garden essentials for the kiddos

garden kits for kids_jsorelle

Nani and Mimi have the Easter baskets filled with goodies, accessories and clothes, so instead of a typical Easter Basket this year, we bought the kids their own gardening essentials to grow their favorite vegetables. My fave, Target’s dollar section, had colorful watering cans for just $3 each and gardening tools, and good ‘ole Home Depot supplied the organic cucumber, carrot and pepper seed packets, as well as the Transplant Peat Pots.

You’ll Need:
organic potting soil
biodegradable peat pots
cellophane bags
seeds packets
tools
watering can
name labels

How To:
Fill the cellophane bags with potting soil and tie a bow, then just fill the watering cans with the gardening goods. All the kids need to do is plant, water, find a sunny spot…and watch them grow. Once the weather gets warm, we will transplant the biodegradable pots into pots or the garden.

DIY gardening kits for kids_jsorelle

DIY gardening kit for kids_jsorelle

DIY gardening kits_jsorelle

DIY gardening kits_jsorelle

DIY gardening kits for kids_jsorelle

It’s a fun project for the kids {especially on Monday, April 22 – Earth Day}, teaches them the responsibility necessary to take care of something, and they will have the opportunity to watch and eat what they sow.

NOTE: The potting soil bags look slightly foggy – seems the soil was somewhat wet, and when I took the watering cans outside, the outside cold temps ‘frosted’ the bags.

{images via j. sorelle}

thursday night FAC

It’s almost Friday, so make this week’s FAC on Thursday. Come on, you deserve it. Today, our ingredient from the garden is fresh strawberries, so it seems fitting that you celebrate your Thursday FAC with a Strawberry Margarita. I planted strawberries years ago, and they come back every year bigger and better. I don’t do a darn thing, and they keep growing. As long as I pick them before the rabbits and birds get them, life has been sweet with strawberries this summer.

The BEST….seriously, the BEST…margarita is a strawberry light from The Rio in downtown Denver {or Fort Collins, or Steamboat}. I can’t drink any other margs – they just don’t even come close. However, I think I’ve created one that does…I savored every last drop. Hope you do too.

Strawberry Margarita
recipe adapted from friend, Reid Griebling
yields 4 glasses

Ingredients
6 counts {yes, count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…sorry I didn’t measure and followed bartender orders} white 100% Agave Tequila
1-2 tsp Agave Nectar
1.5 count Cointreau {or Triple Sec}
20 fresh strawberries
3 limes + 1 lime for garnish
2 cups of ice

How To
Add strawberries, agave nectar, Tequila, Cointreau, fresh squeezed lime juice and ice in a blender.
Adjust to taste.
Cheers!

{images via Tutto Bella}

spread the love…and the pesto

This summer, I’ve been obsessed with fresh basil. I’ve always loved it, especially fresh pesto. Basil has been one of my successful herbs in the garden this summer, so I’ve experimented with pesto recipes, and since this week is all about the garden, today I’m sharing a pesto recipe and how to make it a lovely hostess gift, or party favor. Because who wouldn’t love fresh pesto and an easy, already-prepared dinner for a gift?

{Sandy’s basil plant}

Basil, Spinach and Walnut Pesto
yields 1-2 cups
{I usually make Pesto with basil and pine nuts, but since I was out of pine nuts and I wanted to add Spinach for the kids, I modified it}

Ingredients
2 1/2 cup fresh Spinach
1 1/2 cup fresh Basil
1/3-1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup walnut
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

How To
Add basil, spinach, garlic, walnuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil in a food processor, then add salt and pepper.
Puree until smooth.
Find a cute mason jar or small container for your homemade pesto, and if you want to dress it up a bit, add a bow and a label or Kraft paper like I did with ‘grazie’ stamped on it.

 

Other DIY Garden-Inspired Hostess Gifts
Give an upcycled mini herb garden.
This Lemonade Summer Cooler idea is absolutely adorable.
Personalized Coasters is a lovely gift and a fun DIY project for fresh drinks from the garden.
We love this hand-tied bouquet, wrapped in a nice tea towel.
Hot pads with fresh baked bread is yummy and useful.
DIY homemade Lavender Linen Spray sounds blissful…and necessary for my bedtime routine.

