Saturday, July 2

Summer Goodness of the Edible Variety

I don't know about you, but I hate eating when it's hot outside. Cooking the necessary three meals a day turns into an hour long trip to purgatory. Not only is cooking unenjoyable, but my appetite is off. A while back, my friend Sarah over at The Happy, Resourceful Home posted some smoothie recipes. I liked the idea but never went anywhere with it because frankly, I'm terrified of my blender. Thank my mom for this - I have this subconscious fear that I will forget to unplug the blender and chop my finger off, electrocute myself, or accidentally grind up my wooden stirrer. Oh, and to add to all that, I'm scared of cleaning it, too. Those blades! Way too close a proximity to my fingers. Well, the happy end to this story (and the purpose of this post) is that I overcame my fear of blenders (small round of applause) and am smitten with a smoothie-making craze.

Smoothies are the BEST way EVER to eat lots of veggies and fruits and never know it! For those of you with kids... I have never cajoled Greta into eating so much spinach except under the guise of a spinach-strawberry-banana smoothie. So get out your blenders, clean them up, hit the grocery store for a refridgerator's worth of fruits and veggies, and get ready for summer smoothies.

First of all, basic smoothie making techniques. I credit a few of these to Sarah. Start by blending your softest and wettest ingredient first or your blender will jamb. So start by adding your yogurt, coconut milk, fruit juice and blending that with the next softest ingredient (usually bananas or spinach). Next add your harder ingredients, like berries. Then put in the apples, carrots, pears, etc. If you like a really smooth smoothie (i.e., no chunks or grittiness), blend all this together on the "liquify" setting until the consistency is as you desire. Last of all, add your ice to taste and blend it on the "chop ice" setting. If you "liquify" the ice, it melts and your smoothie becomes watery.

All-purpose smoothie:

* As many handfuls of spinach as you want to stuff in your smoothie maker (spinach has next to no flavor and practically dissolves in the blender.
* A ripe banana or two
* Strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries; or peaches, nectarines or plums
* A serving of whole milk, unsweetened yoghurt or a cup of unsweetened kefir AND/OR
* A cup of coconut milk if you want to make the smoothie lactose-free
* A teaspoon of honey (Optional)
* About 2 handfuls of ice cubes.

Blend the yoghurt, kefir or coconut milk with the spinach. I usually use the "chop ice" setting or the "pulse" setting. Add the bananas. Add the berries. Add the honey. Blend on the "liquify" setting for a few seconds. Add the ice and let the machine pulse until the ice is blended. Pour into cups and enjoy!

Breakfast smoothie:

Just tried this out today and it was a hit with the husband. You can add whey protein or some sort of protein powder if you like that stuff. I can't stand the taste :) With this one, unless you don't mind gritty carrots in your smoothie, you should leave the blender on the liquify setting for longer before adding the ice.

* 1 cup yoghurt
* half a cup coconut milk
* 1 banana
* 1 chopped up apple
* 2 chopped up carrots
* 1 teaspoon of honey
* a pinch of cinnamon
* ice cubes to taste

Adults only smoothie:
* Simply Lemon lemonade, about half a cup
* lots of berries, raspberries, blueberries or strawberries are good
* chocolate syrup to taste
* a shot or two or three of rum
* ice
It's also called a daquerie :)

Friday, July 1


MIA... you know, "missing in action." For me, not in the military sense, but in the literal. I have quite literally disappeared these past few months into the never ending action of summer living. Oh, there's so much that has been going on here lately and therefore, that much more to blog about if I can just kick the writer's block.

So where to start? It might be helpful to recall where I left off, but it's been that long that I no longer remember. But as you all know, lack of a good or coherent topic has never stopped me from writing, so here goes. Let's see... so from about December when Joseph was born, to March, I went through some pretty awful postpartum blues. I wouldn't go so far as to call it depression, but it was bad enough. Then I remembered my chiropractor back in Ann Arbor, Michigan and gave her a call. She is also a naturalist doctor and had given me some very helpful supplements after I had Greta. This time around she ran a few tests and determined that my hormone levels were non-existent and I was deplete in all sorts of minerals, all of which indicated a thyroid problem. The happy part of the story is that the supplements she prescribed worked in weeks and thank God! I've been alive ever since then.

What happens when this girl's energy level is normal? Stuff gets done :) I've spent the last month or so making a home in my front yard. When we first moved here, it was a very nice yard for old people, which makes sense as the previous owners were in their 80's. However, the over-abundance of red gravel and pinon bushes were neither friendly to plant nor family life. A good part of May I spent hauling gravel out of the yard. Even now, I shudder when I see a yard full of gravel. I HATE GRAVEL. There. That feels much better. Moving on.... Then Josh and I dug out the pinon bushes and put in a patio area. I dug out a garden plot in front of the patio. I bordered off areas along the fence in preparation for privacy bushes. We built a dog kennel and fenced out our neighbor's yard. After gravel, I hate that neighbor. But that will be a story for another post. The fun really began when we planted tomatoes, peppers, beans and squash in the garden; lilacs and honeysuckle bushes, along with irises and day lilies went along the fence line. Just within the past two weeks, we laid sod. Out here they call it sod. What it is back home is beautiful, beautiful green grass. It ranks as child abuse to deprive kids of grass to run, play and tumble in. I tell Josh we "did it for the kids" when really (as he knows, I'm sure) we put in grass so this Ohio girl won't feel quite so desert bound. The grass really is beautiful. Whatever unhappiness I'm feeling just vanishes when I'm in my yard, watering things, hoeing things, planting things... but never weeding things. Unless it's a thorny, pokey plant, I leave all living green things to grow. After all, it's a veritable miracle that they grew in my yard at all.

Joseph has just saved you all from further ramblings about my garden. Lucky for you :)