Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Seeds We Saved in 2015

Each year I try to learn a little bit more about seed saving. It appeals to the practical (aka cheap) side of me (those seed packets really add up!) and to the inquisitive side of me (you mean, that's how a plant makes seed?).

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Hooked on this Heirloom: Sanditas

These adorable little cucumbers are becoming wildly popular with gardeners, and for very good reason!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Today in The Garden- Neglect

I was warned that it would happen. Once I started working outside the house, my garden would suffer. The blog would suffer. I just wouldn't have the time to deal with these 'hobbies' anymore.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Crisp Onion & Zucchini Pizza

Got pesto? Got zucchini and onions? Try them all together on a pizza and be ready to fall in love!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Food Forest Update; Quiet Steady Growth

From the street, it's becoming obvious that this is no longer
a typical urban empty lot.

If you didn't see my original post about the Food Forest, click here to see how I got to be present at its 'birth'. What was once just a simple empty lot has begun a transformation beyond my wildest dreams...and it will only get more lush and beautiful as the perennial plants and trees reach maturity.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Today in The Garden- Six Blossoms

Early in the morning, there was a huge yellow blossom on the Jack-Be-Little pumpkin plant--by afternoon it had closed in on itself and revealed another blossom underneath it. Throughout the day we looked closely and found a few other flowering surprises.

There is something indescribably exciting about spotting those first blossoms. While the whole garden is hard at work, growing and greening in all the rain, these 6 are the star of the show for today...


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lamb's Quarters Poppers

I'll never forget how excited I was to discover Lamb's Quarters.
Discovering that a 'weed' is edible is always a thrill!

Other names for this tender and delicious plant: goosefoot, fat hen, and smooth pigweed.

Most people consider it an invasive weed, but once I found some for myself and had a taste, I was glad to have it in my garden. Click here to see why this 'weed' is a treasure!

While I recommend keeping it in check--because it can be very invasive--I am here to tell you to enjoy this tasty and nutritious green. It's one of the first harvests of the year for me, because here in zone 6 it shows up around mid-March and can start being eaten by April. Fresh greens that are free, easy and tasty--sounds great to me!

If you can't eat your harvest right away: Chop up the leaves and small stems, removing the largest stem pieces. The large pieces taste like asparagus to me and are great for a crunchy snack, but in my experience don't cook well. You can store the chopped lamb's quarters in the fridge for a few days. Use them up in salads, eggs or frittatas, cooked into rice or quinoa, in a hummus melt, or in the recipe below for poppers!

The kids go nuts if you call them "pizza poppers" and serve with ketchup or pizza sauce
 (this simple pizza sauce is our favorite).
I have to fight to get a share once the poppers hit the table.

I've been making versions of this recipe for years, usually with spinach. Lamb's quarters is the perfect substitute, especially if you find yourself lacking spinach. Try using a couple cup-fulls of both if you want.

Lamb's Quarters Poppers            Print Here
(or spinach, or kale, or any green you can get your hands on!)

1 t. olive or coconut oil
1/2 c. minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced (or 1 t. dried garlic if you are feeling lazy)
4-6 c. chopped lamb's quarters leaves and small stems
3 c. cooked rice (medium or short grain is best, I like this kind right here)
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried basil
salt and pepper
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Saute onion and garlic in the oil over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add lamb's quarters (or spinach, or a combination of both) and cook until wilted. Lamb's quarters cooks a little differently than other greens--it tends to stick together and dry out. If needed, add up to 1/4 c. water, a tablespoon at a time, to prevent too much drying out. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

3. Mix the rice, cheeses, spices and eggs in a large mixing bowl. I have made this with long-grain rice a few times, and once it bakes, the poppers hold together fine--however making the balls is tricky because long-grain rice doesn't have a lot of starch to help it stick. I recommend using medium or short grain rice because it naturally sticks together much better. This brand(affiliate) has everything I want--short grain, brown, and organic. I can find it at most of my local grocery stores.

 4. Add cooked onions/greens mix to the bowl and stir to combine thoroughly. Form into golf-ball sized balls (I use this cookie scoop) and place on an oiled baking sheet. You can really crowd them together so they all fit on one sheet.

