DIY Planter (with Recycled Tomato Can)

The lack of greenery outside depresses me during the winter. Needless to say, I was thrilled to see potted window herbs for sale in the produce section of Walmart a couple weeks ago, and I just had to buy my favorite kind, basil. Basil is good in so many dishes, and I love having such easy access to it.

I didn’t have any extra pots to put it in, though, so I decided to make my own. This is a super simple DIY project that only requires a large can, some fabric, and mod podge. It makes for a great little window plant for yourself or even as a gift for the gardener or gourmet chef in your life.

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First step: Hammer some holes into the bottom of your can. This is so the water will drain out of the soil and not drown your plant. It can be done with a hammer and nail.

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Next, cut the fabric you are going to use to size.

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Paint your can with a thick layer of mod podge.

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Carefully smooth your fabric onto your can, making sure the edges of the fabric are even.

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Finally, paint a layer of mod podge over your fabric to seal it and protect it from water.

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Let your can dry completely before planting your herb or flower. This may take up to a day. When your can is dry, layer the bottom with some medium sized rocks. This is to further help the draining process. Finally, fill with soil and plant!

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I set my planter on a cute vintage tea plate to capture any spare water so it won’t ruin my windowsill. If you don’t have a window in your kitchen, be sure to keep it somewhere where there is still plenty of light. This is a great way to brighten up a dismal winter kitchen!

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And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

-Luke 2:8-12

Tomato Basil Bread (Whole Wheat)

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I’ll take any opportunity I can get to use herbs from my precious little herb garden I planted earlier this year. The leaves are not very big yet, but evidently (especially with basil) using baby leaves is perfectly fine, even good. Baby basil has a strong flavor, and I’m glad for it! It makes a mean tomato basil bread.

What really inspired me to make this bread was strolling around the Ames Farmer’s Market. While it is not very big, I still enjoying seeing all the different vendors, some of them selling very strange products.

For instance: Until last Saturday, I had never eaten bee pollen (on purpose, that is). When I came up to a honey seller’s booth and saw a jar of bee pollen, I exclaimed, “Wait, you’re supposed to eat that?!”

The old man nodded curtly and a small smile churned on his lips. “It’s good for lots of things,” he said. “Allergies, acne, weight loss…”

The list went on and on. While I didn’t completely believe all that he was saying, I instinctively said yes when he asked if I’d like to try some and then poured it out on my hand. It’s a weird flavor. Like honey except chalky and gross. And so far I’m neither dead nor cured of all my ailments (and I ate quite a bit), so opinion pending on its abilities.

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But anyway. Back to my herbs and this delicious bread I made. It has a very strong tomato-y flavor which is exactly what I wanted. The fresh basil tasted exceptionally delicious in there as well.

I love making bread. Even though it takes a bit of time to knead and let rise and what not, it just makes the perfect addition to a meal. And I feel so much better about eating homemade bread than the stuff from the stores.

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This particular loaf uses whole wheat and oatmeal, and there is a ton of flavor packed in. This bread will make excellent croutons, too. If it makes it that long, that is.

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Whole Wheat Tomato Basil Bread

INGREDIENTS:

1 tbsp yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup fresh basil (or 2 tbsp dried basil)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup parmesan
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1 egg
4 cloves chopped garlic
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup finely processed oatmeal

METHOD:

1. Place yeast in warm water and let rest until foamy. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and oatmeal. When yeast is ready, add  basil, tomato sauce, parmesan, olive oil, egg, garlic, and honey and stir well. Add flour mixture to the wet slowly. Mixture will be dry. Knead on a floured surface for five minutes, until elasticy. Form into a ball.

2. Spray a bowl with oil and place the dough ball inside, turning once to coat both sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for about one hour or until doubled in size.

3. When dough has risen, punch it and then knead for 3 to 4 minutes. Place onto a sprayed cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 30 to 40 minutes more. Preheat oven to 375F.

4. When bread has risen, cut an x shape lightly on top of the bread ball and place in the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes.

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