Sticking with your meal plan | Asparagus salad recipe was a hit! | Eating healthy | Heartsongfit

Red barn with flooded farm field behind

This old red barn is several miles north of our farm. The area behind it is usually farm field. This is how it looked on Saturday. (Tippecanoe County, Indiana)

Editor’s Note:  I enjoy cooking and especially, trying out new recipes. We had a farm flooding emergency these past couple of days, so I was grateful that I had planned ahead for the recipes I wanted to prepare. With the ingredients on hand in the pantry, it allowed us to eat pretty healthy even with the extra stresses of caring for the livestock and farm in the emergency.


Sticking with your meal plan | Asparagus salad recipe was a hit! | Eating healthy | Heartsongfit
by Coach Vickie Maris

Fast food would have been on the menu if we had not had a plan in place for our meals this week when the flooding emergency descended. We feel blessed that our farm, while very soggy now and with mud and sand in places we hadn’t intended, is in tact and all is OK. Things could have been much worse.

Both Scott and I were serving as judges Thursday night – for different events. Scott was a judge for the SAMI (Songwriters of Mid North Indiana) Scholarship for Songwriting and I was judging the Area Event for the 4-H Talent Show. By the time we got home, it was about 9:30, and we had to change to our farm clothes and rain gear, and jump into action. It took all of our remaining, waking  hours last night to move our llamas and ponies to different pastures and paddocks for the night to make sure they would be safe from rising waters.

Scott headed out to our stallion paddock to halter and lead Madison up the hill to the barn. I headed to our south pasture to halter our male llama, Mas Chiri, to bring him up to a paddock on the hill. Both of us were working in the darkness of the valley and in a heavy rain. I do have a headlight type of flashlight that I can wear on my head, but it usually either spooks or blinds the animals, so I don’t use it when I’m working with the animals. I was appreciative that Madison nearly halters himself and was happy to have Scott walk him up to the barn. Llamas can sometimes be a little tricky to catch in a big, open space, but dear Mas Chiri, does a pretty good job of standing quietly when you ask him to “stand” and he sticks his nose in the air and waits for you to put his halter on.

Photo of a large male llama

FFF Mas Chiri, our handsome and sweet male llama.

I had planned a vacation day from my job at the university for Friday, so that was a huge help with the additional items on the schedule! There is always extra work on the farm whenever the weather changes – dry weather to rainstorm; cold weather to heavy snow; balmy weather to tornado. But even with the extra work on the farm, I enjoyed preparing a simple, healthy dinner of fresh salads and the asparagus tomato dish that I shared on my Facebook community page last week. I’ll put the recipe for it below (found it in our Electric Consumer magazine). It turned out pretty yummy; is good for you; and is also gluten free if you’re avoiding gluten.

Photo of asparagus tomato salad

Tomato asparagus salad

Asparagus Tomato Salad
2 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1 T. olive oil
1 t. red wine vinegar
1/4 t. dried basil
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/2 clove garlic, minced

Salad:  12 fresh asparagus spears, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces; 1 small red onion, sliced, 3 small tomatoes, seeded and diced

In a medium bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients; set aside. Place asparagus in a large saucepan with enough water to cover; cook until tender-crisp. Drain and cool. Combine asparagus, onion and tomatoes in a bowl. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate. (Cook’s note:  I use grape tomatoes, halved, in place of the chopped tomatoes.)

Update on the Flooding
Here’s a brief report on the status of our farm after the flooding.



PS – You can also jump over to my community page in Facebook and post your comment there,


Vickie Maris with a llama

Vickie Maris with one of her performance llamas, Betty, who is a great trail hiking companion.

Vickie Maris is a lifelong learner, a musician, a health and fitness coach, and an instructional designer/director of professional development programs for lifelong learners at a Big Ten university. She encourages people in their life improvement projects from choices for classroom and online learning, to lifestyle transformations for better fitness and eating. The focus of her own weight loss and fitness journey has also allowed her to reap benefits of a better ability to deal with work stresses, and a reduction in blood pressure and migraine headaches! Contact her at clientcare at heartsongfit dot com, for information about using any one of the many Beachbody products for fitness and health, or for details about joining one of her challenge groups of like-minded people connected online to encourage each other in a 30-day challenge towards improved fitness and health.








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  • Glad you are okay! Love asparagus so I will try the recipe, thanks!