5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until browned to your liking. The bottoms of the poppers will be crispy and golden brown. Use a thin metal spatula to remove the poppers (if you don't have one, you may want to use parchment paper instead).

6. Enjoy! Be careful--they are highly addictive.

DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links. I'm eligible to receive a small commission whenever a product is purchased through these links. Click Here for my full disclosure!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Forager's Find- Mulberry

For a long time, I hesitated to include mulberries as a Forager's Find because, well--they are everywhere! Is it really foraging if you only have to walk a block or two to find them?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Mulberry Alley- A Simple Gift

I've had mulberries on my mind a lot lately.

I've been working on an informative blogpost--one that I never knew I wanted to write, until I realized that a lot of people don't know what mulberries are. I've been eating mulberries by the dozens every day since they began ripening last week. They are always something I've always taken

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Death of A Chipmunk

It's just a chipmunk. Its death should be inconsequential. I wanted it to die, after all. I wanted lots of the chipmunks who have set up residence in our yard to die. As long as I didn't have to do it--or see it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Today In the Garden: Migration to Backyard

You would think that the backyard would be the most logical place to start when you want to plant a garden, right?

In our case, no. This is our 4th garden season, and we have just now officially moved into the back.

Since it's only the beginning of June, not a lot has filled out yet in our gardens. We have nearly everything planted, however, and some things are already taking off. Come along on my little tour Today in The Garden!

Here is the original, 4-year-old garden space, along the south side of the house. Our property ends with that sidewalk.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

No Recipe Pizza Sauce

This is the sauce that prompted the exclamation "This is the best pizza I've ever had in my life!"

Monday, May 11, 2015

Lacto-Fermented Broccoli Stem Spears

When you start fermenting in your kitchen, suddenly everything has potential. The usual suspects--cabbage and cucumbers--are always fantastic, of course. Thinking outside the box can be very rewarding, however. Every time I start cutting up any veggie, curiosity takes over, and I wonder "Hmm, can I pickle that?" Turns out, in most cases I can.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Roly Poly: Garden Friend or Foe?

Roly poly, pill bug, wood louse, armadillo bug, cheese log, doodlebug. These tiny armored creatures have a surprising number of nicknames, and are likely one of the most plentiful bugs you've seen in your yard and garden.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Birth of a Food Forest

"A successful community welcomes and rewards
more than one kind of person. Diverse residents support themselves
and enrich one another's lives with different talents."
-Jeremy Smith in Growing a Garden City

Saturday, March 28, 2015

If Dad Approves Chickens, Surely The City Will

Adorable photo taken by my cousin Lindsey;
who also knew Grandma's chickens in our childhood
So my dad called me this afternoon, and in his typical style, launched into a conversation with no preface or warning.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Clean Water, Please! Berkey Giveaway

This giveaway has ended. Thanks to all who entered!
Keep an eye out for future giveaways at!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Winter as a Blank Slate

One of the littles with our mini snow shovel,
digging a path on the sidewalk next to the side garden.
Our property ends at that little sidewalk--yes, there
actually is a garden smooshed up there against the house! :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Overheard in the Kitchen: Simon Explains Water Kefir

Simon posing for me with his grape-flavored water kefir.

If you are the major proponent of change in your home (read: troublemaker) and are looking for a way to drag the rest of your household along with you, it makes sense to help them get there the same way you did. Help them try small steps. Watch the steps work. Watch your family members learn to love it. --Dasiy Siskin in Little House in the Suburbs

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

20+ Ways To Eat Your Kraut

20 + Ways to Eat Your Kraut (every day of the year)
*Note: Some of the ideas below require cooking the kraut, and some do not. The good bacteria that is living in your kraut will die if it's heated over 110 F, so while I recommend eating kraut whenever you can, also try to eat plenty of kraut cold, or barely warmed.

Kraut Salsa! I'm so glad my friend Tess from Homestead Lady taught me this!

