“…gonna kick it root down!”

It’s Fiesta Friday, and The Novice Gardener throws a wicked party! I’m wearing a leopard baby doll dress, hot pink jelly shoes, three slap bracelets, and the biggest Aqua Net bang wave you’ve ever seen. And what’s more is that the Beastie Boys “Root Down” is bumping in the background. I’m partying like it’s 1994. And, my friends, this song is the inspiration for these roasted, locally-grown golden beets. I hope my bangs don’t catch on fire.

Look, there’s a party goin’ on, and I don’t want to waste this outfit in the kitchen. This recipe is a quick and dirty one, so I’ll be flirting with the cute boy in one-strapped overalls and a Kangol bucket hat in no time. See him over there drinking a Zima? He’s all mine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound golden beets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Large pinch of sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper to taste

Method:

Peel and quarter the beets.

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Toss all ingredients in a non-stick oven-safe vessel.

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Roast for 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven until the beets start caramelizing.

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That’s it! Sweet, tender, earthy, sexy beets. These root veggies have my heart, and the simpler they’re prepared, the better.

Now where’s that cutie? Oh no, really?!? He left with the girl in the cropped velour blazer and high-waisted Bongo jeans? Seriously? Oh, I get it. She drives a Miata.

Who wants the next dance? The Beastie Boys are on again, and it’s totally my song!

My Secret Life as a Granola Pusher

Happy Fiesta Friday, everyone! My name is Jenna, I own Happy-Go-Lucky Granola, and my Fridays are crazy. For the past two months, I’ve baked lots and lots of vegan and organic granola products for the City Island Farmer’s Market in Downtown Daytona Beach, Florida. Happy-Go-Lucky Granola is my pride and joy. It’s also a source of near exhaustion, but, friends, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s my hectic, yet amazing, reality.

These are my granola bars…

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This was my first day at the market (and things have changed a lot since then)…

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These are my friends that come to buy, nosh, and chat…

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This is my happy-go-lucky life.

Happy Fiesta Friday, friends,

Jenna

Pretty Purple Vegan Cabbage Slaw

Being a foodie definitely has its perks. I’m often the recipient of food stuff that friends purchase and realize they’ll never use. Gold beets? Sure. Twenty pounds of AP flour? Absolutely. Stunning head of magenta-colored cabbage? Bring it on.

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This cabbage, my friends, is the reason for this rainbow-colored vegan delight. It couldn’t be any easier of a recipe, and any excuse to use a mandolin slicer just about makes my day. It could also be adapted for the paleo diet if you nix the salt and sugar. Truth be told, the veggies probably have enough sweetness on their own, but I really dig the sweet/tangy flavor combo, so I do it up with no shame. And the salt is essential for helping the other flavors pop.

Ready for this? Don’t blink.

Ingredients:

  • half head purple cabbage, roughly chopped
  • half yellow bell pepper, julienned
  • half green bell pepper, julienned
  • one large carrot, thinly sliced
  • half sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar

Method:

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Fold to incorporate the wet and dry items together. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

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There. Done.

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Happy and healthy eating, my friends,

Jenna

Garlicky and Lemony No-Fail Kale

This stuff isn’t just a garnish, people. (…although I admittedly used to think so.) If Popeye only knew about this super veggie, he’d be singing a different song…one that rhymes with kale. I understand why kale recipes are everywhere. This leafy relative of broccoli and cauliflower is easy to prepare, can be eaten raw or cooked, is very versatile, and is loaded with oodles of vitamins and minerals. And did I mention it’s delicious?

Last night, I was tuckered out. I spent five hours gardening (not the casual, flower-picking, clean fingernail kind of gardening either). I hauled bags of soil, turned compost, pulled impossible weeds, planted flowers, sewed seeds, potted up, and then had to put all the stuff away. Dinner was the last thing I wanted to do, but we gotta eat, right?

I ended up making seared tiger prawns with Israeli couscous and (drumroll, please) kale. But ignore the first two parts of this meal; the kale stole the show. Fresh lemon, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes, and sea salt turned this sturdy green veggie into a robust, bright, melt-in-your-mouth, amazing side dish. What’s more is that it took less than five minutes to make.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound organic kale, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (click here for a time saving tip)
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup water

Method:

Place olive oil and garlic in a large skillet. Bring heat to medium.

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Add the chopped kale to pan and give a good stir.

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Add the water and place the lid on the pan. This will help steam and soften the kale.

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Cut a fresh lemon and enjoy the smell.

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Remove the lid after about a minute and squeeze the lemon juice into the pan (avoiding the seeds). Also add the red pepper flakes and sea salt. Stir again.

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Once the majority of the water has evaporated, the kale is done. Magical, isn’t it?

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Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary.

That’s it. That’s really all. I promise.

Happy and healthful eating, everyone!

Some Bunny is Happy…

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…and that bunny is me. A couple of weeks ago, I posted about teeny, tiny carrots. Now I’m going to bestow you with a warm and fuzzy, so brace yourself. My mom and aunt, who happen to be adorable identical twins, we’re visiting from South Florida, and they know I love, love, love to garden. While they were getting the nickel tour, my mom picked one of the carrots and practically had a giggle fit over it. So, regardless of whether they (the carrots, not the twins) were ready or not, it was time for them to be harvested. I wanted to pick the crop of Short and Sweets…together. Why? Because my grandpa, their father, was an organic gardener back in the 50s (and even subscribed to Organic Gardening magazine) way before organic was en vogue. I knew this would bring back happy memories. And it did.

This could be one of my favorite family moments. While we may have pulled a lot of tasty carrots, nothing will compare to the memories we’ve made.

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As always, happy gardening, my friends.

– Jenna