Planning ahead so we don’t have to do anything right now

Planning ahead so we don’t have to do anything right now

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Brian & I enjoyed the most beautiful afternoon, enjoying a lovely bottle of wine, bread from 3 Girls in the Pike Place Market, and a lovely aged chedder also from the Pike Place Market, and a pate.

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The pate was a creation of Brian’s… from a few weeks before this lavish afternoon delight when Brian had the notion of making a lovely smooth chicken liver pate

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As we sat there enjoying this lovely bite, I though back on the silly comedy film “Tremors” with Kevin Bacon & Fred Ward, among others.

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The two characters were considered losers and one of the famous lines Fred Ward’s character said in the beginning of the film was “See, we plan ahead so we don’t have to do anything right now”. Fabulous! I thought about that on this lovely afternoon when I realized we were enjoyed the spoils of a morning at the Pike Place Market, a past visit to one of our favorite wineries, and Brian’s inspiration to make a lovely chicken liver pate a few weeks before.

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Because of his passion, our hunter / gather instincts at our local market and our local vineyards, we sat here in this lovely afternoon doing nothing but enjoying what we planned for…without even knowing it.!

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Brian’s Chicken Liver Pate recipe:

1 lb. fresh chicken livers, cleaned, 1 cup cold milk, 1 stick cold unsalted butter, but into pieces, 1 cup chopped yellow onions, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 2 tablespoon green peppercorns – drained, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, 1/4 cup Cognac.

In large saute pan, melt 4 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add onions, cook, stirring until soft. Add garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken livers, the bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, until the livers are browned on the outside and still slightly pink on the inside, about 5 minutes. Add Cognac and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated and the livers are cooked through but still tender. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Discard bay leaves.

In food processor puree the liver mixture. Add remaining butter in p pieces and pulse to blend. Fold in remaining 1 tablespoon peppercorns and adjust the seasoning to taste.

Strain pate through a fine mesh sieve and pack the resulting mixture  into desired ramekins.

Optional: top the individual ramekins of pate with a bit of clarified butter or melted duck fat to seal and add a sage leaf.

Pack the individual ramekins in vacuum pkgs. Then thaw when needed and serve with either hardy crackers or wholesome bread. Enjoy!

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Green Kitchen Stories – Part 2

Green Kitchen Stories – Part 2

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As many of you know, I’m cooking my way through the Green Kitchen Stories blog. Lots of wonderful recipes there. first up this last week was the Celeriac Lasagna AKA Shaved Roots & Mushroom Casserole. All kinds of goodness here, but it is a large casserole.

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As you can see from this close up, all kinds of flavorful goodness is layered in here. Because it is just Brian & I, we clearly could not eat it all. So, instead of simply reheating leftovers as-is, we decided to blend the rest up as a soup. So good. More on that in a future post.

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Next up was this beautiful Cauliflower Leek Soup. I made this recipe especially for Brian as he has this long standing love affair with cauliflower. Topped with micro greens and roughly chopped almonds, lemon zest, and also – my add, a drizzling of truffle oil. So, so good. Will definitely be adding this to my list of go-to soups.

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My history with cauliflower soup is adding milk or cream. This has none of that. Recipe calls for water, I used vegetable stock to boost flavor. So glad I did.

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I found some absolutely beautiful mangos in the market so immediately went to Green Kitchen’s Mango & Walnut Salad recipe. I used a salad mix for the greens, as well as some micro greens for garnish. On the walnut dressing I did add a few drops of Agave syrup. Quite delicious

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and since mangos are readily available right now I’m thinking we will revisit this one soon.

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My final offering on this post is the Saffron Bulgur with Vegetables. This was beautiful, flavorful, and filling. I substituted feta cheese for the called for goat cheese. I love goat cheese, but it’s not a favorite of Brian’s so…a nod to his palette. Actually I think the goat cheese would have added a mushy factor that I don’t think would have enhanced the dish so glad we went with the feta.

Well, sadly that’s it for this week. I would have liked to cook more but with Brian’s travel last week, we were backed up on leftovers that had to be eaten through. We are doing a good job though of eating through the fridge!

