A Garden for the Bees

I use to be so afraid of getting a bee sting since I have a pretty adverse reaction. My Mom carries an epi-pen since she has an even worse reaction, so I learned to fear these little bugs early on. Needless to say I would swing and bat at the bees when I would garden.

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Three bees are in this flower!

Flash forward to now many years later and in the middle of our bee crisis (thank you Monsanto) I have developed a much different relationship with these creatures. It began with sitting at my pond and watching my turtles and fish. I guess because I was in observer mode I wasn’t fearful of being stung and I watched just how many bees came to drink from our pond. Hundreds of them come at the end of the day and if can be scary if you let yourself go there. We made our pond for turtles from the pound and its very natural, murky, full of plants and logs and things turtles like. The plants make it safe for the bees to land and drink. They actually drink the water from the roots of the plants that are above the water level. They are not interested in people, they are bees and have a mission and usually it does not involve you!

At about 6:00 if you are lucky enough to be sitting at the pond you can watch the bees one and two at a time fly off in the same direction home. Within 30 minutes hundreds of bees fly home and they are all from the same hive. I totally understand the meaning of bee line, until I witnessed this I never really knew what that expression meant! These bees have become dependent on my pond and since I know that without bees we would starve to death I have changed how I garden and plant many extra bee-liscious things to keep them near by.

This year purely from my compost I have begun to grow pumpkins I think. I composted so many different kinds of squash, pumpkins and gourds that I’m now sure yet just what is growing but I tell you what the bees love these! I am fascinated and more in awe each day and have pretty much lost my fear of getting stung.

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Down under the leaves its cool and there are so many bees flying from flower to flower

 

Spicy Organic Sweet Potatoes

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Serves 4

Ingredients:

o 1 ½ pounds organic sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
o 1 small organic red onion, peeled and chopped
o 2 TBSP organic, unrefined raw coconut oil
o 1 to 1 ½ tsp organic chili pepper
o 4 gloves organic garlic, chopped fine

Directions:

Heat oven to 400o. Place the prepared potatoes (or yams) and onions in a reusable plastic bag. Drizzle in the coconut oil. Shake bag to coat vegetables well. Next, spread the vegetables into a glass baking dish in one layer; sprinkle evenly with the chili powder. Cover with foil and roast for 35 minutes. Remove the foil, carefully add the chopped garlic evenly, then cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned. Serve warm.

Blessings to you and may you take a moment to enjoy the beautiful food you have placed before you! 🙂

Red Velvet Smoothie

Great pre-or post-workout!RED_VELVET_SMOOTHIE

Ingredients:
• 1 medium beet, peeled and chopped
• ½ cup strawberries, fresh or frozen
• 1 Tbsp cacao powder
• 1 serving Vegan (you choose) Chocolate Protein Powder
• 1 cup water

Place all ingredients into the blender in the order listed and secure lid. Blend for 30-45 seconds or until desired consistency is reached. Pour into glasses and enjoy!

Inflammation – The Root Cause To Most Disease (part 1)

Most always inflammation begins in the gut!

inflammation

  • Inflammation controls our lives. From the first bump on the head to chronic digestive stress inflammation is a leading indicator something is afoot.
  • Inflammation is an essential part of the immune system, chronic inflammation is not. Chronic inflammation harms the body instead of healing it, as it simultaneously destroys and heals tissues that cause the immune system to overexert itself.
  • It has become increasingly obvious that chronic inflammation is the main cause of many chronic illnesses. Heart disease, obesity, ADD/ADHD, dental issues, thyroid issues, migraines, diabetes, many cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease, are a few off the top of my head.
  • Inflammation is recognized as redness, heat, swelling and pain. It is a natural healing response to bring nourishment and immunity to an injury or infection. When the inflammation continues and refuses to go away, it causes illness.
  • Some of the things that contribute to inflammation include: stress, lack of exercise, dietary choices, genetics, exposure to toxic secondhand tobacco smoke, prescription drugs like steroids, OTC drugs like NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs!) and heavy metals.
  • Learning how to adjust dietary choices is one of the best ways to deal with chronic inflammation. Not only is this a safe choice, food is something your body recognizes and eating the right organic, soothing, cooling, anti-inflammatory foods heals and cleanses you from the inside out.
  • If you are living with chronic inflammation, digestive discomfort, bloating, arthritis and have low energy, fear not!! There is so much you can do to turn your life around and get your balance back.
  • FIRST TIP IS TO STOP EATING SUGAR in all forms!!!

The Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie!

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients

1 inch of fresh ginger, gratedturmericsmoothie
1 inch of fresh turmeric, grated
Handful of baby spinach
Handful of watercress (or rocket/arugula)
1 small soft avocado
1/2 capsicum
Big handful of flat-leaf parsley and/ or coriander
1 cup coconut water (or filtered water)
Big pinch of cayenne
Pinch of unprocessed sea salt

Instructions

  1. Grate the roots into the blender and add the avocado and coconut water
  2. Blend this to form a base
  3. Next add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth

As with all days pay attention to what you are putting in your mouth….. this greatly impacts your health, your life and your mood!

