Ypsi Cooks

healthy and sustainable for the frugal foodie


A quick diner

Bridgit had promised Eli corn dogs a while ago so we got some of the soy corn dogs from TJ’s along with some square fish stick things. I made some multicolored oven fries with garden potatoes and turned the fish stick things into sliders with some Tatar sauce, arugula, and baguette.

This is how we do frozen dinners!

What to make for dinner tonight

Here’s a list of things I bouncing in my head, just not feeling inspired to actually do it…

-curry lentil cakes (I should probably share this recipe with you) to fill up the hamburger buns we have
-something with green beans and potatoes from the garden… but I’m all out of feta
-something with the 3 small red tomatoes growing in the front yard
-black bean/zucchini/corn tacos, except I don’t have any of the newly picked and shelled black beans cooked up yet
-buttermilk corn chive popovers, but what to have with them? (if only my children thought tomato salad was delicious)

-uhhhhhh… your thoughts?

A 4 pie week

Check out Bridgit's Cherry Pie. The UP shifted away while baking.

It has been a good week, partly because we have had four pies. Bridgit made this wonderful Cherry Pie as well as a Peach Pie. I made a Cherry/Mulberry/Blueberry Pie. My mother made a Lemon-Meringue Pie. With the exception of the lemon all the fruit was from Michigan.

Beans are here!

A Bean!

This weekend we noticed that a couple early beans are a ready. There are lots of blossoms, so we will be rolling in beans shortly. The one pictured is a provider bush bean. Looking at our pole beans we will have a bunch soon.


Rhubarb peeking out from the leaf mulch.

Did we mention that rhubarb is loved around our house?

We have some friends with a giant patch of rhubarb. Every time we see them they tell us to come over and cut as much as we can. For a while we will keep doing that, but hopefully we won’t have to in a few years.

When we moved in five years ago we transplanted¬† a couple rhubarb plants to our backyard, but they never did well. I think there wasn’t enough sun, plus they’re choked out by the oregano. Earlier this month we transplanted some more, but this time to the front yard. We planted them right when it was really hot, and a few days later the leaves we all brown and dead. Bummer.

But then a week later Bridgit tells me that a few are sprouting tiny new stalks and leaves. Now, a couple weeks more and they are all looking great!

If you’ve got rhubarb ripe for the picking, try your favorite rhubarb-strawberry pie, but swap out the strawberries for some mulberries (they grow like crazy in out town), and cut down on the sugar just a smidge. And if you’re feeling wild, add a quarter teaspoon ginger. Or go simple and stew together rhubarb, mulberries, a pinch of salt, some ginger and sugar to taste with the juice of a lemon. Cook it up until it thickens, let it cool and spread it on some toast. What a way to wake up!

Thinning Carrots

thinned carrots

I always feel bad when thinning carrots. It is like killing your children. I know that if I don’t thin then they won’t grow as big or nicely, but pulling out a perfectly good vegetable seems wrong. The first thinning isn’t to bad, but in the second you start to get something the looks like a carrot. What we do is pull the larger carrots and eat them, and let the smaller ones keep growing. Most of the ones pictured are 2-4 inches long. These are all the Danvers variety. I cut the tops (and sometimes the bottoms because they can be stringy), wash them and use them like baby carrots (because they are). The tops get put back in the garden as mulch.

Still weeding

Onions, carrots, and potatoes in the foreground.

This past weekend we got a bunch of work done in the annex garden. We had nice weather and spent about six hours over two days. We got everything weeded. between the corn and bean plants, and the second planting of carrots.

The most work was hilling the rows of potatoes. I had to keep alternating between hilling and weeding carrots.

Bridgit in the Garlic

We also noticed the presence some pests. We had a couple of plants picked clean from Potato Bugs so we spent some time doing a sweep and kill operation. Also our beans were getting hit by deer. We had delayed getting the fishing line fence up, but it is up now.

We did a bit of planting and got some broccoli and carrots in. I also cut scapes of most of the garlic and made some pesto out of them.

Was Jack here? Because we have some beanstalks.

Sprouted Bean

Sprouted Bean

Our beans are about 3 inches tall and we planted them only a week ago. Want to know the trick? Pre-Sprout them.

You will need:

  • Canning Jar and ring
  • mesh onion or orange bag
  • some bean seeds
  1. Cut a piece of the bag big enough to cover the jar and the ring to keep it in place.
  2. Put your seeds in the jar. Your jar should be less than 1/4 full of seeds, so get a larger jar if you need.
  3. Fill jar with water and set on counter for 24 hours.
  4. After waiting 24 hours drain beans, and rinse. Keep away from light. Cover with towel, or put them in the cupboard.
  5. Three times a day give the beans a good rinse.
  6. After about 5 days plant them. A few more is OK too.
  7. Put the roots down and be gentle with them. If there are Cotyledon or real leaves allow them to stick out of the ground. The more developed the more you can leave sticking out.

Bean Cotyledon

Now you just have to wait for the plants to grow, climb, grow some more, flower, and then start harvesting beans. Another advantage is knowing right away how many will come up. In a couple days they will be out of the ground and any missing ones can be replaced. You can also stagger a small second batch by 4-ish days to fill in any gaps.



Photos by Elle-Epp and BlueRidgeKitties available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Rain has dumped on the Midwest for a few weeks now. Luckily we got our corn, beans, and more carrots in last weekend when we had a respite. The first round of carrots are doing great and few inches tall. Potatoes are coming up. The crops are loving it. It makes me wonder what the rest of the summer is going to be like. Overall the annex garden is almost full, and we need to get the tomatoes, eggplant, and basil in the ground.

Plants coming up and more stuff planted

This past weekend we planted about 12 lbs of seed potatoes. That should yield about 120 lbs of crop. It worked out to about 160 feet of rows. We also got some of our broccoli and cabbage seedlings in the ground.

Our peas are growing tall and we can’t wait to start eating snap peas!

The other seedlings (mainly tomatoes and eggplant) are getting huge, we need to up-pot them before the time comes to put them in the ground in a few weeks.