownies ever!

Pin for later:
This Fudgy KIDNEY BEAN Brownies recipe is the BEST! These brownies are easy to make, moist and made with red beans to make them more healthy! They have a thick chocolate frosting on top that everyone will love! This is a sneaky way to get your kids to eat more vegetables! Trust me, everyone will think they're the best brownies ever!

Looking for more brownie recipes? Try Vanilla Brownies or Black Bean Brownies!

Fudgy Kidney Bean Brownies

This Fudgy KIDNEY BEAN Brownies recipe is the BEST!  These brownies are easy to make, moist and made with red beans to make them more healthy!  They have a thick chocolate frosting on top that everyone will love!  This is a sneaky way to get your kids to eat more vegetables!  Trust me, everyone will think they're the best brownies ever!

Course Dessert
Servings 12


For the brownies

  • 1 15 oz can of dark kidney beans - drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup creamy regular or chocolate peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the frosting

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the brownies

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor. Pulse until smooth and creamy.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips and mix with spoon so they are equally distributed.
  4. Grease 8x8 pan and pour brownie mixture in it. Take a spatula to smooth out the top.
  5. Bake the brownies for 16-18 minutes and remove from oven.

For the frosting

  1. Combine milk, butter and powdered sugar together in a saucepan over medium heat, bringing to a boil. Allow to cook at a rolling boil for 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
  2. Add chocolate chips and vanilla to saucepan and stir until the chips are melted.
  3. Pour immediately over warm brownies.
  4. Put in refrigerator to allow brownies to set quickly.
  5. Enjoy!

Recipe Video



Top Tips For Keeping Pesky Squirrels Away!

By the comments left on BFG I know some of you are battling with squirrels in your birdfeeder and gardens.     The one good thing about growing on the roof is that I am away from all pests and rodents so no squirrel chasing for me, but don’t worry, I’m still here to help!


When I saw this book “Outwitting Squirrels” I knew it would be a perfect topic on BFG.    Also, how great is the cover of the book?  Kinda hard to hate on a squirrel when they seem so dapper, isn’t it?   Outwitting Squirrels offers 101 Cunning Stratagems to take down those dastardly backyard dwellers once and for all—from the practical: an advanced rating system of which squirrel-proof feeder to buy, to the facetious: “Dig a moat around your feeder and fill it with piranha.” And just in case you start getting pulled to the dark side, Adler provides a helpful chapter on “What to Do if You Think Squirrels Are Cute.”   I’m totally guilty of trying to get squirrels to come to our garden as a kid because I’m a animal lover and my dad is totally guilty for yelling at me when the squirrels would steal from the birdfeeder. 

Outwitting Squirrels High Res

Bill Adler, the author, was kind enough to write out some tips for you guys, so let’s take a look at them!

Top tips for keeping pesky squirrels out of your bird feeder this spring:

1. Get your neighbor a birdfeeder. Seriously. Chance are that your neighbor won’t be as good as you at outwitting squirrels, and your neighborhood squirrels will choose the easiest feeder to attack — your neighbor’s. 

2. If you can’t encourage your neighbor to feed squirrels, um birds, then put out a second feeder with nuts. Make it easy for squirrels to get to, and chances are that they will leave your birdfeeder alone.

3. Volunteer to care for a friend’s dog. Let it hang out in your yard. I guarantee that no squirrels will be at your feeder while that dog is around.

4. Consider setting up a temporary office, rest area, play space near your birdfeeder. While squirrels can get accustomed to humans and lose their fear of us, they generally only do that when we feed them.

5. If your feeder hangs from a tree limb, use a thinner string so that the feeder sways more. The more your feeder moves, the more difficult it is for the squirrels.

6. If you use a dome covered feeder, replace the dome every now and then. As the dome become scratched from squirrels trying to penetrate it, it becomes easier for them to hang on to.

7. I like the feeders that have weighted doors — the kind where a squirrel’s weight shuts the door. Squirrels can work in teams to get into those feeders, but it’s not easy for them.

8. Use a smaller feeder. Some squirrels feel safe when they are inside a feeder and the smaller the feeder, the less of a chance they have of feeling that needed security.

9. Put some balloons around the feeder in places where squirrels must pass. Not only are balloons a good barrier, but when the pop, squirrels are guaranteed to run away. 

10. Cats. Lots of cats. You’ll need a few because of the tendency of cats to take naps. Several cats guarantees that one will always be on duty. 


 Tell me, do you have to deal with squirrels? Do you have any horror stories of them in your yard or garden?

If you’d like a book that will make you chuckle while helping you in the process then check out Outwitting Squirrels.  Reviews are calling it “A masterpiece on squirrel strategy.”  so check it out!  It also has great comparison charts reviewing birdfeeders, so double check it out!

How to Grow Radishes and Carrots in Containers

Oh hello rooftops of Brooklyn, look at how beautiful and empty you are! Think of all the fresh veggies that could be grown here! Think of all the mouths that we could feed! Think of all the happiness harvesting would cause! One day I hope to look out and see all these rooftops full of luscious greens, but until then I’ll just keep on promoting…. Empty Rooftops

One of my favorite things to plant are carrots and radishes.  These are both easy to plant and we’ve always had success with getting a great yield, even in the Winter time.  Lots of people ask me what vegetables they should start out with in beginning gardens and I always suggest carrots and radishes.   Radishes are especially great for those new to gardening as they’re ready to pick in less than 30 days which is really helpful when it comes to needing support and motivation.  Once you pick your first homegrown radish, then I know you’ll be hooked more to experiment with new vegetables. 

How to Grow Radishes and Carrots in Containers

We always plant D’Avignon radishes which are a traditional variety from Southern France. They grow to be about 4 inches long (and oh so pretty!) and they have a crispy crunch with a bit of spice to them. I usually snack on them whole, put in salads or most often use them in fresh pasta dishes  full of other vegetables we harvest.   

So let’s get planting radishes, alright?

Note: Below I’m planting radishes but we plant carrots the exact same way.  So you can use this method to grow them both exactly the same.

Like our entire garden, the radishes get planted in a container.  I’ve had success with radishes growing in many sized containers, including small window boxes so don’t feel like you need something big to grow in.  This container is about 2×2 feet and will grow 25 radishes, so you really don’t need a lot of space to grow a bunch of radishes. First up, let’s get our potting mix ready with some plant food so these radishes are going to get fed.  Feeding your vegetables = big and healthy, so it’s important to fertilize. How to Plant Radishes and Carrots_3 

Because this is a smaller container I’m going to want to work the food plant into the potting mix with my hands to make sure it gets worked in good and doesn’t end up burning our plants once they’re planted.  For a container this size I use the amount I have in my hand and then another half of it.

