Lady Gaga Week

I had another 12 hour away day today. I left the house around 9am and got back just after 9pm. Phew! Doesn’t being away from the house that long make for the longest day?! Not to mention I was at the office till almost 7pm.

But let’s start with breakfast…

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I broke out an old favorite – Power Toast!

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This toast was on Dakota with Maranatha Peanut Butter, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds.

I forgot how easy, fast, delicious, and nutritious this stuff is!

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I celebrated Starbucks Monday sans makeup but with a Pumpkin Spice Latte…this time with only 2 pumps (they put 3 in a tall!).

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And I think I may have found another culprit to the too-sweet drink before…the whipped cream! I didn’t realize the pumpkin spice lattes had whipped cream on them. Whoops!

Still, by reducing the pumps by one, it made a huge difference!

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Lunch was fabulous!

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First up, some fresh veg – cucumber, tomatoes from my garden, organic carrots with hummus leftover from my cookout the other night.

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Also making an appearance leftover from my cookout was one of those fabulous vegan quinoa burgers….man these things are good! I know, I need to share the recipe, but give a girl a break? ;) Remember how I was away from the house for 12 hours today? Makes it hard to type recipes up.

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Lunch #2 was a salad with baby spinach, cucumber, carrots and tomatoes….plus sunflower seeds. I used a new dressing from Trader Joe’s – red wine vinaigrette. I must say…I don’t like to say negative stuff much, but that salad dressing was terrible. It just tasted like flavorless oil.

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For a snack, I tried something new that I found at Whole Foods – Three Sisters Cinnamon & Apples Oatmeal.

I specifically bought this product to keep at my desk at work. It’s good for busy people like me to have healthy snacks readily available, so you don’t get stuck hitting up the vending machine.

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Box info.

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Nutrition…and check out that ingredient list! Nice and readable.

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The oatmeal heated up quite nicely and I loved how you could even use the pouch to measure the water (they have a fill-to-this-line mark on the package). So easy and convenient! I only wish I had some milk at the office to stir in.

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The oats were really tasty – I loved the chewy apple pieces. The flavor was sweet but not too sweet. I really enjoyed it.

***

So, as I was saying before, I stayed at the office till just before 7pm today…phew! Long day!

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My long work day meant I missed zumba, so I decided to go shopping in hopes of finding great stuff to wear to the Lady Gaga concert this weekend! So excited!

Any guesses what’s in the bags?

While we’re on the topic of Lady Gaga…I’m going to declare this week Lady Gaga Week!

Here’s how I plan to celebrate Lady Gaga Week:

  • Listen to my Lady Gaga Smart Playlist all week (at home, in the car, at work, etc.) – I may not listen to any other music this week…lol
  • Wear non-pant outfits…as in skirts (don’t think the whole leotard thing would fly at the office) since Lady Gaga doesn’t like pants
  • Don’t give a flying f what people think (this one will be hard for me, but I’ll try to channel my inner Gaga)

I may be adding to the list as I think of things. ;)

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Hubby was a doll and had dinner almost done by the time I fiiinally got home.

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We had spaghetti with meat sauce over whole wheat pasta, plus steamed broccoli with a real butter drizzle. It was super good and so great to be able to eat so soon after getting home from a long day.

Just because you’re not going to the concert doesn’t meant you can’t be festive this week…How will you celebrate Lady Gaga Week?

Zumba with the Bloggies

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Years ago, I used to like eating unhealthy stuff for breakfast all the time. It seemed like breakfast was when they had the good stuff: chocolate croissants, sticky buns and other delectable sweets. But not just the sweet stuff – Bagels with cream cheese, egg sandwiches.

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At some point, I realized that my indulgent breakfasts, while decidedly delicious to eat, were typically not that filling and would often leave me sluggish. So, I cut back on them – a little at first and then more and more. At some point, I fell in love with healthy breakfasts like oatmeal and Power Toast – breakfasts that filled me with healthful food and gave me plenty of energy.

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And while I love my healthy breakfasts and truly prefer them over the more indulgent ones, sometimes you just want something a little over the top. Breakfast was pretty indulgent today. Hubby picked up a GH cinnamon roll and I made us fried eggs. I forgot how HUGE that cinnamon roll is! I stuffed myself trying to finish it. Bad idea. The cinnamon roll wasn’t such a bad idea…eating more than I was comfortable with was. Oops. Next time I’ll save some for a snack later. :)

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Lunch = leftover chicken noodle soup and Whole Grain Goodness toast.

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And I had some Power Toast for an afternoon snack.

Great Harvest Whole Grain Goodness with:

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Organic cherries, too!

***

Guess who came to zumba with me tonight?!

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Check out all my bloggie friends: Irene, (me), Katie, Jen, Jen, and Brittney.

We all had a fantastic hour of zumba tonight – the firs time trying zumba for most of these girls. How did they do? They danced like rock stars, of course! :)

Thank you ladies for coming to class with me! I hope to see you there again soon!

Oh and random note, a lady in class was wearing some sort of calorie counter and said she burned like 850 calories in class tonight! Whoa! Michelle is giving me her old heart rate monitor so I’m going to be doing my own experimenting with calorie burning. Can’t wait to see what the number is!

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Post class it was time for a protein shake – Vega Whole Health Optimizer.

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Yay zumba! I always feel like a million bucks after class.

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Post class hubby and I headed out for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant – 1900 Mexican Grill. It’s probably our favorite Mexican restaurant in town because the food is good, the drinks are awesome (especially the dirty margarita), and the owner is sooo nice. I love to support his local business.

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The weather was too gorgeous to not eat outside.

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I started with a dirty margarita – made with tamarind!

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We started with some cheese dip (starting to prefer guac over cheese dip…who am I?) and chips and salsa.

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We shared a combo – beef burrito, chicken enchilada, and rice and beans.

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My portion – I barely finished.

Post dinner, went over to hubby’s bacherlor-friends’ apartment to chill out. We ended up watching a lot of Terminator Salvation before heading home. I’m pooped but I have a big day of dancing tomorrow!

What are you up to this weekend?

Power Toast + Pompeii

Wow, my back-to-back 2 days of zumba have officially kicked my hiney! The funny thing with zumba is though I’m super tired today, I can’t wait to go back to class! I have so much fun! I was tired today…lol. Not too tired to eat, though! I may or may not have hit the snooze button 10 times too many, but I still made time for breakfast.

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Power Toast and nice hot coffee.

Speaking of Power Toast, have you seen my latest poll?

Have you tried Power Toast?

View Results

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Besides the caffeine, I love the comforting feeling of hot coffee.

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Power Toast toppings: Barney Butter, pepitas, flaxseed meal, and hemp seeds.

Have you tried hemp seeds yet?! They’re the new chia!

***

Work is extra stressful this week. Thank goodness for good food and hot teas to help calm my nerves.

I had some yerba mate this morning.

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Leftover turkey chili (thanks hubby!) with some Great Harvest honey WW bread on the side for lunch.

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Tulsi tea in the afternoon.

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Check out this tea bag trick – just wrap the paper/string around the handle to keep the bag from falling in.

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My sweet tooth hit me hard today and I satisfied it with a chocolate-walnut brownie. I haven’t had a brownie in ages, but this one, from a local bakery, really hit the spot!

Thanks again to everyone for your wise breakup recovery tips. My friend and I took up one of the tips today and got pedis after work. Ahhhh!

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She went pink.

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I went with a slightly more coral-pink.

So fun! I love pedicures, but haven’t had one in probably a good year! I used to get them all the time!

***

When I got home, hubby had all the groceries we needed to make dinner…save one.

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I got the last ingredient – fresh basil from our garden (thanks Mom!).

