I love a good decluttering challenge. I have done a few of them, and I always feel better when my house is clean and tidy. It brings me great joy to open the door of the tool shed, and to have it in order. When I am stressed or agitated, cleaning out a drawer or decluttering the office brings me peace. I might not feel better when I am actually doing the project, but I am always grateful when I am done.
When Sophie the golden retriever came to live with us, I decided it would be best to pick up the area rugs. I feel so much better with them gone. She is not chewing on them, I don’t have to worry about her urinating on them, and I don’t need to vacuum them. I can just sweep the floor at the end of the day. There is something very therapeutic about a good broom in your broom closet.
Having the house in order makes me feel better, and messy surroundings make me feel agitated. However, there is a part of me that knows spending my days cleaning is not enough. I have been feeling flat. I need to be creative, but I have been avoiding writing my blog posts or promoting OutdoorFit.
So, here I am sitting at my desk writing. I need to find the right balance between taking care of my family, the house, Sophie the dog and my creative endeavors. Progress!
How are you doing? I hope you are finding happiness in your day. What projects are you working on? Have you started gardening yet? Are you spring cleaning? Are you writing a best selling novel? I would love to hear from you.
I have been working on making homemade mayonnaise without much success. Honestly, I almost gave up. I am so glad that I didn’t. Last week, I mentioned my mayo problem at OutdoorFit. Andrea said she found a great easy recipe on The Movement Menu, that comes out every time.
I was out of mayonnaise this morning. I wanted to make a cucumber basil avocado salad for lunch. I tried The Movement Menu’s recipe. It is a winner!
1cup organic avocado oil
1/2teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/2teaspoon sea salt
1/2lemonjuiced, or I used 1 tsp apple cider vinegar.
In a glass jar or a 1 cup glass Pyrex cup, (the container matters. It should be narrow so the blender fits snugly) pour in the avocado oil. Add the egg to the oil and let the ingredients settle for 1 minute. I then added the rest of the ingredients to the cup.
Take an immersion blender and let it touch the bottom of the container, piercing the egg yolk completely.
Turn the immersion blender on and leave it on the bottom for about 20-30 seconds, until the whole bottom has turned white in color.
VERY SLOWLY lift it up to continue emulsifying. This process should take anywhere between 30 seconds to 1 minute. Continue blending until the mixture has thickened to your desired amount.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Cucumber Basil Avocado salad with homemade mayonnaise.
I have been cooking from Alice Waters’, My Pantry. Normally, I am thrilled if I can find 3 recipes in a cookbook that I enjoy. I’ve already found 3 in Alice Waters’ book, and there are so many more I want to try. They are great and easy to make. Last week, it was Oat Pancakes. This week it is all about flatbread! I don’t eat much bread. On the weekends, I might enjoy it as a treat. I love making my own because there are no plastic bags involved and of course it is delicious!
Sunday, we had pulled organic chicken and flatbread for dinner.
Here is Alice’s recipe.
Alice encourages you to try different flours. I used organic white. It is really important to buy organic flour. (You don’t want your flour sprayed with glyphosate.) Spend a few more dollars, support the organic farmers and yourself!
2 cups flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup warm water
3 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together. Stir in the water and the oil. Knead briefly to form a soft moist dough. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Do you have a rolling pin? It is time to get it out! Divide the dough into 16 balls. On a lightly floured surface roll each ball into a 3 x 6 inch oval. My flatbread didn’t roll into perfect 3 x 6″ ovals. It is okay.
Alice uses a cast iron pan and medium heat to make her flat bread. I used my griddle and it worked fine. Cook 2 minutes, flip and cook 2 more minutes. Wrap flatbread in a kitchen towel to let the bread moisten with the steam.
I put my leftovers into a glass pyrex dish. They were all gone the next day.
“Homemade Ingredients That Make Simple Meals Your Own.”
