Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cake, cake pops, cupcakes

With a title like that, I bet you think I am going to tell you all about wonderful baking adventures and confections. Instead, I need you to tell me about your baking adventures. My Memorial Day weekend was not spent baking, but celebrating Stephen's grandmother's 80th birthday in Rugby, North Dakota. Once some pictures surface, I'll share more about great Midwest train trip.

I do, however, have a few occasions that I will need to bake some sweets and treats for this summer. So, does anyone have a great birthday cake or cupcakes they like to make? How about cake-pops? They look kind of fun to make, but will I be getting in over my head? I am not much of a baker, so any thoughts and ideas would be much appreciated.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My First Garden

This past weekend I began to try my green thumb on something other than petunias or pansies (my favorite summertime annuals).

Friday, Stephen and I went and picked out our plants. I decided to grow heirloom tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, and cayenne peppers. I chose those vegetables because I know Stephen and I will consume them and because they will grow in pots.

I am not planting these veggies in the ground. Our yard has plenty of beds—even a raised one that would be perfect—but they have not seen love for years. Our upstairs neighbor is “in charge” of them, but it is taking some time to get all of them in order. For the sake of time, I decided to grow my first batch of vegetables in pots. (My neighbor and I are also going to be sharing an herb garden as well, I will update you once the herbs arrive).

Thus far, I have remembered to keep them watered—we are on day 4. I have also noticed someone or something is already eating my green pepper plant leaves. Last night a friend suggested steeping cayenne powder in water and spraying it on the plant. I’ll try it out today or tomorrow and let you know.

I wish I did not have to wait 65-80 days to see progress. I am anxious for my homegrown vegetables. Anyone else growing a garden? Any tips?

Let's hope they survive while we are gone for 5 days in North Dakota!

Monday, May 14, 2012

The very busy, visiting weekend

This weekend was very fun and social weekend. Instead of doing one post on each event, I am going to hit all the high points or I never will.

Saturday morning we had an impromptu brunch for our good friend Maria. She came into town unexpectedly and we had a lovely visit complete with munching and a little coffee and Bailey's. The visit was over much too soon, but wedding season is upon and we will see her again soon! Here is my brunch spread:
Cheddar, apples, strawberries, croissants, and muffins.

Rachelle, me, and Suzan--the bride to be
After brunch Stephen and I head to our friend Suzan's engagement party. We went to celebrate with Suzan and her fiance, David.  They are moving to Pennsylvania soon. I enjoyed being able to visit with both Suzan and my friend, Rachelle. The three of us have not been photographed together since our infamous night of senior wine tasting.

After the engagement party, Stephen and I were able to celebrate Mother's Day with his mom, sister, and entire family. I managed to do a three-year-old's hair, adequately. And, of course, there was wonderful food and merriment.

Our weekend was capped off by Mother's Day. Stephen and I, my sister and her fiance, and my and dad headed to Miller Park. We ate and ate, drank and drank, and sweated and sweated and sweated. Our seats were in the sun! It was a delightful day and I was so happy to be able to spend it with my mom.

Stephen and Aaron - the best picture of the day
I hope your Mother's Day weekend was simply as delightful as ours was.        

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tomatoes and Basil

Just had a fabulous dinner at home with my husband. We broke out our charcoal grill for the season and had some savory steaks. In addition to a few other things, I made our new favorite side, which I just have to share.

Here are the instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Toss a pint of cherry tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil; add salt and pepper.
3. Bake for 20 minutes.
4. Add chopped basil.

Yes, it is that simple. It is delicious, especially this time of year when tomatoes are not quite up to par. The roasting really brings out the flavor. Next time we are just going to put them in a foil packet on the grill.

Happy weekend, everyone!