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A Brief Pause


When I woke up this morning it was snowing again. Nothing much, but steady white flakes just the same. I'm trying not to feel desperate for that first warm and damp earthy spring-like scent in the air, but if I'm being honest, I'm quite desperate at this point. 

Knowing it will indeed come however, I'm hanging on as so many of you are doing. What a winter we've had!

This week I am wrapping up my current workshop and preparing to open registration for 30 Day Vegan. Many of you have been emailing about when exactly that will be, it looks like registration will open on April 11, and the workshop will begin on May 13, 2013. This workshop is very special to me, and one that I know many of you look forward to repeating each year. Such a gentle yet cleansing reset for the body as we enter the warmer months ahead. 

Our home is a busy place right now with homeschool, spring sports about to get underway, my work, Adam's work, the upcoming holiday weekend, and my parents currently visiting. I think I'm going to push pause on the blog for the next week so I can better manage all that we have going on. Hopefully when I return Spring will finally be in the air and I will have fully emerged from this long wintry nap. 


Have a wonderful week!

Spring! (so the calendar tells me)
















Oh, Spring. 

Your entrance this year is welcomed, as always, yet so unfamiliar looking. Do you recall how we usually enjoy this day? Here is an example. Or, take a look at your beauty, just one year ago. 

What happened? Why are you sleeping in?

I so wanted to join the tradition of many gardeners in my area and plant peas on St. Patrick's Day. But alas, the garden remains covered in snow. 

I did wish for all this snow, and I'm grateful for its arrival... last year's winter flip-flops and crop pants were happily replaced this year with snow, more snow, and even more snow still. As Winter should be. 


It's time to move on. I'd really like to pack away these winter boots and my long down coat. I'm ready for things to sprout and windows to be thrown open. I'd like to wash the curtains and hang them on the line to dry in the warm breeze.

It'll come, I know. I need to be patient. 

An email from a farmer friend this morning reminded me that we're not too far off from the norm. Thank goodness farmers keep such careful notes of these things, it sure helps the rest of us from feeling discouraged at times like this. 

This morning I sorted the seeds into some semblance of order. Tomorrow we'll start the seedlings. Seeds and dirt... it'll happen. 

For the next few hours I'll hang out at homeschool co-op and try to get a little work done. First I'll run next door to the natural food store and pick up a cleansing green juice. I love their new juice bar. The sun is streaming in the windows behind me and feels so warm on my back. Someone has lit incense, I'm happy. 

Welcome Spring, I'm so glad you're here. xo

Broccoli Noodles with Thai Peanut Sauce


There are quite a few working lunches in my days right now. With Whole Food Kitchen in its final weeks, and an upcoming (new!) session of 30 Day Vegan opening soon, I'm a busy girl. I'm also trying to squeeze in some time here and there to finish and release my first (very long time in the works) ebook, Mealtime Salads. Add to that a huge surge of inspiration recently that found me pouring ideas onto paper, resulting in outlines for new workshops to be offered in 2014.

Lots of activity for sure, and lots of computer time too, naturally. Extra moments of getting up and moving around are critical - as is clean, yummy, and simple meals.  


Long before dark leafy greens were a consistent part of my diet, there was always broccoli. Little trees of hearty, blood building nourishment that my body would crave if too many days had passed without a bowlful. 

These days so many types of dark green vegetables have a place in my everyday diet, but there's just something about broccoli that you can sink your teeth into, it feels substantial and filling. 

Today we woke to yet another snowfall and I have a small bunch of broccoli on hand to cook up something warm and comforting with. The recipe I am sharing with you today came to mind, I love its creamy peanut sauce with just a hint of orange. 


Normally in my kitchen, legumes are cooked in bulk and frozen in meal-sized portions for convenient use. Lately however, I've been keeping some canned beans on hand as a simple way to build up food reserves... because you never know. 

Eden brand canned beans are a great choice as they do not use BPA in the can linings.

Having some canned beans on hand now, I have to say it's been nice to reach for one if I need to prepare a meal quickly and forgot to thaw a jar from the freezer. 



Broccoli Noodles with Thai Peanut Sauce

Sometimes you just need to have a bowl of noodles. We aren’t really hot-spice people, please add hot chili or hot pepper as you wish to spice it up.

A retired 30 Day Vegan recipe.

