1
Sweet Tuxedo Fudge (That you can freeze!)
2
You Don’t Need Natural Light or a Yard to Grow
3
Chinese Bok Choy and Mushroom Noodles
4
NYC Garden Party Pictures and Fun!
5
Pizza Time! Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza Review

Sweet Tuxedo Fudge (That you can freeze!)

Fudge is a total weakness to mine.  Being around a tray of fudge is just asking for guilt and trouble, so when I make a batch I love to throw it in the freezer so it isn’t staring at me in the face for the next few days.  Fudge freezes great which means when you need that afternoon pick me up or need a quick dessert, just reach into the freezer and grab a piece of fudge.  It’s such a sweet treat.

This recipe is for Tuxedo Fudge which is half white and half black, just like a tuxedo. Well I guess a tuxedo is more black than white which is how my fudge turned out too.  There’s no such thing as too much chocolate, right? This old fashioned fudge recipe is made by combining coconut and chocolate to create one beautiful layered candy.

Tuxedo Fudge

Tuxedo Fudge_1

Sweet Tuxedo Fudge (That you can freeze!)

Author Courtesy of 300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes by Jane Sharrock © 2014 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Ingredients

Coconut Layer

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 ⁄2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 ⁄4 cup light white corn syrup
  • 1 ⁄2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ⁄2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Chocolate Layer

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch salt Pinch
  • 1 ⁄2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 ⁄4 cup light white corn syrup
  • 1 ⁄2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ⁄2 cup pecans in large pieces (optional)

Instructions

  1. 1. To make the coconut layer: In heavy saucepan over low to medium-low heat, bring the sugar, salt, butter, corn syrup and milk to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil. Cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes to dissolve the sugar crystals on the sides of the pan. Remove the lid. Cook, stirring only as needed to prevent scorching, to the soft ball stage (234°F to 240°F/112°C to 116°C, with 236°F/113°C recommended).
  2. 2. Remove from the heat. Cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Add the vanilla. Beat by hand until the candy begins to thicken and lose its gloss. Stir in the coconut. Spread the candy into the prepared pan. Cool at room temperature while making the chocolate layer.
  3. 3. To make the chocolate layer: In a clean saucepan, combine the sugar and cocoa until well blended. Add the salt, butter, corn syrup and milk. Bring to a boil over low to medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil. Cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes to dissolve the sugar crystals on the sides of the pan. Remove the lid. Cook, stirring only as needed to prevent scorching, to the soft ball stage (234°F to 240°F/112°C to 116°C, with 236°F/113°C recommended).
  4. 4. Remove from the heat. Cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Add the vanilla. Beat by hand until the candy begins to thicken and lose its gloss. Stir in the pecans, if desired. Spread the chocolate layer over the coconut layer in the pan. Cool and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.
  5. To freeze cut up into squares and store in freezer bag. Take them out of the freezer as you need one.

Tell me, is fudge dangerous to you too?  

You Don’t Need Natural Light or a Yard to Grow

“I don’t have a yard.”
“I don’t have room to grow.”
“I don’t have natural light in my home.”
“I don’t know when to water.”
“I kill plants!”

I hear these things all the time, including in the comments here on Brooklyn Farm Girl, but I heard them especially often at NYC’s Garden Party which was packed with city dwellers wanting to green their lives.  After they said these things I usually asked:
“Do you have a roof?”.  
“Do you have a fire escape?”
“Do you have a balcony?”
“Do you have any windows?”

It’s rare that all the answers are no, but if they are then I always introduce them to hydroponic growing or just flat out telling them they can grow with artificial lighting.  We have a garden on the roof but we also have a dark corner in our loft that has no natural light.  And in that corner we grow lettuce, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, basil, parsley and more!  So what I’m saying is there are no excuses for not being able to grow.   You just need to try!

I want to introduce you guys to Aero Garden, because even though this is going to sound like a sales pitch, it isn’t, I really do think it’s amazing.  I think it’s great for gardeners of all levels, but especially helpful for beginning gardeners because it’s going to tell you EXACTLY what to do.  It tells you when to water.  It tells you when to add nutrients.  It tells you when to replace your lights.  It tells you how long your plants have been growing for.  It tells you everything. It will literally say on the screen “THIS NEEDS WATER”.  You will add water into a hole and then the “THIS NEEDS WATER” screen will disappear.  It’s that helpful. It’s easy!

