Healthy Lifestyle

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy Regenerative Lifestyle

Healthy Lifestyle

We need to be aware of the risk factors involved in our eating decisions. We will take a look at what we can do to help ourselves and set an example for the younger ones.  September is designated as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.


David Proctor




           From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.





Healthy Lifestyle – Healthy Heart


by David Proctor

September 14, 2017

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly



The latest news on our health is to take action when it pertains to our heart so we do not have the risk factors for high blood pressure. To support this:
The National Institute of Health (NIH) presently reports that, for people age 50 and older with high blood pressure and at least one other risk factor for heart disease, lowering blood pressure to under 120 mm Hg reduced a combined end point of heart attack, acute coronary syndrome, heart failure and strokes by 30% more than lowering it to 140 mm Hg.
In addition, deaths from any cause were reduced by 25% in those treated to reach a goal of 120 mm Hg.
The study’s independent data safety and monitoring board called for the study to be halted because of this significant benefit, which clearly outweighed any harm. (1)
I started to work on my health a little late in life.  Twelve years ago, I started to take steps to reduce my weight, increase my stamina, and lower my blood pressure.
My blood pressure was not extremely high, but averaged around 125 mm Hg.
After taking small steps to reach these goals, I lost 50 lbs. and have kept it off for over twelve years now.
I do not diet; I just made small steps in my lifestyle that accomplished the weight loss.
I can also say that my blood pressure now averages about 113 mm Hg.
This does not take hours of sweating at the gym but a commitment to small, sustainable steps that can prolong life.

 Systolic - Diastolic



All this means is that I have lowered my risk.  I do not always eat as I should, or refrain from unhealthy activities, but overall the idea is to keep in a path that gets you where you would like to be and that is to be around for your family and loved ones.
This is the whole premise around the urban farm lifestyle, to incorporate a healthy sustainable lifestyle that helps reduce illness and aging effects that diminish our quality of life.
Think about the children that are overweight, pre-diabetic and prone to heart disease at an early time of life. This is changeable and doable, it just takes small steps.
Step 1: Start measuring you blood pressure on a regular basis. Ignorance is not bliss here.  Try to take it the same time at least weakly or once a month.  I take mine 5 days a week, after I work out and have had breakfast.
Step 2: Measure your waistline. This means more than what you see on the scales, your waistline is an indicator of your health not your wealth.  Just because you can or cannot afford to eat and drink healthy, should not show up on your waist as a spare tire or food baby.  One of the best tools is a simple tape measure.
Step 3: Stay mobile.  You have to move; our bodies are engineered to move.  Do mild stretches, get the kinks out, and move around. You do not have to play rugby, but you need to move.
Step 4: Eat less and eat well.  Our plates are too big, get a smaller plate so you do not have to feel guilty about cleaning your plate or eating the portions on it.
Eat less and let it hit bottom, wait a few minutes before you think about seconds, then if you want seconds, always take less than the first.
Eat well. Eat fresh and try to stay away from processed foods.  The biggest contributor to high blood pressure is our salt (sodium) intake.  Our foods are loaded with salt, sugar, and fat. There are all three ingredients that we need to take control of.
Step 5: Try to lower your stress.  Stress can cause many ill effects on the human body.  Take time to do the things you enjoy and put the stressful parts of life in perspective.
Reconnect with friends and activities that bring relief from the everyday anxieties that come from work, commuting, and everyday stress.
None of these steps are easy. When you look at all the things that pull at our attention, from work to family matters, it is not easy to find the time and energy to change your lifestyle.
To put this all-in perspective, it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.  This month of September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

BMI Calculator

Think about the kids. Too many times we see our youth with weight problems.  Stop and think about what you may have on hand in your own home for your children to eat or drink. Think about their activities.
I can remember back in high school one of the coaches that I had, Coach Clark.  He was a great inspiration to me. I can remember when he would run races backwards as we tried to keep up with him.
He would talk about not spending time watching TV, if he even owned one, and would encourage people to spend time outdoors playing sports or other activities.  He is the kind of role model today’s youth need.
We have to pick up the slack and be that type of role model.  Whether we think the youth are watching or not, they are. They want their family members, neighbors, and loved ones to be around.
So, let’s take the time to watch what we eat, monitor our blood pressure, and be the example that our youth need.  This will help us all to live a more enjoyable, healthy, and sustainable lifestyle.


Food Label
Macaroni & Cheese Dinner

Do not buy food when hungry.  As you can see from label above, this was not a good choice on my part.



An update:  I have had to travel and spend time in a hotel room.  Fortunately, another company that is adjacent to my office, is a physical trainer.  I have moved beyond the mild workouts to nightly workouts that are much harder than I would have ever thought I would be doing.  I know it will pay off in the long run.

Check It Out!

NYC Info
NYC Info 2
NYC Sodium Shakeup
New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene passed a rule that requires some restaurants to label menu items that exceed 2,300 milligrams, the daily limit recommended by federal guidelines.
For ideal heart health, the American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 1,500 milligrams per day.
Here’s a look at the sodium levels in five New York City favorites!
New York Style Pizza: 1 slice = 689 mg 46% of daily max
Manhattan Clam Chowder: 1 cup = 690 mg 46% of daily max
Pastrami Sandwich: 1 sandwich = 2,750 mg 183% of daily max
Bagels: 1 plain bagel = 740 mg 49% of daily max
Hot Dogs: 1 plain hot dog, no toppings = 780 mg 52% of daily max
New York has been home to several high-profile measures to improve people’s health over the past decade, including efforts to eliminate trans fats in restaurants, calorie labeling, and even a push to ban oversized sugary drinks.
Their efforts have paid off, for there are many New Yorkers who are getting healthier!

Source: Menus on the websites of popular New York restaurants

Quick Tip


With kids back in school, do your part to help them watch what they eat by

  • Eating Healthily
  •  Brown Bag or Pack their lunch
  • Shop for the snacks that are best for them
  • Before going to a restaurant, check out the menu online to find a healthy one.
  • Watch the school menu and be aware of what your child is eating
  • Reduce salt intake
  • Read and compare nutrition labels
  • Watch out for the salty 6: pizza, breads and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, savory snacks, sandwiches, and cheese.

(1)”Major Hypertension Trial Stopped Early for Positive Benefit with Lower Blood Pressure Control Target.” Major Hypertension Trial Stopped Early for Positive Benefit with Lower Blood Pressure Control Target. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.

(2) “Understanding Blood Pressure Readings.” Understanding Blood Pressure Readings. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.

(3) “NYC Salt Shake Up.” American Heart Association, n.d. Web.

(4) “The Salty Six – Surprising Foods That Add the Most Sodium to Our Diets – Sodium Break Up.” Sodium Break Up. N.p., 07 Oct. 2014. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.


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Posted in Health, Magazine Issues Tagged with: ,

Seed Saver

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy Regenerative Lifestyle



Saving Harvest Seeds

With the growing season winding down, it is time to think about which varieties you would like to save for next year to plant.  This issue will look at why we go to the trouble to save seeds and the best practices for saving seeds.



David Proctor



           From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.





Saving Harvest Seeds

  by David Proctor

September 14, 2017

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly 

Heirloom Totato
Heirloom Tomato

When you find a variety that is doing well, you may want to save the seeds so the performance and or attributes can be repeated.  You may also find a need to save the seeds due to the availability of that variety.
As our culture tends to plant more mono crops and utilize less variations in the plant world, we are finding that variation is getting harder to come by.
You can find variation with hybrids, but you will not get an exact duplication from the parent.  Heirloom and open pollinated varieties will provide true-to-type seeds but not hybrids.
Heirloom varieties are becoming very hard to come by.  Heirloom varieties provide a historical link to how food was grown in the past and they provide flavors that are not common in the grocery store and have become popular with chefs and food lovers.
An heirloom variety is a plant variety that has a history of being passed down within a family or community, similar to the generational sharing of heirloom jewelry or furniture.
An heirloom variety must be open-pollinated, but not all open-pollinated plants are heirlooms.
While some companies create heirloom, labels based on dates (such as a variety that is more than 50 years old), Seed Savers Exchange identifies heirlooms by verifying and documenting the generational history of preserving and passing on the seed. (2)

By choosing open-pollinated and heirloom varieties, you have the ability to help conserve biodiversity and to contribute to the stories behind our seeds.

 Sliced Tomato
Sliced Heirloom Tomato

In antique stores, we’re drawn to old maple rockers, ornately carved oak mantelpieces or delicately hand-painted china not just because of their form or materials but for the sense of history that clings to them and the way they warm the imagination.

