Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Chamomile…The Why

She knew about its health because she loved to read and had learned that chamomile tea had been used way before the book Peter Rabbit was written…for thousands of years before…mainly to treat anxiety and digestive problems—such as upset stomach, gas, and diarrhea.

So let’s take a look at why she was so smart…and why we all would also be smart if we started drinking chamomile tea more often.

 

 

 

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Cancer

The antioxidants found in chamomile tea serve as an anti-inflamatory and reduce the risk of several types of cancer….particularly the following…

  • breast
  • cancer of the digestive tract
  • skin cancer
  • prostate cancer
  • thyroid cancer
  • uterine cancer

 

 

 

 

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Controlling Your Blood Sugar Level

Drinking chamomile tea daily with meals for at least eight weeks has been shown to lower blood sugar levels significantly….prevent blood sugar spikes…and prevent damage to the pancreas, the organ that is responsible for producing insulin, the hormone responsible for removing sugar from your blood.

 

 

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Digestive Health

Chamomile tea has been shown to reduce the acidity in your stomach and is soothing to the stomach.

Because chamomile tea is both an antispasmodic and an anti-inflammatory properties, chamomile tea relaxes the muscles that line your stomach and intestines and helps keep your digestive system healthy…meaning that you are less likely to get or improve problems related to digestion—such as diarrhea, stomach ulcers, nausea, heartburn, IBS, and gas,

 

 

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Heart

Chamomile tea contains high levels of flavones, a class of antioxidants that is important for lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels…both of which are important for lowering your risk of getting heart disease.

Drinking chamomile tea with meals can greatly improve your total cholesterol, triglyceride and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.

 

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Skin

When used topically as a wash, lotion, bath agent, or compress, chamomile can speed the healing of certain  skin conditions…such as eczema, minor burns, rashes,  and sunburn.

 

 

 

 

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Sleep

Drinking chamomile tea right before you go to bedtime can help you fall asleep more easily, improve the “quality” of your sleep, and keep you from waking up during the night for at least two reasons…

First of all…as we probably all can figure out from reading Beatrix’s Potter book…is the fact that chamomile has a mildly sedating and muscle-relaxing effect…just what you need when fears of Mr. McGregor or the Big Bad Wolf or life in general keep you awake at night.

Next, chamomile contains certain antioxidants…including apigenin…that are affect your ability to sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

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Other Health Issues 

Other health issues that chamomile tea have supposedly had an effect on include…

  • allergies
  • anxiety and restlessness
  • asthma
  • back aches
  • common cold
  • depression
  • morning sickness
  • osteoporosis
  • PMS
  • sore muscles and tight joints
  • sore throats

 

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Chamomile…The What

Chamomile is an herb that comes from the daisy-like flowers of the Asteraceae plant family….a family of plants which also includes sunflowers, Echinacea and marigolds.

 

 

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Types of Chamomile

There are actually nine different types of chamomile, including…

But of these different types, only two types of chamomile are commonly used— German chamomile and Roman chamomile.

 

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German Chamomile

German chamomile is an annual plant typically found in Eastern Europe where the herb grow as widely as bluebonnets grow here in Texas.

German chamomile grows to be about three feet high and are harvested by machines two or three times over the growing season.

The German chamomile flowers have a strong, herbal and sometimes pungent scent and a sweeter taste than Roman chamomile when used in making herbal tea.

 

 

 

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Roman Chamomile

Roman chamomile, however, is s perennial plant typically found in Egypt where the flowers are gathered either by hand or with a tool called a chamomile rake. Roman chamomile flowers stay in bloom for several months and are picked every seven to ten days. Roman chamomile flowers have a sweeter, almost fruity scent…and more of a bitter taste when used in teas.

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What’s Next?

Chamomile has been used in ancient medicine as far back as ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome….

And still has medical benefits today….as evident in the fact that chamomile is included  in prescribede drugs in 26 countries.

So let’s take a look at why we should all start drinking chamomile tea…and then other uses for chamomile…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Waffles

Now that we’ve learned how to make the perfect pancakes, let’s move on to making the pancake’s kissing cousin…the waffle…

You might think to yourself, we just learned how to make the perfect pancake batter…can’t I simply use the same recipe to now make waffles…

 

 

Actually…

No!!!

 

Waffle batter and pancake batter may seem very similar….you really can’t use your pancake recipe and expect great waffles.

 

 

 

Why? 

Pancake recipes are created to make flat things without a crispy exterior…

 

 

 

But before we learn HOW to make the perfect waffles, let’s talk about what the perfect waffles would be like.

