I had to share this recipe. I had some green peppers to use up and was craving soup. This came out excellent. I made a few minor adjustments as I can never leave well enough alone. Changes: 3 jalapenos, 5 green peppers, 3 cloves garlic, a bit more broth and half-and-half plus added parsley as well.
Wine Cork Plant Markers July 31, 2012
I love Pinterest. Of course, I am sure there are plenty of misleading things on there, just like blogs too. But I found this little crafty idea and I did it and am so happy with the results. What a cool idea! I took used wine corks (of which I have many), drilled a hole in the bottom, inserted cheap-o wine stirrers, and wrote the crop name in a Sharpie. Seriously easy and much sturdier than regular plan markers, not to mention economical and environmentally-friendly.
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
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.
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.
Random Garden Contemplation May 29, 2012
The weather has been so funky this year, I was really worried about how the garden may fair. Well, as I’ve said before, I had a rough start and lost a lot of plants early on while starting seeds inside. I went out to check my garden today and the “questionable survivors” seem to have new life. Two tomato plants that were on death’s door have grown new, healthy leaves and seem strong. A few pepper plants that didn’t take well to the transplant grew new leaves – way better than their measly two. Everything seems to be thriving and as much as the weather is messing with us humans with agendas – 92 degrees in May in suburban Philadelphia is not the usual – it seems perfect conditions for a vegetable garden. I can only hope the pass off of rainy and sunny days make this a bountiful year!
Leaf it Alone May 27, 2012
The one thing I love about gardening is watching a plant grow from a seed to a beautiful, productive plant. What is it that tells us that plant is healthy? Its leaves. The leaves tell you if the plant is sick, thirsty, hot, or infested. So when there are beautiful leaves, you know your plant is doing well. My best advice? Let nature do its thing. The more I’ve fussed over my garden the less productive it became. Since then I’ve held myself back from “babying” the plants and it rewards me with a healthy, thriving garden. I had a rough start this year and lost a lot of my seedlings but after checking on the garden today, I’m really happy with the way my plants are after a sketchy start. Note the use of “checking on” rather than active gardening. Nature knows what it’s doing.