Tag Archives: healthy eating

Tomato Harvest July 1, 2019

I’m feeling spoiled and rich after going out to check on our tomato plants this afternoon.

We’re enjoying sharing one or two (depending on their size) for lunch and again for dinner each day. I already feel that our crop has been worth every penny we paid for plants, cages, food, bug spray, bone meal, etc.  How could one feel down when looking at such a beautiful sight!

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

This is our garden, minus two tomato planters on the opposite end of the house. It’s a raised-bed, square foot garden.

“Raised bed” – because we built six 4’x4′ wooden boxes, put them on top of metal supports (like tables) at about my chest height, so I don’t have to get down on my hands and knees, or bend over double to garden.

“Square foot garden” – because the only ‘soil’ we have up here on top of our ridge line was trucked in so we could have grass around the house. We tried to have a regular garden, enriching the soil, etc. and it was a dismal failure. After several years I was delighted to find Mel Bartholomew and his book, Square Foot Gardening, where he explained that we could ‘create’ a growing medium much like soil ABOVE the ground and grow veggies!

We surrounded our garden with fencing, since we do have deer running around. Usually I have bright neon-colored tape running around the outside to warn the deer so they don’t run into the fencing. The rains and sun deteriorated the tape and I haven’t put more up yet. We have chicken wire around the bottom to deter rabbits and other cute critters from breaching the fencing, although I would think it would be difficult for them to climb up the metal legs to get to the veggies. Our garden door is looking a bit sad these days. We’ve had so much to deal with after losing so much of our electronic goodies in the recent storms that I haven’t bothered my husband with it. You might get a giggle out of the sign on the door. We did that when we first got the CNC set-up in the shop, where we can do computer-guided cutting of sheet metal. That was one of the first things we cut out. The poor thing is rusted now, but it’s one of my favorite things.

 

This sweet, oddly shaped thing is probably the world’s smallest cantaloupe. I have no clue whether we’ll actually get anything edible, but it’s fun to try.

 

I’ve never seen zucchini growing before and I’m fascinated. We may not get much of a crop, but I’m eager to check what we have each time I go out.

 

With all the rain and strong sun we’ve had, I can’t keep the weeds out of here, but I’m trying to keep them down as much as possible so the sweet red onions have room to grow.

 

This is the latest group of radishes. I’m hoping they do well. The last crop was better than I’m able to get at the store.

 

Here is today’s harvest. I was so pleased to see more ripe tomatoes. And these, except for one, all came from the plants in the long planter that had yellow leaves and were looking spindly recently. I added bone meal and some tomato food, and they have responded well, although they don’t look as healthy as the two plants in the planter beside the house. MAYBE it’s a good thing to have much less greenery – leading to better production of tomatoes….

And this is my first zucchini!  I have no clue why this one looks pregnant. The ones at the store don’t look like this. It’ll be interesting to see if it tastes good or not.

I was planning to spend more time outside this morning, but the wind picked up, the skies darkened, and I heard rumbling thunder. I hurried inside, closed the garage door, and prepared for the coming storm. My phone was even sending me messages about lightning and heavy rain right outside of Greenwood. We didn’t get the storm! NOW the sun is out again. Go figure.

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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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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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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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Playing With Your Food? – Take 36

123rf.com

 

disneyfoodblog.com

 

en.bentoandco.com

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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.

 

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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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Nutrisystem Orders

animals.ekstrax.com – via tailandfur.com

Our orders to Nutrisystem finalize at 6 pm this evening.

I love the fact that we can go online to our account and see what our choices are for the coming order and change them at any time. They also send me emails reminding me of the cutoff date so I have all chances possible to make my decisions.

My husband and I are still trying lots of new items, although our choices for the NEXT order are narrowing to the things we like the most.

On evening snacks, I like the ice cream bars the best, looking forward to mine all day long. :0)  I love both the fudge bar and the orange cream bar. My husband’s choices for snacks are much more varied than mine. He’s into their cookies, particularly the white chocolate chunk ones, but is ordering about 4 or 5 different ones he really likes.

I’ve changed from lots of egg type breakfasts to cinnamon rolls, blueberry muffins, and cold cereals. My husband likes their Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal the best.

Lunches and dinners vary, although this time we’re opting for more NON-frozen entrees than frozen.

I’m trying to zero in on our flex meals more and more.

