Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hoppy Easter!!

I made these Easter bunnies out of recycled 8 oz. water bottles for my 3 nieces.  It holds some Easter treats.  Cute eh??  Hope everyone had a very happy Easter sunday!!

Free Easter Egg Radish Seeds

I was weeding through my email today and noticed an offer for a free packet of Easter Egg Radishes at  I just thought I would pass it along to my fellow gardening friends.

Just place an online order by April 3rd to claim your free seed packet. Use coupon code: MTEEGG1

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Seedling Update

These were seedlings planted on March 13th.  Today they are 13 days old.  

I had these artichoke seedlings in the table without a heating mat.  I wondered if they would ever sprout.  About 4 days ago, I moved them to the windowsill where it was warm and got light.  Lo and behold...2 seedlings!!  This is the first time I've grown artichokes from seed. 

My tomato seedlings are doing well.  The peppers, tomatillos and some of the eggplant have finally "hatched".  It's always exciting to see new life!  

These tomato seedlings are putting on "weight" with new leaf growth.

Grab and Go: Starbuck's Perfect Oatmeal Knock-off

I love Starbuck's Perfect Oatmeal!  The mixed nuts, dried fruit and oatmeal make me feel warm and fuzzy and fill me up.  I find that the additional fruit and nuts keeps me fuller longer than plain oatmeal.  I indulge every once in a while when I'm stopping in for my cup of coffee, however the oatmeal adds up at around $2.50 a pop.  I usually love steel-cut oats and will often make a big pot of it for the work week.  However, on busy weeks, there's often no time to cook these ahead of time.  I work at a hospital and the cafeteria serves Bob's steel-cut oatmeal (my favorite).  But again, buying daily breakfast can add up.  

On days that I don't have time to make breakfast, I like to prep these grab and go portions.  I buy plain instant oatmeal and pair them with pre-packed dried cranberries and dry roasted sliced almonds.  I portion out the fruit and nuts in snack sized ziplocs so I can just grab and go.  
Bringing this to work instead of having to buy my breakfast makes me feel good.  I just heat up my oatmeal and stir in the nuts and fruit.  I usually find the dried fruit has enough sugar so I  don't need any additional sweetener.  But if you find you do, consider brown sugar or honey.  It does take a little prep work to portion out the fruits and nuts but it sure helps save a lot of money!

Have you had you oatmeal today??  I have!  =0)

Monday, March 25, 2013

2013 Garden Planner and Journal

Over the years, I've tried numerous ways to stay organized during the gardening season.  I've been unsuccessful at keeping a journal, I've lagged behind blog posts, I've scribbled harvest totals on Post-It Notes only to lose them....the list goes on and on.  This year, I will try keeping everything within arms reach in a binder.  It's simple, inexpensive and has sections for all of my gardening needs.  Here's how I did it: 
- large 3-ring binder
- section dividers with tabs
- page protectors
- graph sheets

To give you an idea, these are the sections I included in my planner/journal:
- Garden Planning
   - Graph Sheets - to sketch out my current gardening plots
   - Soil Amendment Log - to note what I've added to the soil and when
   - Crop Rotation Planner - to help me remember which crops will go in next
- Seed Inventory 
   - Current Seed Inventory - to keep track of seeds (vegetable & flower) that I currently have (so I don't rebuy them....believe me, it's happened before)
   - Wish List - seeds that I have my eye on and sources
- Crops
   - Seed Starting Log - to help me keep track when I seeded them, what they are, how long they take to germinate & when they are expected to transplant outside
   - Sow Out & Transplant Log - to keep track of dates seedlings go outside, special protection, and when they were first harvested
   - Pest & Disease Logs - keeps track of icky things in the garden
   - Harvest Log - keeps all my totals in one handy dandy place
   - Seed Harvest Tracker - in case I decide to save seeds, this will help me keep track of them
- Fruit Trees, Canes and Bushes: keeps track of my to do's for my fruit plants
- Monthly Records
   - Calendars-keeps track of things on a calendar
   - Checklists-my to do lists by month
   - Journal-keep track of my tasks that were done, thoughts, reflections, visitors to the garden (birds, insects, etc)
- Expenses-keep track of spending with an extra page protector to keep receipts in one place
- Plant Profiles-keep a cheat sheet of info on my favorite vegetables/plants
- Resources-pages for seed sources & local nurseries, growing info for my specific climate, etc

I'm hoping that by keeping everything together in one place, it'll help keep me organized so I can spend more time outside in the garden!  If you have a good way to keep track of things, I would love to hear from you!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Oven Roasted Cabbage

I found out this fall that I loved grilled cabbage.  I'm usually not a fan of raw cabbage but grilled, yummy!!  Since cabbage has been on sale recently for St. Patrick's Day, I bought extra.  I thought I would try to roast the cabbage in the oven.  It turned out great.  It seems I can enjoy my roasted cabbage year round, not just during grill season!!

