GROW. SHARE. PREPARE. SUSTAINABLE FOOD CENTER
Grow greens for healthy additions to meals
When January hits, there is often a push for making changes — usually, to our diets. Gyms offer monthly deals, and the salad bars are suddenly more crowded. Many of us are torn between cravings for the rich comfort foods that accompanied the holidays and a desire to incorporate more fresh local produce into our meals. In Central Texas, where we enjoy our year-round food growing capabilities, it is easier to make this transition. We savored cold-weather root vegetables throughout the holidays, mind you, but greens are the stars of the remaining growing season in January. These leafy, nutritious plants are a welcome break from heavy foods and can help us add a local, seasonal element to our meals.
Three types of greens that thrive in our region during the cooler months are Asian greens, lettuce, and spinach. Greens are an excellent source of vitamins A, K, & E, iron, potassium, calcium, folate, and fiber — important for keeping our immune systems strong during the remainder of winter. Try growing several different varieties of these healthy greens to add both color and texture in your garden — and on your plate.
Planting time for these hardy winter greens begins as early as mid- to late September and continues until a few weeks before the last Central Texas freeze, typically in early March. The majority of greens prefer fertile, well-drained soil. Some might even tolerate shade, although full sun — six to eight hours — is always preferable. Cast seeds over a garden bed, or plant them a quarter of an inch deep and 1 to 2 inches apart. Once seeds germinate, thin plants to allow proper spacing for plant growth according to each type.
When you harvest greens, cut the leaves from the base of the plant, allowing the plant to keep producing leaves. Choose smaller leaves that are more tender. It is possible to keep sowing seeds for these greens in succession throughout the winter in order to keep harvesting until mid-March, before the temperatures rise and plants start to “bolt” — or transition from being mostly leaves to producing flowers with seeds.
As you tend your greens, remember a few other key maintenance tasks for your winter garden. Mulch heavily and water well, saturating the soil before a freeze to protect your plants so that you can enjoy fresh, healthy produce from your garden and stay on track to make changes towards a healthy lifestyle.
This recipe for Sweet Potato Wraps is a great way to incorporate your freshly harvested greens.
Sweet Potato Wraps
2 large sweet potatoes
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
6 cups mixed salad greens (spinach, arugula, lettuce)
½ cup raisins or dried cranberries
4 oz. queso fresco or feta cheese
4 whole wheat tortillas
Cut each sweet potato in half, lengthwise. Place in microwave (covered) and cook until tender, 7-10 minutes.
Let potatoes cool.
Combine balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil in a large bowl. Whisk until well combined. Add greens, raisins (or cranberries) and cheese. Mix together.
Assemble wraps by scooping several tablespoons of cooked sweet potato out of their skins and spreading onto each tortilla. Add ¼ of the salad mix to each tortilla and roll wrap together.
Makes four wraps.
Moms celebrate a mighty attitude in baby and toddler clothing
Austinite Rachel Bucher and fellow moms Amanda Jigmond and Komal Patel wanted clothing that would reflect the mighty spirit that little kids have. “We fiercely believe that all littles are mighty in many ways,” Bucher writes in an email. “They have mighty curiosity, mighty fears, mighty imagination, mighty joy and mighty potential. They are enchanted by their own existence. They are no one’s but their own.”
They created Little & Mighty with T-shirts and onesies that reflect this spirit. The clothing comes in 2T-6T and 3 months to 24 months. Designs include images of bears, pears, zebras, snails, frogs, tractors, bikes and penguins. Short sleeves are $24 and long sleeves are $28.
The dinosaur hoodie sells for $34. Little & Mighty also plans to expand to youth sizes. Find them at littleandmighty.com.
Petticoat Fair monthlong sale touted as twice in a century
Throughout the month, undergarment store Petticoat Fair is having clearance sale on bras, shapeware, swimwear, sleepwear and undergarments. The store, which has been owned by the Andrews family for 51 years, says it is only the second time it has had a sale of this size.
The store is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Find Petticoat Fair at 7739 Northcross Drive. petticoatfair.com.
Save the dates for Le Garage Sale, Austin Home & Garden Show
Two Austin favorite events are happening this month. Le Garage Sale is back Jan. 23-24 at Palmer Event Center. The biannual sale includes more than 80 retailers and designers. Tickets are $10, but if you come early at 10 a.m. on Saturday, you can join the VIP Preshop for $20. Buy tickets online at legaragesale.net.
Austin Home & Garden Show is Jan. 15-17 at the Austin Convention Center. This year, Clint Harp from HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” and painting expert Brian Santos are the special guests. Santos will speak at 4:30 p.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Saturday; and 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Harp talks 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday. Expect to find a kids’ zone and sections on home improvement, landscaping, outdoor living, design and new products, as well as a Tiny House.
Tickets are $8.50 adults, $6.50 seniors and free for kids 16 and younger and people with an active military ID. Find tickets and information at austinhomeandgardenshow.com.