Sunday, December 19, 2010

Skipping Christmas- Sort of.

Ok, let's forget about Christmas for about ten minutes. I'm jumping a little ahead here, but I'm all 'Christmased Out' at the moment. I've heard one too many holiday songs, so to speak.
I want to start talking about goals for 2011. Big goals, little goals and everything in between.

Goal 1:
Become a master at cooking brunch. Afterall, it is my favorite meal of the day.
Example A:   Make phenomenal Shrimp & Grits.
I rarely eat seafood, but since it is the only type of meat I ever eat, it should be done well.



< (Brunch should be had somewhere like this. )

Brunch reminds me of gathering with friends. Having mimosas/coffee,  awesome food, and hungover conversations about the night before and the plans for the day. It reminds me of weekend getaways. It's too late for breakfast, but there's no chance you're lasting until lunch. Oh, and don't forget to add music.GOOD music.  Even if you're in a cabin and the only option is to turn the music on in someones car, it's important.

You know that book about the five love languages? Words of affirmation, quality time, acts of sevice etc... Well, there really should be a sixth language added. There is currently nothing said of language #6:
"Making Brunch for Friends You Love and Drinking alot of Mimosas."
I would venture to say that "acts of service" probably has me covered, but I love my language so much, it needs it's own category. It's the language that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. It gives me clarity to continue on through the week.
Had a lovely brunch with this lady this morning, to celebrate our Christmas.
I can't wait until I have a big space where I can cook brunch, and invite everyone over. Must master brunch first! Delicious grits (have you tried grit cakes?? ohmagawd.), eggs sardou, waffles, fruit, mmmmm...moving on before I let my tummy start grumbling.


Goal 2:
Grow my own stuff.


I think this is something I'm already doing fairly well at (considering we live in an apartment), so my goal is really just to keep it up. So far we have carrots, broccoli, brussel sprouts, okra, cabbage, green onions, sweet potato, figs, turnips, and herbs growing on the porch. I want to continue adding new things, including flowers and ornamentals. After all, it needs to be cute, right?
To add this year:
Garlic
Tomatoes
Thyme
Sage
Cilantro ((killed mine last summer)

Goal 3:
Love deeper and broader.



Learning to let go a little. Take deeper breaths and let love take over. Love the ones I already love a little stronger. Love the ones I don't know a little more: cashiers, sales people, telemarketers, servers, neighbors, etc. Being friendly when you don't necessarily have to be. I try reminding myself that I don't know what people are going though. I also that I have to remember that I don't even know what my loved ones are going through. Not everything is disclosed.

Looking at it, goal 3 isn't really so much of a 2011 goal. It's more of a life philosophy.

I'm sure there are more things to add to this list, but for now, this will do.
What are your 2011 goals?
Trying new things?
Doing the things you didn't do in 2010?

In good health,
Lauren

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Southern Style

As most of you already know, I am a full blown Southern Girl. Being a vegetarian in the South basically means you're missing out on most foods you grew up with.
With that said, I've pretty much kept it my goal to change just that!


Last week, while looking for a gumbo recipe, I stumbled upon this Jambalaya recipe and decided to give it a whirl. If you're not familiar, Jamabalaya is a traditional Louisiana Creole dish consisting of rice, meat (usually sausage, chicken, maybe shrimp), vegetabables and tomatoes. From my understanding, it was New Orleans' attempt at making "New World" Spanish Paella.

Wikipedia fills in my blanks with this:

 The most commonly repeated folklore is that the word derives from the combination of the French "jambon" meaning ham, the French article "à la" a contraction of "à la manière de" meaning "in the style of", and "ya", thought to be of West African origin, meaning rice.  

                                OR


 Late one evening a traveling gentleman stopped by a New Orleans inn which had little food remaining from the evening meal. The traveler instructed the cook, "Jean, balayez!" or "Jean, sweep something together!" in the local dialect. The guest pronounced the resulting hodge-podge dish as "Jean balayez."