I basically used the same concept as the grilled recipe.  I preheated the oven to 400 degrees.  I lined a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  I cut my cabbage in about 8 wedges.  I placed them on the baking sheet.  I placed a small pat of butter on each wedge and seasoned with garlic salt, fresh ground pepper, and drizzled with olive oil.  I baked them in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then I turned the cabbage wedges over.  I cooked them for an additional 15 minute.  Then I removed them from the oven and sprinkled them with parmesan cheese while they were still hot.  The cheese will melt nicely.  

Egg-cellent Trade!!

I have a friend that started raising chickens last summer.  I have been collecting my empty egg cartons for her and her husband.  I also save my old newspaper for them.  They just got a new wood stove.

I just brought my items for her to work this week.  I had a few egg cartons and 4 bags full of newspaper.  In return I got this beautiful dozen fresh eggs.   
Personally, I think I got the better end of the deal.  But shhhhh, don't tell them that!!  =0)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Planting Seeds: Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Peppers, Eggplant and Artichoke

This past week I finally got around to starting my warm vegetable seeds.  I'm a few weeks late but hopefully I'm not too far behind.  I'm not sure what I'm thinking planting so many seeds.  Call me crazy but oh well.

I planted these trays on Wednesday, March 13th.  These are tomatoes, peppers and eggplant seedlings.  These were planted and placed on a heating mat with overhead lights.  
These are the varieties I have planted this year:
- Tomatoes:
     - Organic Kellogg's Breakfast (2010 Park Seeds)
     - Coeur de boeuf (2012 Gondian - French)
     - Organic Green Zebra (2011 Territorial Seed Company)
     - Organic Heinz 2653 (2011 Territorial Seed Company)
     - Oregon Spring (2010 Ed Hume)
     - Organic Brandywine (2010 Lilly Miller)
     - Noire de Crimee (2012 Gondian - French)
     - Mandarin Cross (2012 Renee's Garden)
     - Sweet 100 (2010 Lilly Miller)
     - Chocolate Cherry (2010 Park Seeds)
- Tomatillo:
     - Toma Verde (2011 Ed Hume)
- Peppers:
     - Italian Pepperoncini (2011 Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds)
     - Patio Red Marconi (2011 Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds)
     - Shishito (2010 Kitazawa Seed Company)
- Eggplant:
     - Millionaire (2010 Kitazawa Seed Company)
     - Kamo (Shared from Suzy-Kitazawa Seed Company)

I also planted a container of artichokes.  This one does not have the benefit of heat or a lamp.
- Artichokes: 
     - Violetta Precoce (2011 Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds)  

These are my seedlings today-6 days later.  Awww...look at the little green leaves! 

What warm season veggies are you growing from seed this year?

**Linking up to Jami's Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage**

Monday, March 18, 2013

Harvest Monday 3/18/13

I finally got out this week to prepare the spring vegetable beds.  I found a couple of broccoli that survived the winter.  I snipped some of the side shoots before pulling out the plant.  I also pulled some carrots, a lonely radish and some baby turnips.  

Here's the produce all washed and cleaned up.  It's my first harvest for 2013!!
Harvest Totals:
Carrots = 0.83 lb
Turnips = 0.08 lb
Radishes = 0.08 lb

Linking up to Daphne's Dandelion's Harvest Monday.  Be sure to stop by her blog and see what others have been busy harvesting around the country.  Happy Harvest!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patty's Slow Cooker Corned Beef

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!!  It's been a very busy week for me.  There hasn't been much time for cooking meals at home.  I had a craving for corned beef though.  This year I did a slow cooker version of corned beef.  I was in Trader Joe's and they had a tasty sampling of their corned beef.  The Trader Joe's corned beef comes pre-marinated in spices.  

I cut up one onion and 4 large carrots and threw them in the slow cooker.  I forgot about the potatoes and celery I was going to add.  Oops!  I added 2 large bay leaves and the pre-marinated corned beef. 

