Test Kitchen, you say? Clover and Thyme’s Test Kitchen is where I try a recipe provided on a product’s packaging that I have never tried before and give a report on how our family liked it!
Variations on this recipe are everywhere. Philly Cream Cheese sometimes uses it in their magazine ads, Fisher Nuts uses it on their packaging – I think I’ve even seen it on white chocolate chip bags. But I’ve never tried it.
This time I saw it on packaging for foil disposable pans. I didn’t need the pans, and I didn’t think it would be quite proper to peel the label off to get to the recipe, so I snapped a picture with my phone, knowing I would find it online in multiple places. I found this version on Kraft Foods website, which doesn’t use nuts, but I knew I could adapt it to my liking. I also decided to make it gluten free, since I would be serving this at Easter and my mom, who has Celiac Disease, was looking forward to trying them.
Instead of oreos, I used these chocolate chip cookies by Enjoy Life and they worked beautifully for the crust. It was a little dicey at first, as I was pressing it in the pan, I was sure it would be too crumbly. But once the crust baked, it made the perfect crust.
Also, I made a little error. the recipe calls for raspberry preserves. I bought seedless raspberry jam. I’m assuming the preserves are easier to spread on the top of the cheesecake mixture, because I could tell right away that the jam was going to be a bit of a train wreck. I managed to make it work by heating the jam slightly so it would be more liquid. once it was spread on the top, the chopped pecans helped hide any remaining lumpiness.
The verdict: Success! Everyone enjoyed these and they made a delicious gluten free dessert for our Easter table. Worth the extra bit of effort for sure.
It’s that time of year. Sometimes they show up, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they are big, sometimes they are small. Sometimes there are many, sometimes just a few. But mercifully, no matter how many of these little darlings decide to show up in my kitchen in the spring, I only need to see them for about one day out of 365. Once I put out my delicious ant buffet, they are so “satisfied” they never come back. At least until next year.
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup very warm water
2 TBS Borax
I mix this together thoroughly in a glass measuring cup that I use solely for this purpose. I stir until the sugar is completely dissolved, then I dip a cotton cosmetic pad (the kind you can use for taking off makeup or nail polish) into the liquid and place the saturated pad on a plastic kid’s cup lid (the lid makes for easier clean up.) I place this right in the line of ant traffic and wait.
Before long the bait will be covered with ants. Resist the urge to kill them! Roll out the red carpet and let them feast. They will take the toxic sugar cocktail back to their queen, share the love, and then they all die. Bwa ha ha ha HA!
I have had fantastic results with this mixture, in these proportions, on a variety of ants, although this season’s ants are the biggest we have seen in our home, so hopefully it will be just as effective.
Make sure to keep these baits far away from pets and curious toddlers as it can be harmful and toxic to both. I keep the mixture in my fridge on the bottom shelf, marked “ANT BAIT” in bold letters. I take it with me to the shore on vacation and kill all the rental’s ants for them each year, too. I was able to keep and reuse one batch for about 3 years before it got too thick and hard to use. Just made up a fresh batch this morning when these guys showed up.
Eat up, friends. Eat up.
When last I posted on the new garden enclosure, it was still just a base, sitting in our garage. Well, I’m happy to report that the garden enclosure construction is now complete, and so far I’ve planted some onions, peas and mesculin lettuce blend in their new home.
I was kind of in a quandary over how to best describe the building process, since it was sweet Hubberman that did all the planning and work on this project. Soooo…I asked him to do more work and write up a guest post on the topic! What a guy I’ve got! Take it away…Hubberman!
To create the most square perimeter, the outer portion of the garden planter was built in the garage. It is utilizing four (4) 8’x2”x10” boards. The corners are screwed utilizing deck 3” deck screws. The base was then moved to its planned location. This is one of the most flat portions of our yard, but far from perfect. Fortunately, I was able to just add a concrete brick at one of the corners, which allowed the base to be level in one direction and have the same slope in the other direction (not level). I would have preferred the whole base to be perfectly level, but this would have required much more site work, which for this structure was really not necessary.