Take your pick. I'm going to believe the first one.



Now, I haven't had Jambalaya in years!!! YEARS!
It is actually because of Jambalaya that I quit eating meat to begin with.
Up until a few years ago, I suffered with Migraines constantly. The horrible, crying, want-to-drive-myself-to-hospital kind. I'm pretty sure they started when I was 8. And then, after years of wondering if it was hormones, or too much sun, or too much noise, or if it was just genetics, I finally put the pieces together. I only got migraines when I went to parties or events. What do you eat at parties around here? Jambalaya (sausage), Gumbo (sausage), hot dogs, little smoked weiners, pepporoni pizza....and so on. Yep, I'm allergic to pork. I tested my theory out with jambalaya and quit eating meat all together shortly after.

So, you can see how I might miss Jambalaya! Running into this recipe has made me very happy, and even happier once I found out how good it came out!! I believe this recipe was originally adapted from Emeril Lagasse

Hearty swirl of olive oil- about 1/2 cup

2 cups yellow onions, small dice
1 cup red onions, small dice
1 cup bell peppers, small dice
1 cup celery, small dice
2 cups eggplant, diced
1 cup yellow squash, diced
1 cup zucchini, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced shallots
3 cups chopped tomatoes (I think 2 cans of Rotel would be good too!)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning, to taste (I was out so I just used pepper and tabasco/hot sauce)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 bay leaves
4 cups long grain rice
1 cup tomato paste (2 small cans)
8 cups vegetable stock
1 cup chopped green onions

Heat the oil in a large heavy pot (when they say big, they mean giant! Try a soup pot!)over medium heat. Add the onions, shallots, bell peppers and garlic and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant, squash, and zucchini, and saute until they are pretty soft.  Add the tomatoes. Season with salt, Creole seasoning and additional cayenne if desired. Add the bay leave, then add the rice and stir for 2 to 3 minutes.

Heat the tomato paste in a non-stick pan and stir, making sure it doesn't stick or burn, until the sugars in the paste begin to caramelize, and the paste begins to turn a deep mahogany color. Deglaze with some of the stock, stir and combine thoroughly, then add the tomato paste to the rest of the stock and stir until well-blended.
Add the vegetable stock/tomato mixture, stir and cover. Cook for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Do not stir the jambalaya while it's cooking. Remove from heat and let stand for 2-3 minutes. Add the green onions and mix thoroughly.


Honestly, this recipe wore my arm out with all of the chopping but it was totally worth it! To make matters even better, you can substitute out some of the vegetables. If you don't have something on hand, just compensate with something else. The only ingredients I wouldn't cut back on or substitute would be the onions and garlic.
This is a great recipe to make when you are feeding a crowd. It makes a TON of food, and is pretty cheap to make.

Gluten free, vegetarian goodness= happy girl!

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Reminder

This weekend Kenny and I drove down to New Orleans for a wedding he was standing in. The weather was beautiful, the friends were great, and the parties were a blast.


Saturday afternoon, I took a street car (trolley) into the French Quarter and decided to take a scenic walk and do a little window shopping by myself before I got dressed for the wedding. I strolled down the sidewalk and enjoyed the sounds and sights of New Orleans. There's alot to see, especially Halloween weekend.
As I was approaching a girl squatting next to a car, I noticed she had just finished changing a tire. A guy jumped into the car to test drive it, and she stood up to walk onto the sidewalk. Thoughts started streaming through my head....'she's awfully close to that car, he needs to stop rolling, she needs to get on the sidewalk, I should tell her something'......too late. Instantly, he knocked her onto the front of the car. I instantly thought she had a broken leg. In about 5 seconds, he lost control of the car, ran it up onto the sidewalk, and slammed into a column that was holding up a beautiful Louisiana porch. She was still on the front of the car. Smashed in between the car and the column. The metal column came crashing down.
Chaos ensued. People began running to the scene, neighbors running from their houses with towels, ice, anything. I stepped back two steps and immediately called 911. I reacted quickly, thank God. No answer. NO ANSWER?? The lady next to me did the same but got no answer either. HOW CAN 911 NOT ANSWER? Call again. Call again. Finally- a voice on the other end. Gave her street address & emphasized "immediately".
People are screaming for doctors, nurses, anyone who can help. They pull her away from the car and lay her on the concrete. There is blood everywhere.
I am sweating, panting, and shaking- barely able to breath but my adrenaline is booming. I yell that an ambulance is on the way. A few seconds later, I hear the sirens. Luckily, they were just down the street, prepared for whatever might happen on a busy Halloween weekend (festivals, parades, drunks, parties, etc).

