Kids love to get dirty. I do too. I can’t think of a better way than in the garden.
Gardening is a passion of mine. Kids love to learn hands on. Sharing my love of taking food from garden to table with them is a dream come true for me.
I’ve been fortunate to able to work with so many children on programs to help build school gardens, compost bins, and community gardens. Every child should know where their food originated. You might be surprised to know that peanuts actually grow underground. The flowers bloom, stems turn down and burrow into the ground! Broccoli is a flower that if left unharvested, will open into a yellow bouquet. Learning facts like those help make gardening fun.
Keep the fun going with these ideas.
Paint raised beds bright colors.
Children gravitate to bright yellows, reds and purples. Remember with raised beds to keep them narrow so kids can easily reach the center.
Plant theme gardens.
- Pizza gardens can contain tomatoes, peppers, basil, oregano, spinach and onions. The tomatoes and herbs can be made into sauce. Veggies can be used for toppings.
- For a movie night garden you can plant popcorn, peanuts and mint for tea.
- Native American garden grows vertical with corn, squash and beans.
Kid-sized tools and gloves are available at most garden centers. Hand trowels also make digging easy.
Introducing a variety of fruits and vegetables to kids can help develop a lifetime of healthy habits. Give them a say in what they grow. Tomatoes for instance, offer several shapes, colors and sizes from which to choose.
Here is a recipe that uses plentiful spinach for garden green spinach pasta. Red peppers, garlic and basil make a most flavorful sauce!
Squeeze out spinach.
Puree spinach with egg.
Make a well and add liquids.
Cover and rest dough.
Roll out to about 1/4-inch thickness.
Hand or machine cut into noodles.
I use a cooling rack to dry my pasta.
Chop sauce ingredients together.
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 4 eggs
- 2½ cups flour
- reserved spinach water
- 2 cups roasted red peppers, diced
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons basil, julienne
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add spinach and cook just until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove and drain. When cool, squeeze out excess water. Reserve the spinach water.
- Puree spinach with 2 eggs. Set aside.
- Mound flour on a cutting board. Make a well in the center, add the 2 additional eggs and spinach puree.
- Slowly add flour into the center as you mix. I use my hands, but a fork is fine.
- Add more flour to board if necessary and knead into a smooth dough. Add a little reserved spinach water if its too dry. Roll into a ball and cover with a damp towel. Rest dough for about 15 minutes.
- Roll out dough to about ¼-inch thickness and cut into desired shape by hand or machine.
- Allow noodles to air dry for several minutes.
- Bring water to a boil. Add salt then carefully drop in noodles in small batches. Stir and return to a boil. Fresh pasta cooks quickly, in about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Drain and serve.
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until chopped.
- Transfer to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until spinach wilts, flavors blend and sauce is thoroughly heated. Add a bit of pasta water if sauce seems too thick.
American Family Insurance realizes that dreams like gardens need to be nurtured and protected.
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