Tuesday, June 9, 2015

HEALTHY FOODS, A RECIPE & GARDEN DELIGHTS

 
My Cute Hummingbird Feeder
 
I do the Hummingbird watch as often as I can, too much perhaps.  Not far from my favorite seat on the patio but not too close to the feeder.  Close enough to the spot where I saw my first little guy.  As I did the HW over the past few days I brushed up on my knowledge of them and the feeding through Google.  I was correct in getting the red colored feeder as they go by sight rather than smell.  I seem to be in the right place with the flowers I have and they also love diving through water-as in sprinklers and I have mine going quite a bit to get the areas of my garden beds that are sheltered under eaves.  So I wait...
 
 
 
 
Planter of Mixed Lettuces & Arugula
 
We have some early lettuce to start using in salads.  I use a serrated knife to do a 'crew cut', and then we get another one or two more cuttings.  After this exhausts itself I may find something else that I can harvest in the fall.  Now---which is the lettuce and which is the arugula?  Does it matter?  I love the mix! :)
 
 
 
 
Daughter Emily went on a little weight loss program that has become somewhat popular.   I was skeptical at first but I learned soon enough that it was healthy and didn't require her giving up any food groups.  I will  only tell you the upside and downside that she kept me aware of.  First off, she's very much like me when it comes to portion control.  Should we eat the whole pork chop or half?  Should we have a half cup of popcorn or none?  A piece of cheesecake or 2 bites?  The program she went on was a sort of boot camp in portion control along with attention to the amount of protein, fat and carbs consumed in a day.  Meal planning was essential and in keeping track, she had containers proportionate to the size of her daily servings.  I liked that it involved "planning".  Those of us wanting to lose weight---(and I don't mean anyone who is at an optimal weight and can easily judge what they can and cannot eat every day) need guidelines.  In the end she adhered to the portions and the 'good for her foods'.  She planned her meals the night before and was not tempted to hit fast food places on her work days--she had it covered.  Yes, she was frustrated, moody and hungry the first few days.  But it only convinced her how she was eating the wrong foods at the wrong time in the wrong amounts.  She lost a enough weight to be very proud of herself .  She learned a great deal and I don't think she will be a mindless eater, hopefully for a long time if not forever. :)
 
Of course I was influenced but I truly know my best weight loss has involved keeping carbohydrates at a minimum.  So I did my best to mimic the portion control in Emily's program, and  in making meal plans the night before.  I basically cut my meals into half the proportions I had been eating and I added healthy salads to accompany lunch and dinner.  Filling up on veggies is always a good thing. 
 
Eating a salad twice a day calls for some creativeness.  I have to admit, after making a  few I knew I needed:  A) Texture  B) Some Sweetness  C ) Crunch (outside of cukes and celery)  D) More Protein  E) Some Herbs & Spices
 
So go for it.  This salad is something I make quite a bit.  A mix of fresh baby greens and some Romaine for crunch.  Various veggies form the fridge,  some garbanzo beans or any sort of canned beans you have.  A few tablespoons of quinoa, risotto, rice or cous cous---great texture. I toss in some dried cranberries, fresh berries, nuts and I'm happy.   And there you go...bases covered and you are smiling!
 
When you have all this, the best way to dress the salad is with a simple vinaigrette.   I made this up and I love it.  Here you go:
 
Blondie's Best Vinaigrette
 
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
1/2 c olive oil
1 T water
1 t honey
a pinch of salt and pepper
1 t. of your favorite herbs---I like an Italian blend. 
 
I like to mix everything up in a two cup measure and let sit at room temp for an hour or so.   Feel free to adjust any of the ingredients.  Fresh herbs are super!  Toss gently with your salad just before serving.  This is perfect for 4 cups of salad.  Refrigerate remaining dressing for 4-5 days.   
 
