1
Slow Cooked Sausage and Sauerkraut
2
Time to Pick Bok Choy in the Garden!
3
Cats and Reed + Rader
4
Painting With Cats
5
Spicy Italian Crushed Tomato Sauce
6
Mary’s Special Ingredients Box Review
7
Get Your Organizing On Track!
8
The Best Collard Greens
9
Peanut Butter and Pickles Sandwich + Giveaway!
10
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pie Pudding
11
Beat Average! #TeamGNC
12
The Pepper Plant Seedling That Just Won’t Die
13
Tomato Macaroni and Cheese
14
A Look Into Frances Palmer’s Garden
15
How to Survive Garden Allergies!
16
Mexican Black Bean and Corn Salsa
17
Walk The Aisles To Keep The Wrinkles Away
18
Sweet Tuxedo Fudge (That you can freeze!)
19
You Don’t Need Natural Light or a Yard to Grow
20
Oriental Spicy Bok Choy Noodles

Slow Cooked Sausage and Sauerkraut

This Slow Coked Sausage and Sauerkraut will leave you feeling full and happy!

 A few weeks ago I was left with a cup of sauerkraut.  Being a person that doesn’t like any food to go waste I was going crazy with what to do with it.  We used some of it up on chili cheese dogs but what was going to be next?  Then I thought of all the great Polish dishes I ate as a kid.  There was always sauerkraut alongside meat and mashed potatoes so that’s how this Slow Coked Sausage and Sauerkraut recipe was created.

It’s funny how recipes that just came out of no where end up being your favorite.  This slow cooked dish was a huge hit at the dinner table leaving it a now favorite and often requested meal.   The meat becomes so tender and juicy in the slow cooker and it picks up the spices of the brown sugar giving it a slight sweet taste.  I served this on mashed potatoes which I would totally recommend but you could also serve over rice or noodles. For mashed potatoes I would always recommend this recipe, it’s a favorite!

So next time you’re wondering what’s for dinner, give this Slow Coked Sausage and Sauerkraut a shot. I think you will love it just as much as we do!

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Slow Coked Sausage and Sauerkraut

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 Sausage

Slow Coked Sausage and Sauerkraut
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup sauerkraut
  2. 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  3. 1 pound of Italian sauce cut up into 1-2 inch pieces
  4. 1/2 onion sliced
  5. 1/4 cup water
Instructions
  1. In a bowl combine the sauerkraut and brown sugar. Place this into slow cooker.
  2. Next arrange the sausage pieces and onion over the sauerkraut.
  3. Pour water on top.
  4. Cook on high for 2 hours, checking occasionally to make sure there is still water.
  5. Reduce to low and cook for 2 more hours.
  6. Serve over mashed potatoes.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

Time to Pick Bok Choy in the Garden!

*Squeals* *Dances* *Smiles* *Does a cartwheel*. Just kidding, I could never do a cartwheel. In the playground all the pretty little girls were always flipping around while I was playing basketball or trying to talk people into playing BINGO with me. But I am squealing, dancing and smiling…. it’s time to start picking vegetables in the garden! This makes me one happy girl!

Right now we’re getting hammered with Lettuce and Bok Choy picking in the garden. For a girl who used to dislike lettuce, I am sure eating it by the handful now.. but that’s another post! This one is all about one of my favorite greens, Bok Choy! Last year we grew some over the Winter in the green house and it worked pretty well but this Spring was the first time we grew them normal like our other plants. The results are astounding… we already have a contestant in the happiest plant of 2014 category!

For stats, the seeds were planted January 29 and transplanted outside on April 1st. These plants are growing MASSIVE! I really can’t say enough great things about their growth. They are wide, bushy and they just keep growing. So let’s pick some of the first harvest of the season… are you excited?

Remember when the bok choy were just baby seedlings? Oh those were the days…
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Then they started growing…
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Then suddenly they were full force ahead adult bok choy mode!
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You guys just grew up so quick! It feels like just yesterday I was planting your little seeds.First Bok Choy Harvest 2014_1

You used to be small and weak and scared of the wind… and now you’re so strong you can live through tough storms!
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From seed to these massive beauties.  A bok choy selfie is needed!
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But now it’s time to pick the bok choy for dinner!   I’m totally making this noodle dish!   Did you know that if you don’t pick the entire plant but instead just cut off the outside leaves the plant will keep growing?  I know, it’s amazing. That means that you can grow a plant, cut, then keep on growing!  I would highly suggest this method as you’re going to get double the yield.  To do this just cut about 2 inches from the base on the outside leaves.  This is a great video that shows you how to cut it too.
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And go all the way around the plant to cut all the leaves..
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We tend to leave a few leaves inside so the plant won’t freak out but instead will keep  growing.  This is how we left the plant after cutting.
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In just 1 week the plant already looks like this again. Do you see all the new growth around the base and the outside leaves?  
Bok Choy Regrowing

And then once all your bok choy is cut, start thinking about recipes!
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And continue to be in love with how green and beautiful it is!  Goodness I am in love with you bok choy.
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Good job baby bok choy. Mama and Papa love you.
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Thanks for harvesting with me! 

Have you grown bok choy before?  Do you treat your plants like babies too?

Cats and Reed + Rader

I’m totally going to shock you here… but I love cats! Ok maybe that’s not shocking at all, but it was reason to just yell out “I love cats!”.  I love the entire population of cats! 

We were shooting the entire past weekend and unfortunately there was no cats on set.  You know how much this breaks my heart but don’t worry, there was plenty of cat gushing with friends that we work with!   The shoot was a fashion project we’re working on and that got me thinking about cats in fashion.  You all know I’m already obsessed with cat clothes, but how about we go a step further and investigate cats that roam fashion sets and end up in the final pictures?

