Everything Zucchini!

73E72BFD-1E28-4EC7-897D-36D2FD76B957.jpeg Most gardeners know there’s a harvest time of scarcity and a time of plenty. Usually when the garden starts producing, it’s slow. I pick rich green leaves of lettuce and herbs first while I patiently wait for other veggies to be ready. It’s mid- August and I’ve been picking zucchini consistently for about two weeks. Most days I pick at least two or three green squashes. Bringing my kitchen shears comes in handy as I need them to cut the thick stem while I hold the squash stem tightly with my other hand and twist it. If you don’t do this, you’ll end up with a severed stem. This happened to me the other day forcing me to use that squash right away. It seems to dry out without a stem. Some ways I use zucchini are: zucchini mini bread chocolate zucchini bread zucchini carrot muffins chocolate zucchini cake stuffed zucchini with hamburger, rice, chopped tomatoes and cheese ( made pretty closely to stuffed peppers but in a hollowed out zucchini squash ) sautéed zucchini with summer squash ( in butter) zucchini spice whoopie pies ( see a recipe soon!)
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Can you spy the zucchini sandwiched between the corn and broccoli?
However you use this hearty vegetable, it will surely satisfy your family! Thankfully zucchini is easy to grow and hard to kill. No matter the weather, the plants always grow well with enough weeding and watering. Every year I tend to have too much of it so I share with family and my co- workers. In past years I’ve grown less but this year I had a lot from seeds, about eight vivacious plants. All My Best, Heart and Soul 🥰

Nature’s Perfume

Thanks to my honey Tom I have an Oriental Lily in my garden greeting every visitor at the cusp of the door. This thoughtful man gifted it to me on my birthday. Last week I was surprised when two opened up wide and two days later another two bloomed. It’s aromatic presence entices and soothes your olfaction receptors. Ah, a beautiful scent! I can even smell it inside the kitchen through the window screen!

You may remember from a post a few weeks ago that my Coneflowers weren’t doing so well from the late cool start. Now they all have blossomed and are doing well. I noticed they aren’t as tall as I’d like but I imagine they will grow taller every year, weather providing.

All My Best,

Mary ❤️🥰

A Summer Breakfast

Good morning friends! Summer mornings are my favorite times to relax with a great cup of coffee! ( Soon our new deck will be done and I’ll be sitting out there with it, see a future post.) I’ve been using almond milk lately, the trick to optimum flavor is to add a bit extra. I found that lactose free milk still wasn’t agreeing with me as it’s dairy. Along with my cup of java I enjoy a fresh fruit cup of raspberries, blueberries, bananas, golden raisins and almonds. I never would have thought this would fill me up…but it does and not only that it’s fresh and delicious!

Other summer mornings I indulge in my peanut butter oatmeal cup, banana slices and Teddie natural peanut butter or gluten free toast with peanut butter.

While I eat in the still moments of morning, birds calls and chirps can be heard. The bright welcoming sun peeks in the windows…a new day has began! Thank God for this quiet start to a new day!

What is your favorite summer breakfast? Do you enjoy a cup of coffee first thing?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕

Putting up Cilantro & Cilantro Hummus

Cilantro is an interesting herb with a pungent wild scent that lingers on my fingers after picking. The woodsy green plant sports beautiful leaves and sprigs. I discovered cilantro a few years ago and have been growing it ever since. I love the taste added to different dishes especially salsa and hummus!

My favorite thing to do with it is to add it to salsa for a fresh taste. This year I stumbled upon a recipe for Cilantro Hummus on Pinterest and have made it twice now. It skips using Tahini but uses fresh garden Cilantro, chick peas, salt and pepper and olive oil. I love it with gluten free pretzels or spread on a veggie sandwich!

Yesterday I picked a bunch of Cilantro, washed it, dried it with paper towels and chopped it up fine. Next I put a bit in each ice cube tray, topped it off with olive oil and water so it would freeze quickly. Once the cubes are frozen I pop them out and place in a marked freezer bag. When I wish to cook with the herb I simply need to get a cube out of the bag! It’s easy! I also do this with my Basil.

Here is my adapted version of the recipe I found on foodfaithfitness.com. Her recipe includes Jalapeno and Tom and I don’t eat it, it’s too spicy for us.

You will need for my version:

1- 15 oz can Chickpeas drained ( I buy Goya)

2-3 Tbsp. Cilantro finely chopped ( I have a Pampered Chef Garlic press…it’s great!)

2 cloves garlic peeled

1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Water

Place everything in food processor or blender. Add Olive oil and water. Blend until smooth. Now you are done! I stored mine in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days. Serve with pita chips, pretzels, fresh veggie crudités or spread on a sandwich. Delicious!

Where Are the Corn Ears?

It’s early August and at this point of the summer I go out twice to my garden. First in the morning it’s weeding and hoeing work between rows in the fresh air. Next I haul the hose over and water it if it hasn’t rained recently. Later in the afternoon I saunter out in the bright sunshine with my new garden tray I bought at a flea market. With scissors in hand I walk the plot with intentions of finding veggies that are ready for picking. Lately we are getting deep green zucchini, cilantro, basil, lettuce ( it’s actually going by now), cucumbers, some spinach and green beans.

I’ve noticed our sweet corn is tall and seems to be crowning with tassels but there appears to be hardly any ears of corn! Why do you think this would happen, poor irrigation? Pollination problems? Anyway usually our corn is ready by late August so I’m predicting that’s not enough time for them to grow, right? Now that I’ve discovered this, I’m reminded that every year something doesn’t grow as planned and that forces me to become an investigator of sorts to solve the problem.

Yesterday I broke the news to my husband, the man whose total garden focus is corn. He went right out there inspecting the stalks and remains hopeful that some will grow, just later than usual. If we don’t yield corn I’ll stop by the local farmer’s market and stock up or the freezer. That will be a bummer so I pray that we have our own!

Has this ever happened to you before? Do you have any suggestions for me? Thank you in advance for your insight.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Oh, Green Beans!

While I was on hands and knees a few days ago, suddenly I spotted a green bean swaying ever so gently in the breeze. It’s always like unwrapping a present and a surprise reveals itself. I know I’m meant to garden and dig in the soil, for I never tire of nature’s gifts. I’d rather spend my summer kneeling in the patch rather than being anywhere else.

When I think of green beans, one vivid memory comes to mind. Years ago, when my son Dylan was a little boy, he discovered snapping off beans and eating them right away! He frequented the plot with one main intention…to pick green beans. Picture a young boy with no shirt, barefoot strolling through the patch in the blazing heat of the day.

To this day Dylan will take a sandwich bag of snappy green beans to munch on. Last year I gave him and his wife Lexi a bag for their dinner and he ate them all on the way home! Today once again he asked kindly for his green beans and I obliged with love. I love my son and the fact that he loves green beans! Here are some ways I use my fresh green beans:

Toss them in a salad

Sauté with olive oil and slivered almonds  

Serve with sausage and potatoes

Have green beans with cooked ham and mashed potatoes

Goes great in a stir-fry

It doesn’t matter how you use them for these versatile veggies are wholesome , healthy and delicious straight from the garden!

Do you grow green beans and are they ready now?

Yesterdays bounty, green lettuce, cucumbers, basil, thyme, green beans, zucchini

All My Best,

Heart and Soul❤️