I added 4 cups of water to the slow cooker and placed the wedged cabbages on the top.  I cooked it on high heat for 6 hours.
In the end I had a very tasty and perfectly cooked St. Patrick's dinner!  Happy St. Patty's Day to you!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

2013 First Spring Vegetable Planting

Since I got my beds cleaned up, I decided a trip to the nursery was in order.  As I mentioned, I'm behind on planting veggie seeds this year (isn't that always the case with me??).  I decided to get a head start with some broccoli, spinach, lettuce and kale starters.  I have a cover on my raised bed that my dad built.  I decided to put it to use to cover my young starters.  I weeded this bed, turned the soil and amended it with chicken manure and some fertilizer.  I planted my babies up.  

Broccoli and Spinach

Kale and Leaf Lettuce

First veggie bed of the season

Here's the bed all covered.  To the right is the bed I just planted with young starts.  On the left are the volunteer Swiss chard and radicchio I found.  I put up the hoops since the Swiss chard plants are getting quite big.  I hope we don't get a freak wind storm.  

I had a couple off extra kale plants so I planted them in this container with some French breakfast radishes.  

In this long skinny bed I finally planted my spring pea seeds (both snap peas and snow peas) and I also direct sowed some daikon and radishes.  

Starters Planted Out (all nursery bought):
- Broccoli
- Spinach-Olympia
- Kale-Lacinato
- Lettuce, Leaf-Merlot

Direct Sowed:
- Snap Pea-Sugar Sprint (2013 Ed Hume)
- Snow Pea-Oregon Sugar Pod II (2013 Ed Hume)
- Radish-Organic French Breakfast (2011 Botanical Interests)
- Radish-Japanese Long Scarlet (2012 Kitazawa Seed Co)
- Daikon-Mooli Mino Early (2012 Mr. Fothergill's-from UK)
- Daikon-Shirahime Hatsuka (2012 Kitazawa Seed Co)

Overwintered Vegetables

It was a beautiful day today and it was my one day off!  I finally had time to catch up on some of my favorite blogs this week and many of them have tempted me with their gardening stories.  Many of my gardening friends have already seeded peas outside, done their winter cleanup and prep and have even started seeds.  Me, none of the above!!  It made me realize that I was plenty behind on my gardening.  I took advantage of the sun today to do some weeding and prepare my raised beds for spring planting. 

It seems that there were some vegetables that had survived winter.  The Swiss chard was still alive but in terrible need of cleaning up.  The box lid was down and so all of the leaves were mangled and overgrown.     

  I was happy to find a vegetable surprise.  Hiding under the carnage was a single radicchio plant.  

After clean up, the Swiss chard seemed salvageable.  I trimmed and side dressed them with chicken manure and gave them a nice water.  Hopefully they'll continue to produce until I'm able to grow more from seed to replace these plants.   

I was happy to have some overwintered vegetables to start off the 2013 vegetable gardening season.  

