cosmo carrots + kids

Gardening is something I look forward to…despite this years crazy spring, super hot summer and now, mosquitos, things are growing and I continue to plant…and now am starting to reap the benefits…

I pulled the first few carrots of the season while Finn napped and as soon as he saw them (after he woke), he said, ‘Mamma, I want to pick carrots too!’

I didn’t want to subject him to the incessant mosquitos and thus, the required long sleeve shirt, long (thick) pants and gardening boots, so I picked while he slept…though when he told me he wanted to pick and wouldn’t mind ‘getting dressed’ (despite the 90+ degree day), out we went…

I was one proud mamma!

Look at these beauties.

veggies

Cosmo carrots (purple) and baby carrots, plus the first picking of basil and the never ceasing baby lettuce (under the carrots)…

Finn helped me plant all of these and I’m so happy he wants to help harvest too…I can only hope to instill a love for gardening or at minimum, an understanding of how food is grown and a respect for all that required to grow, organically…

pulling carrots

carrot freshly picked

double carrot finn + carrot

double carrot

fresh picked carrotshappy weekend!

gardening in Maine, in the rain…

I’m surprised by how well my little backyard garden is doing, despite all the odds against it…

carrots

curly kale

Time constraints, a precocious three year old, fluctuating temperatures, heavy rains, Maine mosquitos (bad for me, not the garden) and the constant threat of insects (particularly slugs and snails right now)… makes gardening this year a bit of a challenge, to say the least. Granted there are always variables out of our control when growing one’s own, though this year, the wet and cooler temperatures are certainly above and beyond the ‘norm’…

borage

While Finn naps, I try to get out there – little by little more seeds are sown, weeds are pulled, additional mulch is laid and insects are picked off one by one…for me the key to having and enjoying my garden is simply getting out there, once a day, even if only for 15 minutes…to keep an eye on things and say ‘hello’. Yes, I do talk to my plants…why not?

lettuce leaves

I want to garden. I want to eat fresh organic greens. I want to pick (and then enjoy) fresh homegrown, veggies! I want super fresh, real food. My current budget won’t allow me to buy locally grown, organic tomatoes, but it does, if I grow them myself, from seed. Lucky for us, I like to garden. And I have space to garden…

one half of garden

Not only do I like to garden, I need to garden. For me, it’s innate. It always has been. I like to eat what I grow. Plus, the taste, is impossible to achieve with store bought vegetables. Nothing is more fresh than ‘just picked.’ Seriously.

freshly picked lettuce and kale

So, I garden.

I start seeds in the late winter/early spring, I compost, I save seeds, I read about companion planting and organic gardening. I teach myself and I learn as I go. Life is all about learning – it’s never ending – and for me, this years garden is teaching (and reminding me) that plants want to grow.

young corn

Every living thing wants to grow – despite set backs and challenges, we all want to and need to grow, vegetables are no different. So if you think you don’t know enough to grow a few plants, think again, they are forgiving (to a point) and they want to please you as much as you want to enjoy them…

green bean beginnings

So why not start a seed and see how it feels…you may just get hooked.

Don’t have a lot of space? Try plating vegetables/flowers in pots. A tomato doesn’t taste any better grown organically in the ground, in the country, in Maine as one grown organically, in a pot, on a fire escape in NYC…homegrown is homegrown, and that is always better than any store bought tomato…the best part of organic homegrown? Monsanto is not involved – at all.

Happy gardening – for yourself, your family and the earth!

enjoy.

lunch is served

Now I don’t need to tell you how to make egg salad, I’m sure you already know how…but just in case, here’s a friendly reminder for a lunch or brunch idea that can be as fancy (think bread, crusts removed, finger sized) or simple (rolled in a tortilla) as you like…

Add a little decadence – serve champagne with your finger sandwiches…or any sandwich for that fact!

Not only is egg salad good for just about any day, but it’s also perfect for picnics (keep chilled of course – sandwiches and champagne) and meals on the go. It’s inexpensive (even with organic eggs), requires little time and the ingredients are common to most.

Get the kids involved. Peel, smash, enjoy.

Simple Egg Salad

Print this recipe!

1.hard boiled eggs

7-8 eggs, hard boiled and peeled.

2.peeling eggs(I wasn’t too worried about the state of the eggs once peeled, they’re just going to get smashed up anyway!)

2 heaped spoonfuls mayonnaise (or however much you prefer)

1 teaspoon english mustard

course salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3.mashing eggs

Smash eggs with masher (this makes them super fluffy).

4.blended

Add mayonnaise, mustard.

Mix until blended.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

5.egg salad roll-ups

Serve on sliced bread, rolled in a tortilla or on a Portuguese roll.

Don’t forget to include fresh greens too!

Lunch is served!

Now, where is that champagne?

Enjoy!

old shelf – new shelf

We’ve been in need of some shelving for Finn’s reading nook… It’s a very small nook at the top of the stairs (it used to be my office) and while its been his ‘space’ for the past year, it was in need of a little re-do. It needed shelves and it needed white paint on the floor (it had been a dark red not a nice red).

So I re-painted the floors (with floor paint we already had) and then hoped for some type of shelving or bookcase – something to keep books and toys on, while keeping things organized and easily accessible…and as luck happens, I found one. In the wood pile. At the dump. The very next day…

shelf - before

shelf – before

Now, this was certainly no beauty – obviously… Oh no. Typically I wouldn’t even had noticed it, but as I was walking past the wood pile – I thought, “I wonder what a coat of paint will do for that?” Then I thought, “I do need shelving for Finn’s reading nook…” My next thought was, “If it fits in the back of my car, I’m taking it.” And it did.

