Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Health Nuts

Monday Morning Post

Add nuts to your everyday diet and you'll be adding healthy (and delicious) dose of good health.

Brazils - One nut provides all the selenium you need in a day.

Cashews - Lots of protein and fiber. Rich in monounsaturated fat, potassium, B vitamins and folate.

Hazelnuts (also called Filberts) - Mega amounts of antioxidants - right up there with dark chocolate, red wine and concord grape juice.

Macadamias - Highest nut source of monounsaturated (good) fats.

Pecans - High fiber. Helps prevent gall stones, promotes prostrate health, and is said to aid in weight loss.

Peanuts - Not really a nut (actually a legume) but normally thought of as such. Highest protein content of any nut. Helps diabetics manage blood sugar levels and as an aid in weight loss.

Pistachios - Delay the empting of the stomach offering long term blood sugar control. Also a good source of plant sterols.

Walnuts - Rich in alpha-linolenic acid which promotes bone health, assists in diabetes management and weight control. Reduces breast tumor growth. Enhances brain and motor functions.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Plant a Mojito Garden

Monday Morning Post

A mojito (pronounced moe -he-toe) is a classic, Cuban, summer time cocktail that mixes fresh, garden mint with feisty rum and a smidge of lime - a kick off your shoes, relax on the porch concoction.

A few mint plants will keep you supplied all summer long. And, since mint is a perennial, you only have to plant it once. It will come back year after year to remind you that it's mojito time again!

How to Plant Mint

Mint is invasive. That means left unchecked, it will take over.

That's great if you have a large space and think of mint as a ground cover. But if your space is small, mint will crowd out other plants.

With a little thought and planning, mint can be contained and still grow abundantly in your garden.

Here's two ways to control mint before you plant:

1. Edge the Bed
Dig a trench around your mint bed that's 6 inches deep. Position a barrier in the trench that's at least 8 inches tall and back fill. You'll have 6 inches of the barrier under ground and 2 inches above ground as an edging.

The roots won't be able to grow past the barrier so the mint won't spread. Choose a barrier that won't decompose or break down easily. Rot resistant wood, plastic or composite are the best choices.

2. Plant in a Pot
Repot your mint plant into a container that's as wide in diameter as you want your mint patch to be and at least 6 inches deep.

Dig a hole in the garden that's a little bit bigger all around than your pot of mint. Put the whole thing (container and all) into the hole and back fill leaving at least 1 inch of the pot above ground as an edging. Mulch to hide the pot rim. As the mint grows, it will spread to the pot barrier and no farther.

The pot stays in the ground year round so choose a pot that won't decompose or break down easily like heavy plastic. Be sure the pot has a drain hole in the bottom but don't worry about roots that will eventually grow out of the bottom spreading your mint. They'll be too deep.


The Classic Cuban Mojito

Makes 1 drink

2 sprigs fresh mint (about 12 leaves)
1 tablespoon sugar
Juice of 1/2 a lime (about 2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 oz light (white) rum
Club soda
Garnish - fresh mint sprig and wedge of lime

In a bar shaker, muddle (crush) mint leaves and sugar. Stir in lime juice and rum. Pour into a tall glass that's been filled with crushed ice. Fill glass with club soda. Stir. Garnish with a lime wedge and sprig of mint.


Mexican Mojito - use tequila instead of rum
Dirty Mojito - use spiced rum and brown sugar instead of plain rum and white sugar
Apple Mojito - add a splash of apple liqueur along with the rum