Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Moody Blues

Whenever I'm feeling moody and a little on edge, I have this enormous urge to dye my hair blue. I thought as I grew older, had children, bought a house, and stopped living moment to moment, this compulsion for blue hair would go away. But it hasn't. Granted, I've never done it. But I think about it more than I care to admit.

Kind of badass, yes?

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Chicks on Ice

Today, we're dusting off the sleet and snow. We're supposed to have a warmer day before temps drop once again and we get a third round of snow. The hens, while a little pissed, seem to be handling the cool weather beautifully. These cold dark days have kept them from producing their first egg, but we're hopeful that things will change when the spring weather arrives.

Do you do anything special to "winterize" your chickens? 

Monday, March 02, 2015

Creating Community | A School Garden

It's Monday! Time for our weekly installment of Radical Homemaking. Want to learn more about what that means, check out THIS post and THIS post. 

One of the major components of Radical Homemaking is creating community in your immediate neighborhood. So this year, I am spear heading the funding and creation of a school garden in our neighborhood. What better way to share the virtues of food security, whole foods and land stewardship than a school garden? 

But this won't just be an urban vegetable garden - there's more! One of the major components of the this school garden will be a musical installation similar to the ones pictured below. Music is a universal language that everyone can speak and understand. These instruments will provide children and adults of all ages and abilities the opportunity to interact through spontaneous creative expression. This space will nourish the whole self. The garden will serve 780 students (ages 4-11), 80 teachers and staff members, an thousands of families in the area. 

Here's a rough sketch of the garden plans:

Fundraising efforts are already underway. The school's music teacher, Mr. Aeschbacher, set up Donor's Choose site to help fund the first of the instruments. We've already raised $1,000! The money will go towards a set of durable Tubano drums, designed for outdoor use. These drums, when hit, produce an earthy sound that resonates throughout the garden. We will eventually pair these drums with other melodic instruments, all tuned to each other so that they never clash.

Today, this project qualifies for the SPARK match, which means when someone donates to the project and enters the code SPARK, will match their donation dollar for dollar (up to $100). Isn't that amazing? 

Donate todayMarch 2, 2015, and use the promo code SPARK during checkout to DOUBLE our donations to the project.

P.S. Donor's Choose will ask you, during check out, what percent of your donation you want to donate towards Donor's Choose. Remember to chose "0" so that the total donation goes to the garden project.

Donate HERE and don't forget your code: SPARK
Thank you so much for your support!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Dinner and Drinks | Gluten Free

Our new housemates have some specific dietary needs. One is gluten free and the other is a vegetarian. So I've been tweaking some of our meals lately. The other night, we had a particularly yummy adventure. I thought I'd share here!

The salad entree is a wilted spinach salad that I paired with a cauliflower, Portabello mushroom sauté. The second course was a bowl of Julia Child's garlic mashed potatoes, taken from her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I also served a rosemary lemon vodka tonic cocktail with dinner. It was a weird set of things that all went together beautifully! Yay for happy accidents.

Wilted Spinach Salad with Marinated Onions in Mustard Seed Dressing
Recipe from Ani's Raw Food Kitchen by Ani Phyo

Marinated Onions:
  1/2 yellow onion sliced thin
  1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  1 Tablespoon soy sauce (I used Bragg Liquid Aminos since we have a gluten free eater)
  Pinch ground black pepper

Mustard Seed Dressing
  1 Tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  1/2 teaspoon salt

  8 cups spinach
  2 carrots julienned
  Pinch ground black pepper

To marinate the onions, combine onions with vinegar, Braggs Liquid Aminos and pepper. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the rest of the salad. (I let mine marinate for two hours).

To make the dressing, combine maple syrup or honey, vinegar, oil, mustard seeds and salt into a small bowl and mix well.

Toss dressing, marinated onions and salad mix together and let stand for 5-10 minutes to allow for wilting. This is a raw, vegan, gluten free salad and it is delicious!

Portabello Mushroom and Cauliflower Sauté
(I made this up on the spot)

1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped
2 large portabello mushrooms, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, send through garlic press or finely chop
1 fresh sprig rosemary, stem removed and chopped
Pinch sea salt
Pinch ground pepper
Olive oil, 2-second pour

Heat oil in sauté pan over medium to high flame (I have a gas stove). Toss cauliflower into pan and sauté for a few minutes before tossing in the mushrooms. Add salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary. Either flip or stir ingredients in pan as they cook. I like to let my vegetables brown up a bit. After a few minutes, vegetables will soften. Serve when a desired consistency is reached. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Houzz Tour | David & Jennifer Lancashire

After a six month hiatus, I'm back at this week with a new home tour article. I took some time off after the death of my brother in early fall. But spring is coming and its the perfect time to get back in the game.

This week, I featured an opulent and luxurious Dallas home owned by David and Jennifer Lancashire, designed by Suzan Davidson. This place is off the hook and it was such fun to photograph. Check out the full article and lots of other photos HERE.

See the full article HERE.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Seedlings for the Spring Garden

Its time for our weekly installment of Radical Homemaking. Interested in learning more about what that means, check out THIS post and THIS post. 

Dallas was hit yesterday with an ice storm. Schools were closed and freeways shut down. This morning it's more of the same. It's nothing compared to the terrible winter weather happening in the north, but the conditions are still dangerous.

With the ice and sleet accumulating outside, we're grateful to be on the inside. We're also having lots of fun watching our spring seedlings make their way through the soil. A few weeks ago I started a round of arugula, romaine, kale, market means, mixed greens, and a host of heirloom cucumbers and tomatoes. They'll be ready to transplant in a few weeks after the threat of frost has passed.

Have you already started seeds?
What are you growing this year? 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Labradoodle Puppy Love

This Christmas, our family was gifted with a puppy - a puppy that will eventually train as a therapy dog for my son, Charlie. I'm allergic to dogs, so this dog is a very special non-allergenic breed that does not shed. He's an Australian Labradoodle and will grow to be a mid-size dog around 30-35 pounds. He was born in Oregon on January, 20th and he'll be joining our family this spring, sometime mid-April. Dear readers, meet our future family dog. We're thinking "Griffin" for a name, but are still deciding. Any suggestions? This photo was taken this week at 4 weeks old.

And here is Griffin (second from the left) with his brothers and sisters at 2 weeks old.