Spring Cleaning: Additions to Open View Gardens and a New Recipe

Looking out the window right now, I’m hard pressed to declare winter’s demise.  It is snowing … on April 4.  And it’s windy.  Raw. Not nice at all, especially when I want to get outside and start planting some things under the tunnels!  My garden notes from last year tell me that it was HOT this weekend, and  I was transplanting seedlings into the garden on this very day.  (Of course it also snowed last year on April 24–hence the photo).

Vermont spring

Last year on April 24

Patience patience, says the weather.  All in good time.

Some years spring arrives in subtle, understated ways, in spite of winter’s insistence.  Indeed, sure signs of spring abound :

The birds are making a fuss under the empty feeders–I follow Audubon’s recommendations, and stop feeding the birds on April 1.  They have to sort it out on the land for themselves now, and we want to discourage bears coming out of hibernation from thinking we’ve set out special suet snacks for them.


Just as Iwas writing this...who should appear...

A skunk has wandered up the driveway. The turkeys are breaking off into smaller groups, each dominated by a preening, showy tom often in full display. The chipmunks have awakened and are dashing about.

The garlic is up! I had a lovely moment on Friday when I discovered the first tips pushing through the earth and then went inside to make dinner, which meant grabbing one of the few garlic bulbs left hanging from the kitchen beam, and chopping it for pizza.  In the heart of the bulb a green stalk was growing, readying itself to move into the new season. (I do not discard garlic with growing shoots–I just make sure to remove the green to avoid bitterness.)

And inside spring has arrived, and not just in the rows of seedlings growing away in the basement.

The website has had a spring makeover–new photos, some merging of topics on the menu bar (see Sources & Inspirations, for example) and a new tab, Workshops.  I’ll be adding the schedule of this summer’s list of workshops soon–let me know if you would be interested in having your small group come to Open View Gardens for a private class.  In June I will post the first of a new video series I am particularly excited about– Visits with Home Cooks & Gardeners.  More on this addition soon!


Healthy Chocolate-Coconut-Almond Cookies on a Jane Herold Plate

So as you can see, I am not letting this wintry early spring get me down.  And to sweeten things up, in case the afternoon stretches dully and pelts the windows with sleet, I’ve just made a batch of super-healthy, incredibly delicious cookies that take just 15 minutes from start to finish. These are for spring–they have no gluten, no dairy, no processed sugar, and are endlessly malleable–change the nuts and the milk flavors, add grated carrots, hemp or chia seeds, use a bit more milk for a softer cookie, replace the chocolate with carob or don’t use at all.  I vary these cookies as my mood and larder dictate.  Have fun and eat them often (daily). They are GOOD FOR YOU!


  • 1 cup nuts–I use whatever I have: walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts–today I used 1/2 cup blanched almonds and 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (you could use sunflower seeds, or replace with more nuts)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded organic coconut
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tsp cashew butter (or almond butter)
  • 1 TB raw agave (or  raw honey, or  maple syrup–a tip from Kate)
  • 1/2 cup nut or coconut milk–coconut milk will give a fluffier consistency. I love to hazelnut milk.
  • 2 TB raw cacao
  • (If you’re not on a sugar-restricted regime, add 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips)
  • Parchment paper

1.  Preheat oven to 325º
2.  In a food processor, grind up the nuts, coconut and seeds until you have a fine-slightly coarse meal (like polenta or slightly finer).
3.  Add the rest of the ingredients except for the chips, and process until mixed thoroughly.
4.  Stir in chips if you like.
5.  Drop by large spoonfuls onto a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet.  You should get 12 good-sized cookies.
6.  Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes–check the bottoms after 8 to make sure they aren’t burning.

I store them in the fridge because they are amazing cold and they will keep much longer that way.

Take that, Winter!

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Categories: kitchen, News, recipes, Seasons, Spring

2 Comments on “Spring Cleaning: Additions to Open View Gardens and a New Recipe”

  1. April 4, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    I, too, have been making these healthy cookies! But my recipe so far has been inconsistent. They give me lots of extra (clean) fuel for all the activities in the garden outside. We built a little tunnel yesterday over one raised bed, and mended three raised beds, all while basking in the glorious sun. I ordered chickens this morning — who will live at a friend’s house, just out of town — and I located a rabbit hutch after reading about the amazing qualities of their manure on gardens…. John is in shock especially after I announced that we need to take down TWO trees…. I love the fact that you are watching the critters on your land emerge, feed, parade, fly through. On our little in-town lot, I am having to bring ’em in….rabbits, worms….. I am thinking about ducks, to they’ll help with slug control.

  2. April 4, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    It has been fun, hasn’t it, experimenting with recipes that are CLEAN. If I don’t make these Monday morning for the week ahead, there are some grumpy campers around here. And to think I rarely ground up nuts except for almonds before two months ago!

    I am envious that you got so much work done on your in-town homestead this weekend. You remind me of my friend Nancy White who has chickens in Seattle (she, too, set up one of the tunnels!) Check out her video: http://www.youtube.com/user/choconancy#p/u We’d be happy to supply the rabbits if you want to come over here and catch some…

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