The Taste of Summer-Kale

Kale!-Yet another fantastic leafy green we have coming out of our ears!!IMG_2536In fact we have so much Kale we give it away to our friends and family, share it with our chickens, bunny and even worms…But what I really like to do is throw it in the food processor with a little water and then put it in ice cube trays.  IMG_8804This provides us with perfect little Kale Cubes for counting into smoothies whenever we wish.IMG_2579I don’t think my kids know you can actually make a smoothie without Kale… so don’t tell them!IMG_2587They drink it right up!

My favorite mix these days I stole from the Whole Foods Drink bar…One especially self indulgent day I threw down a whopping $8 for a cup of this stuff and was hooked.

Luckily I can make my own and so can you!

The Green Goddess Drink


Kale( frozen or fresh)

Apple Juice

Lemon Juice

and Ginger ( small amounts, for kids detect it quickly!!)

Ice Cubes on a hot summers day!!

Blend and drink.

It is excellent and the kids can’t get enough!



The Taste of Summer- Swiss Chard

IMG_2548This summer we harvest Swiss Chard every day…or at least we should!  I looked and looked for recipes that were tasty and used A LOT of Swiss Chard.. this one adapted from Farm Girl Fare won the prize!

Swiss Chard DipIMG_2559

Get the biggest baking dish you have

IMG_2547Get as much Swiss Chard as you have—up to 5 lbs or so

IMG_2558Chop stems and leaves separately


Toss stems with olive oil and roast for 20 mins at 350

Add leaves gradually in handfuls and stir every 7 mins (approximately).

Everything will shrink down considerably.  Once everything looks pretty well roasted take out of the oven and cool.

Meanwhile chop a bunch of onions and garlic and saute them in butter in a skillet.

Once you have all your things sautéed put half of everything in the food processor.  This makes a nice creamy effect.

I then add Sour cream, parmesan and some yogurt.

Now add the rest of your sautéed onions, garlic and chard and just pulse quickly to mix everything together.

Now transfer to a baking dish and put in the oven at 350 for about 10 min or until warm.

Sprinkle with parmesan and serve.

It is not pretty (so there is no picture!) but once you taste it, you will appreciate it’s beauty.  Great for a potluck because you simply must share or you will regret it later!




The Taste of Summer- Rosemary Lemonade

This summer we have been eating well!! Mostly because other people have been cooking for us, but also because we are blessed with bountiful harvests.  Here are just a few of the recipes we have been enjoying this summer- dedicated to those we have shared them with… and asked for the recipes!

IMG_2602Grandma Tutu’s Rosemary Lemonade

First you make the

Simple Syrup

1cup Fresh Rosemary Leaves ( striped from the stem)

1 Cup Water

1 Cup Organic Sugar

(You can multiply this recipe and the syrup will keep in the fridge for months.)

Bring all ingredients to a boil and them turn down to a simmer for at least 1/2 hour. Turn off heat and let cool then strain out leaves.

IMG_2609Rosemary Lemonade

1 Cup Organic Lemon Juice (fresh squeezed or bottled)

1 Cup Simple Syrup

6 Cups Water

Mix, stir and serve

*You can replace Rosemary for Basil, Lavender, or other herbs that strike your fancy



Tea Time

When my son was born everyday seemed to become one LONG day, with constant night waking, not much social time and my old life rhythms, well gone.  Part of grounding myself into motherhood was creating new rhythms for our family, as suggested by my Waldorfian friends, which truly helped me orient myself to my new life.  Enter tea time– a wonderful way to breakup the afternoons, to rest, or awaken, deepening on who and how you are.  IMG_9282

I grow lots of herbs in the garden for tea like Mint, Lemon Balm, Catnip, Calendula, I even have some Lemon Grass & Lemon Verbena in the greenhouse and of course forage lots more like Nettles, Raspberry leaf, Clover &  Cota…but what about cakes for all that tea?  Here are some recipes, found & passed on by friends, for delicious and nutritious tea cakes, as requested by my tea guests of late.  Happy Tea Time to all.

Applesauce Cake

Santiago Cake

French Apple Cake

Almond Wafers(Altered this one quite a bit by substituting 1/2 the Wheat Flour for Almond Meal, works great!)

Our Daily Bread

Mmmmm, Nothing like warm fresh bread on a Saturday morning in December.  With butter and Jam, oh baby, so darn good!!  I know a lot of people don’t eat Gluten these days, but Sourdough actually pre-digests wheat so it is easier for us to stomach, according to this article in Weston Price’s Nourishing Traditions.

So, I say, “Bread and butter– yes please!!”


One of my fist loaves in my terra cotta chicken pot

As anyone who has ever tried  to bake their own bread knows, it truly is an art. There are books after book published on the simple art of bread, centuries of experienced bakers with more than enough information to share.  In my quest I read, I went to a workshop at a friends, I watched numerous U tube video (some very odd!!)….But I must say– there is nothing like practice to teach the hands what they need to know.

You see, bread baking has been part of my daily practice for a year or two– a brief time really, but after hundreds of loaves, I have honed in and refined it to a place I am very happy with.  I won’t say it is perfect, or the one true way.  In fact everyone I know who makes bread makes it a just a little different from one another.  That is the beautiful essence of homemade – you can taste everyone’s soul in their food, craft, home… What ever it may be, it can’t be mass-produced, as it has a life of it’s own as individual as it’s maker, which to me, makes it REAL & wonderful…
But I will say, in this bread baking practice in the high desert, I have learned some tricks of this art of flour, water and a few lively critters and have pleased a few folks along the way with a warm slice of bread, so this one is for you my friends & family, who love my bread and want to know the secrets, here you go, bake away and be sure to tell me what you learn along your journey, remember every loaf is different!

Fresh bread mmmmm

Sourdough Bread Recipe- Made with a Kitchen Aid mixer

Dry Ingredients

3 Cups Flour-  (I like 1 Cup Whole Wheat 1 Cup White and 1 Cup Rye)or

(1.5 Cups Whole Wheat and 1.5 cups White)

2 tsp Salt-             (or more if you like)

Wet Ingredients

1 Cup Starter

1 Cup Water

Mix flour and salt in the mixer with bread hook.  In a glass measuring cup mix starter and water with a spoon until blended well, much like the consistency of thick cream.

My sourdough starter is a bit goppy & sticky creating long strands as I pour

My sourdough starter is a bit goppy & sticky creating long strands as I pour

Turn on mixer on low and slowly pour in wet into dry.  Run the mixer until the dough is mixed well, it will be a bit sticky, but should come away from the sides of the bowl.

Not a great picture, but you can kind of see how the dough comes away from the bowl, but sticks a bit to the dough hook

Not a great picture, but you can kind of see how the dough comes away from the bowl, but sticks a bit to the dough hook

Take off dough hook and cover dough in bowl with a plastic bag and let sit over night.

Plastic over the mixing bowl and let sit over night

Plastic over the mixing bowl and let sit over night

In the morning (or 12 hours later) preheat oven to 500 with the baking vessel inside (I use a terra-cotta chicken pot, but anything should work that has a lid).

Flour hands and remove sticky dough from bowl, scraping the dough off the sides, make ball, tossing only a few times between your hands  and lay on a floured towel and wrap loosely while oven is preheating (My oven takes about 30 minutes to get that hot).

When your oven is at 500, take out the hot pot.  Open towel and place dough ball in the hot vessel, note dough will be mushy, so move quickly, just placing it in the vessel as gently as you can.  You can score the bread a few times with a knife if you like.

Cover vessel and bake bread for 30 min at 500.  At 30 min remove lid and bake for another 10-15 min ( brown to your liking).  When done, remove bread from vessel and cool on a rack.  Wait at least 30 min before slicing into, slathering with butter and devouring it will be worth the wait!!

So that is it– Try it and if you need starter I can share.

One nice thing about using the chicken pot is that is has these lines on the bottom which adds grip when slicing

One nice thing about using the chicken pot is that is has these lines on the bottom which adds grip when slicing

Happy Harvest Moon

Thus subtle shift in light, the slight tilt of this precious world seems to have changed everything in me and all around me.  The exhale at the end of our days are luminous and splendid

And first light, direct and perfectly focused through our east facing window, awakens me. Shining directly on our family alter, these rays bring me to each day with a reminder to be present with what I hold so dear.

The garden continues bestowing us with her generosity,

Reminding us of the deep nourishment of beauty so needed as we let go into this senescent season

And as the darkness comes, how important it will be to bring that beauty inside us for the long winter

The comfort of homegrown food warms us deeply as we eat together and share now three years of marriage under this bright, abundant moon.

We are blessed, so grateful and so humbly grown by yet another cycle around the sun, with the moon and all the power of the stars.

Happy Harvest Moon.

Broccoli- Beyond the Bud

The garden hasn’t gotten a lot of attention these days, expect for daily journeys to the Tomato/Basil patch for harvesting (Caprese salad, Pesto, Pizza Sauce oh MY!!)….But besides extraction I haven’t given it much attention.  Today however, after an epic canning journey (whole peaches in Honey Mint Syrup, mmmmm) I just had to get away from the stove and into the dirt.

The light was waning and I was exhausted, but had a last burst of energy during which I pulled out the broccoli patch.  I have harvested plenty to be happy with it’s givings, though I must admit I always feel like broccoli sure takes up a lot of room for just one little bud.   But then I remembered– You can eat broccoli leaves, & stems and they are GOOD.. High in protein and vitamins, and tasty!! I only wish I had remembered this earlier in the season. 

Luckily some friends popped in, saw the pile of discarded brassicas and said, “Aren’t you gonna eat those?  “I will if you help me pick them” I sighed….In the dying light we (thanks Ruthie & Gracie) harvested 4lbs of Broccoli leaves and had a great time!!  Broccoli chips seems to be a trend these days and roasting is good too…but I am thinking I may just dry them and make a Leafy Green Herbal Salt Sprinkle for extra green love in the winter. ( I will share the recipe when I invent it)

Drying feels like about all I can muster at the moment, but I am open any other ideas?  I am just thankful for the evenings helping hands, as it truly breaks my heart to see anything go to waste!

Picnic Ready

Oh how I have been dreaming of an outdoor kitchen.  I don’t know about you, but I have grown tired of the kitchen…not only is it hot in there, but it is in there… aka not outside where we want to spend all of our time lately.

I prefer to grow food rather than cook it anyway, but mostly because I just love being outside.  So an outdoor kitchen….would be the answer to my prayers….but in the meantime I have been figuring how to eat well outside, while spending as little time as possible inside…. yes the picnic…So I thought I would share a few recipes I have been delighted with lately and if you have any tips, recipes or secrets of summer food….please share.

Crossing my fingers for another abundant year in the garden

The idea behind all this of course, is you spend a day in the kitchen and then freeze your picnic ready snacks so you can grab them, throw them in the picnic basket and by the time everyone is hungry, food is thawed and perfect for munching.  These recipes are for Killer Hummus, Pita from scratch, and Whole Wheat Sourdough Pita, as I am a big sourdough fan.

Freeze hummus in little jelly jars so there is enough for one picnic at a time. Pita of course can be cut up and frozen as well.

All are easy and seriously good, and of course freeze really well so they are ready when you are to go outside.