Cauliflower Tabbouleh #Raw #Vegan #Delicious

This Memorial holiday weekend was spent catching up on me time! I finished a project sanding and staining a couch & chair for my covered patio. I read a chapter in a book I am determined to finish. I added a few blogs to my Reader preferences in Word Press. Lastly, I watered my neighbor’s flowers praying they will recover from my forgetfulness.

cauliflower tabbouleh

Every now and then I am lured to Pinterest and I found some time to indulge “pinning”.  A quiet Sunday afternoon between projects fit the bill this weekend, and I proceeded to experiment a bit. First was research for anything cauliflower since I had this in my fridge. For some reason, tabbouleh popped in my mind. Hey, I’ve riced cauliflower with great results in other dishes, why not tabbouleh? So, how could I mix up a few recipes to adjust to my palate?

Riced cauliflower was the start of this incredible dish that will now be my summer salad keeper. I substituted mint for arugula since I had it on hand in my garden. End result? Amazing! This will feed 6-8. If you happen to have leftovers, I recommend livening the salad with fresh lemon juice before serving.

Recipe

1 small to medium head cauliflower, trimmed to flowerets

5 large Roma tomatoes, deseeded and diced

2 cups flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 cup arugula, finely chopped

1 bunch green onions, white & green part sliced

1 English cucumber, peeled, cut in half. Scoop out seeds, chop fine

1/3 cup quality olive oil

Fresh lemon juice from 1 large lemon

Zest from lemon – use a micro planer

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place cauliflower in batches in food processor with S blade. Process until you have the consistency of couscous. Transfer cauliflower rice to large bowl and combine well with rest of ingredients. Serve at room temperature.

Bon Appétit!

 

Grief Wears Many Hats in Life #ItComesInWaves

They saw grief comes in waves, and for me it appears to be a tidal wave. However, I have a sturdy life jacket called joy that helps me face the challenges before me.

My dear, sweet companion and best friend ever, my dog Zeke, has been diagnosed with severe congestive heart failure. It seems just when I had all sorts of plans I have to adjust life again. Such is life.IMG_5960

Zeke has been by my side during the most difficult time in my adult life, namely when Paul died one and a half years ago. He watched me with those big brown eyes when I cried and each time came to my side to snuggle with me. Zeke knew what it would take to help pull me out of the grief and back to the present moment. Well, the present moment may also have been time for a hike. Or a meal. Or a treat. No matter what, he taught me to pick myself up when I found myself in a state of deepest grief.

At times, it was not easy and I honestly could not come up with a reason why I had to pick myself up. It did take time to muster the energy to even move at times. It seems so long ago and yet it may just come back again given this recent news. Knowing what is to come is a blessing and a curse, that’s for sure. This will be difficult but it’s not about me, this is going to be about giving Zeke the best summer of his life.

Even with medications, the prognosis calls for a summer bucket list. And, what better season do accomplish this! I have made the decision to pave the path for Zeke and I with happiness and fun.  I’m going to need help with this, so please ring me if you can help:

dog-paw-print (Custom)Chase a cat to the fence and touch it. Bear in mind Zeke only likes the chase. This was accomplished last week.

dog-paw-print (Custom)Canoe Silver Creek Preserve in Bellevue, Idaho

dog-paw-print (Custom)Go for a boat ride. Since altitude will be a factor in summer travels, Lucky Peak will do. Zeke has his own life jacket.

dog-paw-print (Custom)Ride in a convertible. Dog sunglasses optional.

dog-paw-print (Custom)Road trip to the San Juan Islands to hang with Jenny P.

dog-paw-print (Custom)Get paws wet in ocean water and get so sandy a bath will be in order.

dog-paw-print (Custom)Road trip to the Oregon Coast to see girlfriend, Olive. Zeke likes to tease her by nipping at her tail.

dog-paw-print (Custom)Altitude will prevent going to the mountains, but perhaps a ride to Idaho City will do and find a great trail.

dog-paw-print (Custom)Get in lake kayak and cruise flat water. Perhaps Sandy Point at Lucky Peak State Park!

