A Kale Kreation

So I am growing kale this year for the first time…and this week, I ate kale for the first time (at least that I am aware of). It all started earlier this spring when I was buying lettuce seedlings for the garden. I was lured in to buying kale as well…only $1 for a 6 pack, and it just looked so fresh and green! Especially after this long winter we just had. Again, I’d never had kale before, but have heard good things about it being healthy and thought it was worth a try for the price. And so, it’s been growing, and growing, and growing the past 2 months while I’ve been doing nothing with it, except cutting off the leaves after they finally turn yellow and throwing them away…until this week!

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The problem was that I had no idea what to do with it. My first thought was to search Pinterest for recipes, but quite frankly, most of the pictures looked rather unappealing….until I saw this one! Kale mashed potatoes! First, the picture actually looked appetizing. And second, I figured if the kale turned out to be a bit too healthy or green for my liking, it could be easily disguised with cheddar cheese and bacon! Lets be honest, the recipe had me at “sauté in rendered bacon fat.” Terrible I know, but I am my father’s daughter: a bacon girl, through and through. And so I give you KALE MASHED POTATOES!

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Here is how I made them. Basically just the way my mom taught me to make mashed potatoes with a few additions.

You will need the following:
6 to 8 small to medium russet potatoes (or 3 to 4 large)
4 to strips of bacon
1/4 cup diced onion
4 leaves of kale, chopped in thin strips
2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons of butter
Milk or half & half (I just use whatever we have)
Seasoned salt (I used Penzey’s Forward!Lawry’s is fine too)
Fresh ground black pepper

1. Wash, peel, and slice potatoes into approximately half inch pieces. Honestly the smaller the pieces, the better. Just make sure they are all about the same size. This may take a bit more time up front, but will save you even more boiling time on the back end. Plus, the smaller pieces are easier if you mash with a ricer.
2. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and add water until they are just barely covered. Boil on high approx. 15 min (depending on size of potatoes) until they are tender. I usually test by sticking a fork in them. If they flake apart easily, they are done.
3. While potatoes are boiling, fry the bacon over medium heat. When bacon is done, crumble and set aside. Sauté onions for 3 to 5 min in rendered bacon fat in the same pan. Then add the kale and garlic and sauté another minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. When potatoes are finished cooking, strain in a colander to remove as much water as possible. Mash using your gadget of choice. Sometimes I use an old fashioned hand potato masher, sometimes I use my ricer, and sometimes I use my hand mixer, depending on what I’m in the mood for. You end up with coarse mashed potatoes with a hand masher, smooth and creamy with a ricer, and fluffy with the hand mixer.
5. Add butter and approximately 1 tablespoon of milk at a time, mashing in between until you achieve your desired consistency. Season to taste with seasoned salt and pepper.
6. Stir in cheese, bacon, and the kale, onion, and garlic mixture
7. Enjoy!

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Have a great weekend!

Love,
Dora

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A Bumper Crop of Lettuce

I think I may have over planted lettuce this year…we barely had enough for 2 to 3 salads last year. So…..I put in 3 times as many seedlings this year, plus threw some old lettuce seeds in the city picker, and ended up with way too much!

See…

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This is what it looked like before picking:

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And after being picked clean:

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I already cleaned out the square planter and replanted with green beans, as much of the lettuce was starting to bolt. But the deck planters are already filling back out after all the rain we’ve had these past few days.

Peppers and tomatoes are looking good too! First pepper and tomatoes of the season made their grand debut this past week…

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Oh, did I tell you I’m also growing my own sprouts? It’s so easy! More on this later…

Have a good week!

Love,
Dora

Spring Garden

Here’s a sneak peak at this years garden. These pictures are actually a few weeks old now. I spent an afternoon cropping and editing them using this awesome app, A Beautiful Mess, but then never got around to posting them. Will post an update soon, the tomatoes and lettuce are growing crazy fast!

Tomato Earthboxes (2 Black Cherry, 2 Grand Pace, 1 Beefsteak, 1 Roma)

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Cucumbers and Peppers (lots of reds, my favorite!). Also can’t wait to try making pickles.

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Herb Garden.

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Random stuff on the deck…

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Thai Chilies getting a late start.

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First round of radishes.

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Front porch pots.

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A few things from this week…

We had a wonderful fresh meal out on the deck last Friday.  I stopped and picked lettuce and strawberries on the way home from work at Dondero’s.  The radishes are from my garden.