 
 
 
Hummus
 
Good and good for you.  I will make this myself one day.  Sorry-I put many things on Instagram that I post and vice versa.  So I'll say again, a lot of times I refrain from making certain recipes because I have to crawl into the back of one of my lower cabinets to pull out the dreaded food processor that I can never remember from time to time how to work.  Ha!
 
 
 
Layla
 
Doing what she knows how to do best.  So much rain.  When it's not doing that we rush outside to get some yard work and gardening done.  She doesn't know it, but her part in this is to lose a pound or two.  The diva LOVES to sleep!
 
 
 
 
When Rain & Humidity Wreaks Havoc
 
I can do selfies quite easily on IG.  On the blog---well, what does it say about your post?  So I'm here with a frizzy hair day to illustrate the wretchedly humid days we have been having.  Not all that bad I know...I should have caught it a few hours later after the wind got to it.  I would wear it this way but after the curls separate (it's wet here and springs up much more), I look like I stuck a finger in a light socket.  And then I have to mist it with more water to tame it.  Surely some of you can identify.  Yeah, it doesn't look too horrid here but maybe, just maybe I'll get a snap for you guys in the morning after I wake up with this mess.  :)
 
 
 
 
 
 
A lot of very uneventful days here.  I had some sort of stomach bug from Friday night to Sunday evening.  I've been pretty good since.  I was so pleasantly surprised when The Husband and I were invited to dinner with a group of couples he has known for years, actually going back to grade school.  All of us get together  once in awhile but it's years and years between.  So his college roommate invited us and several others to dinner at a new restaurant and I was excited.  At least about the restaurant.  I'm a little shy and awkward in social situations unless they involve people I know very well or complete strangers.  Go figure. 
 
Little did we know, The Husband's friend had reserved a private room.  Hors d' oeuvres were served on platters and drinks arrived on trays. We sat down at this huge table...13 couples in all, and we had the most fabulous time.  And in the end, 'L',  The Husband's friend, picked up the tab.  Incredible.  He is so sweet and generous and it was a wonderful night, a rare treat for all of us. 
 
I'm afraid I took up a lot of your time.  Just as I think I need to post but have nothing fresh to say, I look at my camera and I know I'll undoubtedly run away with it.  Anyway...our weather forecast is for some sun tomorrow and then 10 days of rain.  Yes, you read that right.  There's nothing much I can change or say about that.  Trying to think positive and planning indoor activities.  Mostly not the 'chore type' things!
 
Have a great week! :)
 
Jane x

32 comments:

Nancy Crowley said...

Hi Jane,
I can't believe how much your garden has grown! It looks beautiful, bountiful! I am going to try your salad dressing recipe. Honestly, I buy salad, intending to have it for lunch and for dinner; then I open the fridge, look at it, and close the fridge. I get so bored with it, and anytime I have made dressing, it hasn't worked! Not sure why.
I am so frustrated with my weight right now, I can't seem to lose the 5 to 8 lbs that would allow me to get into so many of my clothes. And its all down to will power. So I liked reading about portion control, and hearing a success story. Keep them coming pls!! xx Nancy

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

Watching hummingbirds is a whole lot of fun. Capturing them on camera is a whole 'nother story as they are constantly on the move. It's lovely to be able to harvest your own lettuce. I must try that this Fall. Container gardening is becoming a big thing here now. As is farming. I will also sign-up for the weekly veg box, whatever is in season. Fun to figure out what to do with what you are given. Keeps you on your toes. My thoughts on food are eat real. Make it and dress it yourself. Each and every one of us has to get the point of thinking, do I really want to consume this? I don't buy junk food, so when I indulge, it's always something healthy. And lately, banana nicecream is my go to for a treat without the guilt. Anytime you do portion control or strict calorie counting, you are going to lose weight. The best thing to do is find what is right for you. Everyone is different. I could never eat three meals a day. I'm a grazer. Constantly having snacks. That also helps with any drops in blood sugar. My satisfaction comes from knowing that I am fueling my body and not filling it with garbage. You will be stuck inside because of rain. I'm stuck inside because of incessant heat. Ugh! I miss my walks. At 9:20 a.m.,it is 104 degrees and the predicted high is 120. I shall be crocheting the day away. Have a good one! Tammy

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow / Sacred Eclectic said...

