Posted in Gardening

Homegrown

 

Just like meditation gardening is an age-old practice that engages the body, stimulates the mind, and uplifts the spirit.

Gardening and just getting my hands in the dirt are relaxing for me.

I feel connected to the earth more, and its as if my soul is just happier, I feel more balanced, its hard to explain but let’s say I really feel great when I am planting and playing in dirt.

I don’t always get to play in the dirt because I’m in an apartment. So I often have a container garden ,small raised garden just to feel and have it look more alive and pretty and I will plant flowers out at my parents grave as well as other family members that have passed on.

My husband helps me a lot at the cemeteries because with my bone issues and knee problems I cannot even kneel on my one knee.

At some point we plan on getting a house again, we’d love 1-3 acres in the country preferably, my husband also loves gardening ,planting, lawn work , being outside.

Gardening has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety,lower blood pressure and  that can help ward off diseases associated with inactivity, it can keep also your mind sharp and happy, and can help you sleep better at night. And save you money at the grocery store.

So now imagine the added benefits of planting a small medicinal herb garden as well, when you’re growing your own herbs for your own herbal remedies. The benefits of gardening then become limitless!

We Always Loved Planning Our Garden

When planting outdoors, it’s important to consider a few factors beforehand:

  • Will you be planting directly into the ground or will you use raised garden or containers?
  • What is your soil like? Does it need to be amended? Will your herbs have good drainage?
  • At what angle and at what time of day does the sun hit?
  • What is the hardiness zone in your growing area? Will your plants thrive in your climate?
  • How often will your herbs need watering? Who can water for you if you’re out of town?

Before getting your hands dirty, consider the size and space you have make a few sketches, keeping in mind how tall or wide a plant will grow once it’s in full bloom. (For example, plants in the mint family love to spread, so make sure they have enough room to grow.)

Make sure you plant for your climate.

If you’re enthusiastic about medicinal herbs, you may be tempted to jump right in and plant a whole garden at once.  If so, more power to you! But really start out smaller, if you’re new to herb gardening, it’s always smart to start slowly with just a few plants to get started. That gives you some room for error, so you can study how much light they’re getting, the soil, and how much watering needs done. Be smart an plan.

And having a fruit and veggie garden is also a fantastic way to eat cleaner, healthier and save money while enjoying the benefits of getting your hands dirty.

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” — Alfred Austin

Planting your herbs

Healthy plants are born from healthy soil and healthy seeds. If you notice that your soil shows no signs of growth, moisture, or earthworms, you may have to amend it with some organic compost and well-composted manure before planting.

Manure is Mother Nature’s ultimate fertilizer, but sometimes it can make the soil dense and clumpy. Don’t be afraid to add a little sand to your mixture to help encourage good drainage. Herbs don’t like wet feet!

Recommend Strictly Medicinal SeedsFedco Seeds, and Seed Savers for their vast selections and sustainable practices.

Herbs are usually ready to plant once the threat of frost has passed. Once you are ready to plant your seeds, prepare your soil beds with a light raking, making sure to level the soil and remove any rocks or pebbles larger than a gum ball. Then, using your thumb or the handle of a spade or a rake, indent the soil with small holes, spaced to account for their growth. For smaller herbs, 2” spacing between seeds generally works, but for sprawling plants like mints, you’ll likely need more space. Make sure to ask your gardening store specialist or research online ahead of time for optimal results. Then, cover the seeds with a light coating of soil and water them. You can expect sprouts within a couple of weeks.

Most herbs—but certainly not all—prefer 6-8 hours of sunshine per day and well-drained, slightly alkaline soils. Oftentimes, more sunshine results in a higher concentration of essential oils within the herb, making some medicinal herbs more potent. While many herbs prefer the conditions of a dry, Mediterranean climate during the growing season, there are others that thrive in the cool, shady forests, sometimes in acidic soils. Make sure to research which plants are ideal for your garden before you start.

 

garden

 

Best plants for your garden

Every garden has its own unique conditions. Below, is a link to a chart with some veggie plants and when to plant.

Plant chart  

 

Also of favorite medicinal plants to get you started on the right foot, but make sure to make your herb garden your own.

But remember herbs can be dangerous, so before you try them medically talk to your Doctor and an Herbalist or Naturopath because interactions can occur.

Planting your herb garden

Herb Chart

And Please Do NOT Use pesticides !

Posted in Awareness

Eat Them Veggies

Eat them veggies

As long as you’re cracking them eggs, add some veggies like bell peppers, mushrooms, or spinach into the mix.

And any veggie goes down easier in a thick and delicious, creamy smoothie

Stir-fry’s are a great way to load up on the veggies . Toss all your favorites into a hot wok. Carrots, celery,red peppers,sugar snaps, and even cabbage add sweetness and taste amazing.

Why order in from your local Chinese place when you can make a healthier stir-fry in your own kitchen?

Veggie Stir Fry

Ingredients

1 pound firm tofu

8-10 cups sliced vegetables Aprox 1 cup each (I use yellow onions, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, celery, broccoli, asparagus, water chestnuts,bamboo shoots)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups cooked rice or 3 cups cooked quinoa

Sauce:

1/4 cup veggie or chicken stock

1/4 cup natural soy sauce (low sodium if you prefer)or gf tamari

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger root

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon arrowroot powder

Instructions

Slice the tofu in 1/2 inch slices. Press between layered paper towels or clean kitchen towels to dry well. Cut slices into 1-inch cubes. Arrange on a plate with prepared vegetables, separated by variety.

Combine sauce ingredients except for arrowroot powder in a small bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved. Mix arrowroot powder with just enough cold water to dissolve in a custard cup or teacup (you’ll use less than 2 tsp water). Add to sauce, stir well and set aside.

Preheat a wok or large skillet.

Add the oil and vegetables (add the sturdier vegetables first, adding the more tender ones after one minute and cook over medium-high heat until just crisp tender, stirring constantly.

Add the tofu and stir very carefully until the tofu is heated.

Stir sauce and pour around edge of wok. Stir vegetables around in sauce as it thickens.

Remove from heat as soon as sauce is thickened and serve over rice or quinoa.

Sure, you could set out crudités with a creamy dip. Or you could double the veggies and whip them into the dip, too. Dig into beautiful beet hummus, cucumber raita, or healthy, homemade spinach dip, replacing the cream with yogurt.

Roasting veggies can tease out flavors you wouldn’t get otherwise, and it couldn’t be easier. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Pile bite-sized pieces of cauliflower, broccoli, or Brussels sprout on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and spread out. Roast until tender-crisp and golden, about 20 minutes. Try it: Roast Pork with Apples & Brussels

Stuffed vegetables are pure comfort; fresh produce is just part of the package deal. Keep the stuffing healthy with lean ground meat or beans and whole grains, but don’t forget a small sprinkle of cheese.

These are cheesy and hearty and just the right amount of spicy. Easy to freeze.

Spicy Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients

Spicy Rice

• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• 1 medium yellow onion chopped

• 2 jalapeno peppers chopped

• 4 cloves garlic chopped

• 3/4 cups long grain rice

• 12 ounces fire roasted tomatoes (I used a store bought can)

• 1.5 cups vegetable broth + more as needed

• 1 cup frozen corn – or fresh corn if you can get it!

• ½ cup frozen peas

• 1 tablespoon Cajun seasonings

• 1 teaspoon cayenne powder

• ½ teaspoon cumin

• Salt and pepper to taste

FOR THE STUFFED PEPPERS

• 1 cup shredded cheese (Cheddar is good, or Colby or Pepper Jack)

• 4 bell peppers

• Hot Sauce, spicy chili flakes, fresh chopped herbs for serving

Instructions

Get the rice going. Heat a large pan to medium heat and add olive oil.
Add onion and jalapeno peppers and cook about 5 minutes to soften.

Add garlic and cook another minute, until you can smell the yummy garlic.Add the rice and stir. Cook for a couple minutes, stirring, to very lightly brown the rice.Add the fire roasted tomatoes and vegetable broth.

Stir.
Add corn, peas, Cajun seasonings, cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper, and hot sauce if using. Stir and bring to a quick boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid and is softened to your liking. If it needs more cooking, add a bit more broth and keep it simmering until you LOVE it.
While the rice is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil.Slice the tops off of the bell peppers and remove the innards. Boil them about 5 minutes to slightly soften.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Mix the rice and shredded cheese together and stuff each pepper full. You may have extra stuffing, depending on the size of your peppers.

Bake on a large baking sheet for 30-40 minutes.Remove from heat and top with your favorite hot sauce, fresh chopped herbs and spicy chili flakes

Stir unsweetened pumpkin puree into your morning oats for a filling breakfast that will leave you longing for fall. The pumpkin’s orange color means it’s packed with beta-carotene, contributing to your daily intake of vitamin A.

Almost any veggie goes down easier in a thick and delicious, creamy smoothie,especially when it’s blended with citrus to balance out any bitterness. Add a big handful of kale, chard, or spinach to your morning smoothie and then flex a little, knowing that you started your day with extra iron.

Sweet potato banana smoothie

Ingredients

• 1/2 cup sweet potato purée note you can also use pumpkin purée

• 1 -2 bananas frozen, and chopped into 1 inch cubes

• 1 cup canned lite coconut milk

• 1 teaspoons maple syrup

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

• 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

• 2 tablespoon walnuts, or pecans chopped

Directions

Place all ingredients, except for some of the walnuts into blender and blend until smooth. Top with chopped walnuts.

Avocado toast is cool, but there are so many other veggies you can drop on top of whole-wheat bread. Start with a swipe of part-skim ricotta or hummus, then add hydrating tomatoes and cucumbers. Or, pair sautéed mushrooms with a sunnyside-up egg. – https://www.redbookmag.com/food-recipes/news/a20060/12-things-you-should-be-putting-on-toast/

You might not associate muffins with green vegetables, but zucchini is sweet, mild, and full of moisture, making it surprisingly delicious in bread, muffins, or pancakes. Try it: Zucchini Muffins with Chocolate Chips

Carrots wilting in the crisper? Overwhelmed by a big bunch of kale? Soup’s on. Dice different veggies into a chunky stew, or blend your favorite root vegetable completely smooth. Plus, you can always upgrade chicken broth with a big handful of greens and squeeze of lemon. Try it: Green Soup with Cashew Cream Swirl

References

Redbookmag.com

Fitbitt.com blog

Posted in Bone Health, Delicious, Eat Healthy, Family Tradition, Gluten Free, Hacks, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta.

If you are an eggplant lover, this dish is for you! If you are on the fence about eggplant this will make you a lover for sure.

Eggplant and tomato sauce flavored with capers and green olives and mixed with quinoa spaghetti, fresh parsley, and Parmesan cheese.

This Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta is a 30-minute vegetarian and gluten-free dish that you can make on any night.

But this is what’s for dinner tonight.

The summer is officially over. Our AC is turned off, most days , windows are open,I am loving the fresh breeze.

I hate to see Summer end. But I love fall veggies

Personally, if I had my way I would spend all day outside.

I keep finding excuses to go outside even though I should be home cleaning etc…. I am sure you know the feeling.

Having a bone disease I know I will be stuck indoors more than I would like because my bones can’t deal with the cold.

So any day above 65 is a blessing for me.

Today’s recipe, Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta, is a summer dish but I will.

Soon I will be having Squash and quinoa pasta but not today.

If you have ever cooked eggplants before, you would know, sometimes, especially if it is an older eggplant, its brown seeds might cause it taste bitter. To get rid of the bitterness, my mother used to put sliced eggplants in a bowl of water with a generous amount of salt. Letting it sit in salty water for 10-15 minutes would improve the taste of the flesh and get rid of the bitterness. Alternatively, you can also sprinkle your eggplant with salt and let is sit on the counter for 20-30 minutes. In both methods, it is imperative to pat dry them with paper towels and make sure they are as dry as possible.

I love quinoa spaghetti as I think it is healthier than regular spaghetti.

Plus it is gluten-free, but you can always use regular semolina flour pasta.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound quinoa or brown rice pasta,

2 medium eggplant or 5 small (1 pound), cut into 1-inch small cubes no need to peel but I stipe peel mine.

1 tbspn salt is what is usually used

I use less say a large teaspoon total and then I season into cooking a bit more.

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon tomato paste

8 medium sized Roma tomatoes, cut into small cubes

1 cup colorful cherry tomatoes, sliced

3-4 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed

½ cup green olives, pitted and sliced

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper *

4 scallions, chopped both green and white parts

½ cup Italian Parsley, rinsed and chopped thinly

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

½ cup lightly roasted pine nuts (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Reserve one cup of the pasta liquid. Set aside.

2. As the pasta is cooking, make the eggplant pomodoro sauce: Fill a bowl with 4 cups of cold tab water. Add a tablespoon of salt. Place the eggplant cubes into the salty water. Let it sit for 10 minutes in water. Rinse and place on a sheet of paper towels to dry.

3. Heat olive oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet (or any heavy bottom pan) and add in the eggplant. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5-6 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

4. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

5. Add in the Roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, capers, and green olives. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Pour the balsamic vinegar into the sauce. Give everything a gentle stir and let it cook for 10-15 minutes in medium heat. Taste for seasoning and add if necessary.

6. Place the cooked pasta into the sauce (alternatively you can place everything in a large bowl). Sprinkle it with scallions, parsley, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts (if using). If the pasta feels dry, use some of the reserved pasta liquid. Give it a toss to distribute the sauce evenly.

7. Serve with more Parmesan cheese parsley on the side.