The perfect waffles are buttery, sweet, and thick…with a perfectly crisp extterior……with a light and fluffy interior…and  topped with the perfect amount of butter, syrup, and whatever else you wanna put on them.

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The Ingredients

  • 1Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2gsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2C buttermilk
  • 1/4C butter
  • 1tsp vanilla or 1Tbsp amaretto
  • 1/3C vegetable oil
  • 1/2C cornstarch
  • 1-1/2C flour
  • 3/4C sugar

 

 

 

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The Waffle Iron

If yuu’re gonna make good waffles, you really should have a good waffle iron, such as this KitchenAid Waffle Baker 

So go ahead and buy one that cooks waffles evenly if your waffle iron has become crabby and temperamental.

If you are shopping for a waffle iron, things to consider include…

  • cool-touch handles...waffle irons with plastic handle heat up less than models with chrome or stainless-steel handles
  • fllip style…using a waffle iton that you can flip pver after pouring in the batter will allow the batter to spread out evenly and also make sure that the waffle cooks evenly on both sides.
  • size…think about how much space you have to store the waffle maker when you aren’t using it.
  • temperature control...adjustable thermostats allow you to control the cooking temperature so that you can make both soft, light-colored waffles…as well as crispy, dark-colored waffles.

Now that you have bought…or found…your waffle iron it is important to read…or have read…the instruction manual because different waffle makers will cook differently.

 

 

 

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Preheat Your Waffle Iron

Preheating your waffle iron before adding any batter to the waffle iron is very important for two reasons….prevents soggy waffles…and makes the batter turn crispy as soon as it hits the surface.

 

 

 

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The “Dry” Ingredients

Place flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl, Whisk to combine. Set aside.

(Yes…I do realize that sugar is a dry ingredient, but add it later…you will soon see why.

 

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The $ggs

First separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. This will give them a crispier exterior….as well as make the interior of the waffle more fluffy. and light, instead of heavy and dense.

Now add your sugar,

Whip your egg whites to the soft-peak stage., meaning until stiff peaks form….you should be able to lift the beaters straight out of the egg whites and invert the beaters, and find that the egg white stand up on their own.

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The “Wet” Ingredients

Whisk together your egg yolks, milk, melted butter, and vanilla In a medium-sized mixing bowl.

 

The Buttermilk…If you do not have buttermilk in your fridge…and are too lazy to go to Walmart of somewhere and go get some, combine a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar with  to a cup of milk.

Some people recommend that you use a combination of buttermilk and regular milk because this makes your batter even thinner…personally I like the extra buttermilk flavor.

 

 

 

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Batter Up

At this point, you should have three bowls of “stuff”===your dry ingredients, your wet ingredients, and your beaten egg whites.

So now let’s combine all three of these mixtures so that we can get on with out waffle making.

 

 

When stirring together your ingredients, it important that you never overmix your batter.

You want your batter to be smooth enough that it flows freely through the dimples of the waffle plate..yet not over-mixed to the point where the flour turns into gluten… making your pancakes chewier, instead of fluffy.

So at this stage, a gentle hand and patience and very important..

 

 

Anyway…how do we do this?

  1. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, using a rubber spatula and a gentle motion.
  2. Mix together until smooth.
  3. Now scoop the beaten egg whites into the batter, just until combined. It is important that you do this very gently..
  4. Fold the egg whites gently into the batter….being careful not to deflate them..
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Cooking the Pancakes

Scoop 1/2C batter into the center of your waffle iron,

Close the lid.

Let cook until the indicator light or beeping mechanism does its thing. Do not lift the lid too soon.  Lifting the lid too soon could mean that half of your waffle ends up on the top of the waffle iron…while the other stays on the bottom..

Remove hot waffles from the waffle iron.  

The that waffle that you make is probably not going to turn out perfectly. If so, you may need to adjust the amount of batter or color control settings until you get the results you

Respray the waffle pan after each waffle.

Continue cooking waffles until all batter is used,.

 

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Keeping Your Waffles Warm

Preheat oven to 200°F.

Place the cooked waffles directly on the oven rack while finishing cooking the rest of the waffles.

Not only will this keep the waffles warm as you are cooking, but doing this will also make your waffles crispier by allowing the steam to escape and will allow everyone to eat at the same time instead of staggeredly, as each individual waffle finishes cooking.

Just make sure the waffles do not burn…five minutes is about the maximum amount of time they can sray in your oven without burning.