As I was unloading it and hauling it across the lawn, Michael says, “Wow, that’s nice…” Can you hear the sarcasm…? My immediate response was, “I know, I know – it’s not my style (at all) but just wait and see!”

So I got right to it. I scrubbed it, bleached it, lightly sanded it and then asked Finn to help me paint it and he was so excited to help, that we finished both coats, in one day (don’t worry, we were outside and it was a VOC free paint).

finn painting

finn painting 2

So two coats later and some gingham contact paper ($2.00 for the roll) and we now have a (useful and sturdy) ‘new’ shelf in the space.

shelf - after

shelf – after

Too bad it didn’t fit next to the window, instead of being slightly over the frame…

reading nook

Oh well, things don’t have to be perfect to be lovely…and in the end, it was free, useful and needed.  It didn’t end up in the wood chipper (see here for the other shelf I saved from the wood chipper). I didn’t drive all over looking for the ‘right’ shelving and I’m going to use the rest of the contact paper to re-cover the interior shelves in my pantry; money (and time) well spent I’d say.

contact paper

Added bonus, the shelf is not only useful now, but it could (at some point) be used elsewhere in the house (thinking laundry room), or we could add more shelves to allow for varied storage abilities or even paint the sides with chalkboard paint or magnetic paint and Finn could play away…free, versatile and useful, what’s not to love?

What have you turned into treasure lately?

enjoy

life these days

We’re still in the ‘re-adjusting stage’ of being back home and have been busy catching-up with the business and getting back into our daily routine, slowly that is … I haven’t had much time to cook anything different (the ease of preparing meals which I’ve done a dozen times before is much more inviting at the moment than experimenting – though this will pass, I know), thus no new recipes and not much else to comment on – though I have started more seeds and am getting excited about the warmer (warmer for here that is) weather which seems to be coming in – though a daily (and nightly) fire is still needed…

Here’s a few photos of life around here – at the moment of course – everything changes…

red beans

pears on plate

planting seeds

lilies

seeds to start

sheets drying in the wind

snow dropsbulbs pushing throughhelping

moving wood

Happy Easter everyone!

Enjoy

planes, trains and automobiles

I had planned posting as usual last week, though after being bumped from our flight (who bumps a family traveling with a three year old? American Airlines does), after waiting in line for three hours to check in, then told (rudely) there are no more flights until the following day (what?) – didn’t plan for that expense (complaint letter being written soon!), then delayed the following day (in Miami) due to a snow storm and then, finally, we arrive in Connecticut, to visit with Michaels’ sister and niece, and there is no internet connection for five days. Life seemed to say, no posting for you…so here I am, now…

We returned last week from our epic trip and stopped off in Connecticut for a few days to visit with family and attend the Architectural Digest Home Show in NYC. This is a big show and an expensive one.  We’d been invited to participate for the past few years (it’s a juried show), though wanted to check it out first, in person, to see if it’s a good match for us (get a sense of the overall ‘vibe’), this is NYC and a very HIGH end show after all, so before investing lots of money and time we thought it best to to do our research, first, and I’m so glad we did.  We loved it!

They have a ‘MADE’ section which is a perfect fit for Michaels’ work and our business (Designs Adrift).  We spoke with a few exhibitors (artists) and not only were they friendly, encouraging and talented, they suggested we take the plunge and exhibit next year. Each person we spoke with said it was worth the investment and their business grew as a result…grew enough to continue coming back year after year.

We were placed on the guest list, so the entrance fee was waived and Michaels sister babysat (family rate = free) Finn all day while we traveled in and out of the city… we ate a delicious lunch for only $8.50 (for the two of us) and walked to the show. No cabs for me. I love walking in NYC, it’s the best way to be ‘in the city’ – especially as we were only there for a few hours… why spend for a cab when walking is not only free, but great for the body too.

The train and parking fees were money well spent. We look forward to the prospect of exhibiting next year and I am beginning to plan accordingly – who knows where it may lead?

But, for now, I’m settling back into being ‘home’ and have already started a few seeds, despite my garden still covered in snow…

Planes, trains and automobiles.

There’s nothing quite like being ‘home’…

enjoy.

too many ripe bananas?

We had a bowlful of super ripe bananas and quite a few kids wanting a sweet treat – so what did we do? We baked some delicious banana bread! Who doesn’t like banana bread?

bananas in bowl

It’s easy to prepare, it can be frozen and enjoyed on another day or eaten right away.  It’s perfect for breakfast or as a snack. Serve with freshly whipped cream, butter or simply on its’ own. Banana bread is also great for picnics, traveling (think muffins or thick slabs) or given as a gift – who wouldn’t love to receive a loaf of freshly baked banana bread?

Also, if your short on time, but have some overly ripe bananas – don’t throw them away, simply peel and freeze. Frozen ripe bananas work great for banana bread too!

Here’s what you’ll need;

4-5 ripe bananas, smashed

1/3 cup melted butter

1 cup sugar (or less if you’d prefer)

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

dash of cinnamon and raw can sugar (if desired)

Here’s what to do;

Smash bananas.

Beat the egg.

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.

dry ingrediants

Using a wooden spoon mix melted butter and vanilla with bananas, then add to dry ingredients just until moistened.

wet + dry ingrediants

That’s it for mixing then,

pouring batter

pour into buttered loaf pan.

sugar sprinkle

and, if desired, sprinkle with raw can sugar and a dash of cinnamon for added texture, crunch and flavor. Serving a crowd? Double recipe (as we did) and use a sheet pan…

Bake at 350F for one hour.

slice and enjoy

Cool on rack. Slice and serve.

Enjoy.

PS. Apologies to those of you wanting to print without all the photos. While I’ve learned it’s possible, I’m still needing to learn how, so until then, my apologies…