YUK to yummy… and coping with unwanted guests

Aphids_on_Kale__march_harvest©_2015_Copyright_Linda_Enger_Photography

Seems like this winter after srting with varied types and brands of Kale seeds the Lake Valley Organics brand  of Red Russian Kale is the only one that has really taken off . This time only in pots that are strategically placed in various sub climates on the property. As always there tends to be a consistently inconsistent issue I have encountered. In some of the pots , glad to say not all yet 🙂  little buggers  have moved in when they know I am not looking.

When gardening I TRY to spray them off with  the jet setting on my hose but often that is temp fix. I know there is always input I get on how other gardeners deal with this from my friends at http://www.vpaaz.org that has a wonderful permaculture forum and from whom I have learned SOOOO much. I know I can always plug in a search name and find great information to help me. And now  I have been finding more like minded gardening peeps on Desert Gardeners of Maricopa County facebook group as well. I will share more another time on dealing in the garden with these pests but for now I want to talk about eating and food prep .

YUK ! Now some of the die hard , back to the earth type may  these guys are not going to hurt you and very high in protein.  And of course some foodies out there are really tapping into what some other cultures have incorporated for oh so long…..you know the chocolate covered beetles concept…..DOUBLE YUK.

If you are kosher, or other wise NOT interested at all in eating these guys and you want to enjoy your harvest ( which I am one of ) …. here is what I do and recommend.

Disclaimer… this does take some time and focused eyes,  but I really take personal issue with going out and BUYING what I know I have already GROWN!!!

Soak your leaves in bowls of salt water. I use the cheapest kind of sea salt for this ( I get mine at Trader Joes or Costco) . I do MULTIPLE baths. I examine each leaf and make sure I rinse well in clear water after each bath.  Put in my trusty salad spinner ( what did we do before them ). By the way my favorite after trying MANY is the OXObrand which is still going strong after I can not begin to imagine how many hundreds of times it has been spun! Wrap those leaves in paper towels and put in ziplock bags. SO I will not forget about the rotation of my produce I like to mark the date with a Sharpe marker.

Enjoy!

 

 

24 Snow Peas

24_snow_peas©_2015_Copyright_Linda_Enger_Photography

I love snow peas and snap peas.I have tried growing them for several years in the ground and in 24 inch pots. Yeah I got some but never enough at one time to make a really dish! I even let them dry up and saved about 20 or more dried peas to plant . Well I think the thing that worked this year is I started earlier than before .   I am excited to say I have numerous plants in varied pots and in the ground planted at different times . Some were started in styrofoam cups others directly into the soil. I need to look up in my gardening  journal ( yeah it really does help) and get back to you on when I started planting which where. But it is March 4th and I am waiting for more to grow big enough to harvest but this is a batch from the other day 🙂 yummy. Hard to get in a recipe though. Almost hard to get them to the kitchen to wash before eating !

The painting is one of the Chakra series that  I love to use for a back drop for harvest photos. The Painting  is 16″ x 40″ and  the intense green focus energy on the heart Chakra . I keep noticing how Green seems to be a  color  I gravitating to lately . Ironically I used to never like green.

There are numerous sources I have used in my study of Chakra healing but I remember when in 2016  I bought the book “The Healing Tones of Crystal Bowls” by Renee Brodie (when I bought two tone bowls as anniversary gifts for my husband and myself ) I think that was the beginning of my real exploration of Chakra healing. So much to say on that … another time .

Gardening analogy – one of many, lemons and my life.

lemon line up #2 web © 2014 LindaEngerPhoto

 

I keep experimenting to see what REALLY works for me in life. Been doing it as long as I can remember.

When I see what works for someone else I can not help but wonder if it will work for me too.

I plant and see what happens.

I get caught in the process when I am really into it and loose track of time.

I keep working on  growing deep roots

I am so grateful when the results I am working for actually happen

I keep trying

I guess I am too foolish and  obstinate to know when to give up. More on that later.

Despite how much certain aspects of the work seem to be hard on me or/ and for me … I keep trying a way to either ignore it, find a work around, or just keep complaining about the pain and keep doing the work … right and not just find someone  to pay to do it!

I know if I have all these thoughts…. others do as well.

These lemons are just a few of oh so many I have harvested from our neighbor’s tree . Really not the best image for this analogy?

Thanks to our dear neighbors there has been lots  of lemonade, and varied dishes using the lemons….  and art as often as I can think to take the time.

Wondering when the lemon tree we planted last winter will bear fruit. Just covered the ground with more home grown compost and lama dung. ( another post), and free wood chips before the big rain hits.

OK- photographically…. I found that workflow for  this image  in Light Room  to On ONE did not give me the quick and easy results I had hoped for where LR to Photoshop  worked much faster for the clean up .

Peppering my thoughts.

