Granola… made from scratch!

Granola is a great addition to your breakfast greek yogurt. It is also a great snack item you can pick on through out the day. However, store bought granola can be very fattening and overloaded with sugar. So that is why I am suggesting you make your own. You become in complete control when you mix your own batch. You can also get very creative by using any spices and flavors you desire. For example, my cousin Shelly, mentioned using spices you would find in Chai Tea, in your granola.

In the last week, I randomly came across two different granola recipes in two different books I have been reading. It must be a sign, right? I thought to myself, I must try to make this. So I did, and it was super easy, satisfying, tasty.

This Granola recipe is from the book, Eat and Run, by Scott Jurek.

INGREDIENTS

  • rolled oats
  • hemp milk
  • coconut oil (to coat bottom of baking pan)
  • apple, cored and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dried coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp of maple syrup or 1 tbsp of agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins
  • wheat germ (I added, not from original recipe)
  • flax seeds (I added, not from original recipe)

DIRECTIONS

  • Soak four cups of rolled oats in hemp milk over night. Make sure hemp milk is covering all of the oats. Hemp milk softens the oats, and adds a creamy sweetness. Hemp milk is also rich with omega 3 fatty acids.¬†GRANOLA 1
  • After oats have soaked in hemp milk overnight. Drain excess milk, that wasn’t absorbed from oats.granola 2
  • Cut apples.granola 3
  • Add coconut flakes, apples, cinnamon, sweetener, vanilla, and salt to the oats.¬†granola 4
  • Put mixture into food processor. Process for 30 seconds. Scrape sides and process for another 30 seconds, if necessary.Granola 5
  • After processed, transfer to a mixing bowl. Add pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, almonds, raisins, and wheat germ.granola 6
  • Coat bottom of baking pan with coconut oil. Spread mixture to pan and bake for 2 hours in oven heated to 250 degrees. Check sporadically flipping granola ever so often to make it into crispy golden clusters.

Final Result

397705_10100925442677506_1675622461_n

So there you have it! This recipe is really easy. And although, it took  2 hours to bake, it is well worth it because it makes your home smell like amazing apple cinnamon!

What is your favorite flavor of Granola!? Lets trade recipes!

© 2013 sweat daily

Farro Soup

Today, I woke up totally disappointed, to cold and fog, but it later cleared up and the sun came out, so of course I went for a run. Then once I got home, I started to cook up a storm. The first thing I baked was granola from scratch. (I will write a granola post tomorrow.) The second thing I made was an amazing vegan/vegetarian soup that even my boyfriend, the meat eater, gobbled up.

As you may know, soups are one of my favorite things to cook and eat. Soups can be so hearty and satisfying. They can warm you up on a cold winter day. They can cure the common cold.

This soup recipe is called Farro Soup, from my favorite cook book, Super Natural Every Day, by Heidi Swanson. If you don’t already have this cook book, you should get it asap. It is a must have… a kitchen essential.

Of course I put my own little twist on the recipe, so it is not exactly the same as the one from the cook book.

INGREDIENTS 

  • olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato peeled, diced
  • 3 large carrots peeled, diced (This is not part of the original recipe. I added these. I love carrots in soup.)
  • sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Indian curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon¬†turmeric powder¬†(This is not part of the original recipe.)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder¬†(This is not part of the original recipe.)
  • a handful or semi-pearled farro
  • A little more than 1 cup of black lentils
  • 6-7 cups of water
  • 2 cubes of vegan¬†vegetable bouillon
  • greek yogurt
  • lemon juice
  • lemon zest

DIRECTIONS

  • Add onions, sweet potatoes, carrots to a large soup pot, with heated olive oil.soup
  • When veggies are soft and golden add curry powder, turmeric, cumin, salt.soup2
  • Add 6-7 cups of water and 2 cubes of vegan vegetable bouillon.
  • Add farro and lentils.
  • Bring broth to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes.soup3
  • Taste and season with more salt if needed. Taste and make sure farro and lentils are fully cooked.
  • In a side bowl, add yogurt, squeeze lemon, and stir.
  • Serve soup, top with lemon yogurt and sprinkle lemon zest.

    The Final result!

    The Final result!

This soup is super quick and really simple to make. It is also really hearty, super satisfying, extremely healthy, and very delicious. It is vegetarian, but if you are vegan omit the yogurt step.

