Monday, November 23, 2015

Homemade Olive Crackers

Make tasty Olive Crackers from scratch - so simple!
One of the best parts of the holidays is having everyone come together, eating and sharing stories.  

I love putting together an 'Apero-Dineatoire' - a French concept that is perfect for bringing everyone together and enjoying each others company.  The idea behind Apero-Dineatoire is that there is plenty to eat, all in small finger-food portions casually served in the living room.  Everyone relaxes and explores the array, grazing throughout the evening over stories and music.  Its the best!

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Homemade Kitchen: Plum Tart

Plum season doesn't last for long, but I can't resist the juicy little fruits while they last. They're great simply sliced and eaten as a snack, but when I get a big batch I love baking them into a tart. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Simple DIY Table Decor - Using Fall Leaves

Use Fall leaves to create a gorgeous thanksgiving tablescape in minutes!

The bright leaves of Fall are amazing inspiration for table settings.  This DIY table decor project takes just minutes, uses only "found" elements, and is perfect for the little ones to help make.  

Monday, November 2, 2015

Simply Ancient Grains: Bulgur with Chard and Saffron-Infused Yogurt

Earthy, whole-grain Bulgur with Chard and Saffron-Infused Yogurt
My pantry is overflowing with delicious grains, each in its own mason jar for safekeeping.  I love their hearty earthiness, and that they're a healthy alternative to the more mainstream pasta or rice.  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Oven-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin carving is a serious undertaking in our house.  Growing up, Dad's neighborhood claim to fame was always his elaborate carvings - and lots of them.

I've never been much of a carver, so I always got seed duty.  Separating the pumpkin's seeds from the orange fibers and roasting them into a delicious, healthy snack.  For me, Halloween is Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.

Turning the the leftover bits of pumpkin into a tasty snack is fun for all ages with these simple instructions.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Stepping into Fall...Bring on the Boots!

Fall is such a great time of the year!  What's not to love about the cooler weather, the crisp evenings, and that brisk feel to the air.  Everyone bundles up a bit more, and heads to the fields for an autumn connection with nature.  Whether its the annual trip to the pumpkin fields, a festive hay-rack ride, or an afternoon of leaf raking, Fall is a time for a celebration of outdoor life.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Snacks on the Go with Perfectly Simple.

Life gets busy, and that's all part of the fun!  Keeping the garden growing, the family fed with healthy foods, jetting to and from events and activities...

We've been taking advantage of the cooler days and getting the garden spruced back up for the fall growing season.  Which means pulling out all the summer growth that's past its prime, pruning back the excess summer growth, and working all our compost into the soil before the next planting.  Its hard work, but such a productively relaxing way to spend time.

Make a DIY Bee Bath

On a hot day, a hive of bees can use over a quart of water! Keep them healthy and hydrated with this DIY Bee Bath.

We put out bird baths for the song birds, and nectar for the hummingbirds, but how many of us have thought to set out water for the bees? 

They may not be the first creatures that come to mind, but bees get thirsty too!  They're attracted to swimming pools, wading pools, buckets with water in them, and birdbaths...but they can easily drown in the deep water.  Keep your bees hydrated, and safe, with this super-simple DIY Bee Bath!

Monday, October 5, 2015

French Onion Soup / Soupe a l'onion

 In France, French Onion Soup...or Soupe a l'Onion...is more than just a tasty, hearty soup or bistro appetizer.  It is the sign of a great party that lasts late into the night! 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Sticky Apple Date Cake

"I wanted to explore a broader spectrum of complementary tastes and flavors, and to imaginative beloved classics as a more balanced blend of sugar and spice.  In these recipes I've tried to take down the sugar to bring up the flavor.  I think that less sweet leaves more room for delicious." - Samantha Seneviratne

Monday, September 21, 2015

Reusable Pregnancy Fashion

Fantastic pregnancy clothes are not easy to find, can be pricy, and only get worn for a few months.  I love that there is a program that lets us get just the fashions we need, when we need them, and can then trade them in as the belly grows.  

Monday, September 14, 2015

Meatless Monday: Gardein 'Chicken' & Bleu Sweet Potato Mash

I couldn't be happier that the concept of Meatless Monday is taking hold across the country!  When we take a moment to think about it, each animal we consume eats thousands of plants and drinks thousands of gallons of water over its lifespan.  If we take a step up in the food chain and go  meatless, even if its only occasionally, it has a huge impact on the planet!  Every little bit counts.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Eggplant Parmesan Gratin

I love eggplant season!  The plump purple veggies are so versatile and with a tiny bit of effort the results can be amazing.  Sure, they're now available year-round, but there is something special about enjoying them during the late summer / early fall when its their time to shine.

This recipe for Eggplant Parmesan Gratin is a huge favorite in our house and presents beautifully.  Its a hybrid between an Italian Eggplant Parmesan and a French Gratin, and is a knock-out served with spaghetti.  Its a great way to make a simple spaghetti dinner into a dish to entertain with.

