Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dreams

Should I dream of Hawaii...

   gentle breezes rustling
             
             the palm fronds.

   clear blue sky,

             fluffy white clouds.

   endless Sunrise and Sunset,

   endless waves...

   like a heartbeat,

             as old as the earth.

My soul connects,

   and returns.

in one heartbeat, one dream.


Peace and Love,

Stephanie

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November 2013

This year the autumn is gentle and subdued. The leaves have been changing colors at a slow and steady rate and are now falling, falling, falling. The woods are emptying of their leaf cover and beginning to show their bones. Now, I plant my feet into the earth and draw into the steady force of gravity. I ask for grounding, grounding, grounding. Everything, including myself, moving down, to the ground. It's a cycle, and here we are, at this place. Grateful to be.




Peace and Love,

Stephanie

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Grape Vine Wreaths

Hello,

We have lived in our current home for the past six years. The property includes about three acres of woods, along with about one acre of yard and garden space. The previous owners had some of the larger trees cut from the woods, leaving space for sunlight to reach the ground. Because of this, there is quite a bit of blackberry growing and also lots of grape vine. So, I figured if life gives you grape vines...make wreaths!!

Grape vine wreaths are best made during the growing season. The vines are supple then and can easily be cut and fashioned into wreaths which then dry. I wanted to make some wreaths last December though, so I went into the woods and cut some vines. 




The next step was to soak them in a bucket of water so they would soften up enough to allow me to shape them into wreaths.



After soaking for a couple of days, I was able to create a couple of wreaths.

I'm very happy with the results, however, from now on I'll be making them during the summer. The process is just so much easier.

Here's one I made for my mother in law's December birthday...





And here's the one that is on our door now...









I'm really looking forward to making more wreaths this summer!!

Peace and Love,

Stephanie

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent; December 2011

Today, we opened the first window on our Advent Calendar.















Peace and Love,

Stephanie

Friday, August 12, 2011

Purple Pesto Calzone




My middle child is leaving for college this weekend, so I harvested all the purple basil I could to make one of his favorites...pesto calzone. 






Pesto

3 cups packed basil (leaves only, no stems)
3-4 large cloves of garlic
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
1/3 cup olive oil

Puree‛ everything together in a food processor, until smooth.








                                                                                                                                                                    
Calzone Dough


2 cups lukewarm water
1 T. sugar
1 T. salt
1 T. instant yeast
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
5 - 6 cups unbleached flour 

Mix everything together in electric mixing bowl. Knead using dough hook, until smooth and elastic. (5 - 10 minutes)
Turn out into oiled bowl, cover loosely, and let rise until doubled. (1 - 2 hours) 

Mix 1 cup pesto with 2 cups ricotta cheese.

Gently deflate dough and divide into 6 -8 pieces. Roll each piece into a circle. Place a portion of filling on one side if the dough and fold the other side over. Seal the edges and prick with a fork or knive to create steam vents. Brush with olive oil.





Bake in a well preheated 425˚ oven for about 20 minutes until lightly browned. I use parchment paper on a pizza stone.




Enjoy!!

Peace and Love,

Stephanie 




Monday, July 18, 2011

Roasted Zucchini and Tomato Rice Gratin w/ Fresh Herbs




I was concerned about my zucchini and squash plants in mid June when I first noticed some squash bugs hanging out on them. This is my third year growing vegetables. 2007, 2008, and this year. In 2008 I waged war on squash bugs and lost and I decided I wasn't going to put myself and the bugs through all that again. I just picked up the bugs and threw them into the woods. Anyway, I had decided that gardening is about the process, not the results. I enjoy digging in the dirt, listening to the birds and admiring nature.

I considered buying some organic pesticide, but I really didn't want to spend the money. Anyway, I couldn't sprinkle a bunch of poison around those plants. Organic or not it would kill bugs and the garden is well populated with really large beautiful garden spiders and many more innocent bugs. A few zucchini wouldn't be worth all that. I weeded, watered, mulched and just let things be.



I have one zucchini plant and one yellow crook neck squash. Both heirloom varieties from Uwharrie Heirlooms. These plants are awesome. They are strong and healthy and producing plenty of delicious fruit. There are still a few squash bugs but there are also still a bunch of spiders and other beneficial insects. The garden is in natural balance.

Yesterday, after harvesting basil, oregano, thyme, tomatoes, and zucchini I created this gratin for our dinner. It was really delicious. We had it with a salad which included homegrown green peppers, cucumbers, and more purple basil, along with homemade ranch dressing.



Roasted Zucchini and Tomato Rice Gratin w/ Fresh Herbs
adapted from this

3 cups cooked brown rice
1 ½ pounds zucchini, sliced ¼ inch thick
5-6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound San Marzano tomatoes, sliced ¼ thick
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (basil, thyme, oregano)
½ cup grated Italian Blend Cheese (mozzarella, provolone, asiago, parmesan, romano), divided


Toss zucchini with 1 tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a shallow baking pan. Toss tomatoes with 1/2 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt in another baking pan.

Roast zucchini in upper third of oven and tomatoes in lower third at 450° F., turning vegetables once halfway through roasting, until tender and light golden, about 10 minutes for tomatoes; 20 minutes for zucchini. Leave oven on.

Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt in 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet, until soft and translucent about 7- 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in herbs.
Stir together onion mixture, cooked rice, eggs, 1/4 cup cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground pepper. Spread half of rice mixture in a shallow 2-quart baking dish, then top with half of zucchini. Spread remaining rice mixture over zucchini, then top with remaining zucchini. Top with tomatoes and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Sprinkle extra basil leaves on top.

Bake until set and golden brown, about 15 - 20 minutes.

Enjoy!





Peace and Love,

Stephanie

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Garden; 2011 Update

Everything around us is growing, growing, growing! The plants I got from Hugh at the Farmers Market are amazing. Look what they have done!!!

They grew from this:





To this:



The Mammoth Sunflowers have been growing:




And the grapevines:

 


I planted some Black Eyed Susan seeds last year. They didn't do very much then but have returned and are flowering nicely:





 Vegetables:


peppers
yellow squash

cucumber

zucchini
tomatoes


This is one of the local inhabitants:





 

And this is what happens when you go on vacation and leave your vegetables alone for a week...



very large zucchini


Peace and Love,


Stephanie