Tuesday, May 31

Morningside Farm

I picked up my first order from a new (to me) co-op today. I've long been a fan of this one but I was sorely lacking a source for bulk organic butter and cheeses. Enter Morningside...

Not only do they have dairy products but a much wider selection of products in general. Plus, their website is a bit easier to use and their ordering schedule is easier to understand. 

We ordered...oats, baking powder, peanut butter, almond butter, Veganaise, black beans, my super-favorite olive oil, butter, chips (for our beloved Mexican nights), carob chips and cocoa powder as well as pepper jack, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. 

Monday, May 30

Farmer's Market Finds

Here's what we bought this week and what we plan to do with it...

Black Bean Burgers
Broccoli-Spinach Omelettes with biscuits
Carrot Top Soup
Spinach Garden Salad with Pineapple Dressing
    and Chapati
Fresh Pea Soup
Nova Scotia Hodgepodge
Radish Top Soup (which we will undoubtedly eat at least once a week until radishes are gone. We love this soup!)





It might be hard to top our Memorial Day supper, though....
Burgers on these delicious, easy-to-make buns, lightly steamed veggies, deviled eggs, freshly-squeezed lemonade and these cookies for dessert.

Friday, May 27

Eat

The recipe page is up (see 'Eat' above). So far, I've got all the existing recipes on the blog linked but have many more to add...

Tuesday, May 24

Berry Pickin'



The recipe for the sugar-free jam (left) required added
pectin which, I think, is why it retained so much color.
(Or maybe I totally messed it up. This is my first foray
into the world of powdered pectin. I don't think I like it
very much...)
A couple of weeks ago, my best-est canning friend and I drove out to a farm outside town and picked gallons and gallons of strawberries.

We learned a valuable lesson, too. The week we went was the 'peak' time to pick according to the farmer. There was no shortage of large, perfectly ripe berries and every row had plenty. A trip out a week later meant a longer picking time as you had to search for good (though smaller) berries.

I made two types of jam, one being sugar-free for my dad. I also put two gallons in the freezer for muffins and smoothies. We're delighting in the freshness of the season right now but I know some strawberry bread in the dead of winter will be a lovely treat!

• • •

One random 'berry' note...

Berries of any kind always remind me of a board book my parents gave S when he was little. Called Jamberry, it's a super cute story of a boy and a bear frolicking through the joys of the season. I never tired of reading it to the kids which is more than I can say for a bunch of other kid books....

Monday, May 23

Farmer's Market Finds

Broccoli, sprouted lentils, summer sausage, radishes
asparagus, basil, lettuce mix, early peas, raw goat milk
cottage cheese and strawberries
Here's my meal plan for this week based on what the girls and I bought. I'm adding a page to my blog as an index for all the recipes I write about. It's going to take a few days to get them all listed but, hopefully, it'll help if something sounds yummy to you!

Supper...
  • Radish Top Soup with Honey-Oat Rolls (Tessa has been stalking the farmers' tents on Saturdays in anticipation of radishes for this soup!)
  • Black bean and corn fajitas, salad
  • Salad with lentils, toasted baguette with pesto
  • My Random Skillet Supper -- I came up with this Hamburger Helper-style dish one evening when I had little time and no game plan. It's easy to adjust to whatever I have on hand and is a family favorite. The general 'recipe' is a pound of ground beef or chicken, pasta (from our CSA which I'm trying desperately to use up), home-canned tomatoes or tomato juice and my homemade chili or taco seasoning. 
  • Black Bean Burgers on wheat rolls, steamed broccoli
I split a pound of sausage for:
  • Sausage-spinach-swiss omelettes with roasted asparagus 
  • Homemade pizza with sausage and fresh basil
Lunch...
  • Radish Spread sandwiches
  • Honey-Oat Rolls with summer sausage and goat cottage cheese, blanched peas
  • Leftover pizza (which is the kids' favorite lunch!)
  • Egg salad sandwiches
  • Fresh Pea Soup
Breakfast...
And, last but not least, this divine dessert...

Strawberry Shortcake with
freshly whipped cream - YUM!

Friday, May 20

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mom's birthday. (Why, yes, she is 29 again! How did you know?) Truthfully, I really think she's still about seven in her heart.

Long ago, she chose to measure her success by her family. I'm not talking about anything stage-momish either. She has never had a career outside the home. She is a keeper of the home and the souls entrusted to her. As we grew up and moved away, she was forced to 'retire' from her daily duties. While I know she needed breaks like every parent, she did not relish that permanent change.

Fortunately, God has blessed each of us three kids with three of our own. Seeing my parents as grandparents has given me a new perspective on their inner children. I have been very blessed by that and, as grandparents, they have given us some of their greatest gifts.