And do not stack the waffles…otherwise, they will turn moist and limp.

 

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Storing

Place any leftover pancakes in a freezer bag once they cool down. Place wax paper between multiple waffles. Squeeze as much air from the bag as possible.

 

 

 

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Reheating

Set out however many waffles you need on the counter for ten minutes…while you preheat the oven to 300 degrees .

 

Clean your waffle iron shortly after each use. This will make cleaning the waffle iron so much easier than if you wait and clean it much later after 

Use a plastic or rubber utensil to remove waffles from the waffle iron. Using a metal fork or knife could eventually damage the sufaces of your waffle iron.

 

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Pancakes

 

 

 

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The Ingredients

  • n2C flour
  • ¼C sugar
  • 4tsp baking powder
  • ½tsp salt
  • 2tsp vanilla
  • 1½C milk
  • 1 egg
  • ¼C melted butter
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Dry Ingredients

Mix together these dry ingredients.

You can do this with either a whisk or a Mason jar.

You want to go ahead and mix your dry ingredients enough to get rid of any lumps at this stage in order to avoid big lumps….and because later you will need to avoid over-mixing the batter once you add the wet to the dry,

 

 

The Baking Powder…Be sure to check the expiration date on the baking powder canister. If your baking powder is old or expired, your pancakes will not right…and will end up flat, instead of light and fluffy.

If you would like even fluffier pancakes, feel free to double the amount of baking powder.

You might also want to try using only 2tsp of baking powder and then adding 1/2tsp baking soda.

 

The Flour…Spoon your flour into a measuring cup instead of scooping the flour out of the flour canister with a measuring cup, like most of us do…including me.

Scooping the flour causes your measuring cup to be filled with too much flour, often resulting in tough pancakes.

Don’t restrict yourself to only using all-purpose flour…be adventuresome by swapping out half of the flour with another type of flour—such as whole wheat, buckwheat, brown rice, corn, oat, or gluten-free.

 

 

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Mason Jar Method

You can also use a Mason jar to shake your ingredients together.

To do this, layer your wet ingredients first—milk, egg, and oil…and then your dry ingredients—flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a wide-mouth quart-sized jar. Seal the jar tightly . Shake the jar vigorously for at least two minutes…until the ingredients are combined. Once the ingredients are combined, you can either cook pancakes immediately or stick the jar in the fridge for later.

To make your pancakes, simply pour the batter straight from the jar onto your griddle or pan…and cook them…(more on that later)…

 

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Liquid Ingredients

Combine your liquid ingredients.

 

The Butter…Using unsalted butter allows youu to control the taste of your pancakes better..

 

The Buttermilk...Butttermilk is what makes your pancakes tenderest. If you do not want to use milk or buttermilk, use water, coffee, or juice as your liquid base instead…reducing the amount of liquid called for in the original recipe by.one-fourth of the amount.

 

 

 

The Eggs…Bringing your eggs to room temp before mixing into your batter will give you the best results.

To make your pancakes even fluffier, take the time to separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. …beat your egg whites  with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form…and finally fold the beaten egg whites into your batter gently with a rubber spatula until just combined.

 

 

 


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Mixing Ingredients Together

You should have already whisked your dry ingredients together before you added in the wet ingredients…so you should be able to combine your wet ingredients and dry ingredients together very easily.

Now gently fold your dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined.

Stir until the flour is moist, but there are still a few small clumps of flour.

.Do not over-mix the batter. It’s okay to leave some lumps in the batter.

If you overmix the batter, you will end up with tough and dense pancakes, not fluffy.

At this point, you should add any ingredients that you would like to add to your batter…such as…

  • Banana…one mashed ripe banana
  • Blueberries…1C
  • Cream cheese…3oz finely chopped cream cheese
  • Lemon…1tsp grated lemon peel
  • Orange…1tsp grated orange peel
  • Pecans…1/2C…toast and chop finely
  • Strawberries…1C
  • Walnuts…1/2C…toast and chop finely

 

 

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Resting Your Batter

Now that all of your ingredients have become friends, it’s time to rest your batter. What does it mean to “rest” your batter?

To rest your batter means to simply leave it alone for anywhere from ten to thirty minutes. The longer you rest your batter, the better your pancakes will turn out…

Why should you “rest” your batter?

Resting your batter will…

  • dissolve any small lumps
  • give the baking powder enough time to activate
  • give the flour a chance to absorb liquid in the batter

 

 

 

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The Pan

As far as what kind of pan to use when making pancakes, the best option is an electric griddle…

An electric non-stick griddle makes flipping your pancakes much easier.

