Herb-a-licious

 

Tired of eating the same, bland food?  The thought of another bland chicken breast too much to bear?  Then today’s blog post is for you.  Hang on to your potting soil, because today we’re going gardening.

 

But not just any gardening….we’re planting herbs!

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Yep, those are toddler gardening tools.  Necessity is the mother of invention…

 

 

Yep, this weekend I planted my herb garden!

 

Now for all you ladies out there that are trying to eat healthy, low-calorie food, an herb garden is going to be your best friend.  Seriously.  Adding fresh herbs to your food is going to add some incredible flavor to your food and keep your grilled chicken and veggies from being bland (actually, it will make it as far from bland as possible.)  Plus, it’s so easy. No green thumb required…

 

I have planted an herb garden every year for the last five years.  Some years I plant lots of different types of herbs, sometimes it’s only a few, it just depends on how I’m feeling that spring (and how busy I am.)

 

This year, I decided to stick with just the basic herbs.  Just the ones I use ALL the time in my cooking: rosemary, basil, cilantro and mint. (Honestly, the mint is more for cocktails and desserts, but it’s definitely a summer staple at my house.)

 

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Hello freshness!  I can’t wait to eat you.

 

My grandmother always said that you wait until after Derby Day to plant your flowers. And after this past weekend’s Derby (nice run, Nyquist) you’re good to start planting.

 

Most herbs like a lot of sun.  I plant my herbs beside the gym at my house in the shade of a huge pine tree.  They usually love it there (go figure.)  Although, the cilantro can be quite finicky from year to year.

 

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I picked up my herbs at a local nursery (love the team at Gasser’s Nursery!) But you can get your herbs anywhere (yes, even Walmart.)

 

 

I recruited a little help from Miss Elinor.  She loved getting dirty.  And I love teaching her how to grow your own herbs.  I’ll also let her help me cook with them this summer. Instilling good, healthy eating habits at a young age is super important to me (and will be for her, too.) Plus, how cute of a helper is she?

 

 

I’m going to use these herbs all summer long.  They’re going to add amazing (calorie-free) taste to my meats and sides and they’re going to save me a ton of money on herbs from the grocery (have you bought those little packages of herbs at the store – yowza!)  Plus, the ones at the store never have as much flavor as the ones from my yard.

 

 

Now, if you’re like me, I used to be terrified to use herbs.  I had no idea what herbs went with what foods, how much to put in the food or how to even use them – talk about intimidating.  But, I’ll let you in on a little secret of the herb world….it’s so easy.  You can’t mess it up.  Seriously.  Just start experimenting.  Toss a little on your grilled chicken. Add a sprig to your steamed veggies.  The taste is delicious, the smell is fantastic and it really does add some oomph to your food. (FYI – “oopmh” is a very technical cooking term…)

 

Ok, I know what you’re thinking – “that’s great Rebecca, but does basil go with steak or rosemary with pork?”  To help you get started, here’s a few of my favorite combos of food and herbs:

Rosemary: grilled chicken, pork, potatoes

Basil: chicken, grilled squash/zucchini, pastas

Cilantro: (gives food a great Mexican taste): chicken (especially chicken tacos), rice

 

Those are just my most common uses, but seriously, you can do SO much more with these herbs.  If you’re looking for more details on how to use these herbs, check out THIS LINK. It’s got a great PDF that will walk through a lot of food/herb combinations.

 

How adorable are these fork herb markers?  Yes, I made them.  (Proud crafting moment…)

 

 

My tip to everyone reading this: find a corner of your yard and plant some basic herbs. They’re going to come in super handy this summer in helping you to add flavor to your food (without all the calories.)  I’ll be sure to share some of my favorite recipes with fresh herbs throughout the summer (including some desserts and cocktails.)  That little herb garden will give you lots of flavor for your food…and give you a great excuse to wear those cute gardening gloves. 🙂

 

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Get herby.

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