Thursday, May 30, 2013

Um... Yum, aka How I Made My Morning Yogurt Sinfully Delicious

Okay, so first off, I can't believe I forgot about Orson Welles' birthday! It's my national holiday! I actually went right by it without celebrating and I know that's why I've been having weirdly cinematic dreams... he's haunting me. 

That's right, Orson Welles is haunting my dreams. 

How do I celebrate this amazing man's birthday? With a cigar and copious amounts of drinking and womanizing people in the Sims. How else do you celebrate his birthday?  

The best picture of the great Orson Welles. 

So instead of celebrating when I should of, I will be celebrating tonight! Here's to you Orson! Thanks for Jane Eyre. 

But to the real point of this post. 

So I am head over heels for this new yogurt, called Liberté. It's originally from Canada and somehow it made it's way down here and OMG. It's amazing. If you hate yogurt, this is the yogurt for you. If you love yogurt, this is the yogurt for you. If you're swayed neither way... you guessed it.... this is the yogurt for you. 

Dear god is this stuff delish. 

It's a part of my morning ritual. I normally eat breakfast around 6 am, so by 10 am I'm starving, which is when I pop my Liberté out of the fridge and it keeps me full through till 1:30ish which is when I eat lunch. 

But lately, I have been eating dark chocolate like it's my job. I'm really digging the Hershey's special dark mix and the Ghiardelli Twilight Delight. So when it was time for my morning yogurt today, I was like... I wonder what would happen if I mixed them. 


So here's what you'll need to create a dark chocolate island temptation! 

Your Liberté Coconut Yogurt
2 Hershey's Special Dark Chocolates with Crisped Rice (it adds a great crunch)
A Sharp Knife
A Plate or Cutting Board, which I didn't have at work... 


I like a good santoku knife, which if you dont have, you need to get.
Those little pockets make all the difference when your doing quick chopping. 



Cut the chocolate into small toothsome pieces, I used kind of a shaving method/tiny dice method, which works great, but if you want more chunky pieces - do what you do! 

Then I dumped all of the chocolate into my yogurt and stirred it all together and boy was it amazing. Seriously... You could probably do this with your favorite coconut yogurt, but I'm biased, so use this one. Haha! Jokes! Use whatever one you buy, but just know that it wont taste as amazing as mine did.
This was gone in like 30 seconds flat. 


And no, this is not a sponsored post, I just seriously like their yogurt this much.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Great Memorial Day Plant Project (Part 2 of 2)


WOW so after all that work and trust me... it was a LOT of work, I thought I'd show you the fruits of JR and my labor. Look how well the light purple and turquoise pots go together. The marigolds look gorgeous. We picked out a lot of the ones with buds on them so that we will have blooms for the next month or so. 

That's my lesson number one for this post. When buying plants from the hardware stores or flower shops or nurseries, always make sure you have an even amount of disbursement of blooms and buds so that you'll be able to experience the beautiful flowers for months to come. 


Bought a new chive plant since the ones I'm growing from seeds are taking a while, and it came with an awesome bonus of oregano!! How cool. Hopefully it's not cutting off the root supply. 


We also cut apart the jiffy cups with the most growth and planted them! The empty cups closest to us had no growth in them at all, so JR planted some Cosmo seeds... We should have a steady rotation of plants as everything is growing (and dying, because hello, have you met me?)


More of the replanted jiffy cups, you can see the cup shape in the larger pot... clearly, we were really concerned about hiding them. 

So the rest of the post is just a lot of pics of the garden in all it's new glory. 

SO MANY SEEDLINGS!!!! Let's see if I can grow them into adults!

Another pot of low-light plants. 

Here's our low/no light plants, hidden behind the chaise lounge. I love the big green/pink plants.
We used to have some when I was growing up in Beaumont. 

I AM SO EXCITED FOR THESE PEPPERS! I LOVE CUBANELLE PEPPERS! 


