Category Archives: Uncategorized

How To Make Your Own Hummus

Standard
How To Make Your Own Hummus

My brother is fond of saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but a clove of garlic keeps everyone away!”

It’s true. 

That doesn’t stop me from adding generous amounts of it to my hummus though. I sauté it a bit though, to tone down the garlic.

Oops, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here’s what you need: 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, can of chickpeas, salt.

Optional: whole cumin, chili powder, lemon juice 

First I put some sesame seeds in a pan to toast. I like to add some whole cumin also. Sometimes I go crazy and add a sprinkle of chili powder too.

I don’t buy my tahini; I make my own version. Check the ethnic section of your grocery store, as you may be able to buy a bag for less than a dollar. I use about a tablespoon for each batch, and it adds a really nice deep, smoky, savory depth to the hummus.

You can toast them dry, but I have also added a couple tablespoons of olive oil at this point and had it turn out very tasty.

Meanwhile, drain the can of chickpeas, reserving the water. Peel some garlic.

Once the seeds are toasted, add your garlic. There’s no need to chop it, but just be sure they’re about the same size so they cook at about the same rate. Sauté until slightly browned. You will still get garlic flavor, but it won’t be as harsh.

Add the chickpeas to your food processor, then pour the olive oil mixture on top. Puree until smooth, adding the reserved liquid as needed. I prefer to use the liquid when processing, rather than more oil. Saves calories. 🙂

Add sea salt to taste. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten the flavors if desired.

Serve with cut veggies. To make it a lunch, I like to round it out with some carbs like pita bread, pretzels, or pita crackers.

Do you make your own hummus? What do you like to add?

If you’ve never made your own, why not give it a try? It doesn’t cost very much, and you may fall in love with the results!

Flower Garden Cake

Standard
Flower Garden Cake

I am so excited to be able to share this cake with you!

It was a birthday cake for someone really special. Some of her favorite colors are purple and gray, so I used that as my inspiration. 

I don’t know if you’re supposed to have a favorite cake, but this is definitely in the top 5.

I had so much fun playing with the frosting colors.

I used Wilton’s red-red, royal blue, and rose to make the shades of purple and blue. Moss green was used for the leaves. I also used a bit of black to get some grey.

You may notice that I pulled out a Russian piping tip for the purple flowers in the top left.

Then it was time for the fun part- the arranging!!

I LOVE how it turned out!!!!!

Purple and Gray Flower Cake

I also tried something new.

I used a small offset spatula to spackle some green on the sides. 

I love how it turned out. I think it suited the cake well and put the emphasis on the flowers.

I just kept taking pictures of it. 

Here’s another shot.

Ok, I think I’m done now. I just had so much fun with it!! It’s like gardening, but on a cake!

It was a homemade carrot cake with homemade cream cheese frosting. 

What do you think of it? 

Here’s What I’ve Been Up To

Standard

Ever felt scattered, yet stuck in a rut?

It’s not a fun place.

Everyone needs a little variety to shake things up every once in a while.

My variety came on Christmas. 

My husband surprised me with a Cricut Air, and if you don’t know what one is and you are a crafty person, look it up and it will blow your mind. 

In short, it’s a super duper paper cutting machine that not only cuts paper into cool shapes, but can also cut fabric, chipboard, stiff felt, and vinyl for projects. 

I’ve loved being able to make nice cards and envelopes at home.

I recently cut out a ton of hearts and glued them to some string for a banner to go over our fireplace.

Love it.

My husband has had some good changes with his job, and he cleared off our desk for my stuff. My sewing machine is out, and it has been getting a workout. I got it around 10 years ago from my parents as a birthday gift, and I am thankful for the many tutorials on Youtube.

I love my Valentine’s Day pillow covers so much.

There’s still activity going on in the garden.

Here’s a collard plant that volunteered for me.

The sugar snaps are doing well and ready for their trellis!

Oh, and I made a reversible bandana for Leif. Having that sewing machine out and accessible has made such a difference. He’s hoping I won’t make him one with hearts all over it for Valentine’s Day. 🙂

I have many more projects percolating in my brain, and some of them are a surprise for somebody, so they’ll have to wait.

