What to do with the cabbage I received in my CSA share this week? I decided on making a healthy soup; and I also used some of the other vegetables I received from the local farms in the recipe. The soup is very easy to make, with nothing fancy—just fresh veggies, chopped up and thrown into a big pot, covered with water and simmered. I used an 8 quart (7.6 liter) pot.
6 carrots, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 or 4 celery stalks, chopped
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
half a head of cabbage, ripped or cut into small pieces
bunch of scallions, diced
2 to 3 cups of chopped tomatoes
preferred seasoning, to taste
Put the carrots, onion, green pepper, celery and mushrooms into the pot. Add enough water to cover the veggies. Put the lid on the pot and simmer. Then add the cabbage, green beans and scallions. Keep adding water as needed to keep veggies covered. Lastly, add the tomatoes. Keep pot covered and simmer until the veggies are tender, approximately 45 minutes. This soup is flavorful and doesn’t need any extra seasoning. You can serve it as it is, or enhance further. I added an organic no-salt seasoning, made by Kirkland, which contains a whole bunch of herbs including garlic and pepper. It added a little “kick” to the recipe. Expect 10 – 14 servings.
My newest papaya plant is full of fruit. This tree is only 7’ tall so the fruit will be easy to pick once they are ripe. Papaya is also called lechosa and fruta bomba in Spanish. In Australia and some countries of the Caribbean, it is called papawor pawpaw. The mature fruit can weigh up to 20 pounds!
I have wanted a Food Dehydrator for some time and had begun researching which one to buy. So when I read my sister’s email a couple of weeks ago, “What do you want for Christmas?” I replied with a model number. Sure enough, Santa promptly delivered the much-anticipated Food Dehydrator… thanks to my sister & her husband! For my first batch, I sliced-up fresh star fruit, papaya and banana. These fruits were all from my trees. I also sliced some fresh carrots; and lastly I added some frozen string beans. I assembled all the pieces on the trays, stacked them on top of each other, put on the top, set the temperature and turned the gizmo on. I checked the progress every few hours. It was not a quick process. I was surprised that it took approximately 12 hours for everything to be fully dried.
Of all my friends and family who tasted the assorted foods I dried, most people liked the star fruit the best. It just had a great texture and taste. It was a huge hit. The papaya and banana were also excellent. Now for the failures: the carrots felt and tasted like leather; and the string beans had a strange chewy consistency. I’m not sure what I did wrong with the carrots. As for the string beans, I’m going to try fresh beans next time, instead of frozen, to see if this makes a difference.
I only discovered persimmon when I was visiting my brother Carlos, in Sacramento, California, 13 months ago. He had a basket of it on his kitchen counter that his neighbor who was growing it had given him. Carlos had never tasted the fruit either. So we sliced one open and ate it. I was astonished at how good it tasted. So Carlos gave me a few of the precious bounty and I’ve been a huge fan ever since.
When I saw persimmon trees on sale at my local nursery this past May, I took one home, even though persimmons don’t usually fruit well in south Florida. The variety I purchased– Fuyu Persimmon– is bred for our hot climate and is supposed to need less cold days to develop fruit. The little tree had three tiny persimmon growing on its’ limbs, which the saleslady told me would fall off because the tree was still too small to fully develop the fruit. But I held out hope that they would grow large enough to eat.
I placed the new tree along the side of the house until I could figure out where I wanted to plant it in my yard. Then I sort of forgot about it. By the time I began to pay attention to it again, it had dried out. All the leaves had fallen off, but the three tiny persimmons still clung to the tree. I promptly planted the tree and began to faithfully water it. Leaves grew back. Then one immature fruit fell off. Then the second immature fruit fell off. But the last remaining fruit (pictured) tenaciously hung on and did eventually grow large enough to eat. Can’t wait till next year’s crop!
I am so thankful to my gardener for helping me cut down these large papayas from my very tall papaya tree. I just couldn’t maneuver the fruit-picking pole between the high hedges and the electrical wires to get at these beauties. He got them easy…although a fourth papaya was accidentally knocked into the yard of my NeighborWithCameras. We weren’t able to retrieve it because there is a wall protecting their side yard from mine, not to mention the security cameras trained on us. I hope they are grateful for the tasty treat that fell out of the heavens onto their grass!
