vegetable garden

Korean Twist

First things first…I picked a winner for the Albion Fit giveaway!

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Alex! Congrats on winning the giveaway. Email me asap at 110pounds at gmail dot com. I need your mailing address and sizes. ūüôā Thanks to everyone for entering.

Saturday

This week I’m starting Week 5 of Suzanne’s program. That also means I’m almost to the 6 week rest period ending! Not sure yet how I feel about that. I think it deserves its own post. My workout on Saturday morning was really good. I judge a “good” workout by being satisfied with the number of calories I burned, feeling strong and like I pushed myself, and not feeling like I struggled or was in pain. I’m up to doing 50 pounds of the Romanian Deadlifts. I probably could have progressed a lot faster with this had I not been so timid about screwing up my knees or back. As a result, I took it very slow. But, I’m happy that I can do 50 now!

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For lunch Michael and I went downtown to the food carts. There’s a Korean food cart that he loves and he’s been trying to get me to try their tacos for awhile now. I am sad to say, it took me way too long to give it a try. These babies were fantastic! We went to Korean Twist on 10th and Alder. It was open on the weekend, which I was happy about because a lot of food carts are not.

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Michael and I both got 3 tacos–one beef, one chicken, one pork. We walked up to the park near Nordstrom’s and found a table in the sun to eat our tacos. The tacos were small and the perfect size (even though I was left wishing I had three more when I was done).

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I have no idea what was in those tacos but I can see an addiction forming. There was a spicy sauce and somehow the tacos were sweet, savory and spicy all at the same time. It’s rather odd to be eating a “sweet” taco but it was such a nice surprise.

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I surmise that these tacos are a fusion of Korean flavors and Mexican tacos and it sounds weird. Asian food mixed with Mexican? But it was such a GOOD fusion. It came with shredded lettuce, some kind of spicy red sauce (perhaps Sriracha¬†mixed with something?), the meat was all perfectly cooked and in bite size pieces and there was fresh cilantro on top. (I can’t wait to try Kogi in LA!!!)

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I think I could eat these every single day for lunch and not get sick of them.

Sunday

On Sunday I had a FANTASTIC swim! I was even able to do some breaststroke without any knee issues–for the first time in months. That was encouraging. The rest of the day was spent in the yard. I had so much gardening to take care. I pulled up the spinach that had gone bad, planted some perennials in pots (blue stevia and a daylily) and then pulled weeds.

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I filled a huge yard debris bin full of weeds and Michael planted our tomato plants.

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Then it was time for my book club meeting. I wanted to have some fresh, seasonal snacks to munch on so I made two things: a faux caprese salad and watermelon.

For the caprese salad, I put grape tomatoes on a toothpick, added fresh basil from my garden and mozzarella. Then I drizzled olive oil and balsamic on it with a little salt and pepper. It was the perfect little snack and tasted so good!

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For the watermelon, I cubed them and then topped them with a mixture of minced shallots, minced fresh mint and feta cheese. I added a little pepper to the mixture and then put it on the watermelon. You wouldn’t think to put shallots, mint, feta and watermelon together but it was REALLY good! In fact, my friend Debby who said she did not like “strange” foods, said it was quite pleasant and unexpected.

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My friend Star brought strawberries and Ghirardelli¬†chocolate. Debby brought white chocolate covered popcorn. ūüėÄ It was a very nice book club meeting! We sat outside on the deck in the shade with a slight breeze rustling the trees in the yard and the sun filling the garden. It was the perfect spring afternoon that was starting to feel like summer!

The book we read this month was called “Blindness.” It was a book about a “white blindness” that spreads through the city like a plague making everyone blind. It was a story that talked about the good and terrible things humans do to each other in times of crisis. There were definitely some parallels to Lord of the Flies, and maybe even the Holocaust. It wasn’t entirely negative and depressing, though. We all really enjoyed the book and the message the author was trying to get across. And apparently there is a movie based on the book too! I need to see that now.

It was one of those kinds of weekends where you are running, running, running and never actually sit down to relax, but it was worth it. Lots of fun things with friends, a birthday dinner with family and some good conversations about books. Every weekend should be this fun!

QUESTION: Any book recommendations for a book club meeting?

Garden 2.0

It’s that time again: time to plant and tend to our vegetable garden! Last year was such a success that I was really looking forward to doing it again this year. Of course, I have completely forgotten just how much work goes into a vegetable garden and was quickly reminded with the recent work we’ve done. With Michael being unemployed, he’s been working hard on prepping the yard for a low-key summer. Neither of us want to spend the summer months pulling weeds in our monstrous yard, so he put down bark on half of the yard. I think it will help a lot.

The manual labor was hard and time consuming, but Michael did a fantastic job and I think it looks great. He also built two more raised beds. Doesn’t the yard look so much nicer? He did a great job. He also got a complex hose system going to water all the raised beds on a timer throughout the summer. I think that was part of the reason our garden did so well last year. If we forgot to water for a few days, it wasn’t a catastrophe because the soaker hoses did most of the work.

About a month ago, we planted the first stage of this year’s garden. We have onions, red leaf lettuce, kale and spinach in the ground so far. The lettuce wasn’t looking to great to be honest. Unfortunately, we took a little too long getting it into the ground. But we’re currently trying to nurse it back to health. There might be hope.

Our spinach was super tiny starters, kind of limp and fragile looking, when we planted it. Now? It’s flourishing. The leaves are big and leafy and a gorgeous healthy green. I cannot wait to start plucking the leaves for salads. Our kale is the rockstar of the garden, though.

The kale has become a monster in the garden! It’s so beautiful and healthy. It seemed to grow three times as big in just a week’s time. It also seems that in one tray of kale that we bought we got two different types of kale. As you can see in the above photo, there are two plants with spindly-looking leaves and two plants with wider leaves. I have no idea if they will taste differently.

After only about a month in the planters, I finally plucked some of the kale leaves to have for dinner. They tasted great! I now see that we must have gotten some sort of variety pack because there are three distinctly different looking kale plants in our bunch. One night for dinner we had pork chops, some leftover rice and the kale.

The kale from our garden was good; it wasn’t as tough or leathery as the store-bought kale. In fact, it almost had a more delicate consistency like spinach or lettuce (before we cooked it, obviously).

Harvesting Kale

“Remove the outer leaves of the Kale plant as it matures, for a continuous cycle of growth. The center of the kale plant containing the bud will continue to produce fresh leaves when the outer ones are removed. Choose leaves that are bright green and fresh, as opposed to yellowed leaves, when harvesting kale for eating. The yellowish leaves can produce an undesirable taste, and their¬†limp¬†appearance may be unappetizing.¬†(source)”

Harvesting Spinach

“Harvest spring spinach by cutting the entire plant before it bolts – goes to¬†seed¬†prematurely – in the summer heat.¬†Cut outside leaves of fall spinach as soon as they’re large enough to use; the inner leaves will keep growing.¬†Avoid¬†washing¬†spinach that will be stored for more than a day or two since it will begin to wilt.
(source)”

Memorial Weekend Michael planted the tomatoes and jalapenos. We are skipping the zucchini this year, which I am a tad bummed about because it was so prolific last year. That will be our garden this year. I wanted to do peas or beans but we missed the window to plant them. So next year, perhaps.

QUESTION: Do you have a garden? What did you plant this year?