Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy Fall from Mental Chew

A reminder of the first of Fall from a Fall past. 

This is the beginning of my absolute favorite time of year and here is a reminder from my "First Day of Fall" post from last year. 

We have some wonderful fall posts being shared over the next couple of weeks at Bonbon Break, so stop on by and don't forget these four favorites of mine from last year:


My favorite day of the year. Happy Autumnal Equinox!!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow? August 22, 2012

Hi...Are you still there? I feel like I am sliding in here rather sheepishly. If it means anything, I miss ya.

The camera is back out and I took some photos for fun with my iPhone macro to share with you.

Things are growing. The zucchini and green beans are plentiful. We have sunflowers. WE have SUNFLOWERS! WE have CORN!! This might appear to be amateur garden excitement, and it is. We have a tall garden this year and the way to the chard which I let go to seed and is turning into a small Sequoia.

Our potatoes went pffffffffft. You can't win them all!

Please share how your garden is is a glimpse at ours.

Basil flower

Corn silks

Hidatsa Red Beans - hidden garden jewels

Kale - empress of color and texture

Nasturtium leaf

If I were a bee, I would jump right into this nasturtium. How could you resist?

Jack-o-lantern potential

Russian sage

Busy bee 

Zuke flower stage 1

Zuke flower in it's glory. Welcome bees!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow? {July 25, 2012}

One would think that having a weekly feature on Tuesdays would mean that it arrives on Tuesdays. Apparently this is impossible to do when you spend Monday trying to get an issue out for your online magazine AND spend the rest of the day harvesting and tending to your garden.
WHAT?!? I spent time in the garden?!? What a wild concept.

First things first, I wrote this little diddy up for Bonbon Break about Berry Freezer Jam. Yes, I did have it on here last year, but there is a new twist now since I have learned a bit since I wrote it up last year. So check 'er out. This recipe is so easy, you can make it with your kids and once you try it, you will never buy another jar of jam.

Onward to the garden...
The onions were about to reach out and grab us they were getting so large. As I was reading about onion harvesting, I found that you can really harvest onions anytime from green onions up to the big kahunas. The one recommendation is that you pick them on a hot day so they can be set outside and the roots can dry out in a couple of hours. Do they know where I live? We have had some pretty stormy weeks and I was hoping for "clear" vs. "hot". I found my day and we harvested, but wouldn't you know it, three hours later it started to rain again. So I chopped off the greens and set them in our drying rack . 

Here is Lil Miss with the onion octopus. They really are quite large and I cannot wait to get them on the grill / sautee / stir fry / eat them! These are Walla Wallas and their taste is so mild and sweet. I can already feel all of my onion recipes coming on. Last year, I did an onion recipe roundup and I didn't make it all the way through. There is always this year!
I harvested over 60 onions and I didn't bruise one. Last year, I was a little too rough with them and lost a couple. I am proud to say that none of them were MUSH either. Last year, I waited a little too long to harvest and some of them were mushy...ewwww. 

We also harvested our first zucchini (and know how it is with zucchini!). Of course our first one was the one that looked a little odd. Two-for-one deal? Siamese twins? Genetic anomaly? Whatever it was, we ate it.

A friend has said that I am going to scar my children with all of the zucchini in their life. So be it. There are few things that taste as good as roasted or grilled fresh-from-the-garden zucchini. Yum.

We are reaching the end with our snap peas, which is so sad. Hear Lil Miss point to the garden and say, "Peas! Peas! Peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeas!" kind of makes my day. Lately, when the house gets quiet in that scary kind of way, I can look out the window and see my littles foraging for peas. 

Here is the BIG news for the week in my garden besides the fact that we are now eating garlic, onions, zucchini, raspberries and a few peas... I  U N L E A S H E D the garden this week. I couldn't take trying to weed and tend the garden through the chicken wire. It was breaking my little garden spirit down. Deer be damned, my garden is free. It allowed me to notice that the sunflower and corn want to spring up up up and the green beans are using them as trellises...a little experiment I put in place. I hope the corn and sunflowers keep on growing faster than those  beans!