They make us wonder about the hands that have held them and the people whose lives they have passed through.

That’s true of heirloom plant varieties too. To the gardeners who love them, it matters that ‘Mortgage Lifter’ tomato came from a man who bred his own tomato plants, selling enough of them to pay off his mortgage.

At estate sales, you encounter styles far beyond whatever is the standard fashion today. So, too, heirloom vegetables offer a spectacular range of flavors and shapes.

They may be more tart or more sweet, green instead of supermarket red, long instead of the standard oval, ribbed or striped rather than smooth. Often, they have a depth and complexity of flavor you would never find at the grocery store.

What is an “heirloom”? The definition is open to dispute. But the term is usually applied to fruit, flower or vegetables varieties that were being grown before World War II.

Back then, what we now callorganic gardening,” based on manure and mulch, was standard practice for home gardeners, who accepted risk and variation from weather and disease just as farmers had to.

organic gardening
Heirloom Tomato

From the 1950s to the 1970s, hybrids dominated the commercial vegetable market, and the older varieties became hard to find until a growing interest in cooking and food sparked a resurgence of the more flavorful heirlooms.
Heirloom varieties are open-pollinated–meaning that unlike hybrids, seeds you collect from one year will produce plants with most of the characteristics of the parent plant. And that’s key to their survival.
A diversity of choices for the garden is as good a thing as diversity in the gene pool. (1)


Now the how to save seeds procedures and background.

Harvesting Your Seeds

Seeds Benefit From Careful Harvesting and Drying

After you’ve given your plants the help they needed to produce healthy seeds, you must harvest and store the seeds properly to keep them healthy until you are ready to plant them.

How you treat your seeds during harvest and storage can have a large impact on their viability and vigor when planted.

For best results, your seeds should be harvested at the right time, properly cleaned and dried and then stored under conditions favorable to their long-term health.

Harvesting and Cleaning Seeds

Seed harvesting and cleaning techniques fall into two main categories according to whether the fruits and seeds are dry or wet when mature (actually, a third category exists of seeds which will die if dried out after maturing.

Dry Seeds

‘Dry’ seeds include beans, okra, peppers, basil and members of the Onion and Carrot Families. Cleaning dry seeds usually involves simply drying and crumbling the pods or husks, then screening or ‘winnowing’ the seeds to separate them from the chaff.

Wet Seeds

‘Wet’ seeds are found in such plants as tomatoes, eggplants and many squashes.

Cleaning wet seeds requires washing to clean the seeds and to separate them from the surrounding pulp.

In addition, in some cases wet seeds (such as tomatoes) are best fermented for several days to remove germination-inhibiting substances from the seed coats.

Ferment Seeds
 Ferment Seeds

Fermenting can also help such seeds as members of the Squash family by killing molds, mildews and other disease organisms that may be present on the seeds after growing.

Some families (such as the Cucumber family) include some plants that produce wet seeds (e.g., squashes and melons) and others that produce dry seeds (e.g., luffa and hard gourds).

See Seed Saving Instructions for Common Vegetables for details on whether a plant makes dry or wet seeds, and whether its seeds must be fermented before cleaning and drying.

Cleaning Dry Seeds

Harvest dry seeds from their plants when their pods or husks have dried. Some seeds can be picked before they are fully dried on the plants if rains threaten.

Other plants, however, (i.e., Mustard family), will not finish ripening once they have been removed from the plant. Leaving seeds on the parent plant to full maturity and dryness is always preferable.

Once pods or husks have been harvested, store them in a dry place and wait until they are thoroughly dry. When the pods or husks are dry enough they will easily crumble between your hands.

Crumble the pods or husks until all the seeds are released. Then place seeds and chaff in a bowl or box and swirl or shake gently. Most of the larger chaff pieces will rise to the top and can simply be removed by hand.

Seeds and finer chaff are easy to separate by a variety of methods. One way is to use two screens of varying mesh, one a little smaller than the seeds and the other a little larger.

Dry Seeds
Dry Seeds

The first screen lets anything smaller than the seeds fall through, and the second lets the seeds through and stops anything larger.
Another method of separating seeds and chaff is to roll seeds down a gently sloping board, leaving chaff stranded near the top of the board.
This simple method works well with round seeds, but is basically useless for flat seeds such as squashes.
A very ancient method of cleaning seeds is called ‘winnowing.’ In a gentle wind, drop the seed/chaff mixture from a height of several feet into a bucket or onto a sheet or tarp.
With a little skill and some cooperation from the wind (a fan in an enclosed space can be used for better control), seeds will fall into the bucket or onto the tarp while chaff blows away to one side.
Another, very simple way to winnow small quantities of seeds is to swirl or gently bounce the seeds and their chaff in a shallow bowl while carefully blowing chaff away with your breath.
It’s a good idea to do this over a cloth or newspaper to catch seeds blown out of the bowl with the chaff. These can then be hand-cleaned or planted.

Cleaning Wet Seeds

Wet seeds are easy to clean, though some need the additional step of fermentation. Seeds which require fermentation should be cleaned after—not before—fermenting.
Allow the fruits to fully mature on their plants before harvesting. See Seed Saving Instructions for Common Vegetables for details on how to judge when seeds have fully matured for particular varieties—in many, the fruits will be well past the eating stage.
To clean wet seeds, scoop the seeds from the fruit, pulp and all. Pour the seeds and pulp into a large, sloping bowl and add water.
Healthy seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl, while dead seeds and most of the pulp will float. Use your fingers to gently separate all the seeds from the pulp.
Then, to remove the pulp and dead seeds, carefully pour the extra water with the floating pulp and dead seeds from the bowl.

Wet Seeds
Wet Seeds

Pour quickly enough for dead seeds and pulp to pour off the top, and slowly enough so that the heavier, good seeds remain safely on the bottom.
By repeating this rinsing and pouring process several times, the seeds can be gotten very clean (getting seeds as clean as possible helps to keep them from sticking to whatever surface you dry them on).

Drying Wet Seeds After Cleaning

To initially dry your seeds after cleaning, drain them of excess moisture in a strainer. Pat the bottom of the strainer with a cloth towel to pull extra water from the seeds after they have drained.
 Then spread the seeds on a piece of glass or a shiny ceramic plate to dry (they will stick to paper, even waxed paper).
Place the glass or ceramic plate in a cool, dry shady spot for several days.
After the seeds are dry, they can be carefully removed from the glass or plate and final-dried before being stored in jars.

Treating Seeds for Viability and Disease Control

Seeds can transmit diseases from parent plants to succeeding generations, lowering their productivity and even completely preventing them from producing.
Simple treatments exist, however, for controlling many seed-borne diseases.
Two such treatments available to home gardeners include fermentation and hot water baths, both used on wet seeds.

Why Ferment Some Seeds?

Fermenting some wet seeds can dramatically improve their ability to sprout.
Fermentation removes germination-inhibiting substances from seed coats, makes them more permeable to water, and also helps reduce or control seed-borne diseases (for healthier seedlings).
Purposely fermenting wet seeds mimics the natural process of fermentation that occurs when ripe fruits are eaten by animals or drop to the ground and rot.
When we intervene to keep seeds from fermenting naturally, it becomes necessary to ferment them artificially so they can complete their natural ripening cycle.
Fermentation is needed for tomato seeds (in order to remove a germination-inhibiting gel), and can also benefit Squash Family and eggplant seeds, though more care must be taken with these to avoid premature sprouting.
Ferment Squash Family seeds for only a day-and-a-half or so, eggplants a little longer.

How to Ferment Seeds

To prepare seeds for fermenting, simply squeeze or scoop the seeds—together with the pulp that surrounds them—into a jar with a little water (about half as much water as seeds and pulp).

How To Ferment Seeds

There is no need to include more pulp than naturally comes with the seeds.
Store this seed/pulp mixture in a warm place (75 to 85º F) for 1½ to 5 days (depending on the seed type and whether conditions are warmer or cooler).
Fermentation will be evidenced by bubbling and/or by the formation of a white mold on the surface of the mixture.
As soon as the bubbling or mold have been evident for a day or so, pour the mix into a bowl and clean according to the directions given earlier in the section Cleaning Wet Seeds.
Watch closely, as seeds left fermenting too long (especially above 80º F or so) may germinate, ruining their chances for storage.
Once the seeds start to ‘imbibe’ or swell due to taking on water, they will have begun their internal process of germination… by the time their tiny roots have begun to emerge, it is far too late to try and dry them for storage.
Sprouted seeds can be planted immediately and grown out (depending on season), but they will die if they are dried out for storage once they have begun to germinate.
Experience will tell you how long you can ferment seeds under your conditions before they begin to sprout.
Eggplant and squash seeds germinate more readily than tomatoes, so they should only be fermented for a couple days or so.
Squash seeds, particularly, are quick to germinate—sometimes even sprouting in well-ripened squashes while they are still on the vine!
It’s not required to ferment squash or eggplant seeds, though it increases their germination rates and kills some seed-borne diseases.
In general, when temperatures are kept between 75 and 80º F or so, fermenting is safe and beneficial and will be safely completed before seeds begin the process of germination.