I have been feeling antsy lately. Is what I am doing important? Is this how I want to spend my time, or should I be doing something else? Sometimes I feel like I want more for myself. When I stop and really think about it, I realize I do want more. I want to create more space in my life. I want more quiet time. I have decided that following my joy is the answer. I love to stay home. I enjoy doing my own work. Painting the kitchen different shades of white makes me happy. It feels like a work of art to me. This week, I washed and ironed our linen bedroom curtains, composted, and made roasted pepper and tomato soup. I also taught 3 OutdoorFit classes. I have a great group of ladies, all over 50, who show up in crazy weather to workout. A cold and windy OutdoorFit workout brings me joy and happiness. I love the touch of craziness.
Earlier this week, I went to my friend Diane’s house to pick up 2 bags of composted leaves. Does that sound like an odd way to spend your time? Diane sold her beautiful home. She is moving to an 11 acre lot to build a passive home and grow organic vegetables. She didn’t think the new owners would appreciate her large composted leaf pile. She sent me a text, inviting me to stop by and help myself. I was so excited.
I went back the next day, and picked up 2 galvanized tubs full of compost. Why does this make me happy?
I love the connection with my friend.
I love the touch of craziness about it.
I love that the composted leaves will attract earthworms to my gardens. They are an indicator and creator of healthy soil.
I love the efficiency of using leaves to make compost for your gardens.
Gardening season is coming soon, but I really would love a good snow storm first.
Embrace your joy, step aside and watch what happens! It is contagious. What do you love to do? How do you like to spend your day? Would you like to connect with amazing women who love a touch of craziness? Come try an OutdoorFit workout! There is a fun class Saturday morning at 7:30.
My pitchfork is over 70 years old. It belonged to Dan’s Grandfather. A treasure!
I have never been much of a planner. When Dan and I were thinking about getting married, my Mom asked me for a month’s notice. So that is what we did and my Mom pulled it off. She is an amazing person. She made my dress and planned a lasagna dinner at the house for our reception. It all worked out fine.
I avoid planning trips. It makes me nervous to schedule a trip 6 months from now. If it wasn’t for Dan I wouldn’t have gone skiing in Switzerland or Colorado. I would have chosen to stay home and bought a new dishwasher. I want to see Mount Rushmore, but it is not going to happen if I don’t make a plan.
I am working on changing. I now feel the need to be more focused. I joined Origin last summer. Origin is Kate Northrup’s membership group, which stresses doing less by getting very focused on what you want to accomplish. She also teaches us the importance of listening to your body and paying attention to your cycle or the cycle of the moon. I no longer have a cycle, so it has been very interesting to plan my month around the cycle of the moon. I write down my intentions on the New Moon and create a weekly, daily, and monthly plan to achieve it. I bought Kate’s do-less planner to organize things. Every morning, I write down the cycle of the moon, what is going on astrologically, and what I need to focus on that day. It has been a very helpful practice.
For example, if I write down paint kitchen ceiling, I paint the kitchen ceiling that day. I have also learned you can accomplish things in a short period of time. I do a little bit every day and then by the end of the week my kitchen is painted! I learned that from my Mom too. There were 8 kids in my family and my Mom had a very busy day. She decided to wallpaper the dining room and she would hang one piece a day. I thought she was a bit crazy at the time. Now, I understand.
I wrote down create blog post, do 8 rounds of 8 point planks and paint the kitchen trim today in my planner. I am off to paint the trim Chantilly Lace!
I hope this was helpful to you. Are you a planner? Do you plan your meals for the week? How about when you are going to go grocery shopping? I would love to hear you how you plan your day.
I have found my people. It has taken me a long time. I finally feel like I have connected with an amazing group of creative, spiritual, healthy and fit women. Or maybe I am becoming an amazing creative spiritual women (I know that I am healthy and fit) and I am attracting the right people to myself. What a concept!
This past weekend, I went to a wreath making workshop at The Dutch Hill Homestead. I went with 4 other women. My friend Diane drove us in her Tesla. We were talking about the environmental impact of dying and that there is a green cemetery in South Jersey. You are buried in a burlap bag and they plant a tree for you. It was an interesting conversation and I thought it was important to mention the Tesla. I like hanging out with people who are concerned about the environment. We also talked about how we were hungry and hoped the Ally Dwyer, the owner The Dutch Hill Homestead, along with her partner Rob Stenger, would have something to eat at The Homestead.
