18 Apr 1013: Tropical Chia Pudding and Garden of Edible Delights

raised bed with cilantro, spinach and strawberries

I don’t have a photo of the kids’ lunches today, because, when I took the photos the camera’s memory card was in my computer. Hmm, I guess that’s what that poorly designed, incomprehensible red icon that I didn’t recognize on the camera back meant. Whoops. I can tell you that I made a delicious new chia pudding.

Tropical Chia Pudding

  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 banana
  • a cup-ish of mango chunks (I used frozen)
  • a half cup-ish of pineapple chunks (I used frozen)
  • handful of spinach leaves (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds

Puree all ingredients except the chia seeds. I used my trusty Vitamix, which makes everything super smooth. Stir the chia seeds into the delicious blended tropical smoothie and chill in the fridge overnight.

This is a fabulous, rich and creamy vegan pudding. I served it with a half whole wheat bagel sunflower seed butter and jam sandwich. I also packed half a banana in each lunch. Mmm.

And, now, for a little Friday garden tour.

The front yard:

salad box: kale and garlic
salad box: kale and garlic

This box has several varieties of kale and lettuce. After many failed attempts, I finally have a nice batch of lacinato kale growing out front. However, I’m sure it will soon be infested with aphids.

volunteer veggies along the hopscotch squares
volunteer veggies along the hopscotch squares

Because we are incompetent at composting, we have all sorts of random veggies popping up around the yard. Here is some lettuce and what I think is a pumpkin (or maybe a zucchini plant?) growing alongside the kids’ hopscotch squares.

The side yard:

artichokes going gangbusters
artichokes going gangbusters

A few years ago, I planted three small artichokes in our front side yard. I got the plants from my friend Sky when she was thinning out the amazing artichokes that she planted in her front yard. Artichokes must love the climate here, because they grow like crazy in crap soil with very little water and fertilizer. Right now, these artichokes are taller than me and they are going gangbusters. You see that big one that’s starting to open? It should have already been picked, cooked and eaten because artichokes are best when the buds are still closed up tight.

ripe oranges in the tree
ripe oranges in the tree

When we started looking for a house in SLO, I was hoping to find something with mature citrus trees. And, as luck with have it, our ridiculously over-priced modest little 60s tract home came with two big gorgeous orange trees (a navel and a valencia) in the side yard. We have so many oranges right now that we can’t keep up with them.

raspberry bush
raspberry bush

I am crazy about raspberries. I think raspberries may be my favorite thing on earth. My Nanny Yetman makes a raspberry jam with wild Newfoundland raspberries that would blow your mind. My mom planted raspberries in Nebraska and babied those bushes for months, so we could have fresh raspberries in our cereal. A couple of years ago we built a box just for raspberries, because, no surprise, the kiddos are raspberry fiends. The little raspberries are just starting to form on this big, unruly bush and I can hardly wait for them to grow and ripen.

raised bed with cilantro, spinach and strawberries
raised bed with cilantro, spinach and strawberries

This bed is underneath the orange trees and filled with strawberries, arugula, spinach, cilantro and basil. I haven’t had much luck with strawberries; the snails seem to get them as soon as they turn red. But, I keep trying. It also appears that something is attacking my spinach. So it goes with organic gardening: it’s a constant struggle against vermin. At least the cilantro is thriving.

The back yard:

raised bed with eggplant, peppers, carrots, celery and onions
raised bed with eggplant, peppers, carrots, celery and onions

This is our biggest raised bed (about 8 feet x 4 feet) and we’ve had the worst luck with it. I’m always planting stuff in here that completely fails. I just pulled out four sad little cauliflower plants. I’m hopeful that the warm weather crops will do better. The eggplant on the left is looking pretty good. I’m not so sure about that little pepper on the right. I’m also trying to grow celery for the first time. I actually hate celery (blech!), but the kiddos like it. Especially Iain.

climbing beans
climbing beans

I put in these beans about a month ago. Look at those climbers! Beans are the most magical of plants, no? The little short guys on the right are edamame. I’ve never grown those either, so we’ll see how it goes. I’ve had okay luck with beans.

red freckles lettuce
red freckles lettuce

Lettuce is another one of those things that I’ve killed like crazy. I’m pretty sure it’s due to lack of water and too much sun. But this gorgeous variety—red freckles—has been doing extremely well. It is the best lettuce ever. The flavor is nice and mild and the ribs are very thin. I just love being able to go outside and pick my salad.

tomatoes
tomatoes

A week ago, I bought my tomato plants at Cal Poly’s annual tomato extravaganza: Tomatomania. I still haven’t put all of them in the ground, because I filled up my tomato beds and need to find more space. We go through a lot of tomatoes. I got all sorts of crazy varieties at Cal Poly: things like Black Cherry, Red Zebra, Pink Torbay, Isis Candy, etc. Most tomatoes don’t even make it in the house, because the kiddos graze on them while playing in the back yard.

dwarf meyer lemon tree
dwarf meyer lemon tree

We have planted several dwarf citrus trees around the house: meyer lemon, satsuma, calamondin, Mexican lime, and bearss lime. It seems to take a few years before these little trees start producing fruit. I think it stresses them out to get moved from containers into the ground. Citrus trees are sensitive that way. After about five years, this little meyer tree is finally content and producing big, full-sized lemons.

little blueberry bush
little blueberry bush

This little blueberry bush was a Christmas present. It’s still small, but berries are already starting to form.

herbs: rosemary, mint and thyme
herbs: rosemary, mint and thyme

We have herbs growing all over the place: in beds, in pots, in the ground. The mint plant in the middle is new, because I’ve learned my lesson with mint: it must be contained or it will take over the entire yard.

If you’re wondering, our yard is not enormous. We’ve tucked raised bads in little corners and planted edibles in random places where there was once grass (like the parking strips next to the sidewalk where the kale is). It’s amazing how many things you can grow in a small space.