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Archive for July, 2011

This one is for my mother, who keeps asking for more recipes.

After training late, meaning to harvest from the garden for days and enjoying the sizzling temps, I just threw together these two dishes and called it dinner late last night. I made it up as went I so I will do my best to recreate it from memory. I didn’t take photos. It was not until I had devoured half my plate that I knew they must find their way here.

The evenings bounty

Summer Beans

Fresh green beans
Fresh peas
Fresh radishes
Garlic
Olive Oil
Almonds
Hard boiled egg
Salt and pepper

Blanch beans and peas- seperately so they cook evenly, just until tender- leave a bit a of bite. Cool in water bath to retain color and stop cooking. Saute sliced radishes in olive oil. When tender add garlic, salt and pepper. Add beans and peas until warm. Put in a bowl, toss with dressing and top with sliced almonds and quartered egg. Save a bit of the dressing to drizzle over the egg at the end.

For the dressing:
1t Deli or Dijon mustard
2 T Lemon juice
1/4 c Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Whisk until thick. This was for just two people, but you can increase the amounts and adjust as you like.

This next one is so simple it’s amazing how delicious it is!

Sizzling Summer Squash

1 summer squash, halved and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large handful basil, finely chopped
2 T olive oil
Salt and pepper

Saute squash in olive oil. Add garlic when half-cooked, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and toss with basil.

That’s it! But wait until you try it! I don’t know about you, but the deeper the summer, the less I eat. Especially when temps are soaring. These two dishes were perfect and left us both fully satisfied. And the best part… the whole meal was grown by us!!

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Perhaps my all time favorite training tool!!

The Sandbag!

Durable, 6 straps for complete range of use

4 inner bags can be filled with stones, sand, rice… for various weight levels

Inner bags even have handles that can be used as hand weights!!
Double velcro seal for added protection from messy spills.

Take your training up a notch!!

Tips and workouts coming soon….

Email me at WholeLivingWithStephanie@gmail.com if you want to give it a try

Live Well!
~S

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Have I mentioned how much I love training?

I love being in the gym. I love throwing weights around. I love being strong and feeling healthy.

And I LOVE helping people feel that way too!!

Often, I hear having a trainer is such a frivolous thing. An expense not easily justified. And I get it. That is the exact reason I don’t operate like most trainers. I understand. I want everyone to experience the gift of health. I was once a young mom, trying to stay home and raise my babies, sacrificing so much. I know how easy it is put yourself last. I understand money struggles,  budgets. I have spent a lifetime creating ways around them. I create plans for everyone, every budget, every lifestyle.

I am offering a great deal!
$50 Health Consultations We will delve deep into your lifestyle, habits and capabilities. I will help create a plan specific to your needs, likes and dislikes. From nutrition, exercise and life’s troubles, I help you work through difficulties and questions and get you on track to a healthier, better you! This is a series of communication starting with providing me information about your current status, a one on one consultation and carrying through with continued support via phone or email.

$30 One on One Training- Each visit will help teach you proper form, boost your metabolism, morph your body, mind and spirit and help educate so that you can feel confident carrying on on your own in the future. My job is to make you better, head to toe. I don’t believe you should need me forever. In the time we are together, you should learn enough to master your health and fitness.

I offer sessions in any location that works best for you. Currently, most of these have been home workouts. And believe it or not, you can get an incredible workout at home with little to no equipment! I will show you how. These work great for those feeling a bit self-conscious or simply to busy to add the drive- I come to you. I also take these workouts outside for those ready to do so. In the back yard, a park, the beach. It is incredible fun. You hardly know you are training at all, but the results are tremendous. And of course sessions are offered at local gyms allowing outside trainers.

All services include nutrition plans, exercise routines, healthy tips and recipes and answers to your health and fitness questions.
I also offer Reiki sessions.

I am open to discussion. If you are interested, but short on budget, let’s talk. I can create a plan that will work.