So, there it is...everything is growing and I have a new found love for the color the nasturtiums are bringing to the garden. Love them. is YOUR garden growing?!?


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow? {July 17, 2012}

This week is a very special week. Bonbon Break Media (that's Kathy and I) have launched our new magazine!

And..."How Does Your Garden Grow?" is featured in the Backyard! So please hop on over and enjoy yummy garden fast food like this:

....and ENJOY! Please share your garden links in the Backyard. See you there!

How Does Your Garden Grow? @ Bonbon Break


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow? {July 10...oops 11, 2012}

My garden is being so tolerant this summer. The morning's fog hides the sun so the plant's thirst won't get the best of them. Lately I have been seeing my garden like this:

The view from my computer
And it hurts to see that the weeds are winning in some places. While on business calls, I pull and throw, pull and throw the tall thistles and toss them into the bucket and I feel like I am gaining some ground, only to come out the next morning and find some that have grown knee high. How DOES that happen?

We are now enjoying our garlic and we are still snacking on peas and strawberries. I really need to plant some more lettuce. Perhaps when I pull the peas.

I need to use our chard and kale. We do have a chard "tree" now (top right). The red stem is a nice addition.

Yesterday I roasted broccoli and garlic from the garden with sesame oil, olive oil and soy. It is so simple, yet so tasty. The kids asked for seconds. I really should grow more broccoli because we are a broccoli house. 

I did fail to report that our corn WAS knee high on the 4th of July....actually waist high, but that is only because the beds are 2 feet tall. Ha. 

It is interesting, this year we have a very TALL garden. Sunflowers. Corn. Green Beans. Even our zucchini is shooting straight up toward the sky....and the nasturtiums....oh the nasturtiums. They are BOOMING. The variegated variety that we planted is absolutely gorgeous. I know they will just become deer food at this point, but it might keep the deer away from our tomatoes. MAYBE.

Our onions are almost ready. I remember doing a rapid harvest on our way out the door to a camping trip last year. 
Last year's first onion
My sweet little onion harvester
We have little baby zucchini as of yesterday and I know to keep an eye on them or they will turn into baseball bats if I blink for too long. Get ready for the long long long list of zucchini recipes!

For now, here are some of my favorite summer posts for preserving this wonderful summer harvest. you see that fancy button on the top right? That is our site. Bonbon Break. Monday is our HUGE day. What an experience this has been. Please join us next week for our first issue AND How Does Your Garden Grow will be featured in the Backyard! Pictures and everything....I promise. 

So....HOW is YOUR Garden Growing?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow? {July 3, 2012}

Dear Garden,
Please don't fail me now. The garlic has been harvested, before it turned to mush. Our lettuce has been consumed (by us). But I know you know you are being neglected both by the weather (lots of rain and low temps) and by your caretaker who is working on her *little* project. Thank you for the strawberries, peas, lettuce, chard, kale, garlic and radishes you have offered us thus far. Please tell your gardenmates that there will be better conditions ahead.



P.S. I got a new macro lens for my iPhone today. Super cool. Just beware that the magnet isn't very strong that holds it on and when it pops off somewhere between the garage and the front yard, you will have to consider yourself very lucky when you find it on the third visual sweep.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow? {June 26, 2012}

Sunday was the big day in the garden. (I won't write about the rest of the week because it mostly involves deer and sour sentiments and this is a HAPPY post). I pulled 46 heads of garlic out and they are in drying mode. These are HUGE heads of garlic and I am feeling quite proud. The last time we planted garlic, we lost about 12 heads to rot. This time we only lost 3. That is a major improvement! They are now sitting happily in our drying rack (which I adore--thanks mom).

After I pulled the garlic, I left the leaves along the side of the bed, for what it is worth. I know there are a lot of pests that do not like the fragrance of garlic, so we will see if this helps.

The peas are incredibly plentiful and the kids are regularly heading out to the garden for snacks of peas and strawberries. THIS is why I garden.