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While I was in the Garden (click here to check out my Garden page), I couldn’t help but take another look at my green bean plants. They’re really springing up! So are the beets in there. Two of the nine green bean seeds I planted are not coming up, so I may put a couple more in…and possibly some more beets. ;)

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Back inside, we whipped up dinner in a jiffy.

Appetizer – tomato, basil, buffalo mozzarella, balsamic vinegar salads.

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Hubby chose vegetarian for dinner – Penne Arrabiatta with mozzarella and fresh basil. I did a play on this recipe (click) but without chicken.

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Dessert – Galaxy Granola in cranberry orange with extra cranberries, chia seeds, and coconut flakes.

***

Did any one catch the special on TV tonight – The Last Day in Pompeii (video is online!)? I’ve been fascinated with that story since I was a kid. I even got to see some of the castings when the A Day in Pompeii exhibit came to town back in 2008. I thought I blogged some photos from the exhibit, but I never did! So, two years later…here they are:

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The exhibit started with pottery, jewelry and other artifacts collected from the city.

It ended with the most dramatic exhibit showcases – the statues.

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This last one is the most haunting. I can’t believe I took this photo with a point and shoot camera. The exhibit did a great job with lighting. That last room with the statues was so surreal.

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After the exhibit, we ventured around Discovery Place.

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Ahhhhh!

What stories from history fascinate you the most? Besides Pompeii, I’ve always been intrigued by The Challenger explosion and the story of the Titanic.

Tonight’s Theme = BEER!

Happy Hump-day everyone! The week is officially more than half way over, and I’m already ready for the weekend! :lol:

I have some scary, frightening, what-did-I-get-myself-into but mostly exciting, exhilarating, and happy things in the works now. I can’t wait to share more details with you guys!

Workday Eats

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We had some bread on its last legs, so I decided to go ahead and have Power Toast instead of the blueberry oatmeal I was craving.

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I had a mini Vega shake (vanilla chai health optimizer + water) for nutrition.

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As soon as I got to work today, I was freezing! Instead of using my blankie I put on my teddy bear polar fleece. I think this thing makes me look like a stuffed animal! :lol:

I had a lunch date at 12:30 with a co-worker, but I was feeling pretty hungry by 11am. I tried to ignore my hunger, but it wasn’t working! Sometimes, I avoid snacks because I don’t want to take on the calories (though I’m not counting any more, I can easily estimate in my head and I’m such a numbers person!), but lately I’m leaning more towards the thought that…if I’m hungry…I should EAT! It seems so obvious, but when I was employing less-than-healthy methods to “get skinny”, I used to think being hungry was good. I know now that while a little hunger is good, the way I was approaching it was not so good.

Luckily, my new approach to eating is much more intuitive! I mean, your body is smart, right? It tells you what it wants. If it’s saying it’s hungry, then you should probably give it something, right? So while logic told me that the numbers weren’t adding up the way I wanted, my body said…FEED ME!

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So feed myself I did – with a half KIND Fruit + Nut bar in Almond & Apricot. I saved the other half for later. I only went with half so I wouldn’t spoil my appetite for lunch. ;) It was just the right size to tide me over.

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For lunch, my co-worker and I got something I’ve been wanting to eat for MONTHS and haven’t been able to talk hubby into getting – Thai.

We started with soup.

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I also got a Thai tea – delicious!

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My co-worker gave me a bite of her green curry. It was freakin delicious! I tasted coconut, cream, and lemongrass…yum yum yum!

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I got the pud wun sen but only managed to down about half this plate. There were so many noodles on that plate!

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I picked up some of those yummy donut holes on my way home so I could give some friends a sample later…details further down post.

Project Yard Beautification

Hubby and I don’t know what most of the plants in our yard are. Our neighbor and my mom pointed out some, but we’re still, for the most part, completely clueless!

There are a couple things I’d like to do with our yard:

  • Learn what we already have
  • Beautify our yard with more fabulous plants and flowers
  • Take care and nurture our yard and plants

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Today I swung by a local nursery on my way home and picked up just a couple little things. While I’d like to do one big project and have a giant, fantastic post about it, the truth is that biting off small pieces of projects will probably be the easiest.

When I got home, I quickly planted our new goodies. There are two large, white, plastic planters that contained existing plants, but I wanted to add some other colors and textures to them. Well, honesty, I don’t care much for plastic planters and would prefer to replace them with ceramic, but have you seen how much large ceramic planters are?! They’re like $100-300 depending on how nice they are. Yowsa! So, I just stuck with what we had and added my cheap-o little plants. :)

Reader Question: Anyone know where I can get nice, cheap planters? I’m thinking maybe Lowers or Target? Ideas?

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To each pot, I added petunias and sweet potato vines. I love the pink of the flowers and the chartreuse of the vines. I can’t wait till these grow out some more.

I picked the petunias because they are a good companion plant for both deterring bad pests and attracting good ones. Granted, I didn’t plant them in my garden, this pot is right near my herbs, so hopefully that helps. I figure, the more good plants the merrier, right?

I have many more spots in the yard where I’d like to add flowers and other plant-life. I think I have more spots than money unfortunately! :oops:

Edible Garden Update

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Something is eating my purple basil!!! It’s putting tons of little holes in the leaves and it’s really pissing me off. I even tried companion planting a marigold with the basil to deter pests, but I guess it’s not deterring the right ones! :(

Does anyone know what might be eating my plant?

Compost Update

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The worms seem to be settling into their compost bin. Tonight I fed them their first scraps – some romaine lettuce (that I had put in the freezer a few days ago so it didn’t spoil). Eat up boys!

Tonight’s Theme = BEER!

And now we get to the fun part!

Matt came over after work and took hubby and me to The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. Here are some photos from our trip:

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We stopped by to drop off the beer Matt and hubby brewed a few weeks ago and to sample the new OMB beer – Mecklenburger.

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To celebrate the new beer, they tapped it out of a wooden keg. Neat-o!

As for the beer – I really liked it. It was nice and smooth. I’m far from an expert beer drinker, so for me – the smoother the better. I like some hoppy (sp?) beers, but my palate isn’t as refined as it could be for beers. Guess I need to drink more! Good thing hubby is getting into home-brewing.

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After our quick trip to OMB, we headed to Dilworth Neighborhood Grill for a home brew meeting.

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Kath and I shared a summer ale.

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Bottoms up!

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We also shared a hummus trio appetizer. It was served with yummy, tender pita bread. I love pita bread with hummus, though I think Ellie’s is still my fave style with her spiced pita chips.

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I also had a side salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

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And, I had a crab cake appetizer as my entree. It looked kind of silly on the mostly empty plate, but it tasted good. I picked it out because I read on the restaurant’s web site that they won a prize for “Best Appetizer” for Taste of Charlotte in 2009!

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We sampled lots of beers, including many flavored ones: mint, coconut, and raspberry (ok, TWO raspberries!)

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After our beer tasting fun was over, Kath and I had a donut tasting!

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I must have eaten a dozen of these today…Oy! So wrong, but so right. :lol:

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After the meeting, Matt dropped us off and stepped inside for a quick minute – just long enough to taste-test the fruit of their labors – to sample their home brew they made a few weeks ago. I got to try a sip, too, and I’m happy to say it was awesome! Go team hubby and Matt!

So much fun hanging out with Kath + Matt – they’re fun friends! :D

Break-up Recovery Week

Here are more tips for my friend who is recovering from a recent, and very difficult break-up. If you have some tips to share, I’m sure they’d love to read them and they will really help. Please leave them in a comment and I’ll blog them later this week.

