Growing your own food

A Bountiful Garden: Time to Pickle and Can

Home gardening is extremely gratifying, but certain vegetables like squash and cucumbers can grow so prolifically that you might get overwhelmed. Besides sharing with neighbors and friends, making pickles is a wonderful way to use the produce and save it for the upcoming winter months! I have a recipe that is not only quick and easy, but creates the best tasting pickles I have EVER had! Try it and let me know what you think!!!  

First you want to gather your ingredients. You will need Mason or Ball jars. You choose the size! Then you will need distilled white vinegar, whole black peppercorns, dill seed, sugar, kosher salt and crushed red pepper.  

Next, thinly slice your garlic and cover the bottom of the jar. It takes 2-4 cloves per large jar and 1-2 cloves per small jar depending on the size of the clove! Feel free to skip if you do not like garlic.  

Sprinkle Peppercorns (1/2 T for large jar, 1/4 T sm jar), dill seed (1T. Large jar, 1/2T sm jar), a dash of crushed red pepper - more if you want spicy pickles over the garlic. Slice the cucumbers and fill the jars tightly with them.   

Meanwhile for the brine, boil 1 1/4 cups white vinegar and add 3T salt and 2 T sugar. Stir until dissolved. Add 2 cups of cold water. Pour over your cucumbers. Put your lids on and place the jars in the fridge. 

Viola! It's THAT easy! No boiling jars... They make wonderful gifts and taste delicious! These crispy cunchy pickles will leave you craving more with their salty sour taste that is beautifully balanced with a hint of sweet and spicy. They are great as a refreshing cool summer snack on their own or paired with a nice mellow cheese such as gouda.  They are perfect on any sandwich. You can also chop and add them to your egg salad, chickpea salad or pasta salad.  Save the brine and use it for dressings! The jar will be gone in no time at all!

Store them in your refridgerator for two months, but they will taste great as early as the next day! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!  

Bon Appetit, 



Gardening for Stress Relief, Health, and The Best Nutrition

You do not need a lot of space to garden. First, simply decide if you prefer flowers, food, or a combination of both. You can even grow herbs in small pots on your deck or porch. Just being out in the sunlight and breathing the fresh air while gardening will make you feel alive and relaxed. The connection with nature calms and centers us. Gardening creates mindfulness as you care for the plants, watering them, trimming and weeding the bed.

Gardening also allows for creativity! Plant a variety and feel the gratification when the plants reach maturation. The sense of immediate accomplishment as you dig the hole and place each plant is amazing. And when your cucumbers are ready to cut and eat, or your flowers are ready to be placed in a vase, you feel so much satisfaction. 

The food you grow is the finest you can possibly eat because you know exactly how it was raised. Studies also show that kids who are involved in gardening are more likely to eat a variety of fruits and veggies and are more adventurous about trying new foods. I know this was the case with my kids. I rented a garden plot six years ago. They started eating eggplant, peppers and all sorts of things after helping me in our garden. We no longer rent a plot, but instead use the space we have in our yard to creatively grow a variety of herbs, peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, squash and some flowers sprinkled in.

We live in a stressful world.  Step away from the chaos and connect with the earth.  Putting your hands in the dirt is not only stress relieving, but physically gratifying.  For example, a person weighing 140 pounds burns approximately 305 calories an hour while gardening. Burning calories, connecting with the earth, releasing stress, growing your own healthy food and raising beautiful flowers are wonderful benefits of gardening.

So get to the local garden center and pick up a few things to play with. As Audrey Hepburn once said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” 


Love & Light,