It Starts With a Hole

Holding out several packets of squash and tomato seeds to the nursery cashier, I asked.

“Is it too late to plant these?”

She then turned to the bagger and snickered.  “Ummmm, you can always try.  See what happens.”  She said in a “good luck girly” tone.

Okay, so it was no mystery that she was talking to an amateur, but would it have been too much to ask for her to have a little faith?

Armed with a bag of seeds, I then consulted with my neighbor about starting my own garden (Organic and non-GMO, of course!) in which she simply laughed, “By the time you start, gardening season will be over.”

I figured she would be the perfect source considering the fact that she’d managed to grow a jungle at her other house in the mountains.  Pineapples and lemon trees in the mountains of North Carolina?  In the middle of winter?  Have you ever heard of such a thing?  And although she’s a little tight lipped about the secret fairy dust she sprinkles over her garden,I’m beginning to believe one of the main ingredients is Miracle Growth.

I thought that perhaps with a little luck and lots of praying I could develop a green thumb or at least a fraction of it.  Were my ambitions so low that at that point in time my only wish was to have something green sprout out of the ground?  At least an inch or two or something plant-like.

So what if it was June-ish when I finally built a house for my soon-to-be garden and July-ish when I planted my first zucchini seed?  I needed that month to build the best veggie house I could on a budget and to muster up enough courage to actually build the damn thing.  If you haven’t guessed it by now, I was little worried about my adventure into gardening.  (Just a little.)  But I pushed through my concerns despite the snickers and giggles and here’s how it all went down.

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(By the way, I have to admit that if I were a vegetable, I’d want to live here too.)

Why am I imprisoning my beautiful garden you might ask?  

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There’s your answer.  Deer are a gardener’s worst enemy along with their buddies, the squirrels.  In Eastern and Central Carolina we don’t play around.  You either build a fence or forget about having food for yourself.  You’ll just be feeding the wildlife instead.

Okay, so I’m not a professional (Just yet), but I know a little somethin’ somethin’ about getting dirty.  I spent plenty of summers planting seeds along my grandfather in his garden when I was a little girl.  As a child, I may not have understood the true awesomeness of burying a seed into the ground or how that simple act had the potential to affect the rest of the world and someday possibly end world hunger, but I knew something great was about to happen.  And that greatness started with a hole.

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It took cutting through the arteries of the earth and going toe-to-toe with live snakes (Did I mention that I hate snakes?  Like run-in-the-house-with-the-rake-still-in-your-hand kind of hate?) to create this late summer miracle, but in the end it was worth the effort and next year I’ll be a little ahead of the game.

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BON APPÉTIT

Seeds Planted:

Zucchini, Patty Pan Squash (a.k.a. Spaceship Squash (the only way I could describe them as a child), crookneck squash, grape tomatoes, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, herbs: basil, chives, parsley, bay leaves, lemon balm, thyme).

Produce Harvested:

Grape tomatoes and all herbs

Healthy Journey!

(Deer: Photo courtesy) http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/whitetaileddeer.htm

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Heeeere, Chickpeas, Chickpeas, Chickpeas!!!

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I strongly believe that the more we learn about food, the healthier we become.  Learning about the history, benefits, and how to prepare different foods helps us to make healthier choices and to step outside of our comfort zone.  Maybe the next time you’re cruising around the grocery store, you’ll pick up that pint of blackberries or bunch of cilantro you’ve been eyeing for a while.  Many people are curious about certain foods, but have no idea how to cook them.  Each week I will show you how to cook one basic healthy ingredient such as oatmeal, fennel, almond butter, or chicken.  You can find videos on how to prepare the mystery ingredient on my Youtube channel (links provided below).  I will also add videos that show you five different ways to incorporate them into any meal whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, or even dessert.  Chicken for dessert?  Hmmmm, maybe not!  This series is called ‘(food name) All Day, 5 Ways.’

This week’s mystery ingredients are the awesome garbanzo beans also known by many as Chickpeas.  Now I understand some people have never ventured over to the world of chickpeas or have no idea what these things are.  Maybe you’ve dipped a few baby carrots or celery sticks in a pool of hummus, but never knew the primary ingredient, but if your only understanding of hummus comes from a certain movie…well then I hope I can help you out a little bit.  No, I will not teach you how to make a hummus hose!

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Here’s some cool stuff about garbanzo beans.  Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are from the legume family meaning they are the fruit or seed of a plant.  Many sources trace their origins back to India, but you can also find variations in areas of the Mediterranean, north Africa, and Mexico.  I won’t bore you with extensive fun facts about these beauties, but there are many reasons why you should consider including them in your diet.

Healthy Benefits

  1. Just two cups of these babies will provide you with your entire daily value of fiber.  This in turn could help better regulate blood fat, lower LDL (the bad stuff) cholesterol levels, and lower triglycerides.
  2. Studies have shown that in a short period of time, consuming garbanzo beans could possibly control blood sugar and insulin secretion.
  3. Can reduce the risk of heart disease due to their unique supply of antioxidants.
  4. Also aids in weight loss.
  5. It’s also a great meatless options for vegetarians and vegans.  Heck, if you just want to take a short break from consuming meat, this is the way to go.

Sources:

Photos Courtesy of:

http://www.empirecityblog.com/2011/08/you-dont-mess-with-zohans-head.html

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/playful-sculptures-feature-chickpeas-for-heads

The World’s Healthiest Foods: Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=58

Health Magazine

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20475957_25,00.html

Youtube Videos

How to Make Chickpeas

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