fourteen

fourteen

little Jade – photo by Joe – film – summer 2000

 

she came into this world with big dark eyes

calm & quiet

not a peep or cry from her lips

it scared us all

but she was perfectly fine

just marching to the beat of her own drum

which she has done ever since

this girl, our first daughter

such independence

and a generous heart

from the very beginning

and those curls

how I loved those wispy curls

fourteen years later

she's just as amazing

i'm still looking at her with my eyes wide open

in awe, in love

 

happy birthday sweet girl

you make this world a better place~

 

much love

~mama

(& the gang)


an evening in my kitchen

an evening in my kitchen

 

an evening in my kitchen

 

an evening in my kitchen

 

an evening in my kitchen

 

an evening in my kitchen

 

an evening in my kitchen

 

an evening in my kitchen

 

The night before last found me alone preparing dinner. Each of the kids off in their rooms busy with something. Joe napping on the couch after an especially long day at work. A young person flitted through the kitchen every now and then, but mostly it was just me.

It was so different than the usual hustle and noise of dinner making. Such a treat. Truly.

I had a clear quiet mind to think as I prepped. I noticed the evening light creeping into my kitchen. I poured myself a glass of wine and turned on some soft music.

Simple. Blissful. Quiet.

Wishing you all a very lovely weekend.

I'll be back on Sunday to share a sponsor spotlight post. Do pop in to take a peek.

 

xo

~stephinie

 

socks for the man

I finished up Joe's socks a few days ago…..

 

socks for the man

 

socks for the man

 

socks for the man

 

That second sock is a rough one to begin. I offered to make it striped, or a different color before I began. I got one of those "really" looks from the man. So two blue socks he has. They're even the same size! Joe says they're comfy, like good socks to lounge in. Of course, even if they weren't I'd still kind of expect him to profess his love for them anyway. I mean, they are handknit socks after all. You can find all the details on ravelry.

{Thank you Joe for modeling the socks and letting me harass you with my camera.}

I suppose he's used to that by now.

That's it for today! I've got a picnic lunch packed for hanging out with friends in Lafayette on our way to pick up the big boy for a weekend home. We're always so excited to see him. Plus me and three of the four kids have a little secret birthday shopping to do for a certain girl who is turning fourteen this weekend.

The youngest just reminded me I need to pack him a railroad snack for the drive. This is what he calls Trail Mix. He's a funny one.

Have a great day!

 

ps ~ sorry for the random double post, I deleted the second one…. I wish I could have transferred the comments to this one… I did read them, thank you! see you tomorrow for some links (and hopefully just one post to share them. haha!)


cinnamon maple sunflower seed butter

After spending an entire morning this weekend drinking copious amounts of coffee and working on a new budget, I'm determined to carve our food spending down. That may seem unrelated to the title of this post, but I assure you, it's not.

On my last trip to the store I picked up a 16 ounce jar of organic sunbutter and looked at the price tag. 

$7.49

I sat it back on the shelf. Thinking to myself that surely, somewhere, there was a recipe for sunflower butter. And I could make it, right? I mean, at least something similar.

The first batch was a bust. I added a bit of water thinking it would thin the sunflower meal. It turned it into a sticky, goopy mess. I'm just telling you, in case maybe you thought it would be a good idea. It's not. I was able to thin it with almond milk to add to baked goods, so it wasn't a total loss.

Then I remembered this. Ah-ha!

Round two was much more successful…..

 

cinnamon maple sunflower seed butter

 

cinnamon maple sunflower seed butter

 

cinnamon maple sunflower seed butter

 

cinnamon maple sunflower seed butter

 

cinnamon maple sunflower seed butter

 

It's decadent artisan quality amazing goodness. Really. Even the littlest in my bunch gave it a thumbs up. This is a lot coming from a kid who previously only preferred no stir creamy peanut butter. Aside from the delicious factor (and really, it's amazing!) it cost under $4 to make a 16 ounce jar. That's about half the cost of the grocery store variety and no plastic tub to recycle. Woo-hoo! So, did you want the recipe?

I thought so.

