Chinese Cabbage Soup & Homemade Kimchi Recipe

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I received a big head of chinese cabbage in my CSA box last week so first thing that came to mind was soup. I love a simple comforting soup with strands of bright green cabbage in it and bright carrot coins. I wanted it to have a chinese inspired taste so I used ginger, garlic and kombu to flavor the broth and finished it off with a salty splash of soy sauce. This recipe is easy & quick to make, healthy and detoxifying. Cabbage contains sulfur-rich phytonutrients that trigger a detoxifying dance deep inside your cells. This dance disarms toxic chemicals and clears them from the body before they can cause harm. The kombu when soaked into the broth, not only adds a wide range of vitamins & minerals but it also helps aid in digestion which might help with the gassiness cabbage can sometimes cause.

photo 2Chinese Cabbage Soup

2 32 oz. cartons of broth

1 head of chinese cabbage

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

1 celery stalk

6 carrots, diced or coined

1/2 piece of kombucha

olive oil or coconut oil, just a swish

soy sauce, to finish at end

photo 2Pour a swish of oil into your soup pan and begin to heat. Add the diced, celery, garlic, ginger, carrots and a crack of fresh pepper.  Saute over medium heat, (about 5 minutes or until carrots are a little tender) stirring often so the garlic doesn’t burn.

photo 3Next, add your broth of choice. Bring soup up to a boil.

photo 5 Once boiling, turn heat down so that the soup is simmering and bubbling very gently. Add your 1/2 piece of kombu. This is going to give the broth a wonderful flavor and enhance its nutritional profile. Allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes.

photo 4In the mean time, clean and chop your cabbage into bite size strips.

photo 1Add the cabbage towards the end. I like a little crunch to mine so that’s why I add it last. Feel free to add in whenever!

photo 4Ladle into your favorite bowl. Pour a dash of soy sauce and a sprinkle of fresh pepper and slurp away.

heartSo I was on a cabbage kick, what can I say?

After making this soup, I decided that I wanted to make my own batch of kimchi. Call me a nerd if you will, but I had so much fun researching methods, gathering all the ingredients, and preparing my cabbage just so, for proper fermention.

I have to say though. My house stunk.

As each day passed, the cabbage grew happier in it’s fermentation stage. As the cabbage grew happier, the air got funkier.

This is good though…Stank means its successfully doing its thing! Try explaining that to my poor boyfriend who lives with me.  So after many apologies to him, after many incense sticks burned to cover the scent, and after handling my jars of kimchi like they were my new pets, I am proud to say that I have successfully created a delicious batch of fermented goodness!

Way better then any store-bought version.

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I have to give it up for this post. It was the recipe that inspired me and guided me in the right direction. One thing I did different, is that I did not make a rice slurry (used to keep it thick) and I only used one head of cabbage. I also added one whole daikon radish.

Step one: Brining the Cabbage

1 head Napa Cabbage

1/4 to 1/2 cup coarse sea salt or Kosher salt

Cut cabbage into 1-2″ bite sized pieces, or leave it whole if you have a crock or food tub large enough to ferment whole heads of cabbage. Toss cabbage with salt. I sprinkle by the hand full. Generally you need a few tablespoons for 3 or 4 hand fulls of cabbage. Cover the cabbage with ice if your house is warm. Allow to soak for 4 hours. Save the brine that is at the bottom of the bowl and set aside. Rinse the cabbage 3 or 4 times and squeeze all of the liquid from the cabbage.

Step Two: Make Sauce

About 1 cup hot sauce or chili paste (I used Sirracha)

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

3-4 tablespoons oyster sauce or fish sauce (you can use vegetarian)

4-5 garlic cloves, minced or grated

1 tablespoon ginger, minced or grated

1 Apple peeled, cored and diced

1 bunch green onions, sliced

One Daikon radish, minced

2 tablespoons honey

A good Pinch: Ground Cinnamon

To make this easy, just throw everything in a food processor (except the hot sauce, honey, and oyster sauce) Once diced, add the ingredients to a bowl and mix in the liquid ingredients.

