Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Progress on the Containers & 2nd Flight of "From Seed"

WARNING!  LONG POST AHEAD!
 
Yup!  I have some Container Gardening and Rooftop Gardening Progress for you!

Last night Sam, Casey, and I - along with Sam's sister stayed after work for a few hours and transplanted some of our sprouting produce.  We also started planting some new 'from seed' varieties for our 2nd flight of crops!
When we transplanted the 1st flight which included many different GREENS we thinned them out and spaced them differently and transplanted them into larger, more spacious containers.  As you can see in these first two photos we used LARGE steel drawers from VERY OLD Filing Cabinets.  We relocated them to a storage room - near windows - to continue growing and make more room in the main room for more 'from seed' attempts.
In the 2nd section of the first photo you can see this section that we did.  This is some of the Rosalita Lettuces that are among the largest "head" type lettuces that we are trying thus far.  They need more spacing than the others since the others are looser leafed lettuces verses the head lettuce.  The container on the right in this photo is the "Ron Burgundy Onions" as we call them!  They are sprouting up nicely now!  We used old chairs and steel panels to make surfaces, too!

Moving down the row here...on the left we are picking up where we left off with the "Ron Burgundy Onions" and next to that you will see the other two onions we are doing.  We decided to keep them in the containers they had been in.  The other onions are sprouting up nicely, too!  One thing you probably won't see in these photos but I assure you it's there...are the tarps and plastic we put on the floor just in case the drainage got a little out of hand.
And on the far end of that first photo - here's a closer look at what we did.  We transplanted the Brussel Sprouts into 3 gallon buckets to promote growth.  Because we had so many seeds that sprouted with the Brussel Sprouts - Sam and Ashley took some home for their father since he also has a large garden at home, too!  He's actually starting our tomatoes for us, too!  And he will be doing some larger produce items in his garden that we would have room for on the roof - such as melons and squashes.

Now moving into the main room - where it all began!  Here are some updated photos of what we started last night!
In this photo above we have some beans and peas which I will explain a bit more about in a bit.  Of course, since we transplanted almost everything we were able to reuse the containers we originally used when we started!  YAY! 

In this 2nd photo here we started some more lettuce, spinach, peas, and we kept the Carrots and Broccoli in the same containers and spot for the time being!

Now...on to the NEW Stuff!!!  First...Spinach!  Silly me...I ripped of the top of the package showing what type of Spinach it was!  DOH!

But it was a fairly basic or common type so we will just call it spinach, eh!?
We just started some Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce!

Leaves are broad, crumpled, and frilled. Well able to tolerate Summer heat and drought. An exceptionally good keeper. Large, upright plants. Loose leaf type. Very early and adaptable. Withstands some frost. Slow bolting. Inner leaves blanch almost white. Very popular long favored variety, fixture in North American gardens for over a hundred years. - See more at: http://www.gurneys.com/product/blackseeded_simpson_lettuce/vegetables#sthash.TZ1M08qM.dpuf
A little more on this lettuce according to Burpee ~ Even after 150 years it's one of the most tender leaf lettuces.  Customer Favorite!  Hugely popular for over 150 years, it's one of the most tender and delicately flavored leaf lettuces ever bred. The ruffled leaves are large with an appealing green color. Simpson is well adapted to a wide range of climates and is still the best for early spring sowing.

The reason we thought about this one was mostly because of the wide range of climates and for early spring sowing!

 We have also started some Swiss Chard!

Lucullus Swiss Chard to be exact.

52 days — This is the most popular variety. Named after the Roman general of the same name. Heavily crumpled with wide, broad white ribs about twenty inches tall. Tolerates hot weather and grows until first frost. Heavy producing plant with good flavor.

The reason we pursued this one was because it is know as a heavy producer!

Next up...a Bean!  What type of bean?  Well, they are called Dragon's Tongue Beans!  They are a type of Bush Bean.

This famous Dutch heirloom bean has an incomparable flavor. The tender and superbly delicious 7” pods are yellow with amazing purple streaks! Also makes a tasty shelled bean. Popular with chefs and gourmets. Compact plants set high yields.

