Growing Tomato Tips


     My heirloom Hartman’s yellow Gooseberry tomatoes are sweet, mild and very tasty.  This is my first year planting them, and I’m pleased by the results so far.  When I purchased this seedling, it was about a foot tall.  I dug a whole twice the size of the pot it came in, and covered the whole root system with compost soil mixed with the dirt I dug up. I then sprayed it with diluted liduid kelp to give the plant a little boost of nutrients to get it going.  Within one month of adequate even watering and good sunlight, the plant tripled its size.  You can eat these raw or sautéed.  Anyway, you’ll just love the taste.  The color will also brighten up any dish and will wow any crowd.  Not to mention, they’re also very easy to grow. 

Growing Tomato Tips

  1. Spacing between plants:  2-3 feet apart for room to grow. 
  2. Cutting the tomatoes from the vine with a scissors protects the plant and the fruit. Don’t tug or pull. 
  3. Fertilize with Azomite and liquid Kelp both add calcium and trace minerals.  
  4. Store tomatoes if green on the countertop, stem side up to ripen. 
  5. If you refrigerate – limit for 3-5 days, this will also effect the flavor and texture of the tomato.
  6. Stake, trellis or cage tomato plants to support and keep them from the ground. 

     Growing tomatoes in the summer is simple, plus if you don’t have a garden, growing in containers work just as fine too. You can grow beets, lettuces, carrots, cucumbers and so much more in pots on your balcony or patio. If you have the space and the sunlight, go for it.  Check this beauty out below! 

Have fun with growing fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to grow your own foods. Organically of course😉

Resources: Grow Organic – Online resource for everything organically grown. 

 Tomatoe Pruning and Tomatoe Diseases 

Growing Beets in Containers – The Basics

Best Tomato Varieties For Containers

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Kale-A-Bration Time! 

I’ve coined the term, Kale-a-bration because that’s how I feel when my kale plants are thriving beautifully.  There’s a celebratory feeling that comes over me every time Im in my garden.  Kale is my new go-to because it goes in practically every dish I make.  From salads, cold or hot pasta dishes, soups, green juices and can’t forget my smoothies.  My kale patch serves my family of five well, and I still have enough to share with my friends and family.   There’s nothing better than freshly picked kale. The flavors are so strong and the leaves are full of life and vigor.  Growing my own garden saves me a lot of money. What I grow serves my family through the summer and winter months. I freeze my greens, tomatoes and so much more for the winter months.  My favorite is definitely the kale plant. 

Kale is very easy to grow and extremely versatile. It also grows well into the cold winter months.  This superfood is packed with a slew of vital nutrients our bodies depend on.  Just one cup of chopped cooked kale contains 1180% of the daily requirement of vitamin K, 98% of vitamin A and 71% of vitamin C, 27% of manganese, 6% calcium, 22% copper and so much more!  There’s also a mixture of antioxidants like cartotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin – help promote eye health, protect against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration) and flavonoids (more than 45) which have anti-cancer properties.  It also contains 10% dietary fiber and only has 36 calories! 

The brassicas vegetables are highly nutritious for fighting cancers. It’s beneficial to eat them everyday.  The kale variety I’m growing is known by three names, Lacinato kale, dinosaur kale and Tuscan kale.  It’s one of my favorite to plant because it’s easy to grow from seed, cooks exceptionally well, and the crop loves the cold, so I’ll continue harvesting from this patch way into the winter months. I’m also growing cabbage, collards, bok chow, broccoli and cauliflower. A healthy blend of the brassica family.   My garden is grown with no pesticides or herbicides. I take careful pride in what I plant and how it’s maintained. If I have pest, I don’t spray harmful chemicals.  I rely on ladybugs 🐞 and praying mantis to eat aphids and other small pest, which usually infest my brassicas. If you’re interested in organic pest control, order from Peaceful Vally

What Gets You Through the Mornings?

