My Favorite Herbs To Grow

easy herbs to grow, herbs to grow in pots, full sun herbs

Watercolor Herb Clip Art from my shop, Affordable Clip Art.

I LOVE to cook with fresh herbs! My first herb was a pot of garlic chive that I got shortly after my husband and I moved in together almost 6 years ago. I have saved the seeds and planted and replanted and thought it died so many times but every single year it comes back stronger than ever! It started out in a tiny pot and now it’s in a HUGE pot on our porch. It grows so fast that we can’t keep up with eating it all! But I will say it was my gateway herb. Since then I’ve planted so much more.

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Since the deer in our neighborhood are assholes persistent, we can’t plant anything edible in our yard, so I keep my herbs in pots. Here is a list of my favorite herbs to grow in your garden to up your recipe game and how I like to use them.

Garlic Chive -Also called Chinese chives or jiǔ cài.  I like to sautée them with garlic and a little butter for a simple side dish, sprinkle on eggs, or mix into ground meat.

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Chive – Very good for blood flow. My daughter and I both have high platelets so we put some chives on our eggs every morning and sometimes she eats a small blade while we harvest.

ParsleyDonut loves it, and the kiddo loves to feed it to him. It saves his breath, for a minute, haha! I also love chopped parsley on salads, pastas and pretty much anything that could use a little freshness!

 

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Oregano– Chop up and add to pasta sauce, obvs. I also like to make an easy “pernil style” pork dish. Just chop up some oregano and garlic, mix with some salt, pepper and olive oil. Rub all over some pork chops and grill!

 

Dill – Great with fish! Brush fish with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and fresh dill chopped. Bake, and squeeze lemon on top afterwards. You can also make a delicious yogurt sauce with plain yogurt, dill, salt, pepper, garlic and chopped cucumber.

 

Rosemary – PERFECT with pork. Sprinkle pork chops with salt  and rub with chopped rosemary leaves. Leave for awhile and then cook as usual. Add more chopped rosemary leaves after cooking. Make your own sausage too! I like Alton Brown’s recipe for homemade sausage.

 

Basil – Sautéed with spinach and garlic makes for a great side dish. Also toss with chopped tomatoes, diced mozzarella and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette for a yummy caprese salad.

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Sage – Kiddo loves these. Fry the leaves up in some butter till crispy for a yummy little chip. Kiddo loves these in the morning.

Scallions – Great to sprinkle in salad, toss with roasted potatoes and of course in omelets.

 

Thyme – Can add to beef with some chopped red peppers, garlic and red onions to make a middle eastern style meatball. Eat with dill and yogurt sauce.

The BEST part about all the herbs listed above is that they all thrive in FULL SUN, so just leave them there. No need to calculate how many hours of sun vs. shade or any of that other complicated stuff. I water when the top inch of soil begins to feel dry, and that’s it!

 

You COULD start these from seed (which I used to do but with a rambunctious toddler running around and a second on the way, it’s not gonna happen for awhile) but the last few seasons I’ve bought my herbs from local herb purveyors. If you do start from seed, I highly recommend Hudson Valley Seed Company! They have wonderful heirloom varieties and are certified organic!

What are your favorite herbs to cook with? What recipes do you like to use?

 

Donut’s Dog Birthday Cake RECIPE

dog birthday cake recipe

Looking for a dog birthday cake recipe? I got one for you!

But better than a cake, make them into cupcakes! This way you can share with friends!

Today is my dog Donut’s 10th birthday. This little fella and I have been through so much together. Moving from Los Angeles to Memphis to New Jersey then New York, he was by my side. He graciously (well, as graciously as he could) welcomed my husband and his dog Twister into our lives. Donut grieved hard when Twister passed away and offered his comfort to us in the weeks afterwards. We were nervous that he wouldn’t adjust well to the baby, but Donut surprised us all, and assumed his role as her protector and friend from day one. On our first day home, he sat in front of the rocking chair while I nursed her and wouldn’t let Daddy near us (still working on that, haha!). Today, he is her best friend and foot massager. I couldn’t have asked for a better big brother for my baby girl.

We are celebrating his birthday this upcoming Thursday. I plan on cooking him a special dinner and I will bake him some dog food cupcakes which we will share with his friends in the neighborhood: Doc, Rufus, Vader, Bruce and Cash. (Wow, I didn’t realize there were no female dogs living on our street!)

Here are a couple pictures from his 7th and 9th birthdays. Twister didn’t want to wait until the song was over, and two years later, neither did my daughter. I knew they were kindred spirits! My husband and I sometimes wonder how Twister would have acted if she’d been around when D was born. Donut probably wouldn’t have let Twister near her. D is, after all, HIS baby, haha!

dog birthday cake recipe
Top, Donut’s 9th birthday
Bottom, Donut’s 7th birthday with his sister Twister
Donut's 9th Birthday
Donut’s 8th Birthday! I was in the throws of pregnancy memory loss so I forgot to bake him a cake this year. Instead I ordered him a present from Pet360 that made him mad, haha!!
dog birthday cake recipe
Donut’s 4th Birthday – It was freezing outside so his birthday walk in Manhattan was canceled but I don’t think he cared.

Donut’s Dog Birthday (Cup)cake Recipe
Makes 5-6 regular sized cupcakes OR a bunch of mini cakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 package of Little Cesar’s dog food
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

(Optional)

  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • Cream cheese (for icing)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Place flour in a large bowl.
  • In another bowl, whisk eggs and oil together.
  • Add dog food to egg and oil mixture and mix well, mash if necessary.
  • Mix in carrots or cheese (if desired) into egg mixture.
  • Add egg mixture into flour and stir to combine.
  • Place paper cupcake liners in 6 cups of a regular sized cupcake pan and fill halfway OR fill to top in a mini cupcake pan. Place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the cakes reach 160.

NOTE – if making mini cupcakes, reduce cooking time to 10 minutes.
Ice with cream cheese if desired!

I hope your pups enjoy these!

NOTE – A previous version of this recipe called for baking powder which I have just realized is not safe for dogs. Though the amount that was in the original recipe was small, I no longer feel comfortable including it, so it has been omitted.

Soft Buttered Toast PBJ Sandwich Recipe

Photo credit: Will Folsom via Visualhunt / CC BY

I didn’t grow up eating the iconic American PBJ sandwich. My mom never made them for me! I have a faint memory of eating one on a school field trip to a farm, but only because I had forgotten my lunch and one of my classmates had two sandwiches and gave one to me. Truthfully, as a kid, I never really liked peanut butter. Peanuts were another story, especially if they were covered in chocolate!

Because of my stomach issues (intestinal malrotation), I eat a PBJ sandwich often as they are filling and easy for my stomach to digest. A few weeks ago, I made myself and my daughter a couple of sandwiches for lunch on toasted sandwich bread. Now, I don’t enjoy the toasted texture as much as I do the pillowy softness of untoasted bread with a PBJ, but I still wanted some crunch. And no, I wasn’t going to put potato chips inside. So how could I fix this?

Remembering a little trick I picked up when searching for the perfect grilled cheese recipe, I decided to grill the bread with a little butter, but only on one side. Next, spread peanut butter on the toasted side of one slice of bread, letting the residual heat soften the peanut butter. Spread jelly or jam on the toasted side of the other slice of bread, then put the two sides together. The resulting sandwich has the crispy buttery texture on the inside with the peanut butter and jelly, and the soft pillowy outside that I love. Delicious! The kiddo loves them, and so do I! You could get fancy for a tea party by cutting off the crusts and slicing these into 4 triangles.

Try it! Let me know how you like it!

SOFT BUTTERED TOAST PBJ SANDWICH

10 m
1 serving

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of softened butter or margarine
2 slices of your favorite sandwich bread
1 teaspoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon fruit jelly or jam (any flavor)

1. Spread enough butter or margarine on one side of each slice of bread.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet (I like this one) on the stovetop on medium.
3. Place bread slices butter side down and cook, swirling the pan to make sure the bread is toasted evenly. Take off the heat once it is toasted to your liking.
4. Lift bread with a spatula onto a plate with the toasted side up.
5. Spread peanut butter on the toasted side of one slice of bread and jelly or jam on the toasted side of the other.
6. Put the slices together with the peanut butter and jelly on the inside.

(optional) Cut off crusts and slice into 4 triangles.

Also, you can use crunchy peanut butter or smooth! Whatever you like!

ENJOY!!!