Friday, May 1, 2015

My 2015 Garden

It's springtime here in Kirkland, and that means D and I have planted our garden. This is our "spring" garden; the weather isn't quite warm enough at night (or during the day) to warrant planting tomatoes or peppers or other warm-weather-loving plants, but we have made a good start with the first crop.

When we moved into our rented place in Kirkland, we were so pleased that it came with garden boxes. It was hard to leave our amazing garden behind in Portland, but having the plots already established here made it a little easier to adapt to a new place. The boxes are a little rickety, but they serve their purpose, and I know we are going to enjoy a summer full of delicious homegrown fruits and vegetables.

vegetables: strawberries and onions; Gerbera daisies (my favorite flower!) and marigolds brighten up the corners
We're trying something new this year; we've added flowers to each one of the garden boxes. With the way the boxes are set up, we are able to place a table and chairs in the middle of them, so we we can enjoy grilled food and the fruits (and vegetables) of our labor right in the middle of our garden. It's a very peaceful and lovely setting in which to dine. The flowers add color and brightness to our meals (as well as to the boxes while the fruits and vegetables are still growing).

vegetables: carrots and onions; flowers: snapdragon and a marigold
ALL of the lettuce varieties! our salads will never be boring (or lacking) again! with marigolds and a sunflower-like flower in the corners
Betsy's a big fan of the garden, and she loves being outdoors whenever I am!
these potted onions are really growing!
I'll have some more garden shots after these all grow a bit and start producing. The strawberry plants look like they're really close to being ripe; I can't wait to enjoy fresh strawberries from my garden!

What have you planted in your garden this spring?

I love to garden, and it shows here on the blog! I believe that there is no better way to eat than to grow the food yourself. Here are (many) other posts I've written about gardening:
-Last year's garden (the first in our new house) was amazing!
-Strawberries from my 2011 garden
-What my 2010 garden consisted of
-The first time I planted starts (part I)
-The first time I planted starts (part II)
-Food made with my 2009 garden
-A little sunflower I planted from seed
-What I planted in 2009 (part I)
-What I planted in 2009 (part II)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day! 2015

Happy Earth Day! I compiled a few resources you might like to find out more about what today signifies, what you can do, and what you can eat to celebrate our one and only earth.

dogwood blooms in my front yard

Earth Day Information
-here's the official website for Earth Day
-here's a carbon footprint calculator (watch out - its results might surprise you [in a bad way])
-Earth Day on Wikipedia

What Can You Do?
-recycle! (or, if your town/workplace/apartment building doesn't have a good recycling plan, start one!)
-reduce your waste (or, even better - your purchases; ask yourself if you really need something and wait three days to buy it to determine if it's really something you need)
-take public transit or walk/ride your bike to work/school/events around town

What Can You Eat?
-I love these Earth Day Peanut Butter Cups from Spabettie
-go meatless for one day (or more)!
-eat local foods (prepared or grown less than 200 miles away)
-eats foods that are in season
-eat organically-grown foods

Today, I pledge to:
-eat things that don't come in packages
-eat foods that have been grown or prepared less than 200 miles from my town
-keep the lights off and heat down as much as I can

What do you plan to do for Earth Day?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Happy Spring!

Hello again!

I'm finally done with winter quarter and I'm able to share with you lovely people once again. This term was one of the hardest I've ever had. I was taking three science major-level science classes (chemistry 3, anatomy and physiology 2, and microbiology), and barely had time to breathe. My weekdays and weekends were full of reading, homework, studying, labs, and trying to survive. But somehow I got through it and I am now enjoying my moments of rest and relaxation.

Things I have planned for spring break:

  • reading books about subjects OTHER than chemistry, anatomy and physiology, and microbiology.
  • baking! I can't wait to try out so many new recipes!
  • cooking elaborate meals! I acquired three new cookbooks that I want to talk about here, but first I need to actually cook from them.
  • spending time with D. Now that the weather is warmer, I have a feeling we're going to be out on the water sailing quite a bit.
  • seeing friends outside of school. 
  • traveling around Seattle and discovering new awesome places.
  • catching up on sleep.

When I was looking for pictures to add to this post, I realized that in the past three months, I have mostly only taken pictures of bacteria and anatomical models. Since I'm sure you don't really want to see those, I'll add a rare picture of something else: a trip D and I took to Vancouver, B.C. over Presidents' Day weekend:

the main branch of the Vancouver BC library
And here is a picture of my new niece! She was born in early January and is the sweetest thing ever. She's coming up from Portland to visit (with her parents, of course) this weekend. I can't wait to see how she's changed since I met her in January.

See you soon!

