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Category Archives: General

Garden Anomolies

Double headed sunflower

Gardening is fun in lots of ways, but one of my favorites is finding the unusual or peculiar among the harvest.  Show them to my kids and peels of laughter or ooh’s and aahs’ find their way to my ears.  This summer we found a two-headed sunflower (my favorite this year), a dahlia flower that was half red and half white – split down the center, a pepper with an obvious deformity, and numerous tomatoes with odd growths.

While these are fun to look at, when it comes down to it, they’re still what they were made to be – the pepper was still a pepper, the tomato a tomato, and the sunflower a sunflower.  They just looked a little different, but inside they’re the same as the perfect looking one right next to them.  It’s a good reminder to me how we, as humans, are pretty much the same regardless of how we look or appear to others.  After all, we’re all made in God’s image.  And that’s pretty cool.

Odd looking pepper

So back to my funny looking produce – while I didn’t get photos of all of the them, I did take a few, and hope you enjoy them. I know others have seen some of the same things I have.  So if you have a favorite oddity you’ve found in your garden, let me know!  Post a link to it in your comment if you have a photo (keep it clean please). Should be fun to see.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13 (NIV)

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2012 in Faith, Gardening, General

 

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Monday Musings on a Wednesday – Balanced Eating

Balance . . . it’s about balance.  At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself the last day or so.  We spent the last weekend with family, attended a wedding and finished up at my mother-in-law’s house.  She is the best mother-in-law ever, but when we visit it’s kind of like a continuous food feast.  Add to that a wedding and travel time, and my quest for healthy eating seems to vanish. Do you have a place like that?  A place where your determination to eat healthy just disappears?  In its place is a ravenous appetite for the snacks and meals you normally don’t have at home.  You know, like wedding cake or kettle corn – two of the temptations I faced this weekend.

As I thought about it, and talked it through with my husband since he’s trying to maintain a healthy diet too, the word ‘balance’ came to mind.  Years ago, during my time as a wellness dietitian, I often encountered people who would totally avoid anything like, well, wedding cake or kettle corn . . . until they had a weekend like mine. Then they went overboard, eating everything in sight.  It was all or nothing, up or down, with no room for anything in between.  Sometimes they would come back from such a weekend and get back on track – but feeling guilty.  Many times, however, they felt like they failed and went right back to their old eating habits.  Two steps forward, three steps back – not a healthy way to eat.

So what can be done?  Is it possible to have a healthy diet when faced with temptations? Let’s think this through.  What options are there?  For our family it was important that we attend the wedding and visit my mother-in-law.  Those relationships are important, so not attending wasn’t an option.  That meant we’d be faced with all kinds of not-so-healthy, but appealing, choices.  Some we indulged in, like sharing a piece of wedding cake or having a  small brownie.  Others we didn’t, like going back for a second piece of cake.  We brought watermelon, bananas, and water for snacks during the drive – a good choice.  I also made use of the treadmill in the hotel’s workout room – another good choice.  At my mother-in-law’s we both had some of the kettle corn she offered, but didn’t go overboard.

So back to balance. While we made some choices that others would deem unhealthy, we also made some good choices.  And really, there’s much more to eating than the nutritional value of food. The food itself should be appealing to the eye and have good flavor.  The eating experience is important too, should be enjoyable, and includes the people we dine with, the conversations that occur during a meal, and celebrations that call for feasting.  And a wedding is a celebration.  Should we throw caution to the wind and eat everything in sight? No.  But we shouldn’t feel guilty either if we choose items we wouldn’t normally eat because of the sugar or fat or whatever.  The weekend was only a couple of days, not enough to throw us off our healthy lifestyle, just a curve in the road that adds a little interest to the daily drive.  If our everyday diet is a healthy one, then weekends like this won’t take us off-road.  We can turn right back, without feeling guilty, and continue our healthy lifestyle.

Now if I or my husband had to follow some type of therapeutic diet things would be a little different.  We would be more diligent in following the guidelines of the specific diet.  But that’s a post for another day.  For now, our goal is to take care of ourselves with a healthy, balanced, lifestyle.  And that sometimes includes a curve in the road.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Family, General, Health, Nutrition

 

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Musings on the Question: “What’s for supper?”