I have worked with Aero Garden alongside Miracle-Gro in the past to make some helpful videos to show you how easy it is to set up the garden and then actually grow.  If you guys know me then you know I’m pretty weak so if I can snap all these parts and bulbs into place in a few minutes then trust me, you can do it too.   Even though I have worked with them, I would never advertise to you guys a product that sucks.  After using the Aero Garden for close to a year (lots of testing!) I just had to give it a shout out here so there can be no more excuses for not having light, space or habits of killing plants.  This completely takes care of all these things for you.

The Aero Garden is about $100. I’ve seen them sold at Home Depot if you want to check it out.  I know $100 is not cheap so I consider this a con.  But because the only thing you will have to replace is the bulbs (ours lasted 8 months) it’s going to be reused for years.    You will also need to buy the  Aero Garden seed starter kits that already have the seeds in place so you literally just snap these in (easy).  For more advanced gardeners you can grow everything from seed in the Aero Garden so I just start them outside the machine then replace and snap them into place (MUCH cheaper).  The seed kits they sell are pizza herbs, traditional medicinal herbs, lettuce, strawberry, tomatoes, peppers, every herb you can think of and flowers.  I haven’t tried the strawberries yet but since it’s a new product I think I’m going to give it a shot next in ours.   They also sell a salsa kit which includes cherry tomatoes and jalapenos but I don’t honestly think you’re going to grow enough tomatoes to make a big bowl of salsa.  I mostly used these cherry tomatoes for salads and tacos as I was able to just grab a few and go.  

The coolest part of growing indoors while not worrying about the light is that you can grow 12 months a year. The seasons don’t matter.  During the Winter while the garden was in sleep time we were still able to grab fresh lettuce to eat taco salads with.  

I think the basil grows fantastic in the Aero Garden, possibly even just as good as in a real garden.  We had multiple basil plants that just grew into true plant monsters.  They actually grew so tall that I couldn’t extend the Aero Garden arm to go any higher (it adjusts with plant height). It seems like everytime I would prune the basil plants I’d come back a few days later and they would need more pruning, they just grow and grow and grow.    I think the basil plants really get the best out of your buck as well just because the pure amount of basil you’re going to get.  We’re talking cups of basil at one time. I easily made giant batches of pesto with the basil from these while the plants were still stacked with more basil to pick.  In fact I think I can even say at times I had too much basil which had me cutting some off to dry it for dried basil just so the plants come keep growing.  You’re going to basil crazy people!

Here’s one afternoon of basil I picked!
Aero Garden Basil

Aero Garden Basil_1

And more basil..
Aero Garden Basil_2

Here’s the basil plants before I cut them down.  The funny thing is they grew these tall even with only having 2 lights on instead of the usual 3 for multiple weeks (I was cheap and didn’t want to buy bulbs)! I’m about to replant some new basil and replace the bulbs so we’ll be set for the next batch.
Aero Garden Basil_3

And lettuce grows excellent in it. It’s pretty great to be able to just walk a few feet in your home, grab some lettuce and then go get your grub on.
Aero Garden Basil_4

And this is just herb city.  They grow really well so it can become a great smelling jungle pretty quick.

Lastly, a bunch of cherry tomatoes growing! 

And like I mentioned earlier, I made some videos with Aero Garden last summer so I wanted to post them here as well.  If a goof like me can put these gardens together then you definitely can too.

Then there’s one more video of how to make some delicious salsa. Watch the video until the end where you can see me take a bite, realize it’s extremely hot (I got a jalepeno seed!) then then try to act professional while my mouth is on fire. It worked.. kinda! 😉

 Have you guys seen the Aero Garden yet in stores?  Does anyone have one?    Tell me in the comments!

Chinese Bok Choy and Mushroom Noodles

CHINESE Bok Choy and Mushroom Noodles is DELICIOUS! This healthy recipe is made in 15 minutes and makes Asian cooking easy! These noodles are vegetarian, spicy and simple! We love this dinner in our house!

Lately I have really been in the mood for a big bowl of Chinese noodles full of vegetables so I cooked this Bok and Mushroom Noodles dish one night and now it’s a official staple for dinner. I love that I can use both fresh bok choy and kale from the garden making this a healthy vegetable dish too! 

