Tag Archives: city gardens

This summer I think I became so sick of tomatoes that I actually started liking them. For years these little buggers would cause me nothing but stomach aches and acid reflux. Now that I know how to control my insides a little better, I’ve almost taken a liking to tomatoes. I’m not going to start eating them in slices like my mother would (love you, mom) but I can tolerate them in sauces, on pizzas and in salads.

The roommate’s dad helped her plant her garden. She thinks he may have confused her with her sister, who adores tomatoes. Neither Cat nor I are in love with them, but we sure do like making our own use of them. On Sunday morning, I walked out to the garden, picked everything I saw that was red and threw it all into a pot.

Honestly, I still don’t know how to can. I don’t have one of those fancy canning pots like my grandmother, but I think this will work just fine. The recipe is simple and basic, and I can’t wait to toss this on some noodles and call it dinner.

Homemade Tomato Sauce


  • 4 lbs of tomatoes, your choice
  • 1/4 c. red wine
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • fresh basil
  • fresh oregano
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Slice your tomatoes.
  • Place into a food processor.
  • Add to pot.
  • Add all the other ingredients.
  • Slow cook it until it tastes mighty fine.

It’s easy and most importantly – delicious. Also, a pinch of sugar was suggested by a friend. I didn’t do that, but have it, my friends.

A Little Help from my Friends

I’m not afraid to admit that in this world, I get by with a little help from my friends.

The garden is yielding zucchini in surplus. I’ve made zucchini bread, zucchini muffins – by the dozens. I’m honestly running out of people with whom I can give zucchini baked goods. Thankfully, my roommate’s sister brought about change in our kitchen by mentioning a new dish: zucchini lasagna. Replace noodles with veg, and you’re set. While my two best friends (featured above, very seriously), sliced and prepared, I didn’t do a damn thing. And for once, I felt fine.

There was a time when I couldn’t sit still. When the sight of someone else preparing dinner for me might have made me crazy. Years ago, I thought I had to do everything. Work, go to school, run half marathons, write stories, blog about my entire life, etc. etc. etc. and then make a delicious meal that was worth ooing and awwing over. There is no need for such madness when you have those special people in your life who volunteer to make your night a little easier.

I really could have done more to deserve this meal. But honestly, I deserve it just by being alive. I deserve it because my friends do nice things for me, and I do nice things for them. We are there for each other in a way just as close as family. So, will I eat a sauce-dripping, noodless vegetarian delight of a dish? You better believe it. And I got these guys to thank for it:

Friendly tip: You don’t have to do it all. Call upon a family member, a friend, your spouse, your neighbor. Whatever. People love to help. I think I, too often, forgot about that.

This week, I’m thinking of my grandma. I saw her, yesterday, at the funeral viewing of her sister. At 93, my great aunt Ruth passed away with little pain in the arms of her own daughter. Yesterday, I drove to my hometown for the viewing and quickly became a fly on the wall. I listened to stories of the past, learning how much the hardworking lifestyle impacted the way my aunt and grandmother grew up.

Aunt Ruth didn’t like to clean, so she taught her 13 children how to do it. I’m guessing that she probably taught them how to cook as well. Like my grandmother, she lived her entire life on a farm. Hearing the stories from A. Ruth’s children placed me back into my past, and I vividly began remembering the amount of time I spent in the garden with my grandma – weeding, picking greens and getting them ready for supper.

There are things to be learned when you have your own garden. Like how purple beans will turn green once cooked. Or how dirt feels between your toes. You see, there is a garden growing in my city backyard. Thanks to my roommate’s diligence and hard work, we are able to eat organic lettuce, swiss chard, tomatoes, peppers and more. While she puts in the patience (weeding, watering, etc.), I have taken on the role of cooking those goods.

Over the weekend, I walked into the backyard and picked the swiss chard and purple beans (that turned green). I leisurely created this meal using additional ingredients from the cupboard: kidney beans, couscous, olive oil, a bit of salt and pepper. It was simple and earthy, and has been providing sustenance throughout the week when we haven’t felt like cooking.

Oh, Aunt Ruth. If you could see this meal, what would you think? I’d like to think she’d be proud. But knowing that German in her, she’d probably think I’m some “crazy vegetarian” who should be helping her roommate weed the garden [for goodness sake.]


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