Vegetable Gardening - For Beginners

Vegetable Gardening - For Beginners

A garden is a beautiful thing, especially during the pleasant spring months. A garden is a wonderful place to relax and learn; it’s a place where you can immerse yourself in nature. It's rewarding to watch the bees buzz innocently in the long bloomers as they work hard to keep the planet alive.

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Cream Cheese Carrot Muffins

Last week our sweet neighbor sent us home with a bunch of delicious carrots from her garden. This was the perfect opportunity to bake something carroty...which I had never done before. These muffins are delicious, especially if you like carrot cake. 

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Line a 12 muffin tray with parchment muffin cups

2. Mix dry ingredients together

3. Mix wet ingredients together (in a separate bowl)

4. Combine mixtures, but do not over-mix

5. Scoop batter into muffin cups

6. Bake for about 15 minutes (depending on oven)

7. Once cooled, frost

1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg, clove, or pumpkin pie spice (or all of them if like spice)

2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 1/2 c. shredded carrots
3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1 stick butter
1 tsp. vanilla

While the muffins were baking I realized we didn't have powdered sugar to make the frosting. I substituted with brown sugar, which came out delicious.

Cream Cheese Brown Sugar Frosting

Soften butter and cream cheese, combine together until smooth.

  • 1 Package Cream Cheese (8 Ounces)

  • 5 tbsp. butter

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Tropical Minty Coconut Mango Smoothie

To be honest, I don't love smoothies, I never have. But this smoothie I do love. The fresh mint makes it refreshing, the can of coconut makes it thick and filling, it's healthy, and easy! You could also sneak in other ingredients like cod liver oil, bee pollen, camu camu, and all the other stuff that you try to take on the daily. 

Add all of the ingredients to your blender, blend until smooth, and enjoy!

  • 1 Can Coconut Milk (organic)

  • 1/2 Medium Banana (organic)

  • 1 Cup Frozen Mango (organic)

  • 6 Mint Leaves (grown at home and finely cut - I use kitchen scissors)

  • Ice 

Five Minute Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

I thought we were settled with our easy peanut butter cookie recipe, but then I made these. I'm pretty sure it's the brown sugar that changes EVERYTHING, and makes them deliciously chewy (unless you over-bake them which is easy to do, but they're still yummy). You may need five minutes to mix the ingredients and get them settled on the cookie sheet, but probably more like four minutes!

WHAT YOU NEED

  • 1 Cup Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips (or however many you like)
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar

WHAT YOU DO

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Grab a cookie sheet and line with parchment paper
  3. Mix all of the ingredients together
  4. Scoop and Roll into balls (about 8 cookies) and place on cookie sheet
  5. Bake for 8-12 minutes
  6. Eat

Make a cookie sandwich - vanilla ice cream in the middle...

Eat them right out of the oven or let them cool...

Enjoy with a cup of milk!

A Summer Southwest Salad

When I began teaching I would often stock up on these ingredients for the week and bring this salad to work. It doesn't require a lot of chopping, which makes it quick to throw together on your way out the door. I used to sprinkle salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil, but over time I've created a simple marinade that gives this salad its southwest flavor. 

Choose the portions that you prefer...

  • PINE NUTS
  • GRAPE TOMATOES
  • AVOCADO
  • COTIJA (Mexican cheese)
  • MIXED GREENS
  • BLACK BEANS
  • CILANTRO
  • OTHER INGREDIENTS (CORN / TORTILLA STRIPS)

DRESSSING "MARINADE"

  • OLIVE OIL
  • SALT
  • PEPPER
  • CUMIN
  • PAPRIKA
  • CAYENNE PEPPER
  • GARLIC POWDER
  • OREGANO
  • CHILI POWDER
  • WATER
  • LIME JUICE

I don't have an exact formula, but simply mix these spices together and stir into the olive oil adding a small amount of water and lime juice.  Adjust the spices as needed. 

My Favorite Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake

A warm cup of coffee and a healthy slice of this scrumptious cake is all you really need. It's THE only cake you should ever serve at a brunch, and it will feed many. Try this easy-enough recipe, and keep it on hand (or memorize it). It will delight your mom on Mother's day, feed the family on Easter, warm the soul on a gloomy day, and bring smiles on a sunny Saturday morning. 

I've been making this cake for many years now, it has been adapted from the Six Sister's website. If you love cinnamon rolls, give this cake a try <3 

  • S T E P  O N E
  • Preheat your oven to 350
  • Grease a 9x13 dish
  • Mix (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, milk, eggs, and vanilla) until smooth
  • Stir in 4 tablespoons of melted butter
  • Pour batter into dish
  • S T E P  T W O
  • Mix together two sticks of butter (softened) + brown sugar + flour + cinnamon
  • Pour this mixture over the batter and SWIRL it into the batter with a butter knife
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes (check with a toothpick)
  • S T E P  T H R E E 
  • Mix together powdered sugar, half and half, and vanilla = icing!! 
  • Pour the icing over the warm cake, smooth it over the entire cake, and eat!!

  • 3 cups flour (we use 2 cups white flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 tablespoons half + half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Kentucky Butter Cake - It's Amazing

Easter is just around the corner, and if you're looking for something rich and delicious that will delight the whole family, this cake is your answer. It comes out moist and buttery, and can be served with a heaping spoonful of vanilla ice cream, or simply a glass of cold milk. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup butter (we softened ours on the stove)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk (we made ours with milk + lemon juice)

BUTTER GLAZE

  • ⅓ cup butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Preheat the oven to 325°
  • Grease a 10" bundt pan with butter and dust the pan with flour
  • Combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs until smooth
  • In a separate bowl sift together flour, salt, baking power, baking soda
  • Combine dry ingredients and wet, slowly mix in the buttermilk
  • Pour the batter into the bundt pan and bake for 45-60 minutes (check with a clean toothpick - ovens vary greatly)
  • Make the glaze by combining ingredients in a saucepan over a medium heat, be sure not to boil
  • Poke holes in the cake while it's still warm in the pan and pour the glaze slowly over the cake (poke enough holes to allow for the glaze to seep into most parts of the cake)
  • Once the cake is cool, invert onto a serving plate
  • Enjoy!

Delectable Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Bananas and chocolate together are a delight, especially if you can get peanut butter involved. This recipe doesn't call for PB, but you could certainly smooth some over a slice of this delectable treat!

This recipe is quick and simple, and will make your home smell wonderful!

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 medium and ripe bananas
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 cups chocolate chips or nuts (depending on what you prefer)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease a loaf pan
  • Cream together the butter and sugar
  • Mash the bananas and combine with the butter and the sugar
  • Add the eggs and vanilla to bananas/butter/sugar mix
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.
  • Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture
  • Pour into a greased loaf pan
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 50 - 60 minutes

Blueberry Muffins - These Ones Will Change Your Life

I love breads, all types, and muffins, and scones, but I especially love muffins. I suppose one thing about them is that if they come out dry or bland you can still smother them in butter or just eat them with a latte. Muffins are delightful treats, they seem a bit more mature than cupcakes, rather more sophisticated compared to a cookie, and truly humble when considering a showy lemon bar. Muffins are breakfast, lunch or dessert; and blueberry muffins are pure comfort.

I've tried several blueberry muffin recipes, and I believe I have found one that is PERFECT. I loved these, Sam did too (and he's not much of a fruit guy), and Ester enjoyed them as well. 

*I did use all organic ingredients and the blueberries were fresh as opposed to frozen, very ripe and sweet. 

I followed this recipe, and did everything step-by-step.

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