Serves 4


  • 8 ounces soba, udon noodles, or brown rice noodles
  • 4 cups chopped fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • sea salt and pepper


  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed if possible)
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger


  1.  Cook noodles according to package directions. While noodles cook, whisk together sauce ingredients in a bowl.
  2. In the last two minutes of cooking time, add broccoli and chickpeas.
  3. Drain. Combine sauce with noodles, broccoli and chickpeas. 
  4. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
  5. Serve.

Note - This makes a good amount of peanut sauce. I add only half to finish the dish and then pass the rest at the table. We never use it all and have extra to dress up wraps and other salads. 


Print Recipe -  Broccoli Noodles with Thai Peanut Sauce


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Whether you would like to use canned chickpeas or freshly cooked, I hope you enjoy this recipe. A yummy bowl of noodles, broccoli, chickpeas... and the creamy sauce that tosses it all together. 

Happy cooking to you!

From My Knitting Journal


On a long wintry road trip I cast on a simple ribbed scarf after realizing that the yarn I had packed for my first Honey Cowl attempt was all wrong. It's a good thing I learned early on the ever-important knitting rule of always having a back up project on hand, especially when traveling. 

And so, I'd knit a few rows... talk to my family... knit a few rows... stare at the moose in the middle of the road... knit a few rows... look out the windshield and pretend we could actually see through all the drifting snow...

Surely, with twenty hours ahead of us in the car I could finish a simple scarf.


Twenty hours in the car and I had about 4 inches of scarf to show for it. This scarf felt like more of a slow torture than a sweet meditation. 




It just never seems to gain any momentum. I mean, it is. I'm close to the finish line now, but the slow to measure progress has done little for keeping me motivated.

I felt (still feel) like the grandmother in that children's book who knits and knits and knits until her home is filled with this blanket (was it a blanket?)  and it eventually spills out the front door and rolls down the hills and lanes into town... am I remembering this book right? I can't think of the name of it now.


This scarf has traveled through four states, two book clubs, three homeschool co-op days, and at least one movie. Since casting on I've begun and completed five other projects!

Clearly it is not holding my attention.  I'll finish it, but man this is a slow ride. 


The latest of the other projects to come off the needles has been a second honey cowl and a third hat. I've decided that I learn so much when I knit a pattern multiple times with various yarns, adjusting needle sizes, etc. I've also learned (from one of you helpful readers) that I was knitting backwards... backwards! Can you imagine!? 

I knew that I knit differently than how many other people knit, but I was always told "that's okay, just as long as you always knit that way, your work will come out fine." So I never bothered to do it any differently. But then one of you explained that the "v" in the stockinette stitch will lay flatter/nicer/prettier if I knit "this way." (And then it was explained exactly how to knit correctly). 


I thought it was going to be so hard to relearn, but it wasn't! Sure, it took a little focus as old habits can be hard to break, but I kept my attention on the task and the very next project (the brown hat above) knit up so much nicer than my previous green hat

I owe a few proper pics of these latest knits but my go-to-knit-model is currently wrapped up in a tremendous amount of research on Frederick Douglas. Another time. 


After knitting the first Honey Cowl in Cascade 220 Superwash, I was eager to cast on another. I can't seem to get enough of the spongy texture of the Honey Cowl stitch and the Superwash was really lovely to work with. One day I was in the area of a new to me yarn store and stopped in to see if they had any of the same yarn. They didn't, but I was told Ella Rae Superwash was a comparable choice so I picked up a few colors and was excited to get going. 


At first it seemed to knit up just the same as the Cascade Superwash, but after a few inches into the project I could tell it just wasn't. This yarn was not nearly as soft as Cascade and it didn't quite have the same loft which resulted in a slightly lacy stitch. The weight is the same between the two yarns and there is only a one yard difference between the two so I can't get my mind around why the thickness feels so different from one to the next. The Ella Rae wasn't terrible, and I could see why it would be sold as a "comparable" yarn to Cascade, but it certainly didn't duplicate my first cowl experience. 

Oh! And the color... it's so hard to photograph but it is the prettiest, warmest blue with a touch of green (#130, Bermuda). It reminds me so much of the tiny bathroom in our old house. That was the best blue color for walls, never leaving a room feeling cold as blue walls can sometimes do. (Covington Blue by Benjamin Moore.)






There are so many knitting type odds and ends to share today. I don't even have Ravelry notes yet for the new cowl and hat, I'll wait until I can get a few proper photos of them.

A package came in the mail recently that contained "fresh from the farm" yarn from a sweet lady that asked if I'd barter workshop enrollment for some of their yarn. Oh yes! Yes I will!!

