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From our Garden: Glazed Radishes and Radish-Top Soup

Did I mention we grew a lot of radishes this summer in our Zombie Garden? Because we grew A LOT of radishes.

Vegetable Gardening for Dummies said that since radishes grow really fast, you can just scatter them on top of your garden after you plant everything else. The radishes will be ready for harvest before the rest of the veggies grow enough to crowd them. So I did just that. Scattered a bunch of seeds over all my pots.

A whole handful of seeds.

All at once.

See where we might have gone wrong?

A month later, radishes were everywhere. And, you know what I learned? Chris doesn’t particularly like radishes (you learn new things every day in a marriage.) Unfortunately, I’m a horrible wife and fed them to him for dinner anyway and he was a champ and did his best to eat them. I tried a bunch of different preparations to see if I could find something that Chris might actually enjoy. We tried them raw, sauteed, and in salads but in the end there were two winners:

1. Glazed Radishes (click for the recipe)

2. Radish-top Soup (recipe below)

The fact that the glazed radishes were delicious was unsurprising because, let’s be honest, the recipe calls for “a slab of butter.” The glazing process turns the radishes into juicy little pink balls of sweet-n-salty goodness that I’m now convinced will convert any radish-hater.

The radish-top soup, however, was the star.

The recipe came about after I made the glazed radishes. It only called for the bottom root parts which left the leafy greens, majority of the plant, to go to waste. I was distressed because I worked hard to grow those stinkin’ radishes! I didn’t want to throw them out after all that watering and weeding! Plus, since this is an apocalypse garden, I wanted to be all homesteady and use the entire plant. Most recipes I found online said to toss the tops in salads, but when I tried that they were spiney and made my tongue itch.

In my searches though, I stumbled across the idea to make Radish-Top Soup so I gave that a shot. It was super simple to make and it tasted like split-pea soup, which Chris loves. SUCCESS! It also made a lot more meals than just the radish bottoms did. We still have some of it frozen in the freezer. Which makes it a pretty good apocalypse dinner, me thinks.

Radish-Top Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Why waste the radish plant by only using the bottoms?
Creator:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 large bunch of radish tops
  • 4 medium potatoes, chopped with skin on
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat (or butter or olive oil, but bacon is better :) )
  • ½ onion, chopped (or ¼ cup dried onion flakes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth, heated to almost boiling
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cajun seasoning to taste
Instructions
  1. Melt bacon fat in a medium pot. Add raish leaves and saute for 3-4 minutes until wilted. Add potatoes and continue to saute for 3-4 minutes longer.
  2. Add onions and garlic and saute for another 3 minutes.
  3. Add hot chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  4. When potatoes are soft, puree the soup with an immersion blender (or normal blender, just be careful!) until well-blended and creamy.
  5. Add salt, pepper and cajun seasoing to taste.
  6. If you cooked bacon to get the bacon fat, sprinkle soup with chopped bacon bits and a dollop of sour cream!

 

 

I think despite the initial “HOLY RADISHES BATMAN!!” panic, we will definitely be planting radishes again next year!

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Zombies vs Plants

A few months ago, after finishing an episode of The Walking Dead, Chris was talking all big and manly about how if the zombie apocalypse actually happened he would totally dominate and be King of the Survivors.

“Chris, you do realize if the zombie apocalypse ACTUALLY happened right this minute, we have no food stored up, no water, no access to guns, no first aid stores and no knowledge of local hunting/gathering. We defintiely wouldn't survive.”

Cue pensive silence.

I was initially joking… but for real, we have little to no emergency supplies. (Heads up to all you neighbors keeping tabs on who to raid when the apocalypse goes down, save your precious time and just move past our house. It's not worth it.)

Emergency preparedness just always seemed like a boring adult thing to worry about. Apparently though, we are technically grown up. And we want to survive the zombies dang it! It suddenly seems a little less boring!

Bahaha Mormon joke!

So over the past year we've been trying to work on getting more prepared for emergencies.

Norway seems to be both a great place and awful place to weather a zombie apocalypse. For one thing, it's cold, so that would slow down the zombies. It's also rather sparsly populated. Less zombies to fight off. On the other hand, it's really hard to grow food here (just ask the vikings. It was way easier to just pillage and plunder). So I took that as a challenge this summer and planted a Zombie Survival Garden on our balcony patio.

