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 2017 Suburban Green Bell Peppers. Growing FOOD is like Growing MONEY. Bonus points if its visible to all the neighbors.

Every season, I go through my stash of seeds, open a few gorgeous new seed catalogs and go to town on planning the next growing season!

See the CRAZY weird veggie seeds I bought below (Non-GMO organic seeds for only 99 cents a pack)!

Its taken me FOUR years of diligent planning to get our little kitchen garden exploding into a micro farm for our culinary needs. Some people just buy whats available at the big box stores, but ask yourself: Is this really the kind of food you eat?  When planning a kitchen garden, you have to ask yourself how your garden goals fit with your home eating culture and your nutritional needs. 

Want a pretty garden? Ask yourself: How do your plant choices fit with your eating habits? 

I say this because of all the failure I have had.....And all the garden fails I see with my fellow gardeners. Ask yoursel...

Time: 20 minutes

Best Season: Summer

I constantly try to stuff veggies where they don't normally go. 

Its a bit of a habit now after so many years trying to fit "healthy eating" into my life....At this point, that means eating more whole foods, mostly plants. Fact is, sometimes its a lot of work to eat three different side dishes so I try to pack my meals into one thing: One pie, one taco shell, one bun, etc. With a family, its just easier to make and easier to eat. Food prep is even easier when you get into the habit of chopping/shredding all your veggies at once, then use them up during the week. 

I used this beef mixture twice. Once for the burgers, and again for a gluten-free teriyaki stir-fry the next night. 

These sliders have all the classic ingredients of a burger, except everything is gluten-free and there are no extra bread crumbs in the patty. I added shredded veggies in their place and they held together well on the grill just fine.  Jalapenos ripen in mid summer. You can also u...

Time: 30 minutes

Best Season: Any

This post could also be titled "I am not a baker".

So if you aren't either, then yay! We can suck at baking together. Being gluten-free since 2012 has pretty much kept me away from baking in general for both time and health reasons. There are plenty of good flour blends on the market now, so I am starting to dabble a bit more into baking my own breads, muffins etc. Bread is very, very satisfying. But if we are not careful in choosing our flours and ingredients, we can over-consume calories and fat and get right back into some hard-to-break habits. Bread is a good choice to make in all seasons because flours are typically shelf-stable. Eggs are produced through the majority of the year by chickens in Zone 9b (where mine live), and dough can be frozen for future use. 

This recipe is a 30-minute one to get you started on feeling your way through gluten-free baking. 

Guess what? Just like most things, practice is best. Break out your mixing bowl and s...

I am participating in a waste-free holiday series! Today I will show you the exact steps to home-cure your very own holiday olives. I go over the exact steps to creating a perfect brine, including how to get the ratio of water to salt EXACTLY right for safe curing, the EASY way!

Impress your guests, family and friends and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time: a Win-Win! One of my favorite ways to reduce waste during this winter season is to make thoughtful gifts from my own kitchen and garden. Here are 3 ways that making your own gifts can reduce waste and thus, your ecological footprint:

  1. Reduction of Carbon Emissions: I don't spend my time driving all over the place looking for trinkets. Also, I reduce the time that delivery vehicles need to come to my house to deliver online purchases. 

  2. Avoid Single-Use Wrapping Paper: Think about it, if you participate in Christmas, what is one thing that is overwhelmingly HUGE at the end of the night? That garbage bin full of single...

(this post contains affiliate links. See my affiliate disclosure here)

Hi All! If you made here I am guessing you are one of three people: A newbie in the kitchen who has no idea where to begin, a person who wants to save money on groceries, or a girl who just really needs to get on top of this healthy cooking thing. Well guess what, I can help each and every one of you! Trust me, I have been there (check out my story here). There are many different places to begin this whole journey.  I believe convenience and a minimalist approach is absolutely key:

Less is More but Easy is Pie. Take Both and Call Me in the Morning.

 Ok, That little saying is cute, but life is not that easy, you say. How can I say 'less is more' when you still have to have all the right ingredients, all the time to make it, and all the right tools to do so? Because I think we have been fed that silly message and I call poppycock. Because I will let you in on a little healthy kitchen secret that no one wants you to...

Ferments are great, guys. This is one of my most favorite kitchen experiments. Plus, if you just call them "pickled vegetables" and place them lovingly next to some delicious cheese and crackers, dinner guests get really super impressed.

Three Friendly Benefits:

1) gut-healthy probiotics

2) no water-boiling or breaking out all the canning gear

3) no energy use


Basically, we are just leveraging a naturally occuring biological process called "lactofermentation". All vegetables have a natural layer of "lactobacillus", an non-harmful bacteria that also lives in our guts. This good bacteria multiplies in a non-oxygen, acidic environment which becomes more acidic as it produces acid. All of this acid and non-oxygen keeps all the bad stuff away (mold, botulism, etc). Here's a good article.  You'll need a way to keep oxygen out.

Here's a super cute, cheap and good fermentation lid I recommend.

 

Ok enough of the 10th grade bio lesson. Recipe time! 

This is the basic ratio of salt-to-water for most fe...

Jammie Breakfast Toast. I usually have a messier version of this on rotation every week for a morning meal. Its not difficult to build good toast, I just need a little imagination and a well-stocked pantry. 

The other key is a high-density nutrition-packed gluten free bread. The kind with lots of seeds, nuts and gluten-free grains like quinoa and amaranth. I once met the owner of Happy Camper Gluten Free Bakery in my local grocery store (Nugget Markets). He saw my sad excuse for a gluten free loaf of some other brand and went to his truck, pulled out his own brand and gave me three free loaves. I have been a convert ever since because of ALL the seedy goodness. The molasses version makes an excellent breakfast toast. If you are in the Sacramento/Bay Area, you can find this brand at Whole Foods or your local Nugget Markets. 

Next you literally just layer on the goodness. Here's my favorite Apricot Jam recipe that's infused with homegrown lavender. Truly, this low-sugar version does NOT di...

Lavender Honey Apricot Preserves & how to make jam tutorial

It starts with  A Story about conscious consumption, public health, simple living and food rebellion right in the middle of suburbia. 

We still eat crap. 

We still harm our environment. 

We still consume infinite goods in a finite world of resources. 

And yet we can still choose to be better, one day at a time, one thing at a time. Balance, consciousness, awareness, imperfection.A desire to improve and forgiving a little hypocrisy can go a long way.

So Ashleigh, why Suburban Salt? I mean, isn't kind of embarrassing to admit you live in the suburbs? Well, the fact is many of us live in suburbia. Although there is considerable interest into moving closer to urban areas with great shops, restaurants, bars and cultural life....many of us still live in the suburbs. We still value the perceived safety and security and more expansive private space that suburbia provides. And that shift to suburbia continues to grow.

So, rather than uproot my family and trek them to a more urban or midtown...

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