Wednesday, August 18, 2021

August state of mind

August midpoint.    Let's just say that so many things have come and gone thru my mind lately.  Recently I did an accidental drive wipe of my phone, effectively eliminating at least 3,000 images and video - most of which were not backed up.  OOPS!  My phone battery would no longer charge, and I was desparate to do the internet fix while I watched the video.  Guess I should have done a back-up first - Lesson Learned!     

To start off the month, we spent a week off-grid camping with family and friends, had so much laughter, tears of joy, commonalities refreshed, and self care time (floating in the lake, painting on canvases).    We even brought the kittens camping!   It was a refreshing week to be isolated and away from the world (still close to home so I could check gardens), that while the delta variant was hitting, we were safely tucked away in a group camp.

That Saturday night, after a family meal of chili, seared steak, jalepeno poppers, and garlicky brussel sprouts, we huddled under the awning of our trailer and a few pop up tents as the rain was unleashed - the first measurable rain since June!   We all agreed it was a blessing as we were together. A little rain (it was almost flooding some areas of camp) coudn't diminish our family time.

I must say, I needed that.  We all camped last year during the covid high season, spaced out in individual sites.  This year was different as we were in an isolated group site, with no phone service, no power hookups and a well for water.   It was heaven.  There is something elemental about being out in the world, just yourself, no tech services (we took images and video - that unfortunately got erased), and games and laughter.  It felt like I became more grounded, my anxiety melted away, and I was refreshed.  

Back in real life, now I'm facing a bigger challenge.  I've woken up feeling nauseous the last few mornings (not pregnant), sniffling, and some minor headaches - and I know what I need to do.   It's time for an AIP reset for a few weeks, try to heal some of my gut and kick this inflammation I've been fighting.  It's not allergies - but it is a reaction.  Wheat, corn, dairy and sugar are my main sources of inflammation, along with legumes and nuts.   Thankfully I've taken as many precautions lately to keep my immune system from tanking out completely.   I even cancelled our annual Gumbo night.  It's such a bummer, but it was neccessary.   We're also under a total fire ban - so our smoker which uses real wood can't be used.    

What is AIP you ask?  It's a protocol delveloped by two wonderful ladies, and the community that they provide is life saving!   It's not a forever diet, it's an elimination plan to reset and allow you to focus on healing your body using lifestyle changes and nourish it with gut healthy healing foods (bone broth time), until your symptoms go away.  I last partook in a full AIP a few years back.   It's time to get back to healthy again and this tool is the way I know how to do it.  

What I'm planning on eliminating for 2 - 4 weeks (or however long i feel it takes):
Wheat products (bread and pasta are being put on hold for a bit).
Dairy (no more cheese or sour cream for bit)
Corn products (fresh corn is okay, but most gluten free people are crying about this)
Added sugars (i don't use excess sugar anyway)
Most legumes (beans, coffee beans.......)
Nuts (sorry family.... just kidding, they aren't that nutty)
processed foods
food additives or premade items

What I'll be limiting
Rice, oatmeal, Eggs, nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, pepper, paprika), alcohol, and sugary fruits.

So now you must think - Okay, so what CAN you eat?
From scratch goods, meats, most veggies, berries, salads, soups, stews, and all sorts of other compliant meals!  Can you say Cauliflower rice stir fry!

What's my end result look like?  
This is in no way a diet, or a way to lose weight.  This eating protocol is to help my body kick out the inflammation it's fighting due to the foods I've been eating.   My nasusea is a big red flag that I'm about to get sick with whatever I come near, if i don't act fast!   It does take about 30 days to heal your stomach lining, which will in turn heal my digestion issues, cause less sinus pressure and less headaches, and hopefully - stop my runny nose!     Fall is a great time to do this protocol as there are so many healing soups that are super packed with nutrient dense foods!      I also have an ace up my sleeve.  I'm not as reactive to whole grains or rice, so some gluten free options I can have (hello 5B's in concrete!).

