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Summer Days




















Loving the easy pace of these summer days... thinking my blogging rhythm may begin reflecting the same.

Today I'll spending the afternoon doing a little work, but mostly I'm lost in the pages of Ava's Man. I love this book so much. Thank you Emily for suggesting it during my recent quest for new book titles. The comments of that post are a great place to visit for summer reading ideas!

Does anyone know what kind of flower is in the second to last photo? I can't find it in my Peterson's Guide and it is the prettiest thing. It's leaves are feathery and delicate, my friend thought it may be in the pea family. Here is a better look at the leaves. Thank you!

See you soon...

Lavender Lemonade



Oh my.


What did you have in mind with regards to establishing your own summer groove? If you don't mind, I'd like to make a tiny suggestion...

Make Lavender Lemonade. Everyday if possible.

You may feel as though you've traveled back in time, about 80 years or so. Consider wearing something made of calico, or better yet, feedsack, while sipping this lemonade for the first time (for the maximum experience). At the very least, lay down your favorite vintage quilt under the finest shade tree you can find. And no shoes, you must be barefoot. Please put a flower in your hair too.

Okay, now you're ready. 

Lavender lemonade will make you feel like such a lady.

This one little recipe, made often, will place the summer of 2010 firmly into the "remember that summer" compartment of your nostalgic mind. It's a sure thing.

If you don't have access to lavender from your garden, you may purchase organic lavender blossoms at any good health food store in the bulk spice section. You can also order online if you think you'll be needing a large quantity to get through the season. I think you just might.

Lavender Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup evaporated cane juice (or regular white sugar)
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh lavender flower (I don't bother to remove the blossoms from the stem, just trim the stem as in the photo of my hand) Use 3 rounded Tablespoons dried lavender if you do not have fresh.

In a small saucepan combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, stirring often. Turn the heat down to medium and continue boiling for a minute or two, stirring often. Add the lavender, stir, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid. Steep the lavender in the simple syrup for 15 minutes then strain. Store in the refrigerator, it will thicken a bit as it cools. You do not need to wait until it cools to make the lemonade.

Lavender Lemonade

  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1 lemon juiced, strain out the seeds. I like to gather the pulp from the strainer and add it to the lemonade.
  • 2/3 cup lavender simple syrup
  • plenty of ice

Combine the water, lemon juice, and syrup in a glass pitcher and stir well. Serve over plenty of ice! Feel free to double the recipe depending on the size of your group.


There you go friends, the first lavender recipe. Don't worry, there will be more.

Happy summering!


Some Weekends Linger On and On


Aren't they the very best kind? 

Three hikes across the state, one final soccer game, whole family library outing, a few stolen moments for him to fly fish, spa day with girlfriends for her, birthday and Father's Day celebrating that revealed surprise hiking plans just one month away, a brief hello with two AT thru hikers, coyote sighting, a sea of Mountain Laurel that ushered us up the side of a mountain, new book started and so much more. Time didn't seem to exist.













Please visit here tomorrow as we open the doors and invite you into the home of our new project, Unplugged Sunday. We can't wait to share it with you!

Fruit Cobbler Topping - for the freezer


I promise someday I will talk about things unrelated to food, but today is not that day. It's the time of year when gardens and farm stands are quickly filling up and overflowing - so there is a quite a bit of cooking and putting by that is taking place.

I love fruit desserts. Thinking about it, I can't imagine a single fruit dessert I don't love. And berries? Well, seldom was there a more perfect food.

Pies are great fun to make, but in the summer (straight up, fresh fruit aside) I prefer the ease of a quick cobbler or crisp. My pie crusts tend to perform better in the cooler months - do you find this to be true in your kitchen?

A few weeks ago I set out searching for the perfect cobbler recipe. The one I'd name as my go to source for this summer's fruity feasts. I should mention I was drowning in rhubarb at the time. Not a bad problem to have.


My search led me to Mother Earth News. This is definitely a recipe you'll want save.

Let's see... I think the only changes I made were:

  • added nutmeg to the topping (a good pinch)
  • used sucanat for sweetener
  • chose lemon zest
  • used milk instead of 1/2 & 1/2
  • 425 was too hot for my oven (which runs true), 375-400 was better

Make sure you bake this on a cookie sheet or you will have quite a bubbling mess on the bottom of your oven!

After I made the first cobbler, I remembered a friend told me that she mixes up a bunch of topping and freezes it in individual containers, enough to make one cobbler. I went ahead and copied my wise friend's practice and mixed up a triple batch of the topping portion using this recipe, leaving the milk out. Then I divided it evenly into jars, labeled it (with a quick note about adding 3/4 cup milk or cream when cobbler making commences) and stacked them all in a line in my freezer. I love having food prepared and lined up in my pantry or freezer.

This reminds me, I used to make prepared flavored rice mixes and keep them in the freezer. Similar to the processed kind you buy at the store, only not processed and filled with herbs, spices, good parmesan, brown rice, etc. I should revisit that... not sure why I haven't done it in ages.  

Anyway, back to the cobbler.

Now, in the heat of summer, when the berries and peaches are pouring into my kitchen, I won't have to fuss with zesting fruit and cutting in butter.

Hmm... I realize this makes dessert making more convienient. (Sorry!)

a little busy...


What is more hopeful and refreshing than a bunch of 13 and 14 year olds rockin' the playground? Nice job ladies.

(A little busy today, be back for a full post soon.)

do you need a dinner idea for tonight?


