Archives for May 2010

More Garden Progress: The Arbor & Fence

My husband has been hard at work; the arbor and fence around the new garden annex are finished. He’s decided to leave the posts long on the new section for now. We may need to tie a barrier around them if the corn gets too tall and the deer become too persistent. I’m not an expert on organic garden design, but bit by bit, I’m learning what works and what doesn’t.

I thought I’d show you some before and after pictures:


2010: Those are blueberry bushes on either side of the arbor & a raspberry bush between the blueberries and roses.

More photos from this year . . .

I guess I’d better get to weeding . . .

The potatoes in the white boxes are growing like crazy. I keep covering the green with dirt and it keeps shooting upward. We’ve gotten a load of rain lately, so things are a bit muddy right now. I plan to work on cleaning up this area over the Memorial Day weekend.

Please let me know how your gardens are coming along and how you’ve chosen to design your garden space.

Green & Healthy Breakfast Ideas

The other day I wrote about smoothies and while I tend to drink them any time of day, I often incorporate them into breakfast because they’re yummy and they’re also highly portable.

There are a few other things I like to eat for breakfast and I find that when I do take the time for this important meal, I feel better for the rest of the day. I’m also less hungry and less inclined to go on a mad search for sugar-filled snacks mid-morning.

My goals with my breakfast choices are to include organics whenever possible, real foods (which is to say, not processed or packaged), something with protein and some complex carbohydrates. I’ve also been using more ground flax seeds. I’ve known for some time they they are good for us, but as I’ve been reading Tosca Reno’s books, The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged! and The Eat-Clean Diet for Family and Kids: Simple Strategies for Lasting Health and Fitness I’ve learned even more about the benefits of these little seeds. In addition to the heart healthy goodness attributable to the Omega-3s, Alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA), fiber and lignans in flaxseeds, these little powerhouses also act as a mild laxative to help keep our systems moving.

Now, onto the food. . .

3 Green & Healthy Breakfast Ideas:

Oatmeal + Fixin’s

I start with rolled oats (not quick oats). Often they are organic and usually they are purchased in bulk.

I usually cook them in the microwave with almond milk or water.

Then I add in 1-2 Tbs. of ground flax seeds, chopped walnuts, a drop or two of pure maple syrup, and some kind of fruit — blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or chopped apple.

This breakfast is delicious and filling.

Eggs and Toast

I usually boil 1/2 dozen eggs (pastured) at the beginning of the week and keep them in the refrigerator.

In the morning, I toast two pieces of Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Bread and spread it with just a bit of homemade butter. Then I sprinkle some ground flax seeds on top.

If I’m eating at home, I slice one boiled egg onto a piece of toast and eat it that way. If I’m eating on the go, I simply eat the egg and the toast separately. I try to eat a piece of fruit as well, or make a simple smoothie of frozen fruit and a bit of orange juice and water.

Garden Omelet

This is a summertime favorite because I can grab vegetables right out of the garden or at the farmer’s market.

You can really make the omelet any way you want to. My favorite is very simple with only three ingredients:


Fresh spinach leaves

Chopped heirloom tomatoes

Sometimes, I’ll add in some feta cheese or other vegetables if I have them on hand.

It’s important to point out that I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist. I’m not suggesting that these ideas are perfectly healthy or that they will appeal to everyone. So far, though, they’ve been working well for me.

I’d love to gather more ideas for healthy breakfast foods. Please let us know what you eat for breakfast by leaving a comment below.

Photo Credit: Toobig4pond

Where Should Your Organic Dollars Go?

It’s hard to know where to spend your precious organic dollars. Fortunately, Environmental Working Group ( has just updated their Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce where they list the “Clean 15” and the “Dirty Dozen.” The Clean 15 are the least sprayed fruits and vegetables and therefore the safest bets if you want to skip organic. The Dirty Dozen are the 12 most heavily sprayed fruits and vegetables, so whenever possible, it’s best to buy these organic.

There are many reasons to avoid consumming pesticides, not the least of which is the often unknown impact of these chemicals on our health. According to an article on CNN Health, a recent study has found that “Kids with above-average levels of a common pesticide byproduct had twice ADHD risk.”

I’ll list the Dirty Dozen below, but the EWG has created a handy printable guide that will fit in your wallet. Click here to get it. Dr. Andrew Weil has come on board this year extolling the virtues of the Shopper’s Guide. You can watch a short video of his comments while you’re there if you’d like.

The Dirty Dozen – Buy these organic:

Bell Peppers
Grapes (Imported)

One way we’re saving money is by growing some of our own. For example, this year we’re growing strawberries, potatoes and bell peppers from this list. Good luck with your organic shopping. Let me know if there’s anything I can help with.

Photo Credit:

May Is National Bike Month

Exercise is something I struggle with. I’m not overweight, but I’m not in very good shape. I’ve tried for years to find something I enjoy and to stick with an exercise regimen. I have NO discipline where exercise in concerned. One thing I do like to do, though, is ride my bike. I don’t do it nearly as often as I’d like.

When I was in college, I bought a mountain bike. The university I attended is located in the mountains and it seemed like the thing to do. I did ride quite a bit the four years I was there. When it was time to replace that bike, years later, I bought another mountain bike. I didn’t live in the mountains then, but I still liked that type of bike. Fast forward 15 years to last summer. I wanted to ride my bike more, but realized that my near-40 year old, out-of-shape body was being beaten up a bit by my mountain bike as I rode it around the paved roads of my neighborhood.

For my birthday, my husband told me to head over to the bike shop and pick out a bike I liked, one that was comfortable, one I would ride. I was going for a mid-entry level bike. I didn’t want to invest too much not knowing how much I’d ride. I’m not interested in racing; I’m interested in comfort. After trying out several different bikes, I settled on the Raleigh Route 3.0 pictured above. I love this bike. It fits. It’s comfortable. It’s nothing like riding the mountain bike.

In honor of National Bike Month, I’m going to try to start riding with more regularity. We’ll see how I do.

How about you? Do you ride? If you do, do you ride for exercise, for fun, for the planet, or all three? Let us know in the comments.

Also, if you’re interested in really shifting from driving to biking more, it would be worth it to check out Tammy Strobel’s excellent new ebook, Simply Car-Free: How to Pedal Toward Financial Freedom and a Healthier Life.