Wild Violet Lemonade

Wild Violet Lemonade

Wild Violet Lemonade

Before the violets go away, be sure to try this lovely Wild Violet Lemonade!

I was browsing blogs a coupe of weeks ago and found the amazing recipe for Wild Violet Jelly and decided I needed to go on a wild violet hunt.

The violets had to be picked well away from the road and not where dogs do their duties. I found a lovely spot with so many violets I picked an entire quart of them in no time at all.

Drying wild violets to prepare for steeping

Drying wild violets to prepare for steeping

I can’t help but fall in love with this color!

So, to prepare for the wild violet jelly, the flowers need to be rinsed and steeped like tea. Use the same amount of water as you have violets. Measure by volume, not by weight because violets hardly weigh anything at all.

Wild Violet Lemonade

Wild Violet Lemonade

I had a bit left over tea from the jelly recipe and I wondered how it would taste as a “lemonade” so I popped some ice in a glass, filled it about 1/4 full of lemonade and added the strained violet tea, garnished with a slice of lemon and Wow! It makes a fantastic drink!

 Wild Violet Lemonade

Wild Violet Lemonade

Now, I’ve got to go harvest more violets so I can freeze the tea for later use.

Steeped Wild Violet Tea; see how deep purple it is? Add lemon juice and it changes to bright pink.

Steeped Wild Violet Tea; see how deep purple it is? Add lemon juice and it changes to bright pink.

Don’t you just LOVE the color?

It changes from deep royal purple to a bright pink when you add lemon juice.

If you want to know how to make Wild Violet Jelly, Follow this link to Prairieland Herbs.

Gleaming jars of Wild Violet Jelly

Gleaming jars of Wild Violet Jelly

 

 

The Potato Chip Contraption

 

The Potato Chip Contraption is a nifty thing I picked up this past weekend.

Many of you know I am advocate for eliminating processed foods. My mantra is ” If it has to be processed, process it yourself.”

It’s amazing though how easy it is to “forget” that when it comes to potato chips.

I/we really like them.

A lot.

So our chip bin has been a bit sparse since I began to process all of our own foods.

I’ve been thinking about deep-frying and not being very attracted to using all that fat at home, especially for potato chips.

Because, you do know that you’d just have to make fries too, since the oil is hot and the potatoes are out. And you want to make the most efficient use of all resources. It is also highly possible that some chicken wings may have to follow.

It just makes sense. Right?

I wandered out of the house last week, just to get out for a while.

I found myself in a kitchen store, imagine that.

When I saw this handy thing, I thought “Well, Hello Chips!” It was less than $10 so it came home with me.

The Potato Chip Contraption

The Potato Chip Contraption

I love it!

From the top to the bottom: Hand guard, slicer, chip rack, serving bowl

The 4 pieces of the contraption

The 4 pieces of the contraption

Homemade Potato Chips Not fried

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: simple; contraption required
  • Print

1 Potato Chip Contraption

1 russet or Yukon Gold potato

Light Drizzle of oil

Seasonings of choice: salt, pepper, garlic, onion etc.

Method:

Take a potato; wash it. Peel it, if you want. I like the peel and it carries nutrients too. I recommend just a good scrub.

Hold the potato with the hand guard if you want, I don’t use it, but if you’re not sure, use it. The blade is really sharp.

Slice the potatoes into the bowl

Slice the potatoes into the bowl

Slice the potatoes into thin slices. I find it works best to make small round slices rather than long oval ones. Why? They fit better on the contraption.

Drop the potatoes into a separate bowl, drizzle with a few drops of oil, then season.

Sliced 'taters

Sliced ‘taters

Place each potato slice into a slot on the chip rack; filling up the rack. This will use about 1/2 of a potato which is a perfect one portion size. It takes 24 slices to fill the rack.

Line the potato slices up on the rack

Line the potato slices up on the rack

Place the rack in the microwave and cook the potatoes for 3-4 minutes. Timing will vary. These took 4 minutes, but other batches took less time.

Check them, if you see potatoes turning brown, get them out as they are done!

Turn the chips out into a bowl and serve. Be careful because they will be hot at first. Remove them from the rack while still warm because if you let them cool, they become very crisp and break when you try to remove them. So work fast!The Potato Chip Contraption

Here’s what I love the most about this contraption:

  • Crispy chips NOT deep-fried!