© 2013 sweatdaily

Beans magically transformed into Vegan Chili

A couple Saturdays ago, I woke up to a gray sky and a light dusting of snow. Immediately, I felt like comfort food, but along with comfort food comes the butter, gravy, FAT. Finding something that would satisfy my craving for comfort, warm me up, but still be healthy, became my saturday mission.

My boyfriend had mentioned that Chili sounded really good, and that there was no need to run to the grocery store for ingredients. Among his stash of canned soup, canned fruit, and jarred spaghetti sauces, he had a gigantic can of chili waiting to be opened and warmed up in the microwave.

YUCK! Absolutely NOT! ¬†There is little to none, nutritional value in any canned goods.¬†¬†I don’t eat anything canned.¬†Honestly, I don’t know why anyone would. Making soups and sauces are not only my favorite things to cook, but it is also one of the easiest things to cook.

So that snowy morning, I went to MOM’s Organic Market to pick up the ingredients I would need to make my homemade Chili.

10392_10100905332643176_561693244_n

I used the recipe Spicy Heirloom Been Chili from Rachael Tibbits as a reference. I did change it up a bit to put my own twist on things.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups of dried beans
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 3 yellow onions diced
  • 1 green pepper
  • garlic cloves diced or minced
  • carrots
  • sweet potato
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes 28 oz. (In this case, it is okay to use a can, but only here. Canned tomatoes are full of flavor.)
  • chipotle in adobo peppers, diced. (I used 2. But use as many as you would like. The more you use the more smoky hot your chili will be. Illuminate seeds to reduce spice.)
  • 1 tbsp. of raw cocoa powder
  • lime
  • cilantro
  • harissa

DIRECTIONS: Vegan Chili

  • When it comes to dry beans, it is better to soak them over night. However, if you didn’t plan in advance, you can fill 2 cups of dry beans, whichever you like or have on hand, with 4 cups of water. Tip you can also use a dry bean soup mix.bean soup
  • Do not salt the beans. Bring that water to a boil and then simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Try a few beans ¬†to make sure they are tender.
  • When beans are tender drain any extra water.
  • In a separate skillet, heat olive oil, saute onions, green pepper, and garlic over medium heat.

chili 1

  • Add sweet potatoes and carrots to onions.

chili 2

  • When tender and golden brown add these to the pot of beans.
  • Add chili powder, cumin, oregano.
  • Add 1 cup water.
  • Add tomatoes.
  • Add diced up chipotle in adobo.
  • Add cocoa.
  • Simmer for 1 hour.
  • Serve, topping the dish off with lime, cilantro, and harissa.

chili 6

The finished result.

163340_10100905018248226_238759362_n

So my boyfriend refused to eat vegan chili so I had to make him a side of meat. This is how I added meat to his meal with out contaminating my vegan chili.

DIRECTIONS: A side of meat for the meat lover!

The ingredients for this was bought at the local grocery store, not an organic market.

  • Fry bacon over the stove in a large skillet. Once bacon is crispy remove from heat and set aside. Pat dry access oil.¬†
  • In the same skillet, saute diced onions, green peppers, and garlic.
  • Add corn.
  • Add ground beef
  • Once everything is cooked add bacon in cut up pieces.

chili 4

  • For your meat lover. Put meat mixture at the bottom of a bowl. Layer it with the Vegan Chili. Top off with cheese and sour cream.

chili 5

BEANS I use to hate them…

It is funny how our taste buds change, or maybe, it is just our personalities maturing, but as a young adult I never cared much for beans. I never liked Chili. I never put beans in my burritos. When eating out at a Mexican restaurant, I always substituted my side of beans for an extra side of rice. However, now that I am eating mostly a plant based diet, I am exploring the wide variety of beans that are out there. And the more I branch out the more I am finding that I am not only enjoying them, but actually loving them.

Also beans are super nutritious. They are low in Saturated Fat, Sodium, and Cholesterol. They are a good source of Vitamin B6, Iron, Magnesium, and Potassium. They are rich in Protein and Fiber.  They are also a mild inflammatory. Lean the difference nutritional value between canned beans vs. dried beans here.

As you may know, ever since I bought the cookbook Super Natural Every Day, I am now currently obsessed with recipes by Heidi Swanson. ¬†One of my favorite quotes of the book is…

“I like to get to know each individual type of bean, and when I’m trying a new one, I prepare it simply so I can acquaint myself with its unique flavor, texture, and personality. This helps me develop a sense of what I might do the next time to highlight the uniqueness of the bean. Some beans are thin-skinned, some are thick, some lend themselves to a pureed soup, while some are better whole.”