I just looked up to see this long post.    I guess you can say I am passionate about a lot of things.   My family, my health, my garden, our pets, and so much more.   

I am taking the time to read a little every day (yes I use my amazon fire tablet as my kindle), I am setting up an outside painting area to do some additional canvases, and I'm taking my time in the garden to run my hand on my plants as I smile watching them grow and bear fruit (squash is GREAT with AIP).

Life is precious.   You never know when it will end, and you can only hope that the memories you leave behind you with loved ones - are good ones.   May they tell your story for years to come around a campfire!  More to come on my next blog!


Monday, July 26, 2021

In the garden

I've said it many times, gardening is all about hope, patience, and some kind of faith.     Whenever I plant a seed, I hope it sprouts, then I have to have patience that it will prosper, and faith that it will make it to harvest!     Basil is our story today.   It lives warm and cool and water, lots of water!

Can you guess what I'll be making over the next few days?    More pesto cubes!

 Tonight caprese salad with pesto pork chops.   Yum!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

July 2021

July 2021.  The amount of laughter in our house has increased immensely, due to the addition of two kittens.  Our dog Sauk has anxiety issues.  He was in need of a buddy, and when my sister’s cat charlotte had kittens – we had the kids pick two as playmates for Sauk.  So far, a week later, we have no regrets.  Addy (withthe mustache) and Marilyn are 10 weeks old this week, and they are settling in quite nicely into our family.   Addy is the mustache cat, she is very inquisitive and loves to be wherever you are.   Marilyn is a little bit more independent, but she loves to snuggle up to Sauk when she first wakes up.   The adventures of these two are going to be inspiration for my blog and beyond for years to come!   


I must admit, I’ve not been cooking or reading too much lately.  We went thru a heatwave that made eating hot food undesirable.  Now that we're back to our normal July weather - I'm ready to dive in to some creative dishes!   As far as reading goes, I did sign up for Kindle Unlimited, but feel that I just don’t have time to sit and read and do nothing else.   My time lately is filled with constant cleaning, organizing – both inside and outside.  I did finish the a new Nora Roberts - which felt great to read and relax.    My goal for the rest of July is to take at least a few hours each week and sit and read something.   It may be a magazine or a book, but it helps ease my mind from all the jumbled thoughts in my head.

Outside, the garden was planted late due to the greenhouse construction.  It’s still not fully done, but it’s done for now and thus the plants are growing at a wonderful rate!   We have tons of squash planted, tomatoes, cukes, greens, garlic, onions, peppers and herbs.   I have a few more late season items to plant, re-do the outter fence to keep the chickens out, and plant fall flower seeds.

We did loose one of our beloved hens due to the end of June  heatwave.  It was 113 degrees, and the humidity was so high it was hard to breathe.  The hens were brought inside for a day, and one of our girls has yet to being laying again as she was on the verge of death herself.  Violet was our best layer, and she is missed much by the remaining three (picutre left to right is Biggie, Sweet Pea and Milly)   We are looking towards the fall when it's our plan to get a few pullets to add to the flock.    These ladies do more than just lay eggs -they are our natural pest control, fertilizers, and compost makers.     


We had a family visit over Independence day weekend, and the weekend after.  This visit was put off last year due to Covid-19.  We had a blast, and ended up doing a full seafood spread with local oysters, clams and a seafood chowder.   We had so many oysters leftover that I made a spread for the 5th of July bbq.    I must say I did it pretty well and I feel it will be a crowd pleaser for those that enjoy oysters!  I didn't get picture of the spread, so you'll have to use your imagination. 



