Friday, September 28, 2012

Hummingbirds and beautiful blooms Today in Our Garden #GardenCuizine

 click on the photo to get a full view
Today In Our Garden
South Jersey
USDA Zone 7a (formerly zone 6b)
September 28, 2012
What happened to the cool fall temperatures? Today is hot and humid here in South Jersey. Our backyard gardens continue to produce herbs and vegetables and are still blooming away. Hummingbirds and monarch butterflies are migrating now too.  

As I strolled through the garden pushing my way past the tall chia that is all over the place, I noticed we have so many green tomatoes left on the vines. Birds and butterflies soared overhead. A hummingbird let me take his picture from a distance while he took a rest in between the dahlias before visiting the Lady in Red Salvias.

Photo clockwise from top left to right:
  • Lady in Red Salvia (grown from seeds)
  • Rosemary R. officinalis 'Arp'
  • Plumeria Frangipani (started from a NOLA cutting!)
  • hummingbird in front of Jerusalem Artichoke
  • Nicotiana
Planting note: it is still not too late to plant fall crop seeds like Arugula and lettuce. I attempted to sow some today, but mosquitoes chased me back into the house.

Happy and Healthy Gardening!
Related Links
Osmarini Rosmarinus officinalis features Rosemary Roasted Potato Fries recipe
Photo collage Copyright (C)2012 Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Garden is doing better than the @Eagles! Today in the Garden #GardenCuizine

 click on the photo to get a full view
Today In Our Garden
South Jersey
USDA Zone 7a (formerly zone 6b)
September 23, 2012

Our fall garden is doing a lot better than the Eagles! Today was much cooler, but sunny and beautiful. The garden continues to produce tomatoes and peppers and is full of unripe green tomatoes and peppers. The race is on to see how many more ripen before our first frost. We were excited to see the CHIA blooming while hummingbirds are still around.

Shown in photo clockwise from top left to right: 
  • yellow Goldenrod
  • potted Plumera blooming! (we will soon bring the plant indoors because of cool evening temps)
  • Jersey tomatoes
  • Northern Lights Swiss chard
  • Sweet peppers
  • Shiso Perilla
  • King Harry potatoes
  • Italian basil
  • Tarahumara CHIA
  • Pepperoncini
Other blooms not shown include: Rosemary, Jerusalem artichoke, Job's Tears, Chiltepin peppers.

Happy and Healthy Cooking and Gardening! Tonight, Harry's cooking Potato Pancakes made using our homegrown organic King Harry potatoes (with added carrots).
Photo collage Copyright (C) 2012 Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Food Marketing/Ads continue to tempt us. Weight Management can save your life! @CDCObesity @EatRight

Fast Food Restaurants
Continue to Tempt the Nation

Even in today's obese times with public health improvements of putting calories on menus, offering lower fat choices and fresh garden salads and reducing soda sizes - most advertising dollars are still, to this very day, spent on the highest fat, highest calorie, tastiest foods. After all, fat and salt equal flavor to our taste buds and happiness to our brains. 

The problem is control. In light of the recent soda size limitation in NYC, the controversial calorie question seems to be: who should control available high calorie foods - you, or should government step in? This a heated current debate, which we all have an opinion about.

We can debate all we want, but the obesity epidemic is here and now. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 78 million U.S. adults and about 12.5 million U.S. children and adolescents were obese in 2009-2010. And, obesity statistics continue to rise.

As a clinical out-patient Dietitian, I am counseling kids who tell me about their experience with chest pain and having to get their first EKG (a test that records electrical activity in the heart). Children tell me they never learned how to run because of their weight. 

Obesity is in the news every day of every week. This week, the news reported again on the increasing incidence of children getting high blood pressure... this is not normal. Pediatric hypertension-related hospitalizations in the U.S. practically doubled, from 12,661 in 1997 to 24,602 in 2006.

We should not lose time in the chit-chat and finger-pointing of who should or should not control the foods we eat. We all must be health warriors before the next unplanned doctors visit is yours.

Weight Management is important now more than any other time in U.S. history. We have to continue working together to improve the diets of all Americans both at home and in schools. Pay close attention and monitor everything you buy, cook, eat and drink. 

