Garden carrots

I pulled up my carrots from my garden!  I have never grown carrots before, and I probably will never grow them again.  They were super easy to grow, but hard to determine what was a weed, and what was a carrot.  Also, they blew away into my path and into other plants.  I think that having a raised bed ma have been the way to go.  Never the less, I am still proud of am carrots.

carrots from garden

My Carrots

Since this was the 1st time I have grown carrots, I was still looking for sure signs when to pull them.  My seed packet said 60 days.  So, in my head that means 2 months.  I had planted them, and basically, they did their own thing.  My garden is watered daily.  After 2 months, I pulled up one, and it wasn’t an orange color nor was it really large enough.  Naturally I waited some more.  Another week, and I pulled up another carrot, this one looked good.  I am now ready to use them.  Just remember if you grow your own carrots, store them with the green tops on, and never store them close to apples or pears.

One thing people need to know is that store bought food and home grown food do not look the same.  The cute “baby” carrots are given a chlorine bath.   I saw a fox news cast on baby carrots, and I can’t get over it.  Shelf life is very important for the food industry.  Nutrition is not significant. Here is a link to a fox news story:

http://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/2014/01/07/truth-behind-baby-carrots.html

I can’t wait to make something with them!

Cinnamon and Virus

So, I spent my weekend with a sick kiddo.  I did take her to the doctor to be told it is just a virus.  My 5 year old daughter had a 103.7 fever on Tuesday, and it was staying at 101 and 102 through Friday.  On Friday, I had enough and took her to the doctor.  Also, it always seems that my kiddos get worse over the weekend.  As always, I paid for a doctor to just look and say, “Yep, it is a virus.”  I had been using my essential oils, but that will be another blog.  I decided to try the honey and cinnamon  cure.  What is that, you ask?  Let me tell you! My mother, and probably her mother, used the spoon full of cinnamon and honey helps the virus go away for ever.  I am not a doctor, nor am I in the medical field therefore I cannot give medical advice.  Please always talk to a doctor if you have any questions.

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My view for the weekend

What you need:

  • 1 tbsp of local honey
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon

You want to make sure you have more honey than cinnamon.  No one like a spoonful of cinnamon.  If you are giving it to a child I would recommend mixing it together in a ramekin before giving it to a child.  Then give the spoonful of virus bye-bye magic.

cinnamon

Cinnamon

I gave my daughter this  mixture once a day for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  I was preparing myself to call the doctor and give her my two cents because we weren’t seeing an improvement.  Monday morning, I was getting ready for work, and my sweet daughter woke up and told me she is hungry.  I quickly cut up a peach, and took her temperature.  What?!?!  It was almost normal… 99.1.  My phone call to the doctor would have to wait.  I woke up my husband and told him I will call him later.  What do you know, she was fine the rest of the day.  They even went to the park!  It seems like we were on the other side of the virus.  I suggest to everyone to try it when you aren’t feeling well.

honey

Some Local Honey

Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie

I am enjoying my breakfast smoothies.  This week I am trying the peanut butter and banana smoothie.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large banana peeled
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 tbsp of peanut butter
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tsp of honey (optional)

So, I have been trying it out in different ways.  I love just the plain peanut butter and banana smoothie.  I have figured out that freezing a banana is great!  I like for my smoothies to be cold.  So, I peel and break in half and freeze.  The frozen banana adds to the coldness, and it also allows me to keep bananas longer.

Seasonal allergies as a problem for me, so I like to incorporate local honey for my allergies.  We have a local farmer’s market, and I pick up a jar as I need.  Since I am trying to do a smoothie for breakfast, I like adding in my honey for a sweetener.  You have to use local honey to help with allergies.   According to my local bee man, the reason is because my local bees go to the local flowers, and they gather the local pollen into their honey.  Also, it is great to support local bees.

banana smoothie

My smoothie before blending it all up!

The cinnamon was a twist to add to it.  I have done with and without cinnamon.  I enjoy both ways.  The smoothie pictured above, my daughter helped me make, and we made a little bit of a mess.  Making messes is just part of my day.

Let me know if you tried it, and how you like your peanut butter banana smoothie.

 

 

Walking the Dog

As I am trying to change my life style, food is one thing, but moving is another ball game.  We have a beautiful brindle boxer who loves to go for a walk.  Truth be told, we usually just let him in the backyard to do his business.  I have decided that I am going to walk a mile in under 15 minutes.  I took the first step, and went out with the dog and the girls.  We walked for 17 minutes, and almost a mile.  Great!  I can do this!  I have been walking the dog once a day.  We are at 19 minutes to do a mile.  I now have my starting point, and my walking partner.

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My walking partner

While we are walking, I stop to reflect on my life.  I honestly am blessed.  I live in a beautiful place, and I have a wonderful family.   I snapped this image to remind me while I am working on being a better me, I am blessed at the same time.

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On my walk….

I will try and post a photo from my walks weekly and hopefully, my time will improve.