When I was six months pregnant with my second child, I was put on complete bed rest. I was allowed fifteen minutes of standing per day. That wasn't enough to fix meals and shower much less take care of my sweet little 17-month-old. My mom drove an hour-and-a-half each morning to pick up Sam and drove back to her house. Almost every afternoon, she brought him back so that we could still feel like a family.

That continued for three months. I cannot imagine the exhaustion (or the gas cost) but she did it without complaining. Carrying that burden as well as a mother's concern for her daughter's unborn child is such an example of unconditional love and is truly a debt that cannot be repaid.

• • • Other observations on Mom • • •

My mom is a perfect blend of her parents. Warm, nurturing and a little mischievous like my Grommie but a quick-witted, merciless teaser like Granddaddy. 

She doesn't accept societal norms and isn't afraid to be different. As feminism was hitting its stride during my childhood, she would roll her eyes at others' attempts to climb corporate ladders and go to the kitchen to make Kool-Aid and cookies for all of the neighborhood kids.

She let us stay home from school (occasionally) for no reason other than "My calendar says there's no school today". She would actually tell the school secretary, "our bus isn't running today".

Fearless and independent, she has bungee jumped, been skydiving and, in the past decade, acquired a couple of tattoos.

I have to leave you, though, with one of my favorite Mom stories ever....

Last July, she, my sister Libby and some of the grandkids were in the car for a day trip. My sister, trying to be accommodating in adjusting the air conditioning, asked, "Mom, are you cold?"

My mom, in all sincerity, replied, "Well, I don't know. I could be cold," as if it were a subjective question. The laughter Libby fell into rendered her a completely unfit driver.

Now, all three of us women can be accommodating to the point you'd want to beat us over the head to get a decision out of us but my sister and I thought this was just the ultimate in trying to please someone else.

Now, whenever we reach an impasse over a decision, Libby and I are likely to say, "But, Mom, are you cold???"

Yes, my friends, that's the lousy thanks she gets for years of sacrifice and an excellent raising. So, maybe Mom's best birthday present is witnessing the fact that we each have kids just like us.

Happy birthday, Mom! I love you!

Thursday, May 19

Self-Doubt and Other Complete Wastes of Time

Okay, it's late and I'm exhausted but I can't sleep. Why? Because I'm trying something new, exciting and scary these days and I'm letting myself come unglued over it.

I'm teaching (or attempting to teach) a ladies class at church about food and healthy eating. It comes as no surprise to you, dear reader, that food is a passion of mine. I've often thought about teaching a class or writing a book on the subject so when I was asked to do this, I jumped at the chance.

Jumped off a cliff is a more apt description and I'm in a full-on free fall right now.

Public speaking isn't my forte but it's not my worst fear either. I'm just not fabulous at it. I'm okay, though, with hanging my lesser talents out for all to see. I appreciate it when someone steps out of their comfort zone and I feel safe with the wonderful group of ladies who so graciously give me their attention.

I think what's so hard for me is that I'm writing the lessons as well. Trying to condense four years of self-education in to a weekly thirty minute lessons of coherent and, hopefully, inspiring material is so much harder than I thought. I find myself writing pages and pages and then realizing that it's way too much information.
•  •  •

I love how God uses others to remind us of His will. As I lay here trying to shut my mind off and fall asleep, I remembered a blog link that my brother sent me just this morning so I went back to read it again. Feeling inspired by the writer's attitude of just being who she is, I decided to write here.

After all, if someone reads a post here and decides I'm a kook, then they don't have to read it anymore and I'm none the wiser. Honestly, though, I think we're all a little kooky and I'm grateful for that.

I love blogging but I often find myself not posting because I feel the need to continually 'fix' things here. I daydream about having the time to reorder posts, organize the labels and keywords and edit the inevitable 'stupid' things I said. What's really bad (and I hate to admit this) is that this is how I feel about my life. I feel a deep need to reset the logic of my existence.

(Oh, how shamefully high the control-freak flag is flying...)

What I am beginning to realize is that my need for things to 'make sense' far exceeds my ability to create such structure. I have no idea what to do with that. Am I a free spirit stuck in a first-born mindset? Am I just afraid to be who I am?

Yuck, I don't want that to be the truth...

•••

That said, I'm going to continue (as fearlessly as I can) preparing for and teaching the class. I have concerns with doing so, such as possibly offending someone or forgetting what I'm trying to say (which happened tonight - ugh) but I'm human and that's okay.

So, this is my stop-being-my-own-worst-critic post. Is it going to work?

If I don't delete this 'stupid' post first thing in the morning, I'll know there's hope for me yet.

