Sunday, February 10, 2013

A little goes a long way


Being responsible does not just mean showing up on time, setting your alarm and being a stand up person. It isn't enough anymore. Being a considerate person, while a lot of people are not, is also being considerate of your environment. It relates to how your money is spent regarding your carbon footprint, whether you try to buy local, or buy used instead of new whenever possible. Considering people, your environment, your children's future world, are you the most considerate person? Are you trying to be a responsible person, on more levels than one?

Supporting the food giant companies is like feeding a beast. You pay for the advertising, plastic, cardboard, shipping, and all the preservatives that go into that Hostess Twinkie! (Twinkies are dead, BTW) While everyone is busy just trying to be kind, even when it is fake, our world, our children, and our economy is in absolute peril. I am not a constant storm cloud by any means, but I often contemplate a whole lot of issues throughout my busy day that simply irk me! Sustainable living takes some effort. It upsets me that most people don't even care about recycling let alone sustainable living. I am no expert in sustainable living, however in the past few years I am making huge efforts towards living from dirt to plate and buying locally as well as composting, cycling instead of driving and avoiding preserved foods as well as sugar. If you don't care, who will?

Sustainability, according to Dictionary.com, Environmental Science. The quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance. 

This blog for instance, I started it to keep myself motivated in three areas that really mean a lot to me. The first is cooking food that comes from my own garden. The second, is to continue writing....which I thoroughly enjoy doing, when I am able to be vulnerable and real with my reader. I cannot stand fake people or a fake front for the sake of saving face...let's just keep it real. Fake people are a waste of my time. Lastly, I want to be able to use my photography skills. While trying to keep up with raising children and working at a loving marriage, (Yes a good marriage takes upkeep) I find my needs being sent to the back burner. Case in point, I don't jog for more than 20 min., because I don't want to burden anyone longer than that. I am always trying to further my education on sustainability issues, trying to live a greener life. I love the outdoors...I want the beauty of it to last.

So my challenge to my readers is to try to live more sustainable. Do it for our future generations. Try to care...please...


Here are some interesting articles that I read today about the locavore diet. Which means eating food that comes from within a 100 mile radius. They are fascinating articles! Check them out!

http://ehis.ebscohost.com.lib.kaplan.edu/eds/detail?vid=8&sid=56d29d43-7ce8-4f06-bc67-486c16c41365%40sessionmgr111&hid=16&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3d#db=f5h&AN=25182006

http://ehis.ebscohost.com.lib.kaplan.edu/eds/detail?vid=9&sid=69bc0b55-16c9-47d1-a2ed-a6005868cef3%40sessionmgr114&hid=109&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3D#db=rzh&AN=2009677912

http://ehis.ebscohost.com.lib.kaplan.edu/eds/detail?vid=7&sid=69bc0b55-16c9-47d1-a2ed-a6005868cef3%40sessionmgr114&hid=105&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3D#db=rzh&AN=2009272529

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My gardens extended winter

We have been here at this home for a year now. I was looking forward to having a large garden area to work with in the spring. It was precisely why I started this blog. I had a very difficult time finding someone to till it for me, even find a tiller to borrow. Fortunately I finally did, however it was a season and a half later than I would have liked it done. So, needless to say I was very upset about missing all this time not only to plant but also to harvest, and to blog. So my blog has acquired some dust!

Now I am trying to weed this puppy and get some seeds down! This is a difficult task with all the horrendous heat that we have had. Living in Roseville we have suffered 100degree days. The logical thing would be for me to do it in the early morning. However, I run in the earliest part of the morning. So I think I may resort to evenings.

Just weeding this area has felt overwhelming and daunting. Gardening is no walk in the park when it comes to physical labor. I did not think I would ever have this hard of a time getting everything up to speed with my goals. I am trying not to get bummed out....but it has not been as easy as I thought it would be.  Thus far it is just like a sprawled out naked lady! She needs some seeds.

It is looking like it will be a Fall garden. :( I am bummed ....

I hope to have much more progress to report by the end of the week.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The evolution of spring


I cannot believe the way life can evolve! Spring is a time for new beginnings. All winter long, we are hibernating hiding from the cold and rain, trying to stay warm and not let the lack of vitamin D get the better of us. My name means "Little she bear". So let me tell you, I know a little bit about hibernating. My husband often refers to me as "the bear". The cold weather makes me quite the grump! I need my sunshine. I start to find myself anti-social. I am just curled up under my blanket reading book after book. Enjoying my kitchen and cuddling with my husband and children. Having coffee talk day after day with my sister, hulled up indoors...grrrrr.

My heirloom tomatoes will look like this in the summer!