Step Three: Fermenting

Pour sauce over cabbage and coat all leaves evenly. Pack very tightly into jars, pushing out any air pockets as you pack.  Insure that your kimchi is covered with enough liquid and not exposed to too much air. If needed, use the reserved brine to fill the jar up to the top. Cover with lid. Leave at room temperature in a dark place (I place a towel over my jars) 2-4 days or until fermented. Placing your  jars on cookie sheets helps catch any dribble. A good batch of kimchi will fizzle like soda pop when opened. Bubbles will rise and gas should release with a pop, when the jar is opened. This is how you know it is done, it will bubble and smell sour much like a pickle, maybe a bit sweet, and of course spicy. If it stays alive and fizzy in the fridge, you my friend have made some kickin’ kimchi!
Fermenting- Time will vary according to the temperature of your home. Two or three days generally or up to four. You can ferment much, much longer however it will be more sour.

Speed It Up- Add whey or juice from a previous batch of kimchi. Juice from store bought kimchi will work. Doing so will cause it to ferment in as little as 36 hours. When adding juice from a previous batch my kimchi LITERALLY becomes explosive. Be sure not to over pack it. (When opened it bubbles over like a child’s science project Volcano)

photo 2This stuff is loaded with healthy probiotics for good gut flora!! There is a beautiful sweetness that comes from the apple and honey and an unexpected nuttiness from the cinnamon. It’s spicy, but very balanced. I plan on eating it on top of salads and over plain quinoa.

 

I’m also going to make a few of these recipes too:

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Kimchi Fried Quinoa

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Hot & Sour Kimchi & Quinoa Stew

 

Let me know if you make any of these recipes! Post comments below 🙂

“What I’m Loving Wednesday” & My Review of Rockin’ Wellness

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Rockin’Wellness Review

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I’ve been hearing good stuff about this Rockin’ Wellness and I’ve been very intrigued to try. I finally bought a bag and since my first sip, I’ve been asking myself why I waited so long. When I was little and into my high-school years, I was slightly addicted to Carnation Instant Breakfast and Ovaltine (A powdered malt added to milk) Remember the stuff? Yeah, full of sugar, milk solids, and yukky other ingredients, but the taste…oh the taste! As I grew up, I became more aware of the not-so desirable ingredients and realized the stomach ache that followed wasn’t worth it, so I haven’t had either in years. Well, this Rockin’ Wellness powder – this stuff tastes  like Ovaltine if blended alone with almond milk. Oh, how I swoon over this powder! I’ve been drinking it twice, sometimes three times a day. Now, people like this as a meal replacement but I have been using it as a way to get extra calories/nutrients in to gain some weight. It’s sweet (not overly so), slightly chocolate-y but more like a malt flavor, not chalky and blends well with anything (best with almond milk). It’s packed with omega’s, protein, super-foods and best of all a probiotic blend!

30 scoops Per Bag.

CREATED FROM THE EARTH’S TOP SUPERFOODS

Over 2000mg of OMEGAS per scoop!

A DELICIOUS WAY TO GET ESSENTIAL VITAMINS, MINERALS, ENZYMES, ANTIOXIDANTS, OMEGA 3, 6 & 9, PROTEIN, FIBER & AN ENERGY BOOST   NOTHING ARTIFICIAL, NO PRESERVATIVES… JUST PURE ROCKIN’ WELLNESS!   EACH SHAKE CONTAINS THESE AMAZING SUPERFOODS: Rockin’ Wellness Ingredients: Raw Organic CACAO Bean; Raw Organic GOJI BERRY; Raw Organic HULLED HEMP SEED; Raw Organic BROWN RICE PROTEIN; Organic Non-GMO LECITHIN; Raw Organic MACA ROOT; Organic CHIA SEED; Organic Evaporated CANE JUICE; Organic BANANA Fruit; Organic GREEN TEA (leaf); Organic YERBA MATE Leaf; Organic GUAR GUM (Bean); Organic FLAXSEED; (Lactobacillus) L. ACIDOPHILUS (Super Strain DDS-1); Organic STEVIA Extract (Leaf)

Yes, you may think the bags are pricey but aren’t any good Vegan protein powders? It equals out to $3/day which to me is a heck of a deal compared to how much I pay for a smoothie at a fancy juice bar in NYC. 