Personally, I was drawn to this one because it was so different looking and I couldn't stop thinking about it!  I wanted to try and incorporate more and more colorful varieties and species that you cannot find in our local stores.
Sam REALLY wanted some peas!  Of course, I love peas, too, so I was totally game for some different peas to try and grow!  This first type is called Cascadia Snap Peas.  They are a Bush Pea.

A little bit about this specific pea...

65 days. A snap pea with unusually thick-walled pods. Pods are at their peak at about 3” long, and have sweet, wrinkled little peas in them at that time. So crisp and juicy! The plants require no staking, since they reach only about 30” in height. A newer variety that has some disease resistance, a distinct improvement over Sugar Ann. Bred by Jim Baggett of OSU especially for the Northwest.
Our pea adventure didn't stop there!  Here's our 2nd type of peas that we are trying!  They are Progress #9 Peas!

Pea 'Progress No. 9' is a prolific and early yielding wrinkle-seeded variety.
This fast growing, second early is heavy cropping, producing dark green plump pods that are 3 to 4in long with 7 to 9 delicious peas per well-filled pod and is resistant to both Fusarium root rot and wilt. Originally known as "Laxtons Progress No. 9", this low-growing variety grows 40 to 50cm (16 to 20in) tall, making it excellent for container growing and smaller gardens. There is no need to stake its short vines, although the peas are easier to harvest when supplied with a small trellis or a fence. Harvest continuously when ripe to encourage greater yields. 58 to 65 days to maturity.
And FINALLY...here is the final and 3rd pea variety we are doing for now.  They are called Little Marvel Peas.

Little Marvel pea is an excellent choice selected for its high yield potential and excellent sweet flavor. A most satisfactory pea in the home garden. The pea plants are compact, up to 30" tall, very productive, hardy, luscious and sugary. Little Marvel has small pods whose peas stay tender and sweet even when fully ripe and filling the pod.

So...yeah...we are pretty excited!  We are happy with our first attempts!  Happy that we have sprouts on everything from our first flight.  Excited that we have now started our 2nd flight.  We are just hoping that they keep progressing after we transplanted them.  I'm still worried about some of the lettuces - especially the Rosalita.  But time will tell.  We have LOTS of other seeds that are still pending the sowing process.  I'm trying to refrain from buying any more seeds but I will say I am very tempted.  We will also be purchasing some starters once they are available locally.  I'm not 100% percent sure but I'm leaning towards ALSO doing a garden at my house this year, too!  I will keep you posted on that, too!

Monday, April 14, 2014

A 3rd Fiat?

Well, Sort of!

LONG story short...it was a deal we couldn't refuse. 

We already traded in the Olive Green Fiat we just purchased about 2 months ago in of this LOADED New 2013 Abarth.  It's a sportier version and has MUCH MORE Power!  I really think this is what Dale wanted last time.  Everything worked out well with this trade.  It couldn't have gone any better, actually!

Dale really LOVED that the brakes were RED.

The color is Gray with a Black Stripe on each side.

We are thinking of customizing it a little bit - but just subtly.  When and IF we do I will certainly keep you posted!

I'm stoked because it has not only a sun roof but a screen for the sun roof!
Here's a closer look at both the wheels/brakes and stripe.

With Abarth's - even tho they are made by the same company FIAT - they do NOT bare the Fiat Logo - they have their own Abarth logo instead.

Dale also LOVES the Rims on this!  Same color as the car!  And the trademark Scorpion in the center!



This car came with the upgraded comfort package!  The seats are pretty freakin' awesome!  The seats are even heated!

It's also equipped with Beats Audio!  YES!  Dale and I have been fans of Beats for a while now.  One of these days I should blog about the headphones/headsets we have in the home studio!  They are AMAZING!

Anyways...just a few more pics of the new ride!  Dale's stoked!  We are REALLY looking forward to the upcoming Fiat Club Events and meeting new people!  Dale and I NEED that!

Here are a few links that might be of interest...especially if you aren't familiar with Fiats and Abarth's. 

Their MAIN PAGE for Fiat USA.

Abarth's Specifically.

Wiki for Fiat and Abarth.

And where we have made our Fiat and Abarth Purchases:
Auto Express Fiat of Erie.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Update on Charlie

Well, it's been a rough week...that's for sure!  I'm so thankful it's Friday!

