Is it green?

If it is, then there is very little chance that Sam will eat it. He’s always been picky when it comes to vegetables. It’s why we were thrilled to discover that he really liked kale, which we made into chips for dessert and slipped fresh into his morning smoothies. So as the garden was drawing to a close, and we were staring at bushels of broccoli leaves to pull & haul to the compost, we decided to try a little experiment.

Sam helping with broccoli dehydrating 2

With my little helper at my side, we harvested some big bowls full of broccoli leaves, and batch by batch, loaded up the dehydrator. Each batch took about 8.5 hours on a low temperature setting (approximately 115 degrees). Once the leaves were dehydrated, I ran them through a hand blender, removed some of the tougher stem bits, and then ground it all into a finer powder with a good ‘ol mortar & pestle. Some of this could have been simplified if we owned one of those electric spice grinders. It wasn’t too tricky and at the end of it all, we had a lovely bowl of super green powder. That might not seem all that exciting to some folks, but in my mind, it means we now have the ability to sneak some more veggie goodness into Sam’s morning smoothies. I haven’t given it a try yet (we just finished up the last of our kale), but hope to soon.

DIY Super Green Broccoli Powder by Bubblegum Sass

From garden to plate

I thought it was high time I shared some of the yummy things we’ve been making with the harvest from the garden (especially since the garden is close to being finished for the year). Hubby has posted good photos & recipes of some of the dishes he made. My dishes consisted mainly of tomatoes, tomato sauces, and soon a whole lot of tomato paste.

Zucchini & fresh herbs
I made a very simple dish with sliced zucchini, fried in a pan with olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh sage & thyme.

Tomatoes, spinach, & onions
One of my tomato sauces included loads of spinach, onion, chives, & fresh herbs.

And this pile of green tomatoes is currently ripening in our basement. Once they are bit more on the red side, I will set to work on making tomato paste (to freeze).

Feeling like I need to get a little bit more experimental with my vegetable cooking. I swear, cooking is definitely a muscle that requires constant flexing. Too much time away from it and you fall into such a sticky rut. Anyway, there was a great deal of tasty fresh veggies enjoyed this summer and plenty that has been frozen to enjoy in coming months.

Summer ending

We’ve been enjoying some pretty warm days in Calgary, but the winds are starting to blow. The temperatures are cooling off, the days getting shorter, the leaves starting to turn & fall. All the signs of autumn are surrounding us. Here’s a little peek at what the last days of summer have meant at our house, this year:

Fresh cut flowers from the garden
Last of the sweet pea & nasturtium blossoms
Late veggie garden harvest
Mounds of tomatoes and ground cherries finding their way into the house
Ground cherries
These ground cherries really are quickly becoming my fave treat from the garden
Dehydrated zucchini and crab apples
Lots of dehydrating going on including, crab apples and zucchini
Homemade apple cider
There might possibly be containers of homemade apple cider fermenting in our basement...

Everyone seems to celebrate and commemorate the end of this season with some special treat or tradition. Especially here, where hot days don’t last long, and are quickly replaced with frosty mornings & the anticipation of the first snowfall (which I keep being told will come early this year, but who knows). We’ve still have a lot of winding down to do here. Clearing out planter boxes & flower beds. Waiting on things to harvest from the garden and then putting the beds to rest for the season. Watering the trees heavily before the temperatures drop. Putting away the random garden toys & tools & furniture. And maybe, hopefully, finally, getting the last coat of paint on my wooden bench (a task I keep putting off).

I’d love to hear what the last days of summer look like at your house. Is there anything special that you make a point of doing or enjoying each year before true autumn hits?

Tasty greens

Homemade kale chips

We had such a tasty “dessert” the other night. Kale chips. Yep, you heard that right. So simple to make. They disappeared really quickly. Even our little man, Sam, thought they were great. And now I’m wishing that we had planted more kale. It feels good to try new recipes with fresh things from the garden. There are several kale salads I’d like to try one day. For now, I’ll have to be satisfied with being able to slip some kale into Sam’s morning smoothie, which he hasn’t noticed yet, thankfully (he’s been a bit short on veggies in his diet).

Wanna give these melt-in-your-mouth kale chips a try? Just place the kale on a baking sheet (with stems removed), drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt. Place in the oven for 4min at 400 degrees. Just make sure to pay close attention to it, because the leaves can burn easily. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Sam eating kale chips

Green things

How about a little tour of our veggie garden? I can’t take any credit for this. My hubby is the green thumb and mastermind behind it all. I lend a hand where I can (plant some seeds here & there, weed a bit, mostly protect plants from a very curious baby boy). I do get to enjoy the benefits of all this, though. Tasty salads, caramelized radishes, roasted broccoli, lots of fresh green onions. Looking forward to the peas (my favourite), beans, tomatoes, oh and the squash! Here’s hoping the hail holds off.

Raised veggie beds
Raised veggie beds with our new mulch

Veggie garden greens

Yummy radishes
Lettuce greens
Tasty lettuce greens
Pretty chard
Tickly chive (Sam likes the feel of it)
Pea blossoms
Gorgeous pea blossoms
Growing our own dill this year for pickling
Mint patch (struggling a bit)
Broccoli (we've gotten to enjoy lots of it this year)
Sam in the garden
My little garden helper

It’s finally here!

Spring, that is. I think we can safely say that spring is officially here to stay (even if a few more snow flakes fall in the next couple of weeks). Here’s what spring looks like at our house this year:

Sam and Marcus in the garden
Sam and Marcus working on the veggie beds
Sam eating dirt
My litte dirt eating monster (you can't tell from this look, but he really does love eating dirt)
Childern's garden tools
Sam's garden tools are getting lots of use now
Cloth diapers on clothesline
Diapers hanging out on the line (missed this all winter)
Yellow spring crocus
The first spring crocus blooming in the yard

Wishing you a wonderful weekend! Hope there’s plenty of sunshine and fun spring activities where ever you find yourself in the coming days. I hope to get back to sharing my Four Fab Finds post with you on Fridays, once I figure out what Pinterest has done to their site (some website updates are not necessarily for the better). Until then you can always check out my most recent treasuries on Etsy, if you’re needing a Fab Finds fix.

It’s a jungle in here

Basil plant in potIt’s been over a month since I posted an update about my little herb garden. Well, it’s not so little anymore! In fact this week, I removed all the herbs from the Aerogarden and planted them in soil. Yep, that’s one of the basil plants in the photo. You can see the originally pics of it, just after it sprouted here. Can’t believe how big the herbs are now! Of course, they might not all survive being planted since they were grown in a water environment. It’s got to be quite a shock to their poor roots, but I’ve got my fingers crossed. They were looking pretty limp the first day in their pots, but have bounced back for the time being. Next up, I want to try growing some sage from seed again. There is way more sunshine nowadays compared to when I was trying the herb garden back in the fall, so things should grow better.

Cucumber SproutsSpeaking of growing better… hubby finally got the veggie seeds to cooperate!! We have a whole assortment of things growing now including: tomatoes, lettuce, green onions, cucumber (seen in photo), and cabbage. There’s a corner of our living room rigged with a mishmash of lights and rows of plants. I’m sure our neighbors probably think we have a grow-op on the go. Dear, oh, dear… well, it shouldn’t bee too much longer… we are hardening the plants (putting them outside in the shade and cool temperature) and some seeds have already been planted outdoors. Hubby made a neat cold frame for the veggie bed, so that should help things along. It’s exciting to think that we might have our own veggies to pick this year! And we have a LOT of tomato plants, so I might be making sauce all summer long. It will be quite some time before we can harvest our own veggies, but we plan on checking out the Asparagus Festival at the end of the month. Sounds like a fun time!

Have any plants started (indoors or outdoors)? I’d love to hear about them. Leave a comment to share your green thumb adventures.

Steady as she grows

AeroGarden ThymeA quick update on the herb garden… it is doing WELL. Like amazingly well! This photo is now a week old (I’m behind on posts due to another flu/cold thing that I came down with this week). Things seem to grow crazy overnight though. I’m just so tickled with my little herb friends and these seem much more promising than the past two attempts. I still have my fingers crossed that they will survive being planted in soil once they are more mature.

In another news, hubby bought a seed heating mat to aid his attempts to start tomato, cabbage, and onion seeds indoors. Still waiting on the edge of our seats to see if anything pokes up out of the soil. Most of the snow outdoors has melted these past few days and I know that the green thumb of the house is starting to get a major itch to get the veggie garden going. Come on little seeds, come on!

Third time’s the charm

AeroGarden BasilAeroGarden BasilIn the fall, I shared my adventures of trying to start a herb garden, which failed twice. The second time, I discovered that there were all sorts of little flies living and breeding in the soil, flying all around the house. So before those pests could damage any of our other plants, I dumped the whole garden outside. With quite the “humph” and feeling fairly discouraged, I gave up on the herb garden for a while.

My lovely sister-in-law passed along her AeroGarden unit to try out. I’d seen the success she’d had with it, and so finally about a week and half ago, I got it all set up. Things sprouted within three days! Which is kinda crazy. Shows what some grow lights and plant food will do to help the process! Now we have small leafy bits. The dome covers have been removed and all the various herbs have sprouted. There are a couple of basil plants, a thyme, a mint, an oregano and a dill plant. So far, so good. We’ll see how things continue to progress.

Any gardeners out there start their seed prep yet? Hubby is trying to get some tomato seeds going inside. We hope to grow some in big pots on the back deck this summer, along with the wonderful veggie garden he has planned out. Such a green thumb! I want to be, but just don’t seem to have the same touch.

The fashionably late Ms. Rosemary

Rosemary sproutWell folks, she finally made an appearance. The herb garden is now home to a single sprout of rosemary! Oh, happy day! The rest of the herbs are doing well, although the oregano seems to be struggling a bit. I keep encouraging and praising them and hoping that one day I will be able to snip them off and use them in my homemade spaghetti sauce.

In other plant related news, my hubby is doing some research into LED grow lights. He is interested in getting one so that we can start some plants indoors in the spring for our vegetable garden. Gardening in Calgary is a tricky matter. The general rule of thumb I was taught as a kid, was that you waited until the May long weekend (which is around May 24th) to put your plants out. Even then, there can be a risk of snow, but at least things should be safe from the frost. So that leaves Calgary with a very short growing season. This coming spring/summer will be the first year that we have had a vegetable garden. Hubby built a raised garden bed in the fall and he has done a great deal of research into what type of veggies do best in our local climate. We are hoping that armed with an LED grow light, we can get certain plants started early. I’m thinking that this could also come in handy with the herb garden, to toughen up the sprouts a bit as we enter the short days of winter. I’ll keep you posted on the grow light progress. If anyone has used an LED variety, I’d love to hear about it. Happy growing!