Foodie Friday- Grow your own

rosemary in full bloom
Rosemary anyone?

Lately I have had my mind where many gardeners do this time of year— in the garden. It isn’t hard to spot someone with a love for gardening. We’re either a hot mess with lots of plants everywhere and the cottage garden feeling where it is abundant and full, with lots of variety, or some (not me) are immaculately cared for and weeded, always in bloom and perfect. I find that many times it depends on the type of gardener, but not always.

Some people confine food items to a square or block and everything else is… elsewhere. When I was the one with a choice I could only plant in flower beds. Ultimately the need to beautify and somewhat hide produce production led me to look at plants differently.

potato plant with bloom
Potato plant

Take this one for instance. One year I planted these along the front of my house and got a lot of compliments. They loved them. The shock on their faces when I told people they were potatoes was funny to say the least. Beans also have a pretty yellow flower, albeit a bit more hidden under leaves usually. Easier to eat as you work though.

I have moved away from the place hat required nothing but flowerbeds. But since I moved in September I wound up with stuff in the ground and the hopes it would survive rather than a well laid plan of where things would be. And with little to nothing in terms of beds it literally just went in the ground. All 2.5 kiddie pools of them.

I was not in good health then, and in all honesty, I didn’t do terribly well for several years after that. Then I had some things getting progressively worse (sensitivities never seem to decrease :'( ) while life in general has been getting better. Last year after I recovered from the blahs after going gluten free I have been feeling more able to plant and garden and keep up than I have in a long time. Most things that go in my yard are either edible or medicinal in some capacity. A few volunteers insist on sticking around, and occasionally help in other ways (poke berries do make an awesome ink or dye…. But man I would like for them to give up sometimes).

Sage in the Shade

So I really just wanted to share a few quick photos I took this afternoon where plants are both useful and pretty. Hope you enjoy and can get some inspiration for your own garden.

~Going Green Mom

Foodie Friday- A Tradition of Strawberry Shortcake

Improvised with Turtle Tracks ice cream…. It was awesome!

Strawberries spend most of June in season where I am, and straggle to some degree on ever-bearing plants for a while longer.  Growing up at our house strawberry shortcake was a special treat every summer.  What I have found out since I had kids of my own is that it is a tradition that goes back at least 3 generations (or 4 depending how you count).

When my Grandma was growing up it was a meal her family had when they were picking the berries from the garden. I wish I had that many plants. She continued it with her kids, and Mom continued the tradition as well even though we bought the berries from one of the fruit stands along the road. And despite protests from their dad’s side of the family, I do the same with my kids.

Mom always seemed to have some recipes that she didn’t have to look up. Since she passed we have tracked some down. She always used to tell me — “it is just a basic biscuit recipe, just throw in a few Tablespoons of sugar.” As I’ve told you before I am not the best cook in the world, and obviously don’t have it memorized, so I thought I would share.

First Attempt at GF Shortcake Biscuits

Shortcake biscuits

2 cups flour
2 T. sugar
1T. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1/3 cup fat
2/3 cup liquid (milk)
Set oven at 450 degrees F. Sift flour once.  Measure.  Add salt and baking powder; stir well and sift together.  Cut fat into dry ingredients until it is the size of rice kernels.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add milk and stir vigorously with wooden spoon until blended or until dough follows the spoon.  Lightly flour countertop using about 1 T. flour.  Form dough into a ball and knead lightly with fingertips about 10-15 times.  Roll to about ½ inch in thickness.  Dip cutter into flour.  Cut and place on unoiled baking sheet.  Bake until golden brown (about 12 to 15 minutes).  Full recipe makes 16 to 18 small biscuits.

—  Today I made a few modifications as I am now gluten free.  I used a mix of brown and white rice flour (literally as I found stashes of flours I tossed the contents of the bags in my bucket and stirred, so it might also have some other flours, but I will work on standardizing in the future). I also substituted honey for the sugar, added an egg, and then had to add about a quarter cup of flour.  They came out a decent texture, but a bit dryer than I really like.

