There are so many things I'm thankful for but that's not what this blog is about. Instead I was reminded yesterday while at Magic Moutnain with the kids about how simple "growing enthusiasm" in the garden can be! It takes a falling leaf and a moment to relax and decide to chase it.
When the kids were younger, we loved chasing leaves on a windy day. When we would catch one we'd spend what seemed like hours looking at it, turning it into a puppet and comparing it to others. Now that they're older, I loved seeing that even while surrounded by crowds, roller coasters and games, they were able to take a moment to relax and enjoy the simplicity of a falling leaf.
So today, in the middle of family chaos and chasing down timers in the kitchen, take a moment to go catch or chase a leaf. Watching them dance in the wind is fun. Trying to catch them is a bit harder but even more fun! This is a great way to get in the garden, get fresh air, and remember to keep it simple!
I made it almost whole life without ever tasting a Brussel sprout until a recent trip to meet up with a farmer who grows the little green balls! (He actually grows some of them to be used on Rose Parade floats which is really exciting and something I’ll share with you as the event gets closer.
I am lucky to be the producer of HGTVs coverage…but that’s another blog series!) This is about these gross little green things that have made me gag my entire life. I hated them so much when I was younger that I would choose to lose my dessert for not only a day but a week to avoid eating a single Brussel sprout.
However I was forced to rethink my dislike of them when the farmer handed me one and said take a bite. It was fresh straight from the stalk. Instead of eating them cooked with a bunch of butter or oil, I took a bite of one while I was in the garden and I’m happy to report it was YUMMY! It tasted a bit like cabbage. It was another reminder to live by what I preach to my kids. “Even if you don’t like it now, you might like it later!”
Brussel sprouts are the strangest looking vegetables I’ve ever seen in the garden. They like cool weather and do better in areas where the summers are not long, hot and dry. The stem of the plant grows little tiny cabbage looking heads which is the actual vegetable. This is a really great thing to grow with children because there are so many imaginative worlds and stories that can be inspired by the crazy looking stalks.
The trick to a good tasting Brussel sprout is making sure you pick them at just the right time. If you pick them too late they can taste bitter, which is probably why most people don’t like them. Look for Brussel sprouts that are about one inch in size. That’s almost the same size as a nickel or small paperclip! Be sure to harvest at the base of the stem first and work your way up. Twist off the sprouts by hand!
If it’s too cold now to start a pizza garden, you should consider growing one inside. Pre-order an Herbie from AeroGarden® Kids on Amazon and you can get started right in the middle of winter!
The kids and I helped with the development of the hydroponic system and inside the kit is an activity book I authored with a bunch more ideas!
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