Basketful of carrots

All washed up

Bowl of strawberries

Bowl of blueberries


Homegrown fruit bowl: peaches,strawberries and blueberries

Special Father's Day dessert, peanut butter chocolate pie

Tomato, lettuce, avocado sandwich with carrot, citrus salad

Vegetable patty mix (onions, herbs, squash, peppers)

Veggie patties with salad

Squash blossoms

Stuffed with herbal cheese

Frying in oil

Warm and ready to eat

Summer squash herb rice

Homegrown pizza toppings

Vegetarian pizza

Carrot, apple rice salad

Blueberry pancakes

Sauteed onions, peppers, fresh avocados, cilantro and tomatoes top spicy spanish rice

The wonderful food from the garden keeps coming.   What a tremendous blessings it is to enjoy such bounty that are grown just feet from our table!

As it happens a lot here on the urban homestead, this week we made up a new dish  (well, at least it’s new to us!).  As matter of fact,  we “make up” quite a few dishes as we go along .  Using up what’s growing in the garden is a fun food challenge.  This week ,there was a surplus of apples and carrots sitting on the kitchen counter.  Of course, lots are devoured fresh, much is “put up” but sometimes culinary inspiration strikes and you think “hey, why not try this mixed with that.”     For this “instant inspiration” dish, we chopped up apples, grated carrots, added leftover brown rice and a bit of spices.   Not bad, actually, it was quite good!

Next on the homegrown food front, we are (right now) vegetarian and have been for nearly 20 years.  But, when it comes to meat-less products, there’s a lot more to choose from these days.   However, these so called health/organic foods are not always what they seem.  This recent article warns of the hidden toxin found in the  “fake meat” products that are on the market  — Which Veggie Burgers Were Made With a Neurotoxin?

The food and agriculture nonprofit found that most non-organic veggie burgers currently on the market are made with the chemical hexane, an EPA-registered air pollutant and neurotoxin.

In order to meet the demands of health-conscious consumers, manufacturers of soy-based fake meat like to make their products have as little fat as possible. The cheapest way to do this is by submerging soybeans in a bath of hexane to separate the oil from the protein. Says Cornucopia Institute senior researcher Charlotte Vallaeys, “If a non-organic product contains a soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, or texturized vegetable protein, you can be pretty sure it was made using soy beans that were made with hexane.”

BLECH,  if that’s the case – give me a free range MEAT burger.  At least I know it came from a cow!   Well, you can tell the cows not to worry because we actually do a pretty good job making our own.  With the summer cornucopia of vegetables, we like making our own “meat-less” patties that contain brown rice and veggies – no gasoline byproduct included!    Once again, we really don’t follow a recipe, just using up what we have on hand.  But you could also use mushrooms or dried beans to make your own veggie patties.    There are tons of recipes on the internet  – Three Easy Ways to Make Your Own Veggie Burgers

Time saving tip: make up more and put into freezer!


All food items are homemade/homegrown/home preserved  unless otherwise specified

Our Food Pledge

If not from backyard, then locally produced
If not locally produced, then organic.
If not organic, then family farm.
If not family farm, then local business.
If not local business, then fair trade.


Breakfast – blueberry pancakes with strawberries
Dinner – flour tortillas with spanish rice, topped with sauteed green peppers and red onions


Breakfast – grapefruit
Lunch – special Father’s Day eats (vegetarian “hamburgers with organic french fries)
Dinner – fruit bowl (apricots, peaches, strawberries, blueberries) with cereal and yogurt


Breakfast – skillet granola (organic oats, sugar and oil) with strawberries and yogurt
Lunch – Saturday dinner leftovers
Dinner – avocado, lettuce, tomato sandwich with carrot, raisin citrus dressing salad


Breakfast – french toast with honey
Lunch – veggie patty (onions, herbs, squash, peppers) with salad
Dinner – veggie patty (onions, herbs, squash, peppers) with salad


Breakfast -skillet granola with strawberries and yogurt
Lunch – avocado, lettuce, tomato sandwich with carrot, raisin citrus dressing salad
Dinner – herb pizza dough topped with tomatoes, basil, peppers, garlic with roasted beet and apple salad


Breakfast – french toast and honey
Lunch – stuffed squash blossoms (herb cheese) with summer squash herb rice
Dinner – herb pizza dough topped with tomatoes, basil, peppers, garlic with carrot, raisin citrus dressing salad


Breakfast – grapefruit
Lunch – carrot, apple rice medley with salad
Dinner – no knead bread, fresh tomato sauce (tomatoes, onions, peppers, parsley, basil) over spaghetti with salad

Care to share what you’ve been enjoying, eating recently? Are you making more meals from scratch or homegrown ingredients. What new dishes have you tried and liked?


