1.28.2015

Recipes from my Nest: Beyond Waffles & Lemon Season

PHOTO BY KATHRYN BRASS-PIPER
I have a couple of new pieces that just published in the winter issue of Edible Sarasota magazine. Hop on over to read the digital edition, or jump right to my articles:

On the Grid: Beyond the Basic Waffle with waffle-maker recipes for doughnuts, crab cakes, and spinach & mushroom quesadillas.

Pucker Up: It's Lemon Season with recipes for preserved lemons, honey Meyer lemon curd, and caramelized sea scallops in lemon-butter sauce.

Share your favorite ways to use a waffle maker,
and your best uses for seasonal citrus in the comments!
 
xoxo - Liz

1.21.2015

Creating a Seasonal, Family-Centered Home

I've been writing here in this space since the fall of 2008... that's about six and a half years, friends. When I started, my eldest daughter was newly 4, my youngest was 9 months. I have learned and grown so much over these years as the mother of two young children. I've watched my life and my home morph and change with each passing year as I pursue creating a seasonal, family-centered nest. It's been my ongoing goal to build a holistic home, a supportive and loving family culture, a strong connection to community, and a full-family commitment to living mindfully.
Pictures from an early blog post... to present.
 
Next year, my big gal will begin middle school! Like all parents, I am aghast at how quickly time is passing. As I reflect on my years mothering small children - and my new ventures into the realm of preteen -  I'm grateful for all the efforts I've made to create a steady, nurturing, family-centered home. I believe it will serve us well in the years to come. So it is in this spirit that I have created a new eCourse - A Natural Nest - which shares many of my core principles and tools for creating a strong and healthy home base.
 
The first session of A Natural Nest debuts in March, and focuses on creating a holistic home. Over the course of six weeks, the eCourse will cover broad topics such as creating rhythms & routines, living within your means, and identifying guiding family principles. It will touch on everyday ideas for developing a decorating style, sharing family fun times, and creating kid-friendly spaces in your home. I'll talk about gardening, meal planning, celebrating the seasons, fostering creativity & a love of nature, and building community. Each week, I'll share what has worked for me... what has become the foundation of my home and family life. Plus, some of my favorite creative and simple ideas, activities, projects, and recipes.
 
A compilation of all I have learned during my first 10 years of creating a family-centered, natural nest, this course is ideal for families with young children. And I believe it is equally well suited for families with children of all ages... I simply haven't walked the full road yet myself. I hope you'll join in!
 
Want to learn more?
 
Thanks for stopping by!
 
xoxo - Liz

1.14.2015

A Peek Inside My Nest

A couple of months ago I offered to give you a peek inside my nest, showing the goodies I scored at the Country Living Fair this past fall. I finally got around to doing a little photo shoot of my treasures. Enjoy!
Vintage Typewriter Table :: I've been looking for a table to display my vintage Royal typewriter on, and was thrilled to discover this old beauty that includes a pull out side table and a narrow storage drawer (stocked with aged, old-fashioned typewriter paper and a nubby pencil!). Initially, I planned to refurbish it, but the table's shabbiness has grown on me. It sits in the foyer near our front door.
Sheepskin :: This was my biggest purchase and I just love it draped over an antique chair that's been in my family for generations. The fluffy texture and creamy color really cozies up this corner next to the fireplace.
Mushroom Prints :: So, these were actually pages torn from "an old gypsy book," as described by the vendor, who displayed them in her booth clipped to twine with clothespins. I mounted them on inexpensive canvases that I painted with acrylic, and hung them in my living room. (I love the way they turned out and plan to do the same thing with some butterfly images from an old book that came out of a neighbor's trash pile!)
Antlers :: I've been digging a rustic boho décor vibe, so these antlers fit right in. They sit upon a cherished copy of Sibella Court's Gypsy (a favorite, along with Bowerbird). The brass coffee table was my grandmother's; it lives in the "fireplace room" - a cozy little space off the kitchen.

Bird's Nest & Candle :: I found this sweet little nest in the Country Living shop as we were leaving and had to have it for my nest collection, which I recently dispersed about my home (it was formerly displayed together atop a secretary desk that we repurposed as a bar for the holidays). I made a little vignette with the nest, inspired by some I saw in booths at the fair. It sits, along with a candle I picked up, atop our TV console in the main living room.
Globe :: I brought home this sweet little vintage globe as a gift for my girls. It's situated on a shelf above their art desk.

And so that's it, my lot from the Country Living Fair and a peek inside my nest. I'd love to hear what you think... and if you'd like to see more of my home in future posts.

xoxo - Liz

1.07.2015

A Holiday Recap

I completely dropped the ball on holiday blogging this season. It was very full, with lots of time spent with family and friends. So here's a (lengthy) recap for the archives, and for those of you who can stand one more (belated) holiday post.
We kicked off our holiday celebrations of light on the last day of November. The first candle of our nature-based advent devotion was lit, and our biggest-yet Christmas tree went up. Shortly after all the lights and decorations were bestowed upon this grand tree, it went crashing to the floor in a Griswold-worthy scene of shrieking children, broken glass, and tears. A new stand was procured... and we got to decorate our tree twice this season!

St. Nicholas Day (whoops, not a picture was taken!) and St. Lucia Day were celebrated for the fifth time. But it was the first time we had TWO Lucias wake us with homemade Lussekatter buns, ginger cookies, and fresh coffee. It was also the first time mama didn't have to help out in the morning!
Just before school let out, the girls showcased their budding musical talent in a winter performance. Selby played the violin and Sage played the harp!
We honored the Winter Solstice as we always do with a nature-wrapped yule log and a candlelit evening. This year, the girls decorated their gingerbread houses by candlelight too. The photos look all cozy and wintry... but it was way too warm here (we're in Florida folks!) for an indoor fire. Our windows and doors were open, and by the end of the evening, the girls were rubbing ice packs on their bodies to cool off by the blazing fire!
Gifting was very simple this year; we made homemade goodie bags for family members that included ornaments made out of air-dry clay with nature impressions (whoops again, no pics of the finished painted products!). Homegrown loofahs and jars of sweet & spicy roasted pecans were also in the bags.
On Christmas day, we welcomed extended family to our nest for a comfort-food feast. A spiral-cut ham from the farm market was accompanied by homegrown creamed collard greens, homemade sourdough rolls, macaroni & cheese, and slow cooker hot cinnamon apples. The time I spent in the kitchen the day before, slowly and mindfully preparing this meal, was one of my favorite parts of the whole season. Harvesting, washing, and chopping greens... peeling and slicing apples with my girls... kneading dough and watching it rise. It felt simple, mindful, and soul-satisfying - everything the holidays should be.
 
I hope your holiday season and celebrations were full of comfort and joy! Now, on to the new year...
 
xoxo - Liz

12.16.2014

Nature Journaling at School

For the past seven weeks, I've been spending Thursday afternoons nature journaling with my oldest daughter's classmates. Their small Montessori school offers an abundance of natural spaces to explore, including a trail through the woods, a sun-drenched lake, fields with tall grasses gone to seed, and peaceful shady areas right outside their classroom doors. We've discovered them all.
It's been my true pleasure to guide these eager-to-learn children through the basics of observing nature (use all your senses!), as well recording their observations on the blank page (write, draw, create, express!). They've explored seeds & seed vessels; collected fallen leaves; followed animal tracks; and gathered lichen-covered sticks, colorful mushrooms, wild grapefruit, and even a large animal bone!
Week by week, these budding naturalists have written haikus, made field notes & lists, rubbed leaves, sketched objects & scenes, stamped with harvest vegetables & fruits, created nature collages, and explored with color.
And all along the way, we've discussed how keeping a nature journal can help one foster mindfulness, practice gratitude, and express their creativity.
This week, we're wrapping it up, completing any unfinished pages and "binding" the journals with found sticks. Each book will have a few blank pages added in to the back in the hope that the kids will keep journaling even after our workshop has ended. I'm so proud of their work, and truly honored to have shared this special time together!

11.19.2014

Cover Story!

A few weeks ago I gave you a sneak peek at the photo shoot for an upcoming article I wrote - La Vie Boheme. It officially hit the stands this week and guess what? I finally got a cover featuring my Naked Olive Oil & Orange Blossom Cake!
I'm so excited to share this piece with you... it's the manifestation of an idea I've had brewing for some time - a bohemian-style dinner party featuring a French Provençal menu. The recipes include the Typsy Gypsy Cocktail, a Cheese Board with Honey-Herb Candied Nuts, a Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Maple Apple-Cider Vinaigrette, Provençal Lamb Stew, and the cake, which is layered with an Almond-Orange Buttercream. You can see all the recipes and style inspiration in the digital issue of Edible Sarasota COOKS! This article starts on page 37, but start at the beginning and see the cover, plus all the other goodies in this annual keeper-issue. Oh, and...
...be sure to go all the way to pages 52-55 to get my go-to Freezer Meals - Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion & Spinach Lasagna, White Bean & Tomatillo Turkey Chili, and Curried Chicken Pot Pie. These are real life savers during the busy holiday season that is now upon us!
 
I hope you enjoy the whole issue; it's such an honor for me to work with this publication! {If you want to view more pictures from the boho dinner party, see my previous post.}
 
xoxo - Liz

11.06.2014

A Few of My Favorite Things... (from the Country Living Fair)

A couple of weeks ago, my mother and I took a road trip to the Country Living Fair. What a feast of inspiration! We stood in line on the first day with droves of ladies who looked, well, just like us. Armed with a modest stack of cash, a push cart, and a whole lot of enthusiasm, we tackled the expansive fair with the gusto of kids on Christmas morning.
Everywhere we looked, we saw things we loved... old typewriters and dried flowers... rustic bread boards and salvaged windows... sheepskin throws and crates of antlers... It was a mix of vintage, salvage, handmade, repurposed, and only a dash of commercial products. I picked up a few treasures to bring home, including a fabulous old typewriter table to hold my blue 1950s Royal machine. The table has a pull out desk and a small drawer that is stocked with aged typewriter paper (remember, that nice textured, thick paper with a watermark?). The kids are having a blast with it!
Many of the vendors wowed us with their creative displays and booths. Those rustic chairs in the top image were balanced atop a fence railing! And I really loved the vignettes created at another booth, like the ones pictured below - little curio cabinets and displays of found and repurposed objects, mixed with ferns, moss, and bits of whimsy. The whole fair was like taking a stroll through my Pinterest pages!
Check out these huge signs hanging among the trees. Yes, there is also a bike, a deer head, and a chandelier suspended in the top picture! (I bought some great mushroom botanical prints "torn from an old gypsy book" from this creative vendor. I plan to mount them on canvases and hang them in my living room.)
So, I'm curious... do you like this kind of stuff too? If you want, I'll do a follow up post featuring the goodies I brought home and showing how I'm incorporating them into my nest, using inspiration gleaned from the Country Living Fair. Leave a comment and let me know if you're interested!

xoxo - Liz