Monday, April 28, 2008

Rainy Monday

No pictures today as everything is too wet. That is a good thing as my flowers and the garden needed some rain. I did dash out in the drizzle to peek at the garden. I was thrilled to see the carrots sprouting and the cucumbers completely up. It is amazing what can happen to seeds overnight. I am off to catch up on some household chores and maybe to read some other blogs during my breaks. Chores seem to be neverending, but I am happy to stay busy!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

VTV Week 3

This week at Vindicate the Vegetable, the challenge was Avocado. I knew I loved avocado in guacamole. Dh was iffy about the vegetable. Since I find that he will eat things raw that he will not touch cooked, we went with raw avocado in salads. I marinaded some pounded chicken breasts in a Caribbean marinade and baked it due to issues with the grill. That went into a salad of mixed greens, feta cheese, tomatoes, and our diced avocado. It was good. I thought the avocado tasted or at least had the texture of hard boiled eggs. I can see us eating avocado on sandwiches and in salads again.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

My Garden Spot

After promising to post some pictures of my little garden, I am finally getting around to it. This week was hectic and there was little to blog about. Grading papers is not very interesting either to do or read about. Dh and I managed to finish up the garden spot this week and plant both the plants I started and some seeds. First here are the pictures of the raised beds. I have three that are connected together. The first picture also shows one of my kitties. She loves digging in the garden unfortunately.

These were taken on Friday. I think I am going to take pictures every Friday so I can see how it changes from week to week. It was amazing to see how much had sprouted between last night and this morning. I love watching everything sprout and grow!

Here are a few close-ups of some seedlings.
First up - Dill

Next is the Lettuce Sprouts

Finally the Radishes

I should add that my raised beds are 8 foot square since we used railroad ties for the first two and then added cement blocks we had in the yard for the third bed. I did two foot square sections. It is a nice way to do a garden as I have quite a bit in a small area. Now comes the hard part - the waiting. I have trouble with the patience required for it to grow until harvest time. There is compost on the bottom and then a couple trailer loads of potting soil to fill it to the top. I have a rather cheap garden since the potting soil was free from a local pine tree farm. Most of the seeds I used were either saved from last year (dill & parsley) or purchased at the end of summer last year. They are still good since I have more lettuce and radish sprouts than I know what to do with already! More pictures and hopefully more sprouts next week!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Artichokes Won't Make You Choke

One of my new favorite blogs is Vindicate the Vegetable which challenges readers to eat veggies. This blog is perfect for me and my husband (who has recently decided to try vegetables other than lettuce) as we are trying to eat more real food and less junk. This week's vegetable is artichoke. I was not even sure I could find a fresh artichoke, but they were at Wal-Mart. The cashier had to look up the number to key in. She made the comment that she had never seen anyone actually buy an artichoke. Hmmm...I wondered about the freshness of my purchase but decided it was too late to turn back.

Since this was the first time either of either my husband or I had eaten artichoke, I decided to keep it simple and just steam it. I put some water, a little lime juice, and a clove of chopped garlic in a bowl. I put the artichoke the mixture and popped it into the microwave. We melted a little butter for dipping. It was delicious. The title of this post came from my husband who said before he took a bite, "I hope I don't choke on this". He is new to the veggie world. We both like it, and I can see us eating artichoke more often. Now that I know we like it I will be more open to recipes that list artichoke as an ingredient. Below is a picture of the one I cooked before we devoured it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I went out to my car this morning to find the windshield covered in frost. I specifically remember the calendar stating several weeks ago that spring had arrived. I guess mother nature does not own a calendar. Fortunately all of the plants I set out are sheltered either by a big tree or the porch. No harm was done to any of the new plants. Even the plants out in the open were not damaged as the frost was not really heavy.

I am NOT a fan of winter or cool weather and am ready for last week's warm temperatures to return. By Saturday it will be warm again and next week will bring nice weather for more planting. Pictures will follow next week once I get the raised beds in order. Until then I am hiding in the house until the cold snap blows over.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Waste Not

I cleaned out my herb garden and redid it over the weekend. (More on that in a future post) I had a bunch of parsley that had sprouted and been growing for a few months. I did not need it since I had a couple of small plants and seed to grow more. I hated to just toss it too. I decided instead to dry it and make my own parsley flakes. I washed it and sorted through it over the weekend and took it out to dry today.

First step was to put it out on the dehydrator trays:

Then I stacked them all up and let the dehydrator do its work:

After about 2 hours total I unstacked them and crumbled it up. The end result was a bottle full of my own organic parsley flakes.

The difference in this fresh dried parsley and what was in the bottle was amazing. Not only did it smell much better, but the color was amazing. I can see that I will be drying more of my own herbs and buying less. It required minimal effort and is free since I get the herbs from my herb garden.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Don't Try to Beat 'Em, Just Join 'Em

Recently I have become a blog addict in the fact that I read them constantly. My list of favorite blogs grows a little longer each day. I decided to give blogging a try for myself. I have to admit that coming up with a name was the hardest part. I wanted something that was general enough to cover the varied, rambling posts I know will come as I tend to ramble. At the same time I wanted it to really express my life. This is the start of my blogging journey. I expect a wide variety of topics to be covered and hope that I can keep up with posting a message several times a week. Let the fun begin!