Monday, June 28, 2010

Cake Balls!

What are cake balls you say? They're cake. They're frosting. They're chocolate. They're delicious.  They're...AMAZING!

I discovered this wonderful thing called cake balls a few months ago and they were a hit from the first time I made them.  I can't really remember what made me think about such a thing, but one day I decided to Google cake balls and found this recipe. They looked amazing and I couldn't wait to try them.  After making these little treats I can confirm they taste just as good as they look - if not better!

I've attempted two variations: red velvet with cream cheese frosting covered in white chocolate and confetti cake with confetti frosting covered in white confetti chocolate.  (I don't think I could have said "confetti" one more time if I tried!!)

My friends have made it clear they prefer the red velvet cakes balls. Both are amazing, but the red velvet is just...better. :)

Cooked red velvet cake prior to crumbling.

The cake balls before flash freezing.

All done!
Now it's time to eat one...or five.
Just kidding.  Or am I? ;)

I made these this past weekend because a friend came into town and I tend to make goodies when she does.  Her reaction when she tried the amazingness of cake balls  - "You should sell these!"

I was glad she liked them, but I don't think I will be counting on cake balls to pay my bills anytime soon.  Maybe one day, but not at this time.  I can dream for now though!  

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Robyn vs. Caterpillars

NOTE: There is not a single picture of one of my enemies mentioned in this post due to the fact I was caught up in the moment when I found them and wanted to kill them instantly!  That, and I don't always have the camera near by. 

As I mentioned last week, I found a tiny little green caterpillar eating my oh so yummy basil.  I like basil,  so I can understand why the caterpillar wanted to eat it.  

I was upset about finding the little fellow eating my basil, but I was frustrated when I earlier this week I found another one eating holes in my catnip.  He (she, it, whatever) too went over the railing of my balcony.  This was getting serious.  Before they were they eating things that I enjoy, but now they were attacking my cat's treats too. Not good. Not good at all.  

It can't get much worse now, can it?  Oh yes, yes it can.  

While taking pictures of my garden today I noticed a few leaves on my beloved tomato plant with tiny little holes munched away.  A couple of the leaves were so holy they resembled swiss cheese. :(  I was furious with these caterpillars before, but now I was ANGRY!  

After a quick inspection of the leaves surrounding the ones that had previously been used as a snack, I found a third caterpillar.  The other two were easy to spot, but this one was sneaky and was camouflaged as a leaf vein!  This one wasn't so lucky though - instead of plunging to it's death from the second floor, I smashed it with one quick stomp.  Hope it learned it's lesson.  

Why?  Why were they eating the leaves of my crops!?!  Go eat someone else's plants already.  Please? I'm asking nicely.

If they don't just leave, which I doubt they will, I will most likely be battling them with something called Bt (Bacillus thuringinesis).  

I never wanted to spray any type of pesticide, but I guess if I'm going to do anything a "natural" one is best.  I even gave the garlic, onion, cayenne pepper and dish soap spray a try.  If I'm still having problems with them by next weekend, Bt is my next step.  

A Garden Update: 4 Weeks

Welllllllll we all know what happened to my basil, catnip and tomato plant over the last week, so I'm not going to mention it again in this update.

In happier news - I got to enjoy a salad this week with some lettuce from my second harvest.  The bad part about this story (I guess it's not so happy news after all...) is that I over harvested one of my lettuce heads.  It was an accident and I'm trying to revive it, but only time will tell.  It's very puny compared to it's other lettuce friends, but I'm hoping it'll all be okay.


I also transplanted the other two lettuce heads that were planted by themselves in individual containers.  They had overgrown their tiny black plastic planters awhile ago, but it wasn't until this weekend that I smartened up and transplanted them.  They now shared a much bigger planter that was wider and not too tall.  There is plenty of room for them to grow and flourish now! 

One Head Before Transplant

After Transplant

And now for the weekly photos to show how much everything has grown!

Sweet Basil

Flat Leaf Parsley


Upright Rosemary

Garlic Chives



Attempt 2, 1 Week
(tiiiiiiiiiiny little sprouts!)

Jalapeno Pepper

This is just three of many growing!

Monster Tomato Plant

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes...

...and MORE tomatoes!

Strawberry Plant
There are multiple tiny strawberries growing.
But sadly, my not-so-great camera ONLY
 wants to capture them super blurry.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Garden Update: 3 Weeks

My garden continues to thrive and do well, but this week I encountered my first set back - SOMETHING was eating my basil! :(  

It  stated when I found a few leaves with little tiny holes eaten in them. I started picking them off in frustration, but ended up finding what I believe is the culperate...a teeny tiny little green caterpillar.  He really was the hungry caterpillar! I threw him (or her) over my balcony railing with the basil leaf it was munching on.  

If that didn't solve my problem, the next step is to try a garlic, cayenne pepper and dish soap mixture to spray on the basil.  I don't want to do any spray, but I will if it means saving my garden!!!