Oyster  Spread

Courses:  Condiments  and  sauces

Ingredients

1 cup  Cooked  Oysters

1/2  cup  Cooked  Steamer  clam  meat  

8  oz cream  cheese,  softened

1/3  cup  sour  cream 1/3  cup  parmesan  cheese  -  shredded  or  grated

1/2  tsp  marinated  garlic

Salt

Pepper

Worstershire  Sauce

2  TBSP chopped  Green  Onion

1 TBSP Olive  Oil

Milk  or  half  and  half  (to  thin)

Optional:  Hot  Sauce

 

Directions

Rinse  clams  and  Oysters  to  remove  any  grit

Add  to  food  processor:  seafood,  cream  cheese,  parm,  sour  cream,  olive  oil,  and  garlic

Pulse  a  few  times  to  combines

Add  a  few  shakes  of  worstershire  sauce,  green  onions,  pulse  again

Check  for  consistency  -  if  too  thick,  add  a  splash  of  milk

Process  on  low  for  30  seconds

Add  salt  and  pepper  to  taste

Taste  test  again  -  adjust  seasonings  to  your  preference.  If  too  thick,  add  another  splash  of milk.

Process  another  15  to  30  seconds  until  smooth.  Do  not  overmix.

Transfer  to  a  bowl.

Cover  and  chill  for  30  minutes  to  an  hour. Serve  cool  with  crackers,  crudités,  or  pita  chips

Notes

Will  keep  in  fridge  for  up  to  3  days

Cook  Oysters  on  the  grill  a  day  before  for  the  best  flavor.  Ok  to  substitute  them  for  jarred (glass  or  plastic)  oysters.

Use  extra  small,  small,  or  medium  sized  oysters.

 

Upcoming in the next chapter - the cookbook progress, and what's growing in the garden!


Sunday, May 2, 2021

May update; Reading, Greenhouse and more

Let's try this again.  I wrote out a beautiful piece about how I have bought more ebooks than print books this year, how I loved and laughed at the Addison Holmes Mystery series by Liliana Hart; how my greenhouse was coming along and in trying to help my tablet, I closed this app and lost all of my work.   
First world problems, right? I may be frustrated right in this moment, but it will pass.  So let me catch you up.  I originally found Liliana Hart via her Gravedigger series, which lead me to read the JJ Grave Series - which is ebook only.  I bought an Amazon Fire 7 thinking it would be a good tablet (it wasn't), which it ultimately became my Kindle.   The battery life on the Fire sucks.  It barely lasts a day,  not even being used due to the ads that wake it up.  It won't stay off while charging and takes the old charger and is like a trickle.  Do you know how frustrating it is to watch your battery drain as you reach a real steamy part of your book (not that I would consider these housewife level steamy, but there is a lot of insinutating and I have an active imagination).  At least with a print book I don't even worry about charging or dropping it, or if I accidently spill a bit of coffee during laughter.   

I will definetly recommend the Addision Holmes books to anyone needing a good series to laugh along with -but it comes with a warning. You will crave ice cream.  I woke up one morning after a dream I purchased a full boat banana split at Dairy Queen.    Yup, you guessed it - I went to the store and bought all the ingredients to make such a dessert.  It was wonderful - see for yourself.

The only downfall to reading though, is that you can't multi-task as much.   It's hard to read and do house chores, and forget about chicken and garden chores.   The ladies would rather try and eat the kale plants than sit quietly and read with me.    

Speaking of gardens - the greenhouse frame is up.   We were just talking about rafters, and all I can think about is how many herb boxes I'll need, and routered plant signs, and a kitchen herb box in front.  There are so many choices  of what to build first and what to plant and so forth.  I'm just excited to have an enclosed space to start garden plants away from the hungry little monsters that lay us breakfast.

Greenhouse progress.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Looking back to plan for the future

Here we are, a year later from last year.   Life has changed a bit - but not always for the worst.   We are  about to start prepping for Irish Feast Week - just like last year.   Garden veggies are being planned, seeds started, yard cleanup, and with more sunlight and warmth, the flora and fauna are budding.   

Feast week is about saying good  bye to Winter, hello to Spring and Hope for whatever comes next.

So what does come next?  It felt like last year, things were changing so much, I like to say it was "fluid".   If you were resistant, then you hit the wall and got a headache.  But, if you were fluid, your stress was less and you didn't have a constant headache.    We have always been a couple who has never been afraid of work, or trying things ourselves.  We have chickens, our dog, our gardens, and am hoping to complete our new outdoor bbq patio this year.   Doing things ourselves has never been an issue.