  • I love to eat good chips and not support processed food manufacturing.
  • We eat fresh chips, not old ones.
  • We get to eat chips without a lot of added fat and we control the salt and seasonings.

Ever read the ingredients on the “Salt & Black Pepper” flavored chips? . . . just saying. . .

Just in case you get a wild hair on and make a bunch of chips, here is a link to:

Potato Chip Cookies!

Crispy, home made potato chips

Crispy, home-made potato chips

 

 

 

 

Pita Bread From Laurel’s Kitchen

The other day I was reading about a basic bread recipe in one of my favorite old cookbooks Laurel’s Kitchen. She suggested to make one loaf from half of the batch of dough and then make about a dozen pita breads out of the other half.

Puffed Pita

Puffed Pita

My curiosity was peaked. I’ve taught how to made pita bread in the bakeshop classes before, but I never considered making them at home. So, I though I’d give it a try.

I divided the dough into 12 round smooth balls, rolled them out and baked then on the hot pizza stone.

Dough balls for pita

Dough balls for pita

Here’s the recipe from Laurel’s Kitchen, not quite verbatim.

This is half of the original recipe since we aren’t making an additional loaf here today.

Pita Bread

  • Servings: about 12
  • Difficulty: moderate to skilled
  • Print

  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 3 cups whole wheat bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups warm water (not over 110°F)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Mix the dry ingredients, make a well in the center of the bowl. Mix the wet ingredients then pour them into the well made in the dry ingredient bowl. Mix on low-speed in a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with a dough hook  until everything comes together.

If the dough seems too dry at this point, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach  the desired consistency. If the mixture is too wet, add more flour.

The perfect dough will feel slightly sticky, not firm and clay-like.

If kneading by hand, knead for 20-30 minutes. Using the mixer, knead on medium speed for 8-10 minutes until the dough in elastic.

Oil the surface of the dough, cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size.

Pre-heat the oven to 450°F, place a baking stone (if you have one) on the bottom shelf. Remove all other shelves before you heat the oven.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide the dough into 12 or so smooth round balls. Cover and allow the dough to rest in a draft free area for 10 minutes. Laurel claims this step is essential.

Starting with the first ball made, roll out 2 or 3 balls into a disk “about the thickness of a good wool blanket” or 1/8 of an inch thick. The circles should be about 6″ around.

Roll to a thickness of a heavy wool blanket

Roll to a thickness of a heavy wool blanket

If using a heated baking sheet, place 2-3 dough circles flat onto the hot stone. Move quickly to retain heat in the oven, but don’t get burned either.

Quickly shut the oven door and set the timer for 3 minutes.

Turn on the oven light and watch the pita bake.

At 1 minute they look like Mrs. Douglas’ hot cakes on Green Acres; the next minute the magic happens as the dough begins to puff up like a balloon! It’s fun to watch! Let it cook through the third minute. The dough is done when the bottom side is lightly brown and the top side slightly moist, but not shiny wet.

Poofy Pita!

Poofy Pita! I flipped these over so you can see the brown on the underside. Don’t let the top get brown or the bread will be too crispy.

Don’t let the pita get golden brown on top too or else the pita will dry out and be crispy instead of flexible and all foldy like.

The key is to be sure the dough circle lay flat on the stone or the baking sheet, whatever you use.

Cut the pita in half and you’ll see the perfect pocket for stuffing!

My favorite pita sandwich is a couple of slices of roasted chicken, turkey or ham filled with chopped salad and drizzled with Italian dressing, top with shredded cheese.

The chopped salad has lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, radishes and shredded carrot in it, cut so it fits easily into the pocket pita.

Try it if you want, I sure had fun!

We’ve had pita sandwiches of all kinds, pita pizza, and toasted some for pita chips to go with the guacamole.

If you make them, be sure you watch them rise. It really is like magic!Baked pita

A word about Laurel’s Kitchen: The New Laurel’s Kitchen is a vegetarian cookbook published in 1976. It was one of my favorite books when it came out. I have literally worn out 2 copies and am working on a third.