This is seriously some of the nicest (if not the nicest) yarn I have ever touched. She even sent a pretty hat pattern and many samples of wool-friendly soap. Our resident Border Collie is quite smitten with all of the wool coming into the house these days. 

I'm not sure yet what I'll make with this yarn (aside from the hat pattern that came with it), but it does hold a front and center spot in my stash now. What a treat this is going to be to work with. 








Later today or tomorrow I need to get into the kitchen and make up another batch of Renee's lotion. Hand lotion is a staple in my knitting tool kit as I cannot tolerate knitting with dry hands. Given the winter months and my hands being in and out of dish water all day, I sure can use a dab every few hours throughout each day. And especially when I sit down to knit, lotion is a must. 

Emily and I made a batch (it might have been a double batch) about one year ago and our supply is just finishing up. It stayed perfectly fresh at room temperature through all the seasons and provided a rich and emollient lotion for my very active hands. I think this may be the first lotion recipe I've made that worked so well I'll be making it a second time. 

Well, I think that about sums up the happenings from my knitting journal these days. If you have any thoughts on what to make with this new yarn, please do share. I would love something particularly special for the Blueberry Vintage, of which there is 308 worsted yards.  Such a generously sized skein of wool/alpaca yarn. 

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I hope you are having a wonderful week and have adjusted to the time change without a hitch. (I'm just putting that out there for those of us in need... ahem.)

Cacao Chia Crispies (and a recipe page!)


Today, I'd love to share a yummy snack with you. 

Filled with chia seeds and raw cacao, these little treats are a good source of antioxidants, omega fatty acids, easily digestible protein, iron, magnesium, and fiber.

(Did you know cacao is a decent source of fiber? Yippee!)

Yummy, delightful, and so easy to make. 


Cacao Chia Crispies


  • 1 cup nut or seed butter (almond, peanut, cashew, or sunflower)
  • 2/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 6 cups crisped brown rice cereal (not puffed rice)



  1. In a mixing bowl cream together wet ingredients. Add the chia seeds, cacao, and salt. Blend until combined. Add the crisped rice and stir until evenly mixed. 
  2. Form into 1 inch balls (optional - chill the dough for 30 minutes before forming balls, to firm up the mixture a bit).
  3. Store in the refrigerator. 


Print Recipe - Cacao Chia Crispies


Happy cooking, friends!

More Independence Please (Mid-Year Homeschool Changes)


We've recently entered the second half of our school year and as such a thing typically goes for many homeschoolers, it has provided a great opportunity to mix things up.

We can wake up on a Monday and declare that "x, y and z" just aren't working anymore, and have it all changed up by Friday. This isn't something we do casually, because there is a certain stick-to-it-ness that we try to foster as parents, but we also believe that life is here for the making (not taking)... so we best get to it.

As the holidays approached we found ourselves checking in with all sorts of things on the homeschool front. How's it going? Do you need anything? Are there any new classes or experiences you'd like to have happen this Spring? That sort of thing. I love that we get to do this. 

So, a couple of things were discussed. The fall semester Web Design class that she took? Html coding and the like most certainly did not ignite a deep passion at this time, there is no need to sign-up for Web Design II in the Spring. The Honors Lit. class though? More please! (We'll save those additions for next year as big ticket item funds are already allocated for this year.) But I agree with her, that class was an excellent investment and the course work was of quality and meaning. This class does run through the Spring semester, we aren't done with that yet, but Web Design was a single semester course so that is completed. 


This is our first experience with a true online school and while there has been a learning curve for sure, mostly it has been wonderful. The learning curve came mostly as a result of understanding the technology that supports an online classroom (blackboard, dropbox, skype, etc.) but once we figured the system out it was fairly smooth sailing. 

Like regular school, some teachers are incredibly charismatic and easy to connect with while others are a little quiet on the personality front. It's been interesting to see Emily experience this and her response/love for the subject has been definitely effected by how brightly the teacher would shine through the computer screen. So interesting. 

As for her other subjects, she wasn't looking for any changes there, all seems to be well still. 

But what I really wanted to talk about today is the big change that we've made for the second half of the year. 

When we checked in with Emily, asking her those hopes and dreams kind of questions for the remainder of our school year, she requested one thing, and she requested that one thing quite firmly. 

More independence. 


Now, Emily has always been one for a school-like feel to things, even resisting terms like "unschooling" when I was campaigning for a looser regimen. But we have total freedom Emily... each day holds limitless possibilities... let's think BIG! 


