Enjoying the Fruits of Labor

A few months ago, I wrote a blog about the neighborhood garden that my family contributes to during the spring and summer. My husband and I do not have green thumbs, so we have enjoyed participating in a neighborhood garden that our neighbor, Jen, has created in her backyard to share with a few of us who live nearby.

This summer has been tough on our neighbor’s garden. She has had to fend off several hungry pests over the past few months and has dealt with drought making it difficult to produce as much as she has in years past. Although the garden was off to a slower start, she has been able to share beans, eggplant, cucumbers, zucchini, hot peppers, and a few tomatoes. In the next month or so, we are hopeful to see purple and blue potatoes, butternut squash, bell peppers, carrots, and additional greens like chard, spinach, and lettuce. Here is a picture of my toddler, Brynn, with the tomato plant that she helped with in May. Somehow, she has developed a green thumb and her tomato plant is the biggest one in Jen’s garden!

I love using my neighbor’s produce in my recipes. There is something to be said about the taste of a fresh grown vegetable compared to purchasing one from our local grocery store. A few of my favorite recipes that I have made so far this summer include making Whole Wheat Pizza Dough with hot peppers and tomatoes, as well as Vegetable Quesadillas and Zucchini Hummus Wraps with zucchini and eggplant. I also make the Vegetable Dip to enjoy with cut up veggies for a quick and easy snack.

I am looking forward to enjoying the other produce that will be grown in our neighbor’s garden over the next few months. Now that Brynn is learning the ins and outs of gardening from our neighbor, maybe we will attempt our own garden next spring!

Cheers to enjoying the fruits of labor!

Katy Moscoso

Katy Moscoso is a Program Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. As a new mom she is always on the lookout for easy, healthy recipes to prepare for her family.

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Cranberry Almond Wrap

Cranberry Almond Wrap is our August recipe of the month.  I like this type of recipe in the summer because it is quick and cool.

In the summer, quick and cool recipes are frequently used in our home.  We love spending time outdoors in the summer, so taking time to prepare meals gets cut way back in order to get the most of our outside time.  We are almost always hot when we come inside, so a hot meal does not appeal to any of us.  My older two children often tell me that they do not want any hot food.

This recipe can be made ahead of time by stirring chicken (that has been cooked and shredded), sliced almonds, diced celery, dried cranberries, and mayo in a bowl and covering it and storing it in the refrigerator until meal time.  When it is time to eat, spread the mixture on a tortilla, lettuce leaf, or slice of bread and enjoy!  For the chicken, I recommend cooking extra when you have the grill fired up or the oven on.  You can store cooked chicken in the refrigerator for up to four days or in the freezer for up to three months.


Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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