Saturday, May 7

The 2010 Flood, One Year Later

Our home was not affected by the major flooding that Nashville suffered (herehere and here) a year ago but our hearts were touched by the losses so many loved ones faced.

For me, I witnessed the devastation through the eyes of my dear friend, Julie, her mom and sister. Their home was hit hard and they waited several very long hours to be rescued on May 2nd. The struggle to find housing to accommodate them and their dogs and the uncertainty of aid to cover their losses were just the beginning of worries that quickly set in. 

The days, weeks and months ahead certainly had their moments of frustration and tears but, somehow, a year has now passed and what will perhaps never be complete healing is well underway. I have a couple of pictures that, to me, represent the emotion of the past year. 

May 7, 2010 - We bagged up everything
in her bedroom. I snapped this photo as she tossed
the bags out the window. 

May 7, 2011 - We ran a 5K to celebrate life
and create a better May 7th memory.


Tuesday, May 3

Sunday, May 1

Nova Scotia Hodgepodge

Source: Simply In Season

2 T butter
1 onion (or a handful green onions or onion tops)
2 c vegetable broth
1 c green beans
10-12 small new potatoes
4-6 carrots
1/2 c peas
2 c milk

Melt butter, then add onion and sauté until soft. Add broth, beans, carrots and potatoes. Simmer until vegetables are just tender.

Stir in peas and cook until bright green (about a minute). Add milk and gently heat until hot. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Serve with chopped fresh herbs such as oregano, thyme or chives.

Fresh Pea Soup

Oh my...this is spring madness in a bowl. Love, love, love.

Source: Simply In Season
1 onion, chopped
1 T olive oil
1 potato
3 1/2 c water
1-2 t salt
3 c peas
Sauté onion in olive oil until golden. Add potato, water and salt and cook over medium heat until soft (10-15 minutes).
Add peas and cook until bright green. Purée in blender. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve warm.

Pineapple Dressing

Source: Simply In Season


1/2 c pineapple juice
2 T vinegar
1 T olive oil
1 1/2 t lemon juice
1 1/2 t poppy seed
1/4 t dried basil

Place all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well.

Hamburger Rolls

The original recipe is here but this is what I did...

2 c warm milk
1/4 c melted butter
1/4 c water
1/4 c honey
4 t yeast
2 t salt
6 c flour, as needed (1:1 whole wheat and unbleached white)

Combine milk, butter, water, yeast and honey in a large bowl and let stand for five minutes. 

Stir in the salt. Gradually mix in the flour until a soft dough forms. Divide dough into 25 pieces and form into balls. Place 2-3" apart on cookie sheets. Let rise for 20 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 375˚ oven for 15 minutes. Cool slightly before slicing. 

Lemonade

Here's our favorite recipe...

Lemonade

1 3/4 c turbinado
8 c water
1 1/2 c lemon juice

Bring sugar and 1 c water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir until sugar is dissolved and let cool. Mix with remaining water and lemon juice. Chill and enjoy!

Black Bean Burgers

Source: Climb Nashville Cookbook


Black Bean Burgers

1 1/2 c cooked black beans (or one 15 oz can drained)
1/2 c cooked brown rice
1/2 red onion
1/4 red pepper
1 stalk celery
1 carrot
1 slice whole grain bread, frozen
1 1/2 T fresh ground flaxseed (opt)
1 T Worcestershire sauce
Oats (opt)

Mash beans with a fork, leaving a few of them while. Very finely chop onion, red pepper and celery. Grate carrot and bread.
Combine all beans and vegetables with rice. Add flaxseed and Worcestershire sauce. Mis well. Add 1-2 T oats, if desired, to help burgers stick together better.
Form 6-8 patties and place on a  greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes in a 350˚ oven. Remove, turn patties over and bake 10 more minutes. Serve as you would a regular burger.

Unbaked, these freeze very well. Separate burgers with wax paper.

Chapati

Source: Climb Nashville Cookbook


Chapati
a Kenyan staple

2 c flour - white, whole wheat or a combination thereof
1 t salt
warm water
olive or coconut oil

All ingredients should be allowed to come to room temperature if they have been refrigerated. Mix flour and salt. Slowly mix in enough water to make a thick dough. Mix in one spoonful oil. Knead dough on a cool surface for a few minutes, adding a few spoonfuls of dry flour.
Preheat a lightly greased skillet. Divide dough into orange-size balls. Flatten them into 6-inch circles. Fry them in the skillet or griddle, turning once, until each side is golden brown and spotted.
Cover the finished chapatis and place them in a warm oven until they are all done. Serve with butter and any curry, soup, stew or beans.