Monday, April 25, 2011

Oh How My Garden Grows!

While my garden has been doing well for awhile, it seems in the last week or so that the growth has just increased tremendously! My herbs are thriving, the tomato plant has new blossoms all the time and the flowers I planted what seems like months ago are FINALLY starting to flourish. 

Those flowers I've waited forever for are my Dahlias, Poppies and Snap Dragons. I'd pretty much given up on all of them, but a few weeks ago I saw the tiniest sprout popping up from one of the Dahlia tubers I planted. The Poppies and Snap Dragons had sprouted before the Dahlia, but they weren't growing well so I wasn't planning on anything happening with them. Suddenly, over the last week or so, the all three flowers started growing like crazy and are now thriving!


Window Box with Dahlias, Poppies and Snap Dragons

I didn't plant these from seeds, but I'm still as excited about their growth!

My new Tulips for Spring

Calla Lily

And my newest addition - my Easter Lily
Thank you very much for the beautiful plant, Dean and Melissa!

Enough with the flower talk and onto the edible stuff! :)

Just like my flowers, my herbs are going crazy! I cannot believe how big my Rosemary is getting!!!


Flat Leaf Parsley




Newly planted cat grass!
My cats LOVE this, so I almost always have some growing.

Not much has changed - that I can see - with the Shallot and Garlic recently. The greens are getting bigger, so I'm hoping that the progress underground is just as good, if not better!



My Tomato Plant has new blossoms almost daily, but the growth seems slower than last year. I'm hoping the size doesn't mean it's not going to produce as well!

The Lime Tree is still kickin' and I haven't killed it! I'm still really scared that I'm going to kill it before I even get to enjoy a single lime off the lil sucker! Keep your fingers crossed for the tree AND for me! 

I'm still a little worried about the Radishes too, especially since my parents planted some after I did and theirs are doing better.  Only time will tell I guess...

My Strawberry plant on the other hand is doing AMAZING. While I've had it for a few years now, I have never seen it with so many tiny berries at the same time! I'm so excited for it and can't wait for the berries to start to get bigger and turn red.  

The new Jalapeno plants are doing great too. No blossoms on any of the plants yet, but they're really getting bigger!

And lastly...because I haven't given you a view of the entire garden in a very long time, I leave you with a few pictures looking in different directions on my balcony. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Dinner in LA

In my last post I said I'd be blogging about Easter dinner later. Well later has now come. :) It is time for you to read all about my FIRST experience making Easter Dinner!!!

But first - I have to show the deviled eggs I had earlier in the day. You can't have Easter without deviled eggs! My eggs weren't dyed so it wasn't the full on Easter Egg experience, but they still tasted great. 

Now onto dinner...

I wanted to keep things kinda traditional, so I started with a ham. I'd never made a ham before so I looked at many recipes, Googled many questions - how much ham per person, how do I lay the ham in the roasting pan, how thick do I slice it, etc..., and asked a few people for advice!

The ham before baking.

After baking, being covered in glaze and baking some more!
aka Waiting to be carved and eaten. 

After all that, I am proud that I didn't fail! 


Actually, I'm proud that it tasted pretty darn amazing. I ended up making this recipe!  It even smelled so good that a non-Ham eating friend said they may need to try it as leftovers.  

Ha! :)

In addition to the ham, I made my Easy Roasted Potatoes - using gold instead of red potatoes, the AMAZING Buttered Rosemary Rolls that are always a hit, and a new recipe that I'd wanted to make for awhile  - Classic Glazed Carrots!

And of course, simply because it's been a staple at every holiday meal in my family for as long as I can remember...a relish dish!!!

Here's Dean and Melissa, the amazing couple who helped me celebrate this special and wonderful holiday. 

Sadly, that's the best picture I have of the whole spread. :( I was in such a rush getting things to the table and it wasn't until halfway through the meal that I realized I forgot to photograph almost EVERYTHING!

Sad, so very sad!

I know this doesn't come close to making up for it...but this it the to-go version of the meal that I'm taking to work with me for lunch tomorrow. I'm absolutely looking forward to these leftovers!

I had a wonderful Easter and hope you all did too. I look forward to making many more Easter dinners for the wonderful people in my life in the years to come.

Happy Easter!!!

Wishing EVERYONE a very Happy Easter!

I hope your day was filled with joy and spent with family and friends who you love dearly.

I didn't go home for Easter this year, but I made sure to let those special people in my life know how much they mean to me. 

How did I do that you might asks?


I did it by sending them homemade Easter cards!!!

Here are a few of the ones I made:

For Mom and Dad

And My Brother and His Wife

Can't forget the best little guy around, my nephew - Gavin!

I didn't spend my Easter alone though. I had a few friends over throughout the day. Read all about the food I made on and for Easter in a coming post!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Night Dinner: Take 9!

I changed things up a bit for Sunday Night dinner tonight and made two recipes I've never made before. Not only that, but the third recipe was one that I'd made only one other time. All combined, this was a risk. But it was a risk I was willing to take!