This year as I continue on with my last year’s New Years resolution- trying one unique food a week. I am now going to try more varieties of dry organic beans. I have a feeling that this will lead me to many stored mason jars of different types. Call me a nerd, or maybe I am becoming a true foodie.¬†Who knew my interest in vegan cooking and nutrition would lead me to a collection of beans.

Questions for You…

  1. What is your favorite comfort food?
  2. What is your favorite beans?

© 2013 sweatdaily

New Years Resolution for 2013

My last post focussed on the idea that setting a New Years Resolution is unnecessary for me because it is in my nature to strive to be the best I can be. Because of this, I set goals for myself in most aspects of my life, sometimes not even realizing I do. And when those goals are met, I set new ones. Always challenging myself.

However, ever since I was a little girl, I have always set a New Years Resolution so although, it is not necessary, I will continue the tradition for fun, and set one for this year.

In 2011, I was in a rut. I use to speed through the grocery store throwing the same items in my cart every time. And most days, it was just faster and easier¬†ordering the same take out everyday. ¬†Although fast and easy, I was getting really bored, plus take out definitely was not the healthiest option. So I decided my New Years Resolution for 2012 was to try one new exotic food a week. This New Years Resolution was¬†not only really fun, but it was more specific then saying, I was going to eat healthier- making it easier to follow. ¬†This New Years Resolution made me leave my comfort zone, as¬†I started to explore Whole Foods, MOM’s Organic Market, and local farmer’s markets, on a constant quest for a new unique flavor. ¬†After purchasing these new exotic flavors, I realized I did not have a clue to how to prepare them, so this New Years Resolution also made me seek knowledge, which led me to new blogs, and later creating this blog. It also led me to the kitchen, forcing me to cook, later discovering a new passion. So as you can see, one small change/goal/challenge can lead to an array of others.

This year, 2013, I want to continue on with my last years resolution of trying unique food, and cooking new recipes- mostly plant based and organic. I can’t give that up, it is now a part of me. What use to be uncomfortable, has now become my comfort. However, with that being said, my New Years Resolution for 2013 is to get my kitchen perfectly organized, in a way that will better suit my way of cooking.

The kitchen is one of the most important spaces in a home. Trust me, a bad kitchen can make you struggle as a cook Рit being to small, no storage, no dishwasher. A very bad kitchen can make you never ever want to cook- appliances being old and out of date.  A really really bad kitchen can make you never want to store food or eat there ever- small, no storage, no dishwasher, appliances super old, unusable. I have lived in places that have had really really old bad kitchens.

In May of 2012, our dream came true. My boyfriend and I moved into our very own home, after two years of searching. (It was totally worth the wait.) But we are in the city, and being in a city means places are tiny. So although, the kitchen is my favorite space in our new home, it still is a bit small. This year I want to organize my tiny kitchen so it maximizes the space. I want to find new ways of storage and displaying things, but still keeping it minimal.

This is what I have come up with so far…

397593_10100914958477926_937494359_n-1

These are stainless steel magnetic spice holders. I love them. I have them stuck on the side of my fridge. ¬†They have holes on the side – smaller side to sprinkle, larger side to get a good amount of spice out. I don’t have much cabinet space, so this frees up a shelf that would have been taken up with spices. Before I use to hate digging in the cabinet to find a spice. Sometimes I would think I had a spice and then I didn’t. Other times I would not see a spice and I would but two of the same. With these spice holders stuck to the side of my fridge I can see what I have, and what I don’t. I also can easily reach for a spice whenever I need it. I picked these up at Bed Bath and Beyond.

63613_10100914740519716_1795314128_nThese are my favorite. I found these at Anthropologie. I first got the bigger size ones, that hold pasta, but I ran back and got these smaller ones as well. The size of these are 8 oz. They are a significant amount larger than the magnetic spice holders. I decided to store some of my favorite go to ingredients in these containers. All of these ingredients are raw, natural, organic. They are full of antioxidants, and I usually use them in my my morning smoothies, oat meal, or muesli. I am glad they are close at hand. My favorite part of these containers are the chalk boards. I also love the fact that you don’t have to commit to one ingredient being in one jar. When you are done with the ingredient and the jar is empty, ¬†you can easily erase the name on the chalk board, rinse out the jar, and replace it with something else.