But if you’d rather cook your pancakes on top of the stove or don’t have an electric griddle, use a large, about 12,” non-stick skillet with sloping slides….preferably cast iron.

Cast iron will give you even heat distribution allow you to brown your pancakes without having to use tons of butter.

 

 

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Heating the Pan

 

Heat your pan or skillet over medium heat until drop of water sizzles..

Heat a little bit of vegetable oil…(for other types of oils to cook with, check this previous post out)…

Avoid using regular butter because the butter will be more likely to burn and make your pancakes turn out funky tasting.

Reduce heat to medium-low.

 

 

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Cooking

Use a 1/4C measuring cup…or pour the batter from the Mason jar depending on which method you used earlier…to shape the batter into medium-sized circles….about 3-1/2″ wide. 

Cook your pancakes for a couple of minutes…until little bubbles appear and the edges start to get firm.

Be sure to avoid squishing the pancakes with your spatula.

Flip. Once you flip the pancake over, don’t press down on it with your spatula. Let the pancake cook naturally so you do not end up with flat, boring pancakes.

Cook your pancakes for a couple of minutes on the other side…until both sides are lightly golden.

Keep pancakes warm while you’finish cooking the rest by covering the pancakes with aluminum foil and then sticking them in an oven that has been preheated to about 200.°

If you find that your pancakes are browning too quickly, turn down the heat down and let the pan cool down for a minute or so before starting the next batch.

If you find that your pancakes are sticking to the pan, add more butter or oil.

Wipe out the pan between batches…especially if you are using butter instead of oil.

Finish cooking any remaining batter.

 

 

 

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Storing

Obviously most of us know what to do with the pancakes once you finish cooking them, but did you know that you can also make them ahead of time…instead of resorting to buying already frozen pancakes from the grocery store…

I was kinda shocked to find pancakes stored by the frozen biscuits and frozen breakfast burritos and frozen waffles…wonder how many preservatives are in all of these products, right?

 

To refrigerate…put the pancakes in an airtight container…will stay fresh for up to 5 days

To freeze…flash freeze them and store in large ziplocs…will stay fresh up to 2 months

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Yogurt…The Why

Probiotics found in yogurt also have been shown to be great for your immune system….keeping you from being sick and helping you recover from illneses significantly….by as much as 20%.

Probiotics have also been classified as an anti-inflammatory, meaning that it can help with several health conditions, including viral infections and problems with the digestive system.

If you’re like me, it seems like you almost always have a cold or the sniffles, but yogurt has been shown to improve the incidence, duration and severity of the common cold …(this alone is enough for me to add yogurt to my diet on a regular basis)…

There are three nutrients found in yogurt that positivecly affect your immune system.

These are probiotics, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and vitamin D.

Be sure to look for yogurt that has been “enriched” with vitamin D whenever you’re shopping for yogurt because consuming a higher level of Vitamin D improves your immunity system even more.

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Osteoporosis

 

Yogurt provides two specific nutrients that play a major role in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, the weakening of bones most commonly found in the elderlycalcium and vitamin D,.

It has been shown that consuming at least three servings of dairy foods, such as yogurt per day helps preserve bone mass and strength.

Yogurt contains, 400 IU of Vitamin D…an adequate intake of vitamin D for most individuals.

Look for brands of yogurt that are Vitamin D enriched.

Other nutrients found in yogurt that are beneficial for bone health include protein, potassium, and phosphorus.

 

 

 

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Weight Management

Eating yogurt has been shown to help you manage your weight, maintain a good body fat percentage, and encourages you to eat better overall.

Not only that, this protein works along with the calcium found in yogurt to increase levels of appetite-reducing hormones—such as peptide YY and GLP.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Raspberries…The Which

 

Raspberries are another food that is high in antioxidants.
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Buying Raspberries

Buy certified organically grown raspberries because these have less likelihood to have been exposure to contaminants—such as pesticides and heavy metals. Look for the USDA organic logo on the container to make sure that they are “cerified organic.”.

Buy raspberries in their peak period—which is mid-summer through early fall…if any other season, opt for frozen raspberries instead.

Look for berries that are firm, plump, and deep in color….and avoid berries that are soft, mushy, or moldy.

Make sure that the raspberries are not packed too tightly whenever you are buying raspberries that are in a prepackaged container. The container should have no signs of stains or moisture because this  indicates that they might already be spoiled.

