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"Where better to care for the soul than in the details of our daily lives?....The soul has an absolute, unforgiving need for regular excursions into enchantment. It requires them like the body needs food and the mind needs thought... An enchanted world is one that speaks to the soul, to the mysterious depths of the heart and imagination where we find value, love and union with the world around us. As mystics of many religions have taught, that sense of rapturous union can give a sense of fulfillment that makes life purposeful and vibrant." ~ Thomas Moore.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Vanilla Cream Chai in French Press


Hello Everyone,

I'm up early these days, and early to bed too......less time online because the PC is slowing down and I don't like waiting for technology. I'd rather watch the grass grow :D

But today I have a treat for you, confirmed by my second pot! yes indeedy doo, this is delish and I believe I came up with it all by my lonesome, but I'm sure its not original because there is nothing new under the sun, right? :D

This is a beautiful creamy warming comforting and luxuriant drink I call Vanilla Cream Chai I want to share with you. I've been craving pure cream for some reason and I wanted to find something that I love to make that is not coffee because its energy makes my hands shake, it makes me jittery in the most uncomfortable way, and I don't need anything to speed me up I need something to slow me down.






I remembered my beloved Masala Chai which means Tea of Spices....Chai means ''tea'' in India and Masala means the spices it is made of. It is my favorite tea of all time and I make my own blend. But in this case I used a premade one I had from a variety box of teas exactly like this one.......

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51bjjGbFzEL._SY300_.jpg

I used Tazo Organic Chai                       http://runningwithcake.com/files/2009/07/Tazo-Chai-Tea.JPG

It is a blend of spices in a tea, using cardamon, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel. and/or a few other spices depending on what a person likes in it. Some add black tea, some dont.

My French Press by the way, is proving to be wonderful for actually making coffee! lolol but that's another post. I have been using it for years to make teas, especially the artful blends with flower petals because it is beautiful to see them floating around in the pot, unfurling, and expanding, and colors becoming softer...... and yet the strainer keeps them out when you pour, such simple perfection! I got this idea from a really nice restaurant I went to where they served the Shanghai Rose Tea in individual sized French Presses and I was stunned with its beauty.


For the Vanilla Cream Chai :
I make a strong tea with 3 bags, putting the bags in the press and adding hot nearly boiled water then add the plunger to the level of water. As that steeps, to a small pot on the stove I add a cup of organic heavy cream on medium heat. I add to the cream 3 teaspoons, you use how much you like, of organic sugar and 2 teaspoons of organic vanilla extract and stir until its very hot. I like to make it a bit frothy with a bamboo frother, but its not necessary. When this is hot, I add it to the French Press leaving the tea bags in there because I like the tea strong.






 I mix by gently plunging the mixture a few times, I have just enough in the press to make a full mug full.......:D You can see the teabags beneath the plunger.







 then pour into a beautiful creamy white mug....any color actually, I'm just being partial to mine lolol.








I top it off with a mixture (optional)  I happen to have left over from a non bake Tiramisu (post coming soon)  I made the other day yum O!~.....a mixture of organic cocoa powder, cinnamon and sugar....and Voila! Luxury in a Mug!




 

I love this drink because it doesn't give me the jitters, it is creamy, hot and comforting. Its gorgeous!



I think this can be a "white post" for White Wednesdays ! LOL 
 
 
And!!! ......see these pumpkins below??? they have to be the oldest living pumpkins in the world.....







These are the very same pumpkins housemate brought home last October when I redid my bedroom!

[See those beautiful pearl gray walls?? I still love them! :D:D:D Great background for lots of white linens.]
 
     
        http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-86id7WbT3ko/UISPS_5CZpI/AAAAAAAAC1k/6hbG_39Ozdc/s640/room+makeover+pics+1+017.jpg




with only a few brown spots on them!, they are amazing, I've never seen pumpkins last this long!







 


Here they are creamy white, from last XMas in my bedroom.






This pic is from today, They stay in my room on top of mercury glass candle holders since I have finished my room.




Nature amazes me all the time........


And just before the light of morning, I saw gorgeous pink bougainvillea against the white fence, beautiful.






I just saw something whimsical in this picture....the stenciling points each lead to a cluster of pink flowers! LOL....fairies are at play!


Have a beautiful week!

sharing this post with TIMEWASHED: Blissful Whites Wednesday
            
and with No Minimalist Here 

and with A Delightsome Life Home and Garden Thursday

and with FRENCH COUNTRY COTTAGE

and with The Charm of Home

and with Rooted In Thyme


Monday, October 21, 2013

Permaculture Gardening Food and Flowers

 *Warning: lots of pics!



Greetings of Beauty, Beautiful People!


Today is a good day. I am not in pain for one thing, and for another I think I am finally seeing the end of exhaustive gardening that must be done on this property, work that built up alot due to a heavy growing season with tons of rain and not being able to do anything at all due to humidity...so catching up is work but I do love it.

You know when you have a moment ?.....a moment that is rather exquisite in its long contemplation? Like when you walk into your back yard and look around and realize finally that there was actually nothing to do back there but just enjoy the view?? That kind of moment! lolol
All of a sudden my  body relaxed, and a deep sighhhhhh ensued, and I walked around looking at all the new plantings and neat beds and after the rains they were well watered, the sun was peeking out and there was literally nothing for me to do but to love the views and anticipate the coming fruits of my labor. I took some pictures, but most of the veggies and flowers are in baby stage.

What I want to mention however, is that in my quest to grow as much food as I can organically and naturally, the permaculture way is proving to be the best amongst gardeners, because guess what.....it is the way Nature does it. Go figure lolol. And I want this property to be a completely useful and resourceful place and having food forests and flowers all year is my goal. Lucky for me the housemate is on board.

This past week on his day off he decided to help me do the last bed in the back yard for which there are 6 now, and it took only an hour. When I asked him why he felt he wanted to get it done, because normally this is MY work, he said because he felt he needed to do something. 'Why' I ask? 'are you feeling a need to do something all of a sudden?'      ....
wait for it........

 "Because I guess I'm taking pride in the house".

Now people, that is a *rocking the house, bring the house down* statement! From HIM!

And for me, because this man never really liked or enjoyed his house before, it was just a place to sleep at night etc, but after all the transformations I've been doing by myself, and the beauty that is resulting and all the dozens of little details for transforming even minor things, he is  
 n o w    l o v i n g    h i s    o w n     h o u s e !

Thank you GOD.
How wonderful is pride and joy taken from ones own home, which transforms the mundane to magical.

I smiled with a deep joy understanding full well where this man's new disposition lies after 10 years of being depressed, morose, sluggish, cynical and sick......he is now cancer free, joyful at times! and having pride in his home. Its been a very long journey to this moment. And is to be savored. Yes, thank you Pammie :D:D:D

So....in my desire to turn this yard and every green space into a Food and Flower Forest I decided to do my veggie beds in a permaculture way which partially means using up what is available, recycling, reusing and no waste. So dead leaves are incorporated into the beds because they add nutrients to the soil as they break down. Everything in nature has a purpose, and we are learning what it is and how to enrich it all and increase its output and longevity and beauty!

First I dug out all the soil in the one bed and put it into a wagon........




Then I added some, not alot of green weeds that were going into the compost and mixed it with some dead leaves and cut tree branches too....



On top of that I added an entire layer of already dead leaves.....important they are already dead and dried otherwise it begins "composting" and becomes too hot if they are still "green" and the heat can destroy the roots of what is planted




On top of the layer of brown dry leaves, I added two bags of top soil, stamped it down and watered alot!



then a layer of color free newspaper to keep weeds in check and I watered some more.



Then I added a layer of straw and watered again. Then I planted 2 types of lettuce........ butter crunch lettuce and red lettuce......dug with my fingers a hole to fit the plant, planted it then squished the wet soil around it and covered the exposed root area with the straw.  These are tiny.




But they grew in two weeks, and the bed did not get "hot" because it was not composting, since the dead leaves were already dried.

 





Last night as it was drizzling gently, I couldn't sleep and walked outside to see my plants, and I touched a leaf of this butter crunch lettuce and it broke off......but the scent was heavenly!! I ate the leaf on the spot and remembered having a really amazing sandwich with this flavor in it and I can't wait to do this again!

 






Lemons are turning yellow, thankfully not all at the same time! Drinking some lemon juice in my water now. Love Mama Nature who in her wisdom matures each plant and fruit in their own time.




Lemons hanging low close to the ground even.....:D







The herb bed. Sage, tarragon, chive, culantro, Thai basil, sweet basil, rosemary, parsley dill, mint and oregano. Aloe in pots against the fence and grapes growing above it.
It is with great pleasure that John and I go out to cut herbs whenever we cook. I use herbs in everything because I love their flavors..... their infinite combinations to make variety the spice of life!
Also a miniature rose in a giant teapot! lolol

 

 




This is Lamp Post Square lolol.....has two kinds of cabbage, one in a larger circle pattern and inside it the purple cabbage in a square, and marigolds for prettyness. Lemongrass flanks this Square like majestic loyal guardians, and I've been making lemongrass tea and gobbling it down like it was water! It is really great to keep one cool in the heat....not temperature cool,  but it is medicinally a cooling herb and works great. It is also the best scent for the house when making it! Love!

 
 








A nearby huge elephant ear holding droplets of rain water..... so beautiful !!


 






A new Bed....holding some homeless potted plants, but the ground  is planted with mint and oregano to hopefully grow like crazy, and a few mustard plants, some yellow snap dragons I hope grow big!......and in front is millet which the birds do love and this plant is self seeding in this spot and just keep going and going and going.....lolol......love those!!


