Welcome and thank you for dropping by to celebrate the
6th Annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop!
For ten days from March 27th-April 5th, dozens of authors have gotten together to share a recipe, a gardening tip, or some other inspiration that you, our readers, might enjoy. Giveaways and prizes abound as you "hop" from one site to the next, but to be eligible for the Grand Prize (A Kindle Fire or Nook--winner’s choice--along with a 2nd prize of a $25 gift card), you'll have to visit each and every author's site and either leave a comment with your email address, or enter their Rafflecopters. Some contests are only open to US residents, so check the individual rules at each site. Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. on April 5th, and prizes will be announced by April 7th. Winners will be listed at both the first (Dianne Venetta) and last (Bloomin Thyme) websites.
In addition to my gardening tip and recipe, I'm giving away an e-book copy of
OVERCOME YOUR SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE
(A Practical Guide to Improving Health, Fitness, and Well-being for Desk Dwellers and Couch Potatoes).
(Contest open to US and International residents. Contest ends April 5th at midnight.)
To enter my contest, simply leave a comment below with your email address (in the format of: janedoe(at)gmail(dot)com), and share your best tip for staying fit while reading/writing your way to fulfilling your dreams...
And don't forget to visit all the other author sites to enter to win the grand prize!
Now, I'd love to share one of my passions with you that I'm sure everyone can get on board with. It's still early to celebrate Earth Day (April 22nd), but as far as I'm concerned, every day is Earth Day and now is a great time to plan a clean up of your town or neighborhood after the long winter. I don't know about your area, but even though I live out in the country, I'm astonished and saddened by the amount of litter I see along the roadways this time of year. In the spirit of taking care of our Mother Earth, I've organized a local "Clean Sweep" event for the day after Earth Day. If you live anywhere near Tolland or Granville, MA., please join us. Residents will be out in force, making the throughway to the Berkshires that much more beautiful for travelers and visitors to our lovely hilltop towns. See our FB Events Page for details and to sign up. If you can't make it to ours, organize one of your own, or even take a hike along your favorite route and bring a trash bag or two to fill. If we all pitch in, we can make a difference toward keeping America beautiful.
Don't forget to recycle!
Here's my gardening tip:
Add a healthy dose of manure tea to your soil every couple of weeks throughout the growing season.
Manure Tea Recipe
I know this doesn't sound the least bit appealing, but brewed and used correctly, your plants will love it. Give your garden the boost it needs to produce incomparably hearty veggies or bright fragrant flowers.
It's important to start with composted or aged manure since fresh manure may contain harmful bacteria like E. Coli. You can usually buy it from local farmers, but since you won't need a truck load, you can find it in bags at your local garden shop. Whether from poultry, cows, horses, sheep, or even bats, manure is nutrient rich and loaded with microbes essential for healthy soil, but in its raw form may be too acidic for most plants and can "burn" out the roots. Mixing it with water, steeping it, and further diluting it to the correct strength isn't rocket science, but it might take a bit of practice to get the blend just right. Gardeners often amend their soil with composted manure at the beginning and end of the season, but the nutrients wash out quickly and the smell is sometimes a bit hard to take...unless you love it like I do, lol. Applying manure tea every few weeks throughout the growing season is the perfect compromise.
You'll need a five gallon bucket, a generous shovel full of manure, and water. Put the manure in the bucket, fill with water and mix until "muddy." Cover and let sit for three days, stirring daily to break up solid waste and allow for nutrients to infuse the water. This will likely still be too strong to put on plants directly, so you'll want to thin it further by adding more water until it comes out the color of iced tea. I recommend keeping the bucket next to the garden and using an old sauce pan as a ladle. Mix a quart with a gallon of water in a watering can. Stir and pour around plants, letting the goodness seep into the soil.
Keep a lid on the five gallon bucket and apply as needed every couple of weeks through the growing season when plants start to fade or slow their growth. Enjoy watching those plants thrive!
Since we also want to maximize our own nutrition, here's a yummy smoothie recipe from OVERCOME YOUR SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE...
Beets & Greens Smoothie
This one is my own concoction and has taken some time to perfect. Greens like kale and spinach have tons of necessary vitamins and minerals but how many of us eat them as often as we should? There’s far more calcium in our leafy pals than there is in dairy and none of the saturated fat and inflammatory properties. They are loaded with phytonutrients that have many healing benefits to the body and should be eaten often. Since our American diets don’t consist of nearly enough of these green leafy superfoods, juicing and adding them to smoothies is a great way to fit them in. However, greens can have a very…um…earthy taste. Beets and root vegetables are also loaded with micronutrients, minerals, and antioxidants, but again, American diets don't provide nearly enough of these nutrition powerhouses. Since adding even a slice of beet to your smoothie or juice can make it downright unpalatable, I’ve discovered some tricks to getting these all important veggies into my diet.
8 ounces filtered water
½ a small fresh beet (cut in two pieces) NOTE: A little bit of beet goes a long way for flavor. It’s also a potent liver cleanser so more is not better. Try one slice your first time around and decide from there if you need more.
1 cup of kale leaves chopped (I prefer to use baby kale and remove the center stems or ribs)
1 large carrot (cut into pieces)
1 large apple (cut into wedges)
½ avocado (peeled and pitted)
A slice of lemon (peel and pith removed)
A 1 inch slice of fresh ginger root
½ cup ice (tastes best when cold)
Blend all ingredients on high for 1-2 minutes or until smooth, or use the “Whole juice” setting on your Blendtec or Vita-mix. The result is a thick, creamy, smoothie with a bit of a bite and a gently sweet aftertaste. Although it may look awful in terms of the brownish/green color, I assure you, the taste isn't half bad. I drink it as a meal replacement on days when I’m on the road through lunch and don’t want to be tempted to eat out. It’s filling, nutritious, and dare I say…tasty.
I love hearing about new smoothie recipes so if you have one to share, mention it below or visit my website and leave me a note on my contact page, or find me on Facebook or twitter and spread the smoothie love. Let me know you've visited my FB page, followed me on twitter, or signed up for my newsletter and you'll earn extra entries for my e-book giveaway!
Enjoy the hop, and do something good for you and the planet today...
Peace and blessings,