Friday, December 21, 2012

Watch// inspiring foodie TED talks

My New Roots
Sarah says "With every bite of food we take we are voting for the way we will look, for the way we will think, and of course the way we will feel. Our food becomes us. Literally, the green salad or the plate of french fries. What will you be voting for at your next meal?"

take aways:
+making one change will change your life
+try something new

watch HERE


Cynthia says "the good intention and attention that you give that food, it comes back to you, and everyone at that table when you sit down and eat. It's simple, it's something you can do every day. Just be present while you butter a piece of toast."

take aways: 
+cook with love
+watch your thoughts as you cook
+be present, be here now
+stop using your body as a trash can with foods you don't want and don't need

watch HERE

Monday, December 10, 2012

gifts // buy local

 NOVA 001
Jen over at Delightful Delicacies featured me on her gift list for locals! CHECK IT OUT! She's really inspiring to me and I love her recipes and food photography. I've taken a cooking class from her before too! Talent and charm that Jen.

Jen also mentioned that I'm giving a coupon code for 10% off if you order soon. (my first time ever)
At checkout enter: NOVA10

The pictured bag is my 8oz of mango-cherry. I'm pretty sure it's my favorite one.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Friendsgiving dishes


I hosted our 4th annual Friendsgiving last Thursday and it was a success. We split up the food assignments which makes it easy on all of us. We each pick something we enjoy making or bringing and it turned into a great spread. There is so much magic when food, friends, warm lighting, and flowers come together. Makes me want to host a few more dinners this fall-winter.

Two Friendsgiving sides:

1. I made the salad and I just followed Green Kitchen Stories directions for their Millet & Pumpkin Winter Salad. It's a beautiful looking salad and would be a perfect side dish if you're in need of one this holiday. I substituted sweet potatoes for the pumpkin and spinach for the greens. I love how colorful and fall-looking it is.

2. Maggie made a stuffing that had me singing praises. I loved the cranberry punch in it. It's a 101 Cookbooks recipe, but is no longer on the site. Here is what Maggie did:

I used dates instead of figs and 2 cups of cranberries instead of one. For the walnuts, I just mixed them with an egg white and some sugar and toasted them in the toaster oven.
1 large loaf/slab of herb bread
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup dried figs, finely chopped
1 cup sugared walnuts (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the bread into 1/2-inch cubes. Shoot for 6 to 7 cups of cubed bread. Set aside in a large bowl.
Put the cranberries in a small saucepan with 1/4 cup of the apple juice and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until cranberries start to pop and split. Cook a minute beyond that and drain the cranberries, discarding the cooked apple juice. Add the cranberries to the bread, along with the onion, figs, sugared walnuts, and sage.
In that same small saucepan over medium heat whisk together the remaining (1/4 cup) apple juice, butter, and stock. Toss the bread (don't over mix or it could go to mush) and stuff whatever it is you are going to stuff. Alternatively, bake, covered, in a casserole dish at 375 degrees for 50 minutes.
Makes about 6 cups of stuffing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Quinoa Dinner Bowl // Recipe

 quinoa bowl
My sister Egan is always cooking up some delicious, healthy, unique concoction. Every time I go over to her house I'm inspired by something she's making.
Yesterday we made dinner and she helped me with a craft project. I think I could eat this meal every night no problem.

Quinoa Dinner Bowl

layer the following:
+raw kale with a little olive oil
+purple cabbage
+cooked quinoa (hot or cold)
+canned black beans (hot or cold)
+roasted sweet potato
+stir fried chicken (grass-fed)
+drizzle of balsamic vinegar

the variations are endless...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Carrot Apple Muffins // Recipe

Years ago my sister Egan introduced the family to these healthy muffins. They've always been a great way to use any extra carrots or maybe apples that aren't crisp enough to eat.
I adapted this recipe a little and they still turned out great.

Carrot Apple Muffins
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup organic sucanat
3 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/8 tsp. baking soda
3/8 tsp. salt
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 shredded carrot
1 shredded apple
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 egg white

Stir dry ingredients together. In food processor shred apple and carrot. Add most ingredients to dry ingredients. Spoon into prepared muffin tins. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thai at home // recipe

For my last meal at home, my mom (with some help from me) made homemade bread and pad thai. One of the best reasons to cook at home is the control. Pad Thai can be pretty heavy at a restaurant, but at home, you can lighten it up and adjust to your liking. This recipe is fresh and feel good. Don't you love my mom's big white bowls? Perfect for pad thai.