Good morning! Aren't we always in need of new and interesting dinner ideas? Today you should head on over to Renee's and check out her Noodle Salad Recipe ~ Cooking a Meal for 25 (I did not make it for 25). 

I quickly pan-fried the tofu in a bit of coconut oil, but otherwise followed Renee's recipe pretty closely. It was wonderful! I love recipes like this where everything can be chopped and combined in a big bowl, dressing prepared and stored in a separate jar, and kept in the fridge (or cooler) until serving time, then everything gets tossed together and served. 

We are entering the season of Sunday night summer concerts on the green, late afternoon trip to the beach, and early evenings coming off the trail... this recipe will definitely remain in the rotation for such outings. I hope you get to make it too! 

Do you have a favorite go to summer meal?

laundry: line drying tips


I'm a little obsessive about hanging laundry. Aside from the typical enjoyment (please tell me I'm not alone here ladies) that comes with hanging like items together... there is a certain how to hang items that I love to fuss over.

In my defense, my fussing is grounded in practicality. There are certain things you can do when hanging laundry to ensure faster drying time, more space on the line for an extra load, and gentle care of garments.



1. Line dry laundry in less time.

So often, people hang laundry on the line by placing the whole item over the line, and pinning it on, front and back together. (Oh, I wish I had a picture of this.) When you do this, there is no way for the breeze to blow through the garment (picture a wind sock), providing a faster drying time.

Pin only one side of your clothing to the line. When the wind comes, it'll circulate much better, and you won't be wearing still damp jeans at the end of the day! Speaking of jeans (or anything with a zipper fly) - if you hang them from the top, open the button and zipper fully, then pin one side to the line. Air will move through nicely.



2. Fit more laundry on the line.

This may seem obvious, but I'm surprised how often I see wasted space on clotheslines (I notice the strangest things). To create more room so everything can fit, hang clothes with a little give, a droop, instead of pulling taught. It's that simple.

On my clothesline, if I don't do this I can hang two loads. When I do hang the clothes with a little give, I can fit three loads. Yes, please!

And certain items like hand towels, dish towels, napkins, kid shorts, etc, get one pin only. Just pin the corner, let it hang lengthwise. It'll dry just fine.



3. Take gentle care of garments.

I've run out of laundry photos so please enjoy my first iced coffee of the season. Enjoyed while watching my laundry dry... I do love housework.

My clothesline is positioned in a spot that gets direct sunlight for only a couple hours a day. As a result, I don't notice any fading of clothing from sitting in the sun all day. I have heard other line dryers mention this though. The best thing to do to prevent this, is to hang your laundry inside out. Have family members put their laundry in the hamper inside out. You definitely don't want to do this step after they come out of the washer. Very tedious.

Well, that's about it for laundry talk. Just a few simple tips.

I'm spending the day nursing a certain 13 year old who has a bit of a cold. It's in the 90's outside, and I'm sipping ice water today as the laundry dries. (That late afternoon iced coffee kept me up until 1am last night!)

Friday Afternoon Falafel Making


On Friday I made The World's Easiest Falafel  & Tzatziki. To be honest, I've only made falafel from the mix you get in the bulk bin at the natural food store. (Though I've eaten plenty of good, authentic falafel over the years.)

Tzatziki is something I've made many times and this was a straight up, easy recipe. But I think the ease this recipe title is referring to lies with the falafel recipe.

Considering my lack of experience, I can't say if it's the world's easiest falafel recipe, but it was indeed simple enough and definitely over the top delicious.

My falafel notes/changes:

  • I didn't "air dry" the beans after soaking for very long. They did sit in the strainer for an hour or so, then I just sort of rolled them around on a tea towel. (Would have been helpful if I read through the directions first.)
  • I doubled the garlic. I always double the garlic.
  • Added more than "2 pinches" of sea salt. It may seem like a lot, but seeing as the beans are uncooked, they have no seasoning and the recipe can handle a good amount to really bring out all the flavors.
  • Doubled the cumin. 
  • I have a standard size food processor and this was a lot to try and process at once. I had to do it in batches and then once everything was nice and fine, I fit it all back in for a final whirl together.
  • I used coconut oil instead of canola, and got away with about 1/2 cup. 
  • The mixture seemed really wet, I did not think the patties would form. Trust. They will, very nicely too!
  • Recipe makes a good amount - about 18, three inch patties.

You should make these. They are really good.

We don't always eat dinner on Friday night, it's usually popcorn and hot cocoa (something adult for mama). For over ten years Friday night has meant Movie Night for our family. We feast on popcorn! (Maybe a simple sandwich, salad, or platter of sliced fruit if one of us feels like a little more.)

Once in a while though, I put a little spread on the table. And when a recipe makes 18 little patties, it affords me the added bonus of quick snacks and meals for the weekend too! 

(Please do not judge my swill beer in the photo. My dad drinks Rolling Rock, I drink Rolling Rock. You know how it goes...)

Happy Monday everyone!

stitching again


This past weekend I picked up my embroidery needle for the first time in over a year. It was so nice. I think for me, stitching words with needle and thread brings the same meditative peace that my knitting friends speak of as they loop wool around long wooden needles. My knitting skills are so basic. However, I read through the Shalom pattern the other night and I think it made sense to me! Would you (experienced knitters out there) say it is a good first sweater pattern? I think my love for knitting would flourish if I could just move past scarves and fingerless gloves, you know? They can only be so interesting.

Anyway, much to show you about what this (and other) embroidery pieces are becoming.

(A hint... little pockets of lovely.) See you soon.