I love Sundays!

November 11th, 2012 | Posted by kerry458 in Favorite Recipes | My Garden | My Kitchen - (2 Comments)

I love waking up on a Sunday, knowing that I have nothing on the agenda. It means a day of choosing my activities on a whim. The weather today is perfect; a nice ocean breeze, sunny, 70′s, making for a perfect backdrop to the day. We slept in this morning, made eggs in a basket, then took a long walk on the beach. After that, we headed to the grocery store and picked up a treat for dinner tonight (more on that later)!

Workin’ In The Garden:

 After the grocery store, I messed around in the garden a bit. It’s recovering well from the storm.

I’ve got a bunch of this buttercrisp lettuce growing. The leaves are so tender and make great additions to my salads. I just trim off the largest leaves and in just a few days there are more healthy leaves growing!

I planted these little collard greens from seeds about two weeks ago. They are growing up nicely.

 

I planted some cabbage after the storm. They are still pretty small, but growing nicely.

I have three tomato plants growing in my garden. Here is one of them. They all have some nice new growth and a few flowers.

My egg plants lost pretty much all of their leaves in the storm. They all have some nice new growth on them now.

These simple marigolds have such vibrant color!

Playin’ In The Kitchen:

After enjoying the rest of the afternoon I decided to play around a bit in the kitchen. I picked up a box of pumpkin bread mix the other day, so I decided to bake that. I healthed it up a bit by replacing the canola oil, called for on the box, with the equivalent measurement of pumpkin puree.  I did some looking around on google and the purpose of oil in these mixes is to keep the bread moist. Well, soooo many healthy ingredients can keep a bread moist, including apple sauce, or really, any pureed fruit or veggie. Sooo, logically, I chose to use pumpkin puree to make pumpkin bread. Don’t worry, I made up for the calories that I cut out by adding a brown sugar glaze:/ I couldn’t  resist.

I made the brown sugar drizzle by saturating hot milk with brown sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. The milk needs to be hot enough to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved in the milk, place the mix in the freezer for about 10 minutes to cool it down. When it’s at about room temperature, pour the mix into a ziplock bag. Clip a tiny bit of the corner off of one side of your ziplock bag and then drizzle the glaze over the bread! 

Now for our special pre-dinner treat that I mentioned earlier….

 Every time Ryan and I go to the grocery store, Ryan looks at the lobster tails at the seafood counter and says that we should cook up some lobster tails one night, kind of like a special treat. We’ll this morning, when we were walking on the beach, Ryan suggested that we actually do it…so we did:) We grabbed three lobster tails at the store and boiled ‘em up. I’ve never cooked lobster before, and honestly haven’t eaten lobster since I was a kid. So, I was excited! They were super easy to cook. I looked it up, and you’re supposed to boil the tails for a minute per ounce. Our tails were about 3 ounces, so  I just boiled them for 3 minutes and served them with butter and lemon. Soooo yummy!

I was so excited to try these guys that I forgot to take a “finished” picture. I guess you’ll just have to trust me when I say they were great!

After this I got to cooking our actual dinner. Butternut squash stew. This is one of my favorite recipes and is a variation of a recipe that I found on Mental Chew. Its hearty, very flavorful, and really good for you. With butternut squash, quinoa, and tomatoes, its packed with vitamins, protein, and antioxidants!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash (chopped)
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup quinao
  • 1 large can of diced tomaotes
  • 1 large chopped onion (chopped)
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 package chicken (Copped into 1 inch chunks)
  • 2 tomatos
Instructions:
  • Simmer chopped onion in olive oil until translucent
  • Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil
  • Once the stew in boiling, reduce to a simmer and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the squash is very tender and the chicken is cooked through.

Chopping squash is quite a feat. I microwaved the whole squash for about 5 minutes, to soften it up, but cutting it up was still a challenge. I’m lucky to have all 10 fingers still intact at this point! If anyone has discovered the secret to cutting up squash, please share!

The Final Product!

Hope you all have had a fabulous Sunday as well! 