Until next time, thanks so much for stopping by and hope the new year has been treating you well so far. Can you believe we’ve traveled through one month already? Where does the time go?

xo

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Blood-Orange Sorbet

Blood-Orange Sorbet

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Winter here in the Pacific Northwest means we don’t have any local strawberries, Blueberries, or raspberries.

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But we do have citrus! I just love the bright flavor and color of grapefruits, tangerines, meyer lemons, and of course blood-oranges.

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They are my absolute favorite. The blotchy red-orange skin just doesn’t look anything like a regular orange, and the dark red color of the fruit and it’s juice is amazing.

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They are great as a snack. Just slice into wedges and eat the fruit off of the peel.

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You can certainly juice them and have yourself a lovely glass of blood-orange juice. Or you can do what I’ve done here and make a sorbet.

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The peels can be candied

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So easy to do

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The candied peel can be eaten by themselves, but also makes a nice garnish for the sorbet

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Here’s the recipe for both the sorbet and the candied peel. Enjoy!

Blood Orange Sorbet

1 1/2 Cups Strained blood-orange juice (about 6 oranges)

3/4 Cup Simple Syrup (recipe below)

1 to 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, strained

1. In a bowl, stir together the blood-orange juice and the simple syrup. Add lemon juice to taste. Chill the mixture until it’s very cold, about 3 hours or overnight.

2. Freeze in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Simple Syrup

2 Cups sugar

1 1/2 Cups water

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar and 1 1/2 Cups water. Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Let the syrup simmer for a minute, then turn off the heat and allow to cool. This will keep almost indefinitely in a tightly sealed bottle in the refrigerator.

Candied Orange Peel

Peel only from a couple of oranges

4 Cups sugar, divided

3 Cups water

1. Cut the peel into long strips. Cook in a large pot of boiling water 15 minutes; drain, rinse, and drain again.

2. Bring 3 Cups sugar and 3 Cups water to boil in medium saucepan over  medium heat string to dissolve sugar. Add peel. Return to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until peel is very soft, about 40 minutes. Drain.

3. Toss peel in 1 cup sugar on rimmed baking sheet, separating strips. Lift peel from sugar; transfer to sheet of foil or other baking sheet. Let stand until coating is dry, 1 to 2 days. Can wrap and freeze up to two months.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

xo

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Green Kitchen Stories – A New Chapter

Green Kitchen Stories A New Chapter

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So, I’ve been at my computer, which makes Peg very happy because she gets to be in my face, begging for head butts and drooling on the keyboard (really need to get a keyboard saver here!) Instead of sitting in my chair tagging recipes in a cookbook that I want to explore, I’m on the computer looking at the beautiful website of Green Kitchen Stories. Here’s what I’ve discovered thus far;

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Had to go with the Linguine della via de gotta Pinta 45 because, well…it’s pasta! There you have it, my total weakness,

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and this one was a beauty. Filled with my favorites; pasta, garlic, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, borlotti beans, Olives (castavatrano, than you very  much), along with basil. black pepper, and a bit of parmigiano reggiano. So good. Then we went to

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Moroccan Vegetable Tagine, which doesn’t really need an official “tagine” vessel; honestly a deep dish skillet would do the trick, but hey, we had a tagine so why not?

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I will say though that we found it a bit dry so while I was finishing this up, Brian whipped up a quick yellow curry (recipe at the end of this post). God bless him, truly saved the dish. After that we went with what the site calls the “No-Recipe” Curry”, which is of course a recipe!

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We decided to serve this up with a bit of quinoa

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Which I’m glad we did because we both felt that a bit of texture was a welcome addition. Finally, this week we tried a recipe that the mere title demanded attention

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The New Yoga Pot. I have to admit, that the title of this dish caught my eye because a very, very dear friend of mine is a yoga devotee so thought this was worth a look see.

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Everything we’ve cooked from on this website has been delicious, though I will say that their recipes are driven by yellow, most specifically turmeric. It makes everything yellow. Don’t get me wrong I love the color yellow and the purposed health benefits of turmeric are not lost on me. Photographically…I long for a splash of red! But hey, this is me being selfish. All of this food is delicious and I just know has health benefits yet to be measured. In the meantime, Neither Brain or I feel the least bit slighted.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope your palette is being satisfied to your best content.