I actually got sick this week!  I rarely ever get sick.  The last few times I thought I might I was able to fight it off...NOT...this time, tho!  It started with a sore throat and QUICKLY advanced into a head cold.  It's been YEARS since my last head cold.  Even after the first day I was still in denial it was happening to me.  When a cold does sneak thru and grab me it seems to whack me hard!

I think - and HOPE - I'm on the upswing, now!  Anyhow...on to the REAL reason for this post.  CHARLIE.
Today I took him back to the vet for them to look at his tail.  There has been absolutely NO PROGRESS in the healing of his open sore.  The vet said the tail is the hardest to heal because there isn't much/any access skin to help with the healing progress.  I asked what caused it and he said it really could have been anything.  He's an indoor cat 100% of the time so it wasn't anything outside like him getting into anything or in a fight or accident.  Anyhow, 2 weeks ago they gave him antibiotics and steroids to help the healing process.  Since he's a fairly feral cat this was very tricky but both of the vets that saw him (a husband and wife team) were VERY patience with him (and with me!)  Yes!  I was a nervous wreck, too, because the last vet told us NOT to bring him in again unless it was a life or death situation.  NOT these two vets, mind you, but the vet that we dealt with prior!  These two are great with him.  Sure - Charlie's NOT an angel but they are ok with that.  They just approach him differently.  I'm grateful.  They classified it as a non-healing wound.  They were optimistic that these shots of antibiotics would at least help move things along but they didn't seem to touch it.  The only other option we have is to amputate his tail.  We have scheduled his surgery for the 28th.  It's NOT cheap.  But we are hoping he will recuperate nicely.  He's around 14 years old.  This concerns me.  With his age and all.  BUT...the vets said that once he's out of surgery they will work with the dissolving stitches which should not only help with his recovery team but also avoid more stress on him - avoiding a recheck.  Unfortunately, he will also have to wear a 'cone' for about 12 days or so.  If all goes well the first 12 days - he should do fine after that.  So - wish us luck!  I really don't know how this is going to go!  But I'm really not ready to lose another member of our family right now (then again - are we ever really ready?)  It was just last month we lost our precious Gabby.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Farro Lentil Dish

I was going to post about this yesterday but already had two blogging entries.  So - why not today, eh!?  This is the Farro Lentil Dish I came up with that I ate for my lunch yesterday.  I ended up making extra Farro as well as some Lentils that were pre-packaged from Trader Joe's the last time I went.  All you had to do with them is put them in the microwave or on the stove-top for a few minutes.  I only used 5 ingredients in this dish but I think I had it figured out that it was roughly 30 to 34 grams of protein in this...yet another dish to prove those nay-sayers wrong that vegetarians and vegans can't get enough protein, eh!?  Here's what's in this dish:

1 C Farro, Cooked
1 C Lentils, Cooked
1 C Zuke in Tomato Sauce
2 tea Wildtree "Everything Blend" (More on this below)
2 T Pine Nuts

Inspired by the ubiquitous “everything” bagel, this blend can now be applied to, well, everything! Use as a coating for fish, flavor pretzels, or mix it into butter to make a unique everything spice garlic bread!
 
Of course you won't be seeing any 'fish' here on my blog...but you WILL be seeing other ways to use this product that goes along with my vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.  This product does have a speck of sea salt in it and as many of you know I'm not usually one to add "salt" to my foods but it worked well here probably because it complimented and didn't overpower the other flavors.
 
This Wildtree Product includes the following ingredients:
Sesame Seeds
Sea Salt
Poppy Seeds
Onion
Caraway Seeds
Garlic

Each ingredient is organic is at has the new(er) Wildtree Organic Label right on there!  I will be trying to use this more in my dishes and post them here for all to see.  If you would like to order this product on my website it's only $8.50 and a very little bit goes a long way!  I would say 1/2 tea to 1 tea is all you need at a time but it DOES come in a shaker top so  you can add as much or as little as you want.

I will have at least 1 more blog entry today so be sure to visit again soon!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Dad's First GOLD!

Guess who WON GOLD this past weekend at the Youngsville Art & Vino Venue?  MY DAD!  I'm so proud of him!  He was so very excited about winning, too, and rightfully so!  He will be receiving his Gold Medal soon for this Dry Wine.  This was an Amateur Wine Making Contest and it was judged by Wineries in our region.  He received GOLD for the Dry and our dear friend Lynn received a GOLD for her Sweet Wine.  There were only 2 GOLDS awarded.  There were a few Silver, Bronze, and Diamond, I think, too...but...Dad and Lynn's were the only 2 Gold's!  Woot!  Here's a photo of his bottle.  The labels were finished in just the nick of time, too!  He named it Irish Red.  It's a Chianti. 