Of course Ally had food. She always has food, and puts on interesting events. She had quite the spread. I especially loved her Roasted Pepper & Tomato Soup. Ally’s recipe used her own organic canned tomatoes and homemade chicken stock. It is really special when someone grows their own food and then cooks for you. She was nice enough to share the recipe with me.
DHH Roasted Pepper & Tomato Soup
● 6 tablespoons olive oil
● 2 medium yellow onions, chopped into a medium dice
● 3 cloves garlic, chopped
● 24 ounces canned crushed or pureed tomatoes (if you have any
canned from the summer of course use those garden goodies!)
● 1 roasted bell pepper or 6 oz. of canned roasted red peppers
● 3 cups homemade or store-bought chicken or veggie stock
● 2 teaspoons sea salt
● 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
● Pinch of chili flakes
● Chopped herbs for garnishing if you’d like (basil is a crowd pleaser!)
Method of Preparation
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and
garlic; cook, stirring, until onions have softened, about 15 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes, peppers, stock, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and cook until tomatoes, onions, and garlic are
soft, 10 to 20 minutes.
3. Puree in your blender// Vitamix or use a stick blender to puree the
soup. I serve mine a little chunky. Feel free to refrigerate, freeze or
4. Garnish with basil, Parmesan flakes or a grilled cheese sandwich!
It wasn’t all about the food. Amber of Amber and Earth did a great job of teaching us how to make wreaths. It was a wonderful December afternoon. I came home with a beautiful wreath to hang on my door. I also bought myself a heavy duty canvas Dutch Hill Homestead Apron with great pockets and leather trim. I know I will be doing fun things in my new apron.
“I love any activity that requires an apron.” Kate Horner
Many of the creative women that I hang out with are part of my OutdoorFit community. If you would like to become Fit and Fabulous with us in January. Please click here to learn more. We can eat Roasted Pepper and Tomato Soup together!
Step one to Feeling Better in last week’s blog was to get clear on what you really want.
1.Get Clear About What You Really Want And Journal. It is very powerful to start writing your thoughts down. I have been listening to Marie Forleo’s Everything is Figure Outable. She has an exercise in her book where she has you answer the question; What do you really want? Every day for 7 days, finish this sentence in writing. I really want… After the 7 days, go back and circle the ideas that repeated for you. I have gotten a clearer picture on what I want. Being focused is an energy saver
I thought it would be powerful to share what I really want.
This is what came up for me. I really want. I want to be calmer, feel more fulfilled, and happier. My plan is do the following to help me reach my goals.
A clean simple natural home. I love to come home to a clean orderly house. The beds are made. The kitchen sink is clean. The bathrooms are orderly with towels neatly hanging. I use natural cleaning products.
OutdoorFit to continue to be more than a typical boot camp. Being Fit and Healthy is an act of personal power. It creates independence and self reliance. I want my OutdoorFit ladies to continue to be strong, healthy, fit, and empowered regardless of their age.
A better relationship with my husband. Dan and I have been married for 42 years and have a good relationship. It is always a work in progress.
More Creativity. I want to keep writing a weekly blog post. It feels like an important exercise for me. I have been enjoying adding my colored sharpie art work. I love being around creative people. I need to be creative too!
More time spent in nature. We had a family house on a lake in Vermont which we sold. I really miss being in the country. For now, I intend to hike in the woods and take walks on the beach.
Better self care. I take pretty good care of myself. I get massages and chiropractic adjustments. I would like more of it and to commit to daily meditation.
More coffee dates with friends. I love Jerry Seinfield’s Comedians in Cars getting Coffee. It feels like the perfect thing to do. Pick up your friend in an old car, have coffee, laugh and take a walk. This morning, I picked up my friend Ivone in my Honda CR-V drove to the beach, and walked the boardwalk. Afterwards we had a delicious breakfast. You always laugh with Ivone. I am working on the idea of having an old car.
I am sure this list will change. For now, it feels right. My hope is that I will feel calmer, more fulfilled and happier. I will be able to perform at a higher level and to create a better life for myself and the people around me.
