Keeping things simple in a not so simple world

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things i’m loving lately

My six-year old and I are going back to camp with these beauties.

This was a huge hit!

Love to try this new craft project after I finish this one for my partner.

Thinking about this for my daughter’s birthday.

Our most recent book club read. It was phenomenal!

As always, loving the earthy smell of Vetiver in the house!

Or, some Sweet Basil in an oil burner! (Not for use on body!)

Just a few!


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spring in the air

Yes, I realize that we are having a spring snow. But I am in denial. Sometimes, mother nature is too much.

This lovely spring soup has brought us lovely spring goodness to our home and comfort to a dear friends. Our community gardener, someone who has become family to us, whose daughter is our sitter, sister and friend, passed away suddenly Monday. This soup was a small token in a time of hurt.

To spring and happier times…

carrot dill soup

4-6 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1-2 quarts vegetable broth
1 bunch of fresh dill, finely minced

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil until shimmering and add the vegetables, saute for 4 minutes or until onion is soft and golden.
Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil and then simmer until the vegetables are soft.
Using a hand-blender, food processor or blender, puree the soup until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the dill.


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avocado dressings

As a way to boost flavor and add nutrients, these two dressings are amazing.  One sweet, one savory and both so very perfect in their own way.

Savory avocado dressing – Avocado pesto
This recipe is really simple! Homemade pesto is much better than store bought. I make mine vegan, without parmesan and sometimes with walnuts or almonds instead of pine nuts.

Half one avocado and add it to a blender or food processor with 1/4 to 1/2 cup pesto (depending on how strong). Blend.
We served this over a bed of millet with lentils and lightly sautéed zucchini and kale.  But it would be good with anything – including pasta.

Another variation would be to make a coriander pesto version:  In a food processor, blend a bunch of cilantro with 1/2 cup almonds, olive oil and a small amount of jalapeno.  Mix the pesto with an avocado.

Sweet avocado dressing

In a food processor or blender, mix:
1 avocado
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2-3 tablespoons lime juice
2-3 tablespoons grape fruit juice
Touch of agave, if needed

Adjust the dressing liquid to preferred consistency.

We served this over a bed of arugula with roasted red and golden beets. I found this a bit on the sweet side. While it was good with the beets, I would have preferred it to be on a salad with more savory items. But if you like sweet on sweet, I highly recommend it. And so do my kids, who totally inhaled it!

This would also be awesome on ice cream!

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red summer bliss

Our master gardener friend and neighbor has red currant bushes; about six of them. And if he gets to them before the birds do, these lovely red fruit make a lovely jam. This year, he allowed my daughter and I to pick a bucket.

Combing the internet for a simple jam recipe, I came across this gem.

I added a bit less sugar (about 3/4 cup to every kilo). And I did not have nearly as much jam because we had a lot less berries. But this was quite fantastic. Best of All? It was really simple and really quick. No messing with gelatin or canning. Just simple red berry bliss!


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Chinese Chicken Salad

It is humid here and hot.  Full-on summer, especially now that it is July.   Cooking is not my favorite thing to do in the heat.

Enter:  Chinese Chicken Salad

1 large head of cabbage, shredded
a large bunch of snow peas, cut in half
4-5 plums
Shredded chicken, about 2 cups (hint: buy a rotisserie chicken at the store or used TJ’s organic canned chicken.)
Alternatively, you could use some flavored tofu.

Mix together.

In a jar, mix together 1/4 cup grapefruit juice, 1 tablespoons sesame seed oil, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar and a pinch of salt. Pour over salad, mix and serve.

I like the plums and grapefruit option instead of oranges and juice. They are less sweet and make the perfect pairing to the snow peas and chicken.