September 09, 2014
Free garden design consultations for everyone this Saturday – no kidding! (Update: Sorry, folks. This is free event is now over.)
Dream of working with a garden designer but can’t afford the price? Then get your green thumb over to Molbak’s Nursery this Saturday (September 13, 2014) between 11am-2pm, and get in line for a one-day-only, free garden design consultation opportunity with Garden Mentors® founder Robin Haglund.
Robin will be on hand to answer any gardening question you want to throw her way. If it’s not too busy, she’ll even walk with you through the nursery to choose plants, tools, art, containers, furniture or whatever you need to complete your dream garden. And if it is busy, shop on your own and then swing by her table to review your choices together before you check out.
Bring photos of your current garden and images of your dream garden to share. Then, during your free garden design consultation, Robin will help you take smart next steps in getting over any stumbling blocks and righting yourself on the fun path that leads to the realization of your dream garden. DIY or DIFM gardeners alike will benefit from free garden design help, so don’t miss out!
Get more information about this free garden design event at Molbak’s, and learn about all the other fun happenings the nursery has planned all day long this Saturday.
Not sure how to find Molbak’s in Woodinville, WA? Directions and contact info here.
September 05, 2014
If you’re looking to learn how to preserve peppers and you’re even just a little bit lazy about food preservation, we’ve got a few methods you’re going to love. Plus, you’ll find our recipe for a sizzlin’ hot pepper Margarita!
This year we’ve got a bumper crop of Hot Pegasus peppers, tomatillo, jalapeno, and a tiny little fiery red one whose name I can’t recall. But, there’s only so many of these spirited fruits that we can eat fresh-picked, so putting them up is key to maximizing our bounty.
Here’s how we’re doing it. (more…)
August 29, 2014
Growing a Makrut lime may be the perfect citrus solution for those of us gardening in locations where getting citrus to form fruit isn’t easy. Why? Well, it isn’t so much that this variety of citrus tree is hardy through icy winters. Rather, it’s about what we harvest from these trees.
If you’ve dipped into a bowl of soup at Thai restaurant, odds are you’ve enjoyed the Makrut. If you buy those plastic packages of lime leaves for curries at the grocery store, you’re buying Makrut lime leaf.
Hey wait a minute! Isn’t that called a K-something lime? (more…)
August 22, 2014
Growing strawberries or have a bag in your freezer from an earlier harvest?
Wondering what to do with the leaves from your stevia plant?
Want an easy-to-make freezer pop recipe that’s diary-free and requires no added refined sugar^ or honey?
Us too! That’s how we came to develop this recipe for tasty, frozen Strawberry Chocolate Rockets, which you could make in any kind of freezer pop mold, but the rockets are darned cute!
Since so many of you have asked on social media, we’ve added a link to buy rocket molds – and other molds – following the recipe.Strawberry Chocolate Rocket Freezer Pops Print
(makes about 6-8 treats, depending on the size of your mold.)
1 bar Theo’s 85% dark chocolate (we like this specific chocolate because it is local in Seattle & because it has just a few ingredients, which are organic and fair trade: cocoa beans, sugar & ground vanilla bean. That’s it. Plus, it offers very low sugar to carb ratios. The nutrition facts on the wrapper indicates each bar equals two servings, each with 17g carb and 7g sugar, which means much of the carbohydrate doesn’t come from refined sugar! We’ve added a link below to buy, if you’re interested)
1 can full fat, unsweetened coconut milk
2-4 pitted dates (2 if they’re big; 4 if they’re small or you have a real sweet tooth)
1 vanilla bean (or 1.5 T. vanilla extract)
6-8 fresh stevia leaves (or more to taste, but remember that a little stevia goes a very long way.)
1/2 cup fresh or defrosted strawberries (yes, we’ve made them with raspberries too, and the raspberry-chocolate lovers liked them best!)
Break up chocolate into squares. Add to high powered blender along with coconut milk, pitted dates, entire vanilla bean & stevia leaves. Begin blending on low, increasing power to high. Blend until smooth; about 2-4 minutes. Be patient & get the mixture as creamy as possible. As needed, turn blender off and scrape down sides so everything fully blends and you don’t end up with clumps of coconut milk.
While chocolate mixture is blending, roughly chop strawberries.
