garden to table

Welcome to our new layout!  We’ve switched things up a bit at circadee.com to make more of a landing page for those looking for information on our shop.  If you’re here for the blog posts, you’ve found them!  We’ll continue to post regularly about our adventures, finds & projects.  That’s how this little business got started after all.

broccoli & edamame

Lately I’ve been spending all of my spare moments in the garden.  Early morning seems to be ideal.  Before the sun peaks but also when the mosquitoes are at bay.  It’s amazing how rapidly everything is growing.  The sporadic thunderstorms have certainly helped.  Alleviating the plants from the 90 degree temperatures and also alleviating me from the chore of watering.

oregano & lemon balm

Our harvest has already been plentiful with much more just around the corner.  At this point, the snap peas are about spent but I’m hoping to yield another harvest later this summer.  I’m still tucking bean seeds in vacant spots as I see fit.  They sprout almost immediately!

There have been a number of volunteer plants including two tomatoes, beans and a few squash – we’re not sure which species yet.  I’m certain that we can thank our compost pile for this surplus.  It has made for a few crowded beds since we weren’t expecting them but everything seems to be content.  The more the merrier!  I like to practice close planting to keep the weeds down anyway.

squash flower

We’re almost ready to harvest the kohlrabi and broccoli.  We’re seeing the first signs of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.  The potatoes are growing like wild fire.

This is actually our first year growing potatoes which we did in two plantings.  The first cycle in containers and the second in the ground.  The containers we’re using this year are actually terracotta chimney flue liners.  I’m digging the height they add and the border they create at the end of the garden.

chimney flue liners as raised garden containers

I seem to be favoring the herb garden most this year.  Last year, I was all about the flower bed but I think the herbs are stealing the show.  I expanded their footprint this year by taking three large galvanized tubs and creating a double-decker border so each herb has its own pot.

galvanized tub herb garden

The herbs have made a cameo in almost every dish.  There’s the obvious basil pesto but we’ve switched it up and added it to fish and fruit like shrimp and watermelon.

Basil Pesto

We can’t eat pasta everyday but when we do we’ve used oregano pesto with whatever veggies we can steam or saute.

oregano pesto

My tried and true summer carb is rosemary bread.  I follow a simple beer bread recipe and fold in loads of rosemary right from the garden.

Rosemary Bread

But what to with all of the that dill?  It makes a pretty, airy bouquet!  I’ve also mixed dill with chives to create a tasty little dip that complements homemade pita chips.

Dill & Chive Dip

What’s growing in your June garden?  I’m off to figure out how to use this morning’s marjoram harvest…

 

a walk through the garden

A thunderstorm washed through the area last night leaving everything in the garden looking extra lush and green this morning.  So much so that I decided this was the day to snap a few photos and share a status update on how things are progressing in the garden.

annuals garden box

This is the first year we’ve gardened this plot.  It runs about 4o feet long but only 18-24 inches deep on each side of the fence that divides the vegetables from the flowers.  These border gardens get full sun most of the day.  We decided to start out with a manageable size garden and we’ll add-on annually as desired.

vegetable and perennial border garden

On the exterior of the fence I’m working on a perennial garden.  Most of the plants are immature so I’ve been filling in with annuals.  I can’t wait to see how the perennial gardens thrive over the years.  Perennials gardens have always been my favorite to grow.  I am anticipating a cottage style cutting garden out here.  The thought of garden flower bouquets all summer long is delightful.

milk paint picket fence

The other side of the fence is where most of the action is happening as the flowers get established.  We started this vegetable garden in late March mostly from seed, directly sown.  We are now harvesting the early/cool weather vegetables such as lettuce.  If you come for dinner I can assure you that there will be a salad.

lettuce salad garden

And the snap peas are just darling.  I love their little tendrils and sweet flowers.

snap peas

We upcycled a trellis out of two crib rails.  Ryan just screwed them together making an A-frame.  They’ve already grown about 4 feet tall so looks like we’ll need to give them more space to climb.  Some snap pea varieties grow up to 8 feet.

upcycled snap pea trellis - crib rails

The other vegetables include carrots, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, beans and kohlrabi – planted mostly from seed.  Plus, we have a galvanized container garden for herbs.  I want to make tea with the relevant herb harvest.

vegetable garden milk painted fence

The fence is a new addition that we added in the fall.  Would you believe we used milk paint on the fence to achieve that subtle light blue?

milk paint on a picket fence #mmsmp

Yes, you can use milk paint outdoors!  It won’t fade from UV light and will be protected when a topcoat of tung oil is applied.  We sell tung oil with milk paint for this purpose.  The color was custom mixed eulalie’s sky and linen in more of a wash consistency. Then two thin coats were applied on a raw pine fence.  Perfect little cottage garden accent, don’t you think?

the beginning of a perennial cutting garden

But the best part of the garden is definitely the bounty it produces.  This morning, I harvested my first bunch of kale to enjoy with some locally grown strawberries in a breakfast smoothie.  Life can really be that simple.

locally grown produce

What are you growing?

frigid weather soup

On a frigid cold day, like today ’round here, there’s nothing like hot spicy soup.

