A Sneak Peak At My New Garden

Summer is finally here and I am excited to begin my new garden. Personally, I love to plant new vegetables each year and tomatoes are usually my favorite. I use the tomatoes to make a homemade BBQ sauce that everyone in my family loves. The sauce is especially unique because I grow the tomatoes myself without any pesticides.

This year I will also be growing several varieties of super duper hot peppers. I have grown peppers in the past but they require a lot of sun and hot days which I hope we will get this summer. Hot peppers are great to grow but can take a long time. My other favorite thing to grow is broccoli and lettuces.

One of the biggest challenges I have with my gardens is getting them enough water. This I has been the reason most of them have not gone so well. A friend recommended to me a site to research some new garden hoses called garden hose advisor. I am thinking about getting a new expandable hose, which is a new kind of garden hose that expands up to 3x its normal length. This is the first time I have seen this.

The problem I have with all my garden hoses is that they break or get chewed up by my dogs. I have a feeling this one will too but they are pretty lightweight, so after you’re done using them you’re supposed to carry it into the house to protect it from dogs. I never did this before because my garden hose was too darn heavy. The other big thing I wanted to get this summer was a new garden hose nozzle. There are so many cool ones out and I have been using the same brass nozzle for a few years and I wonder if that’s why I haven’t had the best luck.

Here are some images of last years garden in my backyard. It was a lot of work but a lot of fun as well. I did things a bit different last year and didn’t put cross sections the raised bed, so it led to a few problems. Now, I wanted to cut the raised bed into sections so that I could plant and water things a little easier.

Personally, I feel that growing and eating food from your own garden is one of the most rewarding experience you can have. The food tastes better and it’s free! The most important thing is getting good organic seeds and having access to good water. It’s been tough to find sources for seeds but there are plenty of places online. I had luck on ebay in finding some really rare tomatoes and pepper seeds.

Hopefully I will have better luck this year with my new garden hose and hose nozzles. In the past I have had problems with them shutting off my water and I was unable to water my plants and they dies because it didn’t rain/ Watching your plants die can be very frustrating and it hurts me a lot. This year will be different because I have learned from my past mistakes.

As you can see I didn’t use the cross sections on the raised beds and they were a bit lower, making the plants smaller than I wanted. I decided with my new raised bed to go with a height of 12″ rather than 6″. You need more soil and more water but the plants grow bigger. This year I’m hoping to get some massive tomatoes and peppers and lettuces. Still have plenty of work to do, so back to the garden I go!

Beginning the Gluten-Free Lifestyle

My sister recently approached me, asking how to go about adopting a gluten-free diet. Although she was never diagnosed, autoimmune disorders and digestive problems – likely stemming from a gluten sensitivity—run rampant in my family. Of course, I’m the only person who has managed to live entirely gluten-free. I guess it goes without saying, stubbornness also runs in my family. I digress.

As I’ve been living gluten-free for about six years now, I often find myself engaged in conversations with others curious about the gluten-free diet, especially those with persistent stomach aches and discomfort. Before anything else, I strongly urge anyone with problems to see a real doctor to rule out anything serious. But for those interested in saving some time and money (both of which doctors can tend to waste), I like to offer a quick guide and some helpful tips if considering a gluten-free diet.

First, there’s the basic rule: read the labels and eliminate anything made of wheat or white flour. Next, consume only foods found on the parameter of the grocery store, i.e. fruit, vegetables, unseasoned meats, nuts and dairy. Finally, try to avoid eating out at restaurants for the first week or two. For many, these rules sound easy enough. However, when seriously maintaining a gluten-free diet, there’s a lot more to know and understand.

Google Everything

In this day and age, using Google to find out information is pretty much commonplace, but it is important for living gluten-free. And when looking for answers to specific questions, a simple Google search isn’t always enough. I often consult at least 10 different Google results before making a decision because the gluten-free online knowledgebase is still growing and developing.

Be Prepared

So much of socialising can often center on food. If eating gluten-free, attending a dinner party or eating out at a restaurant can cause anxiety or leave you hungry. Bring your dish or talk to the party host before if attending a party where food will be served. Look up restaurant menus or call ahead to know of gluten-free options before dining out.

Talk to Your Server

Just because the restaurant offers gluten-free entrees or even boasts of a gluten-free menu, doesn’t always ensure a wholly gluten-free eating experience. When eating out, politely chat up your server and explain your sensitivity to gluten. You certainly don’t need to get into the gory details, but make sure your server understands that you cannot have anything made with wheat or flour. Casually alerting your server of a gluten intolerance will hopefully inspire personal attention to your meal and ensuring a safe outing.

Get a Gluten-Free Mentor

When I first started eating gluten-free, I stayed lost. However, I was lucky to have a friend who had been living gluten-free for nearly ten years, and she kindly offered to serve as my gluten-free coach. Whenever I was unsure of an ingredient or what to eat at a restaurant, I would text my friend, and she would just reply with a ‘yay’ or ‘nay.’ (Mind you, this was before Internet phones.) Regardless, this simple exercise helped me learn and build a wealth of knowledge to better arm me for living gluten-free.

Embarking on the gluten-free lifestyle isn’t just about changing what you eat, but it also requires you to change how you eat. Avoiding bread and cookies is one part of a very complicated equation.

Gluten-Free Diet: What is it?

A gluten-free diet is unlike a fad diet as it serves the purpose of treating celiac disease. It is recommended for gluten-intolerant people that have special dietary and nutrient requirements. Despite it being the only solution to sufferers of celiac disorder, a doctor should always be consulted for proper advice on how to go about the diet.