Hot Water Baths

Another way to control some seed-borne diseases is to treat seeds for a short time in a hot water bath at high enough temperatures to kill disease pathogens (about 125º F).
Treatment times and temperatures are specific to each species, and both must be precisely controlled in order for the treatment to be effective without killing the seeds.


As you can see, there are a lot of ways to save seeds for future plantings.  If you have some plants that you really like, this might be a way to save them for future generations to enjoy.

Check It Out!

An Introduction to Seed Savers Exchange  2:00


Quick Tip

How to save squash seed:

  • To save seed, allow the fruit to ripen on the vine until the plants begin to die.


  • Choose only the finest specimens with the best varietal characteristics for seed.


  • Harvest the fruit and store in a cool, dry place. Further aging in storage raises seed viability.


  • The seeds may be removed when the fruit is required for cooking.


  • Scrape out the seeds and wash them in a colander to remove the placenta, the stringy flesh surrounding the seeds.


  • Spread the seeds on screens or paper towels to dry. Let them dry 2 to 3 weeks, then store in dated, airtight jars in a cool, dark closet.


  • When properly stored, squash seed will remain viable for about six years. (4)



(1) “What Is An Heirloom.” Heirloom Vegetable and Flower Gardening Tips and Advice from N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2015.

(2) “The Difference between Open-pollinated, Heirloom, and Hybrid Seeds.”RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2015.

(3) “Complete, Free Seed-Saving Instructions.” Seed Saving Handbook: Learn How to Save Seeds From Common Garden Vegetables—Free! N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2015.

(4) “Heirloom Pumpkin Varieties and Other Squash.” Mother Earth News. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2015.



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Posted in Magazine Issues, Plants Tagged with: ,

Making & Canning Salsa

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy Regenerative Lifestyle

Making & Canning Salsa

Great salsa comes from fresh vegetables out of the garden.  Wouldn’t you love to be able to have and to share the salsa you made after the growing season?  This article will teach you how to make salsa, plus canning methods for preserving the salsa for up to a year.


David Proctor



           From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.





Making & Canning Salsa

  by Laurie Calloway

August 31, 2017

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly


We received an unexpected gift early this week from a friend…thirty-five pounds of Roma tomatoes. Not wanting them to go bad, I quickly went to work, canning seven quarts, and dehydrating several trays. Still, there were several pounds left. I decided to make and can a batch of salsa.


Now, that much salsa is a bit labor intensive…the tomatoes need to be peeled and chopped along with the peppers and onions. And, canning salsa is a bit more involved than just making a small batch.

The ingredients have to be measured accurately in order to maintain a safe ratio of the acidic tomatoes and the non-acidic peppers and onions. However, I found a good, basic salsa recipe in a book entitled “Fresh Food in a Jar” by Kimberly Willis. (Lots of other great canning recipes in this book, as well!)

The recipe starts with five pounds of Roma tomatoes, or enough to yield fourteen cups of chopped tomatoes. Since it takes a while to peel and chop the tomatoes, I decided to make this a two-day process.

The first day, I weighed the tomatoes, washed them, then dropped several at a time in boiling water for one minute to loosen the skins. Immediately, I removed the tomatoes and placed in a large pan of ice water. The skins peeled off easily.

I removed the cores and any spoiled parts of the tomatoes, and chopped the prepared tomatoes in small batches using a blender on the lowest setting. When I had fourteen cups of chopped tomatoes, I placed them in a large pot and refrigerated them until the next day.


The following day, I picked fresh, sweet peppers from my garden, along with two jalapeño peppers. (The recipe calls for two cups chopped fresh green chiles, but you can substitute any types of peppers, as long as they measure two cups.)

