If you could would you...

If you could, would you...Photo: A pink sunset at Half Dome in Yosemite
hike to the top of half dome in the dark just to see the sun rise?

If you could, would you...

stand at the rim of the Grand Canyon just to marvel at it's grandeur?

If you could, would you...
Durian fruit
eat this?

French Black Truffles
taste that?

If you could, would you...                                                                                                                                    

plant a garden with a small child so they can watch it grow?

Would you...
Elderly man and boy hold hands. Photograph: Henry Wolf/ Getty Images
hold the hand of a loved one and sit in silence through the night just to let them know you are there?

Would you...
climb this rock?

catch this wave?

Observing the stars... (Credit: To the rightful owner)
Stop in your tracks on a midnight walk to stare at the stars and bask in their vastness?

If you could, would you...

work on your splits no matter your age?

Would you...
stand on the moon,

dancing in field
dance a silly groove,

chase the fireflies,

learn to paint like one of the masters?

Would you...

drop everything and rush to their side because you deeply love them?

Would you...

drink in their silliness night after night,

tickle their toes,

make a blanket fort and let it stay up for weeks?

Would you...

show them what love is by loving them first?

If you could, would you...

give sacrificially,

Old Couples in Love Are So Cute
love unconditionally (that includes loving yourself),

and always remember, your dreams are relevant no matter what age you are?

Life offers us many adventures, great and small. Embrace them. Make opportunities. Share them. And most importantly, do something that scares you, or terrifies you. Every day. For this is where we find ourselves vulnerable. And that, my friends, is where the bread gets buttered. When we are vulnerable, we allow others to see us in a place where we offer the truth about ourselves. Vulnerability is not a weakness. It is, if I may, an "honesty". It is powerful. It is an offering of our true selves. And that, I believe, should be applauded!

Take risks, live in gratitude, do what you love. This is where joy resides. And let that joy bubble up and infect others.

Enjoy life, wear a super hero cape as much as possible, and be sure to bring others with you!


Mater Juice

Tomato juice. So simple. So quick. And so tasty!

When I am working in the garden during the summer I crave it.  My mouth just watered thinking about it.  Seriously!

And the great thing is it is really quick to make. I know you are thinking that cleaning up the juicer is a pain but if you prep ahead, it is really easy!  Promise.

Mater Juice

3 Large Tomatoes (I prefer heirloom varieties)
1 pepper (ancho, poblano, serrano, jalepeno or anaheim)
2 stalks celery
salt to taste

1. Fill sink with warm water and a few drops of soap.

2. Juice in this order: tomatoes, pepper, celery, cutting veg to fit into your juicers chute.

3. Stir taste and add salt to taste. 

4. DO NOT let that juicer sit. Take it apart, scrape the veg into your compost or trash and put immediately into the sink water. Scrub each piece quickly, rinse and set on towel to air dry. Should take less than 3 minutes.

5. Drink that juice. Enjoy!


No Tomato Left Behind

I have a policy on the farm.  A "No Tomato Left Behind Policy."

I cannot bare to waste one little tomato. They aren't allowed in the refrigerator. So... I figure ways to use them so we have tomatoes for the coming year.

My favorite way to use tomatoes and not waste is just dehydrating them. Then, I have "sun-dried" tomatoes for the year. And seriously folks, it is like a little kiss from summer all year long.

I use them in salads, soups, stews, breads, juices, dips and more. My Garden Shadow likes them as chips. And let me tell you, the girl is brilliant. Use as chips dipped in cashew "cream cheese." Dreamy. Dreamy I tell you.

On the trail. Dried tomatoes. Just plain old dried tomatoes makes my tongue and belly happy.

Just good stuff!

Alone or as an ingredient. Not one goes to waste. We always seem to just make it to next summer.

Go crazy here.  So tell me... What's your favorite way to enjoy "sun-dried" tomatoes?

Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Gather those tomatoes and wash clean. I have a scrub brush that I use to gently scrub mine.

I slice mine about 1/3rd of an inch wide.

Put in a big ol' bowl.

Add salt, pepper and italian seasoning to taste.

Stir until well combined. I use my hand. Cooking and prepping food is a tactile experience for me.
I taste until I am absolutely certain the flavor is perfect. This may take several mouth fulls. :)

Place on dehydrater trays until all are full. I have 8 racks I fill so I have to cut and refill bowl several times. (You will have juice left over. I use it in soup or to sauté veg. Or to drink. Choose your thrill.)

Fill that puppy up and turn it to 225 degrees. I let mine go at least 24 hours and continue to check every few hours until they are crisp. I admit I do quality control each time I check because I can't resist.

Pull them off the tray and store in airtight container.

I use a jar. When it is full I add a couple of oxygen absorbers to keep them nice and fresh and dry. Use them in your recipes or like the Garden Shadow so brilliantly does, as a chip. A chip with mighty flavor!


If You Give this Mom a Tomato...

If you give this mom a tomato, she's gonna ask for a knife.

