A Visit to Star Nursery

This is a great outing for kids, we went to Star Nursery this weekend (go early, it is warming up fast and it gets busy there as well).  They have a small fish and turtle pond and you get to pull your kids and purchases around in a red wagon.  They love it!

We planted garlic, carrots, tomatoes (better boy, early girl, and cherry varieties – this article suggested some but we had luck with early girl last year), pumpkin, snap pea, strawberries (two varieties), cilantro, basil, dill, parsley, and apple mint.  We also planted two flowering plants (cassias) and a nectarine and peach tree.  I love fruit trees, we have a pomegranate working along already and a large fig tree.  You can see the peach tree blossom in the shot above with the nectarine we bought behind it.  I also splurged (ok, it was $3.99 and we had a 20% off coupon off the back of the water authority 2011 calendar) on a kneeling pad so I can kneel on it for weeding.  It is awesome!  Oh, and a pair of gardening gloves so that I can work with R watching me and grab him with clean hands if he suddenly wants to be picked up.

I put the herbs in a container but if one of them takes over I’ll do some moving around.  Won’t it be great if I can just grab a handful when I’m cooking?  I had luck with mint last year and basil the year before that.  Here’s hoping!

We also took the kids out in the bike trailer to the park and had a great time.  R actually fell asleep both ways and we got some good family exercise in.  I love my new bike, my husband got it for my birthday and it is a Specialized Ariel (not the same model, mine is blue but maybe bike shops have a different selection?).  The shop in boulder city gave us 10% off which really helped and I found a helmet at Costco this past week.

I will take some pictures of the tomatoes, etc. once I am done putting the mulch down around them.  The article I linked to above said to pick varieties that mature in 70 days or less because you don’t want to hit the high heat.  Then you can encourage fruiting again later in summer for another crop but at above 90 degrees the flowers will fall from the tomatoes so you have to plant now and buy the bigger plants, not the little 6 packs.  Of course if I planned better I could have started my own seedlings for cheaper on the porch a while back but I don’t have that much time.

I love spring!

Salad With Cilantro Lime Dressing, Brown Rice Couscous, and Roasted Curry Chickpeas Recipe

(Linked to Cybele Pascal’s 3/25/11 Allergy Friendly Friday, click through for other allergy friendly links!)

I posted pictures (note the expert mushroom slices above, they were done by my husband, I still have a lot to learn about using a knife properly but mushrooms taste better when he chops them so thinly), the cilantro lime dressing recipe, and the roasted curry chickpeas recipe.  Here’s where it all comes together!  Maybe it is silly to have a recipe for a salad as I suppose this is more like a “meal idea” but at any rate, here goes nothing. . .

Supplies

2 quart saucepan

Knife, Peeler, Cutting Board

Ingredients

Green Leaf Lettuce

Mushrooms

Onions

Red Peppers

Tomatoes

Cucumbers

Carrots

(Any other veggies you like, we’ve used Jicama even)

1 cup brown rice couscous cooked to package directions or quinoa (red or regular: amazon affiliate link) and water or veggie broth

Directions

To make the quinoa, you just need to use 2 cups of liquid to every 1 cup of quinoa.  Rinse the quinoa, add it to the liquid in the pot and heat until boiling.  Reduce heat to low, cover and set your timer for 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork before serving.  We usually eat this salad with quinoa but for the pictures we used brown rice couscous by Lundberg because we’d had quinoa tabbouleh the day before.  My husband likes this with red quinoa over the regular sort and I do enjoy it that way but most people say there’s not a difference between regular and red quinoa.

Make a base of lettuce, add your grain of choice, top with veggies, then salt to taste, add roasted chickpeas, and finally drizzle with dressing.

Trust me, it is delicious!  I don’t even miss ranch dressing with this one.

Cilantro Lime Dressing Recipe

I adapted this recipe from one I found online here because of our particular restrictions both with allergies and with toddler tastes. Do check out the original if the idea of some ginger and jalapeño are appealing to you! We use this in a salad with a base of brown rice couscous or quinoa (amazon affiliate link), include various veggies and lettuce, and top with roasted curry chickpeas (recipe to follow). Here is a link to additional photos.

Supplies

Food Processor (or Blender)

Bowl, Funnel

Knife, Cutting Board

Citrus Juicer/Reamer

Ingredients

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup lime juice

1/3 cup agave nectar

2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Put a peeled garlic clove and cilantro into your food processor run until chopped well, maybe 20 seconds. Add the lime juice, vinegar, salt, and agave nectar and turn on the food processor. Place the funnel over the food processor and slowly add the olive oil.

I leave it in the food processor if I’ve made it a little early so I can give it a final spin before putting out to be added to the salad but it does keep pretty well sealed for one day. You’ll want to bring it to room temperature potentially if the oil has made the dressing a little goopy in the fridge.

E likes to dip her veggies or quinoa/brown rice couscous in the dressing. She also loves to help add the ingredients to the food processor and press the buttons!