1. Number ONE way to get daily kraut--Straight out of the jar. Use a clean fork and grab a bite whenever you want.

2. "We do Reuben Sandwiches or Reuben Burgers with Kraut! Delicious! Also, my grandma used to fry it with potatoes for breakfast." -Charley from Cooke's Frontier

3. "We eat it almost every day for breakfast. We usually have scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, and kraut--either from cabbage, or for a treat, beets. It took some getting used to, but now we really enjoy the super healthy start to the day!" -Christine from Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

4. "We just had pulled BBQ pork from wild boar we harvested this fall; kraut on top as a sandwich for New Year's was surprisingly great!" -Kate from Backwoods Homestead

5. "On top of baked potatoes!!!" -Angi from A Return to Simplicity

6. "Crockpot Sauerkraut and Kielbasa!" (clickable recipe here)  -Kelly from Simple Life Mom (also, here's her method for making kraut)

in sushi...what??? Yeah!

7. "Reubens, for sure! I also like to cut up smoked sausage and onions and mix them with kraut in a frying pan to warm them all up together." -Patrick from Survival at Home (here's his method for making kraut...and in his post he mentions loving kraut on hot dogs, too!)

8. "With pierogis and kielbasa!" -Megan from Linn Acres Farm

9. "Reubens are our favorite. I also like it with sliced beef link sausage." -Erica from Mom Prepares (here she describes her journey into making kraut and other ferments!)

*You may have noticed Reuben sandwiches are a common theme.
If you are mostly vegetarian like me, give this recipe for Vegetarian Reubens a shot. :)

10. "In the crockpot with kielbasa and sauteed onions, served with mustard, or in pierogies." -Alecia from Chicken Scratch NY

11. "We eat it like salsa on those organic chips from Costco." ( I find this idea GENIUS!)  -Tessa from Homestead Lady

12. "We eat in on the side with nearly all meals. Around 1 to 2 T--aids in digestion and ups the good microbes in the gut. I will even have it at breakfast but my hubs turns up his nose at breakfast! I make a 9 x 13 casserole with mashed potatoes, sausage and kraut with extra seasoning of salt/pepper and butter. Bake and serve." -Pamela from Cedar Hill Chronicles (check out her incredible recipe for a spicy Latin American kraut called cortido here!)

13. "We like it with smoked sausage & mashed potatoes...or pork ribs...crock pot all day long. Yummm." -Jo and Eddie Rellime from Homestead Chronicles  

14. "Hubby likes to eat it as a side dish with a nice pork roast." -Mindie from (mis) Adventures of a Born Again Farmgirl

15. "I love to make a plate of sliced, fried sausage, a big heaping pile of kraut (sauer, not that sweet junk), some slices of sharp cheddar, and some pretzel bread. Just all laid out on a plate like a ploughman's supper. Mmm...."  -Brandon from Lonestar Farmstead

16On Oatmeal. I am dead's so good! 1/4 c. rolled oats, 3/4 c. water, 1/2 apple, chopped. Cook for 3-5 minutes in microwave (or however you cook your oatmeal). Top with cinnamon, a few tablespoons of kraut, and a drizzle of maple syrup. Sometimes I can't even discern the kraut, other times I get a nice little occasional zap of sweet-sour yumminess!

Perfect on top of apple-cinnamon oatmeal. True story. Crazy, I know!

17. Add it to coleslaw.

18. Add it on top of a big old yummy salad.

19. Use it as a sushi filling (we love making homemade sushi a couple times a year--no raw fish, only veggies! Recipe coming soon to the blog).

20Pancakes! Either add a little to your batter, or a put a dab on top with your syrup. Don't knock it til you try it!

21. On pizza. You can even make a special batch of kraut with added jalapenos, garlic, and fresh thyme and oregano if you have them. A perfect kraut to top pizza!

22. On tacos. Again, make a special batch just for your taco nights; this time add some crushed cumin seed to the kraut when you make it.

23Quesadillas: equal parts kraut, shredded or finely sliced apple, and sharp cheddar cheese, melted between two tortillas. YUM!

There you go...PLENTY of kraut-eating ideas. Take some notes on what things sound the most amazing to you. Get started with your kraut--it's as simple as picking up a cabbage the next time you go to the grocery (or, if you still have cabbage from your own garden, then bonus for you!).