First we’re going to sprinkle the plant food over the top of the potting mix.  How to Plant Radishes and Carrots_4

Then very lightly work it into the top 1 inch of the potting mix, making sure to evenly distribute it.   It’s a good idea to do this every Spring with your containers as the food lasts 2-3 months which is about how long carrots take.
  How to Plant Radishes and Carrots_5

Then you’ll start making your rows.  With a rooftop garden, we learn quickly to use all the space we have, so we’ll plant our radish seeds about 4 inches apart.  Planting them this close has never been a problem and gives them plenty of room to grow. How to Plant Radishes and Carrots_6

Then one by one they get planted.
 How to Plant Radishes and Carrots_1

I took these pictures a few days ago and already every single seed has come up, so again… radishes rule! How to Plant Radishes and Carrots_7

After you put your seeds in, then cover them up and press on the dirt above them to “lock them in”.  Then give them a little water. How to Plant Radishes and Carrots_8

In a few days you’ll see them all start to pop up. Within 2 weeks you’ll be seeing this.WP_20130512_023.jpg

Then around 3-4 weeks your radishes are going to begin popping out of the potting mix.  Your heart is going to pitter patter when you see them ready to be picked!

Broccoli Grilled Cheese Sandwich

 Today we’re going to give a makeover to our favorite childhood sandwich, The Grilled Cheese.

As a kid I would beg my Mom to make Grilled Cheese sandwiches for lunch and dinner.  When I wasn’t asking her to make them, I was ordering them at the diner served alongside a big spoonful of mashed potatoes.  Did you ever have grilled cheese and mashed potatoes? It’s the perfect combo, especially if there’s a bunch of gravy poured over your potatoes.

One night we were craving something different for dinner but wanted to use up some fresh broccoli we picked that was growing under the greenhouse.   After a quick broccoli roast, these sandwiches were made and enjoyed… very quickly!  Immediately after finishing his Matthew said “I want another!”.  Me too man, me too.

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Baked Kale Meatballs and Is it Spring? Are you sure?

It’s Spring, right?  Are you sure?  I mean snow and sleet storms happen when it was just 75 degrees a few days ago, right?  Wait.  What is going on?

Spring was here.  The sunshine was blasting.  I had my sunglasses on and short sleeves.  I was planning picnics in the park.  I was ready to get the tomatoes outside.  I was excited for walks for ice cream.  I took my mittens out of my bookbag.  Winter coat? No way, that was packed away.

Then Tuesday night came.  We were on our way home from the last regular season home Brooklyn Nets game (note: The Knicks killed us, but who cares, we’re going to the playoffs unlike you Knicks) when suddenly it just started sleeting and snowing.  We’re talking sleet that comes down and cuts you in the face.  We’re talking a storm where you get home and you have to throw your clothes right in the washer because you’re soaked.  We’re talking weather where there’s no way of not looking like a wet dog (note: I do not look cute like a dog does.  I look like a monster).  This all happened…. in Mid April!

So immediately worries set in for the garden.  Broccoli, Cauliflower, Bok Choy, Lettuce, Peas, Carrots, Radishes, Kale, Onions and more were already planted.   We were historically set to not go below freezing again and we were definitely set for not having snow again until Winter.  Then Mother Nature had to go out and have a bad day…

There’s not  much you can do to protect a garden in mid storm.  Yes, you can brave the sleet while getting soaked to throw on some fabric to protect them from the freezing temperatures (which is what we did), but there comes a time where you just have to hope the plants are going to be ok and just leave them be.    The wait is the worst feeling.    During the next morning we ventured to the roof to find our peas in snow, with more fabric being pressed into the plants due to snow weight on top.  



The kale didn’t look good.  The lettuce didn’t look great.  The sugar snap peas looked frozen.  The onions were knocked over.. but it was too early to tell as they still needed some afternoon sun to bounce back.
Kale, Sleet Snow Storm April 2014

Kale, Sleet Snow Storm April 2014_2

One thing was certain though, the kale had to be picked. If you guys remember, this kale was planted last Summer (!) and it somehow survived Winter (!) so in terms of how long it’s been planted, it was a real true survivor.  I was a bit bummed that this freak storm was the one to finally destroy it, but time was not on it’s side. Kale, Sleet Snow Storm April 2014_1

Kale, Sleet Snow Storm April 2014_4

So with my winter coat on with a somber heart (I’m so dramatic, I know) I picked all 6 kale plants.  These kale plants really grew fantastically and even though they were destroyed by the weather, it was close to time to pick them anyways as they were starting to flower.   I got pounds of kale off these plants and my entire bottom shelf of the refrigerator is now full of kale. 
Kale, Sleet Snow Storm April 2014_3

But first I had to take a dramatic photo of me with my baby kale and title it “Kale Mother” to post on Instagram.  I love my friend Avery’s comment: PAMALEESI: MOTHER OF KALES
“Kale Mother”, the story of a mother losing her kale plants in a freak sleet snow storm during Spring of 2014 when it was 70 degrees a few days ago.  #kale #rip #mother #artphotography #art #documentary #gardenchat #bluehair #manicpanic  #rooftop #NYC #Br


How did the other plants do after they thawed out? We think everything is ok.  A few leaves got burned by the frost, but the lettuce bounced back beautifully and the peas are still standing tall (alongside the onions).    Let’s take a collective sigh of relief as it could have been a real disaster with months of seedling planning ruined.   I guess we had a little luck saved! 

So now with a ton of kale.. what are we going to do?  I wanted to make something right away so I could use up a few full cups of kale, as I get a little stressed with too much kale!  We love our kale turkey meatballs, especially on a hoagie,  so I decided to make a double batch and put a spin on this recipe with mixing the meats.  This was the perfect solution because I got 1 dinner that night out of it, and 2-3 extra dinners to freeze.  Lately we’ve been craving meatballs with pasta but we’re too lazy to make them when hunger hits, so now they’re all ready to be eaten (after being defrosted!)

So let’s make some meatballs! First the kale was picked.  But first I had to weigh in. This year I’m going to keep track of how much we grow to see.  I’ve been telling myself to do this every year but this year I’m going to do it! (I hope..)
Kale, Sleet Snow Storm April 2014_6

 In my other meatballs recipe I usually pan fry them but I didn’t feel like babysitting them so I decided to bake them instead.   I loaded 2 cookie sheets full of meatballs!
Baked Kale Meatballs

These meatballs turned out beautifully! They were crisp on the outside, moist in the inside and full of flavor.    These might be some of the best meatballs I ever made so I was happy to see them made alongside our garden kale.  Having a bit of homegrown in every meal always makes it better, right?    Also these are going to make your home smell great.  When someone walked in our front door about 2 hours after baking they said “It smells so good in here!”.  It totally did.

Baked Kale Meatballs _1

Baked Kale Meatballs _2

Baked Kale Meatballs _4

Baked Kale Meatballs _3

 To freeze them, I separate them into meals and put in a freezer bag.  When it’s time to enjoy them, I’ll let them sit out for a bit to defrost, then warm them up to eat, or throw in a pot to cook alongside the pasta sauce.

Baked Kale Meatballs


Baked Kale Meatballs


  • 4 cups uncooked chopped fresh kale
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 pinches each of dried rosemary parsley and oregano
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 eggs


  1. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan over medium high heat. Add kale and spices. Cook until your kale is wilted.
  2. Put kale mixture and garlic into a food processor and chop it up. Add your turkey and egg and pulse until it's combined. Depending on food processor size you might have to do 2 batches.
  3. Form this mixture into 1-2 inch balls.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Line 2 cookie sheets with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray.
  6. Put meatballs on foil and cook 35-40 minutes or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees.
  7. Enjoy right away, or freeze for later.

Recipe Notes

Makes 30 meatballs.

