Can you believe the size of this radish? Some of our radishes didn't get picked at optimal size, but I have to say, even though they are very large, they are still very delicious! The one large one with the baby in the picture, however, was not edible. It had gotten 'pithy' inside. It gets soft and a bit mushy and doesn't have the usual firmness and snap when biting into a radish.

Several in this batch were as large or larger than a ping pong ball. They are quite hot but we like them that way. I had never heard of using them for a sandwich but someone mentioned that she like them that way. We've never had enough of them to use them that way until now. I have to say, it was very good! I also used fresh lettuce and arugala and just a bit of salt on the radishes and used wheat bread.

My only other comment about these radishes is that if you radishes, I hope you will find a farmer's market and get some that are FRESH. They taste nothing like the ones you get in a little plastic bag in the store!

Incidentally, we don't fertilize or use pesticides!




I'm really exposing myself with this post. I don't know why, I just thought it was something I wanted to share. I have Mother-In-Law issues. She once asked me "don't you want/try/think about losing weight?" OMG!  What? Are you serious? Yeah, I think/ try/ AND want to lose weight. Today, and every other day of the week. FYI (this isn't a good question to ask me if you want to be my friend...lol)

So, I suppose there are others who know me personally that might actually have the same question so I decided to write a few of my feelings and opinions here. Call it risky, stupidity, whatEVer, maybe it will give you a different perspective. Maybe it will help you not to be judgemental. We all need a little understanding and tolerance toward others...no just over THIS issue, but many issues! Oh yeah, and let me say, I'm a happy person. I'm not writing this because I'm miserable or unhappy. I've always been a pretty contented, happy, out-going person. I like myself (for the most part) and have learned how to like myself.

I recently came across a book at the library and it's been so interesting to read. The title- Nourishing Traditions-the Cookbook The Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.
Quite the title, isn't it!?

This is a big, thick book filled with some of the most interesting facts and studies, as well as recipes. I haven't had time to even look at the recipes because I've been so captured by all the information in the book!

I don't think anyone I know isn't concerned about their diet. Some are trying to lose weight, some want to lower their cholesterol, others need a gluten free diet, or fat free, or vegan, or.....and the list goes on and on! I think it comes down to a desire to be healthy and live a long life. No one wants to cut their life short because of bad nutrition. At the same time, many people are taking the word of this guru or that guru and basically following the newest diet craze to hit the media! TV commercials are filled with all kinds of information and before & after pictures and success stories of Hollywood stars who have re-made their image (and incidentally, who have been paid for dieting!).

In my quest for weight loss, I have tried pretty much every diet available. I don't think I need to list them but I can assure you, if you have thought of it, I've tried it. Some of them have been quite succesful, but the end result is that EXTREME dieting MANY times does not have a lasting effect. It is proven that yo-yo dieting is worse for you and harder on your body that maintaining your weight, even if you are overweight. I'm not advocating being overweight, I'm just pointing out that it really does take a toll on your body-your health-your strength, to be extreme and not use common sense. It shows in your face and skin...it ages you. I've seen it happen in many cases.

One of the solutions that is currently quite popular by many people is weight loss surgery. I've seriously considered this. I've seen it work for people with great results. At least in the fact that they 'look' good. My whole life has been a battle of weight, so for  me, the look issue is a NON issue. I don't have to be thin to like myself. I've learned to be a happy person in a fat body. BUT, I want to be as healthy as I possibly can and so I consider all my options. I also know, personally, people who have had weight loss surgery that have not survived. I know some who have had the surgery and within a short time, have gained all the weight back and then some, leaving them worse off than before! After weighing (pun intended lol) all options, I don't think I could ever choose the surgery route.

So, all of this comes out because I've been reading some very interesting info in this book! It is probably assumed that because I'm overweight I sit around eating bon-bons and donuts every day. Guess what? Not true. Instead, my husband, skinny butt and all, has a donut ritual. He gets donuts every friday on his way to work, and sometimes on the weekend. He also has a sweet treat every evening. He has a peanut butter and jelly english muffin every day. But, he also works hard physically, which I do not and genetics come into play. He had tall slender parents. I did not.

