Tuesday Things

1. This is the first year I’ve had a successful garden!

picked tomatoes in a bowl

We don’t have a ton of room in our apartment complex for a full vegetable garden, but I’m very pleased with how my organic cherry tomato plant seems to be thriving. Each week, I’m able to collect a bowl of ripe cherry tomatoes for my salads, and they taste amazing.

I’ve also attempted to grow a red bell pepper plant, but the first (and only) pepper of the year so far has been teeny-tiny. I’m hoping it will have better luck next time…

2. I found a flea on my dog for the first time in years.

homemade flea control in a spray bottle

Fleas don’t seem to be very common in Southern California, so I haven’t had to worry about them since we lived in the Midwest. I’m hoping this was just a fluke, but to be on the safe-side I tried making my own homemade Flea Control, using therapeutic-grade essential oils mixed in a carrier oil. I can’t bring myself to put any of those flea chemicals or pesticides on my small dog, so I’ve been relieved to find that this homemade remedy seems to be working. Plus, Yasha smells great!

I used a mix of DoTerra’s peppermint, lavender and tea tree oils, all of which are thought to be pest deterrents. (Thanks to Laura for sending me the oil samples!) I also filled a spray bottle with the same oils, diluted in water, and sprayed it over our carpets and furniture to make sure there aren’t any critters being tracked around the house. Wouldn’t that be perfect before welcoming a new baby? Yikes.

3. I’ve been attempting to make homemade fruit snacks, with little luck so far.

container of great lakes unflavored gelatin

I was trying to make a vegetarian version, using agar agar, but the texture just isn’t right! So, I decided to try experimenting with some grass-fed gelatin this week. I was surprised to read that there may be some pretty cool health benefits associated with consuming high-quality gelatin, including:

  • It may help tighten loose skin (i.e. after weight loss or pregnancy)
  • It may improve digestion
  • It may help reduce the appearance of cellulite
  • A good source of dietary collagen (helps with skin elasticity)
  • May be good for joint health
  • A source of protein

Since many of these benefits are especially helpful for pregnant women, I’ve been trying to find ways to add gelatin in my diet without resorting to eating fruit snacks daily. I first tried it dissolved in hot water, like a tea… and I nearly gagged. Gelatin doesn’t have much of a flavor or scent, but it definitely needs *something* to hide in. So, I’ve been dissolving it into my favorite chia pudding! Since the pudding is a bit gelatinous on its own, the gelatin is 100% undetectable. Whew.

For more ideas on how to use gelatin, check out these tips from Wellness Mama!

4. I got a new “chair” for my home office.

blue exercise bowl

My tailbone is starting to suffer from working at a desk all day long, so I finally decided to try sitting on an exercise ball for part of the time. I can already feel it improving my posture, and as an added bonus, I’ll hopefully be able to use this ball during labor next month.

5. My house smells like Fall spices already.

grain-free ginger cookies

I’ve been working on my Fall recipes early this year, so that the blog will remain up and running even when I’m on maternity leave. My latest experiment has been with vegan buckwheat-based ginger cookies, but they keep turning out more like a cake than a cookie. Since I’ve already perfected the Grain-Free Ginger Cookie (which is also vegan), I may just dive into making some gingerbread bars or cakes instead.

It’s a good thing I really like Fall spices…

Reader Feedback: Have you tried anything new this week?

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Comments

Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl

I tried your cashew cream this week and I’m dipping baby carrots into it as I type! It is beyond delicious! congrats on the garden…. there is nothing like a garden tomato.

Lisa

Congrats on the successful garden! I’ve been attempting to make one, but yah – totally not happening.
I’ve been thinking of experimenting with the gelatin but am still unsure about it for some reason. All the health benefits are hard to ignore though.

    Megan

    The gelatin still freaks me out a bit, too! But, I figure it’s worth a shot. ๐Ÿ™‚

Chelsea @ Fiori Beauty

Hi Meagan,
Just a quick tip on the gelatin – since you can’t stomach it in warm water alone try making some of these marshmallows from Purely Twins – they have several flavors and versions but check out the link below.

http://purelytwins.com/2013/07/18/how-to-make-homemade-marshmallows/

~Chelsea

    Megan

    Thanks for sharing!

