YoungMartha (formerly TeenMartha) was in charge of dessert for the holiday weekend. I love it when she bakes, because she picks things I would never have thought of. She made Pink Lemonade Cupcakes, a Deen brothers recipe (the recipe is for layer cake, but she made cupcakes with it). I am prejudiced my friends. I just don’t make recipes that use cake mix, but this one does and it was good. Leave it to YoungMartha to know that! This recipe uses pink lemonade powder in the batter and frozen pink lemonade concentrate in the frosting. These cupcakes tasted just like pink lemonade and they were on the tart side, so my mother even liked them (she only likes tart desserts!). Points for YoungMartha. This is really a fun recipe – so pretty and such a nice flavor for summertime!
I found this recipe in May 2012 Cooking Light. It seemed like something quick and easy to make on a weeknight and it definitely was. Everyone enjoyed this. I’ve shortened the recipe a bit with my own shortcuts.
Cook 1/3 cup white rice with 1/2 tsp chopped garlic and 2/3 cup water until it boils. Cover and reduce the heat to low for about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in 1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno (I used canned).
Get a large skillet and add about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add 1 cup chopped onion and cook about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic and 1 cup sliced mushrooms and cook about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup corn and 1 small zucchini that’s been halved and sliced. Cook 2 more minutes. Add salt and pepper and 1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes, cook 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro.
Heat 8 inch tortillas in a skillet. Fill with rice, veggies and some shredded cotija cheese. Top with sour cream and a spritz of lemon juice.
Tiny Skillet has chosen a no-cook item for next Monday: Thai Chicken and Noodle Salad. Keeping the kitchen cool is always a plus!!
I’m late posting this, but at least it is still Monday! We spent the holiday weekend at the lake with my parents. I made the cheese straws chosen by Perfecting Pru to go with dinner one night. I thought they were really good and so did everyone else! They were not dry, which I was worried about and were flavorful! Very fun.
Lest you think all is hunky-dory in our yard, I have some massive gardening problems to deal with still.
#1 When the pool got put in about 8 years ago, this was all overgrown shrubs and weeds. We put the filter and heater at the edge of the grass. Now that the yard is fenced and this is a garden, I have this ugliness to contend with. We’re thinking we will build the garden out a bit and put a shrub in front of this. I don’t know what else to do to hide it. You can see it from the deck. Ugh.
#2 Another problem related to the pool. This area was shrub and weed and now that it is cleared out, I have nothing there. You can’t see this from the deck or the house, but it’s a big open area I would like to do something with. I can’t plant a tree because the leaves will fall into the pool. Maybe a shrub? I just don’t know. It needs something though. I only see this area when I sit on the wooden swing in the
backyard. It’s not high priority by any means, but it just needs something.
#3 is an entire side of the backyard. This was filled with horrible old shrubs and weeds that came out when the fence was put in. We’ve just been mowing it, so it looks like grass but is actually just short weeds. It’s bumpy and has stumps in the ground. There are little spindly trees over there. We would eventually like to plant some shrubs to create some more privacy here, so it isn’t open to the neighbors’ yard. It’s a big job though, and one we are not ready to tackle yet.
#4 is the biggest, ugliest mess of all. When we bought our house, our yard ended where the fence is now. Several years ago, our neighbors sold their home. Their lot was L shaped, with the short end of the L going behind our property. We were able to buy this piece of their property from them, so that our yard would continue straight back, essentially doubling the size of our backyard. There is a “paper street” next to their house, so technically the new owners could have partitioned the lot and built a house back there. We didn’t want that and were lucky enough to have neighbors who took the extra steps to partition it and sell us the piece behind us, so now we and the new neighbors have identical shaped rectangular lots, side by side. We’re thrilled to own it, but it is just wilderness. We have a path mowed that goes back there and my son likes to go back there and shoot BBs. We dump big branches and grass clippings and dog poop way back there. Someday, I would love to get this part of the yard under control. But it would be a huge, expensive effort and it’s not something we can do any time soon. So, for now this will stay as a mini-forest.
So, as you can see, even with all the work and progress (see previous posts this week showing our successes), there is still much to be done!
We added a small garden outside the kitchen window in the fall, planting bulbs which all came up. We also put in the birdhouse my son made at school. For Christmas, I asked for a birdfeeder. I got it, and Mr. MarthaAndMe hung it from the big tree. We have had hours and hours of enjoyment from this little community we’ve built. A pair of little birds have moved into the birdhouse and for about a week, we watched them bringing nest materials into it. It was amusing to see Daddy Bird (or so we assumed) trying to stuff in a stick that was way too big. Mommy Bird would come out and yell at him and he would try again.
The birdfeeder is an endless source of amusement. It hangs on a long wire from the tree, pretty far down from the nearest branch. This did not stop Mr. Squirrel Wallenda from attempting to get to it. First he would stand on the branch above it, looking down. Then he would go up the trunk and lean out with his front paws to try to reach it. One Sunday morning he started jumping from the branch above. It took about 10 tries but he finally landed on the feeder and stuffed himself. Then he stopped for a while and a week or so ago was back at it. One time he was clinging to the feeder with a front and back leg on the top rung and a front and back leg on the bottom rung. Other times he has dangled by two feet. He lands on his feet on the ground every time.
We’ve had lots of cardinals and blue jays at the feeder. There is a family of chipmunks we clean up the spilled seed from the ground underneath, and believe me, there is plenty. The birds come and simply shower seeds down on the ground, apparently rejecting about 50% of the seeds in the feeder. We also have 2 big black crows who come through and eat off the ground, scaring everyone away.
In the mornings when we are eating breakfast, I feel like I’m watching a little neighborhood, with our rental house (birdhouse), diner (birdfeeder), and picnic area (seeds on the ground). There is always something to see and it’s given me such great pleasure to observe it all.
Perfecting Pru has chosen cheese straws for next week’s project. Pru is in the UK, but these will be a great thing to make for Memorial Day weekend here.