New England living

Pink Invasion

2015/01/img_2139-0.jpg

Our Clara June arrived on a snowy morning one week ago. Our hearts have swelled and we are oh so thankful for what she will teach us. Her first lesson: our capacity to love is endless.

2015/01/img_1276.jpg

We are nestled in our cottage for the winter. Cozy and filled with JOY. Be back soon.

Advertisements
Standard
New England living

2015

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a6d/69157519/files/2015/01/img_0053.jpg

I was so excited to receive Lara Casey’s Powersheets for Christmas. I love list-making, goal-setting, and envisioning “my best life”. Last year, I decided I would not put pen to paper. So many times, I cast my net too wide – striving for perfection in all facets of life and end up disappointed. And, guess what? I still grew spiritually, emotionally, and physically (literally GREW physically: today is the due date for our little girl!). But, I find it more fulfilling to get back to the basics and make a plan for the year, albeit a simple one, to aspire to more good and less unnecessary junk. I created a Vision Board on Pinterest, you can check it out here.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a6d/69157519/files/2015/01/img_0051.jpg

I created four core goals:
Self-Discipline: I will set clear plans for each day and stick to my agenda! I will spend less time perusing social media and use that time to be more productive in my tasks.

Wellness: I will fuel my body in order to have ample energy for my family and work. I will make exercise a priority as it will add energy to my day. I will make time for relaxation and meditation.

Gratitude: This has been on my heart for the last couple of months. Spend more time being grateful for the life we have today and lead by example. Find an organization in order to give back.

Less Guilt: I held a lot of guilt in 2014: in motherhood, in marriage, in work/life balance. Everywhere. It caused anxiety instead of JOY. Through affirmations, prayer, and discipline, spend more time focused on the POSITIVE.

My heart is open to creating a year full of purpose and contentment. I’m sure there will be bumps along the way, but I will embrace with clarity and gratitude. Happy 2015!

Standard
Main Course, Salad, Sandwich, Uncategorized

Lucky Collard Wraps

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a6d/69157519/files/2014/12/img_2076.jpg

It may be the beaming rays of sunshine or the excitement of a new year, but I have been adoring fresh + colorful meals the last couple of days. We are on baby watch – our little girl should be arriving any day now and in the meantime I have been prepping meals, organizing everything, and reading, of course! I am currently browsing Dr. Graham’s book The 80-10-10 Diet. I suppose it is a controversial way of eating: 80% fruits/veggies, 10% fats, 10% proteins. Sounds manageable until you realize you need to eat around 6 bananas for breakfast. I just can’t wrap my head around that. However, I did have an aha moment reading about dehydration. If you think about it, our world mostly revolves around cooked food and eight glasses of water a day. Most people neglect those eight glasses for a million reasons- usually just forgetfulness. Our dehydration causes our clarity to weaken, lethargy, and a host of illnesses. By incorporating more raw foods into our day, we are gaining the hydration we need to focus and live a life full of vitality. Simple concept but I tend to forget that all of our baking and sautéing is sapping our fuel!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a6d/69157519/files/2014/12/img_2079.jpg

In the South, it is tradition to eat black-eyed peas (for luck) and collard greens (for wealth) on New Years Day. Usually, both are long-stewed with fat morsels of bacon. To kick off our new year on the right foot, we will be enjoying these gorgeous raw collard wraps. You can prep all kinds of veggies and everyone can fill their own wrap as they desire. A fun activity for kids- maybe they will eat their veggies! Best of luck, wealth, and health in 2015!

Collard Wraps with Black-eyed Pea Salsa
For the wraps:
6-8 large collard leaves
1 red bell pepper
1 avocado
1 cup hummus (original, garlic, or lemon)
1 cup sunflower sprouts

For the salsa
1 can black-eyed peas (no salt added)
1 mango, chopped
2 scallions, white and green parts diced
1/8 cup chopped mint
1/8 cup chopped cilantro
1 tbsp hulled hemp seeds
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp Siracha (optional)

Instructions:
Combine all ingredients for salsa and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. While salsa marinates, prep all ingredients to assemble wraps. Assemble wraps by setting collard on plate, add hummus down rib (middle) of collard, add desired veggies and top with salsa. Wrap and chow!

Standard
New England living

Home for the Holidays

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a6d/69157519/files/2014/12/img_0349.jpg

I have been reading The Untethered Soul which is about being fully conscious. It is really interesting and worth a read. The timing couldn’t be more fitting with all of the holiday craze! Who can disregard the bustling energy that surrounds the holidays? The lines…the traffic….even shopping online is not exactly peaceful. Coupled with the pressure of travel and/or social obligations, I completely understand how holidays can be stressful. So, my motivational thought for the week: Don’t forget to take time for yourself. We can get so overwhelmed with our to-do list – I know adding “go to yoga” or “get a massage” sometimes seems frivolous and dare I say, another item on my long list!
My easiest solution (and a free one too!) is to take a walk outside. Despite the freezing temps, it is good for our mind and body to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. Breathe. Relax. Enjoy. Free therapy.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a6d/69157519/files/2014/12/img_0046.jpg

During one of my jaunts, I spent time foraging from the backyard to fluff the window boxes. It has been such a delight to have a bit of color against the sleepy gray skies. Isn’t it a wonder that in the depths of winter, red berries and evergreen thrive? It’s almost as if nature knew that we needed a bit of vibrancy this time of year.

