Monday, September 17, 2012

Where have I been??

Hello my dear followers!

I wanted to let you know that the from sprouts to supper blog has moved to Wordpress.

Please come on down and check out the new site. It has a different feel and vibe. Don't worry it's still me filling in the content.

I hope to see you there!


Monday, July 30, 2012

Nurtured with Nature

Today’s garden update is going to be about nurturing yourself and spending time in the great outdoors. For me the biggest benefit isn’t the literal fruits of our labor

It’s the time spent outside in the sunshine and touching the earth.

It's also finding beauty in so many things, even a wasp and a mothy looking butterfly.

When you learn to appreciate those little things it opens you up to so many more wonderful life experiences. The gratitude to be part of this spinning ball in the universe makes all those moments count. That means getting outside to smell the roses, feel the wind in your face, the sand between the toes. Because when you get to do that you feel like you're on top of the world and isn't that basically what living life to the fullest means?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Climate Change

Since I'm in a change mood I want to talk about climate change this week. I think wherever you are you have seen some effects. Drought, intense electrical storms, heat waves. I for one was not happy that I had to water the garden, I rely on mother nature (and a little dehumidifier water) to do it for me.

I have a feeling this type of weather is going to be the norm. Of course the bad effects  will also be the norm: crop failures, wild fires, flash floods, etc. I have to selfishly admit that not all climate change is bad - I know, go ask the people on the Carteret Islands,  Tuvalu  and the Maldives - the mild winter and exceptional spring we had this year made it our garden's most prolific yet. We already have ripe tomatoes

The one major effect of climate change is that it forces humans to adapt. Change is scary and exhilarating at the same time. I like change because  it's  a great excuse to look at alternatives you might have never considered or thought possible. Let's face it, change can be another word for growth.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fall on the Mind

Yesterday I spent the day weeding and going through my seeds. I took an inventory of what I have that's gone to seed and started to collect the seeds. 

borage seeds

We have radish seeds, borage seeds, pea seeds, collards seeds, kale seeds and calendula seeds. I've also already collected sage and spinach seeds.

calendula seeds
I love the feeling of knowing that I planted something and it has given me more abundance than just the fruit.

radish pods
Although this Yarrow was given to me by another gardener my intention is to spread it around other corners of the yard.

golden yarrow
This brings me to the gist of my post, I know we're still in July and just coming off of a heat wave (apparently one that broke several heat records) but I'm really thinking about the fall. I'm starting to plan my fall planting. While this isn't the first time I try to plant for fall, this will be the first time that I try to be organized about it.

So I cleared out a few spots and now I have to do a bit of research to see when and what goes in. So far I know that my peas can go back in late July or early August. I wonder if the fall greens can go in then, we have plenty of kale and collard seeds to test it out. Also my large Italian chard is going to seed so I will be collecting those soon. Hopefully it will be as easy as collecting the spinach seeds.

I have also decided that I won't buy any more echinacea seeds since I should be able to gather them myself

Ditto for my beloved zinnias

The change in the season will not only bring a new crop but will also bring a new lifestyle for me.  A new path on my journey that I am very excited about. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sometimes we need a little help from our friends

It's true, sometimes we really do need a little help from our friends.

When was the last time you asked someone for help? I'm guilty of thinking I can do it all myself. Yes it's great to be self sufficient and there are times when you need to stand on your own two feet. What I'm talking about is those moments when you need to admit that you need help, you may think it makes you weak, not so! I say. Knowing when to ask for help is what makes you strong strong strong!

The next time you are feeling that you can't get everything done, don't. Don't feel guilty, don't feel like a failure and don't wait for a helping hand to fall from the sky. Speak up and ask for help, whether it's asking your kids to put away the groceries, your husband to clear the dinner dishes or your coworker their opinion on an important presentation, ask.

The best part is that it's a win-win situation, you will get the support you need and you will make someone feel special. Don't believe me? How did you feel the last time you were able to help someone? I thought so...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Garden Update

I'm very happy with how the garden is going, we are at the end of June and have been harvesting asparagus, peas, herbs and tons of greens. The Florida like weather has been helping - sun all day a bit of rain in the afternoon. A lot of our flowers are also blooming. And the first of the tomatoes, squashes and cucumbers are coming out.

Let's see what we have...

I love having the echinacea, I'm not sure what to do with it if anything, it's buzzing with tons of bees.

The calendula patch is also buzzing with activity 

I also enjoy having lots of zinnias, I planted them in two beds this summer. I also have cosmos, those haven't bloomed yet.

This year our nasturtium came in, last year they didn't do so well. I think the mild spring had something to do with it.

And the sunflowers are oh so close to blooming! I don't know if my mammoth ones will get to bloom this year, lesson learned: those seeds need to be protected from the birds if you're direct sowing outdoors.

Now to the veggies...
Our tomatoes have really taken off

We see a few fruits coming.

We also have our first cucumber

And the beginnings of a summer squash.

Our beans are also looking lovely.

Unfortunately, our peas have run their course - so I will plant something else in that spot - not sure what yet.

Over the weekend I made a new dish that I thought I would share with you, the photo is not so great and I ate it up before checking and retaking the photo...

Potato Scramble
This is a take on the traditional Tofu Scramble except I didn't have any tofu so I used up some potatoes we had.

