Category Archives: Uncategorized

we have sprouts!

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(radish sprouts)

The garden has finally sprouted, and I’m so excited about it. I was starting to get discouraged, because we didn’t have any sprouts in the time frame suggested by the seed bags, and I was getting worried that maybe our garden would never grow. Everyday I’d wake up and run down to the garden, hoping to see just one green leaf breaking the soil–but there weren’t any.

And now–there are! I was so excited when I saw the first ones, that I ran up the hill to the house, flailing my arms and yelling, perhaps too loudly judging from the looks of passing mountain-bikers, “We have sprouts! We have sprouts!” And not only do we have sprouts, but also green strawberries. I’m psyched. So far, the radishes, carrots, peas, and bok choy have sprouted. Nothing yet from the spinach or zucchini. I don’t have too high of hopes for the zucchini, because the other day there were suspiciously weed-like plants growing right where I planted the zucchini, and I pulled them all up.  Ah well. I don’t like zucchini anyway.

As you can see from the pictures, we were a bit overzealous in planting the radish seeds–and this picture is after I had already pulled up 3/4 of them. It’s kind of sad weeding out seeds that have finally sprouted, but I guess its necessary for the plants to actually grow.

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(boy choy sprouts)

the gardening journey begins

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Reed and I planted in our garden today, and I am so excited about it. It’s not a huge secret that I love food, and especially locally grown, healthful, fresh food. So starting a garden is something that gets me feeling good about life. To be honest, I’m not overly optimistic about what our results will be, as we’ve never gardened before, and the Colorado mountains are not exactly known as a fertile, plant-growing paradise. Not to mention, I’ve killed almost every plant I’ve ever bought. : ) But I’m hopeful! Maybe I can become a real gardener with a bit of hard work.

Reed built me a garden in our front yard, that’s about 8×6–not too big, but just perfect for us. I researched some of the easiest/most likely to succeed vegetables for Colorado, and planned accordingly. We planted strawberry, arugula, and tomato plants, and spinach, swiss chard, carrot, zucchini, chive, and radish seeds. I’ll chronicle our progress here on the blog. Wish us luck! : )

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a lovely little lunch

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Lunch today. Homemade whole wheat bread with sun-dried tomato pesto (leftovers from last week’s pizza), cheddar, and over easy eggs, with spinach, walnut and strawberry salad on the side, and some yummy strawberry nectar.

everyday objects of beauty

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My sister brought me these tulips yesterday. A lovely reminder of summer coming and of good things. They’re sitting on my kitchen windowsill, and each time I see them, they remind me of the delicate hope of springtime, of the love of my family, and of delight.

It has rained nearly all of today—much needed water over our thirsty land.

And I’m inside, cup of tea with swirling steam beside me, feeling grateful. There is such an abundance of things to give thanks for. It is the little objects like this week’s tulips that remind me of it.

It is these small reminders that keep me tethered—bound close to life. When I’m feeling disconnected or distant from things, these simple things draw me in close.

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* a tip for tulips: drop a couple of pennies into the vase with them, and they will not sag and wilt as quickly.

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decadent chocolate custard with raspberries

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The recipe I made was called “The Best Chocolate Ice Cream You’ll Ever Have,” but I would say it is definitely more of custard (close even to fudge!) than to ice cream. It’s incredibly, incredibly thick. We liked it better refrigerated than frozen. In fact, Reed, while eating it, said, “If this ice cream was a milkshake, your head would get sucked into the straw when you were trying to sip it.” So, definitely thick. But delicious! Very delicious.

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I found the recipe here (which by the way, is a lovely, lovely food blog that has gorgeous images and uniquely exquisite recipes). I would recommend eating it as a custard rather than an ice cream though, and refrigerating rather than freezing.

total time: 4 hours (for refrigeration)

hands-on time: 20 minutes

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pizza with sun-dried tomato and garlic sauce, arugula, oyster mushrooms, and chorizo

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A long title, because this pizza has a lot on it! A parmesan, lemon, sun-dried tomato, and garlic sauce, topped with chicken chorizo sausage, oyster mushrooms, and fresh arugula. It’s delicious. I love the peppery undertones of arugula, and of course, you can never go wrong with garlic.

This is a big recipe–it makes two large pizzas, and could easily serve 6. Half it if you don’t want leftovers–but really, who doesn’t want leftovers? I froze the leftovers in portion sizes, so Reed can have some quick work lunches for this week.  Make sure to start several hours before dinner, as the dough needs time to rise. This recipe will take about 2 1/2 hours, but two hours of that is rising time for the dough.

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Pizza Dough

hands on time: 20 minutes

total time: 2 hours 20 minutes

2 1/2 cups warm water

2 packages active dry yeast

5 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus a bit extra for rolling out)

3 teaspoons honey or sugar

1/3 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon salt

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, and let sit about 5 minutes, or until it gets foamy. Mix in the sugar, olive oil, salt, and flour. Keep adding flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, and isn’t overly sticky. Knead for 7-8 minutes, of if you have a mixer, use the bread hook for about that long. Put your dough in a greased bowl covered in a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and put in draft-free spot to rise for around 2 hours, or until doubled in size. (While you’re waiting, start making recipe 2, the sauce.)