OK, enough about the garden for a moment. Almost 4 months ago, my blogging buddy, Kathy from My Dishwasher's Possessed, and I embarked on an incredible adventure and it is all going to come to fruition on July 16 as....

Logo by Loea Design

This is my third child. Bonbon Break is an online magazine for moms by moms. We have just launched our Facebook fan page and our Twitter page, so any support you can offer would be greatly appreciated. If you visit our site right now, you can sign up for our weekly newsletter, which will send you a reminder directly to your email when we launch. 

It has been a thrilling and fun adventure with Kathy and an unimaginable source of personal growth. I am so appreciative that she is my partner and for the overwhelming support for all of our friends and family. *full heart*

THANK YOU in advance for your support and PLEASE let me know how YOUR garden is growing!

OH yes, before I go... the winners of the awesome reCap Mason Jar caps are:
and Rossel  please contact me with your mailing address so I may send your caps to you!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pub Burger Sauce

Do you remember that scene in "When Harry Met Sally"? In the cafe. You know the "I'll have what she's having" scene? They were thinking about this burger with this sauce. 

I am not a burger lover, but after the Good Apple and I read this recipe in Cook's Illustrated we had to try it out. Now the burger is good. Great local beef combined with butter (Yes, this is not lo cal. You ARE eating a burger. Come on now.),  pan-seared and then finished in a 350 degree oven. Juicy? Yes. Great flavor? Sure. But it is merely a vehicle for this...

Honestly, I am at a loss for words. Perhaps I will share what happened the first time we ate this sauce. The Good Apple ate TWO whole hamburgers. TWO! And I am sure he was considering a third. So, this sauce comes with a warning. Beware of over indulgence.

And yes, another warning. The Lil Man said, and I quote, "I would have to knock my head off if I couldn't have more of that sauce". He's serious. It isn't just for burgers and the Lil Miss couldn't get enough of the "Num Num". Please make sure you make enough to avoid any bodily harm. 

Here it is ladies and gentlemen, our adaptation of the infamous sauce...

Pub Sauce
3/4 cup mayo
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp chopped chives
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp garlic, minced

And yes, I made extra, but not quite enough according to the peanut gallery. Well go on. Make some and if you need a lovely little cap like the one pictured above - go here, if you would like a chance at a free one...follow me over here

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow? {June 19, 2012}

The deer are back...through the netting. I'm not kidding. They topped my carrots and chard and took some of my precious kale. Yes, that came out, precious kale. They have started moving in on my raspberry plants and I HAVE to get my sprinkler system out tomorrow if I hope to save anything. They ignored the "Deer Away" bells o' stinkiness. They bit one of my onions...and spit it out. Bah. Sprinkler. Tomorrow.

My beautiful and delicious Lacinato Kale. Best. Ever.

My potato plants have gone W I L D! I have piled them up twice and then they exploded. Now I think it is too late to attempt another level. Thoughts?

Summer Savory. Oh. So. Good. Grow some, you will love it.

Trapped, but safe. We are eating these red rubies of juicy goodness daily.

Peas are another daily treat. I head out in the morning with the kids and they head straight for the snap peas...until they see me at the strawberries.

I can't believe these have not been in my life every Spring. The scapes are incredible. Lil Miss picks very last one off her plate. Tonight we sauteed them with a little Soy Vay and a mix of greens. Heavenly.

How could I have ignored these curly-Q's that are such a treat? I was taking pictures of them. That's all. Thank goodness we finally started eating them. It does make me wonder, what else am I missing?

Seascape Strawberries. I will plant even more next year.

We went camping this past weekend and the Good Apple thought it would be fun to make s'mores tonight since we had leftovers. Chocolatey marshmallowy melty graham cracker treat was pushed aside for a red, ripe strawberry. Atta boy. Then he found that chocolate and strawberries are a delicious combination. Uh oh.


Before I leave, I have to mention my little giveaway for this awesome item:

Click here to find out more. reCap Mason Jar lids. Yes. They are oh so cool. Go is your garden doing? What are you eating these days? Have a marvelous Summer Solstice!