Morning Smoothies

During my lifestyle changes, everyone wants to talk about green smoothies.  Let me tell you, green smoothies does not sound appetizing.  I like salads, but I don’t want to make my salad into a smoothie.  I was talking to a friend, and she told me to make sure I put protein in my smoothing to help fill me up.  I went out and bought an organic protein from purely inspired and a bag of frozen organic peaches and strawberries.  I am all set now to start making smoothies.  I have decided to skip the “green” part for my first week.

protein

Here is my breakfast smoothie for this week:

Ingredients:

  • 2 scoops of Purely inspired protein
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • cup of frozen peaches
  • cup of frozen strawberries.

I blended it all together, and I realized I needed more liquid.  Quickly, I just added water to it.    Then I was all set.  I had my first morning breakfast smoothie.  Honestly, it was good.  It did fill me up until about 10:30, which was normal for me.  I eat breakfast at 6:30, so 4 hours is a great amount of time to not get hungry.  My peach and strawberry smoothie will be for this week, and I will attempt a new recipe next week.  What is your favorite smoothie recipe?

 

Samsung Health

Hello everyone!  I am trying to be healthier, and I really want to feel better all around. I have a lot of weight I need to lose, but I also need to better life style.  Food is a big deal in my house, and we need to make better choices.  I have just recently started to use an app on my phone called Samsung Health.  I do not have the expensive pedometer.  The app is free, and it was already programmed on my phone.  All I have to do it use it!  I love free apps that are actually useful!

So far the app is easy to use.  I put the phone in my pocket, and go about my day.  It records my steps for me.  It even tells me what time of day I most active.  You are able to set you goal for steps.  I have mine set at 6,000.  On days I work, I am able to meet my goal, but I struggle on other days.  This information helps me to look at myself.  What times do I need to try to add some movement in my day?  When am I most active?  When am I least active?  What can I do to move more?

samsung health

The app also allows you to measure your heart rate.  All you have to do is put your finger on the sensor (which is the flash on my phone).  Knowing your heart rate is important (or at least that is what my doctor tells me).  Samsung health tells me my resting heart rate should be between 61 and 82.  So, I like to check it while I am resting to make sure that my extra weight has not caused me to have heart problems.  The app also allows you to track your heart rates during different activities (ie resting, exercise)

 

heart rate

My measured resting heart rate.

Another great feature is the oxygen measuring tool.  My oxygen percent has never been an issue for me, but I love to track it.  With both the Oxygen and heart beats, the app tracks them for you.  You can check to see where you are falling in the weeks.  I have started to see a decrease (a small one) in my resting heart rate.  That is exciting for me.

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Comparing my Oxygen stats to the rest of the week.

There is also a part to measure and time your workouts.  My youngest daughter wants to learn to do the splits.  (Oh my Alanta)  So, we have been stretching each night.  I time us, and the app will tell me how many calories I burned.  So, that is a nice added bonus.  It has other physical activities you can measure your time on, and it will tell you the amount calories you burned!  That is a great way to plan a work out.  I chose to put on my screen just stretching and walking.  Right now I am not in the “working-out” phase.  I hope to soon, but not yet.  I have tried to take walks, and the app tells me about my walks.  As you can see, I walked for 17 minutes, for .81 miles.  I think my new goal should be a mile under 15 minutes.

workout

Also, you can track your sleep.  Sleep is a very important part of your day/night.  Sleep is when your body is able to heal itself.  What an amazing thing our body really is!

Cons about the App

How accurate is the steps?  I do not wear a pedometer or a fit bit or a smart phone.  So, I am sure the count is off.  I am not worried about it because it just helps me to increase my steps anyways.  The goal for me is to be more active, not to have a set number.  I am not an exact kind of person, so I am good with it not being right on exact number.  

Another problem I have is that I have to charge up my phone.  While it is charging, I am not able to walk around with my phone.  Once again it goes back to how accurate is it.  I changer it at my desk during the day, and at night when I am relaxing, not really walking around.  My husband has suggested getting a mobile charger to walk around with, but we are trying to save money and not buy extra right now.

The third dilemma I had was that I don’t always have pockets.  So, how to I take my phone with me.  A clip on would help, but I don’t have one of those either, and once again we are trying not to buy extra.

Overall, I am loving the Samsung Health app.  It is making me more accountable for moving and not sitting so much.  How do you use the Samsung Health app?

Easy Onion Potatoes

My husband is a potatoes kind of guy.  I have the easiest potatoes recipes.  Potatoes can be very healthy for you, especially if you keep the skin on.  Potatoes are rich in vitamin B!  Which is great if you are feeling week and sluggish.  Since I am trying to eat healthier, but I don’t want to give up my good food, I used my potatoes in oil and onion bake.  This recipe is so easy and so delicious!

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • French Onion Dry soup mix
  • potatoes
  • salt and pepper for taste

I bought a bag of potatoes.  I have used both red and rustic potatoes.  This time I used only rustic potatoes.  First I preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Then I mix up olive oil and the French onion soup mix to make it all liquid first.  This day I used my oregano infused oil.  Next I cut up about 4-6 potatoes depending on the size.  I place the potatoes in the pan and drizzle the oil and soup mix over the potatoes.  Then I add salt and ground pepper to the top for taste.

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Potatoes before cooking.