The upper pot is a 8 in pot from Home Depot and then the plate is a STEAL from Ikea at 69cents.
They were in the As Is section of the store, so we bought two to put under the part light plants to give them a bit more interest in contrasting colors. 

Look I have a Thriller, a Filler and Spiller. Just call me Betty Container-Gardener


JR had to clean up all the dirt I dumped off the patio...


He was a great sport about it though. 

This is definitely a great cross section of what's going on on the porch. You can see the pepper pot (Haha! Pepper Pots!), which are up on the stool we built. And underneath you can see the corner of our part-light plants. In the large purple pot you can see marigolds and verbena and a firework plant that I've had now for 3 years... there used to be more of them... but like I said earlier, we're rotating plants that die...



Lesson number two I learned - PLANT FOOD.

PLANTS LOVE PLANT FOOD.

This might seem a bit like common sense, but here's the lesson. Follow the instructions on the label, but also on top of regular watering according to instructions, buy a spray-water bottle and fill it with a mixture of the plant food and water. Spray it on your plants in the morning and watch how happy they look by mid afternoon. Seriously.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Great Memorial Day Plant Project (Part 1 of 2)

So I had quite a grand plan for all of the plants after the craptastic roofers destroyed all of my poor little babies. So JR P.I. and I went to the Home Depot first thing after work on Friday and replaced all the plants and bought quite a few new ones. 


You see on Friday I had this brilliant idea to really tie all the random pots on the patio together. I was going to PAINT THEM ALL. As you can see in the above picture we had already bought a turquoise patio table from Target about 2 months ago when we first got on the plant kick (by we - I mean I). So I thought OMG, WE NEED TO PAINT ALL THE POTS THAT COLOR. 

Then I was like that's a lot of turquoise... so... what goes with turquoise? Light purple of course! 




We literally spent all weekend spray-painting pots and replanting. There is a very unsightly spray-painted-turquoise-box right at JR's front door, because I'm just not the best spray painter. seriously. I once spray painted with two of my sisters in college in an enclosed basement, because ventilation just didn't dawn on us. We spent the next 30 minutes eating everything in my apartment and laughing uncontrollably (I'll let you surmise why). 

Miracle Grow - It's everywhere you want to grow!

Totally worth it though, because that ugly green color was not cutting it. I also really thought that it would just make our patio the best patio on the "block."

P.I. picked a peck of peppery pepper plants
And remember how I was talking about starting to grow peppers? Yep... We picked up pepper plants too! A cubanelle (totes excited about that one), a serrano, an anaheim, and a sweet banana pepper!


THEN on top of all of our plant buying we drove down to the Woodbridge Ikea and picked up a few of these bad boys. 


Oh? You're not intimately acquainted with the Ikea catalogue like myself? Well it's one of these!


Still confused? It's a stool!!! We literally drove 30 miles away to pick up 3 cheap-o (yet sturdy) stools, because everything was so expensive around town. 



JR and I put together two of these little stools so that the pepper plants were up off the porch and getting more light, because pepper plants need a heck of a lot of light. So these just got them right up off the porch, and I highly recommend them. They were only $6.99 at the Ikea. 


The two plants in the giant purple pot are what remains of my "Lisa" plant and the
destroyed marigolds courtesy of the roofers

See the pepper pot stays up on the top and the part-sun/no-sun plants go underneath. Some people might think it hides the Gerbers but I really think that when you're sitting down on the chaise lounge that you really can see everything. 


I'll show you more updates in the next post!



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Tale of Two Roofers or How The Roofing Company Destroyed my Garden

Okay,

So last post JR and I were "Mad." Not really we were more just slightly confused and befuddled.

The real anger happened this week when the condo association decided we needed a new roof.

Not just some new shingles, I'm talking a full blown REMOVAL of the roof, as in we could see the entire sky from the attic.

