"I do not know how anyone can live
without some small place of enchantment to turn to."
Tuesday greetings! I hope you're enjoying the summer and getting out there every chance you get. The days are flying by - it's hard to believe we are halfway through July already. I thought I'd start off today with a peep in my garden...
This is a small corner of my front bed - I don't have a lot of flowers up front,
preferring instead the low-maintenance of cedar, flowering bushes and grasses.
Beauty is everywhere...
Sometimes you just need to get low and look up...
A week for the pinks :)
Some flowers are just coming into bloom...
While others have already gone to seed...
This is the lane directly behind my home,
there is a field to the right and a highway beyond that.
When you're back here, you could almost swear you're in the country.
Now that it's summer, these are the shoes I quite often wear when going for a walk. I took this pic when we were driving to Winnipeg a few weeks ago. At the time I was reflecting on how much my decision last summer to stop wearing high-heels has changed my life. I am a new woman!
Yikes - does the 'D' stand for Dumb... lol!
This was a huge decision for me (I repeat, huge) and I owe it all to a pair of skinny jeans I'd purchased and then of course needed the proper shoes to wear with. Up to that point I wore only high heels: adamantly and exclusively! I would have worn them to exercise in, if at all possible... Anyways, the instant I slipped my tender tootsies into the above soft-as-butter ballerina flats, something magical happened and the evil spell I'd been under since I was sixteen was broken - it was my own personal Cinderella moment! A few weeks later I bought black leather riding boots and I've never looked back. I can now walk, talk, shop, and chew gum all at the same time: pain and blister free lol! As well, I'm way more relaxed - why I'm practically laid-back at times ;) Additionally, according to a very interesting article I read on Sunday, I'm also doing my bones a huge favor. Here's the link - every woman should read this.
Another healthy choice I've been making lately, is to incorporate more meat-less meals into our diet. (Good for us and the planet.) Here's a light, very healthy meal we had on Saturday night. Homemade hummus and butternut squash soup - two of my favorites and relatively quick to make.
Butternut squash soup
1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
2 medium onions, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp fresh ginger very finely chopped
1.2 liters vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
Slowly saute your onion in olive oil on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally until it is softened. Add butternut chunks and continue to cook until they also soften and just begin to lightly brown (watch your heat). Add your spices and continue to cook, stirring throughout, for another 2 minutes. Add in vegetable stock, bring to the boil, turn down and simmer covered for 1/2 hour. Mash and then blend smooth with a hand blender. Salt and pepper to taste. I add a big dollop of coconut milk and a sprinkle of nutmeg to each bowl, which tastes great and looks lovely when serving :)
I originally found this recipe in "The Mediterranean Diet" book, but have changed it up quite a bit over the years. Hummus is so easy to make yourself, I don't know why people buy it.
1 14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
2 cloves fresh garlic
Juice from 1.5 lemons (the other half I use later)
1/4 cup milk (I've used cow, soy, unsweetened almond)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
In blender add the following: sesame paste, garlic, lemon juice, milk, olive oil and 1/2 of the chick peas. I use the chop feature here at first, then blend, add rest of chick peas and chop and blend until you get the consistency you like.
Ladle into your serving bowl - at this point you can either heat the hummus slightly in the microwave (be careful, it heats up very quickly) which really brings out the flavor, or enjoy at room temperature. Drizzle additional olive oil and reserved lemon juice on top to your liking and garnish with parsley. Enjoy!
I finally got around to another chapter in The Sound of Paper. You may recall I profiled the first chapter and accompanying exercise a few weeks ago (link) This book has turned out to be one of my great 'finds' - it contains practical methods and musings designed to help discover and boost your creativity.
Try this: Set aside one hour's writing time. You may wish to take yourself to neutral territory, a cafe or coffee shop. Once there, settle in to write and to describe yourself as you would a literary character, in the third person. Describe your looks, your attitudes, your perceptions. Try to draw a clear portrait of yourself, filled with telling details. In other words, pay attention to how you are and how you are doing.
Personally, I would find a coffee shop very distracting - I am too much of a people-watcher to concentrate in such a public arena, so I holed up in my office on Saturday and worked on this. I found it quite challenging to look at myself objectively: Who am I? Perhaps describing oneself as the person they see themselves becoming could be another way of approaching this exercise.
I love visiting new blogs and stumbled across a very interesting one this week. In one post, Sherrie of Little Home in the Country, discussed the practicality and joys of repurposing items. I was reminded of something I'd repurposed a few weeks ago and have been meaning to show you. This concrete fountain had been languishing in my garden shed for the past five years. A few times I almost got rid of it when we were doing our annual spring clean-up, but now I'm glad I didn't. Turns out it's perfect as a planter. A few vines, some amethyst and tada! Not sure if you are aware of this, but amethyst is Ontario's official gemstone. We used to live in Thunder Bay just prior to moving out west and a 'dig-your-own' amethyst mine is located right outside the city.
That's all for now, thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great week :)
I leave you with a very odd work of art.
If you are a Pastafarian, you are likely still celebrating this week's victory!
What's a Pastafarian you may ask?
Follow this link and find out...