With this upcoming Irish Feast Week, I am planning on writing down and taking pictures to include it in my still a work in progress cookbook.   Things that may or may not be made, sausage rolls, cheddar drop biscuits, irish cream, champ, beets, steamed cabbage and carrots, and of course, corned beef.  Dishes we have done in the past, and know they are our classic American-Irish favorites.  

As always, on the Sunday of Irish Feast week, I like to take a few moments and reflect on the ending season and look forward to the coming Spring and Summer.  My family is so spread out  -with the closest relative over an hour away, so we dont get many guests unless its something long planned.  Plus with the pandemic, we're not able to gather.   I am missing having people over - planning for dinner, laughing, and making memories.  We do have one guest planned for this week, B's mom is coming to celebrate!  This is her first time being with us for St. Patrick's day, so I can't wait to share this special holiday with her.  

Looking forward, new varities of tomatoes are started - greenhouse designs are still being worked on, fuscia's are budding, and I am hearing more birds returning.  Knowing how last year was more like an isloation experiment, we are looking for this year to start adding in more things - people, pets, features, and even a new business!   

What are you looking forward to most for the upcoming season?

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Spring Planning 2021

Sitting at home, in the chair while looking out at my front gardens, I dropped the maeer and did my seed order today.   What surpised me most was that I had more flower and herbs in my cart than vegetables.  Maybe that's because I have been saving seeds for quite some time.  I tend to be shifting to a more all around garden - herbs, vegetables, fruits, and flowers.   Who knows - maybe I'll make my own set of teas.

Looking forward to spring, new growth, new plants and rethinking my garden plan.   

2021 has been a wild ride thus far, but we're looking forward to this summer, yard projects, our annual gumbo night festivities, new dishes, and hopefully some new furniture (built by us).

I am still working on my cookbook project too.  One recipe I've been developing is our Salisbury steak.   

A top quality beef, egg, spices, cracker crumb, onion, garlic browned then simmered in a mushroom onion gravy, and topped with fresh picked parsley.  I won't post up the recipe as I still have some work to do.  But I'll give y'all a picture.  The answer to curious minds, yes I licked the spoon.


Saturday, January 9, 2021

Ready, set, go!

With my third cup of coffee in hand, I am finally ready to start my day.   I've made lists, I've talked with a few people, laughed, played with the dog.  It's time to do a Saturday clean!

My goals for this year are to walk more - around our property, out in nature, and on the treadmill.   I don't have weightloss on the forefront of my mind.  I do have lung health, heart health, and overall excercise for peace of mind.   I hate to carve out time to goto a gym, and living rurally there is just not enough reasons to pay a fancy membership fee when I live close to nature.  Move with Intention - and do it with a purpose to feel your body, know your body and live your best life, all with trying to do no intentional harm to others.  

Unfortunately that goal is about to be derailed as I go in for surgery on my ankle.  I'll be non-weight bearing for a few weeks, then limited, then will work my way back to being able to take a nice walk in the woods with the dog.   This is my prep weekend and I'm making the best of it!

Making the best of things is kind of a theme around here for 2021.  Who would have guessed we'd be where we are today, trying to make the best out of a volatile nation with such uncertainty hanging over our heads.   I choose to not stress about what I cannot personally change and instead focus on my immediate future, for that is something I can do something about.

Make do with what you have, and work hard for things you don't.    Forgive others their trespasses, look for the joy in a moment and be grateful for your surroundings.  Don't let hate and fear overrun your emotions, there is much joy and peace in the world - it is only our own reactions we can control.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Reflections on a New Year - 2021 and beyond!

New Years 2021 rolled in easily, with neighbors lighting fireworks, and Sauk scared of them, but not terrified.  We used his "stressful event" medicine prescribed for him last Summer, in full anticipation of last night.  He was more like a happy drunk - bumping into the walls and couch, drooling, drinking lots of water, and eating plenty.  This was such a difference over the past few years - he was scared, but not panicked.   What all of this really means is that I was able to sleep and not stress, and wake up early to do some quiet reflection and blogging.   


