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Favorite Gardening Books for Winter Reading


I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that this winter has been strange. Following a sadly snowless Christmas we’ve ping ponged between sub-zero lake effect snow and a few 50 degree days (I’m in central New York, we should have several feet of snow at this point). Unfortunately for me the nice weather hasn’t led to a lot of outdoor time, everything is muddy and slippery, the grass is literally sliding out from under your feet. Being pregnant my balance isn’t it best these days and I’m really paranoid about falling so I’ve been stuck inside with my nose in a book. Not that that is a bad thing! I love reading and rarely have the time in the spring, summer and fall. I prefer informational books, mostly on cooking, crafting and of course gardening. I thought I’d share my favorite gardening books and a few catalogs in case you find yourself stuck inside with nothing more than a cereal box to read.

Kick up your feet and fill a mug with your favorite beverage. I've got a whole list of my favorite gardening books to inspire and inform you

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Baked Mango Sriracha Chicken Wings with Ginger Lime Sour Cream Sauce


The closest  I’ve ever come to intentionally running my husband over with my car was last summer. I was canning picked pepper rings and I mixed up my bags of mild peppers and super hot peppers. They pretty much looked the same so I asked him to try one and tell me which it was. He assured me it was the mild one, of course trusting that my husband wouldn’t try to kill me with capsaicin I popped a piece in my mouth. Well… HE LIED. Moral of the story: I no longer trust my husband to tell me when things are hot. He was pretty  intrigued when I told him I was going to make Mango Sriracha Chicken Wings, he also told me the sauce wasn’t very hot. That’s why  I decided to make up a quick Lime & Ginger Sour Cream Sauce to go on the side. I was surprised when my 2 year old stole a wing from my husband and licked her plate clean. Personally I like them with the sauce.

Bake up a tray of Mango Sriracha Chicken Wings for your next party, serve them with a Lime & Ginger Sour Cream sauce to temper the heat [Read more…]

Whiskey Ganache Filled Chocolate Hearts


Nothing says Valentine’s Day like hearts, chocolate and booze. At least that’s true when you aren’t pregnant, but I am, so I didn’t even get to try these lovelies. I can say a very willing group of victims co-workers found them delightful, though to be fair I stacked the deck. My first choice wouldn’t have been Jameson Whiskey but sometimes you gotta play to your audience. I will say it has a strong enough flavor to come through even though there is only the equivalent of one shot in the whole batch of Whiskey Ganache Filled Chocolate Hearts. You won’t get drunk on them but the whiskey definitely makes itself known.

Whip up a batch of Whiskey Ganache Filled Chocolate Hearts for all your adult Valentines [Read more…]

Chocolate Dipped Vanilla Orange Meringues


Now that the freeloaders ladies are laying again I’ve got a kitchen full of eggs. The late arrival of winter has left my ‘back 40’ a mud pit and as a result I have a large bucket of un-saleworthy eggs. That means lots of breakfast foods, hard-boiled eggs and meringues! I love making meringues because it’s easy, I get to use my mixer, I get to use a pastry bag and feel all professional, they are yummy and crunchy and as far as cookies go they’re not horrible for you. I justified the dark chocolate dip based on the fact that the whole batch or vanilla orange meringues is a whopping 650 calories (and you can’t eat a whole batch in one sitting you just can’t). And I like chocolate. You do have to work fast with this batter, the orange zest is basically a self destruct button and I’m setting you up for failure if you move too slowly but I promise it’s worth it!

Capture the fresh flavors of ripe oranges and sweet vanilla with these chocolate dipped Vanilla Orange Meringues

Once you get the basics down meringues are actually a breeze, here are a few tricks to make things even easier for you. [Read more…]

The River Cottage Booze Handbook – Book Review


If you knew me in really life you would be incredibly confused by my decision to review The River Cottage Booze Handbookfor Blogging for Books (they sent me a book for free so I can tell you all about it). My husband is 5 years sober and I drink alcohol maybe 5 times a year. BUT making wine, cider and infused liquors is a really traditional way to preserve the harvest. And I’m all about preserving the harvest. Not to mention alcohol makes an awesome gift!

An honest review of The River Cottage Booze Handbook

I started getting interested in homemade libations last summer when I found a recipe for Lacto-fermented Honey Rhubarb Soda. While not strictly an alcoholic beverage it does get a bit of a kick from the fermentation, especially if you let it sit for a while. When I saw The River Cottage Booze Handbook pop up on the list of available books I was immediately excited. First because it included the words “The River Cottage” and second because its a cookbook for booze and I have some of those fancy flip top bottles! It couldn’t be more perfect. [Read more…]