Tortilla soup, that is!

Spicy Tortilla Soup

I adapted part of this recipe from Happy Herbivore (which I am a big fan of) but gave it my own spin.

It all started with a jar of salsa and a 15 oz can of pinto beans.  Not the most glamorous ingredients in the world of eating fresh plant-based foods but the pantry choices were slim and we were in the midst of a snowstorm.  So my friends, the two main ingredients came from a can and a jar.  And I think it’s quite genius in a pinch.

Puree 1 cup of salsa, 1 cup of the beans with 1 cup of broth.  Fortunately I made my favorite French Onion Soup the night before so I simply drained a cup of the flavorful broth from there.

Spicy Tortilla Soup

Once blended into a creamy broth (you know how I love creamy soups, right?) I transferred into a stock pot.  Adding a fresh diced mango, another half cup of salsa and a teaspoon of cumin.

mangoes

I let the soup simmer on low while juicing mangoes.

sliced mangoes

The perfect drink companion to spicy tortilla soup.

freshly squeezed mango juice

The soup was served with feta cheese and Late July brand tortilla chips, which I also love.  Yep, I go heavy on the feta.

Spicy Tortilla Soup

There you have it, spicy tortilla soup in a bind.  Super tasty and ready in under 30 minutes!

Let me add that in the future I am going to make this as a follow-up to Taco Tuesday.  Usually there are diced tomatoes, peppers and more left over that I am going to try as a fresh substitute for the jarred salsa.

Spicy Tortilla Soup

it’s soup weather

I finally did it.

Yep, I finally made my own healthy and light butternut squash soup.  After hearing about my mom’s and mother-in-law’s versions.  I decided to try my own spin and so Apple Butternut Squash Soup was born over here on a chilly October day.

apple butternut squash soup recipe

It was simple, friends.  There was barely anything left in the refrigerator except for a large butternut squash taunting me.  Plus 3 golden apples – I can’t remember the variety.  And 3 lonely, nearly forgotten about radishes.  I know.  Radishes.  What do you do with these other than throw them in a salad?  I found out that they taste pretty darn good in a warm creamy soup.  Radishes seemed to give a little bit of bite where you might otherwise use an onion.  An onion we didn’t have.

apple butternut squash soup

So that’s where I started.  I chopped and peeled the squash, apples and radishes.  Then boiled the chunks in a large sauce pan.  Once soft I pureed them all in a blender.

Once the fruit and vegetables were a nice creamy consistency, I tossed them back in the empty sauce pan along with 16 ounces of vegetable stock and let simmer.

I seasoned with salt and pepper.  A teaspoon of cinnamon, half teaspoon of ginger, quarter teaspoon of cloves and quarter teaspoon of thyme.

About 20 minutes later, we had this healthy soup for lunch!

apple butternut squash soup recipe

Alongside the soup, I came up with a fantastic new smoothie that was a little bit more like dessert!  It consisted of a banana, spoonful of peanut butter, spoonful of raw honey, 2 spoonfuls of vanilla Greek yogurt, kale and about half a cup of coffee.

java green smoothie and apple butternut squash soup

Yum!  It was a mid-day energy boost.  And surprisingly, the flavor complemented the Apple Butternut Squash Soup so well.  We’ll call this one the Java Green Smoothie.

mediterranean veggie burgers

Guys, I’m always on a quest for interesting veggie and bean burgers.  I came up with a little combination for a Mediterranean inspired burger last week.

Mediterranean Veggie Burger

Making any veggie burger can be a bit time-consuming with all of the chopping and food processing so I finally got smart a doubled up my recipe this time so we’d get twice as many.  For us, that means 2 dinners and 2 lunches instead of just one of each.  Or 8 burgers.

And since I am in post-Clover Market hangover mode today, that means I can just pull out the 2nd half of these burgers and fire them up tonight with minimal prep.  Amen to that.

Mediterranean Bean Burger

So here’s what’s in my (double) Mediterranean veggie burger.  I chopped, ground and combined the following ingredients:

  • 2 cans of kidney beans
  • 1 can of olives
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 large tomato (draining the juice)
  • 1-2 stalks of scallions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt, pepper, oregano

*We were out of fresh peppers or I definitely would have added one however olives are definitely the key to making this veggie burger full of Mediterranean inspired flavor.  I may just add more next time!

For a binder, I used one slice of bread plus a handful of oats and 1 egg.  I usually use 2 of the 3 mentioned binding agents but I felt wild so I threw all 3 into the mix this time.  It is just preference.

Mediterranean Veggie Burger

I pan cooked these for about 8-10 minutes on each side and then served them up on ciabbatta rolls with avocado & lettuce.  Yum!

What is your favorite veggie burger combo?  What should I try next?

spiced pumpkin bread

For as many years as I can remember, I have been making my tried and true pumpkin shortbread.  I wish I could remember the original source for this recipe but it has been so long.  I particularly love it because a.) it is so tasty and b.) it yields 3 loaves.  One for us, one to gift and one to freeze for later.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread Recipe

This year though I tweaked my recipe to make it just a little bit healthier or “cleaner” as we are on a quest to eat fewer processed foods.  I started with subbing white flour for whole wheat flour and refined sugar for raw sugar.

It is also the first time I made it with actual pumpkin versus the canned stuff.  In fact, I plucked this one right from my porch.  Yum, so much tastier with the real thing!

natural fall vignette

I’d love to try tweaking the recipe even further by substituting the vegetable oil for perhaps more pumpkin puree.  I think some of the sugar could possibly be substituted for apple sauce too based on what I’ve read.

But anyway, here’s the recipe as it stands today, just a little bit “cleaner” or less processed.

15 ounces real pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups raw sugar
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

WholeWheatFlour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans.

Remove the skin of a small pumpkin.  Cut in chunks and boil until pumpkin is soft.  Puree in a blender or food processor.

spiced pumpkin bread

In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.

Bake for about 50 minutes.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread Recipe

The spiced pumpkin bread is perfect paired with a cup of coffee!

You’ll notice that I had a squash in my fall porch vignette too.  It is also long gone because we ate it!  (So is that little zucchini.)

natural fall vignette

You may have caught a snippet on my instagram or facebook of the butternut squash & spinach lasagna that we had for dinner last week.  It was so good!  I followed the SkinnyTaste recipe posted here.  Delish!  However, I didn’t roll the noodles as recommended.

I would make this again for the creamy butternut squash sauce alone.  We used the extra for pasta a few nights later.

butternut squash lasagna

Looks like I need to redecorate since we ate most of my fall porch vignette.  What fall dishes are you cooking up?

P.S. This Sunday we’ll be at Clover Market with a truck full of vintage finds!  And next weekend I’ll be at Serendipity showing you how milk paint works.  Hope to see you soon!

MMS October flier

Sharing at the Pumpkin Parade!

kohlrabi stew

I’ve mentioned kohlrabi a few times this past summer.  It is still a phenomenon to us.  How have we never heard of this root vegetable before this summer?  It is one of Ryan’s new favorites.  Buuuut…we can’t just keep roasting kohlrabi.  Boredom will certainly set in.

It is fall now which means a warm hearty stew is in season.  So, friends, kohlrabi stew is born!

kohlrabi stew

This may possibly be the least photogenic dish but don’t hold that against it.  Trust me that kohlrabi stew is tasty and not so bad for you considering how creamy it is.

kohlrabi stew

Here’s how I made this which yields 4-6 servings:

  • Cover the bottom of your pot with sunflower oil, simmer and saute 1/2 – 3/4 cup of chopped scallions
  • Chop one large kohlrabi into 1/2 inch chunks and add to the pot.  Simmer for a few minutes on medium heat until they are soft
  • Next add 2 cups of vegetable stock (or chicken stock) and 1 can of cream of broccoli soup
  • Season to your preference: salt, lemon pepper, parsley, thyme
  • Put the lid on the pot and boil for 20-25 minutes
  • Allow the entire mixture to cool for about 20 minutes before transferring to a blender or food processor
  • Puree in batches
  • Once pureed, transfer back to the pot and add in 1 cup of small pasta shells
  • Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil, cooking the pasta right in the stew.  This is also where you could add in pre-cooked beef
  • Serve and enjoy!

kohlrabi stew

Side note:  I have been wanting to make butternut squash soup for a long time.  Longer than I have been cooking, actually.  It is always so delicious but I’m quite aware that it is usually made with lots of heavy cream.  I am going to try it by following the above principles (minus the pasta).  The cream of broccoli soup is the only creamy offender here.   I will let you know how it turns out!

What are you cooking this weekend?

veggie frittata

Friends, I made a frittata.  And it was good. I’m so proud.

veggie frittata (10 of 10)

You see, I was faced with this little problem.  We had way too many vegetables in the house and had to come up with a dish that would use some up.  A nice problem to have but still.  And quite frankly, another salad or pasta just wouldn’t do.

So frittata it was!  I love that word by the way. Frittata! Hakuna Matata.

veggie frittata (6 of 10)

I thought a frittata would be complicated but it was truly a very easy one pot dish to make.  And it is a great way to use up your harvest or even leftovers.  The options are pretty much endless. You can add vegetables, meat, fish, cheese.  And you can serve it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

veggie frittata

I used one cup each of the following vegetables: red/green peppers, tomatoes/tomatillos & scallions.

I chopped up the veggies the night before so when I woke up I felt like I was on a cooking show with all of my ingredients prepped in handy little bowls.  And then I remembered that I don’t have a hair and make-up artist on staff.  Hmm, I’ll have to work on that.

veggie frittata

First, I chose a round pie pan because it could go on the stove and in the oven.  Anything cast iron would work too.  I found that most of my pans, though, had handles that aren’t ovenproof.

So I sprayed the pan with olive oil and pre-heated the oven to 400.  On medium heat, I sautéed the hardest vegetable first.  In this case, the peppers.  I decided to add some sesame oil for added flavor.

I continued to add each vegetable and seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme.  But again, the seasoning options are pretty much endless.

Once the vegetables were cooked (about 15 minutes), I added shredded cheddar.

And then the eggs.  I whisked 8 eggs and poured them over the vegetables and cheese.  The sides cooked up in about 10 minutes on the stove top.

veggie frittata

Finally, I placed the concoction in the pre-heated oven.  It took about 15 more minutes for the eggs to cook through.  The top of the frittata browned nicely.

Cooking times will vary depending on the size of pan you use and how many ingredients you add.  You could certainly double this in a casserole for a brunch.

Our version serves four: 3 cups of vegetables, 8 eggs, 10 inch pie pan

veggie frittata

I let it cool for a few minutes, cut into wedges and served it with wholegrain toast for breakfast.  It was met with rave reviews!

veggie frittata

That, my friends, is a frittata!  Means no worries.  Oh wait, that’s Hakuna Matata.

farmers market roundup

I’m usually that girl who plants mums in August and has pumpkins out for Labor Day.  This year, however, I have been reluctant to say goodbye to summer.  I’m simply not going to do it ’til summer is really over.  At the end of September.

But I can’t deny the crisp air and winding down humidity so I have been thinking about switching out my seasonal decor and introducing some late summer favorites.  I love this time of year at the farmer’s market.  The colors, textures and pickins’ are in abundance.  Not only do I want to eat the season’s harvest but I want to decorate with it!

fall bistro table

Here are a few decorating ideas that will bring the changing season in without breaking your budget.  If you’re lucky, you might already have these crops growing in your own backyard garden.  If not, you know where to go!

Indian Corn Wreath:  Husks of Indian corn aren’t just for the lamp-post.  Pick up clusters of mini Indian corn which show a variety of colors.  Attach them to a wire form and you have yourself a new wreath plus a squirrel’s feast.  These are best hung between a storm door and front door or you won’t have anything left in a matter of hours!

mini Indian corn fall harvest wreath

Hot Pepper Wreath:  Pick up some hot peppers next time you’re at the market.  If you can find a surplus of them, you’ll get a better deal.  Wire them up to wreath form for new door decor.

hot pepper wreath

Farmers Market Vignette:  This vignette is nothing more than colorful, seasonal squashes and a pumpkin mixed with locally grown flowers that are drying out.  Arrange them amongst some other items that are already on hand like a rusty old scale and homemade pumpkin for instant impact!  When you’re not sure about what’s for dinner, slice open that squash and steam it.

fall vignette

Mumkin:  There is always the classic pumpkin planter stand by.  Grab a large pumpkin and 6 inch mum at the market.  Carve and hollow the pumpkin.  Plant the mum, pot and all, directly into the pumpkin planter.

Mumkin

Seed Packet Art:  If you can’t bring the freshness of the harvest inside, you can always create your own original seed packet art.  I duplicated a few vintage seed graphics last fall with paint and reclaimed wood.

vintage sunflower seed pack reproduction sign