January 2011

Winter Garden Update and Maverick Meat Grinder Giveaway Winner

January 24, 2011
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I’ve never planted vegetables in the winter before. Most of my gardening has been limited to the summer vegetables which splash out and are “easy” to grow; tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, etc. In addition, I’m not a fan of the traditional winter vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. This year however, I thought I would allocate one of my garden beds to a tiny winter garden and see what would happen if I threw some seeds in the dirt.

Way back in November, I took the protective cages off all my beds, shoveled some of the composted fill (a mix of compost, straw and alfalfa from the no dig method) from one box to another to fill one of the small beds and went off to the nursery to buy some seeds. I ended up with packets of carrots, mesclun lettuce mix, beets, multi colored chard, and broccoli rapini (yes, I …

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Winter Quinoa Salad with Mixed Beans and Tahini-Chili Dressing

January 12, 2011
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Last year I did a 21 day cleanse diet which I detailed here on the blog. During that time I adhered to a very simple, yet strict, set of rules; no sugar, no alcohol, no caffeine, no wheat gluten and no animal products (totally vegan) for the entire three weeks. I was very proud to be able to say I completed my goals with no cheating. It was an eye-opening experience and taught me three big things; I have the will power to say no to donuts (and everything else for 3 weeks), that pork really isn’t a food group (I didn’t need to eat meat protein at every meal), and that I have the skills to eat well even with limitations. That said, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy to return to how I normally eat when it was over.

Even though my typical diet …

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Tummy Tamer Soda Syrup; Orange, Mint, Ginger and Anise

January 10, 2011
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For all I love to eat and travel, my stomach does not. I wish I could boast of an iron clad gut as many travelers do, but alas I’m easily afflicted with tummy trouble. It doesn’t really matter how careful I am or how much or how little I eat on the street, any change in my usual diet can result in distress, even at home. This can be the result of over-indulgence of rich foods in places like Rome or Paris, or over-indulgence in spicy foods in South East Asia or my local Thai restaurant.

My travels have led me to try many a local remedy. In Morocco, a carpet salesman sold me a small vial of orange oil which he told me was medicinal. He said I should put a few drops in some water or open it and smell it if I was ever feeling sick and …

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Making My Own Burgers, Review of the Maverick 5501 Grinder, and a Giveaway!

January 3, 2011
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I have long wanted to try grinding my own beef to make hamburgers from scratch. This desire grew stronger after seeing the movie Food, Inc.; I haven’t been able to eat commercially ground beef, and more specifically, a fast food burger since. That doesn’t mean I haven’t had a hamburger in the last 2 years, but when I want a burger, I usually make one at home with organic beef (albeit imported from Australia, so not exactly local). Since I’m a do-it-yourself kinda gal with a healthy dose of ”Type-A” personality thrown in, I thought I’d opt for a little more control over my burgers and make my own from scratch.

A little while ago I was approached by Pleasant Hill Grain, a Nebraska-based company which specializes in quality kitchen equipment and supplies who asked if I wanted to try their Maverick 5501 Meat & Food Grinder

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