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.
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.
* 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
• 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
• 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
• Sprinkle with sea salt
• Store in refrigerator (better the next day!)
Makes 8 half-cup servings.
• 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
• 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
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.
8 – 12 servings
1 large butternut squash
1 small sweet potato
1 small onion
½ head of cauliflower, chopped
8 cups of vegetable stock
1 Tbsp Olive oil
Sea salt – a pinch/ or to taste
Cinnamon – a pinch/ or to taste
Maple syrup – a “swirl” / or to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
2. Peel butternut squash and sweet potato. Cut into 2” slices. (Deseed squash)
3. Place in baking dish with olive oil, salt, and cinnamon.
4. Roast in oven for about 20-25 minutes, turn slices over and continue cooking for about 20 more minutes until soft. (Also a great dish as is)
OR EASY VERSION: Pierce whole sweet potato and butternut squash with fork, so the steam will escape, and bake about 45 minutes or until tender. Scoop out contents, deseed squash and set aside.
5. Sauté onions, cauliflower and sea salt in oil on medium heat until soft.
6. Add chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil.
7. Add cooked butternut squash and sweet potato.
8. Cook at medium heat for 10 minutes, lower heat and continue to simmer for 10 more minutes.
9. Puree soup with an immersion (hand-held stick) blender.
10. Add sea salt, and cinnamon to taste
11. Swirl maple syrup into puree
12. Mix again briefly with an immersion blender.
13. Serve and Enjoy!
14. For fancy serving, top with a swirl of maple syrup and sprinkle of cinnamon into each bowl.
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!
- Gluten-free Eggplant Lasagna (with meat) (gardenforestfield.com)
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.
This 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!
I 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.
I 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!
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.
The 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.
The 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!
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.
Today is a brand new day! I know we have all heard this before and yet we often keep repeating the same way of doing our life including what we eat. In order to feel our BEST I believe alternating what we eat makes a huge difference in not only how we feel internally but in how our bodies PERFORM. If we eat the same thing, day in day out we will often find it to be boring and more often than not our body will eventually build up a bit of an intolerance for the same thing. This is especially true with wheat and gluten products. Introducing new foods to rotate in is a very good way to take notice of how your food makes you feel.
So to start my week of with a new twist, and I highly recommend you give this a try, I dressed up my gluten free oatmeal a bit differently. Not only is it DELISH, it is soothing and loaded with lots of minerals and nutrients your body needs to perform well.
Gluten Free Oatmeal cooked with organic raisins, organic cranberries and organic cherries. I then add some organic almond milk and a very small amount of raw organic honey after it is cooked but while still on the stove to warm the milk and make it creamy. Also while still on the stove I put in a teaspoon of organic raw unprocessed coconut oil, sprinkle liberally with organic cinnamon and today I am trying a new super food product by Spectrum Essentials called Decadent Blend! This has Flax and Chia seeds ground together with coconut and cocoa. OMG off the charts wonderful and this should keep me satisfied until well, I am hungry again.
Cherries and Antioxidants:
Did you know that cherries rank among the top 20 foods with the highest concentration of antioxidants. In fact, the standard one-cup serving of cherries has the capacity to carry 4,873 antioxidants!
- Antioxidants are substances found in foods that may protect cells from damage caused by unstable molecules, known as free radicals.
- Cherries are especially rich in a phytochemical called anthocyanin which may reduce a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Anthocyanins give cherries their deep red color and also protect cells from damage during an interaction with oxygen. This important process also serves to protect the heart and surrounding tissue, inhibit plaque formation and reduce inflammation. Research also suggests that the anthocyanins found in cherries further protect neural cells and promote brain health .
- They also contain melatonin which is an important antioxidant that helps maintain optimum brain functioning and may deter the onset of age-related chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s.
- Raisins also contain quercetin a type of polyphenol that acts as an antioxidant that protects the cells in your body from free radical damage. raisins also contain phytochemical compound resveratrol. Resveratrol, a polyphenol anti-oxidant, has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, blood cholesterol lowering activities.
- Studies suggest that resveratrol has been found to have protective action against cancers like melanoma, colon and prostate, and diseases such as coronary heart disease (CHD), degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer’s disease and viral/ fungal infections.
The active principles in the cinnamon spice are known to have anti-oxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-septic, local anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, rubefacient (warming and soothing), carminative and anti-flatulent properties.
Cinnamon has the highest anti-oxidant strength of all the food sources in nature.
- Oatmeal is appealing to health experts because it actually reduces your craving for foods that are not good for you. oatmeal provides you with high levels of fiber and very low levels of fat.
- A fiber known as beta-glucan seems to be the all-star compound in oatmeal. There have been hundreds of studies published on beta-glucan.One study published in Vascular Health Risk Management concluded, “Dietary intake of beta-glucans has been shown to reduce risk factors to benefit the treatment of diabetes and associated complications. In addition, beta-glucans also promote wound healing and alleviate ischemic heart injury.
- There is absolutely no cholesterol in oatmeal, so you will never have to worry about it clogging your arteries.
- The minerals that you absorb from oatmeal make this a more healthy option than taking them in supplement form.
- A word of caution, Oatmeal is also rich in omega-6 fatty acids, containing almost 2 grams per half-cup serving. Omega-6s seem to be a mixed bag, providing some health benefits, yet too much of them — combined with too little omega-3 fatty acid sources — can cause inflammation and other problems.
I hope this will give you some inspiration for switching your breakfast foods to help change your outcome for the day!
As with all days EAT, HEAL and LIVE!!!!
Good little chickies
This recipe is on the large scale of things. I make a huge bowl and use it with just about everything through the week. The taste marinates as it ages, in fact it tastes better each day!
Also please try to use organic ingredients at all times for your health and the health of whomever you are feeding. Preventing illness now may save you from paying 10 times more down the road with our broken “healthcare” (I can hardly say that without cracking up) system.
2 Bunches Kale (I’m not partial, whatever kind is freshest) with large vein removed
1/2 head purple cabbage
1/2 head green cabbage
6 – 8 Carrots
1 Cup Veganaise (I use the soy free one)
1 TBSP Curry Powder (plus more for fine tuning your own)
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1 – 2 tsp black pepper (and more to taste)
1 bag (about a cup) of dried cranberries (the more the better in my opinion)
2 TBSP Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
2 TBSP fresh oregano
2 TBSP or more fresh Cilantro
1 TBSP fresh Thyme
1/2 Cup Hemp hearts, chopped walnuts or raw cashews
In a food processor shred the organic kale and cabbage. Change the blade to the grater and grate carrots.
In a separate small bowl put veganaise and spices and mix well. You can taste your dressing and add more to it or wait until you have mixed it with you kale mix.
It is an art to mix this together because you have so much fresh shredded stuff but keep going nice and slow until the veganaise mixture is evenly shared with the greens. Add your apple cider vinegar and mix well.
What I look for as far as taste goes I want to know what I’m eating so I like to taste my greens and I to blend well with the curry and other spices. It usually takes me a few extra shakes of curry and nutmeg and I will always add a bit more apple cider vinegar because I could drink the stuff (in fact I do, mixed with water!) and then I put it in the ref. for at least 30 minutes to let the juices flow together.
I use it with everything in sandwiches, on salads, as a side dish and often as a mid day snack all by itself; its very versatile and healthy.
The brain healthy spices in this slaw are: cinnamon, oregano, thyme, curry
Carrots and cranberries are on the list of the 50 best brain foods.
You will also receive a boost in protein since kale packs quite a protein punch! Hope you enjoy this and will make it your own in time.
As with all posts Eat, Heal and LIVE with Jennifer!