  • Jessica – I always think getting a new hair cut and a new outfit helps. Once when I felt like I was going to be single forever, I went out and bought a gorgeous ring!!! A big blingy ring… it made me smile!!
  • Andrea – i love pedicures, long sweaty runs and trips to whole foods or tjmaxx to cheer me up
  • Cindy – What worked best for me was hitting the gym. Working out was a great distraction and it made me feel and look great. Just concentrate on what empowers you, whatever that may be.
  • Faith – As far as breakup tips, I think it’s so important to focus on your positives. We usually dwell on negatives – how the relationship went downhill, the irritating things about the partner, but it’s much more mood-boosting to remind yourself of why you are an amazing woman definitely make a list of things you love about yourself!
  • RunnerForever – After any hardtime, like a break up, I go run my heart out!
  • Emily – Gosh, I’d love to help your friend but all I can think of is to just revel in all that life offers. Being single and having that independence is just as fantastic as being with someone. Be okay with how you’re feeling now, and truly feel it. And then be glad to have known and loved.
  • Marie – What I would do if it was me going through a breakup is either make an actual list or a mental list of all the things that person did that I didn’t like, approve of, or hated. This makes you realize that you are better off without him and may lessen the hurt. Think about & plan all the things you have wanted to accomplish but could not because of this other person and immerse yourself in them. Whether its taking a class to learn a new language, a hobby, joining a gym, getting a pet, or going back to school to get a degree. The upside of this is while you are doing what you want, you are in a social setting and the potential for meeting a new mate is there. Good luck to your friend – it’s true — time heals all wounds and everything happens for a reason!

Wow – what great tips guys! You’re like our own Dr. Phil! haha

I do have some other emailed, twittered, and commented tips, which I’m saving for the Thursday and Friday. I do need some more, though, so please send your tips in! I know they’ll love them!

Reader Question: Do you let yourself eat when you’re hungry or do you try to stick to a diet, calorie count, etc. that sometimes leaves you hungry?

100 Worms + Compost Tips

I was hoping for more Flying Biscuit pancakes this morning since I’ve been craving them for the last week, but hubby and I had big plans this morning.

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I woke up and caught our rabbit couple chasing each other around our yard. You can kind of see one of the little guys in the circle there towards the back. They were literally running in circles at full speed. Those guys are fast!

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I made a quick breakfast of coffee and Power Toast with Great Harvest honey whole wheat toast topped with Barney Butter, sunflower seeds and hemp seeds.

100 Worms

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Hubby and I met at a local charity garden for a composting class. The gardens were so cool to see and I loved how they had several good examples of companion planting (planting veggies/herbs that grow together well).

On the agenda:

  • Leaf composting
  • Worm composting

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We learned how to set up and maintain a leaf composting bin. Hubby turned out to be quite the helper, offering to help out on two of the activities (stirring compost and turning compost). We learned a lot and I took a lot of notes – all on my iPhone in the Notes application.

Here are the notes I took (sorry they’re not prettified, but there’s some good tips in there for leaf composting):

  • Don’t put bin under tree line (same distance as limbs) – or put cardboard under or a tarp or old carpet
  • No grass clippings – smell
  • Keep 30 ft from stream
  • Not near neighbor (visually not that attractive & can smell)
  • Put it somewhere convenient – need to get water to it & u get to it
  • Shade or sunshine
  • Use 12.5 ft length wire to form bin – can be smaller length wire. Not under 10ft
  • When cutting wire, make sure one end flush – one end prongs
  • Put hooks on outside
  • Pests like scraps – need to bury scraps so they don’t smell it – 6-12 inches
  • Hardest work 1st setup
  • 4 layers – leaves, scraps (or rabbit food alfalfa) – 30 to 1
  • Leaves, add scraps, add water, mix – repeat 3 times – top w dry leaves to finish
  • Can’t wet leaves enough
  • Can use cow manure but never dog or cat
  • Let sit for 1 week
  • Can use turkey thermometer to get heat.
  • No meat
  • Bread good
  • Tea bags, coffee grounds good, coffee filters
  • Don’t get leaves from pristine neighbors house – might mean they used chemicals
  • After 1st week, lift wire bin over and off of the leaves – circle bin & pull up as you go to remove fencing. Can undo twines but they may break off.
  • Once bin removed, set into new spot and fill with the leaves.
  • Put outer leaves inside. Break up clumps.
  • Flip every 3-4 weeks
  • To feed (when you insert kitchen scraps, etc) u need a stiff bar-shove in bin. Circle to make larger hole. Add scraps, cover w leaeves. Use marking stick to show where u fed it.
  • Should have compost in 3-4 months.
  • Important for compost to cure.
  • To tell if ready, compost should be cool – about outside temp.
  • If still hot it’s not ready-don’t put on veggies or it will suck nutrients.
  • If pile doesn’t heat up u may need more water or nitrogen
  • Water when u flip

