Mussels on the Grill
Although I love cold nights in front of crackling fire, if the truth would be told, I am really a warm weather kind of girl. Warm weather means not only do I get to play in the dirt in the garden, but I also get to move my kitchen outdoors by firing up the grill and cook up all kinds of delectable dishes.
In this blog, I will share a video of a simple, but mouth-watering recipe for grilled mussels. This recipe is best if you use a gas grill, although a charcoal grill can also work if you have one that can be covered. Another technique if using a charcoal grill would be to invert an aluminum pan to cover the mussels or create a tent using heavy-duty aluminum foil. The idea is you will need to concentrate as much heat as possible to create that amazing sizzle.
So grab a seat at your kitchen counter and take a look at my recipe for my amazing grilled mussels.
Because life should be good.
There are treasures to be found digging in the dirt and these are absolute gems:
Vision – What is conceived in the mind’s eye can indeed be achieved. Do not erect barriers simply because it seems too hard to do. Instead, set your sights on the most amazing image of what beauty looks like and then tackle it, one challenge at a time.
Commitment – vision + hard work equals beautiful results. You have to be willing to put in the time in order to reap the reward. Only commit to what you are either capable of or willing to do. The most effective way to encourage oneself is to achieve success in the small things. Remember, you can always expand your reach once you have tackled what is in front of you.
Perseverance – when success does not happen with the first attempt; try, try, try again! Learn from your mistakes and remember, never, ever repeat them. One thing is certain, if you don’t give up, you will reach your goal.
Patience – Experienced gardeners know that it is a process and that anything worth having is worth waiting for. When you have done everything you are supposed to do, you have done enough. Allow the universe to bring into order what you have set into motion. The key is to wait in expectation, knowing that what you have sown will come to fruition.
Faith – nothing happens without a belief that it can. Think about it. You dig a hole, drop in a few seeds and viola-FOOD! There is nothing evident that a seed or seedling will produce food other than a photograph on the package says that it will. Do not worry if those around you can’t catch the vision. As long as you believe, that is all that matters.
Pay it forward – when you plant a field, plant enough for you and then a little extra for rabbits and the neighbors. This is the universal law of reciprocity! The earth gives to you and you share with others. It is a great rule to live by and what is interesting too is everyone around you gets a vision of what good living should look like.
Focus – the guaranteed way to hit a target is to set your sights on the direction and never let it out of your sight. Plain and simple, without focus, nothing can be achieved!
Beauty in Imperfection – in life, in order to be successful, remember to not strive for perfection, but rather work to achieve the highest value. And this value comes through repeated trial and error. What is interesting is that which appears perfect is very often fragility woven together by very weak threads. You may not be able to detect it by looking at the surface, but if you examine up close you will discover that untouched very often means untested.
Because life should be good….
It’s A Planting Party
Anything worth doing is worth celebrating!
And there is nothing better than an afternoon spent with girlfriends planting your spring garden. This idea is very similar to the old paint parties with a different focus in mind. Planting parties are a great way to get motivated to finally get that gardening project completed and because it is a group effort, the project will get done in record time.
Here are a few tips to pull it all together.
1 Map out and prepare the planting area or if you are planting in pots, put them in position ahead of time.
2 Complete your plan for your garden and make copies of the plan to hand out to your girlfriends when they arrive.
3 Assign a section to each person, making sure to talk over the plan of execution before starting.
4 Before the day of, purchase all seedlings, seeds, soil, markers to identify plants or other needed supplies and have them on hand when your team arrives.
5 Set up an area in a shady spot for lunch along with plenty of cool, refreshing drinks on hand.
6 Take lots of pictures and for those of you who are on social media, be sure to share your experience with other gardeners including our Facebook page and twitter, @bonniemcgood.
7 Make plans to commit to doing the same for the rest of the team, what was so generously given to you.
Because life should be good!
A Cupboard Do-Over!
Nothing beats a failed attempt like a fresh start!
If you are like so many people who began the year strong only to fall short in your attempt to live healthier, remember it is as easy as starting again. And the most logical place to get everything back on track is to take a look at what you have in your refrigerator and cupboards. The idea is to stock in your favor!
Here are some easy tips:
1. Do a makeover of your refrigerator and cupboards. If what you find is high in sodium, dyes and artificial ingredients, discard and choose a healthier alternative. This is an important exercise in order to become more responsible about what you are putting into your body. Check things like sodium content, high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients that you cannot pronounce, and make today your point of a new beginning. Clear your cabinets and refrigerator of all white stuff. In other words begin today to buy and eat only whole grains. Stock up on brown rice, sweet potatoes, chia seeds, quinoa and other healthy grains. Get rid of white sugar and replace it with raw sugar, honey, liquid Stevia or Blue Agave Sweetener. These are all wonderful substitutes and you will find that your desire for sugar will decrease over time. Focus instead on eating fresh fruit to satisfy your sugar cravings.
2. Cut back on or eliminate sodas. Even diet sodas are suspect when it comes to hydrating your body. And if you crave the fizz, as so many of us do, you can make your own soda by using a combination of fruit juice and carbonated water mixture of 1 or 2 parts juice and the rest seltzer. Be sure to choose 100% juice that has not been sweetened with sugar or corn syrup.
3. Stock up on good water.. And if you are one of those people who need to spice things up, try adding slices of cucumber, strawberries or lemons to the water. Not only will you be instantly refreshed, but your body will be revitalized with all kinds of wonderful nutrients.
4. Stock your cupboards with a variety of herbs. And during the warmer months, grow your own. You can grow herbs in pots, in a garden or on your window sill. Not only are fresh herbs more flavorful, they are also less expensive.
5. Keep a ready supply of dried beans. Beans are inexpensive, packed with protein and they provide bulk when eaten, which means they are great for filling you up.
6. Buy Fresh. Whenever possible, always choose to use fresh ingredients for your dishes. Fresh not only tastes better, it is also better for you. Consider planting a vegetable garden. And if you are lacking space, pots are a great way to cultivate fresh herbs, tomatoes, pole beans and fixings for salads. Be sure to click on the gardening section for gardening tips.
If you are unable to plant a garden due to time constraints or lack of space, seek out a neighborhood farmer’s market.
Let’s do this!
Because life should be good!
The Ultimate Potager-Kitchen Garden
As a woman who absolutely loves to cook, there is nothing more satisfying than walking among rows of fresh vegetables and herbs in my own garden in search of what to put on the table for dinner. There is also no better way to get the freshest produce possible than to grow it myself. Fresh vegetables and herbs are the secrets around our house to the delectable dishes that I create for both my work and for the enjoyment of family and friends.
Growing your own vegetables and herbs is not complicated and you get to decide just how big or small your garden will be.
Here are some simple tips to get your started:
1. First you will need to decide how much time you will have to not only plant but maintain the space as well. Keep in mind, you will need to allocate time to water, weed and plant throughout each season, so think about what you are able to do on a consistent basis. My best advice to anyone is to start small and if you discover you can devote more time than you thought initially, it is nothing to add a bit more space.
2. The benefit of the potager is that if you plan your garden well, you will be able to harvest fresh vegetables winter, spring, summer and fall.
3. Using your graph paper, draw the design of your garden using 1″ squares to represent one square foot.
4. Draw out a section for salad greens and mark it area #1. Depending on the size of your area you will want to include different kinds of lettuce such as mesclun greens, romaine, radicchio, butter, etc. I recommend that you start small with two to three rows. This area will be replanted a few times, depending on the region of the country in which you reside. This will be the first area you will plant as lettuce, spinach, etc. are considered cool weather or early vegetables. Label each area with corresponding numbers in order to define your planting areas.
5. Be sure to design your area to plant companion vegetables together. You can also intersperse herbs between the vegetables to create interest and to keep insects away. The reason for this is there are certain vegetables that are actually toxic to one another so be sure to do your research.
6. For herbs, consider planting things like oregano and mint in beautiful pots and place in the vegetable garden between the beds. These herbs are very fast growing and aggressive and will spread fast into areas where other vegetables are planted. Keep in mind too that any potted vegetables or herbs will need to be watered more often.
7. Determine which zone you live in and using the instructions on the seed packets for planting times and growth cycles, determine when to begin to sow your seeds. If you will start your seeds indoors, be sure to allow time in between planting in the ground and sowing indoors. You will also need to allow a few days of placing the seedlings out of doors in the seedling planting container to allow them to harden or get used to the change from indoors to outdoor temperatures. For those of you with fireplaces and who burn real hardwood, be sure to save some of the ashes. I will share what to do with them once you are well into growing season.
For basic gardening tips, be sure to visit your local garden centers for free workshops and tips on planting a vegetable garden with detailed instructions based upon your area.
Because life should be good!
Springtime is one of my favorite times of the year; perfect for harvesting the first of the cool weather salad greens. I especially love this recipe, because not only is it delicious, but it is also a great way to keep the calories in check as you work to get ready for swimsuit weather.
1 pound Sea Scallops
Garlic infused olive oil
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Prepare scallops by making sure they are free of sand. If sandy, use a wet paper towel to clean. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a hot oven-proof saute pan. Add 2 cloves fresh garlic. Simmer in oil for about 2 minutes, being careful not to burn. Remove garlic from oil and remove half of oil from pan. Add scallops and sear on one side. Do not overcook. Turn scallops and transfer pan to oven. Bake for no longer than 2 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Add to a individual plates that have been prepared with fresh mesclun salad greens. Finish with salt and pepper. You can also add balsamic vinegar to pan once scallops have been removed (about 4 tablespoons), reduce heat and reduce until the sauce thickens just a bit. Pour over prepared scallops and greens. Serve immediately.
Because life should be good!
I love kale! This amazing superfood is at its delicious-best when eaten raw. And what a better way to dress it up than to create a salad filled with wonderful additions to make your tastebuds burst with delight.
