Category Archives: Healthy Eating

Ready to Plant More!

This picture gives you a good idea of how our raised bed, square foot garden is set up. You can see the six boxes. Each is 4 foot square. Each has a sprinkler in the center with hose connecting the boxes to one master control that irrigates the garden each morning for 10 minutes. Each box is divided into ‘squares’ by running wire in two directions. You can also see that there is fencing around the garden to keep out large critters. It also has chicken wire running around the bottom for little critters.

The rains lately caused an explosion in the garden. The plants were spilling out of the top over the sides. I couldn’t see the squares anymore. It took me three days to get things harvested, washed, and either put in the fridge or distributed to friends. I finished cleaning up the garden this morning so it’s ready to plant some new things. My husband and I will see what is available in the coming week that looks interesting.

We have about 5 heads of lettuce that might still make. The green part of the onions is over my head. :0)

I think this is zucchini squash. I also have some cantaloupe plants.

The jury is still out on whether sweet little plants like these that are dotted around the garden are weeds or spinach. I’m hoping for spinach. Time will tell.

This sweet little guy is celery, transplanted from sprouting in the kitchen. I cut off the end of some celery I bought at the store and put it in water. It’ll be fun to see what happens.

I keep telling you about Mel’s Mix, the soil alternative I use instead of real dirt in my garden. I buy peat moss, vermiculite, mushroom compost, barnyard compost, and cotton burr compost from the local co-op and put each ingredient in one of the garbage cans. I then put the ingredients in the correct ratio into our portable concrete mixer.

This is easy to use and mixes things SO much better than I was doing before with a shovel in my wheelbarrow. When mixed, the mixer will move down to dump the ingredients into a bucket, the wheelbarrow, or whatever, and I transfer it to the garden boxes.

I’m hoping we’ll find something fun to plant next week. Fingers crossed!

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Day Three of Harvest

I tackled the last of our six 4’x4′ wooden raised boxes in our garden today. I got 4 heads of lettuce, leaf lettuce, and radishes. This finishes the harvest of the food that suddenly grew after all the rains we’ve had. I still have some heads of lettuce and other things in the garden. I’ll clean up the last box after the harvest.

I’m really new at this, not having a clue what I’m doing, but I have so much FUN trying to grow some of our food!  Today, after harvesting, washing, and bagging up the produce, I called several friends and asked them if they would like some of it. I had some extra one other year, but this is the first time I’ve had such good-looking produce, and the first time EVER for actual heads of lettuce! :0) I spent about an hour driving around and spreading the wealth!

This is the last of the radishes I planted. Radishes are wonderful because they produce quickly and can be grown directly from seed in the garden in any season except for the dead of winter.

 

I can’t believe how much leaf lettuce I got! Since I harvested the large heads, I also processed the leaves around the heads.

Usually our weather is too ‘something’ (too hot, too cold, too much water, too little water, too much sun, too little sun) for a nice crop. This year we lucked out and I couldn’t be more delighted.

I’ll try to get pics tomorrow after finishing the cleaning up. I’m hoping we’ll find other interesting things we can try to plant at the local stores tomorrow, too!

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Working in the Garden

We have two planters of tomato plants. We converted the planters from being regular planters – filled with regular and potting soil – to square-foot planters, filled with Mel’s Mix (peat moss, vermiculite, and compost.) The planter above is 8 feet long by about 2 feet wide. Last year I planted six plants in this planter and they soon grew to be a dense ‘jungle.’ This year I’m planting 4, trying to give them more space. I also read that I should prune them more to encourage fruit production, rather than greenery. I have to admit that this scares me a bit, but I’m going to try it, limiting their vertical growth in particular and trying to prune any large sideways branches. We LOVE sliced fresh tomatoes, and could eat our weight in them daily, so I’m HOPING that this experiment is successful…

 

This is the second tomato planter. It is in a ‘nook’ formed by the back of the house and our back porch. It is shielded from the elements more than the other planter, and sometimes results in the only plants that do well. These actually have some yellow blossoms!

 

And THIS – is a really nice weed, or SPINACH!

I am finding several like this, right in the middle of squares of Mel’s Mix in the garden planters – as I harvest and weed around them. I was unable to get the seeds to sprout in the greenhouse for some reason, and I was unable to find ANY spinach plants being sold locally, so in desperation I finally just planted some seeds in the middle of several squares in the garden and kept all of my appendages crossed. As you can see here, I put a popsicle stick in the soil showing ‘spinach.’  Appendages – including my eyes – are still crossed, because I’ve never seen spinach at this early stage, so it looks different from the plants I have purchased.

Since it is not raining right now, I’m planning to get out and tackle the last of the six 4’x4′ wooden box planters in my raised bed, square foot garden today. It’s so full I can’t tell what is there. I’ll report back, and then plan to see what exciting things the locals may have for me to plant to take the place of the things I’ve harvested. I’ll try to get pics of what’s out there now. I’m still stunned that so much needed harvesting already!

I plan to call friends and share the veggie wealth this weekend. :0)

I hope YOUR weekend is fun and productive!

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Day Two of Harvest

Yesterday I harvested a bunch of radishes, two heads of lettuce, and some broccoli. Today I harvested MORE radishes

And FIVE heads of lettuce!

