Thursday, March 31, 2011

Surviving the Frost

Well, it was a rough week in the garden. Here were the temperatures for our town:

Low's last week:
Thurs: 36°
Fri: 31°
Sat: 28°
Sun: 30°
Mon: 28°
Tues: 31°
Wed: 34° (with snow slush predicted, but only rain came!)
We researched and found that newspapers or sheets insulate well and to thoroughly soak the soil before dark (I guess evaporating water creates heat). So I water and covered with newspapers and old sheets.

Most of it survivived. Romaine looks good, radish sprouts are still growing strong. The cauliflower looks a little worse for wear. Two tomato plants are wiped out, one is still barely holding on (below)
Lesson: make sure to wait until after the last frost to plant your garden!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Peak 313: Try It Challenge

For the next 4 weeks I will participating in Clare@Peak313Fitness's Try It Challenge.

Clare is a fitness instructor and healthful living lover. She writes about fitness tips, healthy eating tips, and posts workouts.

Clare will be sharing 4 new foods with us, once a week, beginning next week. She will post tips on how to prepare or eat it. Who knows what week one will bring but I'll be sharing our experience with the foods here. Visit her blog for more information or to follow along!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Radish Sprouts

Second Installment of Thursdays in the Garden

After a week of watering the seeds lightly daily and the plants 2-3 times a week more deeply, I am proud to say I have some radish sprouts! I had to uncover a few that were a little too deep (my first time, I didn't want them to be too close to the top of the soil!) And I proudly have 62 of 64 radishes sprouted.

Wow when I thought about that, that's A LOT of radishes. BUT we are saving for a juicer so hopefully by the time they are sprouted Brandon will go to town juicing some into health juice for us to down!

Here are some more pictures from this week (I feel like a proud new momma!)

This week they are forecasting frost overnight. I know there is a good chance my tomotoes will die but next week I will update you on the results!

Till next week! (pun intended)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Series: My First Garden

I'm starting a new series: Thursdays in the Garden.

This year especially after watching all those movies on Movie Review Wednesday, we decided we needed a garden. (I figure I will have some fun cooking and storing projects with it over my 8 week vacation from teaching)

Only problem is: We live in an apartment, which is above a business

The solution was that we have a good relationship with our landlord, so I went to visit her yesterday and just asked her if we could have a garden and do you know what she said?

"Whatever your heart desires!"

YAY! So being very excited I did some research on the following helpful websites:

$5 Dinners- square foot garden planner
Home Farming- sponsored by Triscuit they have a lot of helpful information for beginners and you can log the progress of your garden
Lowes- we checked prices and did most of our shopping here
Tractor Supply Company- we checked prices here but found them more expensive than Lowes except for on a tiller, but we ended up not needing one

We decided on a raised garden- the soil at our house has a lot of clay and doesn't look too hot. I wanted 4x4 but Brandon always wants things bigger and better so we decided on 4x8. We are planting:
Collard Greens
Beans (off of our deck)

Everything is set, now we just have to build the garden and begin to plant! More updates next Thursday!

Are you gardening this year? Link up or post in the comment section what you'll be growing!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday Movie Review: The Future of Food

Premise: "THE FUTURE OF FOOD offers an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind the unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled U.S. grocery store shelves for the past decade. From the prairies of Saskatchewan, Canada to the fields of Oaxaca, Mexico, this film gives a voice to farmers whose lives and livelihoods have been negatively impacted by this new technology. The health implications, government policies and push towards globalization are all part of the reason why many people are alarmed about the introduction of genetically altered crops into our food supply. Shot on location in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, The Future of Food examines the complex web of market and political forces that are changing what we eat as huge multinational corporations seek to control the world's food system. The film also explores alternatives to large-scale industrial agriculture..." [from; author unknown]

Most Shocking: The most shocking part of the documentary is when they show how genes are mutated for GMO (genetically modified organism) foods. They take the part of dna from another creature (for example a gene from a flounder that prevents it from freezing to death) and place it into a food (in this example, tomatoes so they will not die when it frosts). This can cause food allergies, but the part they don't tell you is that to get the gene to take they have to use a virus or bacteria to compromise the integrity of the dna (which is against being changed-that's its purpose!). Most often they use the E. Coli bacteria (yes as found in raw hamburger-GROSS!). Then they need to be able to test if it has taken so they put an antibiotic marker in there so that when they treat the vegetable with that antibiotic, if the plant doesn't die, it has taken the gene into its own dna. I don't know about you but this repulsed me!

