balcony garden

my new favorite spot is the corner seat on my balcony where I can see just about all there is to see, including my mini balcony garden.

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I’m growing some basil, mint, cilantro along with some d e l i c i o u s lettuce and the cutest of strawberries.

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of course at the rate I’m producing berries we’re going to have one a week, which doesn’t make for a very good shortcake season, now does it?

I’m hoping to make up for the lack of berries with some home grown tomatoes, which I use in my new favorite breakfast: softboiled eggs and tomatoes. (I had no idea this combo was so amazing) I’ve gotten into the habit of boiling 8-10 eggs (6min, 30 seconds) at the beginning of the week and keeping them peeled and in the fridge so I can just pull them out and have a fresh creamy soft boiled egg whenever I need one. (highly recommend)

 

served with salt and pepper and a twist trader joes every day seasoning blend: delightful. (I use that stuff on everything)

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every night, even if I don’t sit out on the balcony, I try to get a photo of the sunset, and every night it does not disappoint.

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I’m looking forward to an entire summer of every changing horizons and fresh produce from my balcony garden!

xo

All images © 2013-2019 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

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new life.

well friends, it’s been a while. *checks calendar*

yep, almost a year! I’m sitting in a new apartment, and hey, if you’re keeping track, this is our fifteenth move since 2009! this one, though, is finally starting to feel like home. we overlook the lake and a bunch of green–the effect of which cannot be underestimated.

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as an added bonus, every night we get a sunset show

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b r e a t h t a k i n g 

we’ve done a lot of downsizing, purging of things along the way (remember we lived in our car for a year) so over the past two years, we’ve been slowly adding things, with the thought that eventually we may be living a back on the road in a van or an RV. (a girl can dream) so, with that in mind our choices have been focused on function and design; less impulse buys.

living with less is generally a great way to exist anyway (Marie Kondo I was on to this way before your cute little netflix gig) the absense of clutter helps me focus; there’s less to clean, it’s brighter!

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I’ll be doing a full post on the design / things I made or bought for the apartment within the next few weeks. 

oh i almost forgot!  we have a new family member:

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introducing grace ff hopper, her name in honor of the first female pioneer of computer programming and a legend. our hopper enjoys naps, chasing her favorite crumpled up target receipt around the living room and chirping at the birds that land on our balcony railing. she has her own instagram account that she’s not very good at updating, and has recently been trained to walk on a leash and sleep in a crate overnight (!!) I’m obsessed and my entire camera roll is now cat photos. be prepared.

well. ok.

if it’s sunshine-y where you are, get out and enjoy it; and here’s a smoothie recipe I just whipped up this morning:

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maple banana walnut smoothie:

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8 ounces unsweetened coconut milk (I use SoDelicious)

1/8 cup unsweetened greek yogurt

1/2 cup frozen organic pineapple

1/4 cup organic walnuts

1 tsp. real maple syrup (my syrup of choice is Crown Maple)

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

starting with coconut milk, add all ingredients, in order, to blender or nutribullet and blend until smooth.

 

xo, j

 

 

All images © 2013-2019 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

settled.

sometimes being settled is a good thing.

spending 2016 on the move was a great thing.

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spending 78.5% of 2017 in a constant state of flux was a not-so-great thing.

 

so, this thanksgiving, being settled in our own place feels kinda great.

 

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gluten free all the things (except those darn crescent rolls. not that I couldn’t have made gf crescent rolls (I totally planned on it but ran out of energy.)

Anyway, it proved a good time to teach a couple of young men exactly how to roll triangles of refrigerator dough into crescent shapes.

(I think they did a pretty good job)

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being back in my own kitchen is helping me get back on the eating right train. would you believe I made a kale lasagna today? yes. kale, once my sworn enemy, occasionally finds a place in my diet (trader joe’s broccoli and kale slaw is downright addictive) 

this kale sausage lasagna was super easy to throw together and a low-carb dish to warm you up on a chilly winter weekend. *recipe adapted 

ok in complete honesty, calling this a lasagna might be a bit of a stretch. it’s more of a casserole. 

IMG_0320Ingredients:
1 lg bunch of kale, washed, stems removed, cut into 2″ pcs

2 tsp. olive oil
1 lb bulk italian sausage (hot or sweet)
1 jar pasta sauce

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

preheat oven to 375 degrees. spray a 9″ x 12″ glass pan with non stick cooking spray.

heat the oil in a large heavy sauce pan, brown the sausage until cooked thoroughly.

when the sausage is done, add the pasta sauce, and let the sauce simmer 20-25 minutes, or until it’s thickened and the liquid is reduced.

 

add about a teaspoon or so of salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil.  drop the kale into the boiling water and cook until barely wilted. this should take between 1-3 minutes depending on the kale, so keep an eye on it. drain kale into a colander in the sink and toss it to remove as much moisture as possible. dump the cooled kale onto a clean cotton dish towel, roll up and squeeze out remaining moisture.

begin layering the ingredients in your prepared pan, starting with half of the kale. then half of each of the sauce, the parmesan, the mozzarella. then repeat. you’ll have two complete layers.

cover with foil and bake, covered for 20 minutes, then uncovered for an additional 20 minutes.

let casserole sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

enjoy!

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All images © 2013-2017 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

summer breakfast

It’s hot. Summer is hot, proven by my social media feed filled with people posting photos of their car thermometers or screenshots of their weather apps. (do you remember winter….and the ice and snow? yeah, me too.)

It’s that wake up hot,
…go to bed hot, kind of hot.

If you’re like me and you don’t like a big breakfast (and if you can remember to prepare this before bed, which I know I’m asking a lot) this is my new favorite breakfast treat.

I know, there’s a billion recipes for these online. In fact I even saw pre-made “Refrigerator Oats” at target last week.

Some call for cute mason jars or fancy spices and yogurt

But, after experimenting and testing different methods my favorite recipe is this:

OVERNIGHT OATS:

in the smallest of my Pyrex Snapware (the little orange one):

1/2 cup gluten free oats
1 Tbls shredded coconut (unsweetened)
a few blueberries
some chopped pecans
1 Tbls maple syrup (agave, or other liquid sweetener will work)
1/3 cup milk of choice (coconut works great!)

Don’t stir, just snap the lid down, refrigerate overnight and in the morning you have a cold refreshing, (gluten free, dairy free) nutritious breakfast!

Of course the options to modify this are pretty endless; I find that the combination of the crunchy (pecans) and the sweet (blueberries) with the texture (coconut) make a great balance.

Enjoy! And stay cool 😎

 

 

 

All images © 2013-2017 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

spring.

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supposedly it landed here in ohio a few weeks ago, but we’ve only had a smattering of warm days in which to get us in the mood. we’ve also now entered the rainy month(s) “april showers bring may flowers” usually means it won’t stop raining until somewhere around June 1st.

so it’s time to be thinking about what you can do to nourish yourself if you’re stuck inside a little while longer waiting for the clouds to clear.

starting the day with an organic protein drink is a good beginning:

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I make mine using Orgain Organic Protein Powder as a base (but any protein powder that you like would work, mixed with your milk of choice: almond, coconut, soy…..etc)

in a NutriBullet:

8 oz. milk of choice

1 scoop protein powder of choice

4 chunks raw coconut (about 4 ounces)

4 drops turmeric oil

1 capsule royal jelly (open cap up, dump powder into liquid)

blend on high, pour in glass and drink!

The turmeric oil helps with pain and inflammation you may have, the royal jelly is an amazing energy boost.

enjoy and happy spring!

:)

sunset. lake erie.
sunset. lake erie.