Find out why there’s NO menu this week.

Summer is HERE. How do I know this?  Well,  there’s a big shiny thing in the sky scorching the earth, children are screaming and the air is filling with swarms of flying, biting things.     It’s either summer or the end of the world.

I get less and less inclined to create a weekly menu in the summer for some reason.  And now that I have this vegetable garden my meals often revolve around what happens to be edible that night.  Cabbage worms for instance.  They look pretty good.  And those striped cucumber beetles!

The other night for instance we were supposed to have Kale.  The Kale was looking great a few days earlier.  However, when I went out to pick it before dinner the Kale was covered in gross, green cabbage worms.  Or more precisely the pig faced cabbage worms had a tiny bit of Kale stuck to them.  I was not eating the worm infested Kale.  I sprayed it with a biological spray and have my fingers crossed it’ll come back.  Even though according to the fella nobody really likes Kale.

So I moved onto the more pest tolerant Swiss Chard and beet tops and used those instead.  A few carrots were ready to be picked so I grabbed some of those, chopped them up into matchsticks and sautéed them with the greens, finishing it all with a bit of peanut sauce.

By the way.  These are my carrots.  They are beautiful.  It just about killed me to chop them up and eat them.  If I could have gotten away with wearing them as a necklace I would have.  But I’m not Lady Gaga and I usually can’t pull off food fashion.



What was I saying?  Right.  Menus.  In the summer, I’m happy to make light meals, sort of unstructured (i.e. mishmash) bits of whatever is in the garden and the fridge.  So that’s what I’m doing this week.  No menu.  No plan.  Just a free wheeling, happy-go-lucky, come what may first week of summer free for all.

Besides, lucky me, has received a couple of cookbooks to review so I need a week or so to try out a few of the recipes and decide if they’re recommendation worthy or not.  Since one of the cookbooks is by one of my favourite food bloggers Alice, from Savory Sweet Life I’m pretty sure she’s going to get a glowing review.  Alice, if you remember is the one who introduced me to the microwaved potato chip from yesterday’s post.  She’s also responsible for the delicious garlic cheese bread I link to every so often in my weekly menu.

I know we’re going to have some steak, maybe some crabs legs on the BBQ and there are several beets ready to pick in the garden.  But beyond that … dunno.

I guess it depends on what the next infestation is and whether or not it’s big enough to BBQ.




  1. Carla Barnes says:

    Yes, Karen, I would like to see some BBQ bug recipes, thank you!

  2. Lea says:

    Say What!?! Inform the Fella that lots of ppl like, even love, Kale. My family, including 4 kids, love Kale. I like it even better than spinach!

  3. Spokangela says:

    Kale is definitely one of the REAL leafy greens.

  4. Kale grows like crazy in my garden here on the sf bay area coast…get a few worms and lately some aphids which I have just sprayed with that bio spray.
    Anyhow if you haven’t tried kale chips you really must as they will make a kale lover out of anybody!
    Coat them with.a little olive oil, bake on a sheet pan for about 8-10 minutes at 375 F then salt lightly. Hope you like ’em!
    Ps the little green worms get crispy if you miss one or two ha.

    • Karen says:

      Nancy – I’ve actually made Kale chips figuring I’d love them, but they’re actually my *least* favourite way to eat kale! I prefer it in a soup or sautéed with a bit of peanut sauce. ~ k!

  5. Jill says:

    Those carrots are lovely, Karen! I hope they tasted as good as they look!

  6. Krikit says:

    It’s good to know there’s a reason why there’s no menu. I thought you and “The Fella” had fallen off the deep end and just decided you weren’t going to eat anymore.

    Of course, I should have known better! What was I thinking!? ~;0)

  7. Jan says:

    We garden but also receive weekly deliveries from an organic supplier who supports local farmers. We like buying from the local organic companies.and having everything conveniently delivered for a surprisingly low cost.

    But…we can rarely plan meals in advance since the produce varies widely from one week to the next. We can guess- odds are high that strawberries and tomatoes will show up regularly in summer, beets and acorn squash in the fall, etc – but beyond that we wing it.

    It is actually kind of fun.if tired, I know I can always resort to vegetable soup, bread, and a simple fruit dessert.

    A mix of fruits with a honey/lemon juice/cinnamon mix drizzled on top is an easy finish to a basic summer meal.

    Guiltily finishing a non-light snack of chips and cookies before heading to bed…..

  8. Sun…what’s that?
    I’m with the Fella on kale,it’s about the only green I don’t like, so I would leave it to the bugs.
    Oops, sorry karen, didn’t mean to offend you or insult one of your babies. So, to make up, your carrots are indeed beautiful, I’m sure they tasted fantastic.
    Love new cookbooks, happy reading!

  9. Sue says:

    Cook as you go in the summer – works for me ;o)
    Happy Canada Day and enjoy the long weekend!

  10. Try making baked Kale chips and dust them with sea salt! I bet the fella will be pleasantly surprised!

  11. Your carrots are gorgeous. I’m admiring my first beet and can’t bring myself to take a knife to it.

  12. Erica says:

    What is kale? Doesn’t sound appetizing, think I’m agreeing with the Fella..

  13. jojo says:

    Hmm. Kale. Seems to be a popular veg these days, but I just don’t understand the attraction. Just like the Kardashians. I don’t understand the attention, andI cringe everytime someone I know talks about either Kale or the Kardashians. UGh.

    • Mary Werner says:

      Kardashians? Isn’t that some type of sweater? Grab and go with your kardashian tossed casually over your shoulder.Maybe in a lovely shade of kale green.

  14. Bonnie says:

    I didn’t fall in love with kale chips either. I don’t know if I made them wrong or I just am in the 1% who doesn’t love them. PLEASE share your recipe for peanut sauce.


    P.S. I am so glad that you don’t have a weekly menu. I was beginning to think you could walk on water and leap tall buildings in a single bound, and that is much too intimidating.

  15. AbbieG says:

    Try draping light netting or cloth over your Kale/Cabbage to keep off those piggy cabbage loopers. I had them one year and didn’t get a SINGLE piece of kale or broccoli all seasons.. This season, I’ve draped my seedlings and, so far, no little green monsters…

    How goes the battle with the Cuke Beetles?

    • Karen says:

      AbbieG – Well, I tried all 3 methods I found on the Internet (tin foil underneath), Neem Oil and hand picking. They aren’t gone, but they seem to be under control. I’ve squished more cucumber beetles with my bare hands than I care to admit. Bleh. ~ karen

      • Mary Werner says:

        I had 100 tomato plants and overnight they were filled with tomato worms. I tried something I heard from a tobacco farmer – crushed a handful then shook the mess up with water and splashed it all over the tomato plants – next morning not a worm in sight. Don’t know why. Didn’t find any dead ones. Strange but it worked.

        • Karen says:

          Mary – I heard that from someone else. I’ll give it a shot next time I have some sort of infestation. Which will likely be in the next half hour or so. ~ karen

  16. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Sounds good to me..It’s hard to plan meals in the summer as there are so many fun things to do..Enjoy the cookbooks and have a Happy Canada Day!!

  17. candace says:

    Lovely carrots!

    I have been lucky to avoid any cucumber beetles this year, and have made batch after batch of refrigerator pickles…but my tomatoes have attracted one hell of a population of nasty Leaf-footed Bugs that I can’t control at all. Ewwww.

    Cheers to improvised summertime meals 🙂

  18. Lisa says:

    Did you give the giant green worms to your chickens before you applied the BIO stuff?!?! They would gobble them up!

    • Karen says:

      🙁 I didn’t. Didn’t even think of it. There were just a few bigguns. The rest were teeny tiny. Too small to pick off. ~ k!

      • Lisa says:

        Any bug or juicy grub I find, I stop what I am doing & walk to the chickens & watch chicken keep-away…simple pleasures 🙂 My kids do it too…teenagers can you believe it!!

  19. shawna says:

    How in the heck did your carrots get THAT BIG so soon?? What are you feeding them?

    • Karen says:

      Hah! Well, I planted them in April! They’ve been really sporadic. Some are huge, some are tiny, some don’t seem like they’re ever going to grow at all. I’m gonna replant closer to the end of summer and see how they do then. And thank you for the carrot compliment. Aren’t they beautiful!? ~ karen

  20. My Texas Table says:

    Your summer foods are our winter foods. 🙂 We are eating peppers, tomatoes, melons and more peppers these days. Oh, and black-eyed peas. Yum!