Next, I chopped 1/4 cup of the jalapeño peppers, (be sure to wear plastic gloves while chopping hot peppers and jalapeños) and two and one half cups of a combination of white and red onions, and a few chopped garden tomatillos. (As long as the amount totals no more than two and a half cups of onion, you can use any combination you like, or even substitute two and one-half cups of chopped tomatillos for the onions.)



Next, I measured out spices…1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, 1/2 tablespoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, and 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of dried oregano.

These were the spices listed in the recipe, but you can add any spice or seasoning you like, and/or adjust the amount to your taste. I also added a couple pinches of crushed, red pepper.

Finally, measure one cup of bottled lime juice. (Bottled lemon juice can be substituted, if desired.)


Combine tomatoes, onion, and all the peppers in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.


Add seasonings, herbs, and lime juice and simmer an additional 20 minutes.

Ladle the salsa into clean, hot jars. Wipe rims, place lids, and process in a hot water bath canner. (The amount of time to process depends on the altitude of where you live…see link below.) In my neck of the woods, the pint jars are processed for 15 minutes.

If you have not canned before, or need a refresher on the basics, check out this link:



The recipe yields about 8 pints of salsa. I processed 5-pint jars, and 5 half pint jars, and had almost a pint left over to refrigerate.




Basic Tomato Salsa from “Fresh Food in a Jar” by Kimberly Willis

14 cups of peeled, chopped Roma tomatoes (Other varieties of tomatoes can be used, but the salsa may be thinner if they are not a paste variety tomato.)

2 and 1/2 cups chopped onion. (Can substitute chopped tomatillos for all or part of the onions, if desired.)

2 cups chopped fresh, green chilies or any other type of peppers. (I used fresh, sweet peppers.)

1/4 cup chopped jalapeño pepper

1/3 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 and 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano

1 cup bottled lime juice

Salsa is a wonderful way to enjoy the fresh taste of ingredients from your garden.  Canning the salsa allows the fresh taste to be enjoyed and shared in the months ahead.  Give it a try, it is not that hard and the rewards are great.  Watch the video below and check out the tips to get you started.

Check It Out!


Quick Tips


  • Remember to measure your tomatoes, peppers and onions exactly to keep the ratio of acidity consistent.
  • Wear plastic or rubber gloves while seeding and chopping the jalapeños or any other hot pepper you use. Removing the seeds and inner membranes of the hot pepper will reduce its heat.
  • Place tomatoes in small batches in boiling water for one minute, then place in a container of ice water for easier peeling.
  • Any combination of spices you desire can be added, other than the ones listed in this recipe.


“Fresh Food in a Jar” by Kimberly Willis


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Posted in Magazine Issues, Plants, Recipes Tagged with:

Jalapeno Salsa

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy Regenerative Lifestyle

Jalapeno Salsa

With the available fresh herbs and vegetables, it is time to bring out some recipes to put them to work.  While at our local farmer’s market, at one of my stops, a savvy young man from Blenheim Organic Gardens, was selling vegetables selected to make fresh salsa all in one container.




David Proctor



           From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.






Jalapeno Salsa

by David Proctor

August 24, 2017

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly

I thought why not, even though I have never made salsa before, I wanted to give it a try.  A recipe was placed in the container along with the vegetables that read:

Fresh Salsa
Make fresh salsa by:

  • Dicing various colored tomatoes
  • Add chopped onion, garlic & hot pepper
  • Season with sea salt, a splash of apple cider vinegar, and a touch of sugar

Optional ingredients:

  • cilantro & or fresh lime juice

Sounds easy enough except I do not have a food processor so the blender will have to do.
I asked Laurie Calloway, what I should do since she helps provide recipe articles for the magazine, her experience is way beyond mine.

Laurie suggested to “spread the vegetables out on a tray like in this picture. I do not put oil on them, although I spray the sheet with PAM first.


I roasted them at 425 degrees until the skins crack and slightly char.
Then, I let them cool, then blended them together in a blender.”

Now that doesn’t sound too bad.  I decided to give it a try.

Farmers Market Ingredients

This is what I had to start with.

Cookie Sheet

I spread the vegetables out on the table to see just what I had.  I thought about adding to them, then decided it would be best to just use what was in the container so I could evaluate what I had purchased.


A quick rinse before the cutting board.


I did remove the seeds and core of the jalapeno pepper.  I am not able to eat very spicy food even though Molly did her best to change that over the years, I still can’t eat as spicy as some.  Some like it hot and some not.  I was worried that just the one might make it too hot, but that was not the case.

Cookie Sheet Prep

I quartered the larger tomatoes and diced the jalapeno, onion, and garlic.  Then sprayed the foil lined cookie sheet with a no stick cooking spray and spread the vegetables out on the sheet.  I had the oven preheated to 425F.

Baked Ingredients

For the skins to start to wrinkle took about 10 minutes at 425F.


I started blending with the garlic, jalapeno and green onion.


Tomatoes and more tomatoes.


Almost done and the blender is working fine.


I didn’t add any other ingredients such as sea salt, vinegar or other things you might ordinarily add.  I just wanted to see how the salsa tasted on its own.  If I do say so myself, not bad for the first time. If you like it hot, add more jalapenos.  This year we have a bumper crop.

I am sure that many of you have your own salsa recipes, if you would like to send them to me please do and I will publish them to the readers.

Check It Out!



Quick Tip


Step-by-step water process canning tips for beginners.:
If you would like to read more on this topic, click the link to Urban Farm Lifestyle  Volume 1 Issue 12 Preserving The Summer  


Bibliography: N/A

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Posted in Magazine Issues, Plants, Recipes Tagged with:

Think Dirty

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy Regenerative Lifestyle

Think Dirty

I found out about an interesting App this last weekend called Think Dirty.  The App allows you to scan the barcodes on products like cosmetics and find out if they are clean, not harmful or dirty, having possible harmful ingredients.

David Proctor



           From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.





Think Dirty

by David Proctor

August 17, 2017

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly

I scanned my can of Barbasol Shaving Cream and it came up, on a scale of 1-10, a 9.  I thought what can be so bad about shaving cream?  I have used this brand for a lot of years.

I clicked on ingredients within the app, and found that the worst thing in the product that made it rate a 9 was fragrance.

Think Dirty App
Think Dirty App

The name fragrance, also known as almond fragrance, aroma, or aromatic oils. Many things can go into a fragrance, but the list of health impacts are hormone disruptor and allergies.
This has to make you think about what is being put in products that we use on a daily basis, to make them appealing, so that we will buy them.  This app doesn’t scan food items that are ingested, but does scan products that we use external like shampoos, cosmetics, even mouthwash and toothpaste.


Think of how many products that are made for skin care and cosmetics.  To give you an example, I scanned a jar of Pond’s Dry Skin Cream to see how it rated.  That product has been in my house for years.  Molly and my girls have used it as a skin care product, and I think even my mom used it.  When scanned it came up a 10!

Under ingredients, the one rated 10 is DMDM Hydantoin, and number 9 is Fragrance, number 7 is Methylparaben, number 5 is Petrolatum and Laureth 23, and number 4 is Iodopropynyl.   What are these ingredients?

DMDM Hydantoin
Also Known As:
DMDM Hydantoin is also known as 4-methylenedioxyaniline HCL, DMDM Hydantoin Formaldehyde releasing agents.

The usage for formaldehyde releasing agents is used for preservatives in a wide range of cosmetics.  Formaldehyde is considered a Group 1 Carcinogenic to humans by IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer).

Health Impacts:
May trigger eczema, known human carcinogen, allergies, carcinogen.

Formaldehyde is voted as “Allergen of the Year” of 2015 by The Dermatologist Journal (The Dermatologist).  In many cases, this ingredient is not listed on the labels.  Studies show that via liquid chromatography analysis some products that list 82% ethanol and water as ingredients, in fact contain an undisclosed ingredient (Friis et al).
Fragrance is number 9, which was discussed before with the Barbosal example.  The next items is number 7, Methylparaben.

Also known as:
4-Hydroxyenzoic Acid, Methyl Ester 4-Hydroxbenzoic Acid, Methyl Ester, Potassium Salt; Benzoic Acid, 4-Hydroxy- Methyl Ester, 4-Hydroxy-Methyl Ester Benzoic Acid

Fragrance ingredient, preservative, mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptor.  Parabens are a group of compounds widely used as an antifungal agent, preservative and antimicrobial in creams, lotions, ointments and other cosmetics, including underarm deodorants.  In 2011, a study showed that methylparabens may cause healthy cells to grow and survive like cancer cells grow and survive, and like cancer cells, can interfere with the effectiveness of anti-cancer drugs.

Health Impacts:

Some studies of breast tumors show a buildup of methylparabens in the breast tissue.
I will not go over the number 5’s and below.  They are not considered as harmful as the top 10’s.  As you can see, even if you read the label, you may not fully understand what is being used in the product and the effect that compound can have on your body.


A few more examples are:

  • Redken Extreme Shampoo Fortifier For Distressed Hair has (Butylparaben, Parfum/Fragrance) = 10 & 9
  • Pure Silk Moisturizing Shave Cream For Women (Fragrance) = 9
  • Listerine Cool Mint Mouthwash (Poloxamer 407)= 8
  • Crest Baking Soda With Tartar Protection Fresh Mint (DMDM Hydantoin & Fragrance) = 10 & 9
  • Revlon Colorsilk Natural Hair Color 3Rb Dark Mahogany (P-Phenylenediamine) = 10
  • Revlon Scented Parfume Nail Enamel (Parfum) = 9
  • Estee Lauder Pure Color Crystal Lipstick (Fragrance & Polyethylene) = 9 & 7
  • Estee Lauder Gentle Eye Make Up Remover (Butyparaben & Methylparaben)= 10 & 7

You can find products that are rated from 5 to 0.  This app gives suggestions, which I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t make money each time you clicked and purchased from the app, but at least you know where to start.

For example:

  • Estelle & Thild Night Cream Frangrance Free = 0
  • Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Bar Soap = 2
  • Pacifica Stellar Gaze = 4
  • Pacifica Natural Skincare Sea Foam Complete Face Wash = 0

The main thing to remember is to not assume that what you have been using on your body for a few days or most of your life is necessarily safe and without harmful side effects.  Just being informed about what is in the products we buy can help us decide if we should look for alternatives.  Shop informed.

I am not saying that you should download this app, I just want to bring attention, to the ones that care, that apps like this are out there.  Apps that can be used to scan products or to research by typing the product name in, to see if you want to take the risk, that it states that you may be taking, in using the product.


“Think Dirty® is a project born out of a personal journey to understand the truths in the beauty industry. Due to family history of cancer, I decided to research into the many causes behind breast cancer, including ‘toxic’ ingredients in cosmetic and personal care products.

I never realized the environmental impact cosmetics had on our health, until I watched Annie Leonard’s “Story of Cosmetics”, which examined the pervasive use of toxic chemicals in our everyday personal care products.

There are hormone disruptor chemicals in many products that have been possibly linked to breast cancer. I was shocked the cosmetics industry was not regulated like the food and drug sectors. And like most women, my lipgloss and shampoo are products I would never think to describe as “toxic” or could contain cancer-causing chemicals.

Finding safer alternatives for myself was a huge challenge. Although many products are labeled “all-natural” or “organic”, there is little transparency in labeling cosmetics. There was also no real tool out there for consumers to find information easily. With my background in design and marketing, I wanted to develop and create something not only for myself but for others as well, and that’s how Think Dirty® was founded.

Think Dirty® empowers and educates the consumer on the cosmetics industry by allowing them to make an informed decision on what products to purchase. In 2012, Think Dirty® won the It’s a Start Competition Grand Prize by Digifest Toronto. The mobile app launched in Summer 2013 with more than 68,300 products listed.

As someone who has been touched by cancer in my family, I was a huge supporter of several pink ribbon-related events and fundraising efforts. I really wanted Think Dirty® to be a champion of non-partisan breast cancer awareness initiatives. This September, we partnered with the Breast Cancer Fund and their Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to promote safer cosmetics and personal products through daily habits.

However, Think Dirty® is more than just a mobile app – it’s a consumer revolution for safer cosmetics by learning one ingredient at a time, changing to cleaner options, one product at a time.

Join me to take back our power to vote for products that are safe, clean, and not “Dirty”. The time is now.”


To a healthier and safer future,

Lily Tse

Founder and CEO


We want you to Think Dirty. from Think Dirty on Vimeo.

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LET’S THINK DIRTY. (app) 6:15
Sarah Tran

Quick Tip

Knowledge Is Power



Inc., Good Clean Collective. “Think Dirty App.” Think Dirty,

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