Sunday, December 29, 2013

Eat well, live well


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Contemplating what to have for your New Year’s resolution?  How about adopting a new way of eating that will slow signs of aging, help prevent cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue syndrome, MS, you name it.  

This is what Dr. Weston Price found when he went around the world in the 1940's looking at the diets of the last indigenous people on earth and they had no tooth decay and no degenerative diseases (like cancer).  If you want to learn more, there is a web page   http://www.westonaprice.org

All studies show eating a low carb diet with lots of leafy greens and multi colored veggies is the best diet in the world for slowing signs of aging, avoiding cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue syndrome, MS, you name it.  Get rid of processed foods and anything with sugar added.

Eat food grown the way God intended, without chemicals, with great soil (to get your vitamins and minerals), and absolutely no GMO’s.  To know for sure this is how it is grown, grow it yourself or buy from a farmer you have visited and trust.  Join a CSA (to find one near you, visit http://www.localharvest.org ).  Organic at the store is the next best thing.

You can grow in small spaces and pots.  You don’t need much room.  It doesn’t take more time than grocery shopping or eating out.  Seeds are cheap (you can even get them for free from friends, neighbors or the veggies you get from the store).  A 6’ by 6’ plot, planted right, will grow most of what you need for produce for most of the year.  This small of an area will grow $500 worth of produce if only doing a traditional 2 season garden.  Stretch it to a 4 season garden and the benefit goes up.

As soon as you pick a vegetable, it begins to die.  Some vegetables lose 90% of their nutritional value in a week.  The most nutritious will be that which is just picked, grown in soil that is rich in organic matter and minerals.

Truly, God created the heavens, the earth and all living plants and creatures perfectly.  He created the plants and animals to sustain us and give us everything we need.  We should remember that and eat food that is as close to its natural, fresh state as possible to feed our bodies the perfect nutrition.


Eat well, live well.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Black eyed peas for good luck on New Year’s Day



Saturday, December 28, 2013

I grew up having black-eyed peas for New Year’s day for good luck in the new year.  My grandmother was originally from the hills of Tennessee and moved to southeast Missouri as a young girl.  Everyone I know that grew up in southeast Missouri has 'em on New Year's Day.  It is a Southern tradition to have black-eyed peas to usher in the New Year.

History of black-eyed peas
Black-eyed peas were first domesticated in West Africa and widely grown in Asia.  The "good luck" traditions of eating black-eyed peas for the New Year go as far back as Babylonian times (2500 years ago).  The tradition then was to have bottle gourd, leeks, black-eyed peas, beets, spinach, and dates as they were all symbols of good luck.

This Jewish tradition was brought to the southern US in the 1700’s.  Today, the good luck Southern meal includes peas for prosperity, mustard greens for money, and pork for moving forward.  Cornbread is also part of the meal, but just for its sweet goodness.

George Washington Carver encouraged the planting of black-eyed peas because they fertilized the soil, are nutritious and very affordable.  Black-eyes peas are chock full of nutrition.  They contain protein, calcium, vitamin A, and lots of fiber.

Recipe for your good luck peas
To cook black-eyed peas, I add some ham and diced onion and simmer in chicken broth.  You can add vinegar or some hot peppers for a different taste.

Growing your own peas
Black-eyed peas are a warm season crop that is not susceptible to pests or disease.  They are not actually a pea at all, but a bean.  The peas should be planted after all danger of frost has passed and the soil is warm.  They are very drought tolerant so little watering is needed.  I start mine indoors in April and set out around Memorial Day.

If using just for fertilizing, legumes should be cut before they start producing pods as the seeds use up a lot of the nitrogen fixed in the roots.

A side benefit of growing black-eyed peas is that the flowers produce copious amounts of nectar for pollinators, like bees.  Be sure to not use any pesticides on your black-eyed peas as they will kill the bees, too.

For fresh peas, you harvest the beans when the pods are 2-3” long and the peas have begun to swell.  After harvesting, simply shell the peas into a freezer bag (don’t forget to label with type and date).  


For dried beans, wait until the pods have dried completely on the plant.  Pick the pods and shell.  You can easily store in a quart jar until needed.  

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Garden tomatoes still ripening



Sunday, December 22, 2013


Before the first freeze of the season, I pick all the green tomatoes and store in a dark place.  This year, I placed them in a bowl and put the bowl in the pantry.

The tomatoes are ripening slowly.  We are still able to use home grown tomatoes in salads.  Looks like we will have them until after New Year’s.


The tomatoes are not as flavorful as if they had ripened on the vine, but still have a good, fresh flavor.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Quick tip-make your own flavored oils


Saturday, December 21, 2013

You see these beautiful bottles of flavored oils in stores.  You can make these at home!  This a great way to use the extra herbs and peppers you dried from the summer and fall garden.  You simply infuse the oil with your favorite herb or pepper.

I use a wide mouth canning jar for the infusing.  For herbs, I fill the jar with stems of cut, dried herbs, cover completely with organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and let sit for 2-4 weeks.  At this time, you can pour the oil into a beautiful container.  It is safe to put a sprig or two of completely dried herb into the container.

If you want instant gratification, put the herbs and oil into a sauce pan and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.  After cooling, the oil is ready to be strained into the serving bottle.


I use only dried herbs.  If you use fresh, you will need to keep refrigerated and use within a week or two.

Monday, December 16, 2013

What's happening in the mid December garden




Monday, December 16, 2013

Most think that nothing is alive to eat in a mid December garden.  Winter is hard on almost all living green things, but some can out weather even the harshest winter temperatures.

So, what is still surviving in mid December?  Oregano, creeping thyme, thyme, mint, parsley, celery, kale, cabbage, sorrel, chives, and onions are all still green without any cover.
Mint
Sorrel
Chives
Parsley
Thyme
Oregano




Under cover, lettuce, spinach, celery, sorrel, and kale. 
Mini greenhouse

Celery, kale
Spinach













Saturday, December 7, 2013

Quick tip-using dried beans



Sunday, November 3, 2013

You can grow and dry your own beans or buy them.  Dried beans are significantly less expensive than canned beans and you don’t have to worry about BPA from can linings (Eden Foods has BPA free canned beans).  

It takes some planning to use dried beans.  I take them out the night before and put them in a bowl of water to soak.  Use 4 cups of water to 1 cup of beans; the beans will absorb significant amounts of water.  Then, drain, rinse, and cover with water in a pot and cook for 20 minutes at a boil.

They are ready now ready to use in your favorite recipe!