602950_10100914738718326_557535506_nIn this photo, I wanted to point out two things – my magnetic knife strip and my utensil holder.

Once again hanging your knives is a brilliant idea because they are easily accessible and they free up a drawer. Also try to invest in a good set of knives. Good knives make prep work fast and easy.

As for my utensil holder, it is one of my favorite things in my kitchen. The pottery is hand made, by an artist that sells his work at Eastern Market. My Aunt Kathy, when she came to visit, bought it for me as a house warming present. I think it is beautiful and does a great job holding all of my kitchen utensils. Again it is nice to have everything accessible. All of my wooden spoons are right there at reach, whenever I need them. Just as it is good to invest in a good set of knives, you should also invest in a good set of wooden spoons. These spoons are carved from olive wood from Italy, that I hand wash only.

1127_10100913259757176_1044208321_nMy sister J, bought this tea kettle for me as one of my Christmas presents! It is by far one of my favorite things I got for Christmas! I rarely microwave anything. I boil water for hot tea. I boil water for oat meal. I am always boiling water. So instead of wasting a pot, I leave this on my stove, and only use it for water.

I will never forget my water is boiling because it whistles when it is ready. My favorite thing about this tea kettle is the color. Turquoise is my favorite color, and the accent color for the rest of my house. She found this piece at World Market!

314093_10100688154270376_747974023_nThis is my pot holder! I highly recommend you hang your pots and pans. Again this makes your pots and pans accessible, and you are freeing up a drawer or cabinet.

386579_10100914743578586_1741409132_n

 

So this is a photo of my kitchen! The pots and pans are hanging on the other side next to the fridge. There are still some things I need to work through, but I think this is a really good start. Because I have been enjoying my kitchen, cooking has become enjoyable. I actually have been cooking up a storm, and I have four new recipes to tell you about, a new spice to tell you to try… so keep your eyes open, I will be posting those in the next couple of days.

So that sums up my New Years Resolution for 2013… which I am only setting not because it is necessary, but because it is tradition and fun!

198580664791257349_rtdvtzuf_cQuestions for You…

  1. What is your New Years Resolution for 2013?
  2. What is your favorite space in your home?
  3. Do you have any fun storage ideas for your kitchen?

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

 

 

 

super natural every day

Does anyone else get super overwhelmed with Christmas shopping? It should be fun, right? Because my family is childless, the idea of adults buying presents for adults seems kind of silly. However, I am a knitter, so I almost always hand make most of my gifts. But this year, I found myself on a desperate hunt for that special something, which holds the qualities of unique and creative, but also thoughtful and useful. The problem was I kept finding that special something that would be unique and useful for me…

For example, I was in Anthropologie and I found Super Natural Every Day, a cookbook written by Heidi Swanson. She opens this book telling us about her home San Francisco. Her descriptions are so lovely, it made me want to move there asap. She also gives us a peek inside her cupboard and pantry. She tells us where she shops for food, as she teaches us the ultimate definition of Natural.

foodbook

As I said before, I was in search for something unique and useful. This book meets those qualities because in this country every day is a challenge to eat organic and vegetarian.

Changing the subject now…

My New Year’s resolution for 2012 was to eat one unique exotic food I had never tried before, every week. This made me on a constant quest to seek knowledge on these new foods I discovered. It forced me to go to local farmers markets, my favorite one being the Crystal City Farmer’s Market. I would rush over there on Tuesday, during my break at work. What I loved most about this market is that it was on a weekday so most of the time the farmers were there themselves working the stand.

farms

farmstomato

farmsorganicI also started to explore some of the organic grocery stores, becoming a regular shopper at Whole Foods, MOM’s Organic Market, and rarely, but sometimes Trader Joe’s. Although, they are expensive, my health is worth the money, (and so is yours!)

10392_10100905332643176_561693244_nWhen it comes to Whole Foods verse MOM’s, Whole Foods is much bigger and has more options. However, MOM’s has less imported things, most of their products are more locally grown. It is smaller, but their selection is more exclusive. When it comes to Trader Joe’s, I like it, but I feel like the store has a lot of packaged items, which is not really my thing. I don’t snack much, and although packaged products can be organic or vegan, I much rather get the whole food.

back to the book…

So lets get back to the fabulous cookbook, Super Natural Everyday. The title of this book says it all. This is the way I want to eat, cook, live. Every attempt, I have made at being vegetarian has failed in the past because I simply didn’t feel full with out animal protein. This September when I decided to give it a try again, I decided I am not going to label myself as anything. I simply decided to ease into it by having meatless and dairy-free days. Now I am buying fabulous cookbooks like this one, and learning how to cook more vegetarian/vegan meals.

