Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Advice, Please

You what practically no one does on the Internet? Ask for advice! (Wait, they do, whatever, pretend.) So, here are some things I've been needing feedback on. Let me know what you think. Pretty please. I'll likely ignore you, but maybe not. Maybe you'll completely turn my life around and I will owe you for everything. Really, all the things. Maybe.

This is a Frankenstein picture depicting what I'd like my
house to look like. I know that I probably won't fill a window
box with mutant, giant Gerbera daisies. It's just inspiration.
Also, my house doesn't lean, but it turns out the best picture
I have of my house is the one I stole off Google Street View.
I've been thinking a lot lately about landscaping. (Also, my inner teenager is cringing that I even wrote that sentence with a straight face.) Here's the thing with me and "gardening:" I love planting. I love getting out in the spring and digging in the dirt and stepping back from my tiny flower beds with love and joy in my glistening eyes. Unfortunately, then I'm done. I don't weed, I don't water, I don't notice them half the time. By June, I have huge overgrown weed beds. I don't want to do that anymore. Here's what I need: plants that are kinda hard to kill, plants that will grown outside in KY, full sun plants, and preferably big stuff - like bushes that will make the house look more finished without requiring I learn a lot of new skills. Also, does anyone have a mountain laurel? I'm curious. I've read lots of great things about them and it seems like a no brainer (except for the poisonous part) but almost no one sells them. I'm wondering why.

I've been cooking. I made bananas foster, strawberry scones and a great big pot of failed chicken noodle soup. I mean seriously, I gave it to the cats, that's how bad it was. I tend to settle into about 10 or 15 go to things to make and I'm trying to branch out. Both because I like to cook when it's not boring and tedious, and because I'm hoping to get my kids to be more adventurous eaters. (I realize that nothing I've made so far is adventurous, baby steps, people.) But Brynna and I were talking the other day and we realized that my veggie repotoir is sad and pathetic. I love spinach and put in a lot of things. Green beans, corn, peas and broccoli are all pretty much staples. That's about it. I hate brussell sprouts and the kids hate asparagus. I like raw carrots but can't stand them cooked. What are your go to veggie dishes? What should I be making for my kiddos?

Okay, that's all I need right now. Let me know what you think about my completely mundane problems.


Suze said...

I'm not good at landscaping advice esp when it comes to shrubs and stuff. But I love growing herbs. Even if you don't use them for cooking, they smell good and a lot of them are hard to kill. I have oregano and thyme that I have to prune into submission every summer and although basil is a more sensitive plant, I love it so much it's worth the TLC.

Soup is a useful venue for trying new veggies, particularly this time of year. My kids have eaten things in soup they never would have otherwise, things like kale and rutabagas and squash. Daniel won't touch cooked squash (not everyone's favorite, I understand) but he loves "Butternut Bisque" which is just butternut squash cut up and cooked with onion, carrot and a tart apple in broth with a little ginger and blended up with yogurt. I also think roasting is a good way to prepare things like cauliflower or sweet potatoes so they have a little crunch and don't just go all mushy. I just picked up the Williams-Sonoma Vegetarian cookbook at a used bookstore the other day, and it has lots of good ideas and really good photos :)

What's bananas foster, by the way? I've never heard of it.

Jessi said...

Suze - I'm planning on doing an herb container garden on the deck this year. I hope. Soup is kinda iffy for us, they are pretty picky, but that's a good suggestion. Squash is good idea, though. I like squash and zuccini. I kinda forgot that. And sweet potatoes too.
Bananas Foster is a dessert. It's pretty much overripe bananas and butter and a skillet. The sugar from the bananas caramelizes and the bananas break down. It's good. Usually, you put it over ice cream, but I put it on pancakes instead of syrup.

Suze said...

Bananas foster sounds yummy!
Another suggestion I have is to find a vegetarian cookbook or two (like from the library) and look for ideas. Even if you don't want meatless main dishes, a lot of vegetable-based dishes are good on the side. Deborah Madison and Mark Bittman both have published vegetarian cookbooks. Both are really good, but are huge and may be overwhelming. Still, there are sections for every vegetable and lots of ways to prepare different things.

Jessi said...

Thanks for the suggestions. I will look into those. A section on every vegetable sounds awesome! And also, bananas foster is the best in all the world.