food


Saige and her new big girl bike (big 3 year old!)

soccer practice and soccer games – Doug is coaching this year too ūüôā

painting the bean bag toss game for the birthday party

Snuck away from the party planning to go to Power to the Peaceful to see our boyfriend Michael Franti¬†ūüėȬ† Yes, Saige¬†and I are quite infatuated (as well as Doug and Ryder¬†).¬† What’s not to like about the man!¬† Saige was bummed we were so far back we couldn’t see him – too cute!

Figs are coming in

and so are the tomatoes!¬† Yippee!¬† I am thrilled.¬† Not sure if you remember my previous post about my tomatoes not being so big or great, well we got a nice little heat wave and BAM¬† they all turned red and were decent sized and I’ve been hauling in 8lb + baskets of tomatoes weekly – I’m loving it!

So with that said I’ve been doing a lot of sauce making and storing.

something else we’ve been making a lot of …. hula hoops – 30 to be exact.¬† These were the “reward” for solving the mystery at the kids party (Scooby Mystery party).

our big 6 year old¬†(yes that’s right 6!) got his first skateboard for his birthday.¬† He got to go to the local skateshop and had his board built and got to tour the shop and learned the “skater” hand shake – the red carpet treatment.¬† He was so stoked!

Shaggy and Daphne before the party.¬† Mama had a late night – I had some costume adjustments to make.¬† It was going to be 95+ degrees that day and I had to make a new dress for Saige (or I should say Daphne) one that was sleeveless.¬† Doug was Fred (unfortunately we did not get a picture of him) and I was Velma (yes, the smart one ūüėȬ† ).

picked some berries in the morning for a raspberry/strawberry curd for the filing of the cake.¬† I tried my hand at a red velvet cake and was thrilled with the outcome. I usually try out new cakes on my friends and they don’t usually turn out good (I am not the best baker) but this one turned out good ūüôā

In the haste of frosting the cake (15 minutes) before the party I forgot to cross the “T” in birthday.¬† And no that isn’t a spelling mistake – it is supposed to say Rappy¬†Rithday¬†(in the words of Scooby).

The hoops were a success and Velma really liked them too ūüėȬ† yes that is me under the wig and glasses – it was way too hot to rock the turtleneck!

So after this all this, I woke up and it suddenly was October!  Ugh!

And during this time Ryder started kindergarten, I (and a few others) are trying to get the schools garden built, I started doing a daycare co-op with a friend and her two kids and Saige is back in tap and Ryder is taking hip hop Рphew! 

September always seems to sneak up and fly by.¬† The good thing is the “gang” has their costumes ready for Halloween – no costume sewing for Mama.¬† Now back to my quilt (and the other 50 projects I have half finished).

I can catch my breath now

We LOVE granola bars in our house.¬† But sometimes finding “good” granola bars that aren’t uber expensive¬† – well, that’s a challenge.¬† So you can imagine how excited I was to see this super easy recipe for homemade granola bars.¬† I like it because it’s all ingredients I always have around and I’ve figured out that you don’t need as much of the brown sugar or butter and you can add any fixings (I omit the chocolate chips – unless I’m making them as more of a treat).¬†

I recently (yesterday) made a double batch for “snack day” at Ryder’s school.¬† Once a month each family is responsible for bringing snacks for all of the kids.¬† I really like the additions I made for “snack day”.¬† I used almond butter instead of peanut butter, I added some unsweetened coconut, dried cherries and almond extract – then kept the recipe as is (limiting the sugar and butter) and I cooked it for double the time.¬†¬† So yummy ūüôā

The hint of coconut with the almond and cherries –¬†delish – now I just wish there were left overs!¬† Looks like I know what we’ll be doing tomorrow.¬†

I always have my taste tester (Ryder) try out my new recipes – I got the “thumb’s up” on this one ūüôā¬† Man I love that boy!

A few posts ago, I had said that the strawberries were finally coming in and I showed a little basket of berries I had picked, which at the time I was thrilled about because we had been waiting for them to arrive.¬† Well they have arrived….

one days harvest

a few days later!

