tag: food

csa season is here!

May 23, 2014

Posted by in simple living

csa season is here!

guys, i’m so excited. csa season is here and ours began this week! buying in to our local farm has always been one of our most favorite things to do. it ends up saves money in the long run, but if you’re familiar with CSA’s you know it can call for a pretty big chunk of change up front. which for us, means we have to plan ahead and squirrel away our dimes.  it’s part of how we live intentionally and put our priorities first.

for those of you who are unfamiliar with how a CSA (community supported agriculture) works, they are all pretty much the same. a farm allows you to buy a share of their produce early in the year and then you get a big box of local organic veggies each week. depending on your community, it’ll either be delivered to your doorstep, or you’ll have a designated place and time to pick it up each week. it’s a great way to support your local farmers, eat well and save money! our farm will be delivering a box each week from now until thanksgiving, which averages out to about $30 a week. it will supply us with all of our vegetables for the week which means all i have to grab at the store are staple items like rice, almond milk and beans.

one of my favorite things about getting our CSA share is that it easily allows us to eat what’s in season. it’s also (of course) local and organic. it introduces us to new vegetables and shapes the meals i cook each week. for a foodie like me, nothing is more exciting than opening up our box each week!

check out local harvest to find a csa near you!

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blueberry basil jam from master food preserver stephanie lee

hey friends! food preservation is something very near and dear to my heart. to me, it’s where homesteading really takes it’s roots. canning and preserving the food that we’ve grown is sustainable, delicious and so incredibly rewarding! so today, i’m thrilled to introduce you to the amazing stephanie lee: a master food preserver, amazing artist, inspirational retreat leader, homesteader and all around creative! i’ve personally been privileged enough to receive several of stephanie’s homemade jams and jellies and let me tell you, they are to die for!

from stephanie: jam on toast is hard to beat but this blueberry basil jam has a secret alter ego: mixed with a bit of balsamic vinegar, it makes a wicked good salad dressing or marinade. like wow.

blueberry basil jam


- 3 cups blueberries (frozen and thawed or fresh)
– 3/4 cup honey (adjust as needed according to the tartness of your berries)
– 2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh or bottled. i like fresh.)
– 1 teaspoon lemon zest
– ¼ cup minced basil leaves


1. place the blueberries in a medium sized sauce pan. warm them up for a minute or two and then crush them with the back of a fork or a potato masher.

2. add the honey, lemon juice, basil, and lemon zest, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat. stir frequently while the mixture boils for 15-20 minutes and it starts to thicken.

3. ladle the jam into a sterilized jar. (see preserving high acid foods for instructions).

4. store tightly covered in the fridge for a couple of weeks or you can use canning methods to store in a pantry for longer storage.

 blueberry basil jam from master food preserver stephanie lee (2)

last week, the roost tribe also had the privilege of meeting stephanie through this roost tribe exclusive e-book: food preserving. though i’ve shared one of the recipes with you here today, this e-book is bursting with more delicious tips on food preservation and is incredibly inspirational to read. as she focuses on small batch canning, you’ll leave feeling empowered and confident to preserve your own food!

join the roost tribe before august 1st to grab your own copy, and fall in love with the world of food preservation!

blueberry basil jam from master food preserver stephanie lee (1) about stephanie lee:

Howdy. I’m Stephanie Lee. I am a professional artist, workshop instructor, and creativity encourager. I know that creativity shows up with more color variations than a Rubik’s Cube and my job (and joy) is to help you find yours.

