Sunday, March 21, 2010

Eager to start gardening

It's been warm (50s and 60s) for the past week, and the sun has been shining! I"m feeling the urge to garden, but it's still almost 2 month away from being safe to do any real planting of vegetables and flowers. Mother's Day is usually the benchmark, though we had frost after Mother's Day last year.
I decided to go to Lowe's and buy afew seeds to start indoors. Once I got there I also decided that I needed some pots, some bare root roses, some cherry trees.... $7 worth of seeds turned into $120, but that's the way it goes sometimes I guess!
The cherry trees are pretty big and look healthy. We've tried planting cherry trees before with dismal results, but I think the place we tried them just isn't a good spot. These will go on the other side of the property, near my $10 Big Lots dwarf pear tree that has flourished despite being almost completely neglected.
I got some little peat moss, plastic covered "greenhouses" and planted broccoli, spinach, artichokes, romaine, squash and some sunflowers, plus basil, fennel, and oregano in another pot. We'll see what happens. I tend to lose interest in seeds as time goes by. I usually buy most of our vegetable plants as established seedlings At Pettitti Garden Centers in Tallmadge Ohio ( They always have a nice selection of vegetable plants.
Last year a persistent groundhog decimated all of our cruciferous veggies and lettuce, so we have to re fence the garden this year before planting.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sweet Potato Citrus Cupcakes

2 leftover baked sweet potatoes and a box of lemon cake mix were my inspiration for these light and airy cupcakes. You can frost them as much or as little as you would like. I prefer just a little because I don't think that they need much, but the frosting recipe makes enough that you can add more if you wish. Without frosting, they would be great as breakfast/brunch muffins.
Simple to make, the sweet potato makes them moist enough that you don't even need to use any oil.

1 18.25 oz box lemon cake mix
1 1/3 cups orange juice
1 1/2 cups baked sweet potatoes, mashed (about 2 medium sweet potatoes)
3 eggs

1 8 oz package cream cheese (softened)
5 cups confectioners sugar

2 tbsp orange zest (optional for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350. Line two 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners. Combine cake mix, orange juice, sweet potatoes and eggs in mixer bowl. Beat for 30 seconds on low, then 2 minutes on medium.
Spoon equal amounts batter into muffin cups.Bake for 18-22 minutes or until pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes then frost as desired.
To make frosting - combine cream cheese and sugar in mixer bowl, beat on low until combined.