Thursday, June 30, 2011

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Green Stuff

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Perfect Day on the Farm and Vegan Broccoli "Beef"

Couldn't have been a nicer day on the farm. Mid to high 70's with a sight breeze blowing. The ground was steamy and wet and odoriferous with green, growing life. At times, when I crouched low to snap a buried Swiss Chard stem, the heat from the ground was almost sauna hot. Picking was silent some of the time, just the pop of snipped greens, and the rustle of leaves. Other times easy conversation punctured the steamy silence.

My fingernails are stai
ned olive drab and my fridge is full of produce.

Satisfying, satisfying, satisfying. Sigh.

The packing went quick and the boxes were pregnant with delicious offerings. Pictured are some of the gorgeous offerings... a handful of purple beans, garlic, broccoli and cabba
We made a stir fry out of just picked broccoli and snap peas. It maybe was the best stir fry I've ever had. I was starving...that always helps, but, yum.

We had Trader Joe's "beef" seitan in the freezer so we tossed that in. (Highly recommended!) 
with the broccoli, 
snap peas, 
some frozen peppers, 
onions and 
brown rice that we had cooked previously and frozen. 
Quick and delicious.

I made a sauce out of :   1/4 cup sesame oil,

1/4 cup plus
1 TBSP soy sauce,
1 minced garlic clove,
1 tsp sesame seeds,
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes, and
3 TBSP slivered almonds.

Poured it over and stirred it up.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Scribbles and Scrambles ~New Faces


I got lots of blog work done, but, nothing terribly interesting to read.

I updated the Novel Reviews blog after I updated Scrambled Dregs. And darn it. I don't know that I LOVE the new Dregs.

What do you think? I think I need to do some more tweaking.

Should I go with a more sophisticated look or quirky?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Weekend Update.

I wish I had pictures of last night's storm. But since I was driving in it, it wasn't prudent to snap any shots.

Picture an orange sunset on the horizon with a huge, ominous black cloud above that and then a final layer of twilight blue sky. And then throw in random and intense lightning zigzagging across the heavens. I felt
amazingly insignificant and overwhelmed with God's raw creation.

Since I do
n't have pictures of the storm. I'm sharing pictures of the delicious vegan torte 24 made for Father's Day. And the gingerbread front door/porch treatment that Rob placed last week.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Winter or Summer?

A few pictures via 24's trip. She spent the first day of summer in Montana. However, Montana mountains are still hanging onto winter.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Baby Step Changes Part 10 Reinvent Yourself

Last day of this introspective, change your life posts. Ten is a decent round figure.

Finally, add the whole FlyLady concept to your life. Her theory is that you make use of the time you have rather than put things off until they feel out of control. One month I took a modified suggestion from her and forced myself to get rid of ten things every day for a month. (Okay, I could do this with papers, but I took it to a more challenging level some days.) A giveaway box in the corner of a closet collected a lot of stuff we just weren't using. I loved it. And probably should make it a habit to do at least three times a month.

Though I don't get her emails for follow her plan I love her attitude and proactivity.
If you want to look into her here's the link. Beginning Baby Steps eases you in. But there's a lot of extra coaching. I found Hot Spots under day 6Link
interesting and something I need to focus on. I have two table hot spots...and uhhhh... well. She coaches that tiny bits of time every day or so saves us from the big horrendous things like spring cleaning. And a little organization makes life a little more like living.

I dare say we could take her concept to other areas of life. Just like when I did the 21 Day Project and made copious amounts of progress on the book. Since then, I've barely touched it, and guess what? It's not like I have a ton more time on my hands. Everything was fresh and right in front of me and in my mind for 21 days. If we could take the important things in our lives and put them on a must do list every day I wonder what difference we'd see in our lives.

If every day I made it a habit to contact each of my kids and tell them that I love them. Or hugged and kissed my husband just because. Or made a promise to myself that I would make five positive statements for every negative statement that comes out of my mouth. Or I spent two minutes really praying and ten really reading the Bible. Or twenty minutes taking a walk or ten minutes just talking with my husband. All of that time wouldn't add up to much. Might cut into commercial watching or mindless surfing. But would I really miss those? I wonder if those changes wouldn't multiply blessings in my life.

