Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Reduce weeds in and around your Garden

if you have started a garden, flower or vegetable, you are now seeing the weeds sprouting up along with your valued plants. Here are a few ideas that may make those chores a bit easier.

The part of gardening that I like least is pulling weeds. So when planting actual plants like tomatoes I will take my grass clipping and cover the ground with a thick covering. I will also do this when other plants grow large enough. It not only hinders the growth of weeds it also retains moisture in the ground to reduce the need to water. You could also use compost just keeping it on top not turning it into the soil or mulch. I like the grass clipping because I have an abundance of them in the spring time.
I add a thick layer of grass clippings where ever I want to block out weeds, it looks like I am burring everything but soon it will turn brown and flatten out. 

For the weeds that are growing in sidewalk cracks, walkways, or in a stone garden boiling water is a chemical free way to kill them. Take your tea kettle with boiling water in it and about an inch about the weed slowly pour enough water to wet the leaves and to soak down to the roots. Be careful that the boiling water does not splash on your feet or legs.

Growing food yourself is a great way to make sure you are getting good healthy vegetables at a value and local. You do not need a lot of space for a few tomato plants, some pepper plants, string beans, lettuce, and kale to name a few. Herbs are also easy and will grow most anywhere. Give it a try if you haven't already and  those of you who already are gardening, great! Lets keep working toward a healthier you and and a healthier planet.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring Brunch

Now that spring is here we come out of our winter hibernation to enjoy the warmer weather. A great way to start off the day is with friends and family over a nourishing spring brunch. Brunch can consist of breakfast choices, lunch dishes and of course desserts. Breakfast and desserts are pretty much interchangeable in my family and the over the whelming favorite so we have fewer of the lunch items. It will be easier on you if you have as much as possible prepared before your guests arrive and ready to take out of the oven when ready to eat.

Delicious menu ideas;

Stuffed French toast Bake: full recipe in an earlier blog entry

Quiche or baked egg: vegetables such as spinach, mushrooms, broccoli and breakfast meats such as vegetarian bacon and sausage can be added to save cooking them while your guest are waiting

Carrot cake muffins: what better way to say spring then with carrot cake, best made the night before 

Fruit strudel: use your own pie filling, roll it up in filo pastry and freeze ahead of time(filo is easier to work with then you think and very elegant looking), thaw and bake in the morning

Bagels with cream cheese and lox: remember to serve with lettuce, tomatoes, red onion and capers

Fruit Sunday: no brunch is complete without fruit so try this…. 

Blend frozen bananas until an ice cream like consistency in a food processor or “yo nana” maker
Put cantaloupe balls or sliced strawberries in the bottom of a sunday dish
Add a scoop of frozen whipped bananas
Cover with fresh blue berries
Top with carob sauce and fresh whipped cream

(Include any of your favorite fruits or nuts)

For more brunch ideas check out...
Trish’s Dishes; Family Meals for a Healthy Lifestyle 

Most of all have fun and enjoy your company and the season!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Behold... a Wonderful Bed & Breakfast

Ecce is the Latin word for behold. I recently learned that when I was surprised with a special weekend away with my fiancĂ©e. He took me to a beautiful bed & breakfast on top of a mountain in Barryville, NY. The view from our room was of the snow covered mountains of Pennsylvania and the scenic Upper Delaware River. The view was definitely one to "ecce," behold. The attraction in this area for us is the Bald Eagle. They come here every winter to fish when the lakes and rivers freeze over in Canada, fortunately more and more are making it their home, building nests, and raising eaglets. This trip we had a total of 18 eagles sightings, 14 mature and 4 immature.

The eagles were not the only thing special about this weekend; the Ecce Bed & Breakfast was also a sight to behold. With its simple elegance, gourmet breakfast, and excellent host Alan, we had an exceptional stay. Now what I really want you to know about is the breakfast, in the evening we sat down with Alan to go over the menu so that he could be prepared to make each dish to order. For our first morning we chose baked omelets with an abundance of ingredients of our choosing, amazingly delicious. For our second morning it was the stuffed french-toast that was extraordinary delicious. When I asked Alan about the recipe he had no problem sharing with us, so of-course I had to make it for myself this weekend and it was a big hit all over again. 

As with most recipes I added my own healthy make-over.

Stuffed French-Toast Bake

I loaf of home-made whole-wheat bread, cubed
Batter…6 eggs, ¾ cup honey, 1 to 2 TBS cinnamon, 1 TBS oil, ¼ cup water. Mix together then add cubed bread, toss till all the bread is coated.
½ package Cream cheese
Special ingredients, not more than 3.  Blueberries, strawberries, walnuts, carob, or any other like ingredient that you would enjoy.

In one large baking dish or 6 individual baking dishes layer…
Bread, cream cheese, special ingredients, bread, and top with your special ingredients. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes for the large baking dish and 20 minutes for the individual dishes or cooked through and nicely browned.
Enjoy while still warm and ecce!

Thank you Alan

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Portion Control

 With Thanksgiving right around the corner it is a good time to think about how much food we really want to eat at one sitting. So many of us grew-up being told that we had to clean our plates before we could leave the dinner table, the problem with that today is our dinner plates are much bigger. Not only plates but bowls, cups and glasses. Now our brains believe that we need that much more food to be satisfied. That may contribute to Americans eating 200 more calories a day then they did 40 years ago. Then with a wonderfully looking and smelling holiday dinner in front of us the calories increase even more.  

If you are one of the many Americans not wanting to put on extra pounds this holiday season try this; 

Use a smaller dinner plate, going back for seconds will be comparable to one large full plate. Your brain will think you ate more than you did and still be satisfied.  Pour your wine or soda into a champagne flute, taking sips will make your drink last longer and then need for less refills. It is hard to eat while your mouth is full so make meal time enjoyable and take your time; talk, laugh, and complementing each other will help let your brain have the time needed to get the message when you’re full.

Go ahead and enjoy a good holiday meal with friends and family, Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cranberry Muffins

I woke up this morning with the desire for a cranberry muffin. I don't think that I have ever had one and since most bakery muffins are not made with whole grains and healthy sweeteners. I needed to create a cranberry muffin recipe myself, which I just love to do anyway. After looking at about 7 recipes on-line and in some cookbooks that I have this is what I came up with. They are sooooo good I don't know why I ever waited so long. You have to try them, remember they are good for you too!

Cranberry Muffins
2 C whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
6 tsp. melted non-hydrogenated buttery spread
¾ C dried cranberries ( ½ C of the cranberries soaked in ½ C water)
½ C soy milk with 1 tsp. of vinegar
1 egg or egg replacer
1 tsp. orange zest
1/3 C agave

Mix all the wet ingredients together then add in all the dry ingredients until everything is combined. Spoon into muffin tins. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Icing
2 oz. cream cheese softened
1 tsp. soy milk
¼ C dried cranberries

Blend together in a small food processor leaving some pieces of cranberries visible.