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{praying mantis egg case : part 2}

3 May

garden season is finally here! which means my happiness meter just skyrocketed! 🙂

i recently gave my praying mantis egg case an apartment upgrade by relocating it to the community garden. i {safely} tied it to a trellis in my plot.

the praying mantis serves as a wonderful addition to any garden, since they are a beneficial insect. they prey on other insects that may otherwise be harmful to crops and soil.

plus, they are totally fascinating to admire and watch! and i am hoping i am able to witness the case hatch and capture it on film!

i will be checking on it regularly, so stay tuned for more updates!


#farmeraudrey

{praying mantis egg case : part 1}

29 Apr

a good friend of mine recently gifted me with this very unique and beautiful creation from nature.

have you ever seen such a thing?! do you have any idea what it is?!

i suppose the title of this blogpost gives it away 🙂

this is a praying mantis egg case!!!

as many of you may know about me, i am somewhat obsessed with the praying mantis. i had never seen an egg case before, but i was completely thrilled when this showed up in my life! {i think i even cried a little}

and so of course, i had to take some {perhaps too many?!} pictures!

i think the details are just so mesmerizing and are something to behold and appreciate! Continue reading

{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?!

{cool cabbage – the sequel}

19 Nov

badass back-lit cabbage leaf… because, why not!

{an autumn stroll through historic yates mill county park}

22 Oct

in the mid-morning hours of a brisk and blissful sunday, in the glory of a charming and colourful mid-october, in a pleasant little nook of north carolina, i took myself {and my camera} on a spontaneous date with nature…

… and we both needed it.


{foto friday : cool cabbage}

12 Oct

the details on the leaves of plants such as cabbage completely fascinate me!

 

{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

{simple (rainbow) pasta salad}

22 Sep

as you probably know by now, i like to eat with the seasons as much as i possibly can. i enjoy it for lots of reasons. i always look forward to eating whatever vegetables or fruit are best during that particular time of year… and it makes me appreciate them more.

that said, i often struggle with “transitional” times of year – such as the month of september. i find myself unsure about what to wear, what to eat, when to go to sleep. it’s kind of funny but it’s true. {this also applies in the month of may.}

anyway, because i find september to be a transitional month, i also find myself eating transitional foods. i made that term up, but my point is that i’m not ready to start eating soups and squash, but i’m also done with light foods like salads and such. during this transitional time, i usually prepare foods that can be enjoyed hot or cold. and pasta salad is one of those dishes i could enjoy every day during transitional months.

i also really love orzo and i don’t use it often enough.

i whipped up this simple {rainbow} pasta salad and made a huge batch to take to work for lunches.

it’s so easy and so i thought i’d share the recipe… even though i didn’t measure anything, as per usual… but it’s so simple – just chop and toss!

————————————

simple pasta salad : 

  • cooked orzo
  • diced summer sausage
  • chopped tomatoes
  • sliced olives {black & green}
  • diced red onion
  • diced banana pepper
  • diced green pepper
  • diced cucumber
  • roasted garlic
  • crumbled parmigiano reggiano

homemade dressing :

  • olive oil
  • apple cider vinegar
  • spices :
    • oregano
    • sage
    • parsley
    • comfrey
    • basil
    • dill
    • tarragon
    • garlic
    • onion
    • salt
    • pepper
    • bit o’ parm reg

 

i like to serve mine at room temperature and i sprinkle crumbled italian breadsticks on top…

SO GOOD!

 

{last watermelon of the season}

21 Sep

who doesn’t love a melon-baller!?!!

 

 

 

{foto friday : cabbage guts}

24 Aug

you know i love this stuff, right?!

sorry if it’s redundant…

sorry, not sorry.

 

{meatless monday : a flavourful riced cauliflower dish}

9 Jul

i made this delicious riced cauliflower one-pot make-ahead meal for lunch last week and it was so yummy, i just had to share the recipe! i love experimenting with random things in the fridge!

i’ve been really into using riced cauliflower as a replacement for grains and it does a wonderful job as an understudy. 😉

riced cauliflower has a great texture and maintains it well during the cooking process. i’ve purchased it both fresh and frozen and they both seem to hold up just fine.

i made this dish as i was trying to use up some leftover ingredients such as frozen asparagus from another recipe. i also had some frozen jalapeños that i grew last year and wanted to use.


so this is what i came up with {amounts are “ish”} :

  • 16 oz. fresh riced cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup diced asparagus {mine was frozen}
  • 1 medium size jalapeño, diced {ribs and seeds removed}
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • salt & pepper to taste

heat some butter or oil of choice on medium heat and toss in riced cauiflower. cook slowly until al dente. add in asparagus and jalapeño, cook until slightly tender then throw in black beans and corn and cook for another minute or so. sprinkle in hot sauce and spices and toss together. keeps well in the fridge for a few days. can be frozen for future consumption.

organic chicken or grass-fed ground beef makes a nice addition to this recipe. i made this one vegan because i like to eat vegan at least once a week… not for any particular reason other than keeping things in balance 😉


and i just-so-happen to love cumin! it’s one of my favourite spices… do you like cumin?

 

 

{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?

{foto friday : farmers market flowers}

15 Jun

just another reminder to stop and appreciate the flowers.

{gracefully coffee roasters}

8 May

i have this on again/off again thing with coffee.

mostly, we’re on.

i love coffee, and i especially love espresso! but sometimes, i don’t like the effects of the caffeine associated with coffee and espresso. and drinking decaf just doesn’t appeal to me… nor does it have the same complex flavour {in my opinion}, which is the main reason i love to drink coffee.

i prefer dark roasts for the robust flavour and lower{ish} caffeine content, and i drink it with a {generous} dash of heavy cream. when i worked as a barista, i would sip on an iced cortado just about every day. over the years, i’ve learned how to strike a balance with it and ultimately listen to my body as to when to be “on” coffee, and when to be “off” it.

do any of you have a similar experience?

anyway, this post is about some super yummy coffee made in small batches by an equally yummy and awesome company : gracefully coffee roasters.

i got this TOTALLY DELICIOUS coffee as a christmas gift last year and i wish i still had some because it was out-of-this world amazing! this particular batch was a medium roast with hints of peanut butter and chocolate. now, i don’t know if it was just the power of suggestion in their awesome marketing description or what – but i’m telling you, that first sip of coffee tasted like a creamy chocolate peanut butter cup.

gracefully coffee roasters are true masters of their craft. one easily gets a sense of how much passion and care they pour into their coffee roasts. they offer monthly subscription boxes so you can try new coffee all the time! they also have yummy tea!

check out their website and show a little love… 😉

{foodie/foto/flashback friday – spring/garden fever}

9 Mar

seriously, though… is it time to garden, yet?! i am so eager to get out and play in the dirt!

i definitely want to grow some {organic} cabbage again this year!

here’s a little flashback friday for ya : to that ONE i grew last year and turned into delicious sauerkraut!


hope you have a great weekend!

{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 

 

 

 

 

{foodie friday : vegetarian buffalo cauliflower bites}

2 Feb

i kind of made these by accident… as in, i-got-super-hungry-and-didn’t-have-much-in-the-fridge-to-eat-but-got-creative-and made-these-buffalo-cauliflower-bites-which-accidentally-turned-out-to-be-ahhhmazing!

…and so i just had to share the recipe. these {veggie} buffalo cauliflower bites would make a great game-day snack for superbowl sunday! and they are a great vegetarian alternative to the classic buffalo wing. {i would devour both!}

i was inspired to make this dish because i was scrolling through instagram and spotted a recipe for cauliflower florets that were battered & fried, and served with buffalo sauce and ranch – like a chicken wing! and i was thinking, “that’s probably sooooo delicious!” 

then i remembered that i had frozen riced cauliflower, and i created my own version based on what i had in the fridge…

very simple ingredients : 

  • frozen riced cauliflower
  • chopped celery hearts
  • buffalo sauce {i opt for franks!}
  • ranch dressing {i use brianna’s!}

i began by chopping the celery into approximately 1-inch pieces…

next, i sautéed the cauliflower with a little butter over medium to high heat, adding a little water as i went along to soften the cauliflower a bit more…

then, i added in some buffalo sauce to taste, and cooked until almost al dente…

finally, i scooped some of the cauliflower mixture into the celery bites and drizzled a little ranch dressing on top. it can be a little messy, but that’s what buffalo sauce is all about, right?! 😉

these little buffalo cauliflower bites are soooooo yummy and i will definitely be making them on game-day! it’s always funny to me when i cook something on the fly and it turns out to be my new favourite thing ever.

this was one of those recipes. 🙂


by the way, i didn’t watch one single football game this season, and i could care less about the patriots or the eagles… but it should still be a fun day full of snacks and silliness!

{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 soap}

24 Jan

i made soap for christmas gifts last year. it’s so fun to make! the soap block, which i got from michaels, was made with mango and shea butter – super moisturizing! these soaps create a nice, rich lather. they would also be perfect for a bubble bath!

i made a few different kinds :

  • fragrance-free oatmeal 
  • orange cinammon w/ rose petal flakes
  • lavender oatmeal
  • lavender rose 
  • orange peppermint

people go nuts over the soap whenever i give it as a gift. 🙂


have you ever made your own soap?!

 

{snowtography – volume 2}

18 Jan

 

figure-8s appear as the snow melts…

 

and snow dust sprinkles down from the trees…

this foto was taken by mistake. and even though it’s nothing special, i kind of love it.

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