First off, happy 4th. I feel so blessed to live where I have such freedeom!!
Now onto my project. I was at a friend shop and spied this beautiful shelf. I loved all the curves and cutouts. I had it in mind for my kitchen but when I got it home, it did not work in the space like I was hoping. Loving the shelf, I walked around my home trying to find just the right spot for it.
Then it hit me, this would be a perfect room divider. My living room, is veryyy long with 3 distinct spaces, divided by arches. At one end is my "photography studio", the middle is a sitting area and the other end is the dinning room. It is all open to each other.
I have been looking for a way to make the dinning area feel more separate, all the while still feeling like a part of the space. The only problem is my shelf was meant to hang on the wall. Hubby came to the rescue. The back of the shelf hangs lower than the front. So he put in little feet in the front and now it stands on all it own.
The shelf/room divider is just what I was hoping for. It helps separate the space without being too heavy. Still lets in lots of light and I can change out the decor with the seasons. I just put out for summer my collection of old bottle given to me by a deep sea diver. Plus if I ever change my mind, I can still hang this on the wall. It will be a keeper I will always treasure (Thank you Molly xox). It is amazing what two little wood legs and some chalk paint can do!!
Once a week I head to the island, so Chloe can hang out with her best friend. They have been doing this for a good 14 years. We mom's knit, chat and cook all day. Both of us are foodies and have similar diet restrictions. I have to say, over these years we have ate very well. This is a salad I made the other week for our get together. I have to say it was quite tasty and easy to make!!
Grapefruit Cucumber Stuffed Avocado Salad
one avocado, halved, pitted and skin removed
2 grapefruits, cut into wedges. I save the juice from the leftover grapefruit in a little bowl
1/3 of cucumber, cubed
6 or so kalamata olives, sliced
a drizzle of good olive oil
garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients except the avocado together. Add a bit of the leftover juice from the grapefruit and adjust taste to suite your palate. Fill avocado with salad and enjoy.
This salad is easy to bling up. Any fruit, cheese, snow peas, a little chopped salami are all good. The possibilities are endless.
I look at cake or a loaf of homemade bread and it calls to me. Sadly I cannot answer! Carbs: bread, potatoes, pasta, corn, cakes, they all raise my blood sugar and I had to say goodbye to them (except for a rare treat). To me the hardest part about cooking low carb, it is just that low carb. I mean it is easy to find some meat dish to cook for dinner and there are now a zillion low carb dessert recipes but what about the rest of the meal? Sure there is salad but day in and day out, it is hard to eat the same thing. Plus so much of how we eat is cab based. Bread or potatoes on the side with that roast, sandwich for lunch, pancakes for breakfast or pasta for our red sauce? There are carb free options and I will list a few of my favs below but still it is HARD!
I just want to put that out there and acknowledge it. One of the things I have had to embrace is just eating different. I mean do I have to have pasta with my sauce? Is a sandwich a sandwich if there is no bread? Can I look at something like a fruit cobbler in a new light, if there is no flour in it? Sure I do not like it but I have had to embrace eating in a new way to make this work. I can make grain free bread (which I will share soon) but it will NEVER be like homemade white bread, Never and I have to just embrace that. Really it comes down to this, my health or cake!! Which do I want? Of course the logical answer is my health but there are days (many of them) where I would pick the cake over my health but I do not listen to that girl. That girl has no boundaries when she wants something. That girl would sell her left arm for a cronut with rose glaze. That girl never wants to get off the couch. That girl also does not listen to her body, when it is screming it is sick and needs help. So I have chosen to not listen to her. I choose me, not cake!!
Carb replacement ideas.
1. My favorite carb replaces for things like pasta or rice is thinly sliced raw cabbage. If you put hot sauce over it, it slightly wilts the cabbage. It is quite lovely!!
2. My new find is kelp noodles. I get them in the Asian section of my grocers. They do not taste like anything (no seaweed taste). They are clear, a little hard and for those who do raw, they are perfect. You soak the noodles in warm water for 30 minutes and then drain. They are really wonderful for an Asian salad but I eat them with red sauce too. They are a bit firmer than pasta. Think of them as super al dente!
3. I have discovered spinach with balsamic vinaigrette is lovely under stew or meat sauce. It sort of cuts the richness a bit. Stew served over the spinach (which will wilt from the heat of the stew) with some gorgonzola cheese on top is heaven!! Of course you can use spaghetti squash or raw zucchini noodles as a carb replacement too. Zucchini/cheese fritters makes a lovely side dish.
