Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesdays with Dorie: Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Cookies

Even though it felt too hot to turn on the oven, I cranked up the AC and baked on. I fiddled with the recipe slightly, I omitted the cinnamon and nutmeg and used dried cherries instead of currants or raisins. I made mine a little bigger and somewhat lumpy too (less batches). I liked these, very cake-y. I think if I had made them a little smaller/flatter they might be a good ice-cream sandwich base. (which is what this week's recipe selector did!)

Thanks to Spike of spikebakes for the week's selection!

Garden 2011 - Week 7/8

I can't remember what actual week I'm on, either 7 or 8. Eh, anyway, while we were gone my kind brother came over and kept all of our cats fed, watered and with a clean litterbox and he watered my plants/garden. Yay for brothers!

Everything exploded while we were gone. Tendrils are reaching out for something to climb up and onto, tomatoes are flowering and growing, cucumbers and beans are blooming, etc. I do appear to have a pest problem, what kind of pest I'm not sure, I did catch a glimpse of something that looks like a pink/iridescent ladybug. At any rate something(s) have been nibbling on my morning glory, okra, beans and zinnias. I sprayed some insecticidal soap on Monday and because of the rain/watering I'll need to reapply this weekend. I also need to stake my tomatoes too but Lowe's was out of the right size of bamboo poles so off to Home Depot I need to go. 

Morning Glory/Okra/Bachelor Buttons/Carrots

Lemon Boy Tomato
Doug's grapes (Concord & Red Flame)
In the flower bed  my newest cone flower has bloomed and so has my double Rose of Sharon. 
The potato vine and petunias were looking a little sickly but extra water and deadheading the petunias seemed to help. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

We've been everywhere

We survived the Western Megatrip with no fights, no breakdowns (emotional or car-wise), no bad weather and no illnesses. We saw so much, I can't even remember it all. I will say this, cheesy or not, America is really beautiful. I really enjoyed watching the landscape change and I found that despite seeing more of this country I am still completely enamored with the Pacific Northwest. Besides seeing the country we also got to see family and friends, which was an added bonus. It was a long trip and there were times when we were so exhausted from driving we thought we'd never get to the hotel. We also ate some crappy food and some delicious food and sometimes we ate fast food. The complete photo set is on Flickr but here are a few :

Lincoln Highway in outside of Laramie,Wyoming

Salt Lake City Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah

Oregon Scenic Highway, somewhere in Oregon
Astoria, Oregon

Mt. Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota

Crazy Horse Monument outside Custer, South Dakota

Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota

Places we stopped:

We did miss our cats a lot and the hotel sleeping/road food eating did get a little tiring but I am so glad we did it. You just can't see all of America (the good and the bad) from an airplane window.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Garden 2011 - Week 4

This year we decided to start with a clean slate so to speak. We got a pretty late start but it always warm here well past September so I think it'll be alright. First I pulled up all the brick that was between and around our raised beds and we tossed the original beds (the wood was starting to rot). After some research/reading I decided to try square foot gardening. Doug built us six 4 x 4 boxes and then we divided them into smaller square using cotton yarn and nails. They're filled with a mixture of organic garden soil and composted cow manure. We hope to add pea gravel in between the boxes and frame out the area with a picket fence and gate. We're not sure yet if our budget will allow for this summer or if it will happen next year but I think it'll look nice once the total vision is complete.

This is my planting list, all from Seed Savers:
Ideal Market Bean
Climbing French Bean
Dragon Carrot
A & C Pickling Cucumber
True Lemon Cucumber
Star of David Okra (okra seems to take a lot longer to germinate for some reason)
Blue Boy Bachelor's Buttons (flower)
Morning Glory (flower)
Giant Zinnias (flower)

Plus tomatoes, basil, parsley and marigolds I bought as plants. I do hope this year's growing season will be better than last year. It was so dry and hot a lot of my plants died before or shortly after they first produced something.

Carrots and Bachelor's Buttons

 Okra and Morning Glory
Cucumbers and Beans
Tomatoes, marigolds, parsley, basil & Zinnias

This is the first year I've planted any petunias and I think they look great with the chartreuse potato vine.
I'm so in love with our patio right now, everything is coming in nicely and despite the sudden onset of heat, I really like sitting out there under the umbrella. 

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Road Trip to End All Road Trips

So here's further proof my husband and I are un-sane. We're leaving tomorrow morning and driving from our home in Memphis to Seattle and back. In ten days. In a compact car.

As one person I told put it "That sounds like a terrible trip". Yeah maybe it does, but it's going to be one hell of a trip. This is our route going:

Memphis to Lincoln, NE
Lincoln, NE to Salt Lake City, UT
Salt Lake City, UT to Portland, OR
Portland, OR to Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA to Missoula, MT
Missoula, MT to Spearfish, SD
Spearfish, SD to Lawrence, KS
Lawrence, KS to HOME

Along the way we're planning on stopping to see a few relatives and friends, visit roadside attractions like the Corn Palace, see a couple of natural wonders, eat a lot of bad diner food and fight for control of the radio. We're pretty excited.

Here's some road songs to get us in the mood:

Tuesdays with Dorie: Blueberry-Brown Sugar Plain Cake


I used dark brown sugar instead of light, added a few more blueberries and baked it in a smaller pan. The blueberries sank to the bottom, creating a layer of juicy, sweet berries, topped with a moist, faintly cinnamon-y cake. When I first saw this recipe I wrinkled my nose a little, but then I made it and it was fantastic. Thanks to Cindy of Everyday Insanity for this week's pick.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Chocolate hearts Peanut Butter

I think I've talked about this before so forgive me if I'm being repetitive...You know sometimes you see a picture of something and it looks so good that you have to MAKEITRIGHTNOW? That happened to me with this Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pie, via Ezra Pound Cake. I saw the picture and then starting calculating how long it would take to create and then get in my belly. It's not made with very many 'whole foods', but it's got an Oreo cookie crust and that's good enough for me.
Despite looking intricate, it actually didn't take very long to make, it took longer for it to chill than anything. I spent that time circling the refrigerator, willing it to get colder. Now that it's 100 degrees (at least here in Memphis) you can make this without heating up your entire house.

Second, on this love fest of chocolate and peanut butter, are these Cocoa Brownies with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting from Not Without Salt. My photographs aren't anything near as nice as hers but the brownies were exceptional. This is the kind of frosting you want to just eat out of the bowl.