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Posted By Susan Bernhardt

In the summer when Kay was young, at each visit to her grandparent's home, she took the obligatory weekly tour of her grandmother's well maintained garden. Although the term "organic" was never used, that was the way her grandmother and Kay's parents gardened. And the way Kay gardens now, passed down to her from them. Kay's parents grew all of the fresh, healthy vegetables that a family of nine needed in their large backyard garden.

Gardening was a fun pasttime for Kay. Her garden was a great place to daydream in, and when she went out to pick the tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots that she needed for that evening's meal, Kay felt incredibly healthy and grounded.

That morning Deirdre, Kay's best friend and neighbor came over to help Kay plant her garden carrying a flat box filled with tiny seedlings she had grown in her bright sunroom. Deirdre had herbal, apothecary, vegetable and flower gardens of her own. She was opening an herbal shop in spring. Kay had also bought some plants at a local nursery. She was lucky to have inherited fertile, well prepared soil from the previous owners of their home. She made the soil richer with compost made using garden debris, leaves, and kitchen scraps and had already turned over the soil in preparation for today.

Deirdre and Kay got right to it, planting tomato seedlings, serrano peppers, green peppers, hot banana peppers, onions, polebeans, cucumber, radishes, butternut squash, and carrot seeds. In her garden, Kay already had garlic planted from last autumn. They added a few extra plants to donate a little of their bounty to their local food bank. In a separate herbal garden Deirdre and Kay planted basil, rosemary, dill, cilantro, thyme, chives, mint, and oregano.

Kay makes pesto each summer to use and to freeze for later in winter. The main ingredient is basil.

Kay's Basic Pesto Sauce

2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves washed and thoroughly dried.

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons lightly roasted pinenuts

3 cloves minced garlic

1/2 to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

minimal salt to taste

Blend all ingredients. Refrigerate in jar. Freeze for longer storage.

One of Kay's favorite foods is pizza which she makes from scratch. In the summer when basil is readily available, after rolling out the crust and putting on the tomato sauce, she totally covers the sauce with basil leaves. Then tops with mozzarella cheese and other ingredients.



Posted By Susan Bernhardt

Basil – Basil is more than just a fragrant and flavorful herb; it has many medicinal qualities attributed to it as well. Basil leaves contains health benefiting essential oils that are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Basil is a good source of beta-carotine. Beta-carotine helps to prevent damage to the cells by free radicals, having powerful antioxidant properties. It's a good source of Vitamins A, K, C, Iron and other minerals.

Garlic – Deirdre and Kay both consider garlic to be "the wonder" drug of foods. Garlic is used to prevent and treat heart disease. It helps in the management of blood pressure and in cholesterol and triglyceride reduction and strengthens the immune system. It helps to prevent our blood vessels from becoming blocked. It is a powerful natural antibiotic. It eases cold symptoms and fights off respiratory and stomach infections. It has a powerful antioxidant effect. Caution: Garlic is safe and well tolerated in the regular diet. If eating more than four cloves a day it can affect platelet's ability to form a clot, so it makes sense to reduce consumption ten days before surgery and not to exceed this amount if taking anticoagulant medications. Always check with your doctor. Garlic may interfere with medications used to treat HIV infection.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – The main type of fat found in olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acid. MUFAs are considered a healthy dietary fat. MUFAs help lower your risk of heart disease by improving related risk factors. Phil, Kay's husband was just prescribed two tablespoons of olive oil each day at Mayo Clinic to help lower his cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It normalizes blood clotting. And has powerful antioxidant characteristics. Heat, light and air can affect the taste of olive oil and possibly its health-promoting nutrients. Store olive oil in a dark, room-temperature cupboard, or even in the refrigerator. Use instead of butter or margarine.

June 1st guest blogger and luthier Bill Bernhardt will offer his unique perspective on tone wood. In The Ginseng Conspiracy Kay's husband, Phil is immersed in his luthier classes.

Thanks for dropping by. See you in two weeks.






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Susan Bernhardt


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