No turning back.

well, we made it through 60 days of our 'alkaline cleanse'.  we need to schedule another blood cell analysis appointment to see the {hopefully improved} "after".  and in full disclosure, although we're feeling fantastic (health-wise), we still have a little more weight to lose.  so, for the most part, we're sticking to the same eating plan for the time being.  after our follow-up apt, we'll start to add WINE a few things back in... fruit(!!!), a lil' honey, maple syrup, or agave here & there... a little more meat... wheat... corn (a must in the summer, yes??)... white potatoes (although we're now pretty smitten with the sweet variety), a bit of dairy... eggs... all in much greater moderation than ever before.

some foods will be cut out altogether, and others that we've added in along the way will remain, as permanent 'pantry' staples.  almond milk, for instance.  or better yet- almond butter.  one that i've been wanting to try, but yet to do so is sunbutter.  for obvious reasons, i try to stay away from the inclusion of too many butters on the pantry staple list.  but this morning, a post titled, "Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter Recipe" just so happened to show up in my reader. 
so i seized the moment.

WOW.  good stuff i tell ya.  like so good that i could not stop eating it. for the kids, i paired it on with strawberries on brown rice toast.  but as jacob suggested- as a pb&j with sliced bananas and honey- or a dash of strawberry sauce- mmmm.  or on buckwheat pancakes with a touch of maple syrup-  or smeared onto apple slices- or swirled into...  
the possibilities are endless, really.
and now that i've seen how easy it is to make it from scratch- there's no turning back.

What do you do...

...when it's a hot summer Saturday in late June... in southern California, & you have a husband with load of homework, a very sick dog to tend to (she's getting better!), yet NO pool... or NO plans to get properly dressed & leave your house to be rescued by a movie screen- or a water slide theme park (that sits less than *10 minutes away)??

Well of course, you pull out every "pool/water" device known to man, lather 'em up with sunscreen, hand 'em a hose, and tell them to Enjoy.

...And throw in an old guitar & lots of library books, a heap o' bubble wrap, a 'pull-out-the carrots' assignment, and let 'em pulverized those carrots (& apples)... one by one... And before you know it "staying home" won't sound so BORING after all :).

And what do you do if you have a pile of carrots (that you cannot consume @ the moment) and a whole heck of a lotta jalapenos??

Well, you pickle 'em of course.
          spice up the many {many} taco nights in our future.

A perfect sweet, spicy, tangy... garlicky blend.

{I used this very loose, very simple recipe that I've had printed & filed away to try- oh, since early December (which will serve as last week's [missed] tried & true recipe).}

Sky's the limit.

As I mentioned the other day, this past weekend, Ryan & Jacob conquered Half Dome.  A remarkable feat.  Especially for a couple of guys with a strong aversion to heights.  But they tossed fear aside, set a goal, trained with discipline, gathered a huge load of gear, and set off for an 18 mile hiking adventure.

{phone reception was sparse, so I didn't get to view the pictures until they arrived back home... thankfully (for the sake of my sanity)}
{nature's beauty}

{all revved up & ready to go}

{a seemingly impossible trek}

{one of the pics i'm especially thankful that i didn't get to see... until he was safe & sound by my side (they assured me- there was a railing there)}

{somewhere... ovvver the rainbow}

{the final ascent:  400 feet to go... nearly vertical... a menacing climb}
{view from the top... priceless.}

Most definitely a Father's Day to remember. 

Zucchini envy.

In years past, our "harvest" did not always live up to our expectations.

Case in point: {see above} our zucchini... our aunt & uncle's zucchini.

Thankfully, our gardening skills have grown over time {& one dud after another}.  And so has our zucchini. 

Come visit us over at Pink Moon Daily to see how proper fertilizing took our zucchini from duds to studs.

* Two other huge factors of this 'successful turn of events'... 
  1. went from drastically over [& in some cases, under]-watering to watering as needed (in early morning hours... slowly & directly on the soil- around the plants).  
  2. went from very poor [cheap] to nutrient rich soil [the 'good stuff'] {see 'how we now prep our soil' here}.

il dolce far niente.