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heart4a4be716cf568a8bb942cfaa23b48709photo 1After compiling my pics from the week I realized that I was on a serious kombucha kick! Which makes me come to the conclusion that I need to start making my own. My local health-food store has a cashier who makes kombucha at home and so I’ve been talking to him about the process and reading up on how to make this delicious fermented tea. It seems pretty easy! I will save so much money and I know I will have a blast experimenting with different flavors.

photo 5I have been LOVING my daily green juices. If I don’t make my own then I buy a fresh pressed bottle somewhere.  I am so fortunate to be close to juice bars when I’m at work. I always feel so nourished after drinking a green juice.

photo 2My latest Good4You purchases.

I bought the herbal shampoo for my honey, but I tried some before he got to it and really loved it! It’s a very delicate shampoo so it doesn’t foam up but I love how it has nettles, horsetail leaves, chamomile and a bunch of beautiful herbs and oils. It made my hair super soft!

I also bought Vitex Tincture (for moodiness around my moon cycle & as a hormone balancer), Milk Thistle tincture (for liver detox), Positive Vibrations Tea to drink during my moon cycle, herbal cuticle oil, and (not pictured) a chamomile skin serum.

photo 4I am loving my new amethyst druzy necklace that I purchased on Etsy. Amethyst powers include: dreams, healing, peace, love, spiritual upliftment, courage,  psychism, protection against thieves, and happiness.

photo 3My art studio and blogging station.

I’ve been spending a lot of time here creating goodies for my soon-to-be etsy shop.  I wanted to have my shop ready months ago but it’s taking much longer because of my busy schedule. It’s coming along slowly but surely!

photo 5My garden.

Come along, I’ll give you a tour…

flowers and lilies abound, jungle of rainbow chard, jalepeno peppers for future guacamole, bell peppers soon to be red…photo 1my herb station, baby kale, eggplant, and tomato plants that are loving this hot weather finally!

photo 2Cucumber plants and dill that are growing tall, zucchini that has been stubborn to grow, watermelon that will soon be covering my front lawn, and pretty flowers on my path that lead to my front door…photo 1More herbs, tomatoes, lots of basil and flowers, mixed lettuce greens, and my honey’s hop plants that are arching around our sliding doors….

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See you guys on Friday with my delicious Chinese Cabbage Soup recipe

and another surprise recipe !!! 

Foodie Friday: Garlic Scape & Almond Kale Pesto Recipe

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Garlic scapes appeared in my CSA box this week. Never having worked with them, I was so excited to experiment with new recipes. First on the list was this super easy pesto. Garlic scapes are the long stalks that grow on top of the garlic bulb. They are much milder in taste, making this a more mellow pesto then the traditional garlic and basil kind. With the help of the almonds and kale, this pesto carries a strong punch in nutrition and taste. Best part – It took me only minutes to throw this together. I served it over hot pasta and froze the rest to have for the later months when tomato season hits! 

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Garlic Scape &  Almond Kale Pesto

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Makes about 2 cups

20 garlic scapes, finely chopped

1 cup finely grated Parmesan (if Vegan, use Rawmesan substitute, add more nuts, or add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast for cheese flavor)

2/3 cup slivered almonds (you could toast them lightly, if you’d like)

About 1/2 cup olive oil

Sea salt

Pepper

juice from one lemon

3 kale leaves, stalks removed

*You can also add your favorite Italian herbs for extra flavor…basil, oregano, thyme, parsley…etc.

Put the scapes, kale leaves, cheese, almonds, lemon juice and half the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor (or use a blender or a mortar and pestle).  Whirl to chop and blend all the ingredients and then add the remainder of the oil and, if you want, more cheese.  If you like the texture, stop; if you’d like it a little thinner, add some more oil.  Season with salt & pepper.

