Grow your own mushrooms

My awesome husband bought us something really cool…

Grow Your Own Mushrooms Kit!


These photos show just the beginning stages of the mushrooms sprouting. He did order shiitake mushrooms but this first little nub that is growing looks kind of like a cremini mushroom. It does look lighter in color so I hope they got it correct – but I like cremini mushrooms too so it wouldn’t be a disaster if we received the wrong type! Time will tell…

Here’s what the set up looks like:





The block of growing material is inoculated with the mushrooms spores of your choice and mailed to you in a plastic bag. You remove the block from the bag and place it on an upside down pie plate – or something similar – but a pie plate was suggested. I’m guessing because it is going to get pretty gross and fungus covered… so you’ll probably just want to toss whatever you have the block  propped up on. You cover it with a different plastic bag that has holes in it for air to go through. We propped up ours with bamboo skewers because it is not supposed to touch the block of growing material. The whole thing gets misted two times a day, the growing material and the inside of the plastic. The environment is supposed to stay moist, like a little fungus terrarium.

We only set it up about two days ago and the first mushrooms are already sprouting. The whole block is covered in a white fuzz. I am pretty fascinated by this whole thing. Nerd alert! – Fungus was one of my favorite things to study in college…



I would like to try to DIY this if I could get the mushroom spores. I think the block of growing material looks just like spent grains from when we brew beer. There’s always a lot of spent grains, so if I could use them to grow mushrooms it would be pretty awesome. I have to do more research on what would go into making my own block of growing material but I am going to try in the near future.I might just have some giant portabellas growing on the counter.

Another really cool thing about this mushroom growing kit is that it will produce about three bunches for mushrooms on this block. Once it seems to not be producing any more you could spread it on a small area of your yard. The mushrooms will grow there if the conditions are right.

I am really excited to cook something with my first batch of grown-on-my-kitchen-counter mushrooms. I’ll keep posting updates of the growing process!




Mexico Adventure 2012

We decided to venture into Mexico again for our vacation/honeymoon this year. We have been to the Yucatan together once before in 2008, and Dan traveled throughout Mexico after he graduated high school. It is a beautiful place and we’ve made some very special memories there… we are already dreaming of our next return trip. Here’s a few shots from our first time around the peninsula:



On our first trip, we stayed pretty close to the top of the Yucatan Peninsula. We started in Isla Mujeres and went down the coast. We visited Chichen Itza, visited the colonial town of Valladolid, and went to so many other places its hard to remember them all. I also happened to find the best tamale that I have ever eaten. It was in the town of Tulum from a cart on the town square. I planned on looking for it again during this trip… keep checking back to see if I found it.

This time we really covered some area around the peninsula and went inland to the state of Chiapas. We visited colonial cities, Mayan ruins, the jungle and the beaches. Here’s a little peek into the adventure:

We took advantage of the convenient public transportation on our first visit to Mexico. We planned to ride the buses again, but we were convinced to rent a car in Merida, the first city we spent some time in. Renting the car made for a whole different kind of adventure… and an adventure it was… Don’t worry, I took plenty of food pictures and I have lots of stories to share in the upcoming weeks!

Sandwich Wednesday: Prosciutto Caprese

I enjoyed a sandwich last Wednesday with one of my friends (Dan Z) who also has summer afternoons free. This summery sandwich was made with Washington Boro tomatoes that I bought at the tomato festival. I got the rest of the ingredients at Mandro’s Imported Foods. They have a great selection of meats and cheeses. I got a frozen baguette made by Slow Rise Bakery (they carry it at Mandro’s). These baguettes are baked, froze, and then placed in your oven for 5-10 minutes. They taste like they are freshly baked right out of your oven in your home! And they get nice and crispy, but not too hard. They are perfect for sandwiches because you can bite through them easily. I hate when I get bread that is hard to bite into… then all of your sandwich fixin’s squeeze out of sandwich… you know what I mean… bummer.

To build this sandwich, I started with the warm toasty baguette and drizzled good olive oil and fig balsamic vinegar from Global Gardens over the inside. I laid two slices of very thinly sliced prosciutto down – don’t over do it, two is plenty. Top that with sliced fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, sliced summer tomatoes, salt and pepper, and cover it with the top of the baguette. Simple and delicious. A perfect summer sandwich.

Thank You!

I took a brief (or kind of long) hiatus from blog writing the past few months. So much has happened since my last post – I can’t believe how busy I have been and I can’t wait to share it with you!

The past few months have been filled with events and experiences that have changed my life. Bridal showers, end of school activities, wedding planning, fun girly trips, concerts, quality time my friends, a super fun science class, and GETTING MARRIED!

I have had some amazing food experiences and I have been experimenting in my own kitchen as well. I think I photo-documented all of this stuff pretty well so I am going to be sharing some pretty cool things on the blog.

I had a awesome (both fun and stressful) time wedding planning. It turns out that Dan and I had some pretty cool ideas, we worked hard to pull everything off, and it all made for an amazing wedding day. I’ll go through the details (with some how-to’s) as soon as I get my photos back.

A very big THANK YOU to everyone that has helped me and Dan move into the next chapter of our lives. Our friends and family provided so much help in so many ways, I am still overwhelmed with happiness and gratitude. Our families were supportive and I couldn’t believe how excited everyone was that we were getting married. I knew I had a pretty special group of friends but they blew me away with how much everyone was willing to help out and play a part in our wedding. I am eternally grateful for all of you.

One more thing…

It is the peak of summer time and there are so many fresh veggies to be had, including my favorite thing… tomatoes! The next two weekends are the Washington Boro Tomato Festival. I am going on Saturday and I suggest you try to make it out for one of those squishy tomato sandwiches that they are known for… don’t worry I’ll post the group shot of us eating sandwiches on Sunday 🙂