Sew to celebrate!

June 19, 2010

Now that summer is happening, it is time to catch up on some vitamin D and spend some time with family and friends. Spontaneous picnics in the park or eating dinner outside will always bring the warm fuzzies and keep your life rich. And while you are at it, why not add some color? I always have a blanket on standby in my car…just in case the mood strikes. A Mexican blanket, my African mud-cloth throw, a tapestry, my hand-woven textile from Guatemala…and now, my own patch-work quilt! What is really fun, is when you have a gathering that calls for all of these blankets, resulting in an explosion of color to hang out on.

I went to my local ‘mom & pop’ fabric store and bought about $15 worth of scrap fabric. Fabrics that I probably would never buy otherwise. I cut them into triangular pieces and created a pattern.

Next step: start sewing them together! It is a project that can take over your life, but I ended up completing this one in under 2 days as I was looking for a serious distraction.

Once you find your sewing rhythm, you will see your blanket appear before your very eyes. I know it sounds strange, but as it grows, so does the adrenaline; and then you HAVE to finish it! I think I took this shot at 1am.

Once you finish sewing your scraps of fabric together, make some food, celebrate life and all of its colorful glory!

It’s a beautiful day!

June 19, 2010

I am failing my blog! It’s a beautiful day today and I am going to go out and enjoy it. This shot was taken earlier, from the porch off my bedroom.  I have a back log of posts and promise to update soon! Until then, go outside and enjoy this beautiful place we call earth!

sprouts!

May 23, 2010

My lovely friend, Annie recently wrote a post on sprouting and inspired me to grow my own. It is so easy! You can sprout just but anything; sunflower seeds, mung beans, lentils…you get the point. But why sprouts? They are the most enzyme rich food on the planet. With out enzymes, the aging of our body accelerates and our body begins to function less properly. Apparently, sprouts have up to 100 times more enzymes than a fruit or vegetable and are full of vitamins. Here are the steps I followed:

Choose your sprout. I decided to sprout mung beans.

Next, rinse.

Soak in water, 8-12 hours.

Using a cheese cloth and mason jar lid, I secured the mung beans. I tilted the jar upside down at an angle and kept it in a darkish corner in our pantry. Each night before I went to bed and each morning when I woke up, I rinsed the seeds. Because I had a mesh lid, I could fill and drain the jar with water. I repeated this exercise twice a day for 3 full days. Here they are! If you look at the above photo, you will see how just a small amount of seeds, filled my jar.

Nothing like waking up with some toast, almond butter, honey and fresh, home-grown sprouts! Enjoy!

dragon’s blood, grape fruit seed extract and cinnamon, oh my!

May 17, 2010

What on earth could I possibly be talking about right? Well folks, I’m talking about your digestive system here. While I happen to be living in a 3rd world country, I have to admit, it’s a pretty plush life…that is…until you take a little trip. OK, the trip (future blog posting) was pretty plush, however you can’t always expect your food to be entirely safe for your digestive system. Do you get where I am going with this? As a credentialed public health worker, one of the key principle’s you learn is: prevention is key! I have traveled to some pretty remote and according to some, dangerous places on this globe and have never gotten sick. That is, until Latin America. I take full responsibility.

The best preventative measure you can take is washing your hands through out the day, before each meal and first thing when you walk in the door to your abode. The other best thing you can do is use GSE aka, grapefruit seed extract.

This stuff is amazing and kills bacteria like nobody’s business. You can purchase this glorious stuff at almost any health food store. While traveling, take a few drops in the morning and evening with a bit of water. Any questionable foods you may have eaten will no longer be an issue. Wash your veggies with just a few drops in the water and you can be rest assured that most or all of the bacteria is gone. When I recently took a trip through the jungles of Guatemala and Belize one would think that I would naturally bring my GSE right? Wrong! Was it a mistake? YES! Am I suffering? YES!