I’m going to call some good friends to see if I can spread the wealth over the weekend.

My husband fixed our new-to-us riding lawn mower this afternoon and got the lawn mowed while I worked in the garden. I just listened to the weather and it sounds like we may have just finished in time for the heavy rains to start. They’re supposed to last all evening into tomorrow morning, so it was good we could take advantage of a break to get some things done outside.

I hope you’ve had a wonderful day, too.

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Today’s Harvest 5-2/2019 – So FAR!

This is actual head lettuce!  I’ve only had one other head form like this is the past several years, being content to enjoy cutting off the outer leaves as long as possible and enjoying them in salads. I think there are several more heads out there NOW!  Woo HOOOOO!

My broccoli isn’t impressive to look at, like the nice heads you see at the grocery store, but it’s nice and tender. Since my husband isn’t overly fond of broccoli, I make soup from it for myself. :0)

 

These are absolutely the best radishes I’ve ever grown. They are large and perfect – no spots or anything, and better than you see at the store! I’m like a kid at Christmas!  I enjoy eating lots of raw veggies and some dip for my lunch, so my mouth is watering in anticipation!

I’ll do another session in the garden after we have some lunch. I have a lot more to harvest, and then there is a LOT of weeding to do. (The weeds love Mel’s Mix, too.) Mel’s Mix is the soil alternative we make to go into the planters. It’s a combination of peat moss, vermiculite, and as many different types of compost as you can get (I’m using mushroom, barnyard, and cotton burr, plus compost I make on my own – when it works. :0)

I recently planted some zucchini squash and some cantaloupe. I also tried planting some spinach seeds directly into the garden, since I am still a serial seed killer on the ones I’ve tried in my greenhouse. I’m eager to see what’s what – WHEN I get things thinned out enough to tell!

I certainly don’t save any money trying to grow some of our own veggies, but I LOVE the planning, planting, care, and harvesting – plus I know our food is healthy. Since we eat a lot of raw veggies and salads, this is a truly fun thing to do.

I’ll let you know if any of the spinach seeds have sprouted and will take more pics as I get the garden back in control.

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Today’s Planting

Michigan State University

We looked for spinach plants at four different places while we were out, ASKING at each place. The consensus seemed to be, “We have seed, but no plants this year.”  I have officially thrown in the towel on getting spinach plants, just hoping that the little sprouts in the middle of several squares in my garden are, indeed, sprouting spinach seeds.

We got zucchini and cantaloupe plants today and I’ll plant them in just a few minutes. I’m not sure how I’ll do this because both of these would rather be on the ground in a place where they can spread their runners wherever they want, but I’ll give it a try. If I’m successful at all, I’ll use my spiralizer gadget to make zucchini noodles for myself.

My husband looks appalled when I mention zucchini or yellow squash ‘noodles,’ cauli ‘rice’ or ‘mashed potatoes,’ or spaghetti squash ‘spaghetti,’ so I’ll make these for myself and make him regular pasta, potatoes, or rice rarely. He does love cantaloupe, though, so I’m especially hopeful I can get some of these to grow well. Fingers crossed.

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Garden Progress 4-21-2019

I now have enough of OUR fresh grown broccoli to make some soup!

 

And this is the lettuce I harvested. I could have brought in lots more. We eat salad each night, but I’m not sure we can keep up with all we’re growing this time.

 

This photo shows many of our lettuce plants, plus you can see the onions in the rear of the picture.

 

This is the second row of planters. You can see the broccoli plants and some of the radish sprouts.

 

I planted several squares of radishes. I eat some raw every day at lunch, along with carrots, cherry tomatoes, and celery.

I have all appendages crossed that this is one of several sprouts of ‘something’ I HOPE is SPINACH!  Time will tell.

 

Close up of one of the lettuce plants. This is ONE plant taking up a whole square. It’s HUGE.

 

This isn’t a garden plant, but I’m so pleased with it this year. It’s a perennial ‘something, and it has had only weak blooms each spring until now. I just love it!

More work tomorrow, but it’s that time of year! :0)

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First Harvest of Spring 2019

My broccoli is a bit scraggly-looking, but it should be tender and flavorful. I’m going to use it to make soup.

 

Unless something bad happens, it looks like we’ll have the best lettuce ever. This was harvested today – the outer leaves from just three of our plants. This filled two gallon fridge bags. We’ll sure enjoy some of this for our main meal salad dinner tonight!

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Veggies After the Storms

We had some really hard rain off and on yesterday, with more this morning, so I was a bit worried about what I might find in our raised bed square foot garden.

We built 6 ‘boxes’ that are each 4 feet by 4 feet, installing them on metal supports about my chest high. This enables me to enjoy adding soil, planting, weeding, and harvesting without having to get down on my hands and knees, or bend over double.  You can see 5 of the 6 boxes in the photo above.

 

I planted one whole box with sweet red onion sets. I’ll leave these alone until harvest, other than weeding and maybe thinning out as the bulbs grow.

 

This is a combination of broccoli plants and radishes that have just sprouted. No sprouts from the spinach yet. :0(

 

Here is some of the lettuce plants and more radishes. I’ll start harvesting some lettuce leaves tomorrow.

