good food = happy

20170725_165021-1_resizedLast year I thought we had way too many green beans.  I got the giggles 20180620_084922_resizedeverytime I ventured into the garden.  Our supply seemed never-ending.  We ate baskets and baskets of green beans.  We gave away bags full.  I cooked every recipe I could think of.  I froze some.

This Spring, I had learned my lesson and only planted four bean plants.  One didn’t make it.   Actually, three might be just enough.

It started out pretty easy.   I picked a 20180815_095417-1basket full and we had an amazing Sunday dinner.  Then a few days later I made Greek Green beans.  Oh, yes, Fried Rice with our green beans.

September has dawned and yes, I am still discussing and picking green beans.

I have given away a bag or two.  I tucked some in the bag with eggs I gave away.

I have a  friend who has the most incredible mind.  I want to call her a Renaissance woman. Self-sufficient and brilliant when it comes to making things.   She has this amazing ability to create so many different things. She is an expert knitter. Her quilting skills are admired by anyone privileged to see her work.  She designs things with beads that are so unique, they grab your attention right from the start.  However, it’s her cooking, baking, gardening skills that will make you lean in and listen.  She has much to offer to those of us willing to be still and watch/listen/learn.

“I like good food & food waste drives me nuts.  Fresh produce is a gift never to be squandered.”  FL

 

Notice every time I gathered goodness from the garden, yes, yes, indeed, more beans.  With the abundance of beans in my life, I got a bit whiney.

My renaissance friend encouraged me to dry some as snacks.   BRILLIANT!

 

Oops, I may have forgotten to take an after picture.  Suffice it to say, the bowl was empty but for a flake of nutritional yeast here or there.

“I like good food, I want those around me to eat good food.  Good Food makes everyone happy.”  FL

Last evening, I filled a pretty bowl.

Yes, you guessed it.

Green Beans.

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In this together, friends.

May you all be lucky enough to have a friend to learn from.  She makes life better.

Chat soon.

 

 

how does your garden grow?

square-foot-gardening 3Apparently, I’ve been living under a rock and am very late to this party, but similar to folks buying and installing “microwave drawers” in new kitchens (oh, that’s a whole other conversation) this gardening idea is a whole new concept for me.

Boy Howdy, after reading only 31 glorious pages, I’ve strapped on my party shoes (read that as cute gardening boots) and ready to get planting.

Okay, this book has sold over 2.5 million copies.  Really?  Seriously, people, I must really have enjoyed living in the dark. Where have I been?  Why didn’t I spy it while at the library?  Why hasn’t someone shared this amazing concept with me?  Why isn’t this being talked about?  Do I need to find new friends who want to talk about growing food?

I am excited (to the point of wanting to take out some of my garden beds and start over), fascinated and can’t wait to get started even this late in the growing season.   

20180513_175724_resizedMel Bartholomew’s innovative grid-based method is explained so simply (I wish I had the common sense to think of this myself, drats), All New Square Foot Gardening.  “The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space”. 

***By the way, I took the picture of the book laying in our lush, thick, feels amazing to walk on (grounding, is real and it is something we all need to do)  backyard grass.  If you get a chance might I suggest you ask Mr. Right what his secret is?  I’ll give you a hint:  it’s white, it’s granulated, it’s sweet and you purchase it in the baking aisle of the grocery store.

Goodbye, weekends of weeding.  Goodbye buying fertilizers.   Goodbye digging.  Goodbye, remembering to turn on and off the sprinkler to water everything. 

Hello beautiful, productive garden with an amount that I can handle, throughout the growingsquare foot gardening 2 season.  

This book is for sale everywhere, heck it is in its second edition.  For $15.89 through Amazon, you can be reading in a day or two!  

I highly recommend this book.  Need a gift idea?  Need a new homeowner gift suggestion? Give it to the seasoned gardener in your life.  BETTER YET, give it to someone who is toying with the idea of gardening but is hesitant because they think it is too much work, takes too much time and the list goes on.   Best part?  No matter where you are reading in the country or world, everyone can enjoy & use this system.

squarefoot0011This solves the issues of gardening is hard, it takes too much time, I can’t garden because we have poor soil, we don’t have a large enough area, the list goes on.