Brian’s Quick Yellow Curry

1 can coconut milk

3 Tablespoons yellow curry paste

3 teaspoons fish sauce

1 Tablespoon Palm Sugar (Brown Sugar works here as well)

Throw all of this in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve over your favorite sautéed , braised, or roasted vegetables.

Cheers!

xo

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My Photographic Past

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Self portrait at a Nude Beach, CA, 1981

I’ve been cleaning out my room and ran across some of my early work in photography. Looking at each of them flooded my mind and heart with emotion. They transported me back to a time of transition for me. So, I realize this is post is a little out of the norm, but I thought you all might enjoy a trip down memory lane with me today.

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My son Dave at 2 1/2 years old, 1980

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Rushing Water, Laguna Beach, CA, 1981

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Door Handle, Bodie, CA, 1979

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Beaver’s Pond, CA 1979

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Still Water at Beaver’s Pond, CA, 1979

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Light & Shadow, Long Beach, CA 1981

Now before we go to the next image I think a little back story is in order. I was in a photography class where each week we brought in our work to be laid out with the others so everyone could see what each of us had done with that week’s assignment. This particular week the assignment was to compose 3 or 4 images that together would tell something about ourselves. I decided I wanted to tell the story of my transition of going through a divorce from my first husband and moving through that time, going through the emotional trauma and ending up in what I felt at the time was a place of empowerment. Once I completed my assignment though, I felt very uncomfortable about sharing it with the entire class so I talked about it with the professor. He kindly viewed my work privately, gave me my grade and a pass on showing it in class. Of course now I’m ok sharing it. It was so long ago, but I still smile when I think of me working on that project and how empowering it made me feel. Before now, only 3 people in my life as seen this…

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Carol’s Transiton, 1980

One of the big reason’s I’m in such a better place now is because of this man

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Brian, 1981

I think it is a good exercise to look back on our lives from time to time and realize just how far we’ve come.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

xo

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Cookbook Review – The Food Lover’s Cleanse, Winter

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If you’ve been following along, you know I’ve been on the two week Winter Cleanse outlined in Bon Appetite’s book The Food Lover’s Cleanse by Sara Dickerman. Now this book is not about diets. It’s about healthy eating and filling your menu with a variety of foods to ensure maximum vitamin and mineral consumption, and of course to satisfy the taste buds. The book certainly delivered on all counts. Both Brian & I did the cleanse and we both thoroughly enjoyed the meals. Looked forward to cooking them too! In the last days of the cleanse here’s what was on our menu

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Braised Chicken with Squash and Prunes along with a side of Bulgur with Parsley & Chives. The recipe called for butternut squash, but I used acorn because that’s what I had on hand. Super good and easy to prepare, which was great because Brian was out of town so I was cooking for myself that night. Next up

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Mackerel with Lemon & Walnut-Parsley Pesto served on a bed of Bean Salad with Pomegranate & Parsley. Funny story to share on this one. The only mackerel I found was whole & flash frozen. I bought it anyway and put it on the counter to thaw. Brian walked in and said “You know you will need to fillet it when it thaws. I don’t know how to do that, do you?” to which I replied “not yet!” I figured I could get on YouTube and find a video on how to do it…and I did! Brian is very impressed with me now! Another great meal and I thought the pomegranates were a brilliant add.

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Curried Pork with Garnet Yams & Green Beans. All I can say is yummo! I was so disappointed when the leftovers were gone. Super easy to make.

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Sea Scallops with Celery Root & Meyer Lemon Salad. Brian & I made a great team preparing this one. You see I am absolutely lousy at cooking scallops. Mine always turn out like little rubber balls. But Brian, well he’s a pro. So he cooked the scallops and I made the salad. Super delicious.

Oh, here’s a little closer look at those scallops

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Apples & Pomegranate with Yogurt & Toasted Quinoa. I love yogurt, but I usually just throw a bit of granola on top and call it a day most mornings. This preparation has spoiled me! The recipe called for red quinoa but I had a quinoa mix of red, black, and white so that’s what I used.

Let’s get a closer look at the texture in this

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the quinoa is toasted in a pan then honey drizzled on it, which causes the quinoa to clump and you just put the little clumps on your yogurt. 

After two weeks of good eating I can tell you that I have more energy and though the cleanse is not intended as a weight loss plan, I will tell you that I’ve lost 3 pounds.

Would I recommend the book? You betcha! Not only that, Brian & I plan on doing the Spring, Summer, and Fall cleanses when those seasons come up so you’re likely to see more of this book here in the future! Oh one last exciting thing to share, Sara will be at the Book Larder bookstore this Thursday, January 21st at 6:30pm giving a talk about her book and Brian & I are going! Super excited to meet her. Super cool bookstore by the way. Totally dedicated to cookbooks and essays related to food and beverage. If you live in the area or are planning a visit, be sure to stop in. You’ll be glad you did!

What’s next you may be asking. Rather than dive into another cookbook, I thought I’d explore some of the many food blogs that are out there and cook a few recipes from their library. There are so many good ones out there but I’ve rarely cooked anything from them. I’m usually too busy drooling over all the food photography! After quite a bit of research I’ve decided on

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Green Kitchen Stories by David, Louise, and Elsa. All of the recipes are vegetarian based and everything I’ve read so far sounds delicious. You can find their website HERE and they are also on Instagram @gkstories.

Until next time my friends, may your days be full of flavor!

Posted in Cooking, Inspirational, photography | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Winter Workshop + Long Table Supper

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The first Saturday in December 2015 I was fortunate enough to be a part of a one day food photography and styling workshop with Eva Kosma Flores, ChristianKoepke, and Stacey Clark. Now that our hosts have had an opportunity to post about this event, I felt it was now time to share my experiences there…which was amazing! It all began here in this lovely home on a former Christmas Tree farm in Washougal, WA at 9:30am.

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The weather was wet, cold, and gray…but that didn’t dampen our spirits. Inside we received a warm welcome in this lovely home.

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All the props we would play with were laid out and so after a few introductions, the fun began. Here is my visual story of that day

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Eva Kosmas Flores food styling of mulled wine

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Stacey Clark food styling a cheese, olives, and crackers appetizer

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Christiann Koepke food styling hot chocolate

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This composition actually contained more than one view.

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Mulled wine modeled by the lovely Stacey Clark

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Hot chocolate modeled by a fellow student, Ragan

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Our lunch being prepared by Foster’s Craft Cooking over an open fire

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Lunch is served!

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But of course photos need to be taken before the first bite!

At 4pm the workshop portion of the day came to end. I learned so much from these talented women and so enjoyed the company of the other students in attendance. But the magic did not end there. While we students took to the road to explore a huge antique store in town, the house was transformed into an elegant venue where a long table dinner took place.

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It was a lovely evening with great food and lively conversation. The entire day; the workshop, the dinner, now seems like a dream. One I’d like to return to again and again.

Many thanks to Eva, Christiann, and Stacey for everything you did to make this event possible. Also thanks and gratitude to Foster’s Craft Cooking – our lunch and the dinner were amazing. Also thanks to the many sponsors who graciously gave lovely hand crafted items for this event and to the helping hands Daniele, Zhanna, Colleen, Sarah, Renae, and Verena who put in hours and hours to help put this all together.

If you ever have an opportunity to attend a photography workshop with someone who’s work you admire, don’t hesitate; sign up immediately!

xo

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The Cleanse Continues

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Hello. How are you? Ok, so I’ve got Adele’s smash hit tune playing in my head today! She is such an incredible talent. But I digress… I’m here to update you on the Winter Cleanse Brian & I are following from Bon Appetit’s book The Food Lover’s Cleanse. Gotta say, really loving all the food from this book.

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Thursday’s meal was Vegetable Pot-Au-Feu. 

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Full of yummy goodness with savoy cabbage, carrots, leeks, and parsnips, with some flat leaf parsley thrown in for good measure. This was cooked in chicken stock, but could easily been made vegetarian by substituting vegetable stock instead.

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Here it is served with bulgur mixed with parsley and chives. I also added some lemon zest in there. It was a good combo and I just love the bulgur. This Pot-Au-Feu could be a great base for a “clean out the crisper” meal, subbing out some of these vegetables with whatever you have on hand.

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Friday’s meal was Kale Sautéed with Onions, Leeks, and Turmeric and also served with Smoky Spiced Chickpeas. All of this was so delicious and quite filling. Both items hold up well as a leftover as well. Great vegetarian meal.

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The Smoky Spiced chickpeas contained sun-dried tomatoes, dried chili, cumin seeds, garlic, tomato puree, bay leaf, and smoked paprika. I was thinking leftovers could be blended into a super hummus, but I didn’t get the chance to do it as Brian the rest of it!

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Saturday we had Miso Flank Steak with Shiitake-Collard Green Escabeche. Actually the recipe called for mustard greens, but there was none to be had at the market so I substituted the collard greens. The whole thing tasted good. 

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However, the Miso marinade was more of a paste and when the meat is seared it’s like a crust on top, which Brian & I didn’t care for. Next time we will blend up the miso mixture, then add sake to make it more of a loose marinade and soak the beef in that overnight. My mouth is already watering just thinking about it!

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Sunday’s meal…oh my goodness…was Moroccan Lamb Shanks with Pomegranate.

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These were the most delicious lamb shanks I’ve ever had in my entire life! Full of spices and cooked with carrots and leeks in a chicken stock and pomegranate juice mixture, then topped with mint and pomegranate seeds. Brian was inspired to cooked up a celeriac-coconut puree to go with this. His own made up recipe. Brilliant!

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Tuesday’s meal was Root Vegetable Minestrone. Great depth of flavor. Contained carrots, savoy cabbage, onion, celeriac, whole canned tomatoes, kale, cannelloni beans, and golden beets. Another wonderful vegetarian meal. This would also be a good “clean out the crisper” soup idea.

Wednesday was left over Minestrone for me as Brian is out of town on business and with all this cooked food already in the fridge it seemed crazy to make another meal.

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I did however try another of the oatmeal combos for breakfast. This one is with coconut milk, toasted coconut, cocao nibs, and chopped dates. Such good comfort food, enhanced by the fact that I was still in my PJ’s!

We have a few more meals to cook. Sunday will be the last day of the 2 week Winter Cleanse. I’ll check back in with you all to report back.

Hope you are enjoying your January. Can you believe half the month is already behind us?

xo

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Home Spa

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I love going to a spa and having my body totally exfoliated. My skin always feels more alive, softer, and has a glow about it. Of course, that’s not something I have the time or money to do very often. Yet, your skin needs that kind of regular attention, especially in the winter time when the cold weather and the heat in your home can dry your skin out.

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 Human skin is amazing; it protects the body, skin sensation transmits information to the brain about its surroundings, i.e. hot, cold, etc. It helps regulate body temperature, it plays a role within the immune system, enables movement and growth without injury, helps the body climate waste through perspiration, and synthesis Vitamin D from UVB ultraviolet light (daylight).

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With all of that going on, it stands to reason that we would want to keep our skin in the best condition possible. Of course what we put into our bodies via food, drink, smoking, drugs, etc. play a huge roll, but how we care for the outside of the skin is important for good skin health. One of the best things we can do is exfoliate. We can do that by dry brushing our skin before entering the shower. We can use exfoliating gloves to soap up our bodies, ideally with a triple-milled French soap, and we can use an exfoliant.

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There are many commercial varieties on the market, all in varying prices and some containing ingredients I struggle to pronounce. But we don’t have to spend all that money or worry about what is in these products. We can make our own exfoliant at home, with things you may already have in your pantry.

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Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub makes a fantastic exfoliant for your whole body (recipe below). You can use it on  your face by gently rubbing small amounts of it in a circular motion, then wash off, blot your face dry and follow with your favorite moisturizer.

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It can be used on your whole body. Gently rub small amounts of it in a circular motion, starting at the bottom of your legs, and working your way up toward the heart. Across the arms also starting from your wrists and working up to your heart, from your neck to your heart and from your hips up to your heart. Wash off, blot dry and follow up with moisturizer.

