Two of Elsa’s cousins spent the night at our house this week. Elsa was so excited when they walked into the house; she put both her hands out and hugged each of them. They make her laugh a lot, as you can see. We ate cookies, stayed up past their bedtime, danced around the family room to music, played hide-and-go-seek and Go Fish, and as always, watched the video from our wedding. They love to see themselves in it!
If we can’t see verdure outside our windows, we will see it inside.
It’s March, and it’s 17 degrees. In a perfect world, March would be full of sunny days in the low 60’s. So would April. And throw in a day or two of the low 70’s just for fun. If life is a bit desolate outside the walls of our house, I figure why not add some brightness inside? This smoothie I call my Orange Sunshine Green Smoothie, and when I drink it, I feel like it’s summer and parsley is growing on our back patio, and I just returned from the orchard with arms full of fruit. I think Elsa and I had this four times since last week, and Kyle just tried it and found it pleasantly delicious. Make it this week and add some much needed warmth to your home (if perchance you too live in the northeastern sphere of the U.S.).
Orange Sunshine Green Smoothie
Blend all of the following ingredients:
have a daughter who loves to put food in her hair?!?!
Nation, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously - no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.
Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis
When I saw this salad on Free People’s blog, I knew I wanted to try it. In my family herbalism course, we studied the benefits of fennel (excellent for digestion, filled with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds), which made me want to incorporate this food into more of our meals. I added some candied nuts to the original recipe and have made this four times so far. It’s great for dinner guests, and I’ve also had it for breakfast when I was needing a smoothie break but still wanting some vegetables in the morning. It is so, so simple!
Apple Fennel Salad (2 servings)
1. Juice the lemon and add it to a bowl filled with water.
2. Core the apple and slice. Put the slices in the bowl to prevent browning.
3. Slice the fennel.
4. Arrange the salad. Put a bed on the plate first. Layer a slice of apple with some of the fennel. Once you have a small stack of apple and fennel, sprinkle blue cheese on top. Put the candied nuts around the bottom.
5. Drizzle with vinaigrette.
I live a pretty simple life. I like it that way. There is not much rushing in our home. We don’t have lots of deadlines or timeframes or engagements. Ever since having Elsa and quitting my full time job of teaching, life has seemed more slow and more relaxed. When I think back to my childhood, I remember the feel of our home. And the word that best covers it is calm. My mom seemed to have endless time to make us chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles, mow paths in the lawn that we could use for a maze to run through (we didn’t live near the road or have next-door neighbors so no one cared about the looks of our lawn), and teach us when sugar peas were ready to be picked in the garden. When Elsa is someday asked to encapsulate her childhood home with a word, I hope she says, “calm.” Not that it was absent of laughter and games and good-natured pranks, but that it lacked pressure and unceasing busyness.
One day a week, I allow myself to sleep in until 6:30 am, and today was one of those drowsy mornings, very fitting for the dark sky and freezing rain. Elsa and I played peek-a-boo while she had her bath, read Madeline’s Rescue, made fennel ricotta muffins, and stayed in our PJs until noon. Splendidly simple.
A few months ago, Kyle made me a clothing rack for our room. Each season, I plan to fill it with the clothing I intend to wear again and again. It really has made selecting outfits much simpler. We bought some old barn wood at Keystone Vintage Lumber and attached it to piping (well, I bought the wood; Kyle did the rest of the work!). If you’d like to make one, we have the dimensions and will gladly share them.
We’ve also been working on redoing the closet in our bedroom. I know closets aren’t really important, but I do like a well-organized and beautiful closet. It just helps me feel more together. Once it’s complete, I will share a few photos.
Snow days call for heartier breakfasts.With the forecasted foot or more of snow, I thought we should start the day with a little treat of comfort food. I adapted just a bit of the recipe to use sucanat instead of white sugar and wheat instead of white flour. Otherwise, the recipe is practically perfect. If you like Chai Tea, you will LOVE this. This shall be the snow day treat for our family for years to come!
Chai-Infused Baked French Toast
For the Chai-Spice Mixture
For the French Toast
For the Streusel Topping
1. In a small bowl, mix together all of the spices. Set aside.
2. Prepare the French Toast by whisking together all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl except the bread. Add a heaping teaspoon of the Chai-Spice mixture.
3. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Line the pan with the bread. Pour the egg mixture over it. Cover and keep in the refrigerator overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 350. Pour the streusel topping on top of the bread. Press the bread underneath the liquid in the pan. Cook for 45 minutes.
5. As you eat your breakfast, gaze at the beautiful snowfall.
Original recipe found here.