ode to summer

as summer is beginning to fade away i thought i'd post some photos that just never made it to being a post of their own for one reason or another and a few that are definitely reminders of our summer.

our neighbors tree that rudely sheds this stuff everywhere.
i was going to title this post - i'm pissed.
 but then i remember that after this shedding, the tree leafs out and gives me shade.  so i shut up.

not much of a story here.

rosebushes so heavy with blooms they are falling over.

hundreds of roses.

freshly mown grass.
i was going to do a story of how we don't use any power tools to do gardening but i didn't think anyone would believe me.

laundry drying in the sun.

converse drying in the grass.

a house that is still red.

sticks propped in the windows to hold them open.

freshly washed slipcovers.
i was going to do a tutorial on this, but i thought the excitement would be too much.

cool showers and aveda calming bodywash.
larry was hoping for a tutorial on this.

 a cookbook collection story that was never told.
here's the story.  these are my cookbooks.

a behind the stove tiling story never told.
here's the story.  we tiled the wall behind the stove.

my favorite boots.
here's the story.  they were my first ebay purchase and at the last second, i beat out someone named doobiegirl. that kills me.

remember the throwaway charm of chinoiserie?  thank you again jane.

tacos, sangria and a dishtowel from leslie, the hostess with the mostess.

i just like this shot.  double click.


 julie's signature bracelet

Today I'm partnering with Julie Lorusso from Monkey Grass Hill and having my very first giveaway.  Julie is one of the nicest, sweetest bloggers I have met and writes a fantastic blog that chronicles the goings on at her gorgeous home and garden.  In addition to that, she is a very talented jewelry designer.  Her designs are simple and have an organic quality that I love. 

Now all you have to do to enter is go to her website here and take a look around.  The prize is her signature piece, a bracelet made of freshwater pearls with a sterling clasp and a healing stone of your choice.  OR you can apply the price of this bracelet to any other piece you like.  She also does custom designs and she makes men's jewelry too.  She has made my son some beautiful healing pendants and bracelets.  I don't know if you believe in the power of healing stones or not but I do.  One of the great things Julie does is explain the healing properties of the stones she uses in her designs.  Wearing her jewelry is not only beautiful, but empowering.

So go look around and come back and leave me a comment saying which piece you like and you will be entered into the contest.  You do not have to become a  follower of my blog or hers to enter.    If you comment anonymously then you need to include your name.  The winner will be chosen on Friday, September 3rd.  They say gifting someone a crystal is like offering a healing.  Thank you Julie, for this offer.

crystal and pearl necklace

kyanite and agate necklace

green ametheyst and gold earrings


survival tacos*

Yesterday with 107 degree heat we had a 14 hour power failure.  Just after noon the power went out and didn't come back on until 3 am.  Let me tell you it was hot.  We could have fled to a hotel but that would have been cheating.  Cheating who? - I don't know.  But anyway, we went into survival mode and faced it square on.  So what did we eat for supper?  I made a raw dinner that was cool and crisp and was just what the doctor ordered for sweltering heat.  Did you know that eating spicy foods is supposed to help the body cool down?  We noticed nothing to that effect.

Survival Tacos

1 1/2 cup black beans
1 ear of corn shucked (raw)
1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup jarred jalepeno
1/4 cup chopped red onion
top with salsa or whatever topping you have on hand

place in tortilla.   enjoy.

and guess what?

*no animals were harmed making this dinner.



a few of my favorite snacks... 

crisp celery and peanut butter

tea for one

cucumber & cracked pepper sandwich
eggless tofu salad sandwich - steve's excellent recipe here
almond butter and boysenberry jam sandwich


trader joes green olive tapenade with multigrain crackers and grapes

share your favorite vegan snack.

*no animals were harmed making these snacks

deep watering

the remnants of the rose garden, this morning.

This post is a testament to deep watering.  You see, we do not have any sprinklers here.  Well, I take that back, we do have 2 sprinkler heads in the rose garden that are manually operated.  So knowing we would be gone for a week I wanted to see just how the garden would hold up with really deep watering.  I knew the temps would be in the mid to upper 90's so these pictures prove that deep watering is the way to go.  Not one thing died or even wilted.

Even the boxwood garden is still alive.

Remember this bed we he dug up?  It looks remarkably well.

This is a shot of the house pulling into the driveway.  I was practically hanging out the car window to see if the hydrangea's had made it.

I knew if these survived everything else would be okay.

and they did.

