Greeting the Sun and Chasing the Moon

by Elaine on August 23, 2013

And so, this was our day. Greeting the sun as it emerged from behind the eastern mountains . . .

. . . then heading west to put the moon to rest!

. . . may we always walk in beauty!

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Wordless Wednesday :: Waiting for Her!

by Elaine on August 21, 2013

waiting for Her

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Wordless Wednesday :: Whisper

by Elaine on June 19, 2013

photo by Joanna

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A Walk in the Garden

by Elaine on May 27, 2013

The gardens are so lush and green after a long rainy weekend.

a walk in the garden

chiveslilies herbs

a walk in the garden

a walk in the garden

a walk in the garden

Wishing you a beautiful start to your week!

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Sunday Morning Quiche

by Elaine on May 26, 2013

On Sunday mornings, when eggs are in abundance, quiche is something easy to make that we can have throughout the quiet, sometimes lazy and often rainy days of May. Easy and economical to make, this is a favorite meal of ours. Serve with a nice salad or bowl of warm soup!

quiche-eggs

Ingredients

  • 2 leeks
  • 2 cups spinach or kale
  • 1-2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • 3 large organic pastured eggs
  • 1 cup organic pastured milk (preferably raw)
  • 1/2 cup organic pastured cream (preferably raw)
  • 1 teaspoon Herbamare or good quality sea salt
  • 8 slices of bacon

 9-inch cake, pie or cast iron skillet.

Instructions

Crust

This recipe makes a generous size crust. If you have some left over you can roll out the remaining crust and make crackers.

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp good quality sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Using your hands combine all the ingredients in a large bowl until a dough forms (if crust doesn’t hold together add another tablespoon of olive oil or a little water). Line the bottom of pan with parchment paper and press mixture into pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Filling

Cook bacon till crispy. Crumble and set aside.

Sauté leeks and spinach.

Sprinkle half the cheese over the bottom of the crust and top with the bacon and leeks, top with remaining cheese. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, and salt until frothy. Pour the custard into the pie crust.

Bake at 350°F for 30 to 40 minutes, you want the edges to be set but the center a little jiggly.

Let cool for about 20 minutes.

Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.

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Almond Crackers with Parsley and Chives

by Elaine on May 25, 2013

I am a bit of a crunch addict. I love crackers!

However, I prefer not to purchase crackers from the store as they are full of ingredients which I’d just as soon be left out. When you make crackers at home you control what goes into them, you flavor them how you’d like, and you leave all the junk out!

I’ve been playing around with this recipe for a month or so now, and am really pleased with the results. They are both delicious and super easy to make.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Crackers

Crackers

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tbs. fresh or dried parsley
  • 2 tbs. finely chopped chives (include the blossoms it you have them)
  • 1 cup finely grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1 tsp. Herbamare
  • 2 tbs. olive oil or melted butter
  • 4 tbs. water

Instructions 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the dry ingredients in a bowl, add butter (or olive oil and water). Mix with hands until everything sticks together, form into a ball and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten a little with hands. Place another piece of parchment paper over the top and roll out into thin layer. Score top with a knife but do not cut all the way through.

Place in preheated oven and bake 2o-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.  Break into pieces and store in an airtight container or just eat them all right away.

Makes about 2 dozen.

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Our Year Without a Dryer

by Elaine on May 24, 2013

Do you ever wonder if you could do without something you’ve always been dependent on?

Last June our dryer died! We had planned to get it repaired until we discovered that the problem was the motor. That pretty much meant it would be cheaper to buy a new (used) one, which is what we had planned to do. I, however, decided that since we were barely into June, we could probably last the summer without one.

Hang Dry

Well, Summer turned into Fall, then Winter and Spring — and now here we are.

A year without a dryer.

Why would we not want to have a dryer? Well, honestly we do want one. But I wanted to see what it would be like for us, if we didn’t have one. Could in fact survive it? Yes, I know, we could “survive”, but as a society, we’ve become very used to the conveniences we have nowadays. So used to them that if we suddenly lost them, I have to wonder if we would know what to do.

The reality is: we could lose that convenience quite easily.  So in a way, going without a dryer was a challenge in self-sufficiency.

What it took for us to do this successfully were a few clotheslines — one outside and one inside — and a drying rack. Sure, drying clothes this way takes a little more planning. If someone wants something washed quickly, it’s not going to happen.

There are many benefits, but these are the top two:

Slowing Down :: In a world where everything is pretty much at your fingertips, easily and quickly accessible, it requires us to slow down a bit. We have to plan ahead and remain patient. I also find it fairly meditative to walk out into the yard with nothing more to do than to hang the laundry. I find to be relaxing. I also love to just look at the clothing in the sunshine and blowing in the breeze. It really makes me feel connected to my life.

