Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

Last fall I did some reading about how to grow pumpkins.  I was astonished to find that many people said to simply discard of your old pumpkins in an area in which you want to grow pumpkins again.  Those pumpkins will decompose, the seeds will deposit into the soil, and then regrow the following year.  So, last fall, as our decorative pumpkins began to go soft, I simply placed them in a side bed in our yard.  Then as I processed some pie pumpkins, I scrapped out the seeds and placed those in this bed as well.  In the very early spring (early March), I covered the entire bed with a very thin layer of compost.

And voila…

IMG_3109…we now have pumpkins taking over our yard.

Some of the pumpkins are ready for picking this week, so I played around in the kitchen a bit and came up with this recipe.  I hope you enjoy it!

IMG_3103

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread (makes one loaf)

Mix the following ingredients in a large mixing bowl:

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon baking soda

In a separate bowl, mix together the following:

1 cup shredded zucchini

2 eggs

1/2 cup non-GMO canola oil

1 cup pureed pumpkin

splash of lemon juice

Next mix the wet ingredients into the dry.  Fold in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.  Pour into a bread pan and bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour.  Enjoy!

Posted in Gardening, Recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joy in the Present

IMG_3248

Each of us has a handful of life experiences that truly changes us.  Those experiences that get deep into our veins and alter the core of our inner self and the lens through which we view the world.  I can confidently say my family and I just experienced such an event.

Over the course of the last eight days our family ventured East.  We made many, many stops and saw numerous amazing sights, but the reason for our trip was to participate in a family stay at the Knapp family’s local living school, Koviashuvik.  While on this absolutely gorgeous homestead we learned, laughed, created, and soaked up all we could from this astounding family of four who live in harmony with the earth in a way I have never before witnessed.

As I sit before this screen, I realize there is no way I can adequately express, in words, our time spent with the Knapps.  Instead, I have decided to let the photographs tell our story.  The word Koviashuvik means, “a time and place of joy in the present moment” and I invite you come along with us on our adventure to a time and place where I can say I was fully present and filled with the most wonderful sense of peace and joy.

IMG_2908 IMG_2909 IMG_2910 IMG_2926 IMG_2933 IMG_2969 IMG_2981 IMG_2998

IMG_3014

IMG_2896 IMG_2899 IMG_2900Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040284Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040289Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040303Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040312IMG_2905IMG_2911 IMG_2913 IMG_2914 IMG_2915 IMG_2917 IMG_3002Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040390IMG_2922 IMG_2925 IMG_2943Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040354Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040364

IMG_2977 IMG_2974 IMG_2929

IMG_2928Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040424Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040435Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040444Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040463

IMG_2946 IMG_2948 IMG_2953 IMG_2954 IMG_2964Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040562Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040571Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040572Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040381Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040384Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040609Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040635Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040639Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040643IMG_2978 P1040490 IMG_2979Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040521

IMG_2932 IMG_2980 IMG_2940Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040370Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040498

Posted in Holistic Living, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kale Cubes

IMG_2786

Every November, we find ourselves with an overabundance of kale that gets hit with a hard frost and dies.  It always makes me feel just sick to know all of that healthy vegetation has gone to waste and ends up in the compost bin.  This year my husband came up with a great idea:  kale cubes.

When my oldest daughter was a baby, we made her baby food.  We threw a bunch of fruit and veggies in a blender with a bit of water, pureed it, and then froze it in ice cube trays.  Once the cubes froze, we popped the cubes out into a gallon-size freezer bag.  That way, at mealtime, we would just take out the cubes we wanted, heat them up, and viola…ready-to-eat baby food.  So, last week my husband came up with the brilliant idea to do this same thing with our kale!  Then that way, once winter settles in and we are longing for some healthy greens, we can pop a couple of our kale cubes into our blender to add some nutrients to our morning smoothies.

IMG_2791

All I did was harvest and wash some of our kale, threw it in our Vitamix with about one cup of water, pureed it until the mixture was nearly smooth, poured the puree into ice cube trays and popped them in the freezer.  The next day, I popped out the cubes and put them in a gallon-sized freezer bag.  Now they are all set for those February morning breakfast smoothies🙂

IMG_2794

Posted in Gardening, Putting Food By | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

In Gratitude

IMG_2742

On this Monday morning, I just wanted to pass along my utmost gratitude to those of you who read my post on Soule Mama last Friday.  The incredible outpouring of support I received was most overwhelming.  I am forever grateful to each and every one of you.

Wishing you a wonderful week, friends.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Most Amazing News

IMG_2975

Oh friends, I just received the most amazing news.  My favorite blogger/author, Amanda Blake Soule, will be featuring my garden photos and writing on her blog tomorrow.  I invite you to check out the post tomorrow (Friday, July 22) at www.soulemama.com.

I am completely overcome with excitement and gratitude at being given this wonderful opportunity to share with those around the world, what wonderful things are going on right here in Rockford, Illinois.  A true blessing indeed.

And, this news does not come on any random day either.  Today we celebrate my mom’s birthday.  If this is not a true sign of a guardian angel mama always looking out for her babies, I don’t know what is.  You always told me to keep writing, Mom.  And I have been.  Just for you.

FullSizeRender-2

Posted in Gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Change

IMG_6840

Summer 2012

IMG_2508

Summer 2016

We hosted our first “summer family dinner” of the year this week and I couldn’t help but look around me and take note of the changes that have taken place over the last four years since we began these gatherings.  One very special person is no longer present, and four more are moving on to exciting new life adventures and will shortly leave our table as well.

When these thoughts of change began to surface, I started to feel that all-too-familiar sense of anxiety, sadness and dread seeping into my veins.  I wanted to push those feelings down deeper, think about them another day.  But then I thought to myself,  No.  I want to be fully present in this moment right now.  I want to feel the rawness of these feelings of loss and change, because it is out of these feelings that I am able to also experience real and true happiness.  For it is not until we fall down into the earth, that we are able to grapple and stand erect again, with our feet firmly rooted in the soil, stronger and more prepared for what lies ahead.

Posted in Holistic Living | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Can You Feel It?

IMG_2284 IMG_2285 IMG_2288 IMG_2289 IMG_2282 IMG_2301 IMG_2299 IMG_2297 IMG_2291

The chill in the air has finally dissipated, and the sun remains hanging in the sky a bit longer these days.  Can you feel it?  I do believe that summer may just be right around the corner.  After those strange May evenings dipping to freezing temperatures here in Illinois, and sadly losing some of my plants despite the fact that they were covered, I am so thrilled to see the mercury rise into the seventies and eighties.

Our garden seems to be loving these temperatures and this week’s sunshine just as much as we do, and we have wasted no time getting out there and digging in, in the most full and present way we can.  Yes.  Finally.

{A side note:  The pictures in this post are very special for two reasons…#1:  My camera broke last week.  Yes, broke.  I was beside myself.  Then my friend Jodi came to my rescue, and loaned me her fabulous camera.  She is amazing.  Thank you, thank you! #2:  I have been afraid of heights for as long as I can remember.  I am talking palm-sweating-heart-racing-paralyzing fear.  But this week, while my husband was away for work (he is normally my “aerial” photographer), I desperately wanted overhead shots of my garden.  So, I mustered up all the courage I had, climbed onto the top of my shed, and took these pictures.  I. Did. It.}

Posted in Gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment