Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Kringles!

These were so good, I'm a little surprised that I made them.
pastry cherry kringle Danish delicious breakfast 3 days recipe
Kringle with cherry and cream cheese filling




















Danish pastry Kringle chocolate cream cheese filling delicious breakfast recipe
Kringle with chocolate filling
They are a Danish pastry called a Kringle that takes three days to make, because layers of butter are rolled between the dough and refrigerated between additions. I used this recipe with a few changes. It is labeled "advanced," but really it is not that difficult beyond having the patience to wait three days! for the Kringle. 

Instead of the butterscotch filling, I made a half batch of the cream cheese filling from this (also very good) king cake recipe.  This was the filling for both Kringles, adding cherry pie filling to one and mini semisweet chocolate chips to the other. The icing is made of melted butter, milk, and powdered sugar. I used half of it to drizzle on the cherry Kringle, and then I melted more of the chocolate chips in the remaining icing. L helped me drizzle that over the chocolate Kringle. 

These were so good! I have had Kringles before, but never homemade. They were so flaky and buttery. Definitely the kind of thing you want to eat sparingly. I went out to mow the lawn right after breakfast and I think I could feel the butter slogging through my veins. The recipe says you should have 24 layers of butter, but I counted 12. That was before the final filling and folding which I believe yielded 36 layers of butter in each slice. 

There was quite a bit of leftover cherry pie filling and cream cheese filling. I put the pie filling in a glass baking dish and topped it with some of the cream cheese filling. Then I put it in the fridge for a few days, because really we didn't need any dessert for a few days after the Kringle. I made a crumb topping of oatmeal, almond slivers, butter, and a little brown sugar and baked it all-yum!
baking cherry crisp cream cheese fruit dessert
Here's the cherry cream cheese crisp before topping and baking. I forgot to take a photo after baking-will have to write up a recipe, make again and photograph

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Zinnias!

zinnias, sunflowers, fresh flowers, vases, glass bottles


My favorite thing in our garden this summer? Zinnias. Also the cheapest and easiest thing in our garden this year since they were grown from a few packets of seeds. I filled our largest raised bed with several types of Zinnia seeds, some Sunflowers, Milkweed and a mix of seeds to attract the good bugs. And voila!—fresh flowers for the house all summer and probably into the October here on the Gulf Coast. I'm always amazed that this much good stuff can spring from those little seeds.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Butterfly Gardening



green yellow black caterpillar
We have really loved being out in the garden this summer and have added a new butterfly garden bed to the backyard. Hopefully all the Milkweed we've added along with other plants like Zinnias, Pentas, Echinacea, and Verbena will entice some Monarchs when they come through a little later in the year.

For now we have had several of these Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars munching away on some Dill plants. Their bright green and yellow colors are beautiful. We have grown so attached! The girls and I go out several times a day to check on the little guys. The kids are amazed that you can actually see them eating — the caterpillars go to town on that dill. We have also learned that their chrysalis can range from brown to green to blend in with its surroundings.

butterfly garden I was trying to get some videos and photos to show students how much they grow and how they eat. When I got close to one of the caterpillars, two little orange bubbles bulged out of the top of its head for just a second. My first thought was that it was a way of scaring off predators. Then the caterpillar didn't move at all for a couple hours and I started to worry that I'd scared him to death and that maybe orange bubbles shoot out of their head when they die. (See, we really are quite attached.) So I read up on them and found out that my first guess was right. (whew - thankfuly!) They are glands called osmeterium that they use to scare off predators. In researching butterfly gardens, I found this really great project executed by students at Charlotte Preparatory School. They are helping to preserve Monarch habitats by propagating Milkweed plants and sharing them with their community. Also, did you know that you can register your garden as an official Monarch Waystation? They provide lots of good information about creating Monarch habitats.
gulf coast, gardening, zinnias, sunflower, digiplexis, trellis, arbor, mandevilla, sedum

zinnia, fairy house, sunflowers