I can’t believe summer is almost over! We’re wrapping it up here with lots of delicious pesto, ratatouille, and zucchini dishes. My neglected garden is completely out of control (see for yourself in pic below), but it’s still providing plenty of cherry tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, and kale. We’re getting ready for fall, outfitting ourselves with school supplies and making sure we have shoes that aren’t falling apart and still fit. There are a few leaves the ground, and the cool night air lets us know the short season of warmth is about to end.
The turn in the seasons is always bittersweet for me, as I really enjoy the break from the heat of summer but know that winter is just around the corner. Seriously, here in Minnesota, full-on winter begins as soon as the calendar turns to November, so fall is incredibly short.
While I enjoy the break from gardening, I also miss the fresh food tremendously in the 6 long months of winter. YES, SIX! And all you lucky folks who live in warmer climes, just so you know, winter here means temperatures around zero, and sometimes well below. Snow’s not gone here till April at the earliest, and nothing’s really growing till the calendar says spring is halfway over. I’ve been here 14 years now, and winter still really gets to me, in case you couldn’t tell. OK, rant over.
I continue to discover more fantastic ideas in my daily snoops around the interwebs. My favorite green find in August was learning that you can eat melon seeds! Apparently they’re also really healthy. So before cantaloupe season winds down where you are, try toasting some up and enjoy some bonus healthy food!
I’m also fascinated by the prospect of making my own soap from a plant I’ve heard of but never looked into called soapwort. Check out Green Talk’s post on making soap from soapwort if you’re curious.
I continue to experiment with cool DIY projects I learn from other bloggers. This month, I tried making my own mineral-rich toothpaste, adapting recipes from Wellness Mama and Dr. Axe. With unrefined coconut oil, it has a pleasant coconut flavor and seems to work pretty well. I’ll keep you posted!
I’ve also found some great new ways to turn vegetables into treats (think rhubarb leather and zucchini cake). I have a mammoth zucchini that somehow survived an onslaught of squash bugs that I’m thinking might be turned into these amazing-looking pineapple fruit chews. With fall rolling in, check out some novel ideas for what to do with pumpkin: pumpkin leather and flourless pumpkin brownies. I always find myself with more butternut squash than we can eat, and you can use it pretty interchangeably with pumpkin, so as soon as they’re ripe and cured, we’re going to give these recipes a try!
While it’s still warm and watermelon is plentiful, this cool watermelon slushie from Naturally Blessed Mama is worth checking out. When your basil succumbs to the cold, you can still enjoy pesto made with hardier cilantro using this pumpkin seed cilantro pesto recipe from Michelle at Seeking Joyful Simplicity. Sarah at Thyme to Embrace Herbs always has a new plant featured that I had no idea had medicinal benefits. This month, she has a post on the benefits of honeysuckle.
With school lunches to pack, this post on how to make cashew butter from Whole Natural Life will come in handy. Homemade cashew butter would make a perfect dip for the fall apples on the way!
My web-snoops also continue to turn up new information on things we’re better off avoiding. Carol at Pure Living Space gives a good rundown of 23 ways to get a less toxic home. Implement even a few of them and your body will thank you.
How are you savoring these waning days of summer?
Photo credits: Candace Nast, Naturally Blessed Mama, Whole Natural Life, Pure Living Space