Wild blackberry smoothie

Life would not be complete without healthy nutritious meals, and so, my blog is slowly transforming into a food blog. I’m sure once our free supply of hand picked produce runs out, I will be back to mini craft and home projects. For now, here is yet another foraged food post.

In our back yard, we have a huge wild blackberry patch. Usually the berries don’t make it inside because we consume them from the bush, but I had harvested a bunch of basil and cucumbers the other day and was able to squeeze some berries in my basket.

In the morning, I like to eat Greek yogurt for breakfast with fruit, nuts, or rolled oats. After a few days of black berries and yogurt this week, I was getting a little bored and my berries were starting to get a bit soggy. In my opinion, fruit that is really ripe make great smoothies, so I like to throw my normal ingredients in a blender and drink my breakfast on the go. This time however, I decided to make frozen yogurt for a dessert.
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Martha and Eggplants

Call me old fashioned, but I love a good magazine. There are tons of great DIY projects, recipes, beauty tips, and of course perfectly staged photographs to swoon over. A magazine is great for a relaxing weekend, especially one where you want to unplug.

On Saturday we drove up to Lake George, NY to hang out on my friend’s boat for the day.  We stopped to buy some beer and chips, I also grabbed the September issue of Martha Stewart Living. Sometimes I feel like those magazine racks at the check out are just staring at me – buy me, buy me, they say. While the boat outing was filled with lots of relaxing and swimming, I didn’t have a chance to read my magazine. I guess that’s what lazy Sunday’s are for. I know, poor me, right?

In this months issue, Martha Stewart made an enticing salad dish with blistered eggplant with tomatoes, olives, and feta. “Blistered”, doesn’t sound so enticing, but that’s where those perfect photographs come into play and you can smell the deliciousness coming to life from the pages. As the title suggested, the salad also consisted of tomatoes, feta, and olives, seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil.

For me it was the eggplant that caught my attention because we had two gorgeous purple eggplants sitting on our counter from our garden. First you slice them in 1/4 rounds and sprinkle with olive oil and place 6 inches from the broiler. You lightly toast them or “blister” as described in the magazine on each side for 10-12 mins.  I only set my timer for 10 minutes each side and a few of them became little charged. I suggest you monitor them if your oven gets really hot, like ours. After you take them out of the oven, place in a bowl and cover, so they stay soft.

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Homemade Tzatziki

When I travel out of the country, one of my favorite things is getting to experience local cuisine and new cultural foods. Unfortunately, I have never been to Greece, but Greeks know food. I have no doubt that if I ever were to travel to Greece, I would not go hungry!

With that said, the next recipe I wanted to try with cucumbers form our garden is tzatiki, which is a Greek cucumber yogurt. If you have ever had a gryo, this is the delicious white sauce that is served on top.

Surprisingly, this sauce is super easy to make. We are hosting a family reunion on Saturday, so I thought this we would perfect to make and share! I tripled the recipe I found by Dr. Kyle Willets because we wanted to make a lot for the party, but you can cut this in half if you want. Honestly, I would probably make this much even if I wasn’t having a party.
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Veggie Garden

I find gardening very rewarding. When you think about it, growing plants is not rocket science. Plants need water and sun. Simple. Yet keeping plants alive is a craft and not everyone has a green thumb as they say.

Luckily I inherited a gardening itch from my grandparents, and for the most part my thumbs are green. My mormor (mother’s mother in Swedish) can turn a pile of dirt into a lush green garden. Her talent amazes me. A lot of our house plants were given to me by her.

When we lived in Albany, we participated in the Community Gardens and grew our own vegetables for several summers in a row. Growing your own food is the most rewarding gardening there is.

This summer with the help of Sam’s mom and her husband Mark we made some raised garden beds in our backyard. We thought this would be an easier option, rather than having to dig up the hundreds of rocks that are hidden under the soil. First, we searched everywhere for cedar planks to build the beds out of, but after doing some research hemlock is a more common and naturally not resistant.

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Homemade Dill Pickles

Our garden is overflowing with cucumbers, and this week I have been attempting some homemade recipes using our cucumbers!

I love pickles. When Sam and I go out to eat for lunch, my dear, sweet husband always takes one bite of his pickle and lets me eat the rest. That’s called love, folks. In honor of our pickle love, the first recipe I am trying out is pickled cucumbers! I searched the internet and read several DIY methods before I ended up with this one that I found over on DIY Natural blog, mainly because it looked easy and there is no cooking involved. After some research, the general consensus was you can throw anything you wanted in there, so I tweaked the recipe a bit by adding some other fun stuff.

Early in the week, Sam swung by the grocery store on his way home from work to pick up some of the ingredients I needed. On his list (this is directly from the text message I sent him): Greek Yogurt, fresh dill, mustard and coriander seeds, 1 lemon, white vinegar.

What Sam brought home: McCormick Pickling spice, 1 lemon, white vinegar. Here lies the REAL reason I had to change the ingredients.
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No Delivery

Sometimes living in the country has its setbacks. My favorite thing about living in downtown Albany was walking to fabulous restaurants and bars; and being able to order delivery. We can’t do much of that now that we live in the middle of nowhere.

Like last night when we were sitting on the couch – our muscles sore from working hard in the yard all weekend and with dinner time quickly approaching – a pizza commercial came on the TV. It looked so appetizing and simple. No cooking needed. Delivery – a perfect idea. Unfortunately, since we moved out here we found only one place that delivers to our house – and the pizza – not so good. You know you’re in trouble when you can’t even get a good slice of pie! I looked online and found a few places to call – they all had the same response – no delivery to our house.
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A Big Waste

I love to garden. Something I think I get from my grandparents. They always had a huge flower and vegetable garden, and I remember playing in their gardens when I was a kid. And as an adult I would help them weed, pick the food, and eat it. For several years Sam and I were part of the Community Gardens in Albany, and it was so much fun. This year will be our first summer in our house and I am very excited to have a vegetable garden.

Around the middle of March I like to plant my seeds indoors, so I can put them in the ground after the frost. The weather has been so amazing I have already been able to set my trays outside in the warm sunshine. Within a few days my seedlings started to pop up.

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