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Turn A Family Dinner Into Baby Food: Summer Squash Soup

July 3rd, 2013

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Move over Gerber, there are some delicious meal options out there that the whole family can enjoy. Here’s the thing: babies can eat real food, and from our experiences, they enjoy it more than what you can find in a jar. Furthermore, if you turn up your nose at bland, over-steamed vegetables, your baby might have the same reaction. Therefore, don’t be afraid to make baby food taste good. Get creative and add fresh cilantro, chopped chives, and dried seasonings to a meal, and serve it to the entire family (just take an additional step to puree or chop into small pieces for your little one).

All over the world, babies are introduced to flavor very early on. In India, curry spices are mixed in with yogurt and rice after 6 months of age. In other parts of Asia, lemongrass, tamarind, and coconut milk are introduced within the first year – and in South American – babies can be seen enjoying food with chili peppers!

A great trick to get the entire family eating one nutritious meal is a creamy, choc-full-of-good-stuff soup. You can make a soup out of just about anything (and we have!). In the summer, seasonal summer squash, carrots and sweet potatoes can turn even a baby who wants to only be fed by a sock puppet (ahem, our baby) into one that grabs the spoon to feed herself. If your baby eats the whole bowl, go ahead and call it a miracle as you ladle another helping for yourself.

Summer Squash Soup With Basil

Serves 4-6

Recommended starting at 8 months of age

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 ¼ pounds yellow squash

2 carrots, thinly sliced

1 sweet potato, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

½ cup julienned basil

salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Heat oil in a large saucepan, and add the onion and a pinch of salt until it’s translucent. Add the remaining vegetables and vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Bring down to a simmer, and allow the vegetables to soften, partially covered for 20 minutes. Stir in the basil and puree.

Friends, what is your favorite way to turn dinner into baby food? We’d love to hear your recipe ideas and inspiration.

About Us:

Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed.

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Plant the Garden of Your Dreams with a Customized Humble Seed Kit

April 3rd, 2012

Spring is officially in full swing, and many of us are eager to get back into our gardens and harvest the delicious benefits.  Selecting the seed varieties that work best for your own growing conditions, environment and dinner plates is all part of the fun – and can produce very positive results in your garden.  With this in mind, Humble Seed is pleased to offer a popular demanded option to take advantage of: the opportunity to customize your own seed kit! We are thrilled to partner with Very Jane once again to bring gardeners this much requested option for a limited time.  We also look forward to featuring a permanent customized seed kit option in the near future on our own website.  Review the details below so you can begin your seed selecting right away!

How To Customize Your Seed Kit

To get started, simply review the 28 varieties of premium seeds that are offered exclusively for this promotion. Select 10 different seed packs of your choice. Due to inventory demand, we will not be able to fulfill multiple packs of the same seed type within a single order. Each customized seed kit is priced at $32.00, a 20% discount from the retail price ($40.00) and offered exclusively for this promotion! We are offering the following premium seeds for each customized kit:

 

Vegetables:

Scarlet Nantes Carrot

White Bunching Onion Scallion

Crimson Sweet Watermelon

Amazing Cauliflower

Tavera Green Bean (organic)

Red Express Cabbage (organic)

Green Romaine (organic)

Rosa Bianca Eggplant (organic / heirloom)

Washington Cherry tomato (organic)

Rose Tomato (heirloom / organic)

Black Seeded Simpson (heirloom)

Marketmore Cucumber (organic)

DeCicco Broccoli (organic /heirloom)

Peppers:

Yankee Bell Pepper

Antohi Romanian Specialty Frying Pepper (organic)

Padron Pepper (heirloom)

Joe’s Long Cayenne (organic)

Conchos Jalapeno

 Herbs:

Superbo Basil

Purly Chives

Banquet Dill

Bronze and Green Fennel (organic)

Greek Oregano

Cumin

German Winter Thyme

Titan Parsley

Common Sage

Santo Cilantro (coriander)

As always, Humble Seed offers non-GMO and non-hybrid seeds with heirloom and certified organic options at an exceptional value. You can also trust that our premium seeds have one of the highest germination rates when compared with other seed companies, and we ship them directly to you in a re-sealable and airtight Mylar® bag; guaranteed for long-term storage and effective seed saving.  At Humble Seed, you can trust that “ex-seeding expectations” is an affirmation we take seriously.