For lunch you can load it up with other vegetables like avocado, shaved brussel sprouts and cucumber. And to make it even more robust and flavorful, add things like pomegranate, apple, grapes and toasted nuts.
When in the mood for a satisfying dinner salad, the addition of grilled chicken or salmon makes this salad favorite just right.
Here is a recipe to get your creative culinary juices flowing. Enjoy!
Because life should be good!
1 bunch of kale leaves
1 Fuji apple or apple of choice
1 small navel orange, peeled and seeded
½ cup Thompson seedless raisins, white or dark
¼ cup raw nuts, pecans or walnuts, chopped and toasted
2-3 carrots, roughly shredded
1 cup seedless grapes sliced in half or blueberries
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled cored and cut into chunks
2 TBSP extra virgin cold press olive oil
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
¼ – ½ of an onion or one stalk green onion/scallion, optional
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Rinse kale and chop into small pieces. Peel, seed, and dice apples into small chunks. Peel and shred carrots. Cut grapes in half or quarters. Peel orange and remove seeds. Cut orange into small sections. If using onion, chop into small pieces. Combine the kale and remaining vegetables in a large salad bowl. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon raw honey. Whisk together. Pour over the salad and toss. Sprinkle nuts on top and toss once again.
Where your heart lies is your home!
Eighteen years ago I meandered up a long uneven walkway which led to a door that was hidden by boxwoods and vines that had grown well beyond what had been originally intended. Never in my life had I seen anything like it; it was as though the house had literally been swallowed up by the passing of time. What occurred to me too was at a certain period in time, this stately structure had once been someone’s home. I began to imagine the laughter and the tears that had been etched in the memory of the walls that encased the structure that was longing for someone to bring it to life once again. I wondered about the love that had certainly taken place behind the doors whose layers of paint had long since peeled away from the frame, and it was then that I fell in love.
My family and I had often driven past this house on Sunday mornings on our way to church and although only the beautiful slate roof was visible, I knew that on the other side of all the overgrown boxwoods and weeds, and underneath those tiles, was something pretty special.
I learned that the house had been vacant for over eleven years and that the only child of the original owner turned the key one day and never entered the home again. For him the pain of his parents no longer being there was too much for him to bear. In his mind, when his parents died, home died with them. The son shared that there had been many interested buyers, but he was determined that whomever would be the new occupants, making it a home was mandatory and anything less than that was non-negotiable.
And so over the years, I have poured my heart into creating a place where my family and friends could come and no matter what was going on in their worlds, they could, if only for a moment, experience home.
Everyone desires a place where they can be nurtured. A place where they can raise a family or a life; a place to simply call home. The interesting thing is when the average person sets out in search of a dwelling, their list of requirements typically focuses around the physical aspects of home, rather than what embodies the true essence of what home is supposed to be. What doesn’t occur to most is, home is what you bring to a dwelling and that no matter where you live home will always be there with you.
It is my desire that as you follow along on this journey with me that something will be written or shared that will inspire you to open your mind to the one place that will always welcome you -your heart, your home!
Because life should be good! How good is that……
Change for Good
Change is rarely welcome, but in order to grow, it is almost always necessary!
I was speaking with a friend recently who had finally left a position that she had held for many years. I had lived with her through the numerous challenges and watched as she endured what the average person would never have had the fortitude to withstand. What was interesting was although she is now in a better place, she misses the dysfunction of where she spent many years of her life. What I have noticed is that most of us resist change, even when that change is for our good. It is amazing how we allow ourselves to become comfortable, even in situations that are painful, simply because staying with the familiar seems easier than dealing with the unknown.
The truth is human beings were made for change. Everything around us is in a constant state of evolving and in order to live abundantly and in harmony with the world, we must do what is natural and change with it.
The past few months have placed me in a state of flux and there have been times when I could barely keep up. I am looking forward to what lies ahead knowing that although the scenery is about to change dramatically from where I was, it is something that has been in preparation for a very long time.
The Bonnie McDaniel Good Living blog is the latest chapter of an amazing journey of the Good Living brand which began eighteen years ago. I have met some amazing people and have had some of the most incredible experiences which have taught me a lot about people, but more importantly, a lot about myself.
What I know to be true about people is that although the world changes, our basic needs for nurturing, love and hope for a better tomorrow never does.
On many occasions I have wondered if my message of good living would become irrelevant, but time and time again my readers and people who have supported my work over the years have continued to ask for more.
I recognize the amazing gift that has been given to me and I never take for granted the responsibility that comes along with that gift.
The new Bonnie McDaniel Good Living is an opportunity for me to become more engaged with my followers and I will utilize all of the wonderful tools of social media as well as your important feedback to help me accomplish my goal. The idea is I want to talk to you, but I also want you to know how important you are to this journey!
Look to hear from me more frequently as I share my discoveries with you of ways to help you to eat deliberately, live intentionally, be well and thrive in ways you never thought possible.
I cannot wait! Here goes! I hope you are ready because I am!
Because life should be good!