Welcome to Gardening Foodies
Hello and welcome to Gardening Foodies. This is an adventure in both food and gardening. Why Gardening Foodies? Well that’s kinda where this whole adventure started, and as quirky as I can be I still like to think I’m not the only one. I also know how hard it was to self teach through trial and error so my goal is to save you some time and get you to the all the good parts.
I didn’t grow up in a house where we cooked a lot. I’m pretty sure I learned most of my baking and recipe reading from my grandmother. Now my grandmother did always cook because she had to, but her heart was in baking, she loves sweets. I loved the big family dinners at the holidays and helping in the kitchen. Extra perk was you got to sample and you weren’t slapped and shooed out of the kitchen. Those long tables filled with family and friends always made you feel welcome. Everyday food at home though was more of the take out, TV dinner, and some very simple dishes. Not that there is anything wrong with simple, but these were so simple there wasn’t much flavor to them. Never realized it at the time though, because that’s just how we ate. At least now I can kinda get some Family dinners in and have a blast doing it. It’s not quite the same as my grandmothers, but it’s still something
Learning to Cook
I can’t remember when I really wanted to cook. It may have just been I was tired of the same old same old and wanted to switch things up a bit. Dinner was already pretty much my responsibility so why not. First dinner I ever made for the family was chicken parm. Probably not the best selection because I made it from scratch breaded chicken and all. Check out that story over here.
I decided that was a ton of work, but even in college we cooked in our rooms. We just used a lot of convenience items. Still tasted better than the cafeteria though, and way cheaper. Then as time went by we noticed costs increasing. At about that same time we were trying to eat better, try new things, and buy more fresh produce. This meant a lot of experimenting. Then it dawned on me that maybe we could just make the things we were buying.
Yes this was a novelty concept just because it never crossed my mind. Just like it never dawned on me that you could put any seasoning you wanted on potatoes to roast them, and it didn’t have to be the onion soup mix. Seriously who would have thought? It was all novel to me in the beginning that yes even that was a light bulb moment. Light bulb moment for you too? Yay! I have company. No? Oh well that just means you had a lot more practice then I did.
Slow and Steady
None of this happened over night. Now there were definitely rabbit holes I jumped down along the way. Pasta ponza was one of the tipping point holes I jumped down. Check out that story and enjoy a good laugh over here. It’s just another example of how some of the littlest things we completely take for granted for if you don’t know about them. The other major tipping point for us though was discovering the Guy Demarle product line. First it was through Demarle at Home and now through bon COOK. Things we hated to cook because we didn’t want to clean up became so easy. It just dominoed from there. Things are still dominoing from that. Cooking was exciting because it was so easy. We could make things look awesome with little effort on our part. There’ll be more on that later.
Getting Back to Basics
The vast majority of people now a days don’t know how to cook. We eat out and grab convenience items almost constantly. If that works for you awesome! Unfortunately it doesn’t work for us right now in our stage of life. With two littles in tow I honestly think it’s more stressful to go out. At least at home if they get pissy and scream or throw food I don’t care as much. I mean I care, but I’m not in a hurry to calm them down or snag them and run out of the place while they have a fit. Out in public though? Not so much.
And seriously I’m not letting those two eat in the car. I barely want to clean up the kitchen never mind a car seat. Can you imagine the mess? I’m sure many of you can and are chuckling right now. How many times have you found cereal in places it doesn’t belong. Too many over here and that’s from the toddler. But, with all of that, we’ve found it’s actually not bad to cook at home. I’ve been steadily trying to break things down into the basics so it can be duplicated pretty easily. What’s great though is we have so many awesome tools available to us right now. Some are winners, some not so much, but oh well. You win some, you lose some. It’s amazing how quickly you can find recipes now a days and different ideas.
Now how does gardening fit into all of this you might ask? Well I’ve personally always enjoyed playing in the dirt, and have been for as long as I can remember. How and why I garden has changed over the years, but it’s always been there. From picking pretty flowers to spruce things up, to pots to brighten up a dorm room (yes even in college I had my jungle). The focus now has shifted to very intentional gardening. Now we focus more on four seasons of interest around the house so it’s never boring and our herb and vegetable garden.
Growing your own food
I’ve kinda slacked off on the garden since the littles have come along, but I’m still bond and determined to get it up and running. Each year we get a little bit better. It’s always amazing how mother nature waits for no one and keeps right on marching along. Three primary reason I’m not ready to let it go: 1. It’s great having it around 2. I think it’s awesome for the kids and 3. How perfect is it to go shopping in our back yard just when you need it.
When we get the garden up and running it’s awesome that we don’t really buy too much produce once the garden kicks in. It’s a welcome relief to not have to run off to buy ingredients or fresh herbs. It’s also a great way to get free food if you’re saving your seeds or starting with kitchen scraps.
Bottom line it helps tremendously with our budget and makes ingredients like fresh herbs that can get pretty pricey in the store so reasonable we don’t even think about it. Which is my kind of scenario. Extra bonus has been learning how to effectively use the harvest so that we’re not wasting food. Which has been neat because it’s opened a lot more recipes to us.
Where to Start
If you’re still with me awesome. I can’t wait to take this journey with you. Besides just starting (which is awesome advice by the way) I would recommend that you start with what you’re eating already or something you’ve always wanted to try. Is there something you buy all the time that you might be able to duplicate yourself. Start easy and start small. Pick one thing or one day a week to try something new. This is a habit that is built over time. The easier you make it for yourself the more confident you’ll be which will lead to wanting to do even more. Need some specific ideas check out our Start Here page. If you’ve got some of the bon COOK molds, trays or mats, try something that you love to make but hate to clean the pot.
My first recipe with the bon COOK product I tried was roasted potatoes. Just the recipe on the back of the Lipton box with one little tweak. Par cook your potatoes first. I throw mine in the microwave. Then I followed the directions. We loved these potatoes but hated to clean up the pan. I swear that damn pan would sit in the sink for at least a week before we would actually clean it. So I had to try them again. OMG! Not only did I love them even more (that par cooking trick does amazing things by the way) but the clean up was nonexistent. I was sold! Haven’t stopped since and there’s still so much more I want to do.
So after all that. I want to say welcome to our little corner of the web. I hope you stick around and pull up a chair. For lack of a better place to start right now I’m starting with some of my favorite recipes and tricks as well as my go to’s. Know that right now this is slowly getting built up so it might be a little sparse right now, but I’m working on that. If you want a place to more easily chat and ask questions feel free to check out our community on facebook here. We’d love to have you and grow together. So welcome. Pull up a chair, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Oh and dessert. There must be dessert in my book, at least occassionally.
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