Happy Harvest

November 10, 2011

Some of the best flavors of the summer garden are highlighted in this simple salad.

Green Bean Salad with Tomatoes and Feta Cheese from Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop

1 lb. green beans (preferably a mix of green and yellow beans), ends snapped off


2 medium ripe tomatoes (about 1 lb)

1 small shallot, minced

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

Freshly ground black pepper

2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

Bring several quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan.  Add the beans and salt to taste.  Cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.  Drain, shake dry, and then spread out over a clean towel so they dry quickly.  Let the beans cool to room temperature.

Combine the tomatoes, shallot, oil, lemon juice, parsley, and pepper to taste in large serving bowl.  Add the beans and adjust the seasoning, using salt sparingly.  Sprinkle the feta cheese over the salad and serve immediately.

Option:  Sprinkle the salad with 1/3 cup toasted and coarsely chopped walnutes and crumbled goat cheese (instead of the feta) just before serving.


Where was I?

November 10, 2011

Sheesh.  So much for keeping this blog up to date.  It seems a bit overwhelming to try to figure out what has happened in the last several months but I’ll start with recent stuff…

Exercising WAS going really great…until I got the most horrible cold three weeks ago.  Then, all of a sudden, out of the blue, I stopped.  It was feeling like I might not ever do it again so I scheduled a one-on-one session with a personal trainer tomorrow, just to ease my way back into it.  So, focusing on the positive, I’ve lost about 35 pounds this year.  I am stronger and leaner than I have been in years.  I am really missing the feel-good stuff that happens in my brain from exercising.

Mike and I are contemplating moving into the “city” of Capitola.  We sold the rental Mike owned in Ben Lomond and bought a condo in Capitola.  We like the idea of being walking distance to the beach, coffee, restaurants and even movie theaters.  For now, we are keeping one foot in the country and just dabbling in the idea of city life.  Osa seems to be happy either with the beach life or the hills, as long as we honor her feeding and walking needs.

Cooking?  What’s that?  I don’t think I’ve cooked a meal in several months.  We did two detox diets, one by Dr. Hyman and one called Clean.  We pretty much have smoothies for breakfast, veggies and beans for lunch and salad for dinner.  Mike has eliminated dairy, sugar and gluten from his diet.  I still eat pretty much anything, just not at home, and not a lot.  I am going to figure out what and how to cook, as eating out is getting old.

Not too exciting.  But at least I am up to date.


Spring Sprung

April 9, 2011

Spring is here.  My favorite season.  Brilliant green, longer daylight, a fresh optimistic outlook.

We celebrated Mike’s birthday today in a low-key, life is good sort of way.  The sun was shining and we took the TT for a drive with music thumping.  Healthy food for lunch, followed by a coffee and tea.  No, not over-the-top exciting, but really a nice way to spend a few hours.  For dinner we tried a recipe from the Wall Street Journal featuring vegetable’s hearty nature.  Red quinoa with cauliflower steaks and kabocha squash soup.  Three generations of Mersman males were here, as Jason and Ryan joined us for dinner.


Hardest Five

January 28, 2011

It has been exactly five weeks since I have been consistently exercising and watching what I eat.  I have learned a FEW things.

Exercise is hard.  Then, just when it gets easier there are new challenges to keep it interesting.  It feels REALLY great afterwards.  There isn’t anything like the happy I feel after a good workout.

The scale doesn’t really represent what positive changes are happening in my body.  It can be all over the map.  Up four lbs. one day, down 3.6 lbs. the next.  The key seems to be consistency to exercise and awareness of the food I eat.  Not letting the variances of the weight of my body trip me up and sabotoge  my success in health and happiness.  That said, I am really, truly proud of the FIVE pounds of extra mass that has exited my life.  I don’t need it and I never, ever want to see it again.  It’s just the beginning.

So three cheers for still doing it and appreciating the small changes that are happening on the scale and the huge changes that are happening mentally and spiritually.  Hip, hip, hooray!

New Year: Less Stress, Savor More

January 7, 2011

This year hardly started with a loud bang.  Mike and I both had a cold.  Despite feeling less than optimal, I did start the year with a couple of traditional changes.  Eat less, exercise more.  Thankfully, I have had some angels that are making the journey seem simple and almost painless.