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Best Green Smoothies on The Planet: A Recipe and Cookbook Review

I'm really excited to share a review of a new cookbook with you today that I think will really speak to a lot of you. Green smoothies are (and have been) "all the rage" in recent years, but there are few cookbooks that really offer green smoothies in a healthy, whole foods way like this one does. 

However, The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet is packed full of very healthy, nutrient-rich smoothies that you can feel good about adding to your green smoothie recipe collection. Tracy Russell creates delicious recipes out of common household ingredients such as bananas, spinach, celery and cinnamon, leaving you with wonderful smoothies that are low in fat, high in nutrients, and absolutely delicious going down.

The book is broken up into two parts. The first part of the book gives a basic introduction to green smoothies, their nutritional benefits, how to make the perfect green smoothie, and what types of ingredients are best for green smoothies. The second part of the book is full of smoothie recipes, divided into nine different chapters. There's a chapter each for detox and cleansing smoothies (perfect for this time of year!), fitness and energy green smoothies, and heart-healthy green smoothies. I want to try nearly every single recipe in the book, but today I get to share with you the Spiced Blueberry and Pear Smoothie, found in the weight loss smoothies chapter. 

I really want to try these recipes:
  • Pear-Dandelion Green Smoothie
  • Cherry-Plum Green Smoothie
  • Chocolate-Peanut Butter Smoothie
  • Sweet Potato Smoothie
  • Coconut-Grapefruit Smoothie
  • Avocado-Peach Green Smoothie

...just to name a few!

This is a great book, and it's obvious that Tracy really put a lot of thought and research into creating it. There are no pictures, but because the smoothies are so easy to put together, you'll be looking at your own smoothie in just a matter of minutes, so no picture is necessary! 

For more information about Tracy Russell and her amazing health story, visit her website: Without further ado, here is a recipe for her wonderful spiced blueberry and pear smoothie:


Adding spices to smoothies is a great way to add a lot of flavor without adding additional calories.

Frozen wild blueberries are a great low-calorie fruit that is loaded with 25 percent of your recommended daily value of fiber and 12 percent of your recommended daily value of zinc— with only 80 calories!

1 medium pear, cored
1 cup frozen wild blueberries
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 ounces homemade almond milk (page 64)

Calories: 208
Fat: 1g
Protein: 2g
Carbs: 49g
Calcium: 3%
Iron: 0.8mg
Vitamin A: 1%
Vitamin C: 29%

Friday, January 9, 2015

My Favorite Cookbooks of 2014

I think I say this every year, but 2014 was a great year for cookbooks. So many great ones came out to inspire, intimidate and are my top 10 favorites of the year:

The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out by Angela Liddon - another gorgeous cookbook that features beautiful, whole food recipes.

Sweet Eats for All: 250 Decadent Gluten-Free, Vegan Recipes--from Candy to Cookies, Puff Pastries to Petits Fours by Allyson Kramer - oh, you already know how I feel about this book, but in case you missed this post, just know that this is not a book you can do without!

The 30-Day Vegan Challenge by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau - this is a second edition of the book, but the most exciting part is that my very good friend designed and did the layout for the book! She put in hours of work, and you can really tell. It's a beautiful book, inside and out.

Plant-Based Eating from Ben Bella Vegan Publishers - this ebook takes great recipes from some fantastic vegan authors (Lindsay S. Nixon, Christy Morgan, and the crew at HappyCow, to name a few) and puts them into a beautiful book.

The HappyCow Cookbook: Recipes from Top-Rated Vegan Restaurants around the World - I wrote a bit about the book already, and it's a great addition to your collection.

Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics by Chloe Coscarelli - this girl just keeps popping out amazing books, and she doesn't show any signs of stopping.

Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed by Bryant Terry - I really respect Terry's philosophy about food and I especially like his style of cookbook. This is another great one for the collection.

The VB6 Cookbook: More than 350 Recipes for Healthy Vegan Meals All Day and Delicious Flexitarian Dinners at Night by Mark Bittman - although not an entirely vegan cookbook, I like where this man's headed, and I like the simplicity of his recipes along the way.

Choosing Raw by Gena Hamshaw - this is a wonderful book with lovely recipes and pictures to match.

The Vibrant Table: Recipes From My Always Vegetarian, Mostly Vegan and Sometimes Raw Kitchen by Anya Kassoff - I love the author's take on foods in this book. She was born and raised in Russia, and Russian food influences her recipes. Since I am Polish, I love finding new, healthier takes on Slavic foods, and this book gives me that treat.

Well, these are my top 10 of 2014! There are so many I didn't get to this year, and so many that are coming out next year that I can't wait's a great time to be a home cook. What were your favorite cookbooks of 2014?


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