Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Thumb's Not Black After All!

Day 108.

This morning, as I was doing my gardening chores, I noticed tiny green orbs on my tomato plant. That's right! I have my first soon-to-be tomatoes! And then, The Hubs found tiny peppers gropwing on our bell, cayenne, and chili pepper plants! This is very exciting to me because this is the first time I've ever grown anything at all successfully. A few years ago, I tried to grow a bunch of things in the ground and none of them survived. I tilled and fertilized and planted and watered and they rotted and died. A few months ago, I tried growing herbs in one of those precious kitchen herb garden kits. They grew! And then they prompty turned brown and died.

My baby cherry tomatoes!

I decided that growing from seeds is too difficult for a beginner like me, so this year I opted to use seedlings instead. I'm so glad I did! We're already enjoying the sweetness of homegrown strawberries, and soon will be feasting on tomatoes and peppers, too. Hopefully, my squash won't be far behind that, followed by okra and potatoes.

Little bitty peppers!

What are you growing this year?

Home-grown strawberries would be so yummy paired with homemade granola. In fact, strawberries and granola are on the breakfast menu for tomorrow. So I'm making granola today. There are many fancy granola recipes that use tons of ingredients, but I'm staying pretty plain, using only oats, almonds, and sesame seeds for my crunchiness. You could add puffed rice, puffed wheat, wheat germ, more nuts, sunflower seeds, fruits, and more. The sweetener I chose to use was a combination of honey, maple syrup, and brown sugar. You could use anything: white sugar, agave nectar, apple juice concentrate, just to name a few. I used coconut oil in my recipe. You could use vegetable oil or butter. I added chopped chocolate to mine. You could add raisins, dried pineapple, dried blueberries, yogurt-covered raisins, or white chocolate chips, if you wanted.

Michelle's Chocolate Chip Cookie Granola
What You Need:
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/8 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, ground into a lumpy powder

How it's Done:
  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with raised sides.
  2. Combine oats, almonds, seeds, honey, maple syrup, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl, stirring to coat all pieces evenly.
  3. Drizzle coconut oil over top, then stir again to coat all pieces. Pour ganola onto the baking sheet.
  4. Bake 30 minutes, turning over halfway through. Remove from oven and allow the granola to cool completely. It will harden as it cools.
  5. Once cool, mix in chocolate "powder." Store in covered containers or storage bags.


Amy said...

I'll be growing from seedlings this year as well, the weather here is still cold (in the high 30's-40's), and if I start from seeds it will be the end of summer before I start getting anything from my garden.

We'll be doing tomatoes, green peppers, jalapenos, squash, eggplant, and broccoli. I'm hoping to do some fresh herbs in a window box and some strawberries in a planter in the backyard. We have a VERY small yard, so we're limited to how much we can grow. This is only our second year gardening so I don't want to go too overboard for fear that I will kill everything :)

Andrea said...

Woo hoo congrats on the baby veggies! Isn't it exciting to see them growing? I love gardening :) I have a blog about my garden if you want to check it out, here's the link :)

this year I decided to do everything from seed, its my 3rd garden and so far so good. of course everything is inside still cause its too cold at nights here still. 3-4 more weeks :) Hooray!

Lisa said...

I just purchased my first herb plant of the season, basil. Can't wait until I can start planting outside. Love the pictures!

April said...

I tried growing tomatoes from seeds and they grew good for awhile, then they just died, still can't figure out why. So as soon as tomato plants come out in the stores, I'm going to plant those instead. This is my first year growing a garden, so keeping my fingers crossed. I'm doing tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, potatoes, onions, zucchini, cantaloupe, watermelon and pumpkins.

Jenn said...

YAY!! Congrats on the growing of the vegetables. I never had a really good green thumb and living in the desert, well, it's even worse now!

The granola looks and sounds terrific!

heather said...

i don't know how in the world i missed the chocolate chip cookie granola! and i was pretty sure i read about your garden!

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