Monday, June 1, 2015

Garden Update: 3 Sisters Garden & Square Foot Garden

Quick Update! Back in March I posted my garden plans using the 3 Sisters Method, as well as some square foot gardening. I thought I'd post some pictures so that you could see how it grows in, and also so that you could visualize how it all works out. To see the original post with the garden plans, go HERE.

Here's an update on how the 3 Sisters Garden comes together:


3 Sisters Garden
To see any photo larger, just click on it!
I did end up supporting the corn with some garden stakes. We had a few days of heavy rain and wind, and it fell over. I am really enjoying the nasturtium this year. I've never grown it before. The leaves as well as the flowers are pretty. And then there's the fact that it does double duty keeping pests away.


Nasturtium at dusk after rain.
Here you can see the beans climbing up the corn...those 3 sisters!



Here's a view of one of my square foot garden beds:

Original garden plan found HERE.
To view any photo larger, just click on it!
So far. so good! Everything is coming in nicely. We've already eaten a bunch of the lettuce. One night I wanted to make tacos, but had forgotten lettuce. Then I realized I had lettuce in the backyard. Perfect!


Here is how I train the cucumbers to grow vertically:
I also use twist ties left over from bread bags. Be careful not to break off the heads of the vines!

Pretty soon the cucumbers will be ready!
Thanks for stopping by! Happy gardening to you!

Friday, April 24, 2015

It's a Wonderful Life to Travel the World



I can't think of traveling without thinking of George Bailey. You know, the guy played by actor Jimmy Stewart in the classic Christmas Movie, "It's A Wonderful Life." I think of George's giant suitcase and all of the stickers that didn't get put on it as he planned. George got sidetracked from his travels when he stayed in town to save the old Building and Loan. I hope George got to travel one day.



We're just a few weeks away from sending our son to Europe for 9 days. Every scenario possible has woken me up at night over the past week. But I have always made a conscious effort not to parent out of fear. We want our kids to be safe, but we also want them to spread their wings and fly.




I think it's funny how life goes along with little bits of fate mixed in. Last week I pick up this vintage globe bank. It reads: As you save, so you prosper. It just resonated with me that what you make a priority in life will surely be available to you. We hope our kids will make it a priority to see the world and appreciate the diversity of its people. (Interesting side note, this bank was made around the same time as the movie.)

If you're interested in this bank, go HERE.

"And he said to them, go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." Mark 16:15

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Southern Hummingbird Cake with Tupelo Honey Cream Cheese Frosting



Do you have a favorite cake? Funny enough, I associate a specific cake with each of my siblings. My sister, Tara, is without a doubt "Pineapple Upside Down Cake." It's one of her faves and I enjoy making them for her when I can. My twin bro, Ty, is Coconut Cake. We grew up with a sweet little Southern neighbor named AnnieBelle, who adored Ty so much that she made him a Coconut Cake all for himself. I'm not sure if he likes it as an adult, but there's nothing he can do to change my mind that Coconut Cake = Ty. And my biggest bro, Stephen, is Baked Alaska. It's a long time running joke that he would, of course, request one of the most difficult desserts to make from his wife on his birthday. Poor Dawna.

So what cake am I? I don't know...I'll have to ask them what they think. Samantha thinks I am "Carrot Cake." And I do love it. But for my birthday I decided to make a Southern cake staple, the Hummingbird Cake. The density and icing is totally something you would like if you are a carrot cake lover.

I'm making a few changes. First of all, no nuts for us - Both because of food of allergies and because I don't like a crunchy cake. Secondly, I am using Tupelo honey in both the cake and the icing. My sister gifted me with a jar of my favorite Tupelo honey from the Savannah Bee Company.* Tupelo honey has a buttery flavor and it's going to pair nicely with the bananas, pineapple, and coconut in my recipe. (Recipe at the bottom.) *This isn't a paid advertisement. I just really like their honey.



To get started, mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.


In a smaller bowl whisk the eggs and oil. I whisked the honey in at this point, too. But next time I'm going to add it at the same time as the bananas.


Time to add the bananas, pineapple, and coconut.


So rich with the yummy Tupelo honey cream cheese icing...Disclaimer: I am NOT a cake decorator. Not pretty, but oh so good!


Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 3/4 sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey (You can order Tupelo honey from Savannah Bee Company HERE.)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups very ripe chopped bananas
  • 8 oz. crushed pineapple (un-drained)
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1/2 chopped pecans (optional)
  • softened butter and flour for greasing pans
  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Grease and flour two 9-inch baking pans
  3. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl: flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, sugar
  4. Beat eggs and oil in a smaller bowl; add to flour and stir with a spatula.
  5. Stir in bananas, un-drained pineapple, coconut, and honey. (And nuts if you are using them.) Mix well.
  6. Pour batter into pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cakes are done when a tester comes out clean.
  7. Allow cakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes and then cool completely on wire racks.
  8. Ice with honey cream cheese icing and top with toasted coconut and/or nuts.
  9. To toast coconut or pecans spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350*.
Honey Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 2 tbs. room temperature butter
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3-4 cups of powered sugar
In an electric mixer beat the cream cheese, butter, honey, and vanilla until it is smooth with no clumps. While the mixer is on a slow speed, gradually add the powdered sugar until you get the consistency that you like. The more powdered sugar you add the thicker the icing will be.



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