Monday, October 20, 2014


Autumn in New York

We had a major reality check yesterday, Sunday, when the temperatures dropped significantly in lower 40F - mid 50F (day) and low 30F (night).  But, Saturday was the better day in sunny 70s.  It was warm enough to work in the backyard to tidy up furniture and bring inside plants that were in pots due to the frost weather approaching. 

Plants that cannot sustain frost weather

When bringing houseplants indoors that were left outside all summer long significant steps should be used:
  • Wipe down all pots with cleaning solution (Anti-bacteria wipes, clorox and water, vinegar and water, or soap and water).  Doing this will kill germs off the pots.
  • Inspect all pots for potential insects/bugs that may have set up shop on your soil or plant itself.  Spray them off with water or use an natural insect repellent solution mix with water, soap, and neem oil.
  • Remove some of the top soil just in case.
My meyer lemon plant had ants crawling all over the base of the trunk and branches.  It took me awhile to try to get them off by spraying vinegar and water around the pot.  Also, I created a liquid solution consist of a little liquid soap, water, and a few drops of neem oil (stuff stinks but kills bacteria and pests) in a spray bottle.  Sprayed the plant and soil.

I harvest some of the following that were ready or bruised up:

Collard Greens got eaten up by pests toward the end of season

Picking through all the leaves and being stung/bitten by an unknown insect (98% believed it was a black spider- very painful and I had on gloves!  Somehow it crawled in - sneaky suckers!) I was able to harvest this...

Organic Collard Greens

Harvest 3 kinds of tomatoes
Yellow Cherry tomato, San Marzano tomato, and Beefsteak tomato

I thoroughly washed and soaked the collard greens in equal parts of vinegar and water.  By doing this helps remove any dirt and tiny pests that may have hidden on the leaves.

Then I chopped up the greens and stored some in freezer bags to put in freezer.

Collard Greens ready for freezer for winter or holiday meals!
And some I cooked with organic green swiss chard, shiitake mushrooms, organic sweet red pepper, onions, a few of those yellow orange tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil, and a little water for some steam action.  I lightly sauteed it in a pan.

Do not cook the greens long just until leaves are nicely wilted down and bright green

As for those tomatoes I harvest (which had bruises on them) I removed the bad parts and roasted them in a cast iron pan.  Those tomatoes had to be used right away and roasting them was a good way to eat them.

Organic Tomatoes, organic fresh bay leaf, organic purple basil, organic sweet marjoram,
smashed fresh garlic, organic tarragon, organic fresh thyme, dried oregano,
and drizzled organic extra virgin oil

Placed it into the oven for about 30-40 minutes until juice of tomatoes is practically gone.

tomatoes and herbs roasting away!
(be careful when removing the pan - Caution very hot and heavy)

HEALTH TIP:  Cooking tomatoes in a cast iron pan absorbs iron in the food and eating cooked tomatoes are more beneficial than eating them raw.  Cooking tomatoes boost disease fighting power for the body.  The cooking substantially raises the levels of beneficial compounds called phytochemicals.

Roasted tomatoes ready to eat!

Harvest two eggplants - sliced them, placed them in freezer storage bag, and into the freezer it went.

Organic Eggplants

Some lavender flowers were blooming in front of the house.  Grabbed my handy garden shears and took the last of the flowers.

Fresh cut lavender
As a reminder this is the time to make trips to your local Farmer's Market and see what hidden deals you may encounter.  Plus, a lot of nice orange vegetables are in season!

Purple Kale waiting to be taken home
Union Square Farmer's Market

Eucalyptus Plant
at Union Square Farmer's Market

You know I had to grab this plant!  $10 a pot and the last was left.

*Note:  Every Monday blogger Daphne welcomes other gardeners on sharing what they are harvesting

                                                                                             Welcome fall!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


"Raisins Lower Blood Pressure And Reduce Diabetes Risk"
     According to researchers, raisins can help reduce your blood pressure and your risk of type 2 diabetes.  So, what are you snacking?

