National Eat Your Vegetables Day

Just started my new driving job today.  The ideal job – work 2 days, Saturday and Sunday, then have 5 days off. Money is good and it is driving locally. This means my weekend posts will be done late in the day or maybe even skipped if I don’t get home in time.

Since today is National Eat Your Vegetables Day, I thought I would share this picture of a zucchini from our garden.  Bigger than a steak knife and tastes delicious.

Jamaican Chicken and Swiss Chard

We have a lot of Swiss chard in our garden. When I saw this recipe in Shape magazine, I cooked it up.  The heat from the jalapeno was just enough to give the chicken a little kick. Very tasty.

2 ½ lbs. Bone-in chicken pieces
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 scallions, roughly chopped
½ jalapeno, seeded
2 tsp. Ground allspice
3 garlic cloves, peeled
6 Tbsp. Water
1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. Fresh thyme
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 red potatoes
2 large carrots
1 bunch Swiss chard, cut into 1” strips

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prep a cookie sheet with foil or parchment and place chicken in the center of the pan. Season with salt & pepper.

In a blender, process the scallions, jalapeno, pepper, allspice, garlic, water, 1 tablespoon thyme, and ¼ teaspoon salt into a smooth paste, adding some olive oil or additional water if needed.

Coat chicken with the marinade, placing some between the meat and skin if possible, and set pan aside. Cut potatoes into 1 1/2” cubes and carrots into 1 1/2” pieces and place around the chicken. Drizzle vegetables with 1 tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons thyme and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Top pan with thyme sprigs.

Transfer pan to the oven. Toss chard with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. After 35 minutes, add chard to the baking sheet on top of the carrots and potatoes. Continue cooking until chicken skin and chard are crisp and the other vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes more.

 

Butter Lettuce

Earlier this week I shared some pictures of our aquaponic gardens.  We put the roots of a live butter lettuce in the water hoping it would grow.  Voila!  Yesterday it had 2 little sprouts.  That means we will have butter lettuce and watercress as well as the romaine, Swiss chard and kale.  Salads and more salads in our future.

Aquaponic Garden Plants

Last year I introduced you to our aquaponics garden.  We had to remove the watercress because it took over the garden.  Just this week we finally removed an overgrown Swiss chard plant.

 

We purchased some watercress and butter lettuce at the store this week and planted them in our large new pool.  The hope is that the watercress will cover the pool, reduce the algae and provide food for us as well as the fish.

 

 

 

 

Hoping this year to have some great vegetables growing. Have you started your garden yet?  What are you growing?

Eat Your Vegetables Day

I have learned to enjoy quite a few different vegetables like watercress, Swiss chard and kale.  These are very good for you and can be eaten raw or cooked.  Here are pictures of these growing in our aquaponics garden.

Watercress

Watercress 6-17-16 (2)

Swiss Chard

SWiss chard 6-17-16 (1)

Kale

Kale 6-17-16 (2)

***They come in every color of the rainbow, almost every believable shape and size, and the flavors they bring to the table are absolutely astounding. Whether you’re just talking about the staple vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and onions that we all get from the store, or the diverse range of vegetables that come from around the world like Bok Choy and watercress, we’ve all been eating them our whole lives. Eat Your Vegetables Day is dedicated to getting people eating their veggies, and also in spreading awareness of their diversity and necessity in a healthy diet.

History of Eat Your Vegetables Day
The history of Eat Your Vegetables Day starts with an awareness of nutrition and the role it plays in a healthy lifestyle. Vegetables have always played an important role in the lives of humans, all the way back to when we were simply hunter gatherers. Vegetables were one of the hallmarks of civilization, and are arguably the reason we settled and stopped being nomads, we couldn’t travel anymore when we planted our crops, we had to be there to tend them as they grew.

As we cemented our ability to produce them they stopped being an opportunistic part of our diet, and instead became a foundation part of our culture and cuisine. As time went on we established that there were benefits to eating them, better health and growth, but it wasn’t until much later that science confirmed what we already knew.

Eventually it was established that yes, they were a vital source of nutrients that were hard or impossible to get form an animal source. These nutrients can help to prevent heart disease and decrease bone loss, offset diabetes, and even improve the health of your hair and skin.

How to celebrate Eat Your Vegetables Day
Well the easiest way to celebrate Eat Your Vegetables Day is to ensure that vegetables play a major role in your diet for the day. To make sure you’re getting enough ensure that you’re eating at least a half a cup of each vegetable you decide to consume, or a cup of a medley. Think vegetables can’t be delicious? We have the simplest recipe to prove you wrong. Just take an equal mixture of cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots and steam them until tender. Then layer them in a casserole dish with seasoning salt, cheddar cheese, and sunflower seeds and place them in the oven to bake until the cheese is melted. If that doesn’t make you believe that vegetables are delicious, we don’t know what will! So get out there on Eat Your Vegetables Day and gobble down a tuber, munch on a leafy green, or serve up a nice bowl of legumes.

 

***https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/eat-your-vegetables-day/

Expanded Aquaponics Garden and Plants

Expanded Aquaponic Garden (2)

 

We decided to expand the aquaponics garden by adding 50 feet of 4 inch pipe along the outside wall of our carport. Mac has cut holes so we can place cups with plants.

 

 

 

We have 36 strawberry plants: 6 Loran, 20 Sequoia, and 10 Ozark Beauties. We didn’t know which ones we would like so that’s why we got 3 different kinds. We also got a 6 pack of asparagus roots and 1 cherry tomato plant.Strawberry_Loran 2-29-16

Asparagus 2-29-16 (1)

Cherry Tomato 2-29-16

 

 

 

 

 

Seeds in Cheesecloth 2-29-16

 

Since we bought seeds Mac thinks that placing them in cheesecloth and then in a cup with an opening to the water will get them started. Time will tell. The seeds include Red Russian Kale, Rainbow Chard, spinach and green onions.

 

 

 

We have herbs planted in an old refrigerator on the back deck where rosemary is seeding out and basil took over last year. We’re assuming the basil will come back.

 

 

Dill 2-29-16
Stuvia 2-29-16
Mint 2-29-16We purchased 3 herb plants: dill, stuvia, and mint; to go in this planter. We will also be planting cilantro seeds with these other herbs.

 

 

 

 

 

Now we wait to see how everything grows and how long it takes for them to start producing fruit or the seeds to get roots and become a real plant.

Planted Aquaponic pipes 2-29-16 (1)

Planted Aquaponic pipes 2-29-16 (4)

Planted Aquaponic pipes 2-29-16 (2)

Aquaponics Garden

Mac introduced you to our aquaponic garden about a month ago and I wanted to update you on the growth. We have garlic, watercress and romaine continuing to grow.garlic

watercress (3)

romaine (2)

Our cabbage only has 3 heads left – it was a 45 day cabbage plant so it’s a little different from what you get at the store but still tastes like cabbage.

cabbage (1)

You will notice that when we cut the whole head of romaine it grows back which makes this a never-ending salad bar. The watercress are cool because it spreads like a vine and continues growing. How cool is that?

It is weird that one of our romaine plants is seeding out. So I guess we wait and see if we get romaine seeds or if new plants start to grow.