Left Over Fruit Crisp

Sundays have become a day of gardening and cooking for the week ahead.  Its also a great time to use up any leftover produce from the week so nothing goes to waste and we’re ready for our CSA pick up on Wednesday! This week I made Pumpkin curry with tons of veggies, chickpeas, and of course pumpkin (that I grew myself!).  I’m hoping the curry lasts until Wednesday!  I also made a crisp with the leftover plums and apples we had hanging around our fridge.  In an effort to keep it healthy, I decided to go oil/earth balance free and also go light on the sweetener.  I just used a little maple syrup on the fruit and dates and figs for the topping.  It was super simple.  Here’s what you need to know:

Ingredients: 

Plums, apples, pears…whatever you have or want to have!

1/2 cup maple syrup

Cinnamon

For the Topping:

8-10 dates

5 dried figs

1 cup oats

1 cup walnuts

Instructions:

Chop the fruit and mix with maple syrup and cinnamon

Place all the ingredients for the topping in the food processor and process until it forms a crumble

Spread over fruit and bake on 300 for about 20 minutes.  Just until fruit gets hot and gooey.


Kuzu Root

This week Leif and I are experimenting with Kuzu Root.  We bought some in the powdered form from Whole Foods after I listened to a lecture by Alicia Silverstone on macrobiotics and how much her two year old son loves Kuzu! It can be used as a thickening agent for sauces, desserts, beverages, and the sorts.  Kuzu root is used in oriental medicine to treat and prevent many ailments.  Here’s some cool information about Kuzu:

  • High concentration of plant flavonoids that act as powerful antioxidants and have the ability to inhibit contraction of smooth muscles, increasing blood flow and relieving abdominal cramps.
  • used to treat over acidity in the gut, bacterial infection, bloating and tummy aches
  • Clinical studies in China have shown that it reduces blood pressure, relieves migraines, and eases tight neck muscles.

Awesome, right?  When our guts are healthy, we are healthy.  And its super easy to prepare. This morning, I made a tea with it using homemade almond milk and a bit of raw buckwheat honey (I know, not technically vegan but we use it sparingly and only from local sustainable sources!  And only raw).

Simple Tea:

Dissolve 1 Tablespoon of kuzu root powder in 2 Tablespoons of water and then add it to 1 cup of liquid of choice (water, almond milk, etc) and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer, stirring until it thickens and becomes translucent.


Forest Bathing

I’m a PNW girl through and through.  Born and raised in the shadow of Mountain Rainier (Mt. Tacoma), soaked in the rain from the puget sound as the clouds drop their load to rise over the Cascades.  I’m not saying I always jump for glee at the sight of another gray, wet day mid January, but I also pout in the summer if the temps raise above 78 degrees.

So here we are in September after a longer and hotter than usual summer.  The weather took a quick shift a couple weeks ago. While the days are still warm, the evenings and mornings are cool and there is a lot less sunshine and even some much missed rain (I know I’ll kick myself for saying that in a few months).

All this is to say, Leif and I (and Sochi) love being outdoors.  Running, walking, gardening, digging, climbing, jumping in puddles and the likes.  This is often done in the ally ways and parks around our urban home.  But once a week or so, I make an effort to drive the 15 minutes to one of our old growth forests we are so blessed to have nearby and spend some time in the forest.  Sochi is thrilled to be off leash–she sprints up and down the path at full speed, stops to sniff, checks out squirrels and greets any passerby with a bum wiggle and plea for a belly rub.  Leif runs, rolls, climbs over “tree fall”, points out moss, birds calling, takes sit breaks in the dirt, whatever his heart leads him to do.  Then there’s mama, who has to make a conscious effort to breathe, to notice, to relax and enjoy…to let go of my do-list, stop looking at my watch or phone and just be in the forest with two beings that love me.

Forest Bathing, or Shinrin-yoku, is a Japanese term that describes just being in the forest and soaking in its mental and physiological healing powers.  Sound hocus-pokesie to you?  There is scientific data that suggests its not a bunch of hippie propaganda.  In fact, research suggests that forest bathing reduces blood pressure, promotes lower concentrations of cortisol  (stress hormones), lowers pulse rate, and promotes greater parasympathetic nerve activity (you chill the F down).

