Sunday, February 27, 2011

Spring Garden 2011 and Greek Salad Recipe

So, here it is. Our spring garden! The kids are so proud of it. Hubs and I did all the prepping and tiling of the soil, then the children did all the planting. The two of them were so funny this morning. First thing, they wanted to go outside to see if the garden had grown any overnight. They are at great ages to experience the fun of growing your own food, so we did plants that are very much a part of our cooking. We can make a true Greek salad from our own backyard! We planted cucumbers, two types of tomatoes, sweet onions, and strawberries. A lemon tree and an orange tree too. We also planted herbs.....rosemary (for chicken), mint (for fasolakia and mojitos), chives (for potato soup), basil (for our tomatoes), and oregano (for just about everything).

Thanks for the advice from those of you who called. Apparently, even though we don't talk on the phone as often as we could, Jennifer and I are still running on the same wave length. (: Hopefully, she will be motivated to do a blog post of some photos of her garden that she is planning with her boys this Spring. Hint Hint.

Here's our families Greek salad recipe. Funny, it has no lettuce, but it's called a "salad" This is a staple in our home, and is served at least twice a week.

4 large tomatoes, cubed
1 hot house cucumber (the funny shaped ones), chopped
1/2 of a medium sized red onion, sliced
2 tsp dried oregano
generous pinch of salt
5 turns of a pepper mill
1/2 cup good olive oil
4 ounces good feta cheese, we like the brand Vigo

Combine all ingredients, and mix well with your hands. Let sit at room temperature for a few minutes to allow flavors to combine. Serve with french bread toasted on the grill for dipping into juices at the bottom of the bowl. YUM!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lemon Berry Tart

My friend and worship team leader at church gave me a compilation of her favorite recipes as a Christmas gift last year. Instead of using a tart pan, I used my mini tart pans, and they came out so cute. This recipe is DELISH, and very appropriate for Spring. If you are looking for something that is easy, with great presentation, this is it! Also, it's been my experience that all men love it, so keep it in mind for Fathers Day. Thanks for the recipe Melinda!

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cups butter, softened
1 egg

1/2 cup lemon curd (found in the jelly aisle)
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all cookie crust ingredients until dough forms. Press firmly and evenly against the bottom and sides of 11 inch tart pan. (You can use a cookie sheet, just make a circle with raised edges.) Bake 10-12 minutes or until done. Cool completely before filling. Meanwhile, beat lemon curd and sort cream cheese until smooth. Spread over cooled crust. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Top with cleaned berries just before serving.

Anyone have any Vegetable Garden Tips?

We have a great spot in our backyard to plant a garden. We didn't plant anything last year, because I knew we would be heading to Greece for a month and no one would be here to care for it. Now that the kids are older, we would like to take on more than just Tomatoes. Anyone have any tips or suggestions of veggies that are easy and plentiful? Amanda Lily wants to plant broccoli. I was thinking about cucumbers and tomatoes for salad.
Here's a photo of the land we have. George dug it up and built a small wall around it for us a few years back, and as you can see, there is MUCH work to be done. I've already pulled up the weeds, and Hubs tilled it for me. I know I need to work lots of manure and fertilizer into the soil before planting. I would like to have it all planted by this weekend. Any advice is very welcomed!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentines Day

This year for Valentines Day, I helped out with the party in Amanda Lily's class. She wore a T shirt that I had an Etsy friend make back when Steven was in Ms Keyes' class. It says "I heart Ms Keyes" Shut the front is c-u-t-e! I found this photo of Steven wearing it on Valentines Day back in 2009. Ms Keyes was thrilled once again, 2 years later. We had a fun time in class, then I took a pizza party over to Steven's school. I didn't get to spend as much time in his new classroom as I would have liked, but I'm certain in the future I will. He bought a special Valentine for a girl in his class named Sarah Ruth. This is the first year he has ever admitted to having a real "Valentine". He told me to make sure the box of candy didn't say "I love you" on it. He says he doesn't want to ever say that until he gets married. Only time will tell.

George brought a dozen roses to Amanda Lily at school. She was so surprised and happy. I was too, because they called her to the office while I was in class with her, and I was kind of nervous about why. She returned to class with a grin from ear to ear, and her flowers. It made my heart happy that he did that for her. It was all his idea. What a sweet Daddy he is. He didn't forget me, either. There was a gorgeous bouquet of pink tulips delivered to me at the restaurant. Tulips are my absolute favorite. It was a wonderful Valentines Day for the Kountanis'.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Finally like Florida again....kind of

Last weekend was the start of weather we Floridians are accustomed to. (I have no idea what happened this winter, but all I can say is brrrrrrrrrrr) I'm such a solar powered person! I LOVE the sun. So, I've been so happy to be out in it.
We were invited by Uncle Dan and Aunt Jess to take a day trip out on their boat. The children thought it was the coolest thing ever. They each took a turn at driving the boat, and were both impressed by all you can see from the prospective of a lake. Amanda Lily was a "crazy driver" spinning us in circles, while Steven screamed at her to slow down. At his turn driving, he was very safe and wanted to know exactly how everything worked. He drove us in a straight line, not too fast, not to slow. Typical of my two. They are like night and day. It was such a beautiful day, just a little cold when going fast, so we had them bundled up.
Just think, soon we will be out in our backyards, pulling out all those winter weeds! I'm so excited to think of the gardening in our future. Sun Sun Sun.