Easy Grow Wheatgrass

I’ve been wanting to grow wheatgrass but wasn’t sure where to start. With a pretty busy schedule and no idea what the process involved, I was a little hesitant to take on a new project. But after reading a few articles on the amazing healing powers of wheatgrass juice, I must admit, I was intrigued. As a fan of holistic healing solutions, this juice seemed too good to be true. Story after story extolled the benefits of drinking the stuff and I knew I had to try it. I’m curious that way. :)

I was completely sold when a few locals began growing wheatgrass. I thought: here’s my chance to get a personal tutorial and tutorial I received. This video was made by a local fellow working with World Wellness. It explains everything, shows everything, as well as offering a handout which I’ve included below for your convenience. I’ve also added a few personal notes for further clarification.

I purchased my seeds from GotSprouts and soaked them as directed. Sunflowers float, wheatgrass sink. More

Winter in the Garden

I realize that “winter” is a relative term when it comes to Florida, but we really are experiencing some cold weather this month. It’s been in the 30s…!!! Brrrrrrr. Thank goodness there’s no negative sign before that number. I think my face would fall off! Instead, it’s seasonably cold, just enough to give us a taste of winter.

A taste my cabbage plants are loving. They thrive in brisk, sunny temps.

cabbage is happy

Peppers normally don’t, yet strangely, I haven’t lost them. I didn’t bother to cover them, deciding on a minimalist approach this year yet look at them. They’re fine! Sort of. More

Pulling Your Hair Out?

Stop. If you’re like me, you’re losing it at an alarming rate. I don’t know if mid-life has caught up with me or the hormones are on the attack but my hair is thinning and I’m none too happy about it! I have every intention of living until I’m 92 and I don’t plan to be a bald-headed old woman. feisty, yes. Bald, no.

woman pulling hair out_XSmall

But wait–there’s good news! I think I might have stumbled upon the secret weapon against hair loss. In response to an aging lower back, I’ve had to focus on “anti-inflammatory” living. I eat anti-inflammatory foods, I exercise, stretch daily to keep my muscles loose and limber, take warm baths to keep the blood flowing…and in my quest, I discovered the omega-3. Now some of you are way ahead of me, consuming these babies by the wagon-load. They’re great for overall health and well-being, but hair growth?

Seriously, I wish someone would have mentioned this sooner. It’s never good when you gaze into the mirror and can see your scalp. It’s disheartening. But alas, no more! Ever since I’ve been eating a daily dose of flax-seed and chia with my oatmeal, my hair is thick and full!  Okay, that might be a stretch. Blame it on the excitement factor, but my hair is noticeably improving, from new clumps around my face to an overall “I can’t see my scalp anymore” fullness. It’s wonderful. Rejuvenating. This stuff is worth eating if for no other reason than hair growth. Not particularly tasty, but definitely worthwhile.

Thinning hair? Eat flax-seed. 2 TBSP a day is all you need, I split mine 1/2 flax and 1/2 chia. Add it to oatmeal, yogurt, fruit smoothies, whatever. It works. Besides, what have you got to lose? Other than more hair, that is. :(

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

Even here in Florida making gardening a much less delightful propsect. Shivering between the rows is not this Floridian’s idea of fun, no matter how excited I am by the gorgeous cabbage heads forming before my very eyes. It’s cold. Cold is for snow, not gardens. Call me “The Wimpy Gardener” but I prefer sunshine and tepid breeze when I’m outside digging in the dirt. However, there is one upside to this frigid month of January ~ the seed catalogs are arriving!

seed shopping

Woo-hoo! Talk about the perfect “pick-me-up” on a frosty morning, colorful pages filled with ripe, succulent vegetables are it. Now I can start dreaming about warmer days and garden blooms with pictures to spark my imagination. (As if it needed sparking, but that’s a tale for another day).  It’s time to order those seeds for a head start on your spring planting. I don’t know about you, but I like to get my tomatoes sprouting in trays before I put them in the ground. Not only does it give them a jump on the season but it allows me to avoid harvesting in the heat of May/June. Get in early, get out early, that’s my motto. Remember: summer is for vacations.