The meal I decided to try was her stuffed tomatoes, but instead of using six tomatoes, I used three tomatoes, two green peppers, and two portobello mushrooms. I actually ended up liking the portobello mushroom best.

foodSimply wash them, and clean out the insides only saving the tomato insides. Put those a side in a large mixing bowl.

food2Add shallots, garlic, basil, harissa, olive oil, salt, yogurt, couscous. Stuff the vegetables to the top and cook them for 50-60 mins in a 350 degree hot oven.

foodstuffed

Now this is what I am talking about! This is a must try delicious recipe, and the best part is that it is a filling satisfied vegetarian dish.

For more info on Heidi Swanson you can check out her personal site here. You can also purchase her book, Super Natural Every Day, at Anthropologie.

© 2012 sweatdaily

 

 

 

 

Lets talk about food!

It is funny how… once I changed my eating habits and started eating clean, eating fresh organic whole foods, I no longer crave junk. And on the rare occasions I do, weakly give in, I soooo regret it. My stomach can no longer tolerate the high fat, processed shit, like it use to.

DINNERS

I wanted to show you a couple photos of past dinners I have made…

This is the dinner I ate tonight. It is vegan and organic. It consists of broccoli, onions, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, squash, brussel sprouts, spinach/kale, salt, olive oil. All of these ingredients are poured over quinoa.

This is a dinner I had earlier this week. It is organic.  I love Whole Foods Market. They have vegetables already washed, cut up, and prepared. All you have to do is saute them over the stove. I used one of these prepackaged vegetable platters and cooked it over the stove adding spinach, sun dried tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes. I pored the veggies over rice. Poached an egg, and sliced up a side of avocado. This is a well balanced meal, including healthy fats, protein, and colorful veggies infused with antioxidants.

This dinner was one I ate last week. It consists of onions, cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, capers, spinach, poured over rice with a side of wild caught salmon. This meal is very well balanced with healthy fats, protein, omega 3s, carbs, and colorful veggies infused with vitamins and antioxidants.

This meal is a dinner I ate last week. It consists of similar ingredients but includes pine nuts. Again, it is an organic, well balanced meal. These dinners are also very easy and fast meals to cook. They are simple, but full of color, flavor, and texture.

LUNCH

Most days I eat a variety of salads for lunch.

Breakfast

Everyday, I drink a Chai Latte. Somedays, I eat a greek yogurt or oatmeal.

Snack

Fruit, such as strawberries and nutella.  Hummus and raw veggies or pita. Toast with Almond Butter. Smoothie with Vega protein powder.  All of these are great snack ideas.

My problem is never eating to much. I always have the problem of not eating enough. But just as your car need gas, your body needs food. Food is fuel for your body. So eat clean on regular intervals, so your body can continue strong through out the day, full of energy.

What is your favorite healthy snack?

© 2012 sweatdaily

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Soup

20121015-170746.jpg

Final photo of Soup made last night. Read the full post at http://sweatdaily.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/829

My whole house smells like pumpkin…

I have always had a love/ hate relationship with food. 

Let me explain…

Here is the love part: I love food. I have always considered myself some what of a foodie. When I was a child, I hated Mac & Cheese. I hated grilled cheese. I just wasn’t down with the kid’s menu. Instead, I always indulged with maybe a plate of hot wings, mussels, or a half dozen Maryland Bay Crabs. The point is I have always enjoyed unique food with big flavor. I am not scared to explore, and I am always open to try new foods from all nationalities.

Now here is the hate part:¬†The problem with enjoying a variety of different foods, is that sometimes I feel that I have a hard time disciplining myself to eat a certain way. I would love to be vegan, and although I know eating a plant based diet is by far one of the healthiest ways to eat, I just can’t label myself. I’m not going to lie, some mornings I just want an iced Chai Lattes with skim milk. So for now, I am eating mainly plant based, and meat/dairy is consumed in moderation – some days are meatless, some days are dairy free. Plus I try to purchase all of my meat/dairy as organic, and on the rare occasions when organic isn’t available I go for kosher.

Some nevers and always: I rarely eat red meat. I rarely eat pork products. I never eat ground meats of any kind. I never eat processed meats or eggs. I never buy milk. I always buy wild caught fish.

