Author: Allie Zottola

2018 Garden Update I

I have our first official garden update of the season! We planted on May 28th and I took some pictures on June 18th, exactly three weeks later.

Here’s what the garden looked like on the day we planted.

Vegetable garden with steel and wood fence and landscaping fabric

And here’s what it looks like three weeks later!

Just from looking at these pictures, I think the tomatoes (the plants closest to the bottom of the picture) have seen the most growth. The cucumber and zucchini plants are also taking off as well. They’re at the top of the picture, in the back of the garden.

We haven’t harvested anything yet, but are probably getting close to having a cucumber or zucchini will pop up seemingly overnight, as they tend to do!

Zucchini blossom in vegetable garden

As you can see above, the zucchini is starting to grow! The “stem” of the flower in the photo is actually the zucchini. All of the buds on the plant (the little oval green things near the blossom) will turn into flowers and grow into zucchini as well!

We also have some cherry tomatoes coming in and they are so fragrant. I love walking up to the garden and just sniffing the tomatoes. I’m sure our neighbors think I’m a little weird 😉

Cherry tomatoes on vine that are unripe and ripening in vegetable gardenSwiss chard growing in vegetable garden

The above photo is the swiss chard. It’s still a little small, and if I pick it, I’d consider it baby swiss chard. Baby swiss chard is sweeter and a lot less bitter than full-grown chard, so I just might have to harvest some this week!

We also have some mini peppers coming in. They’re the multicolored variety, so we’re just waiting for them to turn from green to either orange, red, purple, or yellow.

Mini bell pepper ripening in vegetable garden

Other notes

I think that’s everything for the first garden update of the season. We are so excited to start harvesting some vegetables soon!

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Orange Chicken

It has taken me a few tries perfect and way too long to share this recipe, but here it is in all of its orange-y, spicy, and simple glory.

A few notes about this recipe: the sauce part of the recipe would be great on tofu (hey, hey vegetarians!) and the chicken pairs well with rice and stir-fried vegetables.

Orange chicken

Orange Chicken

Ingredients
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large oranges
1 tablespoon honey
2 cloves minced garlic
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Heat a large skillet to medium high and add olive oil. Cook chicken in oil until just done, about ten minutes or until lightly browned. Set chicken aside on a paper towel-lined plate.
2. Peel two large strips of zest from the oranges with a vegetable peeler and use a grater to zest one of the oranges. Juice the oranges and combine the juice with the peeled zest, grated zest, honey, garlic, soy sauce, and broth in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk until fully combined and add to the skillet used to cook the chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and stir frequently.
3. While sauce is simmering, combine the cornstarch with with one tablespoon cold water and mix until combined. Add to sauce and cook until mixture is thickened.
4. Add chicken to sauce and stir until the chicken is fully coated. Add crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper and enjoy!