Click here to start building your seed kit!

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Hot For The Antohi Romanian Specialty Frying Pepper!

March 19th, 2012

Looking to spice up your meals at dinnertime? Consider, for a moment, the Antohi Romanian Specialty Frying Pepper found in The Producer as well as Hot Mama’s Peppers and Chiles. This bright yellow pepper that ripens into a brilliant red will entice your taste buds with its bright, sweet flavor.  It tastes sweetest fried, but can be baked, sautéed or even grilled for full flavor.  If you are new to growing peppers, plan on sowing the seeds indoors in mid to late March.  When spring is in full swing, you’ll find that they will become the coquettes of your garden. While you nurture and dote on them; they will ripen and plump, and undoubtedly bring promise of a flavorful dish!

Contrary to the popular belief, peppers are not annuals. Yet, they can be easy to grow if offered warm temperatures and plenty of sunlight.  These frying peppers also do quite well in drained soils rich in calcium and phosphorus. Be sure to harvest them when they are green or mature, and use gardening scissors so to not damage the plant.  Picking peppers when they are fully mature also encourages new buds to form.

These peppers are exceptionally flavorful when cooked in olive oil, and make a great addition topped on your favorite sandwich, or added to a stir-fry.  The recipe below is fresh and tasty — one bite will have you lingering over the thought of leisurely dining on a Mediterranean coast. The best part?  This sandwich can be ready in 20 minutes. Is it just us, or is it hard not to puff up your chest a bit when making a delicious sandwich using vegetables from your own garden?

Mediterranean-Style Vegetable Sandwich

(Makes 4 Sandwiches)

1 medium sized eggplant, sliced length-wise into ¼ inch thick rounds

1 tomato, sliced into rounds

½ onion, cut into half moon slices

5-6 Antohi Romanian Specialty frying peppers, de-seeded and sliced

8 ounces of Mozzarella cheese, ¼ inch slices (optional)

10-12 basil leaves

4 teaspoons Balsamic vinaigrette

¼ cup olive oil

8 slices of crusty French bread

salt and pepper to taste

Method:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lay a single layer of the eggplant rounds on a baking tray.  Brush each round with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway for even cooking. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet to medium high heat.  Drizzle 2 teaspoons of olive oil in the pan, and add the onion, a pinch of salt, and your frying peppers.  Sauté until tender and fragrant.

Once the eggplant has cooled, layer on the eggplant, onions, peppers, basil and cheese (if using) on a slice of crusty bread.  Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette and olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

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Starting Garden Seeds Indoors

February 10th, 2011

 

For many gardeners, February is the perfect time to start seeds indoors 2-3 months before your average date of final frost. If your region’s average final frost date is the end of March then February is a great time to get started so your seedlings will have a good 6-8 weeks to prepare for their new home in your garden.

Starting seeds indoors is easy, and you do not need expensive supplies to get a head start on spring gardening. Supplies include: containers that are 2-3 wide and 2-3 inches deep, like a plastic 40 count tray; loose textured potting mix that has soil, vermiculite or perlite and sphagnum peat moss; seeds; popsicle sticks, a waterproof pen; clear plastic bags large enough to go around your container(s); a 15-15-15 soluble fertilizer; and snail bait.

Here’s how to sow spring garden seeds (such as broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, eggplant, head lettuce, onion, peppers, squash, and tomatoes) indoors:

1. Fill your container with pre-moistened potting mix then level the soil. To moisten soil, simply put potting mix in a large bag and get it wet until it’s just moist.

2. Sow 1-2 seeds in each tray cell. Gently press the seeds into the soil then add a little bit of soil to the top, to cover seeds.

3. Mark your seedling trays by using your waterproof marker on the popsicle sticks, noting the date you planted and variety of seeds.

4. Place the tray inside of a clear plastic bag then tie it shut. If covering the tray with plastic wrap, you will want to make sure that the plastic does not touch the soil surface. Once covered with plastic you will not need to water the soil until your seeds sprout.

