Blog Renovation ~ Currently In Progress

Just a brief post to say, if you are visiting today, Saturday, August 30th, 2013.... and this blog looks to be a mess, and I mean more of a mess than its normal visual clutter, keep calm and come back in a few days to visit again.

I hope to have a much cleaner, more visually appealing blog for my readers then!

9/1/13 UPDATE
Ok, so I've got a new banner now (woohoo!), a new layout and a new domain that better reflects who I am, who we are. The cartoon Oz Girl banner is gone and the only vestige of Oz Girl is the profile icon to the right. I mean, I'm still Oz Girl, right?! So I have to keep something. Over the next week or so, I plan to add more pages and I've got some great post ideas also. I'm returning to the blog world with gusto!  :-)

A Wee Bit o' Garden Bounty

Cucumbers, Garden Salsa peppers, and Mexican Gherkins
... oh, and two jalapeno peppers!

I've already made some refrigerator dill pickles, and I'll be making some salsa in the next few days.  I've never made my own salsa before, so I'll let you know how it turns out and what recipe I end up using!

Mexican Gherkins aka "Watermelon Cucumber"

Other nicknames: mouse melon, cucamelon, sandita, Mexican sour cucumber, Mexican sour gherkin, Mexican miniature watermelon.

~ in my garden ~

And trust me, these really ARE miniature!  They are about 1" to 2" when ripe, about the size of grapes. Small perhaps, but utterly adorable.  Delicious to eat right off the vine.  The taste is commonly described as cucumber with a citrus finish.  These are perfect as salad toppers, and can also be pickled.

~ in my hand ~

A friend at work gave me 3 starter plants.  With all the rain we've had this year, those 3 little plants took off like crazy.  I wish I would have given them a taller support to climb - as it is, I only put a foot high border fence in the garden for them to wrap their little tendrils around, so now they are spreading out in all directions, intermingling with the other cucumber plants and pumpkins.

~ our jungle garden ~

I highly recommend planting some of these in your garden next year, if only for the cute factor!

Where to buy:
Rare Seeds
Territorial Seed
Seed Savers Exchange

Additional photos of Mexican Gherkins:
Dave's Garden
Garden Betty (I really like her blog too!)
Gradually Greener
Sutton's Seeds (check out picture #2- shows how trendy these little guys are!)

A New {Healthier} Food Journey

Another summer is almost over.  A very rainy summer indeed!  So hard to imagine, when our last 2 summers have been intensely dry and drought-laden. Now the pond is overfilled, and our pastures are bright green.  In August.  Yes, hard to believe!

While the rains have been falling and keeping our land lush this summer, I've embarked on a new food journey, a more healthy food adventure.

There are several notable moments that have sent me down this road. Remarkably, none of those moments included any health catastrophes for me, personally.  I think it's more of an awareness of my age and as I look around me, I see others in my age bracket who have health issues or scares, and that has motivated me to be more proactive.

There's a few books that have contributed to my newfound knowledge.  Among them, Anticancer: A New Way of Life and Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health.

These two books have what I call "aha" information. They were definitely "aha" moments for me as I read them, but above all else, they made sense. Common sense and logic tells us that vegetables, fruits, and wholesome meats are the natural way for us to eat.  And so I'm striving to eat more nutritious foods so that I will feel better, more energetic and alive, every single day.

There's also an excellent video on YouTube about fructose - Sugar, The Bitter Truth.  It's 90 minutes long, and it took me a few weeks to carve out time to watch it. I can't say enough how well worth your time it is to watch this video. Schedule a time when you can - I don't think you'll regret it.

I've always known that I feel better when I eat the right foods, and exercise too. But like most people, I fall prey to the ever present media frenzy -- the commercials that glamorize the pretzel dog (Sonic), the newest yum foods at the supermarket, etc.

It's hard for us to keep away from those foods.  There's a feel-good factor, a comfort associated with those foods.

We're creatures of habit. We eat the things we grew up with, and we also eat the things that are quick and easy due to our busy lives. So it's often difficult to eat the right things, because they taste different and because they are often more time consuming to fix.

I'm not going to sit here and say that everything I have read, or everything I am doing, is 100% the right way.  I'm not perfect and neither is anyone else who has written a book or blog about nutritious foods.

But we're trying, there's a lot of good dialog out there, and surely we are doing better than we have over the past 25 or 50 years, right?!  In eliminating the pre-packaged foods, the fast foods,  the wheat and the fructose, aren't we headed in the right direction in taking better care of our bodies?

To pique your interest, I want to include a link to an amazing grain-free recipe, over-the-top delicious carrot cupcakes.  Trust me here -- you simply MUST try this recipe.  I've already received unanimous approval from 2 of the grandkids (and this before they were frosted!) and hands-down "delicioso" from co-workers.  You can find most of the ingredients at any healthy food store in your area -- almond flour, coconut flour, coconut oil, etc.

Perhaps a bit rough looking - but awesomely yummy!

While you're checking out the recipe, also browse the Nourished Kitchen website and Carrie Vitt's website, Deliciously Organic.  Two good places to start when you want to find nutritious recipes for your new healthy lifestyle.

I'll keep today's post short, but I look forward to discussing this topic more in the months to come, and I hope it opens my reader's minds to consider changing up the way they nourish their bodies also.

P.S.  The puppies are growing like weeds.  Updated pictures, and possibly some video, to come soon!