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Reel Mama: Growing a fall herb garden & easy cheesy caprese salad recipe

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Growing a fall herb garden & easy cheesy caprese salad recipe

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Scotts Miracle-Gro for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.


Early fall is a spectacular time to garden.  With the summer heat beginning to fade away and milder weather setting in, gardening can be done at virtually any time of day.

Even if you don’t exactly have a green thumb, maintaining an herb garden is easy and a wonderful way to teach children about the circle of life.  What kid doesn’t love to dig and play in the mud?



There is nothing like being able to grow fresh herbs right in your own back yard to use in tasty, and healthy meals.   Basil is my favorite herb, and one of the most low maintenance, delicious, and versatile herbs around.  I grab some to put on sandwiches along with greens when I’m packing lunches in the morning, and of course add it to salads.  You can use whole stems when cooking tomato sauce for pasta (just discard after the sauce is done cooking).

A light and very healthy salad that’s a family favorite is our Easy Cheesy Caprese Salad.  With our plans for growing tomatoes in the works, we’ll have virtually everything we need in our garden to make this salad by next year!



You’ll need:

-- Fresh tomatoes: I prefer vine ripened.  Use about 1/2 medium tomato per salad plate.

-- 12-16 oz. fresh mozzarella (it even comes pre-sliced at some specialty stores)

-- Balsamic vinegar

-- Olive oil

-- Fresh basil

To make:

-- Drizzle 2 tbsp. of olive oil and 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar on each salad plate (an oval plate allows for a beautiful presentation).

-- Swirl to coat the bottom of the plate.

-- Slice the tomatoes in 1/4-inch thick slices, fan out on cutting board, and salt.

-- Rub the tomatoes into the oil and vinegar mixture on the salad plate, flipping to coat.

-- Slice mozzarella, then layer with the tomato slices, tucking a fresh basil leaf on top of each tomato (another option is to cut the basil into small pieces with cooking shears and sprinkle on top).

-- Drizzle more olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top of the tomato, cheese and basil.

-- Add a pinch of salt to taste.

Helpful hints:

* Get the best balsamic vinegar you can afford.  It really does make a difference to the taste.

*  Store extra basil leaves in the fridge in a plastic container with a damp paper towel to extend their shelf life.

Planning your herb garden for fall



My garden is still a work in progress, but I have fresh chives, mint, peppermint, sage, rosemary, thyme, and oregano at my finger tips for cooking a variety of meals!  Starting an herb garden is easier than you might think.  Potted herbs are widely available and easy to plant.

My herb garden thrives in the partial shade of my flower bed and with regular watering.  A plant food like Miracle-Gro® LiquaFeed® Advance All Purpose Plant Feeding System Starter Kit provides nutrients to help your herbs grow and thrive, and it's a great way to ensure that your Fall gardening projects are a success.  I love the convenience of this product because it allows you to feed your plants while watering them.

You can also help your herbs get the best start by mixing Miracle-Gro® Organic Choice® Garden Soil into your soil to provide proper nutrients for your plants as they get established.

We can’t wait to expand our herb garden this fall with more sweet-smelling basil, chives for baked potatoes, and rosemary for savory chicken dishes, breads, and more.  I can’t think of a better way to Find beauty in the Fall than to get back to nature by creating or expanding a beautiful garden.

For more helpful fall gardening tips, visit the Miracle-Gro Facebook page and talk with the online community of gardeners.

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