yummy: restaurant salsa

Have you ever had jet lag?

Every single day this week I’ve thought to myself ‘Man, I must need to exercise or eat better today because I’m sooo tired!’. Then, I remember that I just flew halfway around the world and realize that my body probably hasn’t recovered yet. There’s a 13 hour time difference from Brisbane, Australia to the East coast. Ca-razy.

Last week I wrote about making easy, healthy dinner salads when I’m feeling too tired to cook but you know what? That went out the window this week. After getting home from work, I’d just sit on the couch and attempt to not fall asleep. We could easily have turned to unhealthy take-out and pizza but we didn’t! We just made some semi-homemade dinners.

For one of the nights I turned to Roberta’s pen pal box for help. There was a seasoning packet for a salsa mix. All I needed was a couple fresh vegetables and a blender. I could handle that.

I opened the can of tomatoes, chopped up the veggies, and then opened this bag of chips. It was hard work. 😉

Note that I didn’t include the seeds of the the jalapeno since most of the spice comes from them. My husband and I love spicy food but we got scared!

Then, we lazily sampled straight from the blender. It’s super good with the consistency and taste of Mexican restaurant salsa.

And then I found the strength and sanity to transfer it all to a dish so that we could veg out and watch TV. I wouldn’t really call this a dinner but it did it’s job – giving us some micronutrients while keeping us from scarfing a pizza.

I’d pat myself on the back but I’m just too tired. 🙂

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This is random but these pretty flowers just bloomed in my yard and I was wondering if anyone could tell me what they are?!

This guy is on a thin little vine.

And this gorgeous guy just popped out of the ground one day from bulbs!

Such a pleasant surprise. Let me know if you have any ideas!

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my greenhouse gardening

I’ve only grown a ‘garden’ once and that was last year on my back porch. It was one of the many projects that I took on while my husband was deployed. I grew flowers and green onions all from seeds. Almost every day I would check my pots to see if anything had grown. It was lots of fun.

When we were first looking at our current house, one of the things that caught my attention was the fact that there was a greenhouse sitting in the backyard. I imagined tomatoes to the ceiling and luscious whatevers growing everywhere. I could feed my family!

The only thing was, I didn’t (and still don’t) know how to grow vegetables, let alone in a greenhouse. So this past Sunday I started and found some help in the process.

The lady who lived here before us was a gardener. We were told she died of cancer 5 years ago. My father-in-law also died of cancer and so I feel a sort of connection to this house (or her). I’m sympathetic.

You know how some houses can creep you out and some not? Even in it’s current disheveled state, this one is comforting. Maybe it’s the lady, maybe it’s not.

I’m not trying to scare you! Hey, I don’t even go into a ROOM if a scary movie is on and I’m still alive, so just keep reading. 😉

I mean she left me a greenhouse. I’d say that’s my first sign. It’s an 8×10 (I think) with a functioning fan to suck out all the hot air and heater that we need to fix. The previous owners left a lot of stuff in it so I began by clearing out the space while my husband cleaned the outside to let more light in.

before

Ay chihuahua.

Before the planting began, I bought a couple of different organic seeds of vegetables that we frequently eat in the house -> carrots, roma tomatoes, spinach, arugula, peppers, green onions, and zucchini.

The carrots are iffy since they’re a root vegetable but I thought I’d try them anyways. The lady left a huge, deep pot that I thought they might be able to thrive in.

I also lucked out and accidentally bought the bush variety of the zucchini and tomatoes. The vine varieties wouldn’t have worked since they would’ve needed space to spread.

She also helped me a ton by leaving a lot of pots behind. I combined the pots I already had with hers and laid them out on the shelves from largest to smallest. For some reason I thought that made sense.

I then took my seed packets and placed them in the pots to visualize it all. I only needed to buy two more pots to fit everything.

I can’t find the item online, but the soil I used is an organic potting mix from Lowe’s.

I spotted fish tank pebbles in the corner of the shelf and figured I should line the pots with them before I added the soil. I believe it helps drain the water?

Also, I wasn’t sure how high to fill the pots but again the lady helped me out and I saw old dirt lines in a couple of pots to guide me.

Oh and she left me a frying pan in there so I kept it and used it as a pot saucer which I assume is what she had done. Pot saucers help to catch drips and overflow.

My husband had little pieces of scrap wood leftover from a project so I used them to label all the pots.

And no I’m not a magician! I originally had the tomato and pepper seeds in starter pots inside my house so they’ve been growing for a couple weeks.

I planted the arugula in the lady’s crazy pot in the back. I think it’ll work well.

As for the strawberries. They’re an added bonus! I got to work on Tuesday only to find a box of strawberry plants that one of the vets had brought from her own garden. I excitedly scooped up two! I bought an additional two pots and planted them the next day.

I was on such a gardening kick that I moved these EXTREMELY heavy planters to the backyard to make a grouping. They were scattered around the front as well as the side yard. The two larger planters were already filled with soil so I topped them off, filled the smaller one, and then planted flower seeds that I had saved from last year.

I tend to over water so I am resisting the temptation! I know all these plants have a long way to go but hopefully I’ll have a few success stories in the coming months!

I hope the lady would be proud.

Do you have any gardening projects going on this spring?

flowers & fighting

Flowers get me so excited about spring. I love watching everything grow. Even my husband has noticed and comments daily on some bulbs that have randomly popped up in our backyard, ‘I can’t believe how fast they’re growing!’.

Like January 1st when I started this blog, the springtime is another fresh, new beginning. So great.

Unfortunately for many of us, new growth outdoors comes with sinus pain, sneezing, and lots of tissues. Bah, humbug.

I’ve had four years of allergy shots so you’d think I’d be immune to pollen and whatnot but with this crazy-warm winter and predictions of ‘the worst allergy season yet’, this season is already proving that I’m not.

On Saturday morning I woke up with a sore throat. Then on Sunday it was much worse. I battled the dang sore throat as well as major aches all day long while sulking on the couch.

Not until today did I realize that this sickness was from allergies and not the flu. My car was covered in pollen this morning and it sits in a carport! I also witnessed a pollen tornado in the middle of road. Yikes.

I’ve got to fight these allergies hard because I’m going to be pretty disappointed if I’m sick for the 10k next weekend. I must run like the wind!! I don’t think I’d be able to do that with a throbbing sinus headache.

Since I’m sure some of you are also struggling, I thought I’d tell you what I’ve been doing to get over this thing quick!

1. Stay Inside
I’m attempting to stay inside and away from the pollen as much as I can. I don’t think my old house has a great filtering system so who knows if staying inside is helping but at least I’m sitting near my plug-in air filter. If you do have to head out, the article linked in the beginning of this post mentions not going outside until the afternoon when the pollen has settled.

Right outside my kitchen window I have these gorgeous azaleas that taunt me. Every time I open the door (to the right of them) to let the dogs out, I get a twinge in my sinus headache and I run back inside defeated.

2. Liquids
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard from my mom, ‘Drink more water!’ when I’m sick. So per her instructions, I am upping the liquids to flush out any bad stuff that I can.

3. Tea
The past couple days I’ve been drinking a variety pack of teas from Traditional Medicinals called Seasonal Herb. I don’t know if it’s all in my head but I’ve gotta tell you that i think these teas work better than anything else for relief! The pain goes away almost instantly. It comes back after a while but it’s nice for a time.

4. Fruits and Veggies
I’ve been slacking in the veggie and fruit department lately so I blame myself for the pollen getting to me. If I was eating lots of them, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten sick! I’ve fixed that mistake and am now getting in all those micronutrients to help me heal faster.

5. Saline Flush
Sometimes you’ve just gotta do it. No mater how gross you (I) think it is. Today I’ve been using the Simply Saline Mist but you can always go big and get a Neti Pot to get all that pollen out of your nose. Yum.

6. Drugs
If all else fails or I need more help, I’ll take some allergy medicine and pain killers. I’d rather not but goodness is a sinus headache uncomfortable or what?!

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I just realized that 3 out of the 6 things that I listed should be done on a regular basis! I regularly exercise but that isn’t enough when taking care of your body. Gotta keep up those good habits! #mmm

So this morning I didn’t want to get out of bed. I was afraid that I was even more sick. Much to my surprise the aches were gone and the sore throat was better! My sinuses are still bothering me but I’m going to keep up my regime until I’m well again (but stick with the water, tea, fruits, and veggies as I should).

Roary seems to be the only person/animal in the household that isn’t affected by the pollen… yet! Lucky duck.

Do you have any tips or tricks for getting over allergies or a cold? Any natural remedies?