Categories
Green Thumbs Up!

Compost for mulch…Yes it can happen!

Believe it or not there is a lot of things we can use for compost right in our own homes especially the kitchen! Do you drink coffee and usually just toss your grounds in the trash well don’t do that! Start a compost! You can also add in there eggshells, banana peels, grass clippings. You can create compost with so much and its recycling so win win! Have you ever wondered about composting let me tell you some of the benefits to it. First its recycling and that is great for the environment and it adds so much nutrients back into the soil which makes for more healthy and happy plants! Second it will also act as a weed barrier and will reduce plant disease and pests. Third one of my favorite benefits is it decreases the need for any chemicals to be used on your garden for better fruits and veggies! Plumper and tastier Tomatoes among other wonderful prizes found in a garden……What could be better???

To properly compost there is a bit of science to it but that’s like most great things! Three parts make up a great compost. First being browns that is branches and twigs, second being greens and that is things like grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps and as I suggested before your coffee grounds, third being water. These 3 parts all make up a great compost that is so beneficial. Keep in mind you will need equal parts of these 3 things. I bet now you are wondering how to get started. Well you in luck because just so happens I have pointers for that too!

To start composting you don’t need anything fancy. You can do it at home yourself. Just find a decent shady place around with access to water because as said above you will need water. You can now start adding your browns and greens as needed. Make sure any big chunks are broke down or shredded. You will need to moisten as you add your greens and browns to make sure you have added enough water to have everything in equal parts. You can cover with a tarp to keep moisture in. It can take 2 months to 2 years for your compost to be ready to use. You will know when it is ready to use when you see the color has become dark almost a black color.

Ways to use your compost are in your flowerbeds, and gardens. My grandpa has used compost in his yard. He planted his grass seed down and added compost on top and watered frequently. His lawn came in so healthy and luscious and green. He has continued this practice for years and he swears by it. He also has very few weeds in his yard and he doesn’t use any weed prevention chemicals. He also uses it his garden and flower beds and he has the most beautiful vibrant flowers and fruits and vegetables. Composting is a great way to give back to earth and get wonderful foods out of your garden as I said it’s a win win!

Picture of my start to composting!

Sites:

https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home

Categories
Green Thumbs Up!

Tasty Sunflowers!!

Ever been on a nature walk in a desert like area? Then you might have seen the beautiful wild sunflowers! Wild sunflowers thrive in a desert like area especially along the roadsides. Lucky for me I am surrounded by them where I live. The sunflower is called a Sunflower because it is the flower that follows the sun. It is slender and hairy to prevent water loss. They require all sunshine and can even survive a drought. They flourish in the summer and fall. They also spread their seeds in the wind and once their season is over, they hibernate so to say and all the rain from the spring waters them and then they will bloom in the summer.  They are also quite popular for fall harvest decorations as well as for their tastiness. They are also great for mood lifting. I mean how could one look at such a beautiful bright sun loving flower and not feel happy!

Did you know you can eat sunflowers for more then their seeds? Well you can, however the wild sunflowers have smaller seeds that can be black and tiny or medium and more of an off-white color and they are usually ripe in August and September. You can cook the seeds by baking them or pan frying them. You can also ground them up into a powder to use in baking for a more natural ingredient. Some even eat the seeds raw on salads along with the petals! The petals add great nutrients and color to a salad but wait there is more! You can boil or fry the flower buds and eat them like a Brussel sprout! YUM! How about some steak and roasted garlic sunflower buds?! Sounds tasty doesn’t it?

Even bakers will use them in their products whether its for color to brighten up a cake or pastry but also as an ingredient for a more natural approach. I love to go pick the wild sunflowers to use in my house as a beautiful decoration but also as a tasty colorful salad.  A great salad example would be some fresh spinach topped with sunflower petals and seeds along with cranberries and feta cheese, all topped with a delicious homemade vinaigrette. A delicious pastry example would be a cranberry oatmeal sunflower muffin. Sunflowers and their petals all look so elegant on a beautiful fall wedding cake with the colors white, maroon, or even a brown. Best part is that though it’s a flower it is edible and good for you and who wouldn’t want a dessert with a healthy twist that can make you feel less guilty for eating it.

Need some recipe suggestions here are some! Enjoy!!

Sources: Edwards Greenhouse

https://www.ediblewildfood.com/sunflower.aspx

http://bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio203/s2008/mitchell_sara/Adaptations.htm

https://www.sunflowernsa.com/health/Recipes/BreadsMuffinsEtc/SunflowerPumpkinMuffins

https://www.sunflowernsa.com/health/Recipes/SoupsSaladsVeggies/SpinachSunflowerSaladwOrangeVinaigrette/

Categories
Green Thumbs Up!

All Natural Sweeteners….Who Knew??

All-Natural Sweeteners…Who Knew??

On a Hot summer day, you are ready to relax and cool down with a nice fresh fruit smoothie or on a beautiful Fall day you’re getting cozy with your favorite movie and a nice hot cup of tea, but something is missing. You are looking for healthy and body happy ingredients. Our bodies get us through every day. We put so much crud in our bodies that make us feel icky. When you feel icky or sluggish, you’re not functioning at your best. Great news here are some body happy ingredients to add to your smoothie or tea to give that delicious sweetness but without the cruddy stuff!

Stevia is a great Natural sweetener if you get it right off the plant. Yes, they sell what they call Natural Stevia in the stores, but it has stuff added to it that make it unnatural and really no better than the regular granulated sugar you can also buy. Store bought Stevia such as Truvia are made from a highly refined stevia leaf extract, Rebaudioside A. Rebaudioside A is 200 times more sweeter than regular sugar. Sweeteners that contain Rebaudioside A are Novel Sweeteners due to them being blended with other sweeteners like Erythritol and Dextrose. So, if you grow stevia can add a leaf to your food and drinks to sweeten your food or beverage naturally.

Honey is another great Natural sweetener and if you bee keep it can come straight from the bee to your smoothies and tea or even your food! Honey is best in Vegetable smoothies because it will cut out some of the bitterness. But be careful Honey is still sugar and will up your calorie intake. Honey is also great in your tea. Need to unwind from a long day and your drink of choice is Tea you can a tablespoon of honey to it for sweetness and great health benefits and that is just a Perk!

Raw Honey

Coconut Sugar is another great option! Do you love the sweet taste of Hawaiian Paradise? If you answered yes, then you will probably love this natural sugar in your refreshing pineapple or mango smoothie. What’s crazy is that Coconut Sugar has more iron and zinc then regular sugar. So, you can enjoy your delicious refreshing smoothie and be quilt free! Makes me want to run to my closest store and get some to enjoy!

Bottom line when I think all-natural sugars my mind doesn’t go immediately to diet or weight loss like a lot of people do. Do you know what comes to mind? I think of good wholesome food. I think of taking care of my body and my kid’s bodies. Because our bodies do so much for us, and we fill it with so much processed and chemical filled foods. All natural has so much greatness to offer and can even uplift your mood. So sit back and enjoy nature and all it has to offer with All Natural in your most favorite ways.

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/stevia-side-effects

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323047.php