Wednesday, January 19, 2011

2011 Seeds

So here's what I actually purchased from Baker Creek (Thanks to Mom for a wonderful birthday present gift certificate!):

Tall Telephone Garden Pea
Old Homestead/Kentucky Wonder Pole Bean
Chantenay Red Core Carrot
Tonda Di Parigi Carrot
European Mesclun Salad
Rocky Top Lettuce Mix
Giant Noble Spinach
Slo bolt Cilantro
Red Mexican Hat wildflower
Yellow Prairie Coneflower wildflower
and my free gift (because seed orders from Baker Creek always come with a free pack of seeds!!!): Love In a Mix Flower seeds

The seeds arrived last week. Mixed with the seed planting tray and germination mat the Hubs gave me for my birthday, I definitely have spring fever and am itching for it to get warmer than 30 degrees so I can do more than look at dirt grow!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

2 bottles of merlot

Last week I drank a bottle of Platform 9 Merlot. It was very dry. Even after letting it breathe and warm up it was still a little bitter.
Today I opened a bottle of Cupcake Merlot. It is sweeter and seems a little fruitier (not so dark/heavy) as the Platform 9.
Both wines are $15-$20 bottles that were on sale for about $9. I've seen wine ratings in the upper 80s for both.

To date I think my favorite Merlot has been the Robert Mondavi.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

2011 seed list

Territorial Seed:

Bull's Blood Beet

Great Garlic Combo
Onions- Day Neutral Collection
Onion & Leek Plants - Exotic Bunch

Baker Creek:
European Mesclun Mix
Rocky Top Lettuce Mix
Giant Noble Spinach
Slo Bolt Cilantro
Chantenay Red Core Carrot
Tonda Di Parigi Carrot

I like the lettuce mixes from Baker Creek, and their greens and carrots have relatively good germination rates in the spring, but their other seeds leave much to be desired.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Vegetarian Meal #1: Lentil Vegetable Soup with Wild Rice

I am a member of On this website, I track the food I eat (when I remember) and my exercise (every time I go to the gym.) I track my exercise so I can say "I went to the gym twice last week" and be honest about it. Otherwise, a month goes by before I realize I haven't been.

Part of SparkPeople is a website full of recipes, some healthy, some not so much. The whole point of is to figure out how many calories your homemade meals have in them, and then you can share them with other members. I have a lot of pantry staples that I need to get rid of (the recipe book I created on Spark Recipes is called "Getting Rid of Cabinet Items"), such as beans and rice and pasta. Some are a year old or more, but they're dry and sealed so they're bugless and not stale. But I still should get rid of them and get some fresh. Two of the items I need to get rid of are lentils and rice, so this is the recipe I found:

Lentil Vegetable Soup with Wild Rice


    3/4 cup lentils, sorted and rinsed 
    3/4 cup diced carrot 
    3/4 cup diced celery 
    3/4 cup chopped onion 
    1/4 cup wild rice 
    1/4 cup converted rice (like Uncle Ben's) 
    2 cloves garlic, minced 
    1 teaspoon dried oregano 
    1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 
    5 cups water 
    4 teaspoons vegetable bouillon seasoning 
    1 bay leaf 
    1 14-1/2 oz. can cut up tomatoes 
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
    1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 
    1/4 cup minced fresh parsley 
    2 tablespoons minced fresh basil, optional


Combine all ingredients on the list through the canned tomatoes in a large pot (do not add the Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, parsley or basil yet). Bring to a boil, then simmer until lentils and rice are tender (about 35-45 minutes). Remove the bay leaf. Scoop out about two cups of the soup and blend well in the blender. Return the blended soup to the pot. Now stir in the Worcestershire sauce, the apple cider vinegar, the fresh parsley (and the fresh basil if using). Makes 4 servings, 2 cups each.

My notes: 

I didn't have wild rice so I used 1/2 c of Uncle Ben's instant rice. Instead of vegetable bouillon, I used a low sodium chicken bouillon. I didn't have a bay leaf and I didn't use the last four ingredients. Honestly, I forgot to add them!

Looking back at 2010, looking forward at 2011

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past year and what I have planned for the next year.

Last year, in January, I was presented with a "Building Lives" Award from Habitat for Humanity for my work with the local Family Selection Committee. This year, I will be featured in the CSI - Springfield Chapter (Construction Specification Institute) newsletter, in the "Member Spotlight" section. As this only happens to 12 people a year, I find this a great honor. I have to submit my bio tomorrow, and a photo.. eek- I have to find a photo!

Also, in January, I started taking my architectural exams. There are seven total. I've taken and passed five. I have two left; I'm dreading Structures because of the amount of content, but Schematic Design should be relatively easy. The second hardest part of taking these exams (after studying) is the money to take them; each one is $210.

The Hubs and I started building my greenhouse last Spring. As of now, it still needs:
1. Windows with automatic vent openers
2. Rain barrels for thermal retention
3. Insulation
4. Clear film on the inside (I'm not sure if we're still doing this.)
5. Shelves and "accessories" such as the rack for my garden tools.

Last year, I started most of my seeds myself. I ended up buying a few peppers, tomatoes and eggplant, but they weren't necessary. This year, I need to reduce the amount of plants that I put in my garden. Last year I kind of crammed them in and their productivity suffered. This year I'll start my own seeds again.

Since I have a new phone (HTC Evo from Sprint), I have a Kindle app. I would like to read at least one book a month. I used to read a lot, but when I was in college I had so much reading to do for assignments that I didn't have time (or the desire) to read for pleasure.

Lastly, I need to work on my weight. The Hubs and I had a health assessment for our insurance a couple weeks ago. I don't even want to discuss my BMI; it was high and embarrassing and I'm classified as obese. My blood pressure was perfect. My cholesterol (the bad kind) was high, but the good kind and triglycerides were good.
When I was laid off last year, I went to the gym 4 times a week and lost 15 pounds. Since I was rehired in July I've gained back the 15 plus an extra 5. Not too proud of that. It happened because at the end of workday I was so mentally and physically exhausted that I didn't want to go to the gym. I started back up again in December, but I still have a long way to go.
I could stand to lose 50 pounds, which is doable by September or so of this year. No reason for that month, but doctors say losing more than 2 pounds a week is not healthy and usually leads to failure (re-gaining of the weight) so I want to lose it steadily.
Additionally, I would like to eat more vegetarian meals. This would help my cholesterol and weight. I track the food I eat, and half a cup of ground pork has more fat and calories than several cups of vegetables. I could eat more vegetables, feel more "filled" and be healthier. It seems like no-brainer.

I'd like to post at least once a week. I slacked off a bit the second half of last year, but I think it's important to keep a record of accomplishments. It gives me something to look back on and be proud of. I'd also like more people to respond to my posts. *hint hint* Which I guess means I need to ask a question at the end of each post to get a response to.

So, looking back at your 2010 and looking forward on your 2011, what kind of accomplishments do you see and what kind of goals do you have?
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