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A Stress Free Activity

Both Michelle and I share our experiences with gardening.  It's a stress free activity and way to be outside and with nature.  Read more about how Michelle and I enjoy gardening.

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Digging in the Dirt

By Michelle Heryford 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors in my yard. The reason is twofold; I’m still working from home so escaping outside regardless of the weather has become my thing. But also, it’s spring, the weather is great, and gardens need tending. 

I have a little courtyard/patio area right outside my front door. I recommend everyone carve out a little seating area outside to read a book and enjoy a beverage. It doesn’t take much, a chair or two and anything you can balance a drink on as a table. It’s been getting warm and nice cool beverage is always welcomed. My beverage of choice lately is a from Escape Mocktails. Their sweet potato vodka is wonderful with orange juice. They actually have many wonderful flavors; I really like the Manhattan too.

Alcohol free sweet potato vodka

Once you’ve carved out your hang out spot if you really want to get with nature, just put in a little elbow grease and creativity and create a lush herb garden. Herb gardens are great because fresh herbs are wonderful to add to any meal and the beauty and fragrance of the plants are a bonus to the senses. A potting shelf filled with fresh herbs is a beautiful sight and you’d be surprised at how much usage you can get from fresh herbs. Besides adding basil and oregano to my spaghetti, I even put sprigs of mint in my lemonade and practically every dish needs a little parsley as a garnish.

Our yard is small, I don’t really have an area that I can devote to a garden, so I used pots instead. A potted herb garden is perfect for those in apartments or condos too. I also wanted instant results, so I went to the produce section of my supermarket (I love this tip because I didn’t have to make a special trip to the nursery) and picked up starter plants of basil, mint, oregano, and parsley for just $2.99 each. I came home and potted them using a potting soil with nutrients and I placed them on a potting shelf in my backyard.  They will also thrive on a windowsill in your home. It’s so nice to be able to grab my scissors and snip fresh herbs for my drinks and meals.

I used some of the tomatoes a neighbor grew and shared along with my fresh basil to make these adorable little pizzas. I tried to get the tomatoes and basil to look like cherries. If you look real hard and maybe squint a little you might see it. Lol. This was really easy to make. I used ready-made pizza crusts, added pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese. Then I sliced the tomatoes in half, placing the cut side down. I used the basil leaves and stems as the “cherry” leaves and stems. It’s just a cute little example of how delicious herbs and homegrown veggies can be used to enhance meals. Digging in the dirt is good for you and definitely therapeutic, also the sense of pride you’ll get when you see your plants thriving is real. Time to get some dirt under your fingernails.

Pizza

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Gardening, One of My Stress Free Activities

by Natalie Jones

I come from a gardening family!  All of us have flowers in bloom, spend time on the weekend in the yard and have fun planting a variety of plants. I've started to involve my daughter in the gardening activities and I can tell she also enjoys being outside and watching the flowers grow. It's been fun to come home with different plants and watch the blooms. Recently, it was an orange Iceland poppy flowers. I love the delicate petals and the flowers remind me of springtime as a child.

I've been replanting areas in both the front and backyard. Being out in the garden is for sure a stress free activity for me. In the front, I had overgrown rosemary plants.  The herb is great as a ground cover and for cooking. The herb is my favorite in dishes like lamb and other Mediterranean foods.  The rosemary went wild so I had to take it out.  I planted more succulents, cactus and colorful plants. I keep things more low maintenance in the front yard.  For the backyard, I've updated some plants in pots with more colorful blooms.  From the dining table, I can see outside. I wanted to see more colorful plants.  Seeing bright, colorful areas makes me happy! See a picture of the colorful blooms I have below.

Like Michelle, I have an herb garden. I've had mint that keeps coming back each year. That stuff is so easy to grow! I have 3 different types of mint. The mint is great for snipping off for photos in mocktails.  I also have oregano, basil and rosemary.  Herbs are a great way to add flavor to things you are eating and drinking.

We made our version of homemade pizza and I added basil and Italian seasoning to mine.  My daughter is a little picky with food flavors so I made my own pizza sauce. It was so easy too!  I took tomato sauce and tomato paste and mixed the two together until I came up with a thicker sauce.  For her sauce I just added salt. Since the tomato sauce and paste had no other added ingredients I didn't have to worry about the flavor being something she didn't like. 

We also like to make mini pizzas so these crescent rolls are perfect since they are small!  I use them like pizza dough and they come out more flakey.  Instead of rolling up the dough, I just flatten it out and cook it for a few minutes. Then, I top it with the sauce and toppings. It's also fun to have my daughter in the kitchen cooking with me. She's a great helper and a good way to introduce her to different types of food and cooking.  Cooking is also a stress free activity for me!

For our mini pizzas, I enjoy an alcohol free Lagunitas

 



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