Not a big deal you're thinking, everyone has to get a roof redone every now and then, and you're right it would have been completely fine had the roofers not used the patio as their personal dumping ground. I have never seen such flippancy in regards to personal property.


Our plants are underneath all of this roofing trash.
I have also never seen roofers with such disdain for people and lack of decency than the ones doing this job. I've ALSO never seen such disasters when it comes to roofing a property, and I've watched boy scouts roof things. They actually used the trees, the stairwells, the attics, the patios, and the CARS of the home owners as their personal trash cans.

Then when they cleaned it up, they didn't actually clean it up... they left roofing nails the size of my pinky hanging out on the ground, they left shingle nails all through out my planters and they actually left full shingles in the planters. FULL FLICKING SHINGLES.

Yep, didn't see this nail until I almost stepped on it. 

If I ever find out the name of the roofing company, I will write the most scathing of reviews on any review site that I can find, because when I asked if they were going to finish cleaning up the porch and told them that they were going to replace the plants that you see are completely destroyed, the manager's response was... "not my problem."


No. It is SO FLICKING your problem you little twit. Do you know how long it took to GROW those silly little green things? Do you think I can just hop down to the store and purchase more marigold seedlings?


NO. I CAN'T, because people don't sell half-grown plants! They sell full grown flowers or seeds. I don't want full grown flowers, I want the experience and the pride that comes with growing a plant from a stupid little seed. AND it's too late in the season to replant them. So no. You're going to be paying me money for the plants, the water, the planters, and the soil you destroyed by flippantly tossing off (perfectly good) shingles (I have re-roofed things as well I know what a good shingle looks like) into our FLICKING garden.



And now I can't even till the potting soil, because I don't know whether or not there's more nails in the pots. So I'm literally going to have to dump out all of the soil from every single pot and start over, because I don't do well with lock-jaw courtesy of the tetanus. 


I pulled all of these nails out of one plant. ONE. 

So let's see... not only am I down the amount of time and money spent nurturing those plants to adolescence, but I'm also out the money for filling every single one of those pots on the patio with soil. Also moving plants from one pot to another can shock the plant and cause it to die, so if any more plants kick the bucket, I'm out the cost of those plants as well... we're talking approximately $150 which might be pocket cash to some of y'all but to me, that's quite a bit of money, and I'm not happy about it.

On the upside... I think I want to plant Cubanelle peppers... or maybe some banana peppers... we'll talk about this later.

What the Dill?!

I'm MAD! 

And so is JR...

Something has happened to the Dill! 

What the Deal?! 

What was once beautiful and flourishing is now sad, decrepit and dying. 

I have a feeling it has something to do with the massive amounts of water from a couple weekends ago, but I'm not sure.

Anyone else a fellow herb gardener? Anyone have any thoughts? Cause I'm in a pickle! 

Should I try to revive this little tender plant? 



Or should I just pull it up by the roots and let it go, with a quick a rip of my hand?

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Not So Secret Container Garden

So a few weeks ago I let y'all in on a little secret, I'm growing a container garden on JR P.I.'s (previously noted as MM) porch. That's right, my boyfriend is the once infamous trumpet player of the Legwarmers.

No, seriously, he is... I'm dating a famous man.

Guys, really... seriously... I am.

So anyway back to the actual post.

What originally started out as me wanting to grow some seeds, has now turned into a full blown porch obsession. If you remember the pictures of the tiny little green sprouts from last blog, these are them now. On the left is the marigolds, in the middle is the ?s, and on the right is the poppies.


So far I have learned 2 things from this potting organization:
1. I really wanted to grow plants. I mean, seriously, it's like I just took a pot full of soil and made it rain seeds... 
Throwin' poppies, poppies, poppies
2. I over-populated my pot. There is absolutely no room for these plants to reach their full potential, because I've created a pot sized experiment in Darwinization. Talk about survival of the fittest. These are going to have to be replanted or thinned out before full growth can be achieved. 