“What’s for supper?” This has to be one of the most common questions uttered in homes everywhere.  At least, that’s my opinion on it.  Of course I may be biased – feeding a family of six and all.  Surely it ranks up there with “Are we there yet?” or “What time is it?” or my all-time favorite –  “Why?”  At least for my family it is.  I have no data to support my thoughts, just my experience as a mom and primary cook for my clan.

In fact, it’s a question I frequently ask myself – all too often at the same time my hungry kids make their way to the kitchen to ask the very same question or my husband calls to say he’s on his way home and was wondering “What’s for supper?”

I’ve pondered this question lately – probably as a result of listening to a reading of The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollen. In it, he speaks of the choices we have in selecting our food, and how that’s changed over time. While I don’t agree with everything he writes, it did cause me to look at how our family answers the question: “What’s for supper?”  Here’s what I came up with.

  1. Taste and food preferences
  2. Availability
  3. Nutrition
  4. Cost
  5. Convenience

All these factors influence our food selection in one way or another.  But I think for my family taste and food preferences trumps them all.  If my family doesn’t like it and won’t eat it, it really doesn’t matter if it’s healthy, cheap, and convenient.  Are they ungrateful? No. I still try including those foods on our menu once in a while – usually as a side dish – just to see if I can expand their tastes a little.  And they usually humor me by trying it, and sometimes even liking it.

After taste come availability.  After all, if it’s not available in the store, pantry, freezer, or garden – it’s not likely to be found on our supper menu.  With today’s transportation abilities, however, that’s quickly becoming a weaker influence.

Nutrition and cost tie for the next slot. I realize others may think differently.  I’m all for eating healthy, and as a dietitian I’m always encouraging a healthy way of eating.  But there are times when a nutritionally superior food is just, well, too expensive. I love salmon, and it’s super healthy for you, but in the middle of the midwest in the middle of winter it’s just too much – at least for our budget.  So instead of the fresh salmon, we might have tuna or another type of fish that’s not so hard on the wallet, but still a healthy choice.  Suffice it to say that there is a balance.  For our family I will pay a little more for something that is healthier it if fits in our budget.  To me that is an investment in the lives of my family.  I just can’t fit in everything.

Last, but not least, is convenience.  This is not as high on my list of influencers, but it may be for others.  And truthfully, there are certain times of the year when convenience moves up the ladder a bit.  Baseball and basketball seasons come to mind – when quick meals and sandwiches seem to reign.

So that’s it. “What’s for supper?” All things considered, if it tastes good and my family likes it, it is reasonably priced, nutritionally healthy, and is available it will most likely make it to our menu at one time or another.  Convenience is icing on the top. So now, I’m curious.  What influences your food selection?  I’m sure there are other things I’ve missed or just don’t apply to our family.  How do you answer that question “What’s for supper?”

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2012 in Cooking, Family, General, Health, Nutrition

 

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It’s a Growing Garden. . .

I took my camera out as I walked around the garden yesterday.  It was such a beautifu morning and I wanted to snap some photos of what’s blooming and growing.  Here they are. . .

Fresh basil. . .it’s about time for some homemade pesto!

Black Eyed Susan is bright and cheery.

Tomatoes are starting to ripen. This heirloom Brandywine is peeking out from
the leaves and is almost ready!

One of my mom’s glads. . .beautiful.

Such pretty Zinnias!

This is the canteloupe that wouldn’t grow – or so I mistakenly told my son who had faith and planted the
seed from the melon in March, and saw it grow! Can’t wait to try it with him.

Peppers are finally getting a little size on them now. They’re looking good!

We’ll have tomatillos again this year. Looking forward to making some tomatillo sauce and salsa
for chicken enchiladas – yum!

A new favorite this year: PowWow Wild Berry Echinacea

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2012 in Gardening, General

 

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Salt and Pepper

Salt and pepper. These mouth watering, sneeze inducing, culinary staples grace almost every table or kitchen around. Salt adds flavor and pepper adds spice to our food, our lives, our faith.

Whether you’re looking for recipes, healthy ideas, or encouragement in your day-to-day life, my hope with this blog is that it will add a little flavor, a little spice to your niche of the world. I’ll share what I’ve learned over the years as a mom, wife, dietitian, and child of God. I hope you find it encouraging, helpful, and a treat for your taste buds. Bon appétit!

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2012 in General