For me, I rely on my fresh green juices. Fresh juice from raw foods like spinach, carrots, kale, and collards green are the easiest sources and most effective way to get your greens in your diet. It’s also providing me with high quality nutritional vitamins and minerals. Plus, a boost of energy. You would be surprised by how a cup of fresh green juice can boosts your energy.  Most people start their day off with coffee and honestly, a cup a day won’t hurt. According to a recent study on coffee consumption, healthy people who consumed 4 cups or more a day is associated with a lower risk of death.  I think that’s excessive, even for healthy people. I’m healthy and I can’t manage to even finish one cup. I can’t imagine four cups a day.   If you are a lover of coffee, don’t skip it just add a green juice or two to your daily routine. The greener the veggies, the better.  The green pigment in plants is the chlorophyll, and that’s what detoxifies our blood.  The very best sources of chlorophyll found on the planet are dark green vegetables and algae. Chlorophyll is the cellular organelle that allows for organisms to produce their own food through photosynthesis. All plants and several different types of microorganisms go through photosynthesis. Algae includes several different types of photosynthetic microorganisms, and there are several different types of chlorophyll present in algae.  These chlorophyll supports our cells by revitalizing and restoring them.

In my cup I have spinach, kale, green apple, lemon (without the skin), ginger and celery.  With these simple ingredients you’ll definitely get your energy levels up. The options are endless when it comes to fresh juices.  My philosophy is simple, eat lots of whole plants no matter how you choose to do it, just get the rainbow of colors in your diet. I’m a big lover of salads, smoothies, vegan dishes and fresh juices. Substitute one of your typical meals for a large bowl of salad and add a fresh juice to that also. This way you’ll make your quota for the day.

Fresh Juice Recipes – just a handful of each green plant is needed. 

Classic – kale, Swiss chard, Juice Recipe  spinach, celery, apple, lemon, ginger

Sweet – kale, spinach, pineapple, mint, half of jalapeño

Orange delight – carrots, granny smith apple

Vitamin C Boost– gradefruit, orange, lemon, ginger and dash of cayenne pepper

Article:  

Why Consume More Plants? 

Types of Chlorophyll Present in Algae

Coffee Study: Higher coffee consumption associated with lower risk of early death

Detox Green

Green Smoothie 

I woke up this morning feeling for an easy breakfast. I didn’t have the desire to cook. The kids are on their own for breakfast today. With two teenagers, they can fend for themselves in the kitchen and their little sister can eat whatever they cook. It’s just one of those days. I started my morning with a big mug of green tea with lemon and finished it off with a simple organic green smoothie for breakfast. I just used what was on hand. Luckily for me, I had some fresh organic spinach. 


Simple Recipe 
2 Ripe organic bananas

Hefty handful of organic spinach 

2 Cups of organic almond milk 

1 Tablespoon of organic chia seeds 

1 Cup of ice

1 Tablespoon of organic wheatgrass powder

The wheatgrass powder adds more vital nutrients to the smoothie making it a powerful energy booster.  The chlorophyll in the wheatgrass supports detoxification of the body. Apart from the detoxification, it also ensures that there is an increased amount of oxygen sent to every cell.


I like to add chia to my smoothies. This ensures I’m getting more fiber, Omega 3 & 6’s, and healthy protein in my diet.  These are simple additions you can infuse your juices or smoothies with to boost up your vitamin intake. 
Enjoy! 

Homeopathic Cough Remedy with Raw Honey

     My grandmother on my paternal side taugh me this homemade remedy for coughs and sore throats. Since the weather has changed here in New York, one of my kids already caught a sore throat. ‘Tis the season of battling sicknesses, so what’s the best remedy for treating a sore throat? It’s Honey!  I actually remember the first time my grandmother whipped this honey concoction up for me. I had a sore throat with a dry cough, and I was constantly gargling with salt water. I must have been between eleven or twelve years old. She said, I was irritating my throat even more and that I needed something to soothe it.  We went into the kitchen and she chopped up onions and covered it with raw honey in a glass. It sat for one hour before I had a table spoon full.  

