Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hello Garden!!!

As I said before - multiple times actually - I was going to continue to add to my garden little by little and that's exactly what I've done recently! I don't think I'm done adding - I don't think I will EVER be done, but I'm quite content on the recent additions and the overall state of the entire garden. I did a complete balcony clean up and garden rearranging this weekend. I'm loving what I have going on and can't wait to add even more!

Instead of showing you just the new stuff, here's a look at EVERYTHING I have in my garden as of today! I enjoy it and sure hope you do too. :)

Let me start with the non-edible plants - mostly flowers! 

A NEW addition - pink cosmos in hanging baskets.

These came last weekend - Gerber Daisies and another flower I don't remember...

Another addition from last weekend - assorted Dahlias!

A look at one corner - plants and miscellaneous flowers.

Another corner - succulents, a GIANT Germanium, a Palm that's struggling and KAHN!
Yes, my stripey cat Kahn decided to make an appearance today. Hi Kahn!!

A close up of a geranium bunch before blooming. 
I love this flower and it's growing/blooming process.

Windowbox flowers growing from seeds!
I planted Snap Dragons and Poppies and I can't wait to see what comes up.

A hanging basket with giant marigolds. I love these flowers too! 

Maybe I just really love SPRING flowers in general...

And my awesome Elephant Foot plant. It's so funky and requires so little attention. 
Again - love!

And now onto the wonderful things you can EAT! 

My Topsy Turvey Tomato Plant!!!
I've done this three years in a row and am hoping this year I'm as happy as years past.
The first year was insane and the second year was just alright
If I could have something in between that would be just perfect!

HERBSSSS! I loveeeeee having fresh herbs and could stand to add a few more...
From left to right: Upright Rosemary, Sage, Lemon Thyme, Flat Leaf Parsley

And Sweet Basil all on it's own. 
I've learned that this herb can really grow fast and grow big, 
so it's best to keep it in it's own planter.

My teeny tiny Jalapeno Plant. So small and cute. 
I can't wait for it to get bigger and produce peppers.
I've loved the peppers in the past and again, I can only hope for similar results. 

My awesome Key Lime tree. 
I only have a few limes, but it's still a young tree so I'm hoping for big things in the future.

My UNBELIEVABLE Snap Peas that are doing SO well.
I have grown them before, but it was nothing like this!
I can't wait for the super sweet pea pods to start growing,

And I won't have to wait TOO much longer because these my friends are Snap Pea Blossoms!

I can't wait to see how the whole garden progresses, changes and expands and I look forward to sharing it with you all. Please let me know if you have any suggestions, ideas, input, etc. Thanks! 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Parmesan and Black Truffle Oil Popcorn

Holy wow! This popcorn is just amazing. My brother and his wife introduced me to it a year or so ago and I fell in love after just a few bites. My little nephew even loves it too.

Since I love it so much, I recently bought a popcorn popper for myself. I hadn't used my new toy yet, but figured that last night's get together would be the perfect time to give it a try. And to introduce many more people to the simple, yet delicious popcorn!

The Goods:
Popcorn Popper
Vegetable Oil
Parmesan Cheese
Sea Salt
Black Truffle Oil

Put vegetable oil and popcorn in popcorn popper.

Put the cover on and plug it in.

Wait for it to start popping...

And watch it start to pop like crazy!

Alllllllllllll done!
Unplug as soon as it's done popping.

Sprinkle with Sea Salt.
Drizzle with Black Truffle Oil.
And finally toss with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese.


Pioneer Woman Guacamole

Last night I went over to my wonderful neighbor's house for some wine, beer, appetizers and a whole lot of fun! I decided to bring some Restaurant Style Salsa and to go along with it, I threw together Guacamole based on a recipe from The Pioneer Woman

Man I love her food! 

Now let me show you how to make the guacamole that everyone seemed to love! 

The Goods!

I knew I wasn't going to make as much as the original recipe called for, so I used 2 avocados, 1 medium hot house tomato, 1 jalapeno, 1/4 of a medium red onion, a lime and salt and cilantro to taste.

Chop up the tomato, jalapeno, onion and cilantro.
Toss with lime juice and salt.

Add the avocado and mash everything together.
Finish it off with a little more lime juice and salt.

Keep the avocado seeds in until ready to serve to limit browning.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Candied and Toasted Fresh Coconut

One of my friends recently made some Coconut Candy to recreate something her and her husband found and fell in love with in Hawaii on their honeymoon last Fall. I saw her making it and was lucky enough that I got a little bag to enjoy once it was all done. I fell in love with it too and knew it was something I wanted to make and blog about.

I searched and searched and searched for a recipe online, but couldn't find anything that really looked like it'd end up like my friend's so I decided to combine two recipes into one. I first did this to the coconut and then I did this to get it nice and toasted. Mmmmm!

Now let me show you how to make this tasty treat yourself. 

The Goods:
Fresh Coconut

 Poke the soft part of thecoconut out with a screwdriver.  

Drain the coconut.

 Smash the coconut in half with a hammer.

Remove the meat of the coconut and discard the shell.

Remove the brown area and slice VERY thin!

 Boil the fresh coconut in water to remove some of the fat.
After 5 minutes, drain and return to the pot.

 Add the sugar and water and bring to a boil. 

Simmer until water/sugar mixture has reduced completely and coconut is sticky. 

 Lay the candied coconut out in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Toast according to recipe.

This is about halfway done.

And done!!

It's carmely, and nutty, and a little chewy and simply delicious! 

I managed to burn myself while toasted the coconut, but man it was so worth the burn because the end result was simply amazing!

Hellllllllllllo Baby Logan!

On Monday, April 9th my adorable nephew Logan Thomas joined our family!!!

I couldn't wait for his arrival and I was very lucky to be able to fly home to Arizona this past weekend to meet him and see other family members including my other wonderful nephew, Gavin Michael. 

My brother and his wife are wonderful parents and have two amazing little boys. 
I love them all SO much!!

Gavin is a great Big Brother and he loves his Little Brother SO much already!

I cannot wait to watch them grow and see what the future holds for this perfect family of four. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

New Garden Goodies and Changes

As I mentioned in previous garden posts, I've had plans to slowly "grow" my garden over time. I recently purchased a few more goodies for the balcony garden and the old favorites are loving this warm Southern California weather! Before I go on and on and on, let me show you the newbies and the oldies.

Flat Leaf Parsley,
Lemon Thyme,
And Sage!

The Thyme is the only NEW addition, 
but other things were relocated to this container.

Oh and a NEW Sweet Basil plant too!

And not new, but also relocated - the littttttttle tiny Jalapeno plant!

I've had really good luck with Jalapeno plants the last few years,
so I'm really hoping I can get the same out of this lil sucker!

Two EMPTY looking Railing Window Boxes...

I planted Poppies and Snap Dragons in both. 

I can't wait to see what happens.

The FIRST signs of growth, 
so I hopefully won't have to wait too long!!

My GIANT Geranium Plant/Bush.

And the lil Lime Tree.

Last but NOT least - my awesome Snap Peas that keep doing better and better.
They're now climbing like crazy and clinging like I had hoped they would.

Keep your eye out for more additions to the always growing and changing balcony garden.