Archive | February, 2008

Indoor Gardening

14 Feb

Thanks to modern technology and the inventiveness of our scientists it is possible to grow some of the things we eat even if we live in an apartment without any fancy or expensive greenhouse apparatus.


I discovered indoor gardening a few years back when I received a gift of a set of very small pots, seeds and instructions.  This was like indoor gardening for dummies. The plants grew as promised on the package once I did my part in faithfully taking care of them as outlined on the package. That year I reaped wonderful, fresh herbs – chives, parsley and thyme – from my window garden. I cook with lots of herbs and no salt so having these fresh, delightful herbs added some zest to my recipes and saved me a few dollars as well.  I experienced a sense of accomplishment.


Since then I have tried other herbs using organic potting soils.  I especially like to plant basil as it is one of my most favorite herbs next to fine leaf thyme.


The added bonus of having indoor gardens is that you are surrounded by edible green year round.  Flowering and decorative plants are great but I feel much better about using space and time in a more beneficial way as well.


There are many compelling reasons to have greens indoor apart from their aesthetic value. They increase your oxygen levels in the home although they do give off carbon monoxide at nights but I understand you have to live in a jungle indoor for you to be poisoned by carbon monoxide from plants.  When I was a little girl growing up in the tropics my parents made us put all our house plants outside the home at night and bring them back in the morning. We did this routinely every day because of carbon monoxide and also because the dew drops apparently were good for plants.  Research shows that plants provide some protection against allergens and absorbs some of the natural dust found in homes.


Here are a few tips that I can share from personal experience about growing indoor plants successfully – placement of the plants, proper drainage and proper watering.  If you give each plant the amount of light required, if you ensure that there is a way for water to go through and saturate the plant and careful not to over water them in your eagerness to feed the plant to help grow quicker then you are on your way to a beautiful experience of accomplishment.


What’s in the diet soda that’s making you sick?

8 Feb


Are you one of those people who drink a lot of diet sodas or feed your family this poison?  If so take heed. This might cause you and your family to develop metabolic syndrome. the collection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes that include abdominal obesity, high cholesterol and blood glucose levels, and elevated blood pressure.


Scientists studied more that 9500 men and women between 45 and 64 tracking their health for nine years found that  our dietary pattern of red meat, refined grains and friend foods increased our risk for metabolic.  They found that a more prudent diet of  fruits, vegetables, fish and poultry kept us in a neutral zone. Our risk for the metabolic syndrome was neither reduced nor higher. However those who drank at least one can of diet soda or soda a day had a 34 per cent risk of developing metabolic syndrome. The researchers are beginning to ask if there is some kind of chemical in  the diet soda that is making this happen?

Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus and Pita Bread

4 Feb

8 (6-inch) whole-wheat pitas, cut into 4 triangles each
1 1/2 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), plus 1 tablespoon of the oil
1 small garlic clove, peeled
1/4 cup nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Heat oven to 350°F.
2. Place pita wedges on a baking sheet and bake until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes.
3. Puree chickpeas, cannellini beans, tomatoes plus 1 tablespoon of their oil, and garlic in a food processor. Add yogurt, lemon juice, sesame oil, cumin, and salt; process until smooth.
4. Serve at room temperature with pita triangles and vegetables for dipping.
Make-ahead tip: The flavors of hummus improve when it’s made up to 3 days in advance; refrigerate in a covered container until ready to use. Bring to room temperature before serving. Pita chips can be toasted up to a day ahead.

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