Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Hurry Up Spring!!

Dear Spring:

While I am aware of your decision to have an unusually long vacation this year, I would like to request your return as soon as possible. Your swift arrival will bring much joy to the masses, as we will all be able to see beauty such as this:

And This:

And this, this, this, and this:

And the Children's faces will look like this:

Please return soon.
Thank you.

For more Wordless Wednesdays, visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

Monday, March 7, 2011

How Does YOUR Garden Grow

Well, DH and I did it.
We finally decided to grow a garden.
The asparagus, strawberries, onions, shallots, garlic, and potatoes are planted
The tomatoes and peppers are in containers to sprout
And as soon as this cold snap ends, we will be planting everything else.

What's the point of growing a garden?
Well, there are LOTS of points - which one shall I start with?

1) Cost effectiveness. One packet of seeds costs about a dollar, and depending on how many you plant, you can use the same packet of seeds for up to five years. Now add up your typical produce costs for spring and summer. I would call that quite a savings.

2) Organic vs non-organic. When you do your own garden, you can handle it how you like. We're organic - we will not be using any chemical fertilizers or pesticides in our garden - we have a compost pile and a handful of all natural remedies for the little pesties that might invade later.

3) Exercise - It is work to plant and maintain a garden. You have to till, rake, hoe, plant, weed, check, water, harvest, etc. You WILL be getting a workout, there's no way around it. Who needs a gym when you can just go pick some veggies?

4) Healthy eating - you put all the work into growing your own fruits and veggies, might as well eat the whole lot of them! That means more veggies in your diet - which is ALWAYS a good thing.

If you don't have room on your property or you live in a rental, you can always do container gardening. It's a little less time and activity intensive and can yield similar results!

Now, lets say you have a bounty and don't know what to do with it? Well here's one of my favorite soup recipes. Very healthful. Very tasty!!

Harvest Vegetable Soup

1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. light butter
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 zucchini squash, diced
2 potatoes, diced
1 large or 2 small tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
4 or 5 stalks asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 box chicken or vegetable broth
1 C water

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt the butter into the olive oil over medium heat. Add all the veggies except the potatoes, tomatoes, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender. Add garlic and tomatoes and cook another minute more. Add potatoes, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Makes 6-8 servings.

*Notes - to trim asparagus, bend one until it snaps naturally. Line it up with the rest and trim all to the same length - to peel and seed a tomato, cut a small "x" on the bottom of the tomato, dunk into boiling water for about 5-10 seconds then plunge into an ice bath. The peel will come right off. To seed, cut in half and squeeze cut side down, gently. Then chop as usual.*

Enjoy! Blessings to you all!