Quote of the Week: Love Makes Us Feel Alive



The hours I spend with you I look upon as sort of a
perfumed garden, a dim twilight, and a fountain singing
to it … you and you alone make me feel that I am alive.
Other men it is said have seen angels, but I have
seen thee and thou art enough.

-   George Moore

Monday Recipe: Chocolate Chip Coconut Bars

This isn't exactly a vintage recipe, but it did come from a collection of clippings I've had for years.  I had to share because they turned out SO delicious. I fooled with the recipe and baked a pan the other night with the dark chocolate chips I had in the pantry:)



Chocolate Chip Coconut Bars

Ingredients:
2/3 cup butter or stick margarine
1 cup brown sugar 
1 cup granulated sugar 
2 large eggs
1/4 water 
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder 
1/2 tsp. salt 
1 cup coconut 
1 pkg. dark chocolate chips

Mix the butter (room temperature), sugars, eggs, vanilla and water until light and smooth. Mix the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl, then stir into the wet ingredients along with the coconut and chocolate chips. Place into a buttered or sprayed 9x13-inch pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F. 

Notes: Margarine or butter can be used in this recipe as long as it's in stick form. It should be room temperature when used.  I loved the dark chocolate chips, but any chocolate chip can be used. I'm big on variations because I never seem to have the same ingredients on hand, so I experiment. This recipe came from some old clippings, and I changed it slightly.  

Many bars turn out dry, but this is moist.  When it comes out of the oven it continues to cook and firm up some, so don't over bake, then it will dry out.

Variations: 
-Oatmeal instead of coconut
-Butterscotch chips and oatmeal instead of chocolate chips and coconut
-Crushed nuts instead of coconut with toffee chips instead of chocolate

~Brenda

In the Garden: My Plans for 2014

Last year was a disappointing year in the garden because it was the first year in 15 years that I didn't plant a vegetable or herb in my garden.  I still had my perennials, but I missed the entire garden season. Partly it was the preparing and helping care for our first grandchild. His timing wasn't ideal, but he is a joy to his parents and everyone in his life, so it's all good.  He was too little to do more than lay in the grass soaking up the sun last summer, especially when his Aunt Emily joined him.


It was also a year of failures as our rototiller broke down, and our neighborhood farmer couldn't fit us in his schedule to work up the garden area. This year, come hell or high water, I will start my new garden plot, revamp my raised bed and build my new herb garden. The herb garden will be made by using the blocks from around this tree:




For some reason, this flower bed never took off no matter how I amended it, or what I planted. We'll use the blocks for my new herb bed, and build an octagonal picnic table there instead.  I haven't mapped out the herb bed yet but I do know I want to include hardy Mediterranean herbs that are perennials in our zone. I know the following will be included:

Lavender
Sage
Oregano
Lemon and Regular Thyme
Chives
Garlic Chives

I have an old chiminea that I'm considering using as the center of the bed to plant nasturtiums each year, or possibly mint.  Basil isn't a perennial here but I'll plant as much of that as I can either in the herb bed or the vegetable garden.

I'm also going to plant sunflowers and calendula where I can fit them in amount the herbs and vegetables.  As far as vegetables, I plan on growing tomatoes, radish, kale, greens, beans, cucumbers and squash.  

I think it will be a grand garden season this year!

~Brenda