This is the view I want to see from my deck every morning when I wake up. I can just imagine Sweets and I curled up on a cozy little outdoor sofa, sipping our coffee, listening to the peaceful sound of waves rolling onto the shore and the chatter of birds on the beach, ingesting part of the sea with every salty breath we take… as i think about this a wave of content washes over me… it’s so overwhelming I almost want to cry. The ocean is so majestic and beautiful. It calls to me. I long for it.
What do you long for?
Fire & Heart
What makes you fiery, passionate, and moved to action?
First up…The gorgeous, passionate, and inspiring
Michelle from Dust and Wanderlust.
I hate to pull this old saying into a new and beautiful series, but there is nothing that describes my philosophy in life more so then “to thine own self be true”. I spent more than a decade living true to someone else in my marriage, and in the end I didn’t recognize myself. I was drowning more every day, losing more of myself and not liking the example of a woman I was setting for my two young kids.
So I drove in search of answers. I drove to the piece of rugged, beautiful land where strong women in my family had lived before me, women who had taken chances that were unpopular and risky, but right for them. And I stood on the threshold of this old ranch where they had worked the land, wrote their letters, built valuable friendships and learned their own value.
And even with the Wyoming wind just passing me by slowly and quietly, I heard its message from my relatives loud and clear. And it told me to live my life authentically and without regrets. That women in history who had left their mark in a history book or on their children’s lives did so by living it on their own terms.
And for me that meant taking my life back. Enjoying the beauty in simplicity, honesty, laughter and in pure love. I hope to make that my legacy to my children, and to be a better friend and lover because of it. My wish would be that everyone would get to have an epiphany moment as I did, there’s no greater gift then a fulfilled life.
I spend my days now working to support my kids, my nights writing, gardening and building my friendships in an effort to continue the legacy of women in my family. So when I’m in my garden enjoying the sun on my back and I feel a breeze blowing by, I like to think it’s the wind from Wyoming that spoke so loudly to me, only now it’s telling me I’m exactly where I need to be.
This is an email that Michelle sent me telling the story of Elinor (pictured left) .. it’s a fantastic story. I couldn’t help but share it with you…
Elinore is my great grandmom, she’s also the author or “Letters of a Woman Homesteader” and “Letters on an Elk Hunt”. She took my grandmom, who was a young girl, out to Wyoming in the early 1900′s in search of a better life for her and her young daughter.
She was a single mom then, unheard of in the early 1900′s. And she did things people said she couldn’t, including “owning up” on huge acreage in Wyoming, one of the few states that allowed women to own land outright. The hitch was that she had to live on it for 5 years first, and not die. These two things were tough, but so was she.
And she ended up falling in love with her employer, and future neighbor, Clyde Stewart. My grandmom was raised in Burnt Fork, and used to tell me stories about it, which I gather is how I came to have my wanderlust and love of the West. There’s also a movie made about her life, it’s on TV sometimes. It stars Conchetta Farrell as my great grandmom (who now plays the maid Bertie on Two and a Half Men”.) and Rip Torn as my great grandfather. It’s called Heartland.
Be sure to stop by Dust and Wanderlust and say Hi to Michelle!
So, it turns out that my inability to adhere to a schedule or regimen of any sort still reigns supreme. If you happened to have caught my post “Sergeant kt” you are already aware of the orders I was given by one of my bestie’s who happens to be the most health conscious and disciplined individual i have ever met.
- I stuffed my face with sugary treats for all of winter, resulting in “bonus curves”
- kt decided i needed to document my eating for 1 week, which she would then compile, composite, calculate, correlate… I don’t really know what she was going to do with it actually.
- Anyhoo… somehow this was all going to result in me being swimsuit ready by June.
- I made it exactly 2 1/2 days before losing all track of everything that went into my mouth… oh well.
What I do know for sure though, is that I went over to her gorgeous little apartment the other day where she made me the MOST delicious healthy lasagna I have ever eaten in my life. I will get the specifics from her sometime in the very near future for you all to have, because you must make it. It’s is seriously too yummy to be healthy.
Until then, here is the lasagna with a generalized list of ingredients:
- Whole wheat lasagna noodles
- ground turkey breast
- fat free ricotta
- fat free cottage cheese
- fat free parmesan
- crushed red pepper flakes
I think that’s it…This shiz is seriously de-lish .
And here is how kt ACTUALLY made this lasagna:
Thanks kt !!
- Cook 1lb of 99% fat-free ground turkey with 1 medium sized diced eggplant. Mix with tomato basil marinara sauce, red pepper flakes, and fat-free cottage cheese.