Abbey Volcano

Sorry, but what exactly is the “pretty cool health benefit” of “reducing the appearance of cellulite”??

Didn’t think I’d see body-shaming on this blog. Sucks.

    Megan

    Perhaps it’s not a health benefit, but I wouldn’t go so far to call mentioning a potential reduction in cellulite as “body shaming.”

      Abbey Volcano

      Thanks so much for what I thought would be an apology to the people on here without tight, smooth skin.

        Megan

        Most people I know, including myself, don’t have perfectly smooth skin. Nothing wrong with that! However, I still don’t consider mentioning a product that has numerous health benefits, including improved skin tone, should be considered body shaming. In that case, mentioning almost anything healthy would fall into that category, since most healthy foods and lifestyle habits do lead to weight loss and improved skin tone.

          Abbey Volcano

          Nice dodge.

          Abbey Volcano

          Also, no. I did not say mentioning the product was insulting. I said insinuating that clearing up cellulite is a **health benefit** is consistent with body shaming. It is. If you want to mention that it might clear that up, fine, but don’t call that a health benefit, as if tho cellulite-free skin is somehow more healthy.

          Megan

          I definitely didn’t mean to imply that cellulite-free skin is healthier, so I apologize if you were offended. I have cellulite myself, and I obviously didn’t read into this post the same way you did.

          Paula

          I think some people are unnecessarily sensitive and defensive about their own body image and as a consequence you have been dealt an unwarranted attack. I’m not toned and far from the level of fitness I once had, or would like to achieve, but do consider lack of cellulite to be a sign of health as cellulite is a sign of toxicity in the body. Who in their right mind wants to maintain cellulite?! Keep up the great work.

          Megan

          Thanks, Paula. In my experience, switching to healthier habits can absolutely lead to a decreased appearance of cellulite, so in that case, it can be associated with health– at least on a self-comparison basis.

Ashley C.

Can you please share the recipe for the homemade flea control spray? I’d like to stop using the chemicals on my dog, and would love an alternative. Thanks!

    Megan

    I wasn’t able to find an exact recipe, so I just added about 3 drops of each oil into 1 oz. of olive oil. (My dog is only 20lbs, so I wanted to err on the side of using too little, rather than too much!) I have been using the same 1 oz. of oil for about a month now, so you don’t need much when you apply– depending on the size of your dog, that is.

    Oh, and this is definitely for dogs only! I’ve heard that essential oils may be dangerous for cats.

    For the spray bottle, I used about 10 drops of each oil, and diluted it in 8 oz. of water.

tayler

love the pictures of your tomatoes ! I’ve been attempting to make my thumb “greener”. but I’m up against a lot of challenges- a mix of windy condo balcony + small space & miami beach’s scorching weather. I was successful with my tomato plant but it only yielded about 4 total !

Are you planting them in soil pots with seeds ? or are you using pre-made planters? I would love to try growing bell peppers

    Megan

    I’ve had the WORST luck with starting from seeds, so this year I “cheated” and started with small organic plants from a local nursery. They’ve grown like crazy! Our apartment has built-in planters, so they are like extra-deep window boxes.

Alexis @ Hummusapien

Those are some seriously red tomatoes! I’ve been in the mood for fall spices too…including loads of apple butter and almond butter on toast! Can’t wait for more buckwheat recipes ๐Ÿ™‚ PS–love the idea of sitting on an exercise ball. I have a really bad back, so I think that would do wonders for my posture.

Christina @ The Beautiful Balance

LOVE that you made homemade flea repellent. I hope to read that it is working and your pup will not require additional treatment!

josie

This week I have been using my new veggie spiralizer. It’s so awesome! I made the raw “pad thai” from the Fresh Energy Cookbook. It was delicious!

Michaela

You have to make gelatin treat it is so so good
http://balancedbites.com/2013/07/easy-recipe-sweet-sour-gummy-gelatin-snacks.html

I can not get enough also my daughter love it it so good

Nancy A.

Love all your recipes and tips!! Thank you for such a wonderful, helpful site. I always read yours first from top to bottom!! Very informative,

Laura

The gelatin in the green container is soluble in cold liquid and won’t gel things. I actually purchased it by accident but now I put it in coffee and hot tea and I can’t tell it’s there.

