Saturday, May 16, 2015

backyard forager :: part 2 :: preparing your finds



i owe a debt of
gratitude
to the great italian men
who i work with
talk with
philosophize with

we discuss
literally
everything

nothing seems off-limits
when lunch time finds us
gathered around the cutting table
sharing
talking
encouraging


this time
their wacky sewing machine operator
to eat those dandelion leaves
that are so 
plentiful in her yard

 stories unfold of
their mama  
who
had the family pick leaves
from around the shop
to be added to soups
sautes
salads
for their cherished tender bitterness
much like cicoria 
from her homeland
not found here in the states


dandelion greens
make a good substitute

washed thoroughly
with salted water
rinsed
and washed 
again
and 
again
just to be safe


left to air dry
then
rolled in a clean towel
and stored in the crisper
until ready to use

two days later
and still looking 
just picked

i followed a recipe
at epicurios
for sauteing the greens
reducing the ingredients since 
i didn't have the 3 pounds of leaves
called for

sounds like a lot
but
they reduce down
 substantially
as any good green will do


olive oil
garlic
red pepper
sea salt
pepper


blanched the leaves
briefly
for about 3 minutes
drained well 
then
tossed all in the frying pan

gave it a splash
of fresh lemon
(another tip i learned from the guys)
just before serving

took a taste

first impression 
fabulous
then the after bite
of bitterness followed
taking me off guard

pretty strong
even though i used tender 
young leaves


but saved the day with the main
dish
which paired perfectly 
with the bitter leaf

Colin Byrne's Spicy Pasta
(google it...you'll want this one)


Who's Colin Byrne?

A character from a Susan Elizabeth Phillip's 
novel 
Ain't She Sweet
(because life's too short to read depressing books)
who enjoys his pasta with a kick

so do i
but
not quite as hot as he does
so i used only 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
then topped with feta
and
kalamata olives

delizioso


alongside 
sauteed dandelion greens

perfetto!

go ahead...
eat your greens!

:)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

backyard forager :: dandelion leaves

the conditions were 
right
the timing
perfect
the sun
shining bright



who could ask for more

living on an acre
and a half
has its challenges
and 
its rewards


i learned early on
that this family of mine
loves to play 
outdoors
and they don't take it easy on the yard
biking
quading
badminton competing
croquet playing
Frisbee throwing
ball catching
dog chasing

it sees a lot of action

a pristine 
immaculate
plush manicured lawn
is a thing
found only in glossy magazines
or a drive through
a nearby subdivision
where each yard is a beautiful
shade of emerald

pulling in my drive
i see another type of beauty
in the
"weeds"
weeds that tolerate the hot
August heat
keep their nice shade of khaki
intermingled with
bright green crab grass
beautifully self-maintained
without the constant watering
feeding
or treating with
-cides
necessary to keep the green

all that to say
my yard is 
au naturale
like me!


i've trained my brain to think of
the dandelion 
as a flower from heaven
my yard
God's flower bed
planting where He thinks best
and
who am i to disagree



God don't make mistakes

is there any sweeter 
mother's day gift
than a hand-picked bouquet
of dandelions
held by dirty, chubby little fingers
presented with
a big smile
and love-filled eyes

i think
not

this year 
i turned my attention
to their leaves

i watch enough survivor shows
to be dangerous
and now
after a little research
i know
i could live on these
delicacies



when to pick:
before the bloom
when leaves are tender




where to pick:
where dandelions
prosper


what not to pick:
roadside
chemically treated areas
doggie dumping grounds

in other words

i need go no further
than my 
own backyard
(as well as front and side)
while dodging the dog kennel


with that
common sense approach
i went about the business



i hope you
enjoyed this
garden tour
as i went about a little
backyard foraging



stop back for
part 2
when i put these
garden greens
to good use

God bless the dandelion
manna from heaven

:)

what does your 
garden hold?


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

~the best part about vegan baking~



has absolutely
nothing
to do with 
health benefits
or the fact that
to some
like me 
:)
it tastes better
because you know
there's good stuff
going in
while satisfying
that sweet tooth

often times
with fewer calories
to boot!



but 
that's not it either

sure there are growing numbers
of those with egg and milk
allergies
not to mention
new mamas
(hey jilly bean)
whose breastfed babes
can't tolerate dairy
and going vegan
just makes sense
especially if they'd like to enjoy 
a few hours
 of sleep at night
so...
when you want a cookie
and a cookie you 
must have
enter vegan baking



getting warmer
but
still not there

the number one reason
i encourage you 
to try
 vegan baking


you can lick the beaters

i seriously can't believe
that this hasn't been
talked about more

#lickthatbeater

followed by
scraping the bowl clean
with your finger
sampling
the raw goodness

without worry of
salmonella

just like when you were
a kid

remember
 those days
of 
blissful ignorance?

