It’s Good to be Green

All month long, we’ve been blogging about what it means to be “green”.  For me, being green means doing a little gardening.  I don’t have a lot of room for a big garden at my house, but my mom always had a large one, with everything from pumpkins, corn, beans, tomatoes, squash, and peas to potatoes, peppers, carrots and more.  Last summer, I had a few tomatoes and peppers that I planted in pots, and they did alright, but I think I’ll try a different method this summer.  I’ve been finding all sorts of ideas on Pinterest on how to do small gardens in pallets and crates, raised beds and planters.  I also planted basil last summer, and it did well, so I think I’ll add a couple of other herbs this year.

One of my favorite things to do with fresh from the garden produce is make salsa.  Although I can’t grow avocados, this Avocado Salsa lets me use up a bell pepper, and some of the recipe reviewers suggest adding tomatoes and cilantro, too, so there are lots of ways to use up whatever you have on hand.


Avocado Salsa

28 Servings  Prep: 20 min. + chilling


  • 1-2/3 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 cans (2-1/4 ounces each) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 medium ripe avocados, peeled
  • Tortilla chips


  • In a large bowl, combine corn, olives, red pepper and onion. In a small bowl, combine garlic, oil, lemon juice, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Pour over corn mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Just before serving, chop avocados and stir into salsa. Serve with tortilla chips. Yield: about 7 cups.
Nutritional Facts: 1/4 cup (calculated without chips) equals 82 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 85 mg sodium, 5 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 1 g protein. Diabetic Exchange: 1-1/2 fat.
Have you ever made a flavored vinegar?  This Strawberry-Basil Vinegar makes a great gift, and is tasty when combined with olive oil for a vinaigrette salad dressing over fresh spinach, strawberries and walnuts or pecans.

Strawberry-Basil Vinegar

80 Servings  Prep: 30 min. + standing Process: 10 min.


  • 4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 4 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves


  • Place strawberries in a food processor; cover and process until pureed. Transfer to a large glass bowl; add vinegar and lemon peel.
  • Place 1/4 cup basil in a small bowl.  With a mortar or a wooden spoon, crush basil until aromas are released. Repeat with remaining basil; stir into strawberry mixture.  Cover and let stand in a cool dark place for up to 3 days, stirring once daily.
  • Line a strainer with four layers of cheesecloth or one coffee filter and place over a large saucepan. Strain vinegar into pan (do not press out solids). Discard solids.
  • Heat vinegar to 180°, over medium heat. Carefully ladle hot mixture into hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. headspace. Wipe rims and adjust lids. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Yield: 5 half-pints.
Editor’s Note: The processing time listed is for altitudes of 1,000 feet or less. Add 1 minute to the processing time for each 1,000 feet of additional altitude.
To make a vinaigrette, combine 1 part vinegar with 1 part oil. Toss with fresh spinach, sliced fresh strawberries and toasted walnuts for a refreshing salad.
Nutritional Facts: 1 tablespoon equals 6 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, trace sodium, 1 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, trace protein. Diabetic Exchange: Free food.

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