Garden update

Or, I could go it’s raining it’s pouring. Well, it is tonight. As it has for the majority of nights lately. This means, larger veggies. In fact, I got to pick a hot pepper today. It was so ready, I had to use the slightest pressure for it to release. I’ve also had a salad with the fresh lettuce that is growing. I really do like this garden. I think more needs to be grown next year.

Also, we have tomatoes growing and more tomato flowers blooming. Along with that will be a bunch of cucumbers and more zucchini than we’ll ever eat. I didn’t pick on the cucumbers or the zucchini, so that’s why we have so much of that. And there aren’t too many of a single variety of tomato, so it’s just the variety that makes there be so much. Mayhem likes tomatoes, I think I already mentioned. We joke that she won’t have any for her project because she’ll be lazing under the plants eating them off the stem. I find myself going out every day just ot see how they are growing and if there is any ripening.

I have Molly watching me type. I wish I had a good camera to get the picture of her.  She’s shrouded in the shadows, so all you really see is the white on her face. It almost has an eerie look.  But, she just sits there and I talk over to her. She likes to hide and relax, so I don’t try to disturb her. But when she wants attention, she really lets you know. Every year I consider growing catnip for her, but nobody at the house wants the neighborhood barn cats coming over for their fix.


It’s Summer

It’s here and I am hot. I keep telling myself that it is better than that cold we just left behind, so suck it up. But, damn it, I hate too much heat. No, I am not easily satisfied. I’m forced to fight for the smallest amount of Internet because the kids get up before me. (Especially now that I’m changing meds again and this one is making me so drowsy even after a week. (Damn side effects)) So, I know that any entries I put in will be not as well thought out as I’d have liked them to be. 

So, a week ago, I changed my meds. I was on Cymbalta, but it was affecting my asthma to the point that I was not happy. Yeah, I know, stop bitching. It helped the depression. But, I felt shitty because I couldn’t do any walking (like I’ve done it yet since changing the meds. (well I misplaced my mp3 player to listen to while I was walking)) or really any other exercising without being ready to have an asthma attack. Well, I quit the meds. Which let me have a weekend stay at the local crisis unit. Didn’t help matters that I missed a doctor’s appointment by a few minutes. But, yeah. Up side is that I started finally working on a story I’ve been meaning to work on for the past two years. A little thing called Writer’s Block to my hand just showed it’s head during those years. I’m still working on the story when I’m awake.

I’m still baking in the middle of the night when I can stay awake from this damnable heat. I know, it’s only going to get worse. But, it’s cool enough then that I can tolerate turning on the stove. I can hear people who live in other areas saying that they have it worse, and they would be making extremely valid points, but I just don’t like the heat or the cold. I have noticed especially when baking that there is a variance in outdoor temperature and rising capabilities in cakes. I don’t like the heat or cold for that reason either.

But, I have to go now.

Who’s project is this really?

The garden. It is growing. Mayhem and Murder is supposed to be helping out. Still hasn’t happened. My father and I took pictures of the garden in all the states it is in. Well, I’m talking about the main back hillside garden. The other gardens are not necessary to the girls. So, Murder went out with us after we asked her what all was growing there. She had no clue. She didn’t even realize how many tomatoes we have now. But, once she gets down there, all she wants to look at was the toad that hopped into the garden that I almost stepped on. I only missed it because I was looking down to make sure not to step on any plants and it hopped right next to my foot. The stinkin’ thing even let me poke it after it did that. Yes, I seem to be able to do things like that with amphibians. Murder leant down and it hopped away immediately. She’s the real animal lover, so I’m calling twisted priorities. Or else the Elmyra curse strikes again. Yes, think Elmyra from Tiny Toon Adventures. She killed a hamster by swinging it around in her purse, to keep it safe from her squeezing it too tight. That was how the first died. So, she picked up that nickname after the fact.

But, here’s the other thing about the garden. My plan is to make kebobs with the veggies that come out of the garden. I found a few on Rachel Ray’s magazine that I can pretty much believe the kids eating. So, we have a really good use for the garden. So, go tomatoes. And peppers, onions, corn (crap, he added corn and popcorn), and zucchini. I see myself having to figure out what all to do with this glut that is coming. Maybe sell some at a farmer’s market. Have the kids sell it and see how much quicker it goes. There, that’s where they come into the project! We plant, weed, and harvest. They make the money and get the easy project grade.