The potatoes bake for about 40 minutes.  I will stir them 2 or 3 times while baking to help mix up the flavors.  My house starts to smell delicious!  The end result is an easy potato dish with wonderful flavor.

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The end result!

Let me know what you think!  It is definitely one of our favorites in my house!

Mexican Rice

I have been growing roma tomatoes, scallions, and peppers in my garden. I needed a good way to use them.  In my house, we eat very unhealthy.  I am on a quest to attempt to change our life style.  Looking at my three ingredients, I immediately thought of rice! Then I thought no way, that is way too hard!  But then I went for it!

Materials needed:

  • roma tomatoes
  • onion powder
  • cooked rice
  • scallions
  • Serrano peppers
  • garlic powder
  • oil
  • ground pepper

 

I started with my scallions.  Since I am growing the,m, I just cut off what I needed.  The white part of the scallion is what has the most flavor, but I have 2 younger girls that are not onion fans.  I cut them to heat in the oil.  I used my oregano infused oil because I am obsessed with it!

scallons

After I cut up my scallions, I cut up my Serrano peppers. I included a picture because I am so proud of them!  I allowed them to heat up together to infuse the spices together.  I added the garlic and onion powder for taste.

pepper

Next I added the cooked rice.  On medium heat, I allowed the flavors to mix together.  Since I am staying away from unhealthy food, I left out the salt.  I did add ground pepper.  Then I diced up my Roma tomatoes.  Yes, these are also from my garden!

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Fresh picked this morning

I loved the smells coming from the rice.   Now, you could add chicken or beans to the rice.  It was starting to look and smell so good!

rice

Mexican Rice

I scooped it up and put a drop of salsa on the top.  We were ready for a more natural side dish.  White rice is not the best choice, but I am trying to move into the correct direction. Next time I will attempt whole wheat rice.  Both of my daughters loved it!  My husband wanted more spice to it, but you can’t win them all.

Healthier Tasty Corn

Corn!  As a southern girl, I love some corn!  Dump butter and salt and pepper, and I have a great side dish.  Corn is easy to cook and tastes oh so yummy.  Did you know that corn isn’t high is calories either!  An ear of corn has about the same calories as an apple.

I grabbed a bag of frozen corn, and I was ready to make a healthier side option for dinner tonight.  If you saw my past post, I have just finished making oregano infused oil.  Sad to say, “Bye, bye butter!”  So, I dumped in my frozen corn in a pot, and I added 2 tbsp of my oregano oil.  I added ground pepper for flavoring.  The oregano oil filled the kitchen with a wonderful smell.  I put a lid on it, and I stirred occasionally.  The outcome was a delicious sweet corn dish.  It was easy to make and everyone in my family ate it up!

corn

Materials needed:

  • bag of frozen corn
  • 2 tbsp Oregano infused oil
  • ground pepper

Steps:

  • put bag of corn in pot
  • add oregano oil
  • add ground pepper
  • put lid on pot
  • stir occasionally

Oregano Oil

Hello!  I am keeping a small garden.  In my small garden, I am growing oregano.  I am very excited about this wondrous herb.  It has many different medical purposes.  Oregano is  an antioxidant.  Since I am still new at this getting healthier lifestyles, I had to google “what is an antioxidant.”  I found out that it is basically what helps to break down the bad things in my food.  Oregano is also great for fighting flu and respiratory problems.

Great!  Now I know I need more oregano to help me with my healthier lifestyle.  I do not like to cook, and I am wanted easy ways to start using my oregano.  I decided to attempt to make oregano infused oil.  First of all, let’s make sure you know that infused oil is not the same as essential oil.  Essential oil is made from the pressed oregano.   Infusing is using a carrier oil with the herb.  I followed some easy basic steps to create my infused oil.

Materials needed:

  • Glass jar (I used an old red sauce jar)
  • 4 cups of dried oregano
  • 2 cups of virgin olive oil
  • Strainer

First step was to pick the oregano.  You must rinse and dry the leaves.  I picked them and then left them on the counter to dry.  I picked the herb in the morning, and they were ready at night.  After drying, I was ready to start infusing.  you want to make sure the leaves are dry completely.  If water gets into the oil, it can cause the oil to become rancid.  I did not cut the leaves.  I left the leaves whole.  I poured in the oil with the leaves.  You have to make sure the lid is closed tightly to make sure moisture does not get in the jar.

Jar

After I put the oregano leaves in the oil, I boiled it in water for 5 minutes to help speed up the process.   I sat the mixture out for 5 days in our window sill.

Now comes the fun!  Straining!  You have to strain out the oregano leaves from the oil.  A cheese cloth is the best route to go.  If you are like me, you don’t have a cheese cloth.  I use my trusty strainer.  It worked fine.  I did have a few leaves make it through, but I am able to use a spoon and get them out.  What I was left with was a beautiful greenish oil, and boy did it smell yummy! I can’t wait to start cooking with it!

oil

The infused oil must stay in a darker area to help keep it fresh.  I do have a feeling that I will be using my Oregano infused oil in cooking coming up!  I can’t wait to replace butter! Making life style changes it the first step to my healthier life!