I woke up this morning and immediately grabbed my phone and checked the weather. I came downstairs and turned on the laptop. I checked my phone for messages while I made my coffee. I got my coffee and sat down at the computer and checked my email. Now I sit here typing this. Do you even remember what we did before all this technology became requirements for us to function normally in our daily lives? Sometimes I strain to remember. I think I got my coffee and talked to somebody, maybe after that I walked my dog. One thing I do remember is being able to separate work, school, and my personal life. I think we all have become too aware of ourselves and what needs to be done that we forget to just live. Everyone needs time to unplug. We are so busy “checking in” we forget to look around and see what the world is trying to show us. Beautiful paths carved into the woods, natural phenomenon like the boulder field created from an ancient glacier, and finally realizing humans are just as much a part of nature as any other creature – we just need to do it right.
Watch my Garden Grow June 23, 2012
This is one of my favorite times of the year, when the garden starts showing off – getting buds, flowers, and fruits. Just looking at it gives me a sense of accomplishment. I know that in a short time I will have more produce then I can handle and I’ll break out the pressure canner. I cannot express enough the difference between food you grow on your own and what you buy in the supermarket. Did you know that celery actually has flavor and peppers aren’t bitter? Even more, growing your own food gives you a level of control over what goes into your body. I know what I use in and on my garden. I know how fresh the produce is because I am the one who picked it. This year, we extended the garden again and planted more than last year. This year’s offerings:
- Red onions
- Swiss Chard
- 3 Types of Tomatoes
- Green Peppers
- Jalapeno Peppers
- Green Beans
- Straightneck Squash
Simple Living Food June 18, 2012
There is nothing that says real simple living like the times we take ourselves completely out of our element. For some, our home is in the urban jungle, for others it’s the suburban safari, and others the country zoo. No matter where you are or where you live, we all need to unplug and unwind and take time to be what we were born to be – the human. Just like every other animal, we were built to sustain in this world. Our problems lie in the struggle between how we were made to live and how we want to live in this world. Many people believe living like a human is beneath them – the Jones’ would’ve gotten take out tonight right? In our world where being busy is somehow a gauge of success (although I am not sure why), in my natural rebellious way, I did the opposite. I took a long weekend with some of my favorite people and animals to spend in the woods. Tents, a campfire, and nature are all you need to put life in perspective at times. (more…)
Simplicity June 11, 2012
In many of my recipe posts I mention the farmers market. (I say many, and I’ve only been posting for a few weeks, but just let it go.) This “farmers market” is so unique here as it is an Amish market. Sure, I’m in Pennsylvania, but Amish country is about an hour and half west and although I love making that trip now and then, I am glad the Amish sellers make it here every week. The Bristol Amish Market is why I love farmers markets and anything like a farmers market. I go at least once a month and they have the most fresh vegetables, meats, fish, bakery items, cheeses, and more. What’s even better is the fact the Amish do not use hormones, pesticides, and other crazy things to mess up perfectly wonderful food. I feel confident in what I buy. I like that I have to rinse the vegetables because there is dirt on them – they should have dirt on them because they grow in the ground! Take the time to check out the markets in your area, it’s worth it. Once you grow or buy a vegetable from a non-commercial source, you will realize strange things: celery actually has flavor, a head of garlic isn’t that big, and carrots actually come in different colors! Even more, visit a pick your own orchard or farm for a really different, satisfying, and fun afternoon. Kids who grow or pick their own vegetables tend to eat more fresh foods – same with adults. Find pick your owns and farmers markets in your area.
Fresh Radishes June 9, 2012
There is nothing I love more than going out the garden, picking a vegetable, and coming inside to prepare it. It’s the freshest food you can ever eat. See that dirt? That’s the sign of real, fresh food. What I love about gardening is that I know where, how, and when it was grown – I know that dirt. No surprises. I know I didn’t genetically modify the radish to have a limit of five leaves and grow uniform two inch diameter roots. That’s the joy of it. Real food comes in various shapes, sizes, and colors. But really, this variation is the most beautiful. Like people – wouldn’t it be boring if we all looked, acted, and thought the same?
Roasted Radishes with Greens
4-5 large radishes with greens attached
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. butter
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 cherry tomatoes
1. Preheat oven to 500. Rinse radishes. Separate leaves from radishes and slice radishes. Chop greens and set aside.
2. In a medium, oven proof skillet, add olive oil and heat until shimmering over medium-high heat and add radish slices. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until radishes begin to get brown spots, about 2 minutes.
3. Place skillet in preheated oven and roast radishes until crisp-tender, about 12 minutes.
4. Return skillet to burner on medium heat. Add butter, stir to coat. Add radish greens and garlic and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Add lemon juice, cherry tomatoes, and salt & pepper (if needed). Cook through about 1 minute and serve immediately.
Breakfast! June 8, 2012
Who has the terrible habit of skipping breakfast at times? Guilty! Sometimes I am in a such a rush I simply forget. Really, simply forget until my stomach is growling, I feel I’m out of fuel, and usually in the least likely place to find food (like in a mundane meeting without refreshments because of budget cuts). I was introduced to two new recipes recently that have really inspired me. One is an easy way to soup up the nutrition and flavor in a traditional scrambled egg that takes minutes and I can prep the night before. Note: As you can tell, the obsession with collard greens hasn’t waned, but you can use any greens in this recipe. See the original recipe. The other recipe is a copycat of a fast food favorite made healthier and as a key make ahead meal you simply heat in the morning. The original make ahead recipe is here. These amazing recipes have gotten me to eat breakfast and get creative. Here are my versions of these great recipes.
Time for Impatience June 3, 2012
I check my garden every day, sometimes multiple times per day just waiting to catch the first signs of something I missed last time I checked. Again, as I have said before, I just check which means “look and don’t touch.” (Nature gets insulted if you act like it’s helpless and lets you know it’s angry.) The tomato plants have flowers, the potatoes are growing overnight, the radishes are getting some bulk, the celery is getting taller, fatter, and stronger, the beans are trained to climb the pole – but still I am waiting. I go through this every year, waiting for the first nice harvest kills me although this year the strawberries are amazing so I cannot complain. My favorite days are ones when I have to bring the basket in a couple of times to empty before I go out for more and then take the rest of the day deciding what to do with everything. There is nothing more rewarding than using something you just picked from the garden. Yesterday I ate a strawberry I picked off the vine just seconds before – nothing like it. I feel I am in a lull but when the harvest starts, I cannot wait to share my enthusiasm, cooking, and preserving. Gardening is zen for my soul and joy for my tummy.