This is what I call the NOOK planter, since it is cradled by the back of the house and the end of the back porch. The tomato plants are quite sheltered from the wind here, plus get more shade.

And this is the second tomato planter. It is more exposed than the other. It seems to depend on the year whether the tomatoes produce better in the sun and wind or relative protection and shade.

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Square Foot Garden Progress April 8 – 2019

Inhabitat

 

Here you can see four of the six planting boxes we built. The wooden ‘boxes’ are supported on metal table-like structures that allow me to do most everything chest-height, without having to bend over or get down on my hands and knees. I really love it.

Other than the lettuce and red onions you can see here, I have broccoli plants, plus radish seeds and spinach seeds. (The spinach seeds in the greenhouse aren’t doing anything and I can’t get any spinach plants locally this year, so I just planted some seeds directly in the garden and will let you know if anything actually comes up.)

 

Here are the broccoli plants. I have things really spread out. He suggests one plant per square, but not next to each other, to discourage pest problems and disease.

I do follow his suggestions that you keep track of where you plant things each year, and the next year plant them in different squares, a crop rotation thing.

 

Here’s a close up of one of the broccoli plants. See the baby broccoli head?

 

Here’s a close up of the lettuce. This says, “Head Lettuce”, but I harvest leaves for salad as it grows and either produces a small head, or doesn’t. My love is the fresh lettuce leaves each night!

Although Mel suggests planting 4 lettuce plants in the same square, my results are better when I spread things out.

 

This is an 8-foot brick planter on the opposite side of the house from the garden. We converted it to a square foot planter, emptying out all the top soil and filling it with Mel’s Mix (mixture of peat moss, Vermiculite, and as many different types of compost as you can find.) I’m using barnyard, mushroom, and cotton burr, plus any compost I can make from our scraps.

 

This is a second brick planter that is about 4 feet wide that sits in a nook created by the back of our house and the screened back porch. The tomatoes are more protected here, and usually survive better than the ones that are more susceptible to the wind.

I read a good article on growing tomatoes lately. It suggests planting them deeper than I have been, and then pinching off some of the ‘arms’ that sprout, as well as pinching off top leaves to keep the plants more compact, rather than allowing them to grow as tall as they like. The article says this encourages more fruit rather than so much greenery. Since fresh sliced tomatoes is one of our very favorite things, I’m going to try this, hoping for a great harvest.

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Square Foot Garden Progress – 3-26-2019

Gardening Lovers

I found some broccoli plants yesterday and got them into the square foot garden. (Still no spinach, but I’ll check with the co-op tomorrow.) Meanwhile, today I’m planning to start new spinach seeds (ever hopeful) in the greenhouse and plant some radishes in the garden.

Here are the current pictures of the raised bed garden –

 

Sweet Red Onions

Broccoli

More broccoli

Head Lettuce

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The Garden is Started!

I planted sweet red onions in this planter about a week ago. I had to cover it with a sheet because of a cold snap, but they seem to be doing fine.

This picture is taken from the other side of the garden. You see the onions, plus most of the other raised bed boxes, plus the area behind the shop where the cement mixer is covered by a tarp to protect it from sun and rain, plus the covered trash cans containing the ingredients of Mel’s Mix.

 

A little different view.

 

I bought 18 head lettuce plants yesterday and planted them in the garden. It’s really hard to see the wire marking the squares, but if you look carefully, you can see I planted one lettuce plant per square. Mel Bartholomew of Square Foot Gardening says you can plant 4 plants in one square, but my experience is that our garden does better much more spread out.  I planted the plants in every other square. This is the way we ‘rotate’ our crops in Square Foot Gardening. I keep track of where I planted everything last year, and plant them in different squares this year. I also plant something different in every other square – I’m hoping to find spinach plants, so that any problems (bugs, disease, etc) don’t spread as badly from plant to plant.

 

If we have a cold snap, I can cover these three planters in a row with king-sized sheets, hopefully helping them survive to the next morning.

I have a call in to our wonderful co-op about spinach plants. There is a chance that the plant guy will bring some before the weekend, so I’ll call on Monday of next week. In the interim, I’m starting over planting spinach seeds in the greenhouse. Fingers crossed!

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Not ONLY…

Tips4Home.com

I guess it’s this cold weather we’re having. That’s my excuse and I’ll stick with it!

Yesterday it was like I had a tapeworm!  I not only wanted comfort food (read heavy calorie, high fat, hot, delicious), but a LOT of it! I simply used every trip anywhere near the kitchen to stuff my face. UGH. I gained a pound a half yesterday!

 

flickr.com

Hopefully, I can do better today….

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Playing With Your Food? – Take 36

123rf.com

 

disneyfoodblog.com

 

en.bentoandco.com

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The Long and Short of It

Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

The short answer is 43 pounds lost and 44.2 inches lost to date, since my ‘heaviest and lardiest.’

The longer answer is we’re trying to take care of ourselves, now that my husband and I are getting ‘long-in-the-tooth’ and would like to maintain or increase our quality of life for as long as we can, enjoying our lives to the fullest.

Since we both have health issues, my husband gave up added sugar and I gave up added salt. We are limiting our red beef, concentrating more on chicken and fish, veggies, fruit, and nuts. We’re both trying to drink more water. I’m trying to exercise. My husband said, “Now that I turned 75, I don’t HAVE to worry about exercising.” – as if he ever has. I am exercising more than I ever have, with the exception of when I was teaching swimming every summer and working in a restaurant part-time to help pay my way through college.  I continue to encourage him to exercise.

