8.31.2014

Behind the Scenes

Edible Sarasota magazine came to my nest this week to shoot photos to accompany my articles for the fall issue. I prepped and fussed for days to get ready, but it turned out to be pretty fun. They took shots of several stages of the process of making sourdough bread, including the starter, mixing the dough, forming a boule, and baking the bread in a Dutch oven. Of course, they photographed a finished loaf too.
These are a few of my shots, taken during the stages that did not involve my hands! The shoot also included images of a tray of slow-cooked honey BBQ ribs for an article on southern-style slow-cooking. The Edible team loved my old whiskey barrel end tables on the back porch, and photographed the ribs right on one!
Watch for a link to these articles here on the blog in early October. Meanwhile, I'm thinking about coming back out from behind the scenes myself, and returning to this space on a more regular basis. My gals are back in school (1st and 5th grades!) and I'm starting to dream up what's next for A Natural Nester. Stay tuned!

7.17.2014

Summer Kitchen :: What's Cookin'

 
 
:: al fresco cooking & dining
 
 
:: raw cherry quinoa salad with apples, scallions & pecans
 
:: lamb-stuffed zucchini boats
 
 
:: roasted tomato & garlic soup
:: kid-made garlic bread
 
 
:: fajitas
 
 
:: fresh lime salsa & guacamole
 
What's cookin' in your summer kitchen?
 

{Linking up with Heather today for the "This Week in My Kitchen" series...}


7.11.2014

{Summer Catch-Up} Honoring the Sun

 
  
 
* Sun bread and sun tea.
 
* Sun mono prints, created poolside and strung into a summer banner.
 
* Dinner on the grill.
 
* A sunset swim.
 
We spent the Summer Solstice celebrating the sun, in the sun. It was an idealistic summer day that will be long remembered and treasured by this mama. Here's to many more sweet, sun-filled days this season!

7.03.2014

Summer Kitchen: Kid-Made Granola

   
The girls made granola this week, each creating their own mix. Both started with three cups of rolled oats, 6 tablespoons of coconut oil, 4 tablespoons of raw honey, and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt - all mounded in a pie pan. Then they added their choice of mix-ins from cinnamon, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, unsweetened shredded coconut, and nut butter. They stirred it all up (using both a spatula and hands) and spread their blends out in their pans. We then baked them at 300 degrees for about 40 minutes (stirring occasionally).

After cooling the granola, we put each girls' blend into a glass jar, labeled with their creations' respective name. They both took so much pride in their homemade granola mixes and we've enjoyed munching and sharing them all week. This is a great way to get your kids involved in the kitchen!

{Linking up with Heather today for the "This Week in My Kitchen" series...}

7.01.2014

Nature Journaling


It's week two of my summer nature journaling eCourse, A Sense of Place. We've been discovering our places in nature, determining the purpose of our journals, exploring the summer heat, looking for signs of summer, using our senses to observe, making connections to our observations, and listening to the critter symphony of summer (plus so much more!).
Registration for the live A Sense of Place eCourse is now officially closed... BUT you don't have to miss out! The course is now available as a self-paced, pdf eGuide for the remainder of the season. So jump on in. The self-paced version also includes membership in the A Sense of Place Facebook Community where I post additional journaling ideas and inspiration... and offer a bit of support to get your creative juices flowing!
 
The season is in full swing, and nature is begging for your attention!
 Won't you come play with us?
Learn more and register here.

6.30.2014

{Summer Catch-Up} A Party & Photo Booth Fun

I'm behind in sharing some of our best times so far this summer, so I'll be playing a little catch up here this week. Rewind to early July ... my baby turned 10, and celebrated with a Paris-themed, sleepover, pool party with eight of her closest friends! The girls had a blast decorating their own cupcakes, swimming in the pool, holding a pajama dance party, and - the big attraction - dressing up for some photo booth fun.
A photo booth is a fun party activity - but could also provide hours of entertainment on a hot or rainy summer day. Setting up the booth was almost as much fun as doing the photo shoot. We raided our closets and dress up chest for props. For a backdrop, we simply tacked a sheet to the wall and added a wall d├ęcor Eiffel Tower from my gal's room. This was such a hit with the party girls, it was repeated at a family celebration a few nights later! And I have a feeling, we'll be doing this again before the summer ends...
 
******************************************************************************
Try It! Have some photo booth fun this summer.
  • Get started by selecting a location with good lighting to set up your booth.
  • Next, make a backdrop by hanging a sheet or material on the wall, or alternatively, use a screen, or paint a backdrop on easel paper to tape up.
  • Gather your props - think of things you can wear as well as hold/carry. Get your kids involved in this part - they'll love it! You can make some props too (a cut out mustache and glittery lips on bamboo skewers were among our most faves)!
  • Take turns dressing up and taking pictures - kids like to be the photographer too!
  • Be sure to print some of the best images to send home with guests, or for your family to enjoy.

6.25.2014

Summer Kitchen :: Dairy-Free Mango Lassi

I've gone a bit mad for mangoes this summer. Like, I just can't seem to get enough. We've been enjoying mango salsa, mango-topped chia pudding, and mango chunked onto Thai-style noodle bowls with grilled shrimp and cilantro. And, a couple times a week, I'll blend up a quick 3-ingredient, dairy-free mango lassi. I swap the traditionally-used yogurt and milk for coconut water, as I've recently cut back on dairy consumption.
 
Low in calories, and packing a healthy, hydrating punch, this has become a go-to summer snack in my nest! So, it's simple... just chunk up a mango and put it in your blender with about 1 1/2 cups of coconut water (I buy a flat of these individual cartons at Costco and use one carton per mango), then add in a dash or two of cayenne pepper. A squeeze of fresh lime juice is really good too, if you have it. Blend until really smooth and creamy (mangoes can be fibrous, so you may have to blend longer than you think). Then pour it into a glass and drink it with a straw. YUM!

You can also freeze this yummy concoction in popsicle molds for icy cold, refreshing mango pops!

Do you have any favorite mango recipes? I'd really love to hear them!

{Linking up with Heather for the "This Week in My Kitchen" series...}