It’s been arctic cold and snowy in the mountains as of late. I realized on Friday that I hadn’t been out of the house, other than to get wood in and maybe shovel the walk, for almost a week. We are at the height of cabin fever. In turn, the minute the weather breaks above 20 degrees it’s just natural to run outside for the day. So that’s exactly what we did. We loaded up the sled and the snowshoes and headed out. The temperature was perfect. And the snow was just right for a good workout.
After a beautiful day snowshoeing through the meadow in a winter wonderland I made up the perfect soup to warm us up. With a variety of vegetables and fresh herbs it also counts as “healthy”. Bonus! I used what I had on hand and some intuition and it turned out better than I could have imagined. Not to mention it was fairly quick!
There are a couple spices that are staples on my spice rack and Old Bay seasoning is one of my very favorites. It’s traditionally used on seafood and in Cajun cooking but I’ve found it’s wonderful in lots of things.
Feel free to adjust to your liking!
Sautée in olive oil in large soup pot on medium or so.
5 cloves of garlic cut in half
Add to onions. Continue to cook till softened.
2 tsps or so of Old Bay seasoning. (Give or take….. I just dumped some in 🙂
8-10 Brussels sprouts (ends cut off and cut in half or quarters)
This will continue to cook while you prep the other ingredients. Stir occasionally.
I used a large hole grater to add the following
1 large carrot
1 large sweet potato peeled.
Small hole grater:
2 small zucchini
2 large tsp of Better than Boullion (chicken) (you could use vegetable stock or chicken stock.) *but honestly if you don’t have BTB in your fridge you should.
Add water just to cover the vegetables. (If you use liquid stock you don’t need the water)
Fresh Thai basil
I used a large handful of each, took the stems off and lightly chopped
Stir and let simmer on medium for maybe 30 min or so.
Mini portobello mushrooms I used about 2 cups of whole mushrooms. The smallest ones I left whole and the larger ones I just cut in half.
Sea salt to taste. Approx 2 tsp or so. I did a bunch of cranks on my grinder.
Cook another 20ish minutes or so.
1 can Navy beans rinsed
1 can Chili beans rinsed
Added beans, stir and then cook till it was all heated through and hot.
I served it with a bit of grated sharp cheddar cheese on top.
Now back to the winter fog…..
No time to cry……I guess this is as good a time as any to share some thoughts. I have many but lately it seems hard to put them together in words. I waver between disconnecting and trying to connect more. It has crossed my mind many times to pull away from social media. Delete some accounts get back to my present moment. I haven’t been able to do that yet and maybe that isn’t the answer. As I was kneading my bread dough today the words of Iris Dement helped my thoughts come together. Thoughts of connection. Connection to our souls, to each other, to what brings us joy, to our communities, to our health. For me these are the things that help me survive and feel alive.
In the last year I feel like I have been living more and more of an authentic life. A life that is more true to who I am. I have never been more comfortable but also more out of my element at the same time. I have tried to embrace this time and take the twists and turns as they come. I add in more things that bring me joy and eliminate things that don’t. But even then there are unexpected moments of emotion or turmoil that make me feel like this stage in life is harder than any I’ve experienced thus far. The one thing that keeps me going through the dark parts are my connections. To my family, friends, community…. the list is endless. For me baking is a connection to my childhood and my mother. It brings me joyous memories and feelings of being a carefree child, feeling safe and comforted. I have found as I have been baking more and more that when I sell or pass on my baked good to family, friends and community members the joy is passed along.
I feel very fortunate to live surrounded by amazing people. People who support and give to their communities, neighbors and friends. I feel like if we can spread that connection. Keep passing it along. Make it bigger. Connect more. We can feel better. As a community, a state, a country, as humans.
Baking is just one example of how to pass a feeling along. I can think of a million more. Find one that works for you and brings you joy or comfort and pass it on. Communities of people who are connected and care for each other are what make a peaceful and loving world.
I was baking banana bread a couple days ago and I could see my neighbors out my kitchen window. They were working together to build a wood shed. They had been out there all day and I hadn’t noticed them take one break. When the bread was done and still warm walked over and gave them a loaf. When you feed your neighbors, your community, our world; everyone benefits.