Two remedies that I have on hand work miracles. Dragon’s Blood (the Chinese herb, Xue Jie) and Cinnamon. If you ever find yourself running to the bathroom often, take cinnamon. It doesn’t matter how. Just take it! I like to have it in a cup of boiled water with a little honey. The results are practically instant!

Last night I took cinnamon and today, I am drinking Dragon’s Blood (Xue Jei). Dragon’s blood is wonderful for digestive problems and topically it can be used as an astringent.

You can buy it in a powder form from any Chinese herb store or acupuncturist. Pour some hot water over it and mix it well. It doesn’t taste too bad either.

So, speaking of all of this digestive stuff…I will be starting a cleanse in the next few days. Very excited about this. More to come!

The best salmon recipe ever!!!

May 6, 2010

I hope I don’t get in trouble for sharing this one! I needed to take a quick trip back to the states (hence the 12 day absence from my blog) and wanted to make a special dinner for the man since he wouldn’t be joining me. So I thought I would make a good ol’ fashioned, California style dinner. We have a few specialty stores in Antigua (quite expensive though) and after digging through the freezer section, I found salmon and it actually looked decent. The sauce in the recipe is what makes it SO good. Think, Simon and Garfunkel. Gather a lot parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Chop it up and add loads of chopped garlic. What you see below is the amount I use for 2 people (I was not kidding when I said gather a lot!).

Next gather your sauces: balsamic, soy sauce, olive oil, sesame and worcestershire sauce. As usual, I don’t have exact measurements but I tend to use less soy sauce and worcestershire sauce.

OK! Mix the sauces and the chopped herbs together and just smell the aromas (take a bite if you like):

Pour this delicious mixture over your salmon and let it marinate for as long as you have the patience for (I have gone as short as 30 minutes and over night).

Now, we don’t have a bbq, but if you do, it’s so much better bbq’d in a foil boat. I only have an oven that goes no higher than 250F (what the heck is that about?) so I had a slow cooking session with my salmon. If you have normal oven, pre-heat to 350 and place fish inside for 8 minutes. Next, turn it up to a broil and let it give the top of that salmon a nice dose of heat for about 4 minutes (keep you eye on it). Pull it out and voila! A future post will include the pasta recipe you see photographed behind the salmon.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

May 5, 2010

It’s Cinco de Mayo! It’s getting close to that time of year where weekends will slowly start to fill up with bbq’s and sunny day gatherings. We had a particularly nice day here in Antigua and the man of the house decided it was high time he pulled out his margarita skills and use  our gifted bottle of Gusano Rojo (yes, that is a worm at the bottom of the bottle of mezcal). The key to a good margarita you ask? Keep it simple and with some quality tequila. In our home, we try to use as many fresh ingredients as possible and this goes for drinks as well.

This recipe will make about 4 drinks. Just play around with the quantities until you get your desired taste. First, gather some limes and oranges for a nice, fresh squeeze. If you ‘stick a fork in it’ (what a great phrase for a recipe) while squeezing, you will get the most juice out of your citrus fruits.

In a blender, add ice, lime juice, orange juice and taquilla (some people might add sugar). Wet the rim of the glass and dip into a bowl of nice sea salt.

Pour in your blended (and somewhat chunky) mixture and voila! It’s that simple.

Nearly raw veggie wraps!

April 19, 2010

As I was thumbing through my favorite blogs today, I came across a fresh veggie wrap. I needed one. I mentally went through my inventory of all the ingredients in my fridge, pantry, nut section and garden, as I was not in the mood to make this complicated by going out to the store. So basically…it was delicious! The entire concept was built around two things: the need to make veggie wrap and papaya. For some reason, papaya became the main ingredient of the wrap. So I began with the sauce:

~smashed walnuts

~minced ginger

~orange rind and juice

~olive oil

~fennel

~honey

Mix it all together!

I had a pot of black beans already prepared and decided they should be in my wrap. Here is what the wrap consisted of:

~Chard for the wrap

~black beans

~papaya

~avocado

~cucumber

Wrap your wrap with fennel stems/leaves. Pour the sauce over it and Voila (r)!

I heart herbs for so many, many reasons.

April 17, 2010

Just as flowers grow from the earth, so the remedy grows in the hands of the physician…the remedy is nothing but a seed which develops into that which it is destined to be.

~Paracelcus


I plan on having several posts on the many uses and benefits of herbs. Nothing beats fresh herbs (or veggies and fruit for that matter) straight from your own garden. Today, I will share the benefits of steaming your herbs for a bath and a facial steam. While I don’t know the science or specifics behind each herb, what I do know is that I notice the benefits and that’s good enough for me. The heat and volatile oils in the steam will help relax your mind, muscles and joints, increase circulation, open and cleanse your pores and nourish your skin.

Take inventory of your herbs and get creative. I gathered these suggested herbal steams (and then added additional herbs) from the book, ‘Herbal Healing”, by Rosemary Gladstar (of course that’s her name!).

The purpose of this bath is to relax your body and assist in alleviating pain in your muscles. For my bath I used:

~Eucalyptos

~fresh Ginger

~Chamomile

~Lavender

~Calendula

~Fennel

~Sage

~Rosemary

I prefer to pour boiling water over the herbs and let them steep for 5 minutes to ensure maximum usage before I pour it into my bath. It’s even better if you add a cup or two of Epson Salt. Amazing!

If you can find the time, it’s best if you can do an herbal facial steam, once each week (so far I am one for one!). A facial steam is your best bet (besides heading to an esthetician) for a deep pore cleanse, resulting in that ‘glow’.

For my facial steam I used:

~Lavender

~Rose petals

~Chamomile

~Rosemary

~Calendula

~Sage

I took a handful of the mixture and placed them in a large bowl with a generous splash of Witch Hazel. I boiled water,  poured it over the herbs and placed my head and bowl under a towel for 10 minutes. What a treat!

Loquat Chutney!

April 16, 2010

I swear this will be more than just a food blog. This is just where I am at right now! As I was taking photos for my water post, I noticed about 10 ripe loquats on our tree. The only thing I could think was…chutney! I picked every single last one of those loquats (there were literally 10 on the entire tree) and peeped my kitchen for some ingredients. I ALWAYS have ginger, garlic and onions on standby for such emergencies (and this was no different). You will find that I don’t measure anything but I will give it a shot for blogging purposes. Keep in mind, this was using 10 loquats (good enough for one dinner serving).

-minced ginger (thumb size)

-grated my left over grapefruit peel (it calls for orange, but that’s all I had!) (teaspoon)

-brown sugar (a handful)

-10 halved loquats

-raisins from a granola mix (that’s your preference)

-white vinegar (1/3 cup)

-a pinch of cayenne pepper, cumin and cinnamon

I threw it all in a pot and let it simmer (covered) for 30 minutes. The end result was quite tasty! Again, I would have liked to have made at least a jars worth, but in the end, it was a nice addition to our dinner and it gave our tree a little more self worth.


Drink water!

April 15, 2010

We all know we need to drink it. But are we really drinking enough? I know I don’t. If you divide your weight in half (using pounds), that is precisely how many ounces of water your body needs in order to regulate its temperature, provide the means for nutrients to travel to your organs and to rid your body of the toxins we humans, take in every day. Twenty percent of your water will need to come from the food you eat and the rest via beverage.

I love water, but sometimes I just can’t swallow the idea of drinking tons of flavorless water. It really depends on my mood. Solution…add tasty fruits, herbs or even veggies! I like to add some sort of citrus fruit, mint leaves and slices of cucumber. Today I didn’t have any cucumber so I added a second citrus just for fun.  Get creative!

Today, I chopped up some lime, grape fruit and fresh mint leaves! I like to fill up a pitcher each day (and hopefully refill it through out the day) so that the tasty water is ready for me or any guests who happen to stop by. Enjoy!


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