    • Karen says:

      Melons already! Wow. Lucky you! I have a lot of tomatoes but none that are even close to being ripe yet. Ditto for the peppers. Although I have a couple of jalapenos I could pick. And I planted my tomatoes early and the plants are HUGE. Still at least a couple of weeks before anything edible. 🙁 Boo. ~ karen

      • My Texas Table says:

        I like to roast the tomatoes while they are still green with jalapenos and onions and then run them all through the food processor with lime juice and cilantro. It makes a fantastic salsa verde that would be perfect for cheese and garden greens enchiladas. Maybe the fella would like kale a little better that way?

  21. Gayla T says:

    Before spraying tomato plants with tobacco look up Tobacco Mosaic on tomato plants. My SIL is a smoker and not allowed to touch them as he killed them all year before last. The county ag agent checked them out for her since they were all dying and that’s what it was from. That is an awesome carrot worthy of the county fair. They are hard to grow in KS as our soil is gummy until it has been added to for years. I would like again to suggest guest menu makers. I would not be a good candidate since mac and cheese and weiners appears several times a week here. I don’t eat it but I have to cook it to keep the girls from starving to death. It used to be that I cooked regular meals and the abstainers could have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but as they have grown older they were all eating the pbj and I was eating the balanced meal so now I make them what they will eat and I eat the pbj. In learning about food fetishes I’ve found it’s genetic passed by the mostly by the mother and in our case it is true. There is an actual gene for it so I’ve given up and resorted to a vitamin pill for each and they don’t eat decent food. However, I think some of your followers on here are pretty inspired cooks, don’t you? You could dry carrot slices and make jewelry. Lady GaGa is gag gag so she might not wear it but it would be unusual and might start a trend. Then in a tight spot you could eat your jewelry if stranded in a snow bank. Ohhhhh, doesn’t that sound wonderful? Nice cold snow instead of 108 degrees day after day in June?

  22. Katie King says:

    Your fella will change his mind after tasting this bit of kale magic. It’s amazing, and easy.

    I’d do them as a soft taco instead, however…it’s messy eatin’ as a tostada!

  23. Erin says:

    Hey Karen,
    I’m with you on the lack of menu plan n the summer. I just try to keep the pantry stocked with butter, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, parmesan, lemons, onion, garlic, pasta or rice (and of course dark chocolate.) We cobble together supper from what’s ripe in the garden. Tonight: peas, lettuce and green onions.

    Your carrots look great! I’m sadly on my third replanting. Some little creeps keep eating my seedings. We always have to cover our cabbage family plants or we get cabbage worms too. Not so inviting when they show up in the steamed broccoli. Eew.

    P.S. my favourite way to eat kale is in Portuguese kale soup.

  24. Evalyn says:

    I love this time of the year when meals become more like grazing in the garden. It leads to the development of new dishes like grilled vegetable sandwiches.

    I am envious of your carrots, mine are on the second planting and I’ve yet to get a result. Sigh* Each year my garden is a new adventure.

  25. Karol says:

    I know I’m a city slicker and don’t understand the complicated world of growing your own food, but please explain where all these fat, gooey bugs come from in the first place. Are they already in your general vicinity waiting for a garden to be planted, or do they trek to your garden like some migrating animal from a far away place. I get a mental picture of grubs slinking down your sidewalk in an orderly fashion and shrieking “eureka”, in the teeniest of voices, when they get to your yard. Don’t judge, I know all about city stuff, but have had no exposure to gardening. I have seen strawberry fields on the side of the highway, and orange groves, but have never even been up close and personal to a single fruit/veggie laden plant. Wow, that’s a sad revelation.

    • Karen says:

      Karol – Around this time of year you see white moths with a couple of black spots on them. They lay eggs on their “host” plant and then those eggs hatch into tiny worms, which then eat my kale and grow into huge worms. That is how it happens. But if I ever seem them marching down the sidewalk I’ll be sure to take a picture. ~ karen

  26. Patti says:

    Haha! I love what the fella says about Kale! I have to agree. I grew a bunch and everyone was like “oooh! Kale!! It’s so great! Have you ever made Kale chips?” and then, every time that I offered them to take some Kale, they declined. Oh yeah – it’s soooooo good. (that was sarcasm)

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