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If the only spices you have in your cupboard are salt and pepper, it is time for you to “Kick it up a notch!” Cooking with fresh herbs not only makes adds fragrance, color, and curb appeal to your dish; but, it enhances the flavor.
I never used fresh herbs because the dried herbs seemed simpler and less expensive, but it’s cheap if you plant your own herb garden. Spring is the perfect time to do just that! This year, I decided to start my garden from seeds indoors and it has been much cheaper. I only have my spinach in the ground as of now. Here are all my early vegetable starts–radish, pepper, tomato, zucchini, cucumber, onion, beets, squash—
and here are my herb starts—
basil, dill, cilantro, rosemary, chives, oregano, thyme, mint
Here is how easy it is to start your own herb garden…..AND FUN! Here are just a few of the most commonly used herbs:
Rosemary: My personal favorite. It is an annual (have to replant it each year), but can grow from late May thru August. It can flourish with little watering and even though it prefers full sun it can tolerate slightly shady areas.
Basil: It is also an annual, but once it “takes off” there is no stopping it. Plant it in various stages. In other words, plant one or two in May and then another in June and maybe even July. You can never have too much basil. At the end of the season, you can take what is left before the first freeze and make pesto sauce. (I will tell you how to do that later, when we get to that point.) Basil needs lots of sun and normal watering. The most important thing to remember is to always take from the top. You never want it to flower, so keep pinching the tops off.
Chives: Yea! Chives are a perennial (comes back without replanting) so if you get a good base and established roots, they will come back time and time again. Chives are a gimme. It likes sun, but can tolerate it at dusk or dawn. For best results you should divide your root “clumps” every 2-3 years.
Cilantro: Not so easy and personally I think the hardest herb to grow. It too, is an annual. Plant it in early spring. It does great until the end of May and then dies off. At that point I go to market and buy it at a dollar a bunch. Not worth the headache at that price.
Dill: It is technically an annual. However, I have seen dill “pop-up” throughout my yard via the seed that float through air after the season is over. It is pretty easy to grow. Like Rosemary, it prefers sun, but can grow in the shade.
Mint: It is a perennial and will take over your entire yard. Therefore, I would recommend growing it in a pot or other controlled environment. Especially, since I don’t know very many uses for it other than it is fabulous in juicing and beverages/desserts. It likes sun, shade, rain, no rain….beware.
Oregano: Is also a perennial that needs to be controlled or it will turn into fragrant ground cover. Now while there are several more uses for oregano, you need to be sure to keep it contained year after year. Like mint, it requires no TLC and is happy to get what it gets in hopes of being “picked” for that next marinade.
Parsley. It is a perennial. It is one of the most commonly used herbs. In fact, it is probably the only one that most people use fresh or regularly with salt and pepper. I always keep it in my garden mainly for color. It honestly costs about $ .75 a bunch at the store.
Sage. It is a perennial that demands little care. Most importantly, at the end of the season, cut the stems and split the roots periodically through the years. It likes sun or shade. Are you beginning to sense a trend….perennials are a piece of cake!
Thyme. Last but not least. It can come back, but it does demand care. It is a slow-growing herb so it’s only request is to keep weeds and all other herbs AWAY! It needs its space.
Posted on May 23, 2016 by
I love some of Dee’s older posts that are so insightful on how we are brain washed into thinking we need to eat so much. It is a complete attack on all of our senses—
Our wonderful country has transformed into one in which many fortunate citizens are overindulged, overstocked and overfed. I see so many kids who have such an air of entitlement. Many of us use money we don’t have to buy things we don’t need. There is this great sense of getting more, needing more, wanting more. Restaurants and fast food chains jump right into the game of giving us what we want. When you look at a commercial for, lets say, a pancake house you can see exactly what I mean. First, they give you the price of something-99 and then you see the combo – stack of pancakes, two kinds of meat, two eggs and a side of home fries. All of this is for one person. This is such a common assortment of food and it is set up to please every part of the palette, that we really don’t stop to realize that the Grand Slam could easily satisfy the hunger of three or four adults. I know that when I am presented with the option of such a meal, I act before I think…I don’t want to do without the potatoes, and the savory, salty, crispy bacon tastes so great; it all goes really well with scrambled eggs and then there is the warm, fluffy texture of melt-in-your-mouth pancakes – a wonderful symphony of food. The truth is, I’ve had MANY weekday breakfasts that consisted of one hard-boiled egg. And that was a sufficient bit of food to hold me over from morning until lunch. But when we have all of this bundled into one fine presentation there are a couple of things that food marketers use to sabotage our senses. First, there is the “value” catch. For $2, I can order one egg but for another $1.50 I can make it a sandwich with cheese and bacon and for a total of $5 bucks, it comes with tater-tots and a small OJ. So I might have only wanted or needed one egg, but I choose the whole lot. Second, there’s the waste factor. Now that I’ve ordered all of this food, at a bargain price, I need to eat it all as to not waste it. I may have realized I’m full after barely starting to consume the meal, but there are only two alternatives once it’s in front of me – throw perfectly good food into the garbage or eat it.