2012 Edibles Grow List & Harvest Totals

2012 Spring/Summer Grow List

  • ASIAN GREENS, MUSTARD - Osaka Purple Mustard
  • BEET - Bull's Blood
  • BEET - Chioggia
  • BEET - Golden
  • BLACKBERRY - Marionberry, planted April 2012
  • BLUEBERRY - Bluecrop, planted in 2010
  • BROCCOLI - Packman
  • CARROT - Rothlid
  • CARROT - Sweet Treat
  • CUCUMBER - Asian
  • CUCUMBER - Regal Pickler
  • DAIKON - Japanese Salad (seeds shared by Suzie)
  • EDAMAME - Envy
  • EGGPLANT - Millionaire x 2
  • EGGPLANT - Rosa Bianca
  • GARLIC - Oregon Blue
  • GARLIC - Spanish Roja
  • GREEN BEAN - Bush Blue Lake
  • GREEN BEAN - French Filet
  • HERBS, BASIL - Amethyst Improved
  • HERBS, BASIL - Italian Large Leaf
  • HERBS, BASIL - Red Rubin
  • HERBS, BASIL - Sweet
  • HERBS, CILANTRO - Slow Bolt
  • HERBS, DILL - Mammoth
  • HERBS, MINT - Citrus
  • HERBS, MINT - Ginger
  • HERBS, MINT - Mint Julep Spearmint
  • HERBS, OREGANO - Italian
  • HERBS, PARSLEY - Curly
  • HERBS, PARSLEY - Italian
  • HERBS, SAGE - Purple
  • HERBS, THYME - Orange
  • KALE - Lacinato
  • KALE - Lacinato Rainbow
  • KOHLRABI - Purple Vienna
  • LETTUCE, BATAVIA - Gloire du Dauphine
  • LETTUCE, LEAF - Australian Yellowleaf
  • LETTUCE, LEAF - Freckled Baby Leaf
  • LETTUCE, LEAF - Prizehead
  • LETTUCE, ROMAINE - Jericho
  • LETTUCE, ROMAINE - Little Gem
  • LETTUCE, ROMAINE - Outredgeous Red
  • MELON - French Charentais
  • PEA, SHELLING - Little Marvel Bush
  • PEA, SNAP - Sugar Daddy
  • PEA, SNAP - Sugar Lace
  • PEPPER - Golden Greek Pepperoncini
  • PEPPER - Gypsy Sweet
  • PEPPER - Hot Cherry Bomb
  • PEPPER - Hot Jalapeno
  • PEPPER - Hungarian Hot Wax
  • PEPPER - Shishito x 2
  • PEPPER - Sweet Banana
  • PLUM (planted 2009) - Dwarf Santa Rosa
  • RADISH - Cincinnati Market
  • RADISH - Watermelon
  • RASPBERRY, SUMMER-BEARING - Meeker, planted 5/1/10
  • SPINACH - Olympia Hybrid
  • SPINACH - Renegade
  • SQUASH, SUMMER - Costata Romanesco
  • SQUASH, SUMMER - Sunburst Scallop
  • SQUASH, SUMMER - Zucchini
  • SQUASH, WINTER - Delicata x2
  • SQUASH, WINTER - Hokkaido Stella Blue
  • STRAWBERRY - Hood (June bearing), planted in May 2012
  • SWISS CHARD - Bright Lights
  • TOMATO - Amana Orange
  • TOMATO - Cherokee Purple
  • TOMATO - Green Zebra
  • TOMATO - Kellogg's Breakfast
  • TOMATO - Mandarin Cross
  • TOMATO - Paul Robeson
  • TOMATO - Rosso Sicilian
  • TOMATO - Willamette
  • TOMATO, CHERRY - Chocolate Cherry
  • TOMATO, CHERRY - Sun Gold
  • TOMATO, CHERRY - Sweet 100
  • TOMATO, PASTE (GRAFTED) - Amish Paste
  • TOMATO, PASTE - Heinz 2653
  • TOMATO, PASTE - San Marzano
  • TOMATO, PASTE - Viva Italia
  • TURNIPS - Purple Tops
  • WATERMELON - Sugar Baby

2012 Fall/Winter Grow List

  • BEET - Lutz Greenleaf Winter Keeper
  • BEET - Red Cloud Hybrid
  • BOK CHOY - Green Delight Baby
  • BROCCOLI - Apollo Hybrid
  • BROCCOLI - Fall Blend
  • CARROTS - Little Fingers
  • CARROTS - Merida Hybrid
  • CAULIFLOWER - Snow Crown
  • CHINESE CABBAGE - Soloist Hybrid
  • CHINESE CABBAGE - Winter Elf Hybrid
  • DAIKON - Japanese Long Scarlet
  • DAIKON - Mooli Mino Early
  • DAIKON - Shirahime Hatsuka
  • GAI LAN - Emerald
  • KALE - Lacinato
  • KOHLRABI - Purple Vienna
  • LEEKS - Scotland
  • LETTUCE, LEAF - Merlot
  • LETTUCE, LEAF - Red Sails
  • MUSTARD SPINACH - Misome Hybrid
  • PEA, SHELLING - Little Marvel Bush
  • PEA, SNAP - Sugar Lace
  • PEA, SNOW - Oregon Sugar Pod
  • RADDICHIO - Castelfranco
  • SPINACH - Olympia Hybrid Smooth Leaf
  • SWISS CHARD - Rainbow Blend
  • TURNIP - Hakurei
  • TURNIP - Purple Top White Globe
  • TURNIP - Silver Bell Sweet
  • TURNIP - Tsugaru Scarlet (Japanese Red)
  • 2012 HARVEST (04/09/12 - 10/01/12)

