a whole food kickstart

Whole Food Kitchen

 

I am enjoying Heather’s Whole Food Kitchen again this year. I’ve participated in many of her workshops over the years, and many of her recipes have been added to my personal repertoire. Almond milk, granola, wheatberry salad, and chai lattes, just to name a few.

I cook everyday, but it is so easy to fall into a rut with our meals, especially in this busy season with two teenagers and a preteen. So, I find that doing these self-paced workshops get the inspiration flowing again. I whipped up a batch of almond milk yesterday, and definitely been putting together some more plant-based meals for the family.

Now, to clean up my recipes (again) to make some room for the new ones coming my way in the next couple of weeks.

chai lattes in the morning

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I have been absolutely addicted to Heather’s chai lattes lately. I’ve been simmering up a batch of concentrate at the beginning of the week and enjoying them almost every day, as a midmorning break. I love to make it with black tea, but the wonderful thing is that you can use herbal tea too. I think I might try that this week.

Some of those spices, especially cardamom, can be pretty pricey at the supermarket. I just placed an order at Mountain Rose Herbs, where the prices are much more reasonable. I added some Jasmine Green Tea to the order too.

It doesn’t take long to whip up a batch of the chai concentrate, give it a try!

crafting a life

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Carmella over at The Art of Simple has such a great post over there today called, “Mindfulness in the Empty Minutes“. It is all about not necessarily wishing for more time in the day for creative pursuits, but finding the little nooks and crannies of time already there and using them well.

In order to do that, I have realized, that you need to be a bit organized. You need to have your knitting projects ready to go in a basket, your next block ready to for you to sit down at the machine for a few minutes while the kettle boils. I am trying to be better about all of that, because sewing and knitting bring me joy and creative satisfaction.

Looking back over the last few months of crafting, I am so happy that I have found a few minutes here and there to indulge in my creative passions.

Make time for yourself every day, to do whatever it is that brings you joy.

nineteen years

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Nineteen years today. Three kids, cancer, the death of several parents, and a million more of life’s ups and downs.  We’ve been through a lot together and it has made us stronger than ever. I can’t imagine going through life with anyone else. Happy Anniversary!

banana muffins

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I always feel like a good mom when my kids come home to a homemade, freshly baked and (reasonably healthy) treat after school.

These banana muffins from an old Cooking Light recipe fit the bill perfectly. I’ve adapted the recipe over the years, moving away from “light” butter and egg whites, and substituting white whole wheat for half of the white flour (they don’t even know).

Here’s the recipe Give it a try. And if you make them into muffins instead of loaves, they are done in 20 minutes. Just in time for an after school treat.

Banana Bread

(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 2/3 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

Directions:

Combine sugar and butter in a bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Add banana, milk, sour cream, and egg whites; beat well, and set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; stir well. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, beating until blended.

Spoon batter into a loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for  1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Let cool completely on wire rack.

For muffins, set the oven to 400° and cook for 18-20 minutes.

november

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Here it is a week into November and I still haven’t processed that it’s fall. That’s probably in part due to the fact that it is 85 degrees outside. The biggest clue I have to the fact that we are headed straight for Christmas is that it actually cools down at night. Which is such a relief.

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I am trying to get ahead of the holidays this year and start doing things that will help me to enjoy them, instead of feeling stressed. Two things that worked out well for me last year is to complete the family calendar, that I make for my dad and siblings, before Thanksgiving. I pulled this off last year and what a difference it made! Also, to take our Christmas card picture early in November and get those cards ordered! I actually love sitting down with a cup of tea and a Christmas movie in December to address them. It’s just getting them printed that stresses me out.

So, November to do list:

1. Complete Dad’s Calendar

2. Take Christmas card picture and order cards

Other than that I want to make sure that I get in exercise, crafting, baking and spending time with friends and family. Because, really that’s what it’s all about.

{adorable embroidery pattern by the talented Minki Kim}

 

happy fall

It’s fall and I’ve been having a hard time embracing the change in season since we have been in the middle of a heat wave for weeks. I always forget that here in southern California fall means hot, dry wind. But I’m doing my best to hunker down and find the joy that fall has to offer.

Inspired by my crafty friend, I have been playing around with crazy quilting a mug rug. It’s a lot of fun and the perfect project to pick up and put down throughout the day, whenever I have a few minutes.

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I’ve also been doing some hand quilting on this small quilt that has been languishing for a couple years now. I am hoping to turn this into a wall hanging for the master bedroom. I want to hang it over the bed, since I am afraid that anything I hang there might come down in an earthquake. But a nice, soft quilt? That would be okay.

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And I unearthed the knitting needles and started on a Prayer Shawl that will be donated to my church. I love the color so much and I hope that it will bring some peace and comfort to someone in their time of need.

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I adore fall colors and have been enjoying them everywhere. We may not get the gorgeous fall foliage they do in New England, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy the beautiful colors of fall.

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This is also the time of year for us to get out into the yard and start the post-summer clean-up. Hubby and I spent an unprecedented child-free day doing just that. It’s amazing what a little TLC in the yard can do.

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But don’t worry, it wasn’t all work and no play. We treated ourselves to lunch in a charming nearby town. It was fun to reconnect and remember who we were before we had children.


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I hope you are embracing fall (or spring) wherever you are!

this week in my kitchen

Not too many pictures this week, but here is what I was able to capture.

Pulled Pork in the crockpot, which was nice because I was able to keep the oven off and the house cool. I’m not a big crockpot fan, but this one was a winner. The recipe was from 100 Days of Real Food and was quite good.IMG_2570 IMG_2569Before Boy #2 went of to camp, we made his favorite dinner of BLTs.IMG_2599And while the boys were away, the Girl got a few days of her favorite dinners, which I mostly forgot to photograph, but the first night was a simple pasta with red sauce. salad, and garlic bread. That was probably my my favorite dinner at her age too. She is so my child.IMG_2656 IMG_2658I am absolutely enjoying summer fruits right now, especially cherries. It makes me sad that they are so expensive, so I never really get my fill before they’re gone. And we are all still enjoying the homemade strawberry jam on toast almost every morning. IMG_2666I never took a picture of it, but in place of my morning latte, the last few mornings I’ve been enjoying a London Fog. Here is how you make it:

  • Brew up a half a cup of Earl Grey Tea
  • Warm up a cup of milk with a splash of vanilla and a little honey
  • Froth it up with a milk frother (optional)
  • Pour it into the tea
  • Enjoy!

Linking up with Heather over at Beauty that Moves.

 

summer fun: mini crossbow

My boys are 11 and 14, and it is sometimes a bit hard to get them off of their iPods and tablets. But there are limits in place, and they have dug into some fun projects already this summer. The first one was this mini crossbow that basically just required hairclips, popsicle sticks, embroidery floss, and a hot glue gun.IMG_2157IMG_2164IMG_2155IMG_2163IMG_2167IMG_2169It shoots toothpicks and I find that mildly concerning.