Pinterest: A place to “pin” all those lovely internet finds

Hi lovelies!  I’ve taken a looong hiatus from writing and I’ve missed it!  Well, I’m back and the first order of business is to tell you all about what’s been occupying all my time since I haven’t been blogging lately.  It’s Pinterest!  It’s my latest obsession (which we know come and go so frequently for me) and it’s what’s been filling the empty void I’ve had since I’ve stopped writing for Lovely Peony.  So my plan is to manage both this blog and my unstoppable impulse to pin everything beautiful and interesting I come across on my daily internet adventures to my Pinterest Boards.

I found Pinterest through my daily design blog reads sometime last summer.  I was invited to join as one of their first users and fell instantly in love.

So, here’s how it works:  Think virtual bulletin boards.  It’s a place where you can “pin” lovely and interesting things that you find around the internet onto your themed boards.  They call themselves, “a social catalogue service.” I think of it as design heaven!  It’s seriously my dream website. You pin images by either repinning from other boards or by adding your own pins using the “pin it”  button downloaded to your menu bar.  The social part comes into effect by “following” others’ boards that you find beautiful or interesting and likewise they can follow you!

So, enough chatter.  Create your own account and go play!

Oh, and don’t forget…

View Mimi's Pins on Pinterest

 

Our Community Garden

My wonderful little neighborhood has created a beautiful Community Garden for the residents of Washington Heights!  I am beyond excited about this newest venture in my ‘hood and couldn’t wait to get started helping to make it happen.  We started with a neighborhood Garden Blitz a few weeks ago, where the hubby and I, and about 40 neighbors helped dig, shovel, haul soil, plant the community beds, build the raised beds, till soil and on and on and on!  There was much to do to prep this vacant lot for some serious gardening…and by the end of it we were covered, head to toe in dirt!

There was a huge effort on the part of the committee to make this happen.  The owner of the land, who recently tore down the existing house in November of 2009, agreed to allow the Neighborhood Association to create a community garden on the property.  In partnership with MUG, who I believe helped provide for some of the materials as well as with the help of many, many ambitious and garden-loving neighbors (and their little cuties) we were able to transform the lot into the beginnings of a beautifully planned Community Garden.

Residents paid $20 to purchase an 8X4 raised bed for one year and agreed to abide by a set of rules that include helping to maintain not only their own raised beds but the community beds as well.  An elaborate layout was created by one of the committee members that includes an arch and benches at the entryway of the garden, an herb garden, raspberry bushes along the length of the north end of the lot, a strawberry patch, 2 asparagus beds (which was my primary duty on Garden Blitz day), several rows of corn along the south end of the lot and compost bins along the westernmost part of the lot.  Oh, and I can’t forget the 24 raised beds that belong to all of us neighbors.  Here’s how it all went down.

Day one:  Garden Blitz

We started at about 8am and kept going until about noon!

Our first visit since the Garden Blitz

Two cuties discussing what to do next

The hubby.  He has good intentions of helping, but he’s chatting with his dad instead.

We planted:  Broccoli (lots), onions, Anaheim Peppers, Poblano Peppers, Kohlrabi,  Bush pickles

We’re also growing some things at home that includes:

a pretty elaborate herb garden, strawberries, Zebra tomatoes, black cherry tomatoes and sun gold tomatoes in my topsy turvy (a gift from our neighbor), and we already had plenty of raspberries.


Solana’s watering the asparagus bed that I helped to plant on the day of our Garden Blitz!

We have a rain barrel (shown) and access to the hydrant across the street, in case you’re wondering how we’re watering.

Now we just have to wait for the fruits of our labor!

The Secret to Healthy School Lunches

Even though there are only 17 school days left in our house, it doesn’t mean I stop thinking about what to feed my 11 year old cutie for lunch.  That’s 17 more healthy and interesting lunches to make (we do cold lunch everday).  Sometimes I think I’m the only Foodie raising a Foodie who cares about making sure all our meals are healther AND interesting…I can’t be the only one, can I?  My hubby can’t understand why I spend the energy to think outside the PB&J box for our little cutie every day, but I just can’t help it!

So, in an effort to either inspire parents to create fun school lunches or help others “come out of the Foodie closet,” I’ll be blogging about our favorite kid-friendly meals.

The cutie’s favorite salad

  1. Organic boston lettuce torn in small pieces
  2. Organic sweet plum tomatoes cut in quarters or eighths
  3. Fresh chives (the best come from our garden)
  4. 3 or 4 small slices of Chicken Milanese (recipe below; I usually make sure there are leftovers from dinner the night before)
  5. Plain ole’ Ranch dressing (in a separate containerof course so things don’t get soggy)
  6. Other interesting add-ins she loves: croutons, shredded colby jack, thinly sliced red onion, organic baby spinach leaves, chopped boiled egg, chopped organic broccoli

Chicken Milanese -adapted from Cooking Light Magazine (It sounds fancier than it is)

1/8 tsp kosher salt

2 (6-oz) skinless, boneless chicken breasts

2 tblsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (or regular old parmesan cheese will do…freshly grated of course!)

