old things

Old broad in an old sweatshirt, old jeans and these booties, sitting on this old 1948 Harley that Alex built/restored himself.

Youthfulness is about how you live not when you were born.” 
― Karl Lagerfeld

good morning

Thought I'd share a bit of my morning with you.  The front garden is really strutting her stuff right now.  So much prettier than the day we moved in...

I haven't been able to bring any roses in the house this year.  They are too strong and my allergies flare up almost immediately.  It's bumming me out.

Oatmeal without sugar.  Sweetened instead with a mashed banana and sprinkled with blueberries and pecans.  I've been in the kitchen a lot this week experimenting with some really great recipes I've found on-line.  There are So many great health/vegan websites out there.  There is much to learn about to be a healthy vegan instead of the lazy one I had turned into.  I'm enjoying it although it is more work making everything from scratch.  My hope is that I can come up with about 10 really good/simple recipes to keep on rotation.  Anyway that's about it from here.  Have a great weekend and take care. x


simplifying my diet

One of the of the things I've been up to while stepping back from the internet has been simplifying my diet.  My diet was starting to get cluttered with processed foods like never before. When I first became vegan over 5 years ago, there were not as many pre-packaged vegan foods as there are now so I was actually eating healthier when I started.  I was not relying on as many processed foods as I have been as of late.  The explosion of delicious pre-packaged vegan foods was hard for me to pass up, so I didn't.  Well all that has changed now and I'm getting back to simple basics.

The Big Changes...

I'm eliminating anything white. White processed flours, sugars, white pasta, white rice, all oils. I'm adding tons more greens.  Replacing those empty flours with whole grains and nuts/seeds.

My day looks kinda like this...


green tea
slice of Ezekiel toast
smoothie (usually kale, blueberry, 1/2 banana, 1 date, unsweetened soy milk)
oatmeal, fruit, seed/nut combo


very very large green salad (mixtures of lettuce, kale, cabbage)
tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, mushrooms (anything and everything that is fresh)
seeds or nuts
no oil/no sugar dressing


soup or chili or steamed or roasted veggies or
quinoa, beans, lentils
a sugar and oil free dessert, usually fruit or a homemade dessert

Every day is like eating from a spa menu.  I've been on this for 3 weeks now and am really starting to see a difference in the way I feel.  I'm not getting those high and low feelings from food. I feel more even.  If I get hungry between meals then I make a fresh veggie platter or grab a piece of fruit or some nuts or seeds.  I've also been experimenting with delicious desserts that rely on fruits for sweetness.

You may be wondering the impact these changes will have on my budget.  So far so good.  The farmers markets are exploding right now with an abundance of fresh veggies and fruits and the prices are very reasonable.  Also, without buying all the processed foods any longer that should offset any costs for eating this way. Plus eating out is going to be even rarer than before because there aren't many restaurants that cook without the ingredients I'm eliminating.  And we are not even talking about the long term benefits of eating a diet so rich not only in vitamins and minerals but micro nutrients too.

Those Pecan Truffles up there are delicious and easy to make.  Just a few raw ingredients and about 15 minutes of your time.  I found them here at the Simple Veganista, a beautiful vegan site. Just pecans, dates, cinnamon and vanilla extract, I left out the pinch of salt.  I rolled mine in cocoa powder, which isn't necessary either but man are they good. Perfect for when you just want that little bit of sweet after a meal.

In a food processor combine

1/2 cup oats
1 cup pecans
1 cup dates
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pulse this all together until it becomes pliable.   I had to add 2 teaspoons of water to my mixture.
Form into small ball size bites.  I put mine on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer for an hour or so and then transferred them to a container and keep them in the refrigerator.

My recipes from now on will rely on simple, fresh ingredients and less crap.  You in?


oh hello

Just thought I'd pop in and say hello.  I've been taking the word relaxation to a whole new level. I've cut my computer time down to about 1/4 of what it used to be.  Forcing myself to not turn it on first thing in the morning is getting easier.  When I do come on-line, I try to quickly attend to emails and then go cruising through my reader list to see how everyone is doing. Glad to know you are all fine.:)

I've been having afternoon tea with my neighbor Mrs. Howell.  I've known her for many years as her daughter was our neighbor in our old home.  My sons and her grandsons all grew up together so we have lots to talk about and I love sitting and chatting with her.  We sit by her pool and gossip for about an hour before her/our afternoon nap.  Yes, I've been taking a nap.