Once risen, preheat the oven to 500 degrees, divide dough in half, and roll it into as many pizzas as you’d like. (I made 2, but you could do 4 small ones if you’d like). Rolling it thin is key. Put onto greased, cornmeal sprinkled pans.

I baked the dough for about 5 minutes in the 500 degree oven, since I didn’t have a pizza stone, and wanted the crust to be crispier. Skip this step if you have a pizza stone or want a chewier crust.

Reduce the oven heat to 450 degrees. Top the crust with everything but the arugula, and then bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust golden brown. After removing pizza from oven, top with arugula and some fresh ground pepper, and serve.

Garlic Parmesan Sun-dried Tomato Sauce

hands on time: 10 minutes

total time: 10 minutes

(This is for one large pizza, as I made the second pizza with red sauce. Double the recipe if you want to make both pizzas with this sauce.)

3 Tbsp. melted butter

3 Tbsp. tomato pesto

1 cup finely grated parmesan

1 lemon, juiced

6 cloves garlic

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Combine everything, whisk, spread on crust.

Toppings for pizza:

Arugula

Chorizo sausage (chicken or pork)

Fresh Mozzarella

Oyster Mushrooms

Simplify it:

-If you don’t want to make your own crust, you can buy it (baked or unbaked) at almost any supermarket, or even better–your favorite pizza place.

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lazy homemade salsa

Salsa is one of the best foods ever. If something has salsa in it or on it, it’s a near guarantee that I’ll like it.

Of course, homemade salsa is probably the best kind. It’s fresh, and you can make it however you like. I never really use a recipe for it, because it’s not that finicky of a food, and it’s difficult to mess up. Since I adore Mexican food, I almost always have the ingredients on hand, and it’s quick to whip up. This recipe is just what I threw together yesterday, but as I said, the recipe is flexible. Use it as framework, and tweak it however you like!

Lazy Salsa

total time: 7 minutes

hands-on time: 7 minutes

4 large tomatoes

1/2 of an onion

a handful of cilantro

3 garlic cloves

1 lemon, juiced

salt and pepper

cayenne pepper

It’s lazy salsa, because it hardly requires any chopping–I cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds, chop the onion once or twice, and then throw everything into the blender, and give it a couple of spins. Don’t be shy with the salt and pepper, because this is what brings out the flavor. I add a good deal of cayenne pepper, because I love it spicy, but if you don’t, simply leave it out, or just add a bit. Voilà! Simple homemade salsa.

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late spring sunday afternoons

I love Sunday afternoons. After church, we usually stop at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant, where share a huge bowl of the most scrumptious pho, and then head home and enjoy a lazy afternoon. This past Sunday, we walked down to the meadow by our house. It’s one of my favorite places to go. There’s a little convergence of streams down there, remnants of old miner’s houses, and a pond with a perfectly terrifying and delightful rope swing over it. Reed braided wildflowers into my hair, and we swung and talked and enjoyed the lightness of spring.

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a box of inspiration

Several years ago, I started tossing things that inspired me into an old suitcase. Little pieces of memory and reminders of beauty that I wanted to keep. Objects and artifacts of life, that I could pull out and look at and smell and touch. There is something about having something solid and real that I can hold in my hands, that brings a sort of inspiration no website or virtual place can.

So when I’m feeling uninspired, I shut my computer and pull out my Box of Inspiration. In my box I have a great mix of things–some of them intensely personal, and others are simply objects that I picked up at a vintage shop and liked. Here are some pictures of the box, as well as some pictures of a few of my favorite things inside the box.

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This is an old 1900 pocket watch that I found at a flea market in France. It’s forever 9:02 according to the clock. When I hold it, I remember the ethereal, timeless feeling of Paris.

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Some lovely little postcards I found at the thrift store last week.

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I also found this handkerchief at a vintage shop with a handwritten note attached: “From about 1883. The only thing Grandma Johnson every sewed.” I don’t know why anyone would ever what to get rid of “the only thing Grandma Johnson ever sewed”–especially something this exquisite, but for my sake, I’m glad that they did. The smell of it me of my own Grandmother’s house, and playing in her trunk of 100 year-old dress-up clothes as a child.

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Reed, and his unwavering love, is always a great encouragement to me.

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This necklace is to remember my family, given to me by my mom. My Dad died several years ago, and I wore the necklace on my wedding day so he, in a sense, could come with me. Each of the five birds represents my mom and five sisters.

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Vintage keys and sheet music. Reed found an old bucket of these keys in his grandpa’s barn, and we’ve loved collecting keys and making art with them ever since.

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