Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What's Happening at Meadow Cabin

Today I am featuring what is happening in my world, "through the lens of a camera," to use a  phrase from sister blogger, Brenda, at Coffee Tea Books and Me. (click on the link to see her blog)

You may wonder why I titled this post, "What's Happening in  Meadow Cabin." I live in a meadow that is quickly being transformed via tractors and fresh concrete into a sea of houses.  It's not very romantic to say "what's happening in the fast-growing mass of suburbia." So maybe my readers will indulge me in my fantasy about living in a meadow cabin ...

In the Garden

"Veronica Speedwell," the flowering plant we brought home from vacation, is finally showing signs that she is adapting to her new life in our semi-arid climate. My brother-in-law shared her with me from his yard.  When we first transplanted her, she pouted for about two weeks.  I amputated most of her long stems due to their deathly appearance and with the hopes that the plant's energy could be devoted to the newer growth closer to the soil.  But to my surprise, even the longer stems that remained began to sprout tiny flowers.  I am so relieved! After snapping this picture, I removed the tomato cage because she is clearly able to stand on her own now.

We are not food farmers here (I leave that talent to my family living in the Midwest). My efforts in past years have not been very exciting.  But Mint is very dependable. I harvested some of it to take into the kitchen ...

In the Kitchen

My daughter (who is my hero when it comes to eating raw vegan) posted recently that she is wild about fresh watermelon juice.  So I took up the challenge and enjoyed the outcome of the effort.  One fresh watermelon (the round kind, not the oblong) produced 3 quart-sized canning jars of the juice.

While one could use a juicer, we both used our Vitamix blenders.  Cut off the rind and most of the white part, which will still give you more than enough of the red flesh to process in the blender. Don't worry about the seeds, if your melon even has any. 

Don't add any water (or anything else) and blend.  You may have to use the pusher tool that came with the Vitamix to get things pushed down to the blades, but since watermelon is mostly water, the whole thing quickly becomes all liquid.

You could drink it that way, but it's pretty thick. The next thing you do is to pour the liquified watermelon through a sieve (a strainer is not good enough, use a sieve).  

While that is straining, put about a cup of fresh mint into each of the 3 quart-sized canning jars.  After the juice is strained through the sieve, pour it into the jars, add the lid, and refrigerate to make it icy cold. 

This is very sweet (naturally!) and refreshing.  Drink it within 24 hours. Watermelon is very healthy for the heart, blood flow, weight loss, as an anti-inflammatory, and for the kidneys.

Also in the kitchen, I continue to have a fresh green smoothie every morning for breakfast.  Experts in the field of raw foods nutrition tell us that drinking a quart of a fresh green smoothie daily can make a huge difference in health and vitality.  

If you haven't tried this, you will be amazed how the taste of fresh (or frozen) fruit completely camouflages the flavor of the greens (kale, chard, spinach, Romaine, Bok Choy, dandelion greens, etc) while nourishing your body with the vitamins that are so abundant in leafy greens.  

My basic smoothie recipe, which leaves a lot of room for variation, is the following:

2 cups liquid (water, a nut milk, or orange juice)
1 cup  fresh greens, roughly chopped
1 frozen banana (sliced before freezing)
1 cup fruit (strawberries, blueberries, mango, etc)
2 Tablespoons Flax seed meal
1 Tablespoon honey (optional)

Put all the ingredients into the Vitamix blender in the order listed and then process until it's smooth. Drink immediately. It will keep in the refrigerator for 24 hours, but be sure to drink it (or share it!) before then.

In the Sewing Room

I've been playing around with fabric swatches, all 2 1/2 inches, deciding the best pattern to sew for some quilts.  I would write more about this, but my current projects are for gifts, so I can't let you see what I've got in mind just yet.

In the Church

The girls gathered the other night to work on these beautiful fleece throws for a local children's hospital. In two hours we finished 19 (!!!) blankets.  One of the gals had bought the fabric (on sale), paired them with a front and a back, cut the pieces to size, and made the slashes on all four sides.  

Then the dozen gals who showed up sat around at large tables tying the small strips in knots, which essentially holds the blanket together with no sewing at all! I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this project because it was simple enough that we could carry on lively conversations while keeping our hands busy.

In the Reading Room

This week I am busily reading two books.  One is fiction-based-on-history, and the other is Christian discipleship.  I highly recommend both.  The one by Jennifer Rothschild will be discussed among friends later this summer, book-club style.

In the Shopping Bag

Girlfriend and I had not seen each other in many weeks. The last time we were together, she had just survived a health scare and procedure, so we treated ourselves to shopping at The Barn in my town, followed by lunch.  She is standing outside a new addition to this retail venue -- a tiny camper that serves as yet another vendor's shop, located behind the actual Barn. Isn't it adorable, and doesn't Girlfriend's outfit for the day just fit in perfectly?!

This concludes the news as to what's happening in and around my Meadow Cabin.  Of course there has been more going on than what I've featured, but you didn't want to see the loads of laundry and stacks of dirty dishes, did you?

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