Phew — I'm finally getting moving on this whole blog thing ... and I think I'm in love with it.
Yep .. that's right. Hello, world! I love the concept of a blog because writing like I speak is so easy! Stream of consciousness? Love it. I have so many ideas for what I want blog posts to capture and how I hope to help my East Bay and Piedmont neighbors, friends, food enthusiasts and those seeking advice on nutrition to find balance in their lives and embrance their health!
I love to cook and develop healthful, scrumptious, simple recipes. There is nothing like the smells of whole food simmering on the stove, getting ready to serve to family and friends. And there is nothing like growing your own food ... need I say more? Yes, I do...
This past weekend, two generous and talented friends came over to help make one of our urban homesteading dreams come true. We are so blessed to have friends who care about our desires to produce our own food. We hope to set a small but important example of what it means to live (or at least eat) off the land in a town like Piedmont where we hope more and more food is being grown. We are hoping to gently influence some of our neighbors to carve out even a few feet of space to grow some herbs, or maybe even some kale, if they haven't already. The anticipation surrounding growing your own food is so exciting.
I love practicing ways of being self-sufficient. To this point, I revisited the concept of the Victory Garden and have been doing some research. Historically, the Victory Garden was supposed to boost morale and empower all citizens to take advantage of their own backyard resources during World War II, supporting themselves and the war effort by growing food, raise certain animals and live off of the land, to a certain degree, despite a lack of land or space. For more information on what's going on in the East Bay in regards to urban farming and Victory Gardening, there is a lot to thumb through at The Victory Garden Foundations' website, and this amazing website.
We now have two planter boxes built and ready for sealing and planting. Next, we need starters (not seeds) and will go for tomatoes, carrots, lots of greens (lettuces, kale, chard, kale and more kale) and maybe try our hand at some blueberries under the redwood trees. So many possibilities! We were given the Sunset Western Garden Book, which I have dubbed my garden bible, and I have heard that Golden Gate Gardening is a must buy for growing food and any plants in the San Francisco Bay Area, since our climate is so diverse. Sunset magazine has a wonderful guide to all things edible gardens.
Now for the takeaway. Yep, a look at seasonal ingredients at their best. I made a super simple Strawberry Mint Sorbet for a dinner party. It was so refreshing and hit the spot. The strawberries I got were organic, from Berkeley Bowl (at about $3.70/pound), but I later found organic strawberries at Costco at a cheaper price ... and they were beautiful. I hope to be using my own strawberries from the backyard next year. The mint was from the backyard ... as were the lemons. I am sure you could poke a neighbor for a couple of Meyer lemons. I see them everywhere in Piedmont. Enjoy!
You can find the recipe at Nourished Kitchen. I changed the recipe a bit by substituting fresh strawberries for frozen, upping the chopped mint leaves to 1/2 cup and substituting 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice for the peppermint oil, and used just under a 1/4 cup of raw honey. I garnished with fresh mint. Major crowd pleaser.
And that was our weekend. Fun times, good friends, great food and the pursuit of happiness through planter box building in little ol' Piedmont. Embrace urban farming and stay tuned for more on our journey towards home-grown kale and farm-fresh eggs.