CHINESE Bok Choy and Mushroom Noodles is DELICIOUS! This healthy recipe is made in 15 minutes and makes Asian cooking easy! These noodles are vegetarian, spicy and simple! We love this dinner in our house!

This Chinese dish will only take you 15 minutes to make so it’s a easy meal to make on weeknights!    The red pepper flakes and ginger add a little spice that goes a long way for flavor.  These noodles are not soupy as the broth will boil off and the rice noodles will soak them up.

CHINESE Bok Choy and Mushroom Noodles is DELICIOUS! This healthy recipe is made in 15 minutes and makes Asian cooking easy! These noodles are vegetarian, spicy and simple! We love this dinner in our house!

CHINESE Bok Choy and Mushroom Noodles is DELICIOUS! This healthy recipe is made in 15 minutes and makes Asian cooking easy! These noodles are vegetarian, spicy and simple! We love this dinner in our house!

Hope you enjoy these simple and healthy Bok Choy and Mushroom Noodles! CHINESE Bok Choy and Mushroom Noodles is DELICIOUS! This healthy recipe is made in 15 minutes and makes Asian cooking easy! These noodles are vegetarian, spicy and simple! We love this dinner in our house!

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CHINESE Bok Choy and Mushroom Noodles is DELICIOUS! This healthy recipe is made in 15 minutes and makes Asian cooking easy! These noodles are vegetarian, spicy and simple! We love this dinner in our house!

Looking for more easy Chinese recipes? Try:
10 Minute Vegetable Lo Mein
Chinese Fried Rice With Lettuce
Chinese Takeout Chicken and Broccoli
Chinese Pork Wonton Soup

Chinese Bok Choy and Mushroom Noodles

CHINESE Bok Choy and Mushroom Noodles is DELICIOUS! This healthy recipe is made in 15 minutes and makes Asian cooking easy! These noodles are vegetarian, spicy and simple! We love this dinner in our house!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 large head bok choy - chopped
  • 1/2 cup kale - chopped
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 12 oz rice noodles
  • salt + pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a pot heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add red pepper flakes, ginger, bok choy, kale and mushrooms. Stir to combine them while cooking for 2-3 minutes until the greens wilt.
  2. In a large pot bring chicken broth to a boil. Once boiling add rice noodles, cooking as instructed on noodle package. When the noodles have 4 minutes left, add vegetables and stir.
  3. Season with salt + pepper if needed.
  4. Enjoy!

NYC Garden Party Pictures and Fun!

This weekend was Home Depot’s NYC Garden party and I was there to assist in helping all things garden related!
So grab a pot, a herb and let’s get our nails dirty… it’s time to plant!
nyc garden party_7

The event was hosted by Monica Mangin and the chef for the afternoon was Jason Roberts.  And your garden helper was me!
nyc garden party_19

First step when you walked in.. grab a pot and decorate it with a bunch of markers! It was neat to see how some people really got colorful with their pots!
nyc garden party_4

Then with your empty pot you came and met me at the herb planting station.  There you got the option of planting cilantro, basil or parsley.   Here’s a picture before the event began with all the herbs lined up..
nyc garden party_1

But that’s not it… we had all these herbs to plant too! 
nyc garden party_11

I should have taken some pictures “after” because this area really got the getting your hands dirty treatment!  Every single herb was planted.. I never planted so many at one time in my life! I was pretty exhausted when it was over!
nyc garden party_3

I really loved talking with kids about gardening and helping them get their plants in their pots. Some were shy but once I told them they could get their hands dirty they dug right in.
nyc garden party_15

There were lots of questions about water, sunlight and overall care.  I really wanted to stress that anyone can grow and don’t give up even if it fails the first time. Trust me, we’ve all had plants that have died. Just keep trying!
nyc garden party_17

Oh and this boy named Matthew showed up.  He made a pot that has our cats names on them! Meow.
nyc garden party_18

There was also a salsa garden bed set up that had everything planted from tomatoes, onions, cilantro, peppers and more.  Everything you need to make a big batch of salsa (once it’s fully grown!)
nyc garden party_2

There was also a gnome and a owl there.  Hey guys.
nyc garden party_6nyc garden party_5

Christy was my partner in crime and helped me all day, including brushing our bags off 20x because we kept covering them with dirt.  The planting station gets crazy!
nyc garden party_8

There was also fresh lemonade…
nyc garden party_13

And beautiful grilled carrots were eaten! I was a bit bummed I didn’t get to try any.. but I’m going to cook some up with our garden carrots!
nyc garden party_14

nyc garden party_10
So that was the event! I have to say it was lots of fun just to get to meet so many people and hear their enthusiasm for urban city growing.  I always say this but you can really grow no matter where you live.. there’s window boxes, fire escapes, roofs, yards and even hydroponic systems with artificial light.  You just have to give it a shot!  

