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My Container Herb Garden


my container herb garden

some of my container herb garden

As I’ve mentioned before, I live in an apartment, so I’m a little short on real estate. I don’t even have a tiny postage stamp yard to dig up and plant a garden in, much less rows upon rows of veggies. However, I am lucky enough to have a front patio of sorts with its own sidewalk, partial sun, and a desire for fresh herbs.

my front patio with reading hubby included

my front patio with reading hubby included

a farther look at the patio area

a farther look at the patio area

Herbs were a natural pick for me. They are fairly hardy, do not require as much water, like partial shade to lots of sun, grow just fine in containers, and can be brought inside when the weather turns cold. Also, I could walk outside and snip what I needed rather than buying that two dollar bundle of parsley and wasting half of it or spilling water in the fridge when I inevitably knocked over the mug of water I had placed them in on the top shelf. Another reason is I liked the idea of growing something that was both pretty and useful. Oh, and did I mention that herbs add flavor without adding salt or calories? Both those attributes are very handy.

peppermint and mystery mint

peppermint and mystery mint

looking down from the stairs

looking down from the stairs

looking down from the stairs again

looking down from the stairs again

Some of my herbs have fared better than others. My basil, parsley, and one of my rosemary plants have had a tough time of it. My parents bought them for me back in March and left them in their original containers until I finally made it home for a visit. I re-potted and whisked them off to Lubbock, re-potting them again a few weeks later. As a result the basil has a few incredibly woody stems, the parsley has a woody base with sprigs coming off it almost like it was tied into a bouquet, and the rosemary has been diligently growing taller but with no additional branches.

from the front door looking out

from the front door looking out

My other herbs include chives (great over scrambled eggs or potato soup), oregano, another rosemary, mints (orange, peppermint, and some other type I’m not sure about), cilantro (seeded and died recently), and winter thyme. I had a lemon balm for all of three days. Bugs decided to eat every one of its leaves and leave the other plants alone.

I also had one lone tomato plant (which I let die recently after it gave me a total of 4 cherry tomatoes) and still have a Vitex aka Chaste Tree or Texas Lilac that someone gave me. I’m thinking the tomato plant did not get enough sun since it was in a partial shade all of the time. The not-at-all-edible Vitex, however, has done fine so far, and I’ve re-potted it once.

Overall I’ve enjoyed my little garden and look forward to cooking with it more in the future. Have you or are you interested in a herb garden?

Note: On the same day I took these pictures, I had just gotten another basket of local, organic produce from From the Garden which is situated on our outdoor table. They seemed too pretty not to be in the background of some of the pics at least.

hubby reading on the porch

hubby reading on the porch

I couldn't resist - here's a pic of the fresh produce.

I couldn't resist - here's a pic of the fresh produce.

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Green – San Antonio’s Only 100% Vegetarian Restaurant


San Antonio's Only 100% Vegetarian Restaurant

San Antonio's only 100% vegetarian restaurant

First things first -there is no recipe in this post. I know, I know, then why bother writing it or reading it or opening the page. But before you close the tab or window or whatever you have this open in, I have seven words for you: 100% vegetarian restaurant in San Antonio, Texas. Intrigued yet? If so, keep reading.

Hubby and I went to San Antonio this past week to visit family and friends and get away from Lubbock for a little bit. While we were there, our relatives (who were also kind enough to let us stay with them) told us about Green, San Antonio’s only vegetarian restaurant, and asked if we were interested in going. Game for anything, we went along, and I brought my camera, of course.

the front of their menu

the front of their menu

The menu listed their stance as:

  • No meat will ever be cooked at Green.
  • When we do use eggs, they are free range and hand gathered.
  • All of our breads, dressings, and desserts are vegan (no eggs, dairy, or honey).
  • Our fried foods are all breaded using soy milk.
  • We are certified Kosher.

Lauryn and Kerry ordered a sampler appetizer which of course I didn’t remember to take a picture of until it was practically gone along, with the fennel rolls.

rolls, steak fingers, buffalo wings, and onion rings - all vegetarian

rolls, steak fingers, buffalo wings, and onion rings - all vegetarian

However, I did remember to take a picture of Drew’s food (came out too blurry to post though) and mine. I almost got a smoothie too (they had several that looked really tempting) but as it was I ended up taking home an entire pancake. The short stack was only two, which sounds deceptively small until you take into account that they dominated the plate and were very filling. That and a side of fruit was plenty for me.

