Starting My Gardening Journey!

***please note that I wrote this post back in May but was only able to find my old pics recently. As such, I will be changing the date to May soon :D **


For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to have a 'green thumb' and grow my own food. For as long as I can remember I have always failed spectacularly at it.  Over the years I have watched/stalked friends, neighbors, and acquaintances who were able to successfully grow lovely plants and beautiful veggie crops with envy. "How are they doing it?" I would ponder. "what on earth am I doing wrong?" I'd ask. I faced lots of challenges such as trying to grow in dirt that was basically hard clay, and having basically no knowledge about feeding plants nutrients or how much to water. After a few failed attempts I gave up.


Fast forward to when we moved into our new home, and I decided to give this veggie growing thing another chance. It was the beginning of our first summer there and I was excited to give it another go. My family was skeptical. "Haven't you already tried this before?" "Why throw away all that money buying plants that wont grow when you can buy vegetables at the store?" "why put in all the effort?!" etc. etc.


I didn't let it deter me though. After all a gardener is technically the ultimate foodie - you are literally GROWING your own food! Cant get much Hipster than that! 😉 So I decided to go out and buy a few packets of seeds, a few baby seedlings, some pots and some dirt, and just see what would happen. Though we had a huge backyard, it was a total mess - overrun with tall grass and weeds - so I decided to start small and just plant in a few pots. To my surprise (and utter delight !) I was finally able to grow some edibles! :) I was really excited!! I managed to harvest a handful of zucchinis and cucumbers, 2 green peppers, some radishes, and a whole bunch of tomatoes!

A few pics of my mini harvest:


the mini harvest from my first ever garden!
First Batch of radishes I ever grew! :) Grew it in my tiny little garden I did!


Now to any mildly experienced gardeners this would not seem at all impressive, but for me it was amazing! I had finally managed to grow something! Sure, my cucs and zuchs plants all died after a tiny harvest. I dealt with blossom end rot on some tomatoes (after I figured out what blossom end rot is) and only got like 2 bell peppers, but still. Progress.

(For a brief outline of the very many stupid mistakes I made....please see the below slideshow:)


Armed with the knowledge I had obtained and the determination of achieving a large harvest, I made plans for using our big backyard for some good use next year. Encouraged by all this I decided "next year- I go bigger and better!" And Guess what? Next year is here and I am fully deep into my gardening project! :)

So I thought I would share my journey with you! I will be sharing what I've tried, what works (and what doesn't work) and everything else I learn along the way! I will be sharing with you updates from my garden and how things are developing, and how we transformed a yard full of overgrown weeds into veggies! (I hope.) 

I'm really excited about this (I know ... excitement over a garden makes me a total grandma), and I hope you are too! (grandmas unite! :) )

So I'm really excited to take on this gardening challenge. Though I know NOTHING about all of this I am willing to learn. I hereby take on the challenge to learn how to garden once and for all! Whose with me? 😀 

Strawberry Sunshine Tea Cake

Over the weekend I headed in to the kitchen with the intention of baking up some sort of cake. I was in the mood for something smooth, and fluffy, and, well, cakey. However, I didn’t have any specific recipe in mind as I kept opening and closing the same kitchen cabinets, trying to find something to inspire me. I knew I wanted cake, and I knew a nice Valentines Day theme would be cute, and I was also thinking about something ‘cheerful’. “What? How can cake be cheerful??” I hear you cry, very easily I reply, it has to make you smile. Or something like that. You know how a yummy berry fruit tart makes you think of lovely summer, or how a peach crumble pie makes you think of a sunny spring weekend? Well I wanted to feel me some sunshine cause the reality of -35C weather outside just wasn’t cutting it. That’s when I saw the bowl of strawberries in the back of our fridge and it hit me – strawberries! Sunshine! Oh joy! I will make a strawberry cake.

strawberry tea cake |


Then I set about on Pinterest looking for the perfect recipe – which turned out to be a bad idea. Not only did I not find the type of recipe I was looking for (think a soft summery strawberry tea cake), I ended up side tracked an hour later looking at an article on what my personality type was, and what career I am best suited for (apparently I would make a great Carpenter or Mechanic – which is surprising given that I can’t tell the difference between a wrench and a screwdriver half the time). Frustrated with the inability of the internet to tell me WHAT I SHOULD DO WITH MY LIFE, I went back to figuring out what on earth I was gonna make. I finally settled on making an old classic I had made before at my previous blog, a simple strawberry tea cake. However, taking note from my previous attempt, I decided to make some changes to make the cake more moist (it had turned out a tad dry previously).


I decided this would be a great opportunity to use some Greek yogurt to not only make this cake moist, but also somewhat healthier (hey every bit helps right?). I was pretty happy with the final result! I decided to give it a Valentines Day theme by being all classy and cutting the Strawberries into thin slices and decorating with borders around the cake. I also made a little strawberry heart in the center. How cuutttteeeee right?


How it turned out: This recipe turned out pretty great! If measuring by nothing but the fact that it was all gone about 20 minutes after I took these pics, I would say the family loved it! The Greek yogurt did a great job of adding the moisture I was looking for. This produces a really great rich and dense cake, which would be a great ‘tea cake’ in my opinion. So if you are looking for a summer strawberry tea cake recipe, give this one a go! Also, this produces a bit of a sweet cake, so if you would like you could probably cut out ¼ cup of the sugar and still be good.


strawberry tea cake |

Strawberry Tea Cake


1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 cup Greek Yogurt *or substitute the water + Greek yogurt for 1 cup of regular Yogurt

1/2 cup of water

1 teaspoon vanilla

 2 cups of strawberries (or less or more depending on what you like)

1 tablespoons sugar, for sprinkling on top of the strawberries

Some Icing sugar to dust on the cake once its baked.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your cake pan with parchment paper. 

2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a separate bowl. Set aside.

3. Sprinkle some sugar over your strawberries if they aren’t naturally very sweet like mine, and set aside.

strawberry valentines day cake |

4. Mix your greek yogurt and water together in a bowl until the lumps have mostly dissolved. Set aside.

greek yogurt add to batter

5. Beat your butter and 1 cup sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer. Mix until pale and fluffy. Add in egg, Greek yogurt/water mixture (or instead use 1 cup of regular yogurt), and vanilla. Mix until well combined. Now when you add your yogurt mixture to the batter it may make it look super gross. Like its curdled and gone bad or something. ITS OK. Just continue. Trust me on this.

6. Gradually mix in your flour mixture to the gross looking buttery mixture. (tada! It now looks like a really good thick cake batter).

7. Transfer the batter into your pan (It’s a really thick batter so its ok if it resembles something like a very soft bread dough). Arrange your strawberry slices on top of the batter.

8. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. Be sure to adjust baking time for a hotter or cooler oven.  Bake the cake until a toothpick entered in the center of the cake comes out clean. This cake actually ends up with a pretty white top. If you prefer a golden topped cake, put it under the broiler for a few minutes like I did. (tastes great either way)

9. Once cake is COMPLETELY cooled, sprinkle on some icing sugar to make it extra special