Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


National Herb Garden, National Arboretum

The National Herb Garden is wonderful! Of all the gardens we visited at the National Arboretum, this one is my favorite. I loved the medicinal herb gardens, especially the Native American Herb Garden. We learned how different tribes used plants we are very familiar with, such as cardinal flower, large-flowered trillium and purple cone flower.

National Herb Garden

This is an example of the signs found in the Native American herb garden. The signs tell how the herbs were used by differen tribes.

This is an example of the signs found in the Native American herb garden. The signs tell how the herbs were used by different tribes.

Cardinal Flower

Cardinal Flower

There were also gardens featuring plants for dying, brewing and perfuming. Colonial gardens featured herbs and vegetables. I took pictures of lots of peppers. The park’s website says it has 50 varieties!

Peppers!

More peppers!

And more peppers!


Sweet potato burgers

Looking for a healthier burger? I enjoy a bean burger now and again, but haven’t ever thought about using other vegetables.

The Chubby Vegetarian shared a recipe for Chipotle Sweet Potato Burger on his blog the other day. His combination of the sweet potato with chipotle peppers, cumin and garlic have my mouth watering. It sounds like an amazing flavor combo! My tasty black bean burgers may have to take a backseat from now on.

The Chubby Vegetarian also mentioned how with an equal amount of oats added to beans, sweet potatoes or squash, you can get a really good mixture that works well as burger patties. I’m now envisioning zucchini or yellow squash patties with tarragon or cilantro. We’ve still got tons of frozen squash stored in the freezer from last season. This might be a good way to use it up.

What spice combinations do you think would go well with zucchini or squash?

You can find The Chubby Vegetarian’s recipe here.


One of my favorite things to do with spinach

This is one of my favorite things to make whenever I need a quick side dish.

A spinach and tomato side dish that I love.

I don’t really have a name for it, but love its simplicity and flavor. And you can’t beat how quick it is to cook up! It’s also great in wraps.

Though I change some of the ingredients each time I make this, four things are always in there: spinach, tomatoes, olive oil and garlic. Sometimes I’ll add in mushrooms and onions. Sesame seeds and pepper have made appearances. But those four ingredients are a must.

This go ’round, I threw in some left over rice, onions, tomato paste and some dried sweet basil:

Tonight’s rendition features rice, onion, tomato paste and basil along with the main four: spinach, tomatoes, olive oil and garlic.

After a bit of warming and wilting on the stove top, the spinach-tomato side dish was ready for plating. I paired it with oven-fried chicken and baked potato.

Spinach-Tomato Side Dish

1-3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 handfuls of spinach leaves
16 oz. can of diced tomatoes or 2-3 large tomatoes chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
Optional: onions, mushrooms, sesame seeds, spices and anything else you may want to throw in

  1. Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Sauté garlic for 1 minute. If using onions, add them and sauté with the garlic.
  2. Add tomatoes and cook until heated through. At this point, also add any additional vegetables and spices.
  3. Add spinach and cook until leaves are slightly wilted.
Enjoy!
    


Summer Squash Saute

I took of some of the squashes I got from our garden the other night (see here) and decided to try out a new recipe.

This is called Summer Squash Saute. It’s from Frances Musser of Newmanstown, Pa., and is a recipe she submitted to “Taste of Home.” I found the recipe in a “Savings Pack,” which is attached to several other recipes Nannie used to create a recipe book for me.

Nannie used twist times to hold recipes from several sources together.
Tada! Instant cookbook.
Here’s the recipe.

Here’s the recipe with photos of the steps below:

Summer Squash Saute

1 bacon strip, diced
1 tbsp. onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. each of green, red and yellow bell peppers, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1. Cook bacon until crisp over medium heat.
2. Add onions, peppers and garlic and cook until tender.
3. Add the squash, cover and cook until tender (about 5 minutes).

Plate and enjoy!

Here’s what I did:

Add the chopped bacon and cook until crisp.
While the bacon cooks, cut up the veggies: onion, garlic, pepper and squash.
I only used green pepper.

Cook the onion, garlic and pepper until tender.

Add the squash, cover and cook until squash is tender, about 5 minutes.

Ready to eat!


Progress is slow, but at least there’s progress!

Look what I found in the garden this afternoon!

This is the first thing I’ve pulled from the garden this year. We planted the summer crops late because of the rain we had for a month or more. And now it’s so hot, the plants are struggling to hold on.

But this little pea pod gives me hope! I found two more pea pods starting to grow and a couple more blooms on the vine.

So, there’s still hope for the spring crops and I’m cheering on the summer crops. 🙂


1 Comment

Photos of scarf, sweater and tomato update

One down, one to go
I finished the first of two scarves last night:

This alpaca yarn feels so good and it’s so pretty. It’s going to be hard to turn this loose for Christmas.

Chris said I should buy some more alpaca yarn and make one for myself.

The pattern uses a traditional ripple pattern that is commonly found in afghans. I think it translates beautifully into scarves.

I can’t wait to see how the other scarf turns out. It’s colors are just as pretty.

Photo update
Here’s the sweater all washed and blocked. It’s no where near as stretched out and frumpy as it was last weekend when I completed it.

I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. Green is definitely my color.

I’m also glad I didn’t sew the collar shut. I think I like it open. Do you?

Tomatoes galore!
I canned six more quarts of tomatoes this morning! I can’t believe how many tomatoes we’ve gotten this year.

We didn’t tie the plants up, so many have been lost to rot because they sat on the ground too long or we overlooked them as they hid underneath leaves and stems.

We also had a lot of ants, roly polys (pill bugs) and slugs we had to fight tomatoes for.

I’ve canned 2 quarts of tomatoes with chilies, 17 quarts of diced tomatoes, 1 pint of diced tomatoes and 3 pints of salsa. That is a blessing!

That doesn’t include the quart of basil-garlic tomato sauce we made earlier in the summer to can with the peach chutney disaster (had to throw out all 7 pints because it burned and tasted awful; apple cider vinegar does not substitute for white wine vinegar!) and canned peaches (1 quart).