It is now officially spring. Though where I live, we’ve been flipping from winter to summer for the past month or so. But this past week has been perfectly spring like, with today being the most glorious weather day of all. I was fortunate to have the day off and joined some lovely ladies to play tennis this morning. I couldn’t get over the weather–just cool enough with sunshine, a little breeze, the air even had that fresh spring smell. Spring means planting and I am SO EXCITED this summer for our garden! Here’s the backstory: we move in to our current home 6 years ago. We have rather odd landscaping but to make this succinct and not give you all the history, we put in a raised bed in an area that seemed like a good garden spot. It wasn’t. Way too shaded, nothing grew, and I’m sure I spent more on tomato plants than I ever would have spent on the equivalent 3.5 tomatoes they yielded. Combined. Fast forward a year. I planted shade perennials. They looked nice for a bit in the raised bed. The next year… nuttin. Apparently they didn’t get the message that perennial means you come back up each year. Another huge cash drain. So last year, my big plan was to move my herb garden to the raised bed. Herbs are a little hardier and seem more tolerant of crappy soil and low water conditions. This spring, my sage, mint, thyme, and chives came back up. I’m convinced that if there were a nuclear holocaust, in addition to cockroaches and velvetta cheese (cheez if ever there was a cheese with a “z”, velvetta has about as much in common with real food as a rock), there would be mint. So you may want to google recipes including velvetta, cockroach, and mint if you are a doomsday fanatic.
Wow, that was a big digression. I didn’t see that one coming.
Anywho, the garden. Here’s our great plan for this year and why I’m so excited. I decided to add some cooler weather crops (which makes it sound like I am planting acres, not a 4×8 ft bed) to my raised bed. Radishes, spinach, lettuces, kale, and chard. Those we planted on mother’s day. The radishes are popping up, I see recognizable lettuce leaves in the mesclun area, and some other thing is sprouting. It could be kale. See I didn’t mark what I planted where, and my kids were helping me, so we kind of used a scatter planting method. Ha! It should be a pleasant surprise. I’m not positive the bed will get enough sunlight once the tree over head fully leaves-out, but my fingers are crossed. In the meantime, we converted an area of grass surrounding our back patio to a garden area. We put down lots of layers of newspaper over the grass, wet it down, and covered in glorious mulch. I am not a big fan of grass where we live–high dessert–grass just shouldn’t be growing here and you have to dump a lot of water and fertilizer on it, not to mention get it aerated like crazy, to get it to grow. The front lawn came out last year in favor of pretty flowers, and if I get my way the back lawn will continue to shrink each year. Did I also mention I’m allergic to grass? Don’t get me wrong, I love a beautiful patch of sink-your-toes-in-it lawn, but it just isn’t in the cards for us at this point in life given our busy lives and what we are willing to do and not do for a lush lawn. Surrounding the patio we now have tomatoes, basil, peppers, strawberries, a few marigolds for a pop of color, and I’ve planted several kinds of squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, pole beans, wax beans, and more of the lettuces, kale, and chard as an insurance policy in case the shaded bed is too shaded.
Until our fresh veggies are up, I am still searching for some great meals that the kids love. Here is one that I stumbled upon. It sounded a little too good to be true.
Yes, cauliflower masquerading as alfredo sauce. Now you know how I feel about calling foods what they aren’t. If you don’t go back and read my prior posts about cheese with a Z. But my kids don’t know Alfredo from Adam, so calling this Alfredo sauce worked ok. I blended the daylights out of the sauce so there were no identifiable cauliflower chunks. All three kids ate it up. Kid one only had one serving (he had to leave for soccer) but said he liked it, and he is my pickiest eater. He also had some as leftovers. Kid two had three helpings. On the third helping he complained that he was so full he was going to explode. I told him to stop eating. He said he couldn’t because it was just so good. Seriously, I’m not making this up. (I’m not THAT creative.) Kid three had two helpings. He is fairly picky as well. So I call this one an out of the park home run! Woot-woot!
As for me, I liked it, though it was heavier than what I would like to eat so I wouldn’t personally have it very frequently. It definitely did not taste like alfredo sauce to me. It was good though, but more like a mac-n-cheese than an alfredo.
I doubled the recipe and served it on whole-wheat rotini. Another big bonus–the kids didn’t even notice I used whole-wheat pasta. Usually whole-wheat pasta is the dinner time kiss of death. This is what I’m up against. Now you understand why I am over the moon happy to have a kid ask for thirds!