Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Garden’

Bruschetta In Eleven Minutes Tops!

Bruschetta landscape

A favorite in our home because we love Italian food anything, it’s healthy and a snap to make.

Bruschetta in the making

When my daughter was four she came in from munching sweet cherry tomatoes and basil in the garden and exclaimed ” We have a grocery store in our backyard!”  Then she asked…”can we grow a mozzarella plant?” She asked the proper question; can we? If only that were possible. “I wish we could.” was my answer. However, these questions did open the door to researching how mozzarella is made, and where it comes from. I’ve not yet ventured to make it myself, but I hear Mozzarella is pretty easy to produce, so I’ll have to try it and get back to you about that.

Until then, here’s our favorite bruschetta recipe:


1 Local baguette sliced (I love the Mazama Store’s because it has a wee bit of salt on top)
2-3 Red, preferably heirloom, garden tomatoes (however with snow still on the ground, organic vine-ripened tomatoes have the most flavor)
15 Basil leaves or as many as you have slices of bread
Fresh mozzarella (you can find the pre-sliced kind at some stores) to top the slices of bread
salt for sprinkling
Olive oil (Italian) to drizzle
Balsamic Vinegar (aged has a sweeter flavor, but any will do) to drizzle

Bruschetta olive oil drip drop bottle


1. Toast the slices of bread, or if you have time put them over the grill or gas burner, to toast
2. Add sliced mozzarella
3. Add Basil face up to catch some of the oil and balsamic drizzle
4. Add sliced tomatoes to each
5. Sprinkle with salt
6. Drizzle with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

Bruschetta Ready To Eat!

Buon Appetito!

* Thank you to Diane, Geof, Linda, Marc, Hannah and Eva for patiently waiting to devour these tasty bites while E.A did his photo dance to capture the bruschetta when freshest.

Head Shot RachelleRachelle @ Caramelize Life

“making life a little sweeter, through food, travel and community”



We at Caramelize Life wish you a wonderful Valentine’s Day filled will all that matters most to you.


Head Shot Rachelle Rachelle @ Caramelize Life
“Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community”

Caramelize Life Cooking Class @ Sun Mountain Lodge

It was a perfect time of year and a wonderful opportunity to work with a fantastic group of women in a garden to table cooking class.

Caramelize Life was kindly invited by Methow Arts Alliance and  Sun Mountain Lodge  to bring local produce and share simple recipes that could be made quickly at home with a lovely group of women visiting the Methow Valley.

It happened to be perfect timing for the class as the garden was in full production and ingredients were as fresh as could be.  On stage were succulent Heirloom tomatoes, fresh herbs, a selection of creamy chèvre from Sunny Pine Farm and locally sourced salmon

We all had a splendid time whipping up seasonal fair and an even better time sampling from our work.







 ~cheers Rachelle@caramelizelife

Starting Seedlings & Garden Planning

After months of cold and dark, we at Caramelize Life love to look forward to spring by starting plants from seed indoors.  Snow covers the frozen earth and the bountiful green garden of last year is hard to remember.  It is time, in the deep dark of February and March, that planning spring starts and a garden layout is particularly inspiring especially here in Northern Mountains of Washington.

For timing your indoor starts, February/March is the perfect time to take stock of your seeds.  If you have gathered seed from last year’s garden, wonderful, and if not, making your mail orders or stopping by your local supplier now fits the timing for spring planting.

In the Methow you can find our favorite seeds sold at  They carry seeds from our very own Twisp Ancestree Herbals and Uprising Organics that sources seeds sown by Pacific Northwest growers including Kelleigh Mc Millian’s Sowing Seeds Farm from Twisp River.

Begin by taking stock of what and how much your family will eat throughout the year.  For instance, if you use a lot of onions in your meals, plan a plot that is big enough for cold storage (or freezing) that lasts the year (for our families that is a plot 8×12’ at least).  We use more and more tomatoes every year (for fresh bites for sure, but also for canning, salsas, frozen sauces, you name it) so our tomato plots continue to expand.

We seed cayenne peppers, jalapeño peppers, several tomato varieties and tomatillos.  Each of these plants comes up easily, but you will need a south facing window and possibly an additional light close to your plants (our solution is an old ski pole with florescent light hanging from adjustable ropes to change position as the seedlings grow.)  Watering with mist seems to work best for all these heat loving plants, and their moisture needs are minimal.

Keep a close eye on your seedlings as they come up.  Tomatoes in particular can become gangly, but it’s possibly to gently push them down or build up soil around them.  Little cotyledons (the non-productive leaves) will help anchor the plants, and we like to coax them towards the soil.

Keep in mind when your growing season begins to time your planting of seeds.  For us in the Methow Valley, we count on possible frost until the end of May.  This is the soonest the tomatoes can go in the ground.  Most, however, have a much longer growing season.

If you are curious about your planting season and want to know what zone you live in there are several sites that can help you determine what will grow best in your area and when to plant. has an interactive map for Wa, Or, and Id. and the Sunset online site has an in depth look at the PNW as well as links to everyplace else.

There is nothing like green little baby plants to lift spirits towards spring.  Love them gently!

%d bloggers like this: