One day when I was walking along my favorite trail that runs by a beautiful little creek near our house, I happened upon a branch. (Wow…that was original…who doesn’t see old branches fallen from trees when walking outside.) But really, I saw a branch broken off of a tree and picked it up. I felt the need to do something creative with it since it had such a lovely shape. Often when I am out in nature, I see something I’m inspired by – a flower, a rock, a blooming tree – and feel the need to snatch it up and take it home with me. It’s like I must keep it to savor the inspiration… as though just seeing it once won’t satisfy, so I need to take it home with me to keep the beauty a little longer.
Torrey has always done the same… he is a constant forager of wildflowers. I remember on our honeymoon he stopped the car by the roadside at least three times and picked me wild flower bouquets. Still to this day when we take long road trips, he will pick some flowers from the yard and place the sweet bouquet in the cup holder so that I will have a “traveling bouquet” as he calls it. He knows how much I love flowers and how the long drives wear me out, and it helps me to have something beautiful and lovely to look at while we drive. (Isn’t he sweet?!) So with both of us having the scavenger bug pretty badly, you can imagine our house looks a little odd sometimes with it’s random twigs and sprigs of wilted wildflowers… but, I love it and won’t change a thing about it. Each little treasure we bring home, whether it is a leaf or river stone means something to us.
So naturally, when I saw a beautiful moss-covered branch, I picked it up, laid it across my stroller, and walked home. It was a long branch and so I got quite a lot of crazy looks when I walked by strangers. When I got it home, I immediately went to work since Jackson was asleep in his stroller and I had a moment to spare. I hung it from the ceiling and began attaching some glass test tubes I had bought the week before for another craft project. And, after some help with some tape, fishing wire, and some flowers, here is what I came up with….
I love the fall so very much! When the weather starts to get cold I pull out my big soup pots from the back of my cupboard and start making some of my favorite soups. I am one of the weirdos that wants soup in the fall, winter, spring and summer. When I was pregnant with Jackson, in the middle of the 100 degree weather of July, I would march over to the best Mexican food restaurant in town and order their chicken soup. Then I would sit my big fat pregnant belly down and eat the whole bowl along with the 5 corn tortillas and bowl of rice on the side. Then I would pour the basket of chips down my throat and top it off with the salsa. Just kidding….but only about the chips part. It was a severe craving, one that I could not resist. It got to the point that I would just walk into the door of the restaurant, the waiter would see me enter, smile and walk to the back, only to reappear with my bowl of soup. They knew that is the only thing I wanted on the menu and that I was coming back again for dinner. So now when the fall season rolls around and I start making soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner I don’t look like such a oddity since of course, it’s soup season. One of my all time favorite soups is my mother’s autumn soup. It’s basically a veggie soup buy oh my goodness! It’s soooo good!
1T. of the Hamburger fat, (yes, that is why it’s sooo good!)
1c. Chopped onions
4c. Hot water (1qt) (I use half beef broth and half water. It flavors the broth more)
1c. Each Carrots, Celery and Potatoes (I throw in more than 1 cup of each veggie and add corn and beans too)
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 bay leaf
pinch of basil
6 whole fresh or a can of whole tomatoes
Brown hamburger in a skillet. Add onions and cook 5 more mins till onions are translucent. Add and mix the veggies, water/broth, salt, pepper, bay leaf and basil. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 25-35 mins. Add tomatoes, cover and simmer 10″ longer.
I am gluten free. I know, I know…who isn’t these days? I am gluten free not because I wanted to become healthy or was on some diet and just decided to give up bread, no way….I had to give it up because the doctor ordered me. There was nothing more that I loved before I tested positive for an allergy to wheat, than to stick my teeth into some warm buttered bread straight from my mom’s oven. My mom was supermom. She still is. I love that woman more than anything in the world. She went to a co-op that sold grain in bulk and she would come home with the 5 gallon buckets full of wheat. Once a month, she would have a bread baking day and all of us girls would roll our eyes because we knew that we were all required to help. After we cleaned up the breakfast dishes she would bring out her white 5 gallon bucket and start her stone mill up…yes, you heard me correctly..she had an old-fashion stone mill that would grind the grain so finely it would make the air white in the kitchen. That mill sounded something like a small jet engine when it would start. You could barely hear yourself think! And there would be my mom, standing steady right over those furiously grinding stones, faithfully pouring the grain from her metal scoop into the feeder. Sometimes she would let you lift the lid to see the two stones whirring away but only for a second because the flour dust would cover your face if you stood there too long. After she had ground the amount of wheat she needed, she would open the drawer at the bottom of the stones and there would be the fine white powder that would magically become bread. There was a huge mixer right next to the grain grinder on the mill machine. Eggs, water, yeast and flour would go into the mixer and all of a sudden, that white powder, that just seconds ago resembled wheat kernals became dough that was sectioned into baking pans and then put them ontop of our old antique oven to rise.
After a few hours when the loaves had risen high enough to her liking she would pop them in. Let me tell you, there is NOTHING more amazing then the smell of fresh baked bread, just ground from the wheat grain a few hours earlier. After her baking day was done she would have 30 loaves of bread all lined up on the table cooling. She had baked enough bread for the whole month. Every morning we would have toast and butter. Oh how I miss it!
So as you can see…..I was born and raised eating wheat and so when I became gluten-free there were a few tears shed for sure. I get migraines from wheat so I had to part with it. When I came across this fabulous flourless chocolate cake, I was sold. I bake it almost every time company comes over and it never fails me. I made a simple ganache icing for the top when I took this picture but this recipe doesn’t need ganache…it’s good as it is! Enjoy!
Chipotle Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe
- 10 oz. of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
- 7 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon of chipotle chili powder
- Dash of cayenne pepper
- Pinch of salt
- Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9 ½ inch springform pan with a circle of parchment paper. Grease the sides and the parchment with butter or non-stick cooking spray (I love Pam for Baking cooking spray, myself).
2 Melt the chocolate and butter together over a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring occasionally until smooth.
3 Whisk together the eggs and the sugar in a large bowl, and then slowly, a bit at a time, whisk in the melted chocolate. Add the salt and spices and taste, adjusting the spices if needed.
4 Pour into the springform pan and bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
Waaaayyyyyyyyyy back in November, before Jackson was born (two weeks to be exact!) I went to this awesome intensive for bloggers called Blog Shop. It was amazing….you MUST go if you are wanting to pursue a career in blogging because what you discover there will forever change the way you blog. I learned a ton and now I know my way around photoshop like a pro (almost).
Bri and Angela are the sweetest girls too with as much heart as they have talent. Everything from the information to the decor, the two day workshop was totally worth it.
everyone there had killer style too.