Garden in a Jar


Hi y’all!  I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend and had time to make our Homemade Peanut Butter Egg and Deviled Egg recipes.  We would love to hear any feedback if you did and don’t forget to follow our blog!  Matt and I had a pretty relaxed Easter – just went to church, had some Mimosas, played with Airlie dog, and did some more planning for our upcoming trip to Ireland in May!  We don’t dress up often so we figured we’d take a picture:

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One thing I’ve been wanting to do is to start a herb garden.  Usually I buy herb plants from the NC Farmer’s Market here in Raleigh, but this year I thought I’d try to grow my own from the start… we’ll see how it goes!  Hopefully the three generations of green-thumbers in our family can send their powers my way.  Matt and I took a little trip to a local Garden Supply store in Raleigh called Logan’s Trading Company.  We love going there and perusing the aisles of cool plants, envisioning what our yard is going to look like once we finally find the perfect home to buy (that’s been an adventure in itself!).  They had avocado trees, fig trees, and pomegranate trees… I totally intend on buying one of each once we have a yard of our own!

Before we got started with the herb garden Matt re-potted some of our houseplants.  The one you see below is a Madagascar Palm – it’s very hard to kill because it requires very little water.  Beware of the sharp thorns! Basically to re-pot it, Matt just removed it from the old pot, broke up the root ball a bit, then used fresh sandy soil and put it in the new pot.  We also got worm castings and sprinkled them on top as a natural fertilizer (I’ll talk about that later!).

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Now on to the mason jar herb garden…

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I used 3 mason jars that I already had.

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I bought 3 packets of seeds.  I LOVE fresh cilantro in salsa (need a great salsa recipe?).  I also love to top pasta dishes with thyme and goat cheese, and finally fresh basil makes me happy and is easy to grow.  Pick whatever herbs you think you’ll use the most!

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Since we didn’t drill holes in the bottom of the jars for drainage, I put wine corks in one (about 1/3 from the bottom of the jar) and river rocks in the other two jars.  This will create a place for water to go so the soil doesn’t get too wet and rot the roots.

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Then I filled the rest of the jar with soil, up to just about 1″ from the top of the rim. See how the rocks/ corks allow room for air in the bottom?

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After reading the seed packets for directions, they said to plant the seeds 1/2″ below the soil.  I just sprinkled about 1/2 of the seeds on top of the soil.  I figured some of the seeds wouldn’t actually sprout and I wanted to improve my chances of growing some herbs, which is why I sprinkled more than I technically should have.  I’m storing the rest of the seeds in case these don’t grow well!

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Then I covered the seeds with a thin layer of soil and then some worm castings to help them grow! We bought a bag of worm castings from Logan’s for about $20.  It’s a great organic fertilizer to use.  Hopefully later this Spring I’ll make some time to start my own little vermiculture setup (a.k.a. worm farming).  Sound gross?? Yes!  But my friend has a little set up and it’s not that bad.  I’d rather do that than continue to pay $20 for a bag of the worm castings!

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Finally, I simply wrote the name on the mason jar lid and put it under the jar to make sure I don’t get my little herb plants mixed up.

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My herbs require full sun and it just so happens that mason jars fit perfectly in a window sill.  I’ll keep y’all updated to see how my herbs are growing… they should take 10-15 days to sprout, so check back in!  Matt and I also planted some arugula in outdoor planters.  Check back for that post soon as well.  If you need other mason jar ideas, they’re great for drinkin’ beer.  Airlie agrees too!

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Deviled Eggs


I recently read an article in a magazine that said no covered dish party is complete in the south…..without deviled eggs.  That could not be more true!  Whether it be a family get together, Easter, or football tailgates, deviled eggs always made an appearance.   Both of my grandmothers both made delicious deviled eggs.  My maternal grandmother made them with mayo and pickles and my paternal grandmother made them with pickles and pickle juice.  My mom and I (unfortunately) couldn’t put our hands on either of their recipes (they more than likely just made it up in their heads), so I decided to try out a this deviled egg recipe from southern living.

I think the hardest part of making them in my opinion is hard boiling the eggs.  Its always a little discouraging when you think you’ve cooked your eggs perfectly and you slice them open and they are either way over cooked with a green line around the yolk or way under cooked.  While flipping through southern living I found this gem of an article explaining the perfect way to hard boil an egg.  The perfect article to find around Easter!