Stay tuned for more!!

#grief #dogismybestfriend #doglove #bucketlist #lifelesson

 

 

Make Your Life Better by Being Kinder #SpeakWithIntention

Last week I witnessed, on a number of occasions, criticism that went too far. Complaining that went on and on. Opinions that were one sided. And as a result, feelings deeply hurt. This left me pondering, when did it become ‘okay’ to be so negative? Why can’t we wake up and smell the coffee and be grateful? Are we going to let the mood of our country affect who we really are?

ChooseHappiness

I’m going to cut to the chase. This 2016 election cycle is frightening. America is a great country, period. We enjoy a way of life that other people on this planet dream about. I always felt every American should go to a third world country for 30 days in order to appreciate what they have here.

It appears that we have become a nation of complainers. Often times, I won’t even share a story I find online because of the cruel posts in the comment thread. There are trolls on every form of social media, just appearing out of nowhere to ruin the day. Others post or share what they find online, never bothering to fact check a fabrication.

And, innocently or not, we have also begun to treat others poorly. We speak before we think. I am reading a book titled, Infinite Possibilities by Mike Dooley, and so far what I am receiving is that thoughts become things.

If I choose to be positive, which I am anyway, then that positivity is a gift to those I come in contact with daily. I will admit I need to remind myself of this, every day. If we choose to be naysayers, then our universe will be negative. Why on earth can’t we be grateful for the good things in life? Can you imagine how much better your own life would be if you changed your outlook?

Look at the news when they report pieces on those who have found a way to change their outlook over a life tragedy. These people found a way to overcome their disability or their situation and now are a source of inspiration to their communities. We can do that, too!

I choose to be positive. I choose happiness. I choose to be kinder. If I slip up, call me on it, would you? I no longer want to let the negative tone get any of me. It does not deserve it!

Think first, be mindful. After all, life is what we make of it.

#bekind #bemindful #thinkfirst #lifelesson

 

Every Day is Mother’s Day and Father’s Day For Me #MissYouMama #MissYouDaddy

Social media is full of photos, celebrating a Mom on this day. Next month, it will be celebrating a Dad. For some of us whose parents are no longer here with us, these days are bittersweet. Ten years ago today, my siblings and I lost both our parents twenty days apart. But, you know what? It was just the way it was supposed to be. Our parents knew where they were going.

M+D Yellowstone

I won’t sugar coat it, our parents were strict. They were Spanish Catholics whose goal for us kids were to be good Americans. Our parents were hard working and very proud to ensure we had the best education available. They did not have a great deal of money and yet made sacrifices a to send us to parochial school. Being first generation Americans was an honor for our Mom and my Dad made sure to give us what he did not have as a child.

Dad was from Texas: his family immigrated from Europe and landed in the eastern part of Mexico before ending up in Texas. After WWII, Dad stayed in Long Beach for opportunities that were not available in the small country town he grew up in. Mom’s family immigrated from Europe and landed in South America. Mama was from Quito, Ecuador and left a traditional culture for Los Angeles to try a new way of life. Looking back, I never realized the implications of such a move until much later.

Our parents did what they could, and they did what they thought they were supposed to do. They did their best even though at times – to us – it seemed over the top with their strict values. Keep in mind we grew up in the 60’s and 70’s when the world was changing and America changed from an industrialized nation to an evolving nation. But you know what? The standards they instilled in us framed my siblings and I in to adults with morals and values that guaranteed our success.

Both parents had qualities that made us who we are today. Our Dad always found a way to make us laugh and appreciate the smaller things in life. Our Mom always found ways of giving, whether it was to us or volunteering at church. Even though they were strict, my brothers and sister all ended up to be the adults we are now.

