friend, garden, gardening, haPPY, Uncategorized

How does your garden grow?

20170602_074942-1_resized_1Mary, Mary………………My name is Daleen and I try not to be contrary (pigheaded, obstinate, defiant, unhelpful, difficult)

When a girlfriend comes to visit…………..don’t you just love to get out two mugs, pour cups of dark coffee, slosh in oodles of thick coconut cream and take them out back to wonder around the garden?  You hold the mug with two hands.  One to keep the chill at bay and two you have no hand to hold your phone.  It’s just you and your friend, meandering.

Come on, here, you might need this sweater.  It’s a bit cool out this morning and the rain is trying hard to do more than drizzle.

Raspberries, Grapes and Rosemary

 

Jasmine and Mint

 

Blueberries and   Yukon Gold Potatoes

 

Swiss Chard, Radishes, Pole Beans and Tomatoes

 

Fig tree, Cilantro and Chives

 

20170602_074720_resized

Spinach

 

Let’s sit here under the Wisteria Covered Pergola and drink the rest of our coffee?

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Thanks for visiting my garden.  I loved chatting and meandering.

I would love to see what grows in your garden.

In this together, friends.

Happy Friday!

Chat soon.

 

 

 

friends, garden, gardening, Uncategorized

just checking

20170423_174116-1-1_resized_1A friend sent me a message.

“Hey, you still there?  Just checking.”

I proceeded to answer with 4 long paragraphs.

Oh dear, I think the salutation was meant just as a “hi, how ya doin’ ” kind of thing.   Guess, I was over zealous in my response.

Lately, it seems to be a weird season in my world.  I feel like I am moving along quietly, making things to give, studying………oh, I don’t know, keeping my head down and moving forward.

When someone gently taps me on the shoulder and asks if I am still here, the dam breaks and I gush about this and that.

I rambled on about my gardening.  One entire raised bed is planted with potatoes. Before you know it, I will be sharing pictures of deep verdant green leaves of my growing Yukon Gold taters!   I also mentioned that I crushed all my saved up egg shells and worked them into the bed that will be lush to overflowing with tomatoes!

20170415_165650_resizedI was excited to announce that I finally bought a fig tree.  Oh, I dream of the day when I am complaining about what other recipe I could find to use up all the figs I grow!  Waiting for the soaking rain to lighten up just a bit so “we” (read that as Mr. Right) can dig a hole and plant my new tree.

I blathered on about crafting and sewing. During my yucky medicine time during lunch, I like to concentrate on a new crochet stitch to learn.  By the end of lunch time, I have figured out the stitch and then find pockets of time here and there to finish another hat to donate.   (Good news, I think I have a line on another place to donate baby hats instead of just the hospital and that makes me happy.)

I am still here.

I am on the last coat of white paint for a baseboard project.  I am toying with the idea of painting the back of the front door.  Two outdoor, humongous flower pots are emptied, cleaned and drying…just waiting for a non rain day, so I can paint them.   I purchased a new bar stool that is working very well.   Bought new sheets. Spent 16 plus hours learning and studying The Truth about Vaccines with Ty Bollinger.  (Excellent documentary 5 STAR rating)   Watched Hockey playoffs.  Then out of the blue, last week, I made the best crepes I think I have ever, ever made.

Oh, and I wanted to share one last thing.  I made a silly, goofy, happy Jelly Fish finger puppet.  Then I put it into an envelope and mailed it to a certain grandson.  Everyone loves snail mail.  Hey, funny….. I sent a jelly fish using snail mail! We were thrilled goofy grandparents watching a video of him being happy with his new creature.  heehee. Certainly, time well spent.  I think he really likes it.

Made him giggle.  SOOOOO worth it. 20170420_160714-1_resized

THANKS for checking in on me. Even if you didn’t want an entire run down of life in my neck of the woods, it sure felt nice to have someone ask.  Thanks for listening to my long-winded answer.

When I asked how life was in your neck of the woods, I really meant it.  I am interested in what you are reading or planting.  I want to know that for some weird reason you splurged and went out and got frozen yogurt with toppings. I will be happy to hear you too are waiting for the heavy rains to pass so you can plant your garden.

Makes me smile & feel safe knowing there are other humans out there that are kind enough to check in and see how life is tumbling along.

Gotta Swish Jellyfish……….I am headed into the kitchen to do a little baking.  Also into the sewing room to frame a just finished counted cross stitch piece.  I have 3.5 miles of biking to do and going to spend some time jumping on the rebounder. Fingers crossed the mail man comes to deliver a new vacuum ( you KNOW I will have something to say about that!)

Gotta tell ya, it feels mighty nice to have a friend check in on you.

Let’s make that happen today!  Just send this brief message to someone in your world today.

“Hey, you still there?  Just checking.”

In this together, chat soon.

 

 

 

 

 

cooking, garden, health, recipe, recipe comfort food, respect, Uncategorized

garbage broth

I keep a plastic bag in the freezer.  Whenever I have 2 mushrooms left over or the stems of some cleaned bok choy, half a carrot, 1/4 onion, extra green beans and on the list goes, I toss into the bag.   Until the bag is packed full, I just keep adding to it.  You know?  One tomato left in the basket, 2 stalks of broccoli…. and so it goes.

To be honest, I am learning that not everyone cooks.  So if you don’t have a “garbage bag” full of bits and pieces, odds and ends, you can always use fresh.

I like the idea of truth telling.  I am getting brave.

I prepare dinner at least 26 or so times a month.       Mr. Right and I are worth excellent home made food.  It is my privilege to prepare and cook delicious meals that are without chemicals, additives and dyes.  Our health is vital and of value to us.

I do have other hobbies and an actual job, so I do appreciate a smart cooking short cut.   I actually mean, I don’t cook 28 days a month.  More like 12 to 15 days.  I always make two or three sides/meals worth at a time.  For example today, I made 3 cups of broth for our Risotto tonight. Then I froze two packages, 3 cups each for another time.

20160915_103520-1_resizedTo make the broth, I use a large stock pot.   I added one chopped onion (save the skin and ends for the broth) 4 cloves garlic, one stalk of celery, a splash of peanut oil and I cook until soft and it all browns a bit.  Next, I added the entire bag of “garbage” from my freezer and the ends of the onion, celery and carrot from what I am simmering.  Added 9 cups of filtered water.  I toss in 2 Bay leaves, 6 peppercorns, oodles of fresh herbs from our garden and some real salt.

Cook/simmer for 1 hour.

Strain through a sieve.  Cool.

I package into freezer bags, 3 cup portions.  Take up less space, freeze flat, then store like books in your freezer.  20160915_122720-1_resized

Hey, 3 cups is the exact amount I need to make an amazing mushroom Risotto tonight for supper!

While that is cooking, I already had the cutting board  & knives out.  So I chopped some mushrooms and tossed it with some vegetables and put it all into the slow cooker.  Creamy dreamy mushroom soup headed our way.  20160915_113414-1_resized

The dehydrator is filled with sage today.  I wish I could make this post have a scratch n sniff option.  Our home smells so earthy, savory…. just lovely. 20160912_112906-1_resized

In this together,

Here’s to our good health and wellness.

Love to hear what’s cooking in your neck of the woods.

 

 

 

garden, gardening, grateful, Uncategorized

winter’s coming

Years ago, our youngest was listening to a librarian read a story during children’s time.  I was wondering around, just enjoying my “alone” time.  I came across this half cut view of an ant hill.  Like a doll house only it was an ant hill?  It was amazingly detailed work and while hilarious, funny thing, I remember much about it 28 years later.

There were little ants gathering wood, packing in food, making miniature beds with micro mini pillows, the tiniest washer and dryer with stacks of clean laundry    (haha, still makes me giggle)   and the smallest jars I ever did see…..filled with all sorts of food storage for the winter.  There was a string, strung across a keeping room with all sorts of herbs drying.