The bread recipe is from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and has a sprinkling of Mediterranean salt on top from Whole Foods, the spread is grape jam homemade by my mom.

Pad Thai
Family Fun magazine 2007
½ pound dried rice noodles, linguine width
¼ cup Asian fish sauce
3 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. water
½ tsp. dried red chili flakes (optional)
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. chopped garlic
¼ pound skinless, boneless chicken cut into bite-size pieces
¼ pound shrimp (about 10-12 medium or 14-16 small) or substitute tofu
1 cup shredded carrot
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
½ cup chopped scallions
3 Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice
Chopped peanuts

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.  Add the noodles and turn off the heat.  Let them stand for 10 minutes, using tongs or two forks to separate the strands as they soften and turn from translucent ivory to white. Drain the noodles, rinse them well in cold water, and drain again.  Set them aside

In a small bowl, stir together the Asian fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce, water and chili flakes (if desired), until the sugar dissolves and everything is well mixed. Set aside.

Heat 1 Tbs. of the vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat.  Add the egg and scramble it as it cooks just until it is no longer runny, about 30 seconds.  Transfer the egg to a plate.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and swirl it around.  Add the garlic and toss well.  Add the chicken and cook it until the edges have mostly changed color, about 1 minute.  Toss it well and continue cooking to brown it, about 30 seconds, then push it to the sides.  Scatter the shrimp, spreading them out, and cook until the edges have changed color, about 1 minute.  Toss them well.  Add the carrot and cook everything about 1 minute longer.  Scoop the chicken, shrimp, and carrot into a bowl, leaving as much oil as possible in the pan.

Swirl the last tablespoon of oil in the pan.  When it’s hot, add the noodles, spreading them to the edges.  Cook for 1 minute, until the oil sizzles.  Scoop up the noodles and turn them over in a big mass.  Cook them another minute, then turn them again.

Pour the sauce mixture around the sides of the pan.  When it sizzles, place the cooked chicken and shrimp on the noodles along with the bean sprouts, scallions, and cooked egg.  Gently scoop the noodles from the bottom and turn them over.  Continue tossing them to mix in the chicken, shrimp, egg, etc.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Add the lime juice and toss the noodles well.  Serve the pad thai hot or warm, topped with chopped peanuts if you like.  Serves 4

Thursday, November 1, 2012

for halloween

A Happy Halloween lunch yesterday.

It's time for clementines! I eat 3 a day at least. Easy.
For the acorn squash: I sliced, took out the seeds, sprayed olive oil with the Misto, sprinkled with sea salt and roasted in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Monday, October 29, 2012

whole wheat pancakes with pompegranate

I was skimming my pancakes tab in google reader and saw this recipe that interested me. I subbed almond flour in for the walnut flour. I also didn't have a full cup of almond flour, so I added the oats. I didn't have any applesauce, so I put in some plain yogurt. The story is, it turned out great. Delicious pancakes without having to go to the grocery store!
recipe adapted from Good Things Grow
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Mix the dry ingredients together in a big bowl. If you do not have almond flour you can take almonds and put them in your food processor until a flour like texture.
In a small bowl mix the eggs, milk, yogurt, and maple syrup. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Don't over mix!

A drizzle of maple syrup and sprinkle of pomegranate arils is all you need! I got my pomegranate arils from Costco.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

snacks with sisters

This is what happens when my mom pulls stuff together for a quick lunch:
beets from her garden
cheese slices
rice chips
apples and almond butter
carrot slices


Monday, October 22, 2012

family crossfit and crepes

Two things you'll get at my parent's house: an early morning gym time and crepes. 
On Saturday morning we got both. 
Egan's workout went like this:
50 pushups
50 lunges
50 squats
50 push presses
50 kettle bell swings
50 second plank
50 mountain climbers
50 abs

Saturday, October 20, 2012

apple crust-less pie

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 photo 4
I met my family for dinner on a Saturday night and decided a crust-less apple pie would do. I just did this. I recommend some ice cream or whipped cream on the side. I also would have liked some crunch on top, but then it would have been more like a crisp and less like a pie. But who writes the rules anyway?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

smoothie shake


What's the difference between a shake and a smoothie? Is it ice cream?