When I started this blog, it was my intent to make a decision to change how we ate.To make conscious food decisions, and see if it made a difference in our health. Recently I had blood work done and while I'm not going to post my numbers here, let me say that my Dr. was very pleased with results. I believe it's a result of the way we have changed our diet and the foods we eat, so I wanted to share what we have done differently and also about what this book talks about.

The first thing we have done is cut back our meat consumption to at least half of what it was. When I make a batch of chili, I add more beans and half the amount of ground meat. I usually use turkey instead of beef. We eat several meatless meals a week. We have a huge garden and eat a lot of veggies. We eat seasonally as much as possible. We try to eat organic foods that are highest in pesticides. We eat more whole grains and legumes. We rarely eat out and don't eat processed foods much. You can tell from looking at the recipes I post in this blog that we don't eat celery and lettuce meals. We eat good meals, filled with a wide range of ingredients, but they are wholesome foods.

So, I think I got a little sidetracked! Back to the book! Here is an example of the info in the book. In 1960 scientists did a study at the U of M with rats. One group of rats was fed corn flakes and water, second group water and the box the cereal came in, third group water and rat food/pellets. The group that had the cornflakes all died first, with the last rat in that group dying as the first one in the box group died, leaving the scientists to prove that eating the BOX the cereal comes in is better for you than the cereal itself! So much of our food is gentically modified, fortified with this that and the other, and we have been fooled into thinking it's GOOD for us! hmmm Maybe not! We try to eat foods that have a short ingredient list, and that we actually know what the ingredients are!

From the book: Research has shown that three raw carrots eaten daily, lower blood cholesterol; and that a single carrot a day lowers the risk of lung cancer among smokers by one half! (Now, I'm not a smoker, but I know some smokers and I've shared this with them. If I did smoke, believe me, I'd be eating carrots!) Carrots are rich sources of carotenoids, B vitamins, phosphorus, calcium and iodine.

From time to time I'm going to post more from this book. It will help show why we eat the way we do and make the food choices we make. Sorry for such a long post. Maybe you were bored reading it, but this afternoon I'm going to be making a batch of arugala pesto from the garden so there will be a more FUN post with pictures coming soon!!



With so many options, it's hard to get bored with Meatless Monday! We are gradually finding ourselves expanding our meatless days to at least 2 more days a week. During the summer, when the heat and humidity are almost unbearable, it's much more desireable to eat a light meal. A small portion of meat or fish on the grill is also nice, but now that the garden has started to produce fresh food, our meals focus on vegetables rather than a meat portion.


Quinoa and couscous are favorites of mine. Fortunately the family also enjoy them depending on what I add to the dish or how it's served. My favorite is couscous, preferably whole wheat. It's so quick and easy to fix, and a very healthy dish!

In the summer when the AC is running all day, and you really don't want to add any heat to the kitchen, I sometimes resort to using the microwave to cook the couscous. It comes out light and fluffy and only takes about 3-4 minutes to cook, making it a quick fix! Couscous tastes great with just a bit of  soy sauce or with lots of veggies or other ingredients.

At the store this weekend, they had 'old' cauliflower heads for $.99. They had just a touch of brown here and there, but they were firm and overall pretty nice looking. I also found little packages with mini sweet peppers. They were yellow, orange, and red and the package had about 9 of them for $.99!!
So, with these vegetables that needed to be used as soon as possible, I cut up about 2 cups of the cauliflower, and sliced about 6 of the peppers, along with 2 minced garlic cloves. On the marked down veggie rack were packages of yellow tomatoes for $.99 as well, so I chunked up 2 large tomatoes and added these ingredients to a bit of olive oil in a saute pan.

