Wow. It's been quite a stretch of time with not a single visit to this little space of mine. Sorry about that, to those of you who faithfully visit. And thank you for coming back. I do so enjoy our little chats and I am trying to get caught up. Life has been a little chaotic lately and I seem to be suffering from, what I fondly refer to as, a busy-hangover. Too much busy time with the To-Do's and the Need-You's can leave a person feeling slightly out of sorts, you know? Yesterday, I woke up to my first free day in what feels like forever and I had no idea what to do. To be honest, I am feeling a little lost and very much out of control these days. My body is sluggish, my brain is in a constant fog, my inspiration and motivation seem to be on permanent hiatus and my physical space is in utter disarray. You know how that feels...blah. So, I sent my hubby packing yesterday and set about looking for a way to clear my system, calm the chaos and find my way through the fog. Whenever I find myself suffering from the negative effects of a busy-hangover, I turn to nature in one of two places: the kitchen or the great outdoors. Nothing revives the senses and calms the mind like a little visit with Mama Nature.
Yesterday Evan headed into the hills to enjoy a little nature time in the great outdoors, while I tried to revive my senses in the kitchen. Now, a little hike probably would have done me a world of good, but I what I really needed was some quiet time, me time, a little bit of alone time. I have been dreaming of a day when I would finally be granted the luxury of sleeping late and this stay-home-Saturday offered the perfect opportunity. Unfortunately, I think my body has literally forgotten how to sleep. I rose long before the sun and sat in a complete haze with absolutely no idea what to do or where to start. A few months ago, those pesky To-Do's managed to stage a coupe and completely overtake my morning me-time. Well, it was time to take it back. Once I managed to get the coffee brewed, I slowly began to settle blissfully back into my beloved coffee hour. With my favorite mug in hand, I decided to tackle the task of sorting through the digital disaster area that is my current "photo storage". I rediscovered some pictures of these chamomile flowers from my CSA box several weeks ago. I kind of feel like those crazy flowers right now. I have no idea where I'm at or which direction I'm going. Pointing up, heading down, going this way and that, all jumbled together in messy disarray. They, at least, have beauty on their side and they smell pretty, too (can't say the same for me, hehe). Well, crazy they may be, but there is something refreshing in a vase of flowers and chamomile does have a calming effect. Throw in a basket of red, ripe strawberries and there it is. That tiny little moment of inspiration that sparks the motivation to begin slowly moving yourself back into your groove. It may take a little time to get caught up, but it's a refreshing start at least.
When those crazy chamomile flowers first arrived early in the spring, I remember making myself this lovely cup of tea by steeping some fresh flowers with a few slices of the sweetest, juiciest orange. It was memorable because at the time, that simple cup of tea represented one of those pauses for me. You know, that precious moment of quiet calm in the midst of the hectic sea of a crazy, busy week.
I enjoyed revisiting that moment and was delighted to suddenly recall having dried the rest of those flowers in hopes of one day conjuring up a creative way to use some homemade chamomile tea. And I had strawberries just sitting in the fridge. Strawberries and chamomile, a flavor combination I explored a while back when I encountered my first bunch of those crazy looking flowers. While I pondered the possibilities, I brewed myself a cup of tea. However, this time of year it's just too warm to enjoy hot tea. So, I cooled it and infused it with the flavor of fresh strawberries. It was delicious and delightful and inspired me to pay some attention to the rest of my sadly neglected produce.
I had a few organic peaches looking a little forlorn and on the verge of overripe, so I made a batch of this Strawberry-Chia Jam and tossed some peaches in the mix. You can do all sorts of things with this simple fruit jam and it even makes a great gift. I desperately need to resume my healthy eating habits and breakfast is always a great place to start. Fruit flavored oatmeal, fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt, toast and jam, a granola and fruit parfait, all great and healthy ways to use this versatile and super simple fruit and chia jam.
Strawberry-Peach Chia Jam
- 3 cups chopped, fresh fruit (peaches and strawberries, in this case)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup (or other sweetener)
- 2-3 tablespoons chia seed
- Add the fruit and sweetener to a saucepan and bring it to a simmer on the stove. Simmer 10-15 minutes or until fruit is soft and slightly reduced. Add chia seeds and simmer a few minutes longer. Remove from heat and allow to cool. The jam will thicken as it cools and can be stored in the fridge for about a week.
I set aside a jar of this jam as a gift for a friend. I haven't done much gifting lately and those little gestures are rather important to me. I do hate to caste them by the wayside. It's funny how a simple jar of jam has a way of restoring some sense of normalcy for me. And for my own breakfast pleasure, I opted to fancy up a bowl of oatmeal with strawberries, peaches and cream. Well, it wasn't cream exactly, but my hubby's homemade pumpkin seed milk has a way of transforming a simple bowl of oatmeal into a peaches and cream dream!
Yes, I did just say "my hubby's homemade pumpkin seed milk". As I struggled to keep up the pace the past few months, I took a little hiatus from household responsibilities and my dear husband has been picking up the slack for me in the kitchen. Not only does he do the dishes, but lately he seems to have mastered the art of homemade nut and seed milks. I must admit, I am quite impressed! His sunflower milk is especially delicious and he is always willing to share.
With the weather warming up and summer at the doorstep, it seems a fine time to incorporate more light and healthy salads into the menu. Not that I have any kind of a menu these days, but I'll find my way back to that eventually. In the meantime, my body's in dire need of a serving of fresh greens and a dose of healthy habits. A simple salad of spinach and strawberries tossed with a light vinaigrette and a few toasted almonds or walnuts is a deliciously healthy dinner indeed. But the simple act of sitting down to savor a few moments of quiet calm and actually enjoy the fruits of your labor...well, isn't that the healthiest thing?
There will always be those times when life gives you more than you think you can do and you feel like those crazy chamomile flowers, all scattered and out of control. No idea which way to go or what path to choose. Sluggish and slow, lost in a fog, adrift in a sea of chaos. I know it sounds simply silly for me to say, but when you find yourself feeling this way, sit down. Make yourself a cup of tea. Enjoy a red, ripe strawberry or two. Take a moment to remind yourself of the things you love to do, those things that make you you. And eventually you'll find your way through the fog, calm the chaos and restore your sense of being. It may take some time to get there, but it always starts with the simplest of things.
Take a moment. Revive your senses and calm the chaos :)
Labels: Cooking, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Nature, Organic, Recipes, Spring, Superfood, Vegan