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!

 

 

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I turn my back for one second…

…and aphids attack! Unfortunately, the downside of my Grow Camp is that tiny bugs can get in, but bigger bugs (some of whom are quite beneficial) can not. I went out to check on my crazy eggplants last week (I say crazy because they are all foliage and no actual eggplants – perhaps from all the rain we have gotten) and lo and behold, aphids had taken hold and taken over my eggplant leaves. Seems I should have been a little more vigilant with my banana peels.

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I decided to open the screen on the eggplants’ side of the Grow Camp and let the chips fall where they may in the hopes that some beneficial insects might find their way to my plants. If the deer found them too, well, so be it. Thankfully, by the next day, these guys showed up:

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Hello, darlings! I have a lovely buffet all set out for you! Did you know ladybugs can eat upwards of 50-60 aphids a day? Even more if they are babies. Eat up, my friends! While you are here, can you convince my eggplants to bear fruit?

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In other news, check out my tomato jungle! They were late because of the weird weather, but now we are getting maters-a-plenty!

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Green beans are doing great, too!

July Garden Gallery

What a strange growing season it’s been. The rain just didn’t stop in June and the first half of July, which really seemed to wreak havoc on all the plants’ usual growing habits. But now, finally, the heat has turned up, things are drying out (a bit) and lots of growth is happening all over the garden. Here’s a look!

What’s new in your garden? Has the weather behaved in your neck of the woods? Do tell!

June Garden Greenery

We are back from a wonderful vacation in Ocean City, New Jersey. As much as I wanted to stay longer, gathering shells and soaking in the sun, I knew real life needed my attention back at home. Not to mention a growing garden, and a grumpy cat! So here I am, back to reality, and thankfully, back to gardening. Here is what the garden has been up to.

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The garden enclosure has been busy lately! The shelling peas are giving up their last pods…this was my first year growing peas and I loved it. I will definitely plant these every year. Shelling them is so therapeutic.

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…and right beside them are the bush beans ready to take their place once I clear out the peas. I planted plenty so we should be in great supply for summer and freezing.

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I’ve had mixed luck with my tomatoes from seed this year – some are doing great, some seem stunted. The three tomato plants in my enclosure (Cherry Lizzano, Gardener’s Delight, and Box Car Willie) are thriving, showing nice growth while I was gone. Here’s the Cherry Lizzano earlier this week – he’s even taller now, stretching out over the rungs that are above it in this picture:

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Sadly, the tomatoes I planted in pots on the deck are not thriving as they should (too much rain, maybe? It has been quite wet.) I might have to swing by the garden store and purchase some heirloom tomato plants to replace the Cherokee Purple on the deck. Ironically, The best looking tomato is this guy:

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This heirloom is a volunteer from last year, most likely a Brandywine, having dropped from the deck above. In spite of the partial shade and the less than hospitable ground, he’s doing great. Maybe I should plant all my tomatoes this way.

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Last but not least in the enclosure (I have to come up with a nickname for this structure – enclosure is so boring) are my onions. I have planted these parade onions from seed for three years now, and I just love them.

Moving over to the Grow Camp, I have cucumbers taking hold quite nicely:

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Along with lima beans that are eager to move into their neighbor swiss chard’s territory:

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The eggplant seem to have recovered from their challenges earlier in the season and are growing nicely.

The kale was the first seed to sprout and it’s flourishing as quickly as I harvest it:

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Last but not least in the Grow Camp, my bell peppers are already starting to form. Still waiting on the Jalapenos to take off.

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On the deck in pots this year: Okra. I love okra. But I swore when aphids devoured it my first year gardening that I would not bother with them again. Well, I received several as a gift and could not turn them down. I’m using all the homemade aphid remedies I can think of, and they seem to be helping this year.

 

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How has your garden grown in June? Leave a comment and let me know!

Fingerling Potatoes on the Grill

I love this time of year. We’re right on the cusp of summer. This week we have experienced a surge of hot days that have necessitated the use of the sprinkler, water balloons, a generous allotment of limeade popsicles and of course, the grill!

I purchased some fingerling potatoes at the market earlier this week, and while I was looking forward to eating them with one of our dinners, I wasn’t looking forward to firing up the oven to roast them. Enter the grill!

This recipe is just a blank potato canvas. Alone, the way I prepared them, these potatoes are kind of like a steak fry. But you can add whatever you want:  Peppers, onions, asparagus, Old Bay, seasoning salt, garlic… the veggie and seasoning possibilities for this side dish are endless.

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