Good day fellow Tasha fans. In light of the fact that Tasha Tudor's family has their own blog, I have decided to hand Tasha Tudor day over to them, so to speak. I will continue to honor Tasha every year in my own life and with my family but not on my blog. The reason I am posting about this is to ask you if you have my button on your blog would you mind removing it and linki Rookery Ramblings instead for Tasha Tudor day. Really the family should be.directing this. I love that every year we all take a moment, stop and think about Tasha. Think about how she has inspired us to live life more simply but fuller. Tasha affects my day to day life in a real way and I am very thankful for this.
Also a reminder Tasha Tudor day is one month from now, August 28. I think my girls and I will have tea out in the garden. Maybe read Becky's Birthday xox
This message is very close to my heart. I am a crier, emotional and have a lot of empathy of those suffering, outsiders like me but this was frowned upon by some in my childhood. I was told a lot to suck it up and not show my emotions. I was told it made me weak but I realized in time that my emotions were my strength. It takes strength to be vulnerable and those criticizing me, actually were afraid themselves to show their vulnerability. It is a risk to be vulnerable but it is worth it, even if we are rejected. Because being emotional is what makes us human and that makes us a better person.
One of the joys of living on the water in the northwest, is how tepid the summers are. It rarely goes over 75. Most people do not have air conditioning or ceiling fans. And for those few hot days, well like when it snows ... we fall apart ;-) This last weekend we were in for record breaking heat, so I turned to my facebook friends for no-cook ideas. They always give me the best advice. One friend mentioned an ice box cake. I will be honest and say I have not had many of these, even as a child.
So after much research this is my spin on ice box cake. Pineapple and caramel have always been a favorite combination of mine. I love the sweet acidity of fresh pineapple against the richness of caramel. Now this would be even better with homemade cookies but since the whole point was not to heat up my kitchen I bought cookies and salted caramel sauce (Trader Joes). The amounts do not have to be exact, just have plenty of everything. I have to say I LOVED this combo. A real fav and perfect on a really hot summers day!!
Pineapple Salted Caramel Ice Box Cake
Makes a 9” round cake, but you can use any pan. Even just make a mountain of it on a cookie sheet. the messier the better.
36 small vanilla cookies, any cookie, shortbread or graham cracker will work
Assemble all your fillings
Take the pineapple and chop in food processor until you have a chunky sauce.
Warm up caramel sauce, if using pre-made. Remove lid and microwave jar for 30 seconds to soften up sauce.
Make whipped cream. 3 cups of heavy cream whipped w/ 1 TBL. of sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla extract.
Then assemble cake
Line your pan w/ parchment paper (plastic wrap will do but not as good as parchment).
Arrange ⅟ᴣ of your cookies on the bottom of the pan. Spread one cup of whipped cream over the cookies. Do not worry if it gets all messy, it will taste just fine. Next spread half of the purreed pineapple. Then drizzle some caramel sauce over the pineapple. Repeat layering again starting with the cookies. Then top with the last ⅟ᴣ of the cookies, then whipped cream. Lastly drizzle more caramel sauce. Cover top with plastic wrap, so it is not touching the cake and store in freezer. Takes a good 6-9 hours or overnight to freeze. Enjoy!!!
The summer issue of Gatherings is out (and I made the cover, woohoo ;-). Sadly this is our finally issue. I am sorry to see Gatherings end but I think we are ending on our best work yet and that is a beautiful way to end. I learned so much being a food editor. Working with Annetta Bosakova (all the photos are her work) and Heather Spriggs Thompson has been such a learning experience and I grew quite close to both of them. Heather has always trusted my "food vision" for the magazine and I cannot tell you how much that means to me. Annetta is always able to take what is in my minds eye and make it come to life. That is not an easy task but then she is very gifted.
The summer issue has a recipe for making Herb Infused Butter (which is very different from herb butter. I keep jars of it in my fridge for cooking). There is also two recipes using the butter: Grilled Chicken with Bay Butter/Honey Glaze and Lavender Butter Chocolate Brownies. I am always looking for new way to use fresh herbs!
These brownies can be made gluten free, whole wheat or regular but I wanted to post a grain-free version here on the blog, for anyone struggling with high blood sugar like me. This brownie is a twist of my daughter’s all-time favorite dessert, all chocolate brownies. There is no coco powder in this recipe; it is all chopped chocolate, butter and not a lot of flour,. They are rich, dense and a small bite goes a long way. The twist is I first infused the butter with lavender before making the brownies. It is a simple way to give them a little something! I bet they will become a family favorite for you too!
Chocolate Lavender Butter Brownies
Makes 8x8 pan
1 cup bittersweet, 60-80 percent dark chocolate, chips or chopped
½ cup lavender infused butter, see notes below
1 ½ cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 cup almond flour
2 TBL coconut flour
If you do not have lavender butter on-hand, make butter first.
Pre-heat oven 350°F and grease an 8x8 baking pan.
In a sauce pan set on the lowest setting of your stove gently melt chocolate and butter until the chocolate is melts. Then whisk in sugar. Next whisk in eggs, one at a time. Stir in salt, almond and coconut flours. The batter is thick but pourable. Fill greased pan and bake 15-20 minutes. Just until the side puff up a bit and the center is not runny. I like my brownies very soft, so I bake 15 minutes. Let cool in pan.
Lavender Infused Butter
Makes ½ cup
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter. I use unsalted, grass-fed butter
5-7 fresh lavender heads (you can use the steams too. I use a bit of both)
Set butter and lavender in a small sauce pan, gentlying melting butter on the lowest setting of your stove. If butter starts to sizzle or brown, pull it off the heat. You are just trying to melt the butter without breaking the butter fat, so you do not want the butter to boil or fry. When butter is melted, pull pan off heat and let the butter and lavender sit for half an hour. If butter has hardened, re-melt, strain out the herbs and pour butter into a container. Butter will keep 2 weeks refrigerated.
Please use organic unsprayed lavender.
Mint or anise hyssop would be good herbs to use in this recipe. You can use dried lavender too, about a TBL but fresh is so much better.
Feel free to try these brownies without herb infused butter. This is just a pain old good brownie recipe and our family favorite for years.
A regular or gluten-free version of this recipe and the grilled chicken and herb infused butter is in the Summer 2014 Gatherings Magazine
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!!!