WINTER IN FLORIDA is different than any place I can think of right now. While most of the Country is freezing, buried in snow, or facing sleet and ice, we are reaching highs of 70’s and 80’s.  So, when our temps dropped over this past weekend, my mind went toward my garden and the fact that I HAD to build the new bed. I had started 108 new seeds last Thursday evening and quite a few had started to pop up by Saturday afternoon. (this surprised me a tad)

Several weeks ago I had laid out a weed barrier sheet to hopefully stunt the growth of the grasses in the area I am starting. And Sunday morning I headed to my local Home Depot and found thinner concrete block to use as the sides and 2-ft long re-bar to stabilize the wall. I found I probably would need two feet high, as my soil should be about 16 inches deep for some of the plants to have a great base.

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Despite using my measuring tape, I still ended up with walls that weave in a bit, but overall the outer walls will be 49 inches. This will allow two rows that will be easy to maintain. The end length of this first row will be approx. 20 feet long, with two divided sections for Zucchini Squash and Cucumbers. As my back yard has a slope, I decided to raise this first section by using 2″ thick solid concrete pavers that I am breaking up to fit the size I need.

The next steps were to lay down rock to aid in water run off. Rotting roots will not make my garden happy. The next layer is good old Organic Cow Manure. Mmmm Mmmmm good. (No, the pre-bagged manure does NOT stink.)

Now, despite the need to have standing water run off, we also need to have the soil HOLD water. Here in Florida, we are basically sand. It takes a lot for us to get our dirt to hold water so the plants don’t wilt away. Water tends to just roll right off the top soil and into a spot outside of my garden. I was introduced to a REALLY neat product: COCO TEK. This is just organic coconut fibers that have been ground up and compressed. When you take the 11 pound block and place it in water, it expands to a VERY large amount. My tall kitchen garbage can became a swollen mass and split! (Perhaps I need a wheel barrel!) Breaking it up to put over the manure has been real work, but I am excited to have this product!

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There is so much left to do. Many more layers of organic manure, organic compost, organic top soil, organic planting mix, worms, and the Coco Tek that this first year is costly. BUT the end result is going to be fantastic! My page for my business has taken a turn, true. For the BETTER. And this really IS an EDIBLE ENDEAVOR!!

 

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Before I turn you off from Organic Gardening, I have to tell you the Ups far out-weigh the downs. We have enjoyed SO many dishes with fresh Kale added and the joy of that FIRST tomato was divine! We each had a small slice. So sweet. And that was a tomato designed to become paste! The eating tomatoes are not even near ready to pick.

Yes, we live in Central Florida. This year we have had two light frosts, and the plants survived nicely tucked under sheets and light blankets. The chill seemed to kick the plants into gear, for now that the weather has warmed up again, we have an over abundance of growth. Sharing with friends and neighbors has been fun!

We have also begun to notice the ‘not-so-nice’ side of organic gardening.

ImageYes. The nasty worms have found my plants. Every morning, as early as I can, I have to check every plant, under leaves, inside winding vines, and carefully pluck these critters from their morning snacks. I can not bring myself to squash them in my gloved hand, so I have with me a bucket of soap water. Drowning I can handle, just not that ‘pop’ my brother-in-law seems to enjoy. ICK.

Daniel’s carrots have tops that are getting longer, as are my beet tops. They should be able to be pulled by Valentines day, if the calendar is correct with the root growth. We are looking forward to a good, Southern Style dinner tonight, with some fried green tomatoes, Kale salad, and sauteed Swiss Chard. We will figure the rest out as we go!!

Get dirty. Play with bugs, not chemicals. And learn where your food comes from and how it got there!! You will be AMAZED with the tastes you encounter!

 

Good Morning.

Just a short note today on HOW to add more MILA to your diet every day. MILA is easy to add and does NOT change the flavor of the foods you eat. It can alter the texture if not added correctly, but that is what I am here for. To help.

