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{bodacious blood oranges}

14 Dec

i think it is so incredible how nature provides us with the right types of food for each season.

for example – blood oranges are in season from december to march. which is the perfect time to consume them for that extra vitamin c punch during the winter months!

and aren’t they just so magical?!

{homemade gummy bears}

9 Oct

i have been making my own homemade gummy bears for a while now, and i have been meaning to write a post about it…

i have always loved fruit snacks, gummy bears, et al. however, the ingredient list always detoured me – even the natural ones are full of mostly sugar.

so, i did some research and realized that i could be making my own gummy fruit snacks! and not only that, but i could make them GOOD for me!

my curiosity was piqued when i started looking for a clean source of gelatin to help with collagen production and joint support.

…which i don’t have pictured here because i typically transfer everything i buy into a glass jar… {no shame in my game}…

anyway, i wanted to incorporate gelatin into my diet and that’s when i got super stoked about the idea of making my own gummies! so i found these silicon molds on amazon {along with the gelatin} and looked up a few recipes to get me started.

as usual, i like to keep things as simple as possible. some recipes call for honey or a sweetener, but i like to avoid added sugar where i can {so i can guiltlessly enjoy a candy bar from time-to-time}.

so – here is my very simple {2-ingredient!} homemade gummy fruit snack recipe – which yields about 200 gummies and the ratio can be adjusted accordingly :

  • 1 cup fruit juice {i usually opt for concord grape}
  • 3 tablespoons gelatin powder

you could add in some honey or agave for sweetness, but i find the concord grape juice to be sweet enough on its own.

sometimes i’ll add in some elderberry syrup for additional health benefits during the cold-season months. Continue reading

{happy (belated) asparagus season!}

18 Jun

i’ve been getting my fill of delicious organic asparagus!

it is a marvelous food to eat in spring because it is very cleansing to the body and blood. asparagus is also in season during the spring, which just further proves how awesome and intelligent nature is! 🙂

i like to enjoy asparagus raw or lightly sautéed in grass-fed butter with a dash of himalayan pink salt and black pepper. sometimes i like to add it to risotto with wild mushrooms. when i lived in the mountains years ago, i had a lot of fun foraging for asparagus because it grows wild on the western slope of colorado. pretty cool, huh?!

a tip for keeping asparagus : treat it like fresh-cut flowers. keep the ends trimmed and leave them in a little water in the fridge until ready to use. 

do you love asparagus? how do you like to prepare yours?

{i am a ritualist}

12 Jun

what can i say?! … i am a creature of habit.

i believe i have always been this way, but i don’t believe i have always lived this way…

over the last couple of years i have been particularly adamant about creating a healthy routine in my life… i have found myself purposefully setting intentions of a grounding “ritual” in my daily life from which i could draw strength.

at the very core of those routines and rituals is my desire for overall well-being.

i’m talking about wellness – inside and out – a sense of harmony… and i do believe that all starts within.

the more within myself i look, the more i realize that i absolutely THRIVE in routine. i believe part of that is because i recognize that all living things are in routine… and all living things exist by “obeying” certain laws of nature, many of which we as human beings are more removed from than i would prefer. nature is cyclical, and it is {for the most part} pretty predictable… therefore, nature also thrives in routine.

think about it…

all that to say, the more in touch with nature i’ve become, the more i’ve realized that i am as much a part of nature as nature itself. my body thrives in rhythm and routine, just as nature does.

one of the things i have been wanting to adopt as part of my healthy routine was including a daily vitamin supplement. although i generally eat a very well-balanced healthy diet, i’ve frequently struggled with finding a vitamin supplement that fit my desire for harmony and also fit my standards for well-being… which, i admit, are pretty high. 😉

and so it is with great enthusiasm that i say – I FOUND THAT!

which brings me to my purpose for creating this blogpost… my new best friend :

my ritual vitamins.

these wonderful vitamins came into my life serendipitously… as do most things that are “meant to be.” 🙂

as i said, i had already set the intent of finding a vitamin to add to my daily routine that would give me what i was looking for… an extension of my already healthy lifestyle choices, and SIMPLICITY.

what i love most about ritual is their simplicity. they have taken the guesswork out for us. instead of stuffing a tablet with unnecessary fillers and/or many of the nutrients that come from an already healthy diet, they’ve only included the 9 nutrients that most women lack or are deficient in… basically, it does what i have always believed a vitamin supplement should do… supplement, or as they say – “fill in the gaps”…


the 9 essential nutrients in ritual are :

