Sunday, April 24, 2016

WHAT'S HAPPENING HOTSTUFF?


Still one of my favorite movies, even though it makes me feel sooo old!  How has everyone been?  I am hanging in there. Coming out of my funk now that the weather is warming up. This past week we hit the high 70's,  yet 2 weeks ago we had snow. Crazy Ohio weather!

Spring is my 2nd favorite season.  All the tweety little birds, the air smells so fresh and the budding greenery is the promise of good things to come. I have sown lettuce, spinach and green onion seeds in the portable earth box planter.


 Sweet Williams and Morning Glory have been sown in my rolling planter pot with trellis. But nothing has germinated yet. (no photo)

I also pick up a 72 cell seed starter. My handy, dandy composition notebook allows me to track of what I have sown. I can keep track of germination rate and later when I transplant everything I make note of how the plants performed.



The big garden plot has been rototilled. But I am not planting anything until I can figure out a way to deter the deer (who wrecked my garden last year) and not have a repeat. ugh!

I have already transplanted the winter squash, zucchini and straight cucumbers. I sowed a variety of  Marigolds for transplanting to naturally deter some insects. I also started the seeds for my sugar baby pumpkins. All the seedlings have been moved from the laundry room to the portable cold frame. The hubbs stapled a thick mil plastic since both panels were shattered from a storm last year. I have it on the porch since the concrete warms and retains heat. We shouldn't experience any temps lower than the mid 40"s now.


None of the peppers have germinated yet but I think they just aren't warm enough. I am going to be sad if all those heirlooms seeds are duds. I am going to work on separating and transplanting the tomatoes. I had a very high germination rate, so there are lots and lots of seedling! (lower right hand corner--those are all tomatoes!)

How about y'all? What does everyone have planned for their growing season?



Thursday, February 25, 2016

Temporarily Interrupted

Hey y'all. Sorry I fell off the blogosphere...again. There has been some upheaval in my life. The hubbs had some unexpected oral surgery, I had a minor back injury, my laptop went wacky (it randomly began typing rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr's--hundreds of them), the new keyboard on the laptop isn't working properly and I have been working on trying to set up a home office (which involved my kid setting up an old beast of tower--windows XP-y'all!-- as I transition to work from home 3 days a week. 

The hubbs is completely recovered from his ordeal. He had a cracked tooth that abscessed below the gum line near the nasal cavity. It could have been a very dangerous situation. A little nudge from the universe (well actually a big head butt from the dog) exacerbated  it and he went to the dentist. A good thing too! A friendly reminder that oral health is very important, so don't skip cleanings or regular check ups!

My minor back injury involved some pulled and spastic muscles.But it has resolved. It was quite the pain (literally) every time I had to walk, push the clutch in or tried to move. I have doing some stretching exercises and also i frequently get up and stretch from being seated while working.  Since my job is mostly sedentary (and according to the experts, sitting is the new smoking) I am considering one of those convertible sit/ stand desks. (Some of the brands are Ergotron and Varidesk). Not exactly cheap but it is an investment in my health.

Fingers crossed I can work through my technological issues.  I love working from home, even if it is on a beast of an old computer. All I need is a a fast connection and secure portal for the VPN.  My productivity has increased between 35-50% on the day(s) I work from home. And I am not lonely because my "coworkers" like to hang out with me...they aren't very motivated.


I am still working on my food pantry challenge. Hopefully I can finish backing up all my files (photos, etc) and  write an update.We had a few days teaser of Spring weather but it was back to snow this morning. I sure am looking forward to the warmer weather. I am ready to garden!

I hope y'all are doing okay and thanks for hanging in there with me!


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

My DIY Chai Tea Cocoa Latte Recipe

Y'all...I have an obsession. I love, LOVE chai latte's, especially the little pods for my keurig. I may have mentioned this in my last post. But I am not kidding. I can knock back a whole package in one sitting...errr drinking...


The problem? They are hella expensive. And loaded in sugar. Of course that is part of the reason they taste, just so damn good. Siiighhh

So after reading the label I realized, HEY! I have all the ingredients. I CAN MAKE THIS!



I used pumpkin pie spice because it is what I had on hand. It has ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Usually in a 2:1:0.5:0.5 ratio. Some brands use Allspice and Mace as well.

1 cup non fat milk powder (Not pictured)
1 cup non dairy creamer
1/2 cup each of the cinnamon and french vanilla creamer (again--using what I have)
2 cups instant powder
3 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger (Not pictured)
1 teaspoon cardamon*
2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar (Not pictured)
1 tablespoon unsweetened, non-alkali cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon grated, dried orange peel-grind in a spice grinder 1st if you have one. (Not pictured)
(I am still playing around with thickening agents, so I will keep you posted)

*Cardamon is expensive. But trust me the flavor and aroma is out of this world. It is worth the investment.
**These ingredients and ratios are my preference. You may choose to adjust to your specific taste**

I know you are probably thinking--that is a lot of ingredients and some of them seem weird. I assure you the flavors work well together. Trust me, I am a former chemist. And I actually worked in food chemistry. I realize this isn't a traditional chai. But it is warm, earthy, spicy, sweet and creamy. It is yummy zen in a cup. It is like hugging yourself. Um, no--that is a straightjacket, heh. It feels like being wrapped in a fuzzy blanket on a cold winter day but from the inside out. I love this stuff!

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.


Transfer to a blender or food processor in 1-2 cup increments and pulse blend for 30-60 seconds. Ummm, don't open it too soon or you will end up a facefull of dust. And it gets everywhere. Not that I did that or anything...


The powder will be a very light cafe ole color and will have a very fine texture.


I stored my instant mix in a mason jar. I don't know why I bothered labelling and dating it because it won't last that long.


I added 2 tablespoons to my cup.


You can use hot water (which I did) or heated milk. Stir and enjoy. I have not tried in my Keurig. I am ok with the kettle for now. Once I perfect my recipe I will need to trial run it with my refillable pod on the Keurig. I also added 1 packet of sugar substitute to my mug because I wanted my drink a little sweeter without adding sugar. This isn't sugar free but is lower sugar, which is good for my diabetes and much lower in sugar than the commercial mix/ pods.


I feel like I have the flavor profile close and creaminess down. The next batch I am going to add Mace, Allspice and increase the Ginger because I like my chai on the spicier side. Plus I want to play with the thickness of the beverage. Commercial mixes us all sorts stabilizers, emulsifiers thixotropic agents. So when you DIY or copy cat it takes few batches to get it just right. Don't get me wrong this is good. Damn good. But (as a former Chemist) I know I can make it better.  And I will, heh