Don't be tempted to eat unhealthy foods promoted by advertising and marketing. This includes product positioning to lure you in places that sell food. Often times case stacked end caps (soda, chips, cookies, candy) with low price points are not promoting healthy food choices.

Most studies show individuals who are obese have significantly higher risk of death from all causes, compared with healthy weight individuals (Body Mass Index (BMI) 18.5 to 24.9). Obese individuals with high risks may get weight loss bariatric surgery. Over 100,000 bariatric surgeries are now done each year from only 8,597 procedures in 1993.

Create a winning strategy in your mind on how to limit high fat, high calorie, high sodium foods. Work with a Registered Dietitian if you need help.

Blog post and photo copyright (C) 2012 Wind. All rights reserved. The photo is not to pick on Wendy's, they offer more healthful food choices too. I'm picking on advertising a food that is a weakness for most people - French Fries. A small package of Fries contains 320 calories, 350 mg sodium and 16 grams of total fat, which is NOT a healthy choice.

Flegal KM, Graubard BI, Williamson DF, et al. Cause-Specific Excess Deaths Associated With Underweight, Overweight, and Obesity. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2007; 298(17):2028–2037.

Livingston EH. The Incidence of Bariatric Surgery Has Plateaued In the U.S; Am J Surg. 2010 September ; 200(3): 378–385. doi:10.1016/j.amjsurg.2009.11.007.

Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Data Brief Number 82, January 2012. Prevalence of Obesity in the United States, 2009-2010. CDC Accessed 9/22/12.  

American Heart Association 6/2012. More hospitalizations, higher charges, for kids with high blood pressure. Accessed 9/22/12.

Related Links
Obesity and Obesity Statistics
Let's Move 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Whole grain Job's Tears | fascinating natural bead for jewelry #GardenCuizine #gardenchat

Job's Tears

The Most Fascinating Plant 
in Our Garden

Adults and children find Job's Tears (Coix lacryma-jobi) a fascinating plant. The seeds are large and easily planted by children, making Job's Tears a good selection in a Children's Garden. Botanically and as a natural food source, Job's Tears is a member of the family Poaceae (grass family) and is considered a gluten-free, whole grain. 

We grow Job's Tears in pots on a sunny porch. To me, the tall green blades look similar to lemon grass. By the end of the summer at around this time (early September), perfectly round bead seeds emerge like magic.  

The seeds develop a hard outer shell and are much too difficult to hull the quantity needed for use as a whole grain. Hulled Job's Tears (hato mugi) grain can be found in Korean specialty markets.  

When left on the plant to mature, green seeds the size of canna seeds - about 1/4-inch in diameter - eventually turn darker in color. Homegrown seeds can then be picked, dried and saved to grow more plants the following season or used as actual beads in jewelry making.

Over 30,000 people have read my article on Dave's Gardens!
Check it out ~ Includes photos of handmade Jewelry
Job's Tears, A Fascinating Plant

Photo Copyright (C) Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Summer's over, but not for the Garden! Today in Our Garden #GardenCuizine

 click on the photo to get a full view
Today In Our Garden
South Jersey
USDA Zone 7a (formerly zone 6b)
September 8, 2012

Back to School and "finally", cooler air temperatures - signals that Summer is soon coming to an end, but not for the Garden! The garden will continue to bless us with many blooms and fresh organically grown veggies right up until a killing frost.

Gardening never gets boring. No season is ever exactly the same. This year, we've been having great success with Jersey tomatoes and Swiss chard. Nutritious Swiss chard has earned a forever place in our backyard garden for producing all summer long.  

We're still picking Italian basil in patches and breaking the leaves down in a food processor, preserving it simply in olive oil (faster than pesto) for later use in cooking. And, we've learned that potatoes can safely wait beneath the ground and dug up as needed.

Shown in the photo clockwise from top left to right:

  • Japanese Windflower - Anemone 'Hadspen Abundance'
  • Tarahumara Chia
  • Red Basil
  • Garlic Chives - Allium tuberosum
  • Dahlia
  • Northern Lights Swiss Chard
  • Plumeria Frangipani buds getting ready to bloom. Can't wait to see this beauty from NOLA!
  • Dragon fly resting on the fence
  • Rutgers tomatoes 
Many vegetables (especially tomatoes, basil and peppers) can be easily grown from seeds started indoors (around St. Patty's Day) and transplanted out in early Spring. Start planning a garden now for next year and experience the joy of having your own backyard produce market.

Garden Note: You don't have to wait until next year; it's still not too late to plant Fall veggies right in your own backyard or in pots on a sunny porch or deck. Try arugula, kale, radishes or lettuce - all are easy to grow Fall veggies. Having a cover to keep frost off the plants helps extend the growing season. Fall Equinox is officially here September 22, 4:44 P.M. EDT.

Happy Gardening!
Photo collage and blog post Copyright (C)2012 Wind. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Kind of Hot Chocolate * Jamaican Hot Chocolate Peppers! #GardenCuizine

Hot Chocolate Peppers
In early Spring this plant didn't look so hot. Today, it's smoking hot with Capsicum chinense Jamaican Hot peppers ready for harvest! The flames of Jamaican Hots are right up there with super hot 100,000+ Scoville unit heat of Habanero chili and Scotch Bonnet hot peppers.

Jamaican Hots need a long growing season before the fruits turn shiny, chocolate brown in color. We always bring a few select potted, gourmet, pepper plants indoors in the Fall to allow any leftover green peppers to finish ripening. The plants remain indoors until Spring at which time we put them back out in full sun. Some years yield better than others.

Jamaican Hots are only 1 1/2 to 2-inches long and resemble prunes in size and shape. Their strong smoky, Caribbean flavor makes a great addition to salsa or hot sauce.

Related Link
Jamaican Hot Chocolate

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Jersey Tomato Tasting at Pope's Gardens #GardenCuizine #fb

Jersey Tomato Tasting
Labor Day Weekend! 
Pope's Gardens rolled out the tomato red carpet for their customers today and will again tomorrow for taste testing over 30 varieties of organically grown tomatoes. Owners Joan and Jim Pope plated up free tomato tastes of everything from cherry tomatoes to beefsteak heirlooms. Nothing beats picking Jersey fresh cherry tomatoes straight off the vines! They also had many varieties of peppers on display, including Scotch Bonnet, Pepperoncini and Thai hot. 
Jersey tomato taste test trials included:
Cherry and Grape tomatoes  
Juliet (grape)
Sweet Million
Black Cherry 
Supersweet 100
Riesentraube (grape)

Modern Hybrid tomatoes
Bush Big Boy
Big Boy
Early Girl
Better Boy
Lemon Boy (yellow)
Golden Jubilee (yellow)
La Roma (plum)
Roma (plum)

Heirloom tomatoes

Belgium Giant 
Amish Paste (plum)
Black Krim 
Old German 
Sausage  (we didn't try sausage, but heard it tastes great!)
White  (sweet and delicious!)
Box Car Willie 
Arkansas Traveler 
Ox Heart  

Our favorite top 3 cherry tomatoes were Sunsugar, Black Cherry and Riesentraube ("giant bunch of grapes" German heirloom grown by the Pennsylvania Dutch). We were familiar with the tastes of many of the large tomatoes on display. Among our favorites are Rutgers (of course!) and Brandywine. White tomatoes were a new one for us - they were more yellow than "white". We were impressed with their delicious, sweet taste.

Saturday was a very hot and humid today in South Jersey. Mom took a few tastes, then tried to stay cool, waiting patiently in the shade while we strolled around Pope's Gardens to look at their goat, cat, ducks, bunnies, Scottish Highland cattle, Emu and other animals.

Do you think I would leave a garden center empty handed? Impossible! Pope's Gardens offers a wide variety of annual and perennial plants. We picked out a few new Asters and Mums, along with Salvia uliginosa - bog sage, Fountain Grass Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Red Head', Dallas Blues grass Panicum virgatum and Crepe Myrtle - Lagerstroma Pink Valour.

Happy Gardening and Healthy Cooking with Vitamin C-rich tomatoes. And, best wishes for a safe and Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Related Links
Story behind Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes
Photos and blog post Copyright (C)2012 Wind. All rights reserved.