When adding MILA to a morning SMOOTHIE or your YOGURT, just dump 2 Tablespoons in (1 scoop if you have the ‘Month’ bag) and stir. Enjoy!

If you are using it with your hot cereal, like Oatmeal, try rehydrating it first in a little milk of choice or water. I use 1 scoop with 1/4 cup Almond or Rice Milk. Stir and set aside while you finish your cooked cereal. We like our “Oat/MILA-meal” with a little Molasses (a taste I love from my childhood), raisins, bananas, chopped nuts, dates, and prunes. After the Oats are done, I stir in the soaked MILA and top with chopped peanuts, and additional milk.

When we add MILA to a favorite recipe that uses oil or egg, I have found that you can omit the oil and egg by this simple addition. Soak the MILA in water. 1 Tablespoon with 1/4-1/3 Cup water for same Oil measurement.  OR 1 Tablespoon with 1/4 cup water for each egg. SOAKING the MILA first keeps it from soaking up the moisture needed to keep your foods moist. Adding it dry then adding extra liquid does not seem to allow the same results. The flavor improves, too! Add to Stuffing (1 scoop with 1/2 cup water or broth in addition to everything else in your recipe -omit egg and oil if you wish or leave it in), cakes (follow the rule of egg/oil replacement), Pasta Salad (this one I just sprinkle in 1 scoop just before serving) and you can even set a bowl of the MILA on the table as it is. This allows you and your guests to sprinkle the healthy goodness on top of foods for added nutrition and texture. We like it sprinkled on top of toss salads and Sweet Potatoes.

If you are interested in more recipe ideas, please visit my site at http://www.lifemax.com/jschriber

I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Read the rest of this entry »

“Mom has Alzheimer’s. It has been confirmed.”

Those words were not a total surprise, but they were still numbing. My ‘always strong and stable’ father had suffered a massive stroke just a few months earlier and my sister had moved home to care for him. Then the symptoms of mom’s illness became more obvious. I was not able to be in the area, so what could I do? I could research. We had always been a healthy, Vegetarian household when I was growing up, and mom and dad had become Vegan in the last 20 years. What more could I learn?

As I searched the internet looking for a clue, one thing continued to come up: OMEGA-3’s are essential for optimum health and mental stability, and PLANT BASED SOURCES are best. That sounded odd. I had always thought Wild Salmon was the highest source of Omega-3’s. Deeper research was needed.

Then I stumbled across an odd word: MILA.  I had no clue what this was, but the page stated it was THE BEST source of Plant Based Omega-3’s.  Mental note to self: come back to this page later when you have more time.

A few short days later I was working my shift at our local grocery store when a customer struck up a conversation with me. We were looking for Organic canned Pumpkin. He was very pleasant and easy to listen to. The conversation turned to aging parents and my discovery of the link to Omega-3’s and mental health. He had a ‘food’ that could give me that and it may also help my mother. REALLY?? Tell me more!  The food he was talking about was… Yep. MILA.  Daren and his lovely wife, Carie, set up a few meetings with me over the next few months. They even gave me a few sample bags to start using so I could see the benefits for myself.

Well, truth be told, those bags sat on my counter for a few weeks before I really went at it. It wasn’t THAT difficult to add 2 Tablespoons of these Organic Chia seeds to my day. So why wasn’t I adding it to the Orange Juice, yogurt, or smoothies I made every day? So, I did. Every day for the next month. And I began seeing changes in myself! Unexpected, but I was NOT complaining.

For me, the energy I felt from the moment I woke up in the morning was the first thing I noticed. Then I realized it was easier to move my fingers (I had begun to show signs of arthritis). But my BIGGEST surprise was the lack of headaches.  From the time I was 10 years old I suffered migraine headaches. As I aged the headaches would hit twice a month, sometimes more often. Weather patterns would set them off. Hormonal changes would set them off. Everything or nothing would bring on the dreaded flashing lights, nausea, and vomiting.

