theCOZYgreenCOCOON

Headed towards back to the basics living.


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Friends

It’s not the destination, but who’s beside you, that matters most.”

So true. Who we surround ourselves has such a big influence. I have to tell you that in the last few months I have really lost my enthusiasm for eating healthy, being green, and just all around trying to do what my conscious tells me is the right thing. Sometimes the reason I start doing something gets fuzzy. I forget why I do the things I do. And when that happens, I slack. I think well, its just one plastic carton or I’m so hungry just give me some chicken or a burger from somewhere. After all no one else seems to really care. Dozens of cars are in the drive thru. Those people are still alive. Does it really matter if I use a paper towel? YES! But it’s so much effort, the whiney voice in my head says.

“Two are better than one…if one falls down, his friend can help him up.”  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Thank goodness for sisters. My sister seems to really have the enthusiasm for eating healthy and natural and taking care of herself. It’s inspiring. Her energy has me getting re-motivated. In fact, I am re-watching Food, Inc., as I have time during the day. And I’m looking to start exercising again and looking at healthy natural foods with a renewed sense of purpose. I’m not saying I’ve got myself under control 100% now.  There’s an Arby’s chocolate croissant with my name on it that DH is picking up from the drive thru on his way home from work tonight. BUT, it all counts, right?!

Besides we did make it to the Farmer’s market this weekend. I tried out eggplant for the first time.

And we got some glorious red and orange bell peppers. So love those!

And some farm fresh eggs! Missed those!

So if you’ve been slacking in some area where you used to feel so enthusiastic to see a change in your life, then I encourage you: Go! Go find some friends with common interests and goals. Don’t be a loner. At least not all the time. I’m one myself. I’ve been known to hole up with a good book for hours before I had my daughter. Or to spend hours crafting all by myself, trying to learn to sew. But sometimes you gotta find your ‘peeps ‘ to keep you on track.

Find ways to remotivate yourself. Remember why it was you started something in the first place. Review where you started and how far you’ve come. If you derailed like me lately, that’s okay. Get back up there on the horse. If he ain’t dead, there’s still hope y’all.

Here’s something similar that I’ve been dealing with myself from Miss Mustard Seed. Love her style!

http://missmustardseed.blogspot.com/2011/08/losing-finding-myself.html

 

XOXO, Rachel



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Baking Bread | Week 5

MMMM…..there is nothing quite like the smell of brown sugar and cinnamon in the morning. Nothing. Sorry, all you folks who drink coffee. Coffee smells wonderful but this morning I found something that beats it in my book. No joke. It actually smelled so good it brought me out of my foul mood. Okay maybe not foul, but grumpy. Let me just say I am sooooo glad that this weeks bread turned out!I I don’t think anything is more disappointing than working so hard on something to have it flop. Like my pinwheels did last weekend. Oh, they tasted okay but they were so sad looking. Really, I almost wanted to cry. I was so frustrated. The dough didn’t cooperate and major user error on my part resulted in pinwheels that were edible while warm from the oven but that’s about it. I tried to blame a bunch of it on the dough.

Uh, no. I used the exact same brioche dough (that I saved in the freezer for a couple of weeks) and this time it resulted in delicious warm cinnamon crescent rolls. DH and I decided they must be a cousin of the better known cinnamon rolls but with a twist (ha!). And then they were topped with a cream cheese icing. Oh my! These will be made again.

First I rolled out the dough to 1/8″ thick in a rectangular shape.

Then sprinkled with cinnamon, brown sugar and oil.

Then I cut the dough in to triangles.

Then rolled them up starting with the larger end first. Then let them rest for 30 minutes. Followed by 20-30 minutes in the oven. And then top with cream cheese icing. I highly suggest you eat them while warm. I did. (=

And did I introduce you to my assistant?

My cute kitchen helper! Who doesn't need one of these?!

 

 


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Baking Bread | Week 3

This last week I realized that the beautiful organic pears we purchased the previous week were ripening much faster than I previously thought.  I needed some sort of recipe to use them up and hopefully avoid waste.  And thus the journey (and I do mean a long journey) of the pear tart began. To be fair, I did mess up the bread portion of the recipe from HB in Five by forgetting to add the water the first time I tried to make this so the journey was prolonged by my own mistake. But still this pear tart had way more steps than I like in a recipe. And to be honest, although the flavor was good I think I would have been more satisfied with putting all that effort into a homemade pie. Did I mention it really only seemed yummy when served warm a la’ mode? (Pie is just delicious when cold in my opinion.)

There were a few things I did like about this pear tart though. It was quiete pleasing to the eye and I got to use a cast iron skillet in a way I never had before. The pears are carmelized first in the skillet and then the dough placed on top. The skillet is then placed in the oven. Once done, the whole thing is inverted onto a plate- a bit like a pineapple upside down cake. Another good thing about this recipe was that the bread portion was whole wheat brioche. So at least it was probably healthier than a pie crust made from shortening would had been.

