Showing posts with label food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


In my slow evoution towards suburban homesteading, I am trying to grow more food. This has been a difficult task for two main reasons: a. the backyard is 90% patio and mostly shade  b. our soil is clay.  Last year Max received a container garden for his birthday, and two of the tubs are brimming with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini and oregano. The little fenced portion in the back there is the only patch behind the retaining wall that gets a decent amount of sun, but something keeps eating whatever I plant there. I've never been able to actually find any critters on the plants, but they get munched nonetheless. My spearmint seems to be surviving this year. Yes, I know mint is invasive, but let it invade all it wants, as long as something green grows in that patch! It's a nice bonus that we can eat it, too.

The basil is pretty happy in the backyard, as well.

The front yard gets sun, although the soil stinks. Yes, I have ammended, but I've always had a hard time getting things to grow along this little strip. So, when my lavender died from frost, I decided to try some veggies over the summer. My tomatoes seem to think it's a lovely spot.
The zucchini like it, too.
We're even getting a few carrots.
We've had strawberries tucked in with the landscape flowers for years, but the snails get to most of them before we do. Dang snails.
And the hydrangeas? Well, I know you can't eat them, but they're just so pretty! So next year, I'm definitely putting more food in the front yard. For fall I think I'll try lettuce again (if I can keep the snails away) and calendula flowers. I'm not sure what to put in over the winter. It is the front yard, so I hate to keep a bare patch of dirt, and since we are in California, we don't get any snow to cover it up. Any suggestions for winter crops?

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Pleasures of Real Food

I cannot believe it has taken me five years to buy most of my produce from the farms that circle our town, but sadly, I confess it is true. In my defense, when we moved here I had a two year old and a one month old, so quick dashes to the grocery store were about all I could manage. But how did I let four more years go buy with primarily shopping for produce from a grocery store instead of a local stand, where the corn was picked that morning? Oh, the years I have wasted, the berries I have missed. I will miss them no more. These are just a sample of the amazing produce found at the Smith Family Farm stand. The blackberries are sinful. Plump, sweet and tart, and so full of juice! The juice absolutely fills your mouth, and finishes almost like a good Syrah. The kids ate bowls full. I popped some in Matt's mouth as soon as he walked through the door. Eating in season is so worth it. I will eat these until my finger are permanently purple, and wait for the heirloom tomatoes to arrive, their specialty. Oh, don't get me started on tomatoes...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Farmer's Market Bounty

The Farmer's market opened on Saturday, and the kids and I headed down to scoop up some local produce. Not that I didn't support eating local before, but Animal, Vegetable, Miracle has inspired me to make sure I'm buying as much local produce as possible. While we scored some fabulous food... Okay, I'll get my gripes out of the way first:
1. We live in an agricultural community, yet more than half of the booths are from out of town growers.
2. Only two booths had organic produce, and one was strawberries only (they were good, though!) and the other didn't have that much.
Yes, there are farm stands on the edges of town, and yes, I need to visit them, but I just wish they were at the market, too. You see, the library and city park are near the market, so the kids can play in the fountain, swing in the park, get new library books, and we can still go shopping.

Whew! Griping over! Of course, we found great food, and I learned that I need to bring more cash next week! Here's what I made for Saturday dinner:

Look at these amazing sugar snap peas! Grown right here in town, they are super crunchy and sweet. I served them as is for dinner, and the kids actually ate them! Yum!

The main dish - a baked asparagus pasta dish from Mollie Katzen (the recipe is not online, but she has featured asparagus recipes on her site, here). This one is just pasta, onions, asparagus, Parmesan and bread crumbs. It's super fast, and really tasty!

The finale? Organic strawberries!

And a few quick peeks of projects from the Scrap For A Cure May kit. You can snag one here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ADD Reader

I have an attention deficit problem. I can pay attention in class. I can pay attention at home. But I can't pay attention to only one book. I have been this way since my teenage years. I usually have at least three books on my nightstand. Here's what I'm reading right now:

Twinkie, Deconstructed
I'm about two thirds of the way through this one, and it made me realize that pretty much everything we eat comes from petroleum or corn. The author, a food science writer, investigates how each ingredient in a Twinkie is produced. It was quite an eye opener about modern food production. Yikes!

Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing
I just finished this one, although I haven't made any of the projects yet. They are definitely simple projects - the only one you'd really need a pattern for is the garden tote. The real inspiration from this book comes from her fabric patterns and appliques.

The Miracle of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh
I've been meaning to read this one for a long, long time. Mindfulness is something I try to practice, and this is a simple, beautiful book. I'm about a third of the way through this one.

Alabama Stitch Book, Natalie Chanin
Just started this one, but i am blown away by her beautiful clothes that are all HAND STITCHED, by local women. Amazing clothes, and inspiringly ethical business practices.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
This is my go-to book right now. Barbara Kingsolver documents her family's experience in eating only local, seasonal food for one year. It's chock full of information about modern food issues, the environmental impact of shipping food, and nutrition. Since the information is woven into the story of her family, it is informative yet reads like a story. I'm a hair short of a hundred pages into it, but I'm already checking each item in he produce section for where it comes from, and planning my menu on seasonal produce. It convinced me to plunk down double the price for organic, local asparagus the other day, and it was soooo worth it. Max actually ate his whole plate plus one of mine. I think many of us who enjoy cooking know that seasonal produce is always better, but how many times have we been seduced by those out of season berries or corn, only to regret the purchase after the first bite? You need to read this book, then give it to your best friend to read. I'm hoping to get caught up with the book club on, where I first heard about this book. If you have not checked out Tsh's site yet, you should. Lots of good info there!

So there you have it. Five books and counting. Yes, I have an attention problem.