Have a great weekend everyone!
How’s the weather where you are?  Is it finally Spring?

How’s Baby Bofinkles Doing? She’s living the Goodlife!


I have a shocker for you.  Are you ready?  I’m a cat lady! I know, you’re surprised and totally weren’t expecting it! I mean the cat nails, the cat clothing, the cat section on BFG, the cats in my banner up top, how my Instagram is full of our furry babies, how I really don’t want to talk politics at a dinner party but instead tell you the cutest thing that Brother Bear did last week , and how I’d love to talk brownies and cat food at the same time weren’t a giveaway to you, right?

I want to thank everyone for their well wishes on Baby Bofinkles a few weeks ago when she was feeling under the weather.   After a few days, she still wasn’t feeling that great, but then the Vet gave us a appetite stimulant and another G/I pill and she was back to being her fine bodacious bikini wearing self again.   Want to know a quick story? Ok, you do.  When Bofinkles was sick and wasn’t eating, I was pretty distraught.  She just would not eat anything and I started getting nervous.  After a rough phone call with her vet, I sat on the floor and cried pretty hard because I was frustrated and beyond worried as it was 3 whole days with no food.  As soon as I started crying, Bofinkles hopped down, rushed over to me, put her head on my shoulder and gave me the sweetest head butts.  Then she pushed my arm over and layed down in the nook where we stayed for a while after.  It was pretty heart warming as I think she understood how worried I was and she was saying “I’m Ok Mom”.  She was also probably saying “Get this lady to stop crying, I’m trying to sleep”.

This is a great place to talk about pilling your cats, have you ever tried?  Well you’re reading this so you’ve lived through it, but what a struggle right?  Xanadu is easy to do anything to, but Bofinkles and Brother… they are another story.  After many failed attempts, me crying on the floor begging for Bofinkles to take her pill, her running away from me every single time, we finally worked out a technique.  They sell pill poppers for pets, which is just a little pill gun, where you open their mouth and it shoots into the back the of their mouth.  After you shoot it in, then close their mouth, gently blow on their nose and gently rub their throat.  The air from the blowing and the soft caress from your throat rubs will cause them to swallow the pill.  Then tell them you love them, you’ll never pill them again, and then prepare yourself to do it again 12 or 24 hours later.  Bofinkles is a real Mama’s girl and is keen on biting Matthew so I actually pilled Bofinkles myself which I was pretty impressed by because the little lady from the South sure has got some spice in that attitude.  

I told FiFi Bofinkles how many people were sending her good wishes and asking about her.  I asked her if she could thank you guys and show you that she’s better.  This is how the conversation went.

Baby Bofinkles Update
Hey Bofinkles, you should tell everyone how you’re feeling and thank your new friends.

Baby Bofinkles Update_1
“What? Is it time for kiss?”

Baby Bofinkles Update_2
No Bofinkles, I want you to type something up.

Baby Bofinkles Update_3
Bofinkles, that’s not how you type.

Baby Bofinkles Update_4
Ok, Bofinkles that is not how you type either.

Baby Bofinkles Update_5
Ok, Bofinkles I’ll type it up. No Bofinkles, my hand is there to type, not support your head for the next 45 minutes.

Baby Bofinkles Update_6
Ok Bofinkles, one quick belly rub and then you have to type something up.

Baby Bofinkles Update_7
Oh Bofinkles.. you’re being silly and trying to get out of doing work aren’t you?

Baby Bofinkles Update_9
No Bofinkles, it’s not time for a treat, sit back down.  

Baby Bofinkles Update_8
No, not lay down and go to sleep.  Bofinkles, we really have to write something up.

Baby Bofinkles Update_11
Good girl, thank you! Now let me take a look at what you wrote.

Baby Bofinkles Update_12
Bofinkles! That is not what I was thinking…

Baby Bofinkles Update_10
“Just write it mom.  I’m tired!”.

Baby Bofinkles Update_13
And when you’re done writing, let me taste that pretzel you have in your hand.  Bring it a little closer.

Bofinks Mama Girl
What a girl Bofinkles.. What a girl.

Anyways, Bofinkles wanted me to tell you THANK YOU! She’s feeling much much better! 

One that that is really important to me is keeping our cats healthy.   This year has been pretty rough with losing Essy, and then multiple trips to the Vet for sicknesses, but it’s all worth it knowing your cat is going to be ok.   If you ever fear your cat is sick, take it to the vet and double check.   You’re the best person who knows when your cat is acting different and I’m sure your kitty means the world to you, so always be safe!  Another thing is important (almost the most!)  is keeping the cats on a good diet,  including a food that is good for them.  That’s why I want to introduce GOODLIFE™ cat food to you guys (and your cats!).

Take a look at this chart comparing GOODLIFE™ food to the other top brands.  Their #1 ingredient is chicken or salmon (strong muscles!) and includes a no corn, no soy, no wheat recipe.  

Oh and the taste… it’s delicious.  Don’t trust me on this, just shake a bag and watch the kitties run over! Thanks to #goodlifepet and #CollectiveBias for the introduction to this!


You can find GOODLIFE™ cat food at Walmart and make sure to print out the $1 coupon!  Mine was on the top shelf so make sure you look for it there if you can’t find it.  Then get your muscles ready to lift a bag down! 


Tell me..
Does your cat ever sleep on your keyboard and you just give in, do no work, eat a brownie and just watch them sleep? 

RoC Skin Care Giveaway Worth $143!


Who’s ready for a beauty post?  Who’s ready for a beauty giveaway? Me too!  In this post I’m giving away a prize pack of RoC Brand Skin Care products worth $143!  You’re going to love it! 

The Giveaway includes:
RoC® RETINOL CORREXION® Sensitive Eye Cream
RoC® MULTI CORREXION® 5 in 1 Eye Cream
RoC® RETINOL CORREXION® Deep Wrinkle Night Cream
RoC® RETINOL CORREXION® Deep Wrinkle Daily Moisturizer with Sunscreen BROAD SPECTRUM SPF 30
RoC® RETINOL CORREXION® Deep Wrinkle Serum

That’s $143.94 worth of RoC products! 


The contest is over, Congrats Natalie!

Contest Rules:
Only open to U.S residents over the age of 18.
Prize pack cannot be shipped to a PO Box so alternate address will have to be given.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure to enter here and enter a few ways… more chances to win! 

Are you in NYC and looking for a fun evening on May 1st?  Then stop by the “Walk the Aisle” event where you will get detailed tips from NYC NYC dermatologists and health experts.  They will discuss the RoC® product benefits and anti-aging/skin care.   The event is open to the public so stop by… and find me and say hi too!  

Location: 40 Wall St., New York, NY 10005 (between Wall and William)

Not in NYC? Don’t worry! Besides this awesome giveaway that I hope you’re entering, check out the #Eyes4NYC #CollectiveBias Twitter Party on April 24th from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm EST.  

 Now go enter the giveaway!

Childhood Summers at the Jersey Shore

Every single summer until I moved away to college we celebrated our family vacation in Wildwood, NJ.  If you’ve been to Wildwood then you know how great it is, and if you haven’t, let me just tell you – it’s a fun place.

