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.

IMG_4964

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.

Attachment-1

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)

IMG_4622

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.

Attachment-1-1

IMG_4852

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

Advertisements

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.

IMG_4554

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

IMG_4257

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!

IMG_4555

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:

IMG_7986

IMG_9228

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:

IMG_4556

 

maple banana walnut smoothie:

——————————————————————

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

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.

IMG_6801

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:

IMG_6802

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.

 

snack time.

I’ve been benefiting greatly from the use of essential oils lately, and sharing them with my friends and family to help them has become one of the best benefits. from helping my little nephew find a solution to his tummy aches, to the awesome sight of my brother in law inhaling peppermint oil for the first time and being able to breathe through both nostrils for the first time in years! (priceless)

using oils in cooking is something I’m just starting to experiment with, and this recipe from doTERRA we’ve made several times, in that it’s so easy and delicious. you’d never know there was no refined sugars, gluten or dairy in these tiny pops of power and flavor.

give them a try–and if you’d like to have more information on the benefits of oils for your family, feel free to contact me here with the link above.
Image

starting a new plan.

Image

We started a new diet around here this week, and a big part of it is giving up sugar. If you’ve ever done this, then you know it is not easy. Another aspect of the new plan is no grains, no dairy. This part; not so tough. Except I do like a little bread with my dinner, especially when it’s a dish like “Chili without Beans” which is what we had this evening.

I found a few recipes for coconut flour based breads and biscuits, and after reading several reviews, I modified, combined and fiddled until I ended up with the this one.

note: It would be much better with a tiny bit of honey, agave or other sweetener in it, if you are not limiting (denying yourself) sugar. this version is a moist, eggy bread that serves as a nice little side for a soup or chili. definitely savory.

recipe.

3/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup ghee (plus extra for greasing the pan)

6 eggs

(up to 2 tbsp honey)

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8″ loaf pan with ghee, or spray with cooking spray.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl until foamy. Sift the coconut flour, baking powder and salt into the eggs, blend. Slowly mix in the ghee (and honey if using) until smooth. Do not over blend.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with just a little bit of crumbs attached. Cool on a wire rack, slice and enjoy.

here comes fall, pumpkin scones.

I’ve been away for a while, sorry about that…but I’ve been under the weather. I have another genetic condition, hemochromatosis, and due to some oversights by people who should have been more careful I ended up very exhausted for the past six weeks.

But, I’m slowly feeling better…and better means baking!

Fall always brings pumpkin flavored goodies. My favorite is these delicious scones. They smell delicious coming out of the oven and are the perfect treat with a cup of coffee (or a pot of tea) while you curl up on the sofa with a good movie, a good read, or a good friend.

comforting cornbread.

 

It used to be when I was turning the corner of recovering from something, be it a migraine, or a bout of the flu, or a bad personal experience,  I knew I was getting better when I would have a craving for one thing. Spaghetti and meat sauce from a certain local Italian eatery. I realize now I craved that particular combination from that particular place, because that meat sauce was the closest thing to what my Grandma would make for us when she visited; simmering in the yellow cast iron dutch oven on our stove for hours. It was truly my original comfort food, and it’s local take-out replacement stepped in when my grandma was no longer with us.

Although spaghetti is no longer an option for me, the comfort food craving apparently did not get the memo. I would suffer through the longing for the warm slippery noodles smothered in the steaming, meat laden, spicy sauce, often substituting with lesser grade replacements as we, in the gluten-free world, do. (quinoa pasta, anyone?)

But then one recent post-migraine morning, I had the strangest feeling. My body was sending me a whole new message. It wanted cornbread. Not just any cornbread. It wanted my gluten free cornbread. Somewhere, I thought I heard angels singing.

 

This time I adapted my recipe to the ingredients I had on hand.

Gluten Free Blueberry Yogurt Cornbread

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup blueberry yogurt (I used noosa)

1/2 cup milk

1 cup Gluten-Free Flour Blend

2/3 cup yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 425°F. Combine oil and sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, until creamy. Add eggs; mix well. Blend in yogurt and milk. Reduce speed to low; add all remaining ingredients. Beat just until mixed.

Pour into greased 9″ round or square cake pan.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Perfectly comforting cornbread.

ginger lemonade.


Lately I find myself craving ginger in any form. I think it started when we bought a juicer and I discovered the wonders of orange/carrot/ginger juice (a must have now on a daily basis) The spiciness of the ginger adds a refreshing zing and helps settle my stomach as well.
Last night I whipped up some ginger syrup, so today I could make some ginger lemonade.

Ginger Syrup:

1 cup rough chopped, scrubbed, ginger root.
2 cups sugar
2 cups water

place all ingredients in medium saucepan, bring to a boil. simmer for one hour. strain.

Ginger Lemonade:

Juice of 1/2 a lemon
3-4 Tbls. ginger syrup
8 ounces water
ice

Shake all ingredients in a mason jar until well chilled. Adjust syrup to taste. (I used 4 Tbls., but I like it zesty)

Drink on your balcony.

a carnival and some blueberries.

This weekend started out like any other, no real fun plans; until I remembered that within walking distance of our new apartment was the annual city carnival.

Funnel cakes! (no!)

Beer tent! (no!)

Corn Dogs! (no!)

But we could ride the ferris wheel…eat kettle corn and have some fresh lemonade, all of which we did. After we walked the (longer than I remembered) walk home, we watched  “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” which was interupted by the carnival’s fireworks display that we could view from our balcony. perfect.

Image

Image

This morning I woke up and decided to use up the quart of blueberries I had in the fridge, by making some vanilla-blueberry scones. They were a sweet ending to a delightful weekend. I hope your weekend was just as nice.

Image

Image

Image