So grab those catalogs and a warm mug of coffee, find a place by the toasty fire and peruse to your heart’s content.  You won’t believe the stuff they’re growing these days, from a rainbow of cauliflower to purple and blue “green” beans, I’m amazed–and thrilled! Santa brought me a new juicer this year, so in addition to my usual cabbage juice and carrot smoothies, I’m going to try wheatgrass. It’s been popping up in my world of late, which I take as a sign: Grow Wheatgrass. From what I understand, this stuff will cure what ails you, especially when combined with a healthy “raw diet” approach to eating.

I’m in. I’ve already begun my 2 week “detox” from most things sugar. Time to get serious with most things green. You in? ‘Cause you know I’m going to show you “how-to” do it every step of the way!!

Let’s get this 2014 party started!

Kale Chips Made Easy

Here in Florida the weather is cooling, providing the perfect conditions for growing kale, broccoli, cabbage, spinach…all the yummy, dark leafy greens. And with these dark leafy greens come with numerous health benefits. Rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium, as well as containing a host of phytochemicals, such as lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene, you certainly want these guys in your belly.

And homemade kale chips make for a healthy snack that will delight the taste buds! Not only healthy and packed with vitamins, these kale chips are versatile and wonderfully easy to make. Simply clip the kale leaves from the garden, clean off the dirt and arrange on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper–a little garlic powder–and voilá!

kale chips roasting

kale chips roasting

My kale chips might look a bit dead and brown, but that’s only because I went heavy on the olive oil and it soaked through.

kale chips in the oven

roasted kale chips

It didn’t affect the taste in a negative way. Quite the contrary. I loved them! And if you don’t want to eat them straight from the dish, toss or crumble into your salad. Definitely worth a try! And think of how healthy you’ll feel about it.

Harvesting Sweets for Thanksgiving!

Oh, what a fabulous day when the sweet potatoes are ready! Now mind you, we could have harvested these babies a few weeks back, but it’s oh-so-much more fun to harvest them in time for the holidays. Sweet potatoes are a staple on our Thanksgiving table. Actually, in our house these potatoes make a year round appearance because not only are they delicious, they’re healthy.

Wonderful! We do love healthy. But now is the time when sweet potatoes are actually “in season” in Central Florida. So, with this in mind, we scooped away the dirt and voilá ~ potatoes!

Kids LOVE this part. Harvesting potatoes is commonly referred to as “swimming” for potatoes and once you let that cat out of the bag, the kids come running. Really puts a nick in my child’s playover when their friends want to garden (ugh-moan) instead of kick the soccer ball around. But gardening is that much fun.

Now, when digging for these guys, one must be careful. An aggressive scrape from your shovel WILL leave a mark on that potato you don’t see until you hit it. Gashes detract from your potato’s storage ability so do be aware.

swimming for sweet potatoes

Best tactic is to don the gloves and get to fingering your way through the dirt.  Most potatoes will be collected under the main root system, however, don’t be surprised if you find potatoes on extended vines several feet away. In our case, we actually found some beneath my lovely black-papered walkways!

our school harvest sweet treats

It’s an adventure. Anyhoo, once you’ve gathered a basket full, gently rinse the dirt from their bodies and set in a cool, dry place to store. Anxious to cook them? Thought you would be. Why not try this Deep Dish Casserole? It has an orange twist to it and is absolutely divine on the tastebuds.  Sweet Potato French Fries are also delightful and of course, Sweet Potato Pie proves a huge hit with everyone. No matter how you slice these golden girls you’ll be pleased with the outcome. And remember, sweet potatoes are healthy. Loaded with vitamins A and C, these are superfoods when it comes to anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory power. Enjoy!

Lettuce for Lunch, Anyone?

It’s my staple foodstuff for the midday meal. I eat a salad every day, varying the additions to my bowl of lettuce. Some days it’s avocado, chickpeas and feta or goat cheese. Other days I’ll add a can of wild caught salmon and strawberries. Most days it includes spinach, and always olive oil and balsamic–glaze or vinegar. Add a little pepper and you have a feast!

fresh lettuce

Really, if you add the right ingredients, you can get FULL on your salad. And for those of you in the warmer climates, NOW is the time to eat lettuce fresh from the garden. Here in Central Florida it’s simply too hot for this tender-leafed veggie to grow. You can grow it on your patio, but I tend to have a problem with plants that rely on ME for their water. A timed sprinkler system? No problem. Me and my memory and schedule? No way. I’d starve if I had to live off a patio garden.

 arugula bed

Unless of course, I went with hydroponics. Now that’s a self-watering, self-nourishing kind of system if I’ve ever seen one. And it might be exactly what my northern friends need to continue consuming their fresh greens. You can grow your greens in towers like these or in bins. Your choice. But either way, it’s worth taking a look-see.

 salad-wall

But I digress. For Southern gardeners, now is the time to grow your lettuce and I, for one, am celebrating. Once again, no worries when it comes to growing too much. I have the PERFECT way to keep it stored and tasting fresh for days. Check this earlier post for how you can, too. Enjoy!

