Monday, April 19, 2010

Jenny's Garden Party

My Cousin Jenny is such a "Cool Chick"! She is an unschoolin', nature lovin', peace promotin' Momma of 4 kids... I dunno how many animals... and a city yard full of GREEN! She has gardens covering almost her entire front and back yard. From vegetables to flowers to fruit trees to herbs to medicinal plants to chickens and quail. She cooks, cans, dehydrates, produces, and gives from her heart. It's so cool to see someone find their passion, and grow it!

She recently started her own business, Ellaberry Gardens. Check it out at for a look-see. She is hosting monthly classes right in her own yard, and she is offering guidance on garden planning, plotting, installation, and even some maintenance. She is a wealth of information and her passion for keeping it green shines through. I can relate to the "domestic" feeling that comes from harvesting, preparing, and feeding your favorite people freshness and goodness ~ especially when it's straight from your own back yard.

She came up with this cool idea to have a "Garden Swap Party" this spring. Everyone brought extra seedlings, plants, starts from their own gardens and beds, and even used books, pots, garden tools, etc. We laid it all out and swapped with each other! It was so cool! I came home with some vegetables, herbs, a thornless blackberry shoot, and a broken clay pot (I'm hoping a frog will make it "home" in my flower beds). It was a blast!

My 2 favorite parts about the party? 1.) The elderberry tea made from a homemade syrup Jenny harvests from her elderberry bush (add honey and tea). and 2.) the tour of her gardens while listening to all the other ladies asking questions and offering each other experiential advice and ideas.

This Thursday is her first official class and I can't wait! I love to learn this way... and I'm so excited for Jenny and her new business venture!

Okay ~ favorite thing 3.) Jenny's spinach dip! Here's the recipe:

1 fresh bunch, 1 fresh bag or 1 bag of frozen spinach 8-10oz
1 cup sour cream
2/3 cup mayonnaise
½ tsp lemon juice
½ small onion, shredded
2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley or 1 of dried parsley
1 tsp chopped chives, or garlic chives
¼ tsp salt, pepper
½ tsp onion powder and paprika

***For extra texture, color or crunch try adding a handful of chopped or sliced water chestnuts, and or a handful of thinly shredded carrot.

Remove any large steams on leaves, chop spinach thoroughly and boil for 2 ½ - 3 minutes. Strain and rinse with cool water; let sit in strainer for 5-10 minutes, and then blot with paper towel to dry. Add sour cream and mayonnaise, mix well. Add remainder of ingredients, then chill, serve warm or cold with crusty bread, crackers or use a vegetable dip.

If using frozen spinach, let thaw then gently squeeze out water, or strain. Pat to dry and mix as directed above.

Thanks Jenny for a great garden party!

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