Outside in the Garden

The weather report predicted rain for today. It ended up not raining at all but it was cloudy and cold most of the day. Except for a short break in the middle of the day that it got sunny enough that we felt like going outside and checking on the plants in the garden.
The plants are doing beautifully. The garden is quickly being filled with the colors of spring.

Now the white daffodils are blossoming next to the freesias. And despite some harsh cold nights in past weeks we were able save the calla lilies.

The vegetables are showing a lot of progress... the onions, peas, carrots and radishes are growing very well. I can't wait for them to be ready. The cilantro, on the other hand, has been growing very quickly and we have a lot of it.

We cut some cilantro and more lemons to share with our friends, and finished just in time before the sky began to turn gray again.

It was a nice weekend outside.



Banana-Berry Smoothie

I don't know about you, but I need to start my day with a good breakfast. There are some people that can easily skip breakfast or just have a cup of coffee and they are fine with that. Not me! I have to eat something in the morning otherwise I can't function the rest of the day. I feel out of balance. However, during the week when everything is a rush it is hard to incorporate a nutritious meal while being on the go. And one might be tempted to eat something that is well, not so healthy... My solution: a breakfast smoothie; with all the goodness of fresh fruits and whole grains and no artificial colors or flavors. Wait, did I just sounded like a commercial? Not trying to advertise anything. I just want to tell you this smoothie is really good!

*I usually don't measure the ingredients, I just use approximate quantities. For this smoothie I used blackberries, they were on sale this week.*

Banana-Berry Smoothie
Serves 1

1/2 banana
1/3 cup berries (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries)
1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2/3 cup skim milk
1/3 cup ice
1 tablespoon wheat germ
2 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon honey

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Serve immediately.




Drawstring Bag

I had time to do a little sewing today and I finished this drawstring bag. I'm planning to use as a project bag to carry around my knitting  or crochet projects and avoid loosing my knitting needles and crochet hooks...

For the patchwork detail of the bag I used cotton fabric with cherry prints, as well as some plaid and striped fabrics in red and white. For the entire body of the bag I used linen, which is one of my favorite fabrics these days; it has such an organic feel.

I finished off the bag with a ribbon as the cord for the bag. I really like the way this bag turned out. I think I have to make some more.



Lemon Scones

Continuing on my quest of using up the lemons from the garden, I have been cooking everything with lemons. From sweet to savory dishes everything has lemon in it. Which, is not much of a sacrifice for us since we love lemons so much. As a matter of fact, I am always on the look for new lemon recipes to add to my recipe collection because one can never have too many lemon recipes.
Speaking of lemon recipes, I want to share with you this recipe for lemon scones. Scones are one of my favorite pastries to make (and eat). I find them irresistible: fluffy, tender and slightly sweet... just divine. The first scones I tried were store bought and were delicious. But once I learned how to make my own, there was not going back. Homemade scones are even better and the flavor choices are endless.

Lemon Scones
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Makes 6-8 Scones

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Optional: Lemon icing to decorate scones

1.  In a medium size bowl whisk together flour, corn starch, salt, baking powder, sugar and lemon zest. Stir in 1 cup of heavy cream. Continue to add the rest of the cream 1/4 at a time until the flour mix is completely moisten and you are able to gather the dough together.
2.  Turn the dough onto a floured parchment paper and pat the dough into a 8" circle. Using a sharp knife cut the dough into 6-8 wedges. Separate the pieces of dough (leaving them on the parchment paper) and place them on a baking sheet.
3.   Freeze for about 30 minutes (Do not skip this step. Freezing the scones before baking is what makes them fluffy and tender).
4.   Bake for 20 minutes in a 425ºF (220ºC) oven, until they are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely on a wire rack.
5.   Decorate with lemon icing.

Lemon Icing:
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 1/2  tablespoons lemon juice

In a small bowl mix together icing sugar and lemon juice until well combined. Drizzle over scones.

Scones are great the day you make them, but they keep well in an airtight container for up to 3 days.




A Home for the Frogs

On our last trip to Guadalajara, Mexico I bought a pair of these comic looking frogs. I put them up on a bookshelf, but for some reason they seemed homeless. So I built them a home. Cleaning the garage I found an old fishbowl and I thought it would make a great terrarium and a perfect home for the frogs.

 It was a very simple project. I just put a layer of pebbles at the bottom of the bowl to help with the drainage. Then I added about 4 inches of potting soil, planted a few succulents... and done! a home for the frogs.