 




A nearby potted plant with various coleus.....I love this plant!








In Tomatoe Square I have mustards and cabbage, some vinca flowers for color.....the leaves of the mustard are beautiful and are amazing in sandwiches too.....they really have a mustard flavor! Love! :D










 
New bed of arugula, 2 different kinds of cabbages like napa, yellow snapdragons and pink vinca. We eat alot of cabbage, they are very healthy rich in sulpher. To the left is a lime bush which makes tiny but juicy limes!








 



Pitcher plant under the arbor.





Purple Vanda Orchid and my whimsical white chandelier with rust!......beneath the orchid is the delicate yellow flowering Thryalis which is heavenly fragrant!

 







Huge begonias beneath the huge australian fern.






A very GREEN spot with sweet potato vine and asparagus fern.....










A Victorian Corner.....










I walked in from the humid and bright sun.....to cool dimly lit white serenity.....neighbors came by and said exactly the same thing I sensed :-)
















Then out the front to take a picture of Mussenda Square, which is filling out with azaleas, vinca, coleus, and a few odds and ends.......gardens in Florida have different kinds of flowers.....it will always look "different"






I turn to the right to take a picture of these gorgeous purple neon bromeliads beneath a staghorn fern....










I walk back to the front and take a picture of the front gate which now has pots and the lavender bougainvillea is blooming a bit.....wish the sun was on it but not until much later and I am not waiting lolol


 



That's it for today. I'm going to make a sandwich with some buttercrunch lettuce and to prepare for dinner. I hope you are all well and happy!. Thank you for visiting!




Friday, October 4, 2013

Shabby Dinner For One

*Of Note: :D   I have re-read this post this morning and can see how silly it is, but because I am not perfect and in my world occasional sillyness is allowed, even if public :D:D:D, I will keep every word as I wrote it because it was authentic to the moment, and to the wine lol , and to the giddiness of creating magical moments and magical spaces, and I forgive myself! lolol  So.....on to sillyness lolol.


I think it happened.
I think I've been bitten, smitten, I got the bug bad.
I dont know what happened.
I don't how it happened.
I don't know WHY it happened.

But, I have to go full Shabby Chic now.
yikes!

Once upon a time, I had my own style. I didn't watch much t.v., and had left the country to live in Bali, Indonesia and set up a business which I could run from some other place in the world. That was in Septemeber of 2001, and that dream turned into a nightmare really quick. 6 months later I had to return to the good ol US of A....and start life all over again. I rented an apartment in a neighborhood I knew in Miami, and one neighbor who came by said she loves ''my style''. I didn't know I had one. I thought everyone just bought what they liked and put it up and that was that. But she said, 'oh! you do the 'shabby chic style'"....
"the what?!"
"shabby chic"
"what is THAT?!"
"oh, erhm....you know, ......'shabby chic' ? the style of decorating ?
"no actually, I have no idea what it is. What is it?" (personally I abhorred the name! I DONT do ''shabby"!)
"its a style. Rachel Ashwell does it"

perplexed clueless look remains.

"oh well" she says, ''well its a style and that is what you do. I do it too, want to see my place?"
"sure, why not"

I go to her apartment a few doors down and see a cute little space, feminine, nice, but still have no clue what ''style'' she is referring to.

5 months later, I am in this house with this housemate, John, and he has cable television. I liked to watch only the cooking and home improvement shows. Then there appears this one show with this Rachel Ashwell woman, and when housemate saw her furnished rooms, he said ''oh look! they stole your style!"
"what else is new. it happens all the time. I invent something and someone else makes millions from it".

But still, I loved seeing her process. I didn't even know there was one! I didn't have one, I simply bought what I liked, from flea markets which a coworker introduced me to, and from other stores, but altogether, I just bought what I liked. Simple really.

However.....now there is the entire industry world wide infatuated with a style of living that will never go away.
And lately I have been remiss without knowing why and when I see some pictures in bloglandia, I go mad with desire. I feel infected! I feel ill with the "gotta have it now itis" Its a real disease you know?! Seriously! Its real and its serious! Once infected with GHIN-itis, there is nothing to do but to give in, and immediately! You will steal, beg and borrow money to acquire those things which simply look delicious just sitting there! I mean, its only for looks! and yet.....I must be surrounded by it! It's a bad ''itis'' thingy! sigh.

Well, that happened to me. I resisted and was immune and impervious for years! saying I will not give in to a style which I had anyway, but in my own way of course, which had NO pink anywhere at all LOLOL, and that I would do something different as usual, and create another style.
Well bloglandia will not allow that, it simply won't. I happen to be following all kinds of blogs and one thing they seem to have in common, go figure, is the shabby chic style, with lots of pink no less! A color I never had any intentions of using in my life, EVER! But as of last year, I incorporated pale pink in a few places, very lightly, nothing obvious. Now, I'm even painting the outside of this house pink....yes I am......and almost done too! Its a good color for the tropics.

Well, what has happened in these past few days is nothing short of a crisis. No idea why or how, but suddenly I HAVE TO HAVE THE SHABBY CHIC LOOK in this house and now. WTH?
How to do this? I've never had to copy anything before, and the process of ''studying'' and then ''reproducing'' makes me embarrassed of myself as an artist! but still, I knew I needed that ''look'' in my space, and now. First I realized I must get the colors right, then I realized there involves alot of vintage, then some pinks, and lots of fabrics namely linens and cottons, and most of all FLOWERS EVERYWHERE. This part was easy as a florist myself, but I've never had this much in this house as I do now. Oh there was a time when I purchased 8-10 dozen long stemmed roses each and every week! yes I did! but those days are gone, and frugal is my name.
Well, having right now some flowers everywhere was nice, but I needed the ''shabby chic'' look to feel right. Oh dang this infection!

ok....so today, I robbed peter to pay paul to buy flowers in those right colors. I replaced the flowers I had just done because they needed it too soon, but today I am in love again. Once I did the kitchen table, I decided to see what it would look like if I added some pretty dishes and some shabby napkins and my silver silverware.....and I saw something that made me smile. I don't think its perfect, but its a good start.
I had dinner. I made a beautiful soup, and for those of you who read this far lolol I will give the recipe for a beautiful Warming Miso Noodle Cilantro Soup.

Here are some pics, tell me what you think......am I ''getting'' it right yet??



This is the light of one candle. In person it is soooo very much prettier, awe inspiring actually, wish you were here to see it. This picture pales in comparison to the live glow and light of candlelight.











I put the chandelier up....










 I took these pictures really fast, and my soup was still perfectly hot when I sat down for it.








 And I have to say, this is absolutely, the most beautiful dinner setting I have EVER HAD IN MY LIFE ! I was so tickled pink lolol, I pulled out the wine for a glass to celebrate, with a case of the giggles lolol








All pinks, lavenders, white and raspberry.....loved the deep color for a shocker. :D









 I love the white little pumpkins under the cloche.....need to get a few more.










 My version of homemade ''shabby chic'' napkins









 on my linen ruffle tablecloth......I did have a glass of wine, people, so yes I'm flappin a bit here lolol











Home Goods finally got back in some more of these Efferve effervescent drinks, all natural and so delish! Home Goods is my absolute favorite store of all time! Isn't it wonderful the best flavors are in the right colors?? lolol











 and here is my beautiful Miso Noodle Cilantro Soup.....recipe coming up....so simple and so comfy!












candle light again.......




















 I finished my soup, it was sooooo delish and so rewarding, I had so much to see on the table to enjoy!





















 one of the arrangements. I will take pics of tomorrow in the daylight and post them.....loving lots of flowers!










 candle and pumpkins and gourds........










 This is a candleholder I got from IKEA.......its very pretty, lacy and versatile.







Warming Miso Noodle Cilantro Soup:




I use chickpea Miso from the healthfood store.  


I add two tablespoons of this miso to a pot of clean water, enough water for a bowl of soup. This is very pasty and must be worked with a fork to break it up and mix thoroughly into the water with no lumps.
I add half teaspoon of hot chile garlic paste, available at any chinese or oriental store.

http://thehungrygoddess.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/chili-garlic-sauce.jpg
I add as much dried seaweed as I want, either wakame or hijike also from oriental store or healthfoods.

Then I add a bunch of dried angel hair mung bean noodles from oriental store....they come in individual servings.  http://1tess.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/bean-thread_9019.jpg

I let this warm up. This soup is done once the seaweed is rehydrated, and it should NEVER boil.
I stir and cut up the noodles in the pot with a scissors, You don't have to, I personally don't like long noodles.
Once noodles and seaweed is soft and liquid is smoking but NOT boiled, it is done, but there are few things to add.
Serve it up in a pretty bowl, and add some fresh squeezed lime juice, sprinkle some toasted sesame oil, some fresh cilantro and some fresh thai basil. Today I also added some scallions because they were sitting there.
Mix and consume immediately. It is done in 10 minutes.
I like to keep the last items, the lime juice, toasted sesame oil and basil and cilantro served in pretty bowls to add fresh to the soup while at the table. It is great to see how others personalize their soup with condiments left for the choosing. One can also add mung bean sprouts to this, its actually an open eneded soup to make it as you like it, but as I do it, everyone loves it!

Enjoy and thanks for visiting!

Sharing this post with Rose Vignettes Fresh Cut Friday

and with Rooted In Thyme

and with Shabbilcious Friday

and with My Romantic Home