I have so many memories from these summer vacations including when my parents let me first go the boardwalk alone during the afternoon and I spent all my summer vacation money I saved up on getting my hair braided in colorful string, to waking up early to find seashells on the beach to hiding summer romances from my parents.    Whenever I think of Wildwood, NJ I think of good times.

Look at how stylish I was as a kid.

New Jersey was hit hard during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.  I remember seeing so many awful photos of the piers and boardwalks where I spent so many nights as a kid totally destroyed.  A year and a half later though New Jersey is “Stronger than the Storm” and the Jersey Shore is Going Strong making progress in rebuilding with their community.

If you haven’t been to the Jersey shore I think it would be a amazing weekend getaway from the city.  The boardwalks are full of quirky shops, delicious foods (funnel cakes and caramel apples!) and so many adventure seeking things to do. We often took a boat out that jetted across the Atlantic Ocean while stopping to look lovingly at dolphins.  I loved these adventures so much!  I always talk to Matthew about taking him to the Jersey shore so he can experience it.  I wonder how the Marlane Motel, the Shamrock Café and the Haunted Castle Boat Ride are doing, those were my favorite places as a kid.  There is always so much going on along the 130 miles of the Jersey Shore – festivals, concerts and plenty of foodie events!e

Other things to enjoy in New Jersey:

Family fun – aquariums, zoos, museums, science centers, national parks, amusement parks and more!

Remember I went to Medieval Times a few weeks ago?

Or how about a fun trip to Six Flags? We go on summer trips with plenty of friends.  What makes a trip to Six Flags even better: fanny packs and neon shirts!

Outdoor Adventure:  Hikes, Waterways and plenty of coastline.

Arts – Theater, Performing Arts, Concerts and top notch culinary delights.

Shopping – Designer to discount, trendy to quirky, there’s shops, outlet malls and plenty of flea markets!

Columbus, New Jersey has my favorite flea market that I can’t wait to visit this Spring! Here’s a past post about a trip there.  I found this dish there once for $2, what a life hightlight:

Have you ever visited the Jersey Shore? Tell me about in the comments!

How to Build a Square Foot Garden Box With Kids

How to Build a Square Foot Garden Box With Kids!  Follow these plans for beginners for a fun DIY gardening project you can do with your kids.  These boxes are easy to build and will hold lots of vegetables! This is the perfect Spring and Summer activity to do with kids to teach them about gardening!

I think it’s pretty cool when parents introduce kids to gardening at a young age.  

Did you garden as a kid?  My dad was big on rose bushes and tomato plants.  Those tomato plants in our garden were huge and were his highlight in the summer time.  I remember the tomato plants would grow so tall we couldn’t see out the kitchen window but Dad said we didn’t have to see out the window.     Matthew was a big gardener as a kid as well, he got a wheelbarrow for his 8th birthday – how’s that for dedication? 

Gardening With Kids

Look at how proud I am of my first pumpkin I ever grew:
How to Build a Square Foot Garden Box With Kids! Follow these plans for beginners for a fun DIY gardening project you can do with your kids. These boxes are easy to build and will hold lots of vegetables! This is the perfect Spring and Summer activity to do with kids to teach them about gardening!

Because of being exposed to growing vegetables as a kid, this was a main reason on why we started our own rooftop garden.  We were nostalgic for growing our own, and our childhood brought back happy memories with these plants.    What’s even better than the memories is just the knowledge you learn when you garden.  You learn how things are grown and you start to respect food and the environment a whole lot more.  Grow a tomato and throw it in the trash? I think not.  Grow a watermelon on a roof and let it go to waste? Over my dead body.

I was recently received the new book, Square Foot Gardening with Kids and pretty much fell in love with it. Whenever any kid in our building seems excited on the roof about what we grow, I immediately turn into garden teacher and tell them they should start their own garden box.   With supervision, there’s really no age that’s too young to start.  Imagine spending a weekend afternoon with your family, building a box, where you guys are going to plant seeds to grow food you can enjoy for dinner?  It doesn’t get cooler than this. 

How to Build a Square Foot Garden Box With Kids

Want to build a box? Here’s step by step instructions for you and your family.

Building Together:

How to Build a Square Foot Garden Box With Kids! Follow these plans for beginners for a fun DIY gardening project you can do with your kids. These boxes are easy to build and will hold lots of vegetables! This is the perfect Spring and Summer activity to do with kids to teach them about gardening!

How to Make a Garden Box

For most kids, building their own SFG box is the point when the garden physically takes shape. They see up close where all their plants will live and grow. And by building their own box, they learn a little something about independence and achievement. Of course, a lot of kids are just going to be excited because they get to work with tools and build something!

Building your SFG box is a great opportunity to teach kids about using power tools [or any other tools] safely.

The Materials
Start the great big SFG box adventure with the materials the child will use to build the box. And, wow, there are a lot of possibilities. They are all possibilities for learning as well. The SFG box can be built out of just about any material as long as it meets certain restrictions. First and most important: the material cannot contain anything that might contaminate the soil and get into the plants growing there. That means paint or preservatives used to treat wood, or oil-based paints on metal or bricks are no-nos. Even though you can use many different materials, most people choose wood for good reasons. Wood is a natural, replaceable material, it’s easy to work with, easy to find, inexpensive, and looks good too. But the kids should have some ideas about what they want to use, and it’s a good chance to discuss building materials.

Start with what an SFG box must be. We want our box to be:

• 3 feet x 3 feet.

• Square.

• 6 inches deep.

• Durable.

• Portable, if we want to move it later.

• Nice to look at.

So with all that in mind, let’s ask a few questions about what might be the best material for our SFG boxes.

• Why is wood a good choice for the SFG box?

• What other materials could we use?

• What about glass? Could you use glass for the box? Why or why not?

• What about metals? What different types of metals are there? Which would be best for a box and why? Where would we find those metals? What would be some of the challenges in using metals?

• What about bricks or concrete blocks? What would be good or bad about using bricks or concrete blocks?

Let them discuss all the pros and cons about what to use to build their boxes, but generally, wood is going to work best. So the instructions that follow are geared to using wood for a child’s box.

1. We only work with tools when an adult is there to supervise.

2. Children and adults always wear the appropriate safety gear: safety glasses, a dust mask, gloves, and work clothes [including shoes with enclosed toes].

3. Only use tools that are in good condition. No splitting or rotting tool handles, drills with frayed cords, or other poorly maintained tools. Always check that your tools are in proper working order before using them.

4.   No working with people who are tired or cranky! You can always come back and do the project after naptime or tomorrow [that includes parents too!].

How to Build a Square Foot Garden Box With Kids! Follow these plans for beginners for a fun DIY gardening project you can do with your kids. These boxes are easy to build and will hold lots of vegetables! This is the perfect Spring and Summer activity to do with kids to teach them about gardening!

Putting the Box Together
Now that your child has gathered the materials he or she will need, it’s time to get organized and get building that SFG box. If you’re like most parents and teachers, you’ve discovered that kids love nothing better than to work with tools, just like a grown up. So this part of the SFG process is especially fun for the little ones. The engineer in me likes it because it shows children how things go together. If you have ever seen an adult mess up the simple instructions for assembling a bookcase or a kitchen table, you know how important this life skill can be! Let’s get started with a few safety rules to make sure this is a happy experience for everyone.