Long Run

November 9th, 2012 | Posted by kerry458 in Running And Yoga - (0 Comments)

The Space Coast Half Marathon is only two and a half weeks away, so I was due for a long run today. 10.5 miles! I’m happy to say I finished, but man am I exhausted right now!

When I run I neeeed music and sadly my Ipod stopped working during my first week of training for this. So, up until last week I was ipodless:( Training was tough. I was sooo happy when my replacement came in the mail this past week! I spent way too much time putting a playlist together  this morning, but my tunes got me through the run! Lots up upbeat, fun music, with a good beat to keep me goin’!

  1. Shake It Out- Florence + The Machine
  2. Yeah Yeah-Willy Moon
  3. Kill Your Heros-AWOLNATION
  4. Put The Gun Down-ZZ Ward
  5. Jump Into The Fog-The Wombats
  6. Itchin’ On A Photograph-Grouplove
  7. Houdini-Foster The People
  8. Radioactive-Imagine Dragons
  9. Dirty Paws-Of Monsters and Men
  10. Trojans-Atlas Genius
  11. Somebody That I Used To Know- Gotye
  12. Call Me Maybe-Carly Rae Jepsen ….Don’t Judge:)
  13. What The Water Gave Me-Florence + The Machine
  14. Electric Feel-MGMT
  15. Helena Beat-Foster The People
  16. Young Blood-The Naked and Famous
  17. Midnight City-M83
  18. Bullet and a Target-Citizen Cope

 

Running fuel. I made this wheatberry salad for lunch. I just chopped up one apple, and added cranberries and some mayo. I love wheatberries!

Setting A Pretty Table: Just Because

November 7th, 2012 | Posted by kerry458 in My Kitchen - (2 Comments)

I strive to live a simple lifestyle, putting less value on material things and more on relationships, experiences, and nature. However, that being said, I would not  call myself a minimalist because I do love to fill my spaces with things that are pretty and meaningful. Not necessarily fancy or expensive things, but little touches here and there that make me smile or make a place feel like home; warm, welcoming, and cozy:)

 Every now and then, when I have enough time before dinner, I love to set a pretty table, just because I love to look at it while I’m eating. Is this odd?  Maybe, but everything matching, the candles giving off an inviting glow;  it all seems to compliment the effort and care put into a home cooked meal. Even if it’s something as simple as spaghetti, which we ate last night.

A bunch of different styled candle holders add such a pretty touch to a dinner table.  I love how the oranges and reds matched the plates, and the  green candle holder matched my favorite green wine glass. And, everything matched the napkins. Pretty napkins are a must! It all came together and looked so autumnish….I was very proud of my little creation:)

Oh yeah, and we eventually did eat dinner:) A pretty table isn’t complete without the food! Simple, but yummy, spaghetti, turkey meatballs, and a handful of spinach.

Simple Beauty

November 6th, 2012 | Posted by kerry458 in Harvest | My Garden - (0 Comments)

After getting home from my morning run, I walked into our Florida room on the back side of the house, and noticed that all of the blades of my wheat grass had little dew drops on the tips. It was so beautiful, with the morning sunlight shinning in on them, I thought I would share:) By the time a grabbed my camera there were only a few blades with dew left on them; that morning sun heats up the room pretty fast!

I started growing my own wheat grass about 3 weeks ago. I’d always heard how good it was supposed to be for you but, dang, it sure was expensive. Well, at the Brevard County Progressive festival, I found out about a local, organic wheat grass distributor that sells the seeds for a very reasonable price; only $6 for a 1 liter plastic bag full. I figured I would try it. So far they have been really easy to grow on my own. When I get a good crop growing I clip them with herb scissors and add them to my morning smoothie. 

P.S. Binx likes wheat grass too. I think he nibbles on it while I’m at work. Sneaky little guy! It’s okay though because he’ll be one healthy cat!

Wine Cozies

November 4th, 2012 | Posted by kerry458 in Uncategorized - (4 Comments)

Not sure if I’ve mentioned it yet, but I love to crochet! I typically always have some sort of crocheting project in the works, in case I get the sudden urge to be crafty. These wine cozies have been my latest project. They are so easy and fun to make!

