Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You Give Me Fever


Spring fever has hit my household and it brings a seed starter kit equipped with plastic cups with a clear lid that encloses the plants acting like a greenhouse and a bag of starter soil.  This is the beginning of our garden that will either succeed or die a miserable death due to lack of care only because the mosquitoes drove us out. We started learning how to garden a few years ago and we are responsible for the murder of many lovely plants.  The first year I started my herb garden I tilled the soil, opened a few packages of thyme, coriander, chives, cilantro, dill, and dumped the packages where ever.  Everything grew into a massive out of control mess that made no sense to me because it was my first time planting anything and I didn't know what everything was supposed to look like.  The only thing I knew was dill because it was tall and smelled like a jar of pickles.  I also knew chives because they were taking over the herb garden, were growing out of tree stumps, and they smelled like an onion.  The rest I wasn't touching , my luck I would be sprinkling flakes of dried grass on spagetti or clover in with some vegetables.  We had purchased every garden magazine, getting inspired with each blueberry bush(that we tried and killed), and raspberry bush(that never got planted and is actually still on our front porch) on each colorful page.  We had all kinds of plans of putting flower beds over there and planting seeds that need sun shine over here under the shady tree.  We were not properly educating ourselves and we were waisting money.  I do believe we finally hit rock bottom when we decided to plant a pumpkin patch in the middle of our dirt driveway that produced one pumpkin much resembling an orange.  Our very first vegetable garden had a "raised bed" look.  I believe one of our guests asked if there were six dead bodies freshly buried in our garden.  The second garden was slaughtered by Zeppelin; end of story.  Chris took it on himself to build a fence last year around the garden with an old door we found in the loft.  The garden took on a very decorative look  with flowers planted amongst the vegetables, and ornamental lettuce as fillers of color.  We learned a few tips and tricks once we started becoming more educated about gardening.  For instance if you recycle your toilet paper rolls you can use them to keep 'growing seedlings' stable  which can be planted right into the soil where they will decompose.  We learned how to build a compost that has been very self gratifying knowing we are nourishing our garden with our fruit and vegetable waste.  Friends and family have shared their wisdom with us and we are on our way to being better green thumbs!
Tips and Tricks passed on to us:
  • Use a baby diaper planted at the bottom of a plant needing lots of moisture stored.
  • Bury a plastic pop bottle leaving the neck exposed, with holes punched in the sides and bottom, plant it along side a plant needing consistent moisture  and pour water in the bottle once in awhile.
  • Cut a two litre pop bottle in half and use the lower half on top of ailing plants to give them more life in a your make-shift green house.
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Check out these toddler recipes submitted by Hollie Helland.

Egg free French toast with bananas
1 ripe banana
3 fl oz (around 1/3 cup) milk (you can use breastmilk/formula for younger babies.
pinch cinnamon
drop vanilla
whole-wheat bread
Place all the ingredients (except the bread) into a food processor and blend well.
Dip in pieces of bread, making sure the mixture coats them well on both sides.
Fry in a little unsalted butter or oil over a high heat until golden.

Sweet potato pasta sauce
little olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
4 fl oz (1/2 cup) milk (use breast milk or formula if you wish)
Saute the onion and garlic in the oil over a low heat until tender.
Add the sweet potato and enough water to just cover it, then bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat, then simmer very gently for 20 mins.
Cool, then place in a food processor with the milk and blend well.
Serve over cooked pasta.

Check out this low calorie yummy muffin recipe submitted by my sister.
Bob's Red Mill Bran Flaxseed muffins (buy at Safeway in the organic section)
> Ingredients
> 1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
> 3/4 cup Brown Flaxseeds Meal
> 3/4 cup Oat Bran Cereal (I use all bran buds)
> 1 cup Brown Sugar (I use 1/2 cup of Splenda brown sugar)
> 2 tsp Baking Soda
> 1 tsp Baking Powder
> 1/2 tsp Salt
> 2 tsp Cinnamon
> 1 1/2 cups finely shredded Carrots
> 2 peeled and shredded Apples
> 1 mashed banana
> 1/2 cup Raisins (optional)
> 1 cup chopped Nuts (I use walnuts)
> 3/4 cup Milk
> 2 beaten Eggs (I use 4 egg whites)
> 1 tsp Vanilla
> Directions
> Mix together flour, Bob's Red Mill Flaxseed Meal, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in carrots, apples, raisins (if desired) and nuts. Combine milk, beaten eggs and vanilla. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir until ingredients are moistened. DO NOT OVER MIX. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.
> Yields 15-20 muffins
> Nutrition for unaltered recipe:
> One muffin contains Calories 220, Calories from Fat 80, Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 0.5g, Cholesterol 30mg, Sodium 310mg, Carbohydrates 34g, Dietary Fiber 5g, Sugar 21g, Protein 6g.



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