One of the easiest herbs you can grow, basil comes in many varieties that can be put to numerous culinary uses

One of the easiest herbs you can grow, basil comes in many varieties that can be put to numerous culinary uses

One of the most popular of the culinary herbs, basil is widely used in many types of cuisine. It is most famous as the leading ingredient in pesto. Basil is most often grown as an annual preferring the warmer temperatures of summer, doing well at 70 degrees or higher. It is quite tender and will wilt quickly at the first sign of freezing temperatures.

Types of Basil and why you will love them
One of the most popular of the culinary herbs, basil is widely used in many types of cuisine. It is most famous as the leading ingredient in pesto. Basil is most often grown as an annual preferring the warmer temperatures of summer, doing well at 70 degrees or higher. It is quite tender and will wilt quickly at the first sign of freezing temperatures.
If you grow only one herb in your garden, basil is a good choice. While sweet and Genovese are probably the most common varieties of basil, they are many other wonderful variations to choose from. With sizes ranging from 8 inches to 4 feet tall, there are plenty of choices when it comes to growing basil in the garden.

* Sweet Basil
* Genovese basil
* Thai sweet basil
* Purple basil
* Lemon basil
* Lime basil
* Lettuce Basil
* Green Ruffles
* Holy Basil
* Cinnamon Basil
* African Blue Basil
* Cardinal Basil
* Greek Basil
* Spicy Globe Basil
* Summerlong
* In Summary – Basil Varieties

select a new one to try in your garden or next dish…

Sweet basil is probably the most common varieties of basil very popular in pestos, salads, and marinades. When you find basil in the grocery store, it will most often be the sweet basil variety.
Sweet basil is a medium green color with a rounded cup-shaped leaf. Sweet basil has been known to repel mosquitos.

Genovese is the classic Italian basil with extra-large dark green leaves. This is another excellent basil to use in pestos and Italian dishes.
The leaves of Genovese are flatter than Sweet basil with a more pointed shape.
Some cultivars use Sweet and Genovese basil interchangeably labeling the plant sweet Genovese basil. True Genovese has a stronger more aromatic flavor.

Thai basil has smaller dark pointed leaves and boasts a spicy, licorice flavor. Asian dishes often feature Thai basil, such as Spicy Sesame Noodles or Thai Basil Chicken. Thai basil keeps its flavor at higher cooking temperatures as compared to other types of basil.
Siam Queen, shown to the right is pretty in the garden with its dark purple flowers blooming at the end of the season.  It’s quite spectacular when grown in large groupings.  Siam Queen grows 2 feet tall and can be harvested starting at 60 days.

Purple basil has a striking dark burgundy color that provides excellent contrast in the herb garden. The flavor is not as sweet as some basil varieties with a stronger clove taste. Highly aromatic, purple basil can be steeped in vinegar or oil to add a beautiful color to your dishes.
The Dark Opal Purple basil grows 18 inches tall.  A few plants (about 20%) will be variegated or green plants creating a pretty color combination. It has large leaves that average one to 1 2/3 inches when fully grown.  Dark Opal basil reaches maturity at 80 days.

Lettuce basil has a distinctive appearance with large, floppy wrinkled leaves. As the name implies, it works well in salads and fresh dishes. The leaves of the lettuce basil are four inches wide and between six and ten inches long. This makes it ideal for use in lettuce wraps where most other basils would be much too small.
Lettuce leaf basil is an Italian basil with a mild flavor.   Although the leaves are large, the plant itself is pretty compact in size.  It is one of the shorter basils growing to just about a foot high.  It is also slow to flower, so lasts a bit longer in the heat of the summer before going to seed.

Green Ruffles Basil has curled leaves making it a lovely basil to grow in the garden. The flavor is mild and delicate is especially good in pasta dishes. The ruffled leaves also make this a great basil to use in salads.
Green Ruffled Basil grows 20 to 24 inches tall.  It can be harvested as early as 70 days.

Holy Basil is highly fragrant with a spicy, sweet musky scent. The flavor is best when cooked since eaten raw it can be slightly bitter. Holy basil is used in Indian cuisine, especially in meat curries.
Holy basil is also known as tulsi which means the incomparable one in South Asia. It is a sacred plant in Hinduism. There are many medicinal as well as religious uses for Holy Basil. Holy Basil is used to treat stomach ailments, the kidneys and promote blood circulation.

Greek basil is one of the smallest varieties growing to only 8 inches tall. It has a compact form with small pointed leaves. Greek basil is often used to spice up salads or in soups or meat dishes. A sprig of Greek basil can also make an excellent garnish.
Greek basil is easy to grow in a pot. It can be enjoyed for its culinary uses or combined with ornamentals in the flower garden.  It can be very attractive when located in the front of the border with other low growing plants such as pansies or violas.

Spicy Globe Basil
Spicy globe is another dwarf basil variety. True to its name it has a strong, spicy flavor with smaller leaves that are excellent served whole in soups salads and pasta.
It is also called Spicy Bush Basil and forms a tight clump when growing. The shape is similar to a dwarf boxwood with a rounded top.  This type of basil is an excellent choice for growing in containers.

Summerlong Basil is a dwarf variety developed by Burpee Gardens. It grows in tight, compact bushes making it an ideal basil for the container herb garden. Since it is a dwarf variety, it matures earlier than most basils in just 30-60 days. Summerlong is slow to bolt which means it will last longer in the summer garden before going to seed.
This is a nice all around basil, a great choice when you want a smaller variety to grow in your garden. Similar in taste to sweet basil, Summerlong can be used in pestos, sauces, and marinades.
In Summary – Basil Varieties
There are so many types of basil; it’s hard to choose just one.  Basil is one of the most loved culinary herbs both for its easy growing nature and variety in the kitchen.  Choose one or two of your favorite types so that you can experiment with the different tastes and textures.  Or choose a Basil collection with a few family favorites. Have fun gardening… then have fun cooking.

Cheers!  

A 10-Minute Yoga Sequence to Jump-Start Your Day

A 10-Minute Yoga Sequence to Jump-Start Your Day

A quick sequence to help you wake up and start your day productively.

Cat-Cow Pose
Come onto your hands and knees, stacking your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Begin to move your spine in a rhythmic motion: With every inhalation, arch your back and lift your sitting bones and chest into Cow; with every exhalation, round your back and tuck your chin and pelvis into Cat.

Table Top, variation
From all fours, lift your belly in toward your spine. Extend your right leg and left arm. Bend your right leg and take hold of your foot with your left hand. Kick your foot into your hand as you begin to twist and open your chest into a backbend. Try gazing up. This pose creates heat, challenges your balance, and gently warms up your spine. Repeat on the other side.

Knee-to-Nose Pose
From Downward-Facing Dog Pose, lift your right leg up high behind you, then round your spine as you draw knee to chest. Keep your pelvis low and round your upper spine toward the sky. Hug your right thigh to your chest and knee to your nose. Keep pressing the floor with your hands. Return to Downward Dog and then repeat with the left leg.

Flip Dog
From Downward Dog, lift your right leg and arm and pivot on your left foot. Spin your torso and hips open to the ceiling, and lower your right foot down to the inside of your left foot. Reach your right arm toward the wall behind you. Keep your feet parallel to each other, pressing firmly into the floor. Return to Downward Dog and do Flip Dog on the other side.

Vasisthasana
Un-flip your Dog and roll your heels to the right. Shift your weight into your right hand and the outer edge of your right foot. Stack your left foot on top of your right. Fire up your thigh muscles; press your feet and hand down as you lift your hips. Extend your left arm to the ceiling. (If this is too intense, you can lower your bottom knee to the floor.) Return to Downward Dog and repeat on the left.
See alsoVasisthasana (Side Plank Pose)

Have a wonderful Tuesday! Make healthy choices . 

~ Stacy 

Why & How, Upward Facing Plank Pose?

Why & How, Upward Facing Plank Pose?

Upward Facing Plank PoseFrom a seated position with legs together and long in front of you, take hands behind you, fingers pointing toward body. Press into palms while lifting hips high. Allow your head to fall back if that feels natural for your neck. Press all four corners of the feet into the ground. Stay here for 10 to 20 deep breaths.

A Yoga Workout Focused on Your Butt and getting in shape peacefully… Yes, your workout can be stress free and still have amazing results. Try adding this plank and enjoy the results. 

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Planks … Your new best friend

Planks … Your new best friend

The plank is one of the most incredible exercises you can do for your core because it builds isometric strength to help sculpt your waistline and improve your posture. And depending on the type of plank you try, you can also engage your back, arms, shoulders, glutes, and hamstrings. Hold your plank in good form for 20 seconds to two minutes and you WILL see results!

Plank helps you to build strength in your core, upper and lower body so its a good full body work out. You do not need any equipment to perform this exercise all you need is a bit of space, and it really helps improve flexibility by stretching muscles and will improve posture if performed regularly.

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The MUSCLE GROUPS you are WORKING while planking might surprise you. The plank works almost every main muscle and here are a few: deltoids, biceps, triceps, obliques, rectus abdominis, latissimus dorsi, pectorals major, gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings, gastrocnemius. How about that for a two minute workout…

So many planks, so little time. VARIATE your PLANK
Elbows bent or straight (carful not to lock your elbows) If the plank is to much for your elbows you can perform it with extended arms, always leave a small hollow in your hands to protect the wrists.

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HOW TO DO A basic PLANK

  • 1. FIRST prepare your self mentally, decided to hold your form strong and correctly. Concentrating on the correct form over the time you hold the form. 30 seconds of proper form is better than 5 minutes of anything else. ( results & no injuries! )
  • 2. Start by getting into a press up position (push-up position).
  • 3. Bend your elbows and rest your weight ono your forearms and not on your hands.
  • 4. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles.
  • 5. Engage your core by pulling your belly button into your spine.
  • 6. Hold this position for the prescribed time. * if you don’t know where to start … Hold a proper plank for 30 seconds adding an additional 10 seconds each week (if you can’t hold it for 30 start where ever you feel comfortable, continuing to add 10 seconds each week).

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Have Fun Planking… Fitness at its finest 💛

Xxx~ Stacy (your wellness guru)

What does balancing your life mean?

What does balancing your life mean?

What does balancing your life mean? What would a balanced life look like? Can it be achieved with our crazy lives and schedules?
You can change what isn’t working and gain control of your life. You can easily maintain these changes and enjoy the the peace that comes with balance.

There is no great secret but one simple rule ….do not try to change everything at once! Sustainable change happens when you make small adjustments over time. That means different things to each of us, you must determine what works for you.
As you make new positive life habits, you will see your life changing and after enjoying a balanced life, you will never look back!image

Try implementing only one of these habits at a time, only one a month! First, as you add them slowly you will concentrate and see the many ways each tip affects your life. Second, and most importantly this will create habits. Habits that will easily contribute your sustainable health!

Sustainable Healthy Habits …
* Turn off the electronics – Disconnect on the weekend. I hear the excuses already, but try it, at least for one day or even a few hours each night. Put the phone down and turn off the computer. Give your work brain a rest. You do not need to be reachable at all times. Your time is valuable! Disconnect and live in the moment, learn to be mindful. Practice Mindfulness and enjoy the benefits! Bonus: Spend the extra time actually interacting with your family and friends!image
* Learn to say no  – It’s a given that if your life is overflowing you will never be able to achieve balance and manage it all. It’s just not possible. Say no to everything that is either not essential or doesn’t add something valuable to your life. Then add things back until you feel overwhelmed again. You will learn your limits and find your happy place.

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* Your Health Is Important  – We hear this over and over again, but usually only give it a second thought. We know what we need to do, but it isn’t a priority until we have a health crisis. Our health really does affect the quality of our lives and our work. We are far more productive and happier when we get sufficient amounts of quality sleep, eat a healthier cleaner diet and fit in some type of physical activity regularly.

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* Avoid Toxins– chemicals that Wreak havoc on our body… Making us sick or at a minimum decrease our bodies ability to function at peck performance. Chemical toxins are only half of it …. By that I mean you must also Minimize the negative influences around you. AVOID TOXIC PEOPLE (complainers, whiners, poor attitudes.) If you can’t completely avoid them, at least minimize contact and tune them out as much as you can. Surround yourself with positive, supportive, can-do people whenever possible!

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* Everyone Needs Alone Time  – Making time for you is probably the most difficult thing to do for the typical person today. We are overworked and on most days overwhelmed! Alone time is crucial for lowering stress, increasing happiness and encouraging creativity. Some things to try; meditate, write, sketch, do some yoga or simply sit quietly for a few minutes each day and do absolutely nothing. You can do it! And You Will Love It!

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* Quality Time With The People In Your Life – Set aside quality time with your family and friends. Don’t just sit in front of the television, really connect and pay attention to those you care about!!! Make a date with your significant other, talk, kiss, laugh. Enjoy coffee with a friend, play a game with a child, take time to ask a coworker how they are and then take the time to listen to their answer. Enjoy really getting to know the people around you.

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* Make Time For Yourself – Get a pedicure or a facial. Better yet, schedule a massage! It doesn’t need to cost you a fortune; a glass of wine, your favorite coffee or tea, meditate or enjoy some beautiful flowers. You are important and your own smile will make a huge impact.

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* Get Out And Explore  – Take a walk and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Take a new route, visit a new town or try being a tourist! Attend a local performance, play amateur photographer or go to the park. Hang out with children you know, watch how they play. Children really know how to enjoy life!

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* Learn Something New – Take a class, learn to paint or try something new that you’ve always wanted to learn. Read a book that sparks your interest or try listening to uplifting music. Find what interests you.

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* Live A Life That Makes You Smile  – Laugh, joke, play, find your sense of humor, tell a friend a joke daily. Make time with those that make you laugh. Nothing makes you feel better as fast as laughing so hard your side hurts!

 

Have a wonderful Monday, beginning your fantastic week. 

Your Wellness Guru~ Stacy 

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Have you ever seen a child at the gym ?

Have you ever seen a child at the gym ?

imageBe active… A body in motion is a fit body.
A healthy mind can lead you to a healthy body and a much happier life. … By changing our minds, we really can change our lives.
In today’s busy world, maintaining our good health is difficult  but not any less important. It’s easy to let stress take center stage and set us up for poor diet and lifestyle choices. Our diet, exercise and behavioral choices can have a significant effect on our health. If you have a poor or unhealthy diet, you may run the risk of weight gain or increased your risk of chronic diseases (like diabetes or high blood pressure). If you’re not active regularly, you may also run the risk of gaining weight but also miss out on the many benefits of exercise. If you smoke, don’t manage stress or don’t sleep well, you again can run the risk of having negative side effects on your health. Maintaining a generally healthy body will require you to make sure you’re making healthy choices in a multiple areas of your life.imageMake Healthy Choices and enjoy every minute 💛 Your Wellness Guru ~Stacy @Life.Wellness.Health