Be well my friends and I am here to empower you on your journey of great self love!!

Jennifer

Peanut Butter Cookies

peanut_butter_cookiesIngredients:
* 1 cup of raw almond flour
* 1/2 cup of organic, fresh peanut butter (or almond butter)
* 1 cup pitted Medjool dates (soaked in warm water for 10 minutes)
* 1 1/4 teaspoons of vanilla extract
* ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 handful of cacao nibs (optional)

▪ Sea salt to garnish

Directions:
• Combine almonds, nut butter, dates, cinnamon and vanilla in a food
processor and blend until a dough-like texture is achieved (a couple
of minutes). Add more nut butter if necessary to make the dough
stickier.

Optional: Add cacao nibs and process on pulse for 15-20 seconds to break them up a little but still leave some whole.

• Form into small balls and use a fork to press down and create a
crisscross pattern

• Sprinkle with sea salt

• Store in refrigerator (better the next day!)

Pomegranate and Rice Medley Stuffing

Makes 8 half-cup servings.
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Ingredients

• 2 tsp extra virgin olive oilfarro
• 1 cup chopped celery
• ½ cup orange pepper, chopped (can substitute red or yellow pepper)
• ½ cup uncooked brown rice
• ½ cup uncooked wild rice
• ½ cup dried pomegranate seeds
• 1 tsp dried basil
• 2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley OR 1 tsp dried parsley
• 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
• ½ cup chopped roasted almonds
• Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions
Heat olive oil in a roasting pan (4 qt or larger) over medium heat. Add chopped celery and chopped orange pepper and cook, stirring often, until softened (3 to 5 minutes). Add brown rice and wild rice, stir until coated with olive oil, just 30 seconds. Add broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat, simmer and cook covered, 35 minutes.

At 35 minutes, remove lid and stir in basil and dried pomegranates. Simmer, covered, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 more minutes. Add black pepper to taste. Fluff with a fork and sprinkle chopped roasted almonds on top, or allow guests to sprinkle almonds per serving.

Note: May be made two days ahead and stored in sealed container in the refrigerator. Reheat by placing Pomegranate and Rice Medley Stuffing in lightly-oiled glass baking dish, add 2 tablespoons water, and warm at 300 degrees for 20 minutes or until heated through.

Cooking Italian Senza Gluten

Italian food is the first thing I turn to as my comfort food of choice. One thing that I missed the most when making the gluten free lifestyle change was Italian food! It is my mission to be able to introduce you to healthy substitutions that will help you stay on this new found pathway to a healthier you. This recipe is a fun way to try new things and realize how delicious spaghetti squash is and how having such a versatile substitution for gluten-laced pasta can change your outlook!

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Home Grown Organic Food Made Simple while saving water!

I have been an avid organic gardener for over 10 years and before that would dabble with various plants and veggies. I love the taste of freshly harvested lettuce and kale and feel super charged that it came from my land.

ImageThis year my garden was a true disaster. I planted from heirloom organic seeds, replenished my dirt with my own compost which is usually amazing and I have had the worst yield. My crab and devil grasses are at an all time high, my chickens figured out how to get in my garden and destroy any new baby lettuces that actually had a chance. And then there were those seeds, I mean entire rows, that never sprouted not even one! UGH I was frustrated and saddened.

Then one day I saw an interview on 60 minutes that was about aeroponic tower gardens. It had the skeptic in me saying that is not a way to garden, hydroponics/aeroponics is for growing medical marijuana, not food. So I halfway listened to the story. A few weeks later a colleague of mine told me about her tower garden and how much fun she has had with her boys teaching them to grow food.

When the same topic comes into my life from completely different sources a little light inside me says WAKE UP JEN! This is something your life needs to learn about. So I set up a phone meeting with my friend and she walked me through the benefits of the tower garden system. Before I hung up she helped me order my first tower garden!  Within a week it arrived in boxes and it was like Christmas in June!

ImageI love jigsaw puzzles and dove into all the boxes to set out on assembling my tower garden in my kitchen! As my husband sat at the kitchen table working on his computer I quickly covered every inch of counter top and floor space with all the parts and pieces.The large green reservoir holds approximately 20 gallons of water which is pumped up the tower on the inside and recycled continuously. Its a truly brilliant system. I also got a steel dolly to be able to rotate my garden and move it around easily and an extension kit to have 8 more holes to grow food.

ImageI will say there were not too many parts, the size of the parts on the other hand were a bit cumbersome for my tiny little space but I was determined to assemble my tower on this beautiful Sunday morning and have it ready to use by days end!