I’m concentrating on stretching, balance, core strength, and reaction time. Basically just trying to consciously move more. I’m doing a combination of yoga, abdominal exercises, walking, elliptical trainer, dance, and Wii Fit Plus each week. Sometimes I’m successful and get it all in, sometimes not. I’m trying to pat myself on the head (and give myself a gold star on my desk calendar) when I do well and not beat myself up when I don’t.

The same on eating. My husband is almost where he needs to be on weight. I still have a lot to lose to get to my goal of being in the healthy range on BMI and insurance charts. We’ve been on Nutrisystem, but are on hiatus now, trying to eat our way through the remaining food while not having more sent. In May we’ll probably change to A LA CARTE. We are doing our own thing a lot of the day and are needing the packaged stuff less and less. I’m substituting healthy recipes we really like for the entrees.

We’re giving ourselves permission to eat out when the mood strikes – a quality of life issue for us. Last night we ate dinner at The Dari, one of the new restaurants in Greenwood, Arkansas. Last night we got a seafood platter and two plates. This gave each of us plenty of food without overeating. We enjoyed our splurge/treat without breaking our diet. I made it a point to ask at the front counter who was responsible for the seafood. Several of the cooks raised their hands. I gave them a two-thumbs up, a big grin, and told them they were WONDERFUL.

I have to get a blood test on the 18th of March to see if I’ve improved in a couple of areas. Fingers crossed.

 

 

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Progress in Planting

Raised-Bed Square Foot Planters in the Garden:

Yesterday I weeded one of the six raised bed square foot garden planters. It’s 4 feet x 4 feet.

Today we bought two bunches of Sweet Red Onions and I got them planted. Since they’ll stay where they are until they are ready for harvest (August or after) I planted them without stringing strings across to make ‘squares’ for planting. I just tried to give them room enough to expand to be good-sized, small sweet onions. I spread some fertilizer in the planter and then watered them.

I think they’ll make it through any freezes we have between now and spring, but, just in case, I can spread a king-sized sheet over the planter for protection.

I’ll try to weed one planter each good day, so hopefully they’ll all be ready to receive plants soon.

 

_____________________

Greenhouse:

 

Two of the covered seed starters had water beading on the inside – a good thing.

 

This one was dry, even with the cover. I sprayed the plants with water again and used a different cover. Hopefully, it will hold the moisture in.

I’m not sure how long it takes for the seeds to sprout. I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas!

I’m planning to cut back our rose bushes today, plus give the wisteria some phosphorus fertilizer.

 

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Sunday Afternoon Project

Alamy

I’ve told you that we’re becoming more independent on our cooking and eating now that we’ve been on Nutrisystem for about 8 months. We’re going to switch to their A LA CARTE plan, only ordering what we truly want each month.

This means I’m cooking more for dinner mainly. We’re eating whatever I cook plus a large side salad most evenings to try to watch our portions on the cooked part of the meal.

We also read The Longevity Code and are trying to eat more poultry and fish, rather than red meat, lots of veggies (raw and cooked) and avoid things like white flour, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc. We’ve already cut out as much sugar as we can, and I’m not using any added salt these days.

Today’s project is condensing my recipes into hopefully one notebook. I’ve been gathering them from various sources, and I had piles of them in the kitchen, office, and in three different notebooks. I’m trying to discard recipes that have a bunch of stuff we’re now trying to avoid. Some can be altered into more healthy recipes with some substitution.

I’m about 2/3 finished with the project now. I’m going to feel better when the recipe I’m looking for is easy to find and I’m not distracted by my old style of cooking or my taste buds teased with things that are now definitely off the list!

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On the Other Hand…

Delish.com

I made a “Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili” last night. The recipe is from Delish.com

My husband called it a ‘stew’ rather than chili, but then tasted it and said it was, “Yummy!” When I asked if we should freeze the rest of it, he said, “No, I want to have more tomorrow.”

High praise, indeed.

Thank you, Delish.com

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Setting Up in the Greenhouse

Right now it’s 60 degrees F., so I used the opportunity to go ahead and get some seeds planted in my greenhouse.

It’s REALLY windy outside, so I propped the open greenhouse door against the side of the greenhouse and put a chair up to it so it wouldn’t blow closed and lock me in. :0)

I prepared three flats (72 plants each) and planted one flat of iceberg lettuce, one flat of spinach, and one flat of Simpson lettuce. It was 70 in the greenhouse, so I’m HOPING that even if it gets to freezing in the mornings, it will stay above that in the greenhouse. I’ll check on the flats tomorrow. If this is successful, I’ll take pics so you can share the sprouting.

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Triumphs to Not-So-Much

I’ve told you that I’m trying to learn to cook in a fashion that’s healthy, delicious, and will keep us on the path to losing more of the lard.  So far, the verdicts have been “triumphs” in some cases to “not-so-much” in others, depending on who is doing the deciding.

