After our lovely Labor Day backpacking trip last week, I decided to stay at home to rest my aching joints and tend the to-do list this weekend while my hubby headed out for a solo Sierra adventure. Anticipating a big day in the great outdoors, he kindly requested a burger for dinner. A homemade one…with hormone-free, grass-fed beef…on a gluten-free bun…and fresh hand-cut potato fries on the side…and a gluten-free beer? Pretty pleeeease? Well, how could I say no to that. Of course I will make you a burger and fries. Oooohhh…with fresh herb and garlic salt on my fries? Okay, buddy, now you’re pushing it. I agreed to the burger and fries, but drew the line at the fancy garlic salt. However, as the day drew on and I shopped and prepped for my hungry hiker, I found myself chopping fresh herbs, pressing garlic and making that darn salt. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of fancy salt to make someone smile. And I must admit, I do love making my special someone smile.
Well Summer has definitely made her way around and seems to be settled in for the season. With temperatures above a hundred we are beginning to wilt around here. Welcome July. There are many things I love about my summer season, but the heat is not one of them. I don’t know about you, but when the mercury rises, my appetite drops. I don’t desire much but sweet summer fruits, simple salads, smoothies and such. So, here are a few suggestions for healthy and refreshing ways to keep your cool in the midst of this summer heat.
I can’t believe we are already this far into April. How did that happen? I hear myself say it again and again, I sound like a broken record. But time…where does it go? Well, you know what they say about time flyin’ and havin’ fun. And since I seem to be starting out this fine April day with broken records and flying time, I may as well toss in another classic cliché while I’m at it – the mason jar. It’s a little overdone in the foodie realm, I get that. But I do love my jars. You can store just about anything in a mason jar. Grains and beans, buttons or ribbons. Nuts and bolts, cotton balls or caterpillars. Salads, smoothies, water or cocktails. But my favorite of late, has to be breakfast. Breakfast in a jar.
It is that time of year again. Spring is in the air. The light has shifted with the clock and that little leap forward brings the morning sun through the kitchen window at just the right time. That beam of spring sunshine resting on a bowl of nature’s most beautiful bounty, highlighting those vibrant colors just as you saunter, sleepy-eyed, into the kitchen on a lazy weekend morning…I am suddenly struck with a realization. A deja-vu sort of moment. I have been here before, no? I recall the first time I was so smitten with this spring sensation that I felt compelled to express my silly delight in all things green and bright. That was the day I started my blog, nearly one year ago.
I almost hate to admit it, but when it comes to food, I am one of those gals who believes that presentation is everything. I believe whole-heartedly in the importance of eating nutrient-dense, unprocessed, whole foods, as close to nature as you can possibly get. I believe that simple is best. But there is something about the presentation that can make or break a meal for me. I need it to be lovely. I really do. You know that picture perfect picnic kind of set-up? It almost doesn’t matter what the meal is, if it’s beautiful to look at I want to eat it. Superficial, I know, but there is just something about beautiful food.
I haven’t written about food in a while. And I can’t say it’s because I haven’t been spending time in the kitchen. A large portion of my everyday is devoted to preparing produce, cooking up recipes, washing dishes, washing dishes, washing dishes. That hasn’t changed. I grocery shop on a daily basis and our produce box is still providing us with weekly organic delights. But still, things have been feeling a little uninspired in that favorite nook of mine lately. New recipes are at a standstill. Homemade energy bars and hummus have been replaced with the packaged variety. Meals are cooked and consumed without even a thought to pause and pose them for photos. My heart just hasn’t been in it lately, I don’t know why. Yesterday morning I happened to emerge from my cave of an office just in time to catch that one, elusive stream of morning sunlight as it made it’s brief daily pass by the kitchen window. And I suddenly realized that my recent lack of inspiration and creativity in the kitchen is simply a matter of light. It is the light that brings color to my foodie realm.
I love this time of year. Whether it’s spent watching snow fall with my kinfolk, or roaming through sagebrush with my hubby and hounds, Christmas is always a special time for me. It doesn’t seem to matter where I am or who I’m with, as long as I can give a gift, I am happy as can be.
There is something about a cold, stormy day that stirs up a craving for gingerbread. Talk about seasonal flavors…warm gingery spices with that deep flavor of dark molasses…nothing says winter like gingerbread. With a storm brewin’ outdoors this weekend, I decided to hunker down in the comfy confines of my kitchen and bake up some of those gingerbread flavors.
When I was a child, my grandma would always send the family a big tin or two of homemade goodies for the holidays. Date pinwheels, persimmon cookies, chocolate covered pretzels and chocolate chip cookies…the contents never varied. Opening that tin always felt like saying hello to old friends and getting a big, warm hug from Grandma. The chocolate-covered pretzels were my personal favorite, but I always wondered about those persimmon cookies…what, on earth, is a persimmon?
As autumn begins to creep toward winter, our high altitude adventures go into hibernation mode as snow begins to dust those granite ridgelines. And so begins our desert season. This time of year, our explorations take on a whole new vibe. Desert dunes displace Sierra summits, Jeffrey pines give way to Joshua trees and skycapes stretch far beyond what the eye can see.