January 26, 2014

Snow Day Games

Let's play a guessing game!
Guess what I'm doing in the snow?

I’m not making an igloo for the neighborhood stray cat. I’m not chucking snowballs at the neighborhood kids. I’m not making AT-AT snowmen. Nope.

I’m checking on my garden…in a foot of snow.

For real, everyone! I have attempted the (nearly) impossible this year — a winter garden in my very own DIY cold frames. Cold frames are basically just boxes with glass or plastic covering the top to reflect the sunlight and warm the box. And that part, worked like a charm. Even in this crazy polar vortex, my cold frames did not go below freezing!

Cold Frame Winter Garden | Tried & Twisted

I simply placed my cold frames in a row in the garden, planted seeds, watered, and watched things grow. Some quick differences between regular gardening and cold frame gardening:
  • Regular watering – since the ground is covered by glass, you will need to water regularly. However, I did not need to water nearly as often because the sealed box held moisture much longer. 
  • Temperature – the reflected light causes the box to heat up much faster than surrounding air temperature. Too hot, and you’ll have pre-steamed greens. If the internal temperature of your boxes is above 80, simply open up the hatch to air it out. 
  • Insulation –  The boxes work best to keep the temperature above freezing when the frames are sealed. At the ground level, piling a little mulch insulation around the base of the box helps to seal the snow and cold out. I also left a layer of fall leaves on the surface to help the ground stay warm.
  • Sunlight - When snow covers the windows at the top of the cold frame, this adds natural insulation from the worse of the cold. However, plants do need sunlight, so if snow covers the box for more than a week, I do brush off the snow to let a little light it. 

January 19, 2014

Coconut Curd Chocolate French Macarons

The holidays are over and all of the gifts are unwrapped and packed away. What did you all get for Christmas?

I got curd. 

Yes, you read that right. I got curd. 

Now, like many Americans, when I was growing up I hadn't heard much of curd outside of little Miss Muffet's curd and whey snack (which is actually more like cottage cheese, but I digress...).

True curd is actually a dessert spread, similar to jam or jelly, but thick like pudding and very sweet. Fruit curds are a fancy dessert's best friend, like scones, tarts, and the French Macaron. It's a perfect pair for a fancy tea party.

While lemon curd is a common companion to the macaron, but there are many other flavors of curd around to try. This Christmas, I was given a jar of coconut curd from my mother-in-law. Inspired by the coconut chocolate candies that I make every holiday, I just knew that chocolate macaron shells would be a delicious pairing with the sweet coconut curd.

January 5, 2014

Happy Blog Birthday!

Happy Birthday to Tried & Twisted! My little blog is celebrating its first Blog-iversary!

2013 has been quite an eventful year for me. New blog, new hobbies, new job, new haircut. Life just keeps on changing and challenging, and I can't wait to meet what tomorrow brings!

Last January, I started writing this little blog as a dare to myself. As a creative person, I've always had a pile of projects. You know the type: crafts, decorations, and hobbies. But being busy with the rest of life, I struggled with giving myself permission to take the time to be creative. Sadly, that meant that I often rarely had time for a single project.

Creating a blog about my creative trial and errors gave me an excuse to give a little more importance to my hobbies and to allow myself to take time to play, to bake, to craft, and to just do all of the creative things I've always wanted to do!