Feeling stressed? Unwind with this meditation playlist! It has everything from sessions that are 5 minutes to guided exercises.
This Summer I’ve had the pleasure of spending weekends surrounded by green grass, vegetables and silence Upstate in our garden. Working in a fast paced stressful industry, living in NYC where you are never alone, making sure my 6 babies are taken care of (Husband + Cats) and wondering if my student loan debt will ever disappear leaves me stressed and feeling anxious during the week. Sure, these stress issues are all things I chose for my life, but that still doesn’t mean I don’t contemplate or worry about them from time to time (I never complain about the cats though).
Last year I started meditating, first by myself, then trying some classes, and then settling by myself again, to see if learning correct breathing exercises and focused relaxation could help me. Turns out, meditation works great and I saw immediate results in calmness after just trying a few times. Meditation is a life long process, it’s not as easy as it looks. Focusing your mind on peace and tranquility is hard work, and something I still struggle with when meditating, but practice makes one stronger.
Hope you all had a great weekend everyone! We spent the weekend up on the land, camping over night. On Friday we ventured to the local County Fair where I ate my yearly funnel cake and kissed all the goats I could find. On Saturday we woke up on the land to cows moo’ing at a nearby field and sunshine. With the garden all built now (did you see my reveal last week?) we’re in full harvest mode, picking pounds and pounds of vegetables each week to travel back with to NYC.
So what’s growing? Lots of everything. We still have some of our spring veggies (kale, collards, cauliflower, etc). Our sugar snap peas are finally winding down, but still picking a pound every week. Then we have the beginning of the Summer veggies. We picked our first tomatoes and peppers this week, with hope that the corn will be ready next week. The weather Upstate is very different than growing in NYC due it’s colder temperatures so it feels weird to just only beginning to pick tomatoes. With that said, the weather is great because it can grow “colder” veggies in the Summer. For example, we picked Brussels Sprouts this weekend – in August! Awesome! Bonus awesome because this is the first time successfully growing Brussels Sprouts. Garden high 5s. I’m so excited to eat them.
We picked: Kale, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Cucumbers, Carrots, Green Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers, Green Beans, Sugar Snap Peas, Tomatillos, Tomatoes, Onions, Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts. Whew.
So let’s dive in….!
This Summer has been all about potatoes! We dug up our first plant a few weeks ago, digging up a additional plant every weekend. When it’s time to dig up the potatoes it’s like Christmas morning – pure excitement! Matthew and I gather around the potato plant, digging it up with a shovel and our hands calling out each potato we spot. It’s one of my favorite garden activities! We planted Gold and Red potatoes. The Red potatoes came from “potatoes gone bad” in our cabinet in the Spring. The Red potatoes were a bit of a happy experiment!
The big reveal of our vegetable garden for our Upstate Adventure!
Can I get a drum roll please? After months of hard work, the garden is ready to be revealed in all it’s corn growing, pumpkin pollinating, tomato loving glory! I’ve teamed up with Lowe’s to raise the curtains on the garden and reveal it!
Are you ready?
In our Upstate adventure, building the garden was first on the list. Can you believe this was where we started a few months ago?
Thank you Success® Rice for sponsoring this post. Check out Success® Rice, the ultimate mealtime staple for busy back-to-school schedules.
Buttered Cabbage and Rice is a comfort food recipe that only takes 20 minutes from start to finish! It’s a great back to school dinner recipe!
This is a easy comforting meal filled with vegetables from the garden that I hope you’ll love as much as I do. Right now kids are going back to school, creating havoc on the Fall schedule. There’s school, sports, activities, homework and there’s also you! Don’t forget to take care of you! I wanted to create a recipe that would be ready in 20 minutes that is still wholesome with fresh ingredients – a meal you’ll feel good about serving the family. Enjoy!
The main vegetables in this recipe are cabbage and peas, 2 things that we have in abundance right now in the garden. I’ve always liked cabbage, but this Summer I turned into a real cabbage lover. I can’t get enough of it, especially sauteed and buttered! Yum. Our sugar snap peas are coming to a end this season, what’s left is those monster peas that are busting through the pods. The recipe calls for 1/2 peas so you can either use frozen peas (cook them first) or you can shell fresh peas. Use whatever you hand on hand and is easiest.
This Green Bean, Cabbage and Cheese casserole is just like Macaroni and Cheese but without the pasta! It’s a savory, comforting, cheesy dish that uses fresh vegetables. Your family will love it!
With pounds of green beans and cabbage to be picked in the garden I have been trying to come up with new ways to eat our veggies. For dinner one night I was craving macaroni and cheese but wanted to use our vegetables so this unique macaroni and cheese but without the pasta casserole dish was created!
This recipe uses 1.5 cups of fresh green beans, one head of cabbage and cheddar cheese. It’s a great side dish or main dish that is comforting, but doesn’t make you feel too bad because look at all the vegetables you ate! This would make a great new casserole dish for the holidays, as well as a everyday dinner when you have lots of green beans and cabbage. We are big fans of this dish in our house and I hope you will become one too!
If you are looking for a delicious recipe to use your garden cucumbers in – this is it! The Sugar Glazed Cucumber Bread is made with 1 cup grated cucumber, similar to zucchini bread. A powdered sugar glaze is poured on top once baked!
This weekend there were many surprises in the garden. The monster pumpkin plant just won’t stop growing. There was a 5 pound bag of potatoes waiting for us under the soil. Carrots were pulled. Jalapeno peppers were picked. Cucumbers were spotted. These are all vegetables I was hoping for, but maybe in a few weeks…. but in typical garden fashion, they make their own rules and showed up to the party early. I couldn’t have been more happy to see them!
I saw a few baby cucumbers growing on the vine last weekend but somehow those babies transformed to multiple large cucumbers in just a few days, ready to be picked and enjoyed. My Half Sour Pickle recipe is a favorite way to use cucumbers, but I was trying to figure out how to bake with them. This Sugar Glazed Cucumber Bread was created because of that! This bread is similar to Zucchini Bread, but instead is made with grated cucumbers. After the bread cools, a delicious powdered sugar glaze is poured on top to make it really special. This is our new breakfast recipe that I’ll be making weekly until the cucumbers finish in the garden.
These Birthday Cake Muffins are super fluffy, just like a birthday cake – and they taste just like it too! I include sprinkles inside the batter and then add additional sprinkles on top once in the muffin pan to give them a bright rainbow color all over! These would be perfect for a Birthday Celebration, but they would also be great for just adding some cheer to a breakfast or bringing a snack gift to leave in the kitchen at work.
This Cheesy Broccoli Quiche is a easy to make dinner recipe! Instead of the traditional pie crust, we’re using kale to line the bottom of the casserole dish. It’s the perfect balance of cheesy and vegetables!
“This is one of the best meals you ever made” said my husband Matthew eating this quiche while eyeing up the last piece in the casserole dish. I thought I’d post this first because if my meat loving husband can fall in love with this Broccoli Quiche made on top of kale leaves, then I think that’s the only review I need!
This quiche is filled with broccoli and kale. The broccoli is the main contents of the quiche while the kale acts as the pie crust. I was really craving a quiche but I didn’t have any pie crust and I wasn’t in the mood to make a homemade one so the sudden idea of using kale leaves to lie in the bottom of the casserole dish as a crust popped into my mind. I have to say this might be one of my most genius kitchen ideas to date because it worked beautifully. The kale turns a bit crusty while holding in all the contents of the quiche. I was worried that the wet ingredients would fall through the kale leaves but this quiche is not wet or soggy at all. The eggs bake perfectly. The cheese melts perfectly. When cutting it into slices it all holds together perfectly just like if you used a pie crust, but you didn’t and you saved yourself some calories.
Do you forget what vegetables you have in the refrigerator? With this simple photo project you’ll never let your produce go bad again!
One of the worst things is seeing food go to waste. Do you sometimes buy beautiful greens at the grocery store, use them for 2 days, and then somehow they get stuffed into the crisper drawer in the fridge to be forgotten about until you notice a funky smell? It happens. And it’s terrible.
Even worse is when you grow those vegetables and they go bad. All that hard work that went into planting the seeds, transplanting the plants, watering them for months, sprinkling powder in mid Summer under the hot spot because those damn caterpillars really need to get away from your broccoli plants. All for nothing. Because you forgot you had that beautiful head of broccoli and now it’s bad. That is a case of garden guilt that you will never forget. Truthful note, I have wasted a few vegetables and have then sat down on my kitchen floor and cried about it. It gets rough.
This tip is easy. You can go the simple route and keep a piece of paper on the fridge with all the vegetables that you need to eat written on it. Or you can make it a little more pretty then that – that’s where I introduce you to this photo project.
FUJIFILM instax® camera and film
These homemade crackers are made by combining a bunch of kale and flour. They are sprinkled with salt to make a delicious snack or appetizer. You’re going to love these healthy crackers!
Yup, it’s kale time in the garden which means I have a list of new kale recipes. Earlier this week I gave you my current favorite lunch sandwich, but now it’s all about snacks. At around 4PM every afternoon I snack. I can’t help it! I’m a afternoon snacker while my husband is a late night snacker, but either way is ok because you won’t regret eating these homemade kale crackers. The crackers are easy to make and I bet that you have all the ingredients already in your pantry. It’s the perfect way to use a entire bunch of kale! These crackers are perfect for snacking, serving as a appetizer (especially sprinkled with Parmesan or a thin slice of Sharp cheese), or alongside eggs at breakfast.
Yup, only 2 plants are done so far, the rest are just starting which means we’re in for quite a haul of veggies for the next few months!
Welcome to the garden everyone!
As you some of you know, this garden was a work of love this year. I’m talking about the entire process. Remember in the Winter when it was 20 degrees and we were Upstate trying to dig through the frozen ground? That’s love. There was a point in the early Spring where we spoke to each other about the possibility of this completely failing. What if we can only grow on rooftops? I’m happy to report that we can grow in the ground! It wasn’t a failure. I had a moment of pure bliss while standing in the garden on Saturday morning, looking around and seeing all green. We built this, we grew this, we created this garden together. It’s all for the love of vegetables.
Remember just a few months ago this was what the garden looked like?
There’s been some ups and downs. First there was building this massive garden. It was hard work. We don’t live Upstate, we live in NYC, so our time spent on the land consists of working, working and working. To be honest, we still haven’t had much time to enjoy the land as when we drive up there every weekend, we’re on a mission to get our week’s worth of gardening in one day. Yup, you read that right. This garden gets taken care of one day a week. That’s why the fence is so crazy, we knew we couldn’t prevent animals from attacking while we aren’t there so we decided to make it tough for them to get in. So far it’s working. Because we only visit once a week, we rely on good soil filled with nutrients to make sure the plants stay healthy and strong when we’re not there. We got a pH test done in the Winter and the soil was lacking nutrients. The soil was super acidic and had low mineral and organic values. To give you a idea, Phosphorus was “very low”, Potassium was “low”, Calcium was “low” and Magnesium was on the low side of “Optimum”. The soil pH value was 5.6. Yuck. We pray to the weather gods that it rains once or twice a week to keep the plants watered, but if it doesn’t, then we water our hearts out when we visit once a week. Thankfully because of the soil and nutrients that we added in, the soil stays pretty wet, which means it can take care of itself when Mom and Dad aren’t there.
Healthy Kale Arugula Sandwich with Melted Cheese that is only 250 calories! This delicious open faced sandwich is perfect for lunch or a meatless dinner.
With so much kale growing in the garden right now, we’ve been picking pounds worth every weekend to bring back to the city and wonder the frequently asked Summer question “What are we going to make with it?”. Kale pesto is a favorite, as is Potatoes and Kale, but I wanted to start to bring the kale into my lunch so I quickly created this Melted Kale Arugula Cheese Sandwich. I say quickly because it took me less than 15 minutes to make the sandwich, photograph it and eat it. Since you’ll only have to worry about Step 1 and Step 3, this sandwich will take you 5 minutes.
First, start out with some delicious kale and arugula. Our kale comes straight from our very green at the moment garden.
You usually don’t hear from me during the weekend as I spend these days running around happily in the garden but I wanted to introduce you to my new favorite photo craft store in NYC. If you live nearby or will be visiting NYC, you must stop by! You’ll probably see me there because I’m officially making all my holiday gifts here – better start now!
Isn’t the shop beautiful? Can I move into this photo craft heaven? Read More
Sprinkled Butter Cookies are delicious! Roll them around in colored sprinkles to make them more festive. This recipe uses evaporated milk to make the cookies extra soft! Recipe makes 2 dozen cookies.
I don’t know what it is about July but I usually start thinking about holiday season around this time of the year. Between me going to the library to check out a Christmas stories book, a friend telling me she’s already begun her shopping and my craving for cookies, I believe I have the “Christmas In July” fever!
Dreaming of a tin cannister of Christmas cookies led me to make these Sprinked Butter Cookies which are delicious (and very pretty!). The ingredients list is short and simple, using butter as the main ingredient that keeps them soft. The other key ingredient for these cookies is evaporated milk which is going to keep them fluffy and tasty. Roll around in your favorite colored sprinkles and you have a festive butter cookie – perfect for the holiday season or whenever you’re craving a cookie!
See, I would never lie to you about cookies. They are super soft inside!
Use paper towels to keep your lettuce leaves and sugar snap peas fresh for weeks. The paper towels help remove moisture that can make your vegetables go bad.
Right now we are picking pounds of lettuce and sugar snap peas. Just this weekend we picked 10 pounds (!!) of lettuce and 5 pounds (!!) of sugar snap peas. We usually don’t pick this much lettuce at once, but the heat hit and we know it’s going to turn bitter if we keep it in the garden so we’d rather pick it now. Over the past few years I’ve spent lots of time experimenting trying to keep our vegetables fresh for as long as possible as there’s nothing sadder to a gardener then seeing their plants go to waste. You might have remembered last summer’s tip on how to keep your lettuce fresh for a month with aluminum foil? Yup, works great! And now I’m back with more fresh tips, this time for lettuce leaves and sugar snap peas. All you need is your vegetables, paper towels and a produce bag.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Vintage Seltzer. All opinions are 100% mine.
Delicious recipe for fudgy chocolate brownies made with seltzer water! The seltzer water helps make the brownies extra fluffy!
My house is a Seltzer water house. Besides tea, it’s all we drink. We stock up so we’re never out because a dinner without seltzer water sure is sad! With that said, I wanted to do a baking experiment with seltzer water because I knew it had the properties to make things extra fluffy. And long and behold, I baked some of the best fudgy chocolate brownies I ever made with the help of seltzer!
A few things about this recipe before we dive in. These brownies are extra fluffy. They’re extra fudgy. They are a chocoholics dream. Besides cocoa powder, I added in chocolate chips to make them double chocolate. There’s no butter or milk in this recipe. For liquid we’re using seltzer water and vegetable oil. The brownies are fudgy and crumbly when they come out of the oven. They’re a dream.
Yup, it’s another harvest post. Yup, we’re picking the same veggies as last week again.
This weekend we had off and on rain while visiting the land, with a heavy downpour happening in the late afternoon that followed us back to NYC. I can’t complain about getting wet in the rain though because water is definitely what the garden needs in this stage.
Our refrigerator is filled with greens right now. We have no idea how we’re going to eat that much lettuce. Thankfully I figured out how to preserve lettuce better last year, and now I can freeze all our bok choy.
So let’s jump right in, sugar snap peas, bok choy, lettce, kale, collards.. I’m coming for you!
The sugar snap peas are in full growing mode right now, we’re picking them by the bucket. Last weekend we picked over 5 pounds!
If you have too much bok choy, don’t worry, you can freeze it. Follow these steps to freeze bok choy whole so you can use in udon noodle soups for months to come!
We have so much bok choy right now. Maybe it was a crazy idea planting over 90 plants. But maybe it was a great idea so we can enjoy it in our favorite udon noodle soup throughout the Fall and Winter months. Right now it’s hard to imagine cold weather as it’s humid and hot in NYC, but it’s easy to freeze bok choy whole so you throw it in your udon soup once the weather starts to get cold.
In the past I showed you how to freeze cut up bok choy without it turning mushy but in this recipe we’re going to leave it whole as I prefer it that way served in Chinese noodle soups.
1. Wash your bok choy good to remove any dirt. Air dry it or use a cotton towel. You want to make sure you get it pretty dry before freezing. I use my Oxo Salad Spinner to wash all my greens, it’s one of the best purchases to use during garden season. The salad spinner is great because it gets the greens dry too.
Simple Vegetarian Collard Greens recipe. These greens are simmered in a brown sugar vegetable broth making them full of flavor!
With lots of greens to pick in the garden we are having a side dish of collard greens weekly at the dinner table. I love these collards so much I’ve been making a big batch to take to work to eat for lunch a few times a week (partnered with some cheese/crackers because I love a mismatched lunch). So many Collard Greens recipes call for chicken broth and bacon, but in this recipe I’m using vegetable broth to make it Vegetarian friendly. I’m adding a little bit of brown sugar into the vegetable broth to balance out the natural bitter flavor that collards give, but not making it too sweet.
Did you have a good weekend? The weather was beautiful on the land this weekend, 70 degrees, sunny, and the perfect amount of breeze. It started out chilly enough in the morning that I had to wear a sweatshirt, to the afternoon being able to wear a t-shirt and then at dinner time I needed a sweatshirt again. Saturday had it’s ups and downs for me. I enjoyed gardening, picked lots of vegetables, painted some of the fence (can you guess what color?), had a cookout with some friends who stopped by. The downs were that I started the morning hitting my head off the car door, and then I found a snake skin (terrified of snakes) where I was sitting, and then I found said snake that was trying to hang out with me (that was not happening) and then I fell near the stream grabbing on to some thorny bushes that need to be cleared on my fall down, cutting up my hand and leg pretty badly. Thankfully we had a first aid kid and Matthew happily covered up my hand heavily in ointment, gauze and bandages.
All pain was forgotten when I bit into the campfire made S’more that night.
But on to the veggies because that’s what this post is about.
Keeping with the theme of all the greens we picked last week, you’ll see a repeat of many characters – bok choy, lettuce, collards, etc. We’ll be picking these for the next few weeks and I’ll continue to keep googling “What to do with lettuce” because there’s lots of it!