So, maybe, just maybe, you just need some time in the forest?  How can you make this part of your week?  It doesn’t have to be deep into the unknown, even some mindful breathes and gazing at trees and birds in a local park will do wonders!  So, take a break from your desk, go outside and find some trees!


Mama Guilt

Last night we got back from the rock gym and Leif was TIRED.  I knew he was exhausted before we left because he kept wanting to nurse while we were climbing. As I was dishing up the dinner I had prepared earlier in the day, he was wailing, flopping around, full on 2 year old tantrum.  He had set his mind on drinking my fancy coconut coffee creamer from the container.  I mixed a little with almond milk for him. CHOCOLATE almond milk.  Nope, not good enough.  Flail, scream, climb in the fridge.

Josh and I ate our dinner while he climbed on me and attempted to throw himself in all sorts of awkward poses.  Me, eating my dinner with one hand and holding him safe with the other.  Taking deep breaths and trying to enjoy my spelt berry and lentil salad.  After dinner, he said he wanted me to sit on the couch–which usually means nurse, so we did and within 5 minutes he was asleep.

Rawr. This kid is FULL of energy and spunk and determination and bunch of other stuff.

Rawr. This kid is FULL of energy and spunk and determination and bunch of other stuff.

I got a lot done.  I hung some art, I cleaned the kitchen, I wrote a blog post.  All the time knowing that this could go two ways–he’d sleep through the night, exhausted, or he’d wake up at some ungodly hour and want to eat cupcakes.  At about 12 AM, he woke up.  And he stayed up until 5 AM. OH. My. Word.  I brought the iPad to bed and let him watch Super Why.  He asked for a cliffbar.  Anything to keep him quiet and let me sleep a little.  He asked for water.  At one point I was snapped awake when he sat on my neck and I found myself gasping for air.  He screamed for “tidi’s” (cupcakes) until finally at 5 AM, I lost my cool.  I shouted, “IT’S TIME TO SLEEP! GO TO SLEEP!” and when he didn’t, I stormed into the other bedroom and dropped the F bomb while holding my tired head in my hands, startling Josh awake who immediately took Leif’s side and went to comfort a crying Leif–who then cried more because he wanted mama.  Finally, he settled in to bed with me and is still asleep.

How easy it is for me to lose my patience sometimes!  I didn’t behave this way when he was a newborn and I’d be up all night with him!  Although, I did shed some tears.  This morning I kissed his little face and told him I was sorry for shouting and I love him.  The thing is–mom’s get tired.  We sometimes don’t handle ourselves with the most grace and love that we envision we should have.  Because–we’re people.  We have actually physiological needs of our own.  Like sleep.  Like eating.  Like going poop.

I didn’t get up to run this morning like I had planned. No, I stayed in bed with Leif.  Partly because I was exhausted.  Partly because the park bathrooms are not open that early and the people at the grocery store all know what’s happening when I come rushing through multiple times before 7 AM, but mostly because I wanted to snuggle my boy.


Spiders, Soup, and Yoga

It feels like fall.  The weather is cooler and the spiders bigger.  And while I’m not one to kill spiders (unless they are the size of rat and in my bedroom in India–we killed that one good and dead), I’m not super excited about them popping up around the house and giving me a fright. With that said, I let some of them stay and I may have asked the house cleaner that came for my birthday to leave the web above the sink.  Here’s the spider I re-homed to our front garden this morning.

No joke, as I was re-homing this dude, I could hear those pesky mice taunting me from behind the hutch!!!!

No joke, as I was re-homing this dude, I could hear those pesky mice taunting me from behind the hutch!!!!

FullSizeRender-44

With the change in weather, I’m also enjoying making soup.  All those pumpkins in my garden are making for some great pumpkin soup.  Here’s a super simple pumpkin soup recipe with immune boosting garlic, ginger and turmeric to help fight off those back to school colds.

Warming Pumpkin Soup

FullSizeRender-42

Ingredients:

  • 1 Whole pumpkin– prepared according to these directions.
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2-3 whole cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 inch chunk of ginger, minced
  • 1/2 inch of turmeric, minced
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • salt and peper to taste
  • cayenne pepper for topping

Directions:

  1. Sauté the garlic, ginger, and turmeric in water and add onions.  Cook until translucent.
  2. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth!
  3. Warm it up, serve it up!  Sprinkle with cayenne pepper for a little bit of a kick!
  4. Enjoy with homemade bread and salad.  Yum.

Okay–so yoga. My body has been hurting a bit lately.  I took last week really easy in the running department.  As a matter of fact, I only actually ran 2 days. The other days I just walked for a couple hours with Leif and Sochi.  I swam and did strength training as well.  Still, I’m hurting and its not just my pelvic area but I’m sort of achy all over.  My body is trying to tell me something, for sure.

Last night I re-signed up for myyogaonline and decided I’m going to commit to getting back on the yoga wagon.  I’m not sure what that looks like quite yet but today it meant replacing my strength training with a very intentional 30 minute yoga class from one of my favorites.  Its amazing how far I’ve come in a year!  Saturday will mark the one year anniversary of my surgery!  I’ve built up to marathon distance at Boston Qualifying times and already tapered back down for another round of healing.  Only this time, my healing looks a lot different.  I’m not starting from crutches!  I can still run, just not as much and I can do tons of other activities that keep me strong!  Fall seems like a great time to ease up on running and ease into yoga and nature walks. Am I right?

If you are wondering why he is not wearing pants, it would be because he jumped, sat, and rolled in every puddle he could find and then jumped into the Puget Sound.  This kid is nuts.

If you are wondering why he is not wearing pants, it would be because he jumped, sat, and rolled in every puddle he could find and then jumped into the Puget Sound. This kid is nuts.

FullSizeRender-47


31.

Last week I turned 31.  A full DECADE has gone by since 21.  A full decade.  How in the world did that happen?  While I’d be lying if I said that aging and the cycle of life don’t frighten me a tad (okay, a lot) I  know that I am so much healthier and happier than I was at 21.  21 was the year that I moved to Arizona (a couple weeks before my 21st birthday).  21 was the year that I got my heart broken by a boy.  A boy I thought was “the one”.  21 was the year I struggled BIG time with depression, being over medicated by doctors trying to help me feel better when what I really needed was to just heal and allow myself to settle into the things that made me feel alive. So much has happened since I was 21.  I’ve married, lived on three continents, finished two degrees, become a mama, bought a house, started ultra running and marathoning and so much more.  I’ve also began the journey of saying “No” to things that do not feed my soul (even doing the dishes feeds my soul since I LOVE a clean house).  I’ve learned that I can create the life I want to live and that even when something doesn’t go the way I planned or something I perceive as negative happens, something good will come back to me.

What did I want for my 31st birthday?  I wanted to build garden beds with my dad, eat my favorite foods with people I love, and have my house professionally cleaned.  All of those things and more made my birthday very special.  Let me tell you a little more about these garden beds I built with my dad.

Usually when I get a project idea in my head, I over simplify it and underestimate the time needed to complete it.  These garden beds were the opposite though.  While I’m glad my dad helped, this is something I probably could have done on my own (it would have taken much longer and maybe not come out quite as square).   It really was simple.  I used Pioneer Woman’s tutorial and she made it very easy to follow!  Even for someone like me who is pretty clueless when it comes to tools and what have you (I’m learning though!).

Leif and I hit the hardware store in the morning.  I loaded my purse with snacks and tried to play the perfect balance between “I belong here, dammit” and “I’m going to need a helping hand” and by that I mean, the lumber department was overcrowded with contractors, I didn’t really know what I was after, I couldn’t find a lumber cart, and Leif was being his normal wild man self… I flagged down an employee who got me a cart, we loaded the boards on and then I sweetly said, “So, these won’t fit in my car, can you please cut them into 5 and 3 foot pieces.”  And just like that, all my cuts for the day were made while I went and grabbed some wooden garden stakes and browsed the plants.

