There were so many fun events and activities during Earth Week last week. And if you didn’t do anything special and green, no worries. It’s one of those things you can and should do on a daily basis, not just once per year. Here’s a few photos from last week’s activities with my children. There was an adorable labybug release. Where the kids released over 30,000 ladybugs to help the school garden. There was also an adorable sing-a-long with nature inspired songs. The culmination of the garden celebration was a garden fair with games, prizes, eco friendly face painting, bake sale, apple bobbing and more.
We skipped meat for the week and I made a yummy, fresh Watercress, Edamame and Fennel Salad. I found the recipe while grocery shopping. It was right on the cover of Delicious Living magazine (recipe). I’ll share this one with my vegan sister too. But you could also add grilled shrimp or chicken to make an easy summer meal.
( If you’re wondering about that last photo above, my son came home from digging in the school garden and found a burdock root. It could have been, but it was just too woody to eat. He was hoping to add it to our salad but he wanted a photo with his prizes anyway.)
To celebrate my son getting his braces off and because we were headed to the San Francisco Giants game the next night, I decided to make Kettle Corn. My son was very excited by the idea as he’s been very good about not having popcorn for the past 13 months during braces (at least as far as I know). This also meant if I brought the kettle corn hopefully my kids wouldn’t ask for things like Cracker Jack’s and other ballpark food. (We were packing peanuts too).
Kettle corn is easy enough and I’ve made it dozens of time. It’s something that I think of making quickly too because I always have the ingredients. Except I didn’t realize my popcorn was old. Nor did I know what happens if the kernals are old. Well now I can tell you, they don’t pop up nice and fluffy – they kind of half popped and burned. Yucky and smelly. I checked my popcorn bag and the date was almost a year previous. Oops! Luckily I had enough time to go to the store and buy new kernals before the game. It was a hit with our family as well as some friends. (The Giants won too!)
Kettle Corn (adapted from Petit Appetit Eat, Drink and Be Merry)
Kettle corn is a perfect mix of salt, sugar, and crunch that kids and adults find addictive. Be careful and patient when popping on the stove, as moving the lid may cause hot popcorn to escape. Have children listen from a safe distance.
Makes about 7 (1-cup) servings
½ cup organic popcorn
¼ cup grapeseed oil
3 tablespoons evaporated cane juice
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Pop the kernels using a large 10-inch, heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid or a popcorn maker. If using the pot, coat the bottom of the pot with oil and heat over medium heat. Drop in 1 kernel of corn. Wait until it pops then add the remaining kernels. Sprinkle the sugar over the kernels. Cover and shake pan. Continue to shake pan until all the corn has popped, being careful not to burn, about 3 minutes. (You may want to slightly lift lid every minute or two, so steam can escape.)
Place the popped popcorn in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt. Toss gently to combine. Serve immediately or keep up to 2 days in an airtight container.
While shopping at Whole Foods yesterday I picked up their free magazine, Delicious Living and leafed through for some needed inspiration for dinner that night. Yes, there it was a lovely green soup. Yum! Plus I only needed a few ingredients.
It was super tasty. My son, who doesn’t eat zucchini ate two bowls. By the way when the family asked what was in the soup, I answered “spring!”
(Next time I make it I’m going to reduce the water for a bit more texture. For a richer soup you could substitute half milk for the water.)
Zucchini Soup with Mint from Delicious Living
This is a perfect appetizer—the last spoonful leaves you wanting more. Adding the herbs at the end protects enzymes and phytonutrients, and intensifies the soup’s flavor. For variation, substitute ¼ cup packed fresh basil for the mint and chives.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3-4 medium zucchini, diced (about 4 cups)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups water
- 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- Place olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until it begins to soften. Add zucchini and garlic; continue stirring until vegetables soften. Add water and bouillon cubes; stir well. When mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer and continue cooking for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
- Transfer to a blender and add 3 tablespoons chives and the mint. Process until smooth. Return to pot, add pepper, and reheat. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately, sprinkled with chives.