  • I made “Basic Broccoli Soup” with a recipe from The Longevity Code.  My husband gave it a Thumbs Down – mainly because he doesn’t like broccoli. I loved it, and am eating the rest of the recipe I made for snacks and as part of lunches. I will continue making it, keeping some on hand all the time. The only thing I don’t like about the recipes in this book are that it doesn’t list the number of servings for a recipe or nutritional content. You just have to trust that it’s healthy. He’s a doctor, though, and he’s not selling any of the foods or ingredients in the book, so I do.  (If you’d like the recipe for this, I posted it under “The Longevity Code” in the categories on the right side of the blog page.)
  • Yesterday I made “Crustless Broccoli Cheddar Quiche” a recipe I found online. The one I used was from SkinnyTaste.com.  If you click on the link here, it will take you to the site with the recipe.)

The recipe makes 6 servings. My husband came in while I was serving, and said, “Is that all we get?” so I cut another serving in half for each of us. (You can see we’re still trying to adjust to ‘reasonable’ portions.) The verdict was that I loved it. My husband said it was ‘okay,’ meaning that he’ll eat it – particularly since I served it with a salad – but he’d rather it was not too often. I told him that ‘I’ would eat the rest of it, and am looking forward to a fancy breakfast, plus a lunch and dinner from the leftovers. :0) (I’m going to freeze one portion to see how the heated up serving will taste.)

  • Today I made a “Lemon Cake”  from The Longevity Code book. My husband loves desserts, and I thought that this might be a healthy dessert that he’ll love.

The verdict is in. We both tried it and said, “Blech.” It wasn’t BAD. It tasted lemony. The texture was very dry, so I put some butter on top of the still-warm ‘cake.’ That helped. The dogs liked it fine. All the ingredients are healthy, so we might hand it out to dogs and cats. I may have missed something, but this one – so far – is a ‘Thanks-for-trying.”

 

 

 

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Chomping at the Bit!

It’s too cold outside yet, and I don’t have a heater in the greenhouse, so I can’t start any seeds yet, but NEXT month I’m hoping I can get a head start on the spring planting season.

I’m going through my seeds, thinking I’ll start with lettuce, spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower this time.

 

I would really love to have some healthy plants grown in my own greenhouse to transplant into our raised bed, square foot garden this spring, instead of having to buy plants locally. I’m reading everything I can get my hands on about greenhouses. The problem is that most of the information is written by people who live in pretty cold parts of the U.S.

My experience so far is that unless I have a heater (and we would have to keep it running 24/7 with a 350 foot extension cord running from the house out to the greenhouse) it’s too cold to start anything there yet. We tend to go from winter to way too hot in rapid succession, and then I have trouble – even with the extension cord, an exhaust fan, and the opposite people door open, to keep it COOL enough! So I’m scouring the net trying to find information that will help me deal with the extremes we have in Arkansas.

 

I’m hoping to start some plants the 1st of March. I’ll post pics of my efforts.

 

This is a picture of my spring garden last year in the raised bed planters my husband and I made. There are SIX 4’x4′ planters held up by angle iron ‘tables’ about my chest height. They allow me to weed, plant, and harvest without having to get up and down a million times or get down on hands and knees.

 

This picture gives you another view of the planters. We also used some netting at the end of July and through August when the sun tries to boil plants right in the ground. You can see the hoses and the sprinklers we use to water the plants automatically. They are attached to an outdoor faucet on a timer.

The planters are filled with Mel’s Mix (combination of peat moss, vermiculite and as many different composts as you can find.) We mix the ingredients together in a portable cement mixer and then bring the mix into the planters to top off. Then we stretch string across in two directions to make the ‘squares’ for planting.

I’m starting to plan where the plants will go.  It’s best if you rotate crops in this set up, just as you would if you were planting in the ground. We follow the Square Foot Garden book by Mel Bartholomew, where he suggests how many plants to plant in each square. He suggests one plant per square for things like broccoli, 4 per square for lettuce, 9 for other plants, and 16 for radishes.  We space them wider than he suggests, having healthier plants that way. (He tends his garden every day, sometimes even more. Since we’re not that conscientious, wider works better for us.)  He also suggests that you place like plants away from each other – such as one broccoli, then lettuce, then radishes, then cauliflower in a row to avoid transmission of bugs or any other problems from one plant to another.

I made a grid and I fill them in with what I’m planting where. I use the old one to figure out a new plan for the next ‘crop,’ trying not to plant the broccoli in the same squares as I did the last time.

We have converted two brick planters on the other side of the house to be tomato planters.

I’m at the stage of being excited and doing lots of research and planning.

If you have a greenhouse or do square foot gardening and have tips or suggestions, I would LOVE to hear them!

Can you tell I’m ready for spring? :0)

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The Verdict is In

My husband gave it the Basic Broccoli Soup a try and doesn’t care for it. I think it tastes really good. If you’re interested, here is the recipe –

Basic Broccoli Soup – Dr. Kris Verburgh, The Longevity Code

Basic Broccoli Soup 

¼ cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped  (I used minced garlic from a jar)

4 cups water

1 pound broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces

2 vegetable bullion cubes (I used chicken)

Pepper

Finely chopped fresh parsley

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the water into the pan and add the broccoli, bouillon cubes and pepper. Simmer for about 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and blend the broccoli with an electric mixer or immersion blender to puree. Serve with parsley.