Recently he started a white wine...a Riesling. I'm looking forward to trying this one!  I thought this dry was great...not overly dry so I guess one could call it a Semi-Dry.  Either way...I really liked it.  It was smooth, too!

This event was so much fun!  We've been vendors with our Wildtree Products each year.

I was able to take a few photos of our set-up before all hell broke loose! LOL!

Once the start time hit - the event-goers seemed to come thru the door fast and furiously!  BUT...it was fun, regardless!

We sold out of the Hot Pepper Jelly - as we tend to do at the events we sample it at!  It's overall our BEST seller - second year running!  As you can see in the first set-up photo in front we had all the Grapeseed Oil Flavors out.  To the right we had 3 'dry' ones for people to try...the Lemon Pepper, Rodeo Rub, and Mediterranean Rub.  In the center of this 2nd photo you will see a wooden stand that we came across and decided to use.  I'm not real sure where my parents came across it but it works nicely!  Looks pretty sharp, too!  On the right hand side you will see the other items...some dips, spreads, sauces, more dry rubs, and some more jams/jellies, too!  It was a FUN Day all around!  And my Dad's very first medal for his wine making!  YAY!

Kitchen Garden Update & Fruit Finds of the Weekend

Check out this photo of the progress of my herbs that I'm trying to grow in my kitchen! 

At first - the Basil was the one to sprout and I was afraid the Chives and Parsley weren't going to do anything BUT then the Parsley REALLY took off and there are a few sprouts for the chives now, too! 
As of this morning the Parsley is in first place!  Not that it's a race but I LOVE seeing the progress of each one!
Speaking of progress in the Kitchen Garden Department...here is the Celery I have been attempting.  I ended up cutting it right after I took the photo.  I had been removing the not-so-good parts from the bottom for a while not and it looked like it was at it's peak of growing.  So I grabbed it and gnawed on it.  It was a more intense flavor of celery and I really want to do more of this soon!  I think next time I will try and transplant it...but I will keep you posted on that - if I do it or not.  I really thought it would get taller but - again - it was only my first time trying it.

Now...on to some Fun Fruit Finds for the weekend! 

First up...OPAL APPLES.  I was drawn to these because of the unusual YELLOW color as well as their enormous size!  They are bigger than a good sized grapefruit!  THEN...I saw the name and could help but think of my blogging buddy OPAL. 

What a wonderful surprise to come across these apples!  We bought TWO of them to try.  Last night hubby and I had them for "snack" and neither one of us was able to eat the whole thing!  While reading up on these apples they are one (of the few) apples that never turn brown.  So after cutting them up I covered the slices and took them out the of frig this morning to bring with me for a snack today and this is what they looked like!  They stood up to the claim of NOT turning brown!  How COOL is that!  (No Lemon Juice needed)  I have to say I DO like these apples!  They might be my 3rd favorite at the moment!  I still like the Pink Ladies and Kiku Apples better than the Opal as far as flavor and personal preference is concerned.  But I wanted to mention them on my blog here because it was an interesting find for me...I don't see a lot of the produce that they may see in California, for example.  I know the variety of many produce items is stronger out there!  Oh!  By the way...I purchased these apples at Wegman's.

Another great Fruit Find of the weekend were these grapes!    I couldn't find too much info about them, really.  I see that some of the Wholefood Markets have sold them on occasion.  I ended up getting them at Sam Club.  I think they were like $6 or so for 3 pounds!  It was CRAZY!  It has Gioia as the brand/name and they are Extremely Sweet Pinkish Green Color Grapes that are supposed to be seedless.  Eventho I have only had a few handfuls so far - I have found about half of them to have seeds and the other half of them to be seedless.  I think they might be similar to these grapes but they look a tad different.  Each grape seems like half is a pale and fading green that morphs into a pale and fading pink.  They are really interesting!  At first I thought they might be the Cotton Candy Grapes that Christine blogged about a while back but they aren't.  They don't fit the taste profile.  These grapes taste more like a cross between an orange, grapefruit, and grape.  So...if anyone has seen or ate these grapes before let me know your thoughts and if you can find them online - I wasn't able to find a website for them, specifically.  Since this post was a little long winded I think I will stop there but I do have a lot more to blog about from the weekend so swing by again soon!