Now back to the title of my blog, “diminishing returns.” Wouldn’t you say that the very first bite of a piece of chocolate cake is the best bite? The second one is pretty good, and maybe the third. By three bites your mouth is very happy and has had a good chance to fully experience the great flavor. The more you eat, the less fabulous the taste. While the flavor is still good, these subsequent bites from number three to clean plate are really somewhat mechanical, you just keep going and going until the food is gone without the ability to savor the dish as you did with bites one through three. If you order a meal at most restaurants, get a carry out container right up front to box half for another meal. You’ll be amazed to see how many double portion meals you get and how full you feel after only eating half.
Posted on May 15, 2016 by
So after beating myself up last week for the Epic Kroger fail— I decided that meal planning was a must on the weekends. It’s just too busy during the week to be a superhero. I made the Panera copy cat egg / avocado/tomato breakfast sandwiches (sans bread) and had some healthy dinners. We managed to eat well despite softball games and band practice. This last weekend was perfect for meal prep as well because I was able to prep quite a few meals and watch an entire season of “Beat Bobby Flay” at the same time (dang-that guy aways wins).
So here is how this weekend’s prep started:
These suddenly became a Pinterest Win! (Most of my Pinterest creations are a little sad)
Yep —you got it !!!! Salad jars! Some dressing at the bottom to keep them fresh and they became lunch for the week. They surprisingly stay really fresh!
A Mediterranean Chicken Casserole :
We ate it for dinner (even the kids liked it) and then I took leftovers for lunch- it was uber easy my friends!
1 Whole Organic Pastured chicken (can bake or boil)–or a cheat is to buy the healthiest rotisserie chicken you can find
1 can of black olives rinsed well and sliced
1 can of artichokes rinsed well and sliced
1 carton of organic grape tomatoes
1 handful fresh chopped organic spinach
2 chopped organic zucchini
1 TBS of primal kitchen avocado mayo
(add a dash of lemon juice to keep avocado from browning)
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 350—
Combine all the ingredients and place in a baking dish — then cook covered 25-30min until hot —
VOILA— easy peasy dinner is served —
NOTE: You can use the HOMEMADE MAYO recipe found HERE -as well. I was just lazy.
You can order the primal avocado mayo here or find it in the Angela MD store off the home page of the blog along with other supplements and books I recommend.
As always– leave me some comments below on any new make ahead recipes you have found! I love your feedback and participation. We are all in this together!!!!
Posted on May 7, 2016 by
Grilling is a great way to eliminate fats and oils while preparing meats and veggies. Plus it’s a fun way to stay outdoors to eat and cook. Disposable plates mean you stay out of the kitchen completely.
FoodFacts.com would like to discuss grilling season.
With grilling season just around the corner, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last month released a pamphlet with grilling tips for the safe preparation of foods.
E-coli and salmonella are two of the most well-known and common food-borne illnesses in existent, and both illnesses are often contracted through the incorrect preparation of foods. This is especially common in the summer, when grilling is a common means of cooking and the heat outside is high, resulting in a higher chance of bacteria growing within food. So how can you keep you and your family safe during this fun, but risky, time?
It all begins before you even begin cooking, with proper cleanup and preparation of your work area. Cleaning your food items is also a must, specifically fresh fruits and vegetables.
