Monday, May 16, 2011

Purple Reign

It has occurred to me, belatedly, that I've got an awful lot of purple in my garden.

My dwarf lilac bushes have bloomed and it's a pretty dazzling display, even though the bloom time of these flowers is much shorter than that of my full-size lilacs.

I love the light purple undertones on the creamy-white blossoms.

My yellow irises haven't bloomed yet, but the purple ones are up all over the yard!

The columbines are still going strong...

...and while my white phlox isn't quite ready to bloom, the purple phlox is glorious.

There are still a few purple flowers on my creeping thyme, too.

The sage has bloomed, with open-throated flowers that bees love to visit...

...and my salvia is open for business, too!

I don't mind having so much purple in the garden. To me it's a great restful color, and perfect for spring. I save the pops of color for summer!

Still, to break things up a little, I've put in a little color here and there. These geraniums brighten up the corners of our back walkway, and draw attention away from our too-long grass. Yes, we're mowing this week! :)

I am absolutely entranced by the velvety wonderful-ness of celosia. A neighbor has full-size celosia in a dramatic maroon color with a flower head as big as a dinner plate. I am in love! I spread several of these around...they look nice with purple and provide a little burst of color in unexpected places...which I love.

No vegetables this year. I'm slowly filling our containers with colorful annuals, in case we do put our house on the market soon. I'm not a big fan of these types of plants, but they'll be fine here for now.

I'm preparing to move some succulents outside. I got a big bunch of hens and chicks at church on Sunday and am scouting around for a good place to put them!

Seedlings are popping up everywhere. Zinnias, of course, are nearly guaranteed to grow...

...and I'm pleased with the sheer volume of cosmos coming up, too. I've got light pink and cream cosmos in some parts of the garden, and more dramatic orange in other parts.

I have a few more patches of seeds to plant but I'm waiting for this cold patch to pass.

This little squirrel is waiting, too...waiting for a nice meal.

He scouts around for a good location...

...and begins to dig.

Success! I love watching our backyard wildlife, even if we've just got squirrels right now.

I've been so busy in the yard and with our business that I haven't had much time for other projects. I've carved out a little time for knitting, and have completed a surprise gift for a friend...which can't yet be posted. I'm working on a new project now, which is also...a surprise. I will try to squeeze in some not-so-secretive things soon, though!

I've still been baking, but not nearly as much as before. Still, I had time to try out a new recipe recently. Chocolate cookies, with a little surprise inside! Basic, tasty, and quick...just what I needed.

Chocolate Surprise Cookies
From Sweet Pea's Kitchen

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. To make cookies, mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together and set aside. Using your mixer, beat together brown and white sugars, butter and 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter for 1 - 2 minutes, until fluffy. Add the vanilla, beat well, and then the egg. Once well mixed, fold in flour mixture and mix until just combined.

In a separate bowl, mix together filling ingredients until well-combined.

Now you're ready to combine the two! I'll warn you...this isn't pretty. First, pull off a hunk of your chocolate dough and flatten it in your hand, like this.

Next, take a spoonful of your peanut butter mixture and add it to the middle of your cookie.

Fold it over like a taco, seal the edges, and then roll it around in your hand until a ball is formed.

Then, smash it flat and toss it on your cookie sheet. You can make these as large or as small as you'd like. I think I got about 15 fairly large cookies from this recipe.

Bake for 5 - 7 minutes, until the bottoms are barely crisped. You don't want to overcook, because that will make your cookies hard. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack.

The finished cookies are never going to win a beauty contest...

...but they taste awfully good. The peanut butter filling is a nice sweet surprise.

I hope you'll give them a try this week.


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