just a drop of simple sunshine


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ANNOUNCEMENT!

This blog is no longer being updated, but because people do still use the recipes here, it will remain as an archive as the past. I just needed a fresh start, as so many of the ideas & recipes here refer to past self that I no longer feel a connection to.

If you like to follow my current project, head on over here:

http://aboutsaffron.wordpress.com.

Thanks for your support over the years!


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Easy Morning Casserole

I am ALL ABOUT cooking ahead & grabbing something from the fridge to warm up for meals – in fact, it’s pretty much the only way I can stay true to the primal way of life. I do love to cook, but I prefer to do it when I’ve got lots of time & energy – usually when I wake up on the weekends. The Sunday morning thing has become a sort of ritual for me, & when I don’t get to do it, I get a little cranky. I hate spending a lot of time in the kitchen on a weekday evening, & that’s when I do not-so-great things like make rice pasta mac & cheese (supposed to be just once-in-a-great-while) or just grab something at a restaurant, which is bad for my health & my finances.

I’m a notoriously “running late” sort of person (Lauren knows never to expect me on time when we meet to go shopping), so breakfast always has to be quick. Even though I live right across the street from my place of employment, it’s always a mad dash to get to work on time. I definitely am the sort of person who loves her sleep, so I always hit snooze too many times. Perhaps someday I’ll learn to get up the first time the alarm goes off…

This dish is so easy, & so good, that I honestly can’t believe I didn’t think to do it sooner. When I was back home for Christmas, my mom made something similar to this, & it was quite good. I’ve made these, but wasn’t completely thrilled with them. Last week, when I forgot my camera, I was making those, but something happened with the muffin liners, & I was just so frustrated & annoyed, & then, oh wait! Why don’t I just throw them in a dish & cook it like a quiche!

& so this recipe was born. I ate this all last week, & made another on Sunday, so I’ll be lovin’ this until I get tired of it. A lot of people switching to primal have difficulty with breakfast. Personally, I’ve always been more than happy to just eat whatever in the morning (cold chicken is divine!), but if you can’t figure out what to eat, & don’t have time to whip up bacon & eggs every day, this recipe is for you.

What you need:
» 10 eggs
» 1/2 cup mayo*
» meat & veggies of your choice; about a cup or two.
» 2 tablespoons butter
» herbs & spices, as desired.

*Either homemade or Hellman’s. We can go ’round & ’round about the soybean oil, but let’s face it – the Hellman’s stuff is yummy, & mayo is a pain to make & store. I still use Hellman’s, but if you have the time & energy to make it, awesome!! Just don’t judge me too harshly, please? :)

How to do it:
01) Melt your butter. Toss it in your pan (bread pan, casserole, whatever you plan to bake it in), & let it slide all over. Tilt your pan so it hits all the corners & crevices.
02) Beat eggs together with a whisk or using a mixer, then mix in mayo.
03) Add herbs & spices. There’s black pepper, a bit of sea salt, & basil in mine.
04) Add meat & veggies. I used mushrooms, tomatoes, & bacon (already cooked) in this one.

05) Add to pan. You can see that mine was nearly full (oops!), & although it did rise pretty high, by the time it cooled off it was pretty much back to where it started.

06) Bake @ 350° until cooked through. Your time will vary depending on the pan you use – mine took about 45 minutes. Keep in mind that it’ll cook a little bit more after you take it out. When the edges are just starting to brown & the middle looks pretty solid, you’re good to go!

You can make this for a week of breakfasts (heat it up in the microwave for about 45 seconds), or serve it for brunch! It’s easy to change the portions for more people – I figure about a 1/4 cup of mayo for every 4-5 eggs, & 2-3 eggs per person.

Part of Fight Back Friday 01/21/2011


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Things I wish had not been lost

WILD!

I’m going to go where any woman should dream of going.
Headed into the woods with an axe,
I’m never looking back.

I have fun like the guys do,
(you know they like sharp pointy things)
spending a day with nature
just as it should be.