Matthew and my own work  features plenty of cats! We’ve done plenty of gifs, videos and interactive projects that put our cat love on full display. Here’s just a few that I’d love to show you guys!  Being inspired by cats is totally my daily fancy!

The most known one is a video we made for Vice Magazine.  The film is called “I Hate Kitties” but don’t get the idea that we hate kitties, that’s not true at all.  The video was done in good spirits but expresses that feeling when cats wake you up at 6AM with a meow to be fed, you get out of bed and run into the wall while stubbing your toe, feed your cat and then head back to bed. Then the cat appears on your belly with a look that says “I didn’t want food. Sucker.”.  

Last year we were approached by the fine folks at Snapple to create a video about cats.  The video was based on their under the lid facts. The fact for our project was Snapple Real Fact #685: Dogs can make about 10 sounds, cats make about 100.  So we decided to go right in and show how brilliant cats are with our spelling bee.    

Don’t you love a behind the scenes look at our Snapple video too featuring Brother Bear?
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For Christmas we did a GIF story for Flair Magazine. One of the shots included a grumpy cat lady.
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Then we did a V MAN / Marc Jacobs story that featured some cat rubbing. Don’t be terrified, the cats are happy.
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For a interactive piece last year we projection mapped colors on a 3D cat that we created.  The final result was a installation piece called CAT GOD. Meow.  Here’s a look at it during the day when it’s not lit up.. with me on Matthew’s shoulders (he made me do it, I was scared!).
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Finally, even a talk we gave in Toronto in April had cats in the title.  Cats, Cats, Cats! Love, Love, Love.
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And what would be a post with our projects be without some snapshots of our cats behind the scenes?  Being loved on set is their daily fancy.  Kitties love lots of attention… especially Xanadu! I really love all the models who have shown Xanadu love over the years…. she tends to always want to jump into the shots!
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Hope you guys liked taking a look behind the scenes of our cat happy work! 
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What’s your daily fancy? Follow Fancy Feast’s new Tumblr to read the #DailyFancies of fancy cats and passionate cat owners. I’m really loving the interviews they are doing with cat loving bloggers so check it out!

And check out my other cat related post I made today about painting with cats!  It’s cat day Wednesday! 

Painting With Cats

Have you ever tried to paint a wall alongside a cat? How about 4 cats? So the journey begins..

For the past few years we have had a wall unpainted that sits behind my desk. It’s called the bike wall as it houses the bikes on it.  The wall was supposed to be painted right after construction but for some reason that never happened so I have just been looking at a ugly wall for quite some time.  Because I could not put up with it anymore I told myself in May that wall would be painted!  I was pretty excited to do this and thought it would be simple.. but then some furry critters entered the painting day.

First up I wanted to tell you about the paint I chose.  I’ve heard great things about BEHR’s Marquee Interior Paint and Primer as it’s a one coat color that gets results quickly.  It’s paint + primer in one so it means no waiting around.. quick quick quick! What’s even more quicker? It has low VOC in it that allows the paint to dry faster which means you could paint and entertain a room in the same weekend.  Because I knew this was the bike wall I needed a paint that would be able to handle mud and wet stains that bike tires could cause.  With this paint it’s scrubbable which is perfect for the project at hand.  This paint was found at my local Home Depot and you can check your store availability here if you’re interested.  There’s 372 colors to pick from so they pretty much have every shade you are looking for.  We went with Siberian Ice Eggshell which is a icy blue shade.  I have to say that it was pretty dead on perfect with the swatch which is a great positive.  Did you ever buy a paint and it looks nothing like the swatch?  Terrible, I know.  A gallon retails at around $40 which I do find pricey for normal paint but since it has the primer mixed in and is quick drying, the results pay for themselves.  If you don’t need a gallon they also have 8 oz samples.  The paints come in matte, eggshame enamel and semi-gloss enamel.  What I’m saying is this paint rules!  Do-it-yourselfers can visit behr.com/marquee to learn more about the product and access robust how-to information.  

So now on to painting with the cats!
This was the wall to begin with.  It’s color was “natural” as it was never painted. Also I know the Grumpy Cat poster is a great touch.
Painting With Cats

In the same afternoon with only one coat of paint I was able to have a already transformed looking wall!
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I really love that color is subtle and not overwhelming.  With my purple wall I wanted something that wouldn’t outdo it.  As the day goes on the shadows get darker in our loft the color gets slightly darker making the icy blue stand out.
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I also painted a canvas with this color to see how it would work with crafts.  We used this canvas for a backdrop for a upcoming project and the color really stuck well to the canvas.   Canvas really soaks up paint so it goes quicker in this way but the color was spot on.
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Now on to the painting…

The afternoon started with some paint and a roller.  I thought everything was going to be great…
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Then I got the ladder out and I knew this was going to be a adventure.  Hi Goblin.. one cat shows up.
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And then once the cats realized there was plastic on the floor Wrestlemania began with the boys.  In this picture Brother and Goblin are both on the plastic while Xanadu lives on her ladder as the referee.  The boys love to roll around and wrestle on the plastic. It’s madness.   They also love seeing how their nails can rip the plastic.  It’s great fun for everyone except me.
Planned on painting but I have bad helpers.  1 wont get off the ladder and the other 2 are wrapped in plastic. #goblin #cats #cat #persiancat #Persian #fluffy #fluffball #kitten #furry #catsofinstagram  #siamesecat #mainecoon #home #diy #painting #design

Finally I got them to calm down a bit and they napped on a box.
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Then Xanadu decided that while the paint was drying she was going to head back to the top of the ladder again.  Xanadu has always been a fan of ladders.  She often sleeps on top of them when they are out.
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In the past few weeks Goblin has really been investigating Xanadu’s methods of play.  Xanadu is very active and smart and generally gets into everything so Goblin is very curious about how she does it.  When the moment came where I saw Goblin thinking about climbing the ladder I knew this was going to go bad.  She was teaching him all her tricks.
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So after a bit of figuring out how to get on top of the ladder, Goblin climbed slowly to the top.  Xanadu was not pleased at all and tried to bite his ear off.  After all, it is her ladder.
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But finally Xanadu gave up because Goblin would just not let go of the ladder.  She jumped down and Goblin stayed hanging onto the ladder for the next 3 hours because he has no idea how to get down.  Eventually we had to save him.  Good job Goblin.
Congrats Goblin, you finally climbed to the top of the ladder… but how are you going to get down?  #goblin #cats #cat #persiancat #Persian #fluffy #fluffball #kitten #furry #catsofinstagram #ilovemycat #grey

Are your cats curious too?  Tell me stories in the comments!