*side note* as I was trying to put these words together and after I delivered the bread to the neighbors this image came across my Facebook feed and basically summed it up for me…….
During this strange time in our country’s history and the holiday season maybe we can all focus on being more connected in a real way. To benefit our own souls and those of our fellow humans. The simple truth is we are all human. We are all individuals with strengths and weaknesses. Instead of categorizing people let’s connect as humans. With connection comes acceptance. We could all work on making our lives more authentic and connected.
I’m going to keep baking and you’re welcome to come connect with me and the community next Saturday November 19th at the Boulder Christmas Bazaar. JHS north Gym 10-4.
I’ll have loads of delicious baked goods and coffee along with my new range of local photograph post cards!
See you there!
Because I am pancake obsessed and Pamela’s Gluten Free Pancake Mix obsessed. #sorrynotsorry
These are a great protein packed snack!
1 can salmon (I use Bear&Wolf Wild Alaskan from Costco)
4 Tbls Pamela’s Gluten Free Pancake mix #duh
You could also use oats or quinoa flakes
1 tsp EVOO #extravirginoliveoil
1 Tbls Hemp Hearts or chopped pecans
Seasonings (I used Costco No Salt Seasoning) you could use whatever your little heart desires. Dash of sea salt.
Form into little patties.
Fry in coconut oil on medium heat till browned about 5 min on each side.
Serve with a dollop of Plain Greek Yogurt #chobanibrandisthebest
This made about 5 small pancakes.
I often get asked about health food products. What? Where? Why? So I made up this handy dandy little list of common health products I use and why. Enjoy!
Top of the list!
Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Organic Coconut Oil – I usually buy Nutiva Brand at Costco. I cook everything with coconut oil. It’s a staple in my house. Plus it can be used for a million and one other things! http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/11/18/coconut-oil-uses.aspx
A close 2nd on the list – Apple Cider Vinegar AKA Magic.
Braggs brand is the only way to go! You gotta get the raw unfiltered. Also a million and one uses!
While we’re on the Braggs Parade……
Both are great salt free, gluten free, nutritious seasonings!
I buy Organic ones on sale at iHerb but you can get these at any health food store…. They have lots of uses!
Cacao Powder – I use this in smoothies and recipes for a chocolatey flavor…. its rich and dark not sweet and it has lots of antioxidants and is a raw food!
PAMELA’S!!! – I can’t say enough about this Gluten free mix….. I LOVE IT! Pancakes Sundays are a weekly thing now at my house because of Pamela. Not to mention the biscuits and the pumpkin bread. YUM!
I am sure I would/could/will add more to this list but for now this is what I have.
iHerb and Vitacost are great ways to save some dollars if you live in an area that may not have a lot of options for health foods. On that note I encourage you to ask your health food stores and groceries in your area if they can get things for you, often times they can and will!
Muffin-topless Muffins AKA healthy muffins AKA delicious.
Thanks to my good friend Tami for this little nugget of a recipe that I actually almost followed exactly. #almost
These are so good (even though my picture doesn’t do them justice)
3 Tbsp Coconut oil
1 banana (if it’s not super ripe you can smash it in the peel first – works more better if it’s smashed)
2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Coconut milk
In a separate bowl mix:
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup almond flour/meal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (I put more because I love it!)
I added 2 Tbsp of Maca Powder (http://navitasnaturals.com/product/457/Maca-Raw-.html) It’s not mandatory but just boosts the boom!
Now mix the dry ingredients into the wet.
I added chopped pecans and chopped dates.
But you could add pretty much anything. Or nothing at all. #dowhatmakesyouhappy Cranberries. Walnuts. Etc. #nopb2thistime
pour, spoon or scoop into a greased (with coconut oil) pan.
bake at 400 degrees for about 18 min.
Now getcha eat on!
#yumtowncity #glutenfree #muffins #cleaneating
I remember the day, the moment, clearly. I knew it was a life-changing day for me. It was the day I made the decision to quit drinking alcohol. What I didn’t know is that it would be the lack of alcohol that would change my life and not the potential loss of a vital organ.
