sprouting basil

I’ve been in the market for a new water bottle for awhile now.  I recently threw away my old Nalgenes.  Loved them but the BPA thing freaked me out, especially since I had heard it was related to exposure to heat and each of those bottles had spent their fair share of time in my car, cooking in the sun.

Also, for Christmas I bought Vapur water pouches for my siblings, Todd and myself.  I loved the idea of them, they flatten and roll up for easy storage.  Unfortunately, I found the pouches hard to drink out of especially in the middle of a sweaty, fast-paced yoga session.

Since retiring my Vapur I’ve just been refiling Dasani bottles.  A few months ago I saw the Sipp water bottle on Peanut Butter and Jenny.  Jenny loved it and it’s been in the back of my mind since then.

While Todd and I were at Target buying our life-saving air conditioner, I decided that it was time to pull the trigger and buy this bad boy.  I tried it out at the office and was happy with it but the true test came at yoga last night.  I wanted to see how it would work when I just needed to sop and keep moving.  Let me tell you, it was a good choice.  On top of the cool design it has some great features:

1) The bottle flips open at the press of a button – no unscrewing your cap with this water bottle.

2) The cap stays open.  It doesn’t flop around and you don’t have to hold it back, it stays all by itself.  I truly appreciated it while I was sweating through my warriors, cobras, dancers and chaturungas.  No more caps hitting my in the face, woo hoo!

So, if you need a water bottle, check this one out, I really like it so far.  As far as I know they’re only available at Target but they also have a stainless steal version that’s available more widely.

In other news, I went out to check on my little garden and I noticed something amazing – my basil has sprouted!

We had rain overnight and it seems it was just the thing to get my basil growing.  I also have parsley and mint planted but they take a few weeks to bud.  This basil was planted just 6 days ago.  I am so excited to have fresh herbs.  I plan to make lots of Italian dishes and mojitos this summer with fresh grown herbs, sounds lovely, no?

And one final bit of excited news – our wedding pictures are ready!  Todd went to pick them up this afternoon and I am dying to get home and see them.  Seriously, our photographer is awesome, we only had to wait a month to get them back.  I’m sure I’ll be starting a wedding series soon, stay tuned!

Do you have a water bottle you love?

Have you ever cooked with homegrown herbs? What are your favorites to grow?

saturday morning market

Yesterday was a gorgeous, hot, summer day in Grand Rapids.  I kicked it off by walking to the farmer’s market.  We are so lucky to live just a 10-minute walk from the farmer’s market.  This was my first time going this year but I plan to take advantage of it all season long.  Going to the Ann Arbor farmer’s market a few weekends ago really whet my appetite and I was so ready to get down to the Fulton St. market.

Grand Rapids isn’t exactly a walking town, almost everyone drives to get anywhere, even if it’s only a few blocks ago but as I got closer I started to see people walking and biking away from the market with fresh flowers, bags of veggies and homemade breads in hand.  I love seeing that bustle of people out and about, it’s something I miss from my days in Buenos Aires and something I crave, maybe a big city move is in order?  Anyways…

When I arrived to the farmer’s market it was bumping!  The place packed from wall to wall stall to stall and I started to make my way through the crowds.  I like to walk through the whole market once to see what there is before deciding on what to buy.

I was glad to see that there was a lot of fresh produce available but upon closer inspection most of it was from other states, California, Florida, North Carolina, the warmer states.  Pretty as it was, I decided that there was no reason to buy non-local produce at the farmer’s market (sorry farmers) and settled on some asparagus which is grown right here in West Michigan.

I found a stall that sold it by the pound and bought just a 1/2 pound.  I find that a normal bunch is too much for the two of us and a lot ends up going to waste.

I also bought a few cupcakes, a bar of oatmeal soap from the Grand Rapids Soap Co. and some fresh flowers.  I have to say, fresh cut flowers are my favorite thing about the farmer’s market.  They just make me smile, simple as that.

After the farmer’s market I met up with my mom for lunch then went and spent some time at my favorite bookstore, Schuler Books.  It was a lovely way to spend a hot Saturday.  By the time I was done with all of my errands, Todd was home (he had been at a Phish concert in Detroit overnight) and we hung out for the rest of the afternoon before going down to Festival in the evening.  Festival was great but I’ll fill you in on the food and entertainment later.

I hope you all had a wonderful Saturday!

Do you buy only local items at the farmer’s market?

 

spooning

Since yesterday my allergies seem to have been really acting up.  I claimed that I must be allergic to work.  I still think that’s true but they’ve been so severe and a sore throat and chills joined the mix today so I’m not sure this is just allergies.  Because I wasn’t feeling the best I came right home after work, cancelled my spot at yoga class and took a nap while Todd went to go pick up a pizza.

We enjoyed the delicious pizza from Big Bob’s at our new patio table and the combo of the sun and pizza definitely made me feel a little better – if nothing else, morale improved.  A few hours later Todd was craving ice cream.  I always want ice cream and, since Todd doesn’t have a sweet tooth like I do, jumped at the chance to go get ice cream even though I was considering an 8:00 bedtime.

We decided to walk to a local store, Martha’s Vineyard, to pick up a pint of ice cream.  We brought spoons with us so we could eat our ice cream on the way home.  I noticed my reflection in the spoon so we had a mini spoon photoshoot.

When we got to Martha’s Vineyard we ran into a couple of friends including my former roommate, Erin.  She recently got a new puppy and I got to meet her for the first time.

That’s my “I want one, can we get one please???” face.

I’ve been having major puppy lust lately but, Todd’s not that into it plus our lease doesn’t allow dogs and we’re locked in here for 14 more months.  Maybe by August 2012 Todd will be ready for one.

We decided on a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked Fro-Yo and got to work on it as soon as we started walking home.  It’s one of my favorite flavors and the fact that it comes in less-guilt frozen yogurt form is a major bonus.

As you can see, we enjoyed it.  And I’m sure it’s helping to clear up my stuffy nose.  Ice cream’s a cure-all, right?

Speaking of ice cream.  Remember those cookies and cream brownies that I made the other day?  On Monday night I got my wish and ate one warm with ice cream and hot fudge.

Yup, that was the jam.

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?


 

inch by inch, row by row

Since moving into our apartment I’ve been wanting to use our big, awesome deck to its full potential.  After a few false starts, that had to do with the planters we had/bought (2 separate occasions) not fitting over the railing of our deck, I finally bought small planters that I can just set on the ground.  Our neighbors won’t be able to see the flowers as well but they’ll still be there and I know they won’t fall off the deck onto anyone passing down below.

I picked some seedlings to plant – snapdragons and impatiens – and also some herb seeds: basil, mint and parsley.  I thought the snapdragons were an appropriate choice for my first garden since my grandfather, who loved gardening, also loved snapdragons.  We even had a vase of them in his honor at our wedding reception.  As far as the herbs go, Todd insisted on the mint and I can’t blame him.  Hopefully we’ll have a fragrant crop in a few weeks.

Today after work I planted the seedlings.  I decided to wait to plant the herbs because we were supposed to get a huge thunderstorm tonight and I didn’t want to the seeds to get washed away in the rain.

I got changed into gardening clothes and got outside as fast as I could before the rain hit.

Check out those new gardening gloves!  I take this seriously.

About 30 seconds after this photo was taken it started to rain so I went inside.  I claimed that this was the last straw, that I wasn’t meant to garden.

About 2 minute after that, the sun was back out so I ditched my defeatist attitude and got back to work.

This is the first “garden” I’ve ever tended as an adult.  Growing up we had a great garden.  We grew everything from corn to tomatoes to strawberries and green beans and my mom had planters all around the yard.  I’m not quite sure how things work when you use planters and I’m pretty sure that they’re over-crowded.  My hope is that they turn into beautiful, full flowerbeds.

Only time will tell…

 

Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow.  Gonna mulch it deep and low, gonna make it fertile ground.  Inch by inch, row by row, please bless these seeds I sow.  Please keep them safe below ’til the rain comes tumbling down. – David Mallett

Do you have a garden or grow anything at home?

Any gardening tips for this beginning gardener?