{praying mantis hatching}

20 Jun

i thought this would be a good post to celebrate the summer solstice! 😀

i have always been somewhat obsessed with the praying mantis. for as long as i can remember, i just thought they were so cool, and when i was a kid i used to look for them everywhere i would go! i saw one giving itself a bath one time and it was just about the most amazing thing ever. until i saw THIS! something i have had on my “bucket list” for a while…

backtrack a bit – when i lived in north carolina, a friend of mine found a praying mantis pod {aka ootheca} and saved it for me. i, of course, totally freaked out about it and immediately went to read about how to care for it… then i took a bunch of photos of it and eventually put in my garden…

i did not get to see that one hatch at that time, but this year… i totally made up for it. i found at least a dozen of these in my garden earlier this year. and in late spring, they all began to hatch… and all of these baby praying mantids started to emerge!

IT WAS SO COOL!!!


fun facts :

baby praying mantids are called nymphs. they hatch by the dozens {or sometimes hundreds} a while after the mama creates her ootheca pod {which tranlates to “a place to keep.”} praying mantids are so good for the garden! they are beneficial predatory insects… which basically means they prey the harmful insects which would otherwise harm or eat plants! and i just totally adore them!

{strawberry full moon}

15 Jun

obviously i have a little theme going here, lately… 😉

all things strawberry!!!

upon waking {accidentally super early} this morning, i went down to the park and captured a few fotos of the beautiful full {strawberry} moon. while there, i made friends with a few ducks, and even finally got to see some baby ducklings for the first time this season!

please enjoy these lovely fotos!


i just love that gradient sky! good morning {and good night} moon! ❤

see the blue herring?!

i just love a pier on a summer morning…

mama and baby ducks… they followed me around for a bit… it was so cute!

baby ducklings splashing around…

aaahhhhhh, morning golden hour! the best!


how was your morning? have a great day!

{diy dehydrated strawberries}

13 Jun

speaking of strawberries… these are like nature’s candy!

i love to make dehydrated fruit of all kinds! one of my other favourite things to dehydrate is bananas. it’s a great way to preserve in-season foods and enjoy them later. it’s also easy and cost-effective.

strawberries are one of my top favourite fruits to enjoy when they are dehydrated. they are so sweet and so delicious! they curb my craving for gummy bears or gummy snacks, and obviously have way less sugar! the only issue is, they don’t last very long! 😉


{garden fresh strawberries}

10 Jun

aren’t these just the most beautiful strawberries you’ve ever seen?!

and i promise you, they taste better than they look, if you can imagine 😉

by the way, which background do you like better?! comment below…


fun food facts :

strawberries contain more vitamin c than oranges. they are also high in antioxidants and are super easy to grow! they self-seed and make a fun little patch to pick from. they are the only fruit with seeds on the outside. some strawberries contain over 200 seeds! they have a short season, so continuous harvesting is necessary for optimum enjoyment. also, to maintain the sweet flavour, strawberries are better served at room temperature.

 

 

{garden update – volume 2}

7 Jun

this update is a little late… so much has been going on at the garden! we had a lot of rain here, and so the plants are growing and thriving so well!

i typically plant seasonally. so i started with my cool season crops like radishes, peas, beets, spinach, kale, arugula, and lettuce… most of which i have harvested lately. i also harvested the garlic and onions that i adopted from last year. the peas are starting to produce fruit which is exciting, and the lettuce is still thriving and i planted more this week. i started planting my summer crops – cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash, and more lettuce. i also planted flowers this year, which is kind of new for me – nasturtiums, calendula, and coneflower.

here is a progress report on what my overall garden plot looks like. i currently have a lot of seeds in the ground, and i take some pride in having beautiful soil and very little to no weeds. i am so excited to continue to watch the growth and progress! 🙂

do you have a garden? what are you growing?


          
Continue reading

{garden update}

30 Apr

the weather here in Maryland has been so confusing for the last two months. i think we even had a frost last week! however, i do believe we are finally hitting that spring stride… and i’m so ready!

i’ve been steadily getting my garden ready, also! currently, i have lots of sprouts coming up, hooray! i also have a lot of weeds, boo! but i’m holding off on doing too much weeding just yet so i make sure not to pull any sprouts. typically i don’t have any weeds and i take pride in that… but i’ll just have to be patient for now. 😉

here are some pics to show the progress. {if you follow me on instagram, you’ve probably already seen these… and if you don’t, please do – here.}


Continue reading

{homemade infused butter}

29 Apr

i’m calling this “infused” – with grass fed butter, shallots, garlic, rosemary, and thyme…


heated on low for 10-15 minutes until melted and then cooled…

apparently this changes the structure of the butter, but i use it for when i cook steak and it seems to do fine…

i just freeze it after i melt/infuse it and it use it to baste in the cast iron!


what do you think of this method? have you ever tried it?