In unrelated news, we will host Christmas breakfast and dinner next week and I am beginning to plan the fare. Ina’s yeasted waffles and a warm citrus salad will be amongst the goodies. I’m still thinking of dinner items and cannot seem to get earl grey panna cotta out of my mind. For cocktails, we will most definitely enjoy pine cocktails and pomegranate mimosas. I hope your holiday is merry + bright + filled with peace. ‘Tis the season.

Standard
Dessert

Gingered Macaroons

IMG_0048.JPG

I am in a frenzy because I am hosting a cookie swap this weekend. Sounds like a marvelous idea- spend time with dear friends, enjoy their company, and everyone walks away with a variety of darling goodies. Why the frenzy? Let me start by saying, I am befuddled by baking. I know my strengths and although I am not quick to say, I know my weaknesses. Baking is probably at the top of the weakness list. It seems so straightforward: just follow the recipe and be precise with the measurements. Right? Well, I am on my third round of cookie baking and finally made something edible.

IMG_0403.JPG

It has been a wet and dreary week (can I blame the weather? Ok, good, let’s do it!) and as I sat in perplexity as to why my shortbread was coming up short, I remembered how simple these macaroons are to bake. Gingered macaroons are a dream to the non-baker. Utterly impossible to fail. A true cinch. The crystallized ginger added a lovely festive element and the spiciness compliments the sweet coconut. I can’t vouch for their healthfulness but they are gluten-free!

IMG_0398.JPG

If you are anything like me, this recipe is my gift to you.

Gingered Macaroons
Makes 1 dozen macaroons

2 large eggs, beaten for 30-60 seconds
1/2 cup sugar
Generous pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely diced

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (very important step).
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract.
3. Add coconuts and ginger to egg mixture and stir well. It should be dense with coconut.
4. Drop tablespoon portions of mixture onto baki sheet and bake for 20 minutes. The macaroons should begin to brown on the top and bottom. Allow to cool before transferring.

Standard
New England living

December

IMG_1992.JPG

December arrived in high fashion this year. Our fields awash with snow and moody gray skies were the proper backdrop to scurrying around to find “the” Christmas tree of 2014 and sit by the crackling fire with a hot cuppa tea. Our tea of choice this season have been Sleigh Ride and Eggnog. I wish I could get my mitts on Mariage Freres Christmas Pudding but alas, shipping rates.

In all of my valiant effort, I’m not very skilled at sitting still. With the new baby approaching, my doctor advised rest and it has been a blessing in disguise. I didn’t realize how tired I was after a whirlwind year!
The thing I like about tea is it almost dictates you to sit down and rest for a long minute. Carefully watching the herbs permeate the water, holding a steaming warm cup, taking intentional sips, and reflecting. Instead of running around this season, I will be resting. Reflecting and Resting.

IMG_1995.JPG

I am spending my days reading Rose in Bloom (Louisa May Alcott always seem like wintery reads for some reason) and Boys in the Boat, testing some recipes, but most of all, resting. I hope you find the time to reflect on this glorious year- the treasures it has brought forth and identify ideas and attitudes that you can carry forward into the New Year. It is indeed the best time of year.

Standard
Main Course, Soup

Split Pea Soup

IMG_0044.JPG
” a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep, or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.’ Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear and sadness.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Isn’t that just the purest definition of home? Perfect doesn’t mean perfectly decorated or perfectly grand or perfectly clean. It’s how a home makes you feel. And that feeling can alleviate so many hardships. With the baby soon approaching, I have been turning inwards and reflecting on how to make our house more of a home. Not in the superficial way but ensuring my children feel they can always come home to comfort, warmth, and coziness.

Some of the best memories of my childhood home were walking in the front door to a warmly lit kitchen with soup on the stovetop. Mom always cooked delicious comforting food. Even the aroma of split pea soup – the smokiness of the ham paired with onions, celery, carrot, brings me back to conversations around the dinner table and the feeling of being safe and secure.

I’m sure you have a signature dish that means home. I wonder what it will be for my children? Whatever it is, I hope they feel the comfort and know our home is an open forum for their feelings (all colors of feelings!) and their creativity.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving – whether it is very simple or elaborate- know that someone is grateful to have you in their life.

IMG_0043.JPG

Split Pea Soup
Serves 6

2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 tsp oregano
1-2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups carrots, medium-diced
1 pound dried split green peas
1.5 pound ham hock
6 cups of water

Add oil to medium sauté pan and heat. Add onion, celery, oregano, and salt. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place carrots, peas, ham hock, and water into slow cooker.
When onion/celery mixture is complete, add to slow cooker and stir to incorporate onions.
Cook on high for 6 hours, stirring every 2 hours. Taste midway through cooking to add more salt if need be. You may need to add more water near the end of cooking depending on how thick you like it. The soup shouldn’t be brothy.
Discard ham hock before serving. Garnish with sour cream and a curl of carrot.

Standard