5_green_sweet_peppers2014__©_Linda_Enger_PhotographyLinda_Enger_It has taken me many attempts at growing green peppers from seeds to get a few decent size organic peppers home grown … dare I try again?  It is that time of year. I missed starting  seeds inside in  pots but I have 2 sweet peppers and 2 hot pepper plants in pots outside that have survived our Scottsdale frosts. I will see what happens in the next few months.

Yep, I love multi tasking my chakra series of paintings as back grounds.

Pretty little priority conflict

Pros: Lutein content of cooked tomatoes, vit C, fiber, yummy, pretty, excited cause I got them to grow and harvest despite all the odds against me in garden including predators, weather, water, etc etc. yellow_pear_and_cherry_tomatoes_on_yellow_paint2014__©_Linda_Enger_Photography_web#2

Cons: Darn it I have known this for decades but it is a really hard one to deal with. Tomatoes … ah a great one ( which is hard to find in a store) can bring me back to fond childhood memories of buying tomatoes in the midwest from a stand by the side of the road… yep they existed. Those precious juicy , drippy red gems with salt and pepper could be a meal in itself. GRRRR they are one of the nightshade family of veggies, also called  the Solanaceae family . Sadly this also includes  potatoes, all types of peppers, and eggplant.  After 4 years of finally trying to grow big tomatoes I was successful with small  cherry and pear shaped ones, and very small “big version” one. Now dare I put any plants in the ground before my window of spring planting opportunity is over? I am trying not to . I already have 3 tomato plants that are still producing since put in my garden in Oct. Will it last? And what about the yellow pepper plant that is putting out tiny fruit still. And the several pots of 2 kinds of eggplant that held up through the frost and are putting out flowers  and the 2 hot pepper plants?  So which is more important to me? Growing organic veggies that I love to eat or trying to see if I can do a 3 month diet without 4 things I love organic Peppers of all kinds, all tomatoes and sauces, eggplant and potatoes, and then what about what I eat out? OR the quick thrown together pizza ( ugh, not going into the gluten or cheese conversation here )… dare I see if I can not consume ANY Of these veggies for 3 months to see if it helps with my headaches, stiffness, aches and pains and spinal  arthritis ? HMMM what to do ?  GRRRRR….too many foods to eliminate to be “healthy” and live in a sustainable world. GRRRR.

Power greens aka Dandelion Greens aka more weeds

Just a sampling of the mature dandelions pulled in our yard….

Dandlion_greens-mature

  • It is great I like dandelion greens but must say this time of year I am overwhelmed with my home grown wild greens. They are in my garden plots and EVERYWHERE else 🙂 I must say the younger the better . This batch was not tough when cooked properly but the mustard bite is stronger the larger, and older the leaves are. MAJOR Vitamin K  and I am not sure but some research I am seeing lately shows it a dietary player with Alzheimer patients. ( which is a major concern in my life now as co care giver for my father in law. Big hit of Vitamin A .
  •  If you want more than my opinion on RDA % on this  go to  http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/dandelion-herb.html.  Trust me. Eat your greens. The bitters  may be hard to like but great for you! The more uncomfortable you are with the bitter taste the more your body likely needs the liver cleanse that spring greens are notorious for accomplishing.
  • I like the young small greens (sparingly ) in salad with goat cheese. I find these much more mustardy  than Arugula . Funny before I gardened I found the overpriced dandelion greens in store to be much more mild!
  • So with ALL greens they cook down LOTS which is great, cause I have LOTS.  A quick blanch in boiling water for a minute and cooled immediately by a cold shower  reduces a good deal of bitterness.

ok so you want the full data? thank you to http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/dandelion-herb.html  for making this easier for me 🙂

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:Dandelion herb greens (Taraxacum officinale), Fresh,
Nutrition value per 100 g
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 45 Kcal 2%
Carbohydrates 9.20 g 7%
Protein 2.70 g 5%
Total Fat 0.70 g 3%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 3.50 g 9%
Vitamins
Folates 27 µg 7%
Niacin 0.806 mg 5%
Pantothenic acid 0.084 mg 1.5%
Pyridoxine 0.251 mg 19%
Riboflavin 0.260 mg 20%
Thiamin 0.190 mg 17%
Vitamin A 10161 IU 338%
Vitamin C 35 mg 58%
Vitamin E 3.44 mg 23%
Vitamin K 778.4 µg 649%
Electrolytes
Sodium 76 mg 5%
Potassium 397 mg 8%
Minerals
Calcium 187 mg 19%
Iron 3.10 mg 39%
Magnesium 36 mg 9%
Manganese 0.342 mg 15%
Phosphorus 66 mg 9%
Selenium 0.5 mg 1%
Zinc 0.41 mg 4%
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-α 363 µg
Carotene-β 5854 µg
Crypto-xanthin-β 121 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 13610 µg

Ignorance is bliss when it comes to chocolate

Arizona_Chocolate_Power_Balls©_2015_Copyright_Linda_Enger_Photography

I like to try and help others get off their sugar and other food addictions.(disclaimer I think for now I am still  kind of addicted to dark chocolate, but within reason and without the sugar I feel so much  better.)