keeping it simple - blueberry pancakes and a side of fruit

keeping it simple - blueberry pancakes and a side of fruit

The atmosphere of the place was fun, too. Outside were plants and rain barrels, and inside was one long rectangle until you got to the back, where it opened up into a square room with high ceiling decorated with photographs and what I think were plates. There was a little outdoor area too but I didn’t get a picture of it.

some of sthe plants outside the restaurant

some of the plants outside the restaurant

what I think are rain barrels near the entrance

what I think are rain barrels near the entrance

Hubby entering the restaurant

Hubby entering the restaurant

the first part of the restaurant

the first part of the restaurant

the back wall of the restaurant and the room we were in

the back wall of the restaurant and the room we were in

look at all the pretty pictures!

look at all the pretty pictures!

us in our booth with my to go plate

us in our booth with my to-go plate

Oh, and I guess I should mention the prices were reasonable for a restaurant (around five, eight, nine. etc…I don’t think anything was over twenty). However, their website has not been cooperating with me the whole time I’ve been writing this post (it worked for me before, I swear!) so here’s the link: http://www.greensanantonio.com and if it starts working and I got something wrong or you feel the need to mention something else about it, feel free to comment.

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Our Trip to San Francisco


Just a street corner in San Francisco.

Just a street corner in San Francisco.

Sorry for the long delay between posts. It’s been a rather adventurous few weeks what with: bumming rides from friends while our car was in the shop; getting our car back from the shop; renting a car for a trip to San Francisco (two days driving, two days there, two days driving back); going to Oklahoma City for a wedding; and all the other things that typically take hunks of time out of the day.

So now that I’m back, what do I have to tell you…well, the trip to San Francisco was both awesome and crazy. On the way there we almost hit a coyote in New Mexico, practically froze in Flagstaff, Arizona (we camped in a tent for the night and the temperature got to below 39 degrees, go figure), and got our fruit confiscated shortly after entering California.

Apparently if the fruit is from East of the Continental Divide or out of the country and is not sliced up, they take it. This was rather frustrating since we had packed apples, grapes, watermelon, plums, and peaches along with Cheerios, peanut butter crackers, and bread so we could spend less money on the trip and avoid fast food. On the bright side, I got to keep my watermelon (it was sliced up), and we had eaten most of the fruit by that point. The guy was really nice about it, explaining to us why and telling us where we could go to buy more fruit, but I couldn’t help but being frustrated anyway.

Later that evening we arrived in Fremont where we would be spending the next three nights with our friends Dana and Kerry. They cooked a yummy dinner of grilled salmon, grilled corn on the cob, heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella and basil, and wine with blackberries, strawberries, and kiwi covered in whipped cream and a few trefoils girl scout cookies for dessert. We stayed up chatting since they would be leaving the next day and not be back until after we had left for home.

The next two days were a whirlwind of attempting to drive and park in San Francisco (we had visited the year before without a car and had rode the trolleys or buses, or walked). We went to City Lights (several times), Vesuvio (the bar next door to City Lights), the bistro at the Cliff House, Muir Woods, some Italian food place whose name I can’t remember, Boudin Bakery, Cowgirl Creamery in the Ferry Building, and a produce stand on our way to Muir Woods.

The bistro was amazing – their menu listed that the eggs were cage free, they served popovers before the meal, and all breakfasts had two automatic sides – fruit and roasted potatoes. I got ham and scrambled eggs while hubby got Eggs San Francisco. I ate very little the rest of the day since the meal was so filling.

My brunch at the Cliff House bistro.

My brunch at the Cliff House bistro.

The Eggs San Francisco Andrew ordered.

The Eggs San Francisco Andrew ordered.

I also loved the produce stand. We bought an apple, two peaches, bing cherries, strawberries, and vanilla fig newtons, and it all tasted and looked so good. Most of the time the strawberries I purchase are already verging onto maroon and bruised, but these were strawberries as they should be.

The produce stand we stopped at on our way to Muir Woods.

The produce stand we stopped at on our way to Muir Woods.

What we bought at the produce stand minus the apple, a peach, and the fig newtons.

What we bought at the produce stand minus the apple, a peach, and the fig newtons.

I should probably mention that Friday was spent eating at the Cliff House and the Italian place and visiting Vesuvio whereas Saturday was the produce stand, hiking through Muir Woods and seeing the Coastal Redwoods, walking to the Ferry Building and Fisherman’s Wharf, and dining on the fresh produce, Benedictine cheese, and sourdough bread. Both days we visited City Lights because as our friends and family know, we are both serious bookworms. Besides, it’s hard not to love an independent bookstore located in San Francisco (for me anyway).