  • “Flex Breakfast” is our brunch meal with Breakfast Bunch each Friday.
  • “Flex Snack” is ice cream after bowling on Mondays with our good friends.
  • “Flex Lunches” and “Flex Dinners” are more fluid. Tonight, for example, for “Flex Dinner” I’m grilling us little bitty steaks and we’re having little bitty baked potatoes.  “Flex Lunch” kind of got lost in the shuffle this week. It’s harder because we have very limited choices for eating out in Greenwood that go with our new diet, and we don’t want to completely blow it. We usually concentrate on lots of veggies and a small amount of dip with our NS Lunch anyway. I’ll work on it.

 

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Filed under DIET!, getting the lard off, Healthy Eating, taking care of yourself

Week 7 – Getting the Lard Off Progress Report

Objective Changes:

WEIGHT:  12.2 pounds down. I have to admit I’m a bit teed off because my husband doesn’t take any responsibility for even thinking about what he’s eating or when, just says, “Thanks” when I bring him the next snack or meal; doesn’t drink the water, doesn’t exercise, and he’s lost more than I have…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEASUREMENTS:   Down 16.3 inches. My husband has no interest in measuring, but he just ordered shorts that are 2 inches smaller in the waist. He put them on this morning and looks GOOD.

 

 

 

 

 

I had high blood pressure even with my medication. I’m now showing normal with my meds. “Normal” is such a beautiful word!

 

My husband is a Type II diabetic. When we started monitoring his blood sugar, it was at around 353 or higher. (Normal is under 100.) This week it was 113!

 

 

Subjective Measurements:

Each week we’re supposed to have one FLEX meal for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack, preferably on different days. Our flex SNACK is ice cream after bowling with friends on Monday evenings. Our flex LUNCH is Lunch Bunch with long-time friends on Fridays. We usually don’t do the flex BREAKFAST, since my husband likes Nutrisystem’s oatmeal and prefers to just stick with that. Flex DINNER –  I’ve broiled a thin steak cut into 2 pieces and we’ve had little bitty baked potatoes. We’ve also shared a small container of chicken fried rice from our local Chinese restaurant.

Yesterday I tried cooking our first flex dinner from the Nutrisystem website. It is called “Meat and Potato Casserole.” It makes 6 servings. We ate two and I froze the other 4 servings in labeled individual dishwasher-and-microwave-safe containers. We found the casserole a little dry, but the flavor was good. We had a salad with it. Today I stopped and got some packets of low sodium brown gravy. The package makes 1 cup – way more than enough for the one tablespoon of gravy I plan to pour over each of the remaining servings when we eat them.

I’m not a wonderful cook. The amount of preparation for this meal seemed like a lot to this lazy woman who would rather do almost anything than spend a bunch of time in the kitchen. I used a food processor as they suggested to prepare the carrots and potatoes, but I think the next time I’ll just use my hand-held shredder because clean up will be a lot easier. It seemed that I had half the kitchen messed up by the time the casserole dish was finally in the oven.

That said, I’m delighted to be able to have recipes at my fingertips to help us stay on the good start we’ve made on losing the lard. To complain when I cooked once and had servings for the two of us for THREE meals is a LOT more “poor me” than any of us need or appreciate…. :0)

All in all a good week’s progress. I’m hoping to get off the plateau I seem to be on, but I’m doing healthy things for us.

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Nutrisystem Week 5 Progress Report

Slow, but steady progress in the ‘Getting the Lard Off’ project.

  • Poundage lost through Nutrisystem to date – 9.6 lbs.  Since my heaviest – 22 lbs.
  • Inches lost through Nutrisystem to date – 13.3 inches. Since my lardiest – 29.7 inches.

I’m finding more energy gradually. This helps a lot in my exercise program. Each day I’m doing –

  1. Elliptical trainer
  2. weight exercise for shoulders
  3. over-the-door shoulder pulley
  4. yoga for stretching

FabulousTraveling

Yesterday in particular I felt better than I’ve felt in a long time. I’m having to take less pain medicine for my shoulder muscles. I’m having to do fewer ice and heat sessions. I’m feeling looser with the stretching I’m doing. I’m feeling more energy to do a significant amount of cleaning, gardening, pet care, yard work, etc.

Both my husband and I have lost about 10 lbs since we started Nutrisystem. We both have health issues we monitor quarterly with our primary doctor and blood tests. We’re hoping that the next checkup in August will be a good one – showing distinct improvement. In the meantime, we’re agreed that this is something we really need to do for our long-term health and we’re happy we’ve taken the first step.

