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July 28, 2014

Here are my DIY upcycled glass bottle garden markers, and here's how quick and easy they are to make!

Before you toss your glass bottles into the recycling bin, check out how pretty and functional they are in the garden! I’ve been looking for the perfect garden markers for a while. I have a set of beautiful metal markers, but they are expensive if I want to buy enough for my large garden. Painted stones are a wonderful idea for garden markers, but my little girls love to play with stones at the moment…they don’t leave them in the garden for long! I’ve been scrolling through Pinterest and nothing has really caught my eye that would stand up to the weather elements that we have here. The perfect solution has been sitting there in our recycling bin. Here are my DIY upcycled glass bottle garden markers, and here’s how quick and easy they are to make!

Here are my DIY upcycled glass bottle garden markers, and here's how quick and easy they are to make!

Here are my DIY upcycled glass bottle garden markers, and here's how quick and easy they are to make!

Here are my DIY upcycled glass bottle garden markers, and here's how quick and easy they are to make!

  • The mini glass bottles (such as half-sized wine bottles or beer bottles) work well because they don’t take up as much room in the garden as full-sized wine bottles do. They also work great in pots.
  • I like the chalkboard paint label look, so I chose black and white. I used this kind of non-toxic glass paint. I used “Beetle Black” and “Wedding Cake White.”
  • Using small craft brushes, paint the labels onto the clean glass, first painting the black label and letting it dry, then painting the white details.

Here are my DIY upcycled glass bottle garden markers, and here's how quick and easy they are to make!

  • Bake the paint on by placing the bottles in a non-preheated oven, then setting the temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake them for 30 minutes at 350 and leave them in the oven to completely cool to room temperature.
  • Place corks in the ends of the bottles to prevent soil and moisture from getting in.
  • Tuck the bottles neck-down tightly into the soil. They’re easy to take out when they need to be moved around the garden.

I love it when DIY projects turn out well and trash truly becomes treasure. My painting isn’t perfect, but imperfection is beautiful in a rustic garden scene!

What are your favorite ideas for labeling your garden?

July 22, 2014

If it's been a good summer for cucumbers in your garden, you probably have way more than you can possibly eat at once. Here is a wonderful, classic homemade sweet pickle relish to help you preserve your harvest!

We’re still harvesting our bumper crop of cucumbers. Thank you, bees! If it’s been a good summer for cucumbers in your garden, you probably have way more than you can possibly eat at once. Here is a wonderful, classic homemade sweet pickle relish to help you preserve your harvest!

One of my most favorite and satisfying parts of gardening is canning the harvest to enjoy throughout the following year. Whenever I open a jar, I think of the seeds we started indoors and how my little girls and I had fun together planting them and watching them grow in the garden. Plus, there’s nothing like the tastes of summer during the middle of the winter.

Words can’t describe how much better this homemade sweet pickle relish tastes than any store-bought relish ever made! Not only that, but it’s so much healthier because it doesn’t contain anything artificial, like the scary chemicals that make the store-bought kind fluorescent green. When it comes to canning, our go-to recipes are the ones my grandma used for years. Just like the old fashioned bread and butter pickles that we make, this pickle relish recipe was adapted from her old Ball Canning recipe book. In our experience, the classic recipes work the best, while bringing out that wonderful feeling of nostalgia that canning often does.

Here is a list of canning supplies that you’ll need:

Any size or shape of pickling cucumbers work fine for this recipe. Since the best cucumbers for bread and butter pickles are around 1″ to 1 1/2″ in diameter, I needed to find a use for the bigger cucumbers that I didn’t pick in time. Perfect for relish! Also, this was a great way to use all the lemon-shaped cucumbers that I ended up with.