So basically what I did was set the hose on a slow dribble and moved it around for about 3 days prior to us leaving.  I did this all day long.  I'm pretty sure I saved water doing it this way.  And it was easy. We have been trying to decide whether or not to install a sprinkler system since we moved in 2 1/2 years ago.  This is the first house I've lived in that doesn't have one.   Having to hand water forces me out into the garden and I see things that I probably would have missed if we had sprinklers.  Once fall and winter hit I stop watering all together.   So for now I remain the chief cook and garden waterer. 

resort wear

Well, we go home tomorrow and I have nothing left to complain about.  A few of you asked for some fashion pics and here they are.  I should say that if you want real fashion go here quickly.  Otherwise, stick around, I'm sure you will be amused..  No one will ever be able to accuse me of not suffering for my blog.

first up is my shiny pair of coral sandals that just so happen to match the carpet in our room.

next up is a family pic
 (that's me on the left in case you had mistaken me for the gorgeous 20 year old on the right)
i'm wearing my favorite white linen pants in the whole wide world with a turquoise tshirt and green hoodie and my coral sandals that you cannot see.
the real fashion here, of course, is on alex and meg.  double rl everything.  her bag makes me weep.
travis (arm around me and affectionately referred to as #3) is in j crew.
larry in the back, who knows?

i warned you.  but i got involved a few weeks back in a discussion about beach cover-ups with leslie, the hostess of the humble bungalow.  i normally wear a mens white button-up shirt as a cover-up but i felt the need to swank it up and get a real beach cover-up.  i'm definitely going back to the mens shirt.

this is me wondering where my next meal is coming from.  i bought these shorts at target b/c they have a chinoiserie print on them.  i believe in taking an idea to the hilt.  yes, that's a hanes white v-neck t under the green hoodie and coral sandals that you cannot see, again.

i can't wait to get home.

lunch in a pinch*

While the towel situation persists, I've found a lunch that works. 

  Crispy French Fries and Ice Cold Beer 

8 grams of protein
6 grams of fiber
approximately 700 calories

*no animals were harmed in the making of this lunch

palos verdes

I am on vacation here for a week.  This is the view of the Pacific Ocean from our balcony.  

This resort sits on land that used to be the site of Marineland.  If you grew up in Southern California then you know where I am.  In the above photo, I'm standing in the spot where they filmed the movie, Life as a House, with Kevin Klein.  It's a very good movie about love, addiction and forgiveness.  It's available on Netflix Instant Watch.  The movie was shot in and around Palos Verdes. 

We've only been here 2 days and I have to tell you that I'm starving!  This is supposed to be a 5 starish-like resort but I'm not too impressed.  I mean it is beautiful and all, but the food stinks.  After all, I'm in California, you would think vegan would not be too hard to get but you would be wrong about that.  Last night we thankfully found a little Italian place a mile down the road and we'll be eating dinner there all week long.  Vegan can be very difficult on vacation.   Also, the towels are not very soft.  Are you feeling sorry for me yet?


My favorite summertime lunch is a fresh salad and sparkling water.  This is a pretty big salad so I was really interested in how it stacks up nutritionally.  I eat this, or a variation of it, almost every single day.  

Salad Bowl

3 cups chopped Romaine
1/2 cup Garbanzo Beans
1 cup Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced Cucumber
1/2 cup shredded Carrots
1/4 of an Avocado diced
2 T salad dressing

I was again surprised at just how healthy this meal is.  This salad has about 400 calories and 14 grams of protein in it.  It has over 16 grams of fiber and 500% of my vitamin A requirements are met.  If you would like to see how nutritious your favorite foods are, you can go here and enter the food you are looking at and it will give you the nutritional breakdown. 

On my last post, my dear friend  Terri from Windlost, commented that she thought 30 grams of protein was way short of the 80 grams she was recommended.  Terri is a chemist in Canada so I know she is very smart, way smarter than me!  I went back to my research and could not find anything that said a woman of my age, activity level, etc. should be eating that much protein.  My husband is an avid outdoors man who does a lot of climbing and we use this website for a lot of information.  You can plug in your info and get your protein requirements.  I suppose you have to do what works best for you.  I would use my own general health as a guideline.  Do you get sick often?  Are you overweight?  How are you sleeping and how is your energy level?  How's the condition of your skin and hair?  I think the answers to these questions are far more important than anything we can read.  I guess my best advice would be to use common sense and trust yourself.

 *no animals were harmed making this recipe.


I have already posted on my favorite breakfast here.  So you know that when I first get up in the morning I have a cup of green tea and a slice of toast.  After my walk/yoga routine then I have my real breakfast.  This is perfect for the spring and summer months and i apparently have not gotten tired of it.   When it cools down I'll switch to toastier things.  But I thought I'd break down the nutritional content of this breakfast and see just how healthy it really is.  I'd really like to reiterate though that I'm a vegan for ethical purposes first.  The fact that a vegan diet is healthy is just an added bonus.

Fruit in a Bowl

1 cup cantaloupe
1/2 cup banana
1 cup strawberries
1/2 cup soy yogurt
2 T raw walnuts

One of the first questions I get when people find out I'm a vegan is, "where do I get my protein?"  It's estimated that the typical american diet contains 3x the amount of protein we need each day.  We actually need between 20-60 grams of protein per day, depending on our gender, lifestyle, whether or not we are pregnant, etc.  I aim for 30 grams of protein a day.

My fruit in a bowl does quite well.  It actually contains 10 grams of protein and 320 calories.  11% of my daily calcium needs are met and it has about 270% of my vitamin C requirements.  So I'm well on my way to meeting my protein needs for the day.  Of course you can substitute any fruit you like and it will be fine.  On average a serving of fruit contains 1 gram of protein, so the more the merrier.   