 

cinnamon maple sunflower seed butter

{slightly adapted from Heidi's recipe, which is slightly adapted from the new cookbook, Food in Jars}

1 pound (about 2.5 cups) raw sunflower seeds

1/2 tsp salt

4-5 TBSP coconut oil (or sunflower oil)

3 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

2 TBSP maple sugar (or syrup)

 

*Lightly toast the seeds until they have a soft golden brown hue (first photo). Let them cool ten minutes. Add the sunflower seeds & salt to a food processor fitted with an "s" blade. Pulse a little. Next add 2 TBSP of oil and blend away. Blending will take awhile. Don't give up. Stop and scrape down the sides often. KC has an excellent photo tutorial on the process here. Add the cinnamon, vanilla & maple sugar. Blend a good long while to get it all mixed well. If the mixture seems crumbly and dry, you can add more coconut oil one TBSP at a time. Drizzling it in as the food processor runs. It took just over ten minutes to get mine nice and smooth.

*feel free to omit the salt, vanilla & sweetener for a simple seedbutter. 

I stored ours in the fridge, which made it sort of hard. But we only use it to put on toast & apples, so this is fine for us. Does anyone store homemade nut/seed butters in the pantry? Will it go rancid? I'd love to know.

One thing is for sure. Apple slices will never be the same…

 

cinnamon maple sunflower seed butter

 

Enjoy!

 

~mindful monday~

~mindful monday~

 

loving ~ this sweet old boy

 

———————————————————————————————————————————-

mind.ful = conscious or aware of something

Something that speaks to your heart and leaves you feeling beautifully grounded right where you are. If you’d like to share yours…. please leave a link in your comment below for others to discover.

 

happy monday friends,

~stephinie

 

cha-ching

Once upon a time there was a food budget.

Then a family went gluten-dairy-egg free.

Then the food budget flew out the window…. waving goodbye as it left.

Dang.

It is what it is, right?

Meet (most of) the new gluten free pantry line up~

 

cha-ching (+weekend links)

 

And because this is just too funny. A great big jar of Psyllium Husks.

 

cha-ching (+weekend links)

 

It's kind of the newest thing in gluten free baking. Replacing the expensive and slightly elusive zanthan gum. But seriously? Who wants anything that says "colon cleanser" on the pantry shelf, next to the chocolate chips and brown rice flour. I'm all for healthy cookies…. but it was just too much for me. Even though it came in a perfectly useable lidded tin, I poured it into a glass jar. It looks prettier, and I feel much better about having it in the background of possible recipes shared in the future. I'm ridiculous. It's true.

And there is this. I've been keeping it in a dark cupboard and feeding it twice a day…

 

cha-ching (+weekend links)

 

I should call it Seymour, right? After that weird 80's musicalFeed me Seymour.

I think maybe I've had enough coffee for today…..

As this whole gluten-egg-dairy free thing progresses, I will be sure to point you in the direction of good recipes. I'm compiling notes and photos for a post soon.

 

And now, some weekend link love:

~Amanda is genius. I am so looking forward to seeing this unfold.

~A lovely handmade book tutorial.

~It's apple season, and this can help you preserve the bounty. (next fall, I'm hoping for apple picking!)

~Maybe your little (or big) kitchen helper needs an apron?

~We've been loving this up in our morning smoothies. I add one teaspoon to a full blender. Even the pickiest in the bunch has not complained!

~This is what happens when Joe looks at etsy & adds items to my favorites. 

~Yum, yum & yum.

 

And just because, a year ago this week.

 

ps – I updated my photo here with a super geeky self portrait I took in photobooth… take a peek and laugh with me 🙂


bits of life

bits of life

 

bits of life

 

bits of life

 

bits of life

 

bits of life

 

bits of life

 

Did you ever try to run underwater as a kid?

I remember pushing forward with all my strength. Using every muscle. And yet the water always won. Finally, exhausted, I would give in. I'd let the water win and feel myself sink into it. I'd take a deep breath, filling my lungs with air and then float to the top. Eyes closed. The world quiet with my ears just below the water. Not giving up, mind you. Just joining forces with what was working.

Life is like that. It goes at it's own pace no matter how hard we push (or pull). It seems I am usually hurrying it along or holding onto it with both hands and my feet dug into the earth trying my best to slow it down. I should be patient. Mindful. I know this. But those moments always come after the struggle. When I remember how good it feels to give in and feel weightless. To let go and just be. To take each moment as it comes.

Make this meal. Knit one row on this sock. Love up these people of mine. Let the sun shine on my face. Sing along to good music. Eat. Love. Laugh at myself for getting in over my head with that pile of halloween costume fabric. Savoring each piece of this life like a good cup of coffee. One sweet little moment at a time. Even if it's my second reaction…. that's okay. Better late than never, right?

