Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring has Sprung!

Glorious Spring! It is my favorite season.  Everything comes alive.  All those plants that hid through the winter start popping their little heads through the dirt. The coats get put away, and the flip flops come out. I love the energy that Spring brings.

Spring also means gardening! I love getting in the dirt! Look at this beautiful dirt!!!

I spent the better part of the day working in the yard.  Aside from the wind whipping everything by at warp speed, it was a beautiful day.  In the 80's.  This is my first year to plant vegetables and to start plants from seeds, so I was really eager to get at it.

So armed with new garden gloves, a great organic gardening magazine with lots of tips, and seeds, I hit the back yard running!

Out with the day lilies - they only attract the moles and gophers anyway . . . 
and in with the topsoil bags, in which I will plant my little seeds, from which peas will grow. The bags are placed strategically under a trellis, with a row of seeds on each side, and then they can climb the trellis and produce wonderfully fresh peas!
The bags have been pierced on the bottom with holes to allow for drainage.
The top of the bag is cut out in the shape of rectangle, leaving a two inch "frame" around the top of the bag. This is an especially appealing approach. The bags can be layed on top of chicken wire and it will be much more difficult for the moles or gophers to feast on my great plants.

This is how the bag looks after the top has been cut out and it is ready for planting.
After the seeds have been placed in the bag I will add mulch, and then the bags will be covered up and it will be much more pleasing to the eye, and the landscape!

In addition to peas, I planted onions (that my organic gardener guru co-worker Maxine gave to me), spinach (seeds) and lettuce (seeds).  Well, maybe lettuce got planted.  The wind was so bad that I am not sure exactly where the seeds ended up!

This is where the onions live.

At Whole Foods they had lots of starter plants available today and I just couldn't resist.  It is still a bit early to put them outside but they sure make me feel good when I look at all that green on my windowsill! I took them outside for some fresh air, sun and a good drink.

How nice it will be to just walk out the back door and clip clip clip those wonderful herbs that I now have to buy! In the next few weeks lots of time will go into the preparation of planting beds, and then lots more veggies are going to take up residence in my yard. It is all pretty exciting. I will be ecstatic if it all grows, and even more ecstatic to eat it!!

Speaking of eating, I made an incredible salad for our lunch today. We will have this again many times.  It was really easy to make, but looked complicated.  (Note to self: this could be a company salad!)
Southwestern Fiesta Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette - recipe by Penni Shelton

Happy Spring Everyone!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Battle Ends

I sit here with a heavy heart, staring at the screen, unable to come up with words.

Today is the funeral of our nephew, Gary. Gary was 30 years old, and had battled bone cancer since the age of 13. He was an amazing young man. I will always remember his remarkable courage and smile.

Because we live 1800 miles away we were not part of his life, but he was always part of our prayers. His mother, my sister-in-law, had this remarkable dedication and drive when it came to Gary's care. She is an amazing woman and fought the battle as hard as Gary did.

I am so sad. I can't even begin to imagine her pain, or his wife of 9 months, or what the rest of the family must feel. For them the loss is huge.

For Gary, the pain is gone.

God Bless you Gary, and all who knew you.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Green Gold

To my Dad, who was my favorite Irishman,
and to all my "green" friends...

Top of the mornin' to all you Lads and Lassie's
and best wishes for a Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Green happens in my house every morning. I bet even St. Patrick would consider a green smoothie if he came to visit me! Today's green smoothie is called Green Gold and was a perfect way start St. Patrick's Day.

Green Gold

1 Pear
1 Avocardo
a handful of cilantro
a stalk of celery
a handful of bok choy
a handful (or 2!!) of kale
an inch of fresh ginger root (Ah, the gold!!!)
a tablespoon each of chia seeds and hemp seeds
a teaspoon of spirulina
about 10 ounces of coconut water
filtered water and ice to taste

Put it all in your blender and blend away,
until it is smooth and the consistency you like!

May all who read this be truly blessed. Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

An Irish Prayer
May God give you...

For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

P.S. Here is another GREAT green smoothie recipe from my friend Kat!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Grateful for help!

Saturday was one of those perfect work in the yard days! Very little wind, and the temperatures were perfect! My son and two grandsons came over to lend a hand, or six! Together we spent about 6 hours cleaning out beds, raking, trimming, and mowing. Riley, who is five, is still wondering why I like to work in the yard. He says, "this yard work is very annoying!"