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(No that is not my icing covered fingers to the right….it is the opposite side of the magazine 🙂 )

What you’ll need for the deviled Eggs:

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Recipe

6 large eggs

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

1 teaspoon prepared mustard (yes, all I had was spicy…so I didn’t use as much, but with the sweet relish it tasted good!)

salt and pepper to taste

-First place your 6 eggs into a saucepan.  Add water until the eggs are completely covered.  Place on the stove and bring to a slow simmer.

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Once the water has come to a very slow simmer (if they simmer too much they can crack) set your timer for 10 minutes.  Keep the water going a consistent simmer until the 10 minutes are up.  Drain and run cool water over the eggs until they are cool to touch.  Crack the eggs and start peeling.  Once they are peeled slice length-way.

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I was pretty happy with how my eggs turned out.  They were maybe slightly under cooked in the center….but overall I was happy with the finished product!

After all of the eggs have been halved, removed the yolks and place in a bowl.  With a fork mash the yolk, mayonnaise, mustard, sweet relish, salt and pepper together.  Spoon the yolk mixture back into the egg whites.   Garnish with paprika.

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Happy Easter everyone!

Homemade Peanut Butter Eggs = Heaven!


Easter was always a special time of year for our family which entailed going to church, having some type of Easter lunch, Easter egg dying and hunts, and of course coordinating Easter dresses.  If you remember from our Christmas blog posts, our mother never had a shortage of matching or coordinating outfits for Ryanne and I.  Looking through some of our old family pictures last weekend I found a few and unfortunately they don’t convey the talent my mom had at sewing and hand smocking such cute dresses.  Here are a few specimens:

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A-List celebrities such as Taylor Swift and Jessica Biel obviously were inspired by our bangs.

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“We’ve trained all year for this day, leave no egg behind Ryanne!!” – Megan (I didn’t really say that)

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Displaying our goods, another Easter Egg Hunt down.  Now time to get a sugar high in celebration of a good egg-hunting season!

And for the recipe…

Our most FAVORITE Easter treat was not a Peep, or a Cadbury Creme Egg, or even a whole chocolate Easter Bunny, no it was DaGa’s Peanut Butter Easter Eggs!!!!!!!  We anxiously awaited each year as DaGa put the finishing touches on the delicious treat.  It was a recipe she’d also teach her high school home-economics students to make.  I would eat little pieces of mine so it would last for as long as possible, which for a little kid is WILLPOWER!  Yes, DaGa’s Peanut Butter Easter Eggs were that good.

Before our half-marathon last weekend, Ryanne and I made our first attempt at making them on our own.  While they might not be as perfect or big, or pretty as DaGa’s were, I think she might be proud, and honestly my stomach doesn’t care what it looked like 🙂  If you like Reese Peanut Butter Eggs, these are EVEN BETTER!

DaGa’s Peanut Butter Easter Eggs:

Print recipe here!

2 sticks margarine

1 cup creamy peanut butter

4 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

2 cups dipping chocolate (or 1 bag chocolate chips and 3 tbsp. Crisco like we did)

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How to Make ’em:

First, cream the two sticks of butter with an electric mixer until smooth.

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Add in the cup of peanut butter and the confectioner’s sugar (a little at a time).  Mix until fully incorporated.

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It should look like this yummy goodness when you’re done mixing!

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Then mold the peanut butter mixture into an egg shape as shown by Ryanne. We used about a handful of mix.

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Then put them on parchment or wax paper and put in the refrigerator for at least one hour to harden.

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Once the eggs are hard, melt your dipping chocolate or as we used chocolate chips and crisco in a bowl in the microwave.  Make sure it’s not lumpy or too thick, if it is add more Crisco (yes, Crisco is shortening.)

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Then I stuck a wooden skewer in the top of the egg and dipped it in the chocolate.  You might need to spoon the chocolate over the top.  Once you place the chocolate-dipped egg back on the parchment paper, cover up the hole with more chocolate after you remove the skewer.

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Once you’ve coated all of the eggs in chocolate, put them back in the refrigerator for about an hour.

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Decorate them with icing if you’d like.  DaGa always wrote our names on each egg and decorated them with flowers.  Enjoy!  Store in the refrigerator or in the freezer.

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