Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer Splendor

Summer's best - freshly picked blueberries

From the garden - Garden Peach heirloom tomatoes and basil with fresh mozzarella from the co-op.

Shrimp Caesar Salad - Romaine, avocado, shaved Parmesan and a squeeze of lemon
with shrimp sauteed in extra virgin olive oil, Old Bay and lemon. Dressing added after picture.

Mmm...Italian! Farfalle tossed with roasted broccoli and garlic, organic tomato sauce and mozzarella.

No better breakfast - a cheese omelette between toasted and buttered oat bread.

Garden blooms - marigolds, rosemary and mustard green blossoms. So fragrant!

My favorite fella...

...And a little bit of puppy love with a farm friend's new Rottie love bug, Annie.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Good food isn't just for people

As some of you may have read on (anne)vironment, I have a pup who has experienced seizures - one major seizure that impacted the right side of her whole body and a couple of minor/partial seizures that primarily affected the right side of her face. One of the best places to start when battling canine epilepsy is analyzing your dog's diet. I read label after label after label (and then some) to find the food that would best suit her needs, leaving out all of the unnecessary ingredients (which just so happen to be the ones that can be most harmful to dogs who experience seizures). After doing more dog food research than I ever thought possible, I decided that Dick van Patten's Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet food was going to be the best for Wheeler. This food is free of gluten, soy, dairy, corn and animal by-products - all common ingredients in traditional dog foods. Because Wheeler's previous food was chicken-based, I chose the chicken and sweet potato version of Natural Balance.

To give her meals a little boost and extend the life of a bag of dry dog food (sure I want her to have the best, but the best is pretty pricey...), I cut up and boil sweet potatoes, then mash them in the food processor. I also make a pot of rice. Both of these ingredients are often used by those who make homemade dog food, so they are great to add, even if supplemental to dry food. Wheeler loves it, and cleans her bowl every time!

Monday, August 2, 2010

A week of campers

This past week was quite possibly my favorite week of the far...we'll get to the potential of future weeks later. I spent it with a group for 4th-7th grade campers. I look forward to planning this week of work all year because we spend every moment of our days outside exploring the great, big world around us. There's not a hill we see that we don't climb...not a creek we see that we don't wade into looking for aquatic creatures. We caught more frogs and minnows and crayfish than I could keep count of. And Mother Nature, what a sweetheart, she tucked away her fussy storms and sweltering heat just long enough for us to enjoy our week together hiking through many local parks. If you're a regular reader, you know how much I love that "non-traditional" exercise - time spent hiking, bike riding, kayaking, horseback riding, etc. rather than in a gym.

Sitting in a big Indian statue on top of a cliff at one of the local parks

Also thanks to the cooler weather, my neighbors and I have been able to get together for some cook-outs in our backyard fire pit. We grilled everything we could get our hands on, but I think the best was the squash and zucchini from the garden, coated in a little EVOO and a sprinkling of sea salt. Another night we went fresh and light, cutting up fresh mozzarella balls from the co-op, my heirloom garden peach tomatoes (grown from seed in my apartment over the winter!) and basil leaves from the garden. Yum! Although we forgot the s'mores supplies all the nights we cooked outside, I had one at lunch on the last day of camp when we grilled at state park after spending the morning in the creek.

The campers all complimented my grilling and perfect s'more-making skills.

Lastly, an interesting turn of events in life has left me with a lot of free time on my hands. It's the free time I've been pining for all summer, but never expected to have...but here it is. It can be a terrifying world when you're out there totally on your own. Rather than spend every free day worrying, I'll do what I can to make the best of it. I'm looking forward sending my alarm clock on a vacation and welcoming a new morning routine: awaken when the sun says it's time; enjoy a cup of coffee and bowl of Cheerios at the kitchen table without being rushed; take Wheeler on a nice, leisurely stroll around the neighborhood; and then...just find ways to enjoy my day. And hey...since I won't have any room for excuses like "I just didn't have any time today," I should be able to spend some time exercising every day. And maybe I'll get back to some of the volunteer projects I've loved and the biggest excitement of all...more time with my sweet Charlie.

So this is where I find myself after another week gone by. As my life is transforming, it seems this blog is too. I promise I still have lots of snack and meal pictures to upload...hopefully I'll tackle that by the end of the week. And checkout (anne)vironment, too! It is part of my plan to also pack a whole lot more into that poorly neglected project. Stay tuned, friends!