Green Dream Smoothie

greendreamI made some almond milk the other day. After that I started fantasizing about a green dream smoothie that I had at Isla Vista Food Co-op recently that was superb and it contained spirulina! Now there are a lot of health benefits to taking spirulina (check out the herb profile here). But, and this is a big BUT for our household, there is no way our kids will just eat a teaspoon of spirulina. If you have never tried it just give it a whiff. I can’t even eat it straight up. So when I had IV Food Co-op’s green dream smoothie containing spirulina I wrote down the ingredients in hopes of recreating something at home for our family. Their smoothie used raw almonds and not almond milk, but I like the flavor profile and consistency when I use almond milk and a little bit of almond butter. It also contained kale -which is growing quite nicely in our garden – banana, dates, vanilla and nutmeg.

This is what I came up with:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (preferably homemade — I use the recipe here)

1 banana

1 bunch kale (you can add more or less depending on how many greens you want)

2 medjool dates

1/2-1 teaspoon spirulina depending on your taste buds, obviously

sprinkle of nutmeg up to 1/8 teaspoon

dash of vanilla

ice (optional, but our family likes how it tastes)

2 tablespoons almond butter or raw soaked and sprouted almonds (optional if want thicker consistency)

Blend all ingredients in your vitamix or poweful blender and enjoy!

Be well, Emma

Black and white

I was ready for a new look…something more formal for the holidays, perhaps. Black and white? Absolutely.

My go-to book: The Sewing Bible by Ruth Singer.

Throw pillows are a great project. I like to make mine with an envelope closure in the back for easy removal and washing. The fabric I had left in my inventory was this hounds-tooth (that I’ve been so needing to use) and dandelion pattern. Simple. I may throw in a Southwestern pattern on a smaller pillow form, just to honor my roots…oh, and for some eye candy.

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After laying out, I cut my fabric according to the dimensions of my pillow: 16″x16″. The actual fabric gets cut at 16.5″x 16.5″ for the face of the pillow, to allow for seams; and, 16.5″ x 12.5″ (2 pieces) to create the envelope back. Follow these steps for each pillow you plan to cover. Then… I like to straight stitch the rough edge of the envelope that will be seen in back. Then just pin all three pieces – right sides together – (envelope will overlap) and sew one straight stitch all the way through.

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The finished product

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Happy sewing!

-Kristin

caramel milkshake

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Okay, I know I promised that my next post would be a sourdough bread recipe, but I have had more than one person ask me lately for a recipe that I adapted from Juice Well at The Public Market sooooo, here we go.

This summer when I stopped by Juice Well I noticed they had a caramel milkshake on their menu. Now, let me just tell you that one of my favorite things is caramel. It’s indulging, sinful and delicious to me. Especially if you mix dark chocolate to the mix. But this milkshake didn’t have any of the ingredients that “candy” caramel would have and it still tasted indulging, sinful and delicious. The ingredients were simple: coconut water, coconut meat, turkish apricots and dates.

I liked the milkshake but thought about replacing the coconut water and meat with cashew milk (true Cashew milk includes the whole nut, nothing is strained out so you are getting the entire creamy cashew nut) and add ice (I love to create the icy smooth consistency). The result. Pure yum!

1 cup cashew milk (store bought or I use this recipe but the only step I add is that I soak my nuts for 24 hours and then drain the water from the nuts)

4-5 turkish apricots

3-4 Medjool dates

1/2 cup of ice

Put everything in vitamix or powerful blender of choice and there you have it!

Enjoy!

Emma

Sourdough Starter 101 aka “Bingo” 101

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For about three years I have been perfecting my sourdough starter. I first learned about fermenting foods through my obsession with the book “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon. Since then I inherited starter from a friend. Then it died. I don’t think I fed it properly. But instead of asking for more I decided to start my own. I researched many different ways to do this. I could of course just buy a starter culture but instead, I decided to just simply start it from scratch the old fashion way. By adding flour and water and letting is sit. Taking some out and then adding more flour and water and letting it sit. Since that time I have made many wonderful breads, pizzas, crepes, breakfast muffins, english muffins, pasta, focaccia, waffles and pancakes. The skies the limit.

Now, first things first. Sourdough starter is living! So of course, our daughter had to name it. She was three at the time and donned our starter the nickname “Bingo.” I think it had something to do with our daughters obsession with the song that she was learning from Alex at Yellowbird Music.