The Day 2 Dinner recipe I made from The22DayRevolution is Artichoke, Tomato and Avocado Salad. The ingredients listed in the book are:
1 box grape tomatoes
1 BPA-free can artichoke hearts
2 tbsp Kalamata olives
I used chopped-up plum tomatoes because that is what I had at the time I made the salad. Instead of the olives I used olive oil and mixed it with lemon from my tree. If you have fresh artichokes, use them rather than the canned ones. Lastly, I garnished the dish with fresh basil from my herb garden. This was an easy, basic recipe that makes 2-3 servings. Thumb up on this one!
The Day 2 Lunch recipe I made from The 22-Day Revolution is called Spanish Beans over Sweet Potato. The ingredients are:
1 sweet potato
1 cup black beans
½ small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp oregano
dash salt & ground black pepper
I used oregano from my herb garden and garnished with tomato and avocado. There are no fancy foods here, just basic stuff. I loved this meal; it was easy to make and very satisfying. The recipe makes 2-3 servings.
The Day 2 Breakfast recipe I made from The 22-Day Revolution is Lean Green Juice. The ingredients listed in the book are:
4 stalks of kale
1 handful of spinach
2 Granny Smith apples (cored)
2 pitted dates
1 frozen banana
I used fresh lemon from the little Meyer Lemon Tree my aunt gave me. It’s a “miniature” plant that I have growing in a container on my patio, but the fruit is regular size. The first time I made this juice I prepared it exactly as described. It was very tasty. The second time I whipped it up, I substituted Star Fruit for the apple just because I have a ton of Carambola in my yard. Also very tasty. Thumb up on this recipe, which can be a healthy meal-replacer if you’re trying to lose weight.
“Curiosity is the truth and the way of creative living.” – E. Gilbert
I saw Elizabeth Gilbert when she came to Miami, a few weeks ago, to promote her new book, Big Magic. I had read a couple of her other books: Eat, Pray, Love and Committed— both of which I enjoyed. I just finished Big Magic and loved it! This book is about the creative process, how you get ideas, living a creative life and inspiration. In a nutshell, Gilbert’s point of view is that EVERYONE is creative. What we humans do is create. We make things. Some of us nurture this aspect of ourselves, while others don’t. I also appreciate Gilbert’s thoughts on IDEAS. If you have an idea you’re exploring—whether for a story, song, painting or other invention—and you don’t work on it, it will go to someone else who will. The IDEA is a life-force itself.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is creative, wants to be creative, seeks inspiration, struggles with their craft, or is just plain curious.
Since I’ve been blogging primarily about plants and people– especially in relation to edible plants and tropical fruits, I thought I’d pay homage to Gilbert’s book by dressing “her” up as The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat. (Bonus points for anyone who knows who I’m talking about)!
I love Mexican food. I have eaten countless tacos, burritos, enchiladas, pinto beans, salsas, etc. Wherever I have lived, I’ve always managed to find at least one good place that serves yummy Mexican food. I’ve made it myself. And, of course, I have eaten delicious Mexican food… in Mexico. So when I saw that the Day 1 Dinner recipe in The 22-Day Revolution was a recipe for tacos, I got excited. And then I read through the ingredients and discovered that the “shells” are lettuce leaves. What?! I figured the tacos wouldn’t have any meat and I didn’t have a problem with that… but lettuce shells?! The thing is that when I hear the word “taco”, my mouth begins to salivate for something warm, wrapped in a corn shell. Lettuce is a let-down for something called a taco. Something wrapped in lettuce is a “lettuce wrap.” I like “lettuce wraps”—just don’t call them tacos, please.
Here are the ingredients for the Raw Walnut Tacos in the book, which I prefer to call Raw Walnut LETTUCE WRAPS:
2 cups walnuts
2 heads romaine lettuce
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp coconut aminos
Dash paprika, garlic powder, ground black pepper
2 Haas avocados
½ pint cherry tomatoes
½ tbsp dried parsley flakes
Pinch salt & ground black pepper
I used fresh garlic and fresh parsley from my garden. I didn’t use the “coconut aminos” because I didn’t know what that was and didn’t have any. The recipe was enough for 6 lettuce wraps. They were flavor-full and refreshing. I did like them. But I won’t call them T_ _ _ _!