Welcome to Bepa's Garden!
This blog is about organic gardening, healthy eating and healthy living.
Each month I will be posting Garden To-Do Lists, Tips & Techniques, Garden Project Plans, Photos from the Garden, Recipes and Book Reviews.
I hope you enjoy reading and I hope I can inspire others to start a backyard garden!
Happy Gardening!
~Rob~

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf




Last week was cold and blustery and we had a hankering from some real comfort food. Growing up we used to have meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, but not that we are vegetarians actual meatloaf was definitely out of the question.  

My wife has made lentil loaf several times in the past, but it doesn't really taste very good (sorry honey), so after doing a Google search for vegan meatloaf, I can across a recipe posted on eat, live, run that looked pretty good.

I was hopeful that this would turn out fairly good. Lately we have come across several recipes such as raw tacos and vegan meatballs that use walnuts in place of meat and those dishes are extremely delicious! 

We made this for dinner last week and were blown away by how tasty it was! 
This is by far the best meat(less) loaf we have had!

Ingredients:

1 cup green lentils
3 cups vegetable stock or broth
1 large yellow onion
1 large carrot
1 stalk celery
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup breadcrumbs
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3 tbsp ground flax mixed with 1/2 cup water
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

for topping -

2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine the ground flax and 1/2 cup water and set aside.

Simmer together the lentils, broth and a pinch of salt for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender and have absorbed all the broth.

Prepare your veggies. Chop the onion, grate the carrot and dice the celery. Saute the onion and celery in the olive oil over medium high heat for six minutes or until tender, not caramelized. Add the garlic and carrot and cook for about four minutes.

Toast the walnuts in the oven for six to seven minutes. Add them to the onion/carrot/garlic mixture and stir well.

Add the oregano, salt and pepper as well and take the mixture off the stove and transfer to a large bowl.

Add the breadcrumbs, flax/water and cooked lentils and toss well. Press the mixture into a greased loaf pan and set aside while you make the topping.

In another small bowl combine the ketchup, maple syrup and vinegar. Spread on top of the loaf and bake for 40 minutes.

We served it with mashed potatoes, vegan gravy and broccoli and it really hit the spot on that cold blustery day! This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Product Review: Light Footsteps Salves



I love hand-made, all-natural and earth friendly products and prefer to use them over chemical based ones. I also believe in supporting small businesses so I have decided to do a "Product Review" post whenever I come across a product that I believe is "really good"!

The first product I would like to review is White Pine Oil Salve and St. John's Wort & Comfrey Salve made by Christine of Light Footsteps

I purchased some salves from Christine's ETSY store as Christmas gifts for my wife and daughters. They are all big chap stick users, but don't like the sticky feeling commercial products leave on their lips, so I thought this would make a nice gift. I purchased the St. John's Wort & Comfrey Salves and they absolutely loved them! 

This particular salve is made with "Olive Oil infused with St. John's Wort and Comfrey, Beeswax and Vitamin E and aids in the healing of cuts, scrapes and chapped skin or lips". It comes in a very nice 1 oz. tin and is easy to apply. The salve doesn't leave a greasy feeling like other products and really moistens and heals chapped lips and dry skin. My family loves this product so much that I had to order more so they could each have their own tin to carry with them. I also loved it so I ordered the Whit Pine Oil Salve for myself. I use it whenever I come in from chopping firewood and it works extremely well soothing and relieving my chapped hands. I prefer the Whit Pine Oil because it has more of a masculine scent.

I love this product for several reasons. It is made with all natural ingredients, it is made by someone who cares about green living and has a passion for saving the planet (check out Christine's blog), and it works so much better than the commercial products!

I highly recommend Light Footsteps Salves. 
They are awesome, healthy products and would make great gifts!


I have created a "Really Good Things" page on my website where I will be listing hand-made, all-natural and earth friendly products with links to their websites. If you are a home-based or small business and have a handmade product that falls into this category, feel free to contact me about being included in the listings!

~Rob~

Shared at: 

The backyard farming Connection

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Is this winter or spring?




It's January, but it sure feels more like April. I keep thinking I need to hurry up and plan the gardens, order seeds and start to get ready to fill the greenhouse with seedlings! I have to keep reminding myself that I still have plenty of time to get all that done. 

During the winter, I usually like to sit in front of the wood stove with my garden plan and seed catalogs, dreaming about what to plant in this year's gardens, or catch up on my winter reading, but with the temps in the 50's I don't seem to be in the mood to do that. Instead I feel like I should be building the new greenhouse or fencing in the garden (in my head I can hear my wife saying, "how about building the kitchen you've been promising me for 5 years?"), but I know as soon as I start (the garden not the kitchen) it will turn colder and probably snow.

This year, as one of my goals, I am going to try and grow as much of our own food as possible. I have several great resources to guide me including:

by Carleen Madigan

by John Jeavons

by John Jeavons, J. Mogador Griffin and Robin Leler

and
by David Duhon

I am excited to see how much I can actually grow on our 1/4 acre lot! I will be keeping a blog journal to track the progress and see what kind of yields we end up with and hopefully we can move closer to our goal of becoming even more self-sufficient.

 ~Rob~


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Scenes from the Garden (1/6/13)...


Buds in lilac bush, waiting for spring.
 It's only January 6th, but for some reason it feels later in the year. Maybe it's because other bloggers are posting their garden plans or because it's almost 40 degrees and sunny today, but I feel like I am already behind on planning the gardens. I have most of my seeds purchased and many saved from last year, but I still need to draw up my new garden plans and calculate exactly what I will be planting.

This year the plan is to expand the garden to 1000 sq. ft and try to grow as much of our own food as possible. Luckily I have several local organic farmers markets to make up for what I can't grow, but the hope is to become as self-sufficient as possible. Another goal is to build a 2nd larger greenhouse to start flowers and seedlings to sell at the local farmers markets. If we keep having these warm days I may be able to cross that one off my list soon!

Arugula in the mini-greenhouse.

Lavender still growing next to the greenhouse.
Leeks left in the ground from last fall.
Garlic poking up through the snow
Onions overwintering in their protective cages.
Ernie cleaning himself, enjoying the warmer weather.
I just have to remember that it's only the beginning of January and there are still many more days of winter to get through before it's time to start seeds for this year's garden.

The sign that hangs on my greenhouse.

Vegan Sushi



Vegan sushi is a favorite in our house. It is very easy to make and is delicious served alone or with the toasted sesame oil dipping sauce. Our girls love this sushi so much they gather in the kitchen to eat the end cuts every time we make it! 

Ingredients:

2 cups sushi rice
3 cups water
2 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
2 tbsp. brown rice syrup
1 tsp. salt 
1 pkg Sushi Nori Sheets

sliced carrots
sliced peppers
avocado 
*or any other vegetable you like, we have even added marinated tofu.

*Optional dipping sauce:

1/4 cup Nama Shoyu
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. agave syrup
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil

-mix all ingredients together in a glass mixing bowl.

Directions:

  • Cook sushi rice and water in a rice cooker or by following the directions on package.
  • In sauce pan, heat seasoned rice vinegar, brown rice syrup and salt until syrup is melted.
  • Mix vinegar mixture with cooked sushi rice and "paddle" until cool.
  • Spread some sushi rice mixture on a nori sheet.
  • Add sliced peppers, carrots and avocado.

  • Roll up Nori sheet tightly, sealing edge with a little water.


  • Slice into 3/4" slices and serve!