Setting Up a Work Site
Set up your work site as close as possible to where your child’s SFG box will ultimately go. The best place is a flat level surface with lots of room to move around. With children, it’s always a good idea to make an actual staging area. This can be a driveway, a tarp laid out on the grass, or even a large piece of plywood or cardboard. The idea is to keep tools and materials in one place while you work, because sometimes in all the excitement of building something, youngsters can misplace tools. We wouldn’t want Dad losing his favorite screwdriver, would we? Collect all the materials you’ll need for the project and organize them in the staging area. For the wood box we’ll be building, you’ll need the following:

• 4 boards, 3 feet long x 6 inches wide (should be I or 2 inches thick)

• 4 pieces of lath, 3 feet long

• A pencil

• Cordless drill and bits

• 12 deck screws

• I roll of landscape fabric (see if you can buy a piece just 3 feet long at a garden center, or a pre-fab SFG box kit usually comes with the weed fabric and grid)

How to Build a Square Foot Garden Box With Kids

How to build your own Box
Actually building the box is simple once you’ve collected all the proper tools and materials.

1. Have the child stack the four boards, one on top of the other. Now help them hold one board perpendicular, on its edge, at the end of the stack. This board is used to mark the overlap width. Mark the width of the board along the ends of each of the other boards.

2. With the boards stacked up and aligned, pull each one out in order and drill three pilot holes for screws, spaced evenly from edge to edge. If you are using 1x wood stock [actual thickness is ¾, draw a reference line 3/8ths” from the end of the board to help align your screw holes. For 2x stock [actual thickness 1 ½ “) draw the center reference lines ¾ ” in from the ends. Drill three or four pilot holes at each corner. For standard deck screws, use a drill bit that’s about 1/16 diameter.

3. Hold or clamp the boards together, overlapping each successive corner. Drive deck screws into the predrilled holes until the screw heads are just slightly below the surface of the wood.

How to Build a Square Foot Garden Box With Kids! Follow these plans for beginners for a fun DIY gardening project you can do with your kids. These boxes are easy to build and will hold lots of vegetables! This is the perfect Spring and Summer activity to do with kids to teach them about gardening!

4.  Add the box bottom.  Sometimes, a child’s SFG box will need to be portable. Maybe it will need to be moved between a schoolyard and home at the end of the school year, or maybe your child will want to take the box with them her when visits grandma and grandpa for a month-long summer vacation. Not to worry; any SFG box can be made portable.

Most kids can easily add a bottom by cutting a piece of 5/8-inch plywood to match the outside dimensions of the box. Your child may need some help to screw the bottom to the side boards of the box—use a drill with a screwhead bit and 2-inch deck screws. The child will also need to drill a .-inch drainage hole in the center of every square foot, and an extra one in each corner of the box. The bottom is also necessary if your child wants to place the box on a patio or deck or put it up on an outdoor tabletop.

5.  Build your grid.

Have the youngster mark each piece for cutting (measure twice, cut once—another important lesson).

Rather than using dad’s circular saw or table saw to cut the pieces, have the child cut the pieces with a handsaw. What did we just save for the environment?  Yes, the electricity. This will also teach them how to use a simple crosscut handsaw, rather than dealing with the danger and cost of a power tool.

Lay the lath in place across the box (there may be a little measuring here to make sure each square is the same size, in case the inside box measurements aren’t exactly the same all around), and help your child drill guide holes slightly larger than the diameter of the bolts being used to join the lath pieces where the pieces cross.

Use tiny nuts and bolts or special pins you can find at the lumber store to put in the holes and hold the grid together. We did remember those bolts on the shopping trip, right?


Time to plant in those boxes… here’s the easiest vegetables to grow!

Looking for more DIY projects? Check out how to build a rainwater catchment


Hope you and your kids have fun this gardening season!  And remember…. it’s all about having fun!

How to Build a Square Foot Garden Box With Kids! Follow these plans for beginners for a fun DIY gardening project you can do with your kids. These boxes are easy to build and will hold lots of vegetables! This is the perfect Spring and Summer activity to do with kids to teach them about gardening!

Pasta al Gratin Macaroni and Cheese

“Hey quick, come over and check out this béchamel sauce” I yelled to Matthew.
“What?” he responded.
“Get over here, you have to check out this sauce.  It’s so beautiful!” I demanded.  Nicely.
Begrudgingly he arrived at the stove.  “What?”
“What? Did you just what this sauce? Look at it!”.  
Am I married to a man who can’t see and appreciate the beauty of this white sauce?  “What?  What again?  Look at it! Look at how beautifully the milk has cooked making it oh so creamy.”
He nods.
“Get out of here.  Right now! No sauce for you!”

Italian Cooking Pasta al Gratin_6

Sometimes other people just can’t see the beauty in things, but what are you going to do?

I am obsessed with the béchamel sauce that holds together this macaroni and cheese dish.  You’d think by looking at it the dish is full of cheese, but there is only 1/4 cup of cheese in this dish!    The sauce is made slowly cooking the milk until it turns creamy, patience is key here.  The sauce is velvety and oh so rich making it hold together your elbow noodles perfectly.  

.Italian Cooking Pasta al Gratin_8

Italian Cooking Pasta al Gratin_9

Italian Cooking Pasta al Gratin_7


Pasta al Gratin Macaroni and Cheese

Servings 3
Author Anna Del Conte


  • 2 oz fontina grated
  • 2 oz Parmesan grated
  • 12 oz penne or macaroni elbows
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • grated nutmeg


  1. To make the bechamel sauce, heat the milk until hot but not boiling. Remove from the heat.
  2. Melt the butter, remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in the flour. Put the pan back on the heat and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat an add the milk gradually. Return the pan to the heat and cook until the sauce comes to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and a generous amount of nutmeg. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. To finish the sauce, leave cooking on low for 10-15 minutes, only stirring occasionally. This long, slow cooking makes it a rich sauce you would not be able to achieve if you cooked for a shorter time.
  5. Add the cheeses to the sauce.
  6. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente, as instructed on box. Drain.
  7. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Coat a shallow baking dish with a little of the sauce. Dress the pasta with about 2/3 of the bechamel and transfer to the prepared dish. Spread the rest of the sauce all over the top. Bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to blend while cooking a little.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Italian Kitchen

How To Get Your Containers Ready for Spring + Hardening Off Seedlings

Hi friends, does it feel like Spring where you are?   It goes from freezing to muttering “It’s too hot out” pretty quickly, doesn’t it?  The past few days here have had temperatures that have caused no jacket, dress wearing and leaving a window open at night.  I already kicked off the comforter in bed (sorry for startling you Bofinkles) during the middle of the night, in disgust of it being a bit too warm.

How’s the weather where you are, is Spring finally coming around for you?  I know some of you guys have been struggling with storms and never ending snow, so I’m hoping things are changing so those gardens can start getting ready for a harvest happy season!

With the Spring season finally upon us, that means getting the containers ready for our Spring seedlings.    If you remember we already refreshed the boxes and some containers, but there plenty of others that were under greenhouses all Winter that needed to be fixed up.  So let’s clean up!