She just wanted to know what History chapters to read and when the test would be. 

This goes against my self-starter/free-spirit nature - so it goes without saying that providing true structure and rhythm hasn't always been a place of joy for me. But, I happily obliged as it seemed to provide what she was looking for in her learning experience, and that is the point after all. 

But you know, I've always thought this was quite unschool-ish of us, perhaps. Providing a routine that looks very much like school can indeed be total freedom applied if that is indeed the true learning desire for the student. 

The thing about writing these homeschool type posts is it can be hard to stay on track! So many threads weave their way into the bigger picture... it makes it hard to get to the point without telling a few side stories first.

In short, Emily was asking for less hour to hour type scheduling and more freedom to explore and study at her own pace - by her own accountability. That last part is huge and reminded me she is indeed growing up and ready to take the reigns more and more.


When we teased out exactly what she was looking for with this increased level of independence, we learned that she still wants the work and study of her typical school days as they are now - she just wants less oversight from us and more accountability on her own part, as well as more freedom within her days. 

I'm so happy to see this development. 

Basically, up until now we've scheduled blocks of time in the day and have broken those blocks down a bit into tasks/assignments to be done throughout. This format was based on Emily's request, not from some way we (the adults) thought homeschool should look. 

Based on Emily's request for more independence, we've tossed that routine. 

Now, Monday morning she is given a weekly syllabus (designed by Adam) with all of her assignments and lessons for the week. She can decide however she'd like to go about getting it all done, and knows we are always here for support and discussion, but how she decides to manage her workload and the rest of her days (basically) is up to her.

For my routine loving, rule following girl, this step on the path of independence feels pretty exciting for those of looking on. 

And of course, it took her no time at all to figure out that if she applied herself on certain days and did a little "overtime," she could turn her five day school week into four days and go visit with friends at a local cafe for Friday afternoon lattes. That sure keeps a teen motivated!


We still hold an 8am-ish start time to the day, but she has a lot of freedom with how the day unfolds from there. 

I should add that Emily has always had this level of freedom, she just wasn't looking to apply it before. It is so great to watch her mature in this way and come into her own by way of this significant step in self-management. 

We still "hold space" for learning each day, (that's just part of our family culture) and Emily doesn't head off to her room closing the door behind her. Adam is still here three days a week, available as her primary learning mentor - facilitating discussion on politics, literature, history, movies, books, biology, sports, math, and who knows what else. 

Because Emily is older now, there is a certain amount of mentor involvement that we feel is necessary at this level, more so than when she was younger. We homeschooled for a period when Emily was in fourth grade (before jumping in fully when she was in seventh grade), back then she could zip through her Wordly Wise and math lessons with little oversight. But now, deep into her scholarly years, dialogue is an integral part of the experience. We believe the best way to "test" someones knowledge on a topic is to simply see if they can have a conversation about it. Dialogue about everything under the sun is still a huge part of Emily's day. For us, how deeply and inquisitively these conversations become is the real measure of learning. 

So, this has been a rather long winded way to share that we now give Emily her full week's worth of work on Monday, and she has until the end of the week to complete it. 

And, it's totally working. 

It's been a few weeks now and she is applying herself in ways that are new and fun to watch. She hustles at certain points during the week and also notices when she just needs some down time to simply hang out. 

It feels like the perfect preparation for college really. Maturity, self-discipline, increased opportunity for time management - important life skills that are practiced more and more each day by this girl that is growing so quickly right before my eyes. 


As I finish this up I can hear her downstairs with Adam - she's playing a tune on the ukulele and singing along. A much needed break from classifying algae and debriefing the disappointing triple overtime loss in last night's game. This afternoon she'll do research for her debate argument at co-op tomorrow, on whether the CDC should destroy the Smallpox sample it is holding. (She has debate at homeschool co-op as well as her competitive team.) After that she'll head off to piano. (Where I think I need to request the teacher stop assigning Bette Midler tunes to learn. Ahem.)

There is still more that I'd like to share about this school year. How Emily's Debate Team experience (the study, research, preparation and practice involved) is quickly becoming one of the most prominent subjects in her week. I'd also like to share a little more about her homeschool co-op and what exactly that brings to the table for us. 

For now, I'm just so happy to see Emily step outside her oh-so-structured comfort zone and begin to explore new territory within her days.  One of the top reasons we homeschool is for the freedom... so let us make the most of it each and every day.