well
they can once again
be yours

Oh
happy day!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

top of the muffin to you

i don't get it...
the defining of things



case in point
Old Maid New
a crafting
songwriting
God worshiping place
to hang out together



yoga 
one day
repurposing the next



lifestyling
vegan masterminding



throw in 
a wife's perspective
mother's club
homeschool woes and highlights sharing
grandmother's bragging



redecorating



maybe i should
organize my days
where mondays would be dedicated to
house-cleaning tips
tuesdays : creating

if only



if only
my mind worked that way

blessed are those who do



like you
however
one day i'm listening to country
the next ushers in a need
for Seger
i go with the flow
or try to
letting my inner child
that whimsical butterfly
direct my days
as much as she can
but alas
 we all have
parameters
that prevent us from
fluttering off too far



and so it goes

today as i was making
banana nut muffins
from a whole foods workshop
topping them with my favorite stuff
~hemp seed love~
making a few small-sized
 for
my little muffins
i thought of you

sure 
i could wait for something 
really special to happen
before stopping in
or
i could sit for a spell
while munching on one of these beauties
and 
just say 

hi...
how's it goin'

:)


Sunday, March 22, 2015

inspired by :: marshmallow pops

Marshmallow Pops

ree drummond
aka
the pioneer woman
made these marshmallow pops
for her daughter's sleepover

talk about your
coincidences

i was having a sleepover of 
my own


with this sweet little girl
who was busy
painting her masterpiece


while eating breakfast
of leftover cheesy bread
and planning our
next
adventure


which 
coincidentally (again!)
involved a
marshmallow


it got me to thinking
of our breakfast dessert
because every meal
should have its
dessert
don't you agree??


what are the chances that i'd have
large marshmallows in my cupboard

it was destiny

then again
i didn't have any of the other
ingredients
but that didn't stop us


popsicle sticks? 
nope!
but straws will work in a pinch


melted chocolates in all flavors
and colors?
notta!
slightly softened peanut butter
will do the trick


sprinkles?
oreo cookies?
graham crackers??

no. no. and no.


chopped chocolate chips
minced cashews


for a peanut butter
marshmallow pop

are we genius or what?!


the first bite
confirmed it

yes.

yes we are!


our breakfast-dessert masterpiece
in their glamour shot!

thanks
 pioneer woman
for inspiring fun
and helping to make a 
memory

marshmallow 
peanut butter cup pops

breakfast doesn't get
any better
than that

:)

still having fun...
what have you all been up to?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

never too late

note:
i wrote this piece weeks ago and for whatever reason was unhappy with my words and decided against posting it...truly forgot about it until i stumbled upon it this morning...shocked myself when i saw the title sitting there in my unpublished posts... i clicked on it to remember what i had to say on the subject because these very words have been toying with my brain to the point that i have been writing a song with the same title...obviously something i'm trying to work out right now...so as you read this, please keep that in mind...it's an unfinished work in progress
i'm so close to figuring it all out
and i will undoubtedly share the findings here
until then
 i will rejoice in the perfect imperfection.

life
a series of
baby steps
toward your genuine self
being true
being real
keeping it real
in a world full of one-liners
cliche or not
it presents its challenges 
within this framework
of self

your mind is on a collision course
between
wants
needs
should's
should-not's
do's
don't-s
throw another being 
into the picture
and the obstacles are doubled
quadrupled!
going beyond self
taking their perspective and feelings
into account
into consideration

filtering
the self

questioning
self

unavoidable.

and
left 
 wondering
what this
being real thing
would look like

chaotic
peaceful
miserable
joyful

i'll let you know
when i get
there.

Monday, February 2, 2015

artwork and musings

'...the more time you spend trying to meditate, the more time you have, because you bring more attention to the things that you're doing. Attention, expands time. If you bring more attention to a moment, then that moment is much longer. There's more that you can bring to the moment, more that you can take out of it. '
~author unknown
but i love it
letting that thought
guide me

grabbing hold
of the
thread
as it
transforms my breakfast
from a simple wedge
that nourishes
quenches
and becomes
the partial orb 
that found itself on every drawing
of childhood

taking an ordinary day
and making it
extraordinary

could be the blizzard conditions
could be work cancellations
whatever it is
i'm feeling
giddy as a school girl
(yes! i said it!)

an explosion of emotion
that is enhanced
by the
light
created by that
amazing orb 
making its appearance
after the great snow
as if to say

everything's gonna be alright
see for yourself

one has only to look
at some examples
of contemporary art
to see
that what was true in my childhood days
still holds today
I Love...
sunshine!
(upper left corner)
totally changes the mood
from
scary cat to
playful antics
smiling
happy faces
and
of course!
the sun is shining
in the upper left-hand corners

once again
its all about the
light source
most recently
a get well card
brought to me
during the peak of illness
by my brave daughter-in-law
because
it was so important to
my girl Kierstin
who
wanted 
needed
me to have it
ASAP
because she wanted me to know
what i already knew

i am loved
holding hands
happy
 healthy faces
hearts
and
a whole lotta
sunshine
so bring it!

the snow
the wind
but as long as there is
plenty of light
i will find
 new insight
clarity
and
the attention
enhanced by meditation

the attention
that expands time

and the moments
in turn

will be
 given their
due.