Winter hit some of the plants hard under the greenhouse this hard Winter, so there was quite a bunch to do.
Getting Containers Ready for Spring

We needed to get the plants out to be able to remove the plastic, turn the potting mix and add in new nutrients for the next batch.  This means getting some arm strength and pulling those plants out with all your might.  It might seem easy but the roots are strong so this takes a bit of shoveling, pulling, grunting and more pulling.   Even when pulling out the plants I’m always in awe of how the root structure grows.
Getting Containers Ready for Spring_1

Woo! Plants ripped out.  The ones at the end are staying for Spring so I got to ignore them.
So now that the plants are cleaned up and plastic is taken off the top, then we need to start shoveling the potting mix out of each.  I also want to note the 2 boxes off to the right have seen their last days so they were replaced during this day.  If you remember a post previously I talked about how you should get weather durable “tough” containers and this is another example of how if you use cheap ones they will crack all over.  
Getting Containers Ready for Spring_2

This is a short refresher on how we make our containers.  For a more involved post check out last years.
The potting mix gets shoveled out of the containers.  Then the 2 pipes corrugated pipes with perforations in them are laid in the bottom to create a water reservoir for the container.  These guys were buried all winter so they needed to be shaken out good.  
Getting Containers Ready for Spring_3

A hole is dripped in the front of the new containers for water drainage.  Try to do this on the same side of the water feed tube as it will make watering, checking water overflow much easier than having to look at the hole on the opposite of what you’re watering on.  The height of the drainage hole is determined by the height off the pipes making your water reservoir.  You want the drainage hole to be inside of the reservoir pipes.  
Getting Containers Ready for Spring_4

 How do you get water into the reservoir once it’s filled with potting mix?  You need a feed tube.  Take a pipe (2″ in diameter in this pic), make a cut in the water reservior pipes and insert the feed tube.  The feed tube should be higher than the top of your container otherwise it will be buried.  Let it stick out high and it will be easier to find when all your veggies get big and bushy.   
Getting Containers Ready for Spring_5

Next comes the most important step.  Making the wick.  The wick is a mound of soaking wet potting mix packed tightly together.  You want the wick to be very wet and then you form it into a mountain between your reservoir pipes.  The mound should come up slightly higher than your pipes.  It’s not an exact science.  The idea is that when you water the wick soaks up that water from below and distributes it to the rest of the potting mix in your container.  
Getting Containers Ready for Spring_6

 In another bin mix 1:10 perlite with potting mix.  Mix and water it well but don’t make it slop.  Then loosely shovel the mixture into your waiting container.  Fill it slightly higher than the brim as the mix will settle and compact.  
Getting Containers Ready for Spring_7

After filling the containers make a little trench all around the outside edge.  Take some granulated fertilizer and sprinkle it in.  As your plants grow they will tap into this fertilizer and explode.  
Getting Containers Ready for Spring_9

During this time I also found  a new friend and promised him a spot on Brooklyn Farm Girl.  
Getting Containers Ready for Spring_8

 Once the fertilizer is on, then brush the potting mix over it.  Your boxes are almost done.
Getting Containers Ready for Spring_10

The last step is covering the containers with plastic to lock in the moisture.  And just like that we have a bunch of new containers ready to go!  Once it’s time to transplant our seedlings, we’ll cut holes in the top and plant them.
Getting Containers Ready for Spring_11

Speaking of seedlings…
I’ll be doing a post in a few days on seedling planting as the garden is definitely in full growing mode right now.

Before you plant your seedlings you want to harden them off.  Throwing seedlings from the indoors to outside right away is one sure way to shock them, possibly killing them.  You want to prepare your seedlings for the temperature, sun and wind change a little at a time.  For this, you should introduce the seedlings to the outside over a few days.  On the first day, take them out in the afternoon for 2 hours, then the next day give it another 2 hours, then the next day, add another 2 hours.  Eventually you want to work up to knowing they can handle a whole afternoon of hot sun.  Also a great way to get them ready for wind is the fan tip that I talked about before.  When your seedlings are of decent height, put a fan on them indoors when growing, this will get them strong for gusts of wind.. it’s like body building.. for plants.  You want your broccoli to be strong guys!

This is how we introduce the seedlings, nothing fancy, just a few hours of alone time outside.  If you’re a nervous garden mother like me, you can check on them during this time too, just to make sure they’re behaving and are safe.
Seedling Planting Spring 2014

Even better if one day it’s raining while hardening off your seedlings.  This is one thing they’re going to have to get used to.Seedling Planting Spring 2014_1

Pretty Bok Choy and some onions getting ready..
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_2

Then after they’re done hardening off for a few days, you can plant them in their containers!  Look forward to my post soon for a afternoon of moving these seedlings into their new summer homes!
Seedling Planting Spring 2014_3



Chicken and Cherry Tomato Toss Stir-Fry

 10 minute Chicken and Cherry Tomato Stir-Fry recipe.  Serve hot over rice, couscous or noodles.

This chicken and cherry tomato toss is a gardeners dream serving up a fresh and delicious stir-fry dish!  When tomato season hits I like to be prepared for recipes because once one it starts…. then it will start to rain tomatoes!    

When tomato insanity hits we often have days where we are picking 10 pounds of tomatoes.  I make plenty of sauces to last us through winter, but I love to enjoy our cherry tomatoes super fresh for dinner!  This Chicken and Cherry Tomato Toss Stir-Fry is totally going to be a Summer time favorite!
 10 minute Chicken and Cherry Tomato Stir-Fry recipe. Serve hot over rice, couscous or noodles.

The combination of chicken stock, soy sauce and ginger root gives this a great “Asian” tasting meal.  I can totally see this being a Chinese dish served over rice.  In my case I served it over thick lo mein noodles which was a perfect compliment to the chicken and tomatoes.    After dinner I was declaring this delicious so next time you set your eyes on some cherry tomatoes, grab them and make this Stir-Fry!  

 10 minute Chicken and Cherry Tomato Stir-Fry recipe. Serve hot over rice, couscous or noodles.

 10 minute Chicken and Cherry Tomato Stir-Fry recipe. Serve hot over rice, couscous or noodles.

 10 minute Chicken and Cherry Tomato Stir-Fry recipe. Serve hot over rice, couscous or noodles.

 10 minute Chicken and Cherry Tomato Stir-Fry recipe. Serve hot over rice, couscous or noodles.


Chicken and Cherry Tomato Toss Stir-Fry

Author Courtesy of 300 Best Stir-Fry by Nancie McDermott © 2014 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.


  • 3 tbsp chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger root
  • 12 oz skinless boneless chicken breasts cut into 11⁄2-inch
  • 1 ⁄3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 3 ⁄4 cup halved cherry tomatoes


  1. In a small bowl, combine chicken stock, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, if using, sugar and salt and stir well. Set aside.
  2. In a wok or a large deep skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and toss well, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add chicken and spread into a single layer. Cook, undisturbed, until edges turn white, about 1 minute. Toss well. Cook, tossing occasionally, until no longer pink, about 1 minute more.
  4. Add chicken stock mixture, pouring in around sides of pan. Cook, tossing occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and coated in a thin, smooth sauce, 1 to 2 minutes more.
  5. Reserve a generous pinch of green onions for garnish, and add remaining green onions and cherry tomatoes to pan. Cook, tossing once, for 1 minute more.
  6. Transfer to a serving plate. Sprinkle reserved green onions over chicken. Serve hot or warm over rice, couscous or noodles.

Recipe Notes

Serves: 4

 10 minute Chicken and Cherry Tomato Stir-Fry recipe. Serve hot over rice, couscous or noodles.

Lorena Garcia Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Review

You know what makes recipes even more pretty?  Colorful cookware turns a simple pasta dish into a work of art with a simple pop of color!

Recently we were in the market to get some new cookware and being a blogger who tends to post recipes, I knew I wanted to get something that was more fun than my regular silver and black pots that I was used to. When I was given the chance to review the  Lorena Garcia Technolon Ceramic Cookware  in a beautiful “French Blue” shade I was pretty excited!  The Lorena Garica collection is part of HSN Cooks which pairs up culinary experts with foodie products. 

 The first thing I noticed right out of the box is the cookware was SO LIGHT!  I have incredibly weak arms (it’s often a joke about truly how weak I am) so sometimes trying to drain a big pot of pasta while keeping everything in the pot, while not being burned, is quite a challenge.    This cookware is so light making picking up pots and pans so much easier. When I first used it I cooked a big pot of noodles and I just amazed by how easy it was to pick up and drain.  If you aren’t weak, then you probably don’t know what it’s like, but this was life changing, I’m a light cookware user for life now!   The pots and pan are made out of cast aluminum. 
Ceramic Cookware Review HSN_1

The cookware is a 6 piece set coming with a 2 pt soup pot, 3.5 qt soup pot, 9.5″ frying pan, whisk and 2 lids.  What I like about this is that it’s not a giant set.   Have you ever got a 20 piece set of anything and wondered 1) Where am I going to store this? 2)  Will I ever need 7 frying pans at the same time for a 4 burner stove?.  This is a great basic set that pretty much covers all my cooking needs.  Quality over Quantity in this case definitely! 

Ceramic Cookware Review HSN

I love that I can cook these pots on the stovetop and then transfer to the oven up to 550 degrees.  The lids are safe up to 420 degrees, making a casserole so much more enjoyable when you only need to clean 1 pot! The pan is not oven proof as it has a soft grip handle. 

What else makes for easy cleanup?  Ceramic technolon nonstick interiors!  Have you ever made pasta, let the pot sit and then you have that pasta that’s stuck to the inside and you need to scrub it out to so hard you work up a sweat? I hear you sister.  I let the big pot sit overnight and the next morning the pasta just came off with one little scrub.   The pan was just as great, making greasy oils and butters easy to clean out. 

Ceramic Cookware Review HSN_2

The only negative thing to mention is that the pots handles get very hot.  Thankfully I read a review of these before hand to know better, but if I didn’t, I would have reached for the handles and quickly backed away while muttering bad words.   That means that removing the pot (not the pan) from the stove requires a mitt on the hands.  This isn’t a deal breaker for me, but I do wish they didn’t get as hot. 

Ceramic Cookware Review HSN_3

The set comes in French Blue (pictured here), Lorena Green, Perfect Purple, Rich Cream and Rio Red.  The whisk you get with the set is rainbow color and perfect for mixing funfetti treats!  

Overall: I love these and they’re now a permanent addition to dinner cooking every night!  

What color is your cookware?  
Do you have weak arms like me and have to battle draining a pot of pasta? 

This Lorena Garcia cookware set is now on HSN.com. Lorena is the face of Taco Bell’s “Cantina Bell” menu, Lorena is also a chef, TV personality and cookbook author.    Note: I wasn’t paid for this review, they just kindly sent me the cookware to try!

Want to See Puerto Rico?

Have you been to Puerto Rico?  I have had many friends visit this beautiful location while posting photos on Instagram to make me swoon while being extremely jealous.  Have you ever walked in a snowstorm and are freezing, then you check social media and your friend is on the beach? Ugh.

Puerto Rico seems like a Island destination that is perfect for anyone, from foodie, to adventure seekers to those that just want to fall asleep (with plenty of SPF!) on the beach.   It’s filled with so many things to do to making it a true 5-star vacation story that you’ll be sharing with your friends and family when you return. 

Did you know that..
Puerto Rico has 270 miles of coastline and is featured in the Top 10 beaches from The Travel Chanel.  One of these beaches is Flamenco Beach in Culebra which is just sigh worthy.

You can swim in the water in the Bioluminescent bays.
You can visit the only rainforest under US National Park Service, El Yunque, while climbing to the clouds!
Do you like history? Then check out San Juan.
Like horse back riding? Then you can travel through the beautiful Chamuy caverns.
Are you a foodie? Of course you are!  Then you can marvel at all it’s fresh and delicious delicacies.  Like rum?  Puerto Rico is famous for it!


One great thing for ease is that you don’t need a Passport or foreign money, so you can just hop on a plane right now and go if you’d like.  Can you take me with you?

Puerto Rico Tourism recently joined with Trip Advisor to transform real traveler 5-star reviews into short films, Live your own 5-star vacation story in Puerto Rico.  I really love this idea to see reviews in video form as you really get that sense of energy from others experiences. 

Have you visited Puerto Rico? Tell me about it in the comments!


Growing Snap Peas for Container Gardening

Growing Snap Peas for Container Gardening! This DIY is perfect for square foot gardening and small garden spaces!

On March 27 we planted our Sugar Snap Peas, hoping we’ll be harvesting baskets full in a few weeks!

This year we really stepped up our Sugar Snap Pea game. In the past we usually planted 2 rows in 2 boxes equaling 28 plants.  This year we planted.. 80 plants!   

We love snap peas!

I know, we went wild.  Not only did we plant the usual 2 rows in 2 boxes, but we planted a entire box full of Sugar Snap Peas!

We’re 2 people, we could have 80 sugar snap pea plants, so that means whenever you need peas just give me a shout out and I’ll share ours with you!

Last year we planted the Sugar Snap Peas on March 14, but due to the cold weather we had to push it back close to 2 weeks.  We needed the soil to reach 40 degrees before throwing the peas in to make sure they going to be able to grow up.   Last year we started pre-sprouting our peas (here’s a how to I made last year) which I really recommend.

Pre-sprouting will make sure your beans will grow once they’re in the soil as you’ll visually see they have already started.   This makes growing more stress free as if it’s already pre-sprouted you can be pretty sure it will pop through the soil in a few days and that it’s not rotting underneath. 

