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2009 First Sprouts


2009 Lettuce Sprouts
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here they are Ladies and Gentlemen. My first sprouts of the season, hooray!

The lettuces made it up first, after 7 days of germination. It's rained the past few days, so I'm hoping my little friends aren't all being drowned right now. Everything seems to be doing ok so far, proper drainage and all that. Here's hoping!

My favorite spaghetti sauce recipe - Vegetarian


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Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

It's quick, it's easy, and readily adaptable. Takes 20 minutes or less to prepare, and is a serious staple in my house.

Recipe:

2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can sliced stewed tomatoes
1 14 oz can tomato sauce
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Heat on medium-low until at a simmer, stirring occasionally. Serve over pasta, on french bread topped with cheese, or as a pizza sauce. Enjoy as a dipping sauce for breadsticks. Freeze for later use. Yum!

Bruschetta


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Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

A delicious topping for baguette toast or focaccia, Bruschetta is a healthy and flavorful snack.

Recipe:

4 medium fresh tomatoes, diced
1 jar marinated canned artichoke hearts, drained and diced
2 tbsp basil, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together. Cover, and let rest in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Serve as a topping for toasted baguette or fresh focaccia.

Lemon Honey Vinaigrette


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Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

A light and delicate dressing, this is a great addition to bed of leafy spring mix, a hearty base of romaine, or even baby spinach.

Recipe:

Juice and rind of 2 medium lemons
1/8 cup olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried garlic
1 tsp salt

Combine all spices, honey, salt, lemon juice and rind, and vinegar. Whisking rapidly, drizzle olive oil into mixture until dressing thickens and turns slightly opaque. Serve over fresh greens or as a vegetable dip.

Meatballs Recipe


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Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Ok, meatballs are delicious. I don't eat very many at a time, but I really enjoy having them on hand for quick meals. When I make them, I enjoy making a large batch so I can freeze the left overs, so this is a relatively large recipe.

Recipe:

1 1/2 lb extra lean ground beef
3 large pieces sourdough bread, double toasted
1 egg
1/4 cup apricot preserves
6 tbsp minced fresh parsley
4 cloves garlic, minced or micro-planed
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp salt
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Canola oil for shallow-frying

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a food processor, chop double-toasted sour dough bread into breadcrumbs. Transfer crumbs to a large working bowl, and add salt, paprika, and pepper. Beat egg separately and add to crumb mixture, stirring to combine. Add fresh parsley, garlic, and olive oil. Stir. Add ground beef a small amount at a time, combining crumb and meat mixture evenly before adding more ground beef. Cover, and place in refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Roll out meat mixture into 1 to 1/12" balls. Heat 3/4" canola oil to medium and drop balls in, making sure not to over crowd the pan. Rotate meatballs using tongs until outside is browned and a broken-open meatball is light brown in the center. Transfer from hot oil onto a wire rack placed atop a foil-covered cookie sheet. Allow to slightly cool before serving, or fully cool before freezing.


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Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

There you have it! Serve atop spaghetti, sliced in half on a sandwich, or even quartered in macaroni and cheese.

To reheat in the microwave, cook 2 to 3 meatballs on high for 1 minute 30 seconds. Add 10 seconds for every additional meatball.

Spring Cleaning and Balcony Garden Setup 2009


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Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Oh yum, look at those leaves. And all that wet, swampy soil from last season. I really need to get better at taking care of my balcony in the off season.

Meanwhile, it's spring again and it's time to get planting! Time to get this mess cleaned up, too.


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Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Well, this is a pretty good start! I spent the morning cleaning off the damp leafy mess, breaking a bag of leaves and stinky dirt all over myself and my balcony, and then went to the big orange playground and bought myself some goodies to spruce up my balcony for the season.


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Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

The brightly colored pots are high density resin, which I'm trying as my last resort before I move to all ceramic pottery. The only thing that concerns me with ceramic pottery (aside from the slightly steep initial investment) is that I am indeed gardening on a second story balcony, and I have a good amount of pottery on the ground. How much weight will my That 70's Balcony actually withhold before causing problems?


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Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

I also bought myself 2 more window box set ups, for a total of 6 now. I love that they're expandable, because I have several small aluminum trays that I have housed in most of the holders.


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Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

I got all the planters set up with organic potting soil, heirloom seeds from Victory Seeds (see my list here) and simple tongue-depressor tags marked with permanent marker.

I'm looking forward to the next 5 to 10 days when things start to germinate. I'll update as soon as there are sprouts!

Victory Seeds Purchase, Spring 2009

Posting my purchase for my balcony garden for 2009!

I'm ordering from Victory Seeds, which I blogged about here, a company who provides open-pollinated and non-hybrid seeds.

Here's my purchase list, which will soon become my spring balcony garden. Here's to a successful year in growing!

3401161 - Tomato, Pink Accordion @ 1.95 = 1.95

[1] 3400321 - Tomato, Brandywine Yellow @ 1.95 = 1.95

[1] 3401891 - Tomato, Orange Tree @ 1.95 = 1.95

[1] 3240151 - Lettuce, Tom Thumb (Butterhead) - 1 gm. Sampler @ 1.85 = 1.85

[1] 3240011 - Lettuce, Buttercrunch - 1 gm. Sampler @ 1.85 = 1.85

[1] 3360011 - Spinach, Bloomsdale Longstanding - 4 gm. Sampler @ 1.55 = 1.55

[1] 3300431 - Pea, Sugar Snap - 1 oz. Sampler @ 1.95 = 1.95

[1] 3300041 - Pea, Lincoln - 1 oz. Sampler @ 1.95 = 1.95

[1] 3390061 - Tomatillo, Purple @ 1.95 = 1.95

[1] 4000071 - Catnip - 0.25 grams @ 1.55 = 1.55

[1] 4000041 - Sweet Basil - 0.5 gram Sampler @ 1.55 = 1.55

[1] 4000101 - Chives - 0.5 grams @ 1.65 = 1.65

[1] 4000231 - Oregano - 0.1 grams @ 1.85 = 1.85

[1] 4000351 - Garden Thyme - 0.1 grams @ 1.95 = 1.95

[1] 4000301 - Sage - 1 gram @ 1.65 = 1.65

[1] 4000121 - Coriander (Cilantro) - 1 gram @ 1.55 = 1.55

[1] 3090101 - Carrot, Little Fingers - 1 gm. Sampler @ 1.65 = 1.65

I'm excited, this will be great!

Raspberry Lemon Drops


Raspberry Lemon Drops
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Lemon Juice, Vodka, and Raspberries in a sugar-rimmed glass make a tasty and delicious drink! Shake the juice and alcohol over ice and pour into a glass that has been rubbed on the edge with a lemon, then placed edge down on a plate of sugar.

Drop in 3 or 4 fresh whole raspberries, and enjoy! (Responsibly, that is)

Homemade Hawaiian Barbeque


Homemade Hawaiian Barbeque
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Man, this dinner was delicious, even if I came really close to killing it!

Teriyaki beef over rice, with homemade macaroni salad, spam musubi rolls, and celery with creamy ranch dip.

Hamper Cat - Cheddar


Hamper Cat
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Hamper cat says he's ready for a wash!

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