I can't say that she passed away, but I can say that if she did not, she will probably be paralyzed or go through extreme surgeries to keep her alive. I have been frantically pouring over news articles trying to find a report about it. I feel terrible. It took hours (and a glass of wine) to stop shaking. I feel bad for the guy driving the car, too.

This weekend I was slapped in the face with a reminder of how short life can be. A reminder of how you should live like every day is your last, because when you least expect it, it may be over. That girl was probably no older than myself, and I was standing right next to her.

 
Now, this post may not be a typical Lauren/Daily Dose post at all- but I  I realized that I am a big proponent of living until you are old and having a brief period of being ill or no period of being ill, and then gently passing away in your sleep. Well of course I am. Aren't we all? I endorse good eating, living healthy and treating yourself well....so that you can live until you are old and stay well enough to enjoy it.  I never realized how partial I was to that idea, and how very little consideration I had put into unexpected death.
I will never be the same.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

So Long

It seems I've ignored my blog for five (5!!) months. Well, I've had a barely experimental summer in my kitchen. Quite possibly because our new apartment has the smallest kitchen imagineable. That alone makes it pretty hard to stay motivated about a blog such as mine. (I've already made a mental note to be more picky about kitchen size next time we move). But, the truth of it all is that I've been doing a terrible job of taking care of myself. I've made no time to cook healthy meals, excercise or relax. So obviously, I felt like I had no business writing this blog and being a hypocrite. But basically, I've just got a bunch of excuses. I was busy, I was tired, I have nothing to write about...wah wah wah.
The good news is, I'm cooking again and I started running with my bff. Check and Check!

But most important, I'm going to continue my quest in memory of my most dedicated reader & supporter. It would be his wish to see me continue to explore the world of natural healing.
If I stumble upon the cure to cancer, that wouldn't be too bad either.

Here's to picking back up where I left off.
In good health,
Lauren

Monday, May 10, 2010

A word on EFA's

"Essential Fatty Acids" sounds like something you almost want to avoid. Truth be told, Fat+Acids=good. And here's why:

All the hype about Fish Oil and Flax Seed Oil is actually for good reason. Though, one day I'll have to get on my soap box to tell you all how I really feel about "hype" and nutrition (i.e. fiber bars & acai berry) ...perhaps we should make that one day very soon because I'm getting all pepped up just thinking about the topic.
So what makes Fish Oil and Flax Seed Oil noteworthy? Now we're getting back to Essential Fatty Acids, which I will call "EFA's" from here. If you have Greek neighbors or know somebody practicing the "Mediterranean Diet", they're already enjoying the benefits of EFA's.

What are EFA's?
Fatty acids are "the basic building blocks of which fats and oils are composed" (1). While chewing on animal fat might not do you any good, some fats are very necessary. I cringe when people tell me they don't eat avocados because they're "fattening". Your body cannot make EFA's- you can only acquire them through your diet. Ever notice that your Greek friend has beautiful skin and hair? She can thank a good supply of EFA's for that! They also reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and prevent arthritis and blood clot formation. EFA's are also "brain food". A deficiency of essential fatty acids can lead to learning disabilities and trouble remembering information.

