A bunch of bloggers whose work I adore have come out with cookbooks lately. One such blogger is Erin Alderson of the blog Naturally Ella. Her brand new book is called The Homemade Flour Cookbook: The Home Cook’s Guide to Milling Nutritious Flours and Creating Delicious Recipes with Every Grain, Legume, Nut, and Seed from A-Z.

The Homemade Flour Cookbook | healthy green kitchen

This book is based on the very cool concept that you can easily make your own fresh and nutritious flours at home. As much as I love to cook and bake, making my own flours isn’t something I’ve delved into much before (apart from blending oats to make oat flour), mostly because I assumed you needed special equipment (like a grain mill). While Erin does recommend investing in a grain mill, it turns out that you can do quite a lot more than make oat flour with a high-powered blender (which I already own). You can also mill some flours in a coffee grinder!

In this book, Erin not only delves into all the different ways you can make your own wholesome flours from different grains (including gluten-free grains), legumes, nuts and seeds, she also shares 100 very yummy-looking recipes that utilize the various fresh flours. The photos in the book, taken by Erin, are beautiful.

The Homemade Flour Cookbook | healthy green kitchen

Because I have a big stash of dried chickpeas, I decided to try my hand at grinding chickpea flour in my blender. I was pretty skeptical about it working at first: chickpeas are so hard! After a minute or two the flour still looked like small rocks, but I played around with a few of the settings on my Blendtec and found that at #3, the chickpeas turned to a fine powder after another few minutes. Hooray!

chickpea flour in blender | healthy green kitchen

I used my chickpea flour to make Erin’s recipe for Tomato Basil Socca Pizza. Socca is a flatbread that’s a specialty of Nice, France. I’ve never had socca but I know it has a reputation for being very tasty. I was happy for the inspiration to make it (I’d been meaning to try it ever since seeing this recipe on David Lebovitz’ blog ages ago).

Socca is so simple to make: all you need is the chickpea flour, water, olive oil, and salt. You soak these together for an hour, then you cook the batter in a hot oiled skillet under a broiler.

chickpea flour soaking | healthy green kitchen

I’ve purchased chickpea flour in the past and used it in gluten-free baking. It always had this odd, very bean-y flavor to me, which I didn’t love. I have to say that my fresh chickpea flour didn’t taste “off” at all: I really loved it in this base for an easy pizza. So while you can definitely use store-bought chickpea flour in this recipe, I recommend trying to make your own if you can because it’s fresher and really does have a different, milder flavor.

socca pizza | healthy green kitchen

Many thanks to Erin for turning me on to making my own flours. I really look forward to seeing what I can do with ancient grains, legumes, nuts, etc. I cannot wait to try out more of the recipes in this book: there are so many incredibly creative and healthy savory and sweet recipes to choose from! And I have one extra copy of the book from the publisher to give away to one of my readers…the directions for entering the giveaway are below the recipe :)

socca pizza from the homemade flour cookbook | healthy green kitchen
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A couple of months ago, I wrote here about how my garden was very much in need of some “TLC”. Well, my dear husband and I have been working steadily each weekend since then to get everything in tip top shape: I am so happy to say we’re almost done! I am looking forward to sharing photos of our “garden makeover” soon because it’s looking seriously great.

One of the first things to pop up in my garden was the rhubarb.

Rhubarb is a perennial that grows well where I live: I’ve got two plants that have been producing quite nicely these past few years. I just today harvested some of my rhubarb for the first time this spring, so this #SAVEITSUNDAY post is also going to be the first in a series I am calling “Use What You’ve Got.” This isn’t going to be a structured series or anything…just a way for me to occasionally round up some of my own recipes (along with recipes from other sites) to give you ideas for how to use your homegrown or store-bought produce.

And in an effort to help you cut down on your food waste, I’ll also be highlighting the storage of said produce: I’d hate to see you have to toss or compost your produce before you get to use it because it wasn’t stored in the best possible way!

cut rhubarb | healthy green kitchen

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I started this blog back in May of 2009. Since then, I’ve written almost 700 posts. And a book.

Since I have learned so much and changed so much in the past 5 years, it’s only natural that the look and feel of my blog evolves, as well. So I hired my talented friend Sabrina to give HGK a little makeover as a “blogiversary” gift to myself. I wanted the design to be very simple, natural, and a little messy, even (kind of like me!). I hope you like it as much as I do :)

(Please if you notice any problems with the new design, let me know! That way, we can fix whatever is wrong.)

And what’s a celebration without a decadent treat? I made a Chocolate Silk Pie to mark this blogging milestone.

Chocolate Silk Pie | Healthy Green Kitchen

My parents used to serve a similar French Silk Pie in their restaurant when I was a kid…I have such fond memories of that pie and have been wanting to make one like it for a long time. This pie is so easy to prepare and it’s absolutely delicious: I think it perfectly symbolizes where my blog and I are at these days and what you can expect to see here in the future.

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I missed out on sharing links for “Friday Shares” last week…sorry! Here are a few photos from my garden to make it up to you, plus an extra awesome list of links…I hope you have a nice, relaxing weekend that allows you time to check everything out.

bleeding heart | healthy green kitchen

irises | healthy green kitchen

lilacs | healthy green kitchen

Food/Nutrition-Related:

Nutrition Survival Guide (Nia Shanks)

Carb Controversy (Precision Nutrition)

Sensitive to Gluten? A Carb in Wheat May be the Real Culprit (NPR)

Other:

A Life Beyond Do What You Love (New York Times)

See The Unseen (5 Second Rule)

Anne Lamott on People Pleasing, Haters, and Trolls (Brain Pickings)

What’s the Harm? The Body Count of Pseudoscience (Skeptical Libertarian)

Recipes:

Potage St. Germain (Minted Pea Soup) (Bojon Gourmet)

Grilled Caesar Salad (The Year in Food)

Smashed Indian Baby Spiced Potato Medley (Food Wanderings)

Buttermilk Southwestern Chicken Wings (Nutmeg Nanny)

Lavender Creme Fraiche (Autumn Makes and Does)

Coconut Cake with Rose Petals (Wine Dine Daily)

The Bootleg Cocktail (Cookie and Kate)

Currently Reading:

Kombucha Revolution: 75 Recipes for Homemade Brews, Fixers, Elixirs, and Mixers

Fruitful: Four Seasons of Fresh Fruit Recipes

Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All

The Blue Zones, Second Edition: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest

Disclosure: Links to Amazon.com are affiliate links. When you make a purchase via one of my links, I make a small commission. Thank you!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Organic Choice for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I was in my local farm/garden shop last week and a terracotta strawberry pot caught my eye. The shop also had beautiful strawberry plants meant for growing in containers so I bought a bunch, then came home and planted them right away.

plant strawberries in a container

Strawberries are perennials and while I've grown them in a raised bed in my garden before, I encountered some problems. The first year's harvest was great, but subsequent years were less so. (I am sure this is because I didn't manage the "runners" correctly). Also, my strawberry bed seems to always become filled with weeds that are difficult to deal with without pulling out the strawberries, too. So I thought I'd try something new this year.

plant strawberries in a container

Planting strawberries in containers is really easy. It's a great option if you don't want to deal with the work and potential problems that may occur when you plant a strawberry "patch"; it also makes a lot of sense if you want to grow some of your own food but you don't have a lot of space. Look for strawberry planters made from terracotta or plastic at garden shops or online and buy strawberries that are meant to be planted in containers (look for a variety that is drought-tolerant, disease-resistant, and which is a light runner producer). Then you can keep your strawberry pot in just about any sunny spot…mine is on a table on my deck. 

Strawberries have shallow root systems and you don't want the potting soil to dry out too much, but you definitely don't want to overwater them either (this can lead to rotting). Keep an eye on your strawberry pot especially once it starts to get hot: the strawberries will need more water during the phases that they are producing fruit. Strawberries benefit from mulching to conserve moisture and I will be adding mulch to my strawberry planter for sure.

The variety of strawberries that I planted are called Tristar. These are what is known as "everbearing" strawberries: they produce fruit sporadically from spring through the fall. (By contrast, June bearing varieties only produce berries in June). I planted one plant per hole and 4 plants at the very top. I used Organic Choice potting soil. 

plant strawberries in a container

As I mentioned above, strawberries are perennials. That said, I don't think strawberries in a container will make it through the winter where I live…I imagine I'll probably have to plant strawberries again next spring. But that's ok: I think I only spent about $12 on the plants in this container. 

In the past, I've heard you must pinch off the runners in order to increase the productivity of the plants, but Tristar strawberries aren't supposed to produce many runners: a good thing for container strawberries. I've also always heard you should be removing  the strawberry blossoms the first year you plant them to make the plants more vigorous but my research tells me this isn't really necessary for container strawberries, especially if I am probably going to be planting new ones next year.

I am very excited about my strawberries and will be sure to let you know how they taste and what I do with them!

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