Homemade Sweet Pickle Relish

Prep Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: 6 half pint jars

Homemade Sweet Pickle Relish

Ingredients

  • 6 cups organic pickling cucumbers, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup organic green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup organic red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cups sweet onions (Vidalia,) finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sea salt (we use this)
  • 1 tablespoon organic yellow mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon organic celery seed, or dill seed
  • 3 cups organic unbleached whole cane sugar
  • 2 cups organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry canning jars.
  2. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Place jars on a baking sheet and bake in oven for at least 20 minutes to sterilize.
  3. Fill a small saucepan with water and add jar lids and rings. Place on the stovetop over low to medium heat and bring water to 180 degrees. A candy thermometer works best to watch the temperature.
  4. Wash and core peppers. Remove skin from onions. Add peppers and onions to a food processor and finely chop.
  5. Add chopped peppers and onions to a large mixing bowl.
  6. Wash cucumbers and remove ends. Slice in half, then use a spoon to scoop seeds out. Add cucumbers to a food processor and finely chop. (We found that it is easier to chop the peppers and onions separately from the cucumbers in the food processor.)
  7. Stir the chopped cucumbers into the peppers and onions in the large mixing bowl.
  8. Sprinkle salt on top of the veggie mixture.
  9. Cover the veggie mixture with cold water and add some ice cubes if the water isn't very cold. Allow to stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
  10. Near the end of the 2 hours, fill the water bath pot and bring to a boil.
  11. Use a colander to drain the water out of the veggie mixture, then rinse thoroughly. Drain again, making sure to remove as much water as possible.
  12. In a stock pot, combine mustard seed, celery seed, sugar and apple cider vinegar. Bring to a light boil.
  13. Add drained veggie mixture and bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  14. Remove jars from the oven and set on a towel. Ladle the relish into the jars, leaving a 1/4" space at the top.
  15. Slide a knife or flat spatula around the edges of the filled jars to remove air bubbles.
  16. Using a damp washcloth, thoroughly wipe the tops of the jars clean (this helps the lids seal.)
  17. Using a magnetic lid lifter, lift lids and rings one by one out of the saucepan of water. Set lids on top of jars and finger-tighten rings (do not over-tighten or lids will not seal properly.)
  18. Add jars to the water bath rack and lower into the boiling water. There should be about 1" of water covering the jars. If there is too much, remove some with a ladle. Cover with lid.
  19. Process for 10 minutes, then lift jars out using tongs. Set them on a clean towel to cool. Lids will be slightly concave (curving down in the center) when they are sealed.

Notes

Unopened jars of pickles will last for 1 year, and opened jars will last in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

http://www.dailypea.com/homemade-sweet-pickle-relish

July 21, 2014

To join Swanson Health Products in celebrating their 45th anniversary, I'm excited to host a $45 shopping spree giveaway for my readers!

Swanson Health Products is one of my go-to stores online where I find healthy, safe products for my family, at great prices. No matter where you are in your journey to live a healthier lifestyle, you’ll definitely find something at SwansonVitamins.com that fits your taste and budget. When you’re shopping for safer products for your body and home, I’ll say that it is convenient and economical to have a few good one-stop resources that carry many different brands. Swanson Health Products is definitely one of them! They have a large selection, from supplements to personal care products to healthy foods and more. They have been providing wellness to the world for 45 years. To join Swanson Health Products in celebrating their 45th anniversary, I’m excited to host a $45 shopping spree giveaway for my readers!

Enter below for your chance to win the $45 shopping spree, and when you’re finished, check out this chance to win 45 Healthy Foods and $500! Thanks so much for participating, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

July 14, 2014

Who has the oven cranked up when it's 95 degrees outside? This girl. It's blueberry season, and a big pile of fresh blueberries makes the best banana bread ever.

Who has the oven cranked up when it’s 95 degrees outside? This girl. It’s blueberry season, and a big pile of fresh blueberries makes the best banana bread ever. After you try this recipe, you’ll want to make it all year long. We’ve been so grateful to be stocking up on fresh organic berries from the farmer’s market. Blueberries are easy to freeze; just place in a single layer on a cookie sheet to prevent them from sticking together, and later place them in freezer containers. If you would like to wash them first, make sure to air-dry them as much as possible before freezing. This banana bread recipe can be made with fresh or frozen blueberries.

Banana Blueberry Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 1 loaf

Banana Blueberry Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 small to medium-sized bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 organic eggs, lightly beaten (preferably pastured eggs)
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut oil, room temperature
  • 2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup organic blueberries, plus a handful to sprinkle on top

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine mashed bananas, honey, vanilla extract and eggs. Stir in the coconut oil.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients, except for blueberries.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the banana mixture and stir until just combined, being careful to not over-stir. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  5. Pour batter into an oiled 9 x 5 loaf pan. Sprinkle a handful of blueberries on top of the loaf.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes to a hour, or until knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
http://www.dailypea.com/banana-blueberry-bread

July 13, 2014

When is the perfect time to harvest potatoes in the garden? The answer is in the visual changes that the plants go through during the growing process.

After you plant your seed potatoes, hill the plants and continuously care for them, of course you start wondering what’s going on beneath the surface of the soil! When can you start enjoying your much anticipated harvest? It’s tough to resist sticking your hands into the dirt to make sure there are actually potatoes growing. In my experience, there’s no reason to resist carefully checking on them. I’ve done that quite often for the past few months! It’s just a relief to see tiny potatoes growing from the roots. I felt anywhere from grape-sized potatoes up to fist-sized ones. The question is, though, when is the perfect time to harvest potatoes in the garden? The answer is in the visual changes that the plants go through during the growing process.

When is the perfect time to harvest potatoes in the garden? The answer is in the visual changes that the plants go through during the growing process.

When the potato plants are still lush and green, keep watering and weeding to ensure the plants stay healthy and dedicate their energy to tuber production. Keep caring for them the same way while they’re flowering.

A few weeks after the flowers on the plants start to die off, you can gently loosen the surrounding soil with your hands and feel for small, thin-skinned potatoes. These new potatoes can be harvested without damaging the other potatoes that are still growing from the same plant. A new potato is very tender and has a sweet flavor. They’re delicious as a side dish!

When is the perfect time to harvest potatoes in the garden? The answer is in the visual changes that the plants go through during the growing process.

Potato plants gradually start to die when the potatoes are done growing. When you see the plants starting to die back, it’s a good time to harvest a few potatoes at a time. There’s nothing like having them for dinner that same day! The easiest way to harvest a few potatoes at a time is to use your hands and dig right in. You’ll notice that they are all located at around the same depth in the ground. Gently pull the potato out of the ground, and it will easily separate from the root.

When is the perfect time to harvest potatoes in the garden? The answer is in the visual changes that the plants go through during the growing process.

You will know that it’s time to harvest all of the potatoes from one single plant when it is completely dead. This means the plant is no longer giving the tubers energy to grow. In my garden, this has not simultaneously happened to all of my potato plants. While we speak, some are completely dead while others are still lush and flowering. It’s okay to leave the potatoes in the ground after the plant has died back. The skin actually toughens while the potatoes are in the ground, preparing them for storage. The potatoes should all be removed from the ground before the first frost, however, or they may be damaged.

When is the perfect time to harvest potatoes in the garden? The answer is in the visual changes that the plants go through during the growing process.

An entire potato crop can be harvested at once for storage. The best time to harvest is after it hasn’t rained for a few days. A pitch fork is probably the quickest and easiest way to harvest a large amount of potatoes. Just carefully loosen the soil around the plant and lift the hill up with the pitch fork. The plant can be easily lifted right out of the soil.

Once the potatoes are harvested, they can be left outside for a few hours to dry, out of direct sunlight. Don’t use water to remove the dirt because it would be difficult to dry them again. After the short drying period, the potatoes should be moved to a dark place to cure for a couple of weeks. The optimum environment for curing is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity. After the potatoes are cured, they can be stored for months in a cool, dark place with good air circulation. The optimum storing environment is around 40 degrees Fahrenheit with moderate humidity. Potatoes can be stored in wooden crates, mesh bags or cardboard boxes, as long as there are openings for ventilation.

We had a lot of fun growing potatoes in our garden beds this year, and look forward to planting more seed potatoes this fall! We had a nice harvest after planting during late fall and overwintering. Next time, we just have to remember to plant the potatoes in different beds so that they’ll only be planted in the same beds one year out of every three years. Crop rotation is actually important for all vegetable varieties to make the plants stronger and more disease and pest resistant.

Did you plant potatoes this year? How is your harvest looking?

Other posts in this series:

July 9, 2014

Just as cucumbers are easy to grow, pickles are easy to make. I love all types of pickles, but I think bread and butter are especially flavorful and taste best when they're homemade!

Cucumbers are really easy to grow, and as long as you have pollinators (bees) around, there’s a very good chance that you’ll have a bumper crop. We planted a mixture of organic National Pickling and Homemade Pickles seeds in one of our 4′ x 8′ raised beds. Other than amending the soil with vermicompost, I’ve done nothing except regularly water the plants. I often see ladybugs and tree frogs on the leaves, so I think they’re playing a large part in keeping pests like cucumber beetles and aphids away (here’s a helpful article about cucumber beetles.) Also, major pollination has been going on because we have 2 beehives within 20 feet of the cucumber bed. The bees sound like little airplanes in the garden bed every time I water it. I give the bees all the credit for my bumper crop of cucumbers!

Cucumbers are really easy to grow, and as long as you have pollinators (bees) around, there's a very good chance that you'll have a bumper crop.

Just as cucumbers are easy to grow, pickles are easy to make. I love all types of pickles, but I think bread and butter are especially flavorful and taste best when they’re homemade! No matter what kind of pickles you make, there’s a huge feeling of satisfaction when you make them from the cucumbers you grow in your garden. Even better, there’s really nothing like enjoying your harvest throughout the winter!

This bread and butter pickles recipe is the one my grandma used, which she adapted from her Ball Canning recipe book. If you’re new to the water bath canning method, don’t fear, this is a great recipe to get started with! Here are the canning supplies you’ll need:

When you’re picking cucumbers to make bread and butter pickles, the best cucumbers are around 1″ to 1 1/2″ in diameter. Pickling cucumbers normally grow to 5″ to 6″ long, but for bread and butter pickles, they need to be picked before they reach their full size. It’s okay if they’re larger, but they’ll probably have more seeds and they won’t fit through the feed tube on the food processor.

Just as cucumbers are easy to grow, pickles are easy to make. I love all types of pickles, but I think bread and butter are especially flavorful and taste best when they're homemade!

Old Fashioned Bread and Butter Pickles

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 6 to 8 pint (16 oz.) jars

Old Fashioned Bread and Butter Pickles

Ingredients

  • 6 to 8 wide mouth 16 oz. (pint) canning jars with lids and rings
  • 4 to 6 pounds of organic pickling cucumbers, 1" to 1 1/2" diameter
  • 1 1/2 pounds of a mixture of white onions and sweet (vidalia) onions
  • 1/3 cup sea salt (we use this)
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons organic yellow mustard seed
  • 2 teaspoons organic celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon organic ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons organic turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 cups organic unbleached whole cane sugar
  • 3 cups organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry canning jars.
  2. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Place jars on a baking sheet and bake in oven for at least 20 minutes to sterilize.
  3. Fill a small saucepan with water and add jar lids and rings. Place on the stovetop over low to medium heat and bring water to 180 degrees. A candy thermometer works best to watch the temperature.
  4. Wash cucumbers and slice into 1/4"-thick slices, using a food processor. Note that you may have to slice by hand if the cucumbers are curved or do not fit through the feed tube.
  5. Remove skin from onions and slice into 1/8"-thick slices.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, layer cucumber and onion slices, generously sprinkling each layer with salt.
  7. Cover layered mixture with ice cubes and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours.
  8. In the meantime, fill the water bath pot and bring to a boil.
  9. Remove ice from the bowl of layered cucumbers and onions, then rinse under cold water and drain well.
  10. In a stock pot, combine mustard seed, celery seed, ginger, turmeric, pepper, sugar and apple cider vinegar. Bring to a light boil.
  11. Add cucumbers and onions and bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  12. Remove jars from the oven and set on a towel. Ladle the pickle mixture into the jars, leaving a 1/4" space at the top.
  13. Slide a knife or flat spatula around the edges of the filled jars to remove air bubbles.
  14. Using a damp washcloth, thoroughly wipe the tops of the jars clean (this helps the lids seal.)
  15. Using a magnetic lid lifter, lift lids and rings one by one out of the saucepan of water. Set lids on top of jars and finger-tighten rings (do not over-tighten or lids will not seal properly.)
  16. Add jars to the water bath rack and lower into the boiling water. There should be about 1" of water covering the jars. If there is too much, remove some with a ladle. Cover with lid.
  17. Process for 10 minutes, then lift jars out using tongs. Set them on a clean towel to cool. Lids will be slightly concave (curving down in the center) when they are sealed.
  18. For best flavor, store jars in a cool, dark spot for 4 to 6 weeks before opening.

Notes

Unopened jars of pickles will last for 1 year, and opened jars will last in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

http://www.dailypea.com/old-fashioned-bread-butter-pickles

July 2, 2014

There are just so many wonderful ways to enjoy fresh foods this time of year. That's why I was excited to partner up with a group of some of my favorite bloggers to bring you a full real food picnic spread, from appetizers and beverages all the way to dessert!

It’s tough to think of summertime memories that don’t include family, friends and picnics! With the Fourth of July right around the corner, many of us are thinking about recipes to make that incorporate our favorite flavors of summer. There are just so many wonderful ways to enjoy fresh foods this time of year. That’s why I was excited to partner up with a group of some of my favorite bloggers to bring you a full real food picnic spread, from appetizers and beverages all the way to dessert! You may find a different twist on a classic favorite, or an entirely new dish to try. Either way, have a fabulous time at your next summertime picnic, and savor the beautiful tastes of the season!

Appetizers

Baked Green Tomatoes with Fresh Tomato Relish, by Daily Pea

Sprouted Deviled Eggs with Bacon, by The Skinny Pear

Beverages

Ginger Watermelon Fizz, by Daily Pea

Honey Sweetened Strawberry Limeade, by Health Starts in the Kitchen

Main Dishes

Picnic Chicken, by Health Starts in the Kitchen

Roasted Lamb Chops with Rosemary Mint and Thyme, by Real Food Outlaws

Simple Grilled Kabobs, by Simple Clean Living

Side Dishes

Apple-Poppy Sed Coleslaw, by Real Food Girl: Unmodified

Brown Sugar Maple Baked Beans with Bacon, by Real Food Girl: Unmodified

Cucumber Tomato Salad with Basil, by Real Food Outlaws

Homemade Potato Salad, by Simple Clean Living

Spinach Strawberry Salad, by The Skinny Pear

Desserts

Crockpot Cheesecake in Jars, by Health Starts in the Kitchen

Gluten Free Angel Food Cake, by Simple Clean Living

Lemon Gem Cookies, by Real Food Girl: Unmodified

Do you have picnic plans coming up? What are your favorite summertime dishes?

 

June 30, 2014

Vermicompost is one of the most nutritious and sustainable fertilizers you can use in your garden. Here are some tips on how to harvest it and use it to feed your plants.

Congratulations on feeding your plants with vermicompost! It’s one of the most nutritious and sustainable fertilizers you can use in your garden. I’ve been so excited about how easy and fun vermicomposting is, and how much it has helped my garden grow, that I’ve been wanting to spread the word to everyone!

If you’re interested in starting a vermicomposting system, please see my full post on How to Compost with Worms. If you have a working worm bin and you’re thinking about how to use the vermicompost you’ll soon have, check out my tips below!

