Roots of Change

What I love most about living in California (and the Bay Area in particular) is being in a region that is on the forefront of a new paradigm in how we produce and consume our food.  From reforming school lunch programs and teaching children about the importance of healthy eating, to supporting and promoting local farmers, there is no shortage of organizations here trying to make a difference.

One such organization is Roots of Change, based in San Francisco.  They’ve put together a great little video on the food movement currently underway in our country.  I hope you enjoy it!

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Life Is A Bowl of Cherries

For the last couple of years, Chris and I have had to consciously work on slowing our lives down and embracing what is really important to us.  “It’s about the journey, not the destination,” we remind ourselves.  This sounds simple enough, but when things get busy and it feels like there is never quite enough time to get everything done, it’s easy to forget.

This weekend we photographed a beautiful wedding in French Camp, CA.  As we were driving home on Sunday morning, we saw a sign for U-Pick Organic Cherries on the side of the road.  Although we were pretty tired and had lots of work to do when we got home, we decided to put that all aside and seize the wonderful opportunity life had presented us.  So we grabbed a bucket, our cameras, and embraced the beautiful morning!

Enos Family Farm is located in Brentwood, CA on the corner of Marsh Creek Road and Walnut Blvd.  Although there are many other “U-Pick” farms in that area, we chose this one because it was organic.  And at only $3.50/lb (2lb. min per adult) it was a great deal!

We spent the morning strolling through the orchards, listening to the little kids around us get excited every time they plucked a juicy cherry from it’s branch, and laughed at how wonderful life can be when you just take the time to appreciate it.

My love helping to fill up our bucket.

And us enjoying the fruits of our labor while we take in the beautiful day.

“Time is free, but it’s priceless.
You can’t own it, but you can use it.
You can’t keep it, but you can spend it.
Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.”
~ Harvey MacKay

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Stacie’s Vegan Bean Dip

I’ve heard about Stacie’s famous vegan bean dip for some time now.  Since I’ve been off gluten and dairy recently, I figured it would be fun to try this dip with some gluten-free tortilla chips.  And who better to show me how to make it than my dear friend Stacie herself!

After showing up at my door with loads of fresh organic produce and her signature smile, I couldn’t wait to get our little party started!  We cranked up the tunes (an EP Stacie brought over from a local artist, Dustin Saylor, which we had on repeat all afternoon – definitely check him out!) and got to chopping!

After a few simple steps, we created a beautiful dip that I couldn’t wait to dig into!
Stacie’s Vegan Bean Dip

1 can organic vegetarian refried beans (preferably Amy’s brand)
3 avocados (plus extra 1/2 avocado for garnish)
1 lime
1 – 8oz. container vegan sour cream (preferably Tofutti’s)
1/2 packet organic taco seasoning
1 – 4oz. can chopped black olives
1/2 cup vegan cheddar cheese
1/4 cup freshly chopped organic tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped organic cilantro

1. Stir beans and spread in one even layer over bottom of serving dish.

2. In separate bowl, mash together the avocados with the juice from one lime and layer over beans.

3. In another bowl, mix the sour cream with the taco seasoning and layer on top of the guacamole. Proceed by sprinkling the olives over the sour cream, followed by the cheese, then the tomatoes, and finally finish by garnishing  with additional avocado slices and chopped cilantro.

Serves 6.

I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful day.  Catching up with Stacie, reliving all our past adventures and road trips, cracking up at each other about who is becoming more “granola” faster (haha)… I feel so fortunate to have such a wonderful friend in my life.


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It Finally Feels Like Summer

After what seems like months of endless rain, frosty air and unpleasant wind, the clouds have parted and temperatures are starting to rise.  It’s beginning to feel like summer!  Chris and I celebrated with a lovely BBQ lunch in the backyard that included juicy organic grass-fed burgers, caprese salad and pineapple skewers.

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A Few Glorious Herbs

I realize I’m a little late to the game in getting my herbs started, but better late than never!  The usual gang have all taken root: rosemary, basil, flat-leaf parsley, mint, lemon thyme (probably my favorite herb EVER), oregano… and the newcomer, weighing in at a whopping 10 oz., lavender mint!

Once these contenders move up in weight class and I can actually snip off a portion for cooking without resulting in a knockout, it’s on!  Whether adding sprinklings of mint to a seasonal fruit salad, or scattering goat cheese and lemon thyme over a free-range poached egg, herbs never stop being wonderful flavor contributors to any dish.

So stay tuned….

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