Thursday, February 21, 2013

Spring Spinach Salad

 We have some spinach and lettuce growing in our garden right now that over wintered, yay! We are loving it! A few nights ago I made this delicious salad with a whole bunch of spinach and some of the beautiful leaf lettuce. The recipe was shared with me by one of my good friends. It is so yummy I can't keep it to myself.

Spring Spinach Salad

 Here is the original recipe:
1 lb. Spring Salad Greens
1 large bag Baby Spinach
1/2 C. slivered Almonds (brown in 3T. sugar & water)
1/2 package Craisins
1 Cup Grated Cheese
2 Cups Mandarin Oranges, Strawberries, and Avocado
Toss together well.

3/4 Tb. Poppy Seeds
1/3 Cup Sugar
3/4 tsp. Salt
3/4 Cup Olive Oil
5 Tb. or less of Mustard
1/3 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tb. Red Onion Grated
Put dressing on salad just before serving.

Jacob and I polished off the whole bowl ourselves.
I made a few changes to the recipe simply because I didn't have a few ingredients and of course I cut it in thirds, just enough for our family to eat. But as you can see we ate the whole bowl. Me and Jacob shared it because the kids aren't big on salad, but we did make them try it.  I couldn't stop eating it.  I didn't have any almonds so I threw in some sunflower seeds. I also didn't have any strawberries or avocado, but I wish I would have. No red onion for the dressing so I left it out, but it would have been a great addition. The lesson here is you can always adapt a great recipe to better suit the ingredients you have on hand. But next time I make this I am going to plan to have the other ingredients, because it would have been that much yummier. At any rate this one was a hit and I can't wait to make it again.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Garden Totals for 2012

456 Pounds of Produce

The grand total for all of our 2012 garden harvests adds up to 456 lbs of delicious top quality fresh food.  We preserved (bottled) a lot of our surplus for later eating, lots of tomatoes, beets, pickles, salsa etc.  We actually had some great bottled beets tonight for dinner, they add a nice color and variety to the dinner plate.  The kids loved how it turned their rice purple.

$861.71 Worth in Produce

So when we add up what all our garden goodness would cost in the store, we come up with $861.71!
That's over $71 per month in fresh off the vine and straight to the table fruit and veggies.

We used normal everyday pricing gathered througout the year.  We did not collect the organic pricing, which our food would stack up well against.  When you look at organic produce, you see a very high premium.
I would place our food above organic, we used beyond organic methods and techniques.  We are learning and progressing in our understanding of permaculture and other beyond organic methods. 


We have already started to plant our spring gardens.  We are amazed at how great our soil is, its rich, moist and dark.  It is a dream to dig and plant in.  We have used zero fertilizer and have built up our beds with worm castings (from our worm bins), leaves and grass clippings.  We also have incorporated Woody Beds (hugelculture) into most of our beds reducing water demands.  We are also amazed at how much life we find in the soil, its full of great insect life.

2013: Looking Forward

We look forward to this year, we hope to grow far more than last year in the same space.  We also are expanding our gardens out into the field behind us, planting in swales and contour beds.  We hope to greatly expand our harvest with this small area, we also plan to plant some pumpkins, squash and goards for market too. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Week 2 Update

Week 2 Down, and an Oops.

Okay halfway through my experiment of cutting out the sugar, soda pop, fast food etc.  All has gone well except when I attended my local ETBA Bee Keepers meeting last night.  As always our members bring snacks and treats, many made with honey of course.  So I kinda slipped up and ate more sugar than I had intended.  The best thing I ate was these mini sourdough honey wheat cinnamon rolls.  Oh man were they great, good flavor, sweet enough and you would never guess they were wheat.  I will share the recipe here in a few months. 

So I fell short one night out of 14, I started out justifying that much of what I had put on my small plate was made with honey, (one sweetener I did no swear off).  But I kinda stretched a bit, I had good intentions though not good execution.  Could it be that it was diner time and I had not had dinner yet?  Better yet I just gave into the temptation and was sucked back for more of those sourdough cinnamon rolls... man they were good.

Heart Burn

So I noticed tonight that I had a bit of heart burn, enough to go eat a couple of Tums.  I realized that I have not had to take anything for heartburn this whole time, which is unusual for me.  Typically there is a couple of times a week or even the whole week were I fight heartburn.  Not these last two weeks, there were a couple of times when I could feel it coming on and it would settle down. 

I think this can largely be explained by not drinking any soda rather than the sugar issue.  Soda is very acidic and likely a cause of many of my flareups.  Though considering what I ate last night, maybe the sugar caught up with me, I've felt it all day in the back of my throat. 

Weight Loss

I have officially lost 5-6 lbs, and to top it off we have not been getting up to exercise, we've all been sick and working out is the last thing you want to do when your sick...  I feel confident in explaining the weight loss to cutting out the sugar.

I'll check back in next week to update you on how it is going.  In the meantime I will post my sprouted granola recipe, very good and very healthy.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Slow Cooker Vegetable Minestrone

I haven't posted in so long but I have been sick with an icky sinus infection and so even though the weather here is nice and warm (we have even started planting our garden) I have still been in the mood for hot soup. Soup is always when of my favorites when I am not feeling my best. I also know that a lot of our readers still have snow on the ground where they live, so today I am sharing with you a recipe for one of my favorite slow cooker soups. This soup is delicious and makes for a great vegetarian meal.

Slow Cooker Vegetable Minestrone
4 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Broth
4 Cups Tomato Juice
1 Tb. Dried Basil
1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano
1/4 tsp. Pepper
2 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
1 Cup Sliced Carrotts
1 Cup Chopped Celery
1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
1 Cup Sliced Fresh Mushrooms
1 Quart Diced Tomatoes undrained
1 & 1/2 Cups uncooked Rotini Pasta
Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Mix all ingredients except pasta and cheese in a 4 to5 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. At the end stir in the pasta and cook on high for 15 to 20 minutes until pasta is tender. Serve hot sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. If you prefer and sometimes I do, cook the pasta separately and stir it in to each individual serving. This way if you have leftovers you can store your pasta separate from your soup which will prevent it from getting soggy.

Yum! I love this soup, it is wonderful and extremely healthy. My favorite part is the mushrooms, they are simply delightful!  Enjoy!