  1. Stacy says:

    All looks delicious and garden gratifying! I often french-slice carrots (or is it called julienne?)and stir fry them with a spot of oil and sometimes season with garlic salt (though they have no need for extra seasoning). This is one of those dishes that has a heartiness that satisfies when I want something “meaty”. Thanks for all you have shared!

    • Anais says:

      @Stacy: MMMM, that sounds delicious! With our best carrot harvest ever, I’ll have to try that sometime.

  2. Michelle says:

    Hello Dervaes Family!
    I’ve been following your blog for quite some time now and enjoy it immensely.
    I’ve often wondered if you have plans to publish a cookbook? We also have an extensive veggie garden (but up here in Canada our season is MUCH shorter than yours unfortunately) and eat a vegetarian diet and I find your weekly menus and meals quite inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing all that you do!

    • Anais says:

      @Michelle: Thanks for the positive comments. We are blessed that we are able to share our journey and best of all inspiring and informing along the way. Yeah, a cookbook as been an ongoing subject and recommendation that has been brought up. Since no publishing company has approached us, we’ll have to look into self publishing but right now have our hands full with other projects. Hopefully there will be some time in the future to tackle this project. It’s something that we’d LOVE to do but just need to get around doing it!

  3. Patti says:

    I can sum it up in one word-YUM! Adventures in food!

    • Anais says:

      @Patti: Thanks for the compliment. Hope you and family are well. Say howdy to the kids for us. 😉

  4. Frank says:

    Thanks for the post, I’m hungry looking at the pictures. I like to not know what is for dinner and just take a stroll threw the garden picking what looks the best and designing the recipe as I pick. Then add some organic brown rice, quinoa (keen wah – a Gluten-Free Super Grain if you haven’t tried it take a look) or fresh bread if I started the sour dough during breakfast.

    Have a Great Day!!

    • Anais says:

      @Frank: I’ve had Quinoa a couple times. Actually we got some seeds (now just got to find a place to plant a patch) In this month’s co-op order I ordered a bag. I want to try quinoa tabbouleh recipe I saw online. Now that we have parsley, mint, onions, tomatoes growing it’s tabbouleh time. Love that stuff. Happy harvesting and eating!

  5. Monica says:

    DREAMING about living with you guys : ) That is simply the best set of meal photos you have put together! And those squash blossoms – I have no idea what they taste like but they just look SO GOOD. I simply must try them one day. You are all so blessed to be eating such amazing food. Even though I don’t have all of what you have growing in my garden, you have me inspired to go to our local farms and gather up ingredients to make the types of foods you’re making. It’ll be just one step closer to getting there. Thank you yet again!

    • Anais says:

      @Monica: Glad you enjoyed the post and pics. Squash blossoms are a SUMMER TREAT! Actually the blossoms don’t taste like much but put the right filling and fry them up in a good batter and you have a downright tasty treat. That’s great, thanks for sharing the steps you’ve taken. It’s all about eating more local if you can’t grow it. It’s folks like you that are supporting local foods and farms!

  6. Tamlynn says:

    Looks good! What variety of blueberries do you have?

    • Anais says:

      @Tamlynn: We have a couple varieties that are low chill. I know one’s Misty and the other Sunshine Blue and we have another one but I can’t remember the name right off.

  7. Erin R. says:

    Wow that all looks so delicious! I can’t wait for my little plot to start yielding so I can show my kids what a real homegrown tomato tastes like!

    • Anais says:

      @Erin R.: Thanks. Too bad computers are set up for smelling or tasting. LOL. Happy sowing and growing.

  8. jan bonjovio says:

    Hi All,

    I just love you folks. I live nearby and have long wanted to attend one of your gatherings, if you’re still having them! Did I read recently that you are considering setting up a tilapia farm on your homestead? If so, would love to hear about your plans. I am simply in awe of all that you do. What visionaries you are!

    Blessings to you,


    • Anais says:

      @jan bonjovio: Hi neighbor! Actually we’ve taken a break from hosting the Film & Food Nights because we are swamped with projects right now – like fish! Yep, we do have fish here on the urban homestead now. You can read about them in a recent post
      Thanks for dropping in to say hi, hopefully we’ll see you around sometimes. All the best!

  9. Ginger says:

    Hey, I made veggie pizza this week, too–twice. But I used spinach, caramelized onion, basil, tomatoes, and some dried herbs. I’m going to try your veggie patties. They seem very much like falafel that I make all the time; we put it over rice and have a parsley salad on the side. We are trying to perfect our own dairy-free ravioli recipe and having a great time in the process.The only difference in our diets is that all your food comes from your garden. I’m just not to that point yet–someday. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Anais says:

      @Ginger: That sounds yummy! You are right they are similar to falafel (haven’t had that stuff in ages!) On my “to do list” is to make my own pasta so looking forward to hearing about your pasta adventures.
      Like we tell folks “one size doesn’t fit all!” At least you are fixing nourishing food for your family and that certainly is a HUGE step.

  10. Diane@Peaceful Acres says:

    I’m a bit jealous because my carrots failed this year….and yours look so wonderfully sweet! The deer ate all my beets…pulled every last one out of the ground and feasted on them. I’ve been battling the critters this year and it’s quite disappointing. But we do have potatoes ready to dig and onions that are ready to pull. By the look of things our beans and corn ought to be a boom and the canner ought to be cranking them out soon. Enjoy July! It’s going to be a hot one!!

    • Anais says:

      @Diane@Peaceful Acres: Sorry to hear about the carrots. Actually we’ve never really had good luck with carrots before but when we launched our seed company a year or so ago we searched for an heirloom carrot and are VERY HAPPY to have had so much success with the carrot seeds
      I guess city living does have its advantages, no deer! That must be so disheartening to find all your hard work pulled up. Wishing you a bumper and bountiful corn and bean crop! Have a wonderful holiday!

  11. Laura @ Getting There says:

    Ah…I don’t know if I like these posts. Those scrumptious looking pictures make me feel that my own diet is rather bland…your veggie patties especially look just delicious!

    • Anais says:

      @Laura @ Getting There: LOL. It’s particularly due to the summer produce that our plates are so plentiful and pretty!

  12. Kj says:

    Your carrots look yummy! Ours are just now coming up. A delicious and super health treat is to shred carrots and apples together, mix them up and enjoy! They are sweet and are loaded with healthy enzymes. I have been told that if you have this 1/2 hour before your meal that it helps the digestive process due to the enzymes.
    Thank you for the link for the veggie patties, look forward to trying one.

    • Anais says:

      @Kj: They are yummy and super sweet. Now that the apples and carrots are coming it seems like we’ll be mixing these two together more often.

  13. Stacy says:

    I’m wondering if you did anything different to result in such a good carrot crop? The reason I wonder is because years ago when I was first starting out in marriage we had the opportunity to live in the old family homestead. I did not know what I was doing but I just plodded right along, planting a garden here and there. I planted some carrots next to the old carriage barn and the crop was enormous! Not only a large crop but the sweetest, juiciest (yes, juicy) carrots I had ever tasted. I found out later that I had planted where the old coal pile sat for decades. Since then I’ve grown carrots at other places we lived and never tasted anything close nor had the harvest like back then. The only thing I can figure is the coal in the soil had something to do with it. Got any thoughts?

    • Anais says:

      @Stacy: Not that I am aware. Our main food production is the backyard that comprises of 50 raised beds. Perhaps it’s our better soil! Thanks to the compost and manure from the animals. I’ll have to ask Farmer Justin if he did anything different. Anybody have tips for growing carrots?

  14. Laura says:

    I always look forward to your weekly meal wrap ups. It’s amazing what you can do with homegrown produce. I know the we always love the meals where we have grown/raised everything on the table. It’s a feeling like no other.

    • Anais says:

      @Laura: Thanks, I am glad you enjoy these posts. The earth seems to provide such wonderful bounty – what a blessing!

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