Are you making anything fun? Learning anything new? It’s great!!!

A little bit of gardening

Standard
A little bit of gardening

Not many sugar snap peas made it into the kitchen last spring. 

I soaked these overnight, then planted them in soft soil. I’m hoping they do really well.

I planted some turnips too, but I’m interested to see how much the rain moved those seeds. They’re probably all in one huge congested puddle.

I love the delicate blooms on my alyssum, don’t you? My snapdragons have a while to go before they bloom, but these are are nice blur of color now. I may splurge on some pansies soon.

It seems to be a great year for citrus, and thanks to someone very kind, I have lots of lemons. I have been juicing them and freezing it by the tablespoon in ice cube trays. 

I’ve also made lemonade, and have been enjoying tart lemon water.

The juice cubes will save me some money when I’m canning jam and applesauce this year. 🙂

I’ve also been tossing them in sweet tea and water. 🙂

So good.

Speaking of good…

On New Year’s Day, we had Hoppin’ John for lunch, with greens that I had frozen. It doesn’t look very appetizing, but it was very good, especially with pickled habenero peppers on top, and the vinegar drizzled on top. I’m getting more Southern in my cooking and tastes over time. 🙂

I even have bacon grease in my fridge.

My greens are not ready yet in the garden, but I’m anticipating great things from my cabbage collards. 

My orchid is blooming again on my kitchen windowsill. Makes me feel fancy.

Are you able to do any gardening? Or are you drooling over seed catalogs and carefully planning your garden for next year?

More Cakes with Russian Piping Tips 

Standard
More Cakes with Russian Piping Tips 

I love my Russian piping tips. I wish that I had thought to invent them. Making beautiful flowers is really easy with them.

This was piped using my rose tip, and a Wilton #352 for the leaves. I started with the yellow flowers, then gradually added red to get shades of coral. I get asked to make my Chocamocha cake quite a bit, and coral is my go-to color for decorating the brown mocha frosting.

I love putting flowers at the base.

This cake was a pumpkin spice chocolate chip cake with cream cheese frosting.

I put different shades in the piping bag for the flowers, and followed with some Wilton Moss Green leaves. That’s my favorite green for leaves.

I added a few brown embellishments and a few flowers around the base of the cake. 

Ok, one more Chocamocha cake.

This one is shades of white and yellow. I also used two different shades for the leaves. As you can see, I tried a couple different tips out on this cake. 

If you found this post looking for how to use Russian piping tips, check out my how-to post here.

I also have 5 pointers for beginners here.

I also did a Starbucks cake recently, I’ll have to post that also. 

As you can tell, I have been doing a lot of cakes.

I’ve also been doing some sewing. My husband got me a Cricut for Christmas, so I’ve been having a lot of crafty days. 🙂

Today I want to sew two skirts, make some thank you cards, transplant some cabbage collards, plant a few seeds, and soak some sugar snaps. Love sugar snaps. I’d like to cover my fence in them. 

What are you up to in the post-Christmas lull?

November Planting

Standard

It’s a funny time of year to be thinking about planting. 

My greens are beyond ready for transplant. I started them a while back, and I could actually harvest a few leaves now. 

I’m planning to scratch a few turnip seeds in the ground too. I love turnips.

Snapdragons and allysum are ready for transplant too. I’m excited that I got so many snapdragons. 

Beautiful. 

I have some cakes to share with you later. I’ve made three recently with my Russian piping tips. 

I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving! 

Golden Anniversary Cake

Standard
Golden Anniversary Cake

It’s always a compliment to be asked to make a cake. Cakes are synonymous with celebrations: birthdays, weddings, retirements, and other happy days. 

Although I have been honored by brides asking me to make their wedding cakes, it was a great honor to be asked to make an anniversary cake for a couple who had kept their wedding vows 50 years.

As you may know, that is the golden anniversary.

One of their daughters forwarded me a picture of this cake, but wanted to serve around 30 people.

We decided to do the top two tiers of what had been a 3 tier cake, and to put the rosettes on the bottom.

