Candy in the garden

I was looking at the arugula tonight and came across a tiny insect I hadn’t encountered before – a candy-striped leafhopper.  It was only about a quarter of an inch long.  There were several.


Candy-striped leafhopper


A quick Google search said it feeds on plant sap by piercing the leaf tissue.  It is thought to be a mechanism for spread of plant disease from one plant to the next.  It expels excess sap from its body, and the sweetness may attract other insects.  From my search I didn’t get the impression that it was a catastrophic pest.  I haven’t noticed any spotting, wilting or curling on the arugula so far so let’s hope for the best and for the moment just marvel at their brilliant psychedelic coloring!

Who said cooking with healthy, whole food is too much work?

There is a conception out there that modern, processed, grocery-freezer-aisle food is the way to go for busy lives.  Open the box and pop it in the microwave.  That, or picking up drive-through fast food, has become the defacto level-of-effort benchmark for cooking.  Who has time to cook, even to open a can of overcooked bland-tasting soup?  And just forget about cooking from scratch using whole ingredients!  We don’t have the luxury to devote hours to prepping and combining dozens of ingredients, are you crazy?

I am in fact crazy, but let’s not change the subject.  To test the notion that from-scratch cooking takes WAY to much time and is out of the question, try this:  put a couple of ham hocks from your favorite local farmer into a slow cooker frozen (yes, frozen), add a cup of dry beans, maybe navy or pinto (unsoaked, no overnight soaking here!), 2-3 cups of water or broth, don’t measure too carefully (I used a jar sitting on the counter).  Turn on high and go do yard work or something.  A few hours later add a cup of uncooked brown rice and another 2-3 cups water and continue cooking.  When everything is soft and the ham *falls* off the bone (yum!) stuff in a handful of sage from your garden – no you don’t have to remove the stems or mince it and dirty up a knife and cutting board.

Here’s what five minutes of time and ZERO prep gets you:


Grab a glass of red or a cold one and you’re set! Beats Burger King every time!

Done and done.  Now that I’ve proven the naysayer’s wrong, you may thank me.