Friday, April 4, 2014

FIRST Weekly Dehydrator Challenge & Raw Cookbook Giveaway!


I hope you will join Opal & I for our very first weekly Dehydrator Challenge! 

If you have a dehydrator - NOW is the time to bust it out and create!  If you do not have a dehydrator you can still participate - just put in your oven at a lower setting!  Visit OPAL for complete details AND don't forget to keep an eye out for her GIVEAWAY!  Yup!  That's right!  She's giving away a Raw Cookbook to help celebrate this NEW Weekly Dehydrator Challenge!

Raw Veggie Patties

2 C Sprouted Chickpeas
1/4-1/4 C Mushrooms
1 ONION
1/4 C Raw Sunflower Seeds
3 T Hemp Seeds
1 Small Zuke
2 T Minced Garlic
2 T Sun Dried Tomatoes, Minced
2 Grape Tomatoes
2 T Tahini

I posted more on this yesterday but thought I would repost with the HOP info today, too!  This is my 2nd post of the day - be sure to scroll down for my other post which is about Quick & Easy Vegan Snacks.

Thankful ~ Quick Vegan Snacks!

I really enjoy simple snacks.  Especially since going vegan.  I have more of an appreciation for them now than I ever have.  I'm also thankful for my local "Herb Store" where I buy most of my bulk items as well as some snack to have while I'm at work! 

I'm kind of going backwards here - but I REALLY wanted to show you what I did for a quick and easy dessert last night! 

Underneath these cherries?  Raw dates rolled in coconut that I smushed down into a 'crust-like' base.  I then used some canned cherries that happened to be vegan that I found at a discount store a while back.  I would have used fresh but they are not readily available in my area at the moment.  I have shredded coconut on hand so I sprinkled that on top as well.  This was VERY satisfying and VERY MUCH a treat!  I only did a "mini pie"...I used a dish that we have on hand for dips/dressing/condiments.

In case you cannot picture what I am talking about with the dates rolled in coconuts...here's a photo!  I ate two small 'rolls' yesterday with my lunch, too!

Another thing I am thankful for is dried apricots!  When I was 3 years old my FAVORITE foods were dried apricots, lima beans, and sprouts!  My mom should have KNOWN I would grow up to be a vegetarian with a menu like that, eh!?  These are just a few things I have been thankful for this week!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Vegan Dinner Plate & First Dehydrator Challenge Post - "Project ONION"

TOMORROW the Link Party will be up for the BRAND NEW Dehydrator Challenge that Opal is hosting!  YAY!  I'm posting a day early but will LINK UP once it's LIVE, too!  I hope you will join us!  It's going to be a weekly link up to encourage those people who have dehydrators to get them out and USE them!  If you do NOT have a dehydrator you can still participate - just use your oven at a lower temperature setting!

Before I get to my Project ONION post for the dehydrator challenge this week I thought I would share my dinner plate with you last night.  It's was a FAST MEAL with few ingredients.  I did white rice with mushrooms.  The mushrooms I buy are fresh or frozen.  I will no longer purchase the canned variety since reading an article about how there can be up to 38 (un)identified bacteria in the can.  YES...some bacterias are 'good for you' but these are said to be 38 of the BAD variety...anyhow..I won't buy canned mushrooms...only fresh and frozen.  The ones pictured here are frozen that I did on my stove top with water.  With the added water it made a bit of a mushroom broth of sorts so I mixed that in with the white rice.  I saved about 1/4 C of the mushrooms to use for the dehydrator recipe.  I just let them thaw.  Then you will see I have some Triscuits as well as some corn.  This corn was also from frozen and I added some Wildtree Dill for a little extra flavor.  I didn't take a photo but for a snack last night I had a vegan Amaranth Quinoa Waffle that I topped with cherries.

Now...on to the Dehydrator FUN!  I made up the 'batter' for this creation and used it TWO ways!  First...I did some "pull apart crisps" or "veggie crunch" I guess you could call it.  Here's what I used to make this 'batter'...