More of the hate part:¬†I don’t think I am a bad cook, but I am still learning, and sometimes my 30 minute meals takes two hours. So as you can see, cooking is time consuming. It also takes a lot of planning. You need to plan the meal, buy the ingredients. All of this is a struggle for me. Sometimes it is just easier to eat out.

My favorite types of Blogs

So my new obsession is actually health food blogs, especially vegan ones. I love reading them, and learning new ways to prepare veggies. One blog that I just recently came across is called Super Foodie Adventure. Last night, I actually made one of the recipes found on her blog and it came out awesome. The recipe is called  Beetroot and Pumpkin Dahl with smashed Avocado and Coriander.

Here are some pictures of my attempt of cooking this recipe.

chopped up onions, good in most meals.

3 garlic cloves, smashed up, way better than finely chopped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By cooking this soup, I got to use pumpkin for the first time. I never took a whole pumpkin and pealed it and cut it into cubes, until now. My whole house smelled lovely.

 

 

 

 

 

Also in my recipe I used golden beets instead of the purple ones used in the original recipe. This was my first time cooking and eating golden beets. They have less messy juice, and they taste a little less strong.

Everything in the pot cooking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really also love the Indian flavors used in the dish.  I also found it really shocking of how satisfied and full I felt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used this rice and lentil medley in the soup as well. Everything is very healthy, filling, full of flavor. When all ingredients are cooked you put the soup in a blender or food processor to blend and pulse the soup, then you top it off with smashed up avocado and cilantro.

Anyway, those are the pictures I have so far of the healthy ingredients I used for this recipe. I am really enjoying reading food blogs. It is making me try new food combos I would have never thought of trying. It is also educating me on healthy foods especially produce I would have never bought or cooked.

Always open minded, and pushing my limits physically and mentally. 

Questions for you…

  1. Who is your favorite food blogger?
  2. What is the most interesting veggie dish you have prepared?

© 2012

Sunsets and Food in Martha’s Vineyard

This is my last post about my wonderful time in Martha’s Vineyard. I know it seems like I have been obsessing over my 5 days on the Island, but I just can’t help it, my runs were awesome and so were my photos.

I also loved everything I ate.

Before I get into that, let me take you back. For the last five years, I have read a lot of literature on nutrition. Some of my favorites including the books, Skinny Bitches,¬†The Eat Clean Diet, The Crazy Sexy Diet, Healing Teas.¬†I have also watched the documentaries,¬†Super Bad,¬†Crazy Sexy Cancer, and¬†Forks over Knives.¬†More than half of my research talks about the harmful effects meat and dairy has on the body, and how much more beneficial it is to just eat a plant based diet. All of my research has proved that processed and refined sugar is extremely ¬†harmful for the body. I don’t want to label myself as vegetarian or vegan, but I have been limiting processed foods, refined sugar and artificial sugars, yeast, dairy, and most meat with the exception of fish.

I¬†may get more into detail about nutrition in a later post, but for now I want to talk about how awesome the food is in Martha’s Vineyard. I had been struggling with eating less meat especially red meat in the past. When I run long, for marathon training, my body just craves steak. However when it comes to eating healthy I try to just take it one day at a time.

What I love about Martha’s Vineyard is the variety of seafood options. I did not eat any red meat not once, because all I ate was fish. The best part is how fresh the seafood is. Nothing shipped or frozen. Literally you purchase your lobster from the fisherman that caught it that day.

I ate this Lobster. My favorite!

Two years ago in Martha’s Vineyard I actually went clamming and crabbing. I got in the water and fetched my own dinner and then cooked it later, Clam Chowder, Clam Casino, a Crabs feast. This year I didn’t have the opportunity to do that because I went deep sea fishing instead, and caught and ate a sea bass. But when it came to clams, my bf’s step mom, went clamming. We ate her homemade clam chowder, and the clams were so fresh we ate them right on the half shell. We also had amazing steamers.

Food does not have to be complicated. It can stay simple, because it will be full of it’s own natural flavors if it is fresh and in season. ¬†And that is how it is in Martha’s Vineyard, everything fresh, everything in season, everything simple.

© 2012

 

City Summer, Urban Garden

Refreshing Swims in the Ocean.

Barefoot runs on the beach.

Boat rides.

Sun bathing pool side.

Eating crab feasts.