My friend, Linda, has consistently exercised with Rocky for years.  The commitment and effort she puts in really pays off.  With a bit of encouragement and hand-holding I am making progress towards a slimmer, healthier me.  In addition to the cardio-muscle building routine I am now a conscious eater, tracking each and everything I put into my mouth.  Weight Watchers is something I never thought I would do.  I am not a dieter.  I now realize that I can easily eat 4 times the amount of food I need and have no awareness of what I am doing.  I am savoring my bites of food now.  I am truly hungry when I eat.  Not just bored or anxious.

Other goals for the year:  simplify, organize, create and savor the beauty and love that surround me.

Thanks to everyone who helps me through life.  Your impact does not go unnoticed.


Catching up With Summer

August 22, 2010

Where has the summer gone?

It’s already the end of August.  School is about to start.  The days are getting shorter.  We are just beginning to get ripe tomatoes.  Haven’t harvested one cucumber yet.  Where has the summer gone?

Mike and I took a road trip.  It was really great.  Here are a few moments from our trip:

Mill Valley, – hiking Mt. Tamalpais

Hiking to Fern Canyon.  Narrow canyon with steep, fern-covered walls, dripping with moisture.  A world like no other.

After an all-day hike, dinner at one of the finest restaurants anywhere.  Larrupin in Trinidad, CA. Savored every delectable bite.  What a treat!  Happy Anniversary (17 years)!

Healdsburg – many relaxing spots to sit and drink cool lemonade.

Fragrant Vegetable Stew

June 7, 2010

from Vegetarian Pleasures, a menu cookbook by Jeanne Lemlin

1-1/2 cups dried baby lima beans
6 Tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons oil
3 medium-size onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
4 cloves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
10 cups Vegetable stock
1 teaspoon salt
28-oz.. can imported plum tomatoes, roughly chopped, with their juice
3/4 cup minced fresh parsley
3 medium-size parsnips
2 medium-size carrots
2 medium-size potatoes
2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Cover the lima beans with plenty of water and soak overnight, or boil, covered, for 2 minutes, and soak for 1 hour. Drain very well.

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter with the oil in a large pot and saute the onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Add the bay leaves, cloves, and cayenne pepper, and saute for 1 more minute.

Add the vegetable stock, salt, tomatoes, drained lima beans, and 1/2 cup of the parsley, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, stir occasionally, and cook for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile peel the parsnips and carrots and thinly slice them. Dice the potatoes, unpeeled if you like, and add these vegetables to the stew. Cook 45 minutes more.

Add the 2 cups corn, remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, and remaining 1/4 cup of parsley to the stew, season to taste with freshly ground pepper, and cook 10 minutes more.


Slice of Life

May 28, 2010

Peas in a pod:

Dog in the garden:

Bag in the sun:

These are some of the hightlights of life lately:

Spring gardening. Things are growing rapidly.  We are harvesting lettuce, peas, strawberries.  Soon there will be radishes.  Beans, carrots, tomatoes are developing for summer harvest.  There is a French Lavender nursery in the garage.  Lots of weeds to pull.  Somehow I got some thorns in my fingers.  It hurts enough to almost want to wear gloves, but I probably won’t.

Sewing: I completed another three grocery bags.  They were all of similar fabrics with slight variations.

School:  One more week until I graduate from Cabrillo College.

Fitness:  Working out for 45 minutes on the elliptical two to three times a week and running with Fleet Feet in Aptos twice a week.  Next Saturday I’m doing a 5K run in Nisene Marks.  That should be pretty easy.

Three Bears and a Quilt

April 15, 2010

These are some of the things I’ve been up to lately:

Bear #1:  Lives with Gae in Iowa where his quirkiness can be appreciated and cherished.

Bear #2:  Lives in England with Mike’s Mom, Jean.  Working on English accent and being proper.

Bear #3:  to be auctioned at Cisco Systems to raise money for March of Dimes.

Quilt:  FINALLY complete after a several-year stint in a Rubbermaid container.

That’s the surprises revealed.  :o)  More in the works…  (ps:  let me know what sort of surprise YOU would like….)

Seedling status:  Sunflowers, zinnias, lavender, lettuce and bread-seed poppies are all up.  No sign of the cucumbers or nigella.

Happy Birthday Mike

April 9, 2010

Perfect day to celebrate Mike’s birthday! Sunshine and blue skies. Presented presents and now having lunch at Kelly’s French Bakery. Maybe hiking in the Wilder hills later.