What we accomplished together would have taken me 3 weekends! I am so grateful for all their help. I was so tired and so sore when we were done. And boy did I pay for it the next day too. But that is OK. Soon, I can begin planting my very first vegetable garden and I am very excited about that.

Here are a few pictures of my wonderful helpers.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"You've got mail"

I love it when my husband tells me that! He only tells me when something good - like a package - comes for me. Envelopes aren't usually too exciting.

I love when a package arrives in the mail.  It's like this big surprise, even though I was the one who ordered it!

Lately it's all about gadgets. Do I love gadgets? You know it! Here's what just came to add to my collection:

The Tribest Personal Blender is so cool.  I can connect it to one of my mason jars, blend right in it, then store in it.  It will be my future travel green smoothie maker.  I primarily bought it to do seeds, nuts and so on.  The little blender does the little jobs that my big blender won't.

The EasySprout was a compulsive purchase.  Wonder how that happened? I don't know if it is that much better than using my mason jar, but it does work well.  I just sprouted lentils and they came out great.  The only difference was I didn't have to rinse the lentils in the EasySprout during the sprouting process like I did in the mason jar.  Same result though. I love sprouts.

And those little tart pans. Oh, do I have visions of a great dessert filling those little cute pans. The pans actually were the orginal reason for my trip to Amazon. I am glad they came with a blender and spouter!

While it isn't a gadget, I was so happy to get my t-shirt in the mail today.  I ordered it in mid-January! I bet you haven't seen too many of these around! 

love it!!

It just says it all!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Smoothies vs. Juicing

Or maybe it was Breville vrs VRT-350!!

I had a delightful night that began at Cafe Samana with some of my favorite friends and my daughter-in-law. Great conversation and food.

Then we all headed over to Whole Foods for Kat and Faith's Raw Food 101: Smoothies and Juicing class. It was a full house - standing room only! I am so encouraged by the number of people who are becoming interested in improving their health through plant based food, smoothies, juicing and eating raw food.

The first smoothie made was a simple one - perfect for beginners and kids - and consisted of two bananas, half a bag of frozen blueberries, 2 good handfuls of spinach and water.  How much easier can it be!! Fast, tasty, and soooooooooo good for you.  My daughter-in-law commented, "That is way faster than cooking bacon and eggs!" Amen to that!

Kat made a Savory Green Smoothie - which was really more like a soup because we ate it with a spoon.  It had tons of things in it - greens, spices! It was my favorite of the night. It was garnished with avocado, scallions and kalamanta olives. Yummm.

From smoothies to soup to juice! I was especially interested in the juicing since smoothies are as part of my day as brushing my teeth!  Two juices were made from two different juicers and I loved them both! Faith's juice was a bit more pulpy than Kat's, and had beets in them, which I love, and Kat's juice had no pulp, a very smooth consistency, and was very green.  They each LOVE their own juicers.

Look at them just hugging their juicers!! Kat loves her Breville while Faith  loves her VRT-350!
It was quite comical and entertaining watching them pledge allegiance to their juicers. One man commented that their juicers mimicked their personalities. May be some truth to that??? Regardless, they both believe in the value of juice in our diets and agree, the best juicer is the one you use!

Here's Faith with all the beautiful vegetable making her juice.
What you can see is the extracted pulp, and I wish you could see the beautiful color of the juice.
Here's Kat. That celery was juiced in seconds!! Look how happy she is!
Green juice is born.  She looks like a proud Mama!
It was a very informative fun night.  Here's what I know: I love these juices and want to make them part of my daily routine, but the dilemma of what machine to buy, continues!!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

First time to . . .

meet Philip McClusky . . .

First time to hear his amazing story, and see his old pants . . .

First time to have my picture taken with this inspiring sweet man . . .

First time to have incredibly delicious raw taramisu . . .

First time to go on a road trip to 105degrees in Oklahoma City

with some of the Tulsa Raw Food group gals . . .

(aren't they gorgeous!!)

First time to buy one of Philip's books . . . 

you didn't think I could leave with only one did you???

First time to make one of his recipes . . .

first time to make hemp milk . . 

first time to use my blender on the soup setting . . .

and the Tomato & Basil Bisque was delicious . . .

First time to 

take a vacation day in March 

and enjoy an outdoor lunch at Wild Fork

with one of my very best friends

on a beautiful day.

I am glad I took time to appreciate all these first times!
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