  • vitamin K2
  • vitamin D3
  • vitamin B12
  • boron
  • iron
  • vitamin E
  • magnesium
  • folate
  • omega-3

so, instead of buying upwards of 4 or 5 bottles of different supplements, many of which include unnecessary fillers, you get all you need in 2 daily capsules. part of the allure for me is that it truly epitomizes the concept of “less is more.”

another reason i love ritual is the transparency – literally and figuratively speaking. the capsules are literally see-through… and the company is transparent by allowing the consumer to trace the source of each ingredient on their website.

ritual vitamins are made for women. they are non-gmo, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and the company was founded by a woman. these vitamins are designed specifically for women. for one dollar a day, you can invest in your health by supporting an outstanding company that is truly revolutionizing the vitamin industry. plus, you get bioavailable nutrients that help you look and feel your best.

i have chosen to be an ambassador for this incredible brand because i believe in their mission and i am an advocate for voting with your dollars, as in putting your money where it matters. the $30 a month investment is one that provides a wealth of health.

please visit this link to start your ritual today : food and foto loves ritual

and stay tuned for my personal review on how this vitamin supplement has affected my overall well-being.


 

{seriously obsessed with spices}

5 Feb

everyone knows i love to cook.

for the most part, i keep it super simple when making meals. and my philosophy is :

quality in = quality out.

in other words – if you start with good ingredients, you generally end with a good meal…

i have only recently begun experimenting with spices in my cooking. i have been collecting spice jars over the last few years, as i was gypsy-ing around the country… and when i settled in a place i feel at home in, i felt super excited to finally display my spice jars.

i received these cool 3-tiered bamboo spice racks as a christmas gift, and i was so eager to get my spice jars out of the cabinet and onto the counter.

it’s the little things, right?!

something about seeing this beautiful rainbow collection of spices just makes me feel so happy inside. and it’s really been fun to experiment with the different aromas/flavours.

of course, in true audrey michelle form, i alphabetized my spices.

here’s what is in my collection :

  • some kind of awesome spice my friend brought me from argentina 
  • all-spice
  • bay leaves
  • celery seed
  • chives
  • cilantro {homegrown and dried}
  • cinnamon
  • comfrey
  • coriander 
  • cumin
  • curry powder
  • dill {homegrown and dried}
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • herbs de province 
  • kelp 
  • lemon peel 
  • marjoram 
  • nutmeg
  • old bay seasoning (can’t live without it)
  • onion
  • oregano 
  • parsley
  • paprika
  • pickling spices
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • sesame seed (black)
  • salt (black)
  • tarragon (LOVE THIS STUFF!)
  • turmeric
  • saffron 
  • vanilla 

 

 

 

 

{what’s in my refrigerator}

28 Jan

on sundays i like to do my meal-prepping for the week. i have lots of containers and jars for storing my dry goods as well as my make-ahead meals.

here’s what i created to eat last week :

  • raw spinach salad
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • sautéed veggies for an asian-inspired dish
  • blanched broccoli
  • citrus baked salmon
  • roasted garlic israeli cous-cous
  • my famous mashed potatoes
  • raw celery sticks
  • curried lentils with ham and veggies
  • sauerkraut (not homemade)
  • garlic dill pickles (homegrown and homemade)
  • roasted tomato soup
  • homemade beef bone broth 
  • potstickers (to go with asian dish)
  • turmeric tea w/ coconut milk

do you like to make your meals ahead of time? batch-cooking has been something i’ve adopted into my lifestyle over the last few years and it’s really helped me save money and keep my diet in check.

{homemade relish with my homegrown cucumbers!}

11 Jul

so, as i mentioned in my last blog – i have harvested well over 200 cucumbers this year from my garden! i wish i would’ve been weighing my harvests, to get more of an idea of yields. however, looking back through the fotos i snapped every time i harvest – it’s safe to say that number is pretty accurate. crazy, right?

anyway, on top of sharing my harvests with neighbors, and consuming a cucumber a day, i also enjoy making pickles and relish with my cucumbers! that’s why i specifically grow the pickling cucumbers. that, and i just think they taste better.

i will share my pickle recipe soon, but for now i want to share this super yummy relish recipe that a good friend of mine passed along to me last year. i love it because it’s very simple and does not have added sugar. the only sweetener is honey and i think it is so well-balanced in flavour. i love add my relish to egg salad or tuna salad. it’s also just good right out of the jar!

