A groovy plant: Rhodocoma capensis

A groovy plant: Rhodocoma capensis

Rhodocoma capensis aka Cape Restio is described by our friends at Xera Plants thusly: “Light textured perennial from South Africa, this species forms a 6′ fountain of stems like giant green feather dusters. Resembles bamboo and grass—though related to neither. Full sun in well drained acid soil–amend with bark, no fertilizer or compost. Regular H2O. Dies to the ground below 15 °F. Returns from the base in spring.”

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blades of garden: earning their keep

blades of garden: earning their keep

I admit, I’ve been avoiding the garden, Oh, it’s been warm enough to be out there, and I’m at least keeping my bird feeders full. The problem is, every time I go out there, I see weeds. And I’m not done with my inside projects. So many test colors on so many wall. Ai yi yi.

The picture atop this post is from several seasons ago in my Alameda Hellstrip. I loved that combination, especially the Phormium, which is sadly no longer with us.

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Punica granatum ‘Eight Ball’ ?

Punica granatum ‘Eight Ball’ ?

The great thing about walking the neighborhood is you see things you might miss from the car. I’d noticed this particular garden because it has the most exquisitely pruned Sambucus. And truth be told, I’ve been hoping to catch the pruner in the act–so I can offer to clear some of the pruned bits. Rumor has it that it’s easy plant to propagate. And I’m ready to give it a try.

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Zucchini Blitz: Vanilla Salted Caramel Breakfast Milkshake

Zucchini Blitz: Vanilla Salted Caramel Breakfast Milkshake

Here we are again, the time of year when there’s a bottomless pile of zucchini on the counter. Last year I said there’s no such thing as too much zucchini, and I stand by it, but I’ll admit there are moments where doubt creeps in. You have to keep remembering what a miracle it is, how many ways you can use it.

This week’s biggest hit was the vanilla salted caramel breakfast milkshake. A surplus of zucchini isn’t so scary when you remember how versatile it can be. Its flavor is so neutral, it’s easy to turn it into desert. Healthy desert. No refined sugar, no dairy. Ready to go in 5 minutes.
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Grocery shopping in a Zanzibar Market

Grocery shopping in a Zanzibar Market

It can be challenging as a tourist and get a sense for local life and culture. It’s always a bit awkward when you’re stopping to photograph something that seems novel to you, while the people around you are just in a hurry to get on with their day and some tourist is in the way making a big deal of something that seems mundane and trivial to a local.

Sometimes there’s just no getting around it. You are a tourist. You don’t know where you’re going or how anything works. It certainly gives you an appreciation for the people you see at home struggling with the parking meters, or whatever the tourist tell is in your city.

I’m shy and anxious and don’t like people to see me fumbling with something I don’t know how to do, but I like to see where people buy their food. In some ways it’s a universal experience. You get to see locals working and shopping. You get to see what grows where, and what’s in season. Plus you find alien looking produce that perhaps expands your palette when you get back home.
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The Front Yard Food Revolution comes to my neighborhood

The Front Yard Food Revolution comes to my neighborhood

It’s been quite exciting, watching new planter boxes go up all around me. For a couple of weeks it seemed every day’s dog-walk yielded a new development. Then came the plants, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, strawberries, lettuces, kale…no wonder I’d come home hungry. Now that we’re almost in June (!) things are starting to settle down and I’m having fun watching things grow…

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Use the Whole Pumpkin

Use the Whole Pumpkin

I love all of October, especially Halloween. It’s so much fun to see jack-o’-lanterns and their spooky friends turning up on porches. But me, I’m not a big fan of pumpkin carving. Especially step one, where you find yourself up to your elbows in seeds and stringy pumpkin guts, wondering if you’ll ever get it all so you can get on with the fun part.

And then you have the matter of the pumpkin seeds. Crazy good for you. You should absolutely eat them every chance you get. So delicious salted and roasted. And such a pain in the bum to clean and dry and prep for cooking.

In my fantasy life, I’d have time to spend an afternoon on a cooking project, and I’d pull those slippery seeds out of that mess and enjoy roasted seeds all squash season long. In real life, I usually put them in a bowl for “later” and then throw them away when they’re moldy. I hate throwing away good food! So I am pretty excited I found a way to use those pumpkin parts, without having to cure my case of kitchen laziness.

Bear with me here, I know eating pumpkin guts sounds a little weird and a lot hippie. So let me give you a sneak peak of where this is heading. Chocolate cupcakes in your future.
chocolate pumpkin milk cupcake on skull cake

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Don’t worry, eat cauliflower

Don’t worry, eat cauliflower

First, let me apologize if I got a certain relentlessly cheery 1980s pop song stuck in your head with the blog title. I’ve been punished, it’s now stuck in mine.

There were two things that came across my field of vision recently that led me to this earworm. First, an article on NPR warned me that freaking out about getting stuck in traffic could kill you just as dead as more major life stressors, so stop it. I don’t really freak out about matters of traffic  (anymore), but I am guilty of overbooking, chronically running late, and getting all worked up with guilt and anxiety. Hey, did I mention I meant to post this yesterday? Ahem.

Just as I was worrying about worrying, I stumbled across a happy little factoid about cruciferous vegetables significantly reducing mortality rates. I googled here and there and didn’t find consensus on the math of cruciferous super powers , but it seems we can all agree on some degree of less-dying when we eat these tasty veggies. I may not have mastered the anxiety free brain, but I’m covered when it comes to gobbling up cauliflower and friends.
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