We are LOVING this!¬† Every morning we have strawberries with our cereal – so yummy.¬† We had so many that we made some strawberry ice cream (just grabbed a cheap ice cream machine at Target – not totally sure about it) – it was yummy – but we didn’t have the rock salt so the ice cream didn’t quite do what it should so we put the mixture in the freezer instead.¬† The custard base recipe was from, none other than, The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters – my bible!¬† So creamy.¬†

We have another big batch of berries waiting to be picked so we’ll try again (we now have the rock salt – let’s see if that was the issue).¬†

In the meantime we will continue enjoying our berries as is, whenever we want them ūüôā

What is your favorite way to eat strawberries?  In salads? In ice cream?  Right off the plant?

Thursday we had fun tending to the garden and harvesting a couple yummy items…

The strawberries are final coming in and we have a few blueberries too ūüôā¬† We only have 3 little blueberry bushes – one we planted last year and the other two are new, so we won’t be harvesting enough to make a pie but they sure are delicious to eat as an afternoon snack.

Ryder and I harvested all the favas¬†– we got about about¬†7 lbs or so ( I should have¬†weighed them but I was so excited to get them shelled and turned into that yummy fava spread I talked about here). But they are all out and now there’s room for some more goodies – edamame and kale.

one of the baskets we harvested ( I think there ended up being about 5 of these). 

Here’s a shot of the little nitrogen nodules on the root of the fava’s

those little white ball looking things are the nitrogen nodules that are so good for the soil.

now these plants will all go back to the soil (once they’ve spent a couple weeks¬†and made a couple spins in the composter¬†– which is now my work out for my quads – I’ll¬†show pictures later but we took an old 50 gallon pickle barrel and¬†drilled holes all around it and now I kick it across the yard a couple times each day – it cost $8 – much better than the hand cranked ones¬†that are¬†more than $100 and it’s a good workout!)

What have you been harvesting?

I just stumbled upon this draft of a post I wrote in April.¬† I was just about to write a post about our garden so I’m going to start with my draft that never made it “live” and then I’ll continue with the status of the garden as of this past week.

April Post……

Yummy french breakfast radishes. 

I have been busily working away in the garden, every day off, every non raining day, that’s where you can find me – it’s been my therapy.¬†¬†There is nothing better than being outside, alternating working in the garden and playing with the kids.¬† Their new fave thing is to draw on the driveway, race their bikes up and down and launch paper airplanes – so it’s perfect to be out front in the garden while they are laughing and playing.¬† The majority of our edibles are in our front yard (gotta work with Mother Nature – this is where we get the most sun) I wouldn’t change it – I love having our edibles up front for our neighbors to see and hopefully be inspired by.¬†

We have been harvesting our young lettuces and arugula which has been heavenly. 

We planted our favas¬†a bit later than we should have, so they are going to be later than I would have liked – but nevertheless, we’ll have favas.¬† I always have good intentions of getting a cover crop going or getting a winter garden going – but when we are in the thick of the rainy season – I just can’t pull it together to get out there and plant.¬† Especially when it’s dark when I get home from work.¬† I vow, one year I’ll get it together and then I’ll probably be so happy about it that it’ll continue year after year.

favas

The kids were excited to see the nasturtiums coming up a few days after planting them – those are totally rewarding plants to plant with kids – plus you can eat them!

We’re so stoked about the plans we have for this years garden, we plan on doing a lot more “intermingling” of our edibles and ornamentals to really utilize every square inch of yard.¬† We’ll keep you posted on that.¬† We are waiting for our seedlings to get bigger and the weather to warm up to transplant our summer veggies.¬† For now they hang in the mini greenhouse.¬†

While browsing the yard I was sad to see we have scale again on our Santa Rosa Plum

Doug used some horticultural¬†oil over the winter – but I think it just got washed off in the heavy rains we had.¬† So he sprayed some more and since then it’s looking better.¬† I also found some peach leaf curl on our peach and nectarine.¬† So I hand picked every leaf and bagged it and trashed it and they are both looking much better.¬† Keeping my fingers crossed.

June update….

Well, remember that little nasturtium sprout above, here is what they are looking like now!  They are (to me) very happy looking plants Рnot quite sure what it is about them, maybe their round scalloped leaves or their beautiful little flowers or that star burst appearance of the veins

but they just make me happy. 

The other plants in this bed are our potatoes (¬†Yukons, purple peruvian, creamers and red).¬† This is my first year with potatoes – I didnt’ realize how big they would get, I must rethink their location for the next crop – I don’t think this is the ideal location or at least I need to move them in this raised area to another side (they are starting to shade some of my other plants.¬† We planted the tomatoes on the other side of the potatoes and ran some fencing across the back so the tomatoes can weave in and out of the fencing (a different method of staking – basically trellising – we did this with an orange tree too and it has worked great).¬† You have to get creative in a small space if you want to grow a lot.