Tip –

You can also add 1T dried basil, 1 bay leaf (removed before blending), and 1 small, chopped onion, for extra flavor. (I did this)

You can also make the soup thicker by using more veggies – for example, substituting 1 lb 10 oz of veggies for the water. ( I’m thinking I’ll add spinach leaves to this next time.)

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Getting the Lard Off Progress Report -11/29/2018

Popsugar

Short answer –

I’ve lost 30.6 pounds and 29.55 inches on Nutrisystem. When you add what I lost on a low-carb emphasis before that, the totals are 43 pounds off and 45.95 inches off.

Longer answer –

We are still on the plateau from Hell, but we’ve been eating homemade beef stew and bread for dinners three nights in a row, so I guess it’s amazing we didn’t GAIN weight this week.

The larger point is that we are AWARE of what we’re eating now. We’re incorporating flex meals (where you eat something other than Nutrisystem meals) into our lifestyle. We’re SUPPOSED to eat ONE flex breakfast, ONE flex lunch, ONE flex dinner, and ONE flex snack per week. We’re going to have to continue doing some changing to be able to eat only ONE meal of beef stew and then freeze the rest for other weeks, rather than simply having a bowl each night until it’s gone.

Other changes noted

  • I’m ALMOST down another size in jeans. I say, ‘almost,’ because I have four pair of the next size down and I’m only able to get into one of them. (I’ll claim victory when I can get into all of them.)
  • I can again wear a fuzzy brown vest we bought in the Grand Canyon Gift Shop umpteen years ago. I wore it for that winter, but then it has been WAAAAY too small to even get on, much less zip it up, ever since.
  • I am incorporating a bunch of abdominal exercises into my yoga practice every other day. My husband started trying to do sit-ups when I was on vacation. He’s a former Marine, and was able to ‘give me 50″ at the drop of his superior’s hat easily. That was some 55 years ago now, and he was appalled that he couldn’t do ANY. He is now up to about 10. I discovered I was equally challenged, but I’ve been working at it about 6 months longer than he. I’m up to 30 now, plus am doing leg lifts, and whatever you call the exercise where you’re lying on your back and you have your arms folded behind your neck and try to touch opposite elbows and knees while in a sit-up pose. We’re trying to cheer each other on in our efforts.

Most of our progress lately has been in attitude and confidence that we CAN lose the lard and get stronger with persistent effort. We have made a lifestyle change, trying to be aware of what we’re eating, the portion we’re eating, and modifying the rest of the day if we overdo at one meal. We’re consciously trying to move more and gain strength and flexibility. I’m also working on balance stuff, but have a long way to go on that, too. I’ll feel as if I’ve REALLY made progress when the hardest thing is NOT getting up off the floor from my exercising! :0)

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Filed under Challenges, Changes, DIET!, Encouragement, exercise, getting the lard off, Healthy Eating, quality of life, taking care of yourself

Tangible Motivation

 

I’m only halfway to my weight loss goal, but a few TANGIBLE things are helping motivate me:

I showed you several weeks ago that I am finally able to wear a sweater/jacket top that I’ve moved back and forth between closets for several years now.

Today I was finally able to wear a snuggly, soft, furry vest that my husband bought me years ago in the Grand Canyon Gift Shop.

And I’m actually able to zip it up without a problem! It has coyotes, bears, moose, evergreen trees, half-moons and other things all around the bottom third of the vest. I loved it when he bought it for me, and now I feel as if I have a ‘new’ vest. I love it again!

We were talking about our efforts on the way to town to do our errands this morning. I pointed out that it was a big deal that my husband has been able to change his 38/30 jeans for 34/30 currently, and soon will need to go to 32/30! TANGIBLE differences make you feel as if your efforts are worth it.

AND I’m going for a gold star on my calendar today for doing my session of yoga! :0)

If you have things that have motivated you in your efforts to lose weight or exercise, I would love it if you would share them with me.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Cause for Celebration, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off, Healthy Eating, taking care of yourself

This Week’s “Flex” Lunch/Dinner

Buzz Feed

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that my husband and I are on NutriSystem, trying to get the lard off. Since we were on it the first time, many years ago, they’ve added lots more food choices, plus frozen foods, plus a new emphasis on making this a lifestyle change, rather than a ‘diet.’ They are including ‘flex’ meals, one breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack each week to help you learn to function in the real world.

By trial and error, mostly (on our part) we’re learning to –

  1. ask for a doggie bag when we order our food. I am putting half of the meal in it, and my husband is adding part of his meal to the bag.
  2. modify our eating the rest of the day to make up for the larger calorie real world meal so that it fits into our plan, not blowing our efforts out of the water. (For example, since we ate our big ‘lunch’ today, we’ll have a salad for dinner if we’re hungry. If not so hungry, we’ll be satisfied with a snack. (We’ll eat more of what we brought home tomorrow.)
  3. we got combo seafood dinners at The Dari, today. We learned that next time, we can order ONE dinner, split it between the two of us, and still maybe bring some home.

Eating out takes the curse off of dieting for us. We’re happy enough with the Nutrisystem meals, but since we can eat out, we don’t feel deprived. If we want to share a meal with friends, they don’t even have to know we’re dieting. Eating a real-world meal is a quality of life thing, making it much more reasonable for us to stay on Nutrisystem until we both meet our goals.

