Wednesday, March 20, 2013


The grow light is on its timer and clicking away. I've started tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, and kale and they're growing at a speedy clip.  The kale will go out in a week or two (once it gets 6 true leaves) and the tomatoes will be repotted any day now. That's a big task and I'm sure I'll need to purchase more seed starting mix, so they will probably be stuck in their 6-packs for a bit longer.

I think next year I'm going to throw caution to the wind and only plant one seed per cell for my tomatoes. Both last year and this year they have ALL come up, and I have this serious internal struggle with just clipping off a perfectly healthy tomato seedling. I know I'll have to snip several of them because I've got 2+ seedlings per cell and I planted probably more cells than I really want tomatoes in the garden.

After the great seed exchange with the ORG I came home with a bunch of basil seeds. I planted some in Earthpots I got for freesies after the NW Flower and Garden Show.  ORG's Amethyst basil and Cinnamon basil have come up, and so has the Aroma basil from Territorial. I'm trying to start some lemon balm again this year, and again, nothing has sprouted. Maybe my seeds are just duds?

Earthpots are kinda cool (especially the free part). They came stocked with seed starting mix, so that's a big help. So far I noticed that they do dry out pretty fast, due to the wicking nature of the cellulose wrap. They're basically like the toilet paper rolls I used last year, but thinner. Pretty handy since they were just laying around, but I think in the once I use them all I'll stick with the 6-packs and yogurt containers and filling them with seed mix.  I got a flat of 3-inch guys that I think I'll try to start my giant pumpkins in when I get back from a wedding this weekend. 

The peas I planted on George Washington's birthday have all come up. It was agonizing waiting for them. They always say 6-14 days for germination, and intrinsically I know that the soil is cold and it's going to take the max number of days to germinate, but... It's so hard to wait. That first batch of peas took 16, 19, and 20 days to show themselves, depending on the type of pea.  I planted other sections on March 10 and on March 18, but it's been in the 50s recently, so hopefully I won't have to wait 2 more weeks for them to sprout!

My kale from last year was budding out, so last night I cut down one of the "palm trees" they've become and chopped off all the leaves I could. We used some in last night's dinner, and still have a big bundle in the crisper drawer.  I left out the other two plants, to be cut down in the coming weeks. I'm worried it's going to bolt soon, so I might have to share instead of hording it all for myself.

I planted some lettuce seeds outside on March 10 and they're the tiniest little sprouts now. If I wasn't specifically looking for them, you wouldn't know they were there (or you'd think they're just another of the weeds that's trying to take over).

After a speed weeding frenzy two weeks ago I discovered that the strawberry runners I harvested from elsewhere last year are actually growing! I imported lots of runners, but very few of them took root. I think some of them weren't quite big enough when planted. But about three or four planted in the "rose bed" are doing wonderful, and one or two in the blueberry pots look like they'll make it. Yay for free strawberry plants!  The plan for this year: Import as many as possible! Fresh berries and jam all summer long!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fudge Bites

A friend just "pinned' a version of these pseudo-healthy fudge bites that looked delicious. But... I'm not that organic. I don't keep carob or coconut oil around the house. And then when I followed the links back, and back further, and back further, the hippy recipe she pinned was just bunch of modifications away from a real recipe I could get behind. Real as in for normal people. Who stock a normal pantry. You know, like you're from the midwest. And I had all the ingredients. Because I'm that girl. Not the hippy.

All that being said, I kind of think the coconut oil might taste good. I might have to find some. Stupid Seattle. It's infecting me with hippy-dom.

PB Fudge

1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/8 cup honey
1/4 tsp vanilla

Mix ingredients together. Pour into lined or greased mini muffin tin and cool in refrigerator or freezer until solid. Store in ziptop bag in fridge.Makes 15 mini fudge bites.

I forgot to grease my tiny muffin tin and they refused to come out in one piece, so they will become fudge "balls". Next time forget this muffin thin thing. I'm going for a square pan and cutting them. Sheesh.

I'm not linking a source because this recipe has been butchered so many times around the internet. Modifications include coconut oil or olive oil instead of butter, carob instead of cocoa, almond or other butter, instead of peanut butter, straight up almonds ground in the food processor instead of peanut butter, and maple syrup for honey (I guess coconut oil and maple syrup would make it vegan. If you're into that kind of thing). They all make double this amount, too, but hey, I know myself. Having that much fudge around the house is a recipe for disaster.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mad Dash Cookies

Why would you ever make any kind of chocolate chip cookies that weren't the original Toll House recipe? It's simply the best.


Last night I had a craving for a cookie and I wanted it NOW. I didn't want to set out the butter to warm to room temperature (I don't have a microwave), and, well, I really didn't want a ton of calories, and I didn't want to make a huge batch because I don't need them around the house all weekend, but I NEEDED A COOKIE.

So I made a "mad dash" into the kitchen and threw these together. And I think they turned out pretty dang good, if I do say so myself. Not back for a late night gluttonous craving and a strange desire at low-ish fat.

Sneakily healthy. Kinda.

Mad Dash Cookies
ie modified Toll House Cookies

1/4 cup room temperature butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1+ cup rolled oats
a handful or two of chocolate chips
a handful of golden raisins

Beat butter until smooth, add sugars.  Mix in applesauce (applesauce mixes in better if you cream the butter and sugars first). Add egg and vanilla.  Beat in baking soda, salt, and flour, 1/3 cup at a time.

At this point you've essentially made a half batch of Toll House cookies, but with half the butter traded for applesauce (I keep small portion-sized containers of applesauce around for baking. They come in 1/2 cup containers, so you get to eat the other half while baking!). Now comes the fun part - adding whatever the hell you want. Sometimes I add as many oats as I can and still have the dough stick together, but I wanted more of a fattening feel to these guys, so I just poured in some, mixed, then poured in a bit more until I got to the consistency I wanted. Then I added a handful of chocolate chips (and then another, but don't tell). My raisins were all stuck together so it was hard to judge how many I broke off into the dough, but I'd guess maybe 1/2 cup or so. Mix it all together and adjust mix-ins to your heart's content. I thought about adding craisins, too, but thought that was going to cover up the gluttonous nature of a chocolate chip cookies, so I left them out.

Bake at 350 for 9 minutes and 30 seconds. Don't let the applesauce fool you - these guys  need about 30 more seconds than they look like they do. Otherwise you cookies are a bit gooey. Which is fine, if that's what you're going for. But I'd suggest the extra 30.

Makes 24 cookies.  Less if you eat as much cookie dough as I did.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dill's Atlantic

They may look innocent, but someday....

These pumpkins will eat your babies! RRawr!!