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as ready as we'll ever be


Good morning, friends!

Oh, it's been a while... and I have a feeling it will be a while still before I properly write here again. Like many of you on the east coast we've been busy preparing for Hurricane Sandy's arrival. Goodness this is going to be huge.  I feel kind of speechless about it, just hoping and praying for everyone's safety. 

We can expect to lose power for an extended period of time, so I will return when I can. 

Current Whole Food Kitchen participants - I posted this week's module last night, expecting to not have power this afternoon. I'll catch up with you all soon!

Smartphone users - Red Cross has a mobile app that may be worth having should you find yourself in need. 





"This is the most catastrophic event we've been able to plan for in any of our lifetimes."
- Our governor, Dannel Malloy

Really hoping that above statement is not true. 

This is being compared to the Hurricane of '38 which is hard to comprehend. There is a book about my town's heritage that I've read over and over since I was a little girl. Last night I remembered there is a chapter on the '38 hurricane, so we pulled the book from the shelf to read and found a bookmark right at the point of that chapter. Hmm...

As a matter of preparation we:

  • stocked up on batteries and water
  • filled gas tanks and grill propane tank
  • have plenty of fuel on hand for generator (to be used only to keep freezers going and quick showers when/if that is happening)
  • caught up on laundry, everyone has fresh sheets, etc.
  • house cleaned
  • candles, flashlights, head lamps, and radio gathered
  • air mattresses ready for if we need to sleep in a different spot of the house (huge trees outside bedroom windows and strongest winds expected overnight)
  • have plenty of quick cooking/eating things on hand like oats, eggs, nut butters, dried fruit, etc. 
  • cards, games, knitting, books are gathered
  • put all outdoor furniture in the garage or under the deck
  • tied down the outdoor grill

I'm sure a few more things too...

What are you doing to prepare?


Something magical happened the other night. We went to see Brandi Carlile and there was a moment where she and her band stepped out from behind the microphones and their plugged in instruments. Even the acoustic instruments were taken off mic. They stepped "into the room." The point of this was to connect more intimately with the audience, to show that the difference between the band on stage and those of us sitting in the darkened theatre were, well, nothing.  One in the same we were. Music loving humans. 

They performed a song this way, almost like we were sitting in someone's huge living room. No barriers. It was quiet and sweet and profound. So hard to explain really. In all my life I've never been to a show where the artist stepped away from the microphone and into the room like that. It's definitely one of those things you had to be there for to feel the spirit of, but here is a video of that performance.

Well, I best get going. I'd like to cook up a few last minute things this morning and take a really long hot shower. The clock is ticking... see you all on the other side, wishing everyone a safe journey. xoxo

A Very Full Weekend, A Slow and Steady Monday


















Isn't this such a pretty place?

Emily had the opportunity this weekend to attend classes at Yale for teens. It's a program called Yale Splash and is a day long series of classes (over 100 to choose from) taught by Yale students. 

Emily took classes in East Coast Swing and The Charleston, Biology of Cancer, Top Secret Medical Experiments of the 20th Century, and Hearts, Robots and Arithmeas. She was also scheduled to take a class called Detroit and the Shrinking City but it was cancelled due to teacher illness. We were disappointed as that was the class she was looking forward to the most (aside from the dance classes). Oh well.

It was a wonderfully engaging day spent on a beautiful campus with good friends, both old and new. 

In November we're heading up to MIT for their weekend-long Splash event. The whole family is going (sans Scout) and we've booked double rooms with another family so the kids can be close to one another for late night shenanigans and goofing around.  I do not anticipate much sleep that weekend. Too much memory-making to be had I'm sure. 


Our day at Yale was made perfect by a surprise visit from my guy - bringing me lunch. I felt woefully and uncharacteristically unprepared food-wise for the weekend and found myself an hour from home without anything to eat (lunch was provided for the kids). I didn't know the area too well and though I'm sure the vicinity of a place like Yale is filled with wonderful dining options - I wasn't comfortable straying too far as I wanted to remain close in case the two fourteen year olds in my charge needed anything. 

Adam knew I was empty handed for the day and made the hour long trek to surprise me with yummy delights. The fruit and sushi were lovely, but the gesture itself is what made me swoon. We'll be married seventeen years this November, and the little things still mean everything to me. 


The weekend was so very full. A Friday night sleepover, Saturday at Yale, Sunday afternoon spent with Emily's girlfriends and Sunday evening at a Haunted Hayride with other homeschoolers. Oh my, that is a very tiring sentence...

Today, I worked in the morning but now intend to slow the pace for a bit this afternoon before canning the apple butter that is simmering away on the stove. Emily and Adam have declared a day off from school to prepare for my parents arrival this week (a day sooner than we thought - oops!). I'm hoping those preparations include some Halloween decorating, of which we haven't even begun yet. This morning I had a strong desire to make pomanders... so maybe that too. Yes, autumn decorating this afternoon sounds perfect. Perhaps I should switch from lemon ginger tea to hot apple cider...

Cashew Cardamom Balls


The first cookbook I ever purchased was Laurel's Kitchen, I was sixteen years old at the time. Though I didn't really know how to cook back then, I very much wanted to. To create similar aromas in my own home that I so enjoyed while browsing the aisles of local natural food stores - what a delight that would be. 

It took a few years for me to gain skill and confidence in the kitchen, but the interest was there all along. 


At twenty years old I worked on an herb farm, sometimes in the kitchen where we prepared lunch for 100 guests each day, sometimes in the greenhouse or gift barn. One day, a co-worker made the crew chai tea on the wood stove of the farm kitchen. It was my first introduction to chai and the intoxicating aroma of spices within.

Milk and crushed spices simmered slowly, no water was used. Black tea steeped for several minutes toward the end, we sweetened the brew with honey. I was transported, and still recall the feeling twenty years later.