Worth thinking about.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Bodacious Beet, Batman

Tuesday = Farm Fun.

Yesterday I worked in the non-balmy field planting Zinnias. It was almost chilly on this first day of summer. Of course, that might be because of the rain. Fortunately, the rain was spotty until it was time to drive home, then it was as if someone turned a fire hose on and sprayed it directly at the driver's side of the windshield.

But again, I digress. Yo
u are probably wondering why I'd plant Zinnias at an organic vegetable farm. Congratulations. That was my response. But mine also included a goofy look, probably similar to the ones the dogs wear whenever a human puts food into a plastic bag. Huh?

Zinnias attract pollinators. Honey bees, remember the hive? Apparently they are thriving and helping all the happy plants become productive members of vegetable society. And butterflies. The better the pollination the better the yield. Okay. That makes sense.

So I asked if the Zinnias attracted any negative critters. And I felt almost as if I received a "good question" head pat. That's why we planted near the vegetable garden but not IN it.
They have discovered that creepy crawlies beyond pollinators like Zinnias, too.

Then I had my first real shot at the packing line. I was very, very careful when it came to washing... double checking and avoiding anything that looked like a pea. Fortunately, there were ZERO mishaps. Whew. I was feeling a little nervous. But, I think we cracked it out pretty impressively.

And I am now the owner of a lovely kohlrabi. I'm not sure exactly how we'll eat him. The farmer says we should think jicama. (I'm sure that helps. Ha.Ha.) But once I figure out how to dissect him, I'll share the recipe. Right now, I'm enjoying the whole alien in my refrigerator thing.

And I'm just realizing that there may be something sinister about the kohlrabi...I did absolutely nothing of value last night....except surf Amazon for cookbooks. Weird. Like it's little purple tentacles controlled my actions.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Baby Step Changes Part 9 Reinvent Yourself

Do one more healthy thing today than you did yesterday. It could be as little as a few moments of introspection into your motives and drives. Or as much as pushing yourself to move one mile further. Or to finally begin tweaking your favorite recipes.

Park further away from your office and walk the extra distance. Drink one less pop, or pour half of it out. Smoke one less cigarette. Take two bites of the cookie and save the rest until later. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier. Set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier and use the time to sit and sip and read your Bible, pray, or prepare for dinner. Stretch. Hit the snooze alarm one less time. Prep vegetables for snacks in small containers or within easy reach.

I read an article about self-control and self-discipline a while ago. It mentioned the importance of making small decisions to help encourage you to go for bigger things that seem overwhelming right now. It's like if you say yes to yourself you become your own cheerleader. Every bit of control you take over your own life encourages you to take that next step.

The reverse is true, too. I've found that when I want to fall into laziness or a funk, it's so easy to let it snowball. Maybe the best thing you can do today is to decide you can be lazy in one area but not the others that always seem to go along with it. Allow yourself that today, but tomorrow, do one more healthy thing for yourself than you did the day before. See if healthy choices don't begin to become contagious in other areas of your life.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Antique Puzzle

The weekend adventures included a trip to Iowa's Antique City.

Walnut, Iowa ha
s many charming little antique shops. But once a year, this tiny city overflows with antiques. I mean overflows. Something like 300+ vendors line two main streets and span three or four blocks (trust me, you lose count after awhile) of tables and booth after booth of some impressive stuff. From tools, to massive oak furniture, to signs, kitchenware and marbles, Walnut had a little bit of everything.

Last year was my first year. This year won't be my last. My green shelf looks terrific in the kitchen...and my mom bought me the adorable (and functional -- it's full of storage co
ntainers) chicken box. (Shout out...THANKS, MOM!) She scored a little red wagon, a wicker end table, and two large metal bushel baskets.

Our buddy nailed a wheelbarrow, a red wagon, a commer
cial sized five loaf bread pan, and a sled. And get this. Every last one of those items and the few miscellaneous things like a disk blade, yard stick and yard ornaments fit (with three people) in a Honda Element.


