Summer 2015 Garden

IMG_1311Welcome to my summer 2015 garden. Things have been quite active this season (especially with the yellow squash and zucchini – no surprise there,) and now the growth is just starting to wind down a bit. Enjoy this collection of photos I snapped in my enclosure and Grow Camp this afternoon.

First up, the garden enclosure. This space houses my zucchini and yellow squash, so I tried to give them each a lot of room to stretch out while still reserving space for some other vegetables. Right now, the enclosure also includes:  my Amish Paste Tomato (a volunteer) a jalapeno, a green bell pepper, and an eggplant.

I almost forgot, the little guy pictured below is a leftover Wando shelling pea from the spring. He popped up late and I didn’t have the heart to yank him out. He’s looking pretty good, I think!

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Last but not least, the Grow Camp. I love this space for my more tender leafy greens and beans that need to be protected from marauding critters and pest insects.

That’s it for my garden this year! What have your best harvests been this season? Share in the comments, or tweet me: @cloverandthyme

Greek Yogurt Blueberry Muffins

Greek Yogurt Blueberry Muffins

These blueberry muffins have extra tang and depth of flavor (not to mention protein!) thanks to the Greek yogurt inside. For this batch, I used coconut palm sugar instead of regular granular sugar. This does result in a less sweet muffin (which I prefer.) If, however, you like your muffins on the sweeter side, go for regular granulated sugar. For this recipe, I used blended plain, 4% Greek Yogurt from Chobani, but next time I make these bad boys, I’m going to try Chobani’s lemon flavor yogurt for a little added lemon zing. Last but not least, if you are not keen on coconut oil (or you don’t have it around) regular vegetable oil can be substituted.

Greek Yogurt Blueberry Muffins
View a printable version of this recipe

Ingredients

1¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
⅓ cup coconut palm sugar (or granulated regular sugar, if you like it sweeter)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg, beaten
¾ cup milk
½ cup Greek yogurt (I used blended plain 4% from Chobani. Lemon flavor might be yummy too!)
¼ cup coconut oil, melted (vegetable oil may be substituted)
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups or line with paper bake cups; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and blueberries. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.
  3. In another bowl combine egg, milk, yogurt, and oil. Add mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter will be stiff).
  4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

For more Greek yogurt inspiration, visit Chobani’s recipe section or check out #madewithchobani on Twitter and Instagram!

Spiralizer in the House!

I love pasta. Macaroni and Cheese and I go way back. Don’t even get me started on my love affair with Fettucini Alfredo. I don’t think I could ever fully give up pasta (and the delightful, cheesy sauces I like to pair with them.) However, in an effort to cut back on white flour carbs in some of my meals, this bad boy has now found a home on my kitchen counter. Let’s hear it for Christmas gift spending money! Woot!

Paderno 3 Blade Spiralizer

Paderno 3 Blade Spiralizer

After reading several favorable reviews, and seeing the positive comments on the brand by Ali at Inspiralized, I decided to purchase the Paderno 3 Blade Spiralizer. This model includes a skinny spiral, thick spiral and flat spiral blade attachment. I’ve only had it a few days, but so far I’m very pleased.

I have started as I suspect most spiralizing newbies do, using zucchini:

spiralized zucchini

After spiralizing the zucchini, I patted them dry with a paper towel and then tossed them gently in a skillet with some olive oil before adding some leftover pizza sauce from the pizza I was making for the kiddies.

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These were SO good. In fact, they caught the eye of a certain someone sitting next to me. Who ended up “helping” me with my lunch. So if your children aren’t keen on veggies, perhaps a spiralizer is the answer!

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The next day, giddy to demonstrate the new gadget to the hubberman who had just returned from a business trip, I made some wraps.

Wraps with spiralized zucchini

These wraps included hummus, spiralized zucchini, sliced avocado, shredded carrots, and crumbled feta cheese. on a low carb, whole wheat wrap. They were “inspiralized” by a recipe by Ali over at Inspiralized.

We’re off to a fun start with this little gadget. I think my next project will be spiralized pickled onions.

Interested in spiralizing yourself? Below is the Paderno I purchased on Amazon if you are so inclined.

Paderno World Cuisine A4982799 Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer
(this is an affiliate link)

Recycled Celery

Celery

Hello, 2015, and hello winter! The garden is cleared out, the compost tumbler is in hibernation mode, and everything outside is “battened-down” for the next few cold months ahead. Time to grow some green indoors. I plan on planting a few herbs on my window sill next week (parsley, cilantro, and maybe some basil) and since I was done with a bunch of celery in the fridge, I did this little project again this afternoon. Did you know you can put the end of your celery bunch in water to use as a fun houseplant? Just place your celery end so it is just touching the surface of the water in a jar or container. Within a day or two, you will start seeing growth at the center of the celery bunch! So fun. Depending on the size of your container, you might need toothpicks to help keep your celery end from slipping in.

Recycle your celery!

Here’s one I rooted previously, a few days into its growth.

I’ll be keeping my recycled celery in water and use it solely for winter-time decoration this time around. However, you could plant it in fertile soil and add it right to your garden! Read more about it at HuffPost Taste, Garden Swag, and 17 Apart.

How about you? Will you be growing any herbs or veggies indoors this winter?

Fruit and Yogurt with Walnut Date Topping

Yummy as a light breakfast or as a little pick-me-up snack, this simple fruit bowl has been a favorite of mine this summer. Try it out!

Fruit Bowl

Ingredients:

Swap these 1st four ingredients out as desired to include your favorite fruits. Apples, raspberries, peaches, strawberries…whatever is fresh and in season.

  • 1 chopped nectarine (pit removed, of course!)
  • 1/2 mango chopped
  • 1 handful grapes
  • 1 handful blueberries
  • dollop of greek yogurt

For Topping

  • 1/4 cup of shelled walnuts
  • 3 Medjool dates, pitted and coarsely chopped

You will also need: 

  • A Magic Bullet Blender or a food processor

Directions:

For Topping, Place your walnuts in your food processor and pulse about 3-4 times (quick pulses – you just want to get them started.) Then, add your coarsely chopped dates and continue pulsing until they are well combined and the mixture resembles a finely ground granola or crumb topping. I use my Magic Bullet Blender because it is good for processing small batches of ingredients like these. If you don’t have a Magic Bullet Blender and you don’t feel like using a food processor either, you could just chop these by hand, but I find the consistency is much more yummy when they are pulsed together in a food processor. This will make more topping than what you need for a single serving. Simply save the rest in an airtight container in your fridge and sprinkle on your yogurt and fruit as desired.

As for the rest, it’s pretty self explanatory. Assemble your chopped fruit in a small bowl, add a spoonful of yogurt (I like vanilla) and then sprinkle on the date/walnut crumble. Enjoy!