And check out my other cat related post I made today about cats in our work!  It’s cat day Wednesday! 

Spicy Italian Crushed Tomato Sauce

Doesn’t a big bowl of pasta just fill you up with happiness for dinner?  How about we add a touch of spice with some crushed tomatoes?  Magic, right?

That’s how I feel about this recipe, it’s absolutely magical.  I think most times when we think of tomato sauce it doesn’t have that kick to it, but this Spicy Italian Crushed Tomato Sauce definitely has some spice.   It’s not overly spicy, but there’s enough that gives it a extra zip zap taste.    Also, can we talk about the aroma that that this sauce has?  It’s delicious.  If you give this sauce a shot, just watch your  kitchen start to fill up with people asking when dinner is ready.   Tell them them a few more minutes and kick them out of your kitchen.  Then take a few big spoonfuls of this sauce first. 

Speaking of tomatoes… our tomatoes have adjusted from their transplanting period and are now firm in their containers.  I love seeing them start to add a few inches of height and turn a nice green color.  Expect a big garden update post at the end of this week!  The other fresh star of this recipe is the basil.  I was able to throw in a big bunch of basil chopped up in this sauce and it was a perfect fit (not to mention the smell was amazing!).  Don’t you just love fresh basil?  Mmmm!

Spicy Crushed Tomato Sauce

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You can totally use whatever pasta you want to use.  This was one of those nights where I threw a bunch of quarter filled boxes together for a pasta mix!

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 Now go on and have a great pasta dinner tonight.. enjoy!

Spicy Italian Crushed Tomato Sauce
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup olive oil
  2. 6 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  4. 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (or fresh crushed tomatoes)
  5. 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  6. 1 bunch of fresh basil, chopped up
  7. 1 small bell pepper, chopped up
  8. 1 12 ounce package dried pasta of choice
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
  2. Add red pepper flakes and saute for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil and pepper.
  4. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring a few times.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add your pasta of choice and cook as instructed on box. Drain.
  6. Add pasta sauce to pasta and stir.
  7. Serve hot and enjoy.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

Mary’s Special Ingredients Box Review

Recently I got to review a box of MARY’s secret ingredients (MSI).  MSI is a limited edition culinary surprise box containing unique gourmet, artisanal ingredients along with small kitchen products.  Each season, a box of surprise goodies will be delivered to your door to enjoy.  If you don’t know what to do with the products, don’t worry as each ingredient in the box will be used in a recipe on the LOVE blog.  

I love box ideas because 1) I really like surprise gifts in the mail.  2) I love to discover new snacks and cooking items.  Getting a new sauce or herb will make me think outside of my regular kitchen box and be creative.      Also I love that 10% of profits get donated to Feed The Children Organization.

If you’re interested sign up at Mary’s Secret Ingredients.  For all the gourmet products I got it’s well worth the $25.95 price tag as I know how much this stuff costs in the store!  Sign up for the Summer box, Autumn box or Winter box or go crazy and treat yourself to all 3.  This makes a awesome gift as well, so think of upcoming foodie friends birthdays or anniversaries!  They will love you for it!  My birthday is October 24, so you know. ;)

Let’s look at the box!  With my 2 helpers.. Xanadu and Goblin!

MARY’s secret ingredients
First up, it’s wrapped beautifully and very organized!

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I was already oohing and ahhing.  How long did these wafer cookies last in my kitchen? Less than 24 hours.  The next day I went for a wafer cookie and they were GONE.  The packaging was GONE.  I texted Matthew “WHERE ARE THE WAFERS!!!!!”.  He texted me that he ate the rest during the middle of the night.  I was heart broken.  Seriously. 

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These applewood smoked meats were also delicious.  They lasted 2 days I think.  I would totally buy these if I saw them in the store!

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A big jar of fresh oregano that smells as good as you think it does!

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Probably the highlight of the box for me (ok besides the wafer cookies) is this peppermint tea.  Peppermint tea is one of my favs to enjoy and calm down with.

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Even better is that it’s made right here in Brooklyn by Calmer Sutra Teas!

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These were little pieces of cheeses that had a hint of spice to it.  

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This was a delicious brine that has me bursting with ideas! Goblin is pretty excited too.

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So go ahead and put some LOVE in your cooking!

I hope you go ahead and try a box out, I really think you will love it!

Get Your Organizing On Track!

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Rubbermaid, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #FastTrack http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH

Does anyone else fear when walking into your garage or opening a closet that basketballs, screw drivers or boxes will fall on you?  I’m glad you can relate!  We have a storage closet at the end of our loft which houses some of Matthew’s tools (boy loves his power tools), sporting equipment, boxes that we can’t part with just yet, garden supplies, photo equipment and props for future/past projects.  It’s not strange to walk into this closet and see tools alongside long beautiful wigs.  Well ok, it’s not strange for me, but the unorganized nature of this drives me crazy.
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When I was browsing the aisles of my beloved Target, I came across The Rubbermaid FastTrack 5 Piece Kit that looked like it would be perfect to put high on our walls for more organized storage. I was hoping this could hold some electrical cords that always get tangled, paint cans, tools, etc.  So I threw it in my cart and off I went to browse around Target because I never leave Target with buying just 1 item.  Goodness, I love that place.
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What I loved about this Kit was right out of the box it was so easy to set up. Matthew literally snapped it together in a minute and by the time I grabbed my camera to take pictures (my way of helping) he already had it screwed into the wall.  The boy moves quick when it comes to setting things up!Target Rubbermaid FastTrack_3

And just like that things were looking better in our storage space!
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And a before and after:
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I really love these kits as you can build your ideal storage system for anything and everything.   This is perfect for garages, garden sheds or closets.   I’m already thinking about building a entire system of these kits for our garden storage on the roof.  Just the idea of getting all of our shovels organized makes me excited!

From May 18, 2014 to May 24, 2014 the FastTrack kit is on sale for $28.99 (regular price $33.99) so I would grab my bag and run to Target as soon as possible!   Are you doing any Spring/Summer time cleaning? 

The Best Collard Greens

I have been saving up this recipe for a few months anxiously awaiting to share it with you guys. The time has come, the best collard greens are here!

My obsession with collards came last year when I had some authentic ones down South. From there I was obsessed.  I came home, got a few bunches of collard greens and promised myself I would try to learn to make them just as good (or at least close!).  The outcome is a major mouth watering recipe.   When I first made this exact recipe there was silence at the dinner table as we just wanted to savor the taste.  Then a few days later they were requested again for dinner.  Then a few days later, again.   I’m at the point where I love these greens so much I would just have them for dinner, nothing else. They are so good.  Just thinking about them gets me all worked up.

I’m kicking myself because we didn’t plant any collard seeds this year.  What were we thinking? Don’t worry though, next season there will be collards.  And lots of them!

Enjoy this delicious recipe and have a great weekend! Are you doing anything fun?

The Best Collard Greens

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The Best Collard Greens
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 6 slices turkey bacon (or regular)
  3. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 pound collard greens, chopped
  5. 3 cups chicken broth
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  8. 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
  9. 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat.
  2. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pot, crumble and return to pot.
  3. Add garlic to pot and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add collard greens and stir until they begin to wilt.
  5. Add chicken broth, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and brown sugar. Stir.
  6. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

Peanut Butter and Pickles Sandwich + Giveaway!

I’m obsesed with Peanut Butter and Pickles!  I just can’t get enough of this combination!

Pretty much every single day for lunch or a late afternoon snack, I’ve been toasting up one or two slices of bread,   throwing on some peanut butter, throwing on a big pile of pickles and then eating it up with a smile!  Have you ever tried peanut butter and pickles? I love the combo of the sweet and the tart.

And my favorite Peanut Butter for this sandwich? I’m obsessed with Peanut Butter & Co’s The Bee’s Knees right now.   You guys know my love for Peanut Butter & Co, but I am super in love with the sweet addition of the honey in this.  If you’ve tried this kind of Peanut Butter or you have and love it too, then make sure enter the Giveaway down below where you can win 2 jars! 

First up, toast 2 pieces of bread.  I love the Light versions of bread nowadays, 1 slice is 40 calories.  Love it.  What else do I love? This plate that Katie gave me.  Thanks girl!
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Then I take a generous amount of peanut butter and put it on both slices.
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I also usually take a big spoonful and put it straight into my mouth because I can’t resist.Peanut Butter and Pickle Sandwich_2

Then I throw on a BIG (!) pile of pickles.  This is my favorite homemade pickle recipe but for store bought I always go for tart hamburger dill pickle chips. Peanut Butter and Pickle Sandwich_3

Seriously, I load up on the pickles. Every single bite should have a crunch to it.
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The perfect lunch!
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And now because I love you guys, here’s a chance to win 2 jars of Peanut Butter & Co’s The Bee’s Knees.  Contest runs from May 15-May 22.  Only US Residents please (but I love you all!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Have you ever tried Peanut Butter and Pickles before?

 

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pie Pudding

Chocolate and pumpkin are just the best couple aren’t they?

I mentioned on Monday that we just used up our last bag of homemade garden tomato sauce that I froze.  The same goes for pumpkin!   When making this pudding I had to reach for my last bag of frozen pumpkin puree.    I’m always a bit sad seeing the last bag gone, but it’s a great feeling knowing all the vegetables get used with love.   We just planted our pumpkin seeds last week so already I’m planning for some Summer pumpkins!  Are you guys ready for the pumpkin dance?  Prepare yourself… hopefully I’ll be dancing with happiness soon!

This Pudding is awesome for so many reasons.    For one, you are using 1 and a half cups of pumpkin so it’s full of fiber! You are using 1.5 cups of pumpkin to 1 cup chocolate chips so you’d think this is super pumpkin tasting, but it’s not.  It’s still super rich in chocolate tasting to the extent that people who don’t like pumpkin (gasp!) will still be licking their dishes when they’re done.  I recommend the good ol trick of making this recipe for pumpkin haters, having them exclaim how great it is, and then laughing and telling them how much pumpkin they ate!    Oh, I love being mean!

Lots of people think Pumpkin is only for Fall months but I don’t agree with that.    I think Pumpkin is great for the summer months for cool treats.  Besides this chilled pudding, what about pumpkin ice cream or pumpkin milk shakes?  Delicious, right?

Please please please give this Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pie Pudding a try.    I think you will fall in love with it! 

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pie Pudding Mousse

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Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pie Pudding
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin
  2. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  3. 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 tablespoon sugar
  6. 1 cup chocolate chips + handful of additional chips
Instructions
  1. Melt the chocolate chips (stove or microwave).
  2. Put all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until it is smooth. Add a handful additional chocolate chips and stir with spoon to distribute them evenly.
  3. Put in bowl and chill in refrigerator until firm.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

Beat Average! #TeamGNC

This post brought to you by GNC. All opinions are 100% mine.

You don’t just want to be average when it comes to health, right?  You want to push it hard, right?  Me too! That’s why I  love GNC’s new campaign #BeatAverage, average is for the other guys.  Beat Average is a positive call for us to go beyond just the norm, above the average and to do something more.  It’s excitement to push ourselves harder, telling ourselves we can run one more block, or do 10 more sit ups (no matter how bad it burns!).   It’s a rallying cry to strive for more, strive for what we deserve.   After looking at their inspiring user photos  it inspired me to join #TeamGNC.    Don’t you just love excitement for exercise, healthy eating and living well? I just want to throw on my sneakers right now and go for a walk!

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Did you know that GNC Live Well started as  “General Nutrition Center” nearly 80 years ago in Pittsburgh? I had no idea it’s been around that long!  Growing up GNC was the go to health store for living well and performing our best and that holds true to this day.     At GNC they have everything you need to be everything you want to be.  

So go ahead and beat average!  Tell me in the comments how you push yourself and remember, every single step helps!

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The Pepper Plant Seedling That Just Won’t Die

In March we planted bell pepper seeds.  Every single seed came up.
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Because every single seed came up, we had to thin out the double seedlings.  So we pinched them off and pushed them off to the side (and cried because I always do).  Then a few days later we saw that the pepper seedling was not dead, it returned.
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Not just 1, but 2.  These are zombie pepper plants that returned to life.
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We really don’t need this many pepper plants, but what can you do when a pepper plant tries this hard?  We can’t resist.  Ok pepper plant, you win, let’s get you planted.
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And then a few days later, it was transplanted into it’s summer home.  Now it’s living the life it always wanted as a pepper plant.
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When you love your plants so much, it’s hard enough to thin off baby seedlings, but when they try this hard, you just have to let them grow.
Welcome to the family peppers!  Enjoy your Summer!

 

Tomato Macaroni and Cheese

If you add tomatoes to macaroni and cheese, that makes it a healthy dish, right?  I’m glad you agree with me!

Happy Monday everyone!  Did you have a good weekend?  The last 2 days it’s been in the 80′s so summer is definitely approaching.   Slathered in SPF 50, a floppy hat and sunglasses we made sure we got some work done this weekend in the garden.  There was some cleanup to be done, some planting and some moving around very heavy containers (lift with your legs!).    Expect a big garden update tomorrow, can’t wait to show you what’s growing! 

All of our tomato seedlings are planted!   This year we’ll have 9 plants consisting of  Cherry, Roma Sauce and Brandywine varieties.  I am pretty excited for tomato season so in a few months we’ll stocking up on homemade tomato sauce!  The truth is that I just used up our last tomato sauce that I stored in the freezer last week so I actually had to buy my first jar of tomato sauce a few days ago (since last July!). It always kills me to buy a jar of sauce!  With enough love hopefully we’ll be swimming in tomatoes!  I always get so excited to cheer on these babies to grow into monsters!  

For this recipe  we are mixing 2 cups of fresh chopped tomatoes with some cheesy macaroni noodles.  If you don’t have fresh, don’t worry I got you covered too.  Instead substitute it with 1 can of diced tomatoes.   I have a entire macaroni and cheese recipe section now and check out how many of them have vegetables in… I really love getting veggies cheesy!   So next time you’re craving some homemade mac and cheese add some tomatoes! Enjoy!
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Tomato Macaroni and Cheese

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Tomato Macaroni and Cheese
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups macaroni noodles
  2. 8 oz cheese (either cheddar or mozzarella)
  3. 2 cups fresh diced tomatoes (or 1 can diced tomatoes)
  4. 1 teaspoon sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  6. 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  9. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  10. 1/2 cup bread crumbs
Instructions
  1. In a large pot boil macaroni noodles per directions on box. Drain and put half in a greased casserole dish.
  2. Take half of cheese and add on top of macaroni.
  3. Put remaining half of macaroni noodles on top, then top again with remaining cheese.
  4. Stir together diced tomatoes, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, thyme and pepper in bowl. Pour over macaroni mixture.
  5. Spread bread crumbs on top of dish.
  6. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

A Look Into Frances Palmer’s Garden

Peeking is a ongoing series where I peek into other’s gardens and snoop around.   If you’re in the NYC area and have a garden you’d like to share, please email me.  I’d love to see what you are doing and share your garden story!   For more peeking posts click here

Welcome to Frances Palmer’s vegetable garden!

Tell me in the comments if any new ideas spring to mind for your own garden by looking at these.  

Enjoy this visual post, full of garden beauty and inspiration. 

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Check out the full story in the May issue of Martha Stewart Living or click right here for the online story.
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Photos by Peden + Munk. Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living. Copyright © 2014.  

How to Survive Garden Allergies!

 collectivebias 

I never suffered from allergies until 2 years ago.  Then suddenly they hit.  There are days when I go up to the garden and that same night I’m sniffly and super clogged up.  Because I can’t stay away from my baby, the garden, I needed to find some tips to keep the allergy symptoms away.

My products of choice to always have nearby are a box of tissues (preferably really soft ones with aloe!), some cough drops for sore and dry throats and Nasacort which is a allergy spray that I feel works better and quicker instead of pills.  But my biggest allergy solution is tea!  Did you know that tea is great for allergies? It’s true.  Tea, it just keeps on giving, doesn’t it?    Certain herbs provide natural antihistamaine benefits that can help allergy relief.  The best teas to drink when you have sinus pain and itchy eyes are rooibos, ginger, lemon balm and peppermint.  You totally don’t have to wait for the allergy syptoms to hit either. If you start to drink this tea daily it will help prevent allergy pain.
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I’m also obsessed with my new best friend, Poncho.  Poncho is a app that sends you daily text or emails (you choose!) about the daily pollen forecast.  It also tells you the temperature and daily forecast.  What I especially love about this service is that it’s customized to your schedule.   Because I don’t want it to send me texts while I’m sleeping or too early, it informs me almost right on the dot of the time I told it to which is when I leave the house.  This tells me if I need to pack a umbrella or not! You also tell it when you leave for work, so if a upcoming storm is going to hit, it’s going to alert you so you don’t get 2 blocks from work and it starts pouring!  It’s like the best friend a girl can have to keep her hair dry from rain!  Poncho has been getting some great press so check out the Forbes and Tech Crunch articles. 

Also because I love great UI design, I have to say how beautiful their website is.  Here’s one of the pages when setting up my customized options.  Isn’t it pretty?
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Everyday it sends me a text that gives a visual link as well.  Here you can see what the temperature will be and the pollen count. It’s pretty high right now so better get my tissues ready!
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Here’s the actual text I get.  Some days when pollen is high it even sends me a coupon.  Also I want to give a shout out to this because Nasacort was 23.99.  With my Duane Reade rewards card it was on sale for 17.99.  Then with this coupon it was 14.99.  What a deal, right?  Even the checkout cashier was like “You go girl!”.
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So stop by your local Duane Reade and stock up all your allergy tools!  
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Happy garden season!
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#DRAllergy #CollectiveBias

Mexican Black Bean and Corn Salsa

How many times have you been asked your favorite food? How many times do you answer “I don’t know!”.  For me it’s quite often.  I can never decide… but I think I finally have a winner… it’s Mexican! Is it your favorite too?

We eat Mexican food very often in this house. From slow cooker tacos, to salsa, to cornbread, I love it all. In fact check out my Mexican recipe selection here for lots of recipes!  I think it was when I was out of town recently and we ate burritos 3 times in 4 days that I came to the conclusion that tacos made me feel safe and I love them dearly.  Tacos, do you hear me? I love you guys.

I see so many awesome taco recipes every single day from amazing bloggers but recently I came across a book that I fell in love with it. It’s “The Taco Revolution” and features over 100 recipes to “Master America’s New Favorite Food”.    It’s not often that Matthew and I both have to fight over a cookbook but when he saw this on my desk his eyes nearly popped out of his head. “Tacos!” he exclaimed.  “Tacos!” I exclaimed. Then we made tacos.
(I bookmarked lots of recipes already.)
Black Bean and Corn Salsa

This cookbook has traditional recipes and the not so traditional.  We’re talking Philly Cheeseteak Tacos, Barbecue Chicken Tacos, Chili Lime Tacos, Steamed Broccoli Tacos… and are you ready? Mac and Cheese Tacos. Oh my god, I know.  Are you shaking already?  I’m so excited. Besides the tacos it also has recipes for dips, salsas and tortilla shells.  Basically it’s everything you need for a Mexican Fiesta (besides me because you need to invite me to the party!).  This cookbook was written by Brandon Schultz who’s biography tells me that he lives in Brooklyn with a cat, so Brandon if you are reading this… I think we should be friends too.  We only need 3 things in common to be bffs: tacos, Brooklyn and cats. 

So during our usual watching of Game of Thrones every Sunday night, aka the greatest show ever, we decided to have taco salads.  Because I desperately wanted to include this book in the recipe I decided to make Brandon’s Black Bean and Corn Salsa which was a major hit! You could put this on tacos, you could use this to dip your chips in or you could just be like me and eat it with a spoon. No judging here. Whatever you do.. make this and enjoy!

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Then make sure to load this salsa on some tacos of your choice!

Black Bean and Corn Salsa
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 can of corn (drained)
  2. 1 can of black beans (drained)
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  4. Juice of 1/2 lime (or 1 tablespoon lime juice)
  5. 1 tablespoon paprika
  6. 2 teaspoons cumin
  7. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  8. Cilantro to garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
  1. Make sure to refrigerate leftovers.
Adapted from The Taco Revolution: Over 100 Traditional and Innovative Recipes to Master America's New Favorite Food by Brandon Schultz
Adapted from The Taco Revolution: Over 100 Traditional and Innovative Recipes to Master America's New Favorite Food by Brandon Schultz
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/

Walk The Aisles To Keep The Wrinkles Away

 collectivebias

When RoC Brand invited me to learn more about how to prevent wrinkles I was pretty excited!   I wanted to share all these great tips with you guys because as I found out, it’s never too early to start.

I’m 30 years old and I have a battle with my skin.   I’ve battled with acne and dry skin for pretty much my entire life.  During these many years I have moisturized the heck out of skin, lathering it twice a daily, which has resulted in at least one positive thing: lack of wrinkles.  I know lots of people deal with dark circles, puffiness, age lines, wrinkles and crow’s feet and I know the time will come for me as well, so that’s why I was interested in learning about more ways in how to prevent this.

Like lots of other beauty products in my life, it’s a good idea to use them before you need them.   Have you ever dried to get rid of a scar?  It’s hard. Have you ever tried to remove eye wrinkles? Very hard.  But if you start to use products before they form then you’re not going to have to deal with getting rid of them.

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I met up with some other ladies at Duane Reade on Wall Street to discuss RoC product benefits and anti-aging/skin care with top NYC dermatologist Debra Jaliman and health experts. There we got to ask all our questions we always wanted to know:
When do I have to start to worry about wrinkles?
What is retinol?
Do I have to wear moisturizer?
Is there a thing as too much sunscreen? (Answer, NO!)
How much lotion should I really put on my face?
Is this product going to break me out?

One of the tips that really stuck with me that night is this “More is not better, use small amounts”.  I know you’ve read a bottle before and it says to put a pea amount so you do that and then you put 6x more dots because more means it will work better, right?  Wrong!   A little goes a long way!  So don’t go crazy with application, keep it light.

I also learned that Retinol is the most popular ingredient recommended by dermatologists.  Retinol is a form of Vitamin A which reduces pore size and reduces fine lines.

Always wash with a very gentle mild cleanser.  Most times you don’t need anything fancy, most cleaners found at your local drugstore will do the job.

SPF 30 is great to use.  If you are using a retinol always use a sunscreen, but you should always use a sunscreen anyways.. even when it’s rainy out!  Do you use a moisturizer that has SPF in it? Do you use SPF them on top of that? Then does your makeup have SPF in it too? It’s totally ok, there’s no such thing as too much sunscreen. 

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RoC gave us great giveaway bags that included everything from sunglasses (protect those eyes) to eye masks to Debra Jaliman’s book “Skin Rules” which I read that night in bed from front to back.    They also gave us a ton of skincare products as everyone has different skin tones, sensitivity and needs different things.   The two items that I have been using for a week straight now are the Deep Wrinkle Serum and the Anti-Aging for Retinol-Sensitive Skin.  I have extremely sensitive skin that can be so easily irritated so I love that they have products for my quick to become red skin.  When I dotted this eye cream around my eyes the first few nights I definitely felt the retinol tingling but per package that’s to be expected.  The deep wrinkle serum stimulates your skin’s renewal process and is clinically proven to visibly reduce both fine lines and deep wrinkles.  I also read a ton of reviews that said that the serum really helped with acne so I decided to give this a shot as well.   With anything I have to be patient and give it time to work. The serum takes 12 weeks to notice a difference so I am going to continue to put it on at bed time and then lather my favorite moisturizer on top. 

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To leave with, I just had to snap these pictures too.  The event was lots of fun but it was also delicious  There were tons of great catered sandwiches, macaroons and vegetables to snack away on.
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The macaroons were covered in gold and were a highlight item that everyone was throwing on Instagram. 
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Don’t ask me how many I ate.. hehehe.  Don’t! ;)
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#Eyes4NYC #ad #CollectiveBias

 Tell me, what are you doing for your skin? What is your routine?  Do you have to deal with eye wrinkles?  If so, what do you use? If not,  are you starting to prevent them?

Sweet Tuxedo Fudge (That you can freeze!)

Fudge is a total weakness to mine.  Being around a tray of fudge is just asking for guilt and trouble, so when I make a batch I love to throw it in the freezer so it isn’t staring at me in the face for the next few days.  Fudge freezes great which means when you need that afternoon pick me up or need a quick dessert, just reach into the freezer and grab a piece of fudge.  It’s such a sweet treat.

This recipe is for Tuxedo Fudge which is half white and half black, just like a tuxedo. Well I guess a tuxedo is more black than white which is how my fudge turned out too.  There’s no such thing as too much chocolate, right? This old fashioned fudge recipe is made by combining coconut and chocolate to create one beautiful layered candy.

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This recipe comes from 300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes Cookbook by Jane Sharrock.  The cookbook is pure dangerous as it has recipes from peanut brittle, caramels, truffles, nut balls, taffy and beautiful lollipops! It’s a sweet dream!
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Sweet Tuxedo Fudge (That you can freeze!)
Print
Coconut Layer
  1. 2 cups granulated sugar
  2. Pinch salt
  3. 1⁄2 cup butter or margarine
  4. 1⁄4 cup light (white) corn syrup
  5. 1⁄2 cup milk
  6. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  7. 1⁄2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Chocolate Layer
  1. 2 cups granulated sugar
  2. 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. Pinch salt Pinch
  4. 1⁄2 cup butter or margarine
  5. 1⁄4 cup light (white) corn syrup
  6. 1⁄2 cup milk
  7. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  8. 1⁄2 cup pecans, in large pieces (optional)
Instructions
  1. 1. To make the coconut layer: In heavy saucepan over low to medium-low heat, bring the sugar, salt, butter, corn syrup and milk to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil. Cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes to dissolve the sugar crystals on the sides of the pan. Remove the lid. Cook, stirring only as needed to prevent scorching, to the soft ball stage (234°F to 240°F/112°C to 116°C, with 236°F/113°C recommended).
  2. 2. Remove from the heat. Cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Add the vanilla. Beat by hand until the candy begins to thicken and lose its gloss. Stir in the coconut. Spread the candy into the prepared pan. Cool at room temperature while making the chocolate layer.
  3. 3. To make the chocolate layer: In a clean saucepan, combine the sugar and cocoa until well blended. Add the salt, butter, corn syrup and milk. Bring to a boil over low to medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil. Cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes to dissolve the sugar crystals on the sides of the pan. Remove the lid. Cook, stirring only as needed to prevent scorching, to the soft ball stage (234°F to 240°F/112°C to 116°C, with 236°F/113°C recommended).
  4. 4. Remove from the heat. Cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Add the vanilla. Beat by hand until the candy begins to thicken and lose its gloss. Stir in the pecans, if desired. Spread the chocolate layer over the coconut layer in the pan. Cool and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.
  5. To freeze cut up into squares and store in freezer bag. Take them out of the freezer as you need one.
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
Tell me, is fudge dangerous to you too?  

You Don’t Need Natural Light or a Yard to Grow

“I don’t have a yard.”
“I don’t have room to grow.”
“I don’t have natural light in my home.”
“I don’t know when to water.”
“I kill plants!”

I hear these things all the time, including in the comments here on Brooklyn Farm Girl, but I heard them especially often at NYC’s Garden Party which was packed with city dwellers wanting to green their lives.  After they said these things I usually asked:
“Do you have a roof?”.  
“Do you have a fire escape?”
“Do you have a balcony?”
“Do you have any windows?”

It’s rare that all the answers are no, but if they are then I always introduce them to hydroponic growing or just flat out telling them they can grow with artificial lighting.  We have a garden on the roof but we also have a dark corner in our loft that has no natural light.  And in that corner we grow lettuce, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, basil, parsley and more!  So what I’m saying is there are no excuses for not being able to grow.   You just need to try!