This quaint little event has guys on horseback directing the massive influx of cars. A sliver of what the scene looks like. A handful of the items we scored (snapped while two of us were getting the "big" stuff from vendors who were holding it) and the lucky backseat guardian/con
tortionist. A good time was had by all. My new shelf unit with chicken box (box, not pox).

Friday, June 17, 2011

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ ToeTails

My 93-year- old grandmother discovered that she kind of likes a good pedicure. So. For the combination birthday and Mother's Day gift for both Grandma and my Mom, I treated the ladies to a pedicure. (I have to admit that I had one too. And 24 joined the party. Ahhh. So nice. The amazing massage chair, an extended time soaking and relaxing, I'm telling you, it's better than a pan of brownies to rearrange my mood...whoa, what if I took a Mocha Soy Latte and some of those amazing brownies I blogged about a few weeks ago to my next pedicure? They might not ever get me out of there.) (The cat and toe pictures are my cute little orangey toe with the lovely white flower, Feral feigned indifference and made a nice background, but then he turned on me.)

Sorry. I digress.

The ladies who treated our toes so fabulously wanted to add a little sass so we all got nail art. Pictured are my 93-year-old Grandma's toes in all
their kick-hiney passion pink glory. Ha. 24 took a picture so she could send it to my dad who could blow it up big enough for Grandma to actually see.

She doesn't see wel
l...but she remembers everything I've ever said or done. Which she re
minded me of on the way out the door when she threatened to spank me because I gave her hand cream for a gift.

At one point she looked over at me and said..."Is that gray in your hair?" I laughed out loud, would have rolled on the floor laughing, but thought it would be rude. "Well, Grandma, yes, been going that direction for quite awhile. I prefer silver." My mom looked at me. " I guess it's official." The consensus is that when a blind grandmother notices the gray in your hair, you are officially gray....errrr silver.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Baby Step Changes Part 8 Reinvent Yourself

Never, Never, Never

Never give up...

on the important things.

I just had a reminder of that after spending the evening with someone I loved enough to step out of the way of the consequences of her choices. Only after agonizing over doing just that, and weeping and praying and begging her to learn before she had to learn the hard way. And you know what? Some of those consequences hit like freight trains.

But, something else happened, too. She is deciding to stand up, brush herself off, and, I think, has learned something from each of those hits. That is powerful. And humbling. Because part of me wondered if anything would ever penetrate.

There are things and relationships that are pursuits that are too costly in the long run. Things that drain us of our time, resources and lifeblood. What drains you? Sucks the joy out of your soul? Maybe it's time to let it go.

But there are things and relationships that are worth fighting for. Your covenant relationships, your integrity and character, your soul-mates (the ones you share your journey with... you know who they are) your health, your future, your eternity.... those are pursuits that are worth wrestling matches, sacrifices, and the truth.

Go to a corner, take a breather and a few swigs of cold water. Stand up, get back into the ring and never give up.
Who do you need to tell the truth to? What do you need to do today to fight for your future, your hope, your dream? One step at a time, take one today.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Farm Scramble

I learned a valuable lesson on the farm yesterday.

I can't claim that my mistake was from sun spots in my eyes or brain adlepation from heat exposure. The temperature was perfectly mild and reasonable...unseasonably cool.

I suppose it could have been a subconscious drive...since I don't love the vegetable which received my messed-up good intentions.

24 picked peas for an hour. A co-volunteer also picked...but she started even earlier. Three (wo)man hours picking peas. Whew. The net? Over 30 pounds. Trust me. That is a whole lot of green stuff. While they were picking peas I harvested Swiss Chard and Kale. A bunch of it. And some radishes, and yanked some weeds. Found a few good Lady Bugs and cheered them on. (Lady Bugs...not Asian Beetles that look kind of like the little reddish ones, are the organic farmer's friend.) So much going on that I wasn't paying full attention to the pea-picking in the other field.

Here's where the dilemma began, had I been paying attention I might have gotten home earlier. But, alas, I was not. The second part of the mistake began with the washing of produce. We water rinse most things to just take the dust off...pretty much...and maybe Lady Bug poo....) Some items begin spoiling once water hits them, like herbs, so they don't get a bath. And items that come right out of the ground like radishes and beets get a shower in the field so they don't need one in the packing, very green. And sometimes, the farmers make a judgment call about who gets dunked and who does not.