Sweet Basil

Flat Leaf Parsley


Upright Rosemary

Garlic Chives


I planted 3 cloves in 3 pots, but this is the only one that grew!

Green Leaf Lettuce

Post harvest and still huge!

Jalapeno Peppers

On Friday, I squealed with excitement when I noticed my first baby peppers!
(Sorry for the blurriness...
all are welcome to send better digital cameras for better photo quality!)

The lettuce in the container are blocking the sun from getting to the scallion seeds I planted so they really never had a chance to grow and thrive like the rest of my crops.  With that said, I decided it was time that they got their own home and I planted scallion seeds in a planter all by themselves.  

Attempt 2, Day 1

Monster Tomato Plant

When will my tomatoes turn red???  
The plethora of tomatoes is great, but stop teasing me and lemme taste!

Last week's additions to the garden are doing great.  In fact, the strawberry plant is doing SO well that I decided it was time to more it to a bigger and better planter.  I did some searching online for strawberry planters and almost got the Topsy Turvey version I previously mentioned I was condisering.  Instead, I used a hanging basket I already had that resembled an option I had found online.  So far, so good! 

Strawberry Plant Pre-Transplant

Strawberry Plant Post-Transplant

Strawberry Plant Hanging

And last but not least...Mint

Happy Father's Day!

It's the third Sunday of June so that can only mean one thing - today is Father's Day!  It's a day to celebrate all the father's in the world and thank them for all that they do.

My dad lives in Tucson, which is over 500 miles away and I didn't make it home this year, but that doesn't mean I didn't send him something to let him know how amazing he really is!  And it's from me so there's no doubt it was homemade!

This isn't the first card I've made.  In fact, I make ALL my greeting cards!  This just happens to be the first one that I'm sharing on my blog.

My dad is into sailing.  In fact, he and my mom both have their sailing licenses - how cool, right?  I've made him lots of father's day cards over the years, and sometimes it's hard to come up with new ideas year after year.  After much thought, here's what I ended up sending him this year. 

I couldn't just send the card and my dad is pretty hard to shop for.  I could have bought him a book, but sometimes I feel like I'm always buying him books.  Plus, books aren't homemade and I'm all about homemade gifts.  They mean more - you put your time and effort into them! :)  

So along with the card, my dad (as well as my older brother who's a dad too) got some yummy oatmeal raisin cookies.  Confession: I couldn't make them and give them all away so I made a double batch.  I know...I'm crazy!

Yes, you will probably see dough each time I bake something.
Dough is just so yummy! :)

So many cookies! 

Happy Father's Day to ALL the father's out there, but most importantly... 

Happy Father's Day to MY dad! I love you and hope you have a wonderful day!!! 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My First Harvest!

I've been enjoying using my fresh herbs basically since I planted them, but a few days ago I was able enjoy the first real harvest from my garden!  The lettuce had grown so much in the last few weeks and it was time to pick some of the bigger leaves.  

I only picked leaves from the four lettuce plants in the container garden, and I ended up with the equivalent to a small head of lettuce.

All cut up for a salad.

We had gardens growing up, but I don't remember ever tasting home grown lettuce.  My lettuce was so incredibly soft, it just sorta melted in your mouth like butter.  It was delicious and I can't wait to use even more.  

Monday, June 14, 2010

When is two better than one?

When you're talking about two Robyn's of course!  :)

Okay - to be fair, it's one Robyn and one Robin, but it's still the same so that's what matters!

Last Saturday, my friend Robin came over to hang out for the day.  We spent it catching up on our lives and watching a few Bachelorette episodes I had recorded that we hadn't had a chance to watch yet.  It was a pretty day outside, but I couldn't have been happier to spend the day inside being lazy!

We weren't completely lazy though.  More often than not, when Robin comes over I end up cooking or baking at least one thing and she usually ends up helping.  She's always willing to cut something, grate something else, do this and do that.  Thanks Robin! 

Last night we made an amazing pasta recipe that I found online a few weeks ago.  I've been getting a lot of my recipes off The Pioneer Woman recently. I'd been thinking about making it for a few weeks and was just waiting for the right person to make it for - but in this case, the right person to make it with.

I actually forgot to add the peas to my version.  I measured them out and put them back in the freezer until it was time to use them.  It wasn't until I was putting away leftovers that I realized they had been left out.  Oops. As I said before, the dish was still amazing.

Asparagus, broccoli and zucchini OH MY!

Before baking...

and after!

And really, you can't have pasta without garlic bread.  I had some frozen stuff in my freezer, but I thought why not go with homemade?  In my eyes, homemade is always better and in this case, not very hard, so that's what I did!

I combined unsalted butter, minced garlic (that was grown by a friend), basil, parsley, rosemary (all from my garden!) and fresh grated parmesan cheese. Since it was just the two of us, instead of using a whole french bread loaf, I used a sesame seed sub roll.  The end result? Mouth watering!