Monday, August 31, 2015

B&B for the Bees!

Mason bees are the lesser-known relative of honey bees, and are fascinating!  A mason bee can visit as many as 1000 blooms each day, which is 20 times more than a honeybee.  And major bonus for the wary...they don't sting!

If mason bees pollinate 20 times more than honey bees, sign me up!  I've recently received a Bee & Bee (cute, right?) to help attract mason bees to my garden and am excited to invite them in.  

Monday, August 24, 2015

Organic Toddler Pillow GIVEAWAY from Dreamtown Kids

Before we had Little One, I started reading about organic fabrics and how they can be a better choice for babies and toddlers.  Since their skin and tiny bodies are so sensitive, even small amounts of pesticides from cotton can make their way into their systems - making organic cottons a smart choice when its feasible.  

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Simple tips for a bee-friendly garden

Simple steps for a bee-friendly garden!

Bees bees bees, I love them!  When I was a little girl, on my way home from school I'd stop every day in front of our giant almond tree.  The branches were filled with hundreds of honey bees hard at work - buzzing from blossom to blossom.  The neighbor kids were all afraid to get close, but I loved the excitement!  Each little bee had its job to do, and as long as I moved slowly and quietly, they were perfectly happy to have me by their side.

Arepa Sandwich Sliders

Over the past few weeks I've been experimenting with P.A.N. Cornmeal, a popular ingredient in South American kitchens, and having fun making new recipes along the way! 

This week I've used the cornmeal in its traditional role - to make traditional flatbread known as Arepas.  Here's how I did it!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Homemade Hummingbird Nectar

Make your own Hummingbird Nectar!  Simple DIY recipe

We're lucky to have a lot of hummingbirds buzzing about our yard, pollinating the garden as they frolic from blossom to blossom.  This year I received a hummingbird feeder, together with Mom's "secret" recipe for homemade hummingbird nectar, to help keep the hummingbirds thriving year-round.  

Monday, July 27, 2015

Why I'm SOMETIMES Buying Plants at Home Depot...and How

Earlier this spring I visited Home Depot and was shocked by their new plant tags.  How in the world could they be promoting their plants treated with bee-harming Neonic pesticides as a friendly convenience?  

I was ashamed to have been purchasing there.  Shocked by it all, I researched the topic and wrote Why I'm NOT Buying Plants at Home Depot or LOWES and quickly vowed to go on strike against them and any other nurseries using Neonics.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Country Quiche

Brunch is hands-down my absolute favorite meal.  Its the best of breakfast and a full meal, rolled into one relaxed gathering.  I love that it starts late in the morning, or sometimes into the afternoon, and I love that it is an opportunity for friends and family to start their days together and spend relaxed time enjoying each others company.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Cooking with Bee Pollen

Wait...you can eat bee pollen??

Those were my thoughts as I first thumbed through a cookbook I'd received (more on that here).  How could that be a good thing?  And it sounds like way more work than it could possibly be worth...

So when I saw the beekeeper selling honey at the farmers market the next morning, I was filled with questions.  How is the pollen collected?  Does it hurt the bees?  How long does it stay fresh?  How much is it?

Monday, July 6, 2015

DIY Garden Stepping Stones

I recently had some mortar mix leftover after a brick project and was brainstorming ways to put it to use.  In need of stepping stones for my newly expanded vegetable garden, I decided to make these cute DIY garden stepping stones.  It was such a simple project, that results in cute, custom garden steppers for just pennies!  Here's how I did it.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Rooted in Design - Decorating with Plants

With the excitement around my Vertically Gardened board on Pinterest, the cover of Rooted in Design had me intrigued.  What a gorgeous vertical garden installed over a rustic brick wall!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Braised Fennel with Mint

I'm absolutely obsessed with fennel right now!  The flavor is so fresh, and it is brimming with anti-oxidants that make it an extremely healthy addition to the menu.  

I love this recipe because it showcases a softer side to fennel.  The braising tones down the hints of licorice that fresh fennel has, and instead brings a soft rustic flavor.  

Monday, June 15, 2015

Chili Cornbread Cups

Gameday Cornbread Chili Cups!

I'm on the road quite often, visiting new cities and corners of the world.  One of my favorite activities on a trip to a new country, or even an unfamiliar part of the US, is to explore a local grocer.  As simple and uneventful as it sounds, the food people buy and the way they shop gives such great insight into a local culture!  Culinary exploration.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Roasted Red Pepper Tartine

Tastes like trip to Italy...in just 5 minutes! Roasted Red Pepper Tartine

Sometimes, amid all the hustle and bustle, its nice to just stay at home and relax.  Sure, a summer trip to Italy is wonderful, but there is something to be said about enjoying the simplicity of a relaxing afternoon or weekend in the backyard.

This Roasted Red Pepper Tartine is for just that:  A culinary trip to Italy, that takes just seconds to make at home.  The flavors carry me back to Tuscany, and the preparation is so simple that I get to unwind on the back porch a bit and rediscover how relaxing a summer staycation can be.  So bring on the heat, we're ready!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Results: Using Epsom Salts to Stop Stumps from Growing

Organically stop stumps from growing back with this simple tip!

When I'd originally posted the tutorial on How to stop stumps from growing back, organically!, I'd made a promise - to come back to talk about how the process went and show the results.  Well, here it is!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Feta & Mint Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Feta and Mint Grilled Sweet Potatoes
It's grilling season!  The best thing about grilling is that impressive meals are so very simple to make.  These Feta & Mint Grilled Sweet Potatoes are the perfect example!

We typically think of sweet potatoes in the Fall, but they're a fantastically healthy addition to a summer barbecue.  This recipe, with its fresh summer flavors, brings sweet potatoes front and center during grilling season and are a fun break from the typical steak-and-potatoes routine.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Rustic Spanish Pear Tarte

Rustic Spanish Pear Tarte - The perfect summer dessert!

I love learning new recipes when I travel, and this is one that I picked up on a trip to Spain.  We enjoyed it at a bustling street cafe somewhere in Barcelona and I had to bring the recipe home with me. The texture is light and creamy, and the pears give it just the right amount of sweetness.  Its a perfect dessert after a heavy meal, or on a warm summer night!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins - perfect bite-sized picnic desserts!

We are absolute yoghurt addicts at our house.  We eat it for breakfast, for dessert, and substitute it into recipes all the time with deliciously creamy results!

While living in Europe, I found myself preferring tubs of plain, unsweetened yoghurt.  This way I could decide just how much I want, and how I want to use.  As a savory substitute for sour cream, as the base for an improvised veggie dip, or sweetened with fresh fruit or homemade jam for dessert. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Friday, May 15, 2015

Organics on the Go!

I've got a little one at home, and having her eat plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables like the rest of the family is a huge priority.  And since her little body is so small and absorbing so much, we're extra careful about the quality of ingredients we use.  Little One eats organic as often as possible - homemade and without preservatives, dyes, or additives. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Strawberry Coconut Milkshake

Strawberry Coconut Milkshake - AMAZING!  Gluten free

Something about warm mornings makes me crave a creamy smoothie filled with fresh fruits and veggies.  Its the perfect tasty start to a day, and with all the nutrients packed into one yummy glass - a day that starts with a smoothie is bound to be a good one!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Water Patio Plants Less Often with this Surprising Tip!

Water Patio Plants Less Often with this Surprising Tip!

This spring while planting the garden, I wanted to try out new ways to help keep my container flowers blooming throughout the heat of the summer.  That is, without me standing over them and watering them every day!

A high school chemistry teacher waaay back in the day had beakers of gel around the classroom with flowers growing out of them.  She explained to us that it was the same water-retaining material found in diapers...and period pads.  That little bit of trivia stayed with me and this spring it's found its way into my coir-lined hanging planters.  Here's more on this unexpected repurposing...feminine pads in the garden!

Monday, May 4, 2015

My New Roots

Seasonal, healthy eating and recipes

Every once and awhile, you're cruising along in life and then the wind blows...a new view enters.  

That is what just happened to me with My New Roots - it shook up my world, in a good way.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Weeknight Chicken with Spinach

Healthy Weeknight Chicken with Spinach

A perfect weeknight meal for two!

This recipe is so, so simple, is inexpensive, and has the flavor of a much more elaborate dish.  Its a perfect healthy weeknight meal, and goes great served with rice.

Monday, April 20, 2015

5 Ideas for Gardening with Kids!

It is such a treat to grow up learning about and playing nature. 

Here are 5 fun ideas to get kids excited about the garden - and tricks to win yourself, busy Mom, a few minutes in the dirt!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Garden Tour: Studio City, California

What a gorgeous spring day, perfect for a walk around Studio City, California!

Charming white picket fence lined with climbing roses

This LA suburb is home to a cute cafe street, charming neighborhoods, CBS Studios, and if rumors are correct...the Big Brother House the exterior of the Brady Bunch house, Miley Cirus, Zac Effron, Bruno Mars, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Trebec, Sophia Vergara, William Shatner, Seth McFarlane and Ryan Gosling all call it home.

Monday, April 6, 2015

10 FRESH Springtime Garden Tips

There is nothing better this time of year than digging your fingers into the soil and watching as life sprouts out of it!

Here a collection of fresh gardening tips to help ring in the season:

    Thursday, April 2, 2015

    Asian Zucchini Slaw

    Refreshing, Simple BBQ Side!  Asian Zucchini Slaw
    The garden is filled with baby zucchini plants and I'm anxiously getting ready for summer zucchini season!  

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