Here are the snap dragons, in the left pot, which look like they're blooming, but they're not happy about it... I really think that last cold snap we had did some damage.


in fact. It's almost as if the snap dragons are all...


See...

I also clearly did not succeed in reading comprehension... Not is not No, but I'm too lazy to fix it.
Told you... my snap dragons hate me. 

As for those little jiffy cups I was telling you about, they're doing awesome! Or they were before the deluge we had last weekend, we'll find out soon if they will turn yellow from the inundation. But so far so good! 



From left to right we have Chives, what I think are maybe bachelor buttons, blue belles (yeah, Texas!), Amaranthus, and what was left of the marigold seeds. They're growing quite nicely. I'll update y'all with more pictures and more garden lessons next time. 

But I leave you with this pic of our herb jungle. The Pineapple Sage in the back, dill in the middle and the low growing oregano! NOM! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Enchilada Sauce of the Heavens

So on Sunday night, MM and took a side trip over to Glen's Garden Market over in Dupont after visiting his mother for Mother's Day. I had wanted to nab some local honey (which they have a nice variety though some are on the pricey side), when we noticed this Tomatilla Verde Sauce, I can't remember the brand for the life of me.

We grabbed it, excited to include it in our enchilada dinner later that evening.

After picking up cheese and tortillas from the local grocery to include with the beautiful ramps and the sauce that we got at Glen's, we started cooking.

I sautéed the ramps in some farm fresh butter that we got from Agora Farms' stall in Eastern Market (heavenly butter by the way, I'll never go back to store bought again). Then we rolled up the cheese into the tortillas with the ramps.

Opening the sauce I stuck my pinky in to taste, and while it was a little on the fruity side, I told Boyfriend to pour it over the top.

He grabbed the jar...

And the sauce went everywhere.

The top was still loose on the jar from when I tasted it.

It was like the green blob was coming. It got all over the stove, BUT we still had half a jar left. So MM poured it on top, we popped them in the over and we waited the cursory 15 minutes as the cheese-ramp enchiladas bubbled away in the oven.

When they came out they looked and smelled delicious (phone's broken otherwise I'd show you pictures).

But upon first taste, we realized it was a blessing that half of that jar of tomatilla sauce fell onto the stove. IT WAS DISGUSTING. If you ever go to Glen's DO NOT GET THE TOMATILLA VERDE SAUCE.

The enchiladas were basically ruined.

We had a full pan of gross.

So we popped them in the fridge hoping that they'd be better the next day.

Boyfriend attempted them at lunch, nope. Disgusting.

So I looked around on the internet hoping to find some fix because we literally had 6 enchiladas left and I am not one to waste cheese. (Love me some cheese)

We scraped the remaining sauce off of the enchiladas we had.

I found a recipe that looked promising and altered it to my liking. The following is by far the most delish enchilada sauce, I've ever made.

2 1/2TBs of farm fresh butter
4 TBs of flour
chili powder, cumin, black pepper, and garlic powder to taste
2 tsp diced green chilis (from a can is fine)
1/2 of a large shallot (or a small shallot)
1 8oz can of Hunts tomato sauce
water
Blender (I used an immersion blender)

Dice the Shallot. 

In a medium sauce pan melt the butter slowly over low heat then slowly add the flour stirring till it creates a sort of paste. Allow the butter and flour to brown slightly (this is your roux for the sauce), this might take a few minutes. Keep a close eye. 

I added about equal parts chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder, then went a little heavy handed on the pepper. 

Stir the pot until mixed. Allow this to cook a little more before adding the can of tomato sauce, the diced shallot, and the green chilis. 

Fill the empty tomato sauce can with water and use that to thin out the sauce if it seems to thick, I think I filled mine up 1 1/2 times. 

Allow to cook for apprx. 5-10 minutes so that the flavors have time to mix. 

Then purée the sauce using your blender. Allow to cook for 5-10 minutes more. 

Enjoy! 

