cookbooks

I’ve always been a bit of a library junkie. In my graduate school days, I relished the gathering phase of any new project, hauling arm-straining, backpack-breaking loads of books back and forth to my tiny apartment . Never mind the fact that I would never have time to read even half of them.

It always struck me as just so exciting that I could find all this information, all these pictures, and learn about exactly the thing I was interested in at that very moment. And so, in my excitement, I lost all self-control. With passion running to obsession, I stacked book upon book – conquests in my hunger for knowledge.

Some things never change. In my newly rekindled love affair with the library, I am back to amassing heaps of books with abandon . But now, instead of academic tomes, it’s gardening, photography, and food, food, food. I believe I may be insatiable…

Day 20: Cookbooks

Cookbooks: Simple, Fresh, and Pasta

P.S. I realize the photo looks innocent. This is a partial stack of books from today’s check-out. One of several I’ll make this week 🙂

lake time

We got home yesterday after a blissful 4-day weekend at the cabin. Daily life can get so busy – it was heaven having our little family all to ourselves. Lots of photo opportunities at the lake. Mostly the kids – adorable in their sunglasses and lifejackets – swimming, jumping off the dock, scooping tadpoles from the pond, splashing, smiling, and sleeping in a precious heap like a couple of puppies. I’ve taken at least a thousand photos around the cabin over the years. But, the great thing is: there is always something more to see, to learn, to experience. Here are the photos that I decided to Pin for 30 Days of Creativity.

Day 16: Old Shed with Birch Trees

Day 17: Self Portrait with Water Glass

Day 18: Morning Paddle

Day 19: Sleeping Babes (Early Morning)

silver lining

Glowing electric from the depths of the garden, the Yellow Archangel keeps constant vigil. Pausing to shine its golden lights in early spring, it resumes its watch, steadfast beneath the arching hosta leaves and the outstretched boughs of the bleeding heart.

Lamium galeobdolon (Yellow Archangel)

return of the turnips

As Farmer David likes to say, “These are not your grandmother’s turnips.” I don’t think I’d ever had a turnip until we joined Hog’s Back Farm. Now, the return of the Hakurei turnips is a rite of early summer. They are sweet and mild. Delicious raw. We love them roasted with new potatoes, herbs, and carrots (once those arrive). From a visual standpoint, I like to the see the palette of the produce diversify as the season progresses. The turnips, along with a sampling of scallions, add the first burst of white.

Day 14: Hakurei Turnips

CSA Abundance, Week Two – Hakurei Turnips

Chicks in Bricks…

Today’s photo is a tribute to my mom’s creativity. And generosity. She not only plants these adorable Hen & Chicks Bricks, she gives them away freely. In fact, I don’t think she has any left for herself at this point. That’s my mom. She may be generous to a fault, but she has very few others.

Day 13: Hen & Chicks Brick

Hen & Chicks Brick by Brenda Rathai (I just took the photo)

P.S. Check out the 30 Days of Creativity boards on Pinterest to see all the great things other folks are creating this month. It’s never to late to jump on the bandwagon. It’ll make you feel good, I promise 🙂

Little Feathers, Lacey Blooms

Of all the common names for achillea millefolium, the one I like best is plumajillo –  ‘little feather’ – describing the shape of the leaves. I’ve always known them as ‘yarrow’ and thought of them as almost-weeds. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; they have just the combination of toughness and delicate beauty that tends to win me over.

Day 12: Yarrow

Rose-Colored Yarrow Blossoms

east meets (up) north

If you asked me what really got me thinking about taking pictures of food, I’d have to say it was this photo by Heidi Swanson of her Ultimate Veggie Burger. I stumbled onto Heidi’s fabulous healthy recipe blog, 101 Cookbooks one day while searching (yet again) for the perfect veggie burger recipe…To be honest, I’m not sure this is the ultimate veggie burger, but the photo really captivated me. I’ve been following the blog (and reading her cookbooks) ever since. Heidi has great style and her recipes are approachable, uncomplicated, and almost unanimously scrumptious.

Day 11: Wild Fried Rice with Bok Choi and Tofu

Wild Fried Rice with Bok Choi and Tofu, adapted from 101 Cookbooks

I adapted Heidi’s recipe for Wild Fried Rice based on ingredients I had on hand. I especially wanted to use the two heads of bok choi from our CSA box. And, I’ve been saving a little bag of truly wild, hand-harvested Minnesota wild rice that we got for Christmas.We used scallions and green garlic in place of the red onion, pan-seared slabs of salted tofu in sesame and olive oils till it was crusty brown, and included the bok choi, sliced into thin ribbons. I like things spicy, so I threw in a few pinches of red pepper flakes and served with sriracha at the table. For lunch today I topped my bowl of leftovers with perfectly ripe hunks of avocado. Yum.

spring tastes like this

Our CSA farmer, David Van Eeckhout, of Hog’s Back Farm invented a pea-shoot pesto recipe that always accompanies the first box of the season. I don’t know if there is anything fresher tasting or greener than this pesto. It’s uniquely delicious, bright, and absolutely redolent of springtime. I spied some ricotta in the fridge and came up with this crostini: garlic-rubbed whole wheat baguette toasted on the grill, slathered in ricotta and pea shoot pesto and topped with a few peppery leaves of baby arugula.

Day 10: Grilled Crostini

Crostini with Pea Shoot Pesto, Ricotta, and Arugula

twinkle, twinkle

I love summer days, especially with my kids. They change in and out of bathing suits half a dozen times, shrieking gleefully when the frigid water chills their skin. They dine al fresco on goldfish crackers and popsicles, barefoot and wild-haired. They are little sages, masters of the pure, joyful pursuit of living (with gusto).

Yesterday we shared in creating a little something together: our own twinkling star.

Day 8: Mosaic Stepping Stone with Glitter

stepping stone