Mediterranean Monday: Making Shakshuka (Plus Lawn and Garden Ramblings)

Hi Friends!

I am officially overcome with Spring fever! I have so many projects I’ve been tackling I can’t believe I haven’t dropped dead of exhaustion yet. The previous owners of my house took zero care of the lawn, leaving it completely overtaken by weeds, and this is the year I’ve finally accomplished enough of my landscaping projects to move on to the lawn. I’ve spread pre-emergent weed preventer, sprayed 2-4-D on all of the perennial broad-leaf weeds (mostly dandelions and clover in my yard), mowed for the first time of the year, and sometime this week I will get it fertilized.

Right now the lawn is looking a little sparse because the weeds are dying out. Hopefully what little grass there is in my yard can start to fill in, and in the fall I will lay a nice heavy layer of grass seed with another good dose of fertilizer. Fingers crossed that by this time next year my yard will actually start to look like a lawn again instead of a safe-house for every hated weed in the county.

I’ve also moved back to the first major landscaping project I tackled when I bought my house two years ago – the lower half of my front yard. My yard is very steep and I said there is no way I’m mowing that mountain every week. So I turned the bottom 20 feet of my yard into a giant mulch bed and planted a hundred or so starts of flowering vinca, which are finally starting to fill in and spread.

However, since I laid the landscape fabric, planted all of the vinca, and mulched the entire area, I haven’t done much except pull weeds for the last two years. This year it needs another heavy layer of mulch, and I put in the edging down the side and am installing landscape blocks across the top to help keep grass and weeds from finding its way into the flower bed. I have about 45-50 blocks to install, and since I have so much else to work on I’ve decided to do five blocks per day (except when it rains) until I’m finished. I think I have about 15 blocks down, and will hopefully get another five in before Thursday’s scheduled rain.

Then there is the garden. I was going to build a raised bed, but I lucked out and found a kit on Amazon that was exactly the size raised bed I was needing, with good quality cedar lumber, for $150.00. I will get that built hopefully sometime this week (right now it’s in a heavy box laying in my dining room floor), then it will be ready to fill with soil and plant some tomatoes. That’ll buy me some time to get the enclosure done (I’m super lucky and have a new friend who is helping me with the this!), since the plants won’t have any fruit for the squirrels to steal until at least sometime in June.

In the meantime, I’ve been busy in the kitchen (as always!) and tried a new dish that I have to share with you! I found the recipe here on Cookie + Kate, and it looked so amazing I knew I had to try it! My kids (Hunter in particular) can be finicky and I figured they would turn their noses up at it, so I chose the night my mom came to visit to make it so at least one person in the house would appreciate it!

I’m not a big fan of cilantro, so I substituted some oregano (which has already come back green and ready to cut in the planter out back) in its place. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly. Also, instead of just toasting some bread, I made some mini grilled cheese sandwiches using cream cheese, shredded smoked gouda, a little sea salt and cracked black pepper, and a light sprinkle of garlic powder, to go with it.

It’s more like a stew consistency than soup, but you can’t beat cheesy goodness paired with tomato-based anything! I don’t have a stainless steal skillet, only pots, so I used my cast iron griddle skillet and it was the perfect size to fit all of the ingredients, plus 5 eggs, and moves easily from stovetop to oven.

Hunter basically eats nothing that doesn’t include ranch dressing or buffalo sauce, and Logan sometimes eats everything in sight and sometimes complains about the most ridiculous stuff, so you never know what you’re going to get out of him. At first it was delicious, and then it was “too many tomatoes”. My mom and I, however, absolutely loved it! I will most definitely be making this again in the Fall.

The recipe is linked above, and I will link it again at the bottom of this post for easy access, but I took photos of the process as I prepared the dish and am sharing them now to make your mouth water:

Love,
Loren

Foolproof Shakshuka

 

Author: Loren Miller

I'm a Midwestern woman living my best and healthiest life, fueled by passion and caffeine. I follow the Mediterranean diet, I'm a yoga newbie, and a hiker and general explorer of the outdoors. I adore fashion and dressing up, and finding amazing, quality designer pieces through thrift shopping. Most all of my outfits have at least one thrifted item--saving my wallet and the planet one designer top at a time <3

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