Wednesday, March 14, 2012


This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Scotts® for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

With the weather being so unseasonably warm I have been itching to begin our garden.  It isn't much of a garden and I don't have anything even resembling a green thumb, yet every Spring I like to give it a try.   We have a smell bed that we plant a few tomato, some peas and squash.  Then we have lots of pots filled with herbs and flowers, I have the best luck with these, but it is still nothing to brag about.  

This year though, I have decided to put a little more effort in to the garden.  To begin with I am going to actually provide some nourishment in the soil.  Instead of just using the same dirt that has been in the pots for the past two years I am going to add some new soil.  I had thought I would just get some regular potting soil, but I recently received some information about  Expand ‘n Gro™.  It can be used in the garden or in containers resulting in beautiful luscious plants.  It claims to produce up to 3x the flowers or vegetable of native soil, significantly improves the soil for years, feeds for up to 6 months and holds up to 50% more water than regular soil.   My favorite thing about it is that you can buy just a small bag and and it covers the same amount of space as a large bag of potting soil.  

EnG Product Shot.png

Miracle-Gro has offered to send a free sample to me and to one of my readers.  Leave a comment letting me know what you are planning on planting this year and I will randomly choose one reader to receive a free sample.  I am excited to give Expand 'n Gro a try and hope you check it out as well

Happy gardening!


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Monday, March 5, 2012

Yummy Life Meatballs

I love having a batch of meatballs waiting in the freezer.  They are easy to make and are very versatile. I make them often, but I rarely follow a recipe.  I use the same basic seasoning - basil, onion powder, garlic, ect. - each time, but the quantities often vary.  The liquids also vary from batch to batch.  Usually a little milk, sometimes I add some wine, other times a little beer.  One thing I have never added is buttermilk and that is why I chose to make Monica's Classic Italian Meatballs for this month's Secret Recipe Club.

Over at the Yummy Life Monica not only offers a wonderful assortment of recipes, but she also has some great gift ideas and suggestions for around the house.  Her dry rub and taco seasoning look wonderful and might make an appearance under many trees come Christmas.

I really liked the meatballs with the buttermilk.  It enhanced the flavors and kept them super moist - there is nothing worse than a dry meatball.  The other thing I really liked about Monica's recipe that I had never done before is mix everything together prior to adding the meat.  She creates a wonderful "sludge" of the buttermilk, water, eggs and seasoning.  This ensures the flavors are mixed in without overworking the meat.  The only change I made to Monica's recipe was omitting the pork.  Combining beef and pork makes for a much more flavorful meatball, unfortunately my husband is allergic to pork so we all sacrifice with meatballs that are not quite as flavorful as we would like.

We got many meals out of this recipe and still have some left for one more dinner.  We enjoyed meatball subs the first night, a couple of nights later a few made an appearance on a wonderful meatball pizza and a few more popped up in some Ziti.  The rest are waiting in the freezer, and I am sure will be consumed very soon.

Here is Monica's recipe, she has great step-by-step pictures so go check out her site, Yummy Life, as well.

Monica’s Classic Italian Meatballs
Printer Ready

4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup water
1 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1 medium onion, finely minced or grated
1 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
4 lbs. ground beef

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine eggs, water, buttermilk, and breadcrumbs in a bowl; let rest for 10 minutes. The mixture will thicken as the bread crumbs absorb the liquid. To this thickened mixture, add garlic, onion, parsley, cheese, oregano, salt, and pepper; stir until combined. In separate large bowl, combine ground pork and beef. Mix meats with fingers or a large fork using a light touch until 2 meats are combined throughout. Add bread crumb mixture to meats. Mix these together, again using a light touch with fingers or large fork. Combine ingredients well, but do not overmix. Form meatballs with hands, or use a scoop. For larger meatballs, use 1/4 cup meat per meatball or use a generous 2" scoop. For mini meatballs, use 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons per meatball or a generous 1-1/4" scoop. Place meatballs on baking sheets. Bake large meatballs for 30 minutes and mini meatballs for 15 minutes, until no longer pink in center.

As always there are lots of great recipes in this month's SRC.