 

 

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Beginning of Week 2 on Nutrisystem

I ate and drank the last of the contents of the ‘Magic Red Box’ (Turbo 13) week on Nutrisystem. By the end of the week, though, due to my not paying enough attention, I guess, I was down to a bar for breakfast, a shake, a bar for lunch, a bar mid afternoon, and a ‘Hearty Beef Stew” that was the size of my eyeball for dinner (plus veggies, of course, and lots and lots of water.

I’m recording everything I eat and drink, plus my daily activities, on NuMi, their tracker, to keep me honest.

I lost almost 5 lbs (4.8) during the week, which is WONDERFUL. I just measured. It shows I’m down a bit more than 4 inches, but measurement is an iffy thing, kind of like interpretation of ‘facts’ you hear on the news, so I’ll believe it more when I measure at the end of week 2.

This morning I dived into the freezer and got the first of my actual ‘choices’ for the first month – a turkey sausage and egg muffin. YUM! I was also supposed to eat a Powerfuel, but I honestly was too full after the muffin and the 16 oz bottle of water, so I put it in the fridge and will plan to eat it later.

This week starts the way we’ll be eating for the foreseeable future. So far, my husband is resisting at least half of the veggies, isn’t trying to drink water (though he drinks unsweetened tea during the day and a sugarless apple cider hot drink) and refused the Powerfuel this morning,  He doesn’t want to talk about NuMi, much less try to keep up with it, so I won’t bug him about that. I’m going to TRY to get him to eat and drink what he’s supposed to on his Diabetic plan, but he’s a big boy and can make his own choices. That said, his blood sugar this morning was the lowest it’s been since we’ve been monitoring it and he has lost 3 lbs. !!!!!!  :0)

I will start trying to do yoga and the elliptical trainer each day now. My husband refuses to ‘exercise,’ but is in much better shape than I, so I will not criticize.

Main feelings of both of us at the beginning of week 2 – 

  • we’re both glad we started the program
  • my husband has found a few food items he wants to change on our order for month # 2, but we’re able to do this whenever we want online. They post a deadline for making changes, so we know when the last day is for changing choices
  • neither of us has been hungry, though occasionally we long for old, bad habits a bit
  • we’re happy that our primary doctor was pleased to hear we had started the program. We have a regular, follow-up appointment in 3 months, and we’re hoping both our weight losses and blood test numbers will be improved.

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New Recipes

I have found that trying to combine eating low-carb and feeding my diabetic husband to be a bit of a challenge. I fell into a trap of my own making several months ago, opting to eat what HE ate. NOT GOOD! Mostly now, I can fix low carb meals and then add extra things he can also eat into the mix.

I have found that getting a husband to try new foods, substitutions, and new recipes is a character-building exercise. For example, the substitutions of spaghetti squash for pasta and riced cauliflower for rice just won’t work for him. He’s like a little kid, making faces and being quite dramatic.  Happily, though, he is very supportive of my trying new recipes.

I tried one for chicken thighs in the crock pot last night. You’re supposed to thicken the juices with xanthan for use as a gravy. I made rice for him and I ate spaghetti squash. I like anything with a gravy-like sauce, so I thought it was pretty good. He praised the tenderness of the chicken, and he liked the rice, but the sauce, not so much.

I’ll cut up the leftover chicken tonight, combining it with cream of chicken/mushroom soup that he particularly likes, and serve it over rice for him and cauli-rice for me. It’s not quite as low-carb with the soup, but I can work around it to make my day come out under my limits.

Meanwhile, I’m glad we’ve found some substitutes for things he loves so he doesn’t feel deprived and walk around looking hangdog:

  • Arizona Zero Peach Tea
  • Alpine Sugar-Free Apple Cider Mix
  • A&W Sugar-Free Soda
  • Sweet Freedom Blue Bunny Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Sweet Freedom Blue Bunny Ice Cream Cones
  • Jello Sugar-Free Cups

Now I just have to practice NOT feeling deprived MYSELF when he eats without having to worry about carbs…. (I’ll try to make a list of good things I have found that make eating low-carb much easier and post them for those who might be interested.)

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Multi-Shampoo Day

Pinterest

Heat index is 110 degrees F. today. UGH.

Amber and I went out to the garden to plant 3 celery plants and take pics of my squash. Then we walked out to the greenhouse so we could take pics of my husband’s ham radio tower which now has THREE sections together. By the time we got back to the house, my head was not only wet, it was dripping. UGH. It’s always hot in Arkansas in the summer ( July and August are the worst). We’re used to that, insulating ourselves from the heat as much as possible. This year, though, we’ve had a lot more humidity than usual. I’m too old for humidity, I find. I refuse to wash my hair more than three times a day, though – so if you’re coming to see us, I might look like an exploded dandelion.

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Since I  planted my first celery this year, I’ve learned two things:

Thing One – I’m supposed to be giving them a lot more water than the rest of my garden plants. I’ll keep using the irrigation system, but will also arrange to add extra water to the celery a couple of times a day.

Thing Two – I’m supposed to be tying the stalks together tightly as they grow. I’ll give that a try, but I’m not sure that’s a workable thing. I may just continue to come out and cut some stalks when they’re ready and let the plant do its natural thing.

I planted two spaghetti squash plants grown from seed taken from one bought at the store and sprouted in a glass in the kitchen. I now have FIVE spaghetti squash(es)! I’m not sure what the plural of ‘squash’ is. Anyhow, they’re looking great. Pics below.

I spent about an hour in the raised bed square foot garden yesterday trying to catch up on the weeds. I got things pretty much under control. Even with irrigation, the heat is stressing plants out now, so I’m feeling lucky to have anything still alive. I’m concentrating on trying to keep the plants as comfortable as possible, growing where and how they want to.

This grape tomato plant spread out all over one whole 4’x4′ square planter. Since it has blossoms all over it, I’m just letting it take over the planter.

 

The marigolds are happy. They don’t have very many plants to protect right now. Such happy-looking flowers! (Celery plants are along the back of the marigolds.)

 

Two of the spaghetti squash. I’m just pulling up the vines that spill over the box, spreading the vine carefully over the dirt and letting them go where they may. I put special plastic melon holders under the squash for support. I guess I’ll harvest these soon, as they’re getting to be the size of some I’ve bought at the store. They have blossoms on the vines, too, so I may get more!

 

Three new celery plants planted this morning.

 

 

Two more spaghetti squash(es). you can see a couple of yellow squash blossoms.

 

And this is a dog plant……

Amber went with me to plant the celery and take pictures this morning. She loved walking around under the planter boxes, enjoying the new world…  she got hot, too, and jumped into her pool on the way back from taking pics of my husband’s tower.

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Tomato Harvest 7-18 – 2017

Well, I pruned the tomatoes in the nook planter, taking out a LOT of particularly the plant on the left side of the planter. Then I moved to the 8 foot brick planter to the east of the house where the other tomato plants are, pruning them. I got pretty ruthless, because I want all the nutrients and energy going to the parts of the plants that might actually produce.

The plants don’t look pretty now, but it looks like they’re responding to the pruning, fertilizer and Seven I put on them about a week ago.

Here is today’s harvest. We’re really pleased with our crop this year. We’ve been oohing and ahhhing at lunch and dinner, eating a BUNCH of sliced ripe tomatoes at every meal except for breakfast. We particularly enjoy giving people we like bags of tomatoes, since we have more than we can eat. (I now know how to can, but I hate to give any of them up when I can eat them fresh off the vine.)

Our friends Laufrain and Dave (our friends and bowling buddies) were telling us last night how pretty the tomatoes were and how good they tasted. :0)

We also gave some to our driller and brush hog master, Foy, and his wife, Judy.

Who can ask for more from a bit of work to grow them?

Sheer luxury!!!

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Almost Ready to Bite!

This tomato is in the 8 foot brick planter to the east of the house.

 

And these are in the “Nook” planter between the house and the porch.

They’re still too firm to pick, but in another day or two, we BITE!

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Tomato Plants

Huffington Post

One of my husband’s and my favorite things in the world is home grown, red, ripe, sliced tomatoes with a meal. No matter what else we try to grow, tomatoes are the main thing.

We built a raised bed, square foot garden for our other veggies (though I AM trying some grape tomatoes in two of the squares this year), but we moved our tomato plants to the east side of the house. We have a brick planter in what we call “The Nook” beside the porch at the end of the house, plus an eight foot brick planter on the east end of the house.

 

This is the 8 foot planter. We have six plants here. We planted two plants every two weeks.

 

This is “The Nook”. There are only two plants here, planted two weeks apart. As you can see, we have really large plants that are difficult to keep supported.

 

Here is a closeup  of some of our green tomatoes.

 

And here are more.

 

And HERE is the first ripening tomato! Whooopeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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