We’re also learning how to modify our cooking so that we are building healthy eating habits with a much better sense of what a ‘portion’ is.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, building good habits, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, Healthy Eating

10-20-30!

Yesterday I received my new month’s worth of Nutrisystem AND my 30-pounds-off-bear-reward!

I’ve already admitted to you that I’m immature and respond really well to childish forms of pats-on-the-head, and it’s really the truth. I give myself a gold star on my desk calendar each day when I do either my yoga and exercises or my elliptical trainer. I look at my sweet lineup of bears and smile, feeling a definite pat on the head for my lardage loss thus far. It also motivates me to go for the next one!

My husband and I decided that we would split the cash-back reward on our credit card. He immediately ordered a pistol he’s been drooling over for a LONG time. I told him that I would spend my share slowly, indulging in some new clothes – one size down from what I’m currently wearing – as further motivation to continue losing the lard.

Since one of the parts of me that won’t change is my FEET, I ordered some really colorful “happy” shoes from China from a place called, “Yes, We Vibe.”

 

 

 

 

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Filed under DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off, Healthy Eating, motivators, quality of life, taking care of yourself

Getting the Lard Off Progress Report – 11/8/2018

Pets World

The short answer is 30.6 pounds down, and 28.3 inches off.

The longer answer is that we are feeling more ‘at home’ with our new eating style. My husband and I are both on Nutrisystem, but they encourage flex meals – meals where you cook, or eat out, or branch out in some way from the Nutrisystem meals – one breakfast, one lunch, one dinner, and one snack per week.

We are actually doing more flex meals than that -opting for a heartier dinner salad some nights, or similar things. An example, even though we’re only supposed to eat one flex dinner per week, we had a cold snap and the idea of homemade beef stew with some bread sounded really good. We ended up eating this combo for three nights straight, and then my husband was sad we didn’t have more :0)  The best news was that we not only kept our weight, but actually lost some.  So, we’re feeling more in control of our eating, our program, our goals.

We’re both exercising now. My husband spent four years in the Marine Corps, doing 50 sit-ups at the drop of a hat, or at a superior’s whim, with ease. Then, 55 years past. He tried to do a sit up about 6 weeks ago, while I was visiting a much beloved relative in Thibodaux, and was shocked that he couldn’t do ANY. (I was also amazed that he actually told me about his trial and shock, but told him that I was proud of him for trying, and that I knew if he kept at it, he would get stronger.)  He now is doing 5 strongly, and 2 or 3 more with great effort. I can’t tell you how pleased I am that he’s giving it his best shot every day. The doc told him to do cardio, but I’m not pushing it yet.

I have a stupid motivator in my own efforts to exercise daily – gold stars – like we used to get a million years ago for good work in school. My attitude is, “It it works, RUN IT!” I feel a bit silly, but it really works for me. I’m trying to do 35 minutes on my elliptical trainer one day, and about half an hour of yoga stretches and regular exercises the next. Yesterday was really busy, and it was late afternoon before I knew it. I thought, “oh, well, I’ll just do the elliptical tomorrow. One day won’t hurt.”  Then, as I sat there, I thought about not getting my gold star for the day. At 6:00 in the evening, I got up, went out to the garage, and put in my time. :0)

My husband often ‘isn’t hungry.” I NEVER have that problem. I have an appetite that would kill a horse. I get HUNGRY and if I don’t eat something, I get SNIPPY, CRANKY, and “MEAN AS A SNAKE,” according to my husband. The other silly motivator is the Nutrisystem bears you can get for each 10 pounds you lose. (My 30 pound bear is on its way!) I line them up on a shelf beside my computer chair in the office. When I’m tempted to go in and stuff my face at the wrong time, I think about getting the next bear…

Halfway to my goal now on lardage!

 

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Filed under Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off, Healthy Eating, opportunities, quality of life, taking care of yourself

I DID It!

pinterest.com

I FINALLY  reached 30 pounds off in my efforts to get the lard off!  I went on chat on the Nutrisystem website, since I hadn’t received any notification or ‘reward’ redemption thingie in my email, and the kind lady said she would make sure my 30# off bear was included in my next order. :0)

To date:  30.6 lbs off. 28.5 inches off.  I think I’m about half way to my goal now, but I’ll see how I feel when I get there. My progress has been slow, but steady, so I’m happy that I can definitely see progress since April.

I still have to talk to myself about exercising, having a LOT of interests that involve sitting – computer stuff, like my blog, reading, working in my art room, etc. When the weather is good, though, I’m outside at least once a day, working in the greenhouse, weeding, or hacking something down, killing ants, and more.

I’m doing better since I decided to do my yoga stretches and exercises one day and my elliptical trainer the next, rather than trying to get both into one day. I’m a bit embarrassed to tell you that I bought sheets of gold stars – putting one on the calendar each day I do one or the other. Stupid – but it works for me. I say, “If it works, run it.” :0)

I’m especially happy that I lost weight this week. We splurged a lot this week, eating fried fish dinners at the grocery deli once, and eating breakfast out twice this week due to a botched attempt to get a blood test yesterday and a successful attempt today. Tomorrow is Lunch Bunch, and we’ll get chicken ‘thingies.’

The thing we’re learning is how to modify our eating the rest of the day when we eat out one meal in the real world. We’re still following the eating plan, but modifying our choices so that we stay on track better as far as calories for the day.  I have also found that, since we’re eating out more often, I don’t tend to get into the “YIPPEE!” mentality, where I eat completely bad choices like ‘this-is-the-last-time-I’ll-get-to-splurge,’ eating for 6 and feeling remorse later.  If it’s reasonable, I eat half and bring the other half home to eat some other time. I’m making better choices, such as a veggie omelette today, with no sides.

Slowly, we’re making this eating plan more ours. A life plan, rather than a way of eating for some specified period of time. I’m not feeling as tied to the program, panicking when we get off for any reason. I’m starting to cook more, bit by bit, though we ARE enjoying lots of raw veggies and salads now than ever, and my husband lives for his ‘grapes-and-nuts’ snacks.

 

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Filed under building good habits, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off, Healthy Eating, quality of life, taking care of yourself

Fun in the Greenhouse – October 27, 2018

This is my greenhouse. I’m a bit embarrassed to tell you that I haven’t done much with it until recently. We run electricity out there with two super-long extension cords so that we can run the exhaust fan and a secondary fan, plus a light, if needed, but we don’t have cooling or heat, due to the expense.

I’ve been trying to get it set up all summer long, but we actually lost a regular, bulb-type thermometer out there due to excess heat, even with both fans on and the door open. The thing simply blew its top – spewing the red stuff all over the place, as if someone with super colorful blood had died out there. The thermometer stopped at 120 degrees F., so I assume it was hotter than that. Needless to say, the heat in there was not conducive to me spending time out there, or even thinking about trying to grow anything.

Now that our temperatures have cooled off, I’m having so much fun trying to see what I can do!  I have iceberg head lettuce growing (one set of plants bought when they were very small, and the other set bought when they were really leggy – almost too much to get planted.) I was very lucky to get those, so I’m doing what I can with them.

The three large pots hold the leggy lettuce plants. The 4 smaller pots have celery I started indoors.

 

The two pots on the right at the top of the picture are what remains of the small lettuce plants. The rest are tomato suckers I gathered and planted.

These are also tomato sucker plants. I have no clue what I’m doing, but I’m having a blast.

I could go ahead and start cutting the outer lettuce leaves for our dinner salads, but the plants are looking so pretty I want to give them more time before I start harvesting. I’m thinking about starting some radish seeds, too.

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, greenhouse, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

Getting the Lard Off Progress Report 10-25-2018

Ravelry Bob Tape Measure

I have now lost 28 inches on Nutrisystem – 44.5 inches since my lardiest.

 

 

ScalesGalore.com

And 28 pounds on Nutrisystem – 40 pounds since my lardiest.

The very best news is that my husband has been losing weight, too – going from 38 x 30 to 34 x 30 in jeans, and had a blood sugar count of 88 this morning, the lowest ever!!!!!! Woo HOOOO!

Another good thing is that we’re much more CONSCIOUS of the food we’re putting into our mouths now, and trying to move more.

My husband is trying to do sit ups. (He’s frustrated because he’s a former Marine and used to do 50 sit ups just because his superior was feeling out of sorts. Now he’s having real trouble – and is shocked to learn that 55 years or so without exercise affects one’s muscles! :0)  )  I’m really happy for him for trying and I’m cheerleading, telling him he’ll get stronger if he tries every day.

I’m switching off each day  between my elliptical trainer and yoga stretches and exercises, in addition to working in the yard and doing another decluttering of the house, room by room, consciously trying to keep moving.

We’re making progress. I’m about halfway to my weight goal now (I think – subject to re-evaluation if I meet it). It feels good to be doing what we CAN control to take care of ourselves better and improve our quality of life.

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Filed under Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off, Healthy Eating, quality of life, taking care of yourself

Fun in the Greenhouse

I had a lot of fun working in the greenhouse this morning. I’m reading a book, Greenhouse Gardening – A Beginner’s Guide by Jason Johns to try to figure out what I’m doing. :0)

It FINALLY quit raining today, so I’ve been out there and back again several times. It was 90 degrees in there this morning, so I’ve propped open the door, hooked up the electricity so the exhaust fan turns on automatically, and turned on the 2nd fan.

On the left side of this picture, are new tomato suckers I planted today. A couple of them were large, so they’re in the larger pots. To the right you can see the two smaller lettuce plants I planted a couple of weeks ago. They’re not thriving, but they are still alive. In front of them are more tomato suckers I started today.

I moved the six leggy lettuce plants into much larger pots to give them room to spread out. They’re looking really healthy. I’ll start cutting outer leaves from each of the plants for dinner salads soon. In front of the two big pots on the left, You can see the celery plants I started in the house from cuttings from celery I bought at the store.  In front of the pot on the right are more tomato sucker plants.

I just read about tomato plants in my greenhouse book. He suggests they need a LOT of air circulation around each plant, so I think I’ll go back out and move them from the 4 and six-pack planters to each in a 3-4″ pot to give them the best chance possible.

 

I’m like a kid at Christmas with the lettuce plants. I can’t wait to be able to bring leaves in and bite them!

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, greenhouse, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, learning new things, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse