Brown Thumb Herb Garden: Week Two

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Harvey guards the herbs. They still look great, which is good, but maybe it’s too soon to tell? My oxalis looks better now that I’ve re-positioned it so that it has to perk up to reach the sun! Slowly but surely it is looking more vertical than horizontal. I’ve been watering them every 2-3 days, and not a whole lot each time, just enough to moisten the dry spots. I’m not sure this is perfect plant parenting but it seems to be working so far!

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Brown Thumb Herb Garden

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transplanted herbs

My new container herb garden!

I have a notoriously brown thumb! I have killed even the hardiest of plants. But – I am turning over a new leaf! (Puntastic… I know…) I’m told that container gardening, especially for herbs is plenty easy. And my new apartment has this nifty greenhouse-like area in it so… no more excuses! I transplanted these guys today and will keep you posted on the outcome! For now, they smell and look great!

Here’s what I did:

I bought rosemary, thyme, sage, basil and parsley (not pictured) in biodegradable pots. I soaked each pot in water for a few minutes and filled each container 1/3 full with Miracle Gro Organic Potting Soil. I set each herb in a ceramic, draining pot and filled around the biodegradable container with potting soil. Packed down the potting soil and lightly covered the top of the plant. Then I placed them in a window and admired them!

Had I not been SO excited, I would have done some online research on transplanting herbs in biodegradable pots, but c’est la vie!

Roasted Root Veggies


A comforting side dish for chilly fall nights, I love roasting a variety of vegetables this time of year.  This type of dish is very easy to prepare, and lends itself well to customization.  Experiment with different vegetables and various seasonings to make your perfect dish!

ROASTED ROOT VEGGIES – general recipe and recommendations

onions – cut into wedges

garlic – whole bulbs or cut larger bulbs in half

potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, golden beets, parsnips, turnips, carrots, etc. – cut into large cubes or wedges

potentially fennel bulbs – cut into wedges

shallots – whole or cut largers bulbs in half

rosemary, thyme, oregano, chili and black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, place veggies in a baking pan/sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, toss with a tbs of rosemary, a tsp of time, a tsp of black pepper, and a few shakes oregano and chili powder, (a tsp of sea salt optional), make sure all the veggies are coated in olive oil, bake for about 45 minutes, stirring everything well once or twice during cooking.

Eat as-is or drizzle with a bit of balsamic vinegar! YUM!

Spice up your life!


Many people shy away from healthy foods because they have had bad experiences with flavorless cuisine.

I can’t count the number of times someone has told me that they don’t like tofu or kale, when really they just haven’t had a properly seasoned tofu or kale dish.  Many foods have naturally subdued tastes, taking on the flavor qualities of whatever herbs and spices you add to them.  Having your pantry well stocked with fresh seasonings can make healthy cooking a snap.

In addition to being delicious, many culinary herbs have anti-inflammatory properties, aid in increasing circulation and promoting detoxification, are packed with anti-oxidants, and even have anti-cancer properties.  With the exception of salt, you can spice and season to your heart’s content!

Salt – The best kinds of salt for your body are mineral rich sea salts.  These have been minimally processed and retain the natural coloration from the mineral content of their particular region of the world.  There are many types on the market, ranging from simple and inexpensive to extraordinarily gourmet.  Two of my favorites are Himalayan pink sea salt (which can add gorgeous color to spice blends and rubs) and smoked sea salt, which adds a delectable smoky flavor to food.  Sodium intake should be limited, so add your other seasonings first, taste your food, and then lightly salt as necessary.

Dried herbs – To get the most flavor out of your dried herbs, it can be beneficial to find a store that sells herbs in bulk jars.  Generally at these stores there is good product turnaround to assure you get the freshest herbs.  You can often see and smell the difference.  More recently dried herbs will have more vibrant color and more fragrant oils than old, stale herbs, and therefore, more flavor.  A second perk to buying from a bulk jar is that you may purchase just a little bit, if you are looking to experiment with a new spice.  If you like the results, you can always come back and buy a full jar.  Sometimes seasonings are available in powdered form or a larger, less processed form.  If you find you have the time and drive, you can powder your own seasonings at home with a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder.  This gives you even more flavor in your powdered seasonings.

Fresh herbs – The most flavorful herbs are fresh herbs.  This is because of the volatile essential oils that are present in the highest quantity in a fresh herb.  These oils are what give the plant its characteristic scent and taste.  You can buy many fresh herbs at the supermarket, or your local farmers market, or grow your own.  In the early fall, the harvest is particularly great for rosemary, sage and thyme.  Fresh herbs can be diced and added to food, or made into a delicious pesto.  You can freeze fresh herbs or pestos for use throughout the year.  You can also dry your fresh herbs at home.

Pepper – Fresh cracked black peppercorns are infinitely more flavorful than store bought ground black pepper.  Investing in a pepper mill will up your flavor potential significantly.  Beyond black pepper, there are many types of hot peppers available whole and dried or already ground into a powder.  I will frequently use cayenne powder, red chili flakes, and chipotle powder in my cooking.  Chipotle powder gives spicy, smoky flavor to whatever you add it to.  Try it with beans, meats, or on popcorn.

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