The hanging sign was a warning:  Winter’s Coming!  Be prepared.  Only the foolish folks and apparently ants, would not prepare for the cold, dark months ahead.

My herb garden is overflowing and full and ripe for the pickin’.  I am mighty grateful for the bountiful harvest.  I want to capture it and savor it all winter long.  I want to feed my family and offer rich, deep flavors all through the dark months ahead.

Today, is day 3 of drying herbs. 20160913_102501-1_resized

Two days ago, I filled the dehydrator with parsley.  I mean filled to overflowing.  I ended up with one 6 inch spice jar.

20160912_112906-1_resizedYesterday, I filled to overflowing the dehydrator with Sage.  Once dry, its yield was one 6 inch spice jar. 20160912_143409_resized

I am guessing today’s Rosemary yield will be similar.

I plan on keeping this process up for another couple weeks.  Pick, wash, dehydrate, store, repeat.

Oh, the aroma in our home is out of this world amazing.  So rich, earthy, deep it makes me want to bake, cook, roast …….I think this is what kitchens are supposed to smell like.

Here’s how I go about it:

I pick the herbs in the early morning.  I wash well and remove stems.  Load up the dehydrator and turn it on.  3 -6 hours later, I remove, crush or rub onto a piece of wax paper and then scoop up and place in a jar.  I share or store.

Something tells me, on a dreary, cold, uninspired late day in January, I will be thrilled to 20160913_103602_resizedadd some of my own herbs to a warm pot of soup.  Or will be tickled to smell these wonderful herbs releasing their aroma in some of my home-made tomato sauce.

In this together, friends.

Here’s to our health and wellness this winter!20160912_143139-1_resized

Chat soon.

 

 

 

garden, healing, health, Uncategorized, vegetables, wellness

color question

Question?

When you walk through the grocery aisle of spaghetti sauce in jars, how is it that they are all the exact same color?  I am not picking on any certain brand or flavor or company.  I just got to wondering how on earth they get every single jar, can, sauce, paste, organic, expensive, dirt cheap and so forth….. all pretty much the exact same color?spaghetti_sauce-300x220

Earlier today, I was in the kitchen processing tomatoes.  I removed the skins, chopped and filled the slow cooker with 29 tomatoes; three varieties from our garden.  I added my usual:  fresh parsley,  basil, rosemary, oregano, chopped onion, oodles of garlic, S & P.

As I was chopping, I got to thinking, this is a more deep, rich intense red than the tomatoes a couple of weeks ago.   Maybe I let them ripen a touch longer?  More or less sunshine, more or less water?

First picture was two weeks ago, second picture was earlier this morning:

So the question is hanging there.  The longer I don’t answer the question, more pop up.

Just “maybe” food coloring is added to store-bought sauce (similar to store bought orange juice to give uniformity of color) to help it have the right marketing color?  Maybe folks like you and I are trained and looking for a particular color with bits of herbs here and there?  No matter the season, we want our sauce to be the same color as it was 4 months ago.

Our bodies, the wonderful machines that they are, were never ever, ever, meant to work this hard to clean out so much “stuff”; colorings, flavorings, chemicals, additives and on and on the list goes.

We all have heard folks having issues with children “a bit more energetic” then the families would like.  Adults that can’t keep focus and stay on track.  Folks that are more depressed than they were 5 years ago.  More and more among us having headaches, serious headaches, trouble loosing weight and so forth.

I am not saying this is the miracle we all have been searching for, what I am saying is I think it is a strong case of food for thought.

Now, I am well aware that we cannot all can, process, freeze all our own food.  While that might be a wonderful goal, some days, I just can’t do it. Some times I am tired and I just want to buy a perfect tomato in the produce department that someone else tended.  I am still having troubles growing my own basil, so yes, I buy it.  Some days, I run out and just want to buy a bottle of sugar-free ketchup from Whole Foods. I just don’t want to stop and make it.