I am NOT saying I have found a miracle cure for every illness. No. But, for me I have found a food that has started filling in the gaps I have in my diet over the years. And, believe me, I have a lot of gaps to fill. I will tell you more another time. But, perhaps for now, I have peaked your interest in this Cadillac of Chia, this Super Food that I call ‘Life’.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

― Hippocrates

WITH the beginning of a new week comes a few new recipes, though they are very easy ones.  As you may have noticed, I use a food called MILA quite a bit. Yes, it is a food, not a supplement. Chia seeds have been around for thousands of years. MILA is just the cream of the crops. I use it in many ways, as it is so high in protein, good-for-you carbs, potassium, etc. For me, the perfect food. I hope you will give these a try. My link for MILA is at the bottom of the page. You can use other Chia, but make sure you are not eating stems, dirt, whole seeds, or something a neighbor has grown in their back yard. MILA really is the best for my family.

MILA SHAKE:

In a blender combine: Juice from two oranges- with all the pulp

1/2 banana -frozen pieces is great

Frozen Strawberries (4-8, depending on how thick                                                                                                                                                                                                            you want your shake)

1 Cup Almond or Rice Milk

Sweetener of choice

2 scoops (4 Tablespoons) of MILA

1/2 C to 1 Cup of Organic Kale or spinach

Additional water if you need or prefer

Blend together til smooth and pour into glasses.  In our home this makes 2 servings.  It keeps us satisfied through the morning.

MILA YOGURT

This one is SO easy!

Take one container of your favorite yogurt. Open. Give it a good stir.

ADD: 1 Scoop (@ Tablespoons) MILA

Stir again and enjoy. Toasted whole grain bread goes very well with this!

There you have it. Two simple ways to get your day started with a happy tummy. And both so easy, with little to no clean-up.  Have a wonderful Monday!

http://www.lifemax.net/jschriber

“What in the world is this MILA you are always talking about?! Are you saying your Mother-In-Law has an attitude?!”

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I had to laugh. I DO talk about MILA a lot. In fact, it has become my link to a new found freedom in my life. And my Mother-In-Law in no way has a negative attitude. She is Wonderful!!

MILA is, simply put, a Super Food. A simple blend of Chia Seeds that are grown around the world. Yet, not exactly ‘simple’.  My family and I have become addicted to this wonder seed, The Cadillac of Chia. My food budget is stretched every month. I have found wonderful ways to incorporate this seed into the recipes I have used for years and it continues to surprise me with every turn. And. as the Holidays are coming up, I thought I would share a few ways to enhance YOUR Holiday with this ‘secret’ ingredient, allowing you to cut the fat and use of eggs in some standard recipes, but not loosing any of the moist and yummy flavor!

Today I want to share a simple Brownie idea with you. This was how I was first introduced to the use of MILA Seeds in baking. SO easy.

Take a typical box brownie mix. Got one?  Any will do.  Now, read the directions. See that egg it calls for? Forget it! Take 1/4 cup water and add 1T MILA to it. Stir and set aside.  Does the recipe call for oil? The box I used calls for 1/4 Cup oil. FORGET IT!!  Again, using 1/4 cup water, add 1T MILA. Set aside!

So here you have the egg and oil replaced with 1/2 cup water with 2 Tablespoons of the MILA stirred in. This will thicken on standing and will become more like a ‘blop’. I add the additional liquid asked for to this mix just before adding to the mixture, if there is any. Blend together as you normally would and follow the regular baking directions. Easy-Peasy!

This technique can be used with any recipe that I have tried so far. Even in my homemade bread!

So, it breaks down to:

1 Egg = 1/4 water  plus 1T (Tablespoon) MILA

Oil = equal amount of water for the oil and 1T MILA per 1/4 to 1/3 C water.

Give it a try and see what you come up with!!  You may be surprised!

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