A Squared: Brown Thumbs & Weekend Happenings

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Brown Thumbs & Weekend Happenings

The beginning of my urban garden... stay tuned for more!
Ahh... happy weekend!  Did anyone else feel like the countdown to Friday was abnormally long this week?  Nothing too exciting was happening here this weekend except some massive spring cleaning, organizing, and home improvements.  Wow, are we married people or what?

We have a little deck at our place and since this will be the first summer we'll get to use it I want to take full advantage and grow a few herbs and vegetables.  I have a notoriously brown thumb that Alex loves to tease me about; I've never met a basil plant I couldn't kill!  Here's hoping that I can break the cycle this year.  We've got a grill, now we have our plants, and we have a set of small deck furniture on its way as well-- I'll post pictures later when it all comes together.

I also wanted to share a recipe for the dinner that I made for us on Friday night.  We decided to stay in and watch a movie and drink some wine, so I decided to try a (meatless for Lent) new pasta recipe that looked good.  This recipe was really quick and easy-- the only thing that you really have to cook is the pasta.  Typically I'd share this in a What's For Dinner Wednesday post but, although delicious, I will not be making this meal again as I basically poisoned my husband with it!

After dinner he had some really severe heartburn and trouble swallowing, which I have seen happen to him only a few other times since we've been together-- once was on Valentine's Day a few years ago at an Italian restaurant during dessert, but Alex just thought it was the champagne or that he had accidently encountered some shrimp (which he's allergic to).  More recently it happened right after Christmas when he was eating some chocolate withe almonds. Surprise!  Alex is apparently allergic to almonds and thus last night's sun-dried tomato and almond pesto was only a success for me.  I'll share the recipe below so that you can make it for your almond-friendly friends.

Penne with Tomato Pesto and Smoked Mozzarella


  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh parsley
  • 12 sun-dried tomato halves  *Make sure you use the jarred oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes.  I used the dried ones from a bag and ended up needing to add additional olive oil.
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 pound smoked mozzarella, diced
  • 1/2 pound whole-wheat penne
In a small pan over medium heat, toast almonds until golden brown, 5 minutes. In a food processor, pulse almonds, parsley, tomatoes, garlic and oil until slightly chunky. Pour into a bowl; season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add mozzarella; toss to combine. Cook pasta as directed on package; drain and toss immediately with pesto.  I also tossed in a few additional thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes to the final pasta mixture, which added some nice flavor and texture.

Recipe courtesy of Joan Lang via epicurious.com.


  1. Hazelnuts ensure a healthy heart and limit cholesterol levels in the body. Do you want to buy hazelnuts online? You can order hazelnuts naturally with allnuts. Everyone knows the hazelnut. This nut grows on a shrub native to Belgium and the Netherlands that we know as the hazel. The well-known shrub is found in all areas with a temperate climate. Perhaps less well known is that, according to some scientists, the hazelnut is related to the birch. Others prefer to treat the hazel as a separate plant family. Whatever the case, the hazelnut is in any case a nut from us. Just like the birch, the hazel bears the characteristic catkins in the spring. Hazelnoten

  2. Pistachio nuts are super tasty and are packed with proteins, healthy fats and minerals. Do you want to buy pistachio nuts online? You can order pistachio nuts at Allnuts! Everyone has of course heard of pistachio nuts. These nuts are the best known of the pistachio ice cream. In other cultures these nuts are then salted with the tea. The least you can say about pistachio nuts is that they are a versatile product. Pistachio nuts naturally have a greenish color and are wedged between two half-open shells. They look special that way. Pistachio nuts grow on a small tree that belongs to the wig tree family. The pistachio tree can reach a height of around 10 meters. This tree species has up to 1000 species of which the pistachio tree is only one. The cashmere tree from which we know the cashew nuts is also part of this botanical family. The pistachio tree is from Asia. The name pistachio itself also comes from Asia and more specifically from Farsi. Farsi is the language spoken in Iran. Pistachios are called 'pista' there. Although the trees are exotic, pistachio nuts are now also grown in Europe. Pistachio trees can also be planted in Europe and reach full growth. Pistachenoten

  3. Pecans are very tasty and are full of vitamin E and antioxidants. Do you want to buy pecans online? Order pecans at Allnuts! Pecans are also so popular with many people. They are a bit like walnuts and that is no wonder. The pecan tree and the walnut tree belong to the same botanical family.However, unlike walnut, pecans are not native nuts. You won't find pecan trees in our region. These trees are native to the southern United States. There is a warm temperate climate to a subtropical climate and pecans are doing very well there. They can reach a height of 50 to 60 meters! It is therefore no wonder that the United States is the world's largest producer of these nuts. However, the trees can also grow in other subtropical areas.Certain varieties of pecan trees that grow in the United States can also come into their own in European countries with a similar climate. Although pecans resemble walnuts, we still see striking differences. The peels of pecans are already hard while they are still hanging on the tree.When they are ripe, the two halves of the casing spontaneously open. You do not need a nutcracker for this. Pecannoten


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