*no animals were harmed in this recipe

on a different note...slim paley

So yesterday afternoon I'm sitting on my sofa drinking flat Prosecco from the night before, loving my dull life.  The new House Beautiful had just arrived and I'm flipping through it and settle on the "White Wash" layout.  The pictures are stunning. The house is done in all white with splashes of blue and mesmerizing views of the Pacific Ocean.   So I start reading the text and I'm liking everything the owner/designer is saying.  She grounds her white rooms with touches of black, I do that.  She doesn't obsess over matching her whites, me either.  White slipcovers for ease of washing, uh huh.  I can see that we have a lot in common, minus Fortuny pillows and Hermes throws and well lots of other things that I prefer to ignore and I'm liking her.  Then I read she has a blog and it's called Slim Paley.  Well what do you know?  The Slim Paley, right there over on my sidebar.  I've mentioned her once or twice before.  Just last week she told me not to quit blogging because she liked reading my blog.  That is so funny to me now.  Anyway she is the most modest person I have ever cyber-met.  Can you just imagine not telling your readers that your house was in House Beautiful magazine?  But she hasn't and probably won't.  So I am.  Go buy it and see for yourself, but if you live in Santa Barbara there are probably no copies left because her neighbor Penelope Bianchi's beautiful house is in the same issue.  Oh, and I've told you before and I'll tell you again, go read her blog.  It is really, really good.

the view, white slipcovers, antique dhrurri rug, stone fireplaces, hermes, fortuny

a desk where absolutely no work gets done

master bedroom

a few answers & dinner*

I hope this post will help answer some of the questions you all had regarding becoming a vegan.  I will first say that the way you do it doesn't matter as much as just doing it.  I usually jump into something new feet first and I realize that everyone is not like me.  So as Steve pointed out, it might be best if I gave suggestions on how to make small changes to your diets.  Since I don't seem to know how to make small changes,  I looked around on the Internet and found lots of people who do know how.  Go here to Veg Cooking and click on Vegetarian Starter Kit.  They will send you or you can download a booklet on how to get started becoming a vegetarian/vegan for free.  That website has thousands of recipes and even a 2 week sample menu and  tons of other information.

I think that the hardest part is making up your mind to do it.  After that, it is easy.  The food is so simple,  good and inexpensive.  We spend about $50 a week on food, excluding all the beer and wine my husband needs to be able to live with me.   I will admit that it takes more time to eat this way.  And by that I mean eating fresh.  Fresh foods have to be chopped and beans need to be slow simmered.  You can buy pre-chopped and canned beans and I do occasionally, but for the most part I try to eat foods that are as minimally processed as possible.  The way I look at is for every minute I spend prepping my food I'm adding a minute to my health.

Your taste buds will begin to change and dislike heavily salted/processed foods.  Speaking of taste buds, my husband pointed out to me that when switching from steak to tofu our taste buds have to adjust.  If you take a steak or piece of chicken and cook it without any seasoning whatsoever, it really does not taste that good.   But yet, as awful as it tastes, our taste buds still recognize the flavor of meat.  When you switch to tofu our taste buds go on a search mission looking for familiarity and they don't find it.  So we assume we hate it.  Give your taste buds a chance.  Remind yourself that you are comparing a piece of dead flesh to a piece of organically grown soybeans.  Which would you rather have in your mouth?  And by the way, when shopping for soy products always choose organic.  You do not want to eat GMO soybeans or other soybeans that have been sprayed with pesticides.  Keep thinking fresh, clean food while shopping.

While you are on this new adventure, don't be discouraged.  Instead of worrying so much about doing it right or whether or not you will be getting the proper nutrients, take a moment and examine the diet you consume right now.  How healthy is it?  How healthy are you?  These are questions only you can answer.    I'd really like to hear from you if you are going to try to become vegan or vegetarian.  I will answer any questions you have as honestly as possible.

Last night my good friend Sarah and I got together for dinner, she made the dessert, and it was delicious but I forgot to take a picture of it.  This menu is a good example of how you can serve vegan food and not have guests missing meat.  I do not eat like this everyday.  My everyday food is much simpler to prepare.  I just thought I'd show you that you can entertain and be vegan and eat well.

Grapes with Green Olive Tapenade and Crackers
White Gazpacho in Shot Glasses
Mushroom Risotto Cakes with Sun dried Tomato Vinaigrette on Baby Lettuces
Peach-Blueberry Pie

We had our appetizer in the rose garden and then went inside for our dinner.  We ate pie on the porch with the mosquito's.  The tapenade was purchased from Trader Joes.  All the recipes follow.

Once you've made the Risotto, then chill it and then form it into patties, dredge each patty in flour then a little water and then bread crumbs.  Transfer to a hot skillet and fry until golden brown in about 2 T of canola oil.  Place on top of bed of lettuce and drizzle with your favorite vinaigrette.




*no animals were harmed in the making of this food
Back to Top