2 C Sprouted Chickpeas
1/4-1/4 C Mushrooms
1 ONION
1/4 C Raw Sunflower Seeds
3 T Hemp Seeds
1 Small Zuke
2 T Minced Garlic
2 T Sun Dried Tomatoes, Minced
2 Grape Tomatoes
2 T Tahini

The 2nd photo - using the same 'batter' I scooped out into 'patties' or 'pucks'. 

I haven't taste tested the patties yet but at least one of them will be a part of my dinner this evening.  I did try a little bit of the Veggie Crunch and it was YUMMY.

They were in my Excalibur for about 13 or 14 hours at about 115.  I flipped both about 2 hours in.  I was able to accomplish a few things by doing this recipe!  One...I used up my mini zuke and tomatoes that were sitting around for a bit - that I HAD to hurry up and use, Two...I USED ONION in this recipe that was part of the challenge this week, and Three...I have 2 different foods I can munch on for the next few (or more) days!

SUBMIT Your Raw Food/Dehydrated Creations on this week's Dehydrator Challenge!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sprouts & Rice With Spice, Progress In Google Docs, Pig Tails

Sprouts & Rice with Spice!  

YUP!  

That's what I am naming this dish!  I made a LARGE batch last night and will eat it for a few days in some way, shape, or form.  What I had for dinner last night turned out super tasty!  This is a dish I would do again and again!  

And that may just be the case since our Containers are sprouting with Brussel Sprouts - oh my goodness!

Here's what's in this dish in case you were curious or wanted to try!

2 C Rice
2 T Coconut Oil
1/4 C Pine Nuts
1 Pound of Brussel Sprouts
1 T Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1/2 T Agave Nectar
1 tea EACH of Parsley, Basil, Oregano, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder
1/2 tea EACH of Lemon Juice, Red Pepper Flakes
Sriracha to taste - added at the end - like a garnish
Here's a Google Doc of our progress on the Contain Garden/Rooftop Garden.  Sam - a co-worker of mine - is pretty much taking care of the updates on this file.  I believe you can click on it and enlarge the photo to see a bit more of what's going on.  I'm also trying to post some updates on Folia - which you will find on my sidebar.  We will be thinning and transplanting the Rosalita and Grand Rapids soon.  We are also hoping to start our 2nd flight of a few 'from seed' attempts.
A few weeks ago Opal posted on of Dan McDonald's Archived Videos on Facebook and tagged me in comments.  We got to talking about the female guest he had in that video.  She was a 'peppy little thing' - a blonde - with pigtails.  Come to find out she was in her mid 50s at the time of the video but with her lifestyle, outlook on life, and pigtails she appeared MUCH younger...I'd say maybe late 20's or so.  I used to wear pigtails every once and a while...when I was younger...and even when I was in college.  It's been a while.  Last night I was feeling a little crazy and thought I would try them.  yes!  I'm goofy!  But at least I'm having FUN again!  It's so nice when you surround yourself with more carefree people and everyone gets along, ya know!?

Participating:
What I Ate Wednesday

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Memphis Lentil & Veggie Mash & Catching Up On The Raw Chef

I've been craving Lentils lately!  Last night I prepared my lunch for today and came up with this dish.  Some may call it a One Pot Meal...others may call it a Casserole of sorts...or even a Mash.  Regardless it was pretty tasty if I do say so myself!

Another thing I wanted to accomplish while making this dish is to use my Wildtree Memphis Dry Rub.  I really like the flavor but wasn't going to use it as a 'rub' per say.  BUT...that's one of the best things about Wildtree...multipurpose, multi-use!  So I did just that...I used it in this dish! 

I also like this dish because I only used just a few ingredients!  Check it out...here's the recipe...
2/3 C Red Lentils (in About 2 C Water)
1/3 Corn
1 C Broccoli
2 teaspoons Wildtree Memphis Dry Rub

I also used use a little bit of Grapeseed Oil so it wouldn't stick but it's optional

Last night I was able to catch up on a few relaxing things such as thumbing thru some magazines and catching up on PodCasts that I watch on AppleTV from time to time.  One of my favorites is Russell James - The Raw Chef. 

