Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Let's Talk About Smoothies

Can we get a bit interactive here? I want to get a smoothie conversation going, I know you all have some favorite smoothies you like to make and I love getting some fresh ideas. In the winter we really lay off the cold foods and drinks so smoothies are just now coming back into rotation with the sun shining longer and brighter in these parts. As I've mentioned before, I am ALWAYS on the lookout for more ways to get additional veggies into my family's meals, and smoothies have long been a great way to sneak in a few extra nutrient boosts. Having had some pretty big flops attempting to tip the scale a little to far to the veg side rather than the fruit, I have come up with some techniques that seem to keep everyone happy. The first one being to stick to a color palate, the army green or murky brown that results from mixing red berries and kale can turn off even the most willing of smoothie drinkers. So, if I am working with peaches I'll toss in a couple carrots, juice from a sweet potato or golden beets, red berries are great to add red beets to, blueberries can hide kale/spinach/chard really well and if I am going with a green smoothie I'll add apple or pear to sweeten. You get the idea, right. I have found that celery and cucumber can hide in nearly any smoothie without being detected and both give off hints of a really nice fresh flavor. Second, I always add either a banana or avocado which adds a really nice creamy but not to creamy texture. I also will add some honey if I feel I might be pushing the veg to fruit tolerances. We typically have oranges or orange juice on hand so that is a standard liquid base to which I will add either coconut milk and/or yogurt. This is also the place I once would sneak extra supplements in before everyone could swallow the mouthful of vitamins I push on my family. If I have cashews or almonds that have soaked I'll add them for a little protein boost. What else do you all like to add to your smoothies? Today I am feasting on this green smoothie which contains a good amount of spinach just picked this morning from my garden, a pear, a couple stalks of celery, a banana, splash of OJ, a big scoop of plain yogurt and a bit of ice.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mindful Monday...

His Eye Is On The Sparrow Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come, Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home, When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. Refrain: I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free, For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. “Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear, And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears; Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise, When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies, I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. -Civilla D Martin

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Bees Are Back...

What a whirl-wind day! Yesterday my friend, an experienced bee keeper and my bee mentor, urged me to get my vacant hives in order as there are swarms to be had at the moment. So I spent some time scraping and prepping hives, mixing up sugar water, mentally plotting where I might like to relocate the hives this year should a swarm come my way and lazily dreaming of all those pollinators helping my garden and landscaping as well as the honey I'd like to have this fall. Today my friend came over, blowtorch in hand, to help me finish the cleaning and gave me the heads up that I should be ready for "the call" in a day or two. No problem, I'll set these babies up tonight (or tomorrow morning) and be good to go should "the call" come over the weekend. Naturally, no sooner than my friend left and I was settled into a line at the grocery store did I get "THE CALL". Wait! What?! Now??!! I drove home (mentally tallying all that still needed to be done), made a few frantic calls to my husband looking for hive location approval and to my friend to let her know I was on my way home. Once I got home I set to work setting up hive boxes in a new spot in our yard, pounding holes in the lids of their sugar water to drip feed these ladies, and most importantly -- finding my bee suit and vail because there was no way I was working a swarm without a good layer of protection between those stingers and my skin. Soon, my friend and the bee guy showed up and got busy right away pouring 35,000 bees into one of my hives. I have to say that it never is lost on me the sheer awesomeness of this process. The "save the bees" shirt my friend was wearing really says it all for me. At first my interest in bees was completely selfish, it was all about that home grown honey. But now, two years in, the honey really is secondary. The realization that I am doing a small part to improve honeybee populations, as well as strengthening my garden is really what moves me to continue with bee keeping.