The means in which you transport your food is also important, and transporting foods in an organized manner could be beneficial. Keeping your cold foods cold, specifically in a cooler with the temperature at 40°F or below, is necessary for preventing bacteria growth. Keep the coolers closed, and don’t cross-contaminate foods such as poultry, seafood and raw meat.
What about the actual grilling process, though? How do you keep your foods safe?
When grilling, it is important to marinate your food safely – keep it in the refrigerator, rather than the counters or outside. Keep already grilled food hot until it is served. Also, and this is very important – cook food thoroughly. To find out proper cooking temperatures, please refer to the FDA link at the bottom of this blog. Finally, when cooking, keep utensils separate to prevent cross-contamination. It might be a good idea to wash utensils after each use to be extra safe.
So, folks, there you have it. Separation, refrigeration, and proper cooking temperatures are the basics.
With that said, we’re wishing you a happy and healthy grilling season from FoodFacts.com!Another note from Dee: if you use a liquid marinade, be sure to discard it after use, do not put it back on meat that’s been cooked. Remember, it was in close contact with the raw meat and should be treated that way. Here’s the FDA link: FDA.
Posted on April 2, 2016 by
This weekend–many families will be dying eggs to celebrate Easter or Springtime! Thank Goodness the weather is perking up here in Indiana after a dreadful winter. Here are some natural ways to color those eggs this year!!! The egg is widely used as a symbol of the start of new life, just as new life begins when the chick hatches out of the egg. One of the oldest traditions is to color eggs to celebrate Easter or springtime.
If your family wants a new and natural way to color eggs, here is how you can do it! First, boil eggs in a small sauce pan of water, add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar and then add some of the natural dying material listed below until you get the desired color:
- Yellow onion skin = yellow
- Red onion skin = yellowish brown
- Birch leaves = light green
- Beetroot peel = brownish-red
- Blueberries = purple
- Whole red cabbage leaves = purple
- Chopped red cabbage leaves = blue
- Beetroot juice = pinkish-red
You can even use some material that you were going to compost…..HAVE FUN!
Tip: after cooling, rub the eggs with oil and it will make them shiny. Feeling extra creative? Before dying, press little flowers, leaves or any other piece of nature onto the eggs. Put them in a nylon stocking, stretch so it fits tightly around the egg and then tie with a string. Then, remove the stocking after dying and find a beautiful pattern on the egg.
Posted on March 30, 2015 by
What is a GMO?
A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the product of a lab process that takes genes from on species and inserts them into another species to attain a desired trait. Viruses or bacteria are used to infect animal or plant cells with the new DNA. The DNA is coated with tiny metal pellets and shot into the cells. Then, the new DNA is injected into fertilized eggs and electric shocks create holes in the membranes of sperm forcing the new DNA into the holes. Although, no research on humans has shown detrimental effects from eating GMO foods, numerous studies on animals have shown immune damage, pre-cancerous cell growth and many unexplained anomalies.
For more information on the history of GMO’s visit HERE
Here are the top 8 GMO foods to avoid
1. CORN– corn is the most prominent genetically modified crop here in the US. Please know your farmer if you want good fresh sweet corn–and ask what type of seeds he uses.
2. SOY–90% of soy is genetically engineered to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup.
3. SUGAR–since 2009, genetically modified beets have been used to make beet sugar.
4. ASPARTAME -not only is one of those toxic food additives, it is actually made from genetically modified bacteria.
5. PAPAYAS—yep, this wonderful fruit is exported here from Hawaii since 1999 and is genetically modified to be resistant to the Ringspot virus. They are banned in all European countries.
6. CANOLA– canola is made from rapeseed which is one of the most chemically modified and adapted oils.
7. DAIRY– 1/5 of all dairy cows are injected with rBGA growth hormone from Monsanto—Drink organic or plant-based. Remember that 93% of all soy is GMO— Silk Brand Soy milk is non-GMO.
8. ZUCCHINI AND YELLOW SQUASH– most are genetically modified to resist viruses.
Luckily, Connecticut and Maine have recently passed laws requiring manufacturers to label all products with Genetically Engineered ingredients.
