Cathy Monrad

Garden games

by cathym on March 17, 2020

by Cathy Monrad

Who doesn’t love lady bugs? Or bumblebees? Or a good game of Tic Tac Toe? This cute project from Alecia at chickenscratchny.com mashes up the three for a bit of garden fun for all ages.

MATERIALS
Wood slice; 1-inch thick and 9–12 inches diameter
10 smooth black river rocks; 5 round and 5 oblong
Acrylic paint in colors red, yellow, black and white
Acrylic sealer (optional)

TOOLS
Pencil
Ruler
Assorted paint brushes 
Pencil with eraser
Toothpick

Figure 1

Create the game board
1. Use a pencil and ruler to mark a grid on the wood slice as pictured in Figure 1. Start and end grid lines about an inch from the edge of wood.
2. Paint over pencil lines with black paint. Let paint dry completely.

Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4

Create the lady bugs on round rocks
3. Using red paint, paint on the rock tops as pictured in Figure 2. You may need 3–5 coats for complete coverage. Let dry completely.
4. Dip the eraser end of a pencil in black paint and dab onto the rock to create a pattern as shown in Figure 3. Let dry completely.
5. Dip a toothpick in white paint and dab onto rock to create the eyes as shown in Figure 4. 

Figure 5
Figure 6

Create the bumblebees on oblong rocks
6. Using yellow paint, paint stripes on the rock tops as pictured in Figure 5. You may need 3–5 coats for complete coverage. Let dry completely.
7. Dip a toothpick in white paint and dab onto rock to create the eyes as shown in Figure 6. 

Note:  If game will be kept outside in the elements, use a sealer to protect the board and pieces. Follow instructions for use on label and let dry completely. 

Cathy Monrad is the graphic designer and garden crafter for Upstate Gardeners’ Journal.

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Roasted parsnips with maple walnut glaze

by cathym on March 16, 2020

by Cathy Monrad

Maple sugaring is in full swing. While this sweetener is typically thought of as a “pancake enhancer,” there is a growing trend toward using maple as a honey and sugar alternative. Maple syrup boasts fewer calories than honey and a higher concentration of antioxidants and nutrients like manganese, zinc, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium, and calcium than the four other most common sweeteners.

There are many websites that have instructions and infographics on how to substitute maple syrup as a recipe sweetener, including foodnetwork.com.

A huge shout out to my pal Greg Chambers, who supplied his homemade maple syrup for the recipe. 

INGREDIENTS

2-3 pounds parsnips
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt
Pepper
1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 425˚F
2. Peel and quarter parsnips lengthways.
3. Toss parnips in olive oil and spread onto baking sheet in one layer. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, or until fork tender.
4. While parsnips are in the oven, dry roast the walnuts. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add walnuts to the hot, dry pan. Frequently stir until the walnuts start to brown and they smell toasted about 4-5 minutes. Place on a plate to cool. 
5. Prepare the glaze. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add maple syrup and gently simmer until glaze is thickened slightly. Remove from heat. 
6. Remove parsnips from oven. Add toasted walnuts and pour glaze over both. Gently toss to coat.
7. Transfer glazed parsnips and walnuts to serving dish. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and serve.

Cathy Monrad is the graphic designer and garden crafter for Upstate Gardeners’ Journal. When she is not in the garden or at her desk, you will find her in the kitchen.

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Grateful tree gets a wintery update

by cathym on November 1, 2019

by Cathy Monrad

You can take the grateful tree project into the next season with some glue and Epsom salts.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Prepare work area with newspaper or old tablecloth.
  2. Remove the leaves from your grateful tree.
  3. Use a paint brush to apply glue or Modge Podge liberally to the branch forks to mimic how snow sits on trees.
  4. Sprinkle Epsom salts on the glue. Let dry.
  5. Pour Epsom salts into the container as desired.

Cathy Monrad is the graphic designer and garden crafter for the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal.

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