Saturday, March 21, 2009

Curiosity may have killed the cat...but the mint's just fine.

Adversity builds character and strength right? Well I'm sure it does despite mostly being unpleasant in the moment. However if you are a member of the menthol family, commonly known as mint, hardship only makes you more prolific. Garden boundaries are only suggestions and not meant to corral the mint, but rather the lowly plants that haven't got gams. Since propagating my peppermint and spearmint plants, I have met them in the oddest places. At first it was just a casual meeting just outside the garden box and we both looked away and kept going. Than it was the middle of the lawn; me on a mower and it trying to blend with the crabgrass. I sighed ... and then promptly whacked it with the mower. Than it just started to get creepy, a chance meeting in a dark corner behind the house and in a pile of bricks outside the kitchen. I was starting to feel stalked or at the very least watched. It seemed I really couldn't continue to turn a blind eye to this flagrant disobedience. I had to get tough...So I had a cup of tea. Delicious!

You grab a line I'll get a pole...we'll go down to the crawfish hole...

I don't remember discussing a craw fish hole in the living room. Those of you who know me well will appreciate that this is probably something I would remember discussing. Living in a flood plain, below sea level is not helping my overall plan of keeping craw fish holes 'out the house'. After a rain of any kind this is the result and while for most this might seem like a boon...I don't even like craw fish. Not with butter. Not with potatoes and not in a boil. I'm just simply not a fan. However ,this made the dilemma of whether or not to cover such a lovely craw fish hole with a wooden floor , easier and definitely made putting in floor joists much more exciting. Things where getting a bit dull and moving along a bit to quickly on this re-model. So character and the floor were built sitting in the 'craw fish hole'. In the end I was a bit worried that once the craw fish got a good look at my beautiful new floor they would leave the sanctity of their miry home and squeeze through any crack they could find in order to join us upstairs, but after chicken wire , ten inches of insulation, a sub floor and hard woods I do believe I'm out of danger. To be on the safe side... I just won't leave any boiling pots or drawn butter lying about.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Greek inspiration

Not far from Athens ,Greece there is a field called Marathon. In approximately 490 B.C. the Greeks fought against the Persians in The Battle of Marathon. They fought to keep the Persians from enslaving them. Imagine the cultural and culinary accomplishments that might have been lost on that field. Fortunately they won and Pheidippides, a Greek soldier and courier ran from Marathon to Athens 26 miles away to deliver the good news, where he promptly fell over dead. This news definitely made me rethink my idea of running a marathon. Perhaps I'll start with a half marathon. marathon's are run in commemoration of this faithful soldiers fateful race to announce peace. I on the other hand just want to challenge myself on my road to building up my health and losing weight. A far less noble purpose I agree. However, I am hoping that maybe that good soldier was injured and worn out from fighting? If not I am probably going to rethink even the half marathon. In the mean time I am training away. Understand I have been obese for about 13 years and suffer with asthma and back and stomach pain. walking has always been my chosen form of exercise. Recently I began to run, grant it it is only four minutes at a time, but one has to start somewhere...right? After Changing our diet completely for our entire family

my Husband and I have dropped collectively 80 pounds. Our girls have lost approximately 30 pounds. So far none of us have re found them. While My husband and I still have a little bit more to lose, we are up to the challenge. Since we are being influenced so much today by things Greek, Well, why not have a little bit of Greece for lunch. The girls and I chopped fresh cucumber, tomato, red peppers and artichoke hearts. Thinly sliced red onion and black olives along with calamatas and marinated mushrooms adorned torn copper lettuce. Dressed casually in about an ounce of fresh sheep's milk feta and garlic olive oil and balsamic. Ezekiel bread pitas anointed with olive oil and garlic toasted lightly and cut in points, perched beside this delicious salad. A half an artichoke completed this meal. Despite flavor that any self respecting ancient Greek would approve of, the meal itself was completely healthy and figure friendly. Eaten outside at my little bistro table in perfect 80 degree weather and surrounded by laughing conversation, This was definitely the best part of my training to date. Now, if only running in any length marathon was even half as appealing as lunch.

The whole Enchilada

Who says Mexican food has to be fattening? OK, so most everyone I know! I will have to respectfully disagree. Black beans are high in protein and Fiber as well as many other valuable nutrients and they lose very little of their afor mentioned glory in the cooking process. Fresh salsa of any kind is filled with enzymes and vitamins (and who doesn't like salsa). Unless, of course the ingredients have been radiated, but lets assume for the sake of this conversation your veggies came from your garden or from a local supplier. Baked tortillas cut in perfect little triangles and carrots sliced on a mandolin make perfect dippers for both salsa fresco or guacamole, which in and of itself is filled with good fats that your brain and joints need to keep lubricated. Mexican food makes you smarter to...brilliant! Thin corn tortillas dipped in the hot coconut milk and green chili, cilantro sauce to soften them , are stuffed with homemade vegetarian black beans, sauteed sliced onions and red and orange peppers. These enchiladas are nestled on a barely wilted bed of spinach seasoned lightly with lime and grey salt. guacamole and mango salsa lend a somewhat carribean flare and complete this meal perfectly. I dare say we all felt that these where hands down the best enchiladas we had ever had.

The pretty maids all in a row

I am all about great food, particularly if the food is real. I have always had a love for everything involved in the preparation of a meal, from the growing to the serving. I am in awe of the beauty that real food offers the diner as well as the many health benefit derived from that same plate. Sadly we seem , only to often, to be willing to settle for less than a dining experience and very few consider the food they put in their mouths to have anything to do with their aching joints, headaches and bad skin. Let alone the major problems from diabetes to heart disease to cancer. Give your body a break! Your body is an amazing creation. The mechanics accomplished in one cell of your body alone is unbelievable, but how can you expect it to continue to run smoothly with out the proper nutrients. Now, before you call me and inform me that your bread has thiamine added and at least 12 other vitamins and minerals are swim enthusiastically through you Gatorade, get real! You are betting your life on the fact that scientists and food company CEO's value your life so highly that they only want what is best for you and yours. That is a pretty good amount of confidence that you show in people who are taking your weaknesses and gaining from them. If your comfortable with that then by all means keep right on eating that fat-free dressing and reduced calorie cookie. As for me and my house we will eat the tomato and basil grown in our back yard or by our local farmer. If that seems like an intriguing idea, than have no fear I will be more than happy to share some of my success in the past few months of changing our lives to a more healthy lifestyle.