Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Getting Serious

I have been doing CrossFit workouts for the past year and a half, with varying degrees of dedication. For some time, the dedication has been lacking. Time to get serious.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Bountiful Harvest

This is what 36 pounds of vegetables look like:
Guess where I'll be spending some time today?

I picked four pounds(!) of sungold cherry tomatoes - many are split, so I'll cut those in half and dehydrate them. I am awash in cukes and zukes and cannot keep up with them! Work was busy and exhausting this week, and I barely even cooked. We need to get the propane tank refilled, and I'll grill up a big old mess of zukes. So very tasty that way. Freezer pickles will be the way to go for a good many of the cukes. Even though called freezer pickles, it's more reminiscent of a cucumber salad. Delicious in the winter months. Hmm, lots of serrano and jalapeno. I am glad that my hubby has finally discovered how delicious spicy food is. It took me over ten years to wear him down - and he's of Latino descent! The stereotype certainly does not apply here.

I have a friend at work who is (American) Indian (she says to call her Indian , not Native American, so no need to worry about PC here). She told me that she stews up tomatoes, squash, and hot peppers into a dish called javacita (pronounced havasita). I'll see what I can come up with for that.

Last week, thanks to recipes from my friend, Chile, I made six half pints of lemon zucchini relish and a quart size jar of cucumber kimchi. I am addicted to the kimchi, so I'll be sure to make that again. A lot of cukes fit into a quart size jar (very thinly sliced, of course).

The cukes have powdery mildew disease (it attacks the plant, not the fruit, as far as I know), so I don't know how long it will be until they are wiped out. It's a problem moving up the East Coast. Squash bugs are also rampant this year, but I'm glad to be getting squash. Last year, I got very little squash. I planted by green beans late, so I managed to avoid a huge Japanese beetle infestation there. Still waiting for the corn. Some of the plants are over eight feet tall, and the ears are starting to form. Looking forward to silver queen fresh off the cob.

I need to not be lazy after work this week and start prepping a couple of beds for fall planting. Marathon training will be ramping up, and that will take a lot of time on the weekends. So, balance, balance, balance. That, and not squandering huge amounts of time on the internet. My FaceBook, um, habit, needs to slow down.

Happy weekend, all!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Don't Turn Around....

... or you just may miss a zucchini that will grow to gigantic proportions! I picked off all the zukes on July 3. Went out of town with some friends for the holiday weekend. Didn't visit the garden until Wednesday. Holy round zucchini, Batman! I just picked 24.75 pounds of round zucchini (told you it was time for the squash parade). This is more than my previous total for the season so far. Quite a few weigh over three pounds. We'll eat some over the next few days (as we get ready for the onslaught of the next round - really, it's a problem I like having). Additionally, I'll dehydrate "chips" in the dehydrator. Finally, I'll also make some zucchini relish from a promising looking recipe I found in the Anchorage Daily News online.

By the way, all the zukes I picked today came from four plants. Zucchini - plant one seed, eat forever. :)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Life Sure Turns on a Dime

Things have been really shaking up here lately. After observing very erratic/dangerous behavior and activity by my eighty year old mother-in-law, hubby and made an appointment with her doctor to have an evaluation done for dementia. After she refused to go to the appointment, things took a sudden and horrific turn for the worse. She took off in the rain, walking. When we could not find her, we called the police. Luckily, we found her, unharmed (but she has wandered off in the past and came back with unexplained cuts and bruises. She has also accepted rides from strangers). The whole process was/is terrible for all involved. We had to have a magistrate issue an order to take her to the ER. She didn't go willingly, and it made it that much worse. Long story short, an involuntary commitment order was issued by the hospital, and she spent a week in a psychiatric floor. Tests have concluded she is indeed suffering from dementia/early Alzheimer's. Medication should help with memory loss and the paranoid delusions she's suffering. However, she's very angry at my husband for "doing this to her." She's home now, in the care of her husband and son (who lives with them). Our interest is in keeping her safe.

Moral of this story: Have a talk with your parents/children/SO now. Get your affairs in order before decline starts. Hubby and I are getting power of attorney for each other in order to be able to make decisions and get information from healthcare providers should an emergency come up now (while we're young). I have even discussed this with my own parents, who are significantly younger than hubby's folks. Believe me, you will avoid a lot of heartache. This has been a whirlwind period of education for all of us involved. And, we are also seeing it bring out the worst in some family members, but also the best in others.

Moving onto a happier note, I have passed the fifty pound mark in garden harvest! View the right side of the screen for a tally of each veggie. The actual total is higher, as my neighbor has free reign to pick what she wants (she buys many of the plant starts and we share the bounty). I'm not going to ask her to weigh anything, so I'll just count what I pick. Two of my round zucchini plants dropped dead, as in keeled over. I can't figure out why, but I did pull the dead plants and dropped in some more zuke seeds in their place, and they have sprouted already. The corn is taller than me now (over five feet tall), and I'm hoping to see it produce some ears within the next few weeks. There are a good number of green tomatoes on the plants, and these hot summer nights will have them ripening in abundance soon. One of my favorite things to see is my kitchen countertop covered with red tomatoes. Bring it on! Hubby has the camera at work, or I'd post some pics.

As for healthy living, that needs lots of work. With all the family drama over the past weeks, there has not been much meal planning or prep in my kitchen. Too much going out to eat, too much alcohol consumption, NO exercise (except the 12 oz. curl). I have the day off from work today, so I'll be spending a few hours in my favorite room of the house. I'm thinking about making most of the recipes in the June McDougall Newsletter. I'll be sure to take pics of whatever turns out good.

I have sheets and blankets, and three loads of laundry hanging outside; that will keep us in clean clothes for a while! I don't mind the hanging part, as I've mentioned before, but folding and putting everything away is borrrring. Hubby gets to do the stuff that hangs in the closet. He has more patience than I.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Baking When It's 93 Degrees Outside

Baking When It's 93 Degrees Outside - Or, She's Really Nuts

Hubby and I are taking a little roadtrip this weekend. In an effort to avoid spending good money on lousy food and get to our destination more quickly, we'll be eating while we drive. It's never a problem coming up with good vegan food to prepare, but a dessert seemed to be in order today. So, I made a quickbread. Today's choice was a blueberry semolina concoction, which turned out quite nicely, if I do say so myself. The recipe is a McDougall compliant creation. I adapted it from a recipe by Jan Tz, who has posted many of her quickbread recipes on the forum on the McDougall website.

Blueberry Semolina Quickbread

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease an 8" square or round cake pan.

1 and 1/4 cup unsweetened ricemilk (or soymilk or water)
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. white vinegar

Let stand while you mix the dry ingredients:
1 cup semolina flour
1 cup white wheat flour
4 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda

1 to 1 1/2 cups blueberries

When the oven reaches temp., pour the soured soymilk into the dry ingredients. Add blueberries. Mix quickly, and don't overmix (mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated - this will ensure your quickbread will rise nicely). Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. When done, the top will be golden and a toothpick inserted in center will come out clean. Let stand to cool before trying to cut.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pickin' and Grinnin'

I'm thrilled to have picked a bunch of good stuff from the garden today. And, it's mostly already prepped and ready to eat. And, I'm really happy to report that I picked my first sungold cherry tomatoes! Got about a quarter pound and ate them right away. Mega yum. I'm looking forward to my first fresh basil of the year as well.

I made a curried potato salad. It tastes great, and it's McDougally delicious. It's adapted to be lowfat and vegan and comes from the San Francisco Chronicle Website. The peas, onions, and hot pepper were all grown in the meadow. Fresh and local!

Curried Potato Salad with Peas

Serves 6
From former Chronicle staff writer Robin Davis, now food editor at the
Columbus Dispatch.

1 pound unshelled fresh peas
Salt to taste
3 pounds small white creamer potatoes, quartered
1 cup unsweetened soy yogurt (I used Wildwood brand - nice and tangy)
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 small red onion, chopped

Shell the peas; discard pods. Cook the peas in a small pot
of boiling salted water until tender; it will take from 10 to 30 minutes
depending on the maturity of the peas. Drain. Cool.
Steam the potatoes until just tender, about 15 minutes. Cool.
Whisk together the yogurt, vinegar, curry powder and cayenne. Stir in 2
tablespoons of the mint. Season with salt and pepper.
Combine the peas, potatoes and onion in a large bowl. Add the dressing and
toss to coat. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon mint.

I also made wilted cucumber salad and grilled some round zucchini. Luckily, the zucchini finished cooking just as the propane tank ran out of gas. Now I just have to wait for my hubby to finish cutting the grass and we'll be eating some good lunch!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Squash Parade Begins

The march of the summer squash officially began last evening, when I harvested 3/4 of a pound (inclusive of some squash blossoms, which are also edible and yummy) of round zucchini. The seed packet caught my eye at Big Lots recently, and for a buck, why not try something new? I planted a few seeds in little hills three feet apart, mulched the whole thing heavily, watered, and waited. These bush-type plants are doing wonderfully. I also randomly planted some of these seeds in a flower bed. Of course, those plants are bigger than the plants in their own squash bed. What's up with that?

This photo is from seedfest.co.uk, as I need to charge my camera.

I picked a small bowlful of small, slightly larger than golfball size zukes, along with male blossoms. You can tell the blossoms are male if they are on a long stem. Female blossoms have a tiny baby squash-ette attached. Leave those until they are of harvesting size.

I simply prepared the veggie of the day by trimming off the ends and slicing the small orbs in half. Then, I steamed them until they were nice and tender. At the last minute or so, I added the squash blossoms, stamens removed and discarded, blossoms sliced into thin strips.

Bring on the parade!