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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Grow Garden 2009

This is our garden this year.

These are going to be yellow pear-shaped cherry tomatoes. I planted 4 other kinds of tomatoes too.
These are chili peppers we planted last year that grew back. There are 3 plants with different kinds of peppers (one is called chocolate pepper.)
We planted green onions outside of the garden to keep the critters away.
These are eggplants from the plant we planted last year. They also survived.
Here is a small cuke. I planted one cucumber plant and it has gone crazy along with the 4 zucchini plants.

This time last year I had a major critter problem in my garden. So far we've been lucky (knock on wood.) I buy most of my plants from Rogers Gardens in Corona Del Mar, Newport Beach. They sell lots of heirloom plants that do well by the beach. And, if you love gardens, gourmet food and art you should visit this place. It's amazing, especially at Christmastime.

Magnetic Board

A couple weeks ago we had a ladies craft night at church. Well, I mostly socialized so I didn't finish any of my 3 projects that night. I just now finished this one. It's a magnetic board to hold pictures, postcards, invitations, cards, whatever. I was supposed to use ribbon to tie on the metal hanger but I cut some fabric off of my bedskirt instead.

I'm making some custom magnets to go with it. When I finish I'll post them with my board hanging in my room.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Blue Ribbon Granola

This year I was honored to win a blue ribbon for my granola at the OC Fair. I've had several requests for my "winning recipe" so here is my attempt to share it with you. I make granola for my family once a week and it is different every time I make it. The award winner was Orange Cherry Pecan.

First up:
Orange Dried Cherries (They are good on their own but are a wonderful addition to granola.)

*Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

2- 10 oz. bags of frozen cherries
1/2 to 1 cup (enough to cover the cherries) Orange juice (I used orange mango)
1/4 cup honey
secret ingredient-a little orange zest

In a medium saucepan on medium heat, bring all ingredients to a boil. Turn heat to low and allow mixture to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and the juice is thick. Don't stir. If you really want to stir it, just swirl the pot around. Remove from heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove cherries and place them in a single layer on a silicone pad lined cookie sheet (or parchment paper or non-stick cookie sheet.) Dry in preheated oven
for about 2 hours, checking every 20-30 minutes. You want them to be chewy. If you have a dehydrator, cool. Use it.

Orange Cherry Pecan Granola
* Preheat oven to 275 degrees
4 cups grains (I use a mixture of oatmeal, wheat flakes, barley flakes, and rye flakes)
2 cups nuts (the winning recipe used blanched almonds and pecans)
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2-3/4 cups honey (depending on how sweet you want it)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
sprinklings of sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg
secret ingredient-2 Tbs. orange juice
Orange zest
Orange Dried Cherries
Combine all ingredients except zest and cherries in a medium-sized bowl. Spread mixture onto a non-stick or foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake in oven for 30 minutes to an hour. Stir every 10-15 minutes after 30 minutes. You want the granola a golden brown. You are stirring so the sides don't get too brown. Remove granola from the oven and sprinkle with orange zest. Allow granola to cool before adding dried cherries and packaging.

It's great on yogurt or with milk as a cereal. Other flavoring options: add a teaspoon of vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, coconut or almond extract. You could also add peanut butter and replace the honey with maple syrup or agave necter.
Other fruits: dehydrated or freeze-dried strawberries, peaches, raisins, currents, flaked coconut, blueberries, apples, banana chips, etc.
Other nuts and seeds: slivered almonds (just be careful that they don't get too brown too quickly), peanuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds (they are in the picture above but I didn't use them in my award winning recipe), sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, etc.
Enjoy! Let me know if you try it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Home-made English Muffins

Yes, you heard that right. I made my own English muffins. They are as easy to make as pancakes only so much cooler. I found the recipe on Baking Bites blog. I substituted white flour with whole wheat pastry flour and they were amazing. I served them with butter and my mum's homemade sugar-free plum jam.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th of July

To continue with my tradition of posting a tour of my home on every holiday, I present you with Independence Day. First off, a picture of my house with my flag out front.
Just inside the kitchen is the banner that I sewed using vintage and recycled fabrics and bias tape.

And, as promised, on the living room coffee table lies the coordinating table runner. It's reversable. It has the red bandana/centinial fabric on one side and colorful flip flops on the other.

I didn't really go all out of decorating the house this go around because I've been busy planning the church 4th of July Breakfast. We are having pancakes with fresh strawberries and whipping cream.

I also made 150 of these Mentos "firecrackers." I used up a bunch of paper and ribbon I wasn't crazy about. I will put these on the tables as the decoration.

Basic instructions: Remove paper wrapper. Replace with 2" x 3" piece of paper (I ran my adhesive runner up one side and then just rolled the Mentos over the paper). Tie knot in 3" long piece of ribbon and adhere with a small glue dot. Repeat 149 times. LOL.
And, finally, every year the girls in my family (aka the growgirls) wear matching Old Navy t-shirts. This is my uniform for this year. I'll wear it with a skirt and a flag bracelet

I hope that you have a wonderful weekend. Happy 4th to all of my American friends. Thanks for stopping by.


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