homemade pickle relish recipe : 

  • 1.5 pounds {pickling} cucumbers, finely diced {mine was homegrown}
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1.5 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill {mine was homegrown! 🙂}
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp kosher salt {i used himalayan pink salt}
  • 1 tsp celery ceeds
  • 1.5 cornstarch

directions : 

  • in large saucepan, combine all ingredients except cornstarch. simmer over medium-high head until vegetables are tender – about 8-10 minutes.
  • in small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 2-3 tbsp of the cooking liquid until smooth. add to pan and let cook another 3-5 minutes. cool.
  • use canning method to preserve, or store in airtight container, chilled, up to 1 month. also freezes well.

i made a lot more than what is pictured – this jar i gave to my neighbours. 🙂

i also tasted mine before adding the cornstarch. if i needed to increase any of the ingredients, i did. i think i added a little extra honey and vinegar to mine because i had a little more than 1.5 pounds of cucumbers. the key is to start with small amounts… you can always add more. i love the colour it turns out – that’s largely due to the turmeric.

i hope you enjoy this recipe and please do let me know if you ever try it out!

thanks for reading! 🙂

 

{saturdays in the garden : volume seven}

8 Jul

just a little update on the garden… my posts are not in “real time,” as it were… i’m several weeks behind in keeping up with what’s going on, currently.

for example, most of what you see in the following fotos, has been pulled from my plot. we are straight up in the heat of summer here in NC, and my tomatoes are just about all that remain. i pulled up all my broccoli, because i didn’t get it in the ground soon enough and it never formed a head. i harvested one beautiful cabbage that i’m currently making sauerkraut with. my cilantro is done… as is my dill and basil, but i planted more of both. i pulled my kale and planted arugula in its place. and my cucumbers are on their last limb, but i must’ve harvested around 200 of them this season. i have pickles for days! 😉

july will be focused on tomatoes. then in mid august, i will plant more cabbage and cucumbers and perhaps try again for more peas later in the month or toward september. i really enjoy making {and eating} sauerkraut, so i intend to plant a lot more cabbage for fall.

meanwhile, here are some pics of what late may/june were like in my plot :

so pretty and ALIVE!

still fascinated by pea tendrils… and i made lots of pesto with my basil!

oh kale, yeah!

harvest!

my beautiful cabbage! Continue reading

{a make-up blog : saturdays in the garden – volume six}

29 May

things are moving along quickly in the garden!! i actually harvested lots of kale this week and my dill is turning into a forrest! cilantro will only be here for a little while longer, and my peas are producing but will also begin to dwindle as the heat increases. i should be able to harvest some cucumbers next week. which means next month, i’ll be making some delicious pickles!! so so so excited about that!

on a community level, we have been donating over 15 pounds of collard greens each week and lots of radishes are going to donation, as well. our beans are starting to blossom, and the blueberries are coming in nicely. we also have tons of healthy tomato plants growing. june and july are the exciting months for gardening, as everything really starts to produce… i just love it.

and since i have fallen behind a little bit on updating on the garden, i am putting these fotos in gallery form, so i can squeeze them all into this post 🙂

{click on any photo to enlarge and scroll through gallery}


 

 


a {sort of} pano of my plot…

from left to right, counter-clockwise-ish :

jalapeños {hidden, back row} basil {back row}, peas {along left trellis}, lacinato kale, tomatoes {middle}, cilantro, celery, more tomatoes {middle}, cabbage, more kale {middle}, romanesco, more tomatoes, {middle}, cucumbers {along right trellis}, and dill.

i kind of planted in a zig-zag pattern…

i also squeezed in a few spinach plants throughout, but i’m not sure how they’ll fare.

thanks for following along!


how is your garden looking??! 🙂

 

 

{portrait of an egg}

17 May

farm fresh eggs are just so beautiful! and they are so much more nutrient-dense than store-bought eggs!


 

i hope to have backyard chickens one day in the near future!

i just love all the colours!

and the flavour can’t be matched! farm fresh is the best!

i just love the variety… eat the rainbow!

 

#eggportraits

 

{pan-seared wild-caught salmon}

13 Feb

]salmonsalmon-2

i love salmon! and although it’s not in season just yet, i try to eat it at least twice a month, but ideally i would like to get back to consuming it once a week or more. it’s full of omega 3 fatty acids and healthy lean protein. this particular wild-caught salmon filet was hand-delivered to me by an alaskan fisherman! 🙂

my favourite way to prepare salmon is to pan-sear it. don’t be intimidated, it’s a very easy method.

i simply sprinkle my salmon filet{s} with a little S&P and squeeze a little lemon juice over it, as well.

then, start with a medium-high heat skillet coated with a little olive oil, and place salmon filet in skin-side up. cook for 4-5 minutes, then flip over and finish with skin-side down, another 4-5 minutes. cooking it this way usually allows for the filet to come up easily off the skin when serving. i like to serve mine over a bed of greens or a simple couscous recipe.

bon appetite! 

{farmers market turmeric root}

6 Jan

 

turmeric-2turmeric

have you ever seen turmeric root like this before?

i was fascinated when i spotted this at my local farmer’s market. when i go to visit, there is one stand in particular that i like to frequent. the lady who owns it is so sweet and always has a ton of good information on her products and she is always willing to answer my and all of my questions. it seems that the prices for produce at farmers’ markets are sometimes half the price of grocery stores or health food markets, which is just another reason why i love to support the farmers!!!

a few other reasons i choose to put my money into farmers markets are as follows : accessibility, freshness, availability, integrity, seasonality, friendliness, knowledge, willingness, and as i mentioned, affordability.

i had never seen turmeric root in this form, and i couldn’t wait to pick some up to take fotos of. sometimes i’ve seen parts of it broken off into larger and smaller pieces, but not in a huge chunk like this. i have been wanting to incorporate turmeric into my diet more frequently, particularly because i have been experiencing some pain in my elbow lately. and as you may know, turmeric is known for having anti-inflammatory properties. i am hoping that by consuming turmeric regularly, the pain in my elbow will substantially subside.

i thought it would be fun to share these fotos of turmeric, since it is so intriguing to look at! check out all the ‘knobs’ and ‘nodules’ and the funny/fascinating shapes it takes on and how it forms that way. i love all root vegetables, and when i find something in its natural state, i get even more excited about it. did you catch that cool post about ginger-root? i just love going to the farmer’s market and i one day hope to have a nice big garden in my backyard, as to grow lots of wonderful food. i basically want to be a farmer.

one of the things i’ve been doing with turmeric lately is making tea, which i am just loving! have you ever tried turmeric tea? i have been wanting to try it for so long now, but as with anything “new,” i tend to get intimidated until i actually just go for it! and i’m so glad i finally did! i made some tea with this beautiful chunk of turmeric, and i loved it so much that i wanted to share the recipe.

you can usually find fresh turmeric at health food stores. or if you have access to one, check at your local farmers market, as well. some of my research has discovered that you can also use the ground spice to make turmeric tea, however i prefer the fresh stuff. it’s definitely more time-consuming, but for me, it’s so worth it. plus, i just love the creative process. having said that, to be even more economical, you could make it with a mix of fresh and dried root.


super simple health-boosting turmeric tea :

turmerictea Continue reading

{farmers market ginger root}

12 Dec

gingerroot

 

i love finding produce in its most natural state – like this cool ginger root with the actual root still attached. the shape looks like some kind of animal or something, no?! i found it at the farmer’s market {of course} and i bought it mostly because it looked cool, but also because i just like to keep ginger around to nibble on. a lot of times i’ll make it into a tea with some lemon or just shave off a little bit and eat it after meals to accompany the digestion process.

ginger nutritional fun facts : 

ginger is great for stomach ailments such as nausea or diarrhea and can be great for helping keep motion sickness at bay. boiled as a tea, it has tremendous healing properties for common cold symptoms. ginger is also {surprisingly} high in b-vitamins. furthermore, ginger has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties, making it a fantastic support for healthy joints. 

 

{baby pineapple!}

30 Nov

check out this cute tiny little pineapple i dropped a whopping five bucks on! haha

babypineapplebabypineapple-4

i have to say, i think i’ve decided that pineapple might be my favourite fruit.

babypineapple-5babypineapple-6

this one was so adorably cute, i just had to have it!

babypineapple-10babypineapple-11

i obviously ate the whole thing in one sitting 🙂


pineapple nutrition fun facts :

pineapples are totally loaded with vitamin c – tons of it! they are also high in manganese and fiber. furthermore, they help support a healthy digestive track. pineapples are, somewhat surprisingly, a good source of b-vitamins, as well. and don’t throw out that core! – it’s full of fiber and can be tossed into your blender to make an awesome smoothie!

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