I just clipped my first lettuce the other day! :) Your salads sound wonderful. Reminded me of a kick I was on for awhile...putting green apple slices in a salad after having tasted one like that in a restaurant. Forgot all about it until I read your post :)

Rita C. said...

Hi Jane, first of all, I'd have to see the wind-blown curls to believe it's anything other than gorgeous. My texture has gone from poker straight to weird wavy in its undoubtedly grey under color cover. It's a whole different thing than what I've ever had before.

Love the look of your garden containers and hummer feeder. I have a post on its not-so-well-known predator that may later surface in your containers - the praying mantis! If you see them near the feeder, be sure to shoo them away - they can eat a hummer!

Good luck with your diet alongside Emily - I have one daughter who struggles with weight, and it all started with crazy nursing shifts (midnights) and bad, fast-food fixes.

podso said...

A quiet week sounds good to me, and time to watch the hummingbirds. That looks like an amazing evening you had with your husbands old friends. I'd go for a little of your curl in my very straight hair! :-)

Stacey said...

Oh the diet thing...we are trying to lose some here too but our method involves lots and lots of fruit this summer. It's working an ounce or two at a time.

Your dinner out with friends sounds wonderful! We've been going out with friends more and more lately and we sure are enjoying it. :)

Row homes and Cobblestones said...

Jane,
Another 10 days of rain?! YIKES. We had 3 days and now it's sunny and very hot in Philly. I guess you'll be doing some inside projects as your already gorgeous flowers outside rejoice in the rain.
Jane I heard that Red ribbon tied to fences or trees also invite the Hummingbirds in.
I too try to eat salad everyday. I am not one to drown my greens, I enjoy a drier salad to appreciate the taste of the greens. I'm like you I like some crunch in the salad too.
Stay dry running between the raindrops!
xoxo,
Vera

laurie said...

lots of healthy tips and suggestions, beautiful photos too! I think your hair is cute all curly, I would love a curl or two, mine is just a tiny wavy bit but almost poker straight!

Bluebird49 said...

Hey, my pretty friend! You look nice with a little "curl" there. Oh, how I'd love to have such full, pretty hair! And your skin is beautiful.
I hope the hummers find your charming feeder, yes, they love red. Sugar water is gobbled up quickly 'round these parts, but I'm not doing it this year. I know some use red food coloring---but that may do harm....
I need a "low carb guru"--my sugar was up last April. :( (HELP!) I really do not want to go on beds for that, too.
Glad your bug is over! Ours was slow in leaving, and we're still weak. I am worried about Ed last night, he started running a little fever and still is today. And hes sore all over and so lethargic.--hope he will wake up better today. We're invited to a cookout Saturday. Grilled pork chops. She asked if I could bring a pasta salad, along with my " go to apple dumplings." I shudder to think of the carbs! But--I must try---it's going to be in the high 90s, and I'll be seeking shade (and a fainting couch!) I can.not.do.'hot' anymore!
So today, I must go OUT, and get prescriptions and get the ingredients for the salad and dumplings! And our regular groceries, too. Ugh--and it is hot.
Your hubby's friend---wow---how very generous he is I need a couple of friends like that. ;) But, I do treasure the friends I have, including you! Sounds like you all had fun!
(Oh--I loved "The Husband's Secret", Jane! Really good writing--and I didn't expect it to be so good. I love surprises. I've loved all my sweet treasures so, so much!) Please write when you have time--I know you are really busy.Sorry I wrote so much--should have e-mailed you!
(How are the chairs going? ; :)
xxx T.

Melanie said...

I am living on a lot of salad here, too. Like you, I enjoy the ones that have a lot going on in them...different veggies, stuff with texture, beans,fresh herbs, fruit. I especially love strawberries in my salads. Yes, a hot one today - and I'm in that arm cast! I'll be staying indoors except for going to my lymph therapy appt this afternoon.

Lisa @ Texas Decor said...

I love salads too and they're a great "filler" item with meals. I love adding walnuts and dried cranberries to mine. Yum! Sounds like y'all had a great dinner out with friends. That's always fun!

Sarah said...

Ten days of rain ~ your June sounds like our May. Difficult to garden when it's raining.
Your salad looks delish. I find myself eating lots of salads and soups pretty much year round. For me, it takes a constant effort to keep my weight in check.
Enjoy your leisure time indoors.

Barb @ Bella Vista said...

Hi Janie,

Yikes...ten days of rain. That sounds like you are here in Florida. We are now having our daily rains...mercy. I told Ron we need to put rollers on the porch furniture as the lake winds blow in and mess up everything. Rollers would make it easier to move....he looked at me like I was crazy.

I also fight the humidity with my hair all the time...what can I say?

I started a gluten-free eating program three months and starting eating a lot of salads. I have heard about this for years and wanted to find out for myself. My body weight has shifted and I am very happy with the results....I can now wear the gorgeous belts I haven't worn for years. I'm delighted but must admit eating salads all the time makes me feel like a rabbit sometimes. Ha.

Sending you a big hug....keeping your little doggie always in my thoughts since I am a HUGE animal lover.

xoxo
Barb

Doreen@househoneys said...

I bought some lettuce in a container but it seems once I cut them, nothing grew back. Humppph!

We can't have any kind of feeders here. Nothing..Zilch. Nada. Too many bears :(. But we still have plenty of birds anyway. In fact, as I'm typing there's a bird building a nest in one of my hanging baskets.

The dressing sounds a lot like my favorite. Must be the addition of the honey that gets my mojo going. Your dietary needs are exactly like mine. I love sale, but two a day every day can result in a visit to chuckle cheese ;).

Terri Steffes said...

Your garden is doing well. So is mine! Fresh salads every day. My favorite combo is lettuces, blueberries or strawberries, feta cheese, croutons for crunch and either a squirt of lemon juice or vinegar. Yummy.

I am on WW and doing very well. Down 35 pounds since February. Slow and steady but I still struggle with wanting to eat. All the time.

Good to see you!

Laura said...

Hi Jane-
You garden looks lovely, and I always enjoy hearing how someone else is tackling this healthy eating business.

It is so hard for me.

I come by it honest as my father says. My family enjoys eating.

Have a blessed weekend-
are you going thrifting?

Laura

Theresa said...

Way to go Emily! YUM to the salad:) I love salads and try really hard to add them often in my diet! I really need to lose a few pounds, wish I had already done something to talk about but NOT:( I think you always look beautiful! Have a blessed day dear friend, HUGS!

Rebecca Nelson said...

Whoot for Emily. I went to Panera yesterday to meet up with friends and family. My choice: APPLE SALAD. Not too heavy and nooooooo pastries.

Feels so good to take care of myself!

How are you girlfriend? My life has finally calmed down and I'm excited to be back doing more of what I LOVE!

I have a lot of catching up to do!

Hugs~Rebecca

Art and Sand said...

Portion control . . . limiting salads . . . being mindful . . . sounds so easy. I gave up flour on April 4 and have basically stayed with it since then - only a few slips. My clothes once again fit like the should and now I am ready to have my dress for the wedding hemmed.

Kathleen Grace said...

I have to agree, keeping my carbs in check and being mindful of portion control seem to work best for me. I swear if someone ever figures out how to lose weight and eat whatever they want....but that's a fantasy :(
Your garden looks beautiful and, I love watching the hummingbirds too. One of my favorite parts of summer!

Carol said...

Yum, your salad sounds delicious. We do lots of salads around here, both winter and summer. I usually add chicken and call it a meal, and we are both happy. When you do portion control and keep a log of what you eat (we both use My Fitness Pal on our iPhones), you see very quickly just how much less you really should be eating. Is the humidity the norm this time of year for you? We had a fantastic May and then it got hot. The heat is expected, but we also had high humidity which doesn't generally happen until late July through September -- that's our monsoon time. The humidity is going back down, thank goodness; but we can deal with the heat! Well, sort of!

Traci said...

We have a lot of hummingbirds & I love watching them. I have feeders hanging on the patio & I can see them from the sofa! The salad sounds good! Especially the dressing. I'm always looking for low cal dressing. I just found out yesterday that I have high cholesterol & the Dr. wants me to "increase my exercise & watch my diet" for 3 months. Since I exercise 5 days a week I guess that means I need to pay closer attention to the diet which means more salad for me. I'm annoyed.

20 North Ora said...

I am so envious of your hummingbirds. Have tried for years to have them visit to no avail. Your garden looks great!

Judy

Carla from The River said...

Hi,
I have tried to get hummingbirds as well. This is the first year I gave up. I donated all my feeders to Goodwill. For some reason we will get one hummingbird for a week and that is it!
What I do get are hornets! Tons of them swarming the feeders.

I agree your garden looks great.
Thank you for the diet tips and healthy eating :-)
Carla

Marigene said...

Jane, I love watching the hummingbirds, too...they are very territorial and fight like little siblings who think one is getting more than the other!
Your mixed greens are coming along nicely. I just planted some zinnias, hope they will come up, even though it is pretty late getting them in. They make such nice cutting flowers.
I wish I had the willpower your Emily has when it comes to dieting! I could stand to lose more than a few pounds.
Cute selfie...don't complain of your curly/frizzy hair...mine used to be that way, but since it has silvered, okay gray...it is straight and lays flat to my head...I used to think I wanted straight hair, but now that I have it, I hate it.
Raining here and it looks like it will be for the next 10 days...enough is enough!
Have a great weekend!

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Hi Jane,
I love hearing about what your up to.
Your lettuce looks fabulous!
Boy it seams awhile since Door County already.
We had a few days away with little Addison, it was fun.
I love love seeing Hummingbirds. I don't put out a feeder due to bears but my red flowers always seem to draw them in.
Dan just got home for work, time for supper.
Hugs dear friend,
Cindy

Shelia said...

Hi Janie! Love your salad. I love them too! I love to see little hummingbirds but haven't seen one here yet. Humidity or not, you look adorable! At least you've got a little natural curl - my hair is as straight as a board. Speaking of humidity, it's rained really hard here for the past few days and I can actually feel a little humidity in the air. Now listen to this - we turned the air conditioning on for the first time a couple of days ago! I love it. We usually sleep with our windows up at night! Couldn't do that in Texas! Take care, sweetie,
Shelia ;)

bj said...

Awww, Janie...most of us would kill for your beautiful hair....
We had a HARD rain most of last night...wind blowing....container pots blown over...more rain in the forecast, I think.......
xoxo

Nancy's Notes said...

Morning Jane! I think you are so right, cutting carbs and portion control is the best way to go! Happy for Emily. Takes willpower, oh my, I know! Daily battle. I love salads and will try your dressing recipe. I know I must work on the portion control with the dressing! How nice to have your own lettuce. I really enjoy bird watching, wish I saw more hummingbirds though. Your natural curls are so pretty, humidity where I live now - producing curls for me now! Always enjoy your posts.
Have a great Sunday~
Nancy

TexWisGirl said...

wow, that friend 'L' was very generous - the meal was special, no doubt, but the company was priceless, i'm sure. :)

layla is too cute. :)

i'm not so good at portion control. i'm better at just eating twice a day with snacks.

Rue said...

I think your hair looks darling, but I know what you mean about the curl. I used to have completely straight hair until I had Annie and now it's a mix of different things... none of them pretty LOL

That table was something else! I'll bet the food was great too. I'm sorry you were sick. Nothing worse than a stomach bug.

Bubba needs to lose a few too. He's starting to look like a tick LOL

xo

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