Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Recipe Round-up

February and March are all about focusing on using up the winter greens: Hubby and I will be clearing the vegetable beds of the Savoy cabbage, kale, Swiss Chard and radishes. First recipe is a modified white bean and ciabatta soup courtesy of Sunset Magazine. We found that the original recipe needed some modifications as it was too spicy and the anchovies were too fishy of an addition.

Here are the specific modifications:
Use 5 cloves garlic not 10
Use 1/4 teaspoon of pepper flakes instead of 1/2 teaspoon
Swap anchovies for bacon
Swap kale for Savoy cabbage (Swiss chard can be substituted as well)

Items used from the garden: sage, rosemary, Savoy cabbage

Next up is a Savoy cabbage pasta dish, again with some slightly smaller modifications:
Swap prosciutto for bacon for a richer taste
Swap 1 cup chicken broth for 1/2 cup dry white wine (the recipe was too runny with a cup of liquid and wine provided better flavor)

Items used from the garden: sage, Savoy Cabbage

Lastly, Hubby and I have been working on healthier eating. Besides all the cabbage we have been eating lately, we  have been making healthy smoothies for breakfast. Here is my basic recipe:

Mix in Blender to make 2 servings:
One ripe banana
2 cups milk - I have been using soy milk or rice milk
2 servings packaged protein powder (usually 2 scoop fulls)
1 cup fresh berries, or substitute 1/2 cup fresh juice, or 1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup rolled oats for added fiber (optional)

This batch has peanut butter instead of berries or juice - so delicious!
Items used from garden: frozen pomegranate cubes

If you are interested in our other recipe experiments, please go to my Completed Food Experiments Board on Pinterest.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On the Cusp

This past weekend, I sat in my garden drinking my coffee. It was still early, the cool morning air gently pushed by the breeze. The sun peeked through the clouds and began to warm the air and earth. The garden is truly coming alive again; spring is on the cusp! I can smell my new pink jasmine and my burgeoning sweet peas. The yellow flowered Aeonium spikes pierce the vista of the garden. And the birds: I hear the squawk and song of the mockingbirds, the chirps and tweets of the finches and sparrows, and the twittering of the hummingbirds. This is my own little piece of heaven.

The garden is coming into its own with only the smallest guidance from me. My nasturtiums and wildflower mix has filled in my two fallow beds with a blanket of orange and purple blooms. The orange and purple reminds me of California hillsides in early spring with their California poppies and purple lupine taking over the landscape. Hopefully, my poppies will bloom soon; I am still waiting for those happy flowers to show up!

I planted the last round of cool season vegetables focusing on carrot and parsnips. The savoy cabbages are large round globes awaiting harvest and the radishes are close to going to seed. I plan to harvest all of them through the month – recipes forthcoming! I also planted some more butterfly bush as a nursery for monarch caterpillars. Sadly, I did not have enough for the little ones to eat this winter and I don’t think I successfully hatched a single butterfly this year. Also in the mix: more butterfly nectar plants grown from seed planted under my Anna Apple. I hope to have sprouts in a couple of weeks!

Nasturtiums in red, orange, and yellow
Purple lupine and daisies
More Flowers!
Sweet peas!!
Savoy cabbage ready for harvest
Pink Jasmine - Love!!
Yellow Aeonium blooms next to butterfly garden
I hope my butterfly nectar flowers fill in soon.
My relaxing patio - I will be adding more pink jasmine for more fragrance!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pinterest Obsession, Bathroom Renovation, and Cat Appreciation Month

Valentine's Tree with names of loved ones
My Pinterest obsession is partly to blame for keeping me away from writing my blog as well as being busy at times and under the weather at others. I am not really an arts and crafts type of girl, but even Pinterest has inspired me to take on an easy craft, my Valentines Heart Tree. I have also found the inspiration to regrow green onions and place a convenient yet elegant jewelry holder. It is such a wonderful medium for a day dream - and a digital one at that! I have found some great ideas for my current garden and have found some gorgeous garden fantasies. And recipes - so many delicious amazing recipes! If you are curious about Pinterest, please check it out; and if you would like an invitation, please leave your email in the comments section of this post.

Grow little onions grow!
Hubby and I are in the final push to finish our home renovation. Round 2 includes both bathrooms, some electrical work, and removing ugly, old neon light boxes from the kitchen ceiling. The master bathroom is complete and is my dream come true: a large shower, robin's egg blue walls, travertine floors, and new pedestal sink. Next up is the second bathroom on the other side of the house: it will have a new vanity/ sink, travertine floors, new blue paint, and refinished tub. Now if I could only assuage my fears of water damage/ incursion from the tub.

My large shower in my new master bath - so shiny!
Pedestal sink, oval mirror and new light fixture
Storage and blue walls
Travertine plus decorative tile
Second bathroom with demo complete - New vanity goes here
Our contractor will tile the floor, repair the walls and refinish the tub.

Last but certainly not least, February is Cat Appreciation Month! Let us honor our kitty companions for all the love and loyalty they bring us! Also, please remember that the San Diego Humane Society is currently running their "My Furry Valentine" program. Adoptions from now until February 14th are only $14.00!

The love and loyalty of a Maine Coon - he protects me and cuddles with me when I'm sick.