4 Tips to avoiding GMO
1. Buy organic–labels saying 100% organic or made with organic ingredients
2. Buy Non GMO–labels saying “artificial hormone free”
3. Avoid high risk ingredients–corn, soybean, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, corn syrup
Posted on March 19, 2014 by
Sure, we would all love to buy everything we eat organic and process free, but who can afford that in today’s economic times. I struggle with the issue of spending so much on food especially if it isn’t all eaten before it goes bad. If you are buying veggies on a budget, try to go organic for the Dirty Dozen foods. These top 12 are known to be grown with the most pesticides. The rest you can probably get by not buying organic. Regardless, any fruit or vegetable (organic or not) is still better than that McDonald’s cheeseburger so don’t spend too much time worrying!
Posted on March 18, 2013 by
As you know, the skin is the largest organ in the body. Because it is responsible for absorption, it is also a great detoxification organ. However, I pay very little attention to what personal products I use because I have been more concerned about what I eat and put into my body. I forget that what we put on our bodies can be just as toxic. If you read one of my earlier posts about cleure cosmetics you also read about how parabens, found in many cosmetics, have recently been found in breast tissue of breast cancer patients. These parabens act like hormone mimickers thus feeding hormone based cancers. We use aluminum containing antiperspirants that have been linked with neuron degeneration. Many shampoos that we wash our hair with contain propylene glycol (antifreeze). There is a great website www.cosmeticsdatabase..com that ranks the toxicity of personal care products on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the most toxic. So this weekend, I will be spending an exciting Friday or Saturday night on the SKIN DEEP website logging all my personal products and replacing any of them that have a score of 5 or higher. Fun stuff!!!
Posted on January 2, 2013 by
How is the Smoothie Posse doing? Anyone cheated? Any good recipes or favorites?
Here is what is coming in my Green Bean Delivery next week and we need to brainstorm some power smoothie recipes—-anyone had experience with snap peas or broccoli in smoothies? I have juiced snap peas in the past and they turned out fine (see Pea Juice post). Also –send me all of your favorite juicing recipes from this past week!
1 8 oz. Local Lettuce, Spring Mix
6 Each Apples, Fuji –
1 Bunch Broccoli
1 Bunch Herbs, Cilantro
5 Each Kiwi-
3 Each Lemons
1 order of 2 Lettuce, Baby Bok Choy
2 Each Onions, Sweet –
4 Each Oranges, Navel
1 10 oz. Peas, Snap
4 each Potatoes, Russet Bakers (Large)
Luckily Green Bean knows my issues with developing recipes and has added a great recipe for Sugar Snap Peas and Bok Choy.
2 tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon spicy chili sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper
4 cups roughly chopped lettuce or salad mix
For the full recipe visit:
Here are a few of my favorite smoothies from the past week.
Blackberries, blueberries, cucumber, spinach, and coconut water. Amazing smoothie!
Loads of real food!
Another good one
Made a smoothie creation today I loved! -2 carrots, 2 persimmons, 1 cup spinach, 1 cup coconut water, and 1/2 cup butternut squash, peeled.
Loads of real food!
Also, I would highly recommend visiting Modern Alternative Mama’s Blog. Todays post is all about shopping healthy on a budget and she breaks down the cheapest ways to get tons of healthy, fresh, real food on a budget!!!
Posted on December 14, 2012 by
This post is for Cindy–a dear patient and friend who has been suffering from a debilitating illness since 2001. She has been to Cleveland Clinic, Mayo, and to all of the top specialists in the fields of neurology, rheumatology, infectious disease, dermatology, oncology, cardiology, and pulmonology. Geez–I think we hit every field of medicine. However, I promised Cindy that I would never stop looking for what may actually be making her sick! I recently did an ALCAT test on her to find that she has a severe intolerance to GLYPHOSATE. Ba Bam!!! Ironically, if you have been following the news lately, you are aware of The Monsanto Company who exclusively produces Roundup Ready soybean seed for the commercial market. Allegedly, many of monsanto’s seed products are genetically modified to make them resistant to the Monsanto produced agricultural chemicals such as Round Up herbicide. They also allegedly produce recombinant Bovine somatotropin. Yes, I know What??? It is a synthetic growth factor injected into cows to increase their milk production. Watch this trailer for more information. And watch out Erin Brockovich because if I cure Cindy by getting her off of Monsanto products—I’m casting Channing Tatum in the movie!
Posted on September 4, 2012 by