Gluten is a protein found in rye, wheat and barley. It gives products processed from these raw materials its elasticity thereby allowing the dough to rise and maintain its shape. The final product derives from gluten its chewy texture. While it is found to exist in cereals and bread, grains such as wild rice, amaranth, quinoa, teff, oats, soybeans and sunflower seeds do not have it.

Gluten is not necessarily only found in wheat-based products. It’s also a stabilising agent or thickener for ice creams and ketchup. Other products that contain gluten are medicines and vitamins. It is used in cosmetics products such as lipstick, lip balms, and lip glosses.

There are people who adverse reactions to gluten. This sensitivity to gluten is due to an immune reaction that obstructs its digestion. This condition is known as Celiac Disease, and it affects about 1 in 133 people.

Gluten intolerance is a genetic disorder, and symptoms include diarrhoea, weight loss, and gastrointestinal implications. Celiacs suffer intestinal damage specifically in the villi, the small protrusions that line the small intestine that is responsible for the absorption of nutrients. With the villi in excellent condition, nutrition is not absorbed into the body. The most efficient resolution to this problem is a gluten-free diet.

A gluten-free diet is a life-long commitment to a diet the leaves out foods containing gluten. Additionally, it is the only diet that is medically accepted and prescribed for the treatment of celiac disease. It is also suggested for patients with dermatitis herpetiformis and wheat allergy. Wheat, rye, barley, triticale, durum, Graham, Kamut, semolina, spelt, and malt products are explicitly not allowed to be used. However, specific grains and flours that are allowed to be eaten are rice, corn, soy, beans, sorghum, quinoa, millet, arrowroot, amaranth, flax, and nut flours.

Uncontaminated oats may be consumed only in moderation. This translates to up to half a cup of dry oats each day. Gluten-free oats may be used, if available. Certain alcoholic drinks such as wines, hard liquor and distilled beverages are gluten-free; however, malt vinegar, lagers, and beers that are not distilled are made from gluten-containing grains. Thus, they should be avoided. Fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products are allowed to be consumed.

Cross-contamination of products is an issue for some. Contamination occurs when gluten-free foods come into contact with foods containing even a small amount of gluten. This can be avoided by preparing gluten-free foods separately from gluten-containing ones. In addition, utensils such as knives, flour sifters, chopping boards and mixing bowls should be washed thoroughly before using them to prepare gluten-free food. Dips and oils used that come into contact with gluten-containing foods should be replaced as well.

Marinated Raw Salmon

I would like to keep my cooking blog very easy to follow and extremely straightforward and clutter-free. One of its goals is to present ideas for those who work full-time and have little time or inspiration to come up with new creative ideas every time. More importantly, this blog is for the exchange of recipes, which is why I am also inviting contributors, who are interested in sharing their recipes but are not necessarily interested in creating and maintaining a blog of their own.

This blog is constant work in progress and will keep changing. Enjoy looking through the recipes and feel free to modify them when cooking as you like, comments and contribution are of course much appreciated. This dish is light and flavorful, a variation of another recipe that I have been working on for a while, but requires a lot less time and work. Can be served on its own or on the top of a salad.

Ingredients

300 gr salmon fillets

juice of 1 orange

juice of 1 lemon

2 tbsps Himalayan salt or another salt of your choice

2 tsp stevia powder, or sugar (brown sugar works best)

1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Get Ready to Drool

Cut the salmon into two thin slices and then in bite-size 3-4 pieces, put in a bowl. In another bowl mix all of the ingredients together. Pour over the salmon and mix well with a spoon, pushing the salmon down to be covered with the marinade. Cover the dish with aluminium foil and put in the fridge for 24 hours. When ready, take the salmon pieces out of the marinade and serve with fresh chopped greens of your choice.

My Special Fruity Cabbage Salad

Whenever we ate Fruity Cabbage Salad when I was a kid, I knew we’d have pancakes after. So I inhaled the salad just so I could start on my pancakes. However, today I had some freshly made beef broth in my fridge and figured I’d have to make some salad with that. The only other things we had in the fridge that -in my opinion- could make an interesting salad were celeriac and carrot. Lately I’ve been getting tired of carrots, so celeriac salad it was.

Then came a discussion between my boyfriend and me: me: ‘I can’t make fruit  salad because all the recipes call for bacon, and we don’t have any.’ bf: ‘Not all the recipes call for bacon, the only recipes you have a look at call for bacon.’ (he knows me and my fondness for bacon all too well) So I saw it as a challenge. I was going to make celeriac salad, that didn’t require bacon.

We both loved the end result! So here it is.

It’s cabbage time! I got a request from one of my followers to create a recipe with red cabbage, so I did. I was glad she asked me because I, too, had been wondering what to make next with this vegetable. I ended up making 2 different meals with just 1 head of cabbage, I love that! And I even have lots of leftovers to enjoy later on. This salad really gives you a spring-feeling because of the fruitiness, and it looks cheerful too! You could serve it with any protein of your choice; chicken, steak, fish, eggs. Whatever you like most, or whatever happens to be in your fridge.

Enjoy!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 People

Ingredients:

  • Salad
  • Red Cabbage – 1/2 head, grated
  • Carrot – 1 large (approx. 300g), grated
  • Apple – 1, diced
  • Parsley – 1/3 cup, chopped
  • Dressing
  • Coconut Cream – 1/2 cup
  • Orange – 1, peeled, seeds removed
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 tbsp
  • Ginger Powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Pepper – to taste

Instructions:

Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Add all ingredients for the dressing to a bowl and puree with a hand blender until smooth. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix to combine.

Serve, and enjoy!