In our world strawberry shortcake is a full meal, complete with lots of fresh berries (cut up and add a little sugar to draw the juice out), shortcake, vanilla ice cream, and milk or berry juice over the top of the whole bowl.  It has all of the wonderful taste to match the best meals in the world, and the textures always amaze me as it all just sort of melts in your mouth.  Hmmmm,   I might just have to try this with peaches when they are in season too…..

Wishing you an awesome June!

~Going Green Mom

Foodie Friday- Leftover Saute

Last Friday I told you guys that I had joined a pantry challenge.  I managed to only grab a gallon of milk mid-week, but I do have a few things I have to grab before I pick the kiddos up.  Most of them are requests from the kids.

  • Orange juice-they were fighting colds for whatever reason last time they were home, and prefer juice to Vitamin C tabs
  • Pudding- chocolate, vanilla, and lemon…. we already have vanilla, so I will grab the other two
  • Tortillas
  • Cheese
  • Honey Bunches of Oats (this will only happen if it is on sale, they have raisin bran, and he will make quesadillas which will work out cheaper)
  • Veggies
  • Vinegar
  • Potatoes

I use vinegar as my principle cleaning agent, so this is actually more for laundry and cleaning than cooking. Mash was requested by my girl child, apparently she doesn’t remember having it a couple weeks ago when she requested it last time, so I need potatoes for that.  At the store I am going to they mark down produce on Tuesdays and Fridays, so I will see what I can find to add some fresh veggies to the plan for the week.  Cheese and tortillas are on the list every time.  Mainly because my son is going to turn into a quesadilla any moment.  He will have a couple for breakfast before walking out the door (even though he could have cereal or any number of other things at school), and then turn around and want that for both after school snack and as a bedtime snack if he isn’t digging into the ice cream.

In case you didn’t know, I think pretty much any mother can tell you that you don’t go into a store hungry.  Or with kids if you can help it.  I do break that last one because after a few years of monthly grocery shops without kids I realized my kids hadn’t actually been in a store in over a year. But I still only take them occasionally.  My goal for today is to make it in and out for less than $25.  This is somewhat arbitrary, but in order to not have to play whack-a-mole with my budget, that is the goal.  I also try to see how fast I can get in and out because the longer you are in, generally the more you spend.  So I just fixed myself what I am calling Leftover Saute to get my belly full, and then I will head out.

Sometimes lunch can be a bunch of stuff thrown in a pan with some seasonings and turn out awesome.

Leftover Saute

1 leftover turnip (diced, but I also took the little sprouting tops off and added those)

1 leftover chicken thigh (skin removed, cut into pieces- skin saved)

1/2 leftover medium onion- diced

2 spiralized carrots- cores were eaten for breakfast this morning, and sprials saved in a bowl of water

2 small kale leaves- fresh from the garden…  is it leftover considering the kale was leftover from last year?

4ish garlic leaves? stalks?  it was the soft tops, not scapes, and not the cloves….

4 spearmint leaves- also picked from the garden today….  the rest of the bunch will probably be dried and used in my morning smoothies

I cut up the chicken into the skillet, put the skin in the toaster oven for 5ish minutes, and then cut the onion and turnip.  I did add a pinch of Pink Himalayan salt, and chicken fat leftover from cooking chicken thighs…  I honestly don’t know if this is schmaltz….  which I understand to be rendered chicken fat, but that is what I have been calling it for ease of labelling.  I used to use bacon grease in these type applications, but am avoiding pork these days.  Anyway,  once those were all melding well I tossed in the lightly squeezed out carrot spirals, and went to pick the stuff from the garden. It just didn’t have enough color.  I did cut those into strips and tossed them in, and basically just let it get good and wilted.  Top with the chicken skin. Then nom, nom, nom…..  why do I automatically see pacman when I use that term?

~Going Green Mom