Recipe! Spring Goodness.

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Living on (or near) the east coast of the USA, you might get the impression that the environment around here is just a big concrete jungle. So I hope the photos above, from near Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, of the peonies from The Great Spousal Unit’s garden, and the salad made from lettuce out of our vegetable garden, help to prove to you that not everything is paved over here.

In our little neighborhood, Spring is the magical season. When all of the azaleas finally bloom, the oak trees green up, and the homeowners looking to sell put the For Sale signs out on their lawns. I start the vegetable garden sometime in April, depending on when I feel like it won’t freeze anymore. I cheat a little, in that I purchase plants at the nursery rather than start the veg from seed.

The lettuce is always ready first. We’re just about finished with the 10 heads of lettuce we planted this Spring, but we still have some spinach that will keep going for a while. That’s a lot of salad. But when it’s this fresh, you start to feel like you could eat salad for breakfast as well as for lunch and dinner. Once the lettuce is totally finished, I’ll pull up the plants and replace the lettuce with red skin potatoes, which will take longer but can handle the hot Summer sun a lot better.

Eating out of the garden helps you to understand how good, how fresh this whole farm-to-table thing really is. If you’ve got a little space, I can tell you from about 20 years of experience that growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs is absolutely worth it. Even before we bought our house, we were growing tomatoes and peppers on the balconies of the apartments we lived in. If you’re interested in trying to garden, my only advice is to pick something that’s easy, give it plenty of sun, and enough water. That’s about all it takes.

So about the recipe… this is just a simple salad that includes all of the stuff that I like to put on a salad. Your Appetite May Vary (YAMV). We paired the salad with a veggie burger on a potato roll, with a little Frisch’s Tartar Sauce and pickles. The juice in the photo was because my BG was low before dinner and the only carbs in the meal were in the salad dressing, tartar sauce, tomato, and the potato roll.

So we started the salad with romaine and red leaf lettuce from the garden. We also threw in some of our fresh spinach, and a little fresh basil from the garden… unconventional, but who cares? Then I chopped up a spring onion that I got from a farmer’s stand nearby and threw that in. We added some sunflower seeds (which I’m completely addicted to), and chopped up some olives and added them too. After adding a fat slice of tomato on top of my burger, I chopped up the rest (it was a small tomato). Finally, we sprinkled some shredded cheddar on top. We enjoyed it with about 2 tablespoons of Ken’s Lite Caesar dressing.

Total Carb Count: 68 grams
2 grams from the dressing, 3 grams from the tartar sauce, 3 grams from the tomato, 31 grams from the potato roll, and 29 grams from the orange juice.

The best part about this delicious meal is that it’s only one of several like it that we’ll enjoy all summer long, with different ingredients as they ripen throughout the growing season. I hope you’ve got a good garden of your own, and if not, I hope you find a local farmer that can help you bring the bounty of locally grown produce to your table this summer.

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  • xxlovelylizxx  On May 28, 2013 at 10:28 am

    This recipe sounds amazing, I will have to try it. I wish we had the space to do a little veggie garden. I love the idea of growing and eating fresh veggies and fruit. The pictures were great too. I live in Ohio and people think I live on a farm or in a concrete jungle. Haha.


    • StephenS  On May 29, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      Elizabeth, we started growing tomatoes and peppers on a southern-facing balcony in Cincinnati 21 summers ago (southern-facing means you get sun all day long). Even if you get only one or two, it’s still great!


      • xxlovelylizxx  On May 31, 2013 at 2:30 pm

        Oh! Well I may have to try this then. I will admit that I don’t have much of a “green-thumb” but I would love to at least try it and see. Thanks for the idea.


  • Scott E  On May 28, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Sounds (and looks) delicious! I’ve been thinking of starting a vegetable garden for a few years, but never really did it. My latest excuse is fear of attracting wild animals. In addition to to the regular squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits, we occasionally get deer, turkeys, and bears in our yard. I wonder if they like lettuce…


    • StephenS  On May 29, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      Well, a dog won’t help you with all of those, but it’s really cool that you get deer, turkeys and bears too. Maybe you could grow in containers in a big, sunny window?


  • Karen  On May 28, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Yum!!! I grow herbs every year and have a perennial flower garden along the front porch. I miss growing vegetables though. I used to grow them at my parent’s house. I tried here, but there are too many squirrels and the vegetables don’t stand a chance. Although if you have any anti-squirrel tips for me, I’d love to at least do some tomatoes and peppers this year!


    • StephenS  On May 29, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      I’ve heard that sprinkling cayenne pepper on and around your plants will deter the squirrels… I find it’s just easier to have a dog (or two, as we have temporarily… I hope):)


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