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!
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.
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.
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.
Nutrition Survival Guide (Nia Shanks)
Carb Controversy (Precision Nutrition)
Sensitive to Gluten? A Carb in Wheat May be the Real Culprit (NPR)
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)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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!
Learn more about gardening and landscaping from Miracle-Gro Learn And Grow.
Kate Payne is someone whose work I really admire and her second book just came out. It’s called The Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen: A Hit-the-Ground Running Approach to Stocking Up and Cooking Delicious, Nutritious, and Affordable Meals: I absolutely adore it.
The Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen is not a typical cookbook. In Kate’s words, it’s more of a “friend, someone sitting with you helping to bust your fears in the kitchen”. From the introduction, I learned that though she always loved the idea of cooking, for much of her life Kate did not feel good about the reality of preparing food for herself and others. Kate was not someone who naturally loved to cook…it stressed her out.
A few years ago, Kate decided to work through her discomfort and take charge of the “sustenance cooking” in her household due to reasons related to food quality, nutrition, and economics. She set out to “master” wholesome, delicious, budget-friendly everyday cooking and along the way, this book was born. I think anyone who is struggling to feel themselves nourishing food on a daily basis will get a ton out of The Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen. (But I got a ton out of it and I already consider myself a pretty confident/competent cook.)
As I mentioned above, this isn’t the kind of cookbook you may be accustomed to. There are some recipes, yes, but mostly it is filled with extremely helpful tips and advice, as well as info on techniques for making pretty much anything from scratch. Reading through, I was particularly impressed with how Kate tackles tough issues such as how to eat “real” food when you are on a really tight budget; she also discusses the problem of food waste quite a bit, and I was pleased to see this.
The way Kate writes is incredibly down to earth and funny (ex. Chapter 5 is called “Kitchen Kick-Ass”) and the book is really so inspiring: you can read the whole thing- or just snippets of it- and I am willing to bet money that when you put the book down, you’ll be excited to go create something in your kitchen.
To honor what I love about this book, I chose to make some Garlic Parmesan Popcorn. This isn’t a recipe that’s in the book, but it’s very much inspired by Kate’s words on page 161. Popcorn is so easy to make, and so delicious when it’s homemade, and yet so many of us don’t spend the time to do it…we make microwave popcorn instead.
There are some potential health concerns with microwave popcorn (which Kate does mention in the book), but that’s only part of why I prefer homemade popcorn to the microwave variety. I prefer it mostly because I can flavor it how I like! Some melted real butter and sea salt is always wonderful, but it’s so fun to get creative with popcorn. There are lots of different ways you can season it- from truffle salt to curry (both mentioned by Kate in the book) to other spices, to sweet popcorn…raid your pantry and have fun with it! I certainly had fun coming up with this Garlic Parmesan Popcorn which I’ve never made before (and I’ll definitely be making it again…it’s delicious).