Friday, April 27, 2012

Bagel Bento

I have made bagels a couple of times this week and thought that a bagel bento would be good. I sliced a poppy seed bagel and spread a cream cheese spread over both halves and then added some smoked salmon.  I have one cup of cherry tomatoes, another with tri-colored pepper strips and some homemade ranch dressing for dipping. I also added a fruit cup with strawberries, blackberries and blueberries, all packed in my Laptop Lunchbox.

BlueCross BlueShied of Tennessee is sponsoring a contest called Create Your Plate. You are supposed to create a lunch using the USDA's My Plate Guidelines. One category can be voted on by the public and I would love it if you could vote for my lunch by clicking HERE. Thanks so much!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Samantha has been checking the strawberries every time she comes over and when she was here the other day one of them was finally ripe enough to eat. We "harvested" exactly one strawberry that day, but that one strawberry was enough to make her one very happy girl. 

A close up of our "bounty"

It is funny how much of an interest she has taken in the things that I am trying to grow. Her Mom also grows things, including herbs and tomatoes, but she is so excited every time she goes out there to look at everything.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Another Bento

Here is the bento I made for yesterday's lunch using an Easy Lunchbox container. The large compartment has turkey and avocado on rye bread, and alongside that is some pepper strips, mushrooms, tomatoes and cucumbers. The smaller compartment has a tomato, mozzarella and basil salad featuring basil that I grew myself. The top compartment is mixed fruit with some kiwi, strawberries and mango strips. She also had some milk on the side that I forgot to set out when I took the picture.

I am also linking this to "What's for Lunch Wednesday".

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Friday's Bento

It just dawned on me a couple of weeks ago that the school year will be ending in about 8 or 9 weeks. Yikes! Samantha will be moving to the middle school next year and I am sure it won't be so cool to have someone bring her lunch, not to mention the fact that going back to middle school, even for lunch could trigger memories of my own middle school years. Anyway, here is the bento that I took for Samantha and Abby's lunches yesterday. The top tier has mini whole wheat pitas stuffed with hummus, turkey, avocado and an artichoke heart. the little bee picks have some cheddar and pepperjack cheeses. The bottom tier has orange pepper strips, sugar snap peas, carrots, and tomatoes. There is also a container of ranch dressing for dipping the veggies and a "tiny" orange and mini banana and some milk.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thursdays with Samantha

Samantha has been wanting to learn how to make key lime pie for a while now. I kept forgetting to get the key limes though. I finally remembered this week. She was surprised to see how small the key limes are compared to regular limes. She loves to juice fruit and it took her a little while to get enough juice to make our pie. Lemon and key lime pies are my all time favorite desserts so I was very happy to comply with this wish!

Here she is checking out the strawberries. I have several little berries and a couple of them are starting to turn red already. She has really enjoyed my gardening efforts so far. Her favorite thing is to watch the progress of the plants as they have grown and especially as they are starting to bud. She also really enjoys looking at my compost bin. I mean I know I am a dirt nerd, and I always loved being in the dirt gardening with my Dad, but I have been surprised at her interest in the composting process and the worms.

While we were on the back patio we spotted a bird's nest. Actually I saw the bird on the corner of the house (in the photo below) and the nest and Samantha realized that there was a bird in the nest. I have no idea what kind of birds these are. The one bird stayed perched on the gutter and the other stayed on the nest.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Gardening Attempts

In the attempt to learn more and more about the foods I eat, I have decided to try and grow more things myself. I grew up in a gardening family and know the fundamentals of both growing and preserving foods. Living in apartments most of my adult life left me with almost no room to grow outside or a very limited space. So I have been limited to some tomatoes in pots. I would also rely on visits to the Farmer's Market or kindness of friends and family to get a few vegetables to can. Plus my Dad is very kind to share his canned tomatoes with me.

After getting married I moved into the house that Kip already owned but our backyard is very shady and doesn't lend itself to gardening very much. Moles are also a problem in our yard. I didn't grow anything for the first four years I lived here but I missed it. Last year I got some cherry tomato plants from my Dad. Almost all of his plants are started from seeds that he has harvested from the previous year's crop. Some of his seeds have been in his family for generations. I grew six tomato plants in posts on my back porch. 

Oh how I had missed eating tomatoes, just picked and still warm from the sun! 

I also joined a CSA last year so that we had fresh, organic vegetables throughout the summer and fall. I love my CSA and will continue being a member this year. But my quest for growing my own vegetables has continued. Kip and I had discussed a while back about building some above ground planters. He has very little interest in gardening so he was concerned that because of my back issues that he would end up doing a lot of the work. We came up with the idea of building a very large planter so that if I needed to, I could sit at and still tend to my plants.

Here is what Kip ended up building for me:

I love it. It is on wheels and has a handle so in the off season, the dirt can be emptied into the compost bin and it can be stored. Since it is mobile, I was able to watch the sun pattern for several weeks to determine the sunniest spots of the yard. I have this planter and the pots in the first picture full of plants that will hopefully provide some more of our produce needs this year. 

I also decided to not do very many flowers this year. Almost everything that I have in any of my planters is something I can eat. Here are some hanging baskets in the front of the house that has herbs in it. I have a couple of small pots inside growing in the kitchen window that also have herbs, but I decided I needed more than I could get from my small pots. 

I am still pretty happy with my compost bin. This is the first year that I have used the compost in my planters. Samantha love to go and look for worms in the compost. She is loving the fact that I have so many plants now. In fact, she sent me a text on Wednesday telling me she could't wait to see me--and my plants--on Thursday.

Let's see what I have planted so far:

German Pink tomatoes
Another tomato from my dad that I can't remember the name of
Green Peppers
Jalapeno peppers
Cayenne Peppers
Pickling cucumbers
Straight Eight cucumbers