Category Archives: Garden

Rhubarb Dessert

I look forward to this every year. Rhubarb brings back memories of childhood. Of going out to the yard and picking a stalk off the plant and eating the tart treat right then and there. I can feel the tingle in the back of my mouth now, just thinking of it.

As quickly as this crop comes in and seems to be over-abundant, it is gone. Not to be seen again until next summer. So I savor it while it’s here, and sometimes, if I’m really lucky, someone will share the extra from their plants and I might even slice some up to freeze for use mid-winter when I’m craving this simple rhubarb dessert.

This recipe comes from my Mom. She and an old neighbor came up with it one summer when there was, apparently, a bumper crop of the tasty, tart treat, and it has been a staple in our kitchens ever since!

Rhubarb Dessert

  • 5 c chopped rhubarb*
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 (3oz) pkg jello (red, preferably raspberry)
  • 3 c miniature marshmallows
  • 1 pkg white or yellow cake mix (plus ingredients to make the cake)

Arrange rhubarb in a greased 9×13 pan. Sprinkle sugar and jello over rhubarb. Top with marshmallows.

Prepare cake mix as directed on package. Spread evenly over marshmallows. Bake at 350F for 50-55 minutes.

If desired, after cooling for 5 minutes, turn it out of pan. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

*You can make this a strawberry-rhubarb dessert by using 1/2 strawberries and 1/2 rhubarb at about 2.5 cups each.

**Yes, this is filled with lots of processed foods. Yes, I am well aware that I talk about eating whole foods, unprocessed foods… but I also know that it is ok to have a treat now and then. And… as a reminder, I am not perfect. Well, I am perfectly *imperfect*. 😉

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Filed under Dessert, Garden, Recipes

Journal. 8.11.2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It was hot today as I ventured into the garden to see what would await the dinner table. I found:

  • tomato plants heavy with fruit which has yet to ripen
  •  eggplants that I am beginning to wonder if they will produce any fruit at all (though the leaves are a gorgeous deep purple now, making me smile)
  • corn stalks that I am proud to say we started from seed and are now growing nearly as tall as my 13-year-old girl child
  • potatoes, oh so many potato plants (I will definitely be sharing those crops!)
  • and there… at the back of the garden is where I find the night’s treasure

The zucchini has been slow to start, but I am so proud to report that we snipped 2 zucchini from the vines, each about 4 inches long. We also snipped several blossoms, including the still-young zucchini they were attached to. And oh my. The flavor! Intense, bright flavor! I experienced tonight a flavor explosion so great that I may never buy zucchini from a store again (ok, that’s probably not true, since we don’t have a long growing season… but it will never be the same).

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Well, that was fun… but I haven’t kept a journal in many years, and don’t expect I’ll be starting again now. So, what triggered that journal posting? Simple… I shared my productive day with friends & family via a Facebook Status Update that read:

WOW! Productive day! After work I set the raw milk out with yogurt culture (yes, making my own yogurt! Go Me!), clipped the first of the zucchini (2 of them) off the vines, along with a few of the blossoms & snipped some chives. Put together a quiche with our fresh veggies, then used the remaining chives and some leftover buttermilk to make a fresh ranch dressing…..

Two of the replies that followed:

Patty said: Little House on the Prairie!!

Daniel said: I feel like you should be on one of those survival TV shows…. where they are left out in the middle of a forest on a deserted island…. you’d probably whip up some German Chocolate Pound Cake from roots, bugs, and moss… idk how, but I’m sure you’d find a way lol

Those replies made me wonder what it would have been like to live “On the Prairie” (which, by the way, I don’t remember ever watching the show… but perhaps I should…) or try to survive on a deserted island. I would surely keep a journal then, right? Well, this blog from That Cook Girl is as close as you’ll find me to journaling. So, enjoy… and check back soon because I’ll be sharing my experience with making yogurt (which I will then turn some of that into cream cheese)… and I’ve got some amazingly wonderful ideas for using up an over abundance of eggs (no, I don’t have chickens, but many of my friends do… so I get eggs. I’ll share my garden crops with them).

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Filed under Cooking With Love, Garden, Journal

Surprising Edible Goodness

Oh, what excitement I’m feeling today! I was squealing with joy last night as I read the following in Eat Pray Love 

“Then there was a pop-surprise bonus side order brought by the waitress for free– a serving of fried zucchini blossoms with a soft dab of cheese in the middle (prepared so delicately that the blossoms probably didn’t even notice they weren’t on the vine anymore).”

WHAT?! You mean I can actually eat the blossoms on the zucchini plants? It sounds divine! In my excitement I got all giddy, thinking of the beautiful flowers I had been looking at on our zucchini plants, and what a wonderful treat they are going to make. (And in my thoughts I continued on that next year, I will plant more zucchini plants! Neighbors, you’ve been warned.)

I am now researching to find what other plant parts might be edible from our smallish garden, and so far we are eating kohlrabi leaves & beet leaves and have discovered the leaves (but NOT the flowers) on tomato plants are edible, as are the broccoli leaves. I will share my research and our kitchen experiments and hope you will find that a happy side effect of having your own garden is getting more parts of the plant to use and share with your family.

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Filed under Books, Cooking With Love, Eat Pray Love, Garden, Journey to Real Food

…How Does Your Garden Grow?

As the old rhyme goes… 

Mary Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.

Ok… so I don’t have silver bells or cockle shells, and certainly not pretty maids all in a row… oh, but I have tomatoes flowering, corn getting taller by the moment, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts, artichokes, beets, celery, even tomatillos… and of course an assortment of herbs.

For our first attempt at a garden, I think we are doing quite well. The cucumbers did not survive, nor did the pumpkins. But I think the abundance of potatoes and zucchini will more than make up for that. Oh, and the tomatoes… glorious tomatoes! We have at least 15 tomato plants, most of them for canning.

I expected with our first garden we would have only a small harvest. So far, we have not harvested anything except a few golden cherry tomatoes. The rest got a slow start because of our cold and rainy late spring and early summer, which is not typical for our area. It’s been slow growing up until the last 2 weeks. We are seeing blossoms, growth and even a bit of fruit on some plants! We have purple beans! The blossoms are abundant on many of the tomato plants, and on the potatoes, zucchini and acorn squash.

For all our local friends, I will let you know when I have a serious over-flow of vegetation and will be putting baskets out for you to come do your produce shopping! And I hope we do end up with an over-flow, because as I’ve said before, I love to share food and my love of food!

:::Stay tuned to my facebook page for a photo album of the progress of growth. The upload tool is not working at the moment:::

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Garden of Health

For 8+ years, we lived in an apartment. An apartment facing the Northside of the building, garnering exactly zero sunlight through the windows, including zero sunlight on the small apartment deck. This made it impossible to garden, even container gardening that I always heard of people doing in small spaces, such as apartments. No sun=no garden growth… not to mention I always felt drained and I know it was partially due to the lack of sun. (But that’s a story for another day) In December 2009 we moved into a house. A house with a yard. A house with a fenced in area that looked like a perfect space for a garden. So, with permission from the owners of the house, we dug up the grass in that area and set to the task of creating our first garden.

Tilling the land proved to take longer than expected and my plant starts sat in their little plastic pots for a couple weeks before the garden was ready. While the back garden was being prepared, I got to work on the front gardens. I have no patience for flowers (all that work and I get no food from it!), so I have transformed the front “flower beds” into a berry garden with raspberries and strawberries and a salsa & salad garden with tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, lettuce, carrots and some other herbs. My Mom will be pleased to know that I caved and planted some pansies… of course, that was only because there was a stray plant growing at the edge of the lawn, and I decided to save it before the boy child ran it over with the lawnmower!

We anxiously await our first crop, but while we wait for the fruits and vegetables of our labor to be ready, we are making good use of the fresh herbs. The girl child was proud to tell me last night at dinner that the cilantro she sprinkled on top was from our garden. She was beaming with pride, in turn, making me beam with pride for teaching my children the value of hard work and what it’s like to grow your own food. Important lessons will be learned this summer, and into the fall as we weed, water, harvest and get ready to start all over again for next year.

I’m fighting back against industry, and this is just another step in the direction of not depending on industrialized, overly-processed foods. We are growing our own! In the process, we’re getting some sun, we’re moving and taking back our health!

——-This post is part of Fight Back Friday on Food Renegade… because I AM a Food Renegade!

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Filed under Garden, Journey to Real Food