So we had loads and loads of veggies to wash. And only two sinks to do it. I thought I'd be uber efficient and wash out the sinks, fill them up with cold water and get going. I'd done it before...I knew the drill. One sink got lettuce. The other...well...we had a lot of peas...good idea to start on those. So I started dumping them in. I'm happily sloshing away and one of the farmers comes by..."Oh, we decided not to wash the peas." OOPS! Darn. But they were wet, and I carried on.

Until 24's co-picker says. "Hey, there are two kinds of peas. Don't mix them together!"

Oh boy. Did I mention that my uber-efficiency compelled me to dump all 5 bags of peas...all 30 pounds...into the cold water? Together.


I'm pretty sure I won't be doing that again. Good news. The peas are super clean and received lots of tender loving care. Bad news, it added about 45 minutes to the process. Ugh.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Some Fun Perks and Quirks.

So this is fun. Remember the coconut crust rhubarb pie that 24 invented? I posted the recipe at the Earth Balance web site because they offered a free product coupon for coconut oil recipes. They have a brand new line of organic coconut oil. How could I not send the amazing coconut crust rhubarb pie recipe in? 24 was pretty jazzed about the free product coupon. (Me too, and we just used the last one we got...nice.)

And they wanted to feature it on their website today.

Here it is. Isn't that cool?

And since creativity and fun is on the docket. Here are a few things recently made by yours truly and a few friends.

My folks, daughter in law and 24 (me, too) took another glass fusion class. Here is my end product. The four season apple t
ree. Not quite what I pictured in my mind. But I think it turned out nice. 24 made a wowser cool birdie in a cage, Mom a fabulous fish, Dad another Monet-type work-of-art rendition of their house, and my daughter-in-law a modern dot and stripe beauty. (Thanks for posing, taking and sending the pics, Dad. ) : )

And at the art fair on Saturday I made (well, mostly stood there while one of the volunteers did all the work) a sweet repurposed vinyl messenger bag....made out of old billboards. How cool is that? The company is called Revinylize... very cool idea.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Monday, Monday, Update

We had quite the Saturday. I slept in. Nice! And then we met a friend with a Costco membership for a look-see. I'm pretty sure we'll be getting our own membership, and leaving poor Sam's Club. Some of the products and prices were pretty tempting and they have quite a bit of organic produce and products.

Then we went to the big outdoor annual art fair. Lots of fun. The weather was perfect. But there was a bizarre little theme. A large octopus...and a man with barnacles on his legs. Odd.

But I don't think they were conne each other or the wedding party. The barnacles were actually instruments. And the wedding party...not sure if they were art fans or didn't check the city calendar before planning the wedding. And I didn't even try to figure out the huge psychedelic octopus.

Finally, we traveled to the highest spot in the city and looked out over the flooded parts and pieces all around us. I have included a picture of the same spot from a few
years ago (not exactly the same same, but close enough.) There is water that is threatening a lot of homes and businesses in the lower lying areas of our city. It's done some serious damage to some smaller towns near us. It's pretty overwhelming to see it. And it was crowded, too. Hundreds of people were there checking out the water levels.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Baby Step Changes Part 7 Reinvent Yourself

4. Plan differently.

People often eat out because of exhaustion or overwhelmed schedules.

Think ahead about your menu for the week and have the ingredients on hand. Build a revolving menu based on what your family likes. If you have fifteen meals that are hits with your family, you can rotate them and only duplicate items twice a month.

Some ideas. And these will be really different for every family. So will the ingredients. Ours will be meatless and without dairy products.