Ta Da!
I am definitely a dummy when it comes to green things, so I used Vegetable Gardening for Dummies as my garden sensei. I filled my brain with seed starters, harvesting times, succession crops, watering schedules and dreams of garden-fresh salads and home-grown stuffed peppers. Since the summers here don't get that warm, I tried to focus on cold-weather, spring/fall crops.
 
The successes:
Radishes
We got a TON of radishes! If you are ever in an apocalypse scenario, plant radishes. They grow like nobody's business!

Peas

Just be sure to stake them with stakes taller than 3 feet. They grow reeeallly long. Who knew?
Carrots
I managed to get a few carrots (I planted a rainbow variety, which was awesome!) They grew a bit short and stubby unfortunately though. I'm thinking it was because the containers weren't deep enough?
Kale
It took forever to grow big enough to eat, but once it grew it was awesome! We tried making kale chips for the first time. I think I'm a fan!
Lettuce
It was so cool to think, “Hmm… I wish I had a salad to go with dinner. Oh wait! I'll just go pick one from the balcony!”
 
Not successes:
Peppers
Unfortunately it was just too cold for my little pepper seedlings. They tried their little hardest though!
Beets
They grew, but they were little bitty beets. I'm not sure what went wrong there.
Broccoli
Since broccoli is a cold-weather crop, I figured it would be a shoe-in. Unfortunately, each plant only produced one tiny bite of broccoli. And then those little bits bloomed into yellow flowers overnight. I suspect I planted the broccoli too early in the season.
Broccoli flowers! Who knew?
 
Things we learned about container gardening in Stavanger:
  • Pay attention to timing in the season. Some plants really do grow better in cold weather and others in warm.
  • Vegetables need more sun than you think they do.
  • Don't overcrowd your patio pots. The seedlings look small when you plant them, but they grow fast and you won't get big harvests if your plants are too crowded.

All-in-all, we probably only grew enough produce for us to survive a week, but I'd say it was a pretty successful first attempt. I'm not saying we're ready to survive any apocalypses in the near future, but at least if it happened tomorrow, we know we could survive on radishes!

 

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The Visit of the Hoegers: A Photo Essay
 

Next stop for the Hoegers: Germany!

We'll meet up with you guys in Greece!

This – right here, right now – is Norway.

This hike to Månafossen and the Mån Farm with the Hoegers and our church is going in the C2 record books as one of the most Norwegian things we've ever experienced.
 
First, there was the hike to the falls. In the drizzling rain. Rain doesn't slow the Norwegians down one bit.
 
We continued up through the mossy, mysterious forests to Mån Farm.

 

Then we grilled pølse on the bank of the river for lunch. Because of course it's not a true Norwegian outing unless hot dogs are consumed.
 
We cheered on Crister as he tried to rock-hop across the river (wearing his parka in August).
 
He almost made it, but then had to wade the rest of the way barefoot through the glacial river.
 
And that glacial river? The kids were playing in it in their swimsuits. It doesn't matter that the water is frigid….it's summer!
 
THEN the sheep showed up. Just sauntered through the group with their bells jingling like it was totally normal. Which…because it's Norway…it was.
 
And then, you guys, the children started RIDING THE SHEEP!
 
And the grandpas too. In Norwegian sweaters. I mean…. FOR REAL???
 
It was like everything we ever imagined/hoped/dreamed Norway to be came to life right before our eyes in a beautiful, surreal still-life of Norwegian culture.
“'Sup?”
 
 
It could only possibly have been more Norwegian if everyone did the hike wearing cross country skis.
 
But I guess that's what winter is for :)

 

Hello Hoegers!
The airport tarmac barley had time to cool after my family's plane took off before our friends, Chris and Michi, were landing in Stavanger. We had just 3 days to gather our bearings before the next round of fjords, sightseeing, and general awesomeness.
 
Norway was the first stop on the Hoeger's tour through Europe. They were here 5 days before they headed out for 2 weeks in Germany, and then we met up with them again in Greece for a week. It was quite the trip!
 
Oh and hey! They brought a baby!
To protect the innocent, we shall call her LittleBug (named by Chris).
 

It's always wonderful to spend time with old friends. We've been so blessed that despite living so far away, we have been able to keep in contact with our dear ones back home through visits on both ends and frequent Skype dates. I don't know what we would do without you guys!