What's the deal with Omegas?
I see Omega-3 and Omega-6 used pretty regularly on food packages. I have peanut butter in my cabinet right now that says "Excellent Source of Omega-3!! ".
Omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid) and Omega-6 (linoleic acid) are the two basic categories of EFA's.
Omega-3 can be found in deep water fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), fish oil, some vegetable oils (canola), flax seed oil, and walnut oil.
Omega-6 can be found in raw nuts, seeds, legumes, and unsaturated vegetable oils (grape seed oil, primrose oil, sesame oil, and soybean oil)

What's the difference?
Omega-3: eicosapentaenoic acid, called EPA and docosahexaenoic or DHA
EPA and DHA are two types of Omega-3's that the body needs. They are the "building blocks for hormones that control immune function, blood clotting, and cell growth as well as components of cell membranes" (2). EPA and DHA are both found in fish.
For vegetarians, alpha-linolenic acid or "ALA" can be ingested through walnuts or flax seed oil, which them must be converted in the body to a usable form of EPA and DHA.  In modern diets, Omega-3's are more difficult to obtain than Omega-6's.
Omega-6's can be found everywhere! Soy Oil alone keeps most Americans stocked up on Omega-6. Since soy is used in nearly every processed food (cookies, crackers, sweets, fast foods, etc...), Americans are more than likely overwhelmed with this EFA. Omega-6 and Omega-3 act as opposites when it comes to hormone function. Dr. Weil says, "Those from omega-6 fatty acids tend to increase inflammation (an important component of the immune response), blood clotting, and cell proliferation, while those from omega-3 fatty acids decrease those functions. Both families of hormones must be in balance to maintain optimum health" (2).
And lastly,  I can't forget about my favorite Omega-6: GLA (gamma-linolenic acid). Borage, Black Currant, and Evening Primrose Oils are the best sources for GLA. It is known to prevent hardening of the arteries, heart disease, PMS, high blood pressure, and MS. I started taking Primrose Oil when I was a teenager and it worked wonders for PMS related issues. It's also a great inflammation reducer. Read more about it here.


So are you wondering if you may have an Omega-3 Deficiency? Here's a very small list of problems linked to a deficiency of Omega-3 Fatty Acids (3):
Acne, allergies, Alzheimer's, arthritis, ADD, autoimmune diseases, depression, diabetes, dry skin and hair,  Eczema, high blood pressure, learning problems, menopausal symptoms, MS, psoriasis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and stroke.

And the list could go on and on.

Visit here for more information on what EFA's can do for you.


One day soon, I'm going to talk about the importance of EFA's and Prostaglandins...



Resources:
1: "Prescription for Nutritional Healing" by Phyllis Balch, CNC
2:  Dr. Andrew Weil, "Balancing Omega-3 and Omega-6?"
3: "The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods" by Michael Murray, ND

Hope this information was helpful to you!

In Good Health,
                                                                           Lauren

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Spaghetti Squash...and other things

Let's just say I've been a bit pre-occupied...

Meet Hobbes
8 Weeks Old
Male Tabby
Likes: Playing "Red Mouse" & "Bitey Hand"
Dislikes:  His own tail

Potty-trained, neutered, microchipped and adopted from a local shelter. I'm in love.
I'm also going to get a water gun. Hobbes enjoys climbing K's record player....