The sheer pleasantries that are exchanged while people hurt inside are so hard hitting. While I love to catch up, I find that my ability to be compassionate can get the better of me. I want to make everyone feel better and lend helping hands, but my grumpy sullen face is just not going to help anyone. I often feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. The winter blues seem to be running me ragged. Learning to pick my “I care battles” has been a challenge, to say the least. Everyone I know and love is going through some sort of life altering painful thing. I too have had my battles that I have fought over the last couple of years. I have learned that you are who you are (you are only as strong as your roots are) and you can work at changing but it is a daily effort, if you love anything or anyone enough to stay to work at it. Life is hard…then you die…as they say. (it is obviously raining out today :./)Well that just sounds so grim, but people sometimes treat life as if it will last forever. Does it? Are we really that invincible. Often a day or person is taken for granted. Grabbing life by its horns and setting goals that will give us satisfaction and overall wellbeing, happiness maybe? Is that just too much to ask?  Well life can be fulfilling, but you need a ray of light in everyday. Don’t you? We have to find strength in some place. I have found that I need to tend to my inner garden. My spirit, my mind and my body. I have been working on obtaining a balance between these places in my daily life.

I have deep, very deep Christian roots in my soul. These are roots that I am thankful for everyday. The Bible talks about seeds and planting. The Bible talks about reaping what you sow.  Gardening is a hard task, something that takes research if you are to be successful and maintenance, perservearance. Soil nurturing is key to a happy garden. In the inner garden it is soul nurturing that takes first priority for me. I cannot give away strength if I don't have any to begin with. I have always wanted a garden. I just as badly want the garden inside of me to flourish. I want to be that ray of light in a person’s day. I need to plant. I have been saving seeds since I moved to this beautiful house, since July of 2011. Every other week I would go to the farmers market and get produce. I love the experience of being outside and selecting my produce.  So, every week I would put aside my seeds. Now I have plenty to plant. I am so excited to get started. Well Spring is here, yet it would seem that auntie Winter has overstayed her welcome. It is time…if it would only stop raining...pretty please.....

Monday, January 2, 2012

winter blues...

It is amazing how when the sun decides to peak out...I run outside to tend to my plants. The sun encourages my hibernating to subside. I usually love to cook and can spend hours in the kitchen. However, I have noticed that the drudgery of the year as it has come to a close has caused my fire to burn out a bit. This situation has caused me to reflect days on end on the last few years. Reflection can bring about a renewing. Thinking about why things have happened that you can control. Why next time you will do things differently. While many things have happened in my life, I am in a place that is peaceful and happy.When I look outside and see the gray clouds, but no rain, I pout, because I feel desperate! Desperate because I need to feel like myself again.

I believe carrying two classes instead of one, along with my busy family filled life is snuffing me out!When my fire is burning bright, I am creating, writing, nurturing, making food and plants thrive...come to life. Right now...nothing.....

I am praying for the sun to shine on my Right Brain....please sun come out and shine on me.

I look for inspiration in all the same places, but am delighted when I find it in new ones. I often am inspired by my Bible, my mother, Martha Stewart Living,Whole Living and some other great blogs. I also find that some films can kick me into high gear. Right now I am waiting for some kind of lightning to strike. I need my fire to be rekindled.....

I always like to share a little recipe with you...so here you go. This is one of my favorite comfort food recipes that I stumbled upon at the beginning of fall. It is so delicious. Enjoy.....
http://blogs.babble.com/family-kitchen/2010/05/19/playdate-grilled-cheese/

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just some quick food for thought!

Please check out this link! It is an inspiring article....
http://organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/no-lawn-just-food

Here is an amazing article that I came across today. Essentially a landscaper is hired to tear out your front lawn and landscape a full garden. He mentions how wasteful it is to have a front lawn that is never even used. My house has a lovely front yard that my children spend a lot of time in. I can relate to this idea though. I think there are many people who don't use their front yards. This is a great way to influence your neighborhood in a positive way.

How spectacular would it be to walk out to your front yard and pick some fresh veggies for dinner??? This is just a quick commentary on how fantastic I thought this idea was. It really got my brain thinking differently about landscaping in general. What a lovely thought.

xxoo,
Ursula

p.s. Please leave any comments you may have. :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fall-ing for the cool food

I was searching for Fall recipes today. I have come across so many amazing apple recipes. I was drooling thumbing through recipes of apple tarts, candied apples and caramel filled chocolate cupcakes. I am not savvy yet in the desert or breakfast department. I have solely been focused on cooking good dinner food. There is something to be said for a decadent desert. I for one do not eat a lot of sugar. I try to avoid it.  However my lovely home beckons me to bake. It is so comfy and homey. I also feel the need to make memories for my children that focus around being in the kitchen and enjoying baking.

Here are a few yummies from the family kitchen......
http://blogs.babble.com/family-kitchen/2011/07/07/caramel-filled-chocolate-cupcakes-with-chocolate-buttercream/

http://blogs.babble.com/family-kitchen/2011/10/14/9-delicious-ideas-for-caramel-apples/?pid=4679#slideshow


I remember making cookies with my mom at a very young age. My memories are so special and very vivid in my mind. I remember stirring the batter, putting in the peanut butter or chocolate chips.  I remember licking the spoon. It was delightful to hang out with my mom in the kitchen.  I can only hope to leave these impressionable memories with my children. So I need to get crackin. There is one thing I need to do before I invite them into the mix.

