how to make

Homemade Hummus From The Garden

One of best things about having a garden is the ability to create healthy dishes using ingredients you KNOW. You know where they came from, how they were handled, what’s in them, etc.  I don’t know about you, but this is a definite plus, for me. And my kids, though I don’t think they can totally appreciate this aspect, yet!

Homemade Hummus

But they can appreciate a good meal, and both adore hummus. And what’s not to love about hummus? It’s easy to snack on, delicious and healthy–perfect on pretzels or simple crackers. We added roasted red pepper to this recipe because we have peppers in our garden and happen to love the taste. We also grow chickpeas, garlic and lemons, a few other important ingredients in this recipe. More

Third Time’s A Charm

My daughter and I have been playing around in our test kitchen again and have come up with a delicious new cookie!  Test kitchen is just a fancy way of saying we’ve been cooking and concocting and this time, our mouths watered at the results. Oatmeal-Carrot Cookies that literally melt in your mouth with sweet delicious flavors that will have you tossing carrot seeds in the ground so fast your head will spin!

Oatmeal Carrot Cookies

Sure, you can buy carrots from your local market but where’s the fun in that?  I love to go to my supermarket and wander the aisles (I’m particularly excited by the weekly buy-one-get-one deals), but I really love harvesting vegetables from my organic garden, then proceeding directly to the kitchen for consumption of the same. Awesome feeling.

Anyway, with a bounty of freshly harvested carrots, I thought, “I need a new way to eat these babies.” My Fluffiest Carrot Cake is divine but way too fattening to eat on a regular basis. I mean, it’s too easy to eat three slices in a sitting. Too easy and bad for the hips. Very bad. So I decided to make a healthy cookie, instead. Unfortunately, healthy cookies are kinda hard to make, hence the title of this blog post. Our first two attempts failed. We sweetened the dough with honey which made the final cookies too “liquidy.” For the next batch we cut down on the honey but the cookies still didn’t have enough substance to them. Answer? More

All-Natural Sports Drink

Hello summer! And with it–the need for hydration. Whether you’re in the garden or on the playing field, running track or playing at the beach, the need for water is strong. However, for some of us, the need for electrolyte replenishment is strong. For most of us, simple water will suffice when it comes to re-hydration. However, if you exercise over 30 minutes, then you should consider a sports drink that will supply the balance your body needs to function at peak performance. “Electrolytes are essential minerals, including sodium and potassium, that regulate heart beat and blood pressure. When we sweat, we lose sodium and chloride (salt) and to a lesser degree, potassium, magnesium and calcium.” ~ Dietician Dawn Jackson Blatner.

branch of lemons

When I’m out in the garden or the gym–aka my home–I tend to stay active for an hour or more, so this drink was of interest to me. Add the fact that there’s no artificial coloring–no artificial anything–I was hooked. I had to try it. This recipe uses orange juice, but fresh lemons will work just as well. 🙂

Blatner’s homemade Gatorade:

3 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup orange juice

2 1/2 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon salt (I used Himalayan Pink Sea Salt)

Makes four servings. Per 8 ounce serving: 50 calories, 14 grams carbohydrate, 160 milligrams sodium.

I made this and it tastes like Gatorade-light. There’s no heavy sweet or salty taste as is with the original sports drink, but instead, a nice, light refreshing beverage with a hint of orange flavor. You don’t taste the salt, though I was able to detect the faint taste of honey. It really is a great alternative to Gatorade.

Find this and other homemade drink recipes here. Then, get outside and get active!!

Kids and Seeds

As our school year winds to a close, the kids are dutifully preparing for next year, eager for another season in the garden. We’ve planted our seeds, watched them grow and have reaped our bounty. Now comes the question: What to do with the seeds?

Why sell them, of course! We’re forward-thinking self-sustaining gardeners with a mind for planning, and we know that if we sell some of our seeds, we’ll have enough money to purchase more nifty magnifying glasses, spray bottles, worm poop and the like!  (We can grow and harvest seeds, but we’re NOT harvesting worm poop.)

And where are we going to store our seeds?  How about these fabulous seed packets?

seed packet variety

Aren’t they divine?  The kids made them and it was so easy. First, we sat in our circle of creativity. More

Confessions From a Worm Bin

This week I cleaned out my worm bin.  Well, cleaned “out” doesn’t really tell the story.  Exactly.  Though it may…

Up to my elbows in worm poop–excellent fertilizer for the garden and the only reason you’ll EVER find me up to my elbows in poop–I harbored some treacherous thoughts.  Dispatch came to mind, as did fishing.  With my worms.  Meaning no more plant food.  How did I get to this awful spot?  Well now, the beginning is always a good place to start.

For my birthday I received a worm bin. Now, you can imagine the excitement when I first laid eyes on this contraption.  Showed up on my doorstep complete with live worms.  Well heavens to hillsides, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven!  A worm bin–woohoo!  Alert the media, share with the bloggers–we’ve got worms!  Immediately I set out to work getting it set up and my wiggly babies settled into their new home. 

Over the next couple of months, I fed them, watered them and generally fussed over these gorgeous little pumpkins of mine all the while knowing that if I treated them well, they’d treat me well and poop up a storm!  Well, poop they did.  And pee.  Sorry to be so graphic, but this is “nature” talk–totally okay for the kids. (Better than some of the stuff I’ve overheard on the playground, let me tell you!). 

Any-hoo, we were off to a good start until I realized my worms weren’t migrating upward as they should.  In the instructions, it was quite clear:  continue to add bins and fresh food and the worms will migrate up, leaving their poop down below and easy to “harvest.”  Read:  scoop out and allow to dry before storing. 

Hmph.  False advertising, if you ask me.  These worms were having no such thing!  They were swimming in the bottom bin full of their own “you-know-what” and leaving me no choice but to pluck them out one by one–if I wanted the black gold they had so kindly produced.

Have you ever tried to pluck a worm from slimy goop?  It’s not pretty.  And it’s stinky.  I’ll be honest with you.  I was wholly prepared to call my son and allow him to “harvest” some of the worms to use as fishing bait.  In fact, I was fantasizing about doing so myself.  Pretty mean with a pole, I know I could catch some real beauties with these red wrigglers (that is what they’re for, other than pooping).  Oh yes–it’s true.  In the midst of the nasty mess, I was prepared to quit.  And I hate to quit.  But this worm bin was proving a challenge and beyond my gardening limits.

But I didn’t quit.  Not yet, anyway.  I can still be trusted with the worms well being, keeping them active and fruitful. 

Whether it was that half-gallon bag of poop I secured or the mere fact I didn’t want this project to get the best of me, I still have worms and I still have a bin.  Though come to think of it, they might do wonders for my compost pile… 

Anyone else thinking relocation?  Sure would solve the aggravation factor. 

But not the fertilization one.  For now, I’ll keep my bin, but with this heat, I can’t guarantee for how long. Stay tuned!  Better yet–give me some positive reinforcement and helpful suggestions and I may not sneak out for a quick fishing trip. 🙂  Maybe.