Archive for June, 2011

2011 Garden Checklist: July

July, 2011 Garden Checklist

If you like to garden even a tiny bit July has got to be one of your favorite months! For those of us here in the Midwest life seems to slow down some with the summer heat wave and yet all our hard planning, weeding, and watering is finally paying off.


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Fresh & Local: Nowakowski Sweet Corn Farm


Our July Fresh & Local comes a little bit early but I wanted to make sure you had time to take advantage of this seasonal treat (especially for The Fourth)! Last year was my first visit to the Nowakowski Sweet Corn Farm and although it has been a completely insane summer I could not and simply would not miss this yearly opportunity to stock my freezer with fresh sweet corn.

The Nowakowski’s great grand parents originally started in Mcloud, OK in 1948, built a barn in 1951, and were officially established at their current location in 1962. In 1978 they began experimenting with different corn varieties in their garden until they found a favored seed type.

Often called “The Sweet Corn Man”, Greg Nowakowski, is shown with his son Josh and his two grandsons. They help run the family farm from everything to sweet corn, wheat, soy bean, hay, and even a small patch of pumpkins and gords!

The Nowakowski’s own and rent more farm land then they can keep track of. It’s hard to believe that some of the land they have been renting for the past 67 years! Still to this day their “contract” remains the same… an honest word and a good handshake.

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This vs. That: Baby Food


Feeding our children sure made me take a second look at labels and what I was putting into their mouths as well as our own. How about you? This month I’m listing some differences between buying your own fresh food to make/create baby food at home vs. purchasing the packaged food you find at the stores. One principal to remember when eating any food is the order of nutritional value: Fresh food has the highest nutrient content, frozen is next best, and canned/jarred food has the lowest value of nutrients. Yours and your children’s health will reflect the choices you make in the nutrient content of the food you eat/prepare.

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Date on a Dime: Love, Romance, Nature and… COMPETITION!


So we’re off!! Off on another great adventure of love, romance, nature and… COMPETITION! Hopefully you and the love of your life fit somewhere comfortably between “competitive” and “laid-back”… up for a little gaming action, but not so serious about winning that you can’t enjoy a small loss.

We decided to start off this date as a team, spurring each other on in the beautiful surrounds of early summer. A nice bike ride down the local trail inspired us on the beauty of life and gave us a time to unwind from a busy week. Not to be overlooked in this set of events, is the infamous “stop to smell the roses”. Or in our case, the California Poppies. There really is just something about breaking in the middle of a mission to stop and take in the bountiful beauty around us. We continued on to our special destination… a picnic table. Not only did this table provide a nice place to eat our packed lunch, but it provided our entertainment of choice: Checkers!

Bike ride = free

If you don’t own bikes and have nobody to borrow them from, a stroll along a trail or through a park should give you a similar experience.

Packed Lunch = $5

(Apples and cheese, nuts, PB&Js and plenty of water!)

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Creatives Near You: Ali [Gimme Some Oven]


Meet Ali. When she’s not busy with her musician career (worship leader, musician, arranger, choir director) she’s busy writing and taking photos of her yummy recipes on her cooking blog;  “Gimme Some Oven”. Ali’s the type of girl that loves people and any excuse to entertain. She grew up with a family of entertainers and creatives that cherish family and believe there is nothing like a good meal around the dinning room table. Believe me I’ve had the pleasure of sharing some of those meals with her family (including AMAZING homemade cheesecake) and in college you could always avoid the school cafeteria by “stopping by” Ali’s apartment around dinner time! ;)

Q1. How did you get started cooking?

I had the great luck to grow up in the kitchen alongside my mom, who is and talented, creative, and very resourceful home cook. She had dinner on the table for our family to enjoy together most nights of the week, and instilled in each of us an appreciation for healthy, well-balanced meals (always followed by dessert!!).

But for better or worse, I didn’t really develop my own passion for cooking until college. It was there that –- after the novelty of all-you-can-eat fried food and ice cream wore off -– I was finally motivated to learn the basics!!  Thankfully, I had plenty of willing taste-testers around. (Quickly learned that college students will come over instantly at the mention of homemade food!) And while my roommates would affirm that there were definitely plenty of hilarious cooking disasters along the way, it was a blast and I learned a ton those years.

During that time, I also discovered what an absolute blessing it is to have your home filled with friends, enjoying a meal you have prepared. I still think there’s nothing better.  :)

Q2. Define what makes a meal great?

I love-love-love exploring new restaurants, especially in Kansas City. But without a doubt, homemade meals will always be my favorite.

As for what makes those meals “great”, I most enjoy meals that are good all around – good for you (fresh, healthy ingredients), good for your schedule (which in my world usually means 30-minute meals!), good for your community (buying local when you can)…and occasionally, good for your sweet tooth (YUM). I also gravitate towards ethnic foods, so anything with lots of spices/herbs is an extra plus in my book.

Q3. What has been the most rewarding part about blogging your food adventures?

When I began blogging, my main hope was just to create a nice “little” archive of my favorite recipes, and maybe learn a little about photography in the process. (And I thought it would be a plus if my family or a few friends tuned in!)

Little did I know how quickly word spreads on the Internet, and what amazing and encouraging readers I would soon connect with from all over the world. To this day, it still boggles my mind people from all over the world tune in to my little site. It has been so fun getting to know them!

But I’d have to say that I think that the best “reward” of blogging (that still surprises me whenever I hear it) is having someone tell me that they made one of my recipes. Such a humbling honor.

Q4. What advice do you have for others interested in starting a food blog?

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Garden Finds: Seed Bombs


1. ucommongoods (get these at SHOP GOOD) 2. Growing Grenade (just loved this image) 3. Green Aid 4. Flower Grenade 5. uncommongoods 6. Seed Ballz (get these at STASH)

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One Year Polka Dot Party


So here we are 1 year from the start. Last year this time we posted about new beginnings, and told a story about a little snail and our first leap into full-time self-employment. Well that little snail isn’t so little anymore, and it’s not something we can protect as much as it’s something we try to keep up with. Right there with us is our beautiful niece Ember who, it just so happens, is turning 1. We spent the weekend in Tulsa for her birthday and were amazed at how much the little snail had grown.

Leave it to a new mom to have the party of the century for her little girl. Everything was in circles…hmmm is she trying to say something about her little ball of joy? She is definitely running us in circles.

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