Well, I guess this officially makes me one of those parents. Do the work for the kid and let them reap the benefit. Well, I can also call this medically required rehabilitation. It’s either that or I could try vaping. When I was in the hospital, I had a nurse actually suggest I start smoking simply for the relaxing qualities that can go along with it. In the area, I was the only one who did not need a nicotine patch while I was there. It has almost become second nature to put patches on most of the people in there. The funny part of the whole suggestion was that the hospital was a nonsmoking hospital. This is to the point where they required people to do a test to prove that there was no nicotine in your system. Kind of cool, but even a janitor has to pass that?!? There’s irony for you.

Well, I have more, but the world is calling again. I must make myself a good cup of coffee because other caffeinated drinks are not cutting it. I need the flavor of coffee in my mouth and brain. Yeah, I need to work more on the monster cupcakes to see if I can end up making my Java monster one for my coffee love. That with some honeydew fresh from the garden. Sounds like the perfect end to summer. That’s what I’ll look forward to, since it’s hard right now to look forward to anything else.  

The Monster Experiment continues

So, first, I did straight unadulterated Monster in the cupcake. Then, there was the adding of the Monster icing filling. It went horrible. Horrible, I tell you. It was more like sugar than anything else. This time, I’m reducing the Monster to a syrup and considering adding a Margarita blender concentrate. Yes, I’m talking about those frozen cans that you just have to put in the blender and add the alcohol to. I think I figured out part of the issue. Whatever flavor is in Monster completely disappears in the baking process. Perhaps I just need something else to add that has a similar flavor to boost the little that remains during the heating. Right now, the closest thing I can think of is a margarita. Or maybe I’m just craving margaritas. Either way, here goes nothing. I’ll update on how that works out.

Another cupcake planned for tonight is the Key Lime Margarita one. I’m not completely following the directions. Why, you ask? Simply because I am too stubborn and lazy to buy a cake mix to make the cupcakes. Plus, I have now discovered a little doctoring on a recipe that makes this cupcake that bakes better for me than the mixes. It is soooo important to have fresh and correct ingredients. So, I get to break open some Jose Cuervo to bake. I am tempted to take one, if it comes out tasting nice, to the guy who runs the state store because I am certain he doesn’t believe that I bought all the liquor that I bought just for baking purposes.

Does anyone get weird habits about baking or cooking? I have discovered that I am the most comfortable doing my baking late at night. I have no desire to do it in the afternoon. I’ll also bake early in the morning, but would prefer to do the planning and plotting at that time. That last one’s not just for baking, but also for cooking meals. My kids should be worried over the summer when I’m staring with the fridge open at 9am. That’s because I’m looking in there and going, “what should I make today?” which usually ends up with them getting a crazy meal.

I picked two more strawberries from the garden. I’m going to decorate two of the cupcakes with them as bugs. Those two will be alcohol baked only, not infused after the baking. I just can’t eat strawberries, even the tiny ones that we have this year for the garden, without my throat closing shut. Yeah, just a little allergic. But, that’s what Murder wants. That and making the coconut grass for them to land on. I’m considering making a little frosting and putting a zinnia on it for it to perch on. Though, what I’d love to do the most is get the pansy seeds growing (they are planted but not up or anything) and then crystallize them to put on the cupcakes. Just something simple like that. That or get the roses growing and do that with some of the rosebuds and some completely blooming roses. For now, I could call some of the local florists and see if any of them deal with food grade flowers. I seem to recall one coming to the store to see if we used fresh flowers on our cakes from time to time. I doubt we have the number, so I get to do legwork. Maybe they’ll have the lavender, so I can use that for some cupcakes also. 

Well, I’m getting the look of I’ve been on too long and Mayhem wants the computer back. This is the joy of three kids and three computers.