Last night I watched the episode of him making Chia Porridge.  He put a lot of Superfoods in his but they were all optional.  I might try some of what he suggested, however, mainly because I have some of the items in my pantry.  I'm not one to sit down with a HUGE bowl of Chia Porridge or Pudding mostly because of the texture of the gelled Chia.  Sort of reminds me of Tapioca or Cavier/Fish Eggs...ewwww!  BUT...what I have found is that I can put all the flavors together and then put it in a blender and have it more as a pudding than a porridge to break down the plumpy-gelled-seeds, if you know what I mean.  I haven't tried this in a vitamix yet but it worked fine in my Ninja previously.  So...my mini-goal is to try more Breakfast Chia Porridge Combos and Snacks more frequently.

Gardening Journey ~ Container/Rooftop Progress

I've had a couple of comments and emails asking to post some progress photos of the containers we are starting INSIDE to then take outside for our Rooftop Garden.  Well, ask...and yee shall receive...

First up...

GREENS!  Here's a look at our lettuces, leafy greens, even some Kale (the one smack-dab in the middle).  ALL of the greenery has sprouted.  Some more advanced than others but that is expected because of the maturity lengths being different.  We are FOR SURE going to have to thin out and space the one on the left...that's the Rosalita Lettuce.  Those grow into 'heads'.  The others are more loose and leafy.  The Kale is already getting their 'second leaves/sprouts' so that's pretty neat.
Some of the other seeds are sprouting, too!  Here's a look at the Broccoli!  There are 2 sprouts here - one is stronger than the other, tho!

We have the Broccoli in a 1 and a half gallon bucket.  Some of you already read on previous posts that we are reusing CD Jewel Case Holders for the lettuces that are pictured above.

We have another bucket like this one - but it's red - that contains the carrots we are trying to grow from seed, too!

I was beginning to wonder if we got 'duds' on the carrots until we came in yesterday and saw these wonderful sprouts!  Aren't they awesome!

I can't wait to see what they all do next!  I think that is part of my problem...PATIENCE.  I need more Patience!

Now here are our Brussel Sprouts!  We started them from seed but in 'starter sections' and they are doing REALLY well!  We will have to transplant them very soon!  So far 17 out of 18 have sprouted nicely.  I was hoping for at least half of them to survive but look at these babies GROW!  And most of them have 2 to 3 sprouts per section!  Sam and I figured we have 34 of them right  now.  Karen and I were the only ones who knew that Brussel Sprout PLANTS have a large self-supportive stalk and each plant produces MANY Brussel Sprouts!  So even if HALF of these continue to grow we are going to have a TON of Brussel Sprouts!  YAY!  Could you imagine...34 Brussel Sprout "Trees" on a roof?  that makes me giggle!  I hope it works, tho!  Did you know that each plant/tree can grow up to 2 and a half feet tall!?  that's FANTASTIC!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Weekend Surprises - Gaming & Snow

This past weekend hubby and I decided to purchase a Sony Play Station 3 Bundle which INCLUDED "The Last Of Us" Game.  It's been a few years since we have gotten into gaming.  We don't really watch all that much TV - and what we do watch is via Hulu Plus and Netflix via our Apple TV.  Currently we are all caught up on the few TV shows we do watch and we thought that we would get into a game that we could try and figure out together in the evenings to upwind after work.  Since hubby gets up REALLY EARLY to start his air shift he usually goes to bed around 7:30.  So after dinner we try and fill our time with a together activity such as catching up on a show or NOW in this case playing our game.  An inside joke that we have shared for awhile now is the name of this game.  When we started seeing the promos for it on Hulu Plus it must have been the way it was printed and the font they were using I swore it said "The Last Doofus" - teehee - which our dog Riley has been known to go by at times - when he pulls a 'bone head move'.  But all-in-all the game storyline and graphics drew us in.  We've only played it a few hours this past weekend but it sure hasn't disappointed.  I can see how it would be EASILY Addicting.  I will will say, tho, that this is certainly an ADULT game.  It's basically like watching an R Rated Movie...with the language and violence.  But we are in our 30s and 40s - and do NOT have children - so it's 'fine' for us.

Another surprise this past weekend was the weather.  Well, NOT REALLY considering it's been a really crazy weather year already but he ended up getting about 5 inches of snow within an hour or two.

