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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

beach days / fading away.

today–well, this weekend, marks the official end of summer.

yesterday I realized that once again I let time fly by….and the beautiful days were coming to a close way to quickly.

so last night I sent a text to this guy;

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that said, “tomorrow we go on an adventure.”

and this morning, we did.

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beach for days.

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from my chair I watched this sweet grandma playing in the water with her little grandson….

layers of time fading away.

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it was a short little adventure, but gave us fresh energy to face the week, maybe even the upcoming dreaded ohio winter.

maybe.

 

 

All images © 2013-2016 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

a day trip.

after a stressful few weeks: a large custom knitting order finally in the mail, we finally had matching days off; so the mister and I got in the car and headed south on a bright not so cold mid march morning.

I planned it out in advance without letting him know where we were going.

just

get

in

the

car.
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first stop (after a windy country-road-hour-long-are-we-there-yet-trip) was Miller’s Dutch Kitch’n in Baltic, Ohio….and it is all that one would hope for in a 40-year old authentic Amish Kitchen. home made everything, and we left with slices of pie to enjoy later. (no, not gluten free….) 

 

 

 

 

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next we stopped headed over to Lehman’s which is like a cross between a museum and the most amazing hardware/five and dime/bakery/garden supply store on earth. I imagine if they don’t have it here, you really don’t need it. for example; bacon or sweet corn pop. I mean, yes that’s what we ended up buying a six pack of the weirdest sodas they sold…..I don’t need a composting toilet or a chicken feeder quite yet anyway.

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after leaving lehman’s we spotted a Mennonite thrift store and just had to stop. not only was it the neatest, most organized thrift store we had ever been in (the furniture area looked like a high end show room with 30 year old used furniture displayed just so perfectly) but in the side room there was a workshop where volunteers were busy.

there was a gentleman weaving long strips of denim and corduroy, that other volunteers had cut, into throw rugs. in the other part of the room; a beautiful quilt was blocked out on a huge table, being assembled by another volunteer, next to it a rack full of the finished quilts for sale. Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset

 

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it’s good to get away from the stresses of life, and see that there is still simplicity in the world. passing the buggies, the farmers plowing with horses pulling their plows, the school children playing ball in their tiny schoolhouse yards as we drove by was like going back in time, but it was also like a deep breath of fresh air.

some days you just need to see time stand still.

xoxo

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our new hand made rug.