 

{nature hike}

30 Mar

nothing like a stroll in nature to clear the mind, connect with the earth, and welcome the new season!

it’s been a little chilly here lately {boo!} but just recently, i took a little walk with my cousin through a beautiful trail nearby and we both had our cameras in hand.

here are a few of my favourite images from the day.

happy spring, y’all – hope it’s springing where you are!


stumbled onto this along the way!

had a little fun taking pics of it…

these trees kind of remind of me aspens

nothing like sunset over the water…


how’s the weather where you live?

{thirsty thursday – beer journal #2}

3 Mar

ahh, i missed out on posting an autumn beer journal in 2021. oh well… you can see some samples on these blogs – usually my indulgences in the months of fall consist mostly of oktoberfest and brown ales.

and this post is a wee late, considering it’s already march! {yay spring!}

but anyway, here are a few of my favourite winter beers that i tend to enjoy and have explored between the months of december and february… mostly browns, porters, and stouts… many of which are rich in flavour and paired beautifully with notes of peanut butter, chocolate, and sometimes even hints of barrel-aged bourbon.

YES please!



what are some of your favourite winter beers?!

{flashback friday – homegrown cabbage}

25 Feb

i hope y’all well and healthy and finding joy in the little things.

with all the changes happening for so many of us over the last almost 2 years, my green thumb has been turning slightly brown as of late. what i mean by that is, i have not had access to a regular garden setting in two seasons. {*gasp!*} which, as many of you that know me well truly understand, felt like a hole in my soul. nothing brings me more joy than getting my hands in the dirt, growing food, and being in touch with the earth – mind, body, and spirit.

this season, i plan to get back into the swing of things {see previous blog about my new plot!} and i have lots of exciting opportunities sprouting at this time. {see what i did there?!}

flashback to the only time i ever successfully grew cabbage… late fall of 2019. that seems like a lifetime ago. anyway, i’m planning to try to grow it again this year. probably in the fall versus the spring… but since i have so much space, one can never be sure what farmeraudrey will try 😉

{belated full moon post}

19 Feb

i took some pretty pictures of the moon a while back and never got around to posting them. since we recently experienced a full moon, i thought i would share some of those images here with you.

also – my favourite quote :

“to be nobody but yourself in a world that is doing its best to make you something else, is to fight the hardest battle you are going to fight… never stop fighting.” – ee cummings


{new garden season!}

15 Feb

hey y’all!

it’s a bit early in the year for such things, but this area in the northeast offered some nice weather this past weekend, so i was eager to get outside and get my hands in the dirt! as you know, there isn’t much that makes me feel happier than being in nature – and especially, being in a garden!!!

#farmeraudrey

it pleases me to say – that i finally found a community garden that is only about 15 minutes from where i currently live. i am so excited about it! i was also pleasantly surprised to discover that the plot i adopted is about 3 times the size of the last one i took care of in north carolina! this gives me so many ideas on what to plant, and i am feeling so grateful!!!

please stay tuned… as there will be more updates to come… but for now, here’s a brief overview of the work i did this past saturday when the temperatures were in the high 50s!

before…

during…

after…

the person who took care of this plot last season planted lots of beautiful garlic and onions… which apparently are mine now! and although i am very grateful to have them, i will have to figure out what to do with some of the crops since ultimately i will need to have access to the foundation before it’s time to harvest them…

also – i feel like it doesn’t look like i did much {haha}… and i still have a lot of work to do… but i was there for about 3 hours and i was able to clear out a lot of weeds, etc… i also brought a souvenir home, in the form of a slight rash on my arms from all of the random things i was pulling out of the ground and off the fence line, in my attempt to start prepping the soil {haha!} but fret not, my body and skin are just fine now… that said – next time, i ought to consider and/or be more conscious about wearing longer sleeves… sometimes i just get right into the thick of things, without thinking much… 😉


are you prepping for a garden this year? please comment and share what you plan on growing and any tips you may have! i love to hear from and talk with fellow gardeners! ❤

also – please follow me on instagram for more updates!