I cooked the couscous in the microwave and set it aside to cool after I had fluffed it up a bit with a fork. Once the veggies were cooked slightly, about 5 minutes, I added about 1c. currants, 1 c. kalamta olives, juice of one lemon, lemon zest, and salt and pepper taste. After tasting it I thought it needed a little additional punch so I added in some thyme and curry powder. Perfect!! So delicious. I love the sweet little surprise the currants add to the dish!

I had planned to add chick peas to the dish but forgot to take them out of the freezer and decided that the dish really didn't need them anyway. This dish tastes great warm or at room temperature making it perfect for a hot summer day. The leftovers are tasty as lettuce wraps!

Nutritional value: When you pair chick peas with couscous you make a complete portein, just like meat. But unlike meat, it only takes 3 minutes in themicrowave to cook the cousous!
1 c. couscous per 2 c. water. Cover and microwave for 3-4 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let set.




I think my favorite cookbook is Simply in Season. It's filled with delicious, reasonable recipes featuring fresh, local foods. The recipes are reasonable, in the sense that they use ingredients you will find at most any supermarket, if not actually in your own pantry! Recipes are arranged in order of their seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, using seasonal ingredients found in your own garden or at a local farmer's market.

Every recipe I have tried from this book has turned out to be a favorite that I repeat again, and again. Today was no exception! We finally started harvesting fresh arugala along with a few other vegetables. The arugala came on gang busters and we can't eat it all fresh so I looked for ideas in this cookbook.  Spring Quiche Trio, on page60-61 of the cookbook, offers 3 filling choices, and 2 crust choices.


I had 6 potatoes that needed to be used up, so I chose the potato crust instead of a pastry type crust. I should have baked it a bit longer because the bottom of the crust, where it was the thickest, was a bit mushy or soft, rather than crisp and brown. I am sometimes impatient! The taste was still great!

One filling featured ramps, another asparagus, and yet another broccoli-leek-spinach. We are eating lots of green onions from the garden and I still had 2 nice long pieces of fresh asparagus from the garden(the last of the season) and the arugala. I thought those 3 ingredients would make a great quiche so I adapted the recipe using them. One recipe called for bacon, and I chose to use turkey bacon instead. The result was simply wonderful! It's delicious and I know we'll like it cold for lunch. I think a little dollop of salsa would be great!

The arugala did not overpower the flavors. It's a pungent vegetable, with a little peppery bite, but it was a perfect companion to the scallions, eggs, cheese, and asparagus.  We had grilled tuna steaks and a small fresh fruit kabob for healthy, light, summery dinner!


If you have never seen this cookbook, check your local library for a copy. There are really wonderful recipes and some great reading as well! Give this recipe a try. It's not only easy, it's a nice way to use some of the season's produce!

 For potato crust: 3 cups uncooked potatoes coaresly grated
3 TBS oil ( I used olive oil)
Mix together and press into the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate. Bake in 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes until just starting to brown. Remove from oven and turn oven temp to 350.


3 eggs
1 c.evaporated milk
1/4 tsp.each salt and pepper
Beat these together and stir in 1 c.shredded cheese of your choice(swiss, cheddar,or feta would all be great). I used sharp cheddar but want to try one with feta-YUM!


For the filling:
In saute pan, saute chopped asparagus (about 1 1/2 c.) and 8 green onions thinly sliced about 5-10 minutes then add arugala until wilted. Add cooked and crumbled bacon or turkey bacon. I used about 6 slices...just for flavoring. Add to egg mixture and pour into potato crust. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until set. Allow to cool slightly before cutting. Also good served at room temperature!




We start planning our garden when the first seed catalog arrives in the mail in January! When it's freezing cold outside, and it's been below zero for days, going to mailbox and finding a seed catalog is as good as any session with a therapist. The colors are vibrant and each page is filled with hope! These catalogs are one of my favorite parts of gardening.

Notice I said 'one' of the favorite parts. I think anyone who gardens will say that the best part of gardening is being able to eat and enjoy the fruits of your labors! Today I reached to the back of my tupperware cupboard and pulled out the salad spinner. I was so excited to be able to use it for the first time this gardening season. Richard came in with fresh arugala, leaf lettuce, green onions, and radishes from the garden. Some of the things are just not growing very well but the 'salad makings' are doing great.

