Good Bye to Pokeberry Hill...


Friday, March 12, 2010

Healthy Eatin' is Actually Kinda Tasty!

The other day I made a little side dish to go with some yummy London Broil. It was snap peas and baby carrots, Semi-Asian/ala Pokeberry. I pre-microwaved the baby carrots 3 minutes to give them a head start. Then I put them in a bowl with the snap peas. I drizzled this with a wee bit of olive oil and then added a generous 'to taste' amount of Mrs. Dash Original, next time I want to throw in some ginger and celery. It was pretty good, but the leftovers were even better the next day when I 'morphed them' into an even better side.

Last night I used my homemade no-sodium, no fat (almost..a wee tad of fat always sneaks by ya)chicken stock to make a big batch of Brown Rice in my rice cooker. I cooked the rice with another generous helping of Mrs. Dash--can't recall which flavor--maybe original, maybe onion herb or garlic herb?

When the rice was done I got out my leftover peas and carrots, mixed them with a portion of the rice, drizzled a little bit of Sesame oil on them, and sprinkled in some orange zest from an orange I'd just eaten. I then reheated it a minute in the microwave and ate it along with a a little leftover London broil. It was BETTER the second time--in fact it was just scrumptious.

As for sodium. I'm barely missing it. I have not been using my whole allowance--I'm doing better than the limit. :-) I did put a mini-pinch of kosher salt over the entree and side dish, but gosh you could almost count the grains.

I've learned quickly to savor my morning coffee now that its not very much and I get a treat of one glass of red wine in the evening, which I also sip very slowly and enjoy.

After dinner last night I divided the brown rice left in my cooker into 11 more single servings and put them in cheap baggies. I then flash froze them on a cookie sheet overnight. This morning I wrapped saran over each little bundle and then popped them into a couple of zip top freezer bags and labeled them. I now have 11 more single serve helpings of delicious brown rice that I can reheat quickly and eat with any veggie or just plain. It was actually quite good. I rice cooker full of brown rice made 12 servings! Homemade fast food!

Hubby is a white rice fanatic. He just loves that stuff. I grew up with an Irish Mum, so really we seldom had rice, we generally had potatoes with gravy and the works.. lots of butter and salt and red meat and veggies and bread. It was like Thanksgiving several times a week. Mom was a great cook but she was not a healthy cook. Of course at the time, with 5 growing kids, she probably didn't know that. Anyhow, Hubby won't touch brown rice. Well... you can't make other folks change their habits but you can lead by example and I'll just make my little separate items that are healthier and maybe eventually he'll want to give something a try.

I've been thinking about my heart of course, how not to? I know I have two heart issues that were diagnosed in the past. Either one can lead to heart failure. One can be helped by diet and keeping the pressure down, lowering cholesterol can help prevent anymore problems. There is a valve problem that I can't really control--its either going to progress quickly or slowly. Hopefully it hasn't changed much in the past year. The stress echo test should show what's going on with that. I'm back and forth on my thoughts about it all.. but the best thing is to not think about it at all. In a way, it would be good to just find out I have panic attacks, but I'm not so sure that's it.

Well anyhow I've kept busy to keep my mind off it all as much as I can. One good thing is its warmish here. Last night it was warm and I went to bed with the heaters on--and gosh! I found it TOO warm in the house. Its almost 60 already this morning. YEAH!!

Its also on and off drizzly and rainy. Well this is perfect planting weather! Hubby got held up in Fargo so he won't be home this weekend, so I don't have to really do for him at all... I want to surprise him with a prettier back yard when he comes home.

Yesterday I went off to Lowes and picked a couple of bales of pinestraw and a few more bargain plants. Got some little pots of a variegated yellow and white sweet flag grass which I tucked in here and there to 'brighten up' things. I also got a small 'daisy gardenia'. I have lots of plants I've been tucking into a sort of 'berm' across from our porch. I gave them all some fish tea as a spring tonic yesterday and then started to mulch with the pine straw. Today I'm going to take the jeep and get some more. Also see if they have sod or grass seed--I can add to my little homemade plugs.

I also started to resume my little grass transplanting 'plug' project where I left off last fall. Eventually the backyard will be a semi-shade garden, with grassy paths from house to shed and our fire ring sitting area. We've decided the pool is going out front where there is more sun and a flat area.