Now that the outer base is set, the inner beds need to be created. This was accomplished by utilizing the same 8’x10” boards to create 2’ beds. One (1) of the 8’x10” boards runs parallel to the rear 8’ outer board creating a 2’x8’ bed. The other two (2) 8’x10” boards are cut to length to create the other two (2) 2’ beds and are approximately 6’ in length. All connections are secured utilizing the 3” deck screws.
The next step is to mount the four (4) corner posts. Prior to mounting the 4”x4” post, we had to determine how high we wanted the beds to be protected from deer. After much contemplation, we decided that the protective netting would be at a height of 64”. The posts were cut to approximately 67”. The reason that the corner posts are cut slightly longer is to purely for aesthetics. We plan on putting some form of cap on the corners. The posts were then screwed into the outer corners utilizing the 3” deck screws. I only used a single screw so that later while squaring the posts, they were not totally locked into position.
At the front of the garden beds, there will be a door. Utilizing two (2) 2”x4”s, additional pillars were mounted. One (1) at an approximate distance of 24” from the left front corner and one (1) approximately distance of 42” from the right front corner. This creates an opening of approximately 30.5”. It was very important that these two (2) pillars be level and plumb or the door will not open and close correctly and will not look right.
It was now time to connect all the post and pillars. Utilizing 2”x3”s, I created the top most portion of the garden planter with 2.5” deck screws. This step is important because it will help pull all the corner posts into square. For the length of the upper beam, measure the inner portion of the 4”x4” post at the top of the 2’x10” base. This may require someone (our children helped me) to help push and pull the post as you screw the upper beam in. This same process should be used at the front where the door will be installed.
This next step will vary based on the material used to create a barrier to wildlife like deer. We decided to use a plastic mesh as the covering. The width and length of the plastic mesh dictated the support structure necessary to mount the covering. For our purposes, I added two (2) 2”x3” vertical support beams toward the middle portion of the two (2) sides and rear with 2.5” deck screws. This will allow the plastic mesh to be rolled from the top to bottom to be stapled and then decoratively capped with 2”x4”s at the corner and 2”x3”s at the top, bottom and two (2) middle supports.
With the plastic mesh attached, it was time to add the decorative caps at the outer edges. To save cost on materials, I purchased 10’ 2”x4”s (which could be cut in half) to cover the corner posts over the mesh utilizing the 2.5” deck screws. I would have done the same with some of the 2”x3”s, but I was only able to find 8’ lengths of the material. As you can now see in the photo below, adding the 2”x4”s and 2”x3”s creates a nice finished look to the structure.
The door is sized to fit the created opening. The outer part of the frame are 2”x4”s with three (3) 2”x3”s between the 2”x4”s, one at the top, one at the middle and one at the bottom. Each is connected utilizing the 3” deck screws. Once framed, I utilized a 2”x4” on the left side to add additional support for the hinges that will be mounted. On the right side of the door, I utilized 2”x3”s for less weight but still adding extra frame support. The mesh is stapled to the rear of the front façade.
Hand Staple Gun
Compound Miter Saw
I recently “potted up” all my seedlings, and this year I tried something new – newspaper pots!
After a little experimenting, I discovered it’s best to cut the newspaper just a tiny bit (half an inch) wider than what is indicated on the directions. This way, I could fold down the newspaper about a half an inch at the top to help reinforce the pot.
As I wrapped the newspaper around the form, I tucked the one end of the pot top into the fold on the other end so it fit nice and snug.
Next, I folded in the newspaper on the bottom. I found the more little folds I made as I worked my way around, the better. If I just did three or four folds, it flopped open really easily.
Lastly, I fit my pot into the base of the mold. This helps shape those folds so they stay put.
And that’s it! I churned out about 20 of these bad boys and put them to good use with my seedlings last weekend. So far, they are holding up well. They seem to retain just enough moisture to keep my “sproutlings” (as my son calls them) happy, without the container breaking down, yet. The plan is to pop these guys right into the next container, be it another pot, or the garden itself, where this container will eventually break down.
Here’s one of my Cherry Lizzanos one week after potting up.
What’s your favorite seedling container?