I want to introduce you guys to Aero Garden, because even though this is going to sound like a sales pitch, it isn’t, I really do think it’s amazing.  I think it’s great for gardeners of all levels, but especially helpful for beginning gardeners because it’s going to tell you EXACTLY what to do.  It tells you when to water.  It tells you when to add nutrients.  It tells you when to replace your lights.  It tells you how long your plants have been growing for.  It tells you everything. It will literally say on the screen “THIS NEEDS WATER”.  You will add water into a hole and then the “THIS NEEDS WATER” screen will disappear.  It’s that helpful. It’s easy!

I have worked with Aero Garden alongside Miracle-Gro in the past to make some helpful videos to show you how easy it is to set up the garden and then actually grow.  If you guys know me then you know I’m pretty weak so if I can snap all these parts and bulbs into place in a few minutes then trust me, you can do it too.   Even though I have worked with them, I would never advertise to you guys a product that sucks.  After using the Aero Garden for close to a year (lots of testing!) I just had to give it a shout out here so there can be no more excuses for not having light, space or habits of killing plants.  This completely takes care of all these things for you.

The Aero Garden is about $100. I’ve seen them sold at Home Depot if you want to check it out.  I know $100 is not cheap so I consider this a con.  But because the only thing you will have to replace is the bulbs (ours lasted 8 months) it’s going to be reused for years.    You will also need to buy the  Aero Garden seed starter kits that already have the seeds in place so you literally just snap these in (easy).  For more advanced gardeners you can grow everything from seed in the Aero Garden so I just start them outside the machine then replace and snap them into place (MUCH cheaper).  The seed kits they sell are pizza herbs, traditional medicinal herbs, lettuce, strawberry, tomatoes, peppers, every herb you can think of and flowers.  I haven’t tried the strawberries yet but since it’s a new product I think I’m going to give it a shot next in ours.   They also sell a salsa kit which includes cherry tomatoes and jalapenos but I don’t honestly think you’re going to grow enough tomatoes to make a big bowl of salsa.  I mostly used these cherry tomatoes for salads and tacos as I was able to just grab a few and go.  

The coolest part of growing indoors while not worrying about the light is that you can grow 12 months a year. The seasons don’t matter.  During the Winter while the garden was in sleep time we were still able to grab fresh lettuce to eat taco salads with.  

I think the basil grows fantastic in the Aero Garden, possibly even just as good as in a real garden.  We had multiple basil plants that just grew into true plant monsters.  They actually grew so tall that I couldn’t extend the Aero Garden arm to go any higher (it adjusts with plant height). It seems like everytime I would prune the basil plants I’d come back a few days later and they would need more pruning, they just grow and grow and grow.    I think the basil plants really get the best out of your buck as well just because the pure amount of basil you’re going to get.  We’re talking cups of basil at one time. I easily made giant batches of pesto with the basil from these while the plants were still stacked with more basil to pick.  In fact I think I can even say at times I had too much basil which had me cutting some off to dry it for dried basil just so the plants come keep growing.  You’re going to basil crazy people!

Here’s one afternoon of basil I picked!
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And more basil..
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Here’s the basil plants before I cut them down.  The funny thing is they grew these tall even with only having 2 lights on instead of the usual 3 for multiple weeks (I was cheap and didn’t want to buy bulbs)! I’m about to replant some new basil and replace the bulbs so we’ll be set for the next batch.
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And lettuce grows excellent in it. It’s pretty great to be able to just walk a few feet in your home, grab some lettuce and then go get your grub on.
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And this is just herb city.  They grow really well so it can become a great smelling jungle pretty quick.

Lastly, a bunch of cherry tomatoes growing! 

And like I mentioned earlier, I made some videos with Aero Garden last summer so I wanted to post them here as well.  If a goof like me can put these gardens together then you definitely can too.

Then there’s one more video of how to make some delicious salsa. Watch the video until the end where you can see me take a bite, realize it’s extremely hot (I got a jalepeno seed!) then then try to act professional while my mouth is on fire. It worked.. kinda! ;)

 Have you guys seen the Aero Garden yet in stores?  Does anyone have one?    Tell me in the comments!

Oriental Spicy Bok Choy Noodles

These Oriental Spicy Noodles include Bok Choy, Kale and Mushrooms making them a vegetable lover’s dream!

Lately I have really been in the mood for a big bowl of Chinese noodles full of vegetables so I cooked this up one night and now it’s a official staple for dinner. I love that I can use both fresh bok choy and kale from the garden making this a happy harvest meal too.   The red pepper flakes and ginger add a little spice that goes a long way for flavor.  These noodles are not soupy as the broth will boil off and the rice noodles will soak them up.    Just thinking about this dish is making my mouth water!

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Look at all these beautiful sauteed vegetables!
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And here’s the finished dish:

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Oriental Spicy Bok Choy Noodles
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  3. 1 teaspoon ginger
  4. 1 large head bok choy - chopped
  5. 1/2 cup kale - chopped
  6. 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  7. 4 cups chicken broth
  8. 12 oz rice noodles
  9. salt + pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a pot heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add red pepper flakes, ginger, bok choy, kale and mushrooms. Stir to combine them while cooking for 2-3 minutes until the greens wilt.
  2. In a large pot bring chicken broth to a boil. Once boiling add rice noodles, cooking as instructed on noodle package. When the noodles have 4 minutes left, add vegetables and stir.
  3. Season with salt + pepper if needed.
  4. Enjoy!
Brooklyn Farm Girl http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/
To leave you with, here’s a little look at me cooking and taking pictures in my tiny kitchen.  I always have a cup of tea, a pencil to scribble ingredients and my light near my side!
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Enjoy this noodle dish!

 


For more information contact Pamela at pamela@pamelareed.com.