Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Provencial Tomato Tarte

Rustic Provencial Tomato Tarte

This quick summer treat is so easy and elegant!  With just a few basic ingredients you'll be ready for a decadent brunch dish.  Or, it pair with a green salad for a refreshing dinner.  Its the perfect way to showcase your homegrown tomatoes, or the beautiful seasonal tomatoes on display at your local market.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Monarch Butterfly MATH Activities

Monarch craft using pasta

It's that beautiful time of year...when bright orange wings are starting to flutter across our backyard again as the majestic Monarchs migrate north.  Such an exciting springtime tradition to watch them, and find inspiration for our learning!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Happy America Recycles Day

November 15 is America Recycles Day...so let's take a look at what you're recycling!  Nearly everything?  A few cans and jars here and there?  Nothing at all?  No matter where you are on the recycling spectrum there is always room for improvement.  I like to set goals for being a better recycler, because its so important for the planet!  It helps us conserve the planet's resources, reduce landfill waste, and save energy...all are big WINS.  Let's make some goals.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Do You Know What To Do With Empty Cartons?

L&L QUIZ: Can Cartons Be Recycled??

As I finished a refreshing cube of coconut water I stared, perplexed, at the packaging.  A cute rectangle cube made out of what looks like a mix of paper and some sort of lining, a plastic spout, and a plastic lid. Can that be recycled??  With a feeling of guilt, I tossed the plastic lid into recyclables and the cube into the trash.  Surely a complex blend of materials like that can't be recycled...right??
A few days later, another coconut water in hand, I knew it was time to get educated.  Is it possible that the cartons that I'm buying more and more of these days can actually be recycled?? 

Monday, May 8, 2017

How to Remove a Yucca, Organically - Tested!

Our house came with an uninvited guest - a massive yucca in the backyard.  With a little bit of hard work, here is how we got rid of it...for good.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Indoor Air Quality - What Does it Mean?

How’s your IAQ?

What in the world is IAQ...and why should you be concerned about it?  It stands for Indoor Air Quality, and it impacts your home and family every single day. But how do we know if its a problem at our house, and what can we do about it?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Green is Good – for Indoor Air Quality

Houseplants are beautiful and bring life to the indoors, but did you know they are also excellent for your Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Mango Sun Cake

After the delicious joy of extra-sweet, slightly tart, perfectly ripe mango season has come and gone, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the bright flavor of mango.  This recipe is perfect when mango is in its prime, but is also a nice way to bring not-quite-there mango into the spotlight it deserves.

Its a wonderfully light dessert, that is extremely simple...just right for after a mid-summer meal.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Naked Cookbook

What I love the most in the kitchen is the purity of it all.  The feel of the fresh produce, the crunch of the veggies as the knife cuts across their leaves.  The sizzle of olive oil heating in a pan...

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Happy baby, healthy lungs

Wiggly little bundle, cuddled in cozy muslin wrap.  Just a few days old, his sleepy tiny eyes peek out to say hello.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Thinking Twice about Baby Wipes

Thinking twice about baby wipes

Bringing home a baby opens up a whole new world, in so many ways!  Their little minds, and bodies, absorb so much of what is around them as they quickly grow.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Back to School - The perfect instant snack

Back to school!  This was always one of the most exciting times of the year when I was a kid.  The smell of new crayons, picking out new shoes, and watching as Mom carefully wrote my name onto each brand new school supply.

The first day of school was always so exhilarating.  A new teacher and a class full of new friends-to-be, with so much anticipation building up into that day.  Its a lot for a kid to take in. After running in the sunshine and playing barefoot all summer, the classroom is an intense experience.  Sitting still, listening patiently, and making a good first impression take energy and concentration.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Water-Saving Garden

California is in its forth year of "exceptional drought", which means its high time to be thinking about how to use our water more efficiently.  Since about half of a home's water use is estimated to go outdoors, that is an excellent place to start.  

Monday, June 6, 2016

Chai Escape

Sitting at a cafe a Kuala Lumpur a few years back I had what felt like a life-changing moment.  One of those small details of life that becomes a total game changer.  It was something so simple, but something I knew would become part of my life from that point on. .

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Try a2 Milk®...and win a trip to Australia!