Another ODD bit of info to this story is that yesterday it ended up melting quickly by mid afternoon and today is supposed to hit around 60 degrees!
I thought I would take some photos for you tho - not only to show you the snow but to show you Riley ENJOYING the snow! 

There were many times this past winter not even Riley liked it...but he sometimes like to roam and EAT the snow even!  What a weirdo!

You can see some of my neighbor's yard in these photos, too, they have a HUGE garden but they aren't the most approachable people.  Some of their brush is even growing on to our property and the other neighbor on the other side's fence is starting to fall.  Yeah...our neighbors are a bit 'odd'.  Oh Well!  Bring on SUMMER!

In My Kitchen ~ April

I thought I would get a JUMP START on the IN MY KITCHEN ~ April Edition!  A few items of interest in my kitchen for this upcoming month are highlighted in this post!  Let me know what you think of them - if you have used or done and thing with any of the items listed or if you have any questions.  Questions help me think of future posts - so I ALWAYS welcome them!

First up...

Dried items!  If you visited my blog last week you saw that I accepted Opal's Dehydrator Challenge.  I REALLY enjoyed that adventure and her and I have been trying to put together a weekly blogging Linky to get more people to BUST OUT their dehydrator!  Let us know if this is something that would interest you!  We would LOVE more participants!  One of the many things I hope to do with my Excalibur Dehydrator this month is to dry more fruit and herbs to use in my teas and tonics.  I would like to start off with citrus!  Another item in my kitchen as of late is TEA.  Well, I always have tea with or around me - pretty much throughout the day and evening.  One of the companies I have been into lately is Pelican Tea.  WHY?  Because it stands out in the sense they use peppers and spices to add a HOT KICK to their tea flavors and blends.  I think this really sets them apart from many/most other tea companies!  They have some really interesting flavors and I hope to review some of them over at Sororitea Sisters soon!
Another item in my kitchen is the 'growing of the herbs' attempts.  I will say that I am somewhat disappointed in the Chives and Parsley.  I don't think they are going to sprout.  That's ok...I won't give up...I will be trying to resprout another batch soon!

On a more positive note...

The Basil has sprouted!  YAY!  I LOVE Basil!  I hope it continues to grow!  I started it from seed but I will most likely be getting a starter plant at some point, too, but I know I will use it!  I use a lot of Basil!  I will probably be getting more starter plants for herbs as well.

I have been buying more Dates lately, too!  That is one thing you will find in my frig most of the times any more.  I get them from my local herb lady.  I have been using them in my Vitamix when I made Salad Dressings and Smoothies.  I have also been using them in my Breakfast Bars when I try and make them in my Dehydrator.  A little bit goes a long way and I appreciate them much more now that I am older.  I'm NOT saying I didn't like them when I was younger it just wasn't something we had a lot of fresh in the house growing up..so maybe it's like my 2nd Childhood when it comes to dates?
These little gems may have been in previous posts but I cannot get enough of them!  RED Lentils!  They are my FAVORITE Lentil, after all.

Lentils are one of the worlds HEALTHIEST Foods!  They are a Fiber ALL-STAR!  They are Heart Healthy!  They are an energy booster!  They help stabilize blood sugar!  They are a good source of Iron, Vitamins B1 & B6, Protein, and Magnesium...among others.

I have been getting into my NuNaturals Products again and will be having a giveaway in the near future of some of their products!  If you would like to receive updates on when that is going to happen in addition to any new posts on my blog - sign up for my email alerts. 

On of the many NuNaturals Products I'm intrigued with is this one.  Oat Fiber.

It's a way to add more fiber to your diet.  I don't think I have a problem with that but I'm interested in this product as a whole and also interested in possible passing a bit of this on to my mom and dad as my father is trying to increase his fiber intake.  

NuGrain™ Oat Fiber is naturally produced from food-grade oat hulls through a proprietary process. This is a chemical-free process, turning organic hulls into various organic fibers. Oat fiber has many uses in baked goods, adding to smoothies, porridge, smoothies, and other recipes where you want to boost the fiber content of the foods your eat.

Substitute 3 tablespoons NuGrains™ Oat Fiber for every 8 servings per recipe. For example if recipe yields 24 cookies and serving size is 3 cookies, then substitute 3 tablespoons for flour in your recipe.

What's in YOUR Kitchen for April!?  Let me know in comments!