Thursday, June 25, 2020

Grow Basil. Make Chicken.

I posted over on the Instablog earlier this week about the basil growing like crazy this year in the garden. We were a little excessive in planting it, throwing it in between all the tomatoes and peppers as a companion herb, because it's such a fun and easy thing to grow.  It germinates really quickly, too, which is nice for impatient little ones who are eager to see the fruits of their labor. Added bonus, baby basil sprouts are super cute. Just saying.

The problem is, now we have so much basil, we can hardly keep up with it. I've been using a little, giving away a lot, and it just keeps coming back up. I prefer to use basil fresh because it has such a rich flavor and adds nice color to so many dishes. But since we have so much, I'm planning on drying some of it and using it in some seasoning blends. I don't have a ton of experience doing this. I don't follow many recipes. Typically, I can be found in the kitchen sprinkling meat with a variety of spices that sound good in the moment. But I do have a seasoning blend I love to keep on hand and it's so good, I figured I'd share it! We use this a lot on chicken and veggies. Just mix everything together and sprinkle!

I don't know how to make fancy recipe cards.

I realize the title of this post might be a bit misleading. This is not a cooking blog so I needed to bridge a gap from what I like talking about (growing basil) into something I would ordinarily not talk about (recipes). For clarification purposes, you do not need to grow basil to make this seasoning blend. 🤣 You'll find the necessary basil in your Italian seasoning of choice. But I promise you, you'll love growing basil. 💚

A disclaimer for your reading entertainment: As I said, this is not a cooking blog. No science has gone into the creation of this "recipe." It might be too salty for your taste or have too much paprika. You might hate it. Please don't hold it against me. 😂 If you do try it and like it, please let me know. Also, I take no credit for this recipe because it's adapted from another recipe I found years ago and I don't need a legal issue haha. I took away a spice, added a different one, and have changed the amounts used over time. I have found similar recipes online but this is what I use.

P.S. I sometimes make my own Italian seasoning from a recipe you can find here. I like this blend much better with it homemade. But it's great with whatever Italian seasoning you can find in store, too.

Obligatory photo of the ingredients looking
pretty in a bowl before mixing them.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Always Gently

Coming at you from the garden today! It's all sunshine, blue skies, and tomatoes out here. Plus cucumbers, carrots, peppers, a bunch of tasty herbs, and even some edible flowers.

I found Pineapple Sage at a local nursery this year, which was exciting. I haven't tasted it yet, but it smells just like pineapple. I'm thinking it will be great to try in a fruit salad or tea! After a little research, I also found out that it flowers at the end of summer and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Sounds like a perfect addition to the flower beds for next year, right? It's not well known for doing great as a perennial in our growing zone (6a) but I'm willing to baby it and hope for the best. It's been really happy in the raised beds so far. Growing like crazy and not finicky, so that's a win for us. You can read about pineapple sage here.

We had a learning moment last week in the garden, my daughter and I. The same activity but two different lessons, one for each of us. There are lots of good lessons found in the garden and bringing the kids in to learn with me has been a super rewarding experience for all of us. Life science and hard work, patience and determination are a few of the best things we've gotten from growing things. It's also been a great escape from all the noise in the world lately. Noise that I've been letting myself get a bit too involved in, to be completely honest. I have strong opinions and I know that's a good thing. I stand by all of them. I'm always up for hearing other people out, too. But when I feel like an opposing opinion is being thrown at me super aggressively or when people are being sarcastic and rude about something I think is important, I don't like that at all. 😂 (Who does?) It makes me think Oh my gosh, I hope I haven't been doing that. I don't want to make anyone feel like this. Going back over what I've shared and conversations I've had, I'm confident I haven't. BUT I only stand in my shoes or, as I like to say -- I'm only looking out from my own front porch.
If someone else is looking out from their front porch, wearing their own shoes, have I considered the way I come off to them from where they're standing? Maybe I wouldn't be put off or offended by my thoughts and how I share them (duh, because they're my thoughts), but how do they make others feel?

Have I been kind?
Have I been helpful?
Have I considered other people's situation/argument?
Have I stood in their shoes or tried to imagine the view from their front porch?
Have I said everything with love? That's the most important one.

Because truth gets lost without love. And too much truth, put out harshly when people aren't receptive to it does more damage than good.

This brings me to the lesson. I usually do the first garden watering by myself when I wake up and then the kids help with the evening water. But we'd slept in and I had to run out after the sun was already fully out, which isn't great for the plants. The sun beaming down on wet leaves can be a death sentence.  I already knew we'd have to be careful and since I'm a control freak, the last thing I wanted to do was hand over the hose to my six year old when she asked to help. But it's always a good time to teach, so I gave her the hose and watched her begin spraying the plants.  Very enthusiastically. She soaked a couple tomato plants before I stopped her and showed her how to gently push the branches  aside and water at the base of the plant. It's a little tricky, especially when it comes to those wild and showy tomato plants. But you have to get to the base and avoid soaking the whole plant.
That gave me a thought...

How like the plants we humans are.
We need watering but time and place matters. Being over showered with even the good, life giving stuff at the wrong time can be damaging. And since we can never know what kind of timing it is for another person, our job is to focus on what we can control.
That means choosing to go forward with gentleness and empathy.
That means speaking with love at all times.
Gentleness is key. Empathy is necessary. Love is everything.
Our greatest, most life changing message will fall flat if we go aggressively overboard.
Our carefully researched truth and strong opinion will fail being heard by those who need it most, if we're unkind about it.
Does that mean we stop putting it out? No way. Using our voice to say what moves us, what we're passionate about, is not only empowering and beautiful but a necessary course of action.  But none of us are exempt from doing so with love. I understand that, sometimes, the occasion calls for a little more vibrancy and a serious tone. But if we truly believe someone needs our message and we want them to actually hear us, we must choose to speak with love. Seek to understand. Take the gentle approach.

Keep talking. Keep watering.
But gently. Always gently.
That's how we get the fruit.

Pineapple Sage from Bonnie Plants