My history with sugar is similar and yet different than many people I know and will share more on that later. But for sometime I have been very aware that I function much better when my sugar is at a minimum. I also am very involved with care giving for my father in law who is both diabetic and has alzhiemers. So with food, it  is kind of a fusion of a junkie, and a toddler . More on that later.

We have found the Sugar Busters diet to make a huge difference vs more traditional diabetic oriented diet.

One of the many treats I have created is a  Paleo Chocolate power brownie balls that are sweetened only with Dates and stevia and LOADED with ground chia seeds, almonds and walnuts.

Sure enough our subscription to computerlab.com pops up with the nasty reminder that it is a REALLY bad idea for me to indulge like I have been in my naturally sweetened (without sugar or honey) , not too sweet( just how I like it ) , VERY chocolatey , High protein, chocolate fix ! UGH. What a downer. Here is the link to all their ” good News”

https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/Cocoa_Powders_and_Chocolates_Sources_of_Flavanols/cocoa-flavanols/

Well anyway those with a  cup of yummy Earl Grey my way, which is a cup of  Paul Newmans’ Organic black tea with one drop of Doterra Bergamot oil per cup of tea = yummy strong Earl Grey tea! Also I make my version  sweetened with  stevia and coconut milk instead of  milk or cream. I personally do not think the English understand lactose intolerance 😉

I will be sharing more internal and external uses and recipes with Doterra oils in future blogs. LOVE this stuff! If you want to buy Doterra oils from my  Doterra web site I would greatly appreciate it.

Shop at http://www.mydoterra.com/lindaenger

 

Back to sugar and chocolate…when it comes to finding the right product to balance my priorities  between the healthy flavanols, low or no cadmium and/or  lead content , sugar content along with the $ factor  it is kind of frustrating ( to say the least ). Of course if moderation is taken into account and chocolate is very “special ” in one’s diet…. then enjoy! How well we know moderation is essential with splurges of all kinds .  I guess with all the chocolate I have eaten with my home made creations over the past week I will not show any weight gain but scary to think what I would find if my lead or cadmium was measured … hmmm…. drat.

Note to self… once again. Moderation is everything. blah blah blah.

Looks like I am going back to Bakers baking bars for baking and for my chocolate bar fix keep with   Endangered Species which is a brand I LOVE … but moderation is the hard part .

Considering I just finished my container of Hershey’s Cocoa Powder in this batch of yummy  brownie power  balls…. here is my  disclaimer to all . You choose your  your own pleasure /poison /  and moderation path.

https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/Cocoa_Powders_and_Chocolates_Sources_of_Flavanols/cocoa-flavanols/

I will write up my “recipe” and get it here soon. Promise  but these yummy  moist chocolate brownie power balls are intentionally  hi protein  with no processed sugar . They are LOADED with Ground almonds, chia seeds, walnuts ,coconut oil  and enough dates and stevia to be sweet enough for those of us that do not like being assaulted by sugar ( all too prevalent in any store bought mix I have ever tasted  for gluten free brownies)

The only negative to them is I can eat way too many of them, not feel bad physically from the sugar but know I am consuming too much chocolate for one day 😉

 

 

 

I woke up feeling like dirt this morning … why would you want to read this?

out_of_the_darkness_comes_insights_7079Linda_Enger_©_2013Yep, The title sounds pretty negative. But hold on. This blog is WAY overdue.  WHY?  Why the blog or why overdue. Well when it comes to a creative mind , priorities and distractions…. there are lots of shiny objects in each 24 hour day .

Honestly I am proud of myself I am finally here. Not wandering off down another rabbit hole of interesting websites, researching interesting stuff. I am also  very appreciative that you are here as well. Why? What is the old poem/ saying about a tree falling in the forest and no one hears it? SO what is the intention of this blog site anyway? The story is this. I want to  share with others this  fusion of ideas, and imagery that is overwhelmingly back logged and really have a place to  generate a conversation around some topics that are on my mind and in my world resonate with  the images I am sharing.   I look forward to sharing not only my insights but hook you, my reader  up with sources of information that I have found helpful… and that is just the beginning.  Yes the title may sound like gardening and cooking … which are very important to me. But that is not all it means. Stay tuned . Please come back …. and please comment.

I woke up feeling like dirt…. after editing this I am feeling delicious.

Zen? So what is my why for this blog?

Zen_study_in_blue#1_©_2013_Linda_Enger_Photography7041131215I finally got around to getting a managed word press that does not have the name lindaengerphotoblog in it …. why?  I am years overdue on my photo website and been up to many many other cool trajectories in my life that it seems like there is too much in me to ignore or post on  facebook . I have been doing everything I can possibly do to avoid working on my LindaEngerPhoto.Com website…. so why not just put energy into this site and see what happens? A place for me to visually and verbally create a fusion of my  explorations. AHHHH, feel much better finally getting this started. Actually feel calmer with it out of my head !