I thrive on digging for truth, dancing in the answers, and making art that embodies all of that. I bring all that I am – homesteader, food preserver, speaker, wife & mom, loyal friend, and master mess-maker to the classrooms where I teach, both brick + mortar and virtual. I take the lead long and strong enough to give you what you need to take off and run on your own bringing all that you are to your own beautifully creative life.

find stephanie elsewhere: blog | etsy | retreat | online workshop

books: semiprecious salvage – an adventure in making found object jewelry & plaster studio

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*hey friends! this post is part of the VEG articles- inspirational stories from around the globe. today, the most lovely natalie lynn borton of thoughts by natalie is sharing her story with us. i find it so inspiring to meet other people eating a plant based diet, and feel incredibly lucky to have this amazing online space to meet, greet and discuss with others about the issues we care about. this series is meant to inspire you and enlighten us on how people from all over the world make eating this way possible. please read on, grab a few recipes and join the conversation! xo, bonnie

the VEG articles on Going Home to Roost (4)

My husband and I started eating vegan in September 2011. We had just returned from a week-long trip up to Northern California—complete with a shrimp boil and a couple of trips to In-N-Out Burger—and wanted nothing more than to snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie. After scrolling through Netflix options, we discovered Forks Over Knives and pressed play. Our lives haven’t been the same since!! That very night, as the credits rolled, we decided to start eating vegan.

Though I’m a HUGE animal lover and really against factory farming (it’s not only bad for animals, but really bad for people, too!), the key driver in our decision was health and disease prevention. We’ve lost so many loved ones to cancer, and have many relatives and friends suffering from other health issues that could be prevented or kept at bay through a plant-based diet. We know we can’t keep ourselves 100% healthy and perfect forever, but we do know that what we eat hugely impacts our risk for disease. For us, the “sacrifice” of eating plant-based is well worth every ounce of extra effort it takes compared to those without dietary restrictions.

the VEG articles on Going Home to Roost (1)

Though it can be tough to eat out sometimes, the hardest thing about eating vegan has probably been the judgement of others. A lot of people don’t respect the choice, feel threatened by it, think it’s some weird diet, or think we’re high maintenance. One day, I hope eating vegan will seem as normal as going for a daily jog.

Overall, we are so glad that we learned about the health benefits of a plant-based diet in our twenties! We have more energy, sleep better, have an easier time exercising (even when we’ve taken several weeks or months off), and maintain our weight without thinking about it or dieting. Personally, I’ve experienced huge benefits for my skin and also in regards to my view of food. The anti-inflammatory properties of plant-based foods have been immensely helpful in keeping my eczema at bay. Additionally, as someone with a history of eating disorders, I’ve found so much freedom through eating this way—I used to judge food as “good” or “bad,” and now I simply eat what I want, when I want because plant-based foods are truly nourishing and I can trust my body to tell me when I’m hungry or full.

An average day of eating for me might look like this: green tea to start the day (coffee and almond milk for my hubby!), oatmeal or a green smoothie for breakfast, apples and nut butter for a morning snack if I’m hungry, bean soup and salad or a vegan pesto & veggie sandwich for lunch, veggies and hummus for an afternoon snack, and a hearty meal for dinner like vegan lasagna with a side salad.

the VEG articles on Going Home to Roost (3)

Though it’s tough to pick just one, my favorite vegan recipe just might be the Engine 2 Raise The Roof Sweet Potato Lasagna. It has about a million ingredients in it, but it makes TONS of food so you can eat nutrient-packed and tasty leftovers all week long. This is definitely my crowd-pleasing recipe. Among my other favorites include Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie, Almond Butter Granola and Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies. Vegan food is delicious!!

the VEG articles on Going Home to Roost (2)

Much like Stephanie suggested in her VEG Article, my biggest tip for making the switch is research! When my husband and I were transitioning, we found the documentary Forks Over Knives and the book Veganist by Kathy Freston to be the most helpful and informative. I also started following several blogs that shared vegan recipes so that meal preparation was much easier. My favorites include Oh She Glows, Wolf and Willow, Scaling Back, A House In The Hills, and of course Going Home To Roost!! Pinterest is also a great source for vegan meal ideas—I keep track of what I find (and make!) through my good eats and my weekly bite series on my blog!

Overall, eating vegan has been one of the best choices my husband and I have ever made and we don’t plan on ever going back :)

a huge thanks to natalie for sharing her story and recipes with us! if you’re interested in sharing your story about eating a plant based diet with GHTR, i’d love to hear from you. just email me!

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simple living inspiration

February 20, 2013

Posted by in simple living

simple living inspiration

simple living inspiration

simple living inspiration

simple living inspiration

simple living inspiration   simple living inspiration

image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

sometimes i can find myself all wrapped up in the ‘go go go’ of this world, forgetting about my mission to lead a simpler way of life. just taking some time to soak in some images of simple moments can help me recenter myself, my goals and my priorities. i hope a few of these pictures will help you do the same!

do you find yourself getting caught up in the fast pace of this world? if so, how do you return to living a simpler life?

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*hey friends! today i’m so excited to kick off a new series on going home to roost: the VEG articles- inspirational stories from around the globe. i find it so inspiring to meet other people eating a plant based diet, and feel incredibly lucky to have this amazing online space to meet, greet and discuss with others about the issues we care about. this series is meant to inspire you and enlighten us on how people from all over the world make eating this way possible. please read on, grab a few recipes and join the conversation! xo, bonnie

the veg articles: inspirational stories from around the globe

Being vegan in a country in which the main industry is farming, New Zealand has quite a few challenges for someone like me who is vegan. I have been vegan for almost two years and made the transition from consuming animals to veganism after investigating the link between the uses of animals and the treatment of these animals in Western society. This was when I really started to learn and understand how my own actions influence the lives of not only my own, but others too.

The benefits from becoming vegan have been absolutely amazing. Firstly, I feel better ethically. In terms of my health, I have experienced more energy, stronger hair, longer and healthier nails and fewer breakouts on my skin. The main thing that has surprised me about this is the amount of energy. I used to suffer from extreme exhaustion, often causing days where I would miss University. Now, I’m more alert, exercise a lot more and I generally feel more energetic and vibrant!

The hardest thing for me about veganism was dealing with the comments about how my diet misses out important vitamins and minerals found only in the body of an animal. If the comment arises (which it does almost once a week), I always refer to the food pyramid and how plant-based eating is the most important food group and I discuss how the process of keeping a food journal has helped me keep track of my vitamin and mineral intake.

The easiest thing for me about becoming vegan was finding recipes to experience. Vegan recipes are everywhere nowadays; just look at your local bookstore or online for recipes that are vegan and start experimenting! You’ll find that the foods you already eat are able to be adjusted to become more yummy and healthy, just without animal products.

An average day for me eating is full of yummy foods! Breakfast is my own muesli which is made with oats, dried berries and nuts with some almond milk. Lunch is often a simple green salad with a bean salad. My afternoon tea is always either pumpkin seeds or homemade chocolate chip cookies. Dinner is quite varied; tofu, edamame and vegetable stir-fry, vegetable curries or a tofu and vegetable soup is often what makes my dinner special. I drink water, chai tea or green tea.

the veg articles: inspirational stories from around the globe

Vegan food; it is more about salads and leafy greens. Living in New Zealand, foods that are made specifically for vegans are 99% non-existent. Major supermarkets and even specialty produce stores do not have products for vegans. (Vegetarian food, yes.) Therefore, I make 99% percent of the food I consume and the 1% is for special stuff. If you don’t have access to readily available vegan foods, think about foods you already consume and make them vegan. Something as simple as a fresh salad is beautiful anytime. If you don’t like salads, try finding pasta that doesn’t contain egg or milk, add some kale or spinach, add tomato and zucchini with some pasta sauce and you’ve got a lovely dish. Tofu is not everyone’s taste but it is definitely something to try at least once. Almond, hemp, soy or any other milk is a yummy alternative to dairy; I drink almond milk and I never feel ill like I did with cow’s milk. The important thing is to not rush the process – it is important to take notes and find out what works best for you and your taste.

My favourite recipe is; Tomato and Eggplant (or anything) Linguine.

1 large eggplant (if in season) thinly sliced.
1 lemon.
375g dried vegan pasta.
2Tbsp olive oil.
250g cherry tomatoes.
Any other vegetables you want; zucchini, capsicum, spinach, kale.
1 bunch of parsley.

Cook vegetables except tomato on medium heat. Grate lemon over vegetables and add juice. Cook pasta following packet instructions until tender. Drain water completely. Cook tomatoes on medium heat until they start to soften. Add other vegetables and cook for a further five minutes. Add parsley and serve!

My advice for anyone who is thinking about becoming vegan is RESEARCH. Books and the internet were my greatest resource for finding out information about becoming animal-consumer free. “Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet” by Jack Norris and Virginia Messina is a book that helped me understand the different types of food that I could eat. Organizations such as Leaping Bunny and PETA both have lists on their website of products that do not test on animals and do not contain animal derived products. This list has changed my life; veganism is not only about not consuming animal products through food choices but also being aware of daily products that can be made using ingredients of an animal. The idea that being vegan only means not consuming animal products through food is the most common misconception people have assumed throughout my veganism.

Being vegan in New Zealand is not as easy as some other countries such as the US. We do not have faux meat or specialty stores stocking vegan items. Often, I purchase vegan food and household items online from animal rights organizations in New Zealand and cosmetics from my local drugstore. I travel to Australia about 6 times a year and finding vegan products is completely the opposite of New Zealand. There are many vegan restaurants and specialty health/vegan stores in the cities. When travelling to new places, I will ask around or research specialty stores that may have products for vegans. If both fail, I always have my go-to food; salads, tofu, vegetable bakes and other yummy food.

The inspiration that keeps me from returning to a life of animal consumption is the knowledge that the treatment of animals in society is cruel and unfair. I’ve learnt a lot since becoming vegan and I know that I could never go back to my previous lifestyle. There are challenging times but I always think about how people before my time such as Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin and Franz Kafka all advocated a plant-based diet. Knowing that people from centuries ago believed in the same thing I do today, has helped me continue this inspirational journey.

a huge thanks to stephanie for sharing her story and recipes with us! if you’re interested in sharing your story about eating a plant based diet with GHTR, i’d love to hear from you. just email me!

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Posted by in simple living

10 grocery shopping tips for a whole foods approach by now, you probably know that i eat a whole foods, plant based diet (especially if you follow the dinner ideas posts or recipe page!). one of the ways that i make eating this way possible, is by following a few rules at the grocery store and farmers market. some may seem obvious, others a little wacky, but below are the top 10 tips i follow when shopping for grub.

10 reasons to blog ahead (1) buy whole ingredients. look for items that contain only one ingredient in them (squash, polenta, quinoa, soybeans). if you must buy items that have more than one ingredient, look for a short ingredient list (6 or less ingredients) that contain nothing but whole foods. basically, if you can’t pronounce or grow it yourself – then don’t eat it.


10 reasons to blog ahead (2) stay on the outskirts of the store. buy shopping the outer edges of the store, you’ll be much more inclined to pick up fresh ingredients, and steer clear of the packaged and processed foods.


10 reasons to blog ahead (3) buy a foreign ingredient. i seriously do this nearly every time i go to the store! pick up a new fruit or veggie that you’ve never cooked with before, and i promise you’ll find some new favorites.


10 reasons to blog ahead (4) go to the farmers market. do the bulk of your shopping at your local farmers market and use the grocery store to supplement it.


10 reasons to blog ahead (5) check the country of origin. most fresh produce and packaged goods will let you know where it came from. the closer the better!


10 reasons to blog ahead (6) look for color. the more colorful your cart the healthier you’ll be (and colored cardboard doesn’t count!).


10 reasons to blog ahead (7) shop organic. you, your family and our planet will be much healthier for it.


10 reasons to blog ahead (8) shop what’s in season. know what’s in season in your area and eat locally. watermelons should only be eaten in the summer, and butternut squash only in the winter.


10 reasons to blog ahead (9) minimal packaging. look for items that either have no packaging (fresh produce and bulk items) or come with minimal packaging.


10 reasons to blog ahead (10) 10) look for alternatives. start noticing the alternatives that your local store or health food store carry. do they have almond milk? coconut creamer? earth balance butter? coconut oil? research the healthier alternatives and start using them.


do you have any favorite shopping market tips? i would love to hear them, i’ll meet you in the comments section!

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Posted by in lifestyle

avanti cafe david and i were able to sneak away this past weekend for a quiet beach-side getaway, and were so excited to discover a new favorite restaurant. that doesn’t happen often, as my last favorite restaurant ranked first for over 2 years, but avanti cafe located in newport beach, california has easily surpassed even my highest expectations!

avanti cafe with a completely vegetarian menu, avanti cafe is tucked away in an unassuming shopping nook. upon the first moment you walk in, you’re greeted, sat down and immediately served some scrumptious veggies and onion jam. candles are lit in hanging metal nests in the window and the just-loud-enough-music sets a jazz type vibe.

avanti cafe everything they serve comes out on unique handmade pottery dishes and pieces, and amongst my favorite was this salt and pepper tray. the first time we ate here (yes, that means we went twice!) was for dinner. we got the peanut & pumpkin hush puppies, hot tacos, arugula & spinach pesto pizza and the shiitake artichoke pesto pizza.

avanti cafe during our whole meal, we just kept shaking our heads. we were completely blown away with the flavors, and could have ordered the whole meal again as soon as we had taken our last bite. it was quite possibly the best vegan fare we’ve ever had.

avanti cafe when we learned they were serving a special easter brunch, we were sure to plan our day around it!

avanti cafe easter brunch consisted of cranberry walnut french toast and golden tofu bruschetta, all served with seasonal fresh fruit, oven roasted herbed home fried red potatoes & garnet yams, coffee or tea and this delightful dessert of a vegan cookie and chocolate cupcake. seriously y’all, this is good eats.

avanti cafe

avanti cafe so needless to say, we were happy campers and fell in love with this sustainable, seasonal, vegetarian and completely delicious new find. we’ll be sure to go every time we’re in the area!

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Diy Dried Apples

January 30, 2012

Posted by in simple living

diy dried apples

Homemade dried apples are such an easy and inexpensive way to sneak more fruit into your diet. Of course, nothing beats a fresh, juicy apple, but I like dried apples for their portability and versatility. A little bag of apples can be slipped into a small purse for an anytime-snack, and they make a great topping for salads. They’re also a fantastic way to preserve a large bounty of apples through the winter. The idea came from the book How to Sew a Button by Erin Bried, and I modified the directions to fit my needs.


– apples
– lemons
– water


Slice as many apples as you would like into pieces 1/4″ thick or less. They can be as wide or long as you like. You may also peel them, or leave the peel on. I chose to leave the peel on and they came out great.

Soak the apples in a mixture of equal-parts lemon juice and water. The lemon juice not only preserves the color of the apple, but it creates depth to the apple flavor without having to add sugar.

After soaking, place the apples on a cake rack on top of a cookie sheet. If you don’t have a cake rack (I don’t!), then just place the slices directly on the cookie sheet. I did not need to grease the pan – the apples came off fine on their own.

The oven should be preheated to 140 degrees F, and the apples should remain in the oven for five hours. If your apples aren’t on a rack, flip them half-way through. I found that my apples really needed about 6 hours.

The apples should be flexible and bendy. You can eat some immediately, or all of them if you just used a couple of apples. If you’re looking for long term storage, then after they have cooled, place them in a sealed jar for a few days.

Shake the jars every so often. Pasteurize them by freezing them in bags for two days, and keep them for up to 6-12 months in a cool, dry place.

ashley paul indie pretty project Out to find ways to make life simpler, Ashley is tackling life one DIY project at a time. Learning as she goes, she also spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her Etsy shop.

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