{images via Tutto Bella}

we dig it

Gardens are a happy place. I really believe that. Maybe it’s because I have happy memories watching my grandpa and grandma tend to the garden with their sun hats, cherishing the sounds of birds chirping in the nearby bird bath, and taking in the smells and sounds around them…and then sharing their zucchini and garlic with us. I also know that gardening is therapeutic for people, and can be a place of solace where people connect with nature and themselves. With water and a little TLC, just a tiny seed can grow into a plant that can nourish a family. Amazing!

Having attempted a garden for two years, I’ve had successes and failures. I can grow carrots, strawberries, kale, spinach and basil. As for zucchini, well, the verdict is still out. The veggies that don’t like my garden, or my beginner gardening skills, are cucumber, beans and peas.

Now is the time of year many people are harvesting their summer garden and enjoying the fruits {and veggies} of their labor on the dinner table. So, this week is all about the garden. We’ll have recipes, inspiration and tips.

Today’s garden-inspired recipe is from a favorite family friend, Sandy Lessig. She made so many meals for our family when I gave birth to all 3 kids {and those of you with kids know how fantastic a cooked meal by someone else is post labor}, and recently had us over for dinner. I inhaled her delicious food, and she was kind enough to share her healthy appetizer recipe with me to share with you.

This makes for a wonderful party appetizer…and for all you wonderful gluten-free folk, this one works for you too!

Eggplant, Pepper and Onion Dip
recipe adapted from Sandy Lessig

Ingredients
1 red pepper
1 eggplant
1/2-1 Vidalia onion {if you like a stronger onion flavor, use 1 whole onion. And when Vidalia onions are out of season, use yellow onions}
4-8 tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Food Should Taste Good, Olive Chips

How To
Cut red pepper, eggplant and 1/2 onion into large pieces. Keep the skin on the eggplant.
Toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper. I covered the veggies in about 4 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.

Roast veggies at 350 degrees until tender, about 30 min.
Use a food processor {or blender} to blend the veggies together. I added another 2 tablespoons Olive Oil to the food processor as I was blending it to make it smoother, but the amount of Olive Oil you add if your preference. You can add salt, pepper and even garlic salt to taste too.
Serve in a bowl or fancy individual cup with Gluten Free, Food Should Taste Good Olive Crackers. You can serve this warm or cold {it’s similar to hummus}, so you can make the day before a party and not worry about re-heating.
Enjoy!

{images via Tutto Bella}

italian terra cotta love

I have always loved terra-cotta {or baked earth translated in Italian} pots because they remind me of being in Italy, and they remind me of summer and beautiful flowers.

I’m heading to Home Depot this week to make this for my son’s teachers, and might have to buy a couple more terra-cotta pots to make the projects below. It’s the time of year for planting, so it’s the perfect time to start these easy, affordable DIY’s.

Chalkboard Pots, Martha Stewart
{These would make for great gifts, escort cards, favors, place cards and home garden}
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Terra Cotta Gift
, Martha Stewart
{fill the terra-cotta pot with seed packets, top the pot with the saucer and tie a bow on top with twine for a lovely, affordable gift}
terra cotta diy gift

ImageDIY Potted Banana Bread, Style Me Pretty
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Thank You for Helping Me Grow Teacher Gift
, Giggles Galore
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DIY Cupcake Stand, Once Wed
{This idea can be used for a wedding, a birthday party or a shower. It’s an affordable way to make a cupcake stand the color and design of your choice.}

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Graphic Pots for any Celebration, Chicago Home and Garden

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Favors and Wedding Decor, Snippet and Ink
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DIY Terra Cotta Pot Coasters, Joy is at Home

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Pretty Pots, Christine Chitnis
{click here for her tutorial}
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{images via Once Wed, Martha Stewart, Giggles Galore, Style Me Pretty, Chicago Home and Garden, Joy is at Home, Snippet and Ink and Christine Chitnis}