If you’re not going to use the pesto immediately, press a piece of plastic against the surface to keep it from oxidizing. The pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days or packed airtight and frozen for a couple of months.

I poured mine into my my favorite heart ice cube tray to freeze for later when my tomatoes are ready to be picked.photo 2Pesto freezes really well!

All I have to do is add a heart or two to a sauté pan if I’m making it for pasta or let it defrost on counter and serve cool over bright red tomato slices.

 

Let me know if you try this recipe – leave comments below! 🙂

“What I’m Loving” Wednesday

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photo 3These beautiful flowers my honey gave to me.

photo 4In love with this scent. Found in healthy baby section of my local Wegman’s. I wish the scent would last longer, but it doesn’t stop me from spraying it on myself all day long.

photo 5The buggies of summer are out!!  This stuff WORKS AMAZINGLY WELL!

All natural, made from herbs, homemade from my favorite etsy store gal!

photo 2My mom’s yard.

Its like walking into a secret garden. Every corner you turn you will find a new flower, statue, fountain, or chirping bird. Hummingbird’s buzzing by your head, as yellow finches feast at the feeders along with 5 or 6 other kinds of colorful birds. Bunnies, squirrels and groundhogs hop along the edge of the yard. There are toad houses, bird baths, trickling fountains, butterflies, chipmunks that eat peanuts out of the palm of your hand. It’s truly a magical place.

photo 4Organic Peppermint tea.

I’ve been enjoying this tea morning, noon and night. It’s really soothing for my tummy to drink before and after meals and before bed.

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Bad Bacteria Blasters!

Loving what these guys are doing for my gut. I have been, uh, how do I say it eloquently? Bloated, uncomfortable and other undesirable things. I’ve cut out dairy, gluten, soy and still was feeling this way constantly. Its been making my days not so pleasant lately. So I am convinced I am dealing with some intestinal bacteria overgrowth. Something very common in Crohn’s. I’ve had it before and the Dr.’s would always prescribe antibiotics but I wasn’t going that route this time. These are two powerful natural antibiotics that I am fighting the bad guys off with. Seems to be really helping my situation!!! I’m also eating a diet low in sugar and carbs, which help to starve out any bad bacteria as well.

photo 5Homeopathic Heartburn Spray

When I get heartburn, I get it bad! Some things that set it off for me are drinking too much fresh lemonade and eating too much tomato sauce. Natural remedies, like apple cider vinegar or aloe water have proven to be unsuccessful with me so I was hesitant to buy this spray. To my surprise, it worked immediately!!!

photo-1This incense I picked up at Wegman’s.

I haven’t burned incense since college and only remember them smelling like strong patchouli scents! This has such a pleasant, calming scent to it, unlike any other incense I’ve tried. I love coming home at night and burning one as I am winding down from a busy day.

cat birdMy little Catbird family.

I have a few catbirds that come to my patio for fruit everyday. There is a cardinal couple as well that has been visiting for snacks. I feed them diced strawberries and dried cherries. They love it! When they run out, they sit on the fence and let me know they are out by crying for more. It’s quite cute to see how happy they are when there is fresh fruit for them.

Good EatsSee you in a few days with my Foodie Friday post! 

Foodie Friday

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photo 3I’ve been enjoying this new brand of Roasted Dandelion Root Tea. I add raw honey and almond milk to it and its the perfect coffee alternative and liver cleanser. Love how its Organic!

photo 5Speaking of honey – this brand Wee Bee is by far my favorite raw honey. I splurged and bought the 2 lb jar since I use this stuff daily!

photo 2Another kitchen staple that I use daily is this raw vanilla bean powder from rawfoodworld.com. I put this in every smoothie I make! Just bought a new bag. Since there is a lot, I am sharing half with my honey’s mother who also makes a lot of smoothies. I can’t wait to give it to her to try!

photo 5I bought myself this new smoothie book. I have to say, it got rave reviews on amazon for a reason – I LOVE it. Very informative and the recipes all look so delicious. I can’t wait to share them with you!

photo 4I’ve been eating lots of this salad! Arugula, broccoli, lettuce, radishes, artichokes, olives, sun-dried tomatoes.

photo 4I made lunch one day that had white rice with steamed broccoli, bok choy. Topped with scallions, coconut amino’s, sesame seeds, sesame oil and kimchi chips that I dehydrated. I thought they would be a great spicy crispy chip but they turned out more like kimchi jerky – very chewy! Tasty, but probably wouldn’t make again.

photo 1This is dinner one night that I made for the honey. Red quinoa topped with a mixture of corn, red peppers and kale that I sauteed with chipotle sauce. Topped with sour creme, green onions and hot sauce.

photo 3I have been loving green grapes and strawberries lately as a snack for work. Also, Suja is a juice company that has FINALLY come to the East Coast. I have been impatiently waiting for them to come to Whole foods and am so happy that they are here. This juice is AMAZING.

photo 5I enjoyed another Suja one morning for breakfast. This is just as good as it sounds!

photo 5A lot of you like to see what I typically bring to work, so this is an example of my lunch bag one day. Hummus & carrots, cherries, grapes, kombucha, blueberry smoothie, teas, and my new favorite snack – Barnana’s! In addition to this I had a big salad at lunch time.

photo 2These little gems are sooo good. I am one of those weird people who doesn’t like to eat straight up banana’s. I only like it mixed into my smoothies. These are dried little nuggets of chewy sweet banana. They almost have a date consistency…very addicting and perfect for potassium intake!

photo 2If you follow me on FB, you probably know that I have been making non-stop blueberry shakes. I’m in a blueberry phase, what can I say! My favorite simple blueberry shake is almond milk, frozen blueberries, frozen banana, vanilla protein powder, sprinkle of cinnamon and vanilla powder.

photo 3Lastly, I baked a potato one night for dinner. I “cooked” the broccoli in the dehydrator  to soften them but still keep them in their raw state. Before dehydrating I sprinkled with nutritional yeast, coconut amino’s, garlic powder, and lemon juice. I added Kerry-gold butter to my potato (yes, I use real grass-fed butter or coconut oil, depending on my mood. No fake butter in this house) and lots of green onions. This was delicious!!!

Good Eats

Have a sunny and beautiful weekend! 

Foodie Friday

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A little update on where my diet is.

Its been a roller-coaster of cheating, getting back on track, being reluctant/stubborn and having ah-ha moments. I’ve had to put on my detective hat many times these last few months to try and figure out why my digestion wasn’t optimal. No pain and no flaring, thank goodness, but things just weren’t going smoothly in the digestive department. I find the answer always lies within my food choices.  I started introducing some gluten into my life again a few months ago, along with more dairy ….soon that became a binge fest of bad eating and came with it were some digestive issues. So I got my act together and lost the gluten, lost the dairy. Well for the most part. I will admit I like to still sprinkle pecorino romano on my pastas and salads (Just a little!) Other then that I’ve been a good girl. I was feeling wonderful up until I started sneaking in more soy. Now as you may or may not know, I’m not an advocate of soy. It not only disrupts hormones & digestion but nowadays most soy is GMO which is no good!  I think I started introducing soy to use as a crutch. I leaned towards alternatives to replace what I was missing from the dairy world. I began with tofu cream cheese, then I bought soy cheese, then I started eating Korean food like mad which is loaded with soy and sodium. Low and behold I also discovered my new probiotic’s main ingredient was fermented soy. Here is when I had an ah-ha moment! So I cut all those things out and almost immediately felt better. Corn is another criminal I am investigating. I have been eating a lot of organic corn pasta these days so I want to eliminate that soon to see if its a culprit as well.

So what does that leave me with? Well, a diet rich in fruits and veggies. I know for a fact that that’s what my body loves the most. Its just sometimes hard to stick to. My sensitive intestines sometimes do not like all the roughage either. All I can do is try the best I can to figure out what my body needs. It’s always a roller-coaster ride. Healing yourself is never easy and there are never straight answers.

So now that we have caught up, let’s move on to Foodie Friday! Check out what I’ve been eating…

photo 4One of my all time favorite Green Smoothies

Tropical Detox:

Coconut water (10 oz.)
Juice from 2 oranges
1 cup Fresh pineapple
Handful fresh cilantro
Tsp chia seeds
1/8 tsp vanilla bean powder
Handful of baby spinach
2 kale stalks
1″ ginger root (skin removed)
2 frozen bananas

Getting back to normal after Sandy

photo 1I’ve been loving fresh berries! In fact, one day I ate this big bowl for my lunch. Honey drizzled on top, along with shavings of coconut butter, vanilla bean powder and fresh apple mint.

photo 2I’ve been having very strong cravings for citrus, especially orange juice. I actually drank almost a gallon in one day. Eeks. I feel the craving is dying down a bit but I still am drinking at least 2-3 glasses of orange juice daily. Perhaps my body is craving Vitamin C?

photo 1Organic Avenue has by far the BEST fresh orange juice. If I could I would buy and drink 3 a day. They are pricey so I treat myself about once or twice a week to one bottle.

photo 2The weather is finally warming up so we broke out the kebobs for grill-time. I love me a good veggie kebob!

photo 3After grilling, I put them all in a bowl and sprinkled fresh basil, homemade GF garlic breadcrumbs and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

photo 1photo 3 I have been juicing a lot each morning for the both of us. We love a good strong green juice! It floods our body with nutrients and really provides clean energy that no cup of coffee could ever give! 

photo 2I am starting to experiment with tea based smoothies. Not only can they add extra medicinal nutrients but they taste great too! Coconut water can be quite expensive to keep making my smoothies with so one night a brewed a big batch of strawberry hibiscus tea and used that as my smoothie base. I added peaches, cherries, raspberries, bananas, oranges…it was amazing!

photo 4I signed up for a Farm share through work where we receive fresh organic produce every other Tuesday from a certified organic farm located in Massachusetts. This was my first share!!! I felt like a kid on Christmas – I was super excited to get my fresh bags of veggies. Fresh picked produce smells heavenly to me! I’ve never eaten so many vegetables like I have in the last few days. It really is a strong motivator to plan your meals around the vegetables received in each share.

photo 5I’ve made this delicious salad about 4 times now. Lettuce, arugula, radish, tomatoes, raw olives, GF garlic bread-crumbs with red wine vinegar, lemon & oil.

photo 3I made his and hers salad jars one day for lunch. These were AMAZING. Lettuce, arugula, artichoke hearts, broccoli, radish, raw olives, cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, green onions, sprouts, red peppers, red wine vinegar, olive oil and a sprinkle of organic parmesan cheese.

photo 4I made GF pizza using Sami’s Bakery Millet & Flax crust. AMAZING! Being from NJ, I’m more of a thin-crust girl, but this thick crust was pretty darn good. It even surpassed my honey’s taste buds, and that’s saying something! You can order their products online and get them shipped pretty quickly to your doorstep. (Their Millet & flax bread which is outstanding too and the only GF bread I will ever eat!) I smeared Basil Cashew Ricotta on top with San Marzano Pizza Sauce, broccoli and finished it off with fresh arugula. It was so divine!

photo 3This was the Basil Cashew Ricotta I used. (Found it in New York City) It was pretty good for convenience but to be honest, I think homemade tastes better!

photo 5Another Italian meal that is high-raw and very filling. I spiralized zucchini noodles and added hot tomato sauce with capers and olives along with steamed broccoli. Didn’t miss the pasta one bit!

photo 1I had to try this new Vegan Vodka sauce by Victoria Vegan. It has soy in it, so I will not be having it again anytime soon, but I have to share how delicious it was. If you are ok with soy, I highly recommend this. I’ve seen this brand in most stores recently- Shop-rite & Wegman’s and most health food stores! There is a cashew based alfredo sauce too, as well as white bean marinara and a few other flavors.

photo 5My rose bush is on steroids. I had to cut it back drastically last season but it still seemed to grow even bigger! After I took this picture the roses bloomed twice fold. Needless to say I have been making lots of rose bouquets for the house!

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Good EatsHave a beautiful weekend!!!