Big Moves!

Hey Guys! Soo for the next couple of days my site will be in construction mode as I move it over to a real, self-hosted, all my own web page. (Not that this one isn’t real) It is a huge process that I didn’t think would be so time consuming, actually I knew it would be a pain in the neck I was just hoping everything I read about it was wrong. Sooo please “pardon my dust” as the site is under construction! It is up and running right now, but not at all what I want it to look like. Hopefully in a couple of days I can have the grand opening. Then I will be redirecting all of you to the new site! It’s still quite a ways away and I have so much more to work on before then. Maybe in a week? If anyone has any tips about going from a wordpress.com blog to self-hosting, building websites, or any advice I would appreciate it SO much, because let’s be honest, I have no idea what I’m really doing half of the time. I promise it will be worth it though! In the mean time, I will continue to post here and let ya know when the switcharoo is happening! So for today…enjoy these pictures of Costa Rica. :)PlayaOcotal
Sunset at Playa OcotalP1110519.jpg Just a day at work!
PlayaConcha

Happy Friday!

Web design, blogging, self-hosting advice? Leave a comment or e-mail me at Yakkafit@gmail.com. Thank you!!

Gardening isn’t just for Grandmas.

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Maybe I just used to think that only old people had gardens, or maybe just recently with the whole Real food, eat local movement gardening has becoming more “in”, or maybe when you’re in high school gardens just aren’t cool or something? I don’t really know, but I think they are awesome! It is so rewarding to grow a large portion of the food you eat all year round. I love popping open a jar of pickles mid winter and dram about the fresh dill that lined the garden. After all, your backyard is as local as you can get!

Welp, summer is in full swing! I honestly can’t even believe it is already July…mid-July, holy crap! We went on a trip to the Adirondaks and Burlington Vermont and came back to a jungle in the garden. I’ve gotten a couple of e-mails asking about the garden after I’ve featured some recipes from ingredients found in it! (And there are more to come) I’ve been meaning to do a post about it anyway so that I can compare to what it looks like in late summer, so I know what to do or not do next year, and so that I can show you guys! Sooo here we go. The lower part is mostly herbs and stuff that I wanted to plant. The upper portion is more of a joint effort from my finance (accent on the e) and I. (no longer boyfriend—eek!!)

garden2014This year the garlic is growing much better since I didn’t insist on leaving the volunteer sunflowers growing up from the middle of it. I also planted five different flavors of basil this year! I didn’t even know that many existed, and one of them is purple! Which is why my basil lemonade was is a little funky colored this year.

Garden 2014.jpgThese pictures were taken about a week ago, and it is crazy how much bigger the herbs and kale are now. I can’t believe it! Kale

Then in the upper half we have more of the larger vegetables and some companion herbs. I planted parsley with the onions, basil with the tomatoes.Gardening101Then in the very back we have the tomatoes, and a couple of rows of beets. We also have the big vine-y vegetables, like the zucchini’s, squashes, pumpkins, and maybe a watermelon here and there? This is the first year we have used the tomato cages, usually we just let them run free and they take over the entire garden. Last year we planted them all around the perimeter…not a good idea.TomatoesHere are some great quick tips for gardening. I am by no means an expert..at all! My dad kept a garden my whole life and I learned a lot from watching and helping him. My fiance has also always kept a garden, last year was pretty much the first year I helped through the entire process and had more of our own garden. So I really don’t know too much of what I’m doing, I just learn a bit more each year.

Quick Tips for A Happy Garden

1. Plant according to the seed package. If it says to plant 1 inch deep, 6 inches apart follow those measurements. I mean, you don’t have to get a ruler out or anything, but don’t go throwing the seeds all around the place.

2. Keep weeds away! Weeding is a pain in the butt, I know it sucks. Plants need to be able to receive the water and nutrients from the soil. And weeds are very good competitors, they will steal those precious resources from your veggies!