This morning I was in the rose garden having a bit of a walkabout when I began to notice the interior structure of these roses.  Far away they look ordinary but up close it's like a symphony of petals, each one working with the next to create such beauty.

I've added 2 Yin yoga classes to my weekly schedule too.  If you've never taken a Yin class I highly recommend. The part that sold me was that the whole class is either sitting or lying down. For instance in a 1 hr class you will hold maybe 4 poses.  It sounds a heck of a lot easier than it is. It's about relaxing into the pose and letting go of expectations. The expectation of a typical yoga flow isn't there.  It's about being still and quieting the mind.  It's incredibly calming and somewhat emotional and I'm quite in love with it.

Ok, so what on earth have you guys been doing?  Fill me in.


garden walk

I have always felt a little bad that the name of my blog is The Gardener's Cottage.  It implies that I am a some sort of great gardener.  Most of you know that this blog was named after the house and its past tenants, not me.  But I am glad that we were able to get this place growing again. The truth is that it mostly involved watering things and bringing them back to life and then lots of clearing debris. The end effect is that there are stunning antique roses here and I get to take care of them. This garden will never be a neat and tidy place.  It's old, quirky and pretty messy and to be honest I've had to get used to that.  I've always had a neat, trimmed and buttoned up landscape.  There is no hope of that here which is part of its charm I suppose.  It really has taught me how to relax...about a lot of things, not just gardening.

This past week has been long and lazy and pretty perfect.  We got much needed rain which is so nice since we only have 2 sprinklers here.  Thank you Mother Nature.

The roses are still not quite at their peak yet.  I think by this time next week every bud will be in bloom. In the early morning and late evening the scent dominates all the others in the air.

This unidentified rose has a scent that will literally overwhelm the house.  I have to put it on the porch after only a few minutes inside.  Wish I knew its name.

Front beds are filling in too.

The entrance to the yoga garden.

It's slowly coming along in here. I seeded the grass and the next day it rained so I'll have to put some more down.

The scent of roses competes with this huge honeysuckle vine and the orange blossoms in the grove across the street which explains my allergies.

So it has been really nice taking this internet break.  Initially I was shocked at how compulsive my internet use was but now that I've stepped back, the relief is flooding in. If you have a blog maybe you can relate?  Normally, even when I'm not actively blogging, I'm still thinking about blogging. Thinking about what would make a good post or cursing myself that I had forgotten my camera or thinking of recipes to share.  It really was something I needed to step away from.  So I hope you will bear with me until I get this figured out.  In the meantime, I hope you liked this little garden walk and I hope you are all well. x


good bye march - hello april

Strawberries with soy yogurt and pecans

Time seems to be flying.  I'm so happy I decided to share with you our desire to pay off our mortgage as aggressively as we can.  It has changed the way I look at everything and kept me focused.  Showing you all the ways I live has made me realize that I may be addicted to having less. I find myself dreaming of ways to make do with less.  Also, someone in the comments mentioned the TV show Hoarders.  I had never seen it before and so I watched it.  Seeing the pain and agony people go through all created by stuff is heartbreaking isn't it?  It seems worse for those who inherited a lot of stuff. They are so emotionally conflicted over it and wind up doing so much damage to themselves and their loved ones.  It's all so tragic.  It just strengthens my resolve to live as lightly as possible.

Creamy Broccoli Soup

2 cups chopped broccoli
1 small potato
1/2 onion
Bring to boil in 4 cups of vegetable stock or water and 2 veggies cubes
Puree and serve

Pasta with mushrooms

Saute 2 cups of sliced mushrooms, season with s and p
Add 1 15oz can chopped tomato
Season with basil and garlic
Toss in spaghetti

Breakfast Parfait

1/4 cup raw oatmeal then layered with fruit and soy yogurt.  I used berries, bananas and oranges

Easy Vegan Lasagna - again

This isn't the most appetizing looking dish but it is delicious.  For those of you who have made the lasagna, this is the same filling just put into a saute pan and browned.  Delish with a side salad.

Fresh salad greens with strawberries and pecans drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar

So for the month of April my focus is going to be to step away from the computer.  I am spending way too much time online and need to recharge.  I'll be around, just less. Please have a wonderful April and thank you so so much for all the love and support you give me.  You truly are the best readers any blog could ever ask for.

Mucho Love,

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