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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
Here is one of my favorite post’s of Dee’s– such a funny gal!! I thought this would be appropriate on Cinco de Mayo after most of us have been splurging with nachos and margaritas!
I’m Breaking Up with You
Nothing personal. We’ve had a great relationship. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m sorry for the short notice but I’m feeling brave today. It’s been a blast to hang out together after work every night. Remember how fun it was to crank up the stereo and clean the house and then as a reward for a great day OR as a consolation for a stressful day OR as a routine for a routine day…we drank together at night. But I have to move on and get control of my health and many of my bad eating choices have been in your company. You introduced me to your friends: Wings, Nachos, Pizza and Chips. I’m dumping them too. Don’t call or text or yell out to me when we see each other at the grocery store because I will ignore you. I’m better than you…no offense.
Thanks Dee—I know relationships can be hard.
I had considered taking your sloppy seconds but then I met Kale and Broccoli. They are both so wonderful, I can’t choose. I’m going for the threesome! Please don’t judge!
Posted on May 5, 2016 by
A few years ago, I introduced you to my dear friend Dee. She invited us on her weight loss journey and did quite a few posts regarding her story. I just wanted to repost a few of these because:
1. I miss Dee!!
2. I always love her posts and admire how real and down to earth she is! Hope you enjoy them as well.
Dee is a mom! Dee wants to lose weight. Dee believes we need to eat healthy. I love Dee. She has invited us to follow her weight loss journey with her because she can’t see her feet! Please follow her amazing posts with me! She is inspiring! And to Dee, thank you for admitting that you aren’t perfect and this isn’t an easy thing to do! We should all have that much integrity.
Funny how people are ashamed to share their weight. I don’t mind telling people who I weigh 190 pounds. When I’m speaking to someone and the issue of health or weight comes up, I freely share my weight…the real number. I share my age too, 49. People are sometimes surprised that I’m 49, but no one has ever reacted surprisingly to the 50 extra pounds. I’m guessing it’s because if they are speaking to me in person, they can see the extra pounds…mostly around my middle. I don’t like this section of me but I’ve gotten used to it. I chose this photo, taken from my chin looking down to show you what I see when I look at my shoes. Get it? No shoes. I’d like to see my shoes and have started a new goal to get there. After years and years of dieting, I am a diet expert. Most overweight people are diet experts. The trick isn’t knowing what to do, it’s doing it. If you want to jump into the journey, I would love the company. It might not always be pretty, but it will always be real.
Posted on May 3, 2016 by
I’ve discovered that elevated triglycerides and fasting blood sugars have become epidemic in my practice. It’s not surprising considering all the food misinformation we have been given in the standard American diet (SAD). I remember questioning my girl’s pediatrician about feeding them honey nut Cheerios for breakfast because they were so picky. Her answer was “have you looked at the nutrition information on the side of the Box— Cheerios are fortified with most vitamins and minerals that they need.” WOW is all I can say–WOW. You would think I would have known better at that point after years of medical education. But NO –I took her word for it because that is what I was taught in med school about nutrition too. I didn’t have any concept about the importance of vegetables and REAL FOOD on health at that point. I’ll bet you have been in the same boat as well. We simply haven’t been taught the correct information.
Why are triglycerides important? I thought LDL was the BAD cholesterol–
Triglycerides block insulin– that can elevate the blood sugar and lead to weight gain
High triglycerides can cause pancreatitis and be toxic to the pancreatic cells that make insulin–this can add up over time–
Here is where the LDL is affected— more triglycerides will interact with lipoproteins and cause the LDL to be smaller particles which are more likely to cause heart attacks —
So overall –the higher your triglycerides are –you are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease.
What do I want my triglyceride levels to be?
The labs say that 150mg/dl is the cutoff for high triglycerides—however the levels really need to be below 60mg/dl to help decrease the size of the LDL particles.
How do I lower my triglycerides?
- Supplement with omega 3 fatty acids— I recommend 3000mg of fish oil daily. The EPA and DHA of the fish oil help remove the (chylomicrons and VLDL) triglycerides after a meal. I personally love the brand BLUE ICE–fermented cod liver oil. It sounds gross but it really isn’t a large pill and doesn’t cause fish burps (you can put it in the freezer if you get the dreaded burps).
- Have a healthy gut flora—yup– those probiotic foods play a role here too. You need good healthy fiber to feed those good gut microorganisms because they help reduce lipid and insulin levels.
- Eliminate GRAIN and SUGAR: Yep— sorry but these elevate your sugars and cause insulin resistance — this includes alcohol/carbs —I’m sorry — I know it isn’t fun.
- Intermittent fasting —this can help as well — try to go a full 12-15 hours without eating (yes- you can still drink water/coffee/tea etc–just don’t add sugar)
- Don’t cut back on Good Fats —these include avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, and olive oil.
Posted on May 1, 2016 by