I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again, but I'm ALWAYS looking for new chicken recipes. Why is this? Well...because I eat chicken so often and it's nice to mix things up! That's exactly what I did tonight when I made a recipe I've had saved on my computer for awhile. 

Last night I prepared everything for the Red Chili Marinated Grilled Chicken before going to bed. It marinated overnight and until about 7PM this evening when I took it out right before grilling. While I didn't expect it to turn out the way it did,  I was very happy with the end result. I thought it was going to be more of a spicy Mexican dish, but it ended up having more of an Indian food taste.

It's probably better that it tasted more like Indian food because I made a Herbed Basmati Rice as a side. This is the one dish out of the three I'd made before, so I'm not sure why I originally decided to make it with something I thought would taste like Mexican food...

The Food Gods must have known it would turn out to be an Indian Food tasting dinner! 

To round out the dinner, I made Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Garlic. I love Brussels Spouts, but I've only made them one way before tonight. This one was so good it will be made again!

Sooooooo did my risk pay off?

Yes! Making two recipes I've never made before paid off 100%!!!

Chocolate Chip and M&M Cookies!

I make a mean chocolate chip cookie and my M&M cookies don't come in far behind. Not trying to brag - just being honest. :) Hey - I go with what I'm told by friends ... and with what my tummy tells me too! 

Anyway... I had some Easter M&Ms and I always have chocolate chips on hand, so I recently decided that I should make a double batch and use BOTH chocolate chips and M&M. 


Yes! Yes I am crazy. 

But my craziness paid off because man oh man they were tasty!

Here's how I got from a counter of ingredients to the delcisious cookies that are SO hard to eat just one:

Dry ingredients and sugars.

And everything before mixing it all up!

The butter and sugars mixing.

Making sure all the eggs and vanilla are combined.

And now adding the dry ingredients. 

Almost done, but can't forget the chocolate chips and M&M!

Don't you want to just dive in???

Portioned out and ready for baking.

Anddddddddddd done!

Ready for a trip to my tummy. 

Mission Jalapeno Hunt: COMPLETE!

That's right folk. You read the title correctly. I completed the hunt for a new Jalapeno Plant on Saturday afternoon when I purchased a four-pack of seedlings! Let's just hope these ones survive and no rain comes to destroy them like the previous pepper plant. Previous Pepper Plant - say that ten times fast!

And after planting!

So I went to my local Home Depot with the sole purpose of buying the little suckers above. But Home Depot is kinda like Target and I get sucked into buying more than I've intended.

What more did I buy you ask? 

Rest assure that it was ALL stuff for my growing garden!

An additional Flat Leaf Parsley plant, a Calla Lily plant,
a Dipt in Wine Coleus plant, a few new planters and soil!

I promise my garden needed it all.
 And you can see in the photo above that Kahn approved of it all too! :)

Anyway - the new stuff is exciting, but so is the progress and growth for my older plants.

The tomato is doing exactly what I wanted and is THRIVING. The number of blossoms is amazing and I can't wait until I get to enjoy the first tomato of the season!

The lime treat is fabolous like always. Like the tomato plant, the blossoms just keep coming, but sadly I'll have to wait a little longer to enjoy the tart citrus.

The radishes are doing well, but I'm still a little worried about them after all they've been through.

The garlic and shallots continue to grow like crazy. I had to trim them both down a bit this weekend to try to contain them just a little.

The strawberries are going crazy now that they've been transplanted! I thought they did pretty well last year, but I'm hoping this year they'll be bigger and better.

Look at all the lil guys!!!

The herbs are doing well too - including the Mint that I completely took out recently. In just days it was popping up from the soil and I'm sure it'll be covering the planter again soon.

The rosemary just keeps getting bigger and bigger and it shows no sign of my constant usage. I think it grows better the more I use it actually! I have plans to use it for Easter dinner next Sunday too. YUM!

The basil is doing well and isn't such a little thing anymore. Soon it'll be time to use it in some fresh Spring and Summer dishes.

The chives. Well - they're still growing, but they're growing rather slow. I can still use them, but I'd prefer them to get bigger first!

The thyme is really amazing me. It didn't grow very fast at first, but now it's growth just amazes me! I think I need to look for more ways to use it. Suggestions anyone?

And finally - the Flat Leaf Parsley. The herb I probably use THE most out of all the ones I have. It adds a freshness to so many recipes and I just really enjoy it. probably recall that I cut that down completely recently too! It was growing back, but it wasn't growing back fast enough - hence the need to get an additional plant at Home Depot yesterday.  I'm hoping that the two will just start to grow like crazy and I'll have parsley coming out my ears! 

Last but not least - the non-edible plants!

My dahlias took awhile to sprout, but now that they did they're going CRAZY!  In one of the planters I have sprouts coming up in three different areas. That's from one tuber! I'm still unsure how tubers work, but they're exciting to watch!

And the new plants after being planted...

The Calla Lily

And the Dipt in Wine Coleus