Tag Archives: Food

Intentionally May

4 Jun

Happy June everyone! May was a pretty good month for A and I; I feel like I’m getting back into the swing of the spirit of my one little word for 2012: intentional, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

If you want to see how 2012 is going so far, January’s wrap-up is hereFebruary, March, and April.

Pursuing the Lord’s heart like I did when I first loved Him.

I think I’m happiest with my progress on this one this month. The more work on my relationship with God, the more I realize hom unquantifiable this goal is. With other intentional goals I san say, “Yes, I had three friends over for dinner, two friends without food dates, four…” You can’t really do that with something as intangible as growing close to the Lord. All I know is that I feel closer to Him, I’m more actively aware of His presence in my life, and I’m feeling the quiet security that comes from being in the word more often. Thank God that He is always there when we decide we want to come back to Him.

Moving into a season of greater spiritual and emotional intimacy with my husband.

We’ve done a devotional almost every night for the last month and a half. This obviously helps our spiritual intimacy, but it’s also slowly but surely building our emotional intimacy. We’ve been using Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott’s Just the Two of Us, a small book that my mom bought us for an engagement present (I think). It’s sweet. A little cheesy at times, which is par for the corse for the Parrotts, but great stories that make us think and are eminently applicable for our marriage.

We also celebrated our six-year anniversary on the 28th. Yay, us!

Making the most of the relationships I have, and taking time to nurture them.

I’ve had some great girlfriend time this month. Lunch dates with my bff, champagne evenings with a purpose, lunch dates with former high school students, grabbing Jamba Juice after a Saturday morning workout with the girls. It’s been a great month for relationships.

Tackling some of the harder things on The List, especially the ones that scare me.

I don’t know about scaring me, but accomplishing #16, planting my container garden, has definitely been a process. Now that they’re in the ground I’m scared…scared that all my plants are going to die without producing. Especially since some of my tomatoes are getting white spots on their leaves. :( A tomato-savvy friend told me yesterday to let my tomatoes dry out a bit and not over-water, and it’s raining today! What are the odds? Rain in June in northern California. Arrrrgggghhhh!

Having more people over for dinner, and not letting time/stress/money get in the way of my love of being a hostess.

My buddy Kedrick finally made it back over for dinner, and we had a couple over that we’ve grown to know and love as individuals and have decided we need to hang out more as couples. Considering that this month has been crazy for me, I think two hostess days is pretty good.

Buying locally as much as possible.

So much good produce out right now! It’s super easy to eat locally at this time of year in California. Done and done.

Reading challenging, empowering, quality books instead of solely feeding my brain a mental fast food diet of chick-lit.

I’ve read so many gardening books this month it’s not even funny. All of them are from You Grow Girl, and are wonderful.

Putting my health first and making the time to exercise

No problem. Even being crazy busy I made time for exercise. The only weeks I had trouble was when I was having another terrible bout of insomnia, and I had zero energy for two weeks. I still worked out, but not as much, and definitely not at my full potential.

After several months of trying I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t like step class. I’ve given it the old college try, and the only thing I really like about it is doing it with my girlfriends. All in all I’ve decided that I’d really rather spend the hour running. Speaking of which, this month I’m going to be trying to get back into running. I’ve worked on strength training for months, and have been LOVING it, but I miss running. And my stamina isn’t there anymore for running, so I’d like to see that come back up.

If you had a resolution or a word for 2012, how’s it going? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment or link to a blog post you’ve written on this below.

#16 Done – I Grow, Girl!

