29 September 2020

From the Garden to the Kitchen

For our second date, Lizard made the most delicious homemade chicken enchiladas. For our fourth date, I made my favorite gourmet salad, only to discover he did not like salad, particularly tomatoes (my favorite food in the whole world), and salad dressing was out of the question. We have spent our entire marriage with him eating plain lettuce or spinach leaves whenever I made a salad. Until now!

Lizard's favorite meal in the hospital was the southwest chicken salad, which he tried because that's what I had for lunch almost every day of our 14-day stay. He says I've addicted him to southwest chicken salad.

I'd enjoyed salads for lunch at work almost every day for the last 10 years or more. I'd been making a salad for lunch at home almost every day since mid-March. After my garden began to mature in about June, I made my salads with veggies I grew. Most of my salads are seasoned with Balsamic vinegar. No oil. Sometimes Lizard would join me, but he'd have just greens.

I had my best Colorado tomato crop this year. I have 12 plants this year, and only two of them aren't in pots, so I'm hoping I will be able to get a few more tomatoes once the pots have to come in from the cold on a permanent basis.

I didn't have enough tomatoes to take a laundry basket full to work to share, had that been possible, and there wasn't enough at one time for a full pot of spaghetti sauce, but I was able to make tomato salads all summer long. Last week was the first time I've had to buy tomatoes since June. (I'd brought in the potted tomatoes during our September 1 snowstorm. Even though I protected them, production dramatically slowed.)

Ever since we got home from the hospital, we've enjoyed together at least four salads a week. Lizard is eating salad, and sometimes with "dressing"! He doesn't care much for Balsamic, but he really likes barbecue ranch (which I make homemade) and green chili. I think my salads top what was available in the hospital, and Lizard thinks so, too. It's so awesome to make a salad with as many homegrown ingredients as I can, then have him tell me my salad is terrific!

I hadn't made my own black beans and black bean refrieds in a long, long time, so last week's batch was particularly delicious. One of the things I love best about making my own beans from scratch is one bag of dried beans makes about the equivalent of four cans of store-bought beans. This most recent batch was made with a bag of Women's Bean Project black bean soup mix. I used a third of the beans to make soup, which features a cayenne pepper from my own garden, a purple onion from my own garden, plus a handful of frozen veggies. I couldn't use my corn or green beans because I'm not sure my corn will make it past the next storm, and it's definitely too small to use right now. Even though I planted it two weeks early this year and protected it during the spring cold snaps! Grrr! And the bunny took care of all my beans and peas while we were at the hospital in August.

I was able to freeze an entire food storage container of black beans for upcoming meals. About 1.5 cups of beans are in the fridge for impromptu burritos and salads. I mashed the rest into what might be the best refrieds I've made to date. Seasoned with sea salt and garlic, plus one of my cayenne peppers from the garden and an onion from the garden. I use olive oil or avocado oil instead of bacon grease, but I did throw in some turkey bacon this time, and Lizard says these are the best refrieds he's ever tasted. I feel some homemade Enchiritos coming on!!!

We didn't get to drive over to Palisade for fresh peaches this year, but the grocery store had a few Colorado peaches. I dried one batch with ginger, cinnamon and cloves, and I dried a second batch with a sliced and diced Hatch chili, which spiced up the peach slices nicely and also filled an empty Mexican seasonings jar, which, of course, is now half gone already.

My little lemon trees at work have died. I thought I would be gone two weeks back in March. Now it's looking like we won't be back in the office until sometime next year. So I planted new little lemon trees at home and enjoyed lots of hibiscus lemonade over the summer.

One of the most fun things I did during the summer was putting fresh blueberries in EVERYTHING. They were not my homegrown blueberries, but I hope my bush will put out next year. I made fruit smoothies (with no sugar). I made healthy blueberry bread and muffin crowns (with no sugar). I made blueberry pancakes from scratch with flax meal, whole wheat I ground myself, oat flour, quinoa flour and hazelnut flour. Oh, yum!!!


  1. I must check on the pumpkins ..... NOW! .... And harvest them. :-)

  2. Home-grown salads are the best! Yours look amazing, as does all your yummy food.


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