A Pile of Pita

A Pile of Pita

Cashew Cream

Cashew Cream

Cashew Cream

Cashew cream is easy to make, tasty and versatile. Use it to replace cream and sometimes ricotta cheese in many recipes.

The consistency can be controlled by the mount of water added when pureeing the soaked cashews.

Here’s how to do it:

Make Cashew Cream

Using raw cashews, not toasted or salted, soak the nuts over night in 2 times the water. (1 cup raw cashews to 2 cups water)

It is best to soak over night or for 3-8 hours.

Soak the cashews

Soak the cashews

Next drain the nuts, add them to a high-speed blender and process for 3-5 minutes or until the consistency is where you want it. Add clean fresh water to thin it out. If you want a ricotta consistency, use just a little water, for cream like, add a bit more.

A good high-powered blender is strongly suggested for this in order to really get the cream smooth. I used both a Vita Mix and a Ninja blender, both worked just fine. I have not tried making it in a food processor just yet.

Add water to get the desired consistency

Add water to get the desired consistency

Finish with a pinch of salt and a few drops or so of fresh lemon juice.

With the cashew cream, I made a cashew Mac and Cheese.

Take cooked pasta, toss it with cashew cream, a bit of shaved Parmesan and a few scallions and parsley. I filled a few small side dishes and warmed them in the oven and topped with fresh cheese shaving to serve.

If you wanted to keep this dish vegan, you can use vegan cheese, but to me vegan cheese isn’t “real” cheese, so I use just a touch of the real stuff.

Simple enough, huh?

Other suggestions to use Cashew Cream:

If using as a substitute for dairy cream on the stove, stay with it as it will thicken much faster than regular cream.

Make creamed corn or spinach, a creamy broccoli soup or use it thicker and add chipotle peppers to top tacos or other Mexican dishes, use it to top baked potatoes. It can even be whipped to make a cashew whipped cream.

And, if you have any left over, freeze it; or make ice cream!

It is so versatile and handy to have an alternative to real dairy cream.

Yummy! Cashew Cream!

Yummy! Cashew Cream!

Almond, Date, Cranberry and Lime “No-Bake” Cookies

A Morsel of Almond Date Cranberry Lime Cookie

A Morsel of Almond Date Cranberry Lime Cookie

Almond, Date, Cranberry and Lime “No-Bake” Cookies are a real treat!

They are a “no-bake” cookie which puts them in the raw category; they are no sugar, eggs or butter so they also fall into the vegan category. With all natural ingredients so they also fall into the healthy foods and nutritious category.

Personally, my favorite category for  these morsels: Delicious!

Keep in mind some people might be put off thinking they are eating a raw cookie. So change the language and present these delicious morsels.

NOTE: Don’t fall prey to marketing ploys and think that because the label claims “healthy, all-natural or nutritious” does not mean low in calories! Learn to read a nutrition label and compare information.

Here’s the recipe for the cookies. It’s pretty much put it all in a food processor and pulse until a dough forms. Have fun!

Almond, Date, Cranberry and Lime “No-Bake” Cookies

  • 2/4 cup pitted Medjool Dates
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup crunchy almond butter
  • 1 generous Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • Zest and juice from 1 lime
  • Pinch of Sea Salt

Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a dough forms. Leave some nuts chunky for a cookie that has some crunch.

Taste the dough and see if it need adjustment: a bit more salt? More vanilla or lime?

Form the dough into about 18 balls. Place the balls on a cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie with a fork.

That’s it.

Flatten the dough balls with a fork; like you would peanut butter cookies

Flatten the dough balls with a fork; like you would peanut butter cookies

The texture is kinda like fudge but in a much better way. If you leave some nuts slightly chunky, your cookie can have a crunchy texture too, but if you want a smooth cookie, pulse until smooth.

You can choose to roll the cookies in coconut, chopped nuts or cocoa with a dash if cinnamon if desired. Use peanut butter, cashew or almond butter with cocoa in it. I guess in a pinch you could use Nutella but the point here is to avoid added sugar and processed foods in delicious ways.

(OK, so now I have to make another batch using the cocoa!!!)

Most people would never realize these are considered “raw food” but they are.

These certainly aren’t low in calories but the sure supply great nutrients: Potassium, fiber, iron, B-6 and magnesium and vitamin E.

Just a note, you can leave the coconut oil out but it adds so much, I would use it.

Oh, and don’t bake these beauties for any reason! If you try, all that will happen is the oils from the nuts will leak out and leave you with a rather unpleasant mess. So if you want  a baked cookie recipe, use another recipe, not this one.

Hopefully you make your own vanilla extract, if not, go get ya some vanilla beans and some 100 proof vodka and make some!

Click this link: Perpetual Vanilla Extract

Please make a batch of these and let me know how you like them and how they go over with friend and family.

Raw Almond Date Cranberry Cookies  Rather than "raw" let's call them "No Bake"

Raw Almond Date Cranberry Cookies
Rather than “raw” let’s call them “No Bake”

My Cooking Culture

george-chochran-shoot-086.jpgMy Cooking Culture

We lived all over the world, moving about every 3 years to another place on the planet. From Morocco to Spain, Canada to Japan with a few of the United States in between.

My father is an avid gardener; we used to joke about having a corn field in our back yard no matter where we lived. Fresh snow peas were the gardeners treat. They got eaten in the garden and never quite made it to the table. I used to eat snow peas instead of potato chips. After school, I would head to the garden and sneak a few off the vines then help my dad after work with weeding and tying vines to eat more.october-15-2011-farmers-market-015.jpg

To this day, I love garden grown green beans and home-grown tomatoes seem to be better than anything you can buy at a store.

My mom is Canadian; grew up in Nova Scotia where they grew a lot of their food. She fed us with garden grown fresh foods, or frozen. She tried cans on us once and we rejected them as repulsive so she didn’t try that again.

In the foreign countries, mom always managed to hire a native cook to prepare meals for us a few days a week. My parents made sure no matter what country we lived in, we learned about the culture, food and language. When we lived in Japan, the family that lived behind us was the same size. The mom there and my mom made great friends with each other. On Wednesday night, they would each prepare a full meal for the family, put it on trays; walk out the back door and swap meals. They got a traditional American/Canadian meal and we got a traditional Japanese meal. I loved it! My dad, not so much.

Imagine, from my Dad’s point of view, the aroma of pan-fried pork chops, green beans and mashed potatoes with gravy wafting through the air. Ah, the smell of the roasting garlic whetting the appetite. The coming to the table and finding plates of various sushi, rice, miso soup and tofu with cucumber seaweed salads. Surprise!

We have always eaten a ton of fresh vegetables, local meats and foods. What is horribly frustrating is seeing the decline in the quality of our food supply. In addition to the decline in quality, there is also the fact that so many people really don’t know what they’re eating, or how to eat well or make good food choices.

This is where I want to make a difference!

My dad, who is 87, still grows a garden and has the best tomatoes in the world. He also makes a terrific gyoza, thanks to “Mamasan’s” recipe.

Final Harvest!

Final Harvest!

I am one of the lucky ones. My parents didn’t take us to McDonald’s. Even though as kids we begged for it. I remember looking at the McDonald’s signs and noticing how the numbers of how many hamburgers they sold kept increasing. (Yes, they kept count in the early days!) I wondered if I would ever be lucky enough to be part of that statistic. Then came the day when the signs changed to “millions served” now it might be “billions served”. Yes, I finally got one. They must have, among other things in this category, the worst bread on the planet.

My son used to say my meals were always the same: 1 starch, 1 or two vegetables (1 always green), and a protein with a sauce of some kind. I have to admit it is a type of formula.

Today my Typical Dinner Consists of:

1 Green vegetable (1 cup)

Leafy greens, broccoli, cabbages, peas, any variety of beans, snow peas, there are so many! If you’re not familiar, pick something you don’t know, ask about it, look up recipes on the internet and play with cooking it.

Fresh picked kale

Fresh picked kale

1 Vegetable of another color (1/2 cup)

Any veg that is not green, peppers, onions, cauliflower, squashes, this is to make the plate visually interesting and it also adds a punch of nutrition!

Corn Crusted Grouper

Corn Crusted Grouper

Grain or starch of some kind (1/2 to 1 cup)

Whole grains like brown rice, exotic rice, lentils, beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, barley, millet, mung beans, quinoa, farro, cous cous. I love how much the level of choice in this category has grown. There is so much more than just rice and potatoes.