30 May

Told you I had some things crossed off The List to share! I’ve been working on #16 since last Sunday, when I got my first little tomato seedlings into their pots, and yesterday I got the last of my purchased transplants settled into their new soiled homes, so I can finally call #16 – planting a container garden – done, done, done! Well, as done as it can be. If I’ve learned anything about gardening it’s that even small-scale planting can be extremely addictive, so I went as far as my modest budget would allow, and already have big dreams for next year. Summer Winds gift cards are my new best friends. It’s a good thing though, really, having to keep things simple. Not only am I having to get creative about finding/upcycling budget-friendly supplies (always fun), but friends have been so generous, sharing cuttings and excess plants, it’s been amazing. Plus, I’m not known for my ability to keep green things alive, so I’m looking at this year as a bit of an experiment; I live in one of the best areas in the world for growing my own food, but I don’t yet know what will work in my space. It’s a small space – our HOA calls it an atrium – and only half of it gets full sun, the other half partial shade. So I’m trying things out and (grudgingly) keeping it simple, so that I’m not sinking a boat-load of skrilla into something that I may end up killing. But so far they’re all growing! Thriving, even! I can’t wait to show you what I’ve got growing – me, Black Thumb McGee – so let’s have some pictures, shall we?

the plants that started it all

I’ve actually got two of these tubs going. One has (I think) two Roma tomato plants, and this one has three of some other kind of tomato. I forget the type. My friend Ken, father to my good buddy Kedrick, gave me five plants, and started me off on my container adventure. I put the tubs on those cool little stands with wheels so I can easily move them about to follow the sun. Since I read in all three You Grow Girl Books (my new bibles) that tomatoes make great companion plants, so I planted little basils I got from Whole Foods on top. This planter has two purple basil plants and two Thai basil plants. The other has four sweet basils. I’m a little worried that I crowded the container, even though they are the size of medium trash cans, but the tomato plants seem to be doing well so far. They’ve grown at least an inch and a half since I pinched off a third of their growth, and have nine buds between them. That’s a good sign, yes? Anyone who knows more about tomatoes than I do (not hard) feel free to chime in!

This is my small planter. I got all my plant furniture and a ton of pots from my dear friend Jan three years ago when we moved into our house, and I’m so glad I finally get to make good use of them! Clockwise from top left: purple sage (which I hear gets huge!) Sonnet snapdragons that are coming up a fiery orange and fuchsia, Italian oregano, and creeping rosemary (no towering bushes for my little space, thanks!). I just read that steeping rosemary in hot water helps headaches. Which I get. A lot. And I hate taking medicine. So that’s a win!


This is the top of my tall planter. When I have more resources I want to make the most of their deep baskets and line the tiers with landscaping cloth and put hanging plants like cherry tomatoes and strawberries in them. But for now, it’s doing a good job of holding up my containers. Snapdragons on top and mesclun lettuce in the wooden planter.

They just started popping up! I know it’s a little late in the season for lettuce, but I’m planning on plucking these when they’re small and tender for a baby lettuce salad. As I said, it’s an experiment.

Bottom tier of the same tall planter. This is my herbal tea level. Clockwise from bottom left: lemon balm, stevia, mint, and lemon verbena. Did you know lemon balm helps upset stomachs when steeped? I didn’t! I’m definitely planning on making some tea blends to warm me through the winter, but I also see some more granitas in my future. I hear lemon verbena is a winning flavor in more than tea!

Did you notice all those spots of orange among all the normal pots? Those would be my second favorite thing in my garden! I never realized how expensive pots and garden accessories are, never having had much use for them before. So two days ago I went to my local Goodwill to see if there was anything I could upcycle into pots. I found this mint condition nesting set of vintage Tupperware, registered trademark. I drilled some holes in the bottom, and bam! Kitchey-cool containers! If they were a different color I’d totally have them on my kitchen counter, but they’re a not-kidding-around shade of orange. Which is perfect against my drab grey walls (HOA chosen) with bright green trailing out of them. I am in love with the iconic swirl design. They all had their lids, too, (classic Tupperware sunburst-style, straight from my childhood) and I haven’t decided yet if I want to use them as stepping-stones when I plant in the ground or make a found object wind chime. And did I mention they’re in perfect condition? Well, before I poked holes in them, that is. The best part? The set of four was only $7.00. I went to another Goodwill today looking for things to make a bird bath and found one single large matching container. It was totally beat up, no lid, and labeled $6.99. Um, I don’t think so! I already scored a great deal, thanks! So. In. Love.