I've been craving a shake for a couple weeks now, but not the kind with ice cream, the kind with peanut butter and banana and cocoa and almond milk. My New Roots has a milkshake recipe that I LOVE (here), and that's what I've been wanting.

Egan introduced me to this new place called Cafe SuperNatural in Salt Lake City. It's very healthy (plant-based, mostly raw, and gluten free). We shared a cacao shake last Friday and it satisfied my shake wishes in a big way.

I've been on this soaked steel cut oats kick for a few months now and this week I made the switch to morning smoothies for breakfast. My favorite combination feels more like a shake/smoothi. combination. Maybe just because of the chocolatey-peanut buttery addition.

Breakfast Smoothie
I don't measure anything, I just eye ball it to make 1 tall glass.

almond milk
greek yogurt
frozen berries
banana (frozen or ripe)
pitted date
1/2 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon cacao powder

blend* away.

*for the record. I love my Ninja blender. I got it for my birthday this year.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Featured// Roxy Marj

Roxy featured Nova on her blog today!!! She said a lot of nice things.

I've been looking at her blog for awhile now and I'm so in love with her art. I've yet to meet her in person but her sweetness, creativity, and simplicity is evident on her blog and I can tell that she's the real deal.

Her etsy is packed with pillows, prints, plates, posters, and more. Have you seen her envelopes? I have stared at her envelopes so many times trying to decide which one. Even the way she wraps her orders is art. Take a look!
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Saturday, October 13, 2012

a finish

Last Saturday was THE day, the day I had been training for all summer. I finished the St. George Marathon, all 26.2 miles. I crossed at 3:54 and with medal around my neck I chugged a chocolate milk, grabbed a slice of bread, ate a plate full of fruit and wandered around till I found my sister and friends. It was a great the 'I did something really hard today' kind.
Since the race I've been trying to figure out life post structured training. It's a little weird to not have certain miles hanging over my head each day. I miss it, but I am still riding off the marathon high. Maybe I'll run another one someday because I still love running!

on my marathon playlist:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

listening while I run

I'm a couple weeks away from marathon day (October 6th) and I'm really excited. And guess what?! I still love running! I'm pretty surprised myself. One thing that gets me out the door and on schedule for training is what I'm listening to.

When I first started training I was into Pandora and switching from the Beyonce station to the Dixie Chicks, to the Avett Brothers, to Jay Z, to Jimmy Eat World, Fleetwood Mac and around and around.

Then I got really into the Mormon channel where I listened to a bunch of "Conversations" which I really enjoyed.

Now I'm into and I've been through 3 books so far. I've been so happy with it.

Do you like listening to books while you're exercising?
Any books you recommend?
Picture 4

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sunday dinner with us

My roommates and I made Sunday dinner together which I think was the first time in ever for us.

We had a quinoa taco salad in that bowl there, fruit on the sides, tortilla chips, and I made corn bread from my new Feeding The Young Athlete book (I just got it in the mail, it's so great!).

I'd repeat this every Sunday if I could. Super nice food and time with top girls.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

zucchini bread with some butternut squash

My sister's give me zucchini every week and I am always very happy about it. If they are small then I slice them and stir fry them for dinner. If they are big then I bake something with them. 

A week or so ago I made Edible Living's zucchini bread with adaptations.
I used whole wheat flour, applesauce, honey, succanat, and since I didn't have a pear I used pureed butternut squash.

This bread turned out so tasty. I like it when I bake something healthy but it can still hold together and isn't too soft and wimpy. You know?! 

Bonus to this makes two! Why not wrap it up and cheer someone with a warm loaf?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sunday picnic

picnic 2
On Sunday my sister and I and a few friends all met up to grill some food and pack some side dishes to take up the canyon. We chose Millcreek Canyon which is close to my sister's house and turns out everyone else had the same idea as us. So with no vacant picnic tables we found ourselves at the top of the canyon and laying out blankets on the side of the trail. It was perfect. 
For dinner we had each grilled our own main dish (fish on my plate) and then shared some side dishes. There was spaghetti squash, grilled zucchini (a little sad and limp looking in the photo), garden tomato salad, chips and homemade hummus, cookies, Perrier with lime, and paleo pumpkin muffins. It was a great spread. The weather was so nice too. Why haven't I been doing this all summer long?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

feeding myself

A couple thoughts here...
I saw this on facebook from Cookus Interruptus and I loved it. There is application to a lot of foods we eat and is one of my strong beliefs---eating REAL food. I'm not perfect at it all the time, but it's something I consider as I grocery shop, and when I'm picking a place to eat, or planning a meal. What am I eating? Is it processed? What is it made of? Where is it coming from?

Picture 2
Also from Cookus Interruptus is a book by Cynthia Lair that is coming out in a few weeks. I'd really like to read it and I love the topic. The author is a Health and Nutrition Counselor and Professor at Bastyr University. She wrote the cookbook "Feeding the Whole Family" which I have blogged about before and some favorite recipes are from that book.
I'm going to quote what she said about her new book....
"Practice is only part of a winning sports strategy. Whole foods have to be part of the playbook to increase energy, endurance, and focus, both on and off the field. What to eat and when to eat, pre-game, during and afterwards? How much fluid do you need to be hydrated? What to eat when you’re on the road? These are critical answers to have for young athletes, competing on a demanding schedule and eating on the run."
So cool right?! As I'm training for a marathon this fall I have nutrition on my mind and how to feed myself before and after runs. Even without the marathon training I never quite know if I am feeding myself the right way when it comes to being an athlete.
Is this a subject that interests you? How do you feed yourself when you are being active?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

muffins to freeze

I already shared this muffin recipe HERE, but I'm back to talk about them again.
Have you made them yet?

This time I bought butternut squash, cut it in half and cooked it in the oven for 30 minutes. Once it cooled I measured it by the cup full into bags to freeze for later use. I've used canned squash in these muffins before and that works just fine, but I couldn't find any at the store I was at so I just did it this way.

Sunday morning I made the muffins, but instead of dried cranberries and semi-sweet chocolate, I added frozen berries. Can't go wrong there!

This recipe makes about 26 muffins which I put in the freezer and I eat as a pre-workout snack in the morning.

Most muffin recipes out there are more like cupcakes in calories and fat, but these are healthy and you can tell because each ingredient does something good for your body. That's the way I like to eat!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Guest Post: Gardening// Ellie

 I've asked a few gardeners to guest post about their experiences with gardening and what they've learned. Being interested and passionate about natural foods and self-sufficient living has me looking forward to a garden of my own someday. 

Guest: Ellie, as she says below, recently got married and moved away from me. Our other cooking girl, Brooke, got married this week. So our cooking meet ups have taken a break, but we still keep in touch and wish we were in the kitchen together. I love Ellie and she has a passion for health and eating wholesome foods. I can't believe this garden!

Picture 1
With our recent marriage came relocation to a small town, and one of the first things we did upon arriving was plant a garden. We were lucky to find a landlord who would let us experiment with a large piece of their land, and experiment we did. We now have quite the jungle in our backyard.

We purchased our starts from a local nursery, our landlord (who grows her plants from seeds she harvests!) and from Home Depot. Home Depot has a great selection of Bonnie Plants, a brand of heirloom and traditional hybrid plants (non-GMO) that are sold in biodegradable pots.

What we planted:

A variety of peppers, a variety of tomatoes, zucchini, crookneck squash, butternut squash, eggplant, lettuce, broccoli, brussel sprouts, beans (bush and pole), beets, corn, carrots, strawberries, cilantro and basil.

What grew well:

Peppers (Anaheim, green, banana), zucchini (grew like a weed!), crookneck squash, corn, carrots, basil and cilantro.

Our tomatoes are growing rapidly but have yet to ripen, the butternut squash is just starting to come in and our beets and beans are growing nicely.

Advice from novice gardeners:

  • Find a local gardener who can help with pointers on what to plant and typical frost dates.
  • Make sure that your garden is protected from animals, especially deer in our case.  In the end, we put up deer netting around the entire garden.  
  • Invest in a cheap water timer for your hose.  Saves time.  Also helps to avoid accidentally leaving a sprinkler on all night.  
  • Pay attention to planting instructions on plant spacing and thin if necessary.  It hurts to pull up a healthy, growing plant, but it helps with overall plant growth and makes harvesting a much smoother process.  

  • Use Nutri-mulch (organic fertilizer locally produced here in Sanpete County).
  • NEVER plant more than one zucchini plant.
  • Freeze any excess produce, it’ll come in handy during soup season. I’ve been slicing/shredding produce and bagging it in 2 cup portions.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new. I’m absolutely lost when it comes to cooking with tomatillos (I didn’t even know that they were a relative of the tomato), but after looking up a few recipes I’m excited to make some salsa verde.