Now get growing!

If you live in Chicago or Seattle, please check out the garden party. I promise that you’ll have a blast!
SpringMadeSimple_zps424bb04d

Pizza Time! Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza Review

The answer to “Hey, want to grab some pizza?” is always yes!  So when Fratelli Brick Over Pizza and Wine Bar invited me for dinner the answer was one giant yes!  Take my hand and let’s jump on the subway, we’re about to take a trip uptown! That’s right, I’m going past 23rd Street to the Upper East Side… but it’s worth it for this pizza.

First up, let’s talk about this awesome homemade sundried tomato dip and bread that they brought out after we placed our orders. This sauce is so good they actually sell it in jars at the restaurant.  Get this.. the sauce is made with anchovies, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and olive oil.  Did you hear me? Anchovies! And here I thought they were gross my entire life but not in this sauce!  
Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza

I love surprising Matthew with things like “this sauce has anchovies in it!” because I know how much anchovies scare him too.  The bread and sauce was a big hit.  I’m guilty of eating too much bread before the main course, anyone else?
Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza_1

Next up was the Antipasto Contadino which is an assortment of cheeses, sopressata, dry sausage and tomato.  This was a appetizer but it was HUGE.   We both nibbled on all the delicious meats and cheeses while throwing on the yummy assortment of peppers and beans that were soaked in a spicy marinade in the middle. 
Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza_2

While digging into the vegetables in the middle we found a piece of cauliflower that both made us cheer with excitement.  You guys know how much we love our cauliflower so this was a happy surprise at the bottom. 
Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza_3

Now baby, it’s pizza time!

They serve 12″ and 16″ pizzas that can be made whole wheat or gluten if you’d like. They have the traditional Margherita but then they also have special pizzas like:
Pizza Girasole homemade mozzarella cheese, prociutto and sun-dried tomatoes.
Pizza Importante roasted shrimp, fresh arugula and mozzarella.
Pizza Quattro Formaggi gorganzola, fontina, mozzarella and reggiano.
Pizza Spring pineapple, roasted red peppers and grilled chicken in a light tomato sauce.

I got the Mamma Fratelli’s Classic which was diced tomatoes, ricotta, fresh mozzarella and garlic. Ricotta and mozzarella? Yes please! And on top of that I added some of my favorite prosciutto and mushrooms.
Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza_5

Doesn’t it look delicious? And it was! I always love pizza covered in ricotta cheese on top so this was a big winner to my taste buds.
Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza_6

Matthew got the Margherita Pizza which is fresh homemade mozzarella, basil, grated cheese and tomato sauce.  He topped it with mushrooms, pepperoni and sausage.  Matthew is a giant pizza lover (kinda crazy about it) so to hear him say “This is real good” I knew that this pizza passed the test.  To be honest we don’t leave Brooklyn often for pizza, but this pizza here holds up with the best of them so A+!
Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza_4

And now dessert..

I read great things about the White Chocolate Polenta Cake so I went with that.  It tasted like warm corn bread covered in sweetness.  It was simply magical. 
Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza_8

Matthew got the cannoli which I think was the star of the dessert menu. Even though my Polenta Cake was delicious this cannoli was on the scale of “holy heck this is delicious”.  Matthew only gave me one bite because he is mean and wouldn’t share but the one bite I took was simply amazing. Next time I go I’ll definitely treat myself to the cannoli (and not share with Matthew!).
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A funny moment that happened during dinner was when a ambulance parked outside the restaurant, lights on, for about 15 minutes.  It was like watching a light show on Matthew’s face.   
Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza_7

Verdict? Delicious! Their pizza can battle with the best of them, their serving sizes are generous and they had the kindest wait staff that was always refilling our glasses and making sure we were good.  It was a great dinner and we’ll definitely be back!  If you’re in NYC I’d recommend this for your next restaurant to try!

Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza is located at 1317 1st Avenue (between 71st St & 70th St) on the Upper East Side in NYC.

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