Monthly Archives: August 2014

It’s my blog and I’ll whine if I want to…

Does anyone else have a flower garden that is looking pretty sad about now?  I’m so OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAdisappointed in the way my back yard is looking.  Rationally, I know plants are stressed because of the drought we have experienced the last month or more, but I still feel badly that the stunning landscape that was my back yard just a few weeks ago seems to have disappeared.  The hostas’ leaves are turning yellow, the bacopa and geraniums in a couple of planters have quit blooming; even the impatiens in my window boxes look awful – all leggy and very few blossoms.  This is all happening in spite of faithful watering and fertilizing.   But, hey, the weeds certainly have prospered! I do expect the loveliness of the gardens (I have six separate flower beds – mostly perenniels) to wane as fall approaches, but this the third week of August, seems a bit early – even in Minnesota.  Fortunately, I am not planning to entertain anyone in my back yard any time soon, so I am the only one dismayed by the unsightliness.

I’m thinking I probably need to pull the impatiens out of the window boxes and replant them with the 3 for $9.99 mum plants that Cub is currently offering.  I don’t like giving in to fall until the calendar actually says it’s fall, but I may not have a choice this year.  Mums, to me, stand for fall.  In past years, I haven’t had to replace the impatiens until early October when I substitute cute little pumpkins for the flowers.

Meanwhile, I guess I should count my blessings that I did have many plants that did well, as always, this summer.  It’s just easier for me to worry and stress over the things that have not gone so well.  I found the following quote from May Sarton – author, poet, journal keeper, now deceased – that puts things in perspective, and maybe if I keep re-reading it, I can move past the disappointment of the messes in the yard right now –

A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself.

Isn’t that the truth?!

Gardening is my passion.  If I had been thinking more clearly, I would have written something about gardening earlier in the season when everything was looking lovely.  I could have included some nice pictures.  Now, I am hard-pressed to find anything to photograph that would impress you.  How about these marigolds, which actually have a funny story, I think, that goes with them.  I started them from seeds under a grow light in the early spring, thinking they were the common short, garden type marigold that lasts until hard frost in the fall.  I generally use the short variety for filler in one my flower beds.  Little did I know these would grow to be monsters.  (I know, I should have read the seed package more carefully!)  Had I known how tall they would get, I would never have planted them where I did, and among the shorter variety marigolds.  You can see, they are doing well.  The bees love them! (Look closely, and you can see the sad impatiens in the window boxes on the shed in the background.)


Ok, I feel better now that I have whined a bit.  I am grateful that for the present, anyway, I have nothing more important to worry or whine about than my garden.  I keep others in my prayers that are not so fortunate.  For me, life is good, and I am ignoring the wind!

As seen on TV…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We are the proud new owners of the NutriBullet…as seen on TV.  Making this purchase was my husband’s idea, and he is certain he is instantly healthier now that we have this cute little blender-like machine.  The accompanying user guide touts getting the most out of life we need to get the most out of our food, and includes “life nutrient extraction recipes”. The manual goes on to say the NutriBullet breaks fruits and veggies down to their most digestible form which releases nutrients that otherwise are locked inside un-chewed bits of food…hmm, that’s a shame!  Using the NutriBullet ensures our bodies are absorbing all of the disease fighting compounds the fruits and veggies offer.  Wow!  Are you sold on your need for this wonderful invention yet?? (Perhaps I could make some money here marketing this machine.)

Actually, we are both having fun using the Bullet – though I felt my old blender was working fairly well at making my smoothies also.  I’m waiting for the novelty to wear off for my husband, then finding the NutriBullet sitting idle except for my use.  For the time being, however, we’re enjoying smoothies made with kale or spinach, fruit, protein powder, and chia seeds or flaxseed meal.  It’s an easy way to get protein and Omega 3’s among other benefits.  I do feel like I’m being very healthy when I drink one of these concoctions.

I’m a huge proponent of getting ample amounts of protein (12-18 grams) with every meal, and eating 5-6 servings of veggies and/or fruit each day.  (Some nutritionists suggest you eat 9 servings of fruits/vegetables a day;  I sometimes struggle to get 5.)  And, I am a 3-meal a day person with a couple of snacks in between (hopefully healthy, but not always).  I began focusing on including protein and the veggies/fruit in my diet after reading The Mood Cure by Julia Ross, M.A.  My take-away from that book is I can control my mood (read that be happier without anti-depressant drugs) by eating a diet rich in protein, healthy fat and vegetables.  The NutriBullet will help me with getting the veggies and protein into my diet if for no other reason than after reading the literature for the machine, I am pumped up and inspired to continue on this path.  It’s pretty easy to throw healthy things in the machine, whir away for 15 seconds and voila, get a healthy beverage that tastes good.  (I still think a blender can work as well.) Trust me, you don’t even know the dark leafy greens are in the drink, the sweetness of the fruit trumps the veggies.  That’s not to say I am not a little put off by the color of the smoothie; it’s a bit odd…a weird greenish-brown shade!

I also add plain Greek yogurt to most of my smoothies to get more protein, pro-biotics, and it helps thicken the smoothie.  By the way, using frozen fruit makes the smoothie nice and cold which I think makes it more like something fun to drink (imagine something with ice cream, perhaps?).  You can also add ice to get that cold beverage effect.  Using a banana as part of the fruit also helps thicken the drink; and I happen to enjoy the banana flavor.

I will caution that a smoothie can be calorie-laden.  When I get done adding ingredients I’m guessing I have 250-300 calories in my smoothie; but, I use it as my breakfast meal, usually along with a whole-wheat English muffin.  I warned my husband he had better not think of using the Bullet to make snacks unless he wanted to increase his calorie intake for the day.  So, he replaces his noon meal with a smoothie from the Bullet two or three times a week, thereby not adding any calories to his day.

My favorite smoothie…

  • a handful of spinach leaves or 3 or 4 kale leaves
  • about 1/3 cup frozen blueberries
  • 3 or 4 frozen whole strawberries
  • a half of a banana
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons plain whey protein powder (I don’t like the flavored powders)
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • about a 1/2 cup water, milk, or coconut milk, etc.

A side note, hubby thought it would be fun to make an ice cream malt for our grandsons in the Bullet.  He did so, the boys took a few sips, got side-tracked and didn’t finish their servings.  Hubby put them in the freezer and the two of us ate them as a frozen treat a day later – YUM!


A single postscript:  I don’t always pull off eating 5 or 6 servings of fruits & veggies or getting enough protein in a day.  Tuesday night, for example, I had a root beer float for dinner…another yum!!