4 - 5 Medium Potatoes Diced
1/2 Onion Chopped
2-3 Cloves garlic Chopped
3 -4 Tbsp Tofu Scramble Spice Mix  - I use the one in Dr Barnard's Reversing Diabetes book there are tons online.
Leafy Greens and fresh herbs of your choice - amount up to you, 4 cups is good
Tofu Pups or Vegan Sausage Chopped (optional)
1 Cup Water or Veggie Broth

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan fill with enough water to cover. boil for about 15 min until just soft. drain the water and put back in the pan to pan cook them with garlic and onions (saute everything if using oil) put the spice mix on them and cook for a few more minutes. If you're not using oil add more water or broth if the pan as the pan gets dry. When the potatoes are nice and coated add your greens, herbs and any pups if using plus add some more broth or water cover and let cook for 5 minuets or until your veggies are a bright green and your pups are warmed through. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Seed - MY Vegan Experience

This weekend was the first The Seed: A Vegan Experience conference. I happen to come across it on a friend’s Facebook page - thanks Nicole!
What a wonderful weekend it was, the line-up was pretty amazing.

Vegan heavy hitters all around plus tons of wonderful (tho not very healthy) food vendors. Yes I felt like a little kid each day leaving with a tummy ache from sampling chocolates, juices, raw tacos, queso etc..
On Saturday I was able to pick up a few goodies including Honee - bee free apple honey. Wow it’s great and sticky just like the real thing. I even managed to drip some on my program! I also bought a really cool t-shirt - that says Avant Gardener 
The good news is that they’re also available on online and on Etsy!
Lunch was 3 mini cupcakes from The Vakery, a spicy kale potato salad and a bahn mi from the Regal Vegan - yummy!
As for the lectures I was able to see the last few minutes of Victoria Moran’s lecture - she’s such a positive role model.
First up for me was a talk on Top 10 Tips for going Vegan with the ladies from Our Hen House Jasmin Singer and Marianne Sullivan. They gave some great tips on transitioning and making it easier to stick with your compassionate choice.

Colleen Patrick Goudreau was up next, her Food For Thought podcasts were instrumental in my choice to go vegan. She helped make my transition as seamless as possible. She’s a wonderful speaker and her passion for compassion was shining through. It was one of the many highlights of my weekend.  

Now to the food demos
I watched a whole food cooking demo from the Whole Foods Wellness Club. I’ve heard of Juan Pablo Chavez before but had never been to one of his demos. The Sweet Potato Moroccan Stew he made was simple, wholesome and smelled delicious! Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to sample it - boo!

Next on the roster was Hannah Kaminsky of My Sweet Vegan. She presented an ice cream making demo. She was a little nervous so it went a little quicker than expected. Again no sampling (have I said BOO?!) but in the 20 or so minutes it took for her to tell us about making ice cream the base was thick and ice cream-like - all she used was her base, 2 zip lock bags, ice and salt. I’m inspired to try this at home! Who knows we may have homemade vegan ice cream at our annual BBQ this summer!

After the food demos I went to see Kathy Stevens from the Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Her passion and love for the animals was very contagious. Her telling of Rambo’s last days was bittersweet. What a crusader, the world needs more people like this.

After Kathy, Gena Hamshaw of the blog Choosing Raw came on to talk about being semi raw (aka high raw with nourishing cooked foods). I'm a fan of hers and like her approach of a balance of raw and cooked foods. I’ve strayed from my raw ways but can definitely agree that I feel better when I am on a high raw diet, not as heavy or bogged down. I think raw foodists get a bit hung up on the percentage raw they are and they forget to do what feels right for them. I know I need some cooked grains and beans to feel satisfied and while I've never felt pressure to be 100% (see those percentages again) raw, I do know a few people that aspire to it and have a hard time with it then beat themselves up - turning it into a viscous cycle.

After Gena it was the event’s Keynote Speaker: Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I’ve seen Dr Fuhrman speak before at Integrative Nutrition Conferences and he never disappoints. He gave us a full 90 minutes of non-stop info. Having read Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body's Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free
I was familiar with some of what he was talking about, Though I have to admit my biggest takeaway for his talk was using oils for cooking. He pushes for healthy fats by the means of eating them (think olives, nuts, seeds and avocados). I’m going to start recommending that to my clients too. You hear that - no cooking with oil! Add your healthy fats with food!
Sunday was a bit shorter for me but just as good and maybe even better. I got there in the nick of time to see all of Dr Michael Greger’s presentation. I have to admit I have a nerd crush on him. He uses scientific literature to back up what he lectures. I love that about him. He is also a great presenter, very entertaining. So much so that I purchased 4 of his DVD lectures for my own practice. The best part, all of the proceeds go to charity. I highly recommend Dr. Greger’s site for anyone that is curious about the health effects of a plant-based diet. He gives solid information with cited sources. No magic here.

Dr Greger was followed by the very beautiful Kathy Freston. She looks great in photos but looks even better in person. The epitome of a healthy radiant vegan. She sat for a Q&A with Jasmin Singer of Our Hen House. What a great interviewer Jasmin is - I’m looking forward to tuning in to Our Hen House podcasts. Kathy spoke about leaning into veganism and weight loss. She used a couple of my favorite sayings: Progress not perfection and perfect is the enemy of good. It’s nice to see people that are so down to earth with such a powerful message. Kudos to Jasmin on her successful weightloss.
The last speaker I stuck around for was Brendan Brazier. I have his books Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life
and Thrive Foods: 200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health and have always liked his style. He looks for the nutrition powerhouses for peak performance. What this translates to for those of us that aren’t athletes is a whole foods vegan diet that maximizes nutrients while minimizing energy expenditure. Eating a diet as efficiently as possible will help you feel better, have more energy and get more nutrients while eating less calories. This is a no-brainer but not something that people do. That’s probably one of the reasons we have so many overweight people. They are eating but still hungry because their bodies are craving nutrients.
Overall a great weekend of learning, eating and meeting new people. I am already looking forward to the next one!