Category: In the Kitchen (page 1 of 7)

Botany Basics: Pumpkin, Squash, or Gourd

‘Tis the season for all things pumpkin-y; and not just in baked goods, though those are delicious. Porches, store-fronts, and even parks are all decorated with pumpkins, squash, and gourds at this time of year. And it begs the question: what is a pumpkin and how is it different from a squash or gourd? (Or maybe only I wonder about these things?)

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Pesto Cream Cheese Spread

If, like me, your basil plant(s) performed well this year, and are still going strong thanks to the still-warm temperatures, I’ve got a quick and easy recipe you need to try.

Thanks to my friend Alyssa for sharing the deliciousness with me.

Pesto Cream Cheese Spread

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, coarsely chopped (I actually used sliced almonds since that’s what I had on hand, and I’m generally too cheap to shell out the big bucks for pine nuts)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or pressed)
  • pinch of salt

Process all ingredients in a food processor until well blended. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Enjoy on all your toasts for the rest of the season.

photo of pesto cream cheese spread on seeded bread

What’s your favorite way to use basil?

Houseplants: Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)

Continuing the theme of purple and green foliaged plants, I’ve got another oldie but a goodie for you: Prayer Plant, also known by it’s Latin name Maranta. Among my first houseplants – if not the first – I’ve had this one going on twelve years. Maybe thirteen? It was gifted to me by a college friend for helping him through one of our soils classes. I figured was a pretty good trade-off: I needed to study anyway and I got a free plant out of it! Win-win.

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Houseplants: Wandering Jew (Tradescantia pallida)

It’s been a while since I last profiled one of my houseplants. Sorry ’bout that. It’s definitely not because I ran out of houseplants to talk about. It’s just that I haven’t taken any nice photos of them until recently. So today, I bring you: Wandering Jew.

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Horticulture: the blending of art and science

I remember once applying for a job at the USU herbarium. I really knew nothing about working in an herbarium, but I was just starting my horticulture degree and wanted to work somewhere on campus in a job related to my major. For part of the application I had to submit some plant sketches. I had never taken an art class – band always counted for my creative arts credits in school – but I didn’t let that deter me. I went out to my mom’s flower garden and sketched some gazanias as best as I knew how.

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