 

 

{first cleanse of 2022}

7 Jan

happy new year, y’all!

it’s a numerology 6 year, and i feel good about that. i like things in triples and/or threes. 😀 also, the number 6 represents love, unity, creativity, health, consciousness, empathy, and completion. and we totally need more of all of those things in our world, don’t we?!

how’s the weather been where you are? here in the northeast, it’s been up and down and back and forth. we had some 60-degree days in december, and then we just recently had our first snowfall shortly after the holiday. admittedly, snow is still not my favourite, but i’m cool with the “hibernation mode” that winter offers.

at least once or sometimes twice a year, i try to do a little “cleanse” – as in intermittent fasting and eating predominately raw or steamed veggies and fruits, along with plenty of liquids, lots of yummy homemade soups and broths, little-to-no sweets, and zero caffeine or alcohol. i started doing this in 2012, and you can read all about my first experience here.

i have been saying to myself for months that i wanted to do a cleanse, but i simply wasn’t feeling motivated. around the holidays, people are always giving out cookies and candy and drinks and snacks and all the things. perhaps it’s a comfort thing, but it’s hard to deny myself much of anything during the holidays. although at one point {in 2012} i cleansed for like 27 days right in the middle of christmas. i honestly have no idea how i persevered through that – haha! anyway, i knew from experience that a big part of sticking with a cleanse is totally mental. i knew i had to have the right mindset, and i knew at some point i would get there, so i didn’t pressure myself too much. i just kept sort of waiting for the right moment when i just knew i was ready.

that moment arrived in unison with the new year, and i suddenly felt super inspired and motivated… and above all, ready to do it! honouring the new year and new beginnings, etc. seemed like a good collaboration and it just feels appropriate and synchronistic for me.

i usually try to cleanse for about 6 days. sometimes more, sometimes less… again, i try not to put a lot of pressure or stress into it because that will basically negate any other positive benefits. i tend to feel better overall and my head is clearer, etc. my skin looks better, my body trims down, and i tend to have a lot more energy in general when detoxing. one thing that was different for me this time around is that i didn’t have to give up coffee {mostly because i don’t drink it regularly anymore}, and so there has been less of a “detox” feeling {fatigue, headaches, etc.} that i have experienced in the past when doing this type of cleanse.

so, here is a little glimpse into what I’ve been experiencing this week.

thanks for reading 😉

i start each morning with warm lemon water and a green smoothie… usually with tons of fruit and spinach and healthy herbs…

in lei of coffee, i drink this stuff now… it’s super yummy and extra good for your liver and kidneys…

tons of fresh and steamed veggies… Continue reading

{crab and veggie frittata}

7 Nov

oh and speaking of crab recipes… i made this yummy crab and vegetable frittata over the weekend and it was SO yummy! i made two small batches and i reheat them in my air fryer {one of the best investments ever!}

i hadn’t really planned to blog about this, but as i started making it i grabbed my camera and snapped a few fotos to document. as per usual, i try to use what i already have in the kitchen and in this case it was mushrooms, peppers, and onion.

so i chopped them all up and added in my crab meat.

i added a little dried chives, old bay seasoning, salt and pepper, and nutritional yeast, then heated the mixture up in a pan with a pat of butter on low until slightly cooked…

then poured the mixture into these cute little tins, and baked for 15 minutes in a 360 degree oven…

finally, i let the frittata cool for a bit, popped it out of the tin, and put it in the fridge so i could have them for breakfast/brunch in the mornings.

i love a frittata!

{maryland crab cakes – food and foto style}

5 Nov

a little ramble to preface this post…

i just love living in maryland once again! this is my home. i’ve traveled all around this country and lived in several different states, and yet i came back here… so i feel like there’s something to be said about that. one of the things i love most about maryland is the seafood! every time i lived anywhere else, i was always trying to recreate the seafood experience that exists in this region. i remember one time when i was in colorado, i actually paid to have some maryland crabs shipped to me because i was craving them so intensely! at the time, i was working for a specialty market that was able to hook me up, so that was awesome!

i swear i could eat steamed maryland blue crabs every single day… 24/7/365! during the summer months, i splurge a little and treat myself to them once or twice a month. now that the season is ending, i’m feeling a little sad and will miss enjoying them on the regular. that said, i was gifted some crabs last week by some loving and generous people, so i ate some {most!} and picked the rest and saved them for crab cakes. actually, i was going to save the meat and freeze it for making some crab soup over the winter… but i decided to whip up these crab cakes instead. i guess that means i should eat crabs one more time before the weekend so i can save the meat for winter! {do you understand my logic?! ;)}

did you know that late summer / early autumn is actually the best time for enjoying steamed maryland blue crabs? it’s mostly because they have beens swimming around and eating all summer and getting bigger and therefore more full and delicious!

i used to be so intimidated by making crab cakes because it is the ultimate maryland delicacy and i felt like there was no way i could make a good one. and then on a random sunday, i just went for it! i kept the recipe simple, as you know we like to do around here, and they turned out terrific! typically i don’t eat a lot of fried foods, but in this case i prefer the fried crab cake over the broiled or baked. at least when i make them at home… it just seams to taste better that way.

here’s a little foto story about my recent crab cake making journey…

i started with about 2 cups crab meat {that i hand-picked}, one egg, and roughly 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup mustard, and then i heavy-handedly sprinkled in some old bay…

i gently mixed the bread crumbs, old bay, and crab meat together… then mixed the egg, mayo, and mustard together…

i gently blended the wet and dry ingredients {don’t want to over-mix, need to keep it lumpy!} then put the mixture in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes…

finally, i created two patties and fried them in vegetable oil until crisp and golden brown on each side. i served with a mayo/mustard combo dip and old bay garnish.

may i just say i am SUPER proud of myself for doing this?! these crab cakes turned out so delicious and i am glad i got beyond my fear because now i have one other dish to add to my recipe repertoire and to share with those i love!


do you like crab cakes? or seafood for that matter? comment your favs below!

{autumn is for all things pumpkin!}

31 Oct

particularly on halloween, right?!

as you know, i prefer to eat seasonally so i’m on my squash and pumpkin kick at the moment. the farmers markets are closing this weekend or next, so i want to get out and stock up before they are done for the season.

contrary to popular opinion, i don’t do pumpkin lattes. they are too usually sweet for me. i do, however, tend to eat my weight in pumpkin seeds!

i simply cut a pumpkin open, carefully dig out the seeds, soak them for about an hour, then toss them with some olive oil and S&P and throw them in the air fryer for about 15 minutes. they don’t last long… they are so crispy and delicious! this was the firs time i tried making them in the air fryer. i have always baked them, but i’m so glad i tried it because they turned out amazing and in less time! i am eager to make more.

once i’ve devoured half of my pumpkin seed supply {haha!}… i scoop out the roasted pumpkin guts, add a little water, blend in the vitamix, pour in a large pan with some homemade veggie stock, add some spices, and serve with pepitas and mini toasts… NOM NOM!

i made a huge batch of this soup and so i froze some, canned some, and shared some…

both of these recipes are on par with my motto – KISS – keep it seriously simple. they are also healthy and support the 100-mile diet concept. i hope you enjoy and please comment if you try or have ideas of your own to share!

oh, and here’s the costume i wear every year – my “pumpkin king” onesie!

happy halloween!

{homecoming portraits : mister C and miss R}

29 Oct

would ya just look at this adorable couple!

i had such a great time taking some cute and fun fotographs of them right before they went out for their first homecoming experience! {ahhh, remember those days?!}

these types of portrait sessions are my absolute favourite! i love spending time with the youth, they always make me laugh and bring out the best in me! i especially love it when we establish an instantaneous connection! the lighting and weather in northern maryland were just perfect on this late october evening just before dusk, with the colourful autumn sky and leaves changing and falling. this sweet couple were both full of personality and instantly connected comfortably with my camera. i just love it when that happens so naturally!

here are a few of my favourite images :

i loved fotographing these cuties!

i loved their colour scheme!

i loved their laughs!

i love the preset filter i used for this image!

i loved their spontaneity! at one point, i asked them for a “silly” pose and this is what they gave me – haha!

i loved this candid moment! the struggle was real – trying to pin his boutonnière on properly.

i loved this solo moment when i asked miss R to “twirl” for me!

i LOVE this image! it is my favourite shot of the day… i LOVE the light and the chicken coop in the background!


i loved this portrait session so much!