Julep Memorial Day Mystery Box review

A couple weeks ago, like the same time I was getting ready for my trip, Julep sent out a notice of 10 different mystery boxes that they were putting up for sale. I got boxes 9 and 10. Both were going to be small ones and I thought that it would be the best because then I wouldn’t have to worry too much if it got out before I got back. Yeah, I was fantasizing for some reason. But, it got to me last night. The two boxes ended up in one shipping box. Each was in it’s own little tulle baggie. I don’t remember which was which, so I’ll list both.

In one baggie, I got two polishes, Max and Taylor, and a double buffer block. I do need buffer blocks, since mine normally end up disappearing after Murder gets a hold of them and uses them on her nails. She seriously has a “I don’t remember where I put it” issue. She grabs them and then they disappear. I fear they hit the trash at times. Taylor is a royal blue. I already have a copy of this polish, so this will get gifted over Christmas. Not to the girls but family. Max is a black and white hexagonal glitter polish. I do want to play with this one, though glitters like this usually don’t end up doing much on my fingers. So, this baggie is ok to get. Well, one less present to buy this year.

The second baggie came with a emery board and two polishes: Donna and Harriet. I actually have a complaint on my emery board. There are scratches on the smoother side. I don’t think it was used, but it just doesn’t look as clean as the part that was sticking out of the baggie. That sucks. I have enough emery boards, but can’t bring myself to gift this because I don’t want the giftee to think I used it and then gave it to her. Blech. Well, at least I have never gotten one of the polishes in this baggie before. Harriet is from the Boho Glam line and appears to be an orange or coral color. I’m going to go along coral, because I’m feeling generous today.  Donna is from the bombshell line. It is a green shade. I got this in a previous mystery box. So, this will get gifted also. 

Did you get any of the mystery boxes? How did you do on it? Which box did you get?

Splurge Garden buy

For the past few years, I have gotten emails from Heirloom Roses about sales and their roses. Every time, I look but am able to talk myself out of buying anything. This year, I either have broken down or I just miss having roses too much. I have had good luck with the previous roses that I ordered from them, so that is not an issue. In fact, right now, they are running a sale on some of their remaining miniature roses. This sale goes until June 9, 2014. If you want to grow roses, but haven’t bought them yet, go look at them and see if there is anything you want.

So, I ordered two of them. I got a Karena Pepita and a Hi miniature rose. I plan on putting the Pepita in one of the bushel crates that are left. I feel too lazy to fill all of them now with the remaining seeds or the rest of what I wanted to do with the crates. This will make for a nice simple container. Yes, you can grow roses in containers. I have done it before in an apartment patio in the city. I got compliments and people thought I was doing so much work. But, it really is simple to do. Just make sure that you have a large enough container for the roses and that you water it and it has enough drainage. Oh yeah, and feed it properly. It will take a little more feed since there isn’t another source to get nutrients than the soil you use. So, pick a really good soil for it.

The Hi one is going to get planted in the ground by the cistern with all the rest of the plants. I want to see if I can get it to live out here without being in a container. The last time I did something like that, I was only 8. The roses lived until we moved out…. The only reason they aren’t alive now is that the next owners dug them out the very next spring! Those roses lived through the garage getting put on top of them by a storm. They even grew better after that. 

Ok, now I have to tell the laugh of the previous ending paragraph line. There was a wind storm, not labelled a tornado, that blew the garage off of its foundation by a couple of feet. Inside, so much fell and was littered on the ground. The exception were a dozen blue glass Bell canning jars. All of them were still on their small, high shelf, lined up perfectly in a row like nothing at all happened. The other laugh about that was that we had to have the garage torn down and rebuilt. Well, the construction guys made a mistake on the lumber and the garage ended up being a better quality construction than the house! Both are still standing, though a different color now.

I have two more things that I really want to buy for the garden. I want some lavender to grow to harvest. I like the smell and taste when it is fresh and dried. I do cook and bake with lavender. I have even brewed tea and added lavender buds into it. That’s especially good with Earl Grey or a Smoky Russian Caravan tea. I haven’t found a good way to brew it with coffee yet. It gives a soapier taste to hot chocolate, but it lightens a really dark chocolate. So, that’s one. The other is a ghost pepper plant. The plan with that is to make my own hot pepper spray. I know, you need more than one. The place where I want to buy it is probably sold out also. Perhaps next year. I’m still going to figure out how to get pepper plants growing inside to start for this fall and over the winter. I can transplant the entire thing next year then outside. I still have some scotch bonnet peppers, paprika peppers, white ghost peppers, and korean chili peppers to do that way. Hopefully it ends up working out. It didn’t end well over the winter, though.