When you give her the knife, she'll make Tomato Jam.

When she is finished, she will ask for another tomato.
Then, she'll slice it and make Tomato Pie.

When she smells the Tomato Pie, it will remind her of pizza
which will make her want to make Tomato Sauce.

So, she'll ask for another tomato.
When she is finished,she'll immediately ask for another-
She'll start making Salsa.
She might get carried away and make a lot of Salsa.
She may even make some Fire Roasted Salsa as well.

When she's finished,
she'll probably want another tomato.
You'll have to give her one with some eggplant and peppers.
She'll dig in making herself some Grilled Ratatouille

She'll surely ask for another tomato.
So you'll get one and slice it for her and she'll ask to see.
When she sees it she'll get so excited because it will make her want "Sun-dried" Tomatoes.
She'll ask for the Dehydrater.
She'll dehydrate them.
When drying is finished, she''ll want to eat some on a plate.

Then, she'll want another tomato so she can make

Which means she'll need the knife. 
She'll cut it, stand back, look at it and that will remind her that she is thirsty.
So... she'll ask for Tomato Juice.

And chances are, if she asks for a glass of Tomato Juice,
You'll be getting another tomato for whatever is next.

And that, my friends, is what tomato season looks like on our family farm.

Inspired by:
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie




Love 'em. Lying on a blanket and watching them pass overhead. Naming the types of clouds and likening their shapes to things.

When I lived in San Francisco I bought a VHS (google if you need to know what that is) of cloud scenes at some shmancy art gallery. I watched it on TV after a hard, stressful week in grad school and would stare. Relax. Wind down and feel that all was okay. When you stop and take in the clouds, all is better. Maybe because we are in the now. Maybe because clouds take us and our thoughts up.

When I had my first baby, the Artist, she would ask for the clouds video. Sit in the bean bag and snuggle up and doze while watching the clouds. How can you not?

This changed my thoughts on clouds. And many things. Pay attention to the lyrics. I hear my Jesus in there:

Zach, I wish you were here so I could meet you. What an inspiration. Your life lives on in so many ways because of your motivation to make people smile. You made me smile, giggle and you aren't even here.

I pray his message speaks to you as it did to me and you see each day differently after hearing how this 17 year old put it, "It's simple, actually, it's just try and make people happy. Maybe you have to learn it with time, maybe you have to learn it it along the way - but as long as you learn it, you're gonna make  the world a better place."

Yep. Got it. Thank you Zach. Quite sadly ( and quite beautifully ) you are speaking to me from the grave, but I get it. I so long to hear it from you. But we will meet. I am sure of that.

Can I live it? That remains to be seen. But when I can't? I call on my Maker and guess what? He has me covered!

Love that Jesus. And I am so glad He loves me.

Be inspired. Watch:

Wow.  A boy I never met has moved me in a way that shall never be forgotten. Because, honestly, I just want to bring people happiness and joy and make them smile.

And remember, "You don't have to find out you are dying to start living."~Zach


Philly Cheeze Steak

A few months back, Lucky Peach had an issue with a Philly Cheese Steak recipe that got my mind going.

I have been thinking about it for a long time. How to take the meat out and make it ever-so-scrumptious. Like dripping-off-your-fingers-gets-on-your-shirt-and-you-have-to-walk-around-the-rest-of-the-day-with-a-stain-on-your-shirt-good.

I thought about my Dad a lot while making this. He is a brilliant cook. A chef really. And if I make a vegan dish that is a copy of a "meat -lovers" all time favorite, it needs to pass the Daddy test. My Daddy can cook some meat. But like any fine chef can appreciate all things well prepped, prepared or cooked.

Last Saturday, I finally got around to putting thoughts into action. And then into my belly.

Big hit. For everyone.

And I think Dad will be pleased when I make this for him when next we meet.

It will definitely be a regular at this house.

Try it and let me know if you give it the thumbs up as well.

Philly Cheeze Steak

5 large Portabello Mushrooms
3  Bell Peppers
2 Onions
Steak Seasoning (I used Penzy's Mitchell's Street Steak Seasoning)
Your favorite Vegan Cheeze Sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste
Hot Dog Buns

1. Turn Portabellos on their sides like a wheel and thinly slice them. Then slice those thin slices into strips. Put into a skillet and saute' with veg broth and liberally season with the steak seasoning.
You want this juicy and dripping with flavor.

2. Slice peppers thinly (I prefer red peppers with a serrano thrown in). Saute' in veg broth until soft.

3. Slice onion in thin slices. Caramelize in veg broth in a skillet. I actually use water to saute' and add a bit of Happy Herbivore's No-Chicken Broth Powder.

4. Now pile it on your warmed bun: mushrooms, peppers, onions and then add your favorite vegan cheeze sauce. I used Heidi Ho Veganics because we had some on hand. My Red Pepper Dip would be brilliant as well.

5. Eat, but watch that shirt because if you did it right it should be dripping good!!