{DIY up-cycled candles}

25 Oct

i love to repurpose things! do you feel the same way?

i know from personal experience that so many items get tossed out and/or thrown away, unnecessarily. i spent a large portion of my career in grocery retail trying to educate people on this subject… but i still don’t know if most people are acutely aware of where our “trash” goes. i feel like our society tends to have this mindset of “out of sight, out of mind.” that said, it is known that some of the highest physical peaks in parts of this country are not something like a mountain-top, but actually more like the tip-top of a landfill.

take that in for a moment… isn’t that crazy to consider?!

all of that said, i love to find ways to “up-cycle” items that would normally get thrown away or would end up in a landfill. recycling is a great option, but sometimes i think we tend to forget about the fact that we can also repurpose things. it’s easy to throw a decent glass jar into a recycling bin… but have you ever considered if you can reuse it for something else?

case and point : i have been loving these yummy french yoghurts that i have recently been buying at my local grocery store. i like them for many reasons… yes, they taste great! and that’s a major selling point! but the main reason i like them is because they come in glass jars. i LOVE to support and also repurpose products that choose to use glass… i’m all about minimizing plastic consumption!

i’ll get off my soapbox for now, but i encourage you all to think about what you throw away… and perhaps {re}consider a creative way to reuse some of the items you may normally toss out or recycle.

and now… onto today’s blog. 😉

a friend of mine gifted me some old candles that had been stored for a long time. the wicks were no longer usable, but the candles were in good condition and still had a great scent! so – i decided to take them home and reuse them to make some DIY {repurposed and up-cycled} homemade candles.

as i mentioned, i had been saving these yoghurt containers. i also repurposed some old candle containers.

i used my double-boiler that i scored at a local antique store {YAY!} i purchased the wicks and wick-holders online, and then i simply re-melted the wax and allowed it to cool slightly before pouring. this is not exactly a perfect method. there is a bit of science to candle-making, which i’ve recently discovered. temperature plays a factor, and in this case my DIY at-home method typically created a ‘sink-hole’. however, i also discovered that in my case, this issue was easily rectified with a second pour. plus, i’m not generally aiming for perfection with this project. {wow – can’t even believe i’m saying that!}

so – overall, i think they look awesome and i am proud of myself and the dedication to creation!


have you ever made your own candles and/or repurposed old ones? i would love to receive your feedback!

happy creating!

 

{funky fungi}

6 Oct

speaking of mushrooms and fungi – check out this fantastic wild funky fungi that was recently gifted to me. apparently it’s edible, but it was just a little passed its prime when i got my hands on it. this amazing thing grows wild on a tree in a friend’s backyard. i wish i could remember the name. perhaps she will remind me before i decide to post this blog. another good friend of mine said it looked like a brain – haha. {he’s constantly saying silly things like that}

i love the golden colour! it reminds me of {yummy!} chanterelle mushrooms, but i was informed that this is technically a fungi. so now i’m curious about which is which… how to distinguish the difference, if there is one?! i think it may have something to do with the underside – the gills?! i’m going to do more research, and i welcome any insight from my amazing readers and/or forager friends!

so without further ado, here are some artistic fotos i took of this fascinating creation from our incredible earth.


update 03/17/22 : i am pretty confident that this is a “chicken of the woods” mushroom”… 


 

it does kind of look like a brain in this foto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{fantastic fungi – local edition}

30 Sep

y’all – i LOVE mushrooms! i always have. they fascinate me. i recently watched a super cool documentary that i highly recommend you check out – fantastic fungi. in discovering that film, i learned that mushrooms aren’t really a plant and they aren’t really an animal… they are like their own category. understanding that made me love them even more! i wish i could articulate just how amazing mushrooms really are. essentially they have an entire underground system in which they are all interconnected… and in some ways, mushrooms connect all of us, too! it’s just mind-blowing to learn and think about!

the weather has been just gorgeous here in maryland as of late. simply and purely perfectly autumn – warm sun, cool breeze, crisp air… the best! which means i want to get outside as much as possible! and so i went on a beautiful nature walk the other day and i must’ve seen at least 30 different kinds of mushrooms! i was constantly stopping and marveling at them. i snapped some pics with my phone and so i wanted to share what i saw.

i hope you enjoy and i truly encourage you to watch that film. i think i’ll watch it again and again!

%d bloggers like this: