Nothing Planted, Nothing Gained

SeedThere were no “ideal conditions” to garden in this year.

Our plan of action was to keep throwing seeds in the ground in hopes that something would grow.

So I sowed abundantly – despite the mud and the weeds and the nasty weather.

If I had veggies for every seed I put in the ground this year I could have started my own farmer’s market.

But many didn’t germinate.

And some of the ones that did were drowned out or overtaken by weeds.

But at least they had a chance to grow.

Unlike the many seeds still in packets that never even got planted, like the herb garden that never got expanded and the new flower bed that didn’t get dug up.

I had every intention of planting them.

But those seeds are still sitting here – at the end of July – with no chance of growing because they were never sown.

This week, as I worked my way through the forest of grass that is my garden, I thought of all the other “seeds” that I have not sown.

The note of encouragement that never got written.

The get well gift that never got delivered.

The offer of help that was never extended.

The word of counsel that wasn’t given.

The time in prayer that wasn’t taken.

The invitation that was never extended.

All those seeds that will never have a chance to produce fruit, because they were never sown.

Good intentions.

Noble thoughts.

Seeds of kindness and love and faith.

All waiting for ideal conditions that never came.

There can be no harvest when the seeds are never planted.

So I ask you – what seeds do you need to sow today?

Chicken Tortilla Soup

DSC_0399‘Tis cold my friends.

There’s frost on the pumpkins in the mornings! Oh wait – there are no pumpkins in my garden because those evil squash bugs killed them!!

But I digress.

It is cold enough to start craving some tummy-warming soups, like this family favorite Chicken Tortilla Soup. (Especially after a cold day outside cleaning up the remains of the pathetic, pumpkin-less garden! :))

I was able to use some of the bits and pieces of remaining garden produce to make this already cheap meal even cheaper.

For the can of crushed tomatoes, I took the skin off some fresh tomatoes and quartered them.

For the can of chile peppers, I used fresh jalapenos and sauteed them with the onion.

I added more chicken broth in place of the water for more flavor.

It’s a great way to use up some left-over chicken and can be made in advance and kept warm in a crock pot!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 pound chicken, cooked and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can (28 ounce) crushed tomatoes
1 can (10.5 ounce) chicken broth
1-1/4 cups water
1 can (4.5 ounces) chopped green chilies
1 can (15 ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional but yummy!)
1 package corn tortillas

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and saute onion and garlic until soft. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 – 30 minutes stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cut corn tortillas into strips. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until crispy. Watch them carefully!

To serve, scoop the soup into bowls and top with corn tortillas. You may also add sour cream, cheddar cheese, onion, peppers, or even black olives.

This is really yummy over a pile of rice, or with a hunk of homemade bread!

For you THMer’s  – this would be a solid E with either the baked corn tortillas, a side of brown rice or a piece of plan approved bread. Substitute 0% fat free yogurt and a wedge of laughing cow cheese for the sour cream and cheddar.

Enjoy!

I’ve linked this post up with the THM Tuesday at Gwen’s Nest.

The Night Before the Killer Frost

apple harvestTwas the night before the killing frost,

and all thru the house,

not a creature was stirring,

because they were all outside frantically picking apples!

And jalapenos and tomatoes and green beans.

But mostly apples.

Red Delicious. Golden Delicious. Red Rome. Granny Smith.

It was a bumper crop – limb breaking actually.

We filled every box and bucket we could find.

And still we had apples.

We’ve been slowly picking apples for the last two months, picking a box or bag as needed. There are several bags in the freezer, several quarts of apple pie filling on the shelf, and many, many crisps and pies consumed.

I see many, many more pies and crisps in our future.

But not tonight.

Tonight I want a hot shower, and a big cup of tea.

And maybe some chocolate.

Garden Bounty

I love cooking in the late summer!

Every meal starts with a quick trip to the garden to see what’s ripe – and then my creative juices get started!

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Maybe we should start with spaghetti squash – tossed in butter and garlic and Parmesan cheese.

Or some fresh green beans steamed till just tender with a pat of butter melting on the top.

Or maybe a salad with some beautiful red ripe tomatoes and fresh basil and a touch of balsamic vinegar.

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There’s even been a ripe watermelon or two – and one teeny tiny cantaloupe that ended up being one of the sweetest and best we’ve had all summer! Too bad there was only one.

Of course there will be poppers with our favorite Tam jalapenos.  And fresh sweet peppers to dip in homemade ranch dressing.

But everybody’s favorite is the king of the garden –

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Sweet corn.

Picked and cooked and on a plate steaming hot within an hour.

DSC_0399Then slathered with melted butter and salt and enjoyed.

In abundance.

An all you can eat corn buffet.

It’s late summer in Iowa.

And we’re eating good!

Abundant Harvest

There is something very satisfying about harvesting your own food.

Especially when the harvest was years in the making.

Like these luscious peaches – which were just picked from our orchard.

peaches

I could almost weep at the abundance.

We’ve had several years of discouragement.

Rainy years.

Dry years.

Years full of blight.

Years of trusting that someday these trees would bear fruit.

And this year – they did – in abundance.

homegrown peaches

It was a harvest worth waiting for.

I see similarities to parenting.

You invest years in your children.

Planting seeds of character and righteousness.

Watering them with prayer.

Waiting for fruit.

There are years of drought when you feel that you are not heard.

There are  years that are flooded with discouragement.

Then – finally – you see fruit.

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-Control.

And you weep in the abundance knowing that your labor was not in vain in the Lord.

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”