It really is all about the cardamom, yes? 


Ever since that day on the farm, I've held chai making and drinking as one of the most healing and soothing experiences to be found. Whenever I have the chance to make something with hints of the lovely chai experience, I'm intrigued. (Chai Rice Pudding, anyone?)


Recently I pulled Laurel's Kitchen from the shelf and began thumbing through, reminiscing about the simpler days of whole food eating. Remember those days?

The pages contain little to no mention of soaking, sprouting, avoiding, etc. There is a brief and interesting couple of paragraphs about phytic acid and oxalic acid - acknowledging the 'problem' with both in one breath, and putting the varied whole- foods eater at ease in the next breath.

Simpler times, for sure. Goodness those were the days. 

Stumbling upon a recipe that featured cardamom, I just had to get busy in the kitchen. A perfectly quick Sunday afternoon snack. As these things go, I reworked the recipe a bit (I'm a soaker now) and thought it yummy enough to share with you. 



Cashew Cardamom Balls

Adapted from Laurel's Kitchen

Makes about a dozen one inch balls. 


  • 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight and drained
  • cardamom seeds from 3 pods - crushed in mortar and pestle (or 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon powdered)
  • 1 cup dates, chopped
  • finely grated zest of one orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup dried coconut (optional - powder coconut in blender)


1. Over medium-low heat, carefully toast cashews in a dry pan. Stir them often to avoid burning - you're looking to just dry them out a bit form the overnight soaking.

2. Add cashews, chopped dated, orange zest, crushed cardamom seeds, and vanilla to a food processor. Process until everything is minced very fine.Test a small amount to see if it will press together into a ball. If not quite there, process a little longer. Stop to scrape down the sides once or twice. In my processor this takes about 1 1/2 minutes. 

3. Place coconut on a plate. Form one inch balls of the date/nut mixture with clean hands and roll into the coconut, pressing to coat all sides. Enjoy!


Print Recipe - Download Cashew Cardamom Balls



Now I must run to enjoy this blustery autumn day. Wishing the same for you!

Taking it Slow


Many times this week I wanted to stop by and share a few things, but it was not meant to be. Instead I'll share a few pics from this week's instagram as my family sits beside me in the den and we watch an episode of Monk on Netflix. Have you seen that show? Goodness he's a heartbreaker, that Mr. Monk. 

I'm truly lost in October over here and am so happy we aren't even half way through. Sometimes these perfect moments race by too quickly, you know? I love autumn so much I have to be careful not to squeeze it out of being. Poof, gone.

Not this October. This year I feel especially rooted, each day lingering as I hoped it would. 

It's funny because our October calendar is bursting! Yet somehow, we've been careful to fill it only with outings that are meaningful to us. Last weekend I took Emily and a couple of friends to see Regina Spektor and we had a fantastic time. She's one of those artists that is a must see live to fully appreciate the depth and character of her voice - such a treat. I also loved the quick and simple drive up to campus for the show, avoiding city traffic. 

Scout continues to grow and grow. I should take a little video of him to post here - his repertoire of tricks is hysterical. He high fives! And not just to the person that trained him to do so (Emily), to any ol' person that asks. Oh, that cracks me up... a high-fiving dog.

We continue to settle in at Emily's new homeschool co-op. She's loving the community and so am I. Next week I'll begin knitting class! It's mainly for the kids but a few moms are sitting in too... sounds perfect. 

Just a little sharing to close out the week. 

Everything is moving along nice and slow over here, I do hope the same for you as well. 

These October Days


















Sometimes the uploading of a camera card on Monday morning is such a pretty moment there are no words to follow. A perfect reminder of where we have been, as well as the golden and crisp October days that are still to come. But mostly, it is good to see all that is right here... right now

Cinnamon Spiced Butternut Squash


We planted so many winter squash plants this year. They went in late, in the back garden, and as the season moved on I learned that garden didn't have nearly the amount of sunlight I originally thought. 

Those squash plants didn't do so well. (But the pumpkin patch right next to it did great, so who knows.) In all we harvest one acorn squash, one spaghetti squash, and two decent butternuts. A disappointing harvest, especially considering how well these types of veggies store. We were hoping for many winter meals from those plants. Oh well. At least the farmers in our area had better luck (or perhaps better skill) than we did. 

Over the weekend we found ourselves travelling down winding back country road in a nearby town that is known for orchards, berry patches, and farmstands. We found ourselves stopping here and there for some apple cider, autumn raspberries, apple fritters (!!), and then that one special place with the wicker laundry baskets filled with butternut squash - for $2 each! (That's a good price around here.)


Trying to be polite and leave a few for others, we picked up a half dozen of those beauties and made our way home. I think we should go back to that farm this weekend. I bet there are more, I'm sure others have gotten some for themselves... how many is too many?

I know come late February I will feel there is definitely such a thing as too much butternut, but right now - in the height of autumn - I just don't think too much butternut is possible.






Last night I roasted up the first squash of the year while the rain fell hard against the windows. It's such a simple thing to do really - peeled, chunks of squash with a good amount of cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg and sea salt, a drizzle of melted coconut oil. Bake at 375° F for about 30-35 minutes. Gently stir half way through. Maybe a chopped clove of garlic added for the last 10 minutes. Delicious.

It's not really a recipe per say, but if you care to try make some for yourself:

Print -  Cinnamon Spiced Butternut Squash


Today we're at homeschool co-op, and the leftovers make for a tasty room temperature lunch with some chickpeas and a handful of fresh parsley from the garden. Don't you love how fantastic parsley is after everything else in the garden withers away? I think I'm a bit like parsley, tired and wilty in the heat of summer, refreshed and at my best in the cool of autumn. 

Here's to squeezing every last (crisp) drop from October.