Secondly, after doing a ton of research I settled on the following sourdough starter method from localharvest.org. However, I used this site for inspiration and the method I came up with to create a sourdough starter is as follows:

1. Purchase a large glass cookie jar to hold the starter in. When I first just used a mason jar I found that if I added too much flour and water the jar would overflow. Now I never have that problem.

2. Create a ratio of three parts flour to one part water. Mix it together, cover with a cloth over the jar and let sit for 24 hours, then discard a couple of tablespoons of starter and start all over again. You should do this for about a week until the starter is bubbly and you can see it rise and fall within each 24 hour period. Store on the counter out of direct sunlight. If you need to go out of town either put your starter in the fridge (it can last one week like this) or freeze it, or ask a neighbor to watch your starter. It is living for goodness sake 🙂

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Now that my starter is three years strong, I have adapted my starter recipe to maintain it. This is what works for me:
1. I feed “Bingo” every evening before I go to bed. This way when it is time to feed my starter I either just add flour and water (three parts flour to one part water) or before I feed “Bingo” I take some out so I can prep something for the next day like bread, pasta or muffins to name a few.

2. I always check to see that I have a think consistency. If it is too runny I add more flour and if it is too thick I simply add more water (usually a tablespoon at a time). That’s it. Super simple. Well, mostly simple. Get your sourdough starter going!  Or if you are Santa Barbara ask me for some, I am happy to share it with you.

Until next post when I show you how to make sourdough bread!

Emma

Homemade Rooster Sauce (aka Sriracha)

Recently, I found myself intrigued with Sriracha sauce. There was the Sriracha plant closure story in the LA Times. There was also a great podcast that I listened too on KCRW’s GOOD FOOD about Sriracha. The person interviewed was Randy Clemens, the author of two books: The Sriracha Cookbook and The Veggie Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook. He spoke about the history of Sriracha as well as his first annual Sriracha festival that he was organizing in LA. And lastly, even though it is early January in Santa Barbara, I still have some hot peppers growing in my garden. So with all of this sudden awareness with Sriracha (I was raised in a household that really didn’t use hot sauce let alone rooster sauce, so I had really never heard of it before the media brought it to my attention. Yes, I have seen the infamous bottle with roosters on it at different restaurants but again, I had never really tasted it before let alone made it) and my own peppers harvest, I set out to make Sriracha.

I first just used the recipe from Randy Clemens but with some twists:

1 3/4 pounds assorted hot peppers from my garden AND red jalapeño peppers, stems removed and halved lengthwise
5 to 8 cloves garlic, peeled (his called for garlic powder)
1/4 cup cane sugar + 1 tablespoon molasses (his called for granulated sugar)
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

Blend all ingredients except the vinegar.

Put in CLEAN jars or in a CLEAN bowl, and cover loosely.

Let sit for 5-7 days on the counter, stirring each day.

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After fermentation is complete, blend with vinegar.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer (but not too fine was you want it to have a consistency that is more sauce like and not water, the first round I tried a finer mesh and it was too watery) and cook until it reaches desired consistency.

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Ta da! Sriracha success!

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Put back in jar(s), seal and refrigerate.

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Now that I have my very own homemade rooster sauce I will keep you posted on some of my creations.

Bon Appetit!

Emma

Can’t touch this

My, my, my, my…

Ok, I’ll spare you my rendition of the song, but look at these pants!

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After researching countless patterns, getting discouraged, and then stumbling through two or three failed attempts, I finally borrowed the hammer pants of a friend’s little one to create the pattern. If you’ve ever created your own pattern then you’ll recognize the ease involved here. Just in time for the holidays (and my Etsy shop!). Look for the style in the next few weeks here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BabyBrio?ref=pr_shop_more

-Kristin

Beeswax fabric food wraps

So inspired by my child’s “no-waste” preschool, I decided to take on a project with a friend. As gracious as she is, she invited me to bring a large fabric piece and she would provide the beeswax to make the coolest-ever food wraps. We took turns grating the beeswax into a bowl. After laying out flat my fabric on a cookie sheet I sprinkled on the waxy goodness. Ten minutes later, I removed the sheet and the fabric. It dried in seconds. My fabric was big enough to make three individual wraps. I customized one with a button and cord, another with velcro and the third is just a free-form spirit to be molded however I see fit. Here’s a cool tutorial: http://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/beeswax-fabric-food-wrap/

Super simple and adorable.

