Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring Garden

Here are some recent photos from our yard:

Pretty Peas

Trying something new this year: pole beans on bamboo poles and cucumbers on trellises
Companion plants: marigolds and zinnias

Azaleas (which I've never lifted a finger with these...I guess we're blessed)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Veganville revisited

I was inspired to make a lentil pot pie after flipping through a Cooking Light magazine. But all recipes I found looked a little boring and didn't quite fit with what I had on hand. So you guessed it - I made up my own! It turned out to be so darn good, I thought I'd share it.
*Quick note about my recipes: measurement amounts are not exact; all spices are added to my personal tastes, so adjust as necessary for you and your family.

Curry Lentil Pot Pie
3/4 c. dry red lentils
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
1 small-medium onion, chopped
1 package frozen spinach
2 T. oil (vegetable or olive)
2 T. flour
1 T. (or so) curry powder
1/2 tsp. (or so) ground red pepper
1/2 tsp. (or so) ground ginger
1/2 tsp. (or so) ground cinnamon
1/2 - 1 c. vegetable broth
6-8 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
Oil Spray (like PAM)

Preheat oven to 400.
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil with cinnamon stick, star anise, and a few pinches of salt. Add lentils and cook for 10 minutes (until al dente). Remove cinnamon stick and star anise and strain. Meanwhile, cook frozen spinach and strain.
Heat oil in medium-large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion; cook until soft. Add spices and flour; continually stir until you have a thick paste (add flour if necessary). Gradually add vegetable broth (I find a whisk helps work the paste into the broth). Add lentils and spinach; stir until well blended. Salt to taste.
Pour lentil mixture into a casserole or pie pan of your choice. Tip: Save any excess lentil mixture for another meal.
Place one sheet of phyllo on top of lentil mixture. Spray (or brush) with oil. Repeat with each sheet. Fold down edges of phyllo into the pan to prevent burnt edges.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until phyllo is golden brown. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

This pairs perfectly with a dry Reisling like Oceana.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Garden Prep 2011

You know the saying, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."? Well, there's nothing like a two-month hiatus to renew my motivation for blogging about our DIY projects.

For years, Fall has been my favorite season. I've always loathed Spring because where I'm from up North, Spring means wet, sloppy messes on the roads and in the yard. Here in Middle Georgia, Spring Rocks (and is quickly becoming my favorite season)! There are beautiful blooming trees, mild temperatures, and best of all, NO SLOPPY MESSES! And probably my favorite part of Spring is the anticipation and preparation for the garden. Last year, I let my husband take the lead in planning and planting. This year, I've grabbed the bull by the horns.

I've already taken a gardening class, sent in my soil sample to the University(for which I'm anxiously awaiting the results), and started seeds indoors.
Here's a picture of my make-shift mini greenhouse:

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This attempt includes tomatoes, jalepeno peppers, and zinnias.

And the perennial herbs have been hard at work too!

A little mint making a resurgence.

One reason to let cilantro go to seed: it comes back!

Super Chives!

I've also decided to give peas another go: