Deconstructed Summer Salad, with radish, chickpeas, and simple vinaigrette. A side dish with edible flowers

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I love eating flowers! There’s something a little naughty and beautiful and fun all at the same time about it.

Here are a few I know you can eat. Pansies, nasturtiums, and daylilies.

And here’s a link to a super helpful flower eating chart.

http://homecooking.about.com/library/weekly/blflowers.htm

It was about 90 degrees when I made this salad. We all wanted simple and refreshing.

  • Pansy flowers
  • Spicy greens and romaine
  • Fresh tai basil (tear off leaves and toss with greens)
  • Chickpeas (rinsed well)
  • Red cabbage
  • Radish (just cleaned with the leaves still on)
  • Red onion
  • Red pepper
  • Olive oil and red wine vinegar (just drizzle on top of everything)
  • Sea Salt and pepper to taste

The greens, flowers, and veggies all have so much flavor in this salad. It’s good to keep the dressing simple. That way you can just appreciate good  food for what  it is.

Just a side note: My two year old love chickpeas and getting to eat flowers. We made it very clear that these were “special” flowers. Not to be confused with those random and possibly poisonous ones in nature.

Little Gardener Discovers Bugs

Uli loves digging in the garden! It’s not because she shares my passion for growing things. It’s because she has a borderline obsession with worms and bugs lately.

Me: “Do you want to plant some flowers?”

Uli: “I digging for worms!” very proudly and enthusiastically.

She might as well not even heard me…

The strangest part is I kept asking. As if just changing the timing or tone would make the flowers more appealing.  I gave her a corner of the garden all her own. And it’s looking like nothing will be planted there. Deeply troubled our two year old’s lack of interest in flowers, I mentioned this instance to her dad.

Me: “Flowers are merely there to bring bugs to her”

Jeff: “She’s just an explorer. She likes finding flowers. She’s like me and doesn’t have the patience to watch things grow.”

Me: “So, the flowers I bought are already old news. She’s on to new discoveries…”

The fact that my husband had to spell this out for me. Shows just how differently we see the world. I like to see the potential in things. Jeff and Uli see things for what they are at the time. If it’s not doing something exciting. Why bother? Let’s do something fun!

And then we did. I let go of my flower obsession. So, I could fully appreciate that “empty” patch of dirt in the garden.

“A CATTAPILLA!!”

“Oh sweetie, I think that’s just a… Oh wait. It is a CATERPILLAR!!! Should we put it in your bug jar!?”

“Yeah!”

The afternoon went on a lot like this. By the end of the day we had one caterpillar, three worms “a mommy, a daddy, an a baby worm”, and one ant in our jar. Now I can’t wait to see if the caterpillar turns into a moth. Uli’s super proud of her discovery! She keeps happily peeking in the jar. They even “slept” in her room last night.

I’m still learning how rewarding it is to listen my daughter. Exploring with her makes the world feel new.

Unexpectedly, that same afternoon…

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… She walked over to the other side of the garden. And discovered a radish.

Quinoa Tabouli Salad

This salad comes out tasting a little lighter and brighter than one made with bulgur. Plus there’s extra protein in the quinoa!

Cooking time: 20min

Hands on time: 15min (while quinoa cooks)

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup chopped curly leaf parsley
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion or green onion
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • three Tablespoons olive oil
  • two teaspoons oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

I rarely measure when I make this salad. These measurements don’t have to be exact. Make it the way you like it!

Directions:

  1. Rinse quinoa in a mesh colander until the water runs clear. (Do not skip this step. Your salad will be bitter.)
  2. Simmer quinoa with 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon olive oil. It takes about 20 minutes to cook. When it’s finished the grain will be translucent and you will be able to see the germ.
  3. While that simmers. Chop your parsley, dice your tomato and onion.
  4. Add the veggies and your remaining ingredients to a bowl.
  5. When the quinoa is cooked use the colander to run cold water over it. This will cool it fast and stop it from overcooking.
  6. Mix everything together
  7. Enjoy

Radish sprout, Carrot and Apple Salad

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Uli helped plant the radishes so we had a lot of sprouts to thin. They were so pretty. They were the first things to grow in the garden. I couldn’t just throw them away.

You can, actually, sprout radish seeds. (This is the way normal people get radish sprouts. But, if your like me. Oddly sentimental about vegetables. By all means, thoroughly clean the first sprouts from your garden)

Here’s what you need:

  • For the salad
    • Radish Sprouts
    • A crisp tart apple (Granny smith)
    • Carrots
  • For the Dressing
    • Juice from one lemon
    • A couple table spoons light olive oil
    • two teaspoons honey
    • two teaspoons mustard powder
    • salt and pepper to taste

Slice the apples very thin. Shave the carrots. Mix all of the dressing ingredients by shaking thoroughly in a jar. Drizzle the dressing over your simple, bright, salad.

Some of the inspiration for this salad came from the 1940s pamphlet “Successful Salads” edited by Victor H. Lindlahr

This is one of my favorite new finds! There are a lot of “wartime” tips for eating healthy. They still ring true and useful today. And I’ll be sharing a lot of wisdom and recipes this summer.

Inside the Studio (A.K.A. Messy House)

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I have a confession to make. This is a view our kitchen table on a typical morning. Todays mess is actually prettier than adverage because we used glitter! Glitter always deserves an exclamation point!

My two year old is starting to help more around the house. She helps unload the dishwasher, sweeps, and picks up her toys. These things only happen when she decides she’s in a helpful mood. So, I found myself repeating this sentence a lot. “Let’s put this away before you get out another toy.” And then I started thinking…

This is my weekness… How can I tell her to do something I’m not doing? Maybe we should live in a beautiful tornado of creativity. We tried it for a bit… It’s not as glorious as it sounds.

So I set a goal to finish things. I really wanted to reach my goal. So, I broke it down.
*Organize my art supplies
-get rid of two things a day
-have a place for everything by Jan 29th
*Finish one piece before starting a new one
-finish the twentytwo I have started
-inventory
-Do not start more untill this is done!

The last part is where I need help. I’ve started three (ok four) new projects since I first wrote this goal. Only two have been completed. That leaves me twentyfour pieces away from being able to start anything new. I’m making this public so someone will hold me accountable. Evidently, yelling at myself just isn’t enough. Let’s see if this is.

A Joy Filled Adventure

SDC13801My daughter constantly reminds me what I should be cherishing.

Go back. Remember the first time you jumped in leaves as a kid. I know it might me hard. But, do it. Believe me. I found a joy I thought was reserved for priests and lamas. Spiritual bliss.

Focusing on these happy moments makes me braver. Becoming an “adult” was hard. I still haven’t fully recovered. Experiencing the dark things people do out of pain and selfishness changed me. For years I’ve been jealous of the old me. I trusted people. That trust made me open and welcoming to everyone I met. These moments with Uli have made me more genuine. Now I know that this kind of joy and love can bring light anywhere. Sharing it makes life meaningful. Mother Theresa said it better than anyone “Do small things with great love.” From now on I will remember this and approach each person I meet with love that overshadows fear.

I’m so thankful to be a mom. My daughter constantly reminds me what I should have been cherishing.

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I just remembered how awesome leaves are!

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Cooking with Uli (Apple Cinnamon Waffles)

SDC13484She’s still a little mad that I tried to start breakfast without her.

SDC13486Woops! Those are fragile. Let’s just move them back a bit.

SDC13488“What’s in here?”

SDC13492“Ahhhh..hahaha” Try this flour mom. Uli’s pretty forceful with her sharing.

Ok. Now for the yummy waffles. You can make pancakes if you don’t have a waffle maker.

Apple Cinnamon Waffles

You will need:

  • 1 Cup Flour (I use half whole wheat and half white)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (more or less if you like)
  • 3 Tablespoons applesauce
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Cup Milk

Turn on your waffle maker. (set it to high)

Mix your dry ingredients.

Wait for the waffle maker to be ready. Then mix in your wet ingredients. There is a scientific reason, this makes yummier pancakes and waffles.

Mix until it’s just mixed. Some lumps are ok. You just don’t want to over mix or you waffles will be tough.

Now cook! The outside should be lightly browned the inside fluffy.