Outfit of the Day: Leopard shirt, Ann Taylor. Black bootleg pants, Uniqlo. Brown bow-tie wedges, Cole Haan.
Accessory: Gold bauble earrings.
On days I workout in the morning, I like to fuel my post-workout body with a Chocolate Banana Soy Protein Smoothie. Aside from the fact that I love chocolate, there are studies that show chocolate milk is an optimal post-exercise recovery aid. Each ingredient in this smoothie plays a beneficial role for replenishing my body. Benefits of this smoothie: Chocolate milk boosts the carbohydrates supplied to the muscle, replenishes necessary vitamins and a good protein source for muscle repair. The coconut water rehydrate the fluids and electrolytes. Coconut oil is said to increase metabolism, energy and endurance. Bananas are high in potassium to prevent muscle cramps
Chocolate Banana Soy Protein Smoothie
This smoothie makes about 5 cups. (Wayne and I drink this all. We’re heavy (smoothie) drinkers)
1 scoop – Whole Foods Soy Protein Powder
1 t – Coconut Oil
2 Frozen bananas (sliced)
1 carton – Silk Chocolate Soymilk (8 fl oz)
1 1/2 c – Vanilla soymilk
1 c – Coconut water
1. The night before, take two bananas and peel them. Slice them and wrap them in plastic wrap and place in freezer, overnight.
2. Next day, place all ingredients, in order, into the blender.
3. Hit pulse a few times to quickly blend the frozen bananas and mix the soy protein powder and coconut oil.
4. Blend it for about 30-40 seconds, until smooth consistency.
5. Pour it into a mug. Enjoy!
Note: I use a high-powered commercial blender called the Blendtec. It’s very similar to the ones you find at your local smoothie store. A normal functioning blender will do with this smoothie recipe. Just make sure that the frozen bananas are blended thoroughly.
Accessories: Te Amo gold bracelet, JewelMint. Vintage leather band watch, Timex.
This brown woven Timberland sweater was buried deep in my closet and hasn’t seen the light of day for quite some time. I love the softness and the neckline/sleeve detail. It’s perfect for Spring!
Here is how I organize all of my vegetable and flower seeds.
Small seeds are labeled and stored in the small containers and larger seeds (beans, etc) are labeled in the larger containers. I keep all of the seed packets so I have all of the planting information handy when I need it. I also keep a pair of tweezers hand to help pick up small seeds. Everything is kept in a plastic box that makes it easy to grab everything at once.
I picked up all of the containers at a small Japanese store but pill containers (the ones used to separate pills for each day of the week) , empty film canisters and baby food jars work as well.
It’s official! We’ve fully assimilated into the Santa Monica culture now that Wayne and I have our own organic garden plot at Ocean View Farms. Located near the Santa Monica airport, there are over 500 garden plots and flower gardens that occupy six acres in the hills of Mar Vista/Santa Monica West LA.
I love this urban garden community space. We have a large 13×17 feet area to grow our own organic vegetables–before we switched plots we grew eggplant, zucchini, kale, broccoli, romanesco broccoli, peas, carrots.
On a normal day we water and often exchange garden advice with veteran members who pass by. It’s a great garden community and everyone is so friendly. We pay a small fee for annual dues and put in 12 hour community work hours a year. There is a tool shed where you can check out garden tools and wheel barrows. Water and compost is also provided!
Wayne waited 3.5 years on the list. Not sure how long it takes to get a plot now. If you plan on living around the area for the next several years, it’s worth signing up! Ocean View Farms.
So far we’ve accomplished our first goal: Make a salad entirely with fresh ingredients from our garden!
Here are some casual shots I took on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in the garden.
We love crab cakes, but seldom order it in restaurants because they’re so pricey (and fattening). So a favorite recipe of ours is easy to make and healthy (and I get to use Panko!)
Cooking Light’s recipe is a fresh take on the crab cake. This crab cake recipe is low in sodium, calories and saturated fat. We lightly season sweet, premium crab and use just enough mayonnaise, low-sodium panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), and egg to bind it all together. We don’t add any salt to the mixture, to keep sodium in check. The cakes are cooked in a slick of oil instead of deep-fried. We bought the premium crab meat from Costco (also can be found at Trader Joes), herbs, panko crumbs, organic mayo, organic lemons from Trader Joes. The recipe calls for making a remoulade sauce, but we didn’t make it. The best thing about this is it’s just packed with crab, not much fillers!
Crab Cakes with Spicy Rémoulade
We keep fillers to a minimum with this fresh take on crab cakes. This lower-sodium, streamlined rémoulade (there are no gherkins, anchovies, or green olives) is best made one day ahead to allow flavors to marry.
2 T – finely chopped fresh chives
1 T – chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 T – mayonnaise
1/2 t – grated lemon rind
1 T – fresh lemon juice
1/4 t – freshly ground black pepper
1/8 t – ground red pepper
1 large egg
1/3 C – Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 lb – lump crabmeat, drained and shell pieces removed
1 T – olive oil, divided
1/4 C – mayonnaise
1 T – chopped shallots
1 ½ T – capers, drained and chopped
2 t – Creole mustard
1 t – fresh lemon juice
1/4 t – ground red pepper
1/8 t – kosher salt
1. To prepare crab cakes, combine first 8 ingredients. Add panko and crab, tossing gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
2. Fill a 1/3-cup dry measuring cup with crab mixture. Invert onto work surface; gently pat into a 3/4-inch-thick patty. Repeat procedure with remaining crab mixture, forming 8 cakes.
3. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 crab cakes to pan; cook 4 minutes or until bottoms are golden. Carefully turn cakes; cook 4 minutes or until bottoms are golden and crab cakes are thoroughly heated. Remove cakes from pan; keep warm. Wipe pan dry with paper towels. Heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in pan. Repeat procedure with remaining 4 crab cakes.
4. To prepare rémoulade, combine 1/4 cup mayonnaise and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Serve with crab cakes.
A friend of ours recently got a plot in a community garden and she asked for some help on getting started.
Often when you first get a community garden plot, it is going to look a bit run down. The previous owner probably didn’t spend any time cleaning up and the garden will most likely be covered in leaves and overgrown with leftover plants and opportunistic weeds. But don’t get discouraged because with a little sweat and hard work, the run down garden can easily be transformed in to a highly productive and beautiful garden.
Step 1: Know the rules.
Every community garden has its own set of rules and regulations, so familiarize yourself with them before getting started to make sure you aren’t violating any rules/regulations.
Step 2: Gather tools.
The tools I suggest are the following: shovel, spading fork, bow rake, small hand trowel, small hand rake, gloves and hat. The shovel, spading fork and bow rake are mostly used when you are first getting the garden ready for planting so if you have friends you can borrow from it will save your some money. Most of the time during the growing season, the small hand trowel and rake will be sufficient.
Step 3: Clean up.
To get a better idea of what your piece of land looks like, remove all of the debris, leftover plants and weeds from the garden. Start with the easy to remove debris (leaves, branches, etc.) that is just sitting on top of the soil. Then start on the plants and weeds. If there are any plants that you want to save, gently dig them out and put them in containers (if you don’t have any garden containers, paper grocery bags work great). Be sure to dig far enough away from the base of the plant to limit root damage. It might seem like a huge task, but just start on one side and work your way across, you’ll probably be surprised at how quickly the clean up goes and how much better the garden looks with just a little cleanup. A shovel or spading fork are useful tools to help loosen the soil around weeds so they can be easily pulled out. Be sure to follow your community garden’s policy on where to put all of the organic material you just removed from your plot. Most community gardens have compost bins but check to see if there are noxious weeds that cannot be composted (false garlic, nutgrass and bindweed are NOT allowed in my community garden’s compost bins).
Step 4: Repairs.
Check the garden walls to see if they need any repairs. Its much easier to fix things when there is nothing growing in the garden. Likewise, if your garden has fencing, check to make sure there are no holes and that the posts are solidly in place. If your garden has no walls (like my friends garden pictured above), I recommend adding a short 4-6 inch wall to keep the grass out of the garden and the garden soil in the garden. The wall should start about 4 inches below soil level to keep roots from growing under and in to the garden (2x8s or 2x10s should be sufficient). Walls can be built with a variety of materials (douglas fir, redwood, cedar, cinder blocks) but I HIGHLY discourage the use of pressure treated lumber. While pressure treated lumber will last much longer than untreated lumber, it will also leach toxic chemicals in to the soil where your vegetables will be growing. Douglas fir is the cheapest but will need to be replaced in 3-5 years depending on weather conditions. Redwood and cedar are naturally insect and rot resistant so they will probably last 6-8 years but costs 2x as much. Cinder blocks will last indefinitely and only cost 1.5x as much as douglas fir, but you will have to sacrifice some garden space to lay the cinder blocks (common block widths are 6 and 8 inches). Cinder blocks also have the tendency to move around so they should be staked or buried halfway to stabilize them. Check with your community garden on what materials are allowed and if there are any rules/regulations against garden walls or borders.
Step 5: Amend the soil.
After the walls and fences have been repaired, its time to amend the soil before planting. Start by getting the garden soil smoothed out using a bow rake (metal garden rake). Then add 1-2 inches of compost (from the community garden or store bought) over the entire garden. Use the shovel or spading fork and turn the soil over to incorporate the compost in to the soil. Then flatten everything out again using the bow rake. I like to cover the entire garden in 2-3 inches of mulch but some people just leave the soil uncovered. The mulch helps retain moisture in the soil as well as discourages weeds and provides food and shelter for earthworms. I prefer to use shredded horse bedding (which is provided by my community garden), but partially composted leaves, grass clippings and even shredded paper will work. I tend to stay away from wood chips since they don’t break down fast enough. Check with your local county to see if there are any free compost/mulch programs in the area. You can also try and call horse stables or check craigslist to see if anyone has chicken/rabbit/goat litter. Fresh manure will have to be composted before use in the garden but your garden will appreciate the extra work.
Step 6: Layout.
Determine what you want to plant and do some research in to the growth habits of different varieties of plants and vegetables. Based on space/light requirements, layout where you would like to plant everything and build garden paths accordingly. Remember that plants will look very small and spaced too far apart when they are small, but will fill up the space when they are full grown. Don’t plant too closely since it will encourage disease and reduce yields. Do some research on companion planting and remember to plant some flowers to help attract bees and other beneficial insects to your garden. I like to use old wood for paths (check craigslist for free wood, old fence boards work great) but you don’t have to use anything. Just make sure you aren’t walking in the planting areas (compacts the soil) so make sure to mark the planting area boundaries.
Step 7: PLANT!
The fun part. Plant seeds and seedlings, remembering to water well but not over water. It is better to water deeply less often to encourage deep root growth instead of frequent shallow watering. Seeds and small seedlings will need to be watered more often since their roots are very shallow and located close to the surface of the soil. Remember to plant in season (don’t try growing cool season crops in the summer) for best results.