Nature's Heart

Nature's Heart

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Raised Garden Beds and a Yellow Harvest

I have been wanting to have my own raised garden bed(s) for years...needless to say I finally got around to building two 5ft x 5ft beds by upcycling an old broken shelving unit in my garage. I only had to buy one board from the hardware store, all of the other boards were salvagable.

I pulled out all of the nails and then created the two beds by using brackets for the corners and additional nails along the edge/seam of each side of the frame.
Digging up the grass in these two areas didn't seem like it would be that big of a deal (it looks small afterall) but surprise not only did it take me hours, but it also filled up my yard waste bin...but then I have to think that it was about 50 square feet of grass and dirt that I was trying to uproot...No need to go to the gym after this project!

I lined the bottom of each bed with a fabric weed guard and then lined that with newspaper (as another weed barrier). I had the TAGRO man deliver 2 yards of their potting soil/garden bed mix...No wheelbarrel in site I began a rather long trek back and forth with my 5 gallon bucket filling and dumping.
Then came the task of deciding what and where to plant...of course I had to include a few flowers too so along the one row I planted dalias.
 I did use some starts for a few things such as the yellow squash, basil and  kohlrabi, the rest is growing from seeds including cucumbers, spinach (which did not do a thing) beans, and peas.
Nice try spinach...maybe next year! 

So it has been a little while and I was walking past my yellow squash plant one day and it was like overnight two of the squashes seemed to have doubled in size!!! I suppose it's time to make something out of my first harvest! I'm so excited!

I also had to be resourceful and wanted to use up some items that I have in my fridge and what did I want to make with my squash? I decided to do a polenta lasagna bake.

I coated the bottom of the of my 8x8 baking dish with a light amount of olive oil and then I layered, sundried tomato polenta slices, my home grown yellow squash slices, a light layer of cheese (enough so that the layers would hold together), baby spinach, sliced and also home grown basil, ground black pepper, garlic and another light layer of cheese and repeated that layering process until I filled up the pan.

That might be the prettiest squash I have ever seen! I might be getting healthier just by looking at it.

Layers and layers

 Then it's a matter of putting it in a 350 degree oven and letting it bake for about 20-30 minutes and voilà!!!!, wow, wow!
Scrumptious would be an understatement!!!
Bon appétit!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Birthday Song To The Tone Of "A"

Happy Birthday to meeee!!! I feel so loved! Thank you everyone for the beautiful cards and wishes that I received for my recent (Ahem! Cough, Cough) 20 something birthday!!!

I have been on the lookout for a beautiful sounding wind chime for my back patio...I found one that I love but it turns out it didn't really make much of a sound...but it was still cute so I thought I would make the most of it, not to mention that it was a fun experience hunting for and finding it while out and about with my aunt.

Well you can imagine my delight when a packaged arrived in time for my birthday from my Benjamin!!!
It actually arrived 4 days early and I managed to wait 2 days until Ben told me that I could open it!
Based on this packaging I still wasn't familiar with this company so the contents were still very much a mystery until I opened the box.

What an amazing present!!! Ben told me that he got the idea to find a chime after our recent visit to his parents house, where his mom has a very large sized chime by this company that I was so entranced by.

No wonder he was asking what other colors (besides yellow) are my favorite...sneaky sneaky this one is! But I love it when people surprise me because I usually catch wind of it beforehand.

He picked out a beautiful teal color for me that sings to the beautifully hand tuned tone of "A". I love how the light is hitting it (can you tell how much I love this thoughtful present?!?)!

Isn't it beautiful?!?!?!?
(Oooh look! You can see how well my raised garden beds are doing in the background...I will post about that later!).

Later that evening my dad treated me to the Jasmin Mongolian Grill for dinner and then we went and saw the Great Gatsby! Excellent film, stunning cinematography and stylistic approaches. I was surprised of the way that the soundtrack is used throughout the film...hard to hear actually during the movie. It was a bit disappointing since the soundtrack was the initial motivator for me to go see the movie...but make no mistake, I still really enjoyed the film once I got used to this aspect.
Music From Baz Luhrmann's Film The Great Gatsby (Deluxe ) [Explicit]
Anyway both were brilliantly done!!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Heat Wave ~ Stay Cool!

The first heatwave of the summer has happened in Sunny Washington! It has been high 80's and today it is supposed to get into the low 90's... Well who wants to cook in that kind of heat?!? Not this girl, so it is smoothie time!!!

What better and EASY way to have a nutritious meal that cools you down too, not to mention that it also is a great way to use up produce before it having to throw it out. No one likes to throw money away (at least I hope not)

The ingredients that used for this smoothie:
1 tomato
1 avocado
1/2 of a peeled and seeded cucumber
Alkaline powder
Super green powder
Frozen Strawberries/blue/black/raspberry fruit blend
Rice milk (plain/unsweetened)
1 kiwi, peeled

I put in a good amount of spinach first, then layered the cucumber, diced tomato, avocado, Alkaline and Super Green powder and rice milk. I add enough rice milk so that it can blend well.
Time to puree that bad boy!
Looking good so far! That makes me feel healthy just looking at it!
Next add a good amount of frozen berries and the peeled kiwi (to taste). The berries/fruit is what I use to sweeten it up, and TA-DAH! You have a nutritious meal, easy clean up and something to cool you down in the summer months!
I also will fill up some travel cups and stick them in the freezer overnight so that I can take them with me to work in the takes all morning to defrost so it is ready in time for lunch! Freeze any extra and eat it like a sorbet/icee (as you can see I did in the little jar). Make sure you leave enough room at the top for the smoothie to expand as it freezes or your container can split or crack!

Work out alternative:

I certainly find it hard to work out when it is really hot so I either will work out early in the morning or late evening after dinner...basically I will pop one of these workouts in my DVD player as soon as the house is at it's coolest .

I highly recommend these Ballet Beautiful workouts by Mary Helen Bowers!!!