There are a lot of fabulous things about summer…

But I don’t belong to a pool. I don’t own a boat. And the closest beach is 2 hours away. So what is the point? What is good about city summers? I’ll tell you… although, everything above is fabulous, and every begining of every summer I tell myself, “This summer I am going to be at the beach every weekend, the pool every morning, on a boat on the Fourth of July…” the truth is I never do. These fabulous things just don’t exist in a city, but guess what does… Vegetables.

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Some people truly believe that people don’t change. Well I couldn’t disagree more. I actually find it funny how people grow and change. The one thing that will never change about me is the simple fact that I am happier when surrounded by beautiful things. But is it possible that what I find beautiful has changed? In my early 20s, I always considered myself a city girl, well that is what I was… But now in my late 20s I have found a greater apprieciation for both worlds, and actually find myself longing to be surrounded by less archetechturally beautiful buildings and more nature.

The more educated I become about food, the more deeper my desire is to grow as much of my own food as I can. My love for plants first began when I was a child when my mother planted a flower box garden outside my bedroom window. It was my job to water them a couple times a week. I also always had some sort of cactus or indoor plant in my bedroom to tend to. As an adult having a garden had always been in the back of my mind, but seemed impossible, when living in a rented apartment.  But last spring (Spring 2011) after reading the book, Crazy Sexy Diet, by Kris Carr, I started to consider attempting to grow my very own vegetable garden, rented apartment or not.

In the, Crazy Sexy Diet, Kris Carr is a cancer survivor, that changes her life, by changing her diet. She goes from eating the average american diet, full off processed foods to a vegetable based diet, that revolves around juicing. The juicing part of the book is what stuck with me most. I was inspired and immediately bought a juicer and began making yummy juices.

green juice, sweetened by farmers market bought, honeydew melon.

Juicing was an easy way for me to get in a morning breakfast pre run or post run. But it also got expensive, always buying fresh produce. Especially when juicing Kale or Spinach because this type of produce perishes so fast. I then began to think- It would be awesome if I could grow this stuff.

As you may know, I am a hairstylist, and one of the many amazing things about my job is that everyday I get the opportunity to converse among several different clients. Of corse I brought up my idea of starting my very own vegetable garden to each and every one of them. And to my surprise, many of my clients had gardens of their own, and they were openly willing to share their tips of the trade with me. One of my clients actually told me not to be discouraged. “You don’t need a yard.” She’d say… “You can grow anything, in a container.” ¬†So that is what I did, successfully.

This year, I actually moved. I only moved one zip code over, but I am no longer in a rented apartment, but rather my very own first home. Home ownership feels good, but moving is a lot of work, so unfortunately I wasn’t able to plant my garden in my yard. Plus I was debating on building a raise bed. I also wanted to test the yard’s sunlight. So I continued my container garden, successfully.

I spy a pepper.

Basil, Mint, Sage.

Herbs

Lemon/Lime tree

Cucumber/ Melons.

Kumquat Tree

Rosemary Jungle

Tomato Plant

Eggplant, my pride and joy.

Basil, rosemary, fresh from the garden.

So let me tell you some wonderful advantages you have when growing plants in containers. The most awesome advantage is that you have all the control.

  • Soil:¬†You can can control the soil. For example if your plant is organic, then use organic soil. If your plant contains mainly water, such as cucumber, then choose moisture locking soil.
  • Sun Exposue:¬†You can control the amount of sun or shade your plant receives, by simply picking it up and moving it to a more sunny spot or more shady spot.
  • Temperature: You can control the temperature. If it is to cold outside and your plant can’t survive in cold temperatures you can bring your plant indoors. If it is to hot¬†and the leaves are dry and wilting, let your plant spend the day inside.
  • I also find that when plants are in a container, animals tend to leave them alone. I could be wrong about this, but that is my experience.

The only real disadvantage of a container garden is that your plant will only grow as big as the container lets it. This can be limiting in harvest, but for those plants that grow like weeds, such as rosemary, mint, basil, etc. you have the control to set their boundaries by planting them in a containers. Also another slight disadvantage is that your plants may not come back the next year, but to my surprise last year my romaine lettuce reappeared in its container this spring. So I guess anything is possible.

I love having a vegetable garden. I would have a farm, but my yard simply isn’t large enough. I love eating fresh summer vegetables ripe, right from the vine, it is my favorite thing about summer.

Questions for you…

  1. What is your favorite thing about summer?
  2. Do you have a vegetable garden?
  3. What are you growing and eating?

©2012