TEHEHE. I stocked up on hippie suckers.  They have become my secret weapon for getting shopping down.  I still have to move quickly though.

TEHEHE. I stocked up on hippie suckers. They have become my secret weapon for getting shopping done. I still have to move quickly though.

Lumber carts are great for snacks!

Lumber carts are great for snacks!

My dad, in his life as a retiree is pretty much always late these days.  So, while we waited on him, I marked all the boards and pre-drilled them.  Then my parents showed up–1 crazy chocolate lab puppy and my brothers basset hound and my niece Lily in tow.  It was quite the crew in my back yard.  There was also a small kitten taunting the dogs turning my parents’ dog into a crazed monster.  It was a little bit of a circus but two raised beds were built and a yummy lunch was had.  I spent the day after my birthday shoveling gravel to fill in between the beds.  I’m so fed up with the crazy weeds.  I splurged and purchased weed block and pea gravel. I know, I’m pretty wild.

The only changes we made to Pioneer Woman’s tutorial were the dimensions and we decided to screw the garden stakes to the bed before hammering it into the ground.  We used 24 inch stakes which we found to be way to long.  Hammering them in was a HUGE pain.  With the second bed, we about 6 inches off the stakes before screwing them to the bed.  I feel so empowered now!  Like I could just build garden beds all day long!

I'm working on my drill skills.  I'm told by my dad that I'm a little "drill challenged" and Josh saw me working a few days later and came over to give me a few tips...and told me "This was going to take you all day!" haha.  I really am getting better--thanks to the patients of my power tool teachers.

I’m working on my drill skills. I’m told by my dad that I’m a little “drill challenged” and Josh saw me working a few days later and came over to give me a few tips…and told me “This was going to take you all day!” haha. I really am getting better–thanks to the patients of my power tool teachers.

Thank Heavens for my dad.

Thank Heavens for my dad. And Leif.

Not bad, eh?

Not bad, eh?

Pioneer Woman said you had to have a Basset Hound.  So I borrowed my brothers.

Pioneer Woman said you had to have a Basset Hound. So I borrowed my brothers.

In addition to building raised beds (I built a third using some scrap wood I had Josh cut up for me over the weekend), I also painted and redecorated both our bathrooms and moved 3 yards of gravel.  I suppose it was a pretty productive week!  I’m not sure what inspired all the painting but I love how it turned out.

Loving this funky rack.

Loving this funky rack.

My decorating philosophy goes like this--if it makes you happy- do it.

My decorating philosophy goes like this–if it makes you happy- do it.

Color and new bathroom fixtures can totally transform a bathroom!

Color and new bathroom fixtures can totally transform a bathroom!

My New Bathroom color!  Woo!  I love it.

My New Bathroom color! Woo! I love it.

It was also an emotional roller coaster in terms of who we will be sharing our home with this coming school year.  We had planned on two exchange students.  We were working with a local organization and had planned on hosting two girls–one from China one from Korea.  The Chinese girl decided she did not want to live with us due to our vegan lifestyle.  The Korean gal was scheduled to come next week.  I contacted another organization our mutual friend of ours had mentioned to me.  They wanted to to host a boy from China.  They said it wasn’t a concern that we were already hosting a female.  We rapidly went through the process of being hosts for them.  Leif had a full on melt down when I attempted to take him to the orientation at the University Place library.  I got yelled at by a man telling me to control my child.  We had a home visit and everything was set to go.  That night, I got a call saying we wouldn’t be getting the Korean girl because her parents decided last minute they didn’t want her living with vegans!  “Well, at least we’re still getting the other kid!  Glad I did that!” I thought.  Then, on Monday, they called to tell me it wouldn’t work because Stadium High School was full.  BOO!!! So, it appears that we will be renting a room to a med student doing a rotation at St. Joe’s for at least a month, maybe three.  WOW.  Within a matter of days our house dynamics changed about 8,000 times.  I’m fully enjoying this time with just us.  Wandering around in my undies at night and not worrying about having the house as tidy as normal.