Have yourself a lovely little evening.

xo

~stephinie

 

~mindful monday~

~mindful monday~

 

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.
~Roald Dahl

 

———————————————————————————————————————————-

mind.ful = conscious or aware of something

Something that speaks to your heart and leaves you feeling beautifully grounded right where you are. If you’d like to share yours…. please leave a link in your comment below for others to discover.

 

happy monday friends,

~stephinie

 

sunset + weekend links

As always, you humble me with your sweet words when I spill the beans of real life. I can't even begin to let you know what it means to me to sit down at the end of the day and read through all those comments.

You rock. Really, really.

 

sunset + weekend links

 

Today, I wanted to share a few sunset photos with you all. One of the main reasons I splurged on Erin's photography course this summer was to figure out how to work with light creatively. I struggled with it. Most of this was because I had not figured out how to use my camera in manual. (Which I learned in the class!) Erin shared some good tricks & tips too. I feel like I'm finally getting it. Slowly, but surely.

These are a few bits of the Louisiana sunset that I have been trying to capture since we moved here. The way the moss on the cypress trees glows as the sun sets. It's beautiful. I never want to forget it. And now, I have these…

 

sunset + weekend links

 

sunset + weekend links

 

It's always such a treat to upload photos and have them look like you wanted, like the image in your mind has truly been captured. These do that for me. I love them~

 

And now, a few bits of weekend inspiration……

There are lovely new doll quilts and play-silks in the shop

I started a new pinterest board. Dairy, Egg, Gluten free food. Come visit.

If you have a favorite recipe… please share a link in your comment.

We're getting back in the swing of our school schedule and I found this particularly inspring. In fact, I loved it.

Finding food to feed my people with these yummy salads.

If money grew on trees…. I'd buy this. Even though I can only play 2 chords.

And just for fun… a year ago this week.

 

Happy weekending to you dear friends.

much love,

stephinie

 

from this place (our food journey)

from this place (our food journey)

 

We've been here before. It's true.

And here we are. Back again.

My sweet man has suffered from migraines since I can remember. At times they seem to vanish for months. Other times will have him carrying a nagging headache around for weeks. Months. With migraines scattered here and there. I don't want to belittle anyone, but from an observer's experience I can tell you two things that I know.

One: Migraines are misunderstood (both in culture and modern medicine).

Two: Migraines are debilitating. A person cannot function. They are not just a bad headache.

We've been to neurologists and allergists. We've sworn off possible trigger foods. We've been handed bottles of pills that made my husband feel like he had a buzz all day. Not so good for climbing lighthouses and inspecting boats. We've drastically changed the way we eat. We're active. But they keep coming back like an unwelcome guest. It is heartbreaking to see someone you love live with chronic pain.

I picked up this book mostly for some whole food recipe inspiration and sat reading the first few chapters nearly in tears. While I had thought of myself as fairly food wise, I had no idea that whole foods like good organic farm fresh eggs and small amounts of raw dairy could cause chronic migraines. No doctor we have seen in the past decade has suggested it either. Not one. I suppose that shouldn't surprise me. But it does.

Here is another piece of our story…

When Luke was a baby, he had such bad tummy troubles that I finally swore off all eggs, dairy & soy until he was nearly two. And while he is now growing strong and healthy, his tummy still regularly bothers him. Nothing major… but enough to make a mama raise her eyebrow and wonder. 

I realize now that what is perfectly healthy whole food for one person might not be for another. And while I already understood this in terms of serious life threatening allergies…. I did not understand this in ways of mild auto-immune type symptoms that are harder to trace to their cause.

So in some ways I feel like we've stepped back to square one. We've pulled gluten, dairy, & eggs out of our diet. We feel strongly about eating even more green smoothies and nourishing plant foods in the months to come in hopes of finding some healing.

Somehow this feels like a big serious thing to bring here, to this place. But it's truly where we are. I feel very strongly that food and feeding my family is an extension of my love. It's something I hold dear and I am prepared to make whatever changes are necessary to nourish all of our bodies. I know too, that so many of you are on a similar food journey.

So today, I ask that you please share. Share food that makes you feel well. Recipes, books, and websites you use to find resources to feed the people you love.

Thank you~

xo

stephinie