Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Apples and Ginger Juice

Recently, I have been changing up my diet to be more healthy and conscious of what I'm actually putting in my body.  No, I'm not on a diet.  I don't believe in diets for many reasons but I won't delve into that subject because it can be a very personal and sensitive topic for many.  But, for me, I'm all about trying to do what's right and best for the one body I have and sticking to it.

My goal recently was to give up one thing until I kicked it completely and then move on to the next thing.  I started small by getting rid of my sweet-n-low in my coffee.  I did that for one week and it was no big deal AT ALL.

The following week I moved on to bigger pastures.  I decided to quit coffee...

chirp. chirp. chirp.

Yes, you heard me correctly.  I decided to try to quit coffee 3 weeks ago today.  On the 11th day, which was a Friday, I had to be at work extra early and I had a long night before.  I decided to treat myself to Starbucks on that Friday morning.  I doubt I even had half of my Soy Mocha No whip before I chunked it.  I haven't had any coffee since.  More importantly, I haven't really wanted it either.

I have replaced my morning and afternoon coffee kick with a healthier green tea and I haven't looked back.  In addition to my green tea, I have been enjoying either freshed squeezed fruit juice or a fresh fruit smoothie every single morning (all organic)...and I am so happy I made this switch from coffee.

People who know me know that I don't like juice.  I have always been anti-juice if it's pre-packaged from the store.  I'm not a fan of all the sugars, flavoring, and food dyes (to name a few reasons) in juice and just prefer fresh organic juice.  My go-to fruit juices so far are straight organic orange juice -YUM to the max - or an organic apples and ginger juice.  There are some other fresh juice recipes I am looking at to try but I'll let you know when that time comes. 

The apples & ginger juice is such a random combination (or at least to me it was at first) but I absolutely love everything about it.  Apples and ginger root separately each have great health benefits.  Here are 15 Health Benefits to eating Apples and here are 10 Health Benefits of Ginger.  Those are just two weblinks I found but there is probably a plethora of information out there for you to pick and choose what you think is right.  As for me, I think it's better for me than coffee and it tastes dee-lish. 

Apples and Ginger
2 Granny Smith Apples
A little bit of ginger root

For my juicer, I cut the Granny Smith Apples into fourths and then drop each fourth into the machine to be juiced.  Half way through I add the ginger root into the juicer to be juiced.  Ginger root is very strong so not much is needed to get the taste.  The ginger will definitely give the apple juice a nice kick or spice so depending on your tastes, start small and work your way up if so desired.  I prefer just about a 1/2 inch (or smaller) cut while Sparky prefers at least double that amount.

Isn't Sparky a great hand model?

I'm going to whiz the juice!  - name that movie...

Wonderful tart granny smith juice with a kick of ginger. 

Sometimes I'll add in some strawberries or mix the oranges and apples together.  They are all super yummy.  Also, you can see the appx size of ginger cut in this photo.

I guess since I've kicked coffee I need to find the next thing to kick.  I've actually already started kicking something else and I'll fill you in once I've done more research on it.

Keep on Keepin on.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Inspiration: Kitchens

I have been dreaming of a new kitchen for a long time.  I frequently pine over other blogs and websites that feature beautifully renovated kitchens.  Oh to have new functional cabinets and more storage for organization.  sigh.

Sparky and I have two rooms in our house that need some serious reno-love.  The master bath and our kitchen.  The master bath is smaller so Sparky says that room needs to be done first because it will be "easier".  We'll see about that very soon.  Plus, we need to save up valuable green stuff before we can start renovating the kitchen.  blah.

blah blah blah blah. 

I want a new kitchen.

Realistically, I know I will probably have to wait about two years before we get the kitchen up to par...so I guess I'll just dream and drool at all other's luckier than I.  In the mean time, I'm contemplating doing my own psuedo-lite transformation.  I little sanding, paint, and re-organization never hurt anything right??

Enjoy some of my dreamy kitchens.

I love the wood counter top and white cabinets...oh, and maybe the beautiful retro fridge!!  Oh, dear.  I love that thing.  She needs to be mine.

I don't think I can love a kitchen more than this one.  This is my fave by far.  I love the ceiling beams, the white subway tile, the farm sink, the island with the wood counter top, and the white wood floors.  Love love love love.

I love all the tile on the walls and the farm sink.  Even though this kitchen isn't my style, I do like the contrasting island color to the rest of the cabinets.  I do love the metal bar stools too!