Thursday, October 2, 2014


"Breakfast On The Go"
The most important meal of the day
Organic Plain Greek Yogurt topped with healthy toppings
A cup of super antioxidant green tea
Good Morning!  Rinse and shine to a healthy breakfast before you start your day.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  This is the first meal of your day that will give you the energy and allows you to focus plus sets the course of your metabolism.  Those that skip out on breakfast put their health at risk with an increase of overweight, obesity, and other aliments (heart disease and type 2 diabetes).  These aliments are the leading causes of death in Americans. 
People who eat breakfast regularly get more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in their diets.  But, it all comes down on the food choices you make.
What's in this bowl?
Jump start your day!
Plain organic Greek yogurt has no sugar added and no preservatives.  Greek yogurts has twice the protein than regular yogurt which is beneficial to keep you full.
Health tip:  Look for yogurts that does not have sugar or high intake of sugar.  Strive for yogurts with less than 8 grams.  Best to eat organic due to the hormones that are put in dairy.  Alternative to dairy yogurts are almond and coconut.  Plain yogurts are better because you can add your own toppings and you are controlling what you put in it.  Yogurts have an added bonus - probiotics.  READ LABELS
Walnuts excellent source of vitamin E, heart healthy monounsaturated fats (omega 3 fatty acids), copper, manganese, biotin (B7), potassium, melatonin, antioxidants, prevents diabetes, improves sperm quality, healthy skin, fends off dementia, prevents pancreatic cancer, lowers breast cancer risk, fights stress, and helps pregnant women reduce the baby's chance in developing food allergies.
Chia Seeds Ch-ch-chia combats diabetes, excellent amount of dietary fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, manganese, maintains a healthy cholesterol - heart friendly, and keeps you full faster.
Pure Maple Syrup nutrient rich in thiamine, manganese, and zinc.
Health tip:  Pure Maple syrup has only 1 ingredient - 100% Maple not artificial, no preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup, and no colorings. Add 1 teaspoon or 1 tablespoon to your yogurt for sweetness.
Organic Orange Fruit Spread Vitamin C.

Health tip:  1 teaspoon or 1 tablespoon to yogurt.  Look for fruit spread/preserves that has no added sugar, no artificial colorings,  and no preservatives.  READ LABELS

                                                                                 So what are you having for breakfast?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

GENESIS 1:29-30

"King James Version"
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed;  to you it shall be for meat. (29)
And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat;  and it was so.  (30)

Monday, September 22, 2014


"The First Tomato Plant That Bolted Just Before The Summer Was Over"
No longer a thriving tomato plant

This summer 2014 we've planted about 10 tomato plants (san marzano, beefsteak, supersonic, sun sugar tomato "yellow cherry", and yellow tomato.  The san marzano, beefsteak, supersonic, and yellow cherry were starter plants from the store. 

Garden Raised Bed
"Side Frontal View"
Beefsteak Tomatoes, Supersonic Tomatoes, Marigolds, Lavender
Collard Greens, Scallions, Parsley, Sweet Peppers, and Cucumbers

*The tomato plant (inside of the cage) that is behind the collard greens (front) was the first plant to meet its demised yesterday - harvested the last two tomatoes on the plant.  Unfortunately, this plant only put out less than seven tomatoes I think.

Yesterday morning I checked about every plant to see what was ready and what didn't look good.

These tomatoes were no good to eat even though it looks nice and juicy -  saw a hole of tiny worms and blossom end rot... 

Not edible due to pests, blossom end rot, and yellowing of leaves

As you can see some collard greens had met its demised by yellow leaves.

The yellow tomato I grew from seed- remember those seeds I've planted back in late March?  Well, some seedlings survived.  I have transferred the seedlings in the elevated raised bed. 

Garden Elevated Raised Bed
Marigolds, Sweet Red Pepper, Sweet Peppers, Eggplant, Yellow Tomato, Parsley,
Purple Basil, Collard Greens, Lemon Balm, Mustard Green, Rainbow Swiss Chard,
Yellow Cherry Tomato, Kale, Broccoli, and Beets

A nice big eggplant met its demised...

Eggplant demise of baby spider infestation

Two more big eggplants were removed to avoid further spider damage.  Unfortunately they are still hard and taking its time to ripe because the leaves were so big it covered the eggplants.  I have those in the windowsill.  The eggplants were heavy so I had to put up stakes to keep them off the dirt and hold the stem up.  I saw a huge spider hanging out on the leaves - Thank God I had on gloves! 

Eggplant Harvest
September 22, 2014

The insects and developmental stages of how the fruit or vegetable grows are some of the problems you will have when you are growing outside and in the ground.  Weird bugs love to feed on edible things and cause havoc on the plants.  It's always good to inspect every edible food or plant before you eat and bring it home.  Even though you've grown it and didn't spray pesticides, it still needs to be thoroughly wash.  You never know what lurks underneath or within.