We got enough wire to set up our own leaf compost at home. Too bad we don’t have any leaves right now! I may have to check out some of my neighbors yards!

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Next, we went inside to learn about vermicomposting, which is using worms to create compost called “worm castings.”

After a quick powerpoint presentation, we got to see an example bin and then start building our own.

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Get your bins.

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Drill holes. 8-10 on the bottom. 4-6 on the bottom sides. 12 along top of bin.

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Fill with scrap paper or torn newspaper (tear in 1/2″ strips) to 3/4 full.

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We took the bin outside, nested it with someone else’s bin (to be efficient with the water so the stuff that dripped from top bin would go into next. We just had to add enough water to soak the paper through.

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Our paper shrunk down to next to nothing, so we’ll have to do this a couple more times.

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But, for today, we went ahead and got our worms. Hubby and I are now the proud of owner of like 100 worms. Ok, I don’t know how many we actually got, but it must be something like that.

Worm composting notes:

  • Use shredded paper or “core” – put in water & it soaks up 5gallons water.
  • Core is ground coconut shells
  • Food-anything organic. Not meat or PB or oils.
  • 50% moisture is for leaf composts. Squeeze rest. Squeeze & if it stays in a ball it’s good. If some water drips – too wet for leaf bin. Good for worms. Worm composts prefer 70% moisture.
  • To harvest worm castings, pull compost to one side and start a new side. Worms will migrate to new side. 2-3 weeks.
  • Or take lid off put light on drive worms to bottom.
  • Or cut a cantaloupe in half and out halves down. 12 hrs later most worms will be in.
  • Or drill holes in bottom of new bin. Nest new bin over old one & they’ll migrate up. Like can o worms.
  • Water once a week if needed.
  • For the first 2 days, leave the bin in a room with the lights ON and lid off. This will get the worms used to the bin and keep them from trying to crawl out.
  • Storm bin inside if possible (i.e. in garage) or if outside in shade. If the bin gets too hot, it will kill the worms.

One neat thing to note about the 2 types of composts:

  • Leaf composts can take 4 months to yield usable compost
  • Worm bins can take 4-6 weeks!!!

I’m planning to set up and maintain both, so I’ll keep you in the loop of how my bins turn out.

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After composting class, hubby and I hit up the farmer’s market. We got some brussels sprouts, SC strawberries and gourmet tomatoes.

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We also picked up some neat seeds. I went out of my way to find heirloom and non-GMO seeds…not to mention I was looking for some more unusual veggies. I was hoping the squash would fit in one of the corners of my square foot garden but upon addition research, I realized it’s just not going to fit. I’m hoping to possibly set up another bin just for squash…maybe a 2′x8′ bin?

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I used some of the farmers market tomatoes along with some organic romaine, organic avocado, and black beans for protein for a lunch salad, topped with a quickly thrown together lime vinaigrette. It wasn’t that great (dressing) so I won’t bother sharing.

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Plus, I had a Great Harvest berry oat bran muffin. Gosh these things are delish! I think I even prefer the heartier grains to traditional muffins made with white flour. I am turning into my dad! :lol:

Garden Update

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Here are the plants I picked out with my mom yesterday after work: swiss chard, red pepper, cilantro, basil, and more marigolds.