2 tblsp all-purpose flour

1 egg white, lightly beaten

1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper

3 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap; pount to 1/2 inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet.

2.  Combine breadcrumbs and cheese in a shallow dish.  Place flour in a shallow dish.  Place egg white in a shallow dish.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Dredge chicken in flour; dip in egg white.  Dredge in breadcrumb mixture.  Place chicken on a wire rack;  let stand 5 minutes.

3. Heat 1 tblsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken cook 3 minutes.  Turn chicken over; cook 2 minutes or until browned and done.

Buen Provecho!

Michelle Obama likes to Garden too!

Hey Lovelies,  sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written.  Been busy with lots of different projects this Spring.

We’ve had some really amazing weather, which meant that I was able to play in my garden a lot earlier this year!  I spent a whole weekend beautifying  my front garden and I am really happy with how it looks…and it’s not even Memorial Day yet!

I’ve only started on the main front Flower Beds, but I will eventually get to the back garden where all the fun happens …the fruits, veggies & herbs!  I’ll save that for another post but I thought you might enjoy seeing what our fabulous First Lady has done with the First Garden she’s started at her new place!

So, here’s the play by play on all that I did to make my little garden Spring ready:

1. First, I had to be sure I had all the supplies and tools I needed on hand before I got started.  There’s nothing worse than taking a trip, or two, or three (can you tell I’m speaking from experience) to the garden store because you forgot something of extreme importance, like paper garden bags, or the weeder to get rid of the HUNDREDS of dandelions that have invaded the front yard.  I made sure I had the following on hand:

  • Lots of really tall paper gardening bags
  • A hand weeder
  • My favorite gardening  tool of all time… the Martha Stewart wire hand rake (which is no longer available)
  • Plenty of my favorite black mulch…it HAS to be BLACK…any thing else is so NOT cool
  • Bags and bags of soil

2.  Second, I removed all the junk from the flower bed.  You will be amazed at how much garbage, dead leaves and other debris accumulates over just one winter!  I don’t always remove all the old mulch but this year I did, in order to replace it with a fresh layer…but I’ll get there in a sec.  Anyway, by the end of the day I had 3 huge yard bags full of junk from the front garden alone !

3.  Next, you’ll want to turn the soil ( I used a medium sized spade for this process), mix in some fresh soil and even it out with a rake.  Prior to mixing in soil, in a smaller strip of garden I have in the front next to the porch, I actually laid some weed blocker down (cutting open slits where the plants were already growing) because I had never done that before and last year the weeds were really outta control.  Then I added more soil on top of the weed blocker.

4.  The next thing to do is add the mulch in sections making sure each area is level.

5.  You’ll notice I didn’t plant anything new…it’s still too early here in Sconnie for that.  We actually just had frost this weekend and SNOW Up North!

Check out the results!


Is SPRING here?

The hope of Spring is upon us Wisconsinites.  The weather has been in the 50’s and it’s only March!  The snow is finally melting and though there is still some warming up to do, I can’t wait until the ground thaws a bit so that the first blooms of hyacinth pop through the ice, cold dirt and confirm that SPRING is finally here!

Have a wonderful weekend lovelies!

Ginger-Marscapone Icebox Cake

Someone PLEASE make this and post a comment on how it turned out!  This looks like it would taste soooo amazing!  I don’t have an occasion to make it for just yet….but when I do I’ll post all about it.

Ginger-Mascarpone Icebox Cake

adapted from Fine Cooking
12 ounces gingersnap cookies (any brand that makes a hard, crunchy kind of gingersnap)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 8oz package full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2/3 cup sugar; more for the pan
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (if you have vanilla paste, use it!)
2/3 cup crystallized ginger, minced finely (check the bulk section of your grocery store)
16 oz full-fat mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup heavy cream

Grease an 8 or 9oz springform pan lightly with butter. Dust the pan with a little sugar and knock out any excess. Set aside.

Run the gingersnap cookies through a food processor or blender on high until a you get fine, consistently shaped crumbs (no big clumps). Combine the gingersnap crumbs and butter, rubbing them together with your fingertips to combine thoroughly. Sprinkle half of the crumbs over the bottom of the pan and pat down evenly; set the rest aside.

With an electric mixer, whip together the cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, vanilla, and candied ginger until smooth, scraping down the sides. Add the mascarpone and whip until the mixture for 2 minutes. Add the cream and whip for 1 minute. Don’t overwhip or the mixture may separate.

Carefully spoon half of the mascarpone cream over the gingersnap crust, spreading it evenly to the edges of the pan. Sprinkle *half* of the remaining crumbs over the mascarpone cream in the pan (it doesn’t have to be a perfect layer of crumbs, but be sure to pay attention to the edge of the pan.) Top with remaining mascarpone cream and finish with the remaining crumbs.

Gently tap the pan on the counter to eliminate any air bubbles. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, warm a sharp knife under hot water and dry it off. Cut one slice, clean the knife and warm it again before cutting the next slice.