And in case you’re wondering, like I was…Brioche just means a highly enriched French bread. Typically with egg and butter. It is thought to have originated in Romania.

I have some leftover Brioche dough and with that I’m going to be trying some cream cheese stuffed pinwheels this week since the dough can be stored for 5 days in the fridge or 2 weeks in the freezer. Will keep you posted on the results-they sound easier and perhaps, just perhaps more yummy???

Oh, I’m going to be posting on the best sandwich bread I’ve tried so far. Stay tuned for more…


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Baking Bread | Week One

So this I week officially began my self-imposed bread challenge which is to make some sort of bread product every week. The end goal is to be able to make all our bread and not have to buy any. I’ve heard that when you make your bread at home you can save so much money! Just buying the ingredients  and making it from scratch will save you money. Take it a step further and buy the ingredients in bulk, you save more money. Then take it one step further and….grind you’re own wheat that you bought in bulk (or your brother bought for you) and you’ve just saved even more money and upped the nutrition as well as flavor. Thanks to my big brother I now have enough wheat to bake bread to my heart’s content and use freshly ground flour. He drew my name for Christmas this year so of course we had to set up my new grinder and try it out while all the family was there.

Here’s me giving it a go. Let me tell you, grinding your own wheat really gives you a work out!

Here’s my niece grinding away! She wasn’t even tired afterwards. Oh, to be young and energetic again!

Here’s the end result:

And there’s my brother holding Teddi while we continue working on the flour later that evening. He look’s a LITTLE scared! Hehe!

This week I started with an olive oil recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. One recipe makes about 4 pounds of dough and keeps in the fridge for about a week.   I made breadsticks (not pictured because we ate them all before I had a chance to photograph them. They we’re that good!

I’ve also made pizza crust…

and a smaller loaf of bread that we used to make patty melts with green chile on ground elk meat

and some regular sandwiches too.

We supplemented some ham & cheese sandwiches of days later with whole wheat store-bought bread after that was gone. That’s okay with me at this point.  In the past I probably would have just put a frozen pizza in the oven and eaten butter bread with our spaghetti-good but not as tasty as the breadsticks. Just one step at a time,right?


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One Word Wednesday: Still

“Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10

(So I missed posting this yesterday, such is life with a baby I’m learning, but this still resonated with me so I thought I would go ahead and share with you.)

The older I get the more I see tragedy and loss and pain. Sometimes, it can begin to get a little overwhelming. And while I appreciate the movement God has been bringing into my life in so many ways lately, I felt that still small voice speaking to me about stillness last night.

Last night we we’re on our way home after a four day trip to Tucson, AZ to mourn the loss of a wonderful family member. My heart has been so heavy for those closest to him. While in Tucson, we also heard about the shooting that happened there a couple of days before. We actually unintentionally drove right by the place where it happened. There was a stillness there… still. It was such a stark contrast to the busy street we were driving on.

But the drive to Tucson and the drive home were not very still for us. Miles and miles of scenery flashed by, my 3 month old daughter grew weary and sore from her uncomfortable (yet super safe) carseat. To be honest my tushy was sore too. My mind grew weary just thinking about  hurt and loss and I was worn down by the drive. And then when we were almost home, and my daughter needed that one last nursing before our final push to get home, I looked down at her, and  I was reminded of this passage in Psalm 46. “Be still, and know that I am God…” “Okay God, I can do that,” I thought.  I can take this moment and breathe and appreciate it for what it is: Calm, beautiful, and still.

***P.S I just found this website: myoneword.org It’s all about finding your word for 2011 and using that to focus on to make change happen in your life.


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Contentment.

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! I did! I spent it with my family. Yes I could have used a very descriptive adjective back there. My family IS wonderful,they ARE loving, they DO give generously and from the heart, they are fun and silly and strong, but trying to pick out just one adjective and label my family with it wouldn’t really do them justice. They are just my family. I don’t know any different, I wouldn’t trade them for anything, and I couldn’t love them more or be more thankful for them if I tried. God has blessed me very much indeed!

And did I mention just how special it was to celebrate my baby girl’s first Christmas? So many special memories, so many times I just looked at her and wanted to cry with contentment. That sweet baby girl sitting over there with her grandma or  an auntie. Her personality is really beginning to show and if possible I love her more everyday. She has woven her way into my heart never to leave.

And yet it is amazing that with all these wonderful blessings there is a drive in myself and I have seen it in others to push on and improve ourselves and our lives. I’ve been working on a list of things I’d like to accomplish for 2011. I didn’t purposely start compiling the list, it’s just sort of gradually been forming itself in my mind. But I think I’ll share that next time though. For now, I am content to just sit around in my new super cute lounge pants (thanks,gina!) and drink some candy cane cocoa and enjoy the snow falling outside. Cheers!