I am starting my morning with watching Josh Morningstar's Coffee & Cigarettes live stream.  He was reflecting on some artists we've lost over 2020 and the anniversary of the death of Hank Williams, almost 70 years ago.  Josh stated "There will be another Hank", and that's so very true.    With the short shot of fame he had, he left a profound legacy.

The statement had me thinking of my own impact and legacy.  I don't talk about my struggle with infertility much to outsiders.   A few years back we did 10 months of fertility treatments - after two years of no natural success.   With every passing month,  even though my ultrasounds showed promise, I was not able to concieve and struggled with crippling depression.   I reacted well to the drugs, but my general health and mental well being were being compromised the longer we went.  We had to make the hard decision to stop treatments and accept that we wouldn't be human parents after a risky situation presented itself.  It's taken a lot to overcome the sense of failure I felt and manage the depression and anxiety that comes with the realization the dream you had will never come true.  Some days it would creep up and overwhelm me, and other days it's like a sad song on the radio - a passing minute or two (like today, the anniversary of when we found out it was too risky to continue).  It's taken a few years, lots of tears, some long talks and lots of mindset shifts to not dwell what was not to be.   I have accepted that I'll never be a human mom (and to not fall into a depression when my irregular period skips a month), but I am a dog mom and a chicken mom - I've made peace with that.  I have a very fulfilling life and a freedom that I wouldn't have had we had children.  

My legacy is my life.  I freely share it with family, friends, coworkers, and all who read this blog, who attend our events, who find comfort in my words, or laugh or smile at a gift. We all have impact and make everlasting ripples across time.  These words are out here forever - so let it be known that this IS my legacy to all.   May you find comfort in them long after I am gone (may that be many decades from now).  

So here we are, the first day of 2021,  I am listening to Josh Morningstar, drinking my coffee, planning out  my goals for 2021 and so many other things.   It's my annual tradition to take this time, set some goals and do some planning.   2021 is going to be a rough year. Y'all thought 2020 was bad, nope - that was just the prelude.  2021 is going to show true colors of folks in your circle. I have a feeling we'll see people lose their homes, lose jobs, lose unemployment, and see the trickle down of those cuts we all are making until another crash happens due to these cumulative circumstances (like folks relying on loans, credit, and deferred payments (thankfully we've not deferred anything)).   The best thing that we all can do is buckle down and make some hard decisions before things get worse.  If folks make informed decisions - we'll all come out the other side better for it (and maybe some savings!).

Due to workplace restritions that B has faced in 2020, (can't weld remotely), cost of living going up,  we're looking to cut out wasteful, luxury, or unneccessary expenses.  We are going to take a few calculated risks this year and open up a new business part time (more to come later).  In looking back,  it's where we've been heading for several years.  We held off doing this last year to do some market research, but Life is too short to just survive.  We want to live, and enjoy these moments.

There are other things in my immediate future that will be coming to fruition in 2021.    My cookbook project is moving forward - I am making a commitment to self publishing for Christmas 2021.  I've found a few printers who will allow me to print on demand - I can even sell them too!   Saukthedestroyer Calendars are coming out for 2021 (several are in print production right now).  If they turn out good, I'll offer them up for print on demand!   My new greenhouse will be up by Spring (bigger and a permanent structure).   Our outdoor kitchen project should hopefully be ready by our annual Gumbo Night celebration (can you say Pizza Oven?).   I am really looking forward to all of these things!  

My wish for anyone reading this - Be kind to yourself today, but take stock at your life in this snapshot - and make some tough decisions for 2021.  Ask yourself - what is your legacy?  Are there bucket list items you wish to do?  What small, actionable steps can you take each day to achieve a larger goal?  
I am hoping that as we move forward into 2021, people are kind, compassionate and steadfast in knowing that this crisis will pass - we're in the midst of a historical record - we can choose how the world sees us.    How do you want to see yourself one year from now?