Speaking of recipes, I’ve been experimenting with zucchini bread a bit. I’m teaching a health class and I’m on a kick where I’m trying to make unhealthy foods as healthy as possible. Call me crazy.

z bread

Healthy(ish) Zucchini Bread

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
⅓ cup honey
1 egg
½ cup applesauce
2 cups shredded zucchini


1. Preheat oven to 350°
2. Mix together dry ingredients
3. In a separate bowl whisk together honey, egg, applesauce and zucchini
4. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients
5. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan, spread evenly
6. Bake in a preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until top is firm
7. Let cool, slice and enjoy!

Warning: This bread will be moist because of the moisture in the applesauce and zucchini, but it’s delicious!

 Thank you Ellie! I would love to come to your classes and learn all your healthy tips. And I can't wait to try that bread with the large zucchini on my counter.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Guest Post: Gardening// Annie

I've asked a few gardeners to guest post about their experiences with gardening and what they've learned. Being interested and passionate about natural foods and self-sufficient living has me looking forward to a garden of my own someday. 

Guest: My sister Annie lives pretty close to me so I'm lucky enough to eat her meals often. She is so good at using her garden and trying new things. I love how she excites her kids with garden fresh food and they really appreciate the taste of something straight from the backyard. 

I love my garden. So far this year zucchini and rhubarb have been very successful. But one of the things I have been reminded of this year is that one family doesn't need much more than one zucchini plant. I have way too much but we do love to share.
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This year I tried something new...and it really stinks. :) I added a lot of buffalo manure to my garden boxes besides my yearly fertilizer mix. I think it has actually worked. So far I am getting a much better crop.

To learn to garden I recommend taking a class or getting a book written by someone who gardens in your area. Your garden will be more successful if you are learning from someone who understands your soil and zone. If you are in Utah, I recommend this book by Gordon Wells. He is a successful Utah gardener with years of experience. You will learn everything from prepping soil, watering systems and how much to water, pest control and varieties of crops that do well in Utah.

This year my zucchini has been out of control. So we have honestly had zucchini in some form every single night that I have cooked. One common mistake is letting the zucchini grow too big. Just because they can become humongous, does not mean you should let it. It tastes much better if you pick them smaller. Unless you plan to shred it and then it is fine to let them get a little bigger. One of my favorite ways to eat zucchini is just sliced in long sticks (maybe 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick), toss with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper and grill. I have basket that I use but you can just lay them right on the grill. They only need a few minutes.
2012 294
Here are some links to a few of our favorite zucchini dishes.
Zucchini Fries - comes from the blog Our Best Bites. They are oven baked and easy. And we could eat a ton of them.

Lemon Herb Zucchini Fettucine (but I use whole wheat rotini)

And from Martha Stewart - Zucchini Quesadillas (I often add black beans, as well).

And we always have some zucchini bread and zucchini chocolate cake too. You really can't go wrong with zucchini. And if you have too much like I do or it grows to big, shred it and freeze it. It is great in soups, spaghetti sauce or breads in the winter.

To learn why you should eat zucchini - read this article here.
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Another thing OUT OF CONTROL but so so easy to grow - Rhubarb. And once you plant don't do anything. It just keeps coming back year after year. I got my rhubarb starts from my grandma and I will gladly pass on my starts. I like how it looks in my garden but it is even better in dessert. This week I have made rhubarb snacking cake from Smitten Kitchen and strawberry rhubarb pie. Yum. Don't be afraid of rhubarb because it looks like celery. It is delicious.
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Rhubarb Recipes we LOVE
To learn why you should eat rhubarb - read this article here.  Although while it has nutritional value, it is only used at our house as dessert so beware. :)

Thanks Annie. I want to go through and try all these recipes. They look so good. You're really good at using your garden. (and thanks for the zucchini on Sunday)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Guest Post: Gardening// Egan