I just got to thinking, maybe just maybe the answer is…. we all make a little more effort into growing our own something?  Then share.  Yes, I said, share with your neighbor.  Maybe trade a few of these tomatoes for some cucumbers or trade some beans for fresh eggs.  Maybe trade hemming a pair of pants for some beautiful fresh grown radishes? 20160825_111447-1_resized

While not every one has the luxury of baby steps, maybe together we can collectively take small steps towards regaining health and wellness?  Give our bodies a break from the overload of colorings, flavorings … things that are foreign to our bodies.

Just asking the questions is a good start. Maybe having a great discussion over a home cooked meal or a tall glass of fresh juice?

If we put our brains together, oh yes, there is power in numbers, we might come up with some useful and amazing ideas towards sharing health and goodness.  I know, I for one, would looooove some ideas and tips and suggestions.  I am anxious to have a discussion and hear your ideas.

In this together, folks.

Here’s to our collective health and wellness!

Chat tomorrow.

 

 

 

cooking, friends, friendship, garden, Uncategorized

5 star soup, 10 star chef

Ah, the soup. The flavors were spot on.  You could taste layer upon layer of flavor building.  It started with a well crafted vegetarian broth.  A sprig or two of rosemary, a couple stems of thyme and a few choice pieces of parsley, all freshly picked from the garden, added to the broth to simmer in the background for another hour or so.

Once the flavors developed in the broth & herbs removed, gorgeous chunks of zucchini, garlic and onion were added.  The heat was gently brought up to a simmer.  The vegetables were allowed to play together, absorb and share their glorious flavors.   As soon as the onion and zucchini were easy to pierce with a fork…. out came the immersion blender.  The chef did it on slow and took her time.  She made sure all the timber was blended well.  Next,  3 heaping spoonfuls of lush sour cream was added.  The immersion blender reappeared and was once again instrumental in producing a creamy soup, almost silky in texture.  You could see the steam rising. 20160802_122906-1_resized

The bowls were heated before the chef used a ladle to gently ease the subtle green colored liquid silk into each.

20160802_123013-1_resizedThe garnish was quickly, yet thoughtfully applied.  Grated Parmesan, freshly snipped chives, fresh, stunning green pea shoots,  a couple of garden fresh picked peas, a chive flower and a generous amount of fresh cracked pepper. 20160802_122833-1_resized

The offered bowl of soup was a feast for the eyes.

That first bite.  Eyes closed, the warm, creamy liquid did a slow dance in our mouths just a moment before it slid down our throats.  I just barely caught the slight salt of the cheese garnish and the bite of the fresh pepper.  The mingling of savory delights was a symphony of flavors any restaurateur would be more than proud to offer to their guests.

Well done.  5 star good.

Yes, that good.

A simple, elegant lunch, however I thought I could going on eating that delicious offering all afternoon. I knew I would remember that meal for some time.

Oh, did I mention the creator’s name?  I am proud to say my friend, Chef Natalie, age 10.

You read that correctly.  AGE 10.

Because of her parents, she is respectful, smart, thoughtful, curious and a hard worker. She is over the moon enthusiastic and eager to learn, as much as she can, as fast as she can.

20160802_094355-1_resizedI had the privilege of spending the day with her.  Somehow, just by working side by side, she elevates the game.  You bring your A game, because, well, quite honestly, she is watching your every move.

She is serious.  Oh sure, she has an infectious laugh, is quick-witted and asks purposeful questions.  Don’t for one moment, let your guard down and causally  think this is child’s play.  This is the real deal.  She listened to and wanted to learn how to use a Coco-Jack to open a young coconut.  She was listening to every single safety rule about how to use the immersion blender.  She was already comfortable with the Blend-Tec, food processor and Kitchen-Aid.