Its time to shape up, be a Wo-MAN!
haha

climbing waterfalls,
leaping between the trees,
not letting anything get in the way
from Nature and I.

The smell of a nice wood fire
and the damp earth beneath my feet.
the sound of trees whispering above
and the water singing in the stream.

Being as cold as the winter’s gale,
or as soothing as the warm spring breeze
Dancing madly like I’m wild in Autumn,
and bringing radiance and light all Summer.

These are the things I wish had not been lost
in the onslaught of all this unwanted power and technology.

Lillian Fuller


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My neti pot adventure!

You’ve probably heard of it, may even know someone who does it. It’s certainly not the most glamorous thing, although I am highly amused at the number of people who have posted pictures of themselves doing it on Flickr. What am I talking about? Why, nasal passage irrigation, of course!

Most people do this using a neti pot. WebMD has a great write-up about why & how it works, so I’ll let them do the in-depth talking. Basically, you’re cleansing & moisturizing your “nasal passages” (what a crude phrase!) & sinuses by running warm water mixed with a bit of salt through one nostril & out the other. Sounds gross, doesn’t it? I won’t lie to you, it is a bit gross. But the results are definitely worth it!

I took the plunge last March. In addition to mild-to-annoying allergies each spring & fall, once winter hits, I practically live on Kleenex & rarely can breathe out of both nostrils at once. I don’t find either experience terribly fun, so when I heard about it, I thought I’d give it a try. After almost ten months, I can honestly tell you that I love it! Last spring was apparently a brutal allergy season, but I didn’t notice a thing. My stash of Claritin lies in my medicine drawer, heading for an expiration date. Same thing during the fall months. So far this winter, I’ve been breathing easy.

There are tons of demonstration videos online, so I won’t go into all the details. But I promise it’s easy, painless, & at times amusing!

Here are some observations & tips from my experience:
» You gotta use the salt they make for these things (usually labeled “neti pot salt” or something similar), you can’t just use table salt. All the stuff we use for cooking has an anti-caking agent added, & you do not want that stuff in your nose!

» It’s true what they say – if you don’t get the angle right, it’ll either come right back out the same nostril or fall into your throat. The angles you see in the videos & images are all wildly different, so go by feel, & not what you see.

» This was probably the most helpful information I found when I started out, & directly contributed to my next point: if you feel like you’ve been swimming in a pool, you need to use more salt.

» I don’t use the full amount of water, & actually use a bit more salt than the recommended amount. When you first start, you’ll probably have to experiment a bit with what is good for you. This is just what I found worked for me!

» Use warm, but not hot or cold water. You’ll find the temperature that’s just right for you, because if you go just a touch too warm or cold, your sinuses will let you know. It’s… not a pleasant sensation. When it’s the correct temperature, you barely feel a thing.

» This one actually cracks me up every time it happens, possibly because it’s a bit ticklish: every once in a while, when I bend over or nod my head just right, a little trickle of water (usually just a tiny drop) will come out my nose. It literally makes me laugh every time, even though I should probably be embarrassed. I don’t actually think anyone has ever noticed, as I just grab a Kleenex & go about my business, but yeah. Consider this your warning. Since I backed off how much water I use, this happens less frequently. But I also work in a library, where I’m frequently bending over to get the lower shelves, so you may never experience this!

Otherwise, I think that’s it! I love my neti pot, even if my husband shakes his head every time he sees me using it. I definitely encourage everyone to try it. Do you use one? Share your experience in the comments!


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Pesto Parmesan Meatballs

I live in an odd place. It’s not urban enough for a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, but it’s certainly not rural enough to raise my own food or have those fun places the country is known for – local butchers, country pantries, bulk food stores. It makes me sad, & hopefully someday I can remedy this. But for now, I’m at the mercy at what my local grocery store carries, & it’s not much. When it comes to meat, I eat the conventionally raised stuff. Once they had a few packages of free-range steak, which I gobbled up hoping to encourage them to stock it frequently, but no dice. I’ve never seen it again.

A while ago they had these tasty little gems: pesto parmesan meatballs. They were made from ground chicken, but promised to be gluten-free, & I’ve got to tell you – they were delicious! But as they were a tad on the pricey side, I decided to make them myself the next time. I’ve had a jar of pesto in my pantry for awhile now, & this was just begging for it to be used.

I’d never made meatballs before, but they ended up being exceedingly easy to make, & just as tasty as the packaged variety.

What you need:
» 1 pound ground meat (beef, pork, turkey, chicken, or any combination!)
» 3 tablespoons pesto (make your own!)
» 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (the higher the quality, the better!)
» 2 tablespoons olive oil
» Additional herbs & spices, as desired.

How to do it:
01 Combine all ingredients in a bowl using your hands. It really is the best way! If it seems like it needs more parm or pesto, feel free to add more. This isn’t something you can really mess up with too much flavor!
02 Roll into meatballs.
03 Bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes or until thoroughly cooked through.
04 Serve with your favorite marinara sauce (I have a recipe coming) & your favorite pasta substitute!

Oh, & my grocery store? Hasn’t stocked the original ones since. Ah well – at least I know how to make them!

A part of Fight Back Friday 01/07/2011


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The Song of the Universe

“Om is not just a sound or vibration. It is not just a symbol. It is the entire cosmos, whatever we can see, touch, hear and feel. Moreover, it is all that is within our perception and all that is beyond our perception. It is the core of our very existence. If you think of Om only as a sound, a technique or a symbol of the Divine, you will miss it altogether. Om is the mysterious cosmic energy that is the substratum of all the things and all the beings of the entire universe. It is an eternal song of the Divine. It is continuously resounding in silence on the background of everything that exists.”

Amit Ray, author of Om Chanting and Meditation.

Something about this passage just resonates within me, & I can’t stop thinking about it. 2010 has been a year of huge changes, mostly for the better. I married, moved, drastically changed my diet, improved my health, went through a major job transition, re-learned how to cook, began poking my spirituality, simplified (& naturalized) my life… looking back, it’s hard to believe so much happened just in this one year!

In 2011, I plan to continue down these paths, seeking ways to be even more vibrant in every single aspect of my life. One of the biggest bits of my life that needs work is my spirituality; I’ve peeked a lot of different things in the past year or so, but I feel like now is the time to really figure out what I think & feel. Finding this passage today is definitely no coincidence. I’ve learned so much about physical & mental health in 2010; 2011 is going to be all about the spiritual side. It’s definitely going to be an adventure!


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Simply having a wonderful Christmastime…

I’m spending Christmas with my entire family this year – all six of us (my mom & dad, sister & her husband, & my husband) nestled in the house where I grew up. Because they live in the country, it’s quiet, cozy, & without the distractions of things like cell phones & internet connections. The decorations are generally kept inside; my mom has a snowman collection she puts out & the only lights are on the tree & around the big window in the living room. I’ve always found the quiet lights very peaceful, & look forward to it each year. A few cookies & a big cup of hot chocolate makes this time of year magical for me.

As for our family traditions, we get our stockings & Santa gifts (yes, I’m almost 30, but Santa still visits every year) right when we wake up, then settle down for the long session of opening up presents after a yummy breakfast of muffins & sausage. We take turns opening one gift apiece, then continue in a circle until everything is unwrapped. The rest of the day is spent enjoying the presents, be they movies, games, or toys (these days, usually of the electronic variety), eating yummy leftovers from our Christmas Eve dinner, & napping. We’re big on naps in my family.

I’ll be with my family from Christmas Eve through Monday or Tuesday, & during that time, we’ll do many things together: play board games, watch football & Iron Chef, take long wintry walks, & cook. The girls might go shopping, but all-in-all, we spend the holiday together.

I hope you have a lovely Christmas, no matter what you do. What did you ask for in your letter to Santa?