5. Set your seed tray in a spot that is evenly warm, such as the top of your refrigerator if you have the room. Do not place your seed tray in an area that is too drafty or too warm.

6. Once the seeds have sprouted remove the plastic and move the seed tray to a sunny south-facing window. If you do not have a window that provides full sun, you may need to purchase lighting equipment. If the region you live in continues to get very cold at night, you will want to move your seed tray away from the window so that the seedlings do not get too cold.

7. Watering your sprouts is easy. You’ll want to check the soil moisture daily by feeling the soil with your finger. If the soil is dry use a spray bottle that contains room temperature water and mist them with a fine spray.

8. 3-4 weeks after seeds are established, add some complete soluble fertilizer to the water. You’ll only need to fertilize once or twice before planting your seedlings into the garden.

9. After 6-8 weeks, you can start hardening off your seedlings by placing the seed tray outside in full sun for 2-3 hours. Bring the seed tray in after the allotted time. As your seedlings start adjusting to the 2-3 hours in full sun start moving them into the shade too for a few hours before bring the seed tray back indoors. You’ll want to follow this process for about two weeks. After the two week hardening process you can leave your seed tray out all day and night, as long as the temperatures are not freezing. This process, of putting your seed tray outdoors then moving them back indoors allows your seedlings to get used to being outdoors and keeps them from going into shock.

10. Once you’re ready to plant the seedlings in your garden you’ll want to: transplant them in the late afternoon when the sun is low; make sure the seedlings are well watered before planting them in the garden; make sure the garden soil is moist; try not to disturb the root ball when transplanting; water the seedlings once planted, to make sure the soil has settled around the root ball; place snail bait around the seedlings; and keep the seedlings moist for the first 4-5 days after transplanting, to make sure they get established. Once established you can water your seedlings when the soil is slightly dry in between watering.

That’s it! Starting seeds indoors gives you a head start on the spring gardening season and is an activity that provides you with great gardening practice (if you’ve never gardened before) and a wonderful sense of accomplishment. We’re excited for the spring garden season, and we hope you are, too. It’s going to be a great year for healthy, homegrown food!

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The Power of Peppers

January 6th, 2011

 

The next time you plant peppers seeds in your garden ponder this as your peppers grow and thrive: in addition to adding vibrant colors and a wide range of flavors to you plate and palate, peppers—both mild and hot—offer an abundance of health benefits, including:

1. Vitamins A, C and K – Bell peppers are chockfull of these vitamins. Vitamins A and C, by way of carotenoids, help support immune function, as well as help to prevent cell damage and diseases related to aging. Vitamin K helps protect cells from oxidative damage, and it helps to strengthen bones.

2. Red bell peppers contain lycopene, a carotenoid which helps to prevent some forms of cancer, such as cancers of the cervix and prostate cancer.

3. Capsaicin, mostly found in the white membranes of hot peppers, is the star when it comes to the benefits of peppers. Capsaicin, considered a superfood, has been shown to: relieve cluster, migraine and sinus headaches; aid in arthritis relief; and act as an anti-inflammatory. It is also acknowledged for improving mood and raising endorphin levels.

These are just a few of the wonderful health benefits of peppers. Vegetables, as humble as they may seem, are natural wonders that everyone should eat more of for increased nutrition.

Here’s a tasty stuffed jalapeno recipe, perfect to serve as an appetizer.

Stuffed Jalapenos, Southwest-Style

8 large jalapenos, halved, lengthwise, seeds removed
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 package cream cheese, softened
Pinch of garlic powder
Pinch of salt
Hickory smoked bacon slices

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine cheddar cheese, cream cheese, garlic powder and salt. Stuff peppers generously with cheese mixture. Wrap bacon slices around peppers then secure with toothpicks. Bake until bacon is crisped.

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Brighten Up Your Garden and Turn Up the Heat in the Kitchen with Sassy Peppers

September 8th, 2010

 

From mild to richly flavored to fiery hot, peppers offer unique flavors and varying degrees of heat. If you’re a pepper aficionado, you know what these sassy garden plants are capable of doing when it comes to flavor and versatility.