1 High quality protein – not always animal based (4-6 ounces)

Guidelines for animal proteins:
  • No beef
  • No pork (but I love bacon! ) ;)
  • No farm raised fish except catfish or trout
    • No Tuna, Sea Bass or Redfish

Note: we no longer eat any fish from the Pacific ocean.

  • Organic poultry
  • Organic eggs
  • Organic Dairy

    Multi colored Carrots (I bought these!)

    Multi colored Carrots (I bought these!)

1 Sauce (1-2 ounces)

Can be made from de-glazing the pan or reserved cooking liquids or stock or vinaigrette. This provides a bit of moisture and can add another dimension of flavor. I avoid using fat and flour thickeners and cornstarch. Instead I thicken by reduction (enhances flavor), adding mustard or miso which also contribute to flavor.

1 Side dish of raw vegetable salad (1/4 -1/2 cup)

This can be a green salad, carrot salad, cucumber, onion, Caesar, or lightly blanched vegetable and may contain a fermented/ pickled vegetable like pickled beets, cauliflower or onions. A homemade vinaigrette dressing, sometimes lemon juice and olive oil and cracked black pepper.

Anaida's Beans

Anaida’s Beans

This side does not need to be a big portion. 1/4 to 1/2 cup is a typical serving.  It can be used as a palate cleanser between tastes on the main plate.

Lunches:

Sandwiches with a chip and pickle of some kind. I’m working on improving the chip option but I really am fond of a handful of chips with a sandwich. I’m trying nori chips and kale chips. . . I may still go back to potato once in a while.

Light bits of left over dinner

Soup with good bread (I’ve made the bread we eat in the house for the past 10+ years)

Noodle stir fry

Grill pan dinner“Ploughman’s lunches” using what we have on hand

Vegetable Sushi

Breakfast:

On our own for breakfast. Most of the time I’ll grab something with protein.

This meal is usually quick , easy and light. Unless it’s oatmeal.

What we always have on hand:

Buy Organic whenever possible

Chicken stock, 1/2 & 1/2 for morning beverages and sometimes chai, fat-free milk, fresh greens, eggs, fruit, tetra-pac tomatoes, variety of beans, canned and dried, various rice and grains, legumes and potatoes. We will keep a stock of chicken and sometimes fish in the freezer for meals during the week.

I shop whenever we need fresh vegetables; I try to use fresh vegetables over frozen.

I leave processed foods on the shelf and process my own condiments, pickles and breads.

That’s it! My cooking culture, in a nutshell. A bit of many cultures rolled into a multitude of meals.

I believe everyone should be able to make healthy food choices and healthy food should be affordable and available to all.

Strawberry Rhubarb Oatmeal Hemp Seed Crisp

Strawberry Rhubarb Oatmeal Hemp Seed Crisp

Miso Vegetable Soup

There are times when a nice warm bowl of miso vegetable soup is just the right thing.

Fresh organic veggies for miso soup

Fresh organic veggies for miso soup

This soup is very easy to make and is delicious through and through. I find the warming earthy flavor of miso to be comforting on a very deep level. Sipping the broth just feels nourishing to the core!

Miso Vegetable Soup

  • 1 quart organic chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped cabbage
  • 1 carrot, shredded or sliced
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 2 broccoli florets
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 radish, cut into thin matchstick like pieces
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons organic miso

Finely chop the vegetables. I find this size is most compatible with this soup.

Bring the broth to a boil, add the finely chopped vegetables. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked through. Stir in miso until dissolved. Top with sliced scallions and serve.

A spoonful of organic white miso

A spoonful of organic white miso

Re-heat soup gently, as miso will lose many of the wonderful properties  it provides under high heat. Typically, I make just what I want so there are no left overs.

A word about miso: There are many varieties of miso. I prefer the white one which has fewer soy beans ans is mild in flavor.

Miso provides great probiotics which promote a healthy gut, is a source for vitamin B-12 and has all the essential amino acids which makes it a complete protein. However due to the salt level, it is not a great source of protein.

Because miso contains beneficial living organisms, high heat will kill them so stir the miso into the soup just before serving.

Watch for more recipes using miso!

Here is a video all about the making of South River Miso, fascinating to watch and learn.

What I love the most is how they do the process.