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With only one glitch, which was assembling the additional two towers, my tower garden was up and ready to be moved outside within an hour. I really had no idea that it would be so tall! I was thrilled to be ready to take it to the next step and plant my veggies.

ImageThe only thing I did not foresee was the timing of growing my own seedlings to fill the tower garden. So if you are planing on growing the seeds that come with your tower garden kit there is no need to assemble your tower garden (unless you are like me and cannot wait to see it up) until your seeds are ready to be planted in your tower. I skipped this step and went to my local garden center and purchased 6 packs of organic romaine, heirloom kale, some dill and strawberries. I rolled the plants in my hands to remove most of the dirt from the root-balls to fit them properly into the baskets provided that snap into the hole you see in the tower. I also found the smallest plants at the nursery knowing their root-balls wouldn’t be as developed and would be less traumatized by removing their dirt.

ImageThe planting took about 30 minutes and I enjoyed every moment as my tower became filled with possibility! I tested my PH to make sure I was starting with a balanced level, adjusted it until the reading was correct, put in the required amount of organic mineral blend and plugged it in. I had a small snafu with the timer but figured it out by day 2. When you test your system to ensure that the pump works just make sure you flip the timer switch to on that way your timer starts working immediately. Sounds basic and simple, but I however was overly enthusiastic that my assembly worked on the first go and since I had programmed the timer once it started I thought that was all there was to it.

The placement of your tower is paramount to its success and also to its’ water requirements. How much daily sun exposure you get, whether its morning to early afternoon or afternoon till evening will help you to balance the amount of aeroponic flushes per hour your plants need.

So two days later I hopped on a plane and took off for Italy.

When I returned home to my great surprise this is what my garden looked like!

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Zero maintenance, all this needed was a turn every few days and I’m not even sure it got that while I was away and the reservoir of water was down only 2″!!!  Now each day I harvest a head of my own organic lettuce, some kale and I’m thrilled I don’t have to fight the weeds or pick off the pincher bugs.

This has changed my perspective on growing my own produce. In three and a half weeks these delicious veggies grew without any input from me other than running an extension cord to the pump! I did not have to add water, which is something I would have had to do daily to keep my lettuces alive normally. I am already starting to get ready for my second planting and feel that even on my farm in sunny southern California this is a system that makes the most sense for me to grow my lettuces, kale and herbs. In fact I can see how I could easily use two towers all year round to keep my family’s need for fresh organic salad materials available every day. I will still use my normal in ground garden for tomatoes, things that climb like cucumbers and peas and for crops that would be altogether to large for this type of environment such as squash and eggplant but I have a new found appreciation in the aeroponic tower garden.

The system includes:

  • Tower Garden vertical aeroponic garden
  • Seeds for growing gourmet lettuce, cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, basil, and cucumber
  • Seed starter enviro-dome
  • 20 rock wool seed starter cubes and net pots
  • Pump, timer and drain tube
  • Tower Tonic Mineral Blend plant food
  • pH test kit and 1 bottle each of pH+ and pH-
  • Measuring cup

If you are interested in ordering your own tower garden click on the photo above or this link and it will take you to the tower garden website. If you are like me you may find this is not only an amazing way to grow healthy food for you and your family, you may find this could be a wonderful business adventure to become involved in. You have the power to create what you want in your life, my advise is to eat, heal, live and love your live!

Feel free to email me with any questions you have regarding growing your own food. If I can help you create your own small island of sustainability, then I feel we are making the change that is so needed in our world.

Easy Organic Vanilla Gluten-Free Cake

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup organic coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup soy free earth balance
  • 1/3 cup organic sugar or honey
  • 4 organic free range eggs
  • 2 tsp. organic vanilla
  • 1/2 cup organic almond milk
  • 1 1/2 cups almond Flour
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut flour
  • 2 tsp. organic baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Himalayan Salt

Cream the shortening and sugar until smooth. One at a time add the eggs until each is fully blended with the sugar mixture. Add Almond Milk and Vanilla and blend a bit more.

In a separate bowl combine flours, baking powder and salt and gently fold together.

While liquid mixture is on low speed slowly add large heaping spoonfuls of flour. Mix each spoonful thoroughly before adding the next, this ensure a lighter fluffier cake! Without the gluten proper mixing has a huge impact on helping with the heaviness of the flours used.

Grease and flour a 13 x 9 pan. Spread cake mixture evenly. This is a thin cake kind of like a brownie. The flavor can accommodate any topping of your choice, I prefer fruit with melted cacao or you could use cashew cream and strawberries.

Chocolate Drizzle

  • 1 – 2 chunks raw cacao
  • 1 chunk raw cacao butter
  • 1 handful chocolate chips (with at least 50% cacao)
  • Sliced fruit of season right now its bananasImage