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Its also great for your feet, but please, not in the shower. Shower + slippery feet = Dangerous situation! Instead use it during your weekly foot soak. And of course its great for your hands. Just rub it in, be sure to get to all the cuticle areas, then wash off and apply moisturizer.

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It’s super easy to make. Simply measure out the coconut oil (please don’t melt the oil, keep it solid) into a bowl. Add the sugar & citrus zest (I went with lemon here, but orange or grapefruit would be lovely too). Then spend some time massaging the sugar and zest into the oil. This will take a bit of time. You want to be sure and break down any coconut oil lumps you feel. The upside to this is after all the ingredients have been thoroughly incorporated, your hands will feel silky smooth after you wash them! Then, simply scoop the mixture into a container and there you have it, a lovely, effective exfoliant for a fraction of the cost of any commercial brand.

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This also makes a lovely gift! So, what do you think? Give it a try. Your skin will thank you!

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Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub

2 cups coconut oil

1 cup granulated sugar

4 tablespoons citrus fruit zest

Massage the sugar and zest into the coconut oil and work out any coconut oil lumps until you have a smooth mixture. Place in a container. To use, rub small amounts on your face, body, or feet (don’t use on your feet in the shower…danger! Instead use as part of your weekly foot soak regime.)

Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope the first month of the new year has been filled with many blessings.

xo

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The Cleanse Check In

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Hey there! So, how’s your new year going so far? Did you get a chance to try the lemon detox beverage I posted here? If so, what do you think? I’m actually loving it so much that I intend to make it a part of my every day always. I just love lemons anyway and I seem to feel more energized. Liking that feeling! As I mentioned in my last post, I am trying Bon Appetit’s Food Lover’s Cleanse cookbook. Brian & I are following the 2 week Winter Cleanse outlined in the book.

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The first dinner was this lovely Pan Roasted Salmon with Grapefruit Cabbage Slaw. We both just loved it! Savoy cabbage is used here and the texture of it is amazing in the slaw. The grapefruit is segmented with the juices saved to make the dressing which also included shallot, olive oil, and yogurt. Really good. The portions are also quite generous. In fact a little much for me, but perfect for Brian. The idea behind all of the recipes is that there should be enough left over from dinner for one lunch. We find there’s enough for 2 lunches, which is perfect for us.

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Tuesday’s dinner was Oven Roasted Chicken with Radicchio and Walnut-Parsley Pesto and a side of Roasted Cauliflower. One bit of the pesto and Brian informed me that it has to be a regular staple in the house!

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Under the skin of the breast are a few sage leaves, which provided such a wonderful earthy flavor.

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The cauliflower dish called for Kalamata olives but I opted for Castelvatrano’s because I’m addicted to them! I also substituted savory for the thyme called for, just because that is what I had on hand. We both love roasted vegetables of all kinds so this was right up our alley.

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Last night’s meal was Tahini Broiled Cod Topped with Spiced Pumpkin Seed & Cashew Crunch, and with Brussels Spout Slaw and a side of Braised Carrots with Za’atar. Actually the fish called for in the recipe was rockfish, but none could be found so had to settle for the cod, which took longer to cook. Brian thought it was good, me, not so much. I didn’t get the point of the cashew crunch on the fish. However, we both loved the brussels sprout slaw and would definitely do that again, along with the carrots. Have I mentioned how much I love carrots?!

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Now the book also includes recipes for breakfast every morning, but I have been doing my own thing. However, I was up super early this morning so thought I’d give the Spiced Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats a try. The recipe called for chopped pecans to top, but I went for some of that Cashew Crunch I had left over from last night and it worked great with this! The fresh ginger gives it a bit of a kick and goes well with the cinnamon and maple syrup also included. I always feel especially healthy when I’m eating oatmeal, don’t you?

Tonight’s meal with be the Vegetable Pot-Au_Feu you see in the book in the first picture above. Will let you know how it turns out.

Hope your new year is off to a good start. Thanks so much for stopping by.

xo

PS – The bowl in the oatmeal shot is from Williams-Sonoma ever so long ago and the beautiful hand crafted spoon is by Luke at Hope In The Woods … love! The candle in the first picture is one of those new battery operated types from Pottery Barn. I have these scattered all over the house.

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