This is the small stand planter, on the wall between our living room window and our bedroom’s sliding glass doors. I totally underestimated how many snapdragons I could fit in my Tupperware (registered trademark!) and had no where to put three of them, but luckily I had this gorgeous glazed drum pot from Jan. I’d intended to use it for something else in the future, but I really like the snapdragons in it, so I’ll keep them there for now.

It looks like a lot of dirt, but I see sprouts! Clockwise from top: little gem lettuce starting to poke it’s heads through the soil (hey, I know it’s Summer. I said I’m experimenting.), lemon thyme, chives that I seeded three days ago so still has a ways to grow, and regular thyme I got from my dear friend Danielle. Yes, my garden is a product of the work of many hands. Every time I look at all the things given by people I love, I feel very happy.

What’s that you ask? What was that thing behind the chicken wire to the right of the planter? So glad you asked, because it’s my first favorite thing in my garden:

A baby globe artichoke plant! Ahhhhhhhh!

I love artichokes. I mean, I LOVE artichokes. And there’s no better place to grow them in the States than the California Bay Area. When this baby gets big I should be able to harvest around 30 artichokes a year. Because they’re a year-round grower in my area. Yeah, baby! So the chicken wire…yeah, artichokes need a lot of water and fertilizer. I’m working on an organic garden, so my fertilizer of choice is a fish and sea kelp emulsion. Which made my dogs go crazy. As in, they tore the first artichoke I planted apart within five minutes while I was in the shower. You’ve never seen such muddy prissy city dogs. They both got baths of shame and a thorough scolding from A. Even though I was at my garden budget with the first artichoke, A told me I could get a second one. So I wasn’t taking any chances. A erected a fence for me as an anniversary present. Hey, everyone has their own idea of romance. Mine is the promise of future artichokes. It’s the prettiest little ugly plant ever.

Last but not least, these little greens are on my kitchen windowsill above the tomatoes. I’ve bought microgreens for years at the store, so you could imagine my surprise when I discovered I could buy enough seeds to plant ten pots worth of microgreens for less than the cost of one container of sprouts from the store. I figure that if all else fails, these will not. They’re pretty idiot-proof, since you cut them down before they actually grow into anything. These are broccoli sprouts, soon to be joined by clover and radish sprouts. These are just now ready for harvesting; I thought that I could try planting other varieties two weeks apart, and A and I could have home-grown microgreens for the whole Summer.

So that’s my container garden! I have lots I want to do, but I’m very happy for now. And there will be more than a few How Tuesdays coming up featuring the bounty of my little containers. In a few months I’ll be ready to split my artichoke (it’s best done young) and I am still enthralled with adding pieces of friend’s gardens through cuttings or splits of interesting plants and flowers. So if you’re in the area and want to share plants, let me know!

What’s growing in your slice of the world?

Intentionally April

10 May

image from liferearranged.com

Wow! May just snuck in there, and before I know it I’ll be celebrating my anniversary! All that to say, I’m waaaaaay overdue for how my one little word went for April. March’s update on  is a bit overdue. If you want to see how 2012 is going so far, January’s wrap-up is hereFebruary is here, March is right here. How did April go? Let’s see, shall we?

Pursuing the Lord’s heart like I did when I first loved Him.

Better. I’m reading His word more, praying more, and as I mentioned yesterday, relying on the hope He has promised exclusively.

Moving into a season of greater spiritual and emotional intimacy with my husband.

We’re finally working on the spiritual intimacy part. We’ve started a nightly devotional, and A is the one taking the lead in making sure we do it every night. It’s been a nice change, reading together and praying together more. I’m hoping it sticks.