Pour a few tablespoons of the chocolate mixture into your freezer pop mold. Drop in about 2-3 T of chopped strawberries into the mold & stir berries and chocolate together with a knife or something thin and long. Top off with more chocolate mixture to the recommended fill point on your pop mold. (It isn’t likely, but your mixture might expand while freezing, so be sure to leave some head room so it can do what it needs to do.) Stir again briefly so berries are dotted throughout the pop and there are no air gaps along the sides of your mold. Insert sticks with lids.**
Place into tray. Set into freezer. Allow at least 2-3 hours for the pops to set up.
If you have extra of the chocolate mixture, put it in a sealed container in the fridge. You may discover you like the mousse that sets up better than the frozen version. Or, just use the extra mixture to refill emptied pop holders another day.
When you remove your pops from the freezer, you may want to have a measuring cup filled with hot water handy. Dip the frozen mold into the hot water for couple of moments (not minutes). This will help it melt a bit on the outside, making it easier to remove the pop whole from the mold.
Enjoy…just not too fast. You don’t want this freezer pop recipe to turn into an ice cream headache maker.
**If you are using homemade freezer pop molds, you may need to fill your molds part way, stick them in the freezer until the mixture is partially frozen. Then, remove from freezer, insert your pop sticks, fill the molds the rest of the way with yumminess, and then complete the final freezing of your complete pops.
Want rocket molds, Theo’s chocolate, or another style of fun freezer pop mold? Get’m here!
August 15, 2014
One of the most common questions I get from grow-your-own foodies who want to cut back on high carb sweets is “Can you tell me how to grow stevia and use it in my kitchen?” I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten this question every time I’ve given a Gardening Against Diabetes seminar or interview. So, here goes…
My response to these questions: Yes I can tell you how to grow it, and I’ve been developing a number of recipes (see links at the end) that use fresh stevia rather than the processed drops or powders that are readily available at most grocery stores today. I do use the powder and the drops on occasion, but as you’d expect, I’d rather grow my own and teach you how to do the same.
Many of you already know that this simple plant offers a sweetness about a bazillion times sweeter than sugar or honey, and stevia’s sweetness is known to barely (if at all) affect blood sugar. (Okay, so “bazillion” isn’t perfect math, but you get the picture. Lots of sweet, from a plant leaf you can grow, and the sweetness isn’t likely to mess with your blood sugar.) And those benefits are just a few reasons you’d want this little plant in your garden.
How to grow stevia in your garden… (more…)
August 08, 2014
Ready to whip up a strawberry vodka cocktail for happy hour?
If you answered yes! then you’ve got to try our Strasilberry Fizz: a tasty, sugar-free basil & strawberry vodka cocktail — posted especially for everyone who who tried our tips for making berry infused vodka. (And again, kids, if you’re not over 21, go away. You’re not invited to belly up to this bar.)
Okay, now that all the kids are gone, let’s be clear, you can probably buy some strawberry vodka somewhere. But, no way is it going to be as great as the stuff the rest of us made at home with berries from our garden! And, for those of you who are accustomed to drinking simple-syrup or other sugar-infused cocktails, get ready for something lighter and more subtle but still rich in berry flavor. If you’ve already gotten off the sugar-crack, your taste buds are going to zing when hit with these flavors. If you’re still hooked on the white stuff, we wish you well breaking the habit.
Alrighty everyone, get out your shakers, haul out your muddlers & get ready to taste your homemade berry booze infusions in one of our favorite summer herbal strawberry vodka cocktails!
Strasilberry Fizz Print
(makes two drinks)
- 4 shots strawberry vodka
- 4-6 fresh stevia leaves (or 1/16 t. powdered stevia – too much will ruin things, so go easy on the stevia!)
- 6-8 fresh basil leaves, plus a few pretty ones for garnish (optional)
- club soda
- fresh strawberries for garnish (optional)
Fill two Collins glasses about 1/3 full with ice. Set aside.
Roughly tear stevia and basil leaves. Place in cocktail shaker with several ice cubes. Smash together with muddler until leaves are tiny flecks.(If you want to infuse your drink with even more strawberry flavor or sweetness, smash a few fresh berries when you muddle the herbs.)
Pour in vodka. Cover shaker & shake vigorously.
Divide liquid between the two Collins glasses. Top with soda. Stir. Garnish with strawberry and basil.
The green herbs may dilute the deep pink of your strawberry infusion, but it’ll still taste great. Be sure to inhale the aroma before you sip to truly appreciate how beautifully your homegrown strawberries infused the vodka and how wonderfully it pairs with the basil.