NEST … with a few books we’re enjoying + happy 1st day of spring

Happy 1st day of Spring! We’re anxiously awaiting garden time and more outside time in general. As you can see below we couldn’t wait any longer to start planting seeds. Every square inch of sunny space is taken up by seedlings waiting to get outside. Gardening is a lot of work but each year I get more and more excited about it. It really feeds my soul to be in the dirt and the science is there to back that up. Here’s a great article to get you inspired about gardening. I love the harvest “high” they talk about. I can really relate to all of the mental benefits.

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Here are a few books we’ve been enjoying from the library lately. With avid readers in the house we’re there at least once a week so it’s pretty easy to have a running list of books on reserve.

Pascual and the Kitchen Angels by Tomie DePaola … so many of his books are favorites of ours. In this one Pascual, a young boy, joins the Franciscans and is told to cook for them but doesn’t know how. Kitchen angels come down and cook for him while he spends his time in prayer. We can all glean valuable lessons from this book. Now, if we only had kitchen angels to deliver our freshly cooked meals! That sounds heavenly.

Here’s a long list of Tomie DePaola books to look for at the library. So many good ones!

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart. So many great themes in this book and perfect for spring. It’s a heartwarming story of life’s struggles and new growth – garden growth and personal growth. My little gardener girl loves this one.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind  by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer.

I heard about William Kamkwamba and his windmills a few years ago but just recently found the picture book explaining the story and then the kids and I watched his very first TED X talk. If you haven’t seen the TED X talks with William Kamkwamba, watch this one first. Now watch this one, 2 years after the first! The boys were very inspired by William and his determination and inquisitive ways. Next, Jack plans to read this one.

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Blue on Blue by Dianne White with illustrations by Beth Krommes. This one has rhymimg text describing a thunderstorm with incredible artwork by the Caldecott Award Winner Beth Krommes.

Here’s a little description of scratchboard art, the technique that the illustrator uses to create her highly visual artwork.

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To get into the Spring spirit we went to volunteer with Clockwork, at Cultivate KC. Just the thing to kickstart the gardening bug! We helped out at their Gibbs Road Farm transplanting seedlings to larger pots and preparing an area for a cover crop of clover. I’ve written about this fantastic urban farm catalyst for Kansas City here before, if you would like to know more about their mission.

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Cultivate KC also hosts Urban Grown, a fantastic garden tour featuring Kansas City urban farms and farmers and the dates for the 2015 tour are set for June 27-28th. This is such a fun tour, I always learn so much!

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Dates for upcoming Local Food Expos and Transplant Sales

Kansas City’s Eat Local and Organic Food Expo

March 28, 2015
9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Johnson County Community College (JCCC) Gym 

April 11, 2015
9:30 am- 2:30 pm
MCC Penn Valley Community College Gym

Gibbs Road Farm Transplant Sale, Saturday, April 25, 2015 8:00 am – 1:00 pm
 
The Bad Seed Transplant Sale, Friday April 18th 4-9 p.m.
 
Enjoy this 1st day of Spring and chime in with any children’s books you’ve been enjoying lately.
 
- Julie

NOURISH … busy mornings with protein waffles packed with eggs and nut flours

These waffles have been a lifesaver on rushed school mornings and are packed with protein. One (or even 1/2) of a waffle each, topped with fruit, is usually enough for the hungry crew.  This is one of those recipes (loaded with eggs) when I wish we raised chickens. Recently I joyfully accepted an overabundance of fresh eggs from my sister so I used them to make and freeze batches of these waffles. It’s so worth it to have these in the freezer ready to take out and pop in the toaster. I’ve tried several different flour combos testing the recipe and this one’s a favorite! The original recipe, including eggs, yogurt and flour, came from my mother- in-law and is also delicious, but since we’re limiting grains and dairy I adapted it to include nut flours and coconut milk. ENJOY!

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PROTEIN WAFFLES
Print
Ingredients
  1. 6 eggs
  2. 1 c. canned coconut milk
  3. 1/2 c. coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
  4. 1 t. extract (lemon, orange, or vanilla)
  5. 1 banana mashed
  6. 3/4 c. almond meal
  7. 1/2 c. coconut flour
  8. 1/2 t. cinnamon or chinese five spice blend
  9. dash of salt
Instructions
  1. Whisk together wet ingredients and the mashed banana. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients - almond and coconut flours, spice, and salt.
  2. Heat waffle iron and wipe with coconut oil to prevent sticking. Nut flours tend to cook up quick so watch the waffles and take them out early if they are browned and ready.
  3. Makes approx. 5, 7" round belgium waffles. Usually on school mornings one or 1/2 of these waffles is enough for the kids.
  4. I normally double or triple the recipe to have extra to freeze.
Five and One http://fiveandone.net/blog/

NOURISH … with a winter citrus salad topped with orange vinaigrette and sweet + spicy pecans

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After many requests for this yummy salad, here it is. The combination of sweet citrus, crunchy fennel, sweet/tangy dressing, and the sweet/spicy pecans makes it a very refreshing wintertime salad. I’ve made this one for quite a few holiday parties and it’s great to have a dish that can be made ahead of time and assembled just before eating.  I do like to make this when I can find blood orange juice, but orange juice works well too. Adding sliced blood oranges would also be amazing.  You will notice on the recipe below that you can now print out recipes easier. I’m experimenting with this format and hope to modify more of my recipes for easy printing as time allows. 

ENJOY!

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Winter Citrus Salad
Print
Ingredients
  1. SALAD INGREDIENTS
  2. Your choice of salad greens ( spinach, lettuce mix, arugula)
  3. 1/2 fennel bulb thinly sliced
  4. 2 oranges, sliced and peeled
  5. 1 pear, sliced
  6. seeds of one pomegranate
  7. VINAIGRETTE
  8. 1/4 c. orange juice ( or blood orange juice if you're able to find it)
  9. 1/2 t. dijon mustard
  10. 1 T. honey
  11. 1/2 t. apple cider vinegar
  12. 1 t. minced garlic
  13. 1/4 c. olive oil
  14. dash of sea salt
  15. dash of pepper
  16. SWEET/SPICY PECANS
  17. 2 T. butter
  18. 2 T. maple syrup
  19. 1/4 t. salt
  20. 1 t. cinnamon or chinese five spice blend
  21. 1/8 t. (or less) of cayenne or aleppo pepper
  22. 3 c. pecans
Instructions
  1. I usually prepare the vinaigrette first to let it marinate and also make the spiced nuts ahead so they are cool enough to add to the salad. Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients together except for olive oil. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the mixture. Set aside. Slice the oranges with peel on and then lay slices flat and cut off the peel.
  2. Arrange greens, sliced fennel, sliced oranges, pomegranate seeds and the sliced pear (slice and add pear to the salad right before serving). Serve with vinaigrette and sweet and spicy pecans.
  3. DIRECTIONS FOR SWEET/SPICY PECANS (make these ahead of time to allow them to cool)
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  5. Heat the butter and maple syrup in a saucepan. When butter is melted take the mixture off the heat and stir in the salt and spices. Roast the pecans in the oven for 10 min, stir, and roast for another 5. Let the pecans cool before serving.
Five and One http://fiveandone.net/blog/