You will get the most nutritional value—including antioxidants and flavanoids—by choosing raspberries that are fully ripe.

 

 

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Storing Raspberries

Keep your berries, either in their original container or a glass or plastic container that has a sealable lid in the fridge…because they can mold quite easily at room temperature.

But before sticking them in the fridge first remove any molded or spoiled berriesso that they won’t quickly ruin the other berries.

 

 

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Freezing Raspberries

Fresh raspberries freeze very well. Wash them gently, using the low pressure of the sink sprayer. If you use more force when washing the raspberries, they won’ so that they won’t maintain their delicate shape.

After you finish washing them, pat them dry with a paper towel. Now “flash freeze” them. This means to arrange the raspberries in a single layer on a cookie sheet and stick the cooking sheet in the freezer until the berries are frozen,

After the berries are frozen, put them either in a Ziploc bag or a sealable plastic freezer container and stick them in the freezer.

The frozen raspberries will stay good for up to one year.

 

 

 

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Using Raspberries

Consume them within a couple of days after buying them because raspberries are highly perishable,

Here are a few suggestions…

 

 

For breakfast, try raspberries…

  • Added to cereal, oatmeal, or porridge
  • Blended as a smoothie
  • On top of pancakes or waffles
  • With yogurt and granola

A few more ideas are to use raspberries for…

  • Herbal teas
  • Jams and jellies
  • Salads
  • Sauces for chicken or fish

And last but not least, use raspberries for desserts such as Raspberry Crumble.

 

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Raspberries…The What

Now let’s move on to raspberries, a member of the rose (Rosaceae) family of plants— which also inclues apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, loquats, peaches, pears, plums, strawberries, and almonds.

Raspberries are the third most popular berry here in the United States…right after strawberries and blueberries.

There are over 200 species of raspberries, but these typically belong to one of three basic groups…

  • Red raspberries
  • Black raspberries
  • Purple raspberries

 

 

Raspberries are “aggregate fruits”…which meas that they are actually composed of many small individual fruits….drupelets, and each one has its own seed….and “brambles” which means that they are prickly or thorny.

The countries that produce the most raspberries are Russia, Mexico (14.8%), Serbia (13.5%), the United States (13.0%), and Poland (12.8%).

Okay, enough is enough…right?!

So let’s now talk about the WHY we should include rasperries in our diet.

 

 

 

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Per Half Cup Fresh Raspberries

  • Calories…53
  • Dietary fiber…6.5 grams
  • Fat…0.65 g
  • Protein1.2 g
  • Sugar…4.2 grams
  • Calcium…(25mg…3% RDA)
  • Manganese… (62.7mg…32% RDA)
  • Magnesium…(22 mg…6% RDA)
  • Vitamin B1…(.-032 mg…3% RDA)
  • Vitamin B2…Riboflavin….(.038mg…3% RDA)
  • Vitsamin B3…Niacin…(.598mg…4% RDA)
  • Vitamin B5…Pantothenic acid…(.067 mg…% RDA)
  • Vitamin B9…Folate…21 μg…5% RDA)
  • Vitamin C…(26.2mg…32% RDA)
  • Vitamin E…(6%…0.87 mg)

Raspberries also contain biotin and omega-3 fatty acids…and have been proven to help prevent and treat diabetes, obesity, and arthritis….(don’t worry…this gets more exciting the next several posts)…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

If All Else Fails

grocery delivery

So what to do if your attempts at container gardening are an epic fail…or while you wait to see if the plants that you do plant actually turn out successful…or if you simply don’t want to go to the trouble of planting your own….or if you don’t have the space to even attempt to grow your own fruits and vegetables….or if you can’t make it to your farmer’s market’s Saturday-morning-only hours…or if you are looking for more variety than what you yourself would even attempt to grow.

Thankfully there are large-scale online organic grocery delivery services and subscription boxes that you can join that will deliver an assortment of organic fruits and veggies to your door to fill in these gaps by sending organic, all-natural produce and products right to your door.

What a convenience, right?!