Any recent splurges you’ve done lately?

My Graze box for June 1-7, 2014

I had heard lots of people talking about Graze from when it was still just out of the UK. This is a snack company that provides customers with four single serving snacks for $6 a box. When you sign up, it automatically is set for every other week to be billed and sent. You can change it to be monthly or weekly. Mine is sent weekly, since I like knowing that I can set myself a limit on what I can have for a snack that day. Each one does fill me up, so it does it’s intended purpose. They offer two types of boxes: the nourish box and the calorie counter box. Both are the same price, but the calorie counter one keeps all the snacks below a certain calorie limit per serving. I get the nourish box. I like having a larger selection of snacks. They also have a option to make sure that certain things are not sent, so that you will not get something you dislike or can not eat. I have used that option so that I will never get foods that can set off my allergies.

Each Graze box is sent by USPS. It comes in a simple looking cardboard box. There are two plastic bands wrapped perpendicular to each other on the outside to keep the box from coming open in transport. They state on the box which end is the right one to open so that everything stays in the right spot when you lift the lid. Each week, on the inside, there is a fruit picture on the top lid. This week’s is a closeup of some blackberries. I want to keep these boxes solely for the inner pictures. On the bottom is a picture of grass, which is in most of the boxes. You also receive a little card that has all the nutritional facts for the items you get for the week. This week, they also put in a educational tidbit about their School of Farming. When others use your rebate code, you get a choice of using your rewards towards a free box or donating to this charity that they run. Mine always goes this way.

This week, I received the following snacks: Bonnie Wee Oatbakes, Fruit and Seed Flapjack, Jalapeno Fiesta, and Raspberry and Coconut Muffin. I have received all but the Jalapeno Fiesta in the past, so I know that I like all of them. Well, I am not certain about the Raspberry and Coconut Muffin solely because Mayhem sees it and steals it before I get to try it. She loves when I get that one.

Bonnie Wee Oatbakes (110kcal, 4g total fat): This is marked as wholegrain oatbakes with caramelized onion marmalade. Oatbakes are like a crunchy cracker. It does have a very oatsy flavor that complements the marmalade quite nicely. There are 7 of the oatbakes in the package. The marmalade is a small amount that is in the compartment next to it. It’s nice to get to dunk them in and bite each one before dunking the rest in after.

Fruit and Seed Flapjack (230 kcal, 11g total fat): A flapjack is like a really soft, moist granola bar. This one is marked as a rustic rolled oat flapjack with mixed seeds and dried fruits. I had to check before I got this the first time to make sure that it didn’t include strawberries. Though it is not stated which on the nutrition card, they do have a complete list of ingredients on their website. But, I feel really decadent when I eat this, unlike when I eat a granola bar from the grocery stores.

Jalapeno Fiesta (210 kcal, 18g total fat): This is marked jalapeno peanuts, salsa almonds, and roasted seeds. This is a new item in my box. I do like spicy stuff, so I am really hoping for good things with this. I do have a suspicion that I should add a cup of coffee to go with it though. Well, coffee and spice do good things to me. Yeah, spice and acid are fun together.

Raspberry and Coconut Muffin (140 kcal, 8g total fat): This is Mayhem’s favorite snack. She loves this. I do want to know about the fuss, so this means that I may have to eat this very soon. It is marked raspberry cranberries, coconut, amaretti drops, and almond slices. It sounds good. I know that when she had her first bite, she ate a little separately and didn’t get it, but I told her to get a little of everything and that’s when she fell in love. So, this must taste good.

Do you get a Graze box? If so, which one do you get and what did you get in yours? I’m going to order a calorie counter box for a one time try. Would you want to get a Graze box? If so, let me know and I’ll send you my invite code.