Gardening Tips

  1. Mid Winter Recipe

    Mid Winter Recipe

    Don't you just hate it when you forget about produce hiding under other food in the refidgerator! I noticed I still had a couple of sweet potatoes that needed to be used fast. Then I remembered a recipe that looked good in a cook book that I was using during a 10 day program I was on to shred some bad habits. Let me tell  you, this is going to be one of my new staples. Now the recipe directions calls for using a cast iron pan and the one I have would have been to small so I used my electric wok and it worked great. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family did.                                                          

         Caramelized Sweet Potato and Apple Hash Browns


         2 cups peeled and diced sweet potato

         1 large Pink Lady or Granny Smith apple, diced (peeling optional)

         2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp coconut oil (separated)

         1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt

          1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


    1) Heat a large, seasoned cast iron pan over medium heat and add 2 Tbsp of the coconut oil.

     2) Once the pan is heated, add the diced sweet potatoes and sprinkle evenly with the sea salt and stir/toss to coat the potatoes

     3) Cover the pan for about 2 minutes, Uncover and stir. Lower the heat a bit if the potatoes are starting to brown too much.

         Cover and cook  for another 2-4 minutes until the potatoes are soft.

     4) Uncover the pan and continue to cook, stirring, until the potatoes are light brown all over.

     5) Add the diced apples plus the 2 tsp coconut oil and stir to combine.

     6) Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes or until the apples and potatoes are brown.

          Adjust the heat as necessary to avoid burning.

     7) Once apples and potatoes are toasty, remove from heat and stir in the cinnamon

          Let cool a bit and then serve warm

    Recipe from/

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  2. Love Your Heart

    Love Your Heart

    It’s well-established that heart-healthy nutrition includes eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. While fruits and veggies have multiple health-promoting benefits, the key among them are antioxidants. In fact, it has been widely reported that people who consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables have roughly a 35% lower risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke.

    Unfortunately, it is difficult to eat the recommended 7-13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.  Many of us turn to vitamins, but I would highly recommend that you choose a certified whole food supplement instead. Then of course, eat a variety of fresh produce everyday and a lot of it. One of the best ways to bring more fresh produce into our diets is to plant a garden. Nothing compares to picking your own vine ripen tomato or making a fresh salad from your own assortment of greens, radish's, carrots etc.. And don't forget about strawberries, raspberries, blueberries too.

    “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” —Hippocrates (ancient Greek physician, often called the father of medicine)

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  3. Salad In A Jar

    Salad In A Jar

    Making salads in a jar has become a very popular way of enjoying eating greens every day. A year ago, I invited a few of my friends over to make salads. We were all trying to make simple changes to improve our health.  Little did I know that 50+ parties later it would still be going strong. This might be something you can start in your own community. What you do is invite at least 5 - 20 people. Then everyone brings 1 to 2 salad toppings to share with the group, a bowl and serving utensil for their ingredients and 5 - 7 wide mouth quart mason jars. Sometimes we just put all the ingredients out and people make what ever they want and other times we design the salads ahead of time so they know what to bring. Either way people get to have fun and an easy healthy lunch or dinner for the week. A couple of the benefits of doing this is that we have a good variety of salads so we never get bored of eating them and we only need to buy, clean and chop a couple things. Some of us have even lost some weight. But, mostly we all have started craving more fresh food! 

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  4. Fresh Cilantro

    Fresh Cilantro
    The other night a friend brought over a nice filet of salmon. I just happened to have garden fresh cilantro to use and never thought of using it on salmon. Oh my gosh, you need to try this! Research tells us that that salmon is a healthy fish, full of protein, omega-3 and high in vitamin D. I personally do not like any fishy taste so this recipe is a keeper. Coat salmon in high quality infused oil like I used lime olive oil purchased from an specialty oil shop Chop a large bunch of fresh cilantro Wrap in foil and bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes (Next time I plan on grilling on a soaked cedar plank)
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  5. Eating My Greens

    Eating My Greens

    I couldn't resist sharing this photo I took this past fall. I pulled these plants out of one of our Tower Gardens for a salad in a jar class that I host every week. I continue to harvest herbs and greens over the winter by bringing the Tower indoors. As all gardeners experience, store bought produce over the winter months is just not the same fresh taste. Plus, the nutition of fresh picked greens is so much greater. Now, I won't bore you with my college senior research paper on Osteoporosis and Periodontal Disease, but will tell you I found that the calcium we get from dark leafy greens is an excellent source. In my opinion, the Ca+ in plants is more absorable than dairy. I am not saying dairy doesn't have a good level of Ca+ , but more on the bodies ability to absorb Ca+. More specifically to do with the acidity of dairy verses the alkaline benefits of raw foods, especially the greens. So eating a diet of more alkaline foods especially raw whole fruits and vegetables can play a big part in keeping our bones strong. I just love eating salads, especially when loaded with other nutrient dense foods like, kale, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, nuts, seeds, variety of beans, etc.. So, if you can, enjoy the benefits of growing produce all year long. Sources The International Osteoporosis Foundation has a good list of Ca+ content of common foods at their link

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  6. Happy New Year

    Happy New Year

    Happy New Year to you all. I wish all of you many successes in the new year!  As we wait out the next few months of winter we can start planning out our gardens. I anxiously await the arrival of my seed catalogs so I can sit in front of the fireplace and flip through them and imagine what the new growing season will bring.  My grandfather owned a farm seed store and would open a small green house every spring in his small town in South Dakota. He would send me a box of little brown sacks full of seeds to plant. I would plant the basic crop of beans, peas, tomatoes, greens, peppers,and then whatever he decided to send me. I learned that you could eat the tops of beets and turnips and that the best way to plant a tomato plant is to lay the roots in a trench in order to have a stronger root base. But even before the planting many of us try to get a jump on the season and start seedlings indoors. So I will be interviewing others on their seedling success and will plan on sharing some tips in some upcoming blogs. I'm curious as to how you plan for your garden and welcome any questions or comments. In the mean time, I wish you a wonderful new year and tip my glass of wine for your 2017 dreams and goals to come true.

