Archives for September 2012

Fall Gardening in the Piedmont – Tess’ Till-less Style

Fall Gardening in the Piedmont – Tess’ Till-less Style

This is such a lovely time of the year in the Piedmont!  The heat and humidity is gone (for the most part) having been replaced by cooler temperatures and lovely fall colors.

Time to get into gear with your fall gardening chores and planting.  My garden is  on my front lawn and I use, what I like to call, Tess’ till-less method.

I am pleased and quite surprised I had some kale that actually made it through the long, hot summer.  Look at those beautiful green, 100% ORGANIC leaves.   These babies are flourishing once again and there is nothing better than fresh sauteed kale, as well as baked kale chips!

 I planted this kale several weeks ago~

As you can see, it is coming right along!!!  You can also see a very healthy thyme plant to the left, zinnias in the center and beautiful basil on the right!!!  I have made pesto galore this summer and frozen the excess- yea, me! 😉

The plants love this time of year and are thriving in this cooler climate.  Check out my mixed lettuces…I planted them in the shade of my okra plants which has worked out nicely.

Keep in mind that I use the till-less method of gardening.  I don’t even own a tiller.

See this post for more information on this method:
Note:  There is a similar method that suggests you add up to 24″ of green and brown materials; however, I have found that mine does just as well with about 10″ – 12 ” because you add to/rebuild your rows/layers each spring.

Let me know if you have any questions.  It is the easiest method of gardening I have ever tried and IT WORKS!!!!

 Happy Fall, Y’all!!! 🙂

Crazy Good Sangria Recipe for Fall

Crazy Good Sangria Recipe for Fall

I am sooooo excited!  It’s that time of year again…

I am talking about cool, crisp air and evenings sitting outside by the fire sipping one of my all time favorite sangria treats!!!  I made this for the first time last year for a family gathering and it was a HUGE hit!!!

Crazy Good Honeycrisp Apple Sangria:

2 Honeycrisp apples
One 750-milliliter bottle
unoaked Chardonnay
1/3 C. peach Schnapps
1/4 C. pisco (I could not find this so
I used a bit more peach schnapps)
1/4 C. honey (Orange Blossom Honey
worked beautifully)
2 oranges- 1 quartered
1 lemon – quartered
1 lime – quartered
2 cinnamon sticks
2 quarter-size slices of fresh ginger
3 whole cloves
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
Club soda (used ginger ale)
Mint sprigs – for garnish

Peel, core and chop one of the apples. In a bowl, combine the Chardonnay, Schnapps, pisco (if you can’t find just add in more Schnapps) and honey. Add the quartered orange, the lemon, lime, cinnamon sticks, the chopped apple, ginger and cloves and refrigerate at least 4 hours. (I let mine sit overnight.)

Strain the sangria into a pitcher. Peel, core and finely chop the remaining apple. Peel, section and chop the remaining orange. Mix the apple and orange in a bowl.

On a small plate, blend the sugar and cinnamon. Moisten the rims of wine glasses with an orange slice and dip in the cinnamon sugar to coat. Fill the glasses with ice. Pour in the sangria until three-quarters full. Top with a splash of club soda (ginger ale). Garnish with a spoonful of the chopped apple and orange and a mint sprig.

AMAZING!!!!  If you have a favorite fall sangria recipe please share it with me – one can never have too many sangria recipes!!!! 🙂

Coconut Oil and Cholesterol

Coconut Oil and Cholesterol

Can coconut oil lower cholesterol?  I have gotten this question a lot as of late so when I ran across this article from People’s Pharmacy I knew I had to share:

People’s Pharmacy ( )

Q. The secret for lowering my hubby’s cholesterol about 100 points was to eliminate all unnatural oils.

I wouldn’t allow him to take the medications. I’d been brainwashed about using vegetable oils years ago and they made his cholesterol numbers worse.

Finally I decided we would go all natural. I’d hoped that adding all these saturated oils would lower his numbers, and they did!

We use only organic oils–coconut, palm, olive, butter and regular rice bran oil. I also save the drippings from our organic bacon to use in cooking. I make mayonnaise using almond oil or other natural oils such as avocado. I have a wand blender that makes it easy to whip up the mayo in a jar.

The other benefits of eating these natural oils is that it does wonders for our skin. I’m 66 and people often comment on how good my skin looks. I don’t use commercial creams either.

A. Avoiding trans fats found in shortening and some commercial mayonnaise can help get cholesterol under control. It comes as a great shock to people to learn that saturated fats such as coconut or palm oil don’t necessarily raise cholesterol levels. We have been so accustomed to hearing that sat-fat is bad that we take it as an article of faith.

A study several years ago demonstrated that consuming palm oil did not raise blood lipids or LDL cholesterol (Archivos Latinoamericanos de Nutricion, Jun, 2002).

One study of medical students in Brazil suggested that palm oil might actually lower triglycerides (Nutrition, Jan. 2008).

Even more surprising was a study comparing dietary soybean oil to coconut oil. The group of women who were randomized to coconut oil had higher levels of good HDL cholesterol and a lower LDL:HDL ratio. They also had a better waist circumference after weeks of consuming coconut oil. Those consuming soybean oil experienced an increase in total cholesterol and LDL:HDL ratio and had reductions in good HDL cholesterol. The authors concluded, “It appears that dietetic supplementation with coconut oil does not cause dyslipidemia and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity.” (Lipids, July, 2009)

We recognize that this flies in the face of conventional dietary wisdom. Because we do not know exactly how your body will react to palm oil or coconut oil, we think the best approach is to pay attention to your lipids with periodic blood tests. That way you can track the approach that offers you the biggest benefit.

And there you have it!   You all know I am an avid supporter of coconut oil and the many positive results we have experienced since we started using it about two years ago.  Bottom line…we are all individuals…what works for one may not work for another so…give it a go and have your periodic blood tests to see how your body is reacting to it.  All I can tell ya is that it works for us!!!