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I went ahead and planted some bush green beans in one square foot of my garden.

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I also added a couple beet seeds in between since I read online beets are a good companion for bush beans (but not pole beans). Not sure how that’s gonna work out, but we’ll find out I suppose.

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I noticed something interesting when I went to plant the chard.

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Even the roots are brightly colored!!

The garden shops have been telling me not to plant chard yet, but yet they have the seedlings started! They said I may get a month’s worth of chard, so I figured I’m willing to take that risk. Supposedly, the plant won’t die when it gets hot, they just won’t produce much till it gets cold again. I’ve been running out of ideas for summer veggies that aren’t large, so I think we’ll be ok.

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Here’s my updated garden. I still have 3 boxes empty. I think I’m going to plant more bush beans and maybe some herbs. It seems like lots of herbs are good at deterring pests, too!

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Pretty veggies!

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Bell pepper planted.

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I also planted a new tomato in the center area of our yard. The dirt here is not Mel’s mix…it looks to be Carolina clay, so I’m not sure it’s going to work, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try. Here, I added a Green Zebra tomato plant (these look so cool!) and a marigold. I heard rabbits don’t like marigolds.

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I also added a marigold in front of the other tomato plant I put in the circle a couple weeks ago.

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The garden is looking good! Now, if I can just keep the insects, pests, rabbits, and birds away, we’ll be doing great!

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I also planted a new herb in a container pot on our porch – purple basil! I’ve never seen this before, but it looks so cool. I can’t wait to taste test it!

I totally got sucked in mystery TV shows on a semi-marathon today. Does that ever happen to you, too? I rarely sit around watching TV, but I think after the long traveling weekend last weekend and full work week, I was ready to veg out for a bit.

Reader question: Do you compost? What kind? Any composting tips you want to share?

Fabulous Frans + Fantastic Samples

Thursday Eats

I have been a blog posting machine this week!! :lol: That’s what happens when you stay somewhere without wifi and your hubby’s laptop doesn’t run on batteries. I didn’t get on a computer for like 3 straight days while I was in Key West!

Since I stayed up so late last night working on all those fabulous Key West photos, I was extra tired today. I made breakfast quick by enjoying my short-on-time go-to breakfast – Power Toast!

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I had a slice of Great Harvest honey whole wheat toasted and topped with Barney Butter, pepitas, sesame seeds and hemp seeds, plus Larry’s Beans coffee to drink.

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For lunch I packed a large salad with a slice of fresh honey WW bread.

I used to hate eating salads for meals. They seemed so unfilling and boring. However, now I see salads as an easy way to consume veggies and gain extra nutrition for the day. Plus, some salads are definitely more interesting than others. My salads tend to be a bit boring, but I’m currently researching ways to make them more exciting.

I ate the bread straight up. It was just baked yesterday and still lovely and tender today. I didn’t need any toppings to enjoy it.

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I had a banana for a snack later.

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And, after my 3pm phone conference was cancelled, I lucked out and took a quick 30 minute break to meet up with my friend Megan for some QT.

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Since the weather was so perfect – sunny and right above 70 degrees F – we snacked outside on homemade energy bars. I had the banana walnut.

After work, the weather was still just as pretty, so I talked hubby into eating out even though I had some good ideas for meals in. It probably helped that I stopped by the grocery store to get shrimp for the meal I had in mind and the store didn’t have shrimp. Unfortunately, by the time hubby was done working out and stuff, the sun was setting and the temperature was getting cooler and cooler.

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We decided to eat in but try a new restaurant we’ve been wanting to try for awhile – Fran’s Filling Station.

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I started with a glass of pinot grigio.

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We decided to try a couple different things since it was our first visit. We started with an appetizer – the Grilled country bread with slow-roasted tomatoes and olive oil.