Making the most of the relationships I have, and taking time to nurture them.

I’ve had to make some hard choices this month. Volunteering versus time with A, girls’ night out versus date night. For the most part, I’ve been pretty selfish in my choices. I’ve been having a rough time this month, so I’ve been choosing to have time with friends who fill me up, who have my back, who see me and love me. I like to think it’s not all one way, I’ve had a better emotional connection with some of my friends than I’ve had in months. So I’m happy with this one.

Tackling some of the harder things on The List, especially the ones that scare me.

Well, sunscreen is crossed off. Yay! Only 23 more to go.

Having more people over for dinner, and not letting time/stress/money get in the way of my love of being a hostess.

We had a couple of old friends over, so I got my hostess in, while being able to feel very homey. Comfort with entertaining; love it.

Buying locally as much as possible.

Easier than ever now that California is producing asparagus, and peppers, and tomatoes, and avocados, and broccoli, and oranges, and limes, and lemons, and beans, and peas, and corn. Oh my gosh, the corn!!! I was allergic, and now I’m not, and I am making up for more than nine years of being off of the cob and polenta and chips and salsa…it is a time of veggie plenty, my friends, and I intend to live it up.

Finding fun, creative ways to get together with friends that don’t revolve around food.

Working out, going for a six-mile walk with girlfriends and lots and lots of dogs in Monterey, catch-up dates with former high school students…it’s been a full, blessed month.

Reading challenging, empowering, quality books instead of solely feeding my brain a mental fast food diet of chick-lit.

I started re-reading Animal Vagetible Miracle for the fourth time, bought and read the whole You Grow Girl book series in prep for planting my own veggie container garden, and am working my way through Local Flavors by Deborah Madison. Lots of non fiction, foodie goodness going on right now!

Putting my health first and making the time to exercise.

Still averaging 3.4 times at the gym per week (according to my handy-dandy Club One tracker) and I’m doing Tone It Up workouts on my non-gym days. Still haven’t lost an ounce, but I have high hopes that when A and I get through this rough season that will change.

If you had a resolution or a word for 2012, how’s it going? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment or link to a blog post you’ve written on this below.

We’re Back, and Better Than Ever!

23 Apr

Oh, and when I say we’re back, I do mean we. A’s officially done with tax season, and he’s promised me that he’ll be putting his foot down about working crazy hours on the projects he has coming up. He’s planning on being home at four all this week, and I couldn’t be happier. I always know that having him home will be a huge relief, but I forget the feeling of peace and all being right with the world until it happens.

Per usual we made our annual trek down to the ever-gorgeous Carmel-by-the-sea (it’s not a town, it’s a lifestyle), with one small change. Make that two small changes. We took our doggies with us! Something I’ve wanted since we got Logan almost three years ago. We had a great time, the four of us. We discovered that Martigan – the newest – likes to show bigger dogs that he can still act tough even though he’s on a leash (something to work on) and doesn’t like when I leave him. Not to the point of being annoying, but he would whine and do his ‘talking bark’ very softly whenever I walked away to get us coffees or go into a shop. A and I have never been out in public with him other than taking the dogs for a walk, so this attachment was a new revelation. I would be lying if I didn’t say it melted my heart a little bit.

I thought about doing another One Day picture story, and then thought “meh.” Why spend a perfectly lazy weekend with my man worrying about a photo per hour. So instead a took a picture when I thought about it. If it looks like we read a lot, ate a lot, and drank a lot, that’s because we did.

my handsome man, it's so good to have you back!

a great start to the day...at 11am.

my littlest dog learned the fine art of waiting under tables while his owners were being boring.

logan, our sunshine boy, found patches of light to lie in wherever possible.

trying wines at one of our favorite garden hangouts. the dogs weren't impressed with the vintages, but loved the all-natural seaweed treats their sweet staff offered them.

can you see the relief? the peace? yeah, we can too.

