Beet Lemonade

IMG_8503I love beets.  I especially love their color.  As I’m the only one here who does, and there are roughly 100 beet plants growing in my garden, I need to find creative ways to use them.  What’s more refreshing on a hot summer’s day than lemonade? Beet lemonade! Isn’t it beautiful?

The idea didn’t come to me until I’d already made a batch of plain lemonade.  My lemonade recipe is fairly standard and simple-  I squeezed enough lemons (roughly 6) to make 1 cup lemon juice. I combined a cup of water and a cup of sugar to a small pot and heated until the sugar dissolved to make a simple syrup.  I added the syrup, lemon juice and about 5 cups of water to a glass jar and chilled.  I then washed, peeled and grated a small beet. I’m guessing it made about 1/4 cup.

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I poured the lemonade and grated beet into my super mixer and blended for 20 seconds or so.  This didn’t completely pulverize the beet, but it was fine enough I didn’t mind it.  Next time I’ll run it all through a fine mesh strainer to remove any bits.

It was just enough beet to make a beautiful color and taste.  I didn’t want the beet to overpower the lemon.  It’s even toddler approved.  As was the chocolate she ate just before having a sip.

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Enjoy!

 

How My Garden Grows (Relatively Wordless Edition)

Our garden has grown considerably in the last few months.  No matter how much or how often we eat lettuce (hello, breakfast salads!), it is most definitely outpacing us. It’s a deliciously good problem to have. Here’s a peek at our early summer goodies-

DSC03637    Rain barrels.

DSC03639  Grow peaches grow!

 

DSC03640  DSC03645 Hello, broccoli.

 

DSC03641 Potatoes are nearly ready to eat and store for the winter.

 

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DSC03651  Strawberries!

 

DSC03635  DSC03643   Sunflower bed and kale. Yes, we eat the sunflower seeds.

 

 

fairy2 fairy My little fairy princess picking lettuce for dinner.

 

How does your garden grow?

P.S. Come visit us and I’ll send you home with at least two heads of lettuce.

Homemade Mulberry Jam

 

mulberry tree

We had this ginormous mulberry tree in our backyard when I was a kid.  I loved climbing it and eating the fruit straight from the tree.  Sometimes we’d pick a bowlful and sprinkle sugar on top.  My dad hated that tree.  Mainly because it constantly dropped fruit and stained everything it landed on. He should have just painted his car purple.

Sadly, most people find it a nuisance.  It doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. Nutritionally, mulberry berries are a powerhouse:  They’re low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, iron, dietary fiber, riboflavin, magnesium and potassium. They are amazing on their own, spiced or turned into jam. Last night we did just that- turned these amazing berries into jam.

 

What You’ll Need-

lots of mulberries

sugar

half pint jars

We didn’t use pectin for this batch.  We started by cleaning the berries, tossing them in a giant pot and letting them cook down. This is super easy- turn the heat on low until the berries begin releasing juice.  Add a little sugar to thicken the jam. Taste it to find the right balance.  Mulberries are quite sweet on their own.  Turn the heat up as more juice is released.  Be sure to stir occasionally. Once they are a bit bubbly and have released their juices, they are just about done.

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While all that goodness is happening in the pot, sterilize the half pint jars.  Fill the hot jars with mulberry.  Leave about 1/4 inch headspace.  Put the lids on and place in the canner  for 15 minutes. Remove the jars and let cool completely (8-12) hours) before storing.

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Spread it on toast, biscuits, waffles or eat it from the jar. I like mine on biscuits with a side of Chai. Enjoy!

Stop and Plant the Seeds

That title has two meanings.  One- literally stop and plant the seeds. Two- plant the seeds of empathy, care, love and attention in your kids.

Often times when we’re out, I’m in a rush.  I just want to get in the store, grab what I need and get out.  The other day while in Target, Emme kept pulling me to the dollar section.  I just wanted to grab what was on my list and get home.  My mind was consumed by the never ending to do list.  Her little hand slipped out of mine and next thing I know we’re standing in the dollar section with her shoving this little guy in my face.

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March Madness

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It’s March.  That can mean only one thing.  Rob and I are behind in getting our seeds started.  I’m not sure how we’d react if we were on schedule and on top of everything that needs to get done around here.

Yesterday we buckled down and got started on roughly a quarter of what we’ll plant- okra, broccoli, romaine, loose leaf lettuce, spinach, eggplant, kale, cucumber, cherokee, connoley, roma and cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, amaranth, basil, green beans and lavender.  It seems like a lot until you realize it needs to not only feed us while it grows, it needs to feed us throughout the winter.  We’ll can whatever we can’t consume during the season.

So let’s get started on how we make our little garden in the city grow. First we gather our pots, seeds and soil. You can buy the trays and soil in most stores.  We buy them at Home Depot but I’ve seen them in Walmart and Target.  I don’t think the prices vary that much between the stores.

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Loosely fill the pots to the top with dirt.

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Add water to the trays.

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Poke a 1/4 inch hole into each pot.  I used the tail end of a paintbrush.

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Enlist the help of your husband and already bathed daughter to plant the seeds.

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Label each tray and cover with a lid.  If you use a plant light like we do, be sure to turn it off before going to bed.

We’ll do this again with roughly a bajillion more seeds.  I’m hoping the snow melts soon so we can get outside and show you how we get the yard ready to be planted.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have more salsa we canned last summer to eat.  Those jars aren’t going to empty themselves!