{the sweetness of doing nothing.}

while the boys were off bein' over-achievers, and hiking that little mountain called "half dome" (actually, it was a huge achievement and i'm so very proud of them... more on that later), us girls stayed home, and pretty much did nothing.

for 4 days.

thought about dressing fancy and goin' out on a mother-daughter date... about taking on a major garden project, or baking up a storm... but i know my daughter.  i know what she needs.  not wants, needs
the other stuff will happen.  but for now, for this reason, nothing was everything.

now, let the party-planning begin for this soon-to-be 9 yr. old. 

What summer's made of.

I took an unexpected hiatus (not that I'd call 4 days a true hiatus) from this lil' blog of mine... all for a good cause.  The transition from school to summer is {surprisingly - even though it happens every year, it still comes as a surprise... each & every last day of school/first day of 'freedom'} a bit rocky.  The first few days are usually filled with grumpiness, tension, fighting, chaos... any or all of the above.  So I decided a short break was in order to get into the full 'summer groove'.  Evening chalk-art sessions, ice cream breaks, sign-making (these "summer-alert" signs have been posted on each & every bedroom door, nightstand- & more... in case we *forgot :)), tomato-pickin, and all sorts of garden-tending for that matter.  Of course, there's the usual chores, and a million 'non-summery' things in between the moments of bliss... car servicing, purging (aaaaalmost done. still), cleaning, hair-cuts... 

But all of this stuff isn't so bad when when speckled with library visits n' reading club check-ins, flashback movie viewings (so far, thanks to jacob's library rental choices- planet of the apes & clash of the titans... next up- flash gordon), late night pandora sessions, open windows at all hours of the day, new books to crack open- and old ones to finish, & possibly best of all~   

{found via pinterest, and have been dying to make em' {and these!} ever since}

peach pie popsicles
*slightly adapted from i eat grass.

6 servings

1 cup almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla)
1 frozen banana, peeled chopped
2 large peaches, seeded diced (I had white peaches, so I used both peaches & nectarines, for added color)
½ tsp vanilla (my helper accidentally poured in 1 tsp... & they were not too vanilla-y at all)
1 tbsp agave
pinch of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth or desired consistency. 

Pour into popsicle tray and freeze until set (3-6 hours).  If you don't have popsicle molds, just use a small paper cup & a popsicle stick.  Insert sticks into center of popsicles after they start to freeze.  When fully frozen & ready to enjoy, peel away the cup.
... and the best part~ a late-night 'slice of pie' on a stick.

Happy Friday everyone :).
Any favorite popsicle recipes??  Please share... can never have too many.  After all, it's what summer's made of.

Basil's in & school's out.

Remember that lovely tomato basil pesto recipe I shared yesterday?  Well, today, I'm taking a step back & sharing a few crucial tips for harvesting and storing this bright, aromatic summer herb.  One of the simplest herbs to maintain, and it adds an unmatched flavor & fragrance to the garden... the kitchen... & best of all- the table.  
Come visit us over at Pink Moon Daily and share any basil tips & tricks of your own, & when you have more basil than you know what to do with, just whip up a batch the aforementioned pesto.

... and in other news~ IT'S SUMMER!! 

{kicked it off last night with a quintessential summer activity... we had an early dinner, hopped (well, maybe we didn't hop) in the car, & drove to the the theater.  nothing like men in black 3 & popcorn to pave the way for lots of laziness and just enough structure.  i'm signing off for the weekend, to get some much needed [HOMEWORK-FREE] time with my kids and rest from the busy month year week, and to get through one final day of end-of-the-year / promotion celebrations.  ...whether "summer" has arrived or not, wishing you a little r&r & sunshine as well :).}
    {end-of-the year bliss}

Progress report.

We're in the sixth week of our 'alkaline cleanse'.  Although there have been some challenges (i.e. finding meals that will be enjoyed by both us and the kids and local places that we can eat out, when we're in a time crunch- or when I've been gone all day and the kitchen is a disaster.  Either or.)... for the most part, it really has been much, much simpler than I imagined.  The huge availability/variety of products nowadays allows for many more food/snack/meal options- so that we feel more excited about these new items to try, more empowered to experiment, and less restricted.

