Home grown goodness

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It has been far too long since I wrote on this blog. However, I do have some great pictures to share of the veggies that have come from the Hyland household.

It has become so exciting for me to browse through my garden this summer to see what I have ready to be picked and brought inside. This is the first year I have cared for a garden and I look forward to doing it for many more years to come. I have had a lot of success with my tomato, green pepper and jalapeño plants this year!

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 Here is a picture of some of the tomatoes and green peppers I picked a few days ago! They are delicious! It has been a lot of fun cooking with my own produce and not having to run to the grocery store because I forgot a veggie I needed for a recipe.

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Friday Favorites!

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It is Friday once again! Even though I have a few events to cover this weekend, I am looking forward to a few days off from sitting in the office. One of the beautiful things about being a reporter is being able to work from home! Even though work kept me busy the last few days, it was a great week!

Here are my top 5 highlights of the week!

 1. I was finally able to make it up to Omaha for the evening to take my best friend, Heidi, out to dinner for her birthday! We decided to meet at Kona for drinks and dinner since my sister recently started serving there this summer. Needless to say, we loved the friendly service and the food is always amazing!

2. My sister made it down to my neck of the woods this week! I always enjoy our time together even if we are just sitting on the couch gabbing back and fourth about nothing or doing her laundry. It is funny to think that she is exactly where I was a few years ago, waitressing every night and taking online classes in your spare time. I am really proud of her because I know it is not easy!

3. I have been loving the clothes at the Loft recently and I found two tops (loved this and this) that I apparently couldn’t live without! They were even on sale, that justifies it…right? I received both today and I cannot wait to wear them!

4. My husband was finally able to call home after being away on military obligations for a week! I knew that there was going to be little to no service where he is, so it was a nice surprise to hear from him when I least expected it.

5. Since my hubby has been gone and will be for a few more days, I have had the chance to catch up on some of the movies that he would never have any interest in watching. The last few nights I have watched The Lucky One, Magic Mike and Silver Linings Playbook. I knew that I would love The Lucky One since I am a sucker for Nicholas Sparks inspired movies. I loved it! The next night I watched Magic Mike since I was tired of hearing all of the gasps from people who heard that I had not yet seen it. I soon realized what I had been missing. I always knew Channing Tatum was a beautiful specimen of a man, but good grief! His wife is a lucky lady! Last night I watched Silver Linings Playbook and I liked it, but I was not overly impressed. I can see why Jennifer Lawrence received all the awards because she did play a very convincing crazy person, but I was not a huge fan of the storyline. Tonight I rented Les Mes and I am very excited to see it since I am a huge Ann Hathaway fan!

My green thumb is growing!

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My green peppers are growing like crazy since we have finally had some hot weather these last few days! It is amazing what a difference a few days of sunshine can do. Remember when they were just this big on June 13? I am really looking forward to making fajitas with my home grown peppers, jalapeños and tomatoes that are on the way!

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Oreo Stuffed Brownies

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I came across this recipe a while back, but I didn’t have to make it to know that I would love it. It is chocolate and a lot of it…need I say more? However, a few weeks ago when my sister came to town we were both in a baking mood and these were an easy pick! My sister and I have had some of our best conversations while we are both elbow deep in a cookbook.

We had all night to make this dessert, so we went all out and made the brownie batter from scratch. It was delicious, but you can just as easily make this recipe with a box mix.

Homemade Brownie Batter Recipe

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup of Sugar
  • 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; gradually stir into the egg mixture until well blended.

However you decide to make the batter whether homemade or from a box, pour half of the batter in a greased 9×13 pan. Lay the Oreo cookies into the batter and press lightly (this will come in handy later). After you get the cookies pressed into the first half of the batter, pour the remaining batter on top of the brownies. This is probably the hardest part because if you do not push the Oreo cookies down they will slide around a lot when you are pouring on the other half of the batter.

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Cover the top of the cookies the best you can with the remaining batter and put into a preheated oven of 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or if you are using a box mix, whatever the box tells you for a 9×13 pan.

They are done when a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the brownie pan. Even though it will be a serious test of your will power not to grab a fork and pull one out immediately, wait until they are cooled and then cut them. The cookies slightly melt and take on the texture of the brownie and the icing gets soft. They are amazing! Happy baking!

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Friday Favorites!

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Yet again, Friday is here. That is something that everyone can be happy about!

Here are my top 5 highlights of the week!

1. For the next two weeks I get to catch up on all of the girly movies and shows that I watch or want to see since my husband is out of town for two weeks for military obligations. Even though I miss him terribly, it gives me the chance to catch up on all the things that I secretly love to watch that he would do nothing but roll his eyes at once he saw it on the DVR.

2. For some reason there is nothing better than writing on a rainy day…that is probably my inner geek talking. The thunderstorms the last few days have made my office a very cozy place to work. Filtering through interview notes with Sinatra, Fitzgerald and Crosby in the background with a mug of coffee by my side is my idea of a relaxing afternoon.

3. As of now I do not have to work on anything over the weekend, so I volunteered to bake a few desserts for a church function for someone at work who doesn’t enjoy baking. I am not sure what I am going to make as of yet, but I am looking forward to it since baking is something I love to do!

4. I ordered “Comforts From The Cross” and should be receiving it any day now. If you would of told me years ago that a daily devotional is something that I would enjoy, honestly I probably would have laughed at you. Since Fall 2012, I have been slowly bringing this idea into my morning routine and have realized that it is one of the best ways to start your day. I have heard wonderful things about this book and look forward to getting started.

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5. I am looking forward to going to the Farmer’s Market in Lincoln tomorrow with my mother-in-law. As you may have read in my previous posts, Farmer’s Markets are one of my favorite things to visit during this time of that year!

Have you met Shirley?

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There is nothing better than sitting around a table with your girlfriends and having the chance to chat, gossip or just be together. When my friends and I get together my face usually ends up being sore the next day because we spent the whole evening laughing. Genuine laughter with your friends honestly does something good for your soul!

Usually the tabletop conversation with my friends accompanies some kind of adult beverage. Okay, not usually…always!

During my last girls night, my friends and I came across a recipe for a Dirty Shirley cocktail. Most people are familiar with the traditional Shirley Temple drink that many restaurants are capable of making for anyone who is under the age 21, doesn’t feel like drinking or is just a huge fan of the cherry flavor.

Since my girlfriends and I are all fans of the cherry flavor and are over the age of 21 we decided to give the recipe a try! This cocktail is probably one of the easiest to make and it doesn’t take 100 special ingredients to put together. Chances are you may already have the ingredients in your fridge.

Dirty Shirley Cocktail

-Three Tablespoons of Vodka (I used cherry flavored for extra cherry flavor)

-Two Tablespoons of Rose’s Grenadine

-One can of Sprite or 7-UP

-Cherries or lime slices (optional)

Fill two  glasses (6 oz. or less) with ice.

Pour the vodka, grenadine, and Sprite/7-UP into a large glass or shaker. Stir well to combine, then divide between the small glasses.

You can also garnish the drink with cherries or a slice of lime.

Remember the bartenders who would never let you have extra cherries when you ordered a Shirley Temple as a kid? You don’t have to worry about that when you are making them yourself! You can eat a whole jar of cherries if your heart desires!

This drink is perfect for the summer, however you have to keep in mind that there is actually booze in it (it won’t seem like it…trust me).

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Glasses: Mikasa Cheers