- In a separate bowl mix together fat-free ricotta cheese, chopped spinach leaves, and chopped jalapenos.
Layer cooked whole wheat noodles, turkey mixture, and ricotta cheese mixture twice, then sprinkle top lightly with fat-free mozzarella.
Bake in 350 degree oven until heated through and cheese is melted.
My first instinct would be to think that anything with this much fat-free cheese would be awful… but I assure you it is not.
I have been a very bad blogger (slapping own hand)… you see, it has instantaneously turned summer in Nebraska. I have heard some complain about the lack of spring but I , however, was made for 95 degree weather. The beginning of these hot weather months makes me giddy with delight, and I just can’t help but play in it (my hope is that, you too, have been frolicking in the sunshine and have not even noticed my absence)
So, in lieu of updating The Earthfood Experiment, I have been riding my bike all over the town soaking up rays. It’s seems in every direction I go I am riding uphill into the wind (it is the Midwest, after all)… but I don’t even care. My soul feels refreshed and my body rejuvenated after a long winter spent indoors. I really do wish I lived in a warmer climate. I have been acutely aware of this desire on some level for many years, but it really smacked me upside the brain and wriggled it’s way into my heart as I was pedaling to work yesterday. In that instant I became the owner of an intense longing to become a Mediterranean dweller, which may seem a hasty desire considering I’ve never even visited. But come on now, seriously!… when I think of this region I imagine lovely, decadent & healthy meals shared with loved ones, gorgeous vineyards, refreshing salty sea air, an appreciation for leisure and relaxation balanced with the daily activity of transporting oneself via foot or bike…. it seems like such a simple and joyful life compared to the hurried, stress laden, convenience stricken lifestyle we endure here.
Seeing as how I am currently unable to place myself in this culture I so long for, I’m thinking maybe I’ll just play pretend. I will live “as if” I were already there. I hear that what you focus on becomes your reality, so I think maybe instead of just longing for this Lifestyle I will bring the Mediterranean to the Midwest. Maybe I will employ my body as my main source of transportation. Maybe I’ll consume a mainly Mediterranean style, Earthfood heavy diet. Maybe I’ll focus on relationships and people as opposed to material objects and “accomplishment.” Maybe I will take time to stop and smell the roses.
Maybe the result will be a Healthy Body, a Healthy Soul & and a Healthy Mind… that is, after all, the goal of this Earthfood Experiment.
As a proper kick off to a proper Mediterranean Lifestyle, I give you:
The Antipasto Platter
Antipasto is traditionally the first course of an Italian meal and includes any number of foodstuffs such as cured meats, olives, marinated vegetables, and various cheeses usually topped with olive oil. I, however, prefer to add some bread and wine and turn this appetizer into a meal… which is just what I did this last Friday night with the lovely Debbi J, who just so happens to be my mother.
Here’s what was on my Antipasto Platter:
- Sun-dried Tomato Hummus
- Red bell peppers
- Marinated mushrooms and artichoke hearts (which I got directly from the Antipasto bar at the grocery store)
- Green Olives stuffed with Blue cheese, kalamata olives, and tapenade (a dip made from olives and olive oil) – also from the Antipasto bar
- Genoa salami slices which I spread fat free cream cheese on, floded in half, and wrapped a grape tomato in…. SO GOOD.
We sat outside and enjoyed good conversation, good wine, and good food… it was the perfect evening.
(For my lil’ bro’s graduation party the next day, I chopped up the Antipasto leftovers and tossed them in with some whole wheat pasta, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, lemon juice, crushed red pepper, basil, and salt&pepper… to make a de-lish Mediterranean pasta salad)
This doesn’t have much to do with anything… but it made me giggle.
Why are there shaker holes? Am I supposed to sprinkle sticks of cinnamon on things?
Do your sticks have shaker holes too?
Hey, and while you’re in the kitchen with your cinnamon out, you should a couple sticks in with 4 cups of water & one cup of brown rice so you can make some of this Horchata tomorrow… It’s SO yummy.
I made it last night after my Cinco de Mayo feast. It requires a little planning ahead though since the rice has to soak for at least 8 hours, but it’s worth the wait.
Here’s what you do next:
After 8 hours, get rid of those pesky sticks and put the water and rice in a blender. Blend for 5 minutes. Pass through a fine mesh sieve a couple times to get the rice chunkies out. When your rice milk is chunk-free stir in 1 Cup of skim milk, 1/3 Cup agave syrup, a splash of vanilla, and some more cinnamon (the kind you can actually sprinkle) to taste.
Pour over ice, and what the heck…. why not throw some more cinnamon on the top.
