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Victory Garden Cooking: Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, and Lemon Balm

A Heart-Healthy Fresh Veggie Curry for Heart Health Month


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has named September "Healthy Aging Month," and their advice for healthy aging is simple—basically, eat a healthful diet, keep body and mind active, and get enough sleep. It is also the time of year when all of my backyard veggies are ripening and ready to be enjoyed. There is no better way to eat healthfully and to keep an active mind by imagining the possibilities with the bounty of the victory garden. Also, one of today's ingredients—lemon balm—when steeped as an herbal tea may encourager better sleep, To learn more about lemon balm, see my post Herbal Tea Garden – The Mint Family.


Garden Curry


2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon mustard powder

2 teaspoons cumin

4 - 6 lemon balm leaves

½ large white onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

¼ teaspoon crystallized ginger, chopped

¼ teaspoon ginger powder

¼ teaspoon ground coriander

⅛ teaspoon cardamom

2 teaspoons turmeric

3 cups fresh tomatoes

¼ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon white pepper

1 chopped bell pepper

1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed

5 halved or quartered baby white mushrooms

Chopped fresh parsley, lemon balm, green onion, and whole nasturtiums for garnish


Heat olive oil in your wok. Once it's hot, add in the cumin, mustard powder, lemon balm leaves, crystallized ginger, garlic and onion and stir fry for about five minutes. Once the onions are clear, add in the additional spices and tomatoes. Sprinkle the salt and white pepper over the tomatoes. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes stirring regularly with a wooden spoon and smooshing the tomatoes with the spoon.


Once the tomatoes have cooked down into a sauce, add the chopped bell pepper and continue to cook and stir for five minutes. Next, add in the drained and rinsed great norther beans and mushrooms. Simmer for another two minutes. Garnish with herbs and serve warm with naan,



Janae J. Almen is a professional music instructor, composer, sound artist, and freelance writer and editor. She has studied Japanese Tea Ceremony at the Japanese Cultural Center in Chicago, IL and enjoys adding artistry and creativity to the tea table and the kitchen.





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