herb garden

never thought in a million years i'd be one to grow a lil garden
i didn't enjoy gardening when i was a kid.
my mom made me garden with her outside and i didn't really enjoy it.
dirt, weeds, worms, spiders, cobwebs, bees, ants, ....
not my cup of tea.

BUT, a rec therapist at my internship site just sold it to me,
she explained how easy it was, & no bugs indoor gardening...so i thought i might as well give it a try.
it doesn't take much to sell me on a "do it yourself" sort of project !
i did some research on my trusty google, and here's what i came up with:
(we'll see if it works in a few weeks... it may just be a flop, buuut here goes...)


- potting soil = $2.97
- parsley seeds = $2.99
- oregano seeds = $1.99
- basil seeds = $2.99
- kale seeds = $1.89
(and got cheap pots to go with it)

okay. step 1. put rocks at the bottom of the pot to let extra water escape to

step 2. cover it up with soil!

step 3. PARSLEY
- soak the seeds in warm/hot water for about 24 hours
(this softens the outer coat on the seeds)
- plant 1/4 inch deep, and about 1 inch apart
- apparently parsley's a bit difficult to grow, and takes about 2-4 weeks to germinate
sidenote: germinate = "begin to grow and put out shoots after a period of dormancy"
 (parsley seeds below)

step 4. BASIL:
- plant .5 - 1 centimetre deep, and a few inches apart
- takes about 5-7 days to germinate
- water with a spray bottle
- basil needs sun (cold weather destroys basil, so smart of me for planting it in January ha ha)
- pick the leaves regularly to encourage growth
- whenever a stem has 6-8 leaves on it - it's time to prune!
- they say this is a good herb to start with if you're a newbie like me...
- store: pick and freeze in ice cube trays or in airtight bags
(basil seeds below...compare them to oregano seeds...woweee...)

step 5. OREGANO:
- plant on the surface of the soil, do not bury them (scatter evenly)
- oregano wants bright light!
- it can take weeks to germinate
- oregano will grow easily - and is apparently a great beginner herb too
- keep soil on the dry side...don't want it too moist
- cut the plant back when it grows too big (do this regularly)
- when plant is 6 inches tall, cut the bottom of the stem (about 1/2 an inch over soil)
(oregano seeds below....are SOOO small
i couldn't stop laughing when i was planting them... thoughts running through my head, what the heck am i doing with these little dust-mite-miniature-bug-looking things hahaha, hopefully they'll turn into beautiful green plans i can cook with...)

step 5. KALE:
- plant 1/2 inch deep, 4-5 seeds together in the centre of pot
- takes about 2 months for mature plants! (i hope i don't give up on watering it before then.....)
- kale wants cold weather, it becomes bitter and tough if it's in temperatures warmer than 80°F
- keep the soil moist, but not soggy!! (moist soil = sweet and crisp leaves)
- allow the top soil to dry (stick your finger in the soil about 1 cm to feel the dampness below)
- when plant is 8-10 inches high, you can start to cut the leaves...starting with the outside leaves first
(didn't take a pic of these, they'll be making their home outside in my backyard)

front: oregano
middle: basil
back: parsley

will post about how they're doing in a few weeks .............
hopefully SOMEthing grows.

cream horns

for christmas (part of it), i asked for cream horn molds!
my husband bought them for me from amazon
and i finally got to make them yesterday !!

these are suuuuper simple.
make the puff pastry dough, or take the easy way out 
like i did this time and just buy the dough in the freezer section at superstore.
cut it in thin rectangles - use a rolling pin to double the length
and roll it around the cream horn molds!

bake at 400°F for 10-12 minutes

then make the cream. 
i followed this cream recipe
piped it in the pastries,
showered it with icing sugar,
and cream horns are made!

now this book below, is soo precious to me.
it was just given to me by my dear, dear grandma
she's a professional  baker and used to work at Hotel Vancouver.
i will absolutely use these recipes, and pass the book onto my kids one day.
my grandma's such an amazing woman, and so glad she's apart of my life
....my #1 baking fan ;)

color coded keys

so one night i thought i'd paint my keys with nail polish.
seems like the pintresty thing to do.

a little tacky? ya sure.
helpful? absolutely.
now without all my scotch/masking/duct tape 
used to differentiate my keys (which was falling off), 
i can easily get the coloured key i need for the door i need.
bravo, bravo.

make a mug!

a few weeks ago (didn't get around to posting till now)
our youth group made mugs!

whoever wanted to was given white blank mugs and sharpies!!
who on earth would think you can decorate a mug with SHARPIES!
So all you do is get any oven protected mug (any colour you want too), 
grab your sharpie out of your drawer and design all you want on it!

Design, then put in your oven @ 400°F for 45 minutes
then just make sure you always hand wash it!

"welcome to the maynards
here we love, we laugh...
a lot, make music, EAT
and enjoy our coffee"

christmas parties with DESSERT

both my husband & I absolutely love having people over, so we did just that over the holidays.
since we're overseeing the young adult ministry at our church, we had a get together with them at our home on december 22nd. SO i decided i would BAKE, a ton.

the party was on the Thursday, with work, my music therapy internship and the business of life - I started my prep on Monday.

Monday on my day off I made my cake pops, decorated and froze them.
boy these are harder than they appear!
give yourself time if you're going to do it - and read up on it to know what you're doing.  save yourself the headache of finding out first world cake pop problems on your own.


(note to self, clean the cake pop stick after dipping in white chocolate!)

Tuesday after work, I came home and made my Kit Kat cake!
super fun.  it can be a bit pricey though with all those kit kats, smarties and ingredients but super easy to do.  a nice tip I read is to freeze the kit kats before you add them to your cake so you don't melt them with your fingers and leave fingerprints!

Again, I froze this cake too to last till Thursday.

Wednesday after my internship I made my eggnog pudding and santa strawberries!
First, about the eggnog pudding - it's super simple...but make sure you use smaller serving cups cause guests usually can't handle too too much.
I stuck a pirouline wafer in each one for a nice change of flavour ...but mainly to look good haha!

and now for my favourite!
cheesecake strawberry santas!!
again - I did a lot of reading prior to making them. 
do NOT just use normal whipped cream in a can for these = they will deflate in no time.
I made mine from this recipe - but just made them a tad different in the way it looked (and just used chocolate sprinkles for the eyes instead of the gel).  This takes time, so give yourself time to make them!  because they're cheesecake filling they lasted in the fridge overnight to the christmas party the next day!  

so! Thursday evening when I got home at 5:30pm with only a couple hours to spare before everyone started showing up, I popped everything out of the freezer to give an hour for thawing, and took the rest out when everyone got there!  voila! a few days of prep work with no problem the day of! 
can't wait to try out more cute desserts.

the party turned out great. 30 people, 30 full stockings. random stockings stuffers (ex. a little rodent - hamster? haha). many laughs and great memories. 

next dessert i'll soon make: pistachio layered mini cakes & cream horns!