 In France, they say that you tell exactly where a cow is from, based on the flavor of its milk.  Depending on the climate and grazing pastures, each region's cows are influenced by the environment and give the milk its own variation on flavors.  I love that attention to the origin of foods, and the connection between the earth and our own bodies.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

One Skillet Salmon Dinner

Life gets busy.  But that doesn't mean its time to give up health eating habits and trade them in for a drive-thru meal.  There are plenty of ways to eat healthy in a hurry!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Meatless Mondays with Gardein

Every day is a great day to go meatless...and Meatless Monday is a fun way to build meat-free options into our weekly routines.  Meatless habits we make on Mondays carry through the week, and before long our whole dining style evolves into something much more healthy - all week long!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Gutter Planters: Pinterest Fail...and why

Like all Pinterest Fails, it seemed like such a cool idea!  Here's what I learned on why gutter planters aren't worth your time.

Monday, March 28, 2016

How to get the Perfect Baking Blend

Haven't we all been there... pulling out the baking soda or baking powder to realize they're full of lumps and clumps.  If those lumps make it into the final product, someone is in for a bad surprise.   Its such a disappointment to take a big bite of a cookie or banana bread only to find a chalky, bitter mouthful of baking soda. This is why I've made this simple improvement in my baking that makes lumpy baking soda a thing of the past.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Flan for the Soul

This is a fantastically dramatic yet healthy dessert: Flan. With simple, pure ingredients and no oil and just a little sugar, its a great ending to a light meal.  The flans are inverted just before serving, making a gorgeously elegant caramel-covered custard.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Soul Food Love

Sometimes we're so busy looking far, far away from home that we don't notice what is right on our doorstep.  Food from Thailand, recipes from France...but what about the regional and ethnic specialties right here in our backyard?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Heirloom Milk for Happier Tummies

We love dairy products at our house.  Over our cereal at breakfast, warmed with chocolate for a cold-weather treat, as an ingredient in dinner or dessert...we use it all day long.  

Monday, February 8, 2016

5-Minute Ice Cream Cake

 Learn how to make a homemade ice cream cake in just minutes!

Sometimes there are shortcuts that make life so easy - this is one of them!  Learn how to make a homemade ice cream cake in a matter of minutes.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Rinse your Rice

One of the very first days after I moved to China, at the grocery store, I was staring at the most extensive rice aisle that I'd ever seen.  Overwhelmed, I took some time to check out all the options.  An older lady came up next to me, very concerned.  This was before I understood the language, so an elaborate game of charades ensued.  What was her message that was so worthy of all the song and dance:  Rinse your rice!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Garden Tour: San Francisco's Dogpatch Neighborhood

Garden Tour: San Francisco's Dogpatch Neighborhood

Time for another garden tour!  This time, we're visiting the Dogpatch district of San Francisco - a little known, up-and-coming artistic neighborhood. Its a blend of historic industry and artsy start ups, where green space is a luxury and gardens are humble and resourceful.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Roasted Balsamic Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts are so underrated.  When they're roasted, and not old-fashioned boiled, they're absolutely amazing.  I've yet to find someone who's not a lover of brussel sprouts, deep down inside...when they're prepared right.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Rainy days and Rainbows

Without rain...there are no rainbows

Rainbows are always an exciting sight, and double rainbows are even more of a rare sight.  That is much more so the case in California, where rain showers are few and far between.  What a beautiful way to start the day, and the year!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Citrus Beet Salad

The perfect cold-weather salad!

Salads are great all year long, and this Citrus Beet Salad is a great option for the colder months of the year, using garden-fresh ingredients that grow well into Fall and Winter.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Chocolate Oatmeal Pecan Cookies

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MemoriesInTheBaking #CollectiveBias

Cookies.  They're a sweet little indulgence, that can add up quickly - especially during the holidays!  This recipe gives all the flavor and texture of a traditional cookie, but is a much lighter version...so go ahead and take two.  

This recipe for Chocolate Oatmeal Pecan cookies has a hearty cookie texture, but uses much less sugar and butter than a traditional recipe - without losing the flavor!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lemon Poppy Seed Madeleines

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MeAndMyTea #CollectiveBias

As the weather gets chilly outside, there is nothing better than waking up in the morning and warming up the house with a warm oven and the smell of freshly baked French pastries!  These Lemon Poppy Seed Madelienes are simple, elegant, and the perfect snack with your favorite hot beverage.

Monday, November 30, 2015

8 Best Cookbooks for the Chefs on Your List!

8 BEST Cookbooks for the Chefs on your Christmas List!

If you know someone who loves food, a cookbook can make a fantastic gift.  These are some of my very favorites of the year, each with a unique approach and featuring gorgeous photos that make you want to jump right into the kitchen and start enjoying!

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.

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