Recipe – Pansy Cake with Edible Dirt

PansyCake

Cake:

2 sticks margarine/butter/or substitute
3 heaping Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, melt margarine, cocoa and water and bring to a rapid boil, then
pour boiled mixture over sugar, flour, and baking powder. Mix together.

In a separate bowl add the baking soda to the buttermilk.

Add beaten eggs, vanilla and buttermilk/soda mixture to the flour-cocoa mixture.
Pour in two greased 8-inch round cake pans.

Bake 25 minutes at 350°F or until done when tested with a toothpick.

Frosting:

4 cups confectioner’s sugar
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
4 Tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
red and blue food coloring

In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients and beat until smooth and fluffy. Combine red and blue coloring to create desired purple color.

Top cake with crushed Oreos and edible pansies.


Recipe and photos from: Rikki Snyder

Recipe – Pansy Cake with Edible Dirt

DIY – Coat Hanger Wreath

CoatHangerWreath

You will need: wire coat hanger, floral tape, white spray paint, ribbon, scissors

  1. Shape the bottom part of your coat hanger into a circle. Spray paint it white outdoors or in a very well-ventilated area. Paint one side and let it dry, before flipping over and painting the other side.
  2. After the paint is completely dry you are ready to add the flowers. Make a very small bouquet using a few flowers in varying sizes, then add a couple sprigs of greenery. Trim stems to a similar size, leaving about an inch of stems. Wrap all the stems together with floral tape.
  3. Using floral tape, wrap the bouquet to the hanger. In this example we went with the bottom left of the circle. If you like, you can fill the whole circle or add flowers only to the bottom center with delicate ribbons hanging down for a sweet finishing touch.
  4. Continue making little bouquets and overlap them to cover the wrapped stems of the previous bouquet. Attach each bouquet to the hanger using floral tape. For the last bouquet flip the direction in order to finish off the end of the flower display and cover any wrapped stems.
  5. If you spot gaps, collect a few buds. Push fine wire through the base of your buds, twist the wire, and attach the buds to the hanger.

Find more ways to decorate with flowers:

Decorate with Flowers by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring

DIY – Coat Hanger Wreath

Fall Lawn Care – Seeding and Feeding

fallscene

Don’t fall short – now is the best time to seed and feed your lawn! Starting now will help your lawn come back healthier and even more beautiful next spring.

Seeding your lawn:

1. Mow and rake the lawn and apply a starter fertilizer. Johnson’s recommends Scotts Starter Fertilizer.

2. Johnson’s recommends a high quality tall fescue seed mix. Tall fescues will grow in a very wide range of sun exposures and soils. Johnson’s carries our own blends of grass seed formulated for the Washington Metropolitan area.

3. Cover the reseeded area with Greenview Seed Accelerator or DeWitt Straw TakSack. This is a clean and efficient way to keep the seed moist and help it germinate faster. Straw TackSak is designed to stop erosion and promote germination.

4. Keep the area moist, checking it in the morning and afternoon. Do not allow the seeded area to dry out while the seed is germinating. Johnson’s has a complete line of hoses, sprinklers, and timers to help you with this task.

Feeding your lawn:

1. When you get to your final mowing of the year, mow the lawn just a bit shorter than usual.

2. “Sweeten” the soil in mid-fall with pelletized lime.

3. Rake up leaves or use a mulching mower to shred them. You don’t want leaves smothering your lawn during the winter, but shredding leaves turns them into a nourishing compost.

4. Use a high quality, slow feeding, organic lawn food specially formulated for this time of year. We recommend Espoma Fall Winterizer – it contains extra potash to help your grass survive the winter.

5. Look for bare spots in your lawn and reseed. Be sure to allow enough time for the seed to establish before winter arrives. To reseed small areas and repair bare spots, we recommend using Scotts EZ Seed for tall fescue lawns.

6. Pull all those pesky weeds.

7. Irrigate as needed, but keep in mind that you’ll need less water for your lawn in fall.


Find more Lawn Care information on our Tips & Info page.

Fall Lawn Care – Seeding and Feeding

Recipe – Baked Crab Dip

BakedCrabDip

Makes about 2 cups.

Fresh crab meat is so rich, fabulous, and sweet that, for this dip, I wanted to highlight the texture and flavor of the crab without masking it. Served bubbly hot with a crisply browned, lemon zest-panko topping, this dip will be a party favorite – easy to put together, quick to bake, and quick to disappear, too.

6 oz. fresh crabmeat, well drained

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper/capsicum

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

3 tbsp snipped fresh chives

1/2 cup reduced fat mayonnaise

4 oz. whipped cream cheese

1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp hot sauce, such as Tabasco

1/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

1/2 tsp grated lemon zest

1. Place the crabmeat in a medium bowl and flake with your fingers. Stir in the bell pepper/capsicum, parsley, and chives. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir in the mayonnaise, cream cheese, lemon juice, and hot sauce. Transfer to a 1 qt/1 L shallow baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the panko and lemon zest.

2. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F. Just before baking, sprinkle the panko mixture on top and bake until the panko is toasty brown and the dip is bubbling at the edges, about 12 minutes. Serve hot.

Dip do-ahead: The dip, without the panko topping, can be prepared, covered, and refrigerated up to 1 day in advance. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. The topping can be prepared up to 8 hours ahead and sprinkled on just before baking.


Find more recipes in the book at Johnson’s

Morgan, Diane. (2010). Skinny Dips. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.

Photo by Sheri Giblin

Recipe – Baked Crab Dip

Recipe – Elsie’s Stewed Apples

StewedApples

Serves 6-8

This applesauce recipe is a tiny bit more involved than a recipe for a traditional applesauce, but the extra step of sauteing the apples is worth it. Use tart local apples; avoid apples that have a mealy texture and that are overly sweet. The best thing to do is to go to your farmers’ market or local produce stand and taste as many apples as you can, choosing the one that is most appealing (no pun intended).

2-3 tbsp unsalted butter

2 lbs apples, peeled, cored, and cut into thick slices

1/2 cup honey, preferably sage honey

1/2 cup white wine

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1 lemon

fresh sage sprigs for garnish (optional)

1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the apples, turn the heat to high, and saute until they begin to brown on the edges, about 5 minutes. If some are getting too well done, remove them and place on a plate while the rest continue to cook, then return them to the skillet when all are done.

2. Reduce the heat to low and add the honey, wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and allow to cook until the apples are tender but still firm; you don’t want them to turn into applesauce!

3. Serve this is a bowl, tuck in a couple sprigs of fresh sage from your garden, and tell your guests all about sage honey.


Find more honey recipes in the book at Johnson’s:

Masterton, Laurey. (2013). The Fresh Honey Cookbook. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing.

Photo by Johnny Autry.

Recipe – Elsie’s Stewed Apples