I really need to get comfortable baking.....

Therefore I am starting to collect some recipes that I want to make with them this fall. I will print them out for my farmers market trip this weekend and start anticipating the fun. My sister and I are planning a day of baking with our children. I simply cannot wait! Searching for great fall recipes is quite fun!!

 The kitchen and the table are a wonderful place to bond with family and friends. There is no technology to distract from having heart to hearts, sharing stories and  making memories.  My dinning room is really quite lovely. It feels like a  little European cafe. It does need some lace curtains though.   

My first fall desert is a pie that my husband picked out for me to make for his birthday. I was so nervous. I have NEVER made a pie before. The experience was as exciting as it was daunting. He got a cool cookbook focused around bbq'ing for his birthday. In this book was a recipe called, Reminiscent of Big Bob Gibson's Peanut Butter Pie from Peace love and Barbecue.  I looked at the recipe that my husband handed me for his birthday treat with terror in my eyes.  All I could think about was that I may mess it up terribly. To top it off he wanted me to make two pies....ah crap, I was scared!!!! 


I got in the kitchen, put some music on and got to work. I really thought it would be a dense pie with peanut butter in the ingredients.  It turns out it had a custard base and ended up tasting quite light but just dense enough for Fall weather.  We didn't get to try it on his birthday because the custard needed to set up in the fridge. However we had it the following day as an afternoon treat. I gave my husband and son the first slices. I stood waiting with anticipation to see if it turned out OK.  My heart was beating so incredibly fast!!! Then there was the yum, yum, yummy mommy moment I was waiting for.
And this is why I love to cook for my family. A touch of adventure, lots of love, a dash of talent and a bit of skill(knowledge) equals a fab finish. Bravo....happy baking for Fall all........

Here are a few more recipe links from babble...

http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/cakes-and-baking/candy-bar-recipes-desserts/?page=13
http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/cakes-and-baking/candy-bar-recipes-desserts/?page=2

Monday, September 26, 2011

why food...why the plate

Food is a necessity. It is luxurious  and it has so many sides or personalities if you will. It comes from all sorts of places in the world. Some dishes are spicy, delicate, pungent, bright, dull, comforting, or fresh. There is what is called poor mans food, then there is the rich mans food. It is a fascinating topic to all. Unless you diet. Dieting is not my thing. I read a book that inspired me so much. The book was French Women Don't Get Fat, by Mireielle Guiliano. It took me to a new place in my life at a time when I needed direction to help me achieve my weight loss goals and cooking goals. My husband worked in the restaurant industry for many years. His pallate is quite finicky and we both enjoy really bold flavors. I needed to find a happy medium that I could be content with to feed him, myself and our two children. I am a stay at home mother, so there is no excuse for me to not make fantastic food. I did not learn much about cooking from my mother. She is a great cook, but I was too busy when I was home to learn. Now her and I share new recipes as a ritual.

So reading this book inspired me at a time that I felt really lost. I was trying to loose my baby weight and wanted so badly to be a fabulous cook. I decided to use my new found inspiration to obsess over
French cuisine. I started cooking any new kind of recipe I could get my hands on. I learned new techniques and found myself buying a Dutch oven, food processor, etc. I set out to not only cook new food but lost my fears of trying new recipes that sounded intimidating. I am very adventurous so I began to be adventurous in my kitchen. There is nothing I would not try. I wanted my dinner table to be exciting every night. Eating out gets really expensive. This was a way to expose my children to all sorts of new food as well. I set the mood by turning on some relaxing music and pouring a glass of wine. Then I just allow myself  to enjoy the stirring, searing, boiling...chopping etc. It is a symphony in my kitchen. I put all my love into whatever I am making, taking my time and it always turns out so yummy.

My husband has taught me so much about cooking. I am thankful for his experience. He still is always teaching me new technique. I feel blessed to know that I won't ever get in a rut with food and that life is too short to have a rotation of the same old dishes. Snore....

The other big tip that I learned from Mireielle is you can enjoy food as long as you cut back other times of the day when you want to splurge. Exercising everyday even if it is a 20 min walk is so important. I love to cycle. I have a beautiful bike path along the creek by my house. I really embraced her philosophy towards food because it is very practical and can be applied without being a gym junkie and resorting to plastic food. I am not that kinda woman. I like to live and as they say, "eat, drink, and be merry," life is too short to punish myself. I love to love, to enjoy life, to play. Especially play....

I wanted to share how I became a foodie because the plate part of my blog is about to set fire...get ready for some dirt and plate journey baby...

http://mireilleguiliano.com/section/sub/14
http://frenchwomendontgetfat.com/content/mireilles-musings-fall-cooking-and-french-women-don%E2%80%99t-get-fat-cookbook
yummy bubbly goodness