Our strawberries are starting to ripen and the sugar snap peas, tomatoes, and peppers are blossoming!

My herbs are filling in nicely.  I found this sub irrigation planter at Paul’s & Sandy’s and made it Earth box like by adding a fill tube.  It already had the bottom reservoir and overflow hole, just not a great way to fill it.

Got a few new pillows for summer for the couch.  The 3 (which happens to be our house number) was a $5 target find.  The “Lake life is best” was a gift from Burkett.  He found it in a shop in Lake Placid after a recent backpacking trip up in the Adirondacks.  And the sailboat pillow is one that I made a while back.  I’m planning to make something new for the love seat as well, but the sewing room is currently in a bit of disarray.

So I haven’t been doing a good job of keeping up with the granny square sampler.  Here are weeks 2, 3, and 4.  I went to Baltimore for work 2 weekends ago and spent much of last weekend designing, shopping, and painting furniture for a sewing room makeover (more to come later), so needless to say I wasn’t crocheting…now if only I can do last weeks and this weeks squares soon, I’ll be back on track.  That’s it for now!

Saturday at Home

I am very thankful to have a few days at home this weekend.  We had planned to go backpacking up in Vermont on the long trail, but it looks like its raining all weekend up there.  We may still go up later in the weekend for a day hike.  Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to:

Started off the morning by poking around the “garden” a bit.  We live in a condo, so it’s more or less containers on our deck, since we can’t plant anything in our big beautiful shared lawn.  We’re trying a few Earthboxes this year on our upstairs deck, we’ll see how it goes.  Here’s a little photo tour:

 6 pepper plants (2 red bell peppers, 2 Hungarian reds, and 2 pimento peppers) & 2 tomoatoes (a black cherry and I think a German Strawberry), all lovingly started from seeds by Jared & Tori
 Radishes, carrots, and 3 bush bean plants in the city picker, also a few flowers coming up and some lemon thyme courtesy of Robin 🙂
 Romaine lettuce, I just trimmed it for salads a few nights ago which is why it looks a little sparse
 Our first strawberry blossom, trying these in a hanging basket
 Sugar snap peas in a hanging basket, just lowered these this morning so they have more room to grow
Mint, smells heavenly

Then went for a walk downtown.  Picked up a coffee along the way at Higher Grounds.  The East Hampton Garden Club was having an outdoor plant sale and art show in the center of town.  Also stopped by my two favorites the Red Door Boutique and Anything Goes.  Both are always worth a stop if you are ever in the neighborhood.

Then I came home and whipped up this little headband.  It’s so muggy here today and I just cut my hair short again and needed something to hold it all back while I worked around the house.

Then I proceeded to finish redecorating the table.  The spring decorations were getting a little old.  I was able to incorporate some of the shells we found & a photo from our recent trip to Dauphin Island, AL (more pictures to follow soon).  The blue wicker place-mats (69 cents a piece) and white frame ($3) were Christmas Tree Shop finds, what a deal!

 

Made a surprisingly good lunch from the little food we have left.  We didn’t buy groceries this week in efforts to use up what we had on hand since we had planned on going away for the weekend.  But I threw this delicious pizza together using a leftover pita shell, a bottle of pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella, Italian seasoning, and garlic!

Now I’m off to go crochet outside for a bit and finish the laundry before B comes home from work.  By the way, I finally learned how to crochet this week (with the help of You Tube) so that I can do this granny square sampler afghan crochet-a-long.  It’s a pattern created by Blair based on a 1970’s Better Homes & Gardens pattern.  The original is a very cool design, but the colors are hideous!  Each week this summer she will be posting instructions for a new square on her blog, with instructions on how to sew them all together at the end of summer.  Here are my week 1 squares:

Speaking of yarn crafts, one last thing…or two rather.  My knitting got two really cool shout-outs this week…  The first, was a hat that I had knit for Burkett’s sister, Aili, which she happen to wear in a Helly Hensen photo shoot.  Also be sure to check out Aili’s Helly Hensen video here (scroll about half way down).

 (sorry for the crappy picture, I took it with my old phone)
Second, a photo of another one of my projects was selected to use as a featured photo for the pattern on Ravelry.  Check out the Warm Up Hat pattern on ravelry, mine is the pink one with white trim.  Another project of mine was also featured a while back on ravelry, also check out the Little Pill Boxes Pillow, mine is the top photo.