Sunday, August 26, 2012

Garden Surprises!

Even though I seem to have been neglecting it a little, my garden has recently surprised me in a few different ways. Most of my flowers are doing well and the edible goodies continue to give me tasty treats!

So let me start with the flowers...

I've had these gerber daisies awhile now, and I thought I'd killed them a time or two, but new flowers continue to pop up and I LOVE IT!

I have NO idea what either of these are, but they're doing great and much bigger than they were when I originally planted them. They seems to tolerate the heat quite well and are really spreading out.

My jasmine is doing EXACTLY what I wanted - climbing and weaving it's way through the metal I have against my railing. I just wish it would flower more because it smells amazing!!!

Now onto the edible goods...

My tomato plant still has tomatoes in many different stages AND new buds popping up every day. I don't have the plethora I had in the past, but I've been happy with this year's success.

The herbs are doing GREAT and I am happy they aren't dead from my neglect. I love that I have them so ready and easy to use all the time!

And not pictured - OOPS AGAIN! (I'm sorry!!!)...The lime tree has TONS of limes and many are ready to be used. I had one last week and it was tart, but delicious! I have tons of other little limes too, so I can't wait to see what happens.

Heavenly Twice Baked Potatoes

I've always loved Twice Baked Potatoes. What's NOT to love about them really? They're potatoes that are full of a bunch of yummy things like butter, garlic and bacon to name a few things. And I may be a little biased, but I happen to LOVE the ones I make! 

They're so simple, but not that simple (I've messed them up once or twice to be honest), but the time and effort it takes to make them is SO worth it! Let me show you how...

The Goods:
Cheese - I used Cheddar
Olive Oil

Bake your potatoes!

While the potatoes are baking...

Cook up some bacon!

Make sure it's nice and crispy!!!

And sauté your onions and garlic 
in some olive oil/bacon drippings!

Until they're golden and smell AMAZING!!!

Once the potatoes are baked...

Cut the top off and scoop out the potatoes.

I saved the tops and made delicious potatoes skins!

Scoop them out quite a bit!
Until they look like the ones above.

Add the butter (not pictured - OOPS!)...

And the sautéed onion and garlic...

Oh and the bacon too...

Don't forget some shredded cheese!

Mix it all up until well combined 
and then put into a gallon zipper bag. 

Cut the tip off the bag and fill potatoes 
back up with the yummy mixture!

Put a little more shredded cheese and bacon on top.

And bake again until the cheese is melted and starts to turn golden.
It was about 20 minutes for me.

Now...dive in and ENJOY!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dairy-Free Baked Goodies!

It's no secret that I love to bake. 

Since I love to bake, I do it fairly often and I simply cannot eat it all myself (even though I may WANT to...), so my wonderful co-workers get the pleasure of eating the goodies I make! Well most of them that is... 

My friend Matt has a dairy allergy and sadly cannot eat many of the treats I bring in. I felt so bad tempting him all the time, so I promised I'd research dairy-free baked goods and try to make some for him!

Finding dairy-free recipes wasn't hard at all, but finding ones that sounded pretty good and didn't require me to buy too many new things WAS hard. I wanted whatever I made to taste good and most importantly, I didn't want people to be able to tell they were dairy-free!

So after a little time searching, I found the following recipes that sounded AMAZING. 
  1. Dairy-Free Snickerdoodle Blondies
  2. Snappy Molasses Cookies - These are not only Dairy-Free, but Vegan, Nut-Free AND Soy-Free!
Now that I've gone on and on about the goodies, let me show you how to make them! They're really simple actually. No more difficult than your normal blondie/brownie or cookie recipe.

Dairy-Free Snickerdoodle Blondies
The Goods
Dairy-Free Butter Substitute - I used Earth Balance
Brown Sugar
Baking Powder
Ground Nutmeg
Ground Cinnamon

Cream the Butter Substitute with the Brown Sugar

Add the eggs

And the Vanilla

And mix it all up.

Add the dry ingredients and mix.

Transfer mixture to lightly greased 9x13 baking dish.

Cover with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Halfway through baking!

And done! Time to cool.
I know it's hard...
but it's best to wait until completely cool before cutting. 

Remove the blondies from the baking dish...

And cut into smallish pieces to be enjoyed!

Snappy Molasses Cookies
The Goods:
Baking Soda
Vegetable Oil
Brown Sugar
Ground Cinnamon
Ground Ginger
Ground Cloves
Ground Nutmeg

Combine the dry ingredients - spices included.

Set aside.

Put the Vegetable Oil in the mixing bowl.

Add the sugars.

And mix the sugars in.

Now add the egg.

And the molasses.

Oh and the vanilla too!

Now mix it allllllll up.

Until everything is combined. 

Now add the dry ingredients you set aside.

And give it a mix until everything is incorporated.

If the dough is a little sticky - add a bit more flour.

And mix that one final time.

Shape the dough into balls...

And roll in sugar.

Place on a baking sheet.
 Bake at 350 degrees for about 7 minutes.

Take them out them out when they just begin to "crack" on top.

You don't have to wait until these are cooled,
so dig right in!!!