Like a lot of life experiences do, this one started much before I had realized it. My mom sent me a text asking my blood type. B positive. Her next question, I answered without hesitation. “Would you give Tom a kidney?” Yes. No doubt about it. Tom is a good family friend and truly one of the best people I have ever met. It wasn’t until two years or so later that the day came when Tom finally, actually needed that kidney.
I got an email from Tom and his wife. It was time. Tom was being put on the donor list and they were wondering if I was still willing to find out if I was a match and potentially donate a vital organ to him. Yes, but now it was real. It was happening. The first thought I had was, if I am going to give a piece of myself to someone, it is going to be the best quality piece of myself. No more alcohol. No more ibuprofen. More water. Less sodium. More cranberries? Seriously. I still have bags of cranberries in my freezer. I did it. I was committed, from that moment on, to give Tom the best kidney I had.
Time passed, a year in fact. I remained alcohol free, except for a half of a drink, that midway through I realized I didn’t need. The process for donation had its hiccups but just over a year from the date Tom got a new kidney and it wasn’t mine. I felt relief and thankfulness, Tom had what he needed, even if I wasn’t the one to give it to him. Now what? I could start drinking again! Hold up… Instead I took a moment to reflect. It had been a big year. I had done a lot of things. My life felt very different. I started to realize that by committing to giving someone a part of me I had given myself an even larger gift.
What I hadn’t realized in the midst of including alcohol in my life is how much it was getting in the way of what I really wanted. In fact it clouded up my view so much I look back and think, “Did I even know what I wanted?”
Eliminating alcohol from my life forced me to get to know myself, be more comfortable with myself. It also let me see other people. I was able to choose my relationships better. I looked at my past and saw that every romantic relationship and many friendships I had ventured into in the last five years were driven by alcohol. It became clear that alcohol was the link that made most of these relationships nonexistent since I had removed it from my life. It had been negatively affecting my ability to choose my path in love and in life. This may seem obvious, everyone makes bad decisions when they’re drunk. Yes, but this was a pattern for me. When I was sober I knew what I wanted but when I got drunk is when I would attempt to find it. News flash: I didn’t find it.
What I have found is a clearer vision, a stronger desire and life with less anxiety. The last thing I want to do is put a classification on this story but I didn’t think I was someone “with a problem” and was never one to go so far as to say I was an alcoholic. I realize it doesn’t matter your level of use, substances affect your ability to be your true self. Getting to know oneself is hard, it’s intimidating, it’s uncomfortable but it’s important and it is why we’re here. If you don’t know yourself how can anyone else know you?
I see my friends and people around me struggle everyday with the affects of alcohol and I want them to know it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. Do what’s best for yourself. Take a moment to reflect on how your use is affecting or inhibiting your ability to live up to your true self. Be open to giving of yourself and it’s possible what you will receive in return will be bigger than you ever imagined.
Gluten Free Protein Pancakes
AKA: #thebestpancakesever #ilovepancakes #magicpancakes
I made this up so it’s more a guide than a recipe……
1 cup Pamela’s gluten free pancake mix
2 scoops protein (I use Sun Warrior Raw but any kind would work)
1 cup coconut milk plus a little more, give or take
1/3-1/2 cup egg whites or 2 whole eggs give or take
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Stir to pancake batter consistency. Slow pourable. May need a bit more milk or eggs. Feel it out. Use your intuition. You can’t really mess it up. Thinner is better than thicker.
Optional additions: all or none or some:
4 tablespoons PB2 (powdered peanut butter)
Fry on just below medium heat in coconut oil.
I have found they work best when they are smaller. Silver Dollar size maybe a little bigger.
I often mix some plain Greek yogurt with stevia and fruit and put on top instead of syrup.
Or just eat them plain.
Also you can make a bunch and put them in the fridge and then the toaster the next day. Quick snack or breakfast.
It also helps if you serve them on a plate you painted when you were four.
Almost all the ingredients can be found at iHerb – use this code for a discount WEY927
So I have started my “spring cleaning” a little early. When most people think of spring cleaning my guess is they think of the closets or the cobwebs or the dust bunnies behind the couch. As much as I need to get to those too I started in an unlikely place for cleaning….. My body! Ok wait that sounded weird. Let me explain a little…. Wait instead of explaining I will send you straight to the source….
The Clean Program
I started my clean cleanse about 18 days ago. Only 4 days left!! I feel fabulous. It’s been surprisingly easy. And the best part is I have been cooking up a storm and making a ton of new “clean” stuff. Which gets me to the whole point of this post, to tell you about my new favorite treat that is amazingly not bad for you!
*disclaimer – I rarely measure or follow a recipe so while I did base this off of a couple of recipes I’ve seen online I made it up and can’t say for sure on the measurements and I can guarantee you it will be different every single time I make it.*
Who’s Ambrosia? Fruit Salad
1 can of Coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)
1 tsp Stevia (you can leave this out or put more in depending on how sweet you want it)
Coconut milk – first off you can use more cans it all depends on how big of a salad and how much fruit you want to cover. Take the can out of the fridge gently without shaking. Gently turn it upside down and open it. The coconut water should have separated from the cream and be on top so just pour the clearer part off as best you can till all you have left is the thicker white cream. You can use the coconut water in something else (a smoothie or just drink it!) Whip the coconut cream in a bowl with a hand mixer just as you would regular heavy cream. It might take a little longer but eventually it will whip up. Towards the end at the stevia and beat until stiff peaks have formed. (technical baking terms are important)
Fruit – I used the following which are all “clean”approved. But you could potentially use any fruit.
2 large leaves of basil cut into fine ribbons. (again you could use more or less depending on your tastes. I just throw some in)
A small handful for chopped pecans.
I fold the whipped cream into the fruit, basil and pecans. I garnish it with some pecans crumbled on top.
My consensus on this salad is that who in their right mind would ever eat cool whip again after knowing coconut cream can be whipped?
So I guess that means I have to go clean up the cobwebs now?
Plain and simple…. Somedays I am just out of control. I usually don’t notice till something happens that is an obvious sign. It’s like God says… “This girl just isn’t gonna stop unless I snap my fingers.”
I have been seriously occupied with getting ready for my first real deal art show/open house. (December 8th @ Basin Creek Pottery) I could not be more excited. It’s crazy how I could think I didn’t have much work to print and then when I get to organizing and selecting pieces I get overwhelmed with stuff to choose from. My iMac ate my artwork! That reminds me a need an external hard drive. Santa?
Like I didn’t have enough to do I’m adding to my plate….. Pie.
I have long said if I could have any lifestyle/job it would include creating art, hiking and baking. All the time. I surprise myself when I realize how close I am to my dream life….. Wait a second. I’m living it… Right. Now. Whoa. Minus the tiny fact I have to make a living by working a real job…. I am living my dream life. I hike at least twice a week, I just landed a sweet baking gig (sort of), and I am creating so much art I can’t keep track of it. If I heard that life described of someone else I would be envious.
It bugs me that I can sometimes lose sight of all this fabulous life I’m living…. Lucky for me I get snapped out of it just when I need to…. Today it came in the form of about 5 moments that could have been straight out of a Tasmanian Devil cartoon. There I was, not paying attention, on icy streets when I rolled through an intersection only to notice a truck coming straight for me…. I frantically tried to steer out of the way and got it just about done when the truck tapped my bumper. With the adrenaline flowing I get out and am greeted by a handsome young college aged gentleman who I hear say “Are you ok?!” From here on all I really remember is frantically exclaiming that “I wasn’t paying attention” and “I’m sorry”. I surveyed the damage which was barely a mark in the dirt. So I’ve just caused an accident and struck a bit of panic in the guy I forced to run into me, I’ve determined there’s no damage…. So what else is there to do in a time like this?
Hug. So I hugged the guy. *insert awkward moment here*
I then promptly turned heel and took off. Realizing that I just hugged a perfect stranger for pretty much no good reason.
I then laughed about it for an hour straight and multiple times since.
Note taken. Slow down. Pay attention. Appreciate life. Hug random strangers. Got it.