Another plant that meant its demised was my friend Tarsha's zucchini plant.  All it did was put out nice big flowers but did not produce.  It started out thriving like this...

Friend Tarsha zucchini plant she planted in a planter box
Unfortunately, yesterday it met its demised.

What seedlings survived?

one string bean seed thrived into a string bean plant - not as big as I thought it would go and only produce one string bean so far

String Bean
September 23, 2014

three broccoli seeds are thriving strong - hasn't formed florets but the stalks are thick.  The sprouts struggled a bit with being eaten by bugs of the unknown.

June 27, 2014
July 20, 2014

September 23, 2014
September 23, 2014

one mustard green seed- started out nicely with baby leaves but not sure what's happening- forming small flowers and seed pods

Mustard Green
June 27, 2014

Mustard Green
(weird long stem with pods)
September 23, 2014

two or three yellow tomato seeds - developed into strong stems and leaves but don't think it will be mature enough before the cold winter kicks in to form flowers and tomatoes.  Too late in the game.

Yellow Tomato Plant
September 23, 2014
one kale seed - sprouting leaves

Kale Plant
September 23, 2014

a few rainbow swiss chard seeds - sprouting leaves

Rainbow Swiss Chard
September 23, 2014

one sweet red pepper seed - at first I couldn't tell what was growing on that mini plant.  The shape of the fruit was weird curled up and the color started out green and then purple and now red.  Unfortunately, only one pepper is growing.

Sweet Red Pepper
September 23, 2014

one beet seed - sprouted somewhere in the raised bed.  The garden elevated raised bed is jam packed.
We really didn't have a hot summer and everything was/is growing slowly.


Thursday, September 18, 2014


"Strengthen The Immune System"
     It's not fall or winter (the seasons when cold, flu, bacterias, and viruses runs rapidly).  But, some people are being sickened at this present time with new viruses that has no cure or treatments.  I complied a list of alternatives that can help those who has a weakened immune system.  If you have been sick at least twice in a year, then you need to strengthen that immune system.  Those who has not (lucky ones), can take heed as well.  As a reminder the digestive system is 70% of your immune system.
  1. PROBIOTICS - having a healthy gut is imperative for a good immune system.  The good bacteria can help fight infections.  A probiotic supplement can significantly boost the body's ability to fight.  Recommend 14 billion - 25 billion multi strain of probiotics that includes B. lactis.  Alternative from the pill supplement is the liquid.  Kefir liquid probiotics is good (see previous posting on kefir and probiotics).
  2. VITAMIN C - prevents colds in children and adults.  Reduces the length of infections.
  3. ZINC - shorten the lengthen of infections.  Alternative from taking pill supplement is zinc lozenges.
  4. ECHINACEA - herb helps prevent and reduce symptoms of infections by 58 percent.  Alternative from taking the pill supplement is the tea.
  5. GOLDENSEAL - known as a herbal antibiotic and immune system enhancer.  Anti-inflammatory and astringent properties.  Alternative to the pill supplement is the tea.
  6. RAW HONEY - anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties.  Raw manuka honey is best.  (see previous posting on Manuka Honey).
  7. LEMON - considered as a blood purifier.  Excellent flavonoids and vitamin C. 
  8. VITAMIN D3 -  actively fight diseases and germs.  Prevention 5000 IU of vitamin D3 daily for adults and up to 1,200 IU daily for children.  Alternative to the pill supplement is the liquid.  Please read labels.  (see previous postings on Vitamin D3)
  9. ELDERBERRY - anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-viral, and antioxidant properties.
  10. TURMERIC - anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties.  (see previous posting on turmeric)
  11. GREEN TEA - high antioxidants.  Drink more than 1 cup a day.
  12. GARLIC - 1 raw crushed/smashed clove a day.  If you cannot eat it by itself mix it in tomatoes or avocado or with other herbs rosemary, thyme, and oregano in olive oil. (see previous posting on garlic)
  13. Avoid touching public areas.  Wash hands thoroughly, cover your mouth when coughing, and sneezing.
  14. *update OIL OF OREGANO - protect against bacteria, helps immune system fight off viruses, fungi, and parasites.  Can be uses as a natural insect repellent and antibacterial hand sanitizer.  Alternative to the pill supplement is the liquid.
                                                                                         Strive to be healthy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