When to Harvest Worm Castings

You will know when vermicompost is ready to be harvested in a multi-compartment worm bin after the worms have been eating in one full compartment and you have filled up the next compartment with scraps and bedding. It normally takes the worms as long to eat one whole compartment of scraps as it does for you to fill up the compartment next to it. When they run out of food, they’ll move on to the one with the fresh scraps.

How to Harvest Worm Castings

Let the light shine into the bin that you’re ready to harvest for at least 15 minutes. This will help coax any stray worms down to the bottom of the bin. Next, gently scrape back a few inches of vermicompost with a garden trowel or claw. Let it sit for another 15 minutes, just to make sure to give the worms enough time to burrow down.

Take a large bucket and scoop the vermicompost into it. If you’re going to store your vermicompost for a period of time, 5 gallon buckets with lids or sand bags work great. Keep on scooping until the worm bin is empty. If there are any scraps that didn’t decompose, or if you come across any worms while you’re harvesting, just toss them into the compartment full of scraps. There may be a concentration of worms along the sides and bottom of the bin. That’s no problem, because once you put them into the other compartment, they’ll be happy to have a fresh food supply and will burrow right in.

Vermicompost is one of the most nutritious and sustainable fertilizers you can use in your garden. Here are some tips on how to harvest it and use it to feed your plants.

When you’re finished harvesting and the compartment is empty, begin adding food scraps and bedding to that one, while the worms work away in the full compartment. They’ll move back over when they run out of food, and you can harvest more vermicompost! It’s a fine-tuned system that works well as long as you consistently add scraps to the bin.

Vermicompost is one of the most nutritious and sustainable fertilizers you can use in your garden. Here are some tips on how to harvest it and use it to feed your plants.

How to Use Vermicompost

The beauty of vermicompost is that you can’t overfeed your plants with it. It simply won’t burn plants like other types of fertilizer. It really is a foolproof method.

  • A general rule of thumb to follow is to use 3 pounds of vermicompost per 100 square feet of garden space. Another way to approach it is feeding each plant with about 1/2 cup of vermicompost every 2 months during the growing season.
  • Outside in the garden, place 1 to 4 inches of vermicompost on the surface level of the soil and work it in.

Vermicompost is one of the most nutritious and sustainable fertilizers you can use in your garden. Here are some tips on how to harvest it and use it to feed your plants.

  • Vermicompost can be added to the surface of the soil surrounding established plants and watered right in.

Vermicompost is one of the most nutritious and sustainable fertilizers you can use in your garden. Here are some tips on how to harvest it and use it to feed your plants.

  • A handful of vermicompost can be placed into the bottom of each planting hole when planting seedlings, and into furrows when planting seeds.
  • If you’re starting seeds indoors, incorporate vermicompost into your starting mix! Use 1 part vermicompost to 3 parts soil mix.
  • Make worm casting tea! Mix a couple of tablespoons of castings with 1 gallon of water and let it sit overnight. Next, strain the solution and dilute it if you wish. The tea can be used to water plants indoors our out, even spraying it onto leaves as a gentle but powerful fertilizer.

I love vermicomposting. It’s fascinating to see the worms working away in the bin, and it’s satisfying to see the end result, which is my garden thriving! Even my little girls love it. When they’re done eating a banana, they hand me the peel and say “let’s feed it to the worms, mama!” They like to peek into the worm bin every once in a while to see what’s going on. My 4 year old knows that the worm poop helps her garden grow. It really does! I just fed my pepper plants the other day and it’s amazing how much they’ve grown after just a few days.

Other posts in this series:

Have you ever fertilized with vermicompost? What were the results?

 

June 26, 2014

This fizzy beverage has a unique blend of flavors that makes it a perfect summertime celebration treat, and it brightens up the table setting beautifully! It is a simple and creative recipe to make with juicy, flavorful watermelon that is now in season.

This fizzy beverage has a unique blend of flavors that makes it a perfect summertime celebration treat, and it brightens up the table setting beautifully! It is a simple and creative recipe to make with juicy, flavorful watermelon that is now in season. Refreshing is the best way to describe the combination of ginger, watermelon, lime and basil in this fun drink!