This year we totally accidentally planted the rows the exact distance of our small rototiller. So we just run through the rows and all of the weeds get torn up from their roots. Great weed control. We have also tried using paper feed bags under the vined plants. That way the vines can reach out without being over grown by weeds. It also helps stop the squash, or pumpkin, or whatever from getting rotten so quickly. IMG_7292

3. Try companion planting. Just like when foods are cooked together they complement one another, the same can happen while they are growing. This chart, from afristar is amazing for comparing which plants are friends, and which are enemies. Companion planting

4. Use compost! We compost our organic scraps, and this year we just rototilled the whole contents of the bin into the garden prior to planting. You can also add compost after the plants have become established. I try to stay away from chemical laden plant foods and go for a more natural approach- leaf litter, fruit and vegetable food scraps, manure (oh ya!).

5. Water your garden! I’m really  bad at following this advice. Luckily, this year hasn’t been too dry here, but last year our garden did not fair too well, and I definitely think the lack of rain/ lack of us watering it was a huge factor.

Even though we are well into the growing season the planting stage is not totally over with. These vegetables can be planted in mid summer for a fall harvest. Some root crops, greens and other vegetables can be successfully grown from late July or even August plantings. It’s important to know the average first frost date in your area, in order to calculate when to plant these late vegetables so they’ll mature before being killed by cold weather. Some plants can tolerate cold weather better than others, so it’s good to consider those characteristics as well. I found this information here. Late Summer Planting

How is your garden doing?! I would love to see, send me a picture through e-mail, twitter, or tag me on instagram and I will share them here! Are you planning on planting any vegetables this summer for fall harvest?

I’m Bored with Regular Workouts…

Sooo, I’ve been training for a half marathon for about 3 weeks now, but I’m not going to sign up for it until I have been going at it for a month. I always go back and forth or something comes in the way and I quit my running routine. It’s going pretty well so far! That is also why I haven’t been going to CrossFIT as much. The running program I am using has a schedule of running 2-3 times a week with some strength training and cross-training thrown in. I really like the variety and think I would be bored with just a strict running schedule the entire week, maybe that’s why it hasn’t worked for me before. Anyway, I’ve been having a tricky time figuring out what I want to do on the cross-training days, which is hilarious because that used to be ALL I did. Last week I went on a 24 mile bike ride, and the week before swam for a half hour. This week I wanted to change it up again, and try something totally new. That is how the dice workout was born. I LOVED it. It ended up taking me more than the scheduled 40 minutes, but you can cut down the number of exercises, or only use one die to roll the number of reps. It is easily adjustable. The best part is you don’t need any equipment, just a pair of dice!Roll The Dice Workout

Here is an explanation of some of the exercises:

One arm press: I saw this exercise at Real Simple magazine, and thought I would give it a try. It’s a good one! one arm press

Hollow Rocks: Here is a video of the hollow rocks. This is a throw back to the gymnastics days. …I should really type up a workout, yea, a workout that used to be our warm-up. Oops. Anyway, these are an awesome core builder. But they are really easy to do incorrectly, and then they hurt your back. So if you can’t do them right, don’t do them at all. Lower the number of reps, or just do hollow ups. (Like a superman, but laying on your back).

Spider Push up: This is a picture of the spider push up. It really engages your side obliques during the push up. It’s horrible awesome.

Spider Push UP

I couldn’t find the original source of this picture, if anyone knows/finds it..Let me know!

Toe Raisers: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly raise up to the ball of your foot and lower slowly back down. Great for balance, concentration, and your calves!

You can substitute your own exercises instead of the twelve listed. It might be fun to do this with only a arm, or leg workout, and only list exercises for the same muscle groups. You could also try with entirely cardio exercises. I tried to do a full body workout and targeted multiple muscle groups. I wanted to incorporate cardio, upper and lower body, as well as your mind (concentration and balance). It truly is a full body workout. I hope you like it!

**Know your body. Don’t do 6 reps of 12 spider push-ups if you haven’t ever tried them before. Be safe!

I’m so excited! One of my best friends from high school is getting married in August and her bridal shower is tomorrow! Yippee, I can’t believe we are that grown up!