"Chew On This Radio Conversation"
Over a year ago a friend and I went to a Vegan Festival in NYC.  There were various vendors demonstrating their products and seminars were given on alternatives of eating meatless.  Jazz Vegetarian, host Laura Theodore, gave a cooking demonstration on some of her vegan recipes.  I had video tape it (will post soon).  But, for now listen to her interview she did on Blog Talk Radio with Dr. Pam Popper on the topic "Food Over Medicine." 
Chew on this ...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


"It's Juicing Tuesday"
Watermelon Lemon Balm
"Soothing, Refreshing, and Hydrating"

It's Tuesday!  What are we juicing?
Watermelon Lemon Balm
  •  6 cups of distilled or purified water
  • 1/2 cup of lemon balm sprigs
  • unlimited chucks of watermelon (remove the seeds)
1. Boil the water and lemon balm sprigs. About 10-15 minutes until water is at a rapid boil.
2.  Let the liquid steep and cool down.
3.  Strain the sprigs.
4.  Once the liquid is cool then add the watermelon in the blender. *optional - you can add more lemon balm leaves - remove stems
5.  Liquefy the ingredients.
6.  Serve chilled or room temperature.

 Lemon Balm Benefits:

Lemon Balm
(Melissa Officinalis)
A member of the mint family
Calming Herb
  • Helps with insomnia and anxiety
  • Heal herpes (cold sores)
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Relaxes muscles in the bladder, uterus, and stomach
  • Helps treat Grave's disease
  • Anti-viral properties
  • Help treat thyroid issues* (due to the powerful healing of this herb - If you are taking thyroid medication, consult with your doctor and let your physician know.  Lemon Balm can interfere with thyroid medication.)  Lemon Balm has the ability to regulate thyroid hormone production.
  • Helps Alzheimer's and Dementia - improves memory and lengthen attention span
  • Relieve PMS
  • Fights bronchial inflammation
  • Relieves indigestion
  • Relieves heartburn
*Lemon Balm is an health investment.  A perennial herb and aroma of lemon scent when you rub its leaves.  Fresh lemon balm is sold in most Farmers' Market.  So, stop by a market and invest in optimal health!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


"Repotting and Gardening"
Repotting and gardening can be a tedious task to do and a exercise work out as well.  It requires lifting, bending, standing, and walking.  Gardening is a stress relief benefit and calorie burning activity.  I like gardening because it alleviates my stress and it's peaceful.  A good nurturing for the soul.
Recently, I had purchased several plants from vendors at a Farmer's Market and a Nursery.  I try to buy edible plants that are hard to find in stores and gives me the healing benefit for my health.
Why is potting or repotting important to do?
Repotting helps keep houseplants healthy and expands more growth for the plant. 
What materials and tools do I need?
A new bigger pot, new soil, and water (watering before transfering helps make the transfer easy and loosen up the roots and soil).
What edible plants am I repotting?
Wolf Berry
Known as "Goji Berry"
Goji berries are very expensive.
You would mostly see dried goji berries in health food stores costing in range of $16.99-$26.99).
Fresh goji berries are hard to find in supermarkets and health food stores.
I stumbled upon this goji berry plant at the Union Square Farmer's Market from one of the vendors - selling at $5 a pot.  I was surprised to see the fruit plant on the shelves because I haven't seen any market selling it.  I grabbed one real quick!
Fresh organic Goji Berries
"The fruit of immortality"
Why are Goji Berries important?
Wolf berry, known as Goji Berry, is a bright red fruit of the lycium babarum perennial tree shrub grown in Asia.  In Chinese mythology, goji berry is the fruit of immortality.  Today it is considered as the "longevity fruit."  Goji berry is one of the most powerful healing plants that was used in two ancient medicines, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Traditional Tibetan Medicine over 2,000 years ago.  The people in Tibet and Mongolia cherish the red berry for the medicare benefits.
Benefits of Goji Berry
"A report in a 2004 issue of The Journal of the the American Nutraceutical Association concluded that wolf berry juice has the high levels of antioxidants and showed beneficial immunomodulatory (immune-boosting) effects in mice."
  • Rich in carotenoids
  • Beta carotene
  • Lycopenne
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Vitamin C
  • B Vitamins
  • Vitamin E
  • Eye protection
  • Protection against free radicals
  • Promote muscle growth
  • Enhance immunity
  • Protect liver
  • Improve sexual function and fertility
  • Strength legs
  • Promote weight loss
  • Improve circulation
  • Improve skin and hair health
  • Protection against cancer
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Reduce blood glucose
  • Antioxidants

What does it taste like?
Goji berry has a slightly sweet and sour taste.
Wolf Berry "Goji Berry"
Mother Nature's Gift that keeps on giving

  Here is a mini documentary segment from the Medicine Hunter on goji berries...



Nagami Kumquat
(Fortunella Margarita)

The first time I saw a nagami kumquat was when I was in Phoenix, Arizona.  A road trip driving from Flagstaff, Arizona to Phoenix airport with my friends. I told them we have to stop at the "True Food Kitchen" restaurant which Dr. Andrew Weil and Fox Restaurant Concepts owns. We could not leave the state of Arizona without eating at this restaurant. There was a garden elevated raised bed in front of the restaurant and the nagami kumquat was planted in the raised bed - from that point on I had to find out how can I taste or purchase a plant like that. Over a month ago I saw the plant in a local nursery in Long Island. The nursery was having a sale with a 40% off coupon on anything in the store. I bought the plant for just $32. A good deal!
Nagami Kumquat is a citrus fruit belonging to the Rutaceae family, in the genus, Fortunella.  Kumquats are native to the South Eastern parts of China.  They are known to be called "the little gems" of the citrus family.  There are several varieties of kumquats.  Kumquats look like tiny baby oranges.  The Nagami or Oval Kumquat is a common variety in the United States.  Nagami kumquat was introduced into Florida from Japan in 1885. 
Nagami Kumquat
What are the health benefits? 
  • Fiber
  • Antioxidants
  • Lutein
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Protection against free radicals
  • B complex Vitamins
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Zinc

Nagami Kumquat
Mother Nature's Gift that keeps on giving

Dwarf Curry, Holy Basil, and Vietnamese Coriander

Dwarf Curry, Holy Basil, and Vietnamese Coriander

These herbs are unique and has excellent health benefits.  The herbs are hard to find in your supermarkets.  Most likely, you would have to venture out to ethnic stores.  If you are lucky, it may pop up in your local Farmers' Market.  I found the herbs at Union Square Farmers' Market.

Dwarf Curry has a strong curry aroma.

Holy Basil (Ocimum Sanctum) is a powerful herb native to India and known as "tulsi."  It is sacred in the Hindu religious tradition and it is worshiped in the mornings and evenings by the Hindus.  Holy basil is the most important herb in Ayurvedic medicine.  In Hindu mythology, tulsi, symbolizes the Goddess Lakshmi.  The herb has a strong aroma, can be used in cooking, and making teas.  Holy basil was used centuries ago to treat a variety of medical aliments.

Healing power of Holy basil?
  • Sharpen memory
  • Helps the nerves
  • Strengthen the stomach
  • Fights fevers and colds
  • Fights bronchitis
  • Helps asthma
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Reduces stress
  • Mouth infections
  • Skin disorders
  • Bad breath
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
 Vietnamese Coriander (Polygonum Odoratum) a spicy flavor with hints of cilantro. Vietnamese coriander is known as "Rau Ram" in Vietnam.  A perennial herbal plant.

  • Helps the digestive system

Lavender and Mums
I've planted more perennials at the side of the house.  My local supermarket had 1 gallon lavender plants on sale for $3.99, of course I had to grab some quick! Mums were on sale too!
After all that repotting and gardening - I had to pour myself a nice glass of ginger wine...
Chill glass of Ginger Wine


Sunday, August 31, 2014


"A Night Preview Of My Garden Summer 2014"

My organic garden
August 29, 2014

Here are some pictures I took on Friday night of my garden after I had just watered it.  It has been a slow growing journey due to New York did not have a heat wave summer season.  But, the past few days temperatures heated up to high 80s and another 90 plants sparked a growth spell jump.  Now, when you enter the backyard you feel like you are in a jungle.

August 29, 2014

August 29, 2014

Collard Greens
August 29, 2014

Freestyle Raised Bed
August 29, 2014
"Enter if you dare"

Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Lavender, Lemongrass, Marigolds,
Collard Greens, Eggplants, Parsley, Scallions, Asparagus, and Green Peppers
August 29, 2014

Elevated Raised Bed
August 29, 2014

Growing In Pots
August 29, 2014

Cucumbers and Eggplants
August 29, 2014

Potted Herbs
Turmeric, Bay Leaves, Sweet Marjoram, Cayenne Peppers,
Rosemary, Tarragon, Thyme, Mint, Sage, and Oregano
August 29, 2014