Before we left for home we stopped at the Trader Joe’s in Fremont for more produce. We camped in Flagstaff again (this time sleeping in the car), went to the Grand Canyon for a few hours, and made it home around midnight the second night.

I’ve attached a few more pictures of Muir Woods and the Grand Canyon because we really wanted to spend a few days at each but only had a few hours to spare. These pictures are a great example of why.

Coastal Redwoods in Muir Woods.

Coastal Redwoods in Muir Woods.

Looking out over the Grand Canyon.

Looking out over the Grand Canyon.

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Ordering up Grassfed


A little before 6pm I drove to the Sutherlands parking lot in Lubbock. When I got there I saw a mostly empty lot except for the far right near the street where a man in jeans was passing out boxes, bags, and cartons to people standing nearby. I had to drive carefully to avoid vehicles that were coming and going, not to mention the people getting in and out of cars or simply standing about waiting and chatting. I parked and got out of my own car, check in hand, ready to purchase the pork breakfast sausage, whole chicken, ground beef, sirloin, and eggs I had ordered earlier in the month.

This was my first direct purchasing experience with PiaDom Meats, a local company out of Nazareth, Texas that delivers to a parking lot in Lubbock once a month for no more cost than the products you buy. We had bought some of their meat a month or so ago when we went to Well Body and liked it and their philosophy well enough to want to order more from them directly. This was a very simple procedure since they list what they have to offer online as well as some suggestions for cooking it, and you can either fill out a form on their website, call them, or email them to make your order. They send out emails to those who ask to be added to their list so they can let people  know when they are coming to Lubbock next (or Plainview, Amarillo, or several other cities they list on their site).

That I found out about them at all is because of another site, Eat Wild, which I stumbled upon while trying to find a local source for eggs. Eat Wild is a great resource for locating farmers around the country who sell grass fed meat, eggs, and dairy. During that same search I also discovered other useful sites such as Local Harvest and Eat Well Guide. In fact, Local Harvest is how I got in touch with a woman from whom I will be buying fresh produce from her garden every other week (first delivery on Friday!).

I’ll have to get back to you on how my PaiDom purchases all taste, but so far I’m happy. We plan to have some of the sirloin cooked in teriyaki sauce and then tossed in with some white rice and broccoli. As for the produce arriving on Friday, I’ll let you know how it goes too.

What do you eat that is local and/or organic? And what do those words mean to you?

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Butter and Margarine


Why is this post about butter and margarine? Because while talking to my mom she mentioned my brother had made a recipe (which one I forget at the moment) that required a crumbly topping and his butter (really margarine) was not hard enough and did not crumble very well. Apparently the recipe came out okay, but not as good as it should have had the margarine been firmer.

I wasn’t really surprised. After all, I had recently switched from margarine to butter and in my experience the butter was firmer straight out of the fridge than my margarine ever was (for the stick and the spread). Granted, this was my experience with one particular brand of margarine (apparently the composition varies), but I figured the information was worth sharing. Besides, I needed to call my brother anyway to ask what size freezer he had since Andrew and I were considering purchasing one.

When he answered, I asked him about the freezer and then moved on to the butter. Apparently he typically puts the margarine in the freezer before using it like this but this time he pulled it straight from the fridge. I tried to explain to him my experience with butter versus margarine but he had to get off the phone before I could really say much about it. However, this got me thinking: how many people really think about butter and margarine, know what is in each, and know what they are buying?

For years I bought Blue Bonnet and Country Crock without thinking much of it. It was only when I made Carrot Walnut Scones for the first time a month or so ago that I sought out actual butter and was amazed to find that I had to search for it (at the United Supermarket I went to the many brands of margarine were located at waist height or lower whereas the butter was higher up and to the right) and check the ingredient list to be sure I had the right product. The ingredient list for butter was miles shorter (cream and salt) as opposed to margarine (one listed at least eleven different ingredients). Also, I knew what cream and salt were – I wasn’t so sure about some of the margarine ingredients that were used as emulsifiers or to preserve freshness.

What choice you make of course is yours. I’ve mentioned on my About Me page that my husband and I are trying to eat more organic and local and less highly processed foods, so choosing butter makes sense to me. With both butter and margarine demonized in the media and elsewhere, I might as well go with what I could make at home if I wanted to (and I might sometime just to say I have) and what I prefer in regards to texture and taste while limiting my intake. After all, both products should be consumed in moderation anyway.

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