Ciabatta Rolls

I’m  sucker for good bread and these easy ciabatta rolls are simple and delicious, soft and chewy too!

This is a two-step recipe: one for a “biga” and the second step is making the dough using the biga.

The day before you want the bread is the time to start as the biga needs to ferment overnight.

Ciabatta Bread

Ciabatta Bread

Easy Ciabatta Rolls

For the Biga:

  • 1- 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 /8 teaspoon yeast

Mix these ingredients into a bowl, cover and let sit in a warm area for at least 12 hours, up to 24 hours. the mixture will be wet and bubbly.

The Biga when ready to use

The Biga when ready to use

Transfer the entire biga to a mixing bowl of a stand mixer then add:

For the dough:

  • All of the biga
  • 2-1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon yeast

Mix all of the ingredients in a mixer on low-speed until well incorporated. Knead on low-speed for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium and knead for an additional 4 minutes.

Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 1-2 hours. Once the dough is risen, turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Shape the dough into a rectangle about 6″ x 12″.

Use a serrated knife or pizza wheel to cut the rectangle into 8 equal portions.

Ciabatta rolls ready to rise on a peel

Ciabatta rolls ready to rise on a peel

Place the rolls, flour side up onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Let rise for 45 minutes.

If you have a bakers peel, sprinkle it with corn meal and place the rolls on that to rise. Slide them onto the hot pizza stone after they have risen.

While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 450°F. If you have a pizza stone, preheat that too at this time.

Slide the rolls from the bakers peel onto the stone and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown.

Cool on a rack and enjoy!

These make great sandwiches and sop up soup like a champ, or slice them open for a quick pizza.

What’s your favorite way to use ciabatta rolls?

Ciabatta Bread

Ciabatta Bread

In My Kitchen February 2014

I was on the fence about doing an In My Kitchen post this month, I didn’t think I have time. BUT, this morning, I made time to share a few things. Thanks to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting! This is what is in my kitchen. . .

I’ve been studying herbalism the last few months. One project required making a strong lavender tea. When ever we have “spent” herbs left over from infusions, decoctions, tinctures or tea, it is recommended to compost the spent herbs. Well I adore lavender, every part of it. I couldn’t quite bring myself to bury the mass of spent lavender buds in the compost.Lavender Heart

Instead, I mixed them with a small bit of Modge-Podge and formed the flowers into a heart using a mold lined with plastic wrap. I let it dry overnight then brushed a bit more modge-podge over the surface and added a layer of dried lavender buds that weren’t spent to the outside surface. I added a bit of ribbon and a few drops of lavender essential oil and hung this lovely heart by my desk. I’ll probably place it in my lingerie drawer after a while. It is very comforting to be studying at my desk and have the lovely lavender aroma wafting by.

I’ve been consuming a lot of tea this winter! One of my favorites is Flowering Tea by Numi. Placing a hand tied tea bud into a glass pot, pouring boiling water over it provides a lovely unfolding of the tea bud. As the leaves unfold, sometimes there are tiny flowers tied inside that get released. it is quite a beautiful show for those who appreciate tea.Numi Flowering Tea Numi Flowering Tea

Monday I start a course in Integrative Nutrition! I am so excited and motivated. In my welcome box, they sent me this ever-so-cute velvet heart, filled with Lavender!

I keep an artist model on my desk. Why? Not sure but I change the poses all the time. Right now it is finding lots of ways to hold on to the heart.Mannekin and heart

One day I’ll start sketching the human body again.

In My Kitchen are these lovely bowls collected from Soup On Sunday events over the years. I think they make great small bowls for all kinds of things.Soup Bowls

This bread mold was ordered thinking it was a pate or terrine mold. I’ll be working this later today to see just how bread turns out.

Bread mold for making round bread for hors d'oeuvres

Bread mold for making round bread for hors d’oeuvre

I’ve started to drink a glass of water with lemon (no sugar!) in it not only the first thing in the morning, but all day long. I’m working on getting up to 8-10 eight ounce glasses a day.

Drink several glasses of lemon water each day

Drink several glasses of lemon water each day

The big thing with beverages is to watch the sugar content! I’d bet that most people don’t realize how much sugar they are consuming through beverages alone. How about you?refreshing lemon water