I’m hoping that the potatoes will die back in time for the tomatoes to flourish – it’s all about trial and error around here.

By the way, the raised bed we made out of some rocks our neighbors were getting rid of (backyard remodel).¬† We had been looking for an old stock tank to use but couldn’t find one in time to start planting.¬† I actually like how this came out.¬† Another really rad idea is using straw bales.¬† Our friends over at A Sonoma Garden recently did this and I was over there last week and checked it out – sooooo¬†cool!¬† Great seating and sometimes the non permanency is kind of nice – it gives you the chance to experiment and move things around.

We added to this new bed some hot peppers (annaheims, jalapenos, serranos¬†and pasilla), some broccoli (the kids can’t get enough of this), rainbow chard and basil.¬†

The kids and I harvested our first bunch of french babettes. 

These were so delicious!¬† I’m working on my succession planting so there should be some more ready soon.

We continue to harvest head’s of lettuce -our lettuce love continues.

The guava’s are in bloom ūüôā

You may have noticed my generous use of straw, it’s my attempt at my urban farm – Doug isn’t on board to packing it up and buying a farm in Wisconsin – he’ll come to his senses soon.¬† But until then, I have created my own mini farm.¬† It’s actually been great – it really helps keep the soil moist and is cost effective and has helped with weeds (and I get to pretend I live on a farm)

I was just told there are strawberries ready for picking tomorrow – yippee!

Here are just a few more pics of the goings on in the garden.¬† It’s been keeping us all busy – I LOVE it!

Happy Gardening to you.

We LOVE fava beans.  Mainly we either throw them on the grill with some olive oil, boil them quickly or roast them in the oven.  Then the fun part is popping them out of their shells and munching on them plain or in our salad.  The kids love them, they are like giant edamame to them.  But, as with anything you want to try new ways of eating/cooking them. 

I found a super easy, super delicious recipe in The Art of Simple Food (my go to bible cook book) for fava bean spread.  I had 5lbs of favas that I was looking to do something with so this was perfect.

shell 4 or 5 lbs favas

parboil for a few minutes

remove and put in an ice bath

remove the skin from the beans

return beans to pot and cook with some olive oil and about 1/2 C water (maybe a bit more Рdepending on the consistency you are going for), chopped garlic and rosemary.  Cook until beans are mashable.  I used a potato masher, you can use a fork or put it in a food processor.  I like to have some lumps.

Serve warm or room temp Рspread on crostini or crackers Рor like Ryder does, just eat it with a spoon! 

The vibrant green color is a beautiful addition to any meal.

We planted favas this year ( a bit late) so we will just begin our harvest in the next week – so I can’t wait to make more of this delicious spread.

In my quest to try to rid our lives of plastic (at least starting with plastic bags) I have started to crochet produce bags. 

Now I won’t say this is the quickest thing – but I am enjoying making these.¬† We have s0 many cloth bags for shopping but I always end up with plastic bags from our produce and it drives me crazy.¬† I was inspired by Farmama¬†and her one small change.¬† She sewed up a bunch of bags for their bulk foods (this is my next step).¬†

You don’t even need to know how to sew, I just saw some produce bags for sale at Whole Foods the other day (for not that much) but of course that would be too easy for me ūüėȬ† But seriously, you can buy cloth bags and produce bags for a nominal fee and have them for ever.

Luckily summer is coming and I hope to be harvesting most of our produce from our yard, but of course you can’t pass up the farmers market to see what goodies they’ve got.¬† So my little bags will come in handy.

I’ve been buying in bulk much more (grains, nuts, dried fruit, etc), but now I have to work on reducing the other plastic packaging.¬†¬† It’s everywhere, the bag of pretzels you purchase, the block of cheese, etc.¬†¬† It’s crazy!¬†

Well, this is my next step I’m taking.¬† We’ll see where this leads us (what will be our next step)?¬†

What will your small step be?  Do you keep your cloth bag supply in all your vehicles so you always have them?  If not, make that your small step.  Keep a few cloth bags in each car and a couple in your house, so you always have them available. 

Keep stepping …..

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