However, would you like to know what hooked me? 

I loved that when asking people why they planted gardens in rows with so much room between and using fertilizer………….and the answer was always, “because that is how we’ve always done it”  “because that is how my grandfather did it”.  You KNOW that was a reason for me to like it. 

As my own public service announcement, I highly recommend this book.  Please for the sake of people living under big rocks everywhere, do them and yourself a favor…………at least read the description & review on Amazon.  If you don’t want to part with $15.00, please consider checking it out of the library. 

If you are still thinking this is silly, there is no way this will help feed people.  There is no way this could be a remarkable thing to teach………just ask anyone in the Utah School system or homeschooling programs or world Mission programs……. 

Or for the love of anyone living under a rock, buy the book, slip it gently under the rock to them.  At least they will have something fascinating and interesting to read. 

In this together folks, 

Chat soon. 

tomato round up, yeehaw

20170913_132317-1_resizedThis year, the first weekend in May,  we planted 2 tomato plants.  The varieties were Early Girl and Big Boy.  One we purchased and the other was a free start!

Boy Howdy did we have a good year!  Gorgeous color, amazingly rich, bold flavor.  These beauties made some of the best sauce to come down the pike.

Sad side note:  Because of the wildfires in Canada and Eastern Washington and wind,  our tomatoes had a light covering of ash.  While good for the soil, we did rinse them off before bringing them inside.

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Once ripe, we ate fresh tomatoes almost daily.

20170907_180035_resizedOne older neighbor wanted one, plump, beautiful tomato to enjoy.

We gave away 3 bags full along with fresh picked Basil.  (I save those small gift bags through the year, then use them to nestle fresh picked produce in to share with the neighbors. So much cuter than filling a used grocery bag.)20170919_172531-1_resized

Then I kept track of how many pounds we picked & brought inside for us to process and use.  Are you ready?  Hold onto your cowgirl hats!

We had a grand total of 27.4 pounds!  That was from just 2 plants!!!!!

After I make yard sauce, which I use as a base for other sauces (rough chop a pan full of tomatoes, onion, and basil, sometimes Rosemary… olive oil, S & P, roast for 50 minutes on 425*, plop in Blend-Tec and push the button)

 

or spaghetti sauce, I freeze the bags flat.  I can stack the frozen packages book style, save oodles of space in the freezer and can easily see what each package contains.

 

 

Our evening temperatures are dipping into and below the 50* mark.  That means our on the vine tomatoes will not ripen any longer.

We do have a couple left ……………

I spy with my little eye………………something green.   I have a wonderful feeling that Fried Green Tomatoes will be making a debut on our plates in the very near future! 20170921_112458-1_resized

We are so grateful to have grown such a beautiful, lush, prolific garden with enough bounty to eat, share, process and freeze for later.

Already planning on what to plant next year and where.  Yes indeed, we will be rotating where we plant things.  We will nourish and feed our soil this winter.

How did you do?  Did you have extraordinary success this year?  I would love to hear how your harvest turned out this year and share any tips/tricks or common sense ideas you figured out from this season.

In this together, friends. Happy Harvest.

Chat soon.

we struck GOLD

Oh, glory be!  After months of remembering to water and fuss and crossing of fingers…….the time had come to get a little dirt under those finger nails.

The great backyard potato harvest of 2017.

We struck Gold! Yukon Gold that is.

I will let pictures tell the story.  I am off to start the water to boiling.  I foresee glorious mashed taters on my dinner plate tonight!!!

 

 

Just a little potato humor.  You’re welcome.  🙂

On with the show!

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I predict a whole bunch of crispy, wonderful home-made potato chips in our future!

How did your garden grow this year?

Chat soon.

