TWO Birthdays!!

First, Happy Birthday to my wonderful, loving, caring, generous, and patient Husband. Second, Happy Birthday (kind of) to my beautiful, vocal, and only sort of snuggly Punkin. The Plant-eating-she-devil joined our family on Hubby's birthday, so it was dubbed her birthday as well. So, Happy Birthday!!!!!!


Oven Lovin Saturday

I WILL be making meatloaf and mashed taters tonight. I have an entire philosophy about meatloaf and NEVER baking it with ketchup on top. That just grosses me out! And besides, there is NO sauce for the mashed taters! So here is my version (and I apologize because yes, this is a "dash of that" kind of recipe).... Note, I have no pics of this as I will be making tonight for dinner....

2 pounds ground beef
2 eggs
1 smallish onion, finely chopped
several garlic cloves, minced (I use a lot, like 5, so you can cut back of course)
bread crumbs
salt and pepper
dried hearbs (parsley, basil, oregano, whatever you like really)

Turn oven to 350.

Mix everything together except breadcrumbs and milk, and the best tools to use are your hands. Sorry for all you ick opposed people. When you get the eggs fully incorporated, you will be able to see how much of the breadcrumbs you will need. I just pout them in and go by feeling. If you add to much and the mixture looks like sawdust, add some milk. I mix until the stuff looks like a good mix for meatballs. Place the mixture into a loaf pan and cover with cream of mushroom soup and top with lots and lots of pepper. Yes, I know, this sounds totally disgusting to you ketchup-topped-meatloaf-lovers, but just try it once. The sauce that comes from this mixture is soooooooo good.

So bake for about 45 minutes to an hour or until you no longer see any pink juices coming out of the loaf. The first slice is always the hardest to get out!


It's Time! It's Time!

SEEDS! It is time to sow SEEDS! Tonight I planted my onions! 10-12 weeks before the last frost. I bet you can guess which end of the spectrum I was on with that one... 12 weeks please! I got 144 seeds done. 36 each of Ailsa Craig, Noordhollandse-Bloedrode, Yellow of Parma, and Leeks... I don't remember off the top of my head what kind of leeks, but lets just say a leek in general. Husband asked, uh where are you putting all of these? I said in the future blueberry patch next to the porch and stairs after I relocate the tulips and irises of course! Next I will have to figure out where to put the onions when I plant blueberries... Oyvay...

The other day, the weather was pretty nice. Cool and sunny. I let the Girls out to get some sun and do some chickeny type stuff while I cleaned out their coop and put down fresh bedding because well, it stunk like chicken, and let me tell you, they were loving the freedom! I seriously could watch those ladies sprint and dig for hours! If only I could get them to till up the beds instead of the walkways, life would be peachy!
Onions on the top shelf to keep them away from Punkin, The Plant-Eating-She-Devil
Blanche's feathers are all grown in now, and I have a hard time telling her apart from Rose.... Even her comb is back to a nice normal red color instead of a weird pale pink. AND she doesn't limp anymore! Hopefully she will start laying normal eggs....

**I know I will be hearing from Carolyn Renee on this one... Yes I know, I am a crazed lunatic cowered over my seeds like they are crack... ssssseeeeeeeeeeeeeddddddssss. However, the twitches are gone!


Oven Lovin Saturday

I think I just heard my oven crying in it's sad, sorry, lonely state. Sorry everyone! I didn't even look my oven this week, let alone bake or roast anything. Sometimes life gets in the way of the things I really love to do, and this week, work and chemistry were the culprits. I still encourage you to share your recipes so all can enjoy!


Oven Lovin Saturday

Oven Lovin Saturday is a place where we can all come together and share recipes. I know I am always looking for good inspiration, and who else is better to go to than my fellow bloggers?! Sweet, savory, breakfast, dinner, dessert. Just share away. Really, you don't even have to use your oven if you don't want!

This week, I finally found a muffin recipe that isnt dry and nasty!!! This particular recipe is an apple muffin, but I am sure it could be rearranged to make some other sort of muffin. I ripped it off from Blissfully Delicious but of course changed a few things. These really aren't terribly sweet, so if you want a sweeter muffin, you could add more brown sugar or add some honey.
Apple Muffins

 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I always double the spice in a recipe, especially cinnamon. I used just over a full teaspoon)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup natural applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk (I didn't have buttermilk, so I just used regular)
1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (I used 4 small red apples I got at the market. I like my apple muffins chunky)
1/2 cup ground flax seed (who doesn't love some added nutrition?)