When our parents were dying, we rallied together. After our parents died, we worked together to sort things out. No conflicts. If anything, we laughed together recalling Mom or Dad stories.

I am a very fortunate person to have siblings that love each other, get along with each other and stay in touch. This is all because of who our parents were, who our parents are. After all, they still are alive in us.

#lifelesson #MothersDay #FathersDay #grateful

If Not Now, Then When? #whatareyouwaitingfor

It has occurred to me to ask, if not now, then when? When the heck when?

What do we wait for anyway? Why do we wait for “it”?  When do we honestly think “it” will happen? Who are we really fooling besides ourselves?

New Path

I am referring to any of those life decisions that we confront. Changing jobs. Moving to a new city. Learning a new sport. Travelling to a different country. You get the point. Even a new relationship or renewing the relationship you have.

I have learned to trust my instinct and it has not once been wrong. If something I am attempting in life is a goal I want to meet, then why not! I still have that tiny voice that tries to talk me out of it. From now on, I am pushing that tiny voice of Fear off to the side. Enter Confidence in its place! Not to mention, Excitement. Coolness. Faith. Trust.

New friendships are fulfilling because you learn a different point of view, the other side of the coin. New sports are gratifying because you see a part of your world in a setting you would not have been exposed to otherwise. I went on a road trip a few weekends ago and the reminder of the beauty of Utah and the Wasatch mountains literally moved me. How could I have forgotten in the first place?

I write in a journal and this weekend I wrote that I am going to discover more from now on.

I am going to live with gusto!

#lifelesson #goforit #whynot #happiness

Is Change a Challenge or an Opportunity? #Challenge #Opportunity

Change can be a challenge or an opportunity. Often times change is both, and yet a few times in life it is truly one or the other. Challenge. Opportunity. For me, it tends to be both at the same time. I know, ironic, eh?

Change-Challenge-Opportunity

For some reason, some folks just do not like change. You would think that others were asking for a limb removed or something drastic. Hah! I suppose that can be the Challenge…

It occurred to me this past weekend that just about all of my life, my many changes have been challenges and yet opportunities. If I hadn’t moved to Ketchum, I would not likely have discovered real estate that became my career. If I hadn’t moved to Boise, I may not have grown spiritually as I have since moving here. If I had not gotten a dog, I may not have opened my eyes to the beauty of the Foothills that we hike on a daily basis. See, opportunity!

When I think of things such as challenges and opportunities, I look to my family, my friends, my mentors, my colleagues and even strangers for the life lessons I have questions about. No matter what, there is that person in our life that shares wisdom and in turn, opens our minds to the challenge or opportunity at hand.

That “person” can be an enlightening post you read on the internet or listened to in an interview on television or the radio. What about strangers sitting at the nearby table at your favorite restaurant? You accidentally overhear and yet, was it an accident or was it meant to be? The right place at the right time.

At the present moment in our journey called life, pay attention. That is usually all it takes to learn something new. Make it your opportunity!

#challenge #lifelesson #opportunity

 

Road Trips Are Good for Your Mind aka Soul #SolitudeIsTheKey

The past five days have been spent working less, relaxing more. This took driving to not only a different zip code but another area code. Two area codes to be exact!

my Goal

This was the first road trip I took by myself in years – well, with Zeke my rastadoodle in tow – with no intention other than to relax and visit friends. To discover Salt Lake City by myself with Zeke. No maps other than the knowledge of what we wanted to discover. To go back to the mountains in Park City.

First off, the drive to Utah. The reminder of the beauty of the Idaho Utah border tends to be a surprise every time, even though it’s is familiar from a car or from an airplane if you ever fly Delta out of Boise. The landscape was greener than green which in turn took my heartbeat down a pace or two. The serenity was palatable. I have to say that Zeke is one heck of a traveler, just chilling.

The closer we approached Salt Lake City, the darker the weather turned and changed to a downpour that made our entrance to the city unrecognizable. With GPS we managed to find our way to Millcreek to an adorable lower level apartment I booked via Airbnb and it was perfect. And, the pictures did do it justice, no surprises.

