My accomplishment this week was finally getting my vegetable garden in. As most of you know – and is obvious from the set change in my videos – I moved in late March. The backyard of my new abode is a bit of a jungle and I’ve been slowly working on taming it.
One of my first priorities was to plot out a space for my vegetable garden. I picked an area with great sun exposure, and made a deal with my sister to share the rent on a rototiller from Home Depot to till up both our yards. I borrowed her little vintage Toyota pickup truck and, after refreshing my ability to drive a stick shift, ventured off to pick it up.
Disclaimer: I have never used a rototiller before in my life. I’ve had the good fortune of living in places where there were beds already defined and have just never had the need to cut through sod. Until now.
I enlisted the help of my 18 year old son by bribing him with the promise of some much needed new jeans. He and I listened attentively as the man at Home Depot showed us how to use the rototiller and showed us the pin in the back behind the tines, explaining that you raise or lower it depending on how deep you want the tines.
As we drove home with our prize securely loaded in the bed of the truck, I looked at my son and mused that this shouldn’t take long at all – we would raise the pin all the way up to get the tines down deep into the ground, and the tiller was so wide it should take only 2 passes to get the length of the bed done. Easy cheesy!
So we unloaded the beast into the backyard, raised the pin up, primed the motor and started it up. The motor growled and roared to life. My son grasped the handle and gingerly pressed down on the drive bar. Suddenly the tiller raced forward, pulling him from his feet and sending him flying about 8 feet through the air before it came to a stop when he finally released the handle.
I laughed nervously, hysterical at the sight of my tall, thin son launching through the air but relieved that he didn’t land in the spinning tines and hurt himself. For the next attempt, we both grabbed the handle, pulling back and pushing down on the tines with all our strength. But it was to no avail as the beast again tried to run off with both of us hanging on.
I called my dad out of desperation and asked what we were doing wrong. He patiently explained that the pin in the back, that we had raised all the way up, needed to be all the way down to start with as it should dig into the earth and slow the tiller down. Then we needed to raise it up gradually, making multiple passes over the same area until the tines reached their maximum depth. The guy at Home Depot kind of left that part out.
So I followed my dad’s instructions, and of course it worked. Isn’t dad always right? An hour (and I don’t know how many passes) later the bed was tilled. My son and dad later dug 3 boxes into the freshly tilled bed and I have now filled them up with carrots, green beans, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, lettuce, and, for decoration, some random flowers.
Now I water and I wait for those delicious, fresh morsels of summer.
Tip of the Week
Put Some Muscle Into It
In my previous dieting life, where I would occasionally try another fad diet and randomly engage in a fitness routine, I always focused on cardio activity. After all, cardio is what gets your heart rate up and burns those dreadful calories. I tended to shy away from strength building activities because my time at the gym was limited, I didn’t think it was important to my weight loss routine, and I didn’t want the added weight of muscle bulk anyway. Does that sound familiar to anyone?
The truth is, strength building exercise is just as important to weight loss efforts as cardio is. Muscle actually helps you burn fat more efficiently. Additionally, while muscle may weigh the same as fat, it is leaner and more compact on the human body. A woman weighing 150 pounds with 19% body fat is going to look a lot thinner than a woman weighing the same weight with 35% body fat.
So add some weight to your exercise routine and make sure you are doing strength exercises 3 times a week.
Recipe of the Week
Roasted Lemon Asparagus
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 lemon, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 1 pound fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed
- 1 oz. shredded parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice. Toss with the asparagus and lemon slices with the oil/juice mixture. Arrange in a single layer on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and bake for 5 more minutes or until the cheese is golden and the asparagus is roasted through.Serving Size: Makes 3 servings
Nutritional Information: Calories 115.3, Total Fat 7.3g, Cholesterol 8.3mg, Sodium 89.8mg, Total Carbs 8.2g, Dietary Fiber 3.2g, Protein 6.8g
Balsamic Glazed Albacore Tuna Steaks
- 3 raw albacore tuna steaks – 4 oz. each
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup clear, salt-free vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 400.Season each side of the tuna steaks with the salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add the tuna steaks and sear for 1 minute on each side. Drizzle 3 tbsp of the balsamic vinegar over the tuna steaks (1 tbsp per steak). Add the red wine, increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil then let the wine reduce down by about half.
Add the rosemary, garlic and vegetable broth to the pan. Turn off the stove and move the skillet to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes or until the tuna is cooked through – be careful not to overcook.
Remove from the oven and transfer the tuna steaks to a platter, reserving the liquid in the pan. Heat the pan on medium heat on your stovetop, adding the remaining 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil and reduce down by about half, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
Serve the tuna steak drizzled with the balsamic reduction from the pan and a sprinkling of the Italian parsley.
Serving Size: Makes 3 servings, 1 steak per person
Nutritional Information: Calories 245.3, Total Fat 11.7g, Cholesterol 0.0mg, Sodium 384.4mg, Total Carbs 4.5g, Dietary Fiber 0.2g, Protein 25.2g