It’s good to be back, I’ve missed you all! How was your weekend?

Intentionally March

9 Apr

Happy Monday everyone! Little announcement before we get to the post: I’ll be taking a break from blogging for the next two weeks. A is in his last week of tax season, which is always a stressful time for our family, and the week after I’ll be too busy enjoying my newly free husband to write. I’m not taking a break from life, so I’ll still be around online, just a brief break from the daily content. I’ll see you back here on Monday, March 23rd. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in two weeks!

image courtesy of intentional life on tumblr.

March’s update on the year of living intentionally is a bit overdue. If you want to see how 2012 is going so far, January’s wrap-up is hereFebruary’s here. So, on to March!

Pursuing the Lord’s heart like I did when I first loved Him.

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get on this one, but I feel like I’ve taken a step in the right direction. I can’t say how exactly. Maybe it’s because I’ve been praying more when things are going right. Maybe it’s because I’m praying just to tell God how I love Him. Maybe it’s because I actually picked up my Bible recently because I wanted to re-read a passage I’d forgotten, and found that I really missed it. I hope to have more to report on this one next month.

Moving into a season of greater spiritual and emotional intimacy with my husband.

March was actually fairly rough for A and I. He’s been busy, and has had to spend quite a bit of time in the doctor’s office, and we’ve had more than our usual share of arguments. All this isn’t a great recipe for building intimacy. And yet….
Sometimes you find out things about yourself and your spouse that you never would have known if it weren’t for disagreements. You wouldn’t know how much the other person is in it with you, for better or worse, if it weren’t for adversity. I love A, and he loves me. And the fact that we can say that, choose it, live it, after the month we’ve had is a win. Any tough time where we come out closer together rather than further apart, I’ll take. And I’ll give thanks to God for.

Making the most of the relationships I have, and taking time to nurture them.

I got to go to my ‘nephew’s’ baseball game this month, and he pitched for the first time. And he was awesome. The kid has a natural talent, and I’m super proud of him. I got to cuddle my ‘niece’ on the stands, braid her hair, and heat Lik-a-maids. I got to chat with my bff between her boy being at bat. All in all a great day.
A and I spent time with his work bff and his wife. We ran a 10k together, which was huge for us and gave us confidence in all the other races we have planned for this month. I had more than a few swirl dates with girlfriends, so it’s been a good month for relationships.

Tackling some of the harder things on The List, especially the ones that scare me.

Well, I crossed one off. That’s 1/15 for this year. A slow start, but I’ll take it!

Finding ways beyond words to show people that I love them.

I left love notes for A. On our mirror, around our dog’s necks. They had written words, but went beyond just saying nice things. Cheesy, but effective.

Finding fun, creative ways to get together with friends that don’t revolve around food.

A slow Friends Without Food month, but I did get a day with bestie Molly. We met after I got a pedicure and walked around Santana Row. We window shopped, tried in vain to find a Nike store, and ended up at the Irish pub for happy hour. Yes, it ended up involving food, but food wasn’t the point so it counts. So there. And it was one of the funnest days I’ve had in awhile.

Reading challenging, empowering, quality books instead of solely feeding my brain a mental fast food diet of chick-lit.

This month has been really weird, reading-wise. I’ve started several books, but none have really stuck. Sometimes I get like this, when I’ve read several amazing books in a row, if the next ones I read aren’t comparable I’m just not interested. If you have any good recommendations, let me know!

Putting my health first and making the time to exercise.

Well, I spent the last week MIA from the gym due to a tenacious cold, but my average visits per week for March was still 3.1. Yes, my gym lets you track these things. Since the average person at my gym goes 1.3 days per week, and pre-Club One Christy averaged, oh, zero, I’m loving 3.1 average visits per week. Next month I’m shooting for 3.5!

If you had a resolution or a word for 2012, how’s it going? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment or link to a blog post you’ve written on this below.

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