Winter is perfect for growing lettuce!

Winter brings a little disappointment due to the lack of local fresh greens and herbs.  But, maybe not.  You can have a little indoor garden and include the kids in the fun without a lot digging and weeding.
You can easily grow herbs, celery and lettuce on a window sill or glass doors with a southern exposure.  Here’s how:
img_0456Herbs – Start with those packages from the grocery store in plastic bags or pots.  The most easily found is basil.  Stand up the basil, while in the bag, and add some water and a tablespoon of potting soil.  Let sit over night.  Fill a planter with 2 inches of soil.  Have a helper hold the basil in the planter, with the roots straightened and touching the soil.  Fill the planter around the root and up the basil stalks 2-3 inches.  You can do basically the same technique for any other herb.  Heavily water the plant.  It has been used to a LOT of water.  You may want to feed the plant with an organic plant food.  If the plant looks sad after 1 day, put in a dark closet for 2 days, water every day.  Then, bring out and slowly move toward more sunlight over another 2 days.  If the herb has been in a pot with other herbs, simply re-pot in a larger planter and put some room between the plants to they can grow.
Lettuce and celery – Cut and use the leaves and stalks, but leave a 2 inch stalk for the img_0459lettuce and a 1 inch base for the celery.  Put these in a small, flat bottomed dish with water up to the middle of the stalk or celery base.  Keep half the stalk submerged for a few days.  With hydroponic lettuce make sure the roots are covered.  After day 3-4 add a few spoonfuls of potting soil.  Check for tiny sprouting action.  Depending on how much light and heat you have, small roots will sprout.

img_0458Keep in water, but continue to add potting soil.  With a hydroponic lettuce stalk, you can move to a planter within a week.  If you are starting from a flat bottomed stalk, let roots grow for a few weeks, then re-plant.  
img_0457
The photos show the lettuce ready for a planter, but the celery will need another week or so.  
This celery is growing the roots.  Add dirt a little at a time to get the roots ready for full dirt.
It can be great fun and a good learning experience for kids see roots growing and sprouts img_0455turning into something they use on their sandwiches or in a dinner salad.  Especially after an afternoon of sledding.
FYI – these photos are from northeastern Pennsylvania.

Happy New Focus

Get time on your side.

Get time on your side.

Got the list?  Feeling overwhelmed?  Feeling like you can take on the World, but only for about a week?

So many of us want to take ourselves to the next level of health in January.  By health I mean physical, mental, emotional and/or environmental.  We look at the new year as the time to create the FAB life we know we deserve.  Then, in about a week, we are back in the grind and those best intentions get replaced by paying bills, laundry, dinner, painting the kitchen and getting new brakes on your car.

I find that when I think of all that I want to accomplish I get mired in what-to-do-first and a to-do list that is several terrifying pages of overwhelming anxiety and premeditated failure.

How to stay on track?  This year I am only doing one thing – staying focused on the task at hand.  That’s it.  My work week will have one detailed focus point.

My weekends will have one, and only one, thing I have to do around the house.  We all know that we start a weekend with 3 or 4 things to do.  Full of joyous ambition, you gather all you need to knock off Job #1 on your list.  Then, you realize you don’t have the right anchor for that shelving unit or ingredients for that new recipe.  Next, you go to the store about 6 times.  Somewhere on the drives or walks to get that million dollar anchor, the only one that works with your $5 shelving unit, or mid-quest to find a store that sells fresh lemon grass, your frustration level goes through the roof.  Your relaxing weekend is now a crusade for the holy grail of finishing this @$#$^ job in time to get some sleep before Monday.

Get focused.

Get focused.

I’m giving myself the gift of limited goals and days of screw up time. I wrote a SHORT list of stuff I need to get done this year [not including painting the kitchen].  I am taking today to make these things happen for myself.

To get myself on target, I’m getting out the ladder to tape a note stating the dollar amount I want to make on the ceiling above my bed.  Next, comes putting due dates in my online calendar that hooks to my email.  Once I finish this post, the list of tasks to make each of these things happen will be written and attached to the due dates.  Then, I’ll print the first set of tasks and put that on my mirror.

Breaking down a big goal into smaller actions makes the whole thing seem more real.  It also gives a place to start.  And isn’t starting a lot of the problem to begin with?

Yes, this may seems REALLY anal, but you know what it does for me?  Takes the burden of what-do-I-have-to-do-today off my shoulders until 2014.  It gives me a detailed plan of action.  It also allows me time to take off when the tasks are done.  So many times, especially those of us who run our own businesses, never take time off.  We keep looking at the next day’s business.  More than anything, having this written out releases me from taking on anything else.  I am free to put on blinders to everyone around me and my knack for letting them distract me.

What are you waiting for?

What are you waiting for?

Okay, it’s time for you to get started.  Happy New Focus and a Merry Series of Checked Off Lists for the New Year.

LaDiva Coming to a Kitchen near You . . . Yours, Actually

You and me, Darling.  Cooking together at last.

You and me, Darling. Cooking together at last.

Very exciting news I’ve been waiting to share like a kitten wrapped in a box for Christmas.

So many people have asked me to teach them to cook or run a cooking class.  But, after trying to figure out the place and time, I threw up my hands in frustration.  Then, I thought why am I going to travel all over, schlep food and equipment, clean up after 20 people taste recipes and have folks go home and try to re-create it in their own kitchen with who-knows-what equipment?

The best place for them to learn – is in their own kitchen.  And you know what?  This is 2013 not 1913.  We have video chats all the time on a myriad of devices.  Why not cook the same way?

So I am.  Here’s video to introduce the idea.  That’s right.  I am having a video chat cooking class.  The class meets once a week for 10 weeks.  There are 4 different days and times to accommodate your schedule.  You will see me cook and I will see you.  We can chat and I can answer any of your questions right then and there.  No typing questions, no time lag.  It is interactive.  With a traditional cooking class it would be you and 20 more people very little hands-on.  But, with a video chat we cook together.  Here’s the catch -there is only room for you and 7 other members for each class period.  So, it is a very exclusive and limited class size.

We will be cooking with me, and LEARNING about the week’s recipes from my BFF, Marty Davey, MS, RD, LDN.  I will explain the How and Marty will pop in with a video explaining the Why.

Walnut Pecan Pesto with raw collards

Walnut Pecan Pesto with raw collards

The recipes include Nutty Thai Stir Fry, Apple Date Salad, Pear Stuffed Crepes, BBQ Tempeh Bacon Wraps, Girl-ish Figure White Bean Pockets, Raw Walnut Pate, Nepalese Dal, Morning Scramble Rancheros, Corny Bean Salad, and Chocolate Ice Creme Sandwich Cake and more.

We’ll cover how to use a knife, time a meal, read a nutrition label in 30 seconds, and substitutes for fats, eggs and dairy.  Marty will look at the food connections to cancer, heart disease, diabetes as well as what are antioxidants and probiotics.

I will have a demonstration class to check your connection and answer any other questions you have.  You just need your laptop or other device that can work with “Skype” type programs.  If you have any questions, contact me and we will walk you through it.  We set it up in about 10 minutes and I am NOT a tech wizard.

Writing the list of equipment and ingredients

Writing the list of equipment and ingredients for the first class

There’s a 20% discount for registration before January 10th and I can only teach 8 participants in a class period.  So, space is limited!

I am so looking forward to working with you to create de-lish dishes that, oops, happen to be healthy.

Oh, and you may even learn why LaDiva LUVS her immersion blender.