I added some sliced red onion, cucumber, toasted sunflower seeds, shaved parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes (frozen from last years garden), radishes, and a squeeze of lemon juice, a bit of olive oil and a sprinkling of kosher salt! Simply delicious! It's one of our favorite dressings for a salad fresh from the garden. The green onions, arugal, and radishes all had a pleasant peppery kick that complimented each other.

I had some enchilada casserole frozen in the freezer from a week ago,so we each had a small side dish of that to go with the salad. A very quick and tasty meal!

The green beans in the picture are canned from our 2010 garden. They're spicy pickled beans. I'll be making more of them this year. It was a new recipe and we all liked them and every time we go visit our son out of town he wants us to bring more!

Normally, the pea pod plants are high up the pea fence and may be blossomed by now. We got a late start for them so they are quite behind. That is the other favorite garden item in the spring. A simple garden salad, sauteed garlic pea pods, and some brown rice...such a satisfying summer meal!

The edible peas aren't ready, but another favorite of mine-sweet peas- are blossoming and brightening up the house.



Kind of hard to try a recipe if I don't post it, isn't it?! I just forgot, so now the recipe will appear before the post! I'm not a very accomplished blogger, that's for sure! Be sure to check out the next post to see pictures and more info on this recipe.


In stand mixer dissolve 2 pkgs. yeast in 2 c. warm water (I use rapid rise)

Then add in slowly as mixer is running: 1 Tbs. sugar, 1 tsp. salt, 1 Tbs. olive oil, 1/2 c. veg or canola oil, and 3 c. flour. Beat this with the paddle hook for 5 minutes before gradually adding in another 2 -2 1/2 c. flour. That last amount seems to depend on the weather or something. I usually add the full 2 1/2 c. but just a scant 1/2 c. The dough will be light and slightly sticky but will not stick to your fingers. If, while adding the last amounts of flour, it begins to look like the dough is getting stiff do NOT add more flour.

Sit in draft free area and let rise until doubled. Punch down and knead to disperse air bubbles. Let dough rest for about 5-10 minutes before trying to roll out or it will just spring right back!!

This recipe makes 2-3 pizza crusts. For us, it makes one large thin crust and one thick crust that is about 16 inches. I use stoneware to bake on and it gives a nice crunch. I also spray or oil the pan and then lightly sprinkle with corn meal before placing the crust on the pan to bake. That additional corn meal makes the crust extra crispy!!

Let me know if you have questions about this recipe, and I'd love to know if you try it and how it turned out for you!


Nothing very exciting for Meatless Monday. I made Baked 3-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese. Richard grilled eggplant and fresh pineapple slices while I watched the calzones that were baking.

Our daughter had surgery this week so I've been baking and cooking for them. Today I made calzones from scratch. I have the best dough recipe. It can be used for PIZZA, CALZONES, or FOCCACIA. I've used it for all three and it's really delicious and so easy to make. The dough turns out perfect every time! I like those no-fail recipes!
STEP 1- After the dough has risen, punch down and divide into sections and let rest for 10 minutes before rolling out. For calzones place ingredients on one half before covering with other half of dough. 
I have a Kitchen Aide stand mixer that I use to mix the dough so I don't even get sticky hands when I made it. The recipe makes 2 to 3 pizzas depending on the size. I made 13 good sized calzones from one recipe.
STEP 2- After filling one half, fold over dough and press. Then roll and press to seal, and place on parchment paper cookie sheet.

It was a bit of a challenge making the calzones. My daughter is a vegetarian so hers had to be meat free. Her husband and daughter wanted ham and cheese and they like green peppers and onions but not black olives, feta cheese, spinach, or mushrooms which I was putting in Leah's (daughter). My son doens't like green peppers and only a few onions and prefers pepperoni. By the time I got to Richard and mine I just put in whatever I had...which ended up being all of it!

