I picked this recipe up from a local chef when we lived in downtown Cleveland.  For lack of a better name…I am calling it Strawberry Salsa and Apple Chips.

Get ready…this is all you will need:

Fresh Strawberries

Apples

Strawberry Jelly (2 Tablespoons per quart)

Side note: Strawberries are early this year thanks to the mild winter and warm spring in Boston.  So I biked on over to my local farmer’s market for the strawberries. When you buy local from farmers you can usually count on the produce to be bursting with flavor and nutrients because they have been picked at peak ripeness and haven’t been chemically ripened or sitting in a warehouse. The strawberries I bought were so juicy and sweet. I almost ate a whole container before I even started the recipe.  Lucky for me, I bought a backup.

The Salsa:

Simply remove the stems from a quart or two of strawberries.

Chop the strawberries finely until they are juicing all over the place. Sure you can stick them through a food processor, or you can take this tip from the Cleveland chef:  To chop your strawberries fast, use two large knives and “karate” chop the strawberries moving back and forth across the pile.  You are going to look so profesh!

Add 2 Tablespoons of jelly per quart of strawberries.  If you are using strawberries that are not quite ripe and a little sour, just add a little bit of sugar, or honey.

The Chips:

Thinly slice each apple into round medallions. To keep from browning, brush with a little lemon juice.

Eat it as a snack or serve it as a dessert at your next picnic.

Enjoy!

 

 

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The day I met you…

the sailboats rocked in the morning breeze, the salvia flowers opened towards the sun, and the neighbors peeked through the window glass to catch a glimpse of your beauty. You, baby girl, laid there fast asleep with your fingers curled tight and your legs outstretched, only 7 days old.

She watched your chest rise and your eyelashes flutter as she held you in her arms.  She smiled ever so gently as she brought you in close and rocked you to sleep.Love..love this chair!  

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“Welcome to Thneedville a city they say

that was plastic and fake and they liked it that way

no nature no flowers

no one seemed to mind,

but a secret was waiting for someone to find.”

Like Thneedville, Boston has a lot of plastic and cars…but unlike Thneedville it has not forgotten to treasure and keep safe the natural beauty of Massachusetts.  There are so many places to visit that celebrate the whole idea behind Dr. Seuss’ story of the Lorax: places that care “a whole awful lot” about the wildlife, plants, and the land.  So in honor of the Lorax, here are 5 outdoor day trips for your family to visit this  Spring and Summer.

 

 

1. Drumlin Farm (Lincoln, Ma)

I always hear families talking about how much they love Drumlin Farm.  So I visited…and am now part of their fan club.  Drumlin Farm is a real working farm and wildlife sanctuary.  The grounds are beautiful and the staff is focused on educating your little ones through learning gardens, animal barns, farm chores, working fields, hiking trails, hayrides, a farm stand, and farm and nature programs. I highly recommend visiting.  You may need your mud boots, but it’s worth the hands-on-activities that explore the farm, forest, fields, and surrounding wetlands.

2. Trustee Reservations (over 100 locations)

There are over 100 land reservations throughout Massachusetts…each unique in its own way, but all protected so you can experience the land of Massachusetts. The reservations are places “to relax, pick a strawberry, watch the sun go down, and run your kids around until they’re tired.”  So go on a canoe trip, explore the shores of Hingham, visit a working farm, and learn a little more about the natural history of Massachusetts.  I have loved each reservation I have visited so far and can’t wait to explore more this Spring and Summer.

3. Arnold Arboretum (Boston)

“The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is the oldest public arboretum in North America and one of the world’s leading centers for the study of plant biodiversity.” You can simply enjoy a relaxing walk around the arboretum or play wildlife Bingo, go on a photo hunt, or take a tour.  If you drop in on the last Saturday of the month you may find some fun family activities including scavenger hunts, crafts, stories, and science investigations.  I recommend going in soon, because the lilacs are blooming!

4. Nature Play Areas

Nature Play Areas take playgrounds to a whole new level. They “give children the chance to solve problems and construct their surroundings through natural elements and unstructured exploration.” Some have butterfly gardens, tide pools, teepees, and mazes with secret passageways. You can find Nature Play Areas throughout the Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries.

5. Right in your backyard

You may find adventure right in your back yard or just up the street. Even the smallest of yards have fun places to explore.  But if, like me, you live downtown…take a walk along the harbor, the Charles River, through the Public Gardens, or venture to the tide pools at your nearest beach.  Tide pools can be seen along most of the shores in Massachusetts. All you need to do is explore at low tide…usually near the rocks. This past summer we found some great tide pools along the shores of Nantasket Beach.  You will be amazed at the colors, the seaweed , and the creatures you’ll find.

Have fun!

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He asked me what I thought about purchasing a downtown gardening plot for the season.  I raised my eyebrows, walked to the kitchen, and picked up the basil plant I was gifted for Christmas. It was completely dry, a straggly stalk or two, and just plain pathetic…he laughed and asked me to think about it. I quickly reminded him that the childhood-chore I hated the most was…watering my mom’s plants. “Just think about it,” he said.

I did…and today is the first day.  I think I am late…I think I will be the laughing stock of the community garden- that kills the easiest of plants and only shows up once a week to water, but I am going to give it a try.I am starting with a lot (or at least what I think is a lot) and hoping at least one makes it through my inconsistent watering.

So, if you have any advice for this hopeful green thumb, please send it along.

Want to join me?  Here are a few easy ways to start an indoor garden with your little ones.

I chose to start indoors with things like lettuce, beans, cilantro, parsley, mint, avocado, basil…they are a little harder to kill if I remember correctly.

1. Start your seeds in a small pot (I chose to use peat pots which are easy to transplant outdoors. Place your peat pots in a tray…they leak!).

2. Start your seeds in clear bags…which is always a fun way to watch the roots grow. You can find detailed directions here.

3.Start your seeds in recycled plastic soda bottles. The soda bottle system is great because it has a built in watering system! Details here.

4. And here is a great article for you more adventurous gardeners that want to try citrus fruits, grapes, and avocado.

These are just a few ways to start your own garden and watch the seeds grow…I would love to hear how you grow indoors! Oh, and send me some pics…maybe they will inspire me to keep watering.

 

Stay tuned, for some other fun posts on gardening and going green in downtown Boston.  And if you missed it…check out a session inspired by the Lorax here.

 

 

 

 

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At the far end of town where the Grickle-grass grows and the wind smells slow-and-sour when it blows and no birds ever sing excepting old crows…is the street of the Lifted Lorax.

 

“… and the pond was still wet and the clouds were still clean.”

” That was long, long ago.. before we heard the last wack! From outside in the fields it was a sickening smack of an axe on a tree.  When we heard the tree fall.  The very last Truffula Tree of them all.”

“Each day since that day I’ve sat here and worried and worried away. Through the years, while my buildings have fallen apart, I’ve worried about it with all of my heart.”

” ‘But now,’ says the Once-ler,

‘Now that you’re here, the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear.

 

 

“SO… Catch!” calls the Once-ler. He let’s something fall.

“It’s a Truffula Seed. It’s the last one of them all!

Plant a new Truffula and treat it with care.

Give it clean water.

And feed it fresh air.

Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.

Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back.”

So join me this week to give out a call to the Lorax the Swomee’s the Bar-ba-loots and all.  We’ll clean up our streets, and plant a few seeds.  We’ll take care of our home and the air everyone needs. So stay tuned for ideas, recipes, and tips…I may even throw in some fun field trips.

We may get dirty and perhaps a bit muddy.  But fun we will have…so grab a buddy.

 

 

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