Pasta and sauce
Stir Fry
Breakfast for dinner (omelets or tofu scramble or hash brown casserole, pancakes or waffles)
Indian spiced food
Burger or hot sandwich night
Build your own taco or burrito night
Rice or Potato casserole
Soup and/or Salad
Side Salad/Appetizer night
Gravy over rice or potatoes
Calzones or Pockets
Comfort Food - roast, mac and cheese, meatloaf
Eggplant or Chicken Parm

Can you take 20 minutes in the morning to throw something together that you can pop in the oven when you get home? Not only will it save time when you rush into the house during the tensest time of the day, but if you put the ingredients together the dish will taste better as the flavors marry. (If you have raw meat, don't put it with the other ingredients except the marinade ingredients that then will need to be tossed.) Think double time and while you put one dish together, go ahead and make two and put one in the freezer for another time. This works great for lasagna, casseroles and soups -- even all veggie versions). Or put the crock pot to use.

Have healthy versions of spaghetti sauces and salsa on hand. (Plan ahead even more and make and can your own from your summer garden bounty or the farmer's market.) And always have a pasta you like on hand. Then you always have a quick, easy meal with the addition of a salad or bread.

If you plan ahead and have prepped bags of cooked brown rice, quinoa and black beans in the freezer you have the makings of a quick tortilla meal with the addition of quick sauteed pepper and onion strips (frozen in bags which is often cheaper than fresh, usually frozen quickly to retain nutrients, and sliced so you don't have, win. If you really want to plan ahead you can do your own bags in the summer months from your own garden or the farmer's market.)

Potatoes are a good staple, too. And one that can be used in casseroles, soups etc. is a terrific resource. Type in the main ingredients you have on hand and you will find recipes.

Every meal you eat at home saves you money, and should likely be better for you (unless your home meal is exclusively boxes, bags and cans).

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Baby Step Changes Part 6 Reinvent Yourself

3. Cook differently.

Look at your family’s favorite recipes.

What ingredients can you change? What ingredients can you decrease?

Once you start, it's not that intimidating to tweak favorites and end up with the same feeling, similar flavor. And knowing that you made it yourself and made it healthier for your family can be a slam-dunk, fabulous feeling.

Look at each ingredient individually. I can't promise that if you switch one type of flour for another that you'll end up with exact results, or that if you cut the amount of cheese in half that you will still get the flying trapeze of cheese upside your chin. But. If you are willing to make a change at a time, or two if you are brave, you can end up with some really tasty results.

Note: You might want to make a photocopy of your recipe and write the changes right on it. That way you can recreate what you did. There is nothing more frustrating than creating a tasty dish and not remembering what you did to get there. Grrr. Another note. If the recipe is already billed as "healthified" be cautious on tweaking too much. The second worst thing is investing the time into something that is inedible. I'm talking about classic recipes or full octane ingredients for the major tweaking.


Most items don’t need all the sugar and all the salt called for. You can reduce up to a third or even half the amount of sugar. Salt can be decreased by half.You will likely not notice the difference. Start with a third less and move up to half if you feel like you can go a bit more. Some fats can also be decreased.

Change out all purpose flour for a whole grain flour.Or make your own blends of regular (go unbleached for less processing), spelt, oat for a more traditional like flour with nutritional benefits.

Use whole grain pasta. Or a mix of half regular, half multi or whole grain.

Use a different milk like oatmilk, unsweetened coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk to sneak in different nutrition when milk is called for. Oatmilk is the most milk like in texture for creamy soups or casseroles. Coconut can leave a bit of coconut flavor but is nice in asian dishes calling for milk.My least favorite is soy because of the flavor.

Blend up vegetables and mix them into old stand-bys. If you have a meat loaf recipe that everyone loves, try adding a half or full cup of blended sweet potatoes and spinach. Replace part of the ground meat with lentils, beans, brown rice, quinoa or nuts If it's a "busy" recipe (got a lot going on) or If there’s sauce on it your family may not notice.

I haven't played around with a lot of recipes that call for applesauce for fats etc with results I love. But. If you have a recipe that feels pretty greasy, by all means, decrease the fat by a quarter the next time you make it. You might want to "grease" any pans in case it really messes with your end result. Or try half applesauce or bananas or pureed veggies or beans and half the fat.

By replacing, tweaking or decreasing ingredients, you change the nutritional dynamics of the meal. I have discovered that real food with nutritional heft is often more filling and satisfying and requires less.