    Megan

    That’s good to know!

Jackie

I also use the gelatin in the green container. I mix it in my coffee and tea as well. I have had incredible improvement in joint pain and feel great. I take one tablespoon in my evening tea and it helps me sleep better. I purchased the red one as well, but haven’t tried using it yet.

Linda Wagner

your tomatoes look DIVINE!!! Congrats on your bounty!! xoxo

Jen

I hope you post your recipe for fruit “gummies” using gelatin. I also read about using agar and wondered how well this turns out. I was happy to be able to find that gelatin brand locally in one natural foods store. I really want to try the fruit gummy treats. Great idea to incorporate it into chia pudding – you often seem to have some unique way of using ingredients. You also got me interested in using buckwheat and I recently made a couple batches of chocolate chip cookies using 1 cup almond flour, 1 cup almond flour from almond pulp after being dehydrated (in an oven at 225 degrees) and about 3/4 of cup of buckwheat flour. I really like the addition of buckwheat flour both for flavor and also cutting down on the almond flour. I’m looking forward to using more buckwheat in different applications. Thanks!

Jen

One more thing. I haven’t yet purchased gelatin. I have read about it’s health benefits for a little while now, but there is something a little off-putting about gelatin as you and another commenter mentioned. I was vegan for a short time and I still have some issues with eating certain animals products and I guess beef gelatin is one, but then again at least the whole animal is being utilized. And…I have always enjoyed the chewier texture of gummy type treats (some not so healthy but some healthier ones too) which contain gelatin, so it’s not like I’ve never consumed it before.

Also congrats on your garden! It’s so fun and satisfying to watch plants grow when they are doing well. I recently moved and have a much better space for a garden and my tomato and other plants are doing well. Starting from seed takes a lot effort. I find great little starter plants at the farmer’s market. ๐Ÿ™‚

Laura @ Gluten Free Pantry

Hi Megan,

Your tomatoes look fabulous! I’m so glad you are liking the essential oils and found a natural treatment for your dog. I’ve been playing around with grass-fed gelatin myself lately and recently made these Strawberry Lemonade Fruit Snacks which my kids really love: http://laurasglutenfreepantry.com/2013/07/strawberry-lemonade-fruit-snacks-gluten-free-dairy-free-paleo.html

Have a great week!

Kim

We’ve had fleas every summer since we’ve lived in So Cal and our dogs are on Trifexis! I don’t get it. We use neem oil shampoo on them and put coconut oil in their food to help with their itchies.

Gina Marie

Your tomatoes look awesome. If you live in a condo, I would suggest garden growing containers from Mr. Stacky. I can’t believe how well my strawberries and basil are doing in this planter. I wish I would’ve bought more.
It’s sold on amazon as well.

http://www.mrstacky.com/

Emily

I love your site and rarely comment, but wanted to share this product that I have been trying…

http://www.bulletproofexec.com/bulletproof-upgraded-collagen/

It’s great and dissolves easily in plain water. Good if you are looking for an “easier” to take alternative to the brand of gelatin you’ve been using.

thanks for all the great recipes and inspiration!

Erin

Love your posts and recipes! I have a small comment to add about the Great Lakes gelatin brand. I recently started the AIP diet for health reasons and have noticed gelatin is used a lot, so I thought I would give it a try. After being a vegetarian for 12 years I wanted to make sure I could feel comfortable with the brand since it would be a big step for me. I looked into the Great Lakes brand because it is the top recommended brand but I honestly don’t feel confident in them. They note that their gelatin is from grass-fed cattle and Kosher but those don’t necessarily mean pasture raised or humanely treated (prior to slaughter) which are a pretty big deal to me. After some more searching I found Vital Proteins brand. It looks like they put in the effort to ensure the cattle are pasture raised and treated well. http://www.vitalproteins.com/frequently-asked-questions

Just thought I’d share! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Megan Gilmore

    Thanks for sharing, Erin! It’s funny you mention Vital Proteins because I just ordered a bottle yesterday to try! I think their company sounds great, too.

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