Saturday, February 26, 2011

Starting my garden!

It's just about that time! We're starting to have at least a couple days a week that feel like spring, so I am ready to start thinking about my garden for this year! It got hot here so early last year, so this time around I want to try to get an early start on some cold weather crops this year.

I had a bag of seed starter material from last year so I decided to try making my own seed pots from old newspaper. I figured I'd make some smallish ones, so I ended up using a toilet paper roll to make them.
I cut strips of newspaper about twice as tall as I wanted the pots and rolled them up around the toilet paper roll. Any jar or glass with an opening at the one end would work great.

Leave some newspaper hanging off the end. It then gets tucked into the end of the tube to form the bottom of the seed pot.

Then pull the toilet paper roll or jar out, and Voila! it's all ready to add dirt and seeds!
I'm just doing a few early season seeds right now to see how it goes. I don't want to lose too much if I'm wrong and we have another long frozen spell.

I filled them almost all the way to the top with the seed starter mix.

Misted them to get them good and moist. Actually I ended up putting just a little water in the bottom of the tub to let it soak up into the pots too.
Poked a little hole in each pot with a chopstick to make a spot for my seeds.

Don't forget to write on the pots while they're still dry or make some kind of label or chart so you know what you planted where!

Thursday, February 24, 2011 fun being sick

Ugh, so the dreaded flu finally caught up with me this year. I've managed to avoid it for several years but couldn't avoid it any longer apparently. Never got around to making a meal plan this week, and haven't felt up to eating anything other than pretzels and a plain english muffin until today! Thankfully I made a big batch of chili on Monday so my hubby hasn't been going too hungry with me out of commission :)

Anyways, looking for ideas now for the rest of the week. Still feeling a little on the cautious side, so I'm not planning anything too crazy. I'd be happy with plain pasta lol!

Tonight (Thursday) I'm thinking some kind of mac n cheese... maybe this one?

Friday, I think I will try this Easy Garlic Broiled Chicken

Saturday maybe I will feel more like eating and we'll have Irish Stew!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Caramel Mocha Cupcakes


We had a "cupcake wars" valentine's day event at work. I was inspired by these Caramel Caffe Mocha Cupcakes so I tried to recreate them.

I love these Rose liners I found at Joann's!

They're just basic chocolate cupcakes with a caramel candy pushed into the middle... I used rolos, but I should have used more than one because the cupcakes ended up so large, they candy sorta got lost.

But I thought the cupcakes themselves turned out very lovely!

Topped with a dark chocolate ganache... mmmmm

And then a coffee butter cream frosting. (and some chocolate shavings to spruce them up a bit)
Notice the one with the white frosting... I promised my hubby I would make him one without the coffee :) however, I think the coffee frosting might have been the best part!

but here it is with a few very minor tweaks that I made...

Caramel Caffe' Mocha Cupcakes
dark chocolate cake mix
chocolate instant pudding mix (small box - 3 oz?)
oil (or butter)
rolos (if cupcakes are large, use two per cupcake)

Preheat oven to 350. Put cute liners in cupcake pan. Make the cake mix according to the directions on the back of the box, but (optionally) use milk instead of water and use melted butter instead of oil, and add a box of instant pudding mix. Fill liners halfway with cake batter. Press a rolo into the middle, but don't push it all the way in. Cover the top of the rolo with some more batter. Bake for 22 minutes. Cool completely. Spoon on some chocolate ganache. Let set and frost with coffee butter cream.

Chocolate Ganache
1 c. dark chocolate chips
1/2 c. whipping cream
Boil whipping cream. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips until melted. Let cool.

Coffee Butter Cream

1 c. butter, room temperature
2 tbsp. warm water
2 tsp. instant coffee
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
4 c. powdered sugar
Put warm water in small dish. Spoon in the instant coffee and let dissolve. Set aside. Cream butter. Add coffee water, vanilla and salt and cream again. Slowly add your powdered sugar, beating after each addition. If it is thick, add just a touch more water.

Enjoy!! :)

oh and here is a glimpse of the cupcake tower with everyone's creations piling up! Good turnout for a bake sale/contest!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine's Week!

Gotta get back on track! I basically took last week off from making dinners since my hubby was out of town the whole week on a business trip. Now that he's back home, it's time to get on the ball again!

Monday - Valentine's day... Steaks & baked potatoes with the works!

Tuesday - dinner with friends - don't need to plan anything

Wednesday - Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder

Thursday - leftovers

Also, we are having a Cupcake War at work on Monday for Valentine's day... I am thinking I will make Caramel Mocha cupcakes, so you might get to see that mess as well :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It snowed!

If you can even count this 1/4 inch as snow, LOL! But something about the overcast sky with the blue at the horizon was just really pretty!