4. I keep bags of almond flour biscuits in the freezer ready to bake off; just like I do with regular biscuits. They bake up beautifully. Although they can be crumbly, so be gentle with them.
5. I think eggs are the best meal for breakfast but some days I just cannot look at another egg. On those days I love grain free granola with 1/2 cup of fruit and some of my raw milk yogurt.
6. This is messy but works for lunch. Take a slice of lunchmeat fill with veggies, some Dijon and cheese or avocado, then rolled up. A sandwich with no bread!!
This recipe is a facebook request. I post what I am cooking and everyone wanted a recipe. It is super easy, no-cook, vegan, dairy free and carb friendly. You could make it with other fruit too. Make sure you check out my tips below!!
2 cans, cold, full fat coconut milk (I use 1 can coconut cream and 1 can light coconut milk)
1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate
2 tsp coconut oil
In a food processor with blade attachment add raspberries and sugar. Pulse berries a few times to break them up and extract juice. You do not need to grind up the seeds. Strain our seeds with a fine mesh strainer. Pushing down to get out as much juice and flesh as possible. Throw seeds away. In the processor or blender mix berries and coconut milk. Then pour in ice cream maker. Mine takes about 20 minutes. While the ice cream is going, melt chocolate and coconut oil. You can do this in a microwave or on the stove. When ice cream is firm, slowly drizzle melted chocolate in. If chocolate starts to clump up, break it up with a spoon. Transfer ice cream to a container with a tight lid and set in freezer. Enjoy!
I keep un-opened cans of coconut milk in my fridge, so I can make ice cream anytime I want.
You can use more sugar if you want it sweetier. I am just trying to get by with as little sugar as possible.
Coconut oil really is the best oil to use for the chocolate bits because when cold it become firm BUT not rock hard. It is easy to bite into, even when frozen.
Honestly, I tend to make this just after dinner and we eat it half frozen. It is amazing!!
The girls were always acting out something. You can learn while you play!
Well this is a hard post for me to write but I want to reflect these moments on my blog. I have graduated!! Chloe, my youngest has graduated, therefor I am officially no longer a homeschooling mom. I can remember 24 years ago being pregnant, only a month along with Auberne` and reading about HSing (& breastfeeding) and being scared to death (when my sis pointed out I had 8 months to learn all this, I had a HUGE melt down on her. Poor thing!!). Having severe dyslexia and not even knowing it until I was 10, school was hell. I truly can only remember a handful of happy days. So I really was not wanting to put my daughters in that system. (Do not get me wrong, PS is great for some, just not all. I do not want to trash talk PS). I started going to HS support group when Auberne` was 1. Co-leading that group, when Auberne` was 4. By the time we hit school age, I had already be in the HS community a long time. I am glad I started learning and meeting other HSers when Auberne` was little because it saved me from making a lot of the same mistakes most HSers do.
Chloe 18 and just got braces!!
I wish I had the words to explain how HSing all these years have changed me. It is very similar to motherhood. It has stretched me, gave me the education I never got as a child, bonded me with my girls and gave me a whole new view on learning. Really life is learning and it never ends. Because of HSing, I now like to read (it is still difficult for me but I enjoy it now), I view nature in a whole new light and I have discovered there are a million ways to learn something. One does not need to be boxed in by a certain “way” of learning.
Both the girls are working at the local tea shop and LOVE it!!
All the goals for my girls have been met. They love learning, life, each other and us, David and I. Kindness is more important than anything else. Creativity and learning will be the hallmark of their lives. They do not give one rip about fitting in, what others think or doing things the “normal” way. They deeply know themselves and their day to day walk with God guides them in everything.
Chloe is still serious about her dancing & plans on doing more teaching.
I had days where I felt I was not enough for my girls, when I did not know how to help them overcome problems BUT I have never had a day I wished I was not HSing. To do something for basically 22 years and love it that whole time is pretty amazing. I leaned on God, I prayed every morning for Him to show me what my girls needed, also how I needed to change. There were days (even weeks) where the focus was on character, more than math.
Auberne` & I enjoying high tea. For the first 6 years of her life, I was her playmate!!
What I think I am most grateful for besides having these amazing years with my daughters, is my view on learning. Before HSing I felt stupid, lazy and really ... unable to learn. I view learning so different now. It is a joy and has helped me to be more fearless (for one canNOT HS and be in fear. It will not work long term). I have writen a novel, am a food editor and gosh who know what else will happen ;-) It is sad to see this season of my life end. I know in my gut those years will be my favorite time in life. Wonderful things are in store but nothing will ever replace these past years. Thank you for letting me twattle on about all of this. Yes I have graduated and I think I get a fine education indeed! Now it is time to learn something new!!!
I was given a HUGE box of old bottles by a friend of my hubby's. He is a diver and has a huge collection of bottles, many covered in barnacles. He mentioned to David he was going to thin down and wondered if anyone would want them. I am sure my hubby's hand shoot his hand right up, as he knows me so well ;-)
I picked out the gems to display in my house (I will share those soon) but there were a few extras. Since I live on the water and have a shell/sea glass walkway, I thought putting the bottles in my garden would be perfect. I just simple pushed some rebar in the ground and set the bottles on top. So simple!!
Well this post will be short and sweet ;-) I have gone around and around on what is the healthiest sugar and honestly I cannot find a clear answer. Except, you really should eat as little sugar as possible. Second if you are going to eat sugar, eat the purest form you can. At this point, I still eat coconut sugar and some stevia. If you want to know more about how coconut sugar is made (very similar to maple. I am told a flower will put out sap for 20 years, so it is quite sustainable) this video is interesting. I have tried honey and maple but they spike my blood sugar too much. But that is me (and not you).
The real problem ... and we all know it, is the stuff is so additive. It sooths one nerves, give comfort and calls to us day and night. At least that is how I feel about sweets. So I am "trying" to work on having a healthy relationship with sugar. I had none for a couple of weeks. Now I am trying to be balanced and when I crave it, I look elsewhere. I look to something not food related to find that comfort. Lately fresh flowers, baths and working on my photography is my non-food comfort. So test your blood, try to eat as little sugar as you can, learn to love less sweet sweets and find sweetness in life that has nothing to do with food!!
PS. While agree with everything I just wrote, treat yourself now and then. They say try to do 80% of your diet but if you never have a treat (something you adore) you will go crazy and long term will fail. If this is a life long change, then you have to have a plan you can live with the rest of your life. Do not go too extreme!!
As I have written before, that I am looking for ways to eat more protein but cannot afford to eat pastured meat everyday. I have been experimenting and have created some real disasters, also some family favorites. This salad is a family fav and they say the “meat” taste just like the real thing. This salad is easy, simple to suite your families tastes and healthy. That is a win/win.
One word about getting your family to eat food they are not use to. First you cannot climb the mountain in one step. I was not sure what my family would think of this salad, so I left the "meat' off to the side, thinking that could just sprinkle it on. Actually they heap it on but that is okay because they are still eating a big salad. At first I had a lot of olives, chips and cheese but slowly started reducing all that and adding more veggies. So work with what you know your family likea and do not freak if they want a lot of the goodies and not the veggies. In time you will win them over!!
Raw Taco Salad
Makes a large salad for 4-6 people, it is vegan if you leave out the cheese
2-3 romaine lettuce hearts, cut into strips (you can also use some cabbage like I did in the photo)
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
½ cucumber, cut into small cubes
1 red pepper, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, cut up, juice and all
1 large avocado
½ cup jack cheese, small cubes
Toss all vegetables and cheese together. Dress w/ vinaigrette. You can then add the taco meat but I like to serve it on the side so everyone can add to their liking.
Raw Taco Meat
Makes 1 cup
1 cup sunflower seeds, see note about seeds
1-3 tsp of taco seasoning, homemade or store bought. (Just read those labels and know who you are buying from. Some of those spices mixes are full of fillers, GMO & other nasty things.)
About a piece of red onion that looks about the size of a generous TBL.
In a food processor add all three ingredients and pulse chop a couple of time. Taste and adjust, then pulse chop until you get a crumbly, moist meat. The onion is where you get your moister and holds the nuts together. Do not over pulse and create a paste.
1. You can use raw sunflower seeds but if your family is new to eating lots of nuts (or is picky, like mine can be) I suggests you uses salted, roasted sunflower seeds to start with. Once your family is use to eating this dish, you can start to move them towards raw sunflower seeds. Just add a bit salt to the recipe meat then.
2. If you are not worried about doing low carb, you can add bean and crushed taco chips. Or serve them on the side like I do. You can also add olives or different cheese. Really the sky is the limit here. It is what you like.
3. Any dressing will work. My family likes thousand island dressing better but I like the lime/cilantro vinaigrette better.
4. You can make raw tacos too but using whole romaine leaf as the taco shell. Pile the veggies with the dressing on the shell and top with taco meat.