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The app was a lot like a de-constructed bruschetta but with a sweeter taste thanks to those roasted tomatoes. Hubby and I really enjoyed the dish and agreed with the waitress that it was a great starter size – not too big so you fill up before the meal. Hubby had 2 slices and I had one – it was just enough for me.

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I was really craving comfort food, so we got the Thanksgiving on a Plate (roasted turkey, veggie of the day – snap peas, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce. Wow, this was fantastic! I loved the tender roasted turkey and how it was sliced thin – paired with that slightly sweet gravy. The potatoes were nice and creamy. Hubby really liked the bacon-studded stuffing.

We shared the turkey dish and…

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Mac and cheese! This side dish was served in the dish it was baked in, which was great because the hot plate really kept hte mac and cheese warm for us. The dish was ooey-gooey and totally hit the spot. Hubby said it reminded him a bit of my Dad’s mac and cheese (which reminds me that I really need to get that recipe to you guys)

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Though we were pretty full after our fabulous dinner, we decided to go ahead and see what Fran had to offer by way of desserts. Our waitress suggested the Tuxedo Cake, which normally would have been my top choice, but I was craving something following our comfort food theme of the night.

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The tart was served warm and was a lovely rustic apple tart with a puff-pastry-style shell. The dessert was served with fresh berries and whipped cream. What I really liked about it was that it wasn’t too sweet! So many desserts are over-the-top sugary, but this one was just right.

Hubby and I had a wonderful dining experience at Fran’s. I already can’t wait to go back and try some of their other dishes. They had a fabulous looking veggie burger, I hear their fries are amazing, and I MUST have that Tuxedo cake…sooner than later. If every experience can be this great, then Fran’s may inch their way to my fave Charlotte restaurant list. ;)

New Samples!!

I’ve gotten some new samples to try recently…hoorah!! I adore samples!

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First up, Chef of the Future Not Your Average Cajun Seasoning. I can’t wait to taste-test this stuff! There are plenty of ways to use this seasoning, but I’m mostly excited about using it to grill food this summer. Hubby’s new grill can’t get here fast enough! Not that he ordered one yet, but he needs to! :lol:

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I’m also very excited to have some fabulous Vega samples in my possession! I found Brendan Brazier’s presentation (click for lessons learned) a few weeks ago very inspirational and I loved the message of his books and products.

I received some fabulous things to try out…

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Vega Vibrancy Bars.

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Vega Complete Whole Food Health Optimizer packets.

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Vega Sport Natural Plant-Based Performance Optimizer packets.

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Vega Whole Food Smoothie Infusion packet.

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Plus, I got a recipe booklet. I really want to try this chocolate energy pudding…it sounds delish!

I can’t wait to test out my samples…yum!

Nasoya Tofu Press Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered the Nasoya Tofu Press Giveaway! I wish I had dozens of these to give away but Nasoya and I just have one. And, the winner is…

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#2 – Amanda of The Hungry Wanderers!!! Hey, I know her!! lol

Congrats Amanda! I hope you enjoy your tofu press! But before you can, please email me your new address so we know where to send your tofu press.

As for the entries, I’m going to go back and read through all your fave tofu uses (click to view) for some meal inspiration. You guys are so creative! I loved reading through your comments and I can’t wait to go over them again.

Big thanks again to Nasoya for this giveaway…Thank you!!

HEADS UP! If you didn’t win…I have a few more giveaways queued up so stayed tuned to win some more awesome freebies!! :)

Traveling Hydration – Weigh In

Lastly, this past weekend in Key West reminded me how terrible I am at hydrating when I’m traveling. If it’s not the lack of access to non-germy water (no water fountains for this germiphobe…sorry!) then it’s the fact that I hate using airplane bathrooms or having to pull over when I’m driving. It seems 10 times more difficult to stay hydrated when I’m traveling.

How do you stay hydrated when you’re traveling? What are you tips?

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