Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Regrowing Celery

If you're a addict like I am, you've seen this project pop up a lot lately! Cutting the base of your store bought celery off and growing a whole new bunch of stocks from it. So I gave it and decided to give it a go.

Right now its day one! I've cut the base of the stock and have put it in a shallow cake pan full of warm water in front of an east facing window.

Here's day one picture. We'll check back on it within 7 days.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Great Gardening Class

I had a fabulous group of ladies this weekend over for a beginner's gardening class. (Thank you ladies!) I really hope I covered enough to get them really excited and get them out in their yards! Definitely didn't want to over whelm anyone into quitting such a wonderful hobby. I think I gained a lot from the class as well, in fact I learned just how far I've come over the years and how I started from nothing, with lots of questions and anxiety!

So I just wanted to share a little flashback of what was, and what is.... for one day you will see, what will be!

Now all that green you see is covered with productive gardens and lots of flowers and trees. Makes a woman smile about how far her own 2 hands can get her. (With a little help from a really handy husband! Hehehe)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Prepping the new beds - Flowers & Corn!

I decided its best we get the ground tilled in when I want to plant the corn this year. My neighbor was kind enough to let us borrow the tiller and my husband decided to till everything in sight (I'm pretty literal on that one!).

So we have a 20'+ by 12' bed tilled in the backyard for the corn, then he decided to till around the raised beds so I could create paths there but then the bed in the front yard I keep my shrubs and flowers in looked awful small. So he added a 32' x 6' bed addition to the front of the house. Now I have my work cut out filling those beds.

I'll be spending the next month deciding on new plants for the front, and which plants and bulbs from around the house can be moved to the front. I've already got my sweet corn choice for this year, so that's good to go!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lavender Vanilla French Eclairs


  Pastry Shell:
  1 Cup + 1 Tbsp Water
  1/4 tsp salt
  7 Tbsp Butter cut up
  1 Cup (minus 1 Tbsp) Sifted flour
  4 Beaten Eggs

  Chocolate Cream Filling:
  2 Cups + 2 Tbsp Milk
  1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp Sugar
  4 Egg Yolks
  1 Tsp Cocoa powder
  1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  2 Tbsp Flour Sifted

  Fondant/ Chocolate Glaze:
  6 oz Melted Chocolate chips
  2 Tbsp Melted Butter
  1/4 cup powdered sugar
  2 Tbsp Water

Preheat oven 410 degrees

Shell Pastry:
* In a saucepan boil water & salt. Add butter in cubed pieces. When melted pour all flour in at one time, reduce heat to med.
*Combine with wooden spoon until all flour is absorbed and remove from heat.
*Allow to cool and slowly add eggs (these should be prebeaten and at room temp). Adding 1/2 the eggs at a time helps. When adding the second half of the eggs, I switched to a whisk, it helped a lot.
*Add pastry mix to pastry bag or zip lock bag with the end cut off. Pipe onto a baking sheet that's been greased or parchment paper. (I use a silicone baking sheet.) Should make between 8-12 medium to small eclairs.
*Place in oven and bake 30 minutes without opening door.
*Remove and poke holes on both end of the eclairs with a toothpick. This allows the steam to escape so they don't get mushy inside.

Pastry Cream Filling:
*Mix Yolks, sugar, vanilla and flour in a medium bowl.
*Warm the milk and cocoa in a small sauce pan until you see some steam come off the milk. Do this on med-low heat slowly.
*pour milk over yolk mixture, stir to combine and the pour back into sauce pan.
*Bring to a soft bowl where you'll see bubbles popping up the side of your sauce pan. After a few pops give it an easy stir and remove from heat. It will thicken more as it cools.
*When cool, cut tops off of eclairs and fill with the cream and place the tops back on them.

Chocolate Glaze:
*Combine water and powdered sugar to dissolve and set aside.
*In another bowl combine chocolate chips and butter. Put in microwave for 1 minute, stopping every 15 second to stir until melted.
*Add the dissolved sugar to the chocolate and mix until combined.
*Use to frost the top of the eclairs and allow to cool on counter or in fridge before serving.