Seedling progress

I planted some pumpkin seeds two Sundays ago and in past years they have taken about two weeks to sprout up.
This year I soaked them in water for 24 hours before planting them.

The difference in growth is quite noticeable. I’m also feeling like I planted them way too soon. I guess I need a bigger container….

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I also put some herbs that I planted earlier in a terrarium that my mom was throwing away. They were planted at the same time but they have not grown nearly as fast as those pumpkin sprouts.

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Also keeping with the spring feel I found some cute flowers with mini white ceramic pots on sale at the superstore for $2 each so they are happily on the windowsill.

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What do you think – are my pumpkins crazy or is this normal? And are you feeling the spring fever?!

Guinness beef stew

March has always a busy month in respect to birthdays. My sister, dad, mike, mikes mother and Evan all are march babies. So this month is busy busy busy. Today we celebrated mikes birthday with his family. It’s a big year for mike he is turning 40 years old!

I made Guinness beef stew this morning before work. Letting it stew all day before adding the Guinness.

This stew is so easy to make.

Stewing beef cut into pieces, floured with salt and pepper, cooked and then put aside.
Onions cooked in butter, add garlic, add to beef.
Add beef broth, paprika, salt, pepper and a dash of sugar.
Add potatoes, turnips, carrots and let simmer all day.
Add Guinness an hour before serving.

De. Lish.

So good.

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Zucchini brownies

I bought a pack of zucchinis from Costco last week with the best intentions. I thought we would gobble them up in no time.

Alas I was wrong. No one wanted to eat them. They started to go bad.

I hate throwing good food away so I found an alternative way to use them instead. Zucchini brownies and they are the best brownies I’ve ever had.
Also easy to make.

I didn’t follow the recipe entirely because I didn’t have all the ingredients for their vegan brownies.

So I modified it a bit but here is the original recipe – http://www.fitsugar.com/Healthy-Zucchini-Brownies-31120011

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees

I peeled and steamed two regular zucchini. Meanwhile I threw one cup of whole wheat flour, half a cup of sugar, half a cup of cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp of salt into a bowl and mixed it up.

Took the zucchini and threw it into a blender with half a cup of oil and a splash of vanilla extract. Blended. Poured into same bowl and the. Put batter in a Pam sprayed pan.

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I waited 35 minutes. And then voila! Brownies made with zucchini!

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Enjoy!

Conquer your bread fears

There is one thing that people think is near impossible. Homemade bread and They’re wrong.

Today I am sharing my second favourite bread recipe – the first is a brown bread recipe my grandmother uses.

Today I made a double batch of roasted garlic and rosemary artisan bread. It had to be a double batch because I barely take it out of the oven and it’s gobbled up.

This is the kind of bread that you can dip in olive oil and vinegar, toast or just eat plain. It’s absolutely delicious.

Recipe –

4 medium garlic cloves
Olive oil
2 tbsps of granulated yeast (active dry yeast)
3 cups I warm water -slightly above body temperature
5 1/2 cups of flour – more for dusting.
Just less than 1 tbsp of salt
2 tablespoons rosemary
Butter

First preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Then take a couple garlic cloves – I use two but the recipe technically calls for four medium bulbs – cut the top of the bulb off and dip the bulb in olive oil or pour a tiny bit onto the open top. Then you put the bulbs in tinfoil and into the oven for 45 minutes.

Take them out. Let them cool down.

Meanwhile put the yeast and water in a large bowl. This dough will rise a lot!

Add everything except the butter. Mix well. It will be sticky. That’s exactly what you want.

Put a plastic cover on the bowl or plastic wrap and put it in a warm spot to rise for three hours.

When ready grease and flour cookie sheet. Place a metal pan with water in bottom rack of the oven – this gives the bread a nicer crust.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees sprinkle dough with flour and wet your hands. Divide the dough into two separate even loaves. Shape into balls space apart on sheet and sprinkle with flour generously.

Score each with an X or other mark before putting in the oven.

Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes then butter crust and enjoy!

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Sprouts are emerging!

Today I had the morning off so I spent most of it catching up on laundry, tying up loose ends, running in to get some groceries and new vacuum cleaner part.

When I came home I took a peek at my little mini green houses where I had planted some seeds last week. Usually they take 7-10 days to sprout. It’s been about 5 and I can already see some fairly tall sprouts! Next week I’ll be planting some peppers, tomatoes and leeks.

My herb garden will hopefully be happy to live on my window sill indefinitely, while the others will be transplanted into bigger containers then eventually outside.

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Did I mention we still have snow … With more to come!

Egg follow up

Today I found this web site that talks about the different reasons that eggs are oddly shaped, soft shelled, no shell or discoloured. So I thought I would share the link as a follow up.

http://yellowbirchhobbyfarm.blogspot.ca/2014/02/weird-eggs-101-oddities-explained.html

On another unrelated note today is my day off and after a busy weekend of work I started working on an Easter garland, decorating for spring and sprucing up the house.

I love this time of year, things are ready to come back to life and we are all just waiting to shed the winter layers and get back to enjoying spending time outdoors.

While not entirely cohesive I also have included pictures of my garland start, Easter garland I bought at winners and beautiful mug

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End is near!

I have been told that pre soaking your seeds before you plant them is the best way to get results.
Mostly bigger seeds. Also they say you should file the edges of a pumpkin seed except for the point slightly so that the water can really soak in.
I didn’t know that when I set my seeds in water last night. But I’m hoping that at least just soaking them will help.

I do realize it’s early to plant seeds. But I haven’t had much luck with pumpkins. So this year I’m going to try something different. I still need to run out and get soil to plant them but I hauled out my planting trays and my seeds are soaking right now.

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This morning I was wandering around the yard looking at what is normally the vegetable garden that I have good luck keeping the dogs away from but now it’s just an extra place for them to run. I can’t wait for the snow to melt.

Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love winter. But it’s almost spring now and we have certainly had our share of winter this year.

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