    • Asian Greens (bok choy, tatsoi, pac choi) = 2.51 lb
    • Beans, green = 4.32 lb
    • Beets = 1.08 lb
    • Berries (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry) = 2.33 lb
    • Broccoli = 3.18 lb
    • Carrots = 1.3 lb
    • Chinese Cabbage = 0.39 lb
    • Cucumbers = 3.97 lb
    • Daikon = 0.39 lb
    • Eggplant = 8.47 lb
    • Garlic = 0.05 lb
    • Herbs = 1.39 lb
    • Kale = 4.23 lb
    • Kohlrabi = 0.38 lb
    • Leeks = 1.51 lb
    • Lettuce = 6.76 lb
    • Mizuna/Arugula = 0.38 lb
    • Onions = 0.6 lb
    • Peas = 1.52 lb
    • Peppers = 10.4 lb
    • Plums = 0.43 lb
    • Radish = 0.36 lb
    • Spinach = 1.49 lb
    • Squash, summer = 3.07 lb
    • Squash, winter = 1.81 lb
    • Swiss Chard = 4.16 lb
    • Tomatillos = 8.84 lb
    • Tomatoes, cherry = 29.44 lb
    • Tomatoes, paste = 30.56 lb
    • Tomatoes, slicing = 52.49 lb
    • Turnip/Daikon Greens = 3.95 lb
    • Turnips = 0.21 lb

Spring Gardening in Las Vegas

The weather was beautiful in Las Vegas during my visit.  My eldest niece asked me if we could go to the nursery and buy flowers and a new Kevin.  What's a "new Kevin" you maybe asking.  A few years ago my eldest niece, Arianna, and I went to the nursery in Las Vegas for vegetable plants.  She insisted on a yard decoration that was an obnoxious and colorful wacky bird.  She called him "Kevin" like the bird in the movie "Up".   Before my brother was able to secure Kevin in the yard, Arianna bobbed Kevin up and down making a "cacaw cacaw" sound.  It was hysterical.  We all got a kick out of it.  Unfortunately Kevin did not fare well in the Las Vegas heat.  This year he was kicked to the curb.  

We went to the nursery and picked out a few plants.  My sister-in-law said no vegetables this year.  The kids didn't eat them in the past and my brother refuses to eat anything that comes out of his yard.  Between the dogs and a cat, he's convinced someone has pooped on the vegetables before they make it into the house.  *insert me rolling my eyes*.  Flowers it was this year.  The two older girls said they would help.  Aunty Holly was tricked again into doing all the planting.  

This time, Arianna picked a pink duck for Aubrey (who's 2 yrs old) and aunty picked a pinwheel for Avery (who just turned 1 yr old).  For herself, Arianna picked a purple and blue hummingbird.  There were no Kevin's at the nursery this year!

I had one pot left so I sprinkled in some Zinnia seeds and some carrot seeds.  Let's hope they grow!

Restaurant Ramblings: Patisserie Manon (Las Vegas, NV)

This is not really a restaurant but a lovely French bakery.  I was chatting with one of the mommys at my niece's party and she was asking me about my travels.  We somehow got talking about France and French macarons.  She asked me if they really we worth the hype.  For me, if they're made well than hell yes!  LOL!

She has never tried them before and it got me thinking, I wonder if Las Vegas had a bakery that made French macarons?  I used the internet to track down a lead.  I had my brother drive me to Paisserie Manon.  We found a bakery with some delicious looking treats.  We got a box of macarons in different flavors.  We tried peanut butter, strawberry, raspberry and blueberry.  They were very brightly colored and were yummy!    
The big kids (my brother and sister-in-law) and the little kids (my nieces) all loved them!  I'll have to remember to stop back in on my next visit.  There were some yummy pastries calling my name!

Patisserie Manon
8751 W. Charleston Blvd, Ste #110
Las Vegas, NV 89117
ph: (702) 586-2666

(702) 586-2666

Monday, March 11, 2013

Happy 1st Birthday Avery!!

I was in Las Vegas the other week.  My youngest niece, Avery, turned 1 year old!!  Her birthday was on March 1st.  She had a cute owl themed party.  My brother and sister-in-law did an amazing job with the party! 

These cute owl decorations were hung from the ceiling. 

My sister-in-law made these cute owl graham crackers for the kiddos.  

My brother made yet another spectacular cake!!  Cute eh??  

Happy birthday Avery!!