Friday, September 28, 2012

Waiting Patiently: Homemade Vanilla Extract

When my friend the Frugal Gardener told me that she was making homemade vanilla extract, I was intrigued! I've never made it before, but always wanted to. When she told me that it only had 2 ingredients, vanilla beans and vodka, I was sold. Surprisingly enough, I had both ingredients at home!
Split the beans in half and stick them into vodka.  Whoa easy! Now, the hard part. Waiting the 8 weeks for this to turn into vanilla extract.
Check out Frugal Gardener to find out how to make your own DIY vanilla extract.  I was telling her that when this is ready, I might not end up using this for baking rather, I'm going to add some sugar and milk for a nice "White Russian" type of cocktail.  hehehehehe. Come on, sounds good, right?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Really Big Pigeon?

Ok, I'm so far behind on my blog posting.  I pretty much have no free time anymore, and I hate that.  I miss blogging so much.  I am trying to catch up on what's been going on in the past 2 months.  This happened on July 2nd!  July 2nd!! And I'm just getting around to writing about it now.  Oh well, better late than never, right? When I was going to lunch one day near my office in Battery Park, I saw a really big bird hanging out by the park.  I was like, "wow, that is one BIG pigeon!"
On closer inspection, I saw that it was a wild turkey!  How incredible is this? I've never seen a wild turkey in Manhattan before.  How cool!
I told my friends about it, and my friend Tom said the Turkey's name is Zelda. Apparently she's a long time resident of Battery Park.  The restauranteurs in the area named her.  They aren't quite sure how she got here exactly, maybe she flew in from Jersey, or maybe she took the ferry over from Staten Island. Haha, that would be my guess.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Back to the Roots: Round 2

Earlier this month, I grew some amazing oyster mushrooms from the Back to the Roots mushroom kit.  I harvested some beauties.  On the box, it says that you can grow more than one harvest from the box.  You can re-soak the entire block, and grow mushrooms from the backside of the kit.  Heck yeah, I'll try this again! I soaked the block overnight and forgot about it for a few days. Then yesterday... look what I saw beginning to grow!
Not one, but 3 sets of mushrooms are growing from the block! Woot! Woot!
Here is a view from above! I really can't wait until these get big enough to eat.  Oooooh, I (heart) mushrooms.  This kit is the best thing I've ever tried growing.  Fun, fun, and fun!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Block Sale: Awesome Vintage Finds

On my way to the farmer's market today, I saw that the block was closed for a block sale!  Sa-weet! I love me a good block sale. Of course, I had to take a looksie.
Most of the booths had stuff I didn't need, or have room for, but I saw something on one table that made me stop in my tracks.  I saw this pair of old glass door knobs. I just love these old knobs, I ask the couple who ran the booth how much they were.  I thought they were going to say $25 bucks, since that's how much I've seen them for before.
The old lady holds up 4 fingers and the man says, $4. F O U R bucks?  Wow! "I'll take it", I said, without even blinking!
Just as I was about to leave the booth, this beauty caught my eye.  An old food scale. I have been wanting a food scale for some time now.  Not necessarily a vintage one, but this one looked amazing!  And I tested it out, and it still works like a charm.  She said it was $35, and I immediately said "sold".  I wasn't looking for these items today, but I'm so excited to have found them!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mighty Mato

A few months back, I was contacted by Home Depot to try out a product they were carrying called the Mighty Mato Tomato plant kit. The plant kit comes with 3 grafted tomato plant seedlings.   The plants are grafted onto healthy plant stock.
The plants came in the mail in this neat packaging. Inside was a Brandywine, A Sweet Million (cherry tomato) and a Big Beef seedling.  The plant seedlings looked pretty good for being shipped to my house. These must have been in transit for at least 2-3 days! They were very healthy looking but a little thirsty.
I planted the seedlings and within a week, they too off.  Here is the Sweet Million already tripled in size after about a week and a half.
Unfortunately, the Brandywine didn't do as well.  When I planted these, New York City was having one pretty hot heat wave. The Brandywine seedling didn't survive the relentless heat.  I don't think it has anything to do with the product, but the 90+F heat for days on end just was too much for this seedling.  I actually lost lots of other plants because of the heat wave.
The Big Beef however did really well.  It also tripled in size after a week and a half.
One month later and the plant has grown really large and lush.  This is the Big Beef.  It is so healthy and lush!
And the Sweet Million has grown into a giant healthy bushy plant. It has grown all over this tomato cage. The plant is giant, with lots of blooms!
Three months later, and look at these beauties! The Big Beef really lives up to it's name.  They are big nice sized tomatoes. There are also so many growing on this plant. 
And the tomato plants are easily 5 feet tall.  They have grown taller than the tomato cage! Can you believe this is just one plant???
So many fruit on the Sweet Million. Patiently waiting for these babies to turn color.
Another grouping of Big Beef tomatoes.  I like fried green tomatoes, so these might get that treatment.  Yum!
And more Sweet Millions.  Overall these plants were so healthy and easy to grow.  I would definitely recommend Mighty Mato tomato plant kit for any beginner or seasoned gardener!
Note: I was given Mighty Mato free of charge to try out and review.  No compensation was provided for this product review.  The above is my honest opinion after testing this product.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Day 3: And Yum!

Voila! Day 3, and just look at these beauties. Yes, I think we are ready.
I'm really loving my Back to the Roots mushroom kit. Here are side views of the mushroom growth.
It's incredible how fast these shrooms grow! I mean, just a mere 3 days!  Wowzers!
Here I am, "ooohing and aaahhing" at my little kit.  I was so pleasantly surprised by how quickly these grew!
 I harvested these bad boys and chopped them up.
And sauteed them in a frying pan with a little olive oil.  And ate them plain, just like this.  I'm a bit of a mushroom purist in that I just love the flavor of mushrooms on it's own.  So I ate these as such. Right out of the pan.  And boy, where they absolutely tasty!

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