We tied our hair back, we put on fresh aprons, we wore closed toe shoes, we washed our hands again and again and again.  We tasted and then flipped the spoon around and used the handle to taste again.  We went through a drawer full of spoons and I folded 11 freshly laundered kitchen towels this morning.  We worked the day through. 20160802_121402-1_resized

She made a meal for her family. Eyes on the prize.  Serving her brother, Dad and Mom a meal she could be proud of.  She never once lost focus.  She is fierce and determined.  She served them an appetizer, a soup course, the main meal and a dessert to finish.

The day began for us with glorious smoothies using fresh young coconut and the water, strawberries, mango, spinach and lime.  Chefs need to be well nourished so they can concentrate on cooking well for others.

The days’ list unfolded like this:

Smoothies

Zucchini Soup

Chihuly Salad

Pot Stickers

Molasses Cookies

She picked & gathered green beans, tomatoes, radishes, herbs and a fresh egg. She learned about and started a batch of sprouts in the kitchen.

It was a full day of learning, giggling & oodles of fun.  It was the good kind of tired.  You know?  So tired from cooking all day, yet somehow re-energized with pure joy and enthusiasm to serve the meal to your family.

I was the sous chef.  I helped and washed dishes. I scrubbed carrots, beets and a pear.  I washed bok choy & spinach.   I sent pictures to mom and dad throughout the day. I got out fresh kitchen towels, different tools, appliances and kept things moving along our time line.

When she says “I made pot stickers”.  She really means, she chopped the ingredients, made the savory filling, learned to make dumplings and took 46 home to her family.  The chefs in the kitchen each got to cook and sample one.  Oh, be still my heart.  Lush, moist filling inside a plump, perfectly steamed dumpling wrapper. Oh yeah, she made pot stickers and a lovely sauce to serve alongside.

*Housekeeping note:  Because my friend is under 18, I asked for and received permission from her parents to share these pictures.

I wanted to write this post as sort of a thank you to my friend.  I loved spending the day together.  The day flew by and I can’t remember smiling as much as I did.    Then I got to thinking.  I wanted to share this because, it’s what many of us are looking for.

You know when we (grown up adults) all sigh and complain that we are not sure what our mission is, or what our calling is?

Maybe, just maybe our calling is to be the “sous chef”?  Maybe, our mission is to lift someone else up and help them stretch up on their tippy toes, while they stand on a kitchen stool to reach their potential?

May you be a “victim of Grace” as I was.  While washing dishes and gently reminding a young chef to keep their fingers curled under while using a mighty big knife…….may you be gobsmacked by the Grace and Goodness of a young person who is looking to you.

In this together friends, all covered and splattered with grace.

Bon Appetit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

garden, gardening, recipe, Uncategorized

spinach, yes please

Organic vegetables are best!

Plant a garden!

Grow your own!

Okay, okay, I get it.

Every now and then I get my ducks in a row and plant and yes garden.  That means remembering to water, toss on some Epsom salts, fuss, pull a few weeds and take pictures.  Oh, it also means new cute gardening gloves and cute boots.  Hey, a girl has to look cute while gardening.  20160430_162610

Okay, so among the beans, peas, tomatoes, potatoes, parsley, garlic, onions, raspberries, blueberries, chives, sage, thyme there is a beautiful row of spinach.  20160531_110753-1

I planted it a couple of months ago.

Last night we feasted like kings!  A gorgeous fresh picked Spinach salad with fresh picked strawberries.  Oh my. 20160530_181825-1

I make a wonderful Honey Mustard Dressing.  So easy, fresh and tasty.

4 Tablespoons olive oil, 4 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar, 4 teaspoons raw Honey (I used Beefuddled Farms raw honey), 2 teaspoons stone ground mustard, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  Use immersion blender.  Perfect every time.

Say Grace and dig in!  (get it?  Dig in the garden and dig into a delish, lush salad?)

In this together, friends.

Here’s to our health and wellness!

ps.  In other news, Speaking of growing like a weed, can’t believe our grand just finished Kindergarten.  Look out first grade, here she comes!!!!