Keep on Keepin on.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Handmade Hanging Planter Boxes

A few months ago, Sparky and I were perusing one of our local greenhouses when I spotted a super cute and simple hanging planter.  I am not normally one for hanging flower planters but I really liked the one I saw that day.  It had a modern and Asian feel to it.  It was just wooden slats stacked to form a box.  The problem?  It was pricey...and I didn't really care for the flowers already in it.  I was contemplating getting it because I like it that much and I rarely like things very much.  Then Sparky set himself up by saying, "I could totally make that.  That's a rip-off."  So, I held him to it.  He made me the super simple, modern, Asian-feel hanging planters...all for free!

Luckily Sparky has a bunch of random crap laying around in our garage.  I don't know what half the stuff is and I prefer it that way.  If I start getting up all in his business then I will take control of it and it's best if I just let him have his garage crap the way it is...with a few minor must-have's and have-not's for the Mrs.  

Items used:
Wooden Stakes
Metal chain
Electrical Wire

Tools used:
Hand saw
Straight Edge
2 pliers

Sparky had a box of wooden stakes leftover from a cycling race that was just taking up space in our garage.  They were perfect for this project!  I'm sure you can find the amount of wooden pieces or stakes at your local home improvement store.  I wouldn't doubt it if these particular stakes came from Lowes or Home Depot.

Sparky started by cutting all the wooden stakes' sharp points off and also cutting the stakes to the desired size. 

Sparky then lined 15 stakes together.  He used a leveler for his straight edge to draw a straight line across all the stakes.  This line is the spot on each stake that a hole will need to be drilled.  He then repeated this step on the other end of the stakes so that there are two parallel lines.

Sparky then drilled a hole in each stake at each end where the line was drawn.  He tried to get it as center as possible on on each stake.

The next step was to start stacking the stakes in a square shape and to line up the holes as best as he could.

After the stakes were stacked to our desired height, Sparky then used the wire to snake through all the holes and tie all the stakes together.  He used pliers to cut the electrical wire.

When all four sides corners were tied, Sparky then took 5 more stakes and drilled them to the bottom of the box leaving spaces in between each stake to allow for future drainage.

Sparky had a bunch of this random metal chain laying in the garage.  He measured out the length from one corner diagonally to the other corner and guessed how much extra link would be needed to hang the planter.  He un-linked the chain (using two pliers) at the desired spot and then measured out an identical length for the other diagonal.

He then linked the chain to the electrical wire and tightened them together.  He repeated on all four corners.


Free handmade hanging planters using materials already owned.  Sparky made a total of four boxes in about 1 hour. 

We used moss at the bottom of the planter so that dirt would not fall through the spaces.  It also gives it a nice look with little bits of moss peaking out of the little slats.

*Yes, my flowers are dying.  It's been hot and I have a black thumb.  I've moved the flowers into the shade to see if I can save the poor babies.

Keep on Keepin on.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Herb Garden

This year I decided I wanted to try having an herb garden.  Sparky and I normally go all out with our homemade garden every Spring, filling it with various tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and a fruit here and there.  We haven't been too lucky in the vegetable garden department since last year's hail storm wiped ours out completely and we never really recuperated our garden afterwards.  So, this year we decided to go a little lighter with only two tomato plants, some green bell peppers, banana pepper, and a cucumber plant.  I just can't give up on my cucumbers.  And then we decided to add a few herbs to see how that works out for us too.  The herbs we planted were Lemon Thyme, Italian Oregano, Sweet Basil, Curled Parsley, and English Lavender.

Sparky does such a good job of planting all of our goodies.

He's such a hard little worker.

Lemon Thyme

Italian Oregano

Sweet Basil

Curled Parsley

English Lavender

And there is always a dog to inspect sniff out the work. 

And if you are wondering what is in the hay bale...it is the tomato plants.  Sparky is testing out the hay bale idea again.  To plant your goodie of choice:

1.  Decide where in the hay bale you want to plant your goodie.  Dig out (or in Sparky's case, rip out) a hole in that place about half-way or a slightly more down the inside of the hay bale.
2.  Fill the hole with gardening soil.
3.  Plant your goodie!

Also, Sparky's sunflowers are growing like crazy!

And don't forget to feed your goodies!

Speaking of feeding...I can't wait to try some of my new herbs on a homemade pizza!  I've found the best quick and easy pizza dough recipe that I will share very soon!

Keep on Keepin on.