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  7. Planting for Wildlife

    Planting for Wildlife

    This beautiful photo was taken from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.  One way to attract wildlife is to plant for wildlife. When selecting trees and shrubs look for plants that will provide shelter and food not only during the warm weather but also the colder winter months. Make sure to include some plants that retain their fruit through winter into early spring, the time of greatest food scarcity. These plants generally produce fruit that is not highly preferred, so the fruit is not consumed during the fall when other foods are abundant. Examples are hawthorn, crabapple, holly, highbush cranberry, and staghorn sumac. They are excellent plants for wildlife because they offer emergency winter food, and some, such as sumac with its red fruiting spikes, can add structural interest to a bleak winter landscape.  I would suggest that you seek out information from your local DNR, County Extension office or your favorite local nursery for best choices for your climate. It won't be long and we can start thinking about starting seeds. I can't wait!

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  8. Cozy Up With a Hot Bowl of Soup

    Cozy Up With a Hot Bowl of Soup

    Winter season is definately here in Minnesota.  We are now in the single digits and it is cold!  Just the thought of a big bowl of soup gives me a warm and cozy feeling. I have so many favorite soup recipes. Tortellini, Black Bean, Chile, Beef Stew and Tomato Barley to mention just a few.   I usually will look in the pantry and my freezer to see what I have to toss together to make a batch of soup. I typically only use a recipe as a guide and then tweak based on the ingredients I have on hand.  I know I have a large bag of frozen cherry tomatoes from my garden, so I would like to share with you a Tomato Barley Soup to enjoy.

    1/2 cup chopped onions

    1/2 cup chopped celery

    1/2  cup chopped carrots

    1 large can of tomato sauce

    2 cups of coursely chopped tomatoes

    water and chicken broth to equal 6 cups

    1/4 cup uncooked barley

    season with salt, pepper, garlic salt and any other fresh or dried herbs like, chives, parsley, basil and cilantro to taste

    First,  In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the onions, celery, carrots in a quality oil and saute for 5 to10 minutes, or until all vegetables are almost tender.

    Then add the water and broth with tomatoes, barley and seasonings and simmer for 35 to 45 minutes until barley is tender.

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  9. My Favorite Pumpkin Pie Desert

    My Favorite Pumpkin Pie Desert

    Thanksgiving is a time when many of us come together with friends and family and enjoy turkey and all the fixings. I remember my mother and grandmother planning and cooking for days to prepare for the Thanksgiving Feast. Somehow the tradition that began  in 1621 with the early Pilgrims to celebrate their harvest and to give thanks has taken a modern twist to say the least. Some of my favorite dish's are, baked sqush with a lot of butter, green beans, fresh cranberries, turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy. The more colors the better! Of course we have to finish with pumpkin pie and fresh whipped cream.  Year after year, I am asked to bring the same pumpkin desert. Everyone loves it, so I would love to share the recipe with you.

    Pumpkin Dessert
    Butter crunch crust:
         1 c butter, 1/2 c white sugar, 1/2 c brown sugar. 1 c chopped walnuts 2 c flour ( I use GF blend)
    Combine ingredients  then VERY lightly pat down into 9 x 13 oiled pan and Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before topping with pumpkin mixture.
    Pumpkin mixture:
          Combine - 6 eggs slightly beaten, 1 c sugar, 1 c brown sugar, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp cinnamon, 
    1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp cloves, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, Beat well and then blend in
           1 large can pumpkin (3 1/2 cups) and 2 c half & half 
    Pour mixture onto crust and bake 350 for an hour or more. start watching after 45 minutes. When knife inserted in center comes out clean dessert is done.
    Serve with Fresh whipped cream.  (be sure to make plenty)
    Whipping tip: put glass or metal type bowl with beaters in freezer a few hours, use the freshest heavy cream you can find. I go out of my way to get organic heavy cream because it will taste and whip the best.
    Then when ready to make remove bowl from freezer and whip cream until starting to peak, add a little bit of powdered sugar and splash of vanilla ( GF) at the end for taste.
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  10. Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

    Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

    I enjoy everything pumpkin, especially this time of year. I especially enjoy making pumpkin seeds. I love how my house takes on the aroma of the roasting seeds. Plus, pumpkin seeds are packed with great nutrition.  Just a handful will provide a good amount of good fat, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. I would like to share with you a few of my favorite recipes. I first wash the pulp off the seeds then dry on a cloth towel. Coat with olive oil and seasonings. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet at 300 degrees 30 - 40 minutes until just turning brown, tossing half way through.

    Cinnamon and Sugar

    1 cup raw pumpkin seeds

    1 tsp olive oil

    1 tsp. cinnamon

    1/8 tsp. cloves

    1/4 tsp nutmeg

    2 Tbsp sugar


    1 cup raw pumpkin seeds

    1 tsp olive oil

    1/2 tsp garlic powder

    1/4 tsp sea salt

    Dill ( I use dehydrated dill from my summer harvest)

    1 tsp olive oil

    1 tsp white vinegar

    1 tsp dill

    1/2 tsp garlic powder

    1/2 tsp sea salt

    1//8 tsp pepper

    Enjoy trying one of these recipes and I would love to know if you have a favorite way to season your pumpkin seeds.

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