In the garden, peppers add eye-popping appeal. With their deep, rich colors and distinctive shapes, peppers are like Christmas ornaments in the garden. If you cannot imagine that thought without presents then think of ripe and ready peppers as presents to use in the kitchen. In many dishes from around the world, the distinct taste and texture of a pepper makes the dish, such as Mexico’s Chile Rellenos. Another popular pepper dish that is easy to make is Stuffed Jalapenos, Southwest-Style. They’re great for casual get-togethers and fun to make and eat.

If you’ve never handled peppers in the kitchen before there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Peppers contain a natural oil called capsaicin, which is what provides the heat in peppers. If you’re not careful and you accidentally rub your skin after handling peppers the capsaicin on your fingers can burn your skin. Many people people wear gloves when working with dried or fresh chiles, just to be safe. If you want to temper a pepper’s heat as much as possible, remove the membranes and seeds from peppers before using them in your food dishes. Also, if you’ve eaten a dish that contains peppers and your taste buds are on fire, drink milk, as it tames the heat.

If you’re ready to give peppers a whirl—trust us, you will not regret it—then check out our Hot Mama’s Peppers and Chiles Seed Lists and Details. We have ten different varieties of non-GMO and non-hybrid seeds, including certified organic and heirloom seeds, packaged in re-sealable Mylar® bags. Our Mylar® packaging makes planting now or later a great convenience.

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Garden Hero: The Green Lacewing, AKA Aphid Lions

July 28th, 2010

 

Did you know that green lacewing larvae are one of the most beneficial tools for keeping pesky garden villains under control? While the adult green lacewing is quite lovely, lacewing larvae appear somewhat menacing, with their large mandibles, pincher-like mouthparts, and armored looking bodies.

The green lacewing life cycle is pretty simple:

  1. An adult lacewing lays her eggs on plants, and each egg is attached to the tip of a hair-like filament.
  2. After just a few days, a predatory, and very hungry, larva emerges from the egg.
  3. After a short two- to three-week growing period, the larva spins a cocoon to pupate.
  4. An adult lacewing emerges approximately five days later, and it will then mate and repeat the life cycle. An adult green lacewing will live for approximately four to six weeks.

When a green lacewing larva emerges from its egg it’s ravenous, and it will feed on aphids, beetle larvae, leafhoppers, mealybugs, whiteflies, and more. When the larva grabs hold of its prey it injects it with paralyzing venom then sucks out the body fluids. Gross, yes, but the lacewing larva means business, and it will seek out prey rather than waiting for prey to come to it.

During the larva’s very short growing period it can consume up to 200 eggs, other larvae, and pests. To take advantage of their short life span, it is recommended that you release green lacewing larvae into your garden in early spring. If you want to help control your garden pests with lacewing larvae, release new larvae regularly in order to keep a steady supply in your garden and on your plants.

Adult green lacewings prefer to feed on honeydew, nectar and pollen. Light green in color, with large eyes and two long, thin antennae, the adult green lacewing also has long, transparent wings that have a distinct veins running through them.

 

Green lacewings prefer humid conditions, and plants that benefit from having the lacewing near include peppers, sweet corn, and tomatoes. If you want to control villainous garden pests organically, the green lacewing is a great choice for your garden!

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Seed Saving

May 28th, 2010

 

One of the greatest joys to be had from growing your own herbs and vegetables is seed saving. Seed saving is one aspect of sustainable living and old as mankind; it’s the traditional way gardens were maintained. The cyclical process of planting | harvesting | planting not only saves you money in the long run, but also offers wonderful rewards.

Whether you may be interested in seed saving as a hobby, to preserve 50+ years of outstanding heirloom varieties, for self reliance, or to provide your family with nutrient-rich foods of outstanding quality, seed saving is an important art form that honors the true taste and texture of our favorite foods. From generation to generation, seeds have provided civilization with a diversity of plants that nourish and sustain. It’s seems only fair that we nourish precious plants back, via seed saving.

If you’re new to seed saving, consider saving seeds from beans, lettuce, peppers and tomatoes, as they offer the greatest chance for successful seed saving. Once you get basic seed saving techniques mastered you can try your hand at saving those vegetables that require more seed saving care.

For seed saving techniques, visit Humble Seed then click on ‘our products’ then ‘Seed List and Details.’

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