How to grow sprout peas:

Here’s our many presprouted peas!
Sugar Snap Pea Planting 2014

We mix our sprouted Sugar Snap Peas with seed inoculant right before planting.  We use a small amount of this just to coat the outside of the peas.  This little bag here was $4 and it can treat up to 8 pounds of peas and beans.  Inoculant encourages high-nitrogen levels on roots for bigger plants which will yield more harvest! 
Sugar Snap Pea Planting 2014_1

Then we tested the soil levels.  The soil’s temperature was slightly above 40 degrees which was exactly what we wanted!
Sugar Snap Pea Planting 2014_2

Then the planting began! But first let’s admire Matthew’s beautiful technique, HEHEHEHEHEHEHE.
Sugar Snap Pea Planting 2014_3

Ok, sorry. Back to planting.  We make 2 rows in our 4×4 boxes.  We only grow 2 rows in these boxes because they will also grow onions, lettuce and carrots in the Spring.  In the middle of each row we’ll place a 8 foot tall fence for the peas to race up on.  The fence will be put into the soil once the sugar snap peas break through the surface and begin itching to climb. 
Sugar Snap Pea Planting 2014_4

Then we drop a few sugar snap peas into each row.  Usually we plant 8 peas in each 4 foot long row.
Sugar Snap Pea Planting 2014_5

Grow strong little guy! I’ll be waiting for you on the other side of the soil!
Sugar Snap Pea Planting 2014_8

With 2 boxes and 4 rows of peas, this adds up to 32 sugar snap pea plants!   These are planted in the boxes we freshened up with compost and turned a few weeks ago.  You want to give your peas a healthy home!
Sugar Snap Pea Planting 2014_6

The last box we just went Sugar Snap Pea wild.  Instead of doing rows, we just poked holes into the soil and dropped the peas in.  This box is exclusively for Sugar Snap Peas and has a trellis already attached that the peas will grow up and take over soon enough!
Sugar Snap Pea Planting 2014_7

After you drop the peas in, then pat the soil to cover and wish them a sweet good night.  If your soil is not wet and you aren’t expecting rain that night, you’ll want to lightly water the soil on top.
Sugar Snap Pea Planting 2014_9

Have fun growing snap peas!

That’s it.. now you wait for the Peas! 
And when they arrive…. get ready to pick pounds of peas each day!
photo 2.JPG

Snap Pea Recipes

Looking snap pea recipes? Click here!

Pin for later:
Growing Snap Peas for Container Gardening! This DIY is perfect for square foot gardening and small garden spaces!

How to Get Cat Lady Nails

I have a thing for cats and colorful nails, so I’m happy to say these worlds can be combined!

Cat Nails_4

Want to know something?  I never have had a professional manicure.  I’ve always been more of a girl who does her own nails with a drawer full of every color of the rainbow nail polish alongside every glitter option!    Ever since I was little I always had a collection of nail polishes stashed somewhere in my room.    I’ve also never really been subtle in the nail polish category. I don’t really do nudes or soft pinks, I’m more of a neon orange and glitter girl.  I love bright colors, big sparkles and plenty of design!   For a while now I’ve stayed away from painting nail designs because I can’t draw very well, but when NCLA sent me these Melody Ehsani nail wraps, I was beyond pumped to try to get some design action happening on my fingers!  Note: I wasn’t paid for this review, they just kindly sent me the nail wraps to try!

The nails wraps come in all types of patterns and colors.  I happened to get sent a cat style which made me giggle like a school girl. It’s like I like cats or something.
Cat Nails

Here you’ll see all the beautiful cats.  I showed my cats this package and they all nodded in approval.  (I’m lying, they rolled over and went back to sleep before asking me to stop annoying them with my silly questions).  
Cat Nails_1

I was curious how hard the nail wraps would be to put on.   I watched a tutorial video first to get a idea and it seemed easy enough.   What you do is just pick the size of the wrap based on your nail size.  I have small fingers and nails so I couldn’t use many of the larger nail wraps.  I do think I could easily modify some of the larger ones with a pair of scissors and they’d work well. 

All you do is peel off the wrap from the pack and stick onto your nail.  Then you rub the wrap to get all the air bubbles out.  You’ll see the nail wrap is way too long though.
Cat Nails_2

Then you take a nail file and just file away at the extra parts.  Just a few swipes and the excess wrap will fall right off.   
Cat Nails_3

Then you’ll do this for all your nails, matching a wrap to a nail and filing down.  Once you do a few, you’ll start to get in a pattern and it’ll be done much sooner than expected.  After you finish you put some clear nail polish on top.  I had to add a little glitter too.

Cat Nails_5

Let’s chat. 
Do you regularly paint your nails? If so, what’s your current favorite color?
Have you ever used nail wraps?


Game Of Thrones Sweet Oatcakes

A Game of Thrones recipe for House Stark  – sweet oatcakes! Make this easy oat cake recipe while you’re watching your favorite show!

Game of Thrones Recipe

You guys, the season premiere of Game of Thrones is on this Sunday, are you excited as me?

A Game of Thrones recipe for House Stark  - sweet oatcakes! Make this easy oat cake recipe while you're watching your favorite show!

You either have 2 responses:
I don’t watch Game of Thrones

If you say “YES!” then I slap you high 5, hug you and give you my love!
If you say “I don’t watch Game of Thrones” I still hug you because you’re nice, but I need to know why you don’t watch it!

A Game of Thrones recipe for House Stark  - sweet oatcakes! Make this easy oat cake recipe while you're watching your favorite show!

If you haven’t been watching the last few seasons, then you need to catch up because it is my favorite show on television and I get so much thrill from Sunday nights that it’s hard to put into words.  Recently I finished reading all the Game of Thrones books which left me in sadness for about a week because I had no idea what to do with my life anymore without these books.   I’m also interested to see how this is going to change how I watch the show, as I know so so so so much, but the show likes to change things a bit.  

A Game of Thrones recipe for House Stark  - sweet oatcakes! Make this easy oat cake recipe while you're watching your favorite show!

You want to know how excited we are? We just ordered HBO specifically for Game of Thrones.  That’s dedication.  And then once it’s done for the season, we’ll remove HBO.

Sweet Oatcakes Recipe

A Game of Thrones recipe for House Stark  - sweet oatcakes! Make this easy oat cake recipe while you're watching your favorite show!

To get in the spirit I wanted to make a sweet that would be the perfect treat to bring to a Game of Thrones party.   Along with your Cersei wig and your white cloak, I think you should totally whip up a batch of the Sweet Oatcakes!   You already know Sansa is obsessed with Lemon Cakes, so let’s stay in the cake family but give it a oat twist!  

These oatcakes are sweet but have plenty of crunch making them the perfect and addicting snack! I dare you to eat one….! 🙂 If you eat more than one though, it’s ok, they’re only 113 calories a piece!

Even Jon Snow likes them. PS. Hi Jon Snow.  *Wiggles Eyebrows*. 
A Game of Thrones recipe for House Stark  - sweet oatcakes! Make this easy oat cake recipe while you're watching your favorite show!

I’m House Stark all the way, even though my Starks are disappearing. What House are you?

 A Game of Thrones recipe for House Stark  - sweet oatcakes! Make this easy oat cake recipe while you're watching your favorite show!

Game of Thrones Sweet Oatcakes

A Game of Thrones recipe for House Stark  - sweet oatcakes! Make this easy oat cake recipe while you're watching your favorite show!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword game of thrones recipe, house stark recipe, oat cake recipe, sweet oatcakes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 24
Calories 113 kcal
Author King Arthur


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats ground in a food processor


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly grease two 9 inch round cake pans with nonstick spray.
  2. In a bowl cream together butter, salt, brown sugar and vanilla. Add in the baking soda, flour and oats and continue to mix.
  3. Divide the dough in half and press into cake pans, smoothing out so it takes up the entire base of the pan and is smooth on the top. Prick the dough on top with a fork in a pattern if you'd like.
  4. Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. My time is always 37 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and loosen edges with a butter knife.
  6. Wait 5 minutes then carefully turn cakes upside down to get them out. Immediately after, using a pizza wheel, cut each round cake into 12 pieces.

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