I make them with 100% cotton yarn and they go so quick!

There is something about crocheting that is very calming. I think it’s the repetitive motion. At the end of a long day it keeps my mind occupied just enough to abate stress and worry, without having to concentrate tooooo hard. 

http://www.etsy.com/shop/kerryanita

Good Morning and happy weekend. I started out this lovely morning with my favorite breakfast dish and a cup of peppermint flavored coffee, which I bought last night as weekend treat :) With my newfound love for smoothies, I have not been eating my normal egg-based breakfast. I must admit that I’ve missed it those eggs!  Eggs, spinach, cheese, toast, yummmm!  So, today I decided that I will eat a smoothie at lunch time and have an omelet for breakfast.  This egg white omelet, with laughing cow cheese is probably my favorite thing to make for breakfast. It’s delish and healthy :)

 

Ingedients:

3 egg whites

Chopped spinach

Chopped onion

2 laughing cow cheese wedges

Salsa or Hot Sauce

Chop up the spinach and onion

Mix the spinach, onions, and egg whites together in a bowl

Cook the eggs until they are solid enough to flip over

Slice the laughing cow cheese into smaller pieces and add to one side of the egg. Then, fold the egg over on top of the cheese.  This laughing cow cheese is one of my favorite ingredients to add to so many recipes. I’ll have to share more of those recipes in the future:) My favorite flavor is the garlic and herb wedges. 

Serve with a dallop of salsa or some hot sauce:)

If you give this recipe a try, let me know what you think! Enjoy your Saturday ;0)

Beach Combing

November 1st, 2012 | Posted by kerry458 in Environment | Ocean - (1 Comments)

Happy November! Where is this year going?!?

This past week the beach combing here has been magnificent! The wake of the storm left, literally, mounds of shells on our beaches. I’ve lived by these particular beaches for over three years now, and never has the shelling been so good here. I first got wind of all of the shell beds after work on Tuesday. Sadly, the sun was just setting and the tide was coming in…leaving very little time for beach combing that evening. So, the next morning I got up as the sun was rising, bundled up because it was chilly, and spent an hour on the beach before work looking for shells and sea glass. The beds were so thick, that in one hour I barely walked 1/4 of a mile. It was such a peaceful morning with a gorgeous sunrise; definitely a great way to start out the day!

 I found mainly the above varieties of shells. The Scallops and Cantharus were everywhere. I could have come home with triple the amount of those varieties if I had really wanted to, but decided to limit myself. I have a holiday craft in mind for the scallops, but I’d like to try and find something crafty to do with the Cantharus as well. Time to hit up Pinterest;)

I also found quite a bit of sea glass. I love sea glass, but never seem to find a lot on these beaches, compared to others that I’ve lived on, so I was happy to find the pieces that I did yesterday:) If the shell beds are still good this weekend, I’ll probably spend some more time on the beach, seeing what I can find. I’ll keep you all posted, if I find anything cool!

Happy Halloween!

October 31st, 2012 | Posted by kerry458 in Favorite Recipes | My Kitchen | Uncategorized - (3 Comments)

I love this holiday, it’s an excuse the dress up and act like a little kid, no matter what age you are:) My Halloween started out wonderful. I got up at the crack of dawn, literally, to do some beach combing. Hurricane Sandy left us with the most amazing shell beds, so I spent an hour, first thing this morning, collecting tons of shells and sea glass! I will share all of my finds with you tomorrow…

Last night the Halloween fun began as I cooked pumpkin coconut soup, which turned out great, and then carved my pumpkin while watching the Nightmare Before Christmas.

Pumpkin Coconut Soup For Dinner

Ingredients:

2 cans of pumpkin

3 cups of Thai Coconut Curry broth (this is so delicious and can be found at the grocery along with the normal canned broths)

1 cup of thinly sliced or shredded carrot

3 tbsp of fresh ground ginger

1/2 cup milk

olive oil

red peppers (any spicy variety will do)

cheddar cheese

garlic croutons

salt

pepper

red pepper flakes

  • Begin by sauteing the carrots, ground ginger, and chopped pepper in olive oil on the bottom of a large pot.
  • Saute for about 5 minutes, then add the pumpkin, broth, and red pepper flakes
  • Simmer for about 20 minutes
  • Add 1/2 cup of milk, then cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, and more red pepper flakes to taste. Simmer for 5- 10 more minutes

Serve hot and garnish with garlic croutons

Pumpkin Carving & Seed Roasting

After dinner I began carving our pumpkin. Without fail I have carved a pumpkin on Halloween since as far back as I can remember (well with a little bit of help before I could be trusted with a sharp knife). For me, it’s not Halloween until the pumpkin is carved!

I love roasted pumpkin seeds, so I like to save them and roast them when I carve my pumpkin.

To roast the seeds, rinse them well, toss them in olive oil, and sprinkle generously with garlic salt and pepper.  Then spread them out on a cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees until they are a nice golden color (about 20 minutes). Make sure to move the seeds around on the sheet once or twice while they are cooking so that they roast evenly. These guys make for a yummy and healthy snack!

My carved pumpkin!

Zachary Binx-My Halloween Kitty

I figure I will take this opportunity to introduce Binx-my black kitty cat. I got Binx two years ago as a kitten, about 1 month before Halloween. I walked into the local Pets-mart  on their adoption day, with a friend who needed to buy fish food. Of course, I had to stop and look at the adorable animals. Well, there was little Binx, 4 months old, all black, and the friendliest little kitten you’ve ever met. Also, he was playing with this little sea turtle toy in his cage, so that made me like him more. I then started talking to the adoption lady, who told me that they had to stop adopting out black cats about 3 weeks before Halloween, because there are shady people out there, who will adopt black cats around Halloween for not-so-nice reasons:( Since Binx was already 4 months old, after Halloween, she said, people would be less likely to adopt him because he would no longer be the tinsy, tiny kitten type that most people want to adopt. Well, she got got me, I couldn’t bare the thought of him not having a home. The next day I walked out of the place with the little black kitten, who I named Binx (Zachary Binx when he scratches the couch or bed) after the immortal, talking black cat  in my all-time favorite Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus!

For the longest time my breakfast has been a spinach and egg white omelette,  with laughing cow cheese, and a piece of whole grain toast. I consider this is a healthy breakfast and I love it! I love eggs and cheese, plus its low in calories, high in protein, etc. But a little over a week ago I decided it was time for a change. I wanted to start my day with a more well-rounded meal. So, I decided to give something new a try. Something, that I’ve heard about, but for some reason have never actually tried: Green Smoothies. What is a green smoothie you might ask? Well, basically its leafy greens blended with one or more of the following: berries, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, soy milk, or any other health optimizing raw food. The result is a super powered meal that gives your body loads of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants; all in raw completely natural form.

I’ve been very much into eating a healthy and nutritious diet for some time now, and have read books and watched documentaries about raw food diets, that include these super smoothies, and how they can cure and prevent all sorts of diseases (including cancer), increase energy, help any fitness training regime, and improve you mood. For some reason though, until last week, I had never made one of these smoothies. And now I’m wondering to myself, what the heck took me so long?

Here’s what motivated me to try them. An older gentleman that I work with had a very severe reaction to a medication that he was taking and ended up in the ICU for several days. We were all very concerned for his health, and luckily he pulled through all right. However, he needed to get off his medications that were wreaking havoc on his body. Since that time he has been drinking one of these smoothies a day and eating a predominately raw food diet, with lean white meat and other proteins. Within two weeks he has been able to cut his medication dosage in half. Observing this sort of drastic change in the health of someone that I see every day motivated me to try the smoothies for myself and see how they could improve my health.

It’s been exactly 7 days since I began replacing my normal breakfast with a green smoothie and let me tell you that they have been amazing! I feel so energized, I’m in a perpetually good mood, and I have had some of the best runs that I’ve had in ages (see yesterdays post)! The thing that I find most wonderful about these smoothies is that they are 100% natural. I add absolutely no sugar, sweeteners, syrups, or anything artificial. This has truly deepened a belief that I have held for some time now, which is that food is the best medicine. Mother Nature has provided for us everything we need to cure what ails us.

Here are some of the raw ingredients that I have been putting into my smoothies, along with the just a few of the many ways in which they can benefit your health.

Spinach: This leafy green is very high in iron, helping with anemia. It also contains phytochemicals and antioxidants which are anti-cancerous and benefit heart health

Kale: Kale has similar health benefits to spinach, but with even higher Iron content!

Apples: Apples, high in fiber are good for digestion. They also contain vitamin C. Apple skin is high in antioxidants

Beets: The deep red color of beets can be attributed to cancer fighting phytonutrient and antioxidants.

Bananas: High potassium levels in bananas make them a great food for athletes because they improve muscle stamina. Bananas also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that can reduce symptoms of depression

Ginger Root: Ginger root has been shown to improve digestion

Coconut Water: Increases hydration more quickly than regular water

Soy Milk: High Calcium content improves bone health. Soy milk is dairy and hormone free\High Omega Fatty Acid content

Red Berries: The phytonutrients that give these red berries their color are powerful antioxidants

So, for seven days I have been experimenting with the above ingredients. Not only do these smoothies have amazing health benefits, but they are surprisingly yummy, without one ounce of artificial anything! Here are some of my favorite concoctions as of yet:

Classic Super Green Smoothie

  • Two Handfuls of spinach or kale
  • 1 banana
  • 1 chopped apple (the juicier the apple the better)
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground ginger (a garlic grater works great for this!)
  • 1/2-1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tbsp flax seed

Christmas Smoothie: Greens and Reds ;)

  • Two Handfuls of spinach or kale
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger root
  • 1/2- 1 cup frozen or fresh red berries
  • 1/2-1 cup coconut water
  • 1 tbsp flax seed

Ginger Detox Smoothie

  • 1 Banana
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 Handful of Spinach or Kale
  • 2 tbsp lemon Juice
  • 1/2-1 cup Orange Juice

Red-elicious

  • Greens from one beet
  • 1/4 of a peeled beet root, chopped
  • 1 Apple, Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Red Berries
  • 1/2 Banana
  • 1/2 – 1 Cup coconut water
Do You Have A Favorite Green Smoothie Recipe? I’d Love To Hear About It!!!

Running Weather!

October 28th, 2012 | Posted by kerry458 in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

The storm has passed, and in its wake, left the most beautiful weather! Right now I’m sitting on my front porch writing, and there is not a cloud in the sky (well, okay I see two little tiny clouds). Anyways it’s gorgeous outside and the temperature is amazing. The humidity is gone and the highs are in the 70’s lows in the 50’s. If you’re a Floridian, I’m sure you can share my excitement.

 What makes me even more excited about this weather is that it is ideal weather for running! I am currently in the process of training for a half marathon, the Space Coast Half Marathon, to be specific; and it’s only one month away! I woke up this morning and knew it would be a great day for a run. I didn’t actual start my run until 10:00am, but it was still only 69 degrees outside and slightly breezy; just enough to keep me cool. And man was it a great run! I ran 9.5 miles along one of the most scenic roads in town, Tropical Trail. At the end I was only a tiny bit sore, and overall felt awesome.

 Sometimes when I’m tired or when I’ve had a bad run I ask myself, why am I doing this?!  Well runs like today’s remind me why I run, and why I always will; it puts me in a great mood (yay endorphins!), I get to enjoy beautiful days outside, running makes me feel accomplished, running makes me healthy, it will make me healthier when I get older, it gives me an excuse to have an extra glass of wine with dinner….and the list goes onJ I will have to remember to refer back to this post next time I have an off run!

 

So, after this excellent run, I was in the mood to get my garden back in order. Poor garden, many of my new veggies had ALL of their leaves blown off. Sadly, I had to declare them casualties of the storm, and replace them with some new plants.  But my garden is back in order and will hopefully begin to thrive again soon!

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