Comfort Food From the Garden

With the recent cold dips in temperature, I’m reminded of what comfort food is all about. Easy, especially when you have a husband who constantly reminds you. “I don’t eat fish when it’s cold outside. Fish is a summer food.”

Hmph. Has the man never tasted a wonderfully warm and succulent bourbon-glazed salmon? I mean, seriously. That’s what I call some comforting food. But I’m not the only one sitting at the dinner table so one must take others into consideration. In light of this fact, I’ve managed to whip up some wonderfully comforting foods that will please even those from the north (who expect their bellies to react to changing temperatures).

French Onion soup

First on the list is Savory French Onion Soup. This is one of my all time favorites and with the recent addition of sweet onions to my garden, a must-eat on the fall grocery list. It’s easy to make though it tends to take a bit of time. And what good soup doesn’t? My daughter is a HUGE fan of this soup and she’s pretty fussy. (Gets it from her momma.) Worth a try for your family.

While we’re on the topic of onions, how about Onions Au Gratin? This one is a spinoff of the French Onion Soup and worth every ounce of effort.

 onion gratin

Last post I mentioned Baked Sweet Onions but have you ever thought to combine them with cabbage? Sautéed Cabbage and Onions is a real treat, one my husband particularly enjoys.

comfort in cabbage and onions

For a tropical flair on comfort, how about Chicken and Yellow Rice with Black Beans?

chicken and yellow rice

It’s not at all difficult to prepare and the taste is out of this world. Talk about filling with comfort, this is one meal I will stuff myself to the seams and enjoy every minute. But then again, I’m from Miami and LOVE all things Spanish. Ever heard of Ottmar Liebert? Great flamenco guitarist.

And to top it off with a sweet, comforting dessert, try these Butterscotch Cookies. Found this recipe while perusing some of my cooking magazines and had to share.

butterscotch-cookies

The butterscotch flavor screams fall and comfort and the soft melt-in-your mouth goodness backs it up. But watch yourself–not only do these taste divine but your belly will fall madly in love and you might find yourself overstuffing!

Now what are you waiting for? Make those promises of comfort to YOUR family and get to the supermarket! You’ll be drifting on a cloud of accolades come bedtime.

 

Time to Plant Those Sw-eeeeet Onions!

Sweet onions are delicious when purchased from the store, but they are butter creamy delightful when pulled from your garden. You can eat them raw without the “bitter” taste, or sauté with to a sugary caramel glaze. How about baked onions? This recipe is easy and really brings out the flavor.

Baked Sweet Onions

Hmmm good! Best of all? They’re easy to grow. EASY. But they take time. Six months’ worth. But take it from me, these gems are worth the wait.

However, now is the time to plant. Contact your local seed store and see if they have the seed “sets” in stock. If not, maybe they can order some for you. The kids and I planted this row over the weekend. One hundred and twenty-four sweet baby onions! YUM! More

Pitchin’ Pumpkins

Wish I could say my pumpkin patch did great this year. Wish I was carving pumpkins for Halloween, smack dab in the garden. But I can’t and I won’t be. The bugs in my neighborhood are celebrating, instead. I swear I’m gonna start using screen in my garden. Living against a beautiful backdrop of nature does not ensure a flourishing garden—quite the opposite. It provides cover for the bugs that are stalking and munching your plants.

pumpkin bloom

If only pumpkins weren’t so tasty, with beautiful blooms and wide, flat, yummy leaves. But they are. Now, if you’ve got pumpkins in your garden, I know exactly what to do with them. Make pumpkin pie!

Me? I’ll be using the store-bought pumpkins from you’re my porch step. Don’t bother tossing them into the compost pile. Instead, cook them! Roast the seeds, bake the flesh and okay, I guess you can compost the skin. More