Monthly Archives: January 2013

DIY Valentine

    DIY Valentine

DIY Valentine

Draw a picture and write a valentine’s day message. Scan it (or take a photo) and make copies (print the image sized 3″ x 5″ so you can print 4 to a page). Print on white or colored card stock. Cut out the valentines using a paper cutter. Make lots to share with friends, family, & classmates!

    DIY Valentine

DIY Valentine

“Gowing caping worms my hort” haha

DSC_5427 (375x255)DSC_5431 (375x287)

Sew a red heart on a stuffed animal!

Kangaroo stuffed animal made by www.crissypenuel.com

Kangaroo stuffed animal made by http://www.crissypenuel.com

Bear stuffed animal made by www.crissypenuel.com

Bear stuffed animal made by http://www.crissypenuel.com

 

Creative Kitchen! Chocolates for your Valentine!

Cutest Kid Kitchen! www.kidkitchens.com

Cutest Kid Kitchen! http://www.kidkitchens.com

Chocolate Truffles with Almonds and Orange Zest:

Easy Truffles with Orange Zest and Crushed Almonds

Easy Truffles with Orange Zest and Crushed Almonds

Adapted from “Brigadeiros Caramel Fudge Truffles” http://www.eaglebrand.com/recipes/details/?RecipeId=5545&CategoryIndex=8

Put the following in a small stove-top pot with a handle:

1 heaping tablespoon of cocoa powder

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon instant coffee, or use DeMadaglia D’Oro Instant Espresso Coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cook in small pot over medium heat until the mixture bubbles and starts to “pull away from the pan”.

Use a silicone heat proof spatula to ensure none of the mixture gets stuck to the bottom and burns. Stir continuously as it cooks.

Optional: Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 Cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, or chopped good dark chocolate (or white or milk if you prefer) and mix until it all melts.

Pour into greased shallow dish (pie glass, casserole dish)

Refrigerate about an hour: Spread the mixture in a 1″ layer so it cools faster.

Take a melon baller, the kind with the spring loaded release feature is the best!

i.e. Norpro Stainless Steel Scoop, 1 Tablespoon, 35mm

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00004UE85/ref=asc_df_B00004UE852363033?tag=thefind0133122-20&creative=395261&creativeASIN=B00004UE85&linkCode=asn

Roll into 1 Tbsp spheres and then roll in your desired toppings or better yet:

Tempering Chocolate and then dipping them in the chocolate after they’ve been rolled and cooled is a good addition to this recipe. Orange zest is an excellent combination with cocoa so if you don’t like nuts you could roll them in cocoa powder mixed with orange zest. Mmm!

Truffle that looks like a lion head

Truffle that looks like a lion head

Truffle that looks like a lion head

Truffle that looks like a lion head

Make your own paper valentines to go with your beautiful (but easy!) handmade truffles:

Think outside the box for your valentines! Here a raspberry drawn on colored paper with red and white charcoal kind of looks like a heart!

    Raspberries are red, violets are blue...

Raspberries are red, violets are blue…

No bones about it, Valentine, you're tops!

No bones about it, Valentine, you’re tops!

Or make salt dough and make your own heart/valentine’s day sculptures:

1 cup salt
2 cups all purpose flour
mix in slowly 1 cup warm water and then knead for 5 minutes.

Use like playdough and bake sculptures in 250 degree oven for 3-5 hours.

When completely dried and cooled paint with acrylic paint or draw on sculptures with sharpie markers.

Salt Dough Gingerbread Zombie Ornaments for The Walking Dead fans!

Salt Dough Gingerbread Zombie Ornaments for The Walking Dead fans!

Wintering Artichokes

Violet de Provence Purple Artichoke Plant

Violet de Provence Purple Artichoke Plant

Artichokes “will not winter reliably north of zone 7”

(http://www.yourgardenshow.com/plants/11935-Violet-de-Provence-Artichoke)

Violet de Provence Purple Artichoke Plant

Violet de Provence Purple Artichoke Plant

Spy Garden is in Zone 6a: The first frost occurring at the end of October and last frost occurring in the beginning of April. The first of May is a very safe date to start planting tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other tender varieties in Spy Garden. If you are planting “warm weather” vegetables make sure and find a date to plant when the danger of frost is completely past and the soil has warmed. In Spy Garden 2012 tomatoes, peppers and eggplants were planted in the ground VERY early: March 15 and as a result the plants grew more slowly and were not as productive. If you are overeager and plant early, choose: broccoli, cauliflower, chard, greens & peas but hold off on the melons, tomatoes, etc. until spring is in full fling!

Find your zone by zip code on:

http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/

Violet de Provence Purple Artichoke Plant

Violet de Provence Purple Artichoke Plant

It remains to be seen if these Violet de Provence purple artichokes will survive the winter. They were started from seeds indoors this time last year and then planted in the ground in March, 22 2012. The seeds were purchased from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. One of the plants has slightly different foliage so it is either a mutant breed or an artichoke of a different variety got mixed in to the seed packet.

Violet de Provence Purple Artichoke Plant

Violet de Provence Purple Artichoke Plant

It has been cold in the 10s and 20s but the artichokes still have a lot of color and do seem to perk up on the warmer days. They never fruited in the first season of growing so hopefully in 2013 they will. Leaves have been raked around the plants to help insulate them. Having a raised bed also allows for insulation of the plants. The ground warms more quickly when it is a well-aerated raised bed.

Violet de Provence Purple Artichoke Plant

Violet de Provence Purple Artichoke Plant

Russian Red/Ragged Jack Kale

Russian Red/Ragged Jack Kale

Row of Violet de Provence Artichokes & Yellow Strawberries

Row of Violet de Provence Artichokes & Yellow Strawberries

Southeast corner of Spy Garden: Future home of Ramson's/ Wild Garlic, Five Color Silverbeet Swiss Chard, Perpetual Spinach,Yellow Canary Creeper Nasturtium & Jewel Peach Melba Nasturtium

Southeast corner of Spy Garden: Future home of Ramson’s/ Wild Garlic, Five Color Silverbeet Swiss Chard, Perpetual Spinach,Yellow Canary Creeper Nasturtium & Jewel Peach Melba Nasturtium

Tulips in planter coming in March/April! The bulbs were budding & sticking out of the dirt so they've been insulated with a fresh layer of potting soil.

Tulips in planter coming in March/April! The bulbs were budding & sticking out of the dirt so they’ve been insulated with a fresh layer of potting soil.

    Romper Stomper

Romper Stomper

Garden Helper!

Garden Helper!

Violet de Provence Purple Artichokes look like washed up Portuguese Man-o-War jellyfish!

Violet de Provence Purple Artichokes look like washed up Portuguese Man-o-War jellyfish!