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oh black beauty, how i love thee.

the vitamix did it again.  she continues to impress me.  dazzle even.  this morning was rainy and cold.  perfect morning to sleep late.  but i am battling depressing hormones so that is not an option.  days like this are difficult and i just have to keep moving.

we have lots of fresh basil ready to be used from our garden.  we are BIG basil fans, the more the better.  i have never made homemade basil pesto however. so this year was the year.  i looked to the vitamix and voila a recipe for basil pesto.

i collect the large leaves that were ready to be clipped.  rinsed and spin dried them.  (while i am touting products that i love i would like to add my salad spinner! serious love.)

the smell of fresh basil quickly filled my kitchen and all that seemed so sad in my little world suddenly seemed a bit more distant.

to the vitamix i added:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
3 cloves of garlic
2 cups of basil
3 tablespoons of pine nuts

first batch was a success. so i used the remaining basil to make two more batches.  i will wait until i use the pesto to add salt and pepper.  the longer the flavors meld together the stronger they will get and the less likely i will need anything additional.

because of the oils and cheese it isn’t necessarily the safest thing to can.  but pesto freezes really well so after a little photo shoot these beauties headed straight to our freezer.

can i also add my love for turquoise mason jars with flowers inside?  the husband surprised me one night when we picked these flowers from our yard and put them in my favorite jar.  sometimes he literally takes my breath away with the most simple gestures.  i am so lucky.

local entertainment and eats

this weekend we stayed close to home and enjoyed every minute.  we are constantly on a quest to live more simply.  more frugally.  and more self sufficient.

we spent all of saturday in the garden and finishing up our blueberry “patch.”  eight total blueberry bushes and they are all producing.  i don’t know why picking and eating blueberries from my own backyard makes them taste so much more delicious than all the others but they do.

we also weeded and cleared out the spring garden for summer plants.  tomatoes, peppers, melons are all planted and ready to grow.  and, of course, if we are outside the chickens have free time.  their new favorite spots are the gravel driveway.  they run straight for it when we open their run door.  dust baths for all.

the handsome husband on his beloved tractor.  i don’t think he coordinated his orange shirt with the tractor but i totally would not be surprised if he did.  that is how he rolls.

blanche spent most of an hour rolling in the dirt.

corralling the ladies back inside. who needs a television when you have chickens?! i remember when we were reading all about chickens before taking the plunge and someone wrote that.  i laughed and didn’t understand how chickens would provide endless entertainment.  but they do.  they are no housewives of new jersey, but they are quite the local entertainment.

in our spring garden we grew swiss chard for the first time.  it did pretty well and this was the last bit.  the leaves are absolutely gorgeous.  bold pinks and lime greens.  i couldn’t get enough.  the husband finally said at one point, “okay. we all get it. you like the colors in the leaves.” ha!

i whipped up a swiss chard frittata that is definitely a repeat recipe.

the ingredients:
4 large eggs (from our backyard)
4 large egg whites
1/4 cup grated swiss cheese
1/2 bunch (6 1/2 cups) swiss chard, washed well (from our garden)
1 large white onion (2 cups), sliced thin (i used several small white onions from our garden)
2 tsp butter
salt and fresh pepper to taste

the recipe instructions:
1- preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2- in a medium bowl combine eggs, egg whites, cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper. set aside.
3- separate the stems from the leaves of the swiss chard. slice the leaves up into thin ribbons.
4- heat a skillet on low heat; melt 1 tsp of the butter and add the onions. slowly cook the onions, stirring occasionally until the onions become translucent, about 10 minutes. bring the heat up to medium and cook until the onions caramelizes. set the onions aside.

5- in a 10-inch skillet add remaining 1tsp butter and add the chard stems.  cook about 3-4 minutes.  add the chard leaves and cook until wilted.

6- reduce heat to low; pour egg mixture into the skillet and add caramelized onions.  mix well to blend. on low heat cook until the edges set, about 6-8 minutes.  once the bottom and eggs set, place in the oven and back until completely set through, about 4-5 minutes.

7- remove from the oven. cut into wedges and serve.  i served the frittata with roasted potatoes from our garden.  major yum!

the nutritional information for the frittata:
servings 6
calories: 139
fat: 5.5 grams
protein: 12.3 grams
fiber: 4.9 grams
sodium: 446 mg (without salt)

local eats.

and by local, i mean our backyard.  each year we become more and more self sufficient.  we are producing more vegetables, fruits, sweeteners (honey) and protein (eggs).  our first year gardening we thought it was fun to have one item on our plate from our garden.  the next year, most of the plate from our garden.  now, our entire meal is from our backyard.

the husband is the gardener and beekeeper.  i am the chicken mama and cook.  so far we have had a great supply of sugar snap peas and cabbage.  there have been many stir frys served up.  and did you know shredded cabbage is delicious inside of an omelet?  it is.  it gives it a nice little unexpected crunch.

and most recently we dug up our best harvest yet of red and yukon gold potatoes.  we grow some amazing sweet potatoes but haven’t had much luck with the red or gold varieties.  we were so pleased to see this large plate full of potatoes and onions.

garden fresh potatoes, major yum! last night the husband helped me in the kitchen. he was in charge of potatoes.  he sliced them in wedges, drizzles some olive oil, added fresh rosemary from our gigantic rosemary bush and roasted them in the oven.

to his potatoes i added some eggs.  we are officially gathering eight adorable eggs per day now.  so if you are in the area and are interested in local eggs just let me know.  more about chickens in a bit :)

voila! our dinner last night.

and since there wasn’t a lot of color i decided to add a green smoothie for us both.  blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, spinach, and vanilla unsweetened almond milk.

transporting 30,000 bees and other weekend festivities

friday the 13th.  typically i am not phased.  but when the beekeeping husband put on the calendar that he was going to be driving 3 pounds of bees (approximately 30,000) from our neck of the woods to his parents farm, about two hours across the state line.  i got a little nervous.

so, of course, i volunteered to go with him.

but first, 12 gallons of sugar water (bee food) needed to be made.  i don’t remember volunteering but since the husband is phenomenal at making epic messes in the kitchen, i decided this was a job i could handle.

plus i had martha stewart in the kitchen to help clean lick sugar off the floor.

so friday the 13th was no match.  we made it successfully with no stings.  no emergencies.  we arrived to the most beautiful day.  fun clouds.  lots of sun.  a perfect day on my in-laws farm.  i love the photograph below of my father-in-law.

this is how we roll.  beekeeper style.

adding sugar water made by yours truly.  the first two hives the husband placed the freed bees while still in their box.  he then went back a couple days later to remove the box and check on the queens.

for the third box, he used the shake method.  basically he opens up the box and shakes the bees out.  it is a little cray cray to say the least.

let me reiterate, no stings.  no gloves.  it is a mystery.

i may have been in charge of painting the hives.

i love this beekeeping husband of mine.  i love his passion for this hobby that was inspired by watching his great grandfather.  i could do without the smoky smell.

the rest of the weekend was spent watching red sox baseball.  i am so tremendously sad that one of my favorite players is now on the dl and i am crossing my fingers it is just a partial dislocated shoulder and won’t require a season ending surgery.  and although it was sad watching the sox without jacboy in the lineup they are officially on a winning streak.

i seriously love baseball movies.  i have many memories of watching major league over and over again during summer vacation with my little brother.

on sunday i took a spontaneous beach trip with my crafting soul mate.  she has been featured on the blog before with her amazing surprise birthday party during book club that she threw for me.  which included baking brownies inside of egg shells.  she has become a very close friend and i jumped at the opportunity for a girls day with her.

she and i are both food lovers.  we had quite the spread.  black bean and corn salad for lettuce wraps from the lettuce in my garden.  two types of salsas that when paired together were taste bud exploding delicious.  mango, grapes, watermelon.  and grape leaves.  which i have not yet discussed my new love for with her and she just knew (see it is true we are soul mates).

i brought several camera lenses.  an extra memory card.   while setting up the food i realized, no camera battery.  oh well.  i guess another trip needs to be in the works.  i am officially sun burned or as i am referring to as my jamaica base tan. thank you so much for kidnapping me for the day laura!

i love having a full weekend which will hopefully spill over into a wonderful week.

last chance workout

sunday mornings i typically wake up in a bad mood.  i don’t want to workout.  but i know it is my last day before weigh in so every last calorie burned will count.  my strategy is to get the workout in early which usually means a run since our gym doesn’t open until 1 on sundays.  hello bible belt!  with a not 100% ankle, a run wasn’t going to happen.

the husband had an idea that i loved!  him: lets go work out in the yard for a couple hours and count that as our workout. then we can go to an afternoon movie.  me: yes! i won’t have to go to the gym.  team wilson for the win!

this is what we started with. lots of green.  and not the good kind.

a pinterest idea, a thick layer of newspapers.  and then we used leftover weed fabric.

there is no during pictures.  only before and after.  why?  because it was so much damn work i couldn’t stop to grab the camera or i would have died.  the husband drove the tractor to and from the pile of mulch we had delivered the other day to the garden.  he then dumped it in a garden cart for me to haul all over the garden.  then i spread it.  yes, husband.  you are officially blog notified, next time i drive the tractor!

needless to say halfway done i proclaimed that i wanted to change the plan for the day and go to the gym.  and we never did make it to the afternoon movie.  it is all good when we look out and see all our hard work.

i spray painted our super old and ugly tan flower/herb boxes.  i think spray paint makes the world a better place.  no joke.

our spring garden is doing great so far.  please ignore the weeds.  there is only so much we can do in one day.  there will soon be a garden weeding party.

talk about a last chance workout.  i am sore everywhere.  i am pretty darn sure that this day spent in the garden resulted in my 1% body fat loss all on its own.

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