     Surprisingly, it tasted good and within a few minutes my throat felt less irritated and after about ten minute my cough was lesser.  The taste of the onions was pronounced but the honey makes up for it.  My twist on my granny’s recipe is adding garlic. I make this every year around the fall and throughout the winter months. I give it to all my children from the youngest of six years to the eldest, who is fifteen.  It is a very simple and effective remedy, and it works for us, and it may even work for you.  
Recipe 

  • 2 Medium Onions
  • Raw honey
  • Half head of garlic (5 gloves) 

Directions

     Peel and slice the onions evenly. Peel and cut each garlic in half.  Place everything in your jar (I purchased mines from IKEA). Pour the raw honey over everything until majority of contents are covered. Cover lid and let it sit on your counter overnight for 6-8 hours. I like to give it a little stir after the times up.  I give 1 table spoonful which is equivalent to 2 teaspoons to my children. Depends on the severity of the situation, a child may get 2 spoonful an hour.  Overtime, I store on the counter or even in the fridge. You could always add more ingredients overtime if you’re running low. The onions will eventually breakdown. I usually eat them when I take a spoonful. The hardest part is to get the kids to eat it. 

     I highly recommend using raw honey for this recipe because store bought honey sometimes have additives like high fructose corn syrup. Please read your labels!  These three natural ingredients have the capability to fight colds, coughs, allergies, sore throats and even boost your bodies immunity.  Honey is truly an amazing substance.  It is a natural sweetener and it encompasses an intricate chemical composition of carbohydrates, free amino acids, vitamins, trace elements and flavonoids/antioxidants. Not to forget anti-bacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.  Studies of the antimicrobial effect of honey have demonstrated its broad-spectrum antimicrobial actions against upper-respiratory tract infections.  Honey has been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of coughs for a very long time (1).  Research shows honey works as well as dextromethorphan, which is a common ingredient in over the counter cough medications to soothe cough(2).  This home remedy, works better according to the study.   Honey naturally soothes. 

     The antibacterial and antiviral properties of garlic controls infection from bacterias and viruses.  Onions and garlic are members of the Allium family, and both are rich in sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their pungent odors and for many of their health-promoting effects.  Onions antioxidant rich flavonoids provides us with the benefits to keep chronic unwanted inflammation under control (3). The use of honey is also prohibited under the age of one due to poor immunity against Clostridium Botulinum, a potential contaminant (4).  Richard S. Rivlin wrote in the Journal of Nutrition that the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (circa. 460-370 BC), known today as “the father of Western medicine”, prescribed garlic for a wide range of conditions and illnesses.  Hippocrates promoted the use of garlic for treating respiratory problems, parasites, poor digestion and fatigue. It’s great for flavoring your food and to treat illnesses. 



Resources: 

(1) Study: Bactericidal activity of different types of honey against clinical and environmental isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

(2) Study: Honey for Treatment of Cough in Children

(3) Study: Antibacterial and antioxidant activities of quercetin oxidation products from yellow onion (Allium cepa) skin.

(4) Study: Incidence of Clostridium botulinum in honey of various origins.

WARNINGS ⚠️ 

Homey is NOT for children under one years old. My mission is to extend the knowledge of healthly eating through this blog. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health program.

My Okra Plant Flower Blooms

  
How pretty is that, a full okra bloom. This is my second year growing okras and my first time seeing the blooms. Gorgeous, isn’t it! Okra is in the same family as hibiscus and the flowers are actually edible. The blooms can be added to raw salads, or battered and deep fried.  I’m not interested in either options. The blooms are pretty and I would rather enjoy them visually.  

As a child, I hated okras. It use to gross me out whenever I saw people eating it and my parents never forced me to eat them amongst other things.  I’m guessing because it was always slimy and appalling for us. It’s funny as you grow up your palette changes.   My outlook today is totally different. I eat it like its nothing. Plus, everything else that is organically plant-based healthy.

I planted two okra plants this year, and I average about one to two okras a week.  It isn’t much but it’s enough for me because I have so many other vegetables I mix them in with.  The key is to harvest the pods right away. This will provide you with tender, delicious pods. Plus, it will promote more pod growth on your plant. I usually harvest once the pods are about 3-4 inches and they are super tender. I don’t like when the pods are over 4 inches because they tend to be too tough and hard. The younger the better. 

Add okra to your garden because it’s a great addition and a very nutritional part of the menu. 

The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers’ Award! Answers and Nominations

  
I have been nominated by Lazy Girl Vegan (LGV) to participate in the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers’ Award. I’m truly flattered and honored to have been chosen amongst millions of other blog sites.  So this is how it works, I answer the ten questions chosen by LGV and then I choose my own ten questions and select other blog sites to carry on the torch.  It’s a fun experience and a wonderful way bloggers connect and learn about each other. 

Here are my answers to LGV’s questions. 

  • What are your favorite, vegan packaged food products?

At the moment my favorite vegan packaged food products are Emmy’s, St. Mary’s Banana Chips, Follow Your Heart, and Ciao Bella Gelato’s.

  • What is your go-to meal on lazy days?

On lazy days, my go-to meal is a P&J (Peanut Butter and Jelly) sandwich with a fruit smoothie. 

  • Who is your favorite cartoon character?

Wow! I don’t watch cartoons anymore however, in my younger days it was Smurfette. 

  • What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?

I would have to say, it was my honeymoon.  Hubby and I went to Negril in Jamaica and stayed at an all inclusive sweet. 

  • Do you have any morning or bedtime rituals?

My bedtime ritual would be my face and neck regime. I cleanse, use a toner, add a few drops of my organic Vitamin C &E serum and then moisturize.

  • What are your guilty pleasures?

My guilty pleasure is having a drink of  organic coffee with steamed almond milk. I don’t crave it but once or twice a week I will have a small cup.  I’m a odd ball, because I could never finish the whole thing and it’s always a small cup.   

  • Chocolate or vanilla or something else?

Always organic 72% cacao Belgian dark chocolate😋

  • What’s your idea of a perfect Saturday?

My perfect Saturday consists of going to the farmers market with my husband and three children. Then we  buy fruits, vegetables, freshly baked pastries and head to the park for an afternoon picnic. 

  • What scents are you most drawn to?

I’m most drawn to florals. 

  • Why do you blog and what got you interested in pursuing your current blog topic?

I blog about my passions which are plant-based foods, juicing, health and wellness, and the organic grassroots movement.  My love for healthy organic plantbased nutrition got me into blogging. 

This was a lot of fun and I am greatly honored to be nominated by  Alexandra from LGV. Well, now it’s my turn to pass the torch on to my ten nominees. I chose these individuals because we share a commonality for a healthy lifestyle living.  

I nominate the following ten bloggers to take part in The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers’ Award!

  

My Nominations:

Here are my 10 questions:

  1. What was the last food documentary you saw? 
  2. Are you a vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian (eats fish only), flexitarian (vegetarians with healthier grassfed options), ovo-vegetarian (eggs no dairy), or a raw foodie?
  3. Did you plant a garden this year?
  4. What is your best dinner dish?
  5. Are trends just for young people? 
  6. How would you spend a $50,000 gift?
  7. If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  8. If you could permanently eliminate one food from the world, what would it be? 
  9. Do you exercise regularly?
  10. What have you learned from blogging? 

Have fun and keep blogging!


Early Morning Juicing

  
I woke up late this morning, but I refuse to leave the house without my organic carrot juice😋. 

To cut my time down in the mornings, I prepare my carrots from the night before. Plus, I add one green Granny Smith apple. According to the Gerson Therapy, combing these two together is key for detoxing the body of heavy metals.  Granny Smith contains malic acid which is responsible for their distinctive tart taste. Plus, sour apples are higher in potassium, says Katheryn Alexandra who is a Gerson Practitioner. 

Have a wonderful healthy start to your day😋

Strawberries Are Back 

Strawberries are back and in full-swing of things at the Union Square Green Market.  They’re super sweet, juicy, and delicious!  You’ll never find these beauties at your supermarket.  What also sets these beauties apart from the regular store-bought brands is there texture. The strawberry from the local farmers are much more tender and delicate, thus making them more juicy.

They’re in season now so stop by your local farmers market and get’em while you can.  To find your local farmers market click here.  Nutritional information on strawberry can also be found here

Enjoy😋

An Easy Plant-Based Salad

 

Salads are one of the most easiest and most satisfying ways to get your fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.  In this particular salad, I have shredded green leaf lettuce, watercress, yellow bell pepper, one organge, one apple, and a three bean salad with fresh celantro and curly leaf parsley minced and garnished.  For the dressing, I squeeze a half of lemon for a little more zing.   The fresh bean salad adds protein and fiber to whole me longer through my busy day. 

What do you put in your salads?