Sunday, June 23, 2013

This Girl's Urban Garden: What's Growing on my Deck

Summer has taken its sweet slow time arriving this year but it's finally really hot outside. I mean gross hot ... I love it.  I'm sure my urban garden is loving it also.  Here are just a few things I am growing this year:

 Red Pepper: Starter plants courtesy of Sosnicki Organics

I again bought starter plants for all of my herbs but immediately moved them into bigger containers and they grew bigger so quickly!

Lemon Thyme.


Sage

Cherry belle Radishes ... which by this point I have already harvested half.

Basil ... which will go great with my tomatoes!

 Cherry tomato (one of three tomato plants)

Black Beauty Eggplant. My first time ever growing it, I really hope it produces something.

 Black beans, which will have to be trellised to encourage upwards growth.

Just a few of the many, many greens I am growing, including kale, lettuce and ...

Arugula!

Zucchini


My harvested radishes ... gorgeous!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Just for Fun! Rainbow Cake

This is what happens when you have a week-day off, have finished all your errands and are craving something sweet to eat: rainbow cake!

Basic Vanilla Cake
Recipe from Allrecipes.ca

Ingredients
1 cup plain soy milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract 

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C).
  2. Grease and flour an 8x8-inch baking dish, or any small round baking dish.  I used two dishes to speed up the process.
  3. Stir soy milk and vinegar together in a large glass measuring cup.
  4. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
  5. Briskly mix canola oil, water, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and almond extract into soy milk mixture.
  6. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until batter is lump-free.
  7. Divide batter into three different bowls (about 1 1/4 cup each bowl).  Add food coloring to each bowl, one red, one orange and one yellow. Mix color into batter.
  8. Pour one colored batter at a time into the prepared baking dish.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, or about 16-18 minutes.
  10. Repeat for each colored batter.
  11. Once each layer of the cake is cooked, remove from baking dish and allow to cool down completely on a cooling rack before icing. 
  1. While the cake is baking, divide the buttercream icing you will be using into six separate bowls, about 2/3 cup each.
  2. Add a few drops of food coloring to each bowl, one of each rainbow colour again. Mix the colour into the icing until well combined.
To make all six colours (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) I had to double the recipe.

Once each layer of the cake is baked and completely cooled down, start adding the icing and layering the rainbow. I started with red on the bottom.

Here are the layers added together, with icing, and before adding the chocolate ganache:


Chocolate Ganache
Recipe from About.com

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened plain soymilk
2 1/2 cups dark dairy-free chocolate chips

In a small saucepan over low-heat, combine the soymilk and chocolate chips.  Stirring frequently, cook until the mixture is well combined and the chocolate has a glossy finish.  Remove the ganache from the stove.  Use while still warm or slightly cooled.

Slowly drizzle the ganache, full spoonfuls at a time over the finished cake until it is completely covered.

My completed cake looks like a huge donut!


Mmm ... donut rainbow-cake!

  
Delicious!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday Brunch: Banana Pancakes


Sometimes the simple pleasures in life are all you need.  For example, Sunday brunch.  After a long, hard work week sometimes there is nothing better then looking forward to sleeping in late and waking up in time for Sunday brunch.  I think I can make a habit of this ... sleeping in, Sunday brunch ... yep, that sounds good. Who's with me?

So, here is your first Sunday brunch meal suggestion: Banana pancakes!  I made these so long ago that I forgot the recipe...oops.  Never fear, I found a very easy to do vegan banana pancake recipe (I slightly altered it) for you to try, from Now Stir It Up:

Vegan Banana Pancakes
  • 1 1/2 cups organic all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp organic cane sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup pureed bananas (1 large or 2 small)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3 Tbsp canola OR coconut oil

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon, and baking powder.
  2. Mix in the bananas puree and almond milk.  Stir until well combined.
  3. Allow the pancake batter to sit for about 5 minutes before using.
  4. Heat a large skillet with 1-2 Tbsp of the oil over medium heat.
  5. Once the pan is hot add about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake.
  6. Cook until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pancake and then flip to cook both sides evenly, for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  7. Serve with maple syrup, fresh fruit like sliced bananas, and/or dust with powdered sugar.



Enjoy!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Seed-Starting Part 2: Seedlings Saturday


It may be cold outside but that isn't going my stop these new seedlings from springing up.  Just a few more weeks now (I hope) before the warm weather arrives and they will be ready for the outdoors!

Once these seeds begin to sprout, the next step is to give them light ... and a new home, that is, a bigger home to spread their roots.


Some supplies you will need to transfer your two inch sprouts include:

- small to medium size pots
- seedling and/or potting soil
- labels
- water
- fertilizer (optional, but most helpful in improving their health)



Since I started my seedlings using egg cartons and packaging shells, I had to make sure the roots would have to grow. They are not strong enough to break through the shells, so it's very important to carefully break the shells apart before placing the seedlings in a new container.


Top off with more soil ...


 ... And sit your newly potted seedlings in the light.  Constant light would be best, to achieve this you can use  artificial lighting. In my case, I wanted to save money (and energy), and fortunately I'm lucky enough to have about 12-14 hours of sunlight shining through my large kitchen window.

 
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