What is your favorite no gym workout or exercise? What’s your weekend looking like!?

Almond Butter Energy Bites

Granola Bar BitesQuick post about a great quick snack! I love these granola bites to pop in for breakfast, or to take with me when I’m runnin around. They are so easy to make up and last a while. You can even throw them in the freezer to store them longer. Almond Butter RecipeI actually pressed them into this heart shaped ice-cube tray instead of rolling them into balls. It was much easier. Sometimes when I’m making cookies I get so bored rolling them…I should get a scoop. Do those work?Granola Bites

These are a perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth without having to turn on the oven and bake a whole batch of cookies. This recipe makes about 14 Tablespoon size bites. You can use a different kind of nut butter or omit the chocolate chips. I find they work best with no-sugar added natural nut butters. I love making my own, but Once Again Nut butters are also amazing. Their cashew butter would make amazing granola bites!GranolaBites

And that’s it! Happy Wednesday! I have a big announcement to share with you all soon…
Make sure you’re following me on Twitter, Instagram, and like my Facebook page for some stellar giveaways coming up!

My Herbs are Taking Over!

Herb Cubes

So, I have to tell you all about My new favorite kitchen accessory was a gift from my soon-to-be mother-in-law. These ball jar freeze cubes are ahhh-amazing!!!

620035_e1You can buy them here, or on Amazon I’m sure.

I love the abundance of fresh herbs in my garden during the summer, but they are so hard to store throughout the winter/I’m just really bad at it. I’ve tried to dry herbs by putting them in my dehydrator, hanging them upside down, and laying them out to dry on screens. Let’s just say none of those tactics have worked for me..but now! With these freeze cubes I can chop up my fresh herbs, blend them together, and then just freeze them with a liquid. Summer herbs all year long! I’ve had fun experimenting with different combinations. I’ve come up with a great lemonade basil ice cubes to add to drinks to give them a summery kick.Basil Water

Look at that plain water just waiting to be flavored! (The strawberry was in the fridge and just felt necessary…totally unrelated.) I actually used up the cube versions I made of these and made some more in these awesome silicon heart trays, both work great. This recipe is super easy and makes staying hydrated so much more enjoyable.Herb waterI also mixed some savory herbs with olive oil so when we have guests over, or just feel like a fancy bread dip we just have to thaw the cube, top it with Parmesan cheese and we have a delicious oil dip for bread. The possibilities with these are endless! I also want to try a pesto with our garlic scapes. 
Olive Oil  Herb Cubes It is such a time saver when you’re cooking dinner to just pop one of these out of the freezer and into the pan. Then you can sautee up chicken, pork, fish, vegetables, mushrooms…you get the picture. It would also be great for grilling. Make an aluminum foil packet for whatever you are grilling and pop one of these in it before you throw it on the grill. Bada-bing-bada-boom (who says that) you don’t have to worry about seasoning it mid-cooking. Rosemary Garlic Herb

I’m sure there are a million other things to mix up too. Any blend of you favorite herbs can be chopped up and crammed into the cubes. If you don’t have these silicon trays you can use regular ice cube trays. But really these are so worth purchasing because of their silicon design the frozen cubes are easy to pop out, and it has a nice lid to keep people like me from spilling everything all over their freezer.

As soon as the cubes are frozen you can put them into a ziploc bag in the freezer and reuse the trays to make more. That way you can have a constant supply throughout the fall and winter!

Here are the recipes I used!Frozen Herb Cube Recipes

Ball also has some other great recipes! You can find them here.

Do you have a favorite herb blend? I need to try some other combinations!

Healthy July Fourth Recipes

July Fourth Recipes.jpgFourth of July is tomorrow! I think it is my favorite holiday. I love being around family, enjoying the sunshine, and making delicious foods! July 4th barbecues are usually stocked with delicious, but sometimes unhealthy foods. I have a bunch of healthy options for your July 4th celebration, or anytime this summer! First up, is my favorite summer salad.

Cucumber Salad and Dill

It is so easy to make and tastes so refreshing. A great addition to any picnic!

Another favorite is this creamy Healthy Mac SaladP1100149There are only a few substitutions, but they make this summer staple so much healthier. It still tastes just as good as the macaroni salad you know and love!

If you are looking for a delicious italian dressing to top your pasta salad, or garden salad with this one is spectacular. It is my go to recipe throughout the summer when I can find most of the herbs in the garden. It tastes fantastic! This tortellini pasta salad is to-die-for. Yum!Italian dressingIf you are looking for a delicious, refreshing drink to go with your celebrations, this Basil Lemonade is a great one! I love the fresh, lemony taste. It is so easy to make and much healthier than those sugar loaded drinks. P1100203Add a splash of vodka, BOOM, perfect adult celebration summery drink. Love it. Here are some other great healthy summer recipes!

More Healthy Fourth of July Recipes!

This Corn, Avocado, Tomato Salad looks amazing!
July 4th Vegan Recipes!
 and this fruit pizza…umm yum!

What are you doing for the fourth! What’s your favorite BBQ recipe! Have an awesome holiday weekend!

New addition to our Garden…Honey Bees!

We were so lucky to receive a bee box from my boyfriend’s mom to keep in our garden this year! I am so excited because honey bees are incredibly beneficial to not only the garden, but the entire ecosystem! Honey bees are vital pollinators, they are very complex organisms that work together in highly complex societies. The more I learn about honey bees (and I am definitely a complete newbie on this subject) the more I am amazed at their incredible, intricate organization and complexity, and I now appreciate the sweet taste of honey so much more!

Bee BoxOur bee journal is starting today, well yesterday actually. First we moved our box to a more shaded and protected area. We wanted to make sure the entrance to the hive would be pointing away from the west where most of our weather comes from. We also wanted the hive away from normal day to day disturbances like lawn mowing, animals, and… Clementine. It is also important to keep hives away from fields that are sprayed with pesticides or insecticides, but we don’t have to worry too much about that here.

AddingBeesThe next step for our hive was to receive a Nuc, pronounced nuke, is a nuclear hive. It was taken from their hive and consisted of eight frames. It is considered the nucleus of the hive because it contains the queen. The worker bees are loyal to their queen and working well together before they are removed from the other hive. The frames also include honey, pollen, and larvae. You can see the capped larvae, and pollen in this picture. There were also some exposed “c” shaped larvae in the hive!Hive

But the most important part of the hive, is the Queen! She keeps all of the worker bees (which are also all female) together and working efficiently. She also lays all of the eggs, some of which are the drones, or male bees. The strong pheromone of the queen, called the Queen mandibular pheromone is extremely important, this pheromone inhibits other female bees ovaries, and keeps them from being apple to lay eggs. The Queen’s pheromone also promotes stability of the hive- it has a “calming” effect on the hive! The queen also promotes efficiency, mating, and maintenance of the hive. The Queen was spotted in our hive, she’s the one with the extra large bum!QueenBee

You can call me Queen Bee!

Bee FactsSo, we moved the 8 frames from the nuc box into our hive. We knew the Queen came along too because we spotted her! I actually suited up and helped move the frames! It was so awesome. The sounds of the bees buzzing is incredible. They are such crazy creatures.IMG_7045

Next we puffed a bit of smoke on top of the frames so that the bees on top went down into the hive so we could place the top on the hive. Next, Vince, The master beekeeper! knocked the nuc box on a rock slightly so that the bees marched into the hive, following the smell of their queen.
Bee Smoke

And now we have a happy hive, hopefully they love their new home!  Bees also need a source of freshwater within a 1/4 mile. Even setting out a small dish of water is enough, but make sure it is filled and clean, and the bees have a place to land. MeandtheBeesWe placed the inner and outer cover on the ‘super deep’. In a couple of weeks we will place the ‘supers’ on top. The supers on top is what the honey bees will fill with nectar…or honey to us! I planted some snap dragons and lavender around the hive! Hopefully they will love it here.BeeHive

What do you think about honey bees? Would you ever add them to your garden?