Strangely enough, even though I now have the tiniest kitchen ever, I've actually whipped up some new recipes! The moving process was a bit of a fiasco and K cheated on the gluten diet a few times. Now I'm buckling down (mmuuuhahahah). In the process I discovered that this is one of his favorite new foods:

Spaghetti Squash Casserole       
Spaghetti squash is a great alternative to pasta. Not only is it nutritionally dense, it's also a great option for someone who can't have gluten, is watching their carbs, or is a diabetic. It's a great source of carotenes, vitamin C, B1, B6, niacin, fiber, folic acid and potassium. Diet's rich in carotene have been shown to protect against some cancers and type 2 diabetes. Did I mention it's delicious too?
Spaghetti squash is part of the Winter Squash family- though the name is a bit misleading since they're usually available all year round. Winter squash grow in the fall and early winter, but have harder shells than their summer counterparts, which enables them to have a very long shelf life. If you purchase one, be sure to make sure it has a hard shell and doesn't show signs of decay. Once you get it home, store it away from direct sunlight and keep it between 50 and 60 degrees. This will ensure it stays good for awhile. I keep mine in the bottom of the pantry.
How to cook:
Pierce the squash in several places, like you would for a baked potato. Then, cut it in half, longways. Place both halves in a baking pan with about an inch of water in the pan and bake for 45 minutes at about 350 degrees. You may have to bake longer, depending on the size of the squash. Once you take it out, allow it to cool for a few minutes so you can handle it.


You will need:

Spaghetti Squash (available at farmer's markets & grocery stores)
1 can diced tomatoes (do not strain)
1 can artichoke hearts, strain, rinse, chop
Handful of fresh mushrooms, chopped
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
2 cloves diced garlic
1/2 onion, finely diced
Mozzarella cheese to your liking
Grated Pecorino Romano
Sprig of fresh basil, fresh thyme, fresh oregano
Salt & Pepper
9X13 greased baking dish

Keep your oven on 350 from when you first baked the squash. While the squash is baking, sautee the garlic and onion until they begin to soften. Once the squash is done baking and it has cooled, scoop out the seeds.. Then, with a fork, begin pulling out the strands of "spaghetti" and put into your greased baking dish. You may have a little squash leftover- in which case you can refrigerate for up to 2 days and use for something else.

Once you're done scooping the squash, simply add your ingredients and mix well. I mix a little of the cheese into the mixture and then layer a nice sheet of cheese on the top. You can add as much or as little as you'd like and it will come out great. Do not cover. Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes or until the top begins to brown and the liquid from the tomatoes has cooked out a bit. Let it sit for a few minutes and then serve.

Very simple, very delicious! The great thing about this recipe is that you can add virtually anything you want! You can do a mexican version with black beans and cilantro or you can add peppers, eggplant, garbanzo beans- you name it!


Resource: The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray


I'm off to play with my baby kitten! Happy weekend everybody! :)
In good health,
Lauren

Monday, April 19, 2010

Miss me?

I have officially moved, and apologize for my 2+ week lapse. I did not  forget about you guys...Nor did I forget about healthy eating- though the latter has been questionable. I currently have a chickpea soup on the stove, which is unfortunately one of very few things that has been cooked in this new apartment. I need to tell you that my kitchen is as small as a hallway bathroom. Cabinet space...no. Counter space....no. Room to walk around...ehm...no.
Well yes, I've been busy. New job, new place. No excuse! This week I have vowed to stop making excuses, and just start getting back into the habit of cooking every night. I can't wait to take some picture and start posting new recipes! My new apartment is on the water = A combination of water-front and the summer will surely lead to some pretty inspirational meals.

Why don't you go ahead and leave me a comment to let me know that you still love me even though I've been neglecting my blog for a few weeks? The moral support will help the kick-starting process.

In good health,
Lauren

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Something old, something new

For the last year, K and I have been trying to sort through things and get rid of stuff. Give it away, sell it, whatever--we wanted to minimize our belongings. We wanted to be portable. We wanted to be able to pick up and move or travel or go back for our Masters. We wanted to feel like we had that kind of freedom. We wanted to always be able to fit our belongings into a one bedroom apartment if we needed to.
And now we're in the process of moving. And strangely, even after all of that, I'm looking around feeling overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that we have. I'm also looking around feeling nostalgic.

