Happy plants

I have a new addition to my little front porch garden — a cherry tomato plant.

I am so happy to see that not only did the herbs I planted survive, but they seem really happy. The mint is already out of control.

And the cilantro is shocking me by growing even better than the basil.

I’m working on some more planter boxes, which I’ll show you soon. Then I need to mulch a couple of bare areas, and the garden should be all finished. I love having a garden of manageable size.

I am also loving this hazelnut half and half that I accidentally bought.

I meant to get the regular kind, but it turns out I love this stuff. It’s like creamer, but it’s actually real cream, and organic. As long as I only put in a little splash it’s not too sugary either.

This box of crackers may have fallen into the cart as well.

I can’t help it. How cute is their packaging?

I have been working on another project, which I will share with you soon, involving some giant poufs. I’ve had to get creative with my dyeing process since I can’t use the washing machine (it breaks up the rope) and it’s hard to find a container big enough. But I figured it out.

It was really funny to see the dyed rope all rolled up in giant balls.

Now I have to get ready for my first California craft fair this weekend. I am really hoping for cool, but not rainy weather.

Things that are making me happy this week

Smashed avocado and cheddar cheese on whole wheat walnut bread.

A pile of poufs. All my sample sizes.

My first stories in Do It Yourself magazine. You should get yourself a copy!

Honey from a local beekeeper. I love pretty much anything that comes in a canning jar.

Fresh mint growing on the front porch.

Actually I planted a whole box of herbs. Something has already munched on them, but I’m not giving up! Funny how my basil is droopy, but my cilantro is super healthy.

I also love the funky tree in our front yard. I just think it has personality.

And finally, a second batch of flapjacks. This time I put parchment paper in my pan and they popped right out.

….OK, I’ll admit it. I’m getting a little sucked into the Royal Wedding, too. I would basically have to get up in the middle of the night to watch it live here, so maybe I’ll have to catch a re-run.

Loving: Honeysuckle hand soap

I can’t tell you how excited I was when I saw this on the shelf at (of all places) Ace Hardware.

I’m a devotee of Mrs. Meyers cleaning products, mostly because they smell like anything but cleaning products. But my favorite scent of all time is honeysuckle, and I haven’t been able to find it since I bought a mini spring cleaning kit at World Market a couple years ago.

But it’s back! At least in the hand soap. Please, Mrs. Meyers, bring back the whole line! And send me samples!

Loving: salt/pepper dish

Picked up this cute little salt/pepper dish at our Crate & Barrel Outlet the other day for I think $6. I had been keeping my salt and pepper in little Pyrex custard cups that, while functional, weren’t very attractive. This guy is just right.

Loving: more new foods

Have you ever tried kombucha?

It’s a fermented tea, which means it’s sort of like tea combined with soda or alcohol — a little fizzy, with a definite tang. The label even has to have a warning about the alcohol content. It took me a little to get used to the taste, but I did like it. It’s very low calorie, and has probiotics, so it should be good for digestion.

At the store Mike wanted to buy some carrot chips for snacks.

At first I was like, um, do we really need that many carrot chips? But then I started eating them, and they are awesome!

This week I’ve been making mini pizzas with these honey-wheat thin buns.

The combination of leftover shrimps, provolone, and pine nuts was really good.

We ate our little pizzas with spinach-strawberry salad.

It’s just the best combination. I used to think I didn’t like spinach as salad, but I’m coming around.

And my final discovery this week: roasted edamame.

I added a little cayenne pepper to mine, and they came out so good. I’ve been hearing edamame is a good alternative to tofu (which is pretty processed) in recipes, and this preparation has me sold.

The next best thing to ice cream

It’s got to be rice pudding. I love eating it cold in the summertime. I discovered it’s even better with a few fresh berries on top. Last week my friend Arin made rice pudding topped with rhubarb sauce, which was also fantastic.

Here’s a recipe.

Loving: a new bike!

I finally upgraded from a hybrid bike to a road bike, and I’m so happy I did. I didn’t need a commuting bike anymore, I needed one for longer rides on paved trails, so it was time for a change. I didn’t need anything fancy, though, so I went with Trek’s least expensive model (I like to call it the “entry level” model), the 1.1.

Not only is it a pretty nice lookin’ bike, it’s much lighter than my hybrid, and helps me keep a little bit faster pace.

My neighbor’s dog, Titus, was not impressed. He pretty much always has the same expression, which says, “Why are you still here?”

Other reasons to smile today? Mike picked up these strawberries at the farmers market. Swoon.

Happiness is…

Pink roses, freshly picked from the side garden,

an egg with an electric yellow center,

and new candle packaging (with apricot and grapefruit scents filling my house).

Lost without ‘Lost’?

I was a little late to the game watching “Lost.” I had all the episodes in my Netflix queue for the longest time because I knew that once I started watching I would be hooked and have to see the whole thing. But I finally gave in a few months ago, not realizing at the time that the show was ending. Needless to say, I watched so many episodes that I felt like it started to become real, and I was really anticipating last night’s finale.

For me it was a little disappointing. I thought they would answer more of the unanswered questions. But overall, I thought it was an amazing show. Now what am I gonna watch?

Also, have you seen these Dharma Initiative labels? I foresee them popping up again around Halloween.

Salad harvest

Last night I really wanted a salad to go with dinner so I went out to the garden and picked some of our lettuces.

I can’t tell you how much fun it was to go “shopping” in the garden.

Despite the convenience factor of bagged salads, I don’t buy them anymore because they just have this taste that says … not really fresh at all.

There is one downside to picking your own greens – you have to look out for stowaways like these little pods that have been dropping off our tree into the garden.

I remember last year I found some baby slugs in with the greens!

But it’s worth it.

And have I mentioned how much I love my salad spinner?

If you have a little extra aggression to get out, just spin that puppy until you feel better. Then eat salad.