Our days were started with “what do we do today?” So, Zeke and I walked Parley’s Nature Trail twice, taking in the Wasatch Range in view no matter what part of the park we were at. Naturally, I did some city shopping and did not, yes, I did not go to IKEA. Hey, I live in 480 square feet! I don’t need anything.

The road then took us to Park City where we spent the weekend. One of my childhood friends and her husband have lived here for over 40 years; thankfully we have always stayed in touch. I will always remember reconnecting with her my first out of state ski trip. I recognized her voice from 20 feet away! The weekend was chock full of catching up on each other’s lives, my writing, walking nature trails, relishing her dinner on Friday night – someone cooked for me!!! and cooking dinner together Saturday night.

UT Trip

This trip was good for me on many levels: a mini-vacation on my own with no schedule other than to take care of myself. The deepest part of my grieving period is now in my past. I have a future and I intend to live again. I will always miss Paul and yet I know in my heart what he would be telling me. He would tell me to live, be present and be grateful. Yes, I am indeed.

I don’t know about you, but my best road trips have always been hanging out with friends. I needed the change in scenery in order to move forward. I feel at peace, I really do.

#lifelesson #roadtrip #solitude

I Ask You: What Gives You Joy? #SimpleThings

I kid you not, this is my fourth draft for my blog post today. I often write over the weekend, and refine my piece Sunday night or Monday morning. I went back to the three other attempts and realized the frantic pace I had last week affected my mood.

So, that got me to thinking: what is it that brings me joy, especially when I need it the most?

choose joy

In the early mornings, it is about 6:00 a.m., when my dog, Zeke, stretches from the living room and jumps on to the bed. He will find a spot next to me, inch up and find that place where he lets out one of those heavy sighs only a dog can do. Someone told me once that when a dog sighs, they are really telling you they love you. I believe that.

After the morning snuggle, we head out the door for the Foothills or the Boise River greenbelt over here in Garden City. The sounds of a morning vary from season to season. It’s the sounds of life that bring me joy, too.

Winter has a stillness that is palatable. Hiking on a winter morning with a light snowfall is the perfect time for me to also still my mind. Believe me, that is no easy task! Meditating has given me the tools to quiet my mind and let go of what I am worrying about. Even if it’s a downpour of rain, the sound from a roof is magic.

Spring is chock full of birds singing, but did you know they are actually calling to other birds? It’s mating season in case you forgot that. This is also the time of year we can open our doors and windows for much needed fresh air. Now we can hear the city sounds or the mountain sounds. The sound of the river rising, the sound of the ocean if you are on the coast. That nearby creek is all of the sudden reminding you it is still there now that it has more water.

Summer is full of people sounds. Bike riding on the greenbelt. Paddle boards on the river or ponds. Surfers and kayakers at the Whitewater Park. The cast of a line even has that distinct sound, makes me wonder if fish can sense it. Walkers downtown at the Saturday Market. For that matter, the Saturday Market sounds: people talking, laughing, greeting, telling their story. The Foothills trails seem to be bursting with people and flowers, everyone says hello. Some of us know each other’s dog’s names but not the people names.

Fall is preparing for the winter. The sounds come back indoors now. So do the smells. A pot or slow cooker simmering of a meal that warms you inside at mealtime. Baking bread. Canning from the summer harvest. The first time you can light a fire in the fireplace. Or, the first time you have to fire up the pilot light. Bringing out your winter gear to make sure you are ready for weekends in the mountains.

All in all, it really is the simple things in life that bring me the most joy. I was reminded of all of these things when I realized I needed a break from what is taking place in the world right now. This break was overdue. How about you?

#lifelesson #simplethings #joy #relax

I Had the Good Kind of Fire #LettingGo #MovingOn

On Saturday night, I had a select group of friends over for a bonfire. These friends were my tribe that were always present for me after Paul died or in the later months or both, offering the kind of love and support that helped me navigate the grief.

bonfire feet

I was never given Paul’s keepsake ashes, so I kept a few things of Paul’s that had meaning to only him. I thought to myself, I’ll just make my own “ashes” later. A few weeks ago I came across a small bag of cards. I recall as I packed to move out of our house, I was touched that Paul saved all the cards I gave him. So, I set them aside for the future bonfire along with a few other things that I was surprised he kept. Men just don’t get rid of anything, do they? Finding the cards recently led me to the decision that it was finally time for that bonfire I had planned.

It was time to do this, not overdue but rather just the right time. I’ve made myself a tiny house into a cozy home. It’s all mine, even down to the garden. In my book, planting means you are staying. I am staying in this tiny house because I am comfortable here. I am staying in this cozy cottage because I don’t want to uproot myself again. I need to stay for now.

But I also wanted to let go of the mementos and the timing could not have been better. It’s Spring! To me, spring is a season of rebirth. The grass grows back in to a bright green color that has everyone asking what I did to make it so beautiful. The trees are budding with new life, some trees even have flowers that will be singing in the wind soon. Some trees already have those beautiful flowers that only the season of spring shows off. Bulb flowers are emerging. Birds are chasing each other. Yes, Spring is my favorite season indeed.

raging fire collage

My bonfire party was full of friends, new and old. Some friends knew each other and some did not. We all knew each other well by the end of the night! My next door neighbor, Lou, asked me what story I could tell as I filled the fire pit. I told everyone that Paul and I had realized we may have been in the same English class our first year in college. Lou then read a lovely poem written by a Polish poet, Wislawa Szymborska, Love at First Sight  The poem was about how we pass by each other for years or even decades, and eventually we meet because it was destiny.

That is exactly how we are in life, brushing by others, walking past someone and eventually we meet. Pay more attention to where you go. You just might meet a person that will make a significant difference in your life. I did. And, look: the ashes the next morning look just like a peace symbol.

peace sign

#grief #lifelesson #lettinggo

What’s In It For Me? A Foodie’s Confession About Pinterest

I used to be a Pinterest Foodie addict. Pinning late at night, pinning early in the morning. The daytime hours had to be for career activities, but the Pinterest button on my add-ons bar beckoned me mercilessly.

Thousands of pins later, I am so over that now.

I am much for selective and spend less time. Why? I am literally “pinned out”. How did I come to this conclusion? Pinterest notified me that I pinned that pin before. Busted.

All kidding aside, Pinterest is the best of the best places to save the awesome things you find on the internet. For me, it is mostly recipes, home décor to share with my real estate clients, travel bucket list places and inspirational quotes.

When it comes to cooking and recipes, I save ideas to play with the recipes. I like those ingredients, but what can I do to make it different or better or healthier? Never a dilemma but always a challenge.

Salad Prep
Salad Prep

Lately, I have been on a cabbage craze. The search was on for a dressing recipe. I tried my cabbage salad with my lemon tahini dressing. Yum. But I wanted a lighter dressing. You know what? Keeping it simple, I found that just rice vinegar and red pepper flakes worked the best.

 

Summer Cabbage Salad

1 large head green cabbage, or mix varieties to suit your taste

4 green onions, sliced

Rice vinegar

Red pepper flakes to taste

Roasted pumpkin seeds, unsalted

Cut cabbage in half, core the stem and cut in half again. Slice thinly and toss in a large bowl. Add the green onions, and pour rice vinegar, keeping in mind you don’t want to soak the greens. At this point, you can add or skip the red pepper flakes. Top with roasted pumpkin seeds.

Now, change this up and add other ingredients that you may have on hand! Julienned carrots, chopped cilantro, sliced water chestnuts, pea pods, matchstick red bell pepper. You get the picture now, right? Or just take a look at mine!

cabbage salad

#foodie #recipe #summersalad