I poured that sauce over the top of the disaster from the day before and added some grated cheese on top, popped them in the oven for 15 minutes, and the result was absolutely heavenly.

MM and I looked at each other and decided then and there we'd never use another red enchilada sauce again!

I saved the rest of the sauce and plan to make a little magic happen later tonight known as round 2!

All the Noms!


Next I'm thinking enfrijoladas! Anyone have a good recipe?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Getting my Garden On

After the long dreary winter there is nothing I want to do more than sit my bum out in a chair and soak up the everlovin' sun and down pint after gallon of sweet tea. As all my DC Metro people know, this has been a little difficult as of late due to the spastic weather patterns, but do y'all remember that one week of pure delish 70 degree weather we had in the middle of April?

I do.

And boy have I been graving it because I want to sit outside on the porch and soak in my garden.

That's right...

I have a garden, and by I - I mean we. 

Boyfriend recently bought porch furniture for his porch, which has been sans furniture since he moved in 6 years ago.

Of course, as a good southern woman, I could not stand for that. If there's one thing southerner's love doing is sitting out on the porch in the early evening soaking up the cicadas' song and smelling the sweet scent of honeysuckle wafting from the backyard.

Granted I cannot grow honeysuckle on Boyfriend's porch, due to the fact that it's invasive and will take over the railing before you can say lickety-split. And his complex made verrrrry clear that NOTHING can hang on the railing. (Boo-Hiss).

So instead We've been growing a veritable menagerie of plants all over the floor of his porch. This will be QUITE the learning experience since the last time I tried to grow plants all I grew were weeds, and Boyfriend's plant experience is limited to the kind of plants that never need water or tending.

So needless to say we're learning as we go. And needless to say, I hope to share my growing experiences with all you loverly people.

What are we growing you ask?

Well let me tell you.

We have some plants that are full grown cause we bought them that way...
  • Snap Dragons (that clearly did not like the cold - they're practically dead at this point)
  • 2 kinds of Basil, Thai and cinnamon
  • Hot and spice oregano (sooo good)
  • Pineapple sage, (which goes great with chicken)
    and
  • Dill... I dont really know what to do with the dill, since I'm not sure I even like the flavor. 

THEN

We bough lots of little seeds to grow things all by ourselves...
  • Marigolds
  • Poppies
  • Mystery Flower (not a name, we actually can't remember what we bought)
  • Chives
  • Blue-belles (only the best flower ever, yeah Texas!)
  • Amaranthus
  • and I think Bachelor Buttons

The marigolds, poppies, and the mystery flower are all growing strong in a 24x6x8in pot.

This is what they looked like 3 weeks ago.  They're quite a bit larger now.




While all the other ones we put in a Jiffy "greenhouse," which means they're growing in 2x2x3in little pots that we can cut apart and plant into bigger vessels later.

They're all growing really well. I can't wait for the blue-belles. I just wish that I could buy Indian paint brush seeds somewhere, I remember those growing on the sides of highways as a kid. Absolutely gorgeous with the blue-bonnets poking through every so often.


When they rustled in the wind it was as if they were dancers, swaying to the sound of a symphony only they could hear. 

But I digress. 

I have learned quite a few things since starting the garden a few weeks ago. 
  • Apparently Rosemary is a very hardy herb for our area, practically impossible to kill people have told me. (not that I'm growing any right now). 
  • Marigolds in bloom will keep other pests away from your herbs, because they're toxic to bugs. 
  • Sprinkle black pepper, LIBERALLY over all of the exposed soil, because birds and squirrels dont like the taste, so they'll stay out of your soil.  (who knew animals liked to steal soil)
  • And lastly the new smaller leaves of the herbs seem to have the best flavor. This has been corroborated with constant searching of the internets.
Personally aside from all the cool benefits of growing herbs and being able to include them in our food, I'm most excited for the marigolds to start blooming because I love the look of marigolds.


 Do y'all have any porch gardening tips?