I Just Don’t Understand This

August is National Ice Cream Sandwich, Watermelon, Oyster, Root Beer Float, Zucchini, Soft Ice Cream and Peach Pie Month. There are also days that celebrate Brownies at Brunch, Catfish, Panini, Peaches and Sandwiches, among many many others. But no tomatoes. NO TOMATOES?!!!

Actually, October is National Tomato Month. That hurts, since the best of the season is over and we’re all searching for that lost fried green tomato recipe, hoping to prolong the season just a bit longer. It’s good but just not the same.

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For me, August is my tomato month. It is on my daily menu at some point during the day – good at breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a mid-day snack. There isn’t a better time of the year to enjoy a delicious ripe tomato. Low in calories, rich in vitamins A and C and folic acid and an excellent source of nutrients and antioxidants. Fancy recipes aren’t needed. Eat them raw, mixed with other vegetables, in a fresh summer salad or cooked in a morning omelette. Slice and top with olive oil or basil or blue cheese or just salt and pepper. Rinse and just bite into one. Make your own mayonnaise, or not, bring your best bread to the table and make a sandwich, seasoned with just of bit of salt and pepper and maybe a few slices of crisp bacon. And what’s more refreshing on a hot day than a bowl of Gazpacho?

Having a bowl of ripe tomatoes on the counter will help make your summer meals healthy and delicious and you won’t believe how much time you’ll save. Take it easy in the kitchen. Keep it healthy, light, simple and tasty. No heat required…just lots of tomatoes!

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It Takes Me 23 Hours to Awake Refreshed

I have fought my body clock for years and, for much of my adult life, didn’t get enough sleep. I just wasn’t tired enough, or ready, to get to bed at a reasonable hour. And I really didn’t want to. I love the quiet peacefulness of the night. Take away my clock and I will stay up two or three hours after midnight and wake up mid-morning…not at all reasonable for someone who has to get up early in the morning!
Finally, I’ve found a solution to getting enough sleep and waking refreshed. Though it takes me 23 hours of preparation, it’s working for me.
See my latest article posted today on Huffington about How This Night Owl Copes in an Early Bird’s World.
Visit Bed Camp on FaceBook

Do You Love Your Job TOO Much?

It’s wonderful to have a job that you love. One that makes you happy and productive, with talented people you enjoy working with. A job that springs you out of bed early and pays you well. One that you don’t mind staying late for, giving up weekends for, hanging up your shoes for. One that is more satisfying than a good book, a creative hobby. One that reliably substitutes for family and friends and the potential for a romantic life. One that has taken possession of your life and soul and time and identity. Wait a minute….what?

If some things ring true, see my latest post – Do You Love Your Job Too Much? on Huffington

 

T-Time

T-Time. Not the kind you need clubs for. I’m talking about refreshing tea that is flavorful and iced and always seems to be in my hand during  the hot days of summer. We need to drink lots of fluids but water doesn’t satisfy the taste buds. Tea has enormous possibilities, as I’ve learned over the years. Look beyond the household staples and find a good decaffeinated tea to start with and be creative.

To my basic decaf tea, I’ll sometimes add a sprig of fresh rosemary to the brew. It’s savory and holds up to summer meals. Or, for a bit of citrus flavor, instead of adding a lemon or orange slice, I’ll pick a few leaves of lemon verbena – pictured below – from a plant in my courtyard and add it for a subtle bit of flavor. So delicious for a mid-afternoon respite. Mint, rose hips, lavender with chamomile…the choices are endless.IMG_3004

Lately, I’ve been brewing mint tea in bags. What a burst of flavor! This morning, I added green tea to the mint bag. I find green tea a bit bland, but appreciate its healthy attributes. Putting green tea in the mix is like hiding vegetables in the lasagna for the kids! It’s good for you, it’s in there, but it’s overshadowed by the primary flavor.

A good decaffeinated tea with lots of character won’t keep you up at night or dehydrate you and will eliminate or diminish the need for sweeteners. Who needs sugary soft drinks?

When I put the kettle on for my morning coffee, I fill it to the top to have enough boiling water to make the day’s iced tea. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to make it.

Visit your farmers’ market and local tea shops, or grow your own herbs and spices, and open your taste buds to some new and interesting combinations. Enjoy your T-Time. No clubs needed.

Start at Home

Planning summer escapes? Don’t forget to include some day or half-day trips close to home. Last weekend was glorious and a friend and I walked to the River and headed North. I ride my bike that way a lot, but that leaves a lot of the more interesting sites out of reach for the wheels.

In 80 blocks, I saw flora & fauna, wild life, beautiful and interesting sculptures, fabulous nooks with comfortable chairs that begged to be sat on, gorgeous views of the George Washington Bridge, people napping and picnicking or just sitting by the water with a book or a friend. There was free kayaking, the boat basin, lots of sail boats in the water, places to rent bikes, foMer-man - Version 2od carts and a cafe. And, as we got closer to Riverside Park, the grounds began to resemble Central Park. Lush trees. Woodsy vistas. Hills and ornamental steps and old monuments. And then there was that outdoor rehearsal we came upon, complete with a bearded man in a Victorian gown. What was so amazing was that the highway and cars and skyscrapers and the hectic city life was the distance of just one block away…and yet miles away in my mind.

With lots of stops to admire, explore and photograph, the five mile tour took about four hours, and that included a stop for lunch at the cafe. Though I pass through the area with some frequency, slowing down, taking closer looks and seeing everything a bit differently, I almost felt I was in a different state. We did take the subway back downtown, another benefit of NYC living. I came home relaxed, excited about some of the things we discovered and with many many good pictures to share. The total cost for two, for lunch and the subway home, was less than $25. An added benefit? Walking is good for your body and an enjoyable walk is good for your spirit.

New York isn’t the only city with surprises for its residents. Sit and think of interesting places in your vicinity that you pass by but never stopped to explore and learn more about.

Long weekend coming up. If you’re not leaving your town, think of what you can explore or revisit in it. Enjoy the day and don’t forget your camera!

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How Do You Want to Remember This Summer?

Summer seems to go by as quickly as winter drags on. Poof! It’s over and we wonder where it went and mourn the things we never got to do. That’s why it’s it’s so important to me to imagine in advance how I want to remember the season and make a plan to make it happen….

For more, visit my latest Bed Camp article on the Huffington Post.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jo-laird/mindfulness-practice_b_5509711.html

You Have to Check Out this Food Site

I love the freshness of summer meals. Living in New York, it’s hard to accomplish light summery meals in the middle of winter. So, I take advantage of every summer day to use the best of the season. Simple meals that let the flavors and colors shine, and that don’t take much time away from being outside, are my favorites. Over the years I’ve saved scored of treasured recipes, but that doesn’t stop me from looking for more.

Recently, I found a new web site chock full of my ideal summer foods. And, to make it even better, each recipe features the most delicious pictures in it’s step-by-step directions. Needless to say, it’s been bookmarked. So far my favorite is the Rocket Pizza, though there are many many runners-up.

These aren’t meals just for the summer. Cooler (and outright) cold weather will be here soon enough and there are many I’ve got on my list to make. I already have visions of making the Drunken Noodles. What all have in common is how good they look and how easy to prepare….and those wonderful pictures.

Here’s the web address. Bookmark it for a source of great, easy, tasty beautiful meals!

Bon Appétit!

Hungry & Tired

A Guide for Quick and Delicious Dinners