My best friend is an event planner, and since she’s a foodie, one of her favorite parts of her job is taste testing food and drink created by local caterers for events she’s planning. She comes up with a lot of her own fabulous recipes by being inspired that way. This recipe is a recent one that she shared with me, and I will always keep it for special occasions! I think you’ll love it, too.

Ginger Watermelon Fizz

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 1

Ginger Watermelon Fizz

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces of Ginger Brew (we use this kind that is available at Whole Foods)
  • 1 cup of watermelon juice
  • Splash of lime juice
  • Basil ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Make basil ice cubes by adding fresh basil leaves to your ice cube tray.
  2. Cut a watermelon into small pieces (skin removed) and add to a blender or food processor.
  3. Purée the watermelon, and put it through a fine strainer to remove the pulp.
  4. Add the juice (1 cup) to a large pitcher.
  5. Add the ginger brew and add a splash of lime juice, and gently stir.
  6. Pour over basil ice cubes in a large glass mug and serve.

Notes

This recipe can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled, etc.!

http://www.dailypea.com/ginger-watermelon-fizz

June 25, 2014

This baked green tomatoes with fresh tomato relish recipe makes it tough for me to leave my tomatoes on the vine long enough to ripen!

Ripe, juicy tomatoes warmed from the sun are one of the best tastes of summertime if you love tomatoes, but they are just as fabulous when they’re green with just a slight blush of pink! This baked green tomatoes with fresh tomato relish recipe makes it tough for me to leave my tomatoes on the vine long enough to ripen. It’s also a great way to use the straggling tomatoes that haven’t ripened by the end of harvest.

Fried green tomatoes are a classic southern dish, but they shouldn’t be forgotten wherever there are tomatoes growing! They are such a perfect appetizer for a summertime barbecue. I thought I would try my hand at baking them because it’s quicker and easier for me to season them and put them in the oven, as opposed to creating a potentially really messy frying situation. They turned out to be incredibly delicious with the perfectly crispy crust and tangy flavor of the green tomatoes. The fresh tomato relish is optional, but it can be whipped up in a matter of minutes and really makes this dish extra flavorful.

Any large, meaty tomato variety is good for making baked green tomatoes. I think they’re best when they are green but just barely show ripening tones. The most important recommendation to make this recipe turn out perfectly is to slice the tomatoes no thicker than 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick. This is a big factor in perfecting the crispiness of the crust.

Baked Green Tomatoes with Fresh Tomato Relish

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 6

Baked Green Tomatoes with Fresh Tomato Relish

Ingredients

  • 4 medium-sized organic green tomatoes (any large, meaty variety works well)
  • 1/2 cup organic fine ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (we use this kind)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Whites from 1 organic egg
  • 1/3 cup organic grated parmesan cheese
  • Organic olive oil for drizzling
  • For the fresh tomato relish:
  • 3 small ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1/8 cup organic olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon organic balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch sea salt (we use this kind)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh organic basil, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh organic parsley, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Prepare the fresh tomato relish first:
  3. Wash and chop tomatoes into small pieces, then add to a glass mixing bowl.
  4. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  5. Set aside to allow flavors to blend.
  6. For the green tomatoes:
  7. Wash and slice green tomatoes no thicker than 1/4" to 1/2" slices.
  8. Combine cornmeal, seasoned salt, black pepper and garlic powder in a small mixing bowl.
  9. Add egg white to a separate small mixing bowl.
  10. Dip tomato slices into the egg white first, then dredge in the cornmeal mixture, thoroughly coating.
  11. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  12. Lightly drizzle one side with olive oil and sprinkle with half of the parmesan cheese.
  13. Place on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
  14. Remove from oven and flip each tomato over. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese.
  15. Bake for another 20 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
  16. Serve warm, topped with fresh tomato relish.
http://www.dailypea.com/baked-green-tomatoes-fresh-tomato-relish