 

 

friends share zucchini

When we were young, my mother would constantly remind us to choose our friends wisely.   “If you hang around sailors, you are going to swear like a sailor”.

cracker jacksOnce a month, our parents would go out to dinner.  The babysitter would give us each a box of Cracker Jack’s.   The boy on the box was the only sailor I really “knew”. He had a dog and gave away a surprise.  He didn’t seem that harmful.

Enter a new friend I made a few years back.  She is Greek.  Thus my curiosity in Greek cooking and dishes and customs has increased 10 fold.

Is it any wonder that lately I am drawn to Greek recipes like a dog to a dripping ice cream cone?

I made so many Greek Green Beans last year, even I got a bit tired of that dish.  For a time, I added Spanakopita to the lineup. Awww, my love affair with Filo Dough is alive and well, people.

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A couple of days ago, a neighbor graciously shared some zucchini with us.  Goodness, it’s that season of an over abundance of that vegetable.  Everyone is “blessing” anyone they know or don’t know with that vegetable.   I will admit to not planting any in my garden.  I had a sneaky suspicion that someone would have an extra one or two they would share.

You know?…………it’s been ages since I rustled up some Zucchini Fritters.  Sounds really lovely for a nice summer dinner.  Slice up some cucumbers and tomatoes and onions………we were off and running.

I went to look up my recipe……….wait, what’s this?

Greek Zucchini Fritters?  Yes, please!

20170810_123041-1_resized_1Google can most certainly help you with a recipe.

Would you like two 20170810_182808-1_resized_2secret tricks to beautiful fritters?

Shred the zucchini, salt with some Rosemary salt and let it drain for a couple of hours. Then squeeze out all the moisture you can.  Go heavy on the dill.  No, add a bit more.  Okay, a touch more.  Ha, that’s about right.  Wait, maybe another sprig or two.  Geesh, you already have the cutting board & knife out on the counter.

You will need:

2-pound large zucchini, trimmed and grated (I used the fetafood processor), Rosemary salt, fresh ground pepper,  2 eggs, 1/2 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs, dill, mint, parsley ( you know I went heavy on the dill), 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 cup breadcrumbs or more if necessary, 1 cup of beautiful Feta (the really good stuff, with extra zip/tang, spend the money, go to the deli, I’m telling you, it’s worth it)

No, I didn’t deep fry those beauties.  I used a griddle and got them nice and crispy. So alongside those crispy edges and a warm, tender center, I served a luscious creamy tzatziki sauce, which is the combination we are all looking to create.

The very next time you come home and someone has “graciously” dumped 2 or 3 zucchini’s on your door step…………..instead of the “well, I guess I could bake some zucchini bread” which will never get finished…………………. Might I gently suggest a tasty alternative?

I offer up to you……………..TA-DA…….Glorious Greek Zucchini Fritters.

So easy, so flavorful, crispy outside, moist, “meaty” delicious inside.
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Oh, and in the choosing friends wisely department?

I chose wisely.

Chat soon.

 

 

How does your garden grow?

20170602_074942-1_resized_1Mary, Mary………………My name is Daleen and I try not to be contrary (pigheaded, obstinate, defiant, unhelpful, difficult)

When a girlfriend comes to visit…………..don’t you just love to get out two mugs, pour cups of dark coffee, slosh in oodles of thick coconut cream and take them out back to wonder around the garden?  You hold the mug with two hands.  One to keep the chill at bay and two you have no hand to hold your phone.  It’s just you and your friend, meandering.

Come on, here, you might need this sweater.  It’s a bit cool out this morning and the rain is trying hard to do more than drizzle.

Raspberries, Grapes and Rosemary

 

Jasmine and Mint

 

Blueberries and   Yukon Gold Potatoes

 

Swiss Chard, Radishes, Pole Beans and Tomatoes

 

Fig tree, Cilantro and Chives

 

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Spinach

 

Let’s sit here under the Wisteria Covered Pergola and drink the rest of our coffee?

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Thanks for visiting my garden.  I loved chatting and meandering.

I would love to see what grows in your garden.

In this together, friends.

Happy Friday!

Chat soon.