You can find this recipe by clicking on the pic.
Oh MAN!! I heart Mexican food….
Yesterday in celebration of Cinco de mayo I conducted a whole lotta kitchen experiments … which resulted in a delicious and healthy Mexican food extravaganza.
Black Bean Pizza
Build-your-own Burrito Bowl, with margarita chicken & cilantro lime rice
Homemade Tortilla chips, guacamole, and salsa
The ultimate fiesta fave seemed to be the Black Bean Pizza…
I had originally intended on making my own crust but decided it just wasn’t worth the time, so instead bought refrigerated pizza dough which worked out just great. I threw down some cornmeal on the pan before baking it to add mexican flavor and crunch to the crust. I baked the crust by itself for 5 minutes in a 400 degree oven, then topped with the following:
Black Bean Spread:
1 can of black beans, juice of 1/2 a lime, 1 tsp Cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 2 chipotles in adobo sauce, salt & pepper to taste… then mashed it or blend it all together. I used my magic bullet… handy little sucker. (you might need to add a little water to achieve desired consistency) Then spread the bean mixture on the partially baked crust.
On top of the bean spread I put diced red bell pepper, red onion, & jalapeno, defrosted frozen corn, and cilantro. Then topped that with shredded reduced fat Monteray Jack and Sharp Cheddar.
Baked it for another 8 minutes… and it was SOOOOOO good!
I based this on a recipe I found here.
My most brilliant creation to date.
directions: place pancakes in 150 degree oven for 24 hours
You will notice that these particular pancakes are pinkish with black polka dots (mini-chocolate chips).
This uber healthy jewel of a breakfast was created yesterday morning at the insistence of miss M, my junk food aficionado. she declared it necessary in order to properly celebrate the 2 hour late school start, which occurs the first wednesday of every month.
So, being the “best-mother-on-the-face-of-the-planet” that i am… i affectionately tended to her request making these pancakes and placing them in a warm oven where they would be at the ready for her girlfriends as they arrived (a hang out ritual common to this enchanted morning)…
AND where the leftovers would remain for the next 24 hours.
Upon my return home, I promptly placed a chunk of crispy pancake in mouth expecting some sort of sweet, chocolaty, crunchy type snack… but much to my surprise it tasted very much crouton-y.
Maybe I’ll throw them on a salad for lunch??
And let me just say… you’re welcome. for another innovative and useful kitchen creation.
i must admit, schedules are not something i’m good at adhering to and inconsistency is one of my most consistent qualities. much to the dismay of my mother, i have always been relatively fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-ish, leaping from one whim to the next. this way of life is not conducive to undertakings such as, say… training for a marathon (which i have attempted to do twice, resulting only in “donations” in the form of unused race fees to the track club)…or writing a novel… or running a political campaign. (only because these are not my callings in life… but they may be yours!)
I am of the belief though, that if you continue to move yourself in the direction of what feels good and makes you happy, ultimately your life will unfold as that which it was meant to be.
Here’s what I have been moved to do this week:
- spend much needed time with my friends
- read “The Happiness Project” (a book my friend Lindsay recommended)
- work on my “vision book”, which is basically a bucket list in picture form. I will talk about this more in a future series I have planned called Long & Wide… inspired by a Diane Ackerman quote:
“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.”
So, basically this is an apology for my lack of time spent in the kitchen this past week. I do have plans for a Cinco de Mayo extravaganza tomorrow, which you will not want to miss featuring:
PLUS…Friday I will be exploring the Antipasto Platter & Red Wine which are Mediterranean “diet” must-haves, and also great for entertaining… in addition to being personal favorites of mine.
One last thing that I’m SUPER stoked for is “Fire & Heart” A new interview series in which we will be delving into what makes people passionate & fiery & moved to action… one of my very favorite things to talk about. First up will be Michelle from Dust & Wanderlust…
She’s super hilarious, and super passionate, and I know you’re just going to love her… so be sure to keep an eye out for that in the upcoming week!
Peace & Love, Chandra
(I assure you… k.t. is much cuter than this guy)I declare her qualified to draw this conclusion due to the fact that she’s an aspiring figure fitness model/trainer and bona fide health freak.
k.t. claims she can have me swimsuit ready in four weeks… we’ll see. She’s making me write down every thing i eat for the next week. I’m scared of her. She has big muscles and fiery determination … preceded by sweetness and a sunny disposition but still, I’ll probably adhere to her orders. primarily so she doesn’t yell at me.
(i wonder if she’ll be mad that all I’ve consumed today is a pot of coffee, 2 lattes, and some Thai for lunch?)
Wish me good luck.