Eco-consciousness :: I don’t consider a dryer a necessity. It’s definitely a convenience, but not a necessity.  By not having one, we consume less electricity, which not only saves us money but also saves our precious resources.

Hang Dry

Will we ever buy a new dryer? Probably. But not having a dryer has taught us that we can do without. When we do buy a new one, we will be putting our clothes out to dry on the clothesline or drying rack more often than not.

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Wordless Wednesday

by Elaine on May 22, 2013

quiet practice

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Meet Alice

by Elaine on May 21, 2013

We have a new family member.

Alice

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Her name is Alice, we met her a couple of weeks ago and fell in love at first sight! We waited patiently until she was old enough to be adopted and come home with us.  She is super sweet and loves to cuddle. As of yesterday she loves to escape through the fence, and today she has discovered that the other creature that wanders the house is fun to chase around.

We are pretty smitten with this girl and we’re glad she is here.

Alice

. . . and we think she is too!

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Eat Your Kale

by Elaine on May 20, 2013

kale

What’s the big deal about kale?

I fell in love with this leafy green about six years ago. Oh I did love greens long before that, but really the love affair didn’t start until then. I pretty much love any green, but kale has a special place in my heart, especially cavolo nero (also known as laminate or dinosaur kale)!

Several years ago I read about the secret life of kale, cavolo nero. The story went something like this. People of England loved this green so much that they would smuggle the seeds out of Italy and bring them over to England to grow. Apparently they didn’t want to let the coveted seed out of the country. Surely I do not have the facts straight, but I do love the story. I think it’s quite romantic. Whether or not this is true, this story spoke right to my rebellious heart! It was very similar to my own story of smuggling an extraordinary large amount of cheese from Italy and Holland on a trip in 2002, and the beer I brought back from a trip to Germany when I was 19. I probably didn’t need to smuggle it, but it just seemed like the right thing to do!

So when I fell in love with kale I started to put it in my smoothies, and proceeded try and convince all of those around me that they should do the same. Then I started to make salads with it, raw salads, and tried to convince friends that it was indeed the best salad EVER!!!

Well, I have lured some of them over to the dark leafy green side, but some still need convincing. Or rather they are asking me to convince them.

Well the truth is, I don’t know that I can, and the other truth is —  you don’t have to like kale!!!

It’s OK!

No one is judging you! Well, maybe I am! (I’m joking of course)

But seriously, it’s really OK to not like it. No one is going to throw you out of the healthy club!

Promise!

However, I’ve been asked to convince. So, I’ll give it my best shot!

Let’s start with why you should eat kale!

  • Kale is high in Vitamin A, C, and K
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Folic Acid
  • Lutein
  • Carotenoids
  • Antioxidants
  • It tastes good!

So, who wouldn’t want to eat kale, knowing this? It’s an easy way to boost nutrition in your meals.

The following are a few of my favorite ways to eat kale.

I hope this convinces you!

Smoothies

kale

I love smoothies, and have been drinking them for years. It used to be that I drank primarily fruit smoothies made with juice, banana, and frozen fruit. Then I started adding kale to them, adding an entirely new level of nutrition. When I started adding kale I omitted the juice and added in water. You can choose to do either, I just think they are sweet enough without the juice. This is where I most like using cavolo nero (also known as dinosaur, Tuscan Kale and lacinato).

Tacos

We love tacos. They are usually on the weekly rotation menu plan or at least bi-weekly. It doesn’t matter what kind of tacos we are having, we always throw in several handfuls of chopped kale.

Soup

Chop it up and add it to soups.

Kale – Walnut Salad with Balsamic, Mustard Dressing

  • 2 heads chopped curly kale
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 apple, chopped very small
  • 1 shallot, chopped very small
  • Handful of walnuts
  • Feta cheese
  • Dressing ::
  • 1/4 cup balsamic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbs. honey
  • 1 tbs. Dijon mustard
  • Pepper to taste

I use mostly curly kale in my salads. I will often add other types along with it but I think it lends to a nicer looking salad.

The key to making a good, palatable, raw kale salad is gently massaging the kale at the beginning. Chop and slice the kale in whatever size pieces you like, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on some salt. Put your hands in there and massage it.

Massaging it breaks down the leaves and gives it a more “cooked” feel.

This recipe is a variation of one of my recipes from my ebook, Slow Down and Eat Salad and you can get it here . . .

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