Garden Pasta

This is an on-the-fly post and a quick snapshot before devoured as I was at my sister’s house visiting her and her newborn and had brought lunch ingredients.

The night before I quickly made a garlic scape pesto which was highly improvised with just garlic scapes, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and some salt. I had it with some sourdough bread and it was super spicy!

This dish has:

Spaghetti noodles: found in bulk at WinCo

Peas: picked from my garden

Garlic scape pesto: from the garden + bulk ingredients

Mint: garden

To make pasta:

Boil water and salt and cook spaghetti, adding in peas (shelled peas or snap peas with shell) in the last minute.

Reserve a couple cups of pasta water.

Drain.

Add in 3/4 cup of pesto into pasta water and stir to combine.

Put pasta back into pot, pan, or bowl then top with the pesto sauce.

Top this off with about 1/4 cup or fresh mint leaves.

Enjoy!

Peace and love,

Kristan

Cold Brew Coffee + fresh mint simple syrup

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Summer is here for me in spirit and weather, just not officially according to the calendar. Nevertheless, it is still time for cold brew coffee sipping. The best thing about cold brew coffee is how easy it is to make and it can just be ready and waiting by morning! All I have to do is reuse or compost the grounds and rinse my bag out to dry.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you want a super special summery treat, you can make a mint simple syrup easily, too!

I feel lucky because I’ve been growing mint for years but it never really came back and I’d have to buy new plants, but this year it came back in full force! There’s always a warning about planting mint in the ground because of how much it spreads, but who doesn’t want a whole bunch of mint?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To make syrup you’ll want about 1 cup of mint, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of water. Simmer in a pan for 10 – 15 minutes, turn off the heat, and let the mint steep in the syrup until cooled. Bottle up in whatever jar you’d like.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For cold brew coffee you’ll only need a few items, and those can vary based on what you have. The only true needs are coffee grounds and water and something to put those into.

I have been putting coffee grounds into a cloth bag that sits in the water. You could simply use a french press, or even a mesh strainer for when you are ready to drink the coffee. That’s what I used to do and it works fine, there is just more sludge and grounds in the brew.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I use about 1/2 cup of grounds in a jar that holds about 4 cups of liquid.

Pour filtered water over the coffee grounds and place into the refrigerator.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It may seem like it’s not infusing very well at first, but it will turn out great by morning.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This dark brew looks much tastier and is ready to drink!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m kind of particular about my coffee. Hot coffee requires a dash of half & half and absolutely no sugar, but cold brew is nice with just a touch of sweetener, some half & half, and a couple of ice cubes.

In this case, of course, I used the mint simple syrup and it is a divine treat!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The syrup will keep for at least a few weeks, and probably a couple of months if refrigerated.

Peace and love,

Kristan

Organic Non-toxic Garden Bug Spray

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As a person who tries her best to leave a smaller footprint on the earth, I am not interested in using products on my plants which use unfamiliar ingredients. Certainly, I could spend hours doing research into each chemical and its origins and impact on the earth and then buy a product packaged in plastic to use on my organic garden, but it seems counter intuitive to me.

In an ideal world I wouldn’t feel the need to use anything on the plants I grow. However, my garden can be a bug-infested oasis. I like it, cats like it, plant eating bugs like it, even weeds like it.

My precious carrot leaves were eaten away overnight, something has gobbled my clematis, and my potato plants are more holes than green in places.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I needed to take action. I needed a simple, effective, low-cost solution. The good news is this spray meets all those requirements and I love it! I made it last year as well and stored it in an old vinegar bottle, but when I went to retrieve it, the glass had broken. Time to make some new bug spray!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ingredients needed:

1 onion

A few cloves of garlic

1 Tbs cayenne powder

1 tsp – 1 Tbs soap

To make:

Blend the onion and garlic until they are nice and mushy.

Place the mush in a saucepan or pot with about 4 cups of water and 1 heaping tablespoon of cayenne powder, then turn to a simmer. Let the mixture simmer for a good 30 minutes.

Let that cool.

Use cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer to squeeze out the liquid and compost the remaining material.

Pour into a spray bottle with a teaspoon to a tablespoon of liquid soap. I use Sal Suds because of how effective it is and because it is extremely concentrated and biodegradable.

P5261821.JPG

Spray on any bug-eaten plants directly and reapply if it rains or if much overhand watering has occurred. You don’t need to worry about this spray when it is time to harvest because it is made out of mostly food and a safe soap. Obviously rinsing is a good idea, but don’t worry about health problems later on in your life or depleting soils of microbes.

P5261826.JPG

My potato plants already look much better and whatever was eating my carrot tops has stopped their destructive ways.

Do you have any favorite gardening tips?

Peace and love,

Kristan