March 2011

Our plot at the Experimental College gardens did really well this winter! I mostly have Mandi and Vicken to thank since they did most of the planting when I was busy in September. I did at least do some watering before the rains came in November. We got a lot of joy choi, chard, and cabbage in the fall. Recently we have been getting broccoli, carrots, beets, and still more chard. I picked these veggies just last week.

As we are harvesting these vegetables, the bees are busy pollinating flowers, some of which will become our summer fruits. I got a few shots of honeybees (and one carpenter bee!) on the flowering vine and rosemary in the front yard.

Check out the pollen load on this bee’s back!

I can’t help but call the bees adorable! Take a look at the flowers blooming where you are and see what you find! So far I have seen mostly honeybees, but this Xylocopa has been around for a few days and there was also a sweat bee here the other day. It’s nice to have a lot of “faces” to associate with the fruit you enjoy later in the summer!


My friend Mandi, who is an awesome baker, let me borrow her Dori Greenspan cookbook last fall and after getting overwhelmed by all the yummy possibilities, I settled on the blondie recipe to try. I love brownies, but there’s something about blondies…maybe it’s the butterscotch? or the coconut?…that makes them really special. Warmed up and topped off with vanilla ice cream–even better!

I ended up making these for a Halloween party–mostly for sustenance at the end of a long night of dance partying. Since it’s been so long since I made them I will let my photos entice you instead of my words.

It honestly took all the strength I could muster to not devour the dough at this point.

Honestly, it’s hard to see how you could go wrong with walnuts, coconut, butterscotch AND chocolate! I know a lot of us are in swim suit preparation/ climbing training mode, so this may not be the ideal time to try this recipe. HOWEVER, if you don’t try it soon, you should at least store the recipe away in your memory bank for next winter!

Chewy, chunky blondies
from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dori Greenspan

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or 1 cup store bought chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips or Heath Toffee Bits
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan and put it on a baing sheet.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. Working with a stand mixer, preferrably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add both sugars and beat for another 3 minutes, or until well incorporated.

4. Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing just until the disappear into the batter. Using a runner spatula, stir in the chips, nuts and coconut. Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and use the spatula to even the top as best as you can.

5. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the blondies comes out clean. The blondies should pull away from the sides of the pan a little and the top should be a nice honey brown. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for about 15 minutes before turning the blondies out onto another rack. Invert on a rack and cool the blondies to room temperature right side up. (I kept them in the pan to keep them from drying out).

6. Cut into 32 bars, each roughly 2 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches.