when my swiss chard is reminding me of my spider veins I stop to ponder

I planted 3 kinds of chard this winter. The birds like them all !!!

And yes we all have part and parcel of our physical body that we can not photoshop out in daily life… but how important is it to be perfect? …. hmmm, yeah right like getting rid of my  spider veins is going to do it !

Just say no to botox

really having fun here!
really having fun here!

I can remember all too well many many years ago finishing up photography for a Plastic Surgeon that included over 2 -14 hour work days. The doc proceeded to look at the designer/art director and me  after those long days  ( and of course it was in the middle of the summer in Phoenix , yeah even better) and wanted to start negotiating a trade for services!…. yeah, LOL.  The  part about aging gracefully and  laser , botox, and varied other nips and tucks never really seem to be too congruent to me… but…… maybe my next photo should include the spider veins on my greens! That does humble me .

 

 

Schug heaven recipe

I love home grown and organic Cilantro. I could eat a plate of it as my salad and be happy. And cilantro is SOOOO good for you!  Usha Lad and Dr Vasant Lad in their book Ayurvedic Cooking for Self  Healing say that “Cilantro balances all doshas ( more on that in another post) and is especially good for kindling gastric fire, for nausea, fever, cough and quenching thirst.” I  do not remember  where I read  that it was a great detoxifier!  ( will get back to you on reference for that ) . In Modern Essentials , A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils  , it says that the aroma of Cilantro leaves  has been used historically for anxiety and insomnia. No wonder I love the smell so much.

But my hubby says he has some genetic propensity where cilantro tastes like soap! Really. He actually researched it and found out he was not alone and there is scientific documentation ! Well there is always a work around. Instead of watching him picking out the cilantro from  salads and dishes I like to serve I have found that Schug , an Israeli sauce loaded with  garlic and  chilies I grow for him is perfect way of him not tasting soap! So as my wonderful winter herb starts going to seed in the heat  and in general dying out I made what is likely my last batch of schug for this season.

Maybe I will get back to  this recipe someday and give you more specifics but honestly each time I make this recipe  it is a little different.  I am totally fine with that ! If you are one of those people who meticulously colored  in the lines as a child and cringe at not following a recipe exactly… do not bother to read farther.

FYI I am always much happier when I am able to make this recipe from my own harvest, but  of course you could use purchased ingredients.

So today here it is , with (variations ) included for your dining pleasure.

This recipe makes approximately 8- 10 ounces of Shug, yeah it really amazes and saddens me when I see sauces that take so much to become so little , especially if they are left uneaten on someone’s plate ;( GRRRR you know who you are.  Please take less and see if you like it 😉  Also note I have written the basic ingredients in BOLD because if you are like me you will likely skim this entire article and recipe , looked at the photos. You likely would really do better with having the bold print jump out at you cause that is all you really need to make this dish sing on your own. And to you I say …. welcome to my world! My husband refers to me as a Harlem Globe Trotter in the kitchen. You figure it out. You may already be on my team.

Schug4789©_2015_Copyright_Linda_Enger_Photography
I find this sauce a magical addition to any meal and am known to including it with any meal I have it in the fridge.

RECIPE 

1) Approximately – 2 VERY large handfuls of home grown  organic Cilantro already washed and big tougher  stems removed . Ideally wrapped in paper towels and stored in ziplock bag for 24 hours ( note could use day of but I like to start  with the greens dry.)

2) Approximately  3 or 4  home grown Organic  Serrano chili peppers both red and green (  How hot do you like it ? Use accordingly.  Of course  you could use other types of chilies but these are what I have growing right now.)  FYI the non organic chilis you see in the store are likely grown in Mexico and  are on the Dirty Dozen list for pesticides. Choose your poison. Just saying .  Anyway, cut off the stems and throw in the entire chili -seeds and all, if you like it hotter… oh, and my chilis are kind of small too, not like with pesticide ridden ones  😉

3) Approximately  5 cloves of  peeled garlic  ( sad to say my anticipated May harvest of organic garlic  is not looking too good this year thanks to the numerous predators in my gardens that have truly enjoyed digging these up this year.

3) Thanks to friendly  neighbor- 1 BIG Meyer Lemon- juiced, seeds removed and flesh reserved  ( or couple drops of Doterra  lemon oil is great too)

4) BIG sprinkling of Celtic Salt or  Himalayan pink  salt

5) Approximately  1/2 cup  Organic  Extra Virgin cold pressed Olive oil . I have been doing really well lately with Kirkland -Costco brand.

Directions are SUPER easy with Food Processor

Put garlic , peppers add cilantro in phases to give processor time to take all your hard work in harvesting and cleaning etc to pulverize.

Add lemon, salt, olive oil. Keep pulverizing till you have cilantro nirvana.

Just a few serving suggestions I love to serve this  with hard boiled eggs  ( my breakfast of champions )  or cod or rice ( yes I still eat this- more on that another time )  of course it is great  with hummus or mixed into hummus. I also  mix it into goat cheese  or cream cheese if I am feeling cow dairy friendly for a bright happy  green  out of the box spread for crackers… and well I am thinking of trying it as a topping on my  home made Vanilla coconut ice cream  ( no I am not pregnant but really do like to play with my food) .

ENJOY  !

 

Do you hack ? Do you track?

If you are interested in having a a pdf copy of the life  hacker tracker that I created and  that I use personally  please let me share it with you. I use this to help me keep track of how I am spending my time  vs what I intend to do , and working to make sense of how my activities and interactions,  my sleep , and what I consume  with how I am feeling in  my mind, body and soul. Please sign up for the RSS feed and request a copy.

where are I going where have I been. What am I doing towards my life's win?
where are I going where have I been. What am I doing towards my life’s win?

I will gladly send you a copy to your email . And please let me know how it helps you  after 6 months keeping your own life hacker tracker  🙂

Do you think this blog needs how to imfo re image making?

As this blog progresses I am seeing how it evolves organically ( pun intended). Wondering what my subscribers are really looking for here.

Please comment.

Tranquil rest vs Weird Melatonin triggered dreams and headache

weird nightmare type dreams is not what I wanted when I took the melatonin at 2am after waking up at 130 ad being way too awake!!
weird nightmare type dreams is not what I wanted when I took the melatonin at 2am after waking up at 130 ad being way too awake!!

 

I think it is time I totally shun Melatonin as a sleep aid. Just saying for me it just is more trouble than it is worth. I can almost guarantee  I will have some very weird , dark dream that does not have any connection (that is obvious to me)  with what I did, what I looked at or who I spoke to within days prior to the dreams. And it seems I always get a headache after taking it.

I go from looking forward to having a tranquil rest to waking up shuddering in the darkness.

The other night I tried it again after months of not trying it. Out of NO WHERE, I  dreamt about a friend of mine from high school ( I will not share how long ago that was but … oh my , history) . If I remember correctly I am pretty sure that this friend’s  father developed Alzheimer disease years after we were in high school. In my dream I see my friend in a restaurant. I walk up to him and start talking to him. He looks at me with a blank stare.  I have not seen him in person in years ( which is true). I remind him of the wonderful times we had together. I remind him of our great communications we had while I was working at summer camp. He was not a boy friend but truly the closest friend I had when it came to talking about our deep spiritual thoughts. Ironically he was the son of a Lutheran Minister so that made our  conversations even more interesting as we compared “notes” on life. But I digress.

SO , I wake up from this dream with a shudder. Wondering if my high school friend will  at some time be one of the victims of this memory robbing disease.

Melatonin is getting big bonus points in some research I read in reference to not only sleep aid but  that supposedly it  does something to help protect women from breast cancer. Really ?  Well I think I am better off lying in bed meditating than having these wacko dreams.

So here are a few links to read for your personal   caution  ( just saying you may want to check it out) and keep it in mind when  you are looking at all those great blends of natural sleep aids .

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/melatonin-side-effects/faq-20057874

http://www.doctoroz.com/article/fact-sheet-melatonin

http://www.livestrong.com/article/115717-bad-side-effects-melatonin-supplements

 

Goji berries… and healthy diet ideas for those with Diabetes and Alzheimer

 

I have personally not participated in the goji berry love fest nor  have I plunked down the big bucks for the little health giving rubies. Yes I know of lots of great health gurus that have  recipes using them . I am more interested in sustaining a food budget AND having great health.It seems from what I read that the  history behind these berries in based in Chinese herbal remedies. I personally have grown very wary  about buying any herbs, teas, foods grown in China.This is not an ethnic thing at all but environmental / health concern. My husband was reminded of this when he brought home some dried shiitake mushrooms noticing they were missing from the pantry….  but I digress.

SO I decided to check out what Webmd  had to say.  As some of you may already know I am always doing research on natural ways  ( diet, being a major one) to help with handling/ helping my father in law as part of my co-care giving role making life  for hime ( and us ) easier with his diabetes ( as in keeping him off insulin injections )  alzheimer, and low thyroid ). After checking  out the  links I am sharing here  I am very content to say that for my food and supplement budget…. No way. I am not buying the cheap versions grown in the soil in China and I am definitely not going to spring for the the organic foodie version…. way too costly.  SO when I see the recipes using Goji berries I will not hesitate to replace with  dried cranberries or blueberries.  Honestly those create frustration and irritation  too  when I compare the organic sugar free versions ( when I can find them ) to the loaded with sugar and non organic peers

Feel free to comment !

http://www.webmd.boots.com/healthy-eating/guide/goji-berries

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/03/28/goji-berry-benefits-_n_5044948.html

 

 My father in law Mel - age 89 , WWII vet hanging out with WWII Planes at Wings of Freedom Tour In Scottsdale AZ. Although he does not know it I am NOT intending on adding Goji berries to his diet to help him with his Alzheimer based memory issues of what he just ate.
My father in law Mel – age 89 , WWII vet hanging out with WWII Planes at Wings of Freedom Tour In Scottsdale AZ. Although he does not know it I am NOT intending on adding Goji berries to his diet to help him with his Alzheimer based memory issues of what he just ate.

Podcasts that I am loving to have as walking partners!

whirly5570©_2013_Linda_Enger_Photography

 

I love taking walks alone to be with my thoughts and nature. But other ways involve talks with dear friends who always leave me grateful I took the time out to be with them . Sadly it is often  hard to schedule the walks to suit multiple  schedules . So I have found some GREAT new walking companions. No I really do not get to share what is really up with me on these walks … but reality is I do not miss it  or really need it cause when I finish my walks I ALWAYS feel it was time very well spent on multiple levels.

I am loving podcasts these days.

I prefer to keep them on my ipod and carry both that and my iphone when I walk cause…. well I do not like to get lost in trying to figure  out why I have problems when I try to text, jot down notes to myself,  photograph , and  listen to podcast on same device while out walking . Yeah, real mindfullness training 🙂

Audio books are great too for keeping my mind stimulated but I am totally connecting with podcasts  (  FREE through  the  I-tunes store)  No I do not get any $ from referring you to these folks… although not a bad idea at all . I so want to connect with these folks and have a dialogue in person 🙂 So here are the folks that have been keeping me busy . Podcasting is exploding, but so far I have found these to never disappoint me and our timing for getting together never takes any effort in scheduling!  Please note there is always great juice in these for my blogs too!

GoodLife Project with Jonathon Fields

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/good-life-project

www.goodlifeproject.com

http://www.goodlifeproject.com/radio/

The Health Bridge with Dr Sara Gottfried and Dr Pedram Shojai

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-health-bridge

healthbridgeshow.com

So if you want a great walk and talk  ( really walk and listen ) ,really do not care if you are talking but want to fill your mind with great stuff while moving those big leg muscles… check these podcasts out. I also find them great company when doing mindless work around the house or garden 🙂  . Call it a variation of multi tasking .

And if you want please comment on what you think of which podcasts. I know I sure will be cause they inspire me to share more with you! Actually I have been known to be babbling about these podcasts while in person with real life  walk and talk 🙂

PS if you want to let these folks know that I am available to be a guest on their podcasts…. I appreciate it.

 

 

King Arthur has me lusting

 

Linda's_Healthy_whole_wheat_challah_recipe_1968_ Linda_Enger__Photography ©_2014
I was never a bread baker until I got tired of not being able to consistently buy healthier wheat challah . The former darkroom queen has been loving the chemistry involved with baking! Oh, yes ….there is gluten!

So I am standing in the checkout line at Sprouts and doing my usual scanning of mags. And there it is King Arthur  has their own beautiful book / mag of recipes with  photos of baked goods  that have got me all hot and buttered.  This is scary . I am lusting over baked goods. Well in a foodie way if you know what I mean. It was a tad embarrassing. Understand I have no problem completely ignoring the bakery  section of the store. You know the area where  you expect to be  bombarded by the enticing aromas wafting from full  fledged gluten heaven. Now too often I find  50 shades of overpriced  gluten free marketing, and 100 ways to leave  your love of staying on the gluten free band wagon. The  attempts to seduce me into ignore my better judgement are silly,  I am strong willed. Actually  I think this store has intentionally, or mistakenly not done well with  olfactory marketing.)   But I digress.

SO I am standing in the check out line and I am thinking to myself :

#1, and the  most dominant thought – I  really really really really want my own home baked challah  with a generous slab of  organic butter that has been humanely produced by grass fed  cows. And I want it RIGHT NOW! I want the sensation of the warm whole wheat crusty outside and yeasty warm inside colliding with crush of the sesame seeds on the top crust and the  ooozing of the butter. And I want it NOW. HMMMM I had promised myself that I was not going to take the time to get myself into this baking project this  shabbat and I was so happy I took a break since before Passover.

#2 thought , well really I think #4 but oh well…. who ever came up with the nutritional wisdom that wheat being produced  these days is nasty horrible stuff …. should be given nobel prize  or shot  ( just joking kind of).

#3 thought… King Arthur marketing…. brilliant.

Scary scary scary … hot home made bread! I remember my dad calling  it the staff of life.  Now I almost feel like I am smoking cigarettes when I indulge  in bread . So,  I am in the check out line and it is now my turn. I am holding strong. I am not going to say what I want to say ” I forgot 4 things could you wait while I run and restock my post Passover pantry.”  No not doing that.

SO I go home knowing that in the freezer are 4 of the 6 Challah rolls I bought from Levi Catering  last week. They are wonderful  white flour traditonal type of challah. They are what they are. Wonderful when reheated in the oven to taste fresh baked. That will be fine . We will be fine and not able to over consume. Ha ! Self control  should be my middle name. GRRRRR.

#4  but did not really have this thought till I got home and went to review my recipe and post it here….

OOOPS,  I go to pull out my challah recipes. They should all be together. Those that I printed out from varied sites to use as reference and then there are my personal notes …. oh my scribbled notes from all the challahs  I have created and tested and changed and tried again .  Understand I am  not  known for being  a baker. One of my favorite challah tasters has eaten her own words when she told me she thought I was a great cook but baking is so different and I can not approach it the same way. How can I say this in a nice not self deprecating way…. I am not much of a follower. Directions ? We don’t need no stinking directions ! Hmmmm , digressing again.  AND /BUT  after reviewing every whole wheat challah recipe I could find …. I made  mine own . It evolved and  seemed to make the most sense to me as a former photographic darkroom chemist. Only saying that cause yes I did have to measure liquids , ok ?

Tooting my own horn my husband who is always happy to tell me what I have not done perfectly is always saying this is the best whole wheat challah he has ever had.

So I am ready to finally put the recipe in the computer and share it with the world.

GRRRRR…What  happened?  2 words: Passover, clean up .  That leads to the  #4 thought…. EHHHH I cannot find the recipe notes anywhere!!!

So for now. Until I find my notes. I will not be baking. I will not be sharing the recipe.   I will not be going  back to the store to buy the ingredients… and most importantly …..  I can honestly say I am going to avoid that check out line closest to the bakery where King Arthur is hanging out taunting me, teasing me, and just flat out being trouble.

Sigh. I think I  am going to go eat a sweet potato now. Lathered with grass fed organic butter and  celtic salt and let this gnawing gluten craving pass.

All things happen for a reason… I guess.

 

 

Tea tree oil growing in my back yard!

My_Melaleuca_(Tea_Tree)_tree_has_flowered!_4506©_2015_Copyright_Linda_Enger_Photography

I bought a  melaleuca tree at the Desert Botanical Garden plant sale  around  3 years ago . I am excited to see buds and flowers  for the first time this month!

The green “leaves” are really what has the tea tree smell while the flowers are odd little wispy white tendrils. NO I am not planning on making my own oil 🙂

I love the Doterra brand of the oil and it is much more potent than what I had been buying for years at Trader Joes and Sprouts.

If you are interested in purchasing this or any other Doterra oils which I highly recommend , please check out my distributor web site. Feel free to ask me any questions you may have as well.

http://www.mydoterra.com/lindaenger

Disclaimer ….Yes I am a distributor and love their products.

 

 

micro workouts #1 of my new series on functional exercise

I love to share  links to great articles and  podcasts  I find .  I could spend my life sitting ( ugh) or standing at my computer reading and looking at great stuff!

Cool visuals still and motion

Insightful health ideas re nutrition  and movement and alternatives to keep us and help us get healthy

Organic gardening

 

So when Lisa Kneller with Bring Me  Bliss sent a link to an article  about squats

Check out

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-18017/5-reasons-to-do-squats-every-day.html

But I have to  jump in ( pun intended)  and add my two cents on this great exercise.

There is NO need to go to yoga class or any class or gym to do squats!

• Each time you go to water bottle dispenser how do you stand when you fill up a glass or your trusty stainless steel water bottle or camelback ?

It is not graceful I know but try a squat and hang out for a few counts !

• When you garden or are picking up around the house try squats!

Trust me when I am mindful of doing this as comparing to bending over my back, thighs and tushy say thank you !

I plan to  insert my own photo to this blog but for now see what happens if you have an accumulation of 5 minutes of squats a day added into your daily functional exercise routine!

 

 

 

2 of my favorite summer veggies need planting . Guess which one

cuke,_zuke,_okra__on_green__plate2014__©_Linda_Enger_Photography9997-2

I really need to get the seeds going or ( gasp) buy little plants from someone.

Hint to answer Q  of subject line…

I love making/eating vegetarian  Indian food and  am always trying to note the values I learn from  studying Ayurvedic cooking  using food as medicine .

So all of this veggies are cooling, while one lowers all Dosha levels,  and Two lowers Pitta and Vata but raises  Kapha.

Can you guess which is which?