 I've asked a few gardeners to guest post about their experiences with gardening and what they've learned. Being interested and passionate about natural foods and self-sufficient living has me looking forward to a garden of my own someday. 
Guest: My sister Egan lives about 10 minutes away from me and I love making food with her especially in the summer when we can use her garden. She does such a good job and she is a testament to having a successful garden and being the busiest person I know. (traveler, busy job, social, church, and every sport you can think of)
I asked her a few questions:

how long have you been gardening?
I started my first tomato plant (I LOVE garden tomatoes!) at a house I was renting with friends in Sugarhouse 6 years ago. Now that I have my own place I have had a garden every year I have lived here. Some years I have been more ambitious with what I plant than others. 
what made you want to start a garden?
My Mom and sister, Annie-- nothing compares to homegrown vegetables and we were raised working in the yard and ate fresh and healthy food. Plus I have this awesome little area for a garden and it would be a real shame if i didn't!
what gardening tip can you share?
I always have my 'go-to' vegetables that I love-- zucchini, tomatoes, basil because they are so easy and I love to eat them.. but I also think it's good to try something new every year instead of getting overwhelmed with trying them all at once. Then you learn what you like, learn what worked etc. Read up on your area and prep your soil! This year I tried peppers, cucumbers and strawberries. So far they have been pretty awesome! I also have learned to plant what you can manage. I am busy, especially in the summer and dont have time to spend in the garden everyday... or every week (oops). But I try to plant things that aren't too needy. Also my older sister Annie also gardens and so I  just do what she tells me. :) 
what was the biggest thing you learned from gardening?
Water management! It's different for each plant and makes a huge difference.  
what advice do you have to beginning gardeners?
Start with 1-2 things you love to eat and that do well in your area. Give your plants plenty of space to grow and good soil. And I have so much to learn so I cant give much more advice here except it's worth it!

Thank you Egan! You're everything I want to be.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Guest Post: Gardening// My mom

I've asked a few gardeners to guest post about their experiences with gardening and what they've learned. Being interested and passionate about natural foods and self-sufficient living has me looking forward to a garden of my own someday.

Guest: My mom. Lives in Seattle, WA. I first blogged about my parent's beautiful garden HERE. Oooooh how I love that place.
Seattle 2012_0268

Seattle 2012_0266

There are a lot of poems about gardening.  There are two I think of--and both kind of have a morbid touch to them (Robert Frost’s “A Girl’s Garden” and this one below, lyrics from the musical “A Secret Garden”).  Here is a sample: 

A bit of earth,
She wants a little bit of earth,
She'll plant some seeds.
The seeds will grow,
The flowers bloom,
Their beauty just the thing she needs.
She'll grow to love the tender roses,
Lilies fair, the iris tall.
And then in fall, her bit of earth
Will freeze and kill them all.

Gardening is like that--there are delightful and delicious rewards, but there is also the cycle of life--things get hurt, get sick, and even die.  There are things out of our most diligent control. But next thing you know it is spring and stuff starts growing again.  So, it is worth it.
mom garden 4
I grow a few flowers but I really focus on berries and vegetables--edible things.  That is because I like to eat more than I like to have a vase of flowers in my house.  I like the idea of being a bit more self-sufficient (there must be a better word) and I also like the idea of having really fresh vegetables and fruit.  I can go out in the yard at 5:30 and find something to make for dinner or breakfast from early May to mid-October.  Then I can go to my storage shelves or my freezer the rest of the year and get a bottle of tomatoes  (there is nothing canned that compares to the taste of home-bottled tomatoes) or zucchini relish, rhubarb for a crisp, or a bag of blueberries to smother my oatmeal.  It is a lot of work, but it is satisfying to me.

During my semi-Hippie days when I was 16 years old I began to long for a garden--to get back to nature. So when we bought our first home a few years later I planted a vegetable garden--that was in SLC which has great weather for gardening.  Then we moved to Seattle and gardening there is a different kind of thing altogether.  The sun is spotty,, the moss is pervasive, the slugs are ferocious eaters, and the nights are cold.  But I can usually get a really good crop of tomatoes and zucchini, some beets and carrots, early lettuce and peas, lately I’ve had great results with kale, and then there are the berries.   Berries love the Seattle climate and the acidic soil.  
mom garden1
Last night I made a delicious soup from a few zucchini and 2 bunches of kale.  Instead of the vermicelli it called for I used some angel hair spinach pasta.  I only used 3 cloves of garlic instead of 4 and was judicious with the red pepper flakes--but really, the flakes are an important part of the flavor of this soup so I was glad I added some.

Some of you readers probably haven’t gardened much yet, but I hope you won’t be afraid to try.  I was a city girl and had to learn through doing.  You can to--your plants might die, but next time they’ll grow and you’ll be so excited when you pluck a tomato off your very own vine!

Thanks for the post mom! I have so much to learn from you. Every single summer I am so sad I'm not in Seattle feasting on your garden.