The first place I ever lived alone
The first time I ever lived in a new city
The first place K and I ever lived together.
This is the place where I became a vegetarian
The kitchen where I first began really cooking



Firsts are hard to get over. Seconds are never the same

Goodbye house, it has been fun and memorable. Now we're moving on. We've both taken new jobs and we're on to a new place. This time, we get to move into a new place together. Most importantly, we're growing and changing...life is incomplete without those things.



P.S. This was before I did the garden. It's pretty fabulous now- pansies and snapdragons are in full bloom!
P.S.S. We get to keep our old keys to the place, I can't wait to come up with something creative to do with them. The keys to our first place together- what great memorabilia :)


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Not for the lazy

Believe it or not, sometimes sleepiness is not necessarily a symptom of something that we need to run out and have checked. Sometimes, it's just a good reason to curl up on your couch and relax. Pretend that you have nothing else important to do, and just nap. This is not something that I find diffucult...or ever have for that matter. I used to come home from high school and nap on the regular. Even as I got older and had a full time job during college, I almost always found time for a nap. I'm nearly a professional...and not lazy at all. Naps are actually quite smart (yes, I'm patting my own back).
 Napping has been shown to reduce stress and the risk of heart attack. It also helps keep you sharp and alert. This Boston Globe article (How to Nap), shows that research on pilots proves that a nap can increase performance by 34% and alertness by 54%.  Besides that, researchers are beginning to see that naps can also help:
- Prevent Depression
- Boost Mood
-Improve Memory
-Maintain a Healthy Weight
-Lower the risk of Diabetes
and more...

If you're like most people and you don't get 8 hours of sleep a night, a nap might be essential for you. Research shows that even a short nap is better than no nap at all, but 30 minutes is ideal. One of my favorite tricks to use, so I don't get groggy: have a small bit of caffeine before you nap. It will take about thirty minutes to kick in, so you won't oversleep or wake up groggy and cranky.

Read How to Nap for your keys to napping success.
I'm off to snuggle up on my couch and you should too. Don't forget to set your alarm.



Sweet Dreams

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Season of Change

I got home from work today and opened up my mail. Nothing exciting...except for a calendar that informed me that daylight savings time begins March 14th. Can I express to you how happy I am? Do you have any idea how much I miss the sunshine?? The days of 8pm sunsets are my favorites. It reminds me of being a kid- riding my bike after dinner and only coming in to bathe and go to bed.

Exciting news #2: I got a letter today from my very best German friend. I miss her terribly and it's tempting to move to Europe in hopes that everyone there is as awesome as she is. Naturally, she packed me some delicious chocolate from the Alps. I'll keep her ;)
Exciting news #3: I got a new job, and today was my last day at the office I despised. No more office work for me!! Woohoo!
Exciting news #4: It looks like I will be moving back to my home town with this new job. At first I was a little hesitant about that (since I felt like I was moving backward, instead of forward), but now I'm thinking it's all part of my path. Everything seems to be lining up well, and I'm gettting a breath of fresh air. I will miss my beloved apartment, but it seems to be time to move on.
In the midst of all of this, I've been a little worried that the crazy schedule/ stress is going to ruin my immune system. I joke that I'm going to get a stomach virus, sinus infection, and strep throat all at once. But seriously. I've been making it a special point to be very cautious about what I'm eating and making sure I stay healthy during this crazy time. Therefore, I've been pre-making alot of dishes. A few nights ago I made a double batch of stir fry and make a few togo containers, and tonight I made a massive batch of these delicious stuffed peppers. I derived this recipe from Vegetarian Times.


Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
(A Great source of protein and very delicious!)


You Will Need:
1 onion finely chopped
2 ribs of celery finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1- 10oz bag of frozen spinach thawed and squeezed dry.
                      (You could certainly used fresh also)
1 tbs cumin
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
3 large carrots grated
4 large red bell peppers sliced long ways seeded and ribs removed
3/4 cups quinoa, rinsed
1 1/2 cups pepper jack. (I used a mix of pepper jack, swiss, and parmesan and it was great!)