I baked homemade carrot cakes, and gave them a hearty crumb coat. Skewers were used as support, and a circle of parchment paper was between the two tiers for easy removal.

I used the cream cheese frosting for this cake’s crumb coat, but in the past I have used vanilla buttercream for the crumb coat, especially for square cakes. The buttercream gets very firm in the fridge, and is a good foundation for the weaker cream cheese. 

In this case, the cream cheese crumb coat was sufficient.

I used 5 batches of cream cheese frosting on this cake!

I used a Wilton 1M tip for the rosettes, stacked the top tier, and added the ribbon.

I added a final row of rosettes on top of the bottom tier and placed the topper.

Happy golden anniversary!

Hardy Flowers for Florida Summers

Standard

Do you have a favorite summer flower? If it will bloom for me, it’s pretty much an automatic favorite. 🙂 Here are some of my flowers that are blooming in Florida’s  heat and humidity. 

I planted some vinca years ago, and they have been on my list of trusty standbys ever since.

They reseed themselves, and bloom happily all summer without extra care or water. They don’t need to be pruned, and the only work I do for them is to spread out the volunteers in spring and to prune them back once their life cycle is complete.

So easy.

The purple spiky flower you see on the left is angelonia. It was a fun addition this year and has bloomed reliably as well.

Another favorite is the zinnias. I bought some short white zinnias as living decorations for a party last spring, them tucked them into the flower bed.

They have spread out and needed no maintenance once established.

Butterflies love them too. These short white ones haven’t seemed to have the disease issues that my taller ones have had.

Here’s a pink zinnia with a butterfly, some purple Mexican petunias, and a happy orange cosmos.

These mini black eyed Susans are cheerful, and the Knockout roses still have some blooms on them. 

All is not lost in the vegetable garden, even though it is quite the mess. The habenero peppers are starting to turn a pretty tangerine color, I have a few bell peppers, and I spotted a few eggplant blossoms.

What’s blooming in your yard? Did you find a new favorite this year?

On a totally different track, did you know you can buy sprinkles by the pound? I bought a whole pound of sprinkles!! 😀 Look for a post on what I did with them next week!

Ever feel like a vase of wilted flowers?

Standard

I’ve been pretty sick lately.

The 103.6 F fever kind of sick.

It’s no fun waking up so hot you’re panting as you breathe. That’s legit fever right there.

I had energy for sleeping and sipping water, that’s about it.

Amoxicillin took a while to kick in, but I was so grateful my husband encouraged me to go get seen.

You know you must not be feeling well when you’re the second name on the sign in sheet.

I’d say I’m about at 70%, which is a huge improvement over this time last week! 

Maybe tomorrow I’ll tackle the looming pile of ironing, but for now it can wait. 

After all, it has waited this long, what’s a little longer? 🙂

So I Drank a Shrub Today

Standard

It was scratchy. And really, really, really fibrous. 

Kidding. Do you know what a shrub is? A blueberry shrub drink, specifically? 

I had never heard of such a thing until I was looking though the book, PutEm Up! Fruit.

My blueberry shrub started out with blueberry vinegar.

I made my blueberry vinegar with delicious late season berries from Touchablue Farm.

The first time I tried it I used 3 tablespoons of vinegar and added about a teaspoon of sugar. 

The second time, I filled a pint jar with ice cubes, 2 tablespoons of blueberry vinegar, and poured club soda over the top. It seemed better that way, or maybe I just knew what to expect. 🙂

If you’re expecting something similar to blueberry soda you’ll be disappointed. 

I know I was. The vinegar flavor is pretty strong.

Reminded me of my high school days when I drank apple cider vinegar to try to lose weight. I remember holding my nose and gulping down tablespoons of the stuff.

Is it as good as an iced coffee? No, but not much can beat that.

These might be kinda good for you.

Better than soda, anyway.

Any suggestions for how to use up my remaining 20 ounces of blueberry vinegar?

Please give me some yummy ideas, otherwise I’m going to  feel obligated to keep chugging pints of shrubs.

Maybe I’ll learn to like them. 🙂