Happy July! Was your Independence holiday a whirlwind of food, festivities and family? The actual day of the 4th was relatively low-key for us. I made a simple meal and an icebox cake for dessert.
Have you had icebox cake? If you know me, you know desserts don’t turn my head. I’m just not a big sweets lover in general, but I do love simple, throw-together desserts like icebox cake. It’s layers of cookies, creamy filling, whipped cream (non-dairy in my case) and oh, so good!
I’ll add the recipe here for you soon because it’s too good not to share.
It reminds me of the steamy Southern summers growing up. The older I get, the more I gravitate toward the simple things. Those are the things I seem to remember most. Those are things we shouldn’t let pass us by.
One of my daily goals is to try to be in the moment as much as possible. It is a challenge because we all have work, family, life demands, but if we don’t strive to stop and embrace the simple moments in every day, we miss the joy of living and we get off balance.
THIS WEEK with Gigi – 7 July 2017
This is not sponsored content. It’s just me chatting with you about what’s going on each week. Make it a two-way convo by commenting!
Maintaining balance is the reason I enjoyed all the icebox cake I wanted on July 4th, then kept my food focus to mostly plants and eggs the rest of the week. I’m eating eggs again right now, so when I’m eating them, I tend to have them in some form almost every day. When I’m not eating them, I use these alternatives in my baking. Although with temps in the high 80s and low 90s here in Atlanta, there’s not much baking going on.
That’s likely why the six new recipes I’m making next week for the Ingles Table are virtually no cook. Only one of them is a dessert, so there are some delicious summer savory dishes coming your way soon! I’ll share the behind the scenes next week on Instagram so be sure to come say “hi” over there!
I’m using some herbs from my patio container herb garden for those new Ingles Table dishes, too! I finally harvested lemongrass, and let me tell you, even if you don’t use it in your cooking, the aromatherapy experience from the harvest alone is worth growing some.
That’s a bunch of pineapple sage just above the lemongrass stalk in the photo above. I ran out this morning in between rain showers to snap some garden pics to show you.
Both of these are tall growing plants. The lemongrass is about 3 feet tall from dirt to tip of leaves. It gets a bit wild like grasses tend to do, so keep that in mind if you grow some. Next year, I’ll grow only one plant because I don’t use it that often and it is very easy to grow. I grew way too much lemongrass this year!
Pineapple sage is much the same – easy to cultivate, large plants and way too much in my garden. It’s great on grilled fish or tossed into a summer fruit salsa.
What I never seem to have enough of is mint. After not growing any of my own for a few years, and paying far too much for fresh mint when I needed some, I invested in a single plant this season. So far, it’s been more than enough for garnishes, recipes and cocktails. Isn’t it satisfying to step out back and pinch a sprig of fresh herbs that you grew for a recipe? It’s the little things, indeed.
What’s less impressive than anything else in our patio containers this year is the verbena. They are finicky plants, seem to love water and aren’t the most prolific bloomers. I think these would be better in another location, perhaps even in masses in a garden bed in the yard. Any ideas on best places to plant verbena?
While this plant isn’t edible, it is by far my favorite new (to me) find of the season. The pink leaves swayed me, and thankfully once I got these home in the early spring, I realized I had the perfect semi-shady spot in a corner on the patio for them.
I snapped a pick of the ID tag because I knew I wouldn’t remember hypoestes other than it rhymes with testes, but that’s not a lot of help at the garden center.
Some leaves are almost completely pink, while others are more green. It’s a gorgeous plant and a great way to have color with foliage only.
Probably most impressed with the ginger. This is a weird angle, but you can see it’s looking great, putting on lots of leaves and even has two new plant shoots down near the root. Next month should be a good time for harvest, so I’m excited to see how that goes! (That’s germander to the left of the ginger.)
I totally stalled on reading anything other than empirical research articles last week. I was working on new content and the science prevailed. I hope to get back to all the books, but particularly to the Chopra book. It is a tedious read. Have you read or watched anything on the controversy around Chopra’s liberal use of “quantum” notions? Scientists have been irritated with Chopra for a long time, but this book seems to have led to new levels of frustration. It’s fun to listen to both sides, step back and draw your own conclusions based on your own context and knowledge base.
Flexibility and lymphatic massage have been my focus this week. If you ever talk to me more than twice, chances are you’ll hear me go on about how important flexibility is for everyone, but especially as our bodies mature. Yoga is part of most days for me, but just general stretching is, too.
My morning routine starts before I get out of bed with my “lying down” stretches to wake up my body. Before I go downstairs, I do a very short and simple whole body stretch routine to get my large muscles engaged and to align my spine and hips. We ask a lot of our bodies during the day, so it makes sense that we set it up for success at handling all the movement and tasks ahead.
I take mini stretch breaks during the day, too, then again at the end of the day, whenever I can be free of my desk work for the evening, I take another stretch break that’s a bit longer, maybe 20 minutes. It’s my decompression stretch time and is more free-form. The pets know when I go into the meditation room upstairs at the end of the day that it’s stretching time. They come gather around and stretch with me!
What’s the point of telling you this? A couple points I hope you take away are:
1 – There’s a different level of fitness for different times (and different people).
2 – Mini sessions are just as good as lengthy sessions of body work.
3 – Fitness, flexibility and yoga have made such a difference in my everyday life in achieving life balance, I want to share it with anyone who is interested in fine-tuning their life. It’s always a work in progress, but no progress is ever made without effort. Amen.
Speaking of progress, I made great strides this week sorting out some information I’ve been wanting to share with you.
I’ve been exploring the Nima Sensor and the science behind it. It’s always interesting to me to get past the hearsay and get to the science of something like this device. Facts are the way to go when it comes to our gluten-free life, our health and really, everything else!
I have several pieces to share with you on the sensor, so watch for that. Email goes out tomorrow, so if you’re not on the list, sign up here.
Meantime, remember to put your planning aside now and then to take in all that’s going on around you and embrace this glorious life!
’til next week…