Good golly great greens!

Okay, so one of these veggies is purple cabbage, but still, it counts as a “green” food.

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Stir fry 3 ways

The best way to make a healthy dinner different and delicious every day of the week.

I would like to say fast, but the veggie, meat and sauce prep can take a little more time than making a hamburger. I have learned to enjoy the process of creating recipes, cutting and prepping the ingredients and perfecting the cook times and methods. Stir fry’s seem so simple, but they can take some practice to cook all the different ingredients just right for great flavor and texture.

A shortlist of my basic ingredients for a flavorful sauce starts with a fresh olive, grapeseed, or toasted sesame oil. I splash some sesame oil on at the end with toasted sesame seeds, cashews, raw sunflower, pumpkin or hemp seeds especially when I’m not adding any animal protein.

After browning the animal protein, shrimp, scallops, chicken, beef or pork I deglaze the pan with rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar in a pinch. I place delicate proteins, such as, shrimp and scallops, in a separate bowl so they won’t over cook.

Then I sauté the chopped onion with a dash of salt then clear a circle at the bottom of the pan to add in the minced garlic. After a few minutes, when the onions are a little translucent, I’ll toss in quartered mushrooms to give them plenty of time to release their juices. Then I add a root vegetable like burdock root, carrots, beets, (yellow as muddy red is not a good look for a stir fry).

Finally I layer the remainder of the ingredients, usually vegetables based on their hardness, therefore, cooking times. A quick list of my favorites and in order of adding to wow: kale, mustard greens, celery, peas green or snap, boc choy, bell peppers etc. I sauté each ingredient for a very short time before tossing in herbs and sometimes cubed tofu or another alternative proteins that just need to be heated.

At this point I’ll splash in some sesame oil, soy sauce or go in a different direction with dash of curry spice, plum paste, oyster or fish sauce, saracha or any other flavorings that are complementary to the mix of vegetables and proteins I’ve added. I would like to say I plan this before starting to sauté, but I often change my mind at the last minute, assuming I had a plan to begin with. I admit this is not a good practice. I have rarely discovered superb flavors combos using this method…

Mary’s Garden

What is it about tending a garden: growing your own flowers or vegetables, picking fresh herbs and feeding neighborhood birds, that feeds a person’s soul?

it transcends gender, color, nationality, age, even knowledge, ability and opportunity. Even in the smallest apartments in the busiest cities a plant or two patiently sits near a window, basking in the sun waiting for their weekly watering and hoping for a dash of plant food.

Mary_Garden_peas_pot_snail_PhotoMatix1330-1-1Simple garden pleasures: textures, colors, light

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Mary’s Guard Garden

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A charming birdhouse decorates Mary’s garden acting as a perch for birds waiting their turn at the bird feeder. Nestled in the flowering tree just behind the birdhouse, the feeder sports 6 tiny perches for finches and other small birds. The doves, robins, infrequent pigeons and visiting migrators partake at the shallow clay bowl sitting on the garden wall

Spring Greens!

Spring Greens @ Beyond Bok Choy Farm

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This is my favorite time of year in SoCal. The farmers’ markets are bursting with fresh greens! This year I found a new favorite farm located in Fresno. It’s family owned and operated and they bring in a wide variety of very generous bunches of leafy greens and many other herbs and veggetables at great prices. Right now, all greens and herbs are $2/bunch.

I found Beyond Bok Choy produce at the Sunday, Long Beach farmers’ market, but I think they are at various markets. Their offerings are so varied it’s like alphabet soup using nearly every letter starting at the beginning: beats, carrots and daikon with green tops ready for a quick sauté in avocado oil with a shy splash of sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds to finish it off. Try starting by tossing in some onions, garlic, very thin carrot sticks and a fist-full of cashews and fresh cilantro to top it off for a complete vegetarian, vegan meal. Yes, yes, get the delicious fresh baked, whole grain bread at the vendor across the way and toast it. Now you have a complete meal.

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Beyond Bok Choy offerings:

HERBS: lemon basil, pepper basil, thai basil, cilantro, dill, mint, lemon grass…and more

GREENS: bitter melon, bok choy, chili leaf, dandelion leaves, mustard greens, Okra leaf, Malabar spinach, ong choy = water spinach, Sweet potato leaf … I think I missed a few.

VEGGIES:  green beans, chard, Chinese broccoli, cabbage, carrots + tops, cucumber, daikon + tops (very large white radish), curly kale, Lecanto kale, onions, zuccini…and much more

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baby bok choy

Bok choy is great for stir-frying. Very subtle flavor. Toss in at the very end of sauteing.

 

 

 

Bzzzzz be kind to bees

One of the most disturbing crises in
the world is growing unnoticed

Some people might even be happy about it. If you have ever been stung by a bee, you’re probably cautious and shoo them away. If you have been stung many times, you may have little love for them. However, our existence depends on bees.

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Bees at Big Bear Lake California

For several years, the science world seemed stumped by this conundrum. There were studies and research and excellent documentaries filmed, yet all of the data seemed to have left researchers unable to solve the mystery of why bees kept dying out by the millions, great hive die-outs, beekeepers loosing entire bee businesses.

I watched bee documentaries as if I were watching horror movies

And so should you. Without enough bees, our fruit and vegetable industries will also die-out. One documentary focused on a pear orchard in China. The bees in the area vanished. Pear trees rely on bees pollinating their blossoms in order for them to turn in to a fruit. The decades old family pear business relied on hand pollinating the blossoms, not something the younger generation was interested in, nor could the venerable generation do it all alone. At 68.84 Chinese Yuan, $10 US per pear, it is easy to see how that would not be a sustainable family business. Now, multiply that by a worldwide crisis. It’s in progress.

For any meat eaters who don't care about vegetables or fruits

…what will the ranchers feed their cows, chickens and hogs?

We don’t often notice what’s not there, but think back to your childhood and how many bees tormented you while playing in your yard. How many have you seen in your yard and neighborhood lately? Pay attention. You won’t see many.

If you pay any attention at all to the food or flower industries, you can probably guess what’s killing millions of bees every day… (Take a moment to consider this), It’s obvious. Farming industries around the world depend on pesticides to kill insects from ruining their crops. Well, bees are insects. Millions of bees are delivered around the US in huge trucks to farms that don’t have enough bees for their crops. These farms use pesticides, which is one of the reasons why they don’t have their own bees. The portable bee keeper businesses have unwittingly delivered their little soldiers to their own deaths, then they scratch their head wondering: How did this happen? Isn’t it obvious?

What are we going to do about it?

Easy fix

Every farm from small family farms to huge commercial farms should be required to maintain their own bee hives onsite. This would require a pesticide-free and largely chemical-free farming process. Does this seem like too much to do to save the bees and the Earth…our existence? If this sounds dramatic to you, go ahead, do your own research then pass on what you’ve discovered.