I currently offer services in Strafford and Rockingham County, NH and York County, ME. Some variations possible.

Contact me at WholeLivingWithStephanie@gmail.com

Live Well!
~S

*This offer is for a limited time. Subject to change without further notice here.

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July 11, 2011

It’s no secret I like to make things. My line of botanicals and apothecary items did not stem from a desire to make money. It grew from my ever-growing love of becoming one with nature, living clean and being as friendly to the Earth as she is to me. And from my constant itch for creativity. My sister-in-law used to call me Martha Stewart. As I painted and cut, chopped and stewed, I filled an innate calling. I learned, by hits and misses, successes and utter failures. I laughed and danced, cried and sent things flying. Through it all I fell head over heals with natural products made by hand with love and consideration. In love with knowing my family wasn’t being bombarded by harmful toxins.

As the years went on I realized not only was I happy doing these things, my family was healthier! While everyone around us was hacking and coughing, we were enjoying health. As time progressed further and I watched the people around me age and ail, it seemed we weren’t! My husband has just one grey hair on his chin. Her name is Macala in honor of our gorgeous daughter, who at 14 is so stunning he is sure to have an ulcer next. I still get asked at my children’s school if I am their sister. I still hear I look just like I did in high school. I still feel as I did in my 20’s. I say this not to float my own boat, rather to explain my love for choosing a life filled with herbs and natural oils versus cans and bottles filled with chemicals and things I can’t even pronounce.  I firmly believe that clean living has kept us young.

Not all is perfect however. I am a product junkie. I admit it. My closets and cupboards have seen nearly every item lining the shelves of a salon. At times I have even substituted my much-loved home-made products for a flashy bottle or pretty wrapper. Although I have made nearly anything needed to clean us and our home, I have often fallen to the whim of big box stores and purchased those chemical filled pretty bottles screaming CLEAN.

All this leads me to my next venture. Using NO (or as little as possible) store-bought products. No shampoo or soap, no cleaners, no detergents. No chemicals, no packaging, no cans and bottles piling up in landfills.  Of course there will be some things purchased, such as baking soda and vinegar. But my goal is to make all of my products completely  Earth friendly and chemical free. My hope is to chronicle this madness. The good, the bad and the ugly.

I want to find ways to have as little impact as well. Composting, which I have done for years, however not religiously. Recycling and reusing whatever I can. Shopping more often so as not to waste. Little things here and there that will not only add up to a small carbon footprint, but will also add up in my savings account! Think about this… one box of baking soda can wash your hair for approximately 3 months. That’s 50 cents versus, what? $8? $20 with a salon product? That same box can clean your bathroom say 8-10 times. One can or bottle of bathroom cleaner will last 2, maybe 3 cleanings and run you somewhere around $4? Though not my main goal, saving money is certainly an added benefit.

A couple of days ago I started at the top… with my hair. Although I had switched to natural shampoos and conditioners some time ago, I decided to try to take it one step further. Baking soda and vinegar. You can read the reason in my post STOP Washing Your Hair. Now I have used this method over the years, but never consistently. I would wash my hair with baking soda here and there, but always using conditioner after a day or two. Would use a vinegar rinse, but never continuously.

A few days have passed now and I have to say, this might just be my biggest challenge! The film of mineral oil that builds up takes some time to remove, leaving my hair feeling like straw with greasy, gritty bits. Getting the recipe correct for my hair type, a challenge. My will, weakening.

I’m trying.

Update…  (July 20, 2011)

Did I say the good, the bad and the UGLY? Well, after 6 days of baking soda “shampoo” I clearly resembled a Chia Pet! Ugly is certainly the proper description. It was not pretty friends. Not pretty. Needless to say, I have resorted to my natural shampoo and conditioner again. And my soft, lovely curls are back. Much to my husbands admiration.

As with life, not everything is going to go as planned. What will work for one, may not for another. We do our best. We try and we choose. As long as we are making an effort to create something better. So my wage goes on. Perhaps I will revisit this baking soda shampoo business another day. I AM a glutton. In the mean time, I will substitute with baking soda and vinegar here and there as I have and continue the pursuit of natural, chemical free, hand-made, dollar saving, Earth friendly goodness.

Next up…. Napkins.

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A Day In The Life…

I have this blog I had been working on for some time.  Day In The Life Of A NH Realtor. I really enjoyed writing about my venture into the world of real estate. My love of people and helping them find a home. Not a house, but a home. The first few posts were my best. I still go back from time to time to read them. As time went on though,  a funny thing happened. I found there was less and less I wanted to write. My days went on in the same general order. I found fewer things sparked my creativity. Who wants to hear about the contract I wrote? The hours spent sitting at a desk. Just as I had really found my groove, truly felt easily capable of quickly knowing how to handle every obstacle thrown at me, very well versed in the goings on of this world…. I began to realize my zest was waning.

It’s no secret I am easily bored. Forever searching for the next adventure. I’m a dreamer. Lost in a world all my own. Big ideas, big goals. All for a time. But just as I get comfortable something crazy happens in my brain. I begin to dream of something new. Not intentionally mind you. Not even willingly most times. But uncontrollably my heart begins to lead me in the opposite direction from where I am “supposed” to be going. Once I have succeeded, once I have proven to myself this one was attainable, I’m over it. Ready for something new. My poor husband. For the past 20 years.. seriously. Twenty years…. he has watched as I floated and bounced. Suffered as I changed and diverted. Been driven mad by my consistent destruction of castles built.

So last Summer, after a broken foot, chaos, weight gain(pure hell for a former trainer) and inevitably, a minor bout of depression, I found myself here again. Oh, I fought it. Berated myself. Told myself it was all due to mourning the loss of my favorite season, my inability to spend it doing all the things I loved. I was truly miserable broken. I’m use to days full of action. Being strong and capable. Running my stresses away. Pounding my body to rid my mind of what ever ails it. Whether that is truly the cause I can’t be sure. The fact is, there is no going back. I’m surely capable of sinking in to the grind. I would do whatever I needed if it came down to it. But my family would leave me. I would be so miserable I would lose my spark. You see, this is who I am. This is what makes me… ME.

This brings me to the real reason I am saying all this. To inspire. I’m not saying I am leaving real estate all together. I am not saying quit your job. I’m saying follow your heart. Make your life yours! Don’t be afraid to go after a little adventure. I have done so many things. I have met so many people. I have learned so many wonderful lessons. I won’t say all this movement didn’t cause ripples and even crashing, somewhat destructive waves. Many times I took giant cuts in income just to find a new adventure. But money isn’t everything. THAT is who I truly am.

You see, something occurred to me during that time. I WAS losing my spark. I had little time for the things I truly loved. Gardens, nature, creativity and most importantly my love of training. Ok, MOST importantly, my family. The earthy, fun-loving, spirited person I loved was slowly waning. The carefree, happy mom full of constant laughter was fading. And I wanted her back. I also realized my very deepest dream was moving further and further away. I have always wanted to have a shop. A little place filled with love and creativity, herbs, botanicals, me. But I found myself so far from that person I barely recognized myself anymore. And painstakingly, I decided to find her again.

I started training! I was a little unsure, a bit rusty and most definitely nervous. But I went after it just the same. And you know what happened? Piece by piece, little by little, I started to reappear. I started making botanicals again. I started to feel like me again. And I am happy! Really happy. A bit of me mourns that career I worked so hard for. No longer giving so much of me too it. Wondering where it will go. A bit wonders if going  back really is going forward. I have questions regarding so many things…. How do I ever make this shop happen? Will it be the one thing that satiates my ever-present gypsy ways? Will I find enough training clients to pay the bills AND send my kids off to school? Question after question. Unknown after unknown. Perhaps that is what I really crave. I say if it feels good, it is where you need to be. And when your heart and soul tell you it’s time to move, then do your damnