Do you ever have those ridiculously stupid conversations with your partner where you end up annoyed just because? They often go like this, "Hey Babe, can you do this for me?" "No, I'm busy." "Whatcha' doing?" "I don't know." ....

Please tell me we are not alone...

So I huff off before early morning lack of caffeine and irritation sets in then feel like an ass two hours later when I spot Handsome home early from work sectioning our an 8x10' area of our yard for a new garden. The garden I have been talking about... The garden I mentioned in passing weeks ago. Who's got two thumbs up and egg all over their face? Me that's who. So, now whether it be because he really wanted me to have a garden, or that's that much less of the yard he has to mow when the grass goes haywire later this summer, there is a new chunk of area that needs some spiffy plans in my backyard.

The area is 8' x 10' with full sun. We have nonchalantly planted things in our front and back yard with no real plan for the past few years and with little knowledge and less maintenance besides watering, they have all done very well. We are thinking pole beans, spinach, tomatoes, and a world of herbs (basil, chives, oregano, dill, parsley, and anything else our local garden has to offer). For all my aspiring green thumbs out there - what do you think I should grow? What are some easy stater vegetables that we will use. We don't really eat squash, which is a shame because I hear it's easy, but we will pretty much eat anything else. Should I look into those square foot gardens or just give it a whirl? What are your expert tips?


Easy Chicken and Rice

from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine May 2009


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast havles
  • ¼ cup Spiced Tomato Blend*
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 ½ cup fresh sugar snap peas
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon cut into 6 wedges


Lightly coat the chicken with 1 tbs of the spice blend. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering over medium heat. Cook the chicken 2 minutes each side, remove from skillet and set aside. Stir remaining spice blend and rice into skillet and cook 1 minute. Add water, return chicken to skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add snap peas to the skillet, cover cook and additional 5 minutes or until rice is fluffy and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Serve with fresh parsley and lemon wedges. [/print_this]       [print_this]

Spiced Tomato Blend


  • 1 cup dried tomatoes
  • 1 oz dried mushrooms
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • 2 tbs salt
  • 1 tbs dried thyme
  • 1 tbs cumin seed
  • 2 teas crushed red pepper
  • 1 teas garlic powder
  • 1 teas ground cinnamon
  • 1 teas ground cumin
  • 1 teas ground cardamom
  • ½ teas ground black pepper


Combine all ingredients in an airtight container and mix well. [/print_this]

*Alternatively, you could just use one of those McCormick seasoning packets if you are having a lazy night and happen to spot on in your pantry.... not saying I did that or anything.... >.>

Chicken and rice was a family staple in my house in the teen years. The family recipe was warm comforting and could feed the 92 random teenagers that may pop by on any given weeknight. This updated fresh version isn't the same at all without the heavy cream of mushroom soup and added green vegetables, but it hits the spot. It does still make a ton of food, so be prepared to have leftovers, or lots of teenagers.


  1. Belinda @zomppa says: sweet - I guess the annoyance comes with the territory, right? But it's all worth it...especially with this garden!

  2. Blog is the New Black says:

    I want a garden!

  3. I'm getting ready to start my first raised bed as well. I have a coworker who is a seasoned expert, so I'll be relying on her for all my answers! She did say to make sure you get the good soil deep enough and to not overplant because things will spread more than you think! Sounds like you've already got the 'planning ahead' part down, so you're off to a good start! Good luck (:

  4. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says:

    I have zero realistic tips but I hear lettuce and tomatoes are pretty easy. I've always wanted to grow peppers in various varieties. Post updates on what you plant and how they do! 🙂

  5. I have come to realize that I lack a green thumb. But good luck with the garden! i so wish to have something one day, if I don't kill it.

  6. Good luck with your garden!love your recipe, so delicious and healthy!!One pot meals are my favorite :)Will be trying this for sure 🙂

  7. Ooo. looks delicious!
    I have only flower gardened, never vegetable gardened. Good luck! 🙂

  8. Emily @ Life on Food says:

    Have so much fun with your garden. I cannot wait to be able to have a big one on my own. The herbs will be so much fun to work with once they grow up.

  9. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts says:

    We have done a garden in the past. We aren't real green thumbs though. If it is inside and I have to water it, it will die. But in the garden we have done tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, and herbs - all of that is really easy. Water if you don't get rain, but the ground holds lots of moisture so that is helpful. We did lettuce ones. Green beans and peas are really easy too - just have to either get a bush kind, or plant them next to something they can grow up.
    Good luck!!

  10. I love this recipe Kita. So fresh and pretty. The pieces of lemon make me smile.

    I used to have a garden around 50 feet by 25 feet. If I can give a little advice it's that it all starts with good soil. Amend you soil. Add peat moss, works wonders for water retention. Also add compost if you can and manure as well. We used to rent a tiller to make sure it was turned really well. You don't need to do it every year but the first couple it's good to do. I did tons of peppers, of every variety. They are easy to grow. Beans are easy. Cukes are easy. Tomatoes are easy. I also always loved swiss chard, you can get the rainbow which is just plain pretty. I also did things like corn, sunflowers, pumpkin, gourds, watermelon, cantaloupe. Lol, you name it and I grew it. Here we have little sun so we're trying to figure out how to make one that works with the yard full of old mature trees.

  11. living_insanity says:

    We had an overload of cucumbers last summer. It was our first time planting them and they grew out of the veggie box and went everywhere. I was giving them away constantly. I have a garden tag in my blog. For eggplant we were successful but I would hand pollinate the flowers using a qtip and rubbing the flowers with it and then putting onto the other flowers. We yielded more eggplant that way instead of the little flowers falling sadly off! This year we started from seeds and we have close to 300 sprouting plants. Last year we mostly bought plants form the nursery, planted them around Mothers Day, and had a summer full of great plants! Our pepper plants were really great and tomatoes were too for a while and then summer became very hot and as soon as water hit them they would split. Hope that helps you in your gardening !

  12. I wish to have a garden very soon...I love this chicken recipe. A must try!

  13. claire @ the realistic nutritionist says:

    STUNNING PHOTOS. and I'm moving in.

  14. nicole @ I am a Honey Bee says:

    so sweet that he did that for you!! have fun planting your garden

  15. Lazy forgetful gardener here. I do well with herbs, peas, tomatoes, pumpkins, peppers, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, potatoes. Always grow what you like the best! And I try to have only a few of each so it doesn't get too crazy with giant crops. Except for peas. I don't normally like peas but I can't get enough of them out of the garden. It may be a little warm for getting a spring crop in. I kill seedlings that need to be start inside but I am trying again this year because I have leftover seeds. Most years I grab a few tomatoes at the co-op on Free Comic Book Day. Artichokes are my dream some year, too.

  16. Angie @ Big Bear's Wife says:

    This chicken and rice dish would make me a very happy person! We're getting ready to move *fingers Crossed* and as soon as we do, I want to start planting a garden!

  17. With the tomato blend - do you mean sun-dried tomoatoes?

    1. Yes! Im sorry about that.

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