DECEMBER 30, 2012


I admit, I am not very good in the garden. I could easily be called a plant killer. But, after all,  it just makes perfect sense for me to have an edible garden. I am already making all of our condiments (just made both peanut butter and hazelnut spread), have gradually omitted all the products in our house loaded with additives, the garden just seemed like the logical next step.

However I knew I couldn’t do this myself. I enlisted my good friend, Angela. Like me, Angela left corporate America to follow her passions. And her passion is all things gardening and she really knows her stuff. We discussed my ultimate edible garden and within 48 hours Angela emailed me a concise and simple “to-do” list.

The next day (which was conviently a school holiday), Levi and I were off to the nursery.

I was overwhelmed with Levi’s enthusiasm. He picked out more veggies than was on my list; brocolli, cauliflower, eggplant, artichoke, radishes, snap peas, cabbage, all kinds of lettuce, spinach, chard, kale, arugula, strawberries (he insisted) and every herb except cilantro (I don’t like cilantro).

When I woke him up the next morning for school, he fake coughed and said he didn’t feel well. With Angela coming over to plant, it was only fair that he saw this project from start to finish. Besides, I viewed this as a lesson in agriculture, food, and our planet (Levi called it “home schooling”).

While Angela and I got to work digging and planting, Levi was in charge of creating the markers. He could not be more proud. He was into this project 200%, thus I could not have been more proud.

Even Lola got involved. She, too, is a writer!

When everything was planted, Angela gave Levi a lesson on watering and using the nozzle attached to the hose.

He’s a quick study. He has continued to take care of this garden everyday since. Even though we have had a wet month, with more rain than usual, he still goes outside each day to check out his plants.

When the boys came home from school that day, the first thing he said to them was, “want to see MY garden”. As, he, Isaac, and Eli squatted next to the edibles growing in our backyard, he asked them, “what’s your favorite vegetable?” I beamed. What a wonderful gift Angela has bestowed upon me and my family. Not only are we going to have nutritious, organic greens growing in our yard, but the appreciation my kids are going to gain from eating what they grow will be invaluable.

After all of our hard work was done, Angela and I sat down to lunch with one of my favorite salads along with a batch of Zucchini Parmesan Bites. Now that I have kale growing in my back yard, this salad can be found on our dinner table a few times a week.

I am looking forward to more growth, both in our garden and in life,  in 2013

Spicy Peanut Kale Salad

2 large bunches of kale (or 3 small)
1 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup toasted cashews, chopped
1 carrot, peeled into strips
2 tablespoons creamy salted peanut butter
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 teaspoons tamari
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons agave syrup
a pinch of cayenne

• place a large sautee pan over medium-high heat on your stove top. add all the sauce ingredients and whisk briskly until they melt and blend together. reduce heat to medium and simmer, while whisking, for about two minutes. turn heat to low.
• tear the kale leaves away from the stem. add the kale leaves to the pot. fold the kale into the hot sauce. the peanut sauce will wilt the kale.
• add onions, carrots, and cashews. toss to combine.
• serve warm. it’s also equally good cold.