Most Interesting: One organic farmer featured in the film, Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm, Stauton, VA, is actually just South of our home. When I went to a local store that sells local products they actually had some chicken from his farm! I bought some, although pricey at $3.99/lb, and I'll let you know how that turns out when we try it! The farm has an open policy for self-guided tours and I'm looking forward to making a trip there.

Favorite: The number of farmer's markets in the increased 79% from 1994 to 2002. In 1990, consumers spent 1 billion on organic food, in 2003 they spent 13 billion. (this is good because the whatever consumers demand, stores will provide)

Least Favorite: My least favorite was one of the farmer's wives. She was on the brink of tears telling about how Monsanto came onto their farm accusing them of stealing seed (when it was in fact blown onto their field from a farmer carrying Monsanto's seed who lost the tarp on top) She was so upset because the work the family had done for over 50 years perfecting their crops had been ruined when they were forced to get rid of all their seed due to "contamination."

Lesson Learned: This made me very upset about all the power multi-national corporations have over the citizens. In farming, farmers are defenseless. An organic farmer who's livelihood is ruined by being contaminated with Monsanto GMO seeds not only has no way to recover his crops, but also can be sued by Monsanto.

Have you seen the movie? What are your thoughts? Share in the comments section.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cutie Cupcakes

Although they do look a bit valentine's day-ish These are the cupcakes I made for my small group girls for youth group last night (my husband and I are leaders for the youth group at our church--his small group got some too).

I just love pink so I don't care if it's February or not! Anyway, I've been waiting to use these pearl nonpareils and needed to use up the box cake mix so I made these chocolate covered cherry cupcakes and decorated them. Here's the recipe:

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cupcakes
1 box of dark chocolate cake 3 eggs 1/2C + 1/3 C water 1 jar maraschino cherries buttercream/vanilla icing Prepare the cake mix as directed, replacing 1/2 C water with the juice/syrup from the cherries. My box mix called for 1 1/3C water so I put the cherry juice in my liquid measuring cup up to 1/2 and then added water until it reached 1 1/3 C (or 1/2 + 1/3 C water).

Bake the cupcake as directed. (I like to fill mine over 3/4 full so they are pretty and plump out of the muffin pan).

While they bake finely chop about half the cherries (more if you like it very flavorful) to the icing and mix. (you can add red food coloring as well if you use food coloring)

After the cupcakes cool, ice them. I added the pink pearl nonpareils to make them extra pretty.
Alternative: Drop a cherry into each muffin tin after adding the batter- it will make a surprise filling for your cupcake! ENJOY! Holly

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Movie Review Wednesday: Food Matters

Premise: "With nutritionally-depleted foods, chemical additives and our tendency to rely upon pharmaceutical drugs to treat what's wrong with our malnourished bodies, it's no wonder that modern society is getting sicker. Food Matters sets about uncovering the trillion dollar worldwide 'sickness industry' and gives people some scientifically verifiable solutions for overcoming illness naturally." [from]

Most Shocking: One man went from morbidly obese to a healthy weight in 18 months from a raw diet and actually drinking enough water. One man in the video actually said that sometimes there are too many toxins in the body that it is bad to flush them out through the skin during exercise, it is better to purge them as waste. The man on the diet had over 10 bowel movements per day.

Most Interesting: The premise of the movie is intriguing especially being that when I teach vitamins to my Nutrition students, we talk about toxicity and not taking too much and this movie shared some statistics such as the amount of deaths linked to Niacin toxicity is less than 1 for the past 10 years! Makes me want to research vitamins more and show this film to my students.

Favorite: My favorite part was to see that there were parallels between this movie and last week's review: Food Inc. They in this movie stressed how unnutritionally rich our food has become with GMO's, the prevention of seed saving, insecticides, and herbicides.

Least Favorite: I'm not sure I agree on one point where they say weight loss is more important to flush out through waste than to exercise toxins out of the skin. I think exercise is crucial and it makes the difference on whether are bodies are strong enough to fight nasty viruses, and toxins, food cannot do it alone.

Lesson Learned: I'm defineitly oging to be looking into vitamins. We got a great deal on some at target last week so we are stocked up, now I just need to research the ones we've gotten (mutli for him, multi for her, fish oil, and D)

Have you seen the movie? What are your thoughts? Share in the comments section.