Surrounding the paths and the fire ring will be berms or understory plantings in front of the backdrop or woods. I don't need any heavy equipment or help to do this job I just go at it a little at a time, making things prettier everyplace and resting if I feel out of breath or tired.

I may buy a little bit of sod, or some gravel but I've been getting most of my 'grass plugs' from areas of the property where its actually growing. Nothing was growing in the backyard when we bought the place. The man who was here before had the land all littered with piles of things that choked out the sun. Now it is getting better and better.

For perennial plants and shrubs, trees, I usually buy when they are on clearance or I propagate them myself, split old ones, take cuttings that sort of thing, and lately more and more I grow them from seeds. Sometimes I share with my friend Cindy and we do some swapping. I need more room to do this work--more sheltered space.

#3 Son has his eye on something he wants and he hasn't got the money for it. I am thinking I have some very heavy labor that he could do for me in exchange. I have 2 big cold frames now with old shower doors for lids, they are made of those big heavy concrete blocks we inherited here. They're in a big pile that reminds me of King Louie's 'palace' in the Jungle Book They are very heavy--I can't lift them. Number 3 son however is a very buff young man who I'm sure can do the job--though its a big one. I'd like at least two more cold frames, depending on how many more shower doors I have in the shed. (the man who was here left us all sorts of goodies, windows and doors we kept--as some we are using) I also need a trench dug and some block put in across the drive at a certain spot to stop the flow of some erosion that we've been battling, then eventually I can extend the backyard to that area too.

Now #3 Son works for us all the time and usually does it for dinner and a bed. He has done a great deal on this house. This arrangement is until he can figure out what he wants to do and find an opportunity. It has worked well for us as he's a great worker and usually good company too. Moving those blocks around is nobody's favorite job and the boys have all had their share of doing that. Not-so-plump Ernie, my future Son-in-law also got his share of moving block for me. He built my first two cold frames and our nice big fire ring. Well, if #3 is serious about wanting some extra cash--I can give him an opportunity to really work for it. ;-)

So... The warmer weather has got me busy. My mind is off of troubles much of the day, and that's a good thing.

I need to run out this morning, so I'll get more pinestraw, but also I'm stopping at Hobby Lobby and Walmart. I'm also looking to find something I can use to 'iron' my little felting projects when the surfaces aren't flat. There is a little crafting iron tool that I could buy--but its more than I want to pay. I'm thinking maybe a curling iron or a hair straightener would do the job for about 1/2 the price--we shall see...

I stopped work on the smaller doll for the time being, until I make this little run and see if I can do what I'm doing better and more easily with a better tool. She's close to done though.

Well... out in Pokeberry Garden, the birds are all over the place and many are building nests now. I have a few bird houses sitting in here on my dining room table that have been cleaned up and repaired this week. They need to go back out now--tis the season! I'm going to have #2 Son hang them for me before he goes to work this afternoon.

He will be working weekend nights from about 4 pm to 2am. I'm thinking he should see pretty quick if he'll be getting enough tips to make this job pay off. I sure hope so. The weekend is probably the best time for pizza I would imagine. He starts up school next week again so he'll be busy.#2 is also somewhat of a picky eater--his favorite food is pizza. Well, they give him a 50% discount, so looks like I won't have to feed that one on weekends anymore. ;)

Daughter and I have been talking about the wedding. I saw the prettiest veil! It was on etsy. It had just a simple twiggy vine halo with white carnations in it, and then it had the veil sort of attached underneath it in a loose style. I thought it looked perfect for an outdoor wedding beneath a vine covered arch.. hmmmm... I'd make it for her if she likes it.

The plan is for the wedding to be May 15. Not much time I know, but this is a very small wedding, so shouldn't be hard to get done. I do need some good leather gloves though so I can collect some green briar to wrap around the arch, and use the gloves to 'slide' the little thorns off. Then I won't have to find grape vine anyplace. Also green briar is more delicate and easier to twist about. Yet another project. I'm also thinking I may send some little sister dolls to my sister for her 50 birthday next month... hmmm.. Maybe that's more than I can get done... dunno.

Well we shall see... Have a great Pokeberry day!


  1. Mary, you are definately not a time waster (like me), and no one would ever call you lazy (like me)!!! LOLOL!

    Have a wonderful weekend...sorry your hubby is stuck in Fargo!


  2. hmmm.. Well probably. I just have so many ideas... but then I see all the cute little things you do on your blog--and I just think they're all great!