1). Preheat oven to 350. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sautee onions, celery and garlic in a little olive oil until they start to turn soft. Add the spinach.
2). Drain the tomatoes and retain the juice in a seperate cup. Rinse the black beans and quinoa.
3). Add carrots, tomatoes, cumin, black beans and quinoa and cover with about 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. and reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes. Add a handful of cheese to the mixture
4). Pour remaining tomato juice into the bottom of your baking pan. I used a mixture of red, green, and yellow bellpeppers and alignd them into my pan. When the bean mixture was ready, I spooned it into the bell peppers and covered with foil. Bake for about an hour.
5). After an hour remove the foil and top with remaining cheese. Heat until the cheese is bubbly and brown.

Very Delicious, very healthy. It's important to rinse the canned beans well. This will remove the brine like substance that makes them full of sodium. You can buy canned tomatoes that do not have any sodium added to them. Vegetarian Times says that the stats on this meal are something like this:
Calories 279

Protein 14g
Total Fat 10g
Saturated Fat 3g
Carbs 36g
Choelsterol 15mg
Sodium 518mg
Fiber 10g
Sugar 9g


If any of you have great quinoa recipes you'd like to share, I'd love to hear them!  I hope you guys are getting to enjoy some beautiful weather or at least will be soon...
In good health,
Lauren

Monday, March 1, 2010

Weekend Getaway

I applaud myself for peeling away for a few days. We stayed with K's best friend in this beautiful country home for the weekend, and I couldn't be happier about it. I'm convinced there is not a better place to go to get away from the nasties. When I say "nasties", I mean: Work, City Life, Gross Air, Technology, and lack of nature. K calls his time away the "Re-acclimation". I couldn't agree more.


 
 
Enjoy the music, the pictures and the recipe. Especially the recipe. It's the best I've ever had.
 

 
The scenery from this huge bath-tub? A cow pasture. :)

The weather was perfect the whole time we were there. The days were sunny and breezy and the nights had a little chill. Saturday night I whipped up some homemade hot eggnog.

My Homemade Spiced (and Spiked) Hot Eggnog

2 cups half & half
1 cup whole milk
4 large (fresh) eggs
1/2 cup good quality sugar
1 tsp real vanilla extract
1 tsp nutmeg
dash cinammon
dash ground cloves

Let the eggs sit out until about room temperature.Warm the half & half, milk, and sugar over medium heat, stirring periodically, until it starts to froth. Meanwhile, in a blender, whip the eggs on high until they become a creamy yellow. Remove the milk from heat and put a lid on it. With the blender running on low, slowly pour the milk mixture through the lid into the eggs. You want to use the lid so that it just slowly drips in. Once about half of the milk mixture has been added, you can pour the rest in a little faster. Add your spices and vanilla and puree until evenly mixed. You can add a little bourbon to it if you want it spiked. It's really good either way. If you have leftovers, make sure you refrigerate it promptly. It makes a really good cold eggnog also.
Serves about 6


On Sunday, we went down to Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge. Since it was one of our warmest days in months, the alligators were out sunning. Everywhere. I've never seen so many alligators in my life. There were varieties of ducks  and water birds too. It was a beautiful drive through farm lands to and from the refuge.





There are few better things in life than beautiful places, good food, and friends.


"When we return to the root, we gain the meaning"
-Hsin-Hsin Ming

Click below for more pictures >>>

Monday, February 22, 2010

Winter Gifts

Honestly, there is very little I enjoy about winter. One of the better things that comes of it are Japanese Magnolias. (No offense, Pansies).
I should also mention that I stole these from my neighbor's yard. I think it's okay, since he's out of town. Someone should enjoy them right?

Photos by Yours Truly ;)

There is Nothing you can see that is not a flower;
There is nothing you can think that is not the moon
-Matsuo Basho



I wish you all a fabulous week,
Lauren

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