What do you really want? I encourage you to spend time to figure it out. I would love to hear what your list is.
Last night my Dad sent a photo of my Mom running the NYC marathon at 56. I love this picture of her. The Grand-kids call her Nana. I guess the printer decided to shorten it to NAN. She started running in her early 50’s. Many years ago, my husband Dan and I were running races. My Mom and Dad thought they would start running as well. It was a lot of fun.
Mom is now 88. She no longer runs, but continues to work out at the Y. She is an amazing person. She is a mother of 8 children, 23 grandchildren and 10 great grand-kids! She loves us all and remembers all of our birthdays!
My Mom is Fit and Fabulous…Aging Optional!
Have you thought of trying something new and you think that you are too old? You will never know unless you try. I hope this short post about my Mom inspires you. Give it a try.
I have been focusing on ways to reduce my plastic consumption and food waste. I have been so inspired by the Dutch Hill Homestead. They are all about zero waste. They make as many products from scratch as possible, and feed any leftovers to the chickens and goats. I don’t have chickens or goats, so I put my food scraps into the compost bin.
I am all about keeping things easy. I don’t like to fuss or spend hours in the kitchen. I looked at what I buy on a regular basis and investigated how to make them from scratch. Once you have the process down it is easy. My son Tom loves mayonnaise. He will eat it straight from the jar. This morning I made homemade mayo. It was so easy and I used a cute little ball jar.
1/2 cup Organic Avocado oil
1 egg from farmer’s market.
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard.
1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice.
Put all of the ingredients right in the ball jar. Get out the blender stick and blend for about 20 seconds. To tell you the truth, I didn’t measure and it came out just fine. I only make a small amount that I can use within a few days.
I also started making cashew milk, cashew yogurt, and almond milk. I hesitated with the almond milk because you need to strain it. I bought a nut bag and it is super easy. It strains the milk to remove the pulp. I can use the leftover pulp to make fat balls. I am feeling very efficient!
The last thing I have been doing is making bone broth. I buy an organic chicken I put the chicken in a covered pot full of water, bring the water to a boil and then simmer for about 90 minutes. I make pulled chicken from the meat, dividing it up into 4 oz portions in cute ball jars. It makes an easy grab and go lunch. I then put the stock, the bones and vegetables into the crock pot on low for 24 hours to make delicious bone broth.
Everything tastes so much better when made from scratch with the best possible ingredients. Reducing plastic consumption and food waste is good for your health, our planet and your pocketbook.
I hope this inspires you to get out the blender stick and whip up some homemade mayo! Let me know. I would love to hear from you.
My book club is reading Mirabai Starr’s WILD MERCY. Each chapter ends with a prompt. Our latest prompt is: “My deepest desire is …” .
My first reaction is, I don’t know. I think how sad is that? So, I gave it a few days and this is what came up for me.
Finding Joy in the Everyday.
Laura from Garden Answer talks about “Romancing the Ordinary”. Romancing the Ordinary is using something beautiful instead of just focusing on function. She uses a beautiful tomato cage to hold her tomatoes in place instead of a bamboo stick.
I love my morning coffee ritual. I use a 12 oz glass Bodum French Press. I make my coffee bulletproof, of course, and I pour it into an insulated glass mug. I buy my coffee from a local roaster, Fair Mountain Coffee, in Atlantic Highlands, NJ. It is organic, fair trade and delicious!
It is so nice to eat a salad for lunch with my husband. Especially when the lettuce is in season and handpicked from my backyard garden.
I love looking out my kitchen window while doing the dishes. Right now, the zinnias are in full bloom.
It is not always easy to find the joy. I work on finding joy in driving Tom, my special needs son, to camp. He tells me the same stories over and over while listening to his favorite radio station, 1410 am. It is all about bringing the sacred into the ordinary. He is a blessing.
On a lighter note, I would also like a Big Chill refrigerator, a brick walkway, a trip to Mount Rushmore in a hybrid Volvo station wagon and a golden retriever puppy named Sophie. Oh, and learn to tap dance like Gene Kelly!
What are your deepest desires? Think about it and let me know. I would love to hear from you.