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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Tips for Growing Lettuce

Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a beginning gardener, lettuce should be grown in your garden. Fresh cut lettuce straight from the garden is perfect for a fresh salad!

Different varieties of Bibb lettuce
Lettuce is super easy to grow! It takes up little space and has a fast maturity rate from seed to harvest.
Lettuce can be grown for many weeks in the cooler weather months in Spring and Fall. Or continue to grow it in the Summer months by planting a heat tolerant lettuce.

Muslin Mix Leaf Lettuce 



Here are some easy basic tips for growing lettuce.

- Planting Times. In the Spring lettuce seed can be planted as early as about a month before the last frost, if the soil is warm enough to work. In the Summer months, plant a heat tolerant variety. For Fall months, plant lettuce seed about 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost. Lettuce likes temperatures from 45 to 80 degrees depending the variety. If it is too warm for the lettuce, it will bolt and will taste bitter. So be sure to plant a heat tolerant lettuce if wanting to grow it in the Summer months. 

- Location. Lettuce grows fastest when planted in full sun. It will tolerate partial shade also. Plant some onions, tomatoes, kale, and carrots along with lettuce in a pot and have a nice container garden as well!

- Moisture. Plant lettuce in a moist and well drained environment. For the most tender leaves, water regularly during dry weather. When watering heads of lettuce, water at the ground instead of overhead to prevent water from being trapped in the head and create bad areas in the lettuce head. 

- Types of Lettuce. There are several types of lettuce. 
.Leaf lettuce  - which is ready to eat any size. Simply cut the leaves and enjoy. Leaf lettuce is called "cut and come again" vegetable, as you harvest the leaves by cutting them off and then more will grow. You can cut baby leaves for the most tender salads, or cut them when they are bigger. 

.Romaine lettuce - when this lettuce is full size it forms and a clump of upright leaves. 

.Bibb lettuce - or butterhead is another name. This type of lettuce forms a loose head that can be picked any time, but for it to be full size, it will be about 6 inches in diameter. 

.Iceberg lettuce  - forms a head of lettuce. Cut lettuce off at ground level when harvesting. 

Seeding/Planting. Direct sow lettuce seed in the ground. As it grows be sure to watch out for any weeks that may come up and pull them from preventing to grow. Work up the ground where you want to plant your lettuce. Sow the lettuce seed by simply sprinkling it over the area. Lightly brush the top of the soil to cover the seed. 
Lettuce seed can also be planted in to pots as starts and transplanted later as it has grown bigger. 
Create a kitchen garden by planting lettuce, onion sets, radishes, spinach, and kale together in a container and create a container garden. 

- End of Season. If it gets too hot for the lettuce plant it will start to bolt and go to seed. If this is just starting to happen you can harvest the leaves and store in the refrigerator and it will take away some of the bitterness. If the lettuce plant has bolted too far, simply pull up the plant, as it will be bitter to eat.

There's nothing better than a fresh homegrown salad! Be sure to plant some lettuce in your garden!









Saturday, April 1, 2017

Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

Oh the flavors of lemon and blueberry together are just perfect together! If you have never tried them together this Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake recipe is amazingly delicious recipe to enjoy!


When I think of lemon and blueberry together I think of fresh flavors and the Spring/Summer season. Two very different flavors that come together perfectly.


Bake it in the summer when fresh blueberries are in season!


In Indiana, blueberries are in season the end of July/August. I have fun memories growing up going to the local blueberry patch and picking, and picking, and picking until we got a good amount to bring home for fresh blueberries and to put some up in the freezer. I have enjoyed taking my kids as well!


The blueberries provide a nice moistness to the cake with bursts of flavor, while the lemon and lemon zest give a nice zingy, lemony flavor, but not over powering. An added hint of sweetness is in the light icing.



Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake 

Ingredients:
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Clabber Girl Baking Soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
4 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
lemon zest from the lemons
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
2 1/2 cups blueberries

For the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
lemon zest

Directions:
In a mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix until combined and set aside. In another bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until well blended. Add the eggs and use a hand mixer and blend in one at a time. Add the lemon juice, zest, vanilla, and milk and beat together until just combined together. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredient mixture and mix together well with a hand mixer. Add the blueberries and gently fold them in with a rubber spatula until incorporated. Grease a large bundt pan. Pour the prepared batter in the bundt pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes and run a thin knife around the edges to loosen the cake. Cool turned over and cool completely, then remove from pan.
For the icing, mix together all icing ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cake. It will seep into the cake.

PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE


Not only is this cake delicious, but its also definitely looks stunningly delicious too! Perfect for carry-ins, family holidays, breakfast, brunch, or dessert. So many options to make this pleasant lemon blueberry bundt cake.


You can't help but smile when enjoying this cake!
Enjoy!




This post is sponsored by Clabber Girl but my
 thoughts/opinions are always 100% my own

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Easy Brown Gravy

I have always loved gravy! Any type of gravy, they are all good! This easy brown gravy recipe is so simple to make.


Gravy makes any homestyle meal even more wonderful!

Gravy can be made from dripping from meat or without. You don't need the drippings to achieve the rich and flavorful gravy and this recipe is just that.


We love chunky mashed potatoes as a side with our meals and gravy is a nice addition for some more flavor. We enjoy mashed potatoes and gravy often and this is just a go to gravy to make.


This easy brown gravy recipe is great for potatoes, to serve on top of meat, or an addition to beef stroganoff. Perfect for any savory dish.


Easy Brown Gravy 

Ingredients: 
2 cups beef broth
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 cup of water
3 Tbsp Clabber Girl cornstarch 
Pepper to taste

*If you have beef drippings available they are great to add to the gravy.

Directions: 
In a small sauce pan, add the beef broth and bring to a boil. Add the garlic powder and onion powder and stir together. Reduce to medium heat. In a small bowl add the water and cornstarch and whisk together until well blended. Add the cornstarch mixture to the broth mixture and mix together. The gravy will then thicken. Add pepper to taste.
Serve with your favorite meals.

PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE

One of my favorites is red skin chunky mashed potatoes. Simply wash the potatoes. Cut them up into quarters and add to a pot of water. Bring to a boil until potato is tender. Drain. Mash slightly. Add some butter and milk and continue to mash. We like to leave them a little chunky but you can continue to mash or blend until smoother if you like. Then add gravy.


Add this easy brown gravy to any of your meals for extra flavor. It's so simple to make and only takes a few minutes!

Enjoy!


This post is sponsored by Clabber Girl but my
 thoughts/opinions are always 100% my own



Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Spring is in the air!! We've unseasonably warm weather here in Indiana the past few weeks.
With Spring on the way, it's time to think of the next upcoming holiday, Easter is in April this year. Have you seen all the bunnies, carrots, and egg decor out in stores?! One of my favorite dessert recipes that pairs great with Easter and spring is carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. They are super moist, delicious, and have an Easter spirit about them that make them perfect for the holiday, but anytime of the year as well. 

We have enjoy having meals with family for Easter and what perfect way to have carrot cake for everyone with Carrot Cake Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting ...decorated cute for Easter.
Now I am pretty crafty but I am no artist when it comes to cake decorating, but these are simple to do and look cute!


I will share with you some simple decorating tips for simple Easter themed cupcakes below. Anyone can do!!

Not making them for Easter? That's ok! A little bit of chopped pecans around the edges of the frosting is perfect!



Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients:
For the cupcakes
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp Clabber Girl baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

For the frosting
8 oz  cream cheese - at room temperature
1 stick butter - at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a medium sized mixing bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, and eggs and whisk together. Add the applesauce, carrots, and vanilla and stir together. Then add the dry ingredients from the previous bowl and mix all together until well combined. Add the chopped nuts and stir in.

Prepare a standard sized muffin tin with paper liners of your choosing for the cupcakes. Divide the cupcake batter evenly between the muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. Test batter with a knife to make sure it comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool completely.