The only problem perhaps with joining one of these subscriptions if that unfortunately you won’t be able to choose which fruits and vegetables you end up getting…(it’s their choice, not yours…so you can’t be picky)…

But here is a list of a few to consider…

 

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Boxed Greens

boxed greensGoal…to provide fresh fruits and vegetables from farms local to Phoenix, AZ

Options include…

  • The Essential Family…basic produce for four people
  • The Family Gourmand…same as The Essential Family, but comes with a few more unusual fruits or vegetables
  • The Juicemaker
  • The Breakfast Box…seasonal fruits and fresh granola

Reach…offers weekly delivery to Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, Mesa, and other areas in Arizona…as well overnight delivery both to other areas in Arizone and  nationwide

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Door to Door Organics

door to door organics
Goal…to stock their boxes with pesticide-free produce primarily from local sources…even though they resort to getting produce from warmer climates and international organic farms during the winter months

Reach…several locations across the country, including Colorado, Kansas City, Chicago, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware

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Green Polka Dot Box

green polka dot

What…an online grocery store and buying collective that offers lower prices on brands such as Newman’s Own, Annie’s, Sprout, Tom’s of Maine, and more

Goal…to bring not only organic fruits and vegetables…but also other organic and natural products—including snacks, condiments, baking supplies, and more

How…either a $50-annual Club Membership or a $125-annual Rewards Membership

 

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SPUD-–Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery
spud logo
Reach…the northern West Coast: Seattle, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and Orange County, Vancouver, Van Island, and Calgary

 

How…you design your own Harvest Box by choosing…

  • how frequently you want to get groceries delivered
  • how much you want to spend
  • whether you want to buy local goods only…local goods over a variety of items…or variety over source
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urban organic logo
Reach…New York Tri-State area…imncluding New Jersey, Long Island, and Connecticut
Options…offers four box sizes, ranging from The Little Box to the Extra-Value Box
Contents…changes every week…but includes produce such as carrots, greens, broccoli, apples, tomatoes, grapefruit, and tangerines
Juicing Box…also offers a Juicing Box designed for DIY juice and smoothies…which comes with carrots, beets, parsely, celery, ginger, apples, pears, dark greens, and cucumbers

Groceries…also sells canned goods, baby food, sustainably-raised meat and household supplies such as organic cat food and cleaning spray

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Container Gardening…The Which

 

 

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Basil

 
Pistou basil

Basil is known for its tiny aromatic leaves and is great for outlining the perimeters of large planters.

There are over eighty varieties of basil available, but since I will be growing these in containers, I want to limit myself to the “miniature” types designed for small-scale gardens, such as the Pistou. the tiniest form of sweet basil.

I am looking forward to using fresh basil in pesto and salad dressings all summer long…(look for recipes)…

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Eggplant

 

Ping Tung Long eggplant from High Mowing Organic SeedsEggplants,, especially Oriental eggplants, are another good choice for pots and planters.

Among the different varieties of eggplant, the heirloom variety known as Gwenael Engelskirchen are the best eggplants are the best eggplants for container gardening, because this plant produces the most eggplants in the least amount of space.

If you are planning on growing these eggplants, you must first  start the  seed inside by either using some sory of grow light, such as one of these from Burpee or setting a seeding tray on top of the fridge…and then transplant to pots and planters when the weather gets warmer.

 

 

 

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Peppers

Black Hungarian pepperB

 

Hot peppers, such as Black Hungarian peppers or the Patio Fire peppers are a colorful addition for your container  garden.

This long-lasting plant, with its purple flowers and emerald-green foliage, is a fun addition to your garden because it is fun to watch the peppers start out green…and then turn to black…and finally turn out red.

You must also start these seeds indoors before transplanting them to pots and planters when warm weather arrives.

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Tomatoes

 

Cherry Cascade tomato

 

Cherry tomatoes, such as Cherry Cascade, can be grown in hanging baskets or containers without being so long or heavy that they reach low to the ground,

This fast-growing type of tomato grows from the size of a marble up to a golf ball.

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Mesclun Mixes

The word mesclun means miscellaneous greens, attributed to wild weeds once foraged by peasants in Europe to supplement their limited diets. Many of the mixtures found today are made up of quick-growing arugula and mustards, and are not ideal for containers. However, you can create your own container-friendly mesclun. Consider Italian endives and escaroles, which can be harvested leaf by leaf. Or, try purslane, which has unusual, succulent leaves that are high in omega 3 fatty acids. Seed companies offer mixes that are suited to the season, so you can start with a spring mix. After harvest, replant with a blend that can withstand summer heat, followed by a third planting of fall greens, such as cold-tolerant kale and collards.

Mesclun

 

Mesclun mixes, such as Wrinkled Crinkled Crumpled Cress and Purple Rapa Pop Mix, are yet another good choice.

Mesclum mix is a blend of assorted small young salad greens that may include any of the following…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Farmer Brown Went to Town