Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 30?

Lost count on how many days we've been growing, but that's because it has done so well.  The basil was the way to go. It grows fast and is a delicious summer flavor in sauteed dishes or fresh salads.

We have been pinching it, just above new leaves, to encourage growth and enjoy our apartment garden in meals.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Apartment Gardening

Interesting solutions for indoor gardening are abundant. The most recent find aside from our favorite simple Aerogarden are at Living Apartment's website.  They have clear plexi trays to allow light to cascade from the upper LED fixtures down to the bottom plants.  There is also a science behind the size and type of plants that are placed at different levels to allow for the appropriate amount of light.  You can see some of their concept drawings and details for construction on their photo site.

You can turn many household or recycled items into indoor gardening tools. Take their example of a colander turned into a garden bed for sunflower sprouts.  That could easily be placed on a dining table as a center piece or the top of a book shelf near a window.  What a great way to add edibles to your indoor space.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day 3: Seeds sprouted

The bark fill we purchased from the local hydroponic store is doing the trick.  One day into it and the Arugula sprouted, two days into it and both of the Basil capsules have sprouted.  They are so cute and promising peeking up, reaching into the light.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day 1 Aerogarden experiment 2012

Visited a local hydroponic store for replacement bark pods, inserted seeds, and filled with liquid fertilizer tinted water.  Off we go. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Aerogarden lighting up in our living room

We've had a change in gardening lifestyle over the past several months and are now downsized to no physical garden space on a daily basis.  It's been an adjustment. After spending a couple months without my herb garden to walk out into and harvest from, I am back to the Aerogarden, given how successful it was for us last year. 34 days and we had edible herbs.  It's a currently produced, financially viable, mini version of this amazing futuristic growing kitchen.

This shift also means that my children's garden in our yard will not happen in 2012.  It doesn't however mean that it will not ever happen.  Life has a way of shaping us, and I view this year as one that will move me in a better direction.

Oddly enough, our vegetable bins have never been fuller this time of year.  Family have been generous in their offerings from their gardens in filling our fridges and freezers.  Some of my tricks now to preserve fresh garden foods include:

1. boiling and freezing kale
2. chopping chives and freezing in ziploc baggies
3. boiling and pureeing spinach for smoothies
4. freezing small amounts of my purees in ice cube trays.

Next big question, what are the 7 plants we should grow to eat in our mini garden?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April state of the garden

Daffodils in bloom, tulips up, gladiolas peeking through the mulch.  Sunshine warming the yard.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Garden Plans 2012

This year, I have two garden plans developing in my mind.  Our yearly vegetable patch and plotting what will go into the children's garden.

Ideas to include in the children's garden

Little Dirty Hands

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Garden Time TV - Oh WOW

While researching children's gardens, my aunt Teresia Hazen recommended viewing videos on GardenTime TV.  You can search for her videos under the archive.  Even more exciting was going direct to the YouTube channel and finding over 918 garden related videos. It is like being in a vegetable garden with ripe beans, peas and tomatoes, so many videos to absorb.

A few of my favorites for the Little Dirty Hands:

Kindergarden - Planting Pea Pots

Children's Gardens

In a new series of blog posts focused on gardening with children, I will be sharing ideas for activities, projects, and the benefits of digging in the dirt.  Gardens are a sensory experience, therapy for the body and emotions. They are the ideal place for small hands and large to explore and learn independently and together.

Dirty little hands:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Leeks, an overlooked vegetable

I have overlooked the delicious leeks until this past year.  My recipes are slowly beginning to include the versatile vegetable, including well known dishes such as potato leek soup (this one I hope to try soon).  This spring we will be planting leek starts in the veggie patch.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Orange Smoothie

I started with this as a base for my smoothie and modified it to the following:

4 oranges peeled
1 1/2 cups homemade yogurt
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 cup unbleached sugar
10 cubes ice

It is mom and toddler approved.  Stored in glasses with their lids on them in the fridge for a quick, healthy meal and drink.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Cauliflower and Bacon

Tonight's dinner was this simple recipe.

We have a habit of standing over the stove when it comes out of the oven and rapidly polishing off all the bacon.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Making Healthy Kid Food

Simple, healthy food for kids is easier than you may think.

I make batches of basics that both kids and adults can enjoy. In this round, a batch of garden kale steamed with garden onion, quinoa, broccoli, and ground turkey meat.

Kale and onions from our garden 
Ground turkey

Variety is great in making each mix.  I rummaged through our fridge to look for little leftovers and found bow-tie pasta and sweet potatoes. You'll also want to look through your spice drawer, flavor is critical to yummy food.  Salt and pepper are not used in this process. 

Based on the size of chunks you want, fill the food mill with all the ingredients that are too big for your little one to munch down.  In our case I hand cranked the kale, turkey meat, pasta, and broccoli. For both the turkey and broccoli, I left some aside to break apart by hand. The sweet potato mushes up with a fork in the bowl.  This addition of larger chunks ads texture and sometimes comes in useful as finger foods when I need a moment to take a bite of my own dinner.

I did two different meals with the same basic ingredients.

Option 1: Pasta, turkey,broccoli
Option 2: Quinoa, turkey, remnants of broccoli (and pasta), kale, sweet potatoes

In both instances, I added seasonings that I enjoy from the spice drawer. I highly recommend options such as hot peppers (just not too much), paprika, sesame seeds, cumin, garlic (if you don't have fresh heads cooked into any of the food), and this amazing Israeli Meat blend that comes direct from Tel Aviv thanks to family. I'd tell you want is in it if I knew, but it's all in clear plastic baggies when it arrives here from their market.

After a lot of hand cranking while watching some good old TV shows or singing to the music on the radio, you'll find yourself with a full container of minced food.  Fill jars and freezer safe containers with the goodies, label with the ingredients and today's date, then store for the next couple weeks.

What meals do you enjoy making to freeze for your kids?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Swiss Chard Quesadillas Recipe

This  was killer with Dinosaur Kale steamed with garlic and onion from the garden.
Swiss Chard Quesadillas Recipe

Make-Ahead Steel Cut Oats

Our family has taken to regularly preparing Steel Cut Oats ahead of time.  We, usually the hubby, ok, always the hubby and at my request, will make a large batch for the upcoming weeks.  They are best made the night before. In our case since we make 2cups worth, we freeze what we don't need for the immediate 4-5days.  
Great overview of oat options and recipe can be found here:

A Northwest winter

Our Winter Snow Garden

With about 6 inches of snow from one day, ice falling in the morning, and more snow in the afternoon, our garden looked like a winter ice palace estate.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Internet Goes on Strike!

January 18th, 2012 is the largest online protest in history, to stop theinternet censorship bills, SOPA & PIPA. Join in by blacking out your siteand urging everyone you can reach to contact Congress now.

Everyone: Prepare to Strike

  1. If you have a Twitter account, tweet about the #SOPASTRIKE and ask your followers to get ready. You can follow us on twitter for news as the strike gets closer. Go to Blackout SOPA to add ‘STOP SOPA’ to your Twitter image.
  2. Post this SOPA Strike page to your Facebook account by clicking here.
  3. Get ready for January 18th! Email and tweet at your friends, tell them to tell everyone about the strike. When the day comes, call Congress, tweet like crazy (#SOPASTRIKE), and help the strike appear everywhere!

Confirmed Participants:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Garlic Is In

A few months later than desired, but the garlic is finally in.  Sacrificed a few heads from last years crop and plopped about 50 little garlic cloves in about 2 inches deep.  Rotated the location to the center bed this year.  The were in the east most bed last year and in the side bed by the apples the year before.  Crop rotation is important to prevent diseases.

It's been a wonderfully mild winter, which I am thankful for to allow my slight delay in planting the garlic.  It's not too late to get a small bed in for next year.

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