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My October Reading List

I’m sure you all have noticed that I love books. And ever since I got my library card, I’ve been reading a lot of new books, particularly ones that I probably never would have picked up at a book store. This all stems from the majority of the conversations I’m having these days – about future plans and how I can make those dreams into a reality starting small and starting now. I envision a healthier, more holistic lifestyle for myself.

So I thought I’d share some of the books I’ve been reading because they make a lot of sense to me, and it’s been refreshing seeing my thoughts written out in someone else’s words. Like I’m not the only person who is questioning the things I’ve been told and taught. I promise I’m not one of those “crunchy, granola hippies.” I just want to be able to support my local community and in turn, supplement my own well being in a way that I can feel good about.

  • The Roots of My Obsession: Thirty Great Gardeners Reveal Why They Garden, edited by Thomas C. Cooper
  • Farmacology: Total Health from the Ground up, by Daphne Miller
  • Honeybee: Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper, by C. Marina Marchese
  • Compost this Book!, by Thomas Christopher and Marty Asher
  • The Wildlife Garden: Planning Backyard Habitats, by Charlotte Seidenberg
  • The Backyard Homestead, edited by Carleen Madigan
  • Herbal Tea Gardens, by Marietta Marshall Marcin
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Recipe: Gnocchi Soup

Now that colder weather seems to be on its way, I am looking for some soup recipes to cycle into my routine. I just love a good, hearty soup on a cold day, don’t you? My favorite is my mom’s beer cheese potato soup, but since the boyfriend isn’t a fan of cheese, I’ve been looking for another version of potato soup that we’ll both eat. 

Gnocchi soup seemed like the perfect opportunity so I found a recipe online and tweaked it to suit both our tastes. I get the creaminess I love without the cheese he dislikes. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbs olive oil or butter
  • 1 c red onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 2 c heavy cream
  • 14 oz chicken broth
  • 1 tbs fresh thyme
  • 1 tbs fresh basil
  • 1 tbs fresh rosemary
  • 1-2 c chopped spinach
  • 1 16 oz package of gnocchi
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until tender. Add the flour to create a roux and cook for another minute. 
  2. Slowly add cream and chicken broth until it starts to thicken. Add the thyme, basil, rosemary, spinach, and gnocchi. Simmer 5 minutes or until the gnocchi is cooked and the soup is thickened. Salt and pepper to taste. 

*If you want a thinner soup, add more chicken broth to taste. You can also add cooked chicken for a heartier soup. 

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Herb Garden

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I have never been very good at taking care of plants. I’ve over-watered countless houseplants and flowers over the years and I consider myself to have a black thumb. I don’t even let myself wander into the clearance section of Home Depot’s garden department because those poor plants don’t deserve such a bad ending.

This year, however, things are going to be different.

A couple weeks ago, my friend Jenna and I went to Crabtree Farms‘ spring plant sale to browse through their rows and rows of herbs, vegetables, and flowers. This farm is an urban farm that encourages local involvement and offers CSA shares during their growing season.

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We weren’t planning on purchasing any of their plants, but…

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I have since bought even more herbs for my little patio garden, and they seem to be doing well! Some even need to be re-potted into bigger pots because they’ve already outgrown the space I gave them. And making sure they all get enough sunlight on the patio I have is a little tricky because I live on the second floor of an apartment complex, but I made a makeshift plant stand out of some bricks and wooden planks that seems to be working out well so far. (My cat Olive approves anyway.)

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Maybe I do have a green thumb after all.