summer morning

Summer mornings don’t get much more lovely than this. Well, by my estimation. It’s bright, sunny…the air is warm and getting warmer, but there is an incredible cool breeze. I appreciate cool breezes — warm ones make me dizzy. My children are chasing each other, laughing, through sun-filtered grass. And I am drinking the loveliest Moonlight Jasmine tea that tastes just like the scent of the fields of my childhood summers.

Not every hour in my day will be like this. Soon there will be sibling squabbles, dishes, decluttering, and more laundry. But for now, I will enjoy the summer bliss. Here I go….

a season of photos

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It’s been a very busy few months. Busy sometimes to the point of distraction, but, in general, good busy. There has been the occasional schedule mishap, forgetting something here or there, but nothing we couldn’t get past rather quickly. I’ve come to realize in recent days that I took very few photos this summer. And, in this realization, I’ve come to understand that, for me, taking photos is a form of self care. Self care is a phrase that I have had rolling around in my head this autumn, as I have been following an Instagram friend who regularly uses it as a hashtag. Her self care has included running, trips to the salon, and visiting jazz clubs in the city. I’ve been pondering how photography is an art that I love and an activity I need to be purposeful about doing. It’s everyday life for me to look at something I find beautiful and set up a shot in my mind; it comes naturally. I’m passionate about seeing and capturing the beauty around me. When I get busy, I don’t make time for taking photos, and my life begins to lack something that is important to me. A necessary outlet, a pathway for self expression. Self care. I’m thankful that I noticed the gaping hole in the photo timeline when I was looking through iPhoto earlier this autumn. It helped me realize a few things about myself that I am hoping to remedy going forward. So, this blog post is an album of some of my favorite shots taken this season. No real rhyme or reason, just favorites. I hope you enjoy them.

 

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mint chip ice cream

5.24.16

 

I have a recipe to share today. Having finally concocted a mint chip ice cream recipe that I LOVE, the end of May seems a fitting time pass it along. It is free of dairy, refined sugar, corn, and gluten. Hope you enjoy it! Into summer we go!


 

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

1 can (13.5 oz) full-fat coconut milk

1 cup cashew milk (or other nut milk of choice)

4 egg yolks

10 medjool dates, pitted

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 and a 1/2  tsp peppermint extract

1 Tbsp gelatin

1/4 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

Place your pitted dates into a small bowl and cover them with very warm water. Pour coconut milk into a high speed blender container. Add egg yolks. Blend on lowest speed for 10-15 seconds. Your objective is to blend the cream back into the milk, as well as mix in the yolks; you do not want to overblend the egg. Once combined, pour the mixture into a medium saucepan. Heat on medium-low for 4 to 5 minutes, whisking gently, but constantly. This process will temper your eggs; you do not, however, want your eggs to scramble. After tempering, pour the mixture back into your blender container. Return to the bowl of dates and drain & discard the water. To the egg and coconut milk mixture add the cashew milk, softened dates, and vanilla and peppermint extracts. Blend on medium/high for a minute, or until the dates have been incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Chill this mixture in refrigerator for approximately two hours (it should be cold!) Return the blender to its stand. In a small bowl, pour 1/4 cup boiling water. Mix in 1 Tbsp gelatin powder, stirring very well to dissolve. Add the gelatin liquid to your chilled mixture, and blend for 30 seconds on medium. Your ice cream base is now ready! Pour into your 2-quart ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Just before removing the ice cream at the end of t’s processing cycle, pour the chocolate chips into the cylinder to mix in. Eat right away or freeze until hardened.

As always, my gentle reminder: The recipes on this blog are my own. Should you choose to use them or lightly adapt them in a post on your own website, please do me the courtesy of linking back to my original recipe on this page. The photos, as well, are mine and copyrighted as such. Thank you for respecting and honoring my work.

living heirlooms

5.17.16

I’m not really a collector. I don’t have a box full of inaugural TY Beanie Babies, a set of books with stamps from every era in American history, racks of tiny silver spoons, or a refrigerator covered with magnets from every state in the U.S. But, what I do love to collect are plants from the yards of my friends and loved ones. Throughout my yard I have created beds that are filled with plants given to me over the years by people I hold dear. And I can, with very few exceptions, recount who gave each one to me. There are tiger lilies and bleeding hearts in the shade that came from my mother-in-law. The sedum outside my kitchen window, that feeds the house finches & blooms lavender in the autumn, has been divided several times — it also came from her. But, not only did they come from her, they came from the house that we knew and loved so well, and has since been sold and passed on to another family to love. Some history there. The ferns and sweet william, the hosta and absolutely glorious pink lily of the valley came from Aunt Beth. The memories of being at her house (with the most beautiful back yard I’ve ever been in) have come along with these plants that bloom each spring. The rhubarb plants that overtook the children’s garden and needed to be moved to the side yard were a gift from our current neighbors. The stella d’oro daylilies came from my neighbor, Asha. She gave me some dozen of these beautiful plants several years ago when she tired of the dead heading and upkeep. Where as they used to live around her patio, they now line the bed in which our tomatoes grow. Shortly after my mother passed away some years ago, my friend Heather wrote me a check, telling me that I was to buy some flowers for my yard in memory of my mother. I did just that: notably, the Halfway To Arkansas Blue. It reminds me of my mother’s huge affection for the south and her travels there. That plant has grown and been divided, and has been passed on to grow in the yards of some of my friends. Of course, there are many starters that I’ve purchased. Heirloom violets and delphiniums, shasta daisies and lupines, wild geranium and phlox, forget me nots and salvia…I love them all and look forward to being able to share them with friends in the years to come. But, I cherish the history that comes with the living, thriving gifts given to me by loved ones. Plants that came from people they loved. Plants and flowers that bloomed in yards of houses where memories were made and lives were lived. Plants that grew and flourished under the care of my loved ones. And because of that care and sweet generosity, they now provide the animals I love with food and protection. They beautify my yard and will be part my story, my family’s story. And, my yard, my days, and my seasons are lovelier for it.