Take Comfort and Enjoy

Sometimes this particular holiday season confounds me. For many of us, whatever our spiritual or religious stance may be, it is meant to be a period of pause. We are graciously granted time for reflection, celebration, family bonding. We are gifted the opportunity to reprioritize, think beyond ourselves, give to others. And yet, we run about, stressed out over what to give whom, how to get where, who’s going to pay for it all and get it done before the holiday comes. Personally, I always strive to simplify, to focus on the spirit of things and keep myself removed from that stressful materialistic energy. However, even I get sucked into that whirlwind of holiday hustle with a hectic schedule, shopping for gifts, to-do lists and that darn Time continually outpacing me. I am uncomfortable existing in such a state, but at times it is difficult to escape. Sometimes I literally have to tell myself to let go of expectations, slow down and heed the season’s tidings of comfort and joy. Sit down. Take comfort. Enjoy.

Spiced Persimmon Quinoa Porridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Savor the Moment

After desperately craving autumn for several torturous weeks now, we are finally beginning to experience our brief little fall moments here in the desert. It is still much too warm for cozy sweaters and comfy boots with midday temperatures still hanging out in the eighties. But when the sun goes down, that cool air creeps in and beckons you out to the back porch to sit awhile, breathe it in and savor a little autumn moment. Savor, isn’t that a great word? To give oneself to the enjoyment of; to perceive by taste or smell, especially with relish. It is the perfect word for this season, these few transient moments of fall. I shall give myself to the enjoyment of it, relish the flavor of it while it lasts and I will start with my favorite savory sauce.

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Craving Autumn

Autumn has always been my favorite time of year. There is something about this particular seasonal shift that triggers certain welcomed cravings as the days grow subtly shorter, the air begins to cool and nature’s color palette turns to warmer hues. It is that time of year when pumpkin permeates your menu plans, the crisp autumn air is infused with cinnamon and the golden glow of turning leaves is reflected on your dinner plate. Unfortunately, in my hot little corner of the world, it does not feel like fall at all. Summer is making her traditional last stand, stubbornly refusing to give way. And while my fellow foodies indulge their autumn cravings, I am still desperately craving autumn.

Autumn Abundance Bowl

 

 

 

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Parsnips and Purple Potatoes

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.

Fresh Herb and Garlic Salt

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Back to School with Healthy Habits

For ten years now, I have spent my days with little folks, talking about life, the world, what things do and how they work. Together, we have the pleasure of indulging our mutual sense of wonder. I have come to understand that children have an innate love of nature and if that love is nurtured, it will naturally bloom into a love of self and love for others. I watch it happen time and time again, year after year, cycle after cycle. It never ceases to amaze me. So, how can we as parents, teachers and role models, tap into this sense of wonder and instill healthy habits within our children? They are, after all, our hope for the future…are they not? It is a mighty responsibility, an overwhelming task, so my advice is to simply start small. Invite them. Excite them. Delight them in the process. And those healthy habits will naturally become part of who they are.

Hungry caterpillar

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Keepin’ it Cool with Smoothies and Such

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.

Acai Berry Bowl

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Just Peachy

Something I secretly love about my weekly organic produce box is the little challenge put before me every time I bring it home and open the paper wrapping to reveal the mystery contents for the week. Being locally grown, organic, seasonal produce, it is not always a surprise to find certain things at certain times. One would expect to find apples in autumn, squash in winter, strawberries in spring and green beans in summer. But what I love is the combination of ingredients presented each week and the adventure in figuring out some deliciously different way of using them.

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A Jar of Breakfast

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.

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A Few More of My Favorite Greens

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.

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Surviving Sick Day

From month to month, year to year, we follow the cycle of seasons.  Food, clothing, activities and daily life all seem to have their transitional points along this seasonal cycle. Winter celebrations, spring break, summer vacation, fall fashion. Ski sweaters and root veggies, short sleeves and daffodils, hiking boots and stone fruits, backpacks and apples. We all have our favorite points along this cycle, we all look forward to our own favorite season. But flu season? No one looks forward to flu season.