Gardening in Containers

There are a lot of things I love about my house.  One of the things with which I struggle, however, is the fact that the yard is completely shaded.  So much so, I am unable to have a garden anywhere in my yard.  What’s a gal to do?

I have two solutions:

  1. I have a farm share this year again at Abbe Hills
  2. I have a bunch of fruits and vegetables in containers, growing as much as I can.

So that I can track where things are at, I thought I’d post photos about three weeks post-potting.  And, that wedding I mentioned a few days ago?  Several of my vegetables came from the centerpieces.  My mom, aunt, and I each grabbed a centerpiece and it turns out all three of the centerpieces with plants for planting found their way into my car, so thanks to my cousins for helping create my garden this year!

And, check out how great their planter tags were:

Anne's planter


The gardens (ignore the weeds):

Apple Tree:

apple tree

Brussels Sprouts:

brussels sprouts



Tomatoes and Corn:

tomatoes and corn



Sweet Potatoes:

sweet potatoes




Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apple

Last week I posted on Facebook about how grateful I am to my parents.  Last weekend, they came down to spend some time with me and I was going to make dinner for them and have a relaxing weekend.  Instead, it was raining, so I didn’t get to try out the smoker I was planning to test.  Instead, I grilled on the gas grill (uh-oh, that’s two grills.  I guess I am my father’s daughter) Saturday night and on Sunday I made them work hard for their meal.

My dad and I went to the hardware store and rented the extension ladder to end all extension ladders and he climbed up on my room to clean out my gutters.  They were a MESS.  It cannot be exaggerated enough what a mess they were.  It was horrible.  I have no excuse for having neglected them, except that I don’t love the idea of spending money.  But, while he was doing that, I was testing out the smoker by making Alton Brown’s Party Meatloaf – I’ll post about that in a couple days.  I started weeding, my mom spent the time he was on the roof praying he remained safe, and then we moved onto trimming back bushes, trimming up trees, and basically getting things in order.

There was so much to do that even though they had planned to leave around 2:00, they didn’t leave until 4:00 and the place was much improved.  My mom shared her secret recipe to kill weeds (found on pinterest), we ate the meatloaf, and I honored our Scandinavian heritage with a Brussels Sprout salad recently found in a new (used) cookbook called The Scandinavian Kitchen.  Best of all, it gave me a reason to try out a new blade on the Cuisinart Food Processor.

apple brussels sprouts salad.jpg

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My Dad and Mustard BBQ Sauce

Happy Father’s Day!
With today being Father’s Day, I thought I’d write a bit about my dad and share a recipe he was tweaking a few weeks ago.  Last month my cousin celebrated her wedding and several members of the family gathered together to celebrate her wedding.  It was great to see some cousins, aunts, uncles, and other relatives and spend time together.

Later in the weekend, we spent some time doing what has become our latest family pastime.  We spent some time with the grills.  Over the course of the last fifteen years, my dad has become a true grilling aficionado.  With a variety of grills to choose from – my dad has begun to foray into BBQ sauce as well, to complement the work he is doing on the grill.  As of late, this has evolved into an interest in mustard barbecue sauces.

It shouldn’t have surprised me, then, that when I was home for the wedding, all of the sudden Dad was in the kitchen working on a little concoction.  A little while later, he brought me a taste of his mustard barbecue sauce.  Those of you from the South will probably think I ruined the sauce, but I suggested adding some honey to it to cut down on the vinegar in the sauce.

Using a recipe from a cookbook I’d given his years ago, my dad made “Similar to Maurice’s Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce” from Peace, Love, and Barbecue.  I’m not sure who Maurice is or why we love his barbecue sauce, but it seems that his recipe is worth replicating, and I thought it was pretty good.  Who knows, I might even make a batch at home myself J

Similar to Maurice’s Carolina Mustard Barbecue SauceHoney Mustard

1 ½ c prepared yellow mustard (you should use French’s)

7 Tbsp brown sugar

8 Tbsp tomato paste

5 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp cayenne

½ tsp ground black pepper

½ tsp granulated garlic

Whisk all the ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat.  Simmer until the sugar is dissolved.  Don’t overcook.  Remove from the heat and let cool.  Pour into a sterilized glass jar.  Refrigerate between uses.

Makes about 2 cups.


If you were wondering, my modification suggests adding 5 Tbsp honey.