But I will not lie.  I do miss the wine.  Or the weekend cocktail.  And the sweetener in my afternoon iced coffee pick-me-up.  And red licorice.  And Skittles.  But back to the positives...

Without meaning to sound braggy- I must tell you.  Aside from the many, many benefits of added energy, clear skin, a clear- defogged- brain, and more-- the extra weight that he & I have put on (due to the above [and many other] culprits) has literally dissipated.  I was working out five days a week, and eating very healthy (but with natural sweeteners, whole wheat, lots of fruit, etc), and was losing pounds, but not nearly as fast as I have in these past few weeks.  My jeans (that have not been wearable for over TWO years finally fit (without doing the crazy maneuvers that I usually have to do in order to get too-small pants on :)).  And Ryan has experienced the exact same results.  So, I'd say it makes up for the empty cocktail glasses and overflowing wine rack.

We've discovered many new ingredients, and have added several delicious entertain-worthy meals to our 'rotation'-- baked ratatouille, black bean burgers, gp's fish tacos, soba noodle stir fry, cauliflower curry, stuffed avacado/salsa sweet potatoes, quinoa salmon salad, lamb ragu, & tomato basil pesto...

{I look forward to sharing more tips, products, and recipes along the way but in an effort to not pile it all on you in one post, I'll start with a simple [cheese-less] recipe shared with me by my good friend, hiking buddy- and the person who introduced us to this cleanse...}

{a very loose, adjust-according-to-desire kinda recipe}
... a perfect way to use up lots of basil, and a perfect make-ahead meal.  My grandma and I made it (along with another great make-ahead meal- big pot of ratatouille for dinner!) Saturday morning- so after working in the garage for a bit, all we had to do was heat up some pasta and just like that, lunch was served.  A delicious one at that.

Oh, and I promise- you will not miss the cheese.  While the fresh tomato adds moisture and a bright, clean taste (and nutrients!), the sundried tomatoes add a nice, rich flavor, which makes up for the lack of that rich flavor you'd get from the cheese.  But by all means, if you'd like to add it- go for it.  A little extra "flavor" never hurts.  

I'm over at Pink Moon Daily discussing a) the perfect summer gift- for yourself and others, and b) the solution to leaving your reusable grocery bags in your vehicle.  Come visit!


It's official.



... with straight A's & flying colors i might add :-).

{& our marriage survived an ENTIRE saturday of garage-cleaning... one bedroom to go!!}

...3 school days left, one bedroom to devour, & lots of post-purge cleaning to be done.

Blue skies & black beans.


Well, the week is {finally} coming to a close.  Volunteering's done, hailey's canker-sore is gone (crazy how one little 'ailment' can be such a major source of pain... for an entire week!), lots left to go on our 'purging  project', but the table is cleared, and the garage has at least been started, homework assignments are ALL done, jacob's promotion outfit's purchased, and he's more than ready to walk down that aisle.  Picked our first bell peppers yesterday, a huge bunch of basil's ready & waiting to spice up our life, & the tomatoes are well on their way...
We're all stocked up on sunscreen, bags, suits, and towels (finally ordered some linen towels! ...since I won't be making it to France anytime, soon, figured these will make do- for now :))... Just a couple a' days left of school and we cannot wait to put our 'supplies' to good use.
But I didn't want to let the week come to a close without sharing this week's tried & true recipe... Sorry, no pic & only a quick link, but seriously- these black bean burgers (via PMD contributor, Chef Dayna McLeod) will most definitely not leave you asking... Where's the beef??  On Memorial Day morning, I sat and read my way through my reader, facebook, twitter... reading about bbq's to be had, burgers to be grilled, potato salads to be prepared... Seeing that the usual holiday fare was pretty much out of the question, I had no idea what our menu would be.

...until I saw this recipe.  I closed the computer, put some beans to soak... & after a loooong day of cleaning, & organizing- we watched one of the worst best movies ever made {Three Amigos} & enjoyed our 'burgers'. 
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