Preheat the oven to 350. 

You know the drill. Mix your wet ingredients (sugar, oil, eggs, applesauce, vanilla) and mix together your dry ingredients (both flours, cinnamon, salt, baking soda). Add the dry ingredients into the wet in 3 batches, alternating and ending with the milk. Mix just until the batter come together. Add in the apples and pecans and mix just until combined. 

Scoop the matter into a lined muffin tin and bake about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. I got 21 muffins. They were so good! Not too sweet, hearty, and satisfying.


Planting/Harvesting Onions Question

So, today while I was by my lonesome at work, I got to thinking about planting. The first thing I will be starting soon are onions. I have only grown onions once, and they were less than spectacular. I grew them from a set I got at the big box store. I know how to cure them, thanks to you all last summer. But I really want to understand when they should go into the ground (after starting from seed this year) and when they truly should be harvested. I know I will have to do some soil amending as my raised beds have really settled and compacted and the soil will need to be way more loose and draining. Last year, I just threw them in and pulled them out without really knowing anything. Any pointers from you all brilliant minds out there???


Some Goins On

There are some goins on in the lot behind us. I do believe they are building a house. Which kind of sucks because now we will lose our little lake view and Hubby and I had always thought about buying it to expand our yarden.

This also means that there will be a new house full of people able to look into our bedroom which brings me to my problem. Our bedroom windows are naked. This has never been a problem before because we have the tallest house on the street, so no direct neighbor window access, and also, no one ever open their blinds in the house behind us. SO NOW there are always men and machines back there, and soon there will be MORE people back there. So unless they are all fine and dandy with seeing our naked keisters from time to time, I should probably figure out how to dress my windows. Here is the problem....

I would do some sort of blinds, but I don't want all kinds of strings hanging down into the staircase. Aside from the obvious visual messiness, Punkin has a track record of falling off the banister and down to the first floor so I wouldn't want anything hanging that she would try to jump at and subsequently fall down the stairs... I would do those electric ones, but those are freakin expensive.... Any ideas from you all???

The big bank of windows in our bedroom

which are also directly above the staircase
Men and Machines
On a side note about all this... Perhaps the Bastard Groundhog will have a desire to move to quieter and less shaky ground and stay away from my yarden... Maybe??


Spring on the Brain

Spring sowing is only weeks away!!! I may only be planting onions for now (then?) but hey! At least it is a start! Although with this crazy weather, who really knows when our last frost will be...
Today the weather was awesome so I let the Girls out to roam and eat grass while I cleaned out their coop. They of course took it as an opportunity to run to the end of the driveway and scratch in my iris bed and throw dirt all over the place which of course drove Bianca (who barely speaks any English as it is) to come over and try and get them back into my yard and raise her arms at me in frustration.... Hey, at least they kept it close to home and didn't wander over to her yard or anyone else's for that matter... She just loves it when they do that. I called the Girls, they sprinted back up the driveway and back into the yard. Perhaps they are starting to learn? Yeah, I don't think so either....Which reminds me, I gotta get that fence built...

Also, only 5 weeks until Spring Forward!!!! The sun will be up with me!!!!


Oven Lovin Saturday

Cookies! I really had a craving for cookies this week. When I mentioned that to hubby, we looked at each other and I swear in almost perfect unison, "oatmeal" came out out of our mouths. Now, traditional oatmeal cookies use raisins. Since raisins make me want to throw up just talking about them, I ALWAYS sub them with dried cranberries.

Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (I didn't have any, so I used butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup dark raisins (or dried cranberries)

1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350.

You know the drill here. Beat together your wet ingredients including sugar. Mix your dry ingredients together and then add into the wet ingredients and then add your cranberries. Spoon out the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet, bake for 10-12 minutes. Pull them out of the oven before they look done. Trust me on that. I let one tray stay in until "golden brown" and they were hard a rock.


Are Those.... Tulips?!

Ok... Remember this post last March when my tulips starting sprouting up and showing me that Spring really was coming??? Yeah, I do too... That post was March 1st. On February 1st, my tulips starting showing up. A full FOUR WEEKS ahead of last year. What does it all mean???

Perhaps everything will start sprouting, and then we will go in to a late deep freeze sometime this month, and this Tiny Gardener will surely be punished. Or perhaps nothing will happen. And spring will just come early...

All I know for sure is that this gardener is really confused. However, The Golden Girls are really enjoying the sunshine....

Is anyone else having early signs of Spring or is as confused as I????