I had recently checked out a cookbook from the library that had a "freezer food" theme. Calzones happened to be one of the items in the book. It suggested partially baking the calzones for about 20 minutes before freezing, and then finishing the baking when you wanted to eat them. I haven't done it this way before but it made sense to me so I'm giving it a try. I hope it will be good since I'm giving most of these away. I made 9 for the 3 of them and kept 4 for us.
STEP 3- If you have cooked these until done, then just EAT and ENJOY. If you have cooked them partially, they will need to cool before wrapping in foil and freezing for later use. Even though these look golden, the inside dough is not completely baked and will require an additional 12-15 minutes before they are done. 
Aren't they beauties?? They smelled amazing when they were baking. It was a perfect day for the dough. It rose fast and light. It's a very nice dough to work with. The measurements are perfect and the dought doesn't stick to you fingers when you are working with it and doesn't require additional flour to roll out.

I hope you will be tempted to give this recipe a try. Remember- this recipe can be used for pizza dough, foccacia, or calzones. If you want to try grilling pizza, roll out your dough and transfer with a 'peel' onto the grill. Let the first side get grilled and then flip and top with your pizza toppings. Close the grill to melt the cheese or cook your ingredients. Enjoy!




When I was in grade school, the church we were attending sent my parents as missionaries to help start a church in a neighboring town.  There was a large group of Mexican people that lived there and our church started a church for them. None of us spoke Spanish so I'm not sure why they sent us, other than the fact that my parents were willing to go. It was where we went to church for a number of years. My mom learned to speak Spanish and we made many wonderful friends there.

On Sunday after the services, all the ladies of the church brought food and we had a pot luck lunch. The smells were extremely distracting as we sat and listened to the sermon in Spanish...not understanding a word!  There were many authentic Mexican dishes (the tortillas?? so, so good!) and one that we had regularly was mole. I can still see what it looked like! It was dark brown and from the first time I tasted it I was in love! It isn't a spicy hot dish, but it is SO full of flavor! All these years later I was determined to master making it until I found out just how difficult the dish is! True, authentic mole takes hours to make and is very labor intensive.

After watching a cooking show I tried my hand at making a Spanish dish called Paella and was thrilled with the results. It isn't quite as difficult to make as mole and has a wonderful ethnic flavor. But, I was still wanting to master the 'mole'!

This past week I was watching a cooking show and the show's host was making something called Quick Mole! HMMMM interesting! Mole?? Quick?? She had me hooked. I taped the show and have watched it several times and couldn't wait to try it myself!

This is a picture of my attempt and we were all pleasantly pleased with the results. It was as close to that childhood memory of what it tasted and looked like as any I have ever had in Mexican restaurants! So, if you are so inclined to give it a try, this recipe is completly easy and do-able!

If you give it a try I would love to hear how it turned out and if you liked it!


Purchase a rotisserie chicken and debone and shred. Set aside.

Saute 1 chopped onion and 3 minced garlic cloves in EVOO until transparent
Add: 2 c. canned whole tomatoes- crush with your hands
1 c raisins
1 chopped up chipotle pepper
1 Tbsp. chipotle sauce
Cook for a few minutes to blend ingredients

(I used two chipotle peppers...I like it spicy...use what tastes right to you! The chipotle sauce is what you find the peppers in when you open a can of peppers. I open a can and place the leftovers in a freezer bag and take out what I need and replace in the freezer!)

Add: 2 C. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. chili powder
3 Tbs. peanut butter
Cook all together for 5 minutes to blend flavors.

To the sauce add the shredded chicken. It should be about 3 cups.  Also add 1 1/2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate. I used Ghiradelli 100%. Stir to mix and melt chocolate. Simmer until ready to serve over rice.  Add zest of orange and stir to combine.

Serve with lime slices, avocado slices, chopped peanuts, chopped cilantro and sesame seeds. I didn't have all of these ingredients on hand so I added the peanuts and avocado along with lime slices. Choose the ones you like and enjoy!



Fresh from the Farmer's Market - Pesticide free and local!

One of my first paying jobs was picking strawberries. I don't remember how much we were paid, but it wasn't much. I didn't last long either. It was a hot job and I hate it! We have now returned to our childhood because this year we purchased our berries at the Farmer's Market, already picked! I'd rather pay a little more and have someone else pick them, and so would Richard. 

The challenge is to find berries that have not been sprayed with pesticides. There were several at the market that had pesticide free berries. I think they are responding to customer requests. More people prefer the berries that are not sprayed. The really nice thing is that you can just pop one in your mouth without washing it and now worry about what you are eating...well, other than a little leftover sand or a small leaf! 

I came home and made 2 batches of strawberry jam. It took 4 quarts to make the jam and we had one quart left for strawberry shortcake for dinner.  I sent Richard to the store to get 'kool-whip' and he said "I'm not buying kool-whip for MY shortcake..I want the real thing!" So he bought whipping cream and I let him whip it up! It was a delicious, fresh taste of summer!  The way we always knew it was strawberry season was that it fell on Vacation Bible School week, which usually was the second week in June.

The garden is looking nice. We've had some very nice rain at just the right time. Everything is growing great and looks strong. Richard brought in 2 little arugala leaves today! I rinsed them off and we each had one. Oh what a treat!! We should be able to have an arugala salad with fresh radishes and onions in another week or so. I'm VERY excited to say the least!

This is the first year we've seen rabbits here. We were sitting on the deck having our dinner this evening and I saw a little baby bunny run across the yard just past the garden! They are so cute, but I knew if there was a baby there was also an adult somewhere! It wasn't long until we saw Mr. AND Mrs. Bunny go into the garden. Oh my! My pacifist, gentle husband turned into RoboCop! He said "I'll SHOOT rabbits if they get in my garden!" to which I just cracked up! There isn't a chance in the world that he would shoot an animal. He doesn't even have a gun! But, out he went to the garden, quick as could be, clapping his hands and making noise to chase them away. It was great entertainment! We'll have to keep an eye out for evidence of rabbit trespassing!

Richard also noticed that the potatoes are showing signs of potato bugs so tomorrow morning he's planning on going out and taking them off. Thus begins a daily job!

I haven't posted much lately about MEATLESS MONDAY. We have still been eating meatless on monday but I've been in a funk about what to have. I've been looking for new ideas and recipes. It seems I am just circulating the same dishes! Now that it's grill season that will change. I bought an eggplant at the store this weekend and Monday we will have grilled eggplant and romaine. I have never grilled the lettuce but have seen it many times on cooking shows so I want to try it. I have a recipe for Green Goddess dressing that I plan to make for the grilled romaine and I'm making a couscous dish that has feta cheese and currants in it.

Next week I don't have to work so I'll have time to work on projects here at home. I have a door I want to paint and I also bought an old wooden step ladder that I'm going to paint and add shelves to for a repurposed book shelf thingy!

The other project for the week comes from a blog post I saw somewhere. I'm going to make a summer reading adventure for the little grandkids. I'll have to take some pics to post. Each child will have a little bucket to collect tokens which I will print off on the computer for each 20 minutes that they read or are read to.  I'll give our son suggested books for him to get at their local library. I'm going to have small craft ideas and they will get prizes as they accumulate tokens. At the end of the summer we'll have a pizza party with games at a park. I have a lot of work this week coming up with the suggested reading and making all the tokens, and decorating the buckets.  I'm excited about it and hope they will be, too. At least enough so they spend some time with books over the summer instead of in front of the TV! The older one can read to the younger ones for credit. I really do think they'll have fun with it.

I suppose my next post will be a picture of our first garden produce. I hope it comes soon! Hope you are enjoying the season of planting and anticipation! I'm interested to hear what your favorite way is to have strawberry shortcake? What type of 'cake'...'biscuit'...etc.