Once cupcakes are cooled is time to add the cream cheese frosting. In a medium mixing bowl add the softened cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Using a hand held mixer, mix together the ingredients on medium speed until smooth and creamy. On low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar and continue to beat until it is all mixed in.

Top the cupcakes off with the frosting by piping it on or with a knife. Decorate your cupcakes.
Simply roll the edges in the frosting in chopped nuts or decorate with some Easter themes like shown below.

Recipe makes 12 cupcakes. Serve or store in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.


PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE

For Easter Decorating tips:


Bunny ears:
Regular size marshmallows
Pink sprinkles
Using a pair of kitchen shears, simply cut a marshmallow in half at an angle. The part that was cut open will be slightly sticky, dip that part in the sprinkles for the center pink part of bunny's ears. Arrange them beside each other on top of the cupcake.
I added shredded coconut on top of the frosting to give a "furry"look.


Carrots:
Shredded coconut
Orange Candy Melts
Put a small amount of shredded coconut in a small bowl and add a few drops of green food coloring and stir around. 
Melt the candy melts and put in a plastic ziplock bag. At one corner of the bottom of the bag, cut a slit and use it as a piping bag. 
Line a pan with parchment paper. 
Place a little dab of coconut on the paper and using the plastic bag as a piping bag, squeeze out the melted chocolate into a carrot form. be sure to go over the coconut slightly with it so that the chocolate sets up and the coconut will stick to it. 
After you have made several that you need, place in the freezer for final set up. 
When you are ready to add to your cupcakes, simply remove from paper and place at the top of the cupcake. 


Nest of Eggs: 
Green Icing Pouch with Tip
Cadbury Mini Eggs
Simply Pipe the green icing onto the cream cheese frosting using the flower tip. Add the Cadbury mini eggs on top.


These carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are packed full of so much flavor you will love them from the first bite!





This post is sponsored by Clabber Girl but my
 thoughts/opinions are always 100% my own




Monday, February 27, 2017

Bananas Foster Crepes

Bananas Foster Crepes are perfect for a decadent breakfast or a fancy dessert! I love banana anything and these are so good.


The batter creates a light, buttery, crisp crepe.
 Filled with a syrupy banana flavored goodness.
Topped off with a few scoops of vanilla ice cream.

It is delightful!!
So tasty.


Bananas Foster Crepes
Ingredients:

For the crepes:
2 eggs
2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
3 Tbsp melted butter
Cooking spray, for coating the pan

For the bananas foster:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 bananas, sliced
1/4 cup dark rum
1/3 cup chopped pecans

*Non- alcoholic version: Add 1/2 cup of maple syrup instead of the dark rum

Topped with scoops of vanilla ice cream and dust with powdered sugar if desired.


Directions:
For the crepes, add all the ingredients in a blender and blend together until well mixed. Refrigerate the batter for 30 minutes. Using a small non-stick pan spray the pan with cooking spray. Add 1/3 cup of batter and swirl it around to spread the batter for a thin layer on the bottom of the small pan. Cook for a minute or so and flip. Cook for another 30 seconds or so. The edges will curl up some and the crepe will get a golden brown color to it. Continue until batter is gone, spraying the pan before each crepe.

For the bananas foster, in a pan add the butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Cook over low heat and stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Add the banana slices and chopped pecans and cook until the bananas soften. Then add the rum and cook the sauce until the rum has been heated. Use a lighter and carefully light the rum. Remove from heat and shake the pan a bit until flame goes out. Let the sauce cool some.

*Non-alcoholic version:  For the bananas foster, in a pan add the butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Cook over low heat and stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Add the maple syrup, pecans, and banana slices and cook until the bananas soften. Let the sauce cool some.

Spoon the bananas foster sauce into the crepes for a filling and fold them up. Add some scoops of vanilla ice cream and top off with some more bananas foster sauce.
Enjoy!!

PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE