Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kicking off the Festive Weekend with Some Southwest Gardening! It's Tulip Time!

I remember my parents battening down the hatches this time of year in preparation for the long winter ahead.  So the irony never escapes me when we start planning our winter gardens in Arizona.  We just finished putting in our winter lawn and this weekend we planted our winter flowers.  If you live in the Southwest, now is the time to plant all those pretty flowers and it's also the time to plant bulbs.  The flowers we will enjoy all winter long, but the bulbs will hide beneath the dirt until Easter time when they will make their glorious debut!

We start by digging the sun cooked earth out of our flower gardens. 

Followed by the kids and I taking a trip to the plant nursery for some fresh dirt and pansies (making a quick stop at Sonic for some slushies on our drive home).   I always buy the kids a bag of live ladybugs when we're planting (our bag this year contained 2000 ladybugs!).  It gives the kids something to do while Mike and I work and the ladybugs are a wonderful natural pesticide. 

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The bulb are planted 5" below the surface, so they will go in first.  Just look at these Dutch pretties!  I've selected a bright rainbow mix for this year.

Each Garden will get 33 bulbs so I separate the bags into their locations.
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Next we removed the bulbs from their bags and space them around the garden.
The Lemonista's helpers makes holes with a bulb planting tool and tucks the bulbs safely inside--point side up.
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A fresh blanket of dirt is layered over top to achieve the needed 5" depth.
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Finally, the lovely pansies are planted.

(My Mother says there's nothin' sexier than a man doing the dishes...but a man planting my garden comes pretty close! *Grin*)

A heavy dose of water later and the front garden is finished!  Now we enjoy our pansies and wait 'till spring to see our gorgeous tulips!

This afternoon we will carve pumpkins and gear up for a neighborhood gathering...and of course, tricker-treating!  I'll leave you with a few festive photos from around our house to get you in the mood.

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Have a safe, happy, Halloween!
The Lemonista and Staff ;-)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ramen Noodle Slaw Salad

I had such a craving for this salad one day.  I posted on the chat boards for recipes and got several different versions.  I ended up trying them all and then taking what I liked best out of all the recipes to make this one.  I really enjoy the Asian tangy sweet flavors in this salad but I think what I love most of all is the crunch. 

You will need

*my salad oil looks white because I keep it in the frig--oil gets rancid quick here in AZ ;-)

In a large bowl combine canola oil, sesame seed oil, sugar, vinegar, seasoning packet from Ramen and sesame seeds.

this is the vinegar I use (I photographed the wrong bottle in the ingredients above)
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Whisk together.

Add I bag coleslaw (I get the one with the purple cabbage and carrots shredded in it because it looks pretty~but the grocery store was out, so no pretties today), 4 chopped green onions and sunflower seeds.  Toss to combine with dressing.  Cover and refrigerate.

In a skillet melt butter.  Add almonds and crushed Ramen noodles. 

Saute, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted.  Keep a close eye on these as there is no cure for burnt.

Right before you are ready to serve combine the slaw mixture with the toasted almonds and Ramen.

I sprinkled a little edemame on top since I had some left over.

Happy Salad eating from The Lemonista :-)
Ramen Noodle Slaw Salad

1 bag Coleslaw mix (with shredded carrots & purple cabbage)
4 green onions chopped
1 package Ramen noodle, Asian flavor
1/2 c. sunflower seeds (I get the ones roasted with sea salt at Safeway)
1  2oz package slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup canola or peanut oil
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup Rice Vinegar
2 Tbls butter
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. black sesame seeds

In a large bowl combine canola oil, sesame seed oil, sugar, vinegar, seasoning packet from Ramen and sesame seeds. Whisk together.  Add I bag coleslaw, 4 chopped green onions and sunflower seeds. Toss to combine with dressing. Cover and refrigerate.
In a skillet melt butter. Add almonds and crushed Ramen noodles.
Saute, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted. Keep a close eye on these as there is no cure for burnt.
Right before you are ready to serve combine the slaw mixture with the toasted almonds and Ramen.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Under the Sea Bento, Halloween Food Finds & Tigger Tails

I promise a post very soon with step by step instructions on how to use a Bento egg mold.  I've been swamped this week and fighting a crummy cold, so I'm a little behind.  For today I have a new Bento lunch.  Here's what I came up with for an "Under the Sea" Bento theme.  

  • Peanut butter & Jell dolphin sandwich made with a dolphin sandwich cutter and decorated with cute dolphin food pick flag

  • Goldfish crackers & pretzels with a Octopus food pick.

  • Pineapple chucks and shelled edemame in a silicon baking cup, all decorated with sea life Bento food picks.

  • Pumpkin Pie & whipped cream with a shell Bento food pick.

Next up are some cute Halloween foods I found at Cost Plus!  The Halloween pasta are shaped like pumpkins, bats and spiders--so adorable!  Add your favorite jarred sauce or homemade Mac & Cheese recipe and you have a quick easy meal for the festive weekend!

Cost Plus also had these fun tortilla chip Fright Bites shaped like pumpkins, ghosts & bats.  Add some chile con queso chip dip and you've got a great snack to feed the crew before you hit the street to trick-or-treat!
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Tigger Tails 
Just like Pooh's Corner at Disneyland
Finally, My daughter had Tigger day at her school today.  In the spirit of Disneyland's famous Tigger tail treats, I decided to whip up a batch for her class.  These are simply four marshmallows on lollipop sticks, spread with melted Kraft caramels, dipped in Wilton's orange chocolate melts and striped with Wilton's dark chocolate melts.  I purchased Kraft Caramels and mashmallows at the grocery store, and all other supplies I bought at Micheals.  My daughter was so excited to bring them for all of her friends. I hope her class enjoys them.

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This project has been linked to Project Queen Link Party #6.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Soup In A Bread Bowl ~ An Easy Meal That Will Impress!

Want an easy dinner that will make you look like a rock-star chef?  Have I got the meal for you ;-)  Even my kids are impressed by these. 

Soup In A Bread Bowl

This looks complex, but really it's just store bought soup and frozen bread dough.  It's simple to make--really!

Start off with buying some of Rhodes white or whole wheat frozen bread dough at the grocery store.
This is such a wonderful product.  You literally just let it thaw, rise and then bake! 
You get three frozen loaves of dough in a package.  I cut one thawed loaf of bread dough into two pieces for bowl size bread and into thirds for cup size bread.  Shape the cut dough into a ball with floured hands.  Place the shaped dough on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and let it rise until it doubles in size.  Then bake in the oven per the instruction on the bag.

When you remove your fresh fantastic smelling bread from the oven, rub the tops of the hot bread bowls with butter.  Then, using a serrated knife, cut open a top (like carving the top of a pumpkin) and pull out some of the bread inside to make room for the soup.  Be careful not to puncture the bread bowl while cutting (or your soup will leak out the hole).
Place baked bread bowl on a plate. 
Heat up soup in the microwave or a sauce pan and pour into the bread bowl.  I buy Safeway's Signature Cafe Soups  both the Pacific Clam chowder and the Baked Potato soup work really well in the bread bowls, but many other flavors would be great too.   These soups are also sold at Vons. 

Place cut top off to the side for dipping.  Sprinkle soup with desired toppings and serve!

Soup Toppings:  Salt & Pepper, shredded cheese, bacon crumbles, green onions and for any extra bread--honey butter. 
I always whip up a little honey butter when I make these to smear on the extra bread...YUM!

Enjoy :-)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

And the winner is....Lucky # 7!

The staff was all busy with other projects this morning, so the Lemonista had to do the Red Raspberry Jam drawing herself (in her pjs~hence the lacy sleeve).  I thought I'd jazz things up a bit by using some of  Great Aunt Toni's French limoge Haviland china.  I just love Haviland and we feel so blessed to be able to enjoy Aunt Toni's amazing collection. 



The winner.

Congrats to Wendy Biel!  Send me a PM or an email with your address and the jam will be headed your way!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lil' Bear Bento & Red Raspberry Jam Giveaway!

Finding myself bright eyed and bushy tailed last night due to my 4pm big gulp iced tea (lesson learned), I found the need to burn some midnight oil.  I had found some gorgeous organic red raspberries while at Costco earlier in the day and decided that I might as well make some jam!  My mind still couldn't stop after the jam, resulting in a bit of Bento craziness.  Here are the results. winks.

Lil' Bear Bento

  • Pink bear is a hard boiled egg made with an egg mold.  I dipped the egg in  hot water colored with pink food coloring before putting it in the egg mold.  Her hair bow is cut from a red bell pepper.

  • Provolone and Cheddar cheese hearts surround the bear made with a mini heart food cutter.

  • The yellow bear sauce container holds ranch dressing for dipping the green beans, carrot and cucumber apple (cut with mini apple food cutter).  A bento food pick bear flag is sticking in a green bean.

  • Purple bear is sushi rice pressed in a bear rice mold.  I'm working on perfecting a sweet rice (think rice pudding).  I'm getting close but it's not quite there yet, so I will wait to post that recipe.  I colored the rice with purple food coloring and her hair flower is cut from a slice of pineapple.  The bears face is made with a nori punch.
  • Red raspberries surround purple bear with a pink Bento food fork bear.
  • Finally, we have Teddy Graham crackers. 

Red Raspberry Jam
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The organic berries were just the right sweet-tart for jam making! 
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I haven't gotten around to labeling and decorating all the jars but the jar on top of my 1920's WayRite scale is looking for a happy home!  Followers of my blog can leave a comment on this post and I will do a drawing on Sunday 10/24/2010 and announce the lucky winner.

I am happy to answer any questions, so please leave them as a comment and I will repy.

Thanks so much and Happy Friday!!!!