-Kristin

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Just Breathe

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This morning one of my yoga clients at Swell: Santa Barbara Athletic Club came up to me after yoga and disclosed that she would be having major surgery next week. She told me she was disheartened with the idea that she would not be able to do yoga or really anything for six weeks. Six weeks she exclaimed. I can’t imagine not doing yoga or anything at Swell: Santa Barbara Athletic Club for the entire month and a half!

My heart went out to her. I thrive on being active too. But this is probably why I also love yoga. It has been a way for me to slow down, connect and often just breathe! There are days when I am rushing to get the kids ready in the morning and head to yoga … let’s just say things are not always easy getting a 3 year old and a 6 year old out the door. But then I get to yoga and breathe and teach and breath (most of the time I am not really doing postures, I am assisting others but the outcome is still the same at the end of the class = total bliss). Now that is always my reminder that life is good. I just needed to take a deep breath!

I then said, “what about breath work?”

She questioned, “you mean pranayama?”

“Yes!” I said.

From the tone of her voice this had not occurred to her.

There is more to yoga than chaturanga push ups, down dogs, and sun salutations.  All of these are asanas, and asanas make up one of the eight limbs of yoga. Pranayama often accompanies yoga postures or asanas and can be a great tool to help us find our breath in the moment. But we don’t need to practice asanas to find our breath. We can can simply take a deep inhale and exhale where ever we are. While we are there, we can connect to the presence. Let go of thoughts, ideas, to do lists. For my client. Let go of what has been or what is ahead. Simply breathe in the here and now. While we are there we can even practice dhyana, or simply mediating. Sometimes this seems a little too much. Too time consuming. But it can start out small. One minute. Five minutes. Of breath, of meditation. Of slowing down and simply embracing the moment. It can grow into longer bouts or simply stay with that.

For me, yoga is about learning to move through life as if I were in a yoga class all day long. Just breathe. Just be. Learn to let go and find presence. This is life in progress. And it’s so worth it. I am a happier soul when I live my yoga. When I take deep inhales and exhales. How about you? How do you live your life? What helps you to be present and embrace curve balls that life throws you?

Be well, Emma

If imitation is the highest form of flattery…

My daughter, during a trip to Trader Joe’s during which she insisted on carrying her Baby Guy in a “moby” wrap. She’s done this several times and each time we get lots of comments, the likes of “how cute!”, “omg, she’s carrying her baby in a wrap!”, etc. The simple fact that so many people recognize this method of moving the baby around is telling of our city, and maybe our time…? This, for me, was the preferred method of transporting my daughter to and fro for quite a while: around the house, in the garden, from the car to the store – you get the idea. All the research I did told me that carrying the baby close to you, in a carrier or wrap, was a common tool of an attachment parent. It’s supposed to help with the bonding process, too, of both parents to baby. Needless to say, the wrap and carrier were staples in our House of Infant.
-Kristin

attachment parenting at its best

Information overload

Gertrude Stein once said, “Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” I found myself wondering what this may look like in today’s digital world. My mind immediately led me to the day I witnessed two teenage boys walking side by side, both wearing headphones connected to a digital device – and not saying a word to each other. Did one even know that the other was there? Ten years ago, common sense would tell us that these two boys walking side by side were buddies who enjoy each other’s company. Today, however, this particular act is more difficult to decipher. Did these two boys lose, albeit temporarily, their ability to have a cohesive conversation with each other? Luckily, being a secondary school teacher, I know there is still hope. I get it. Teenagers need a space to call their own, to proclaim/demonstrate their identity. Today’s spaces often times, just look different. The space that these two may have been occupying was their own music (or podcast?)and while spending time with their friend, they didn’t necessarily feel it was important to share what they were listening to, with anyone.

How does this relate to ambitionista? Well, I can’t speak for Emma, but I often find my inspiration for creation and parenting amongst all of this information – on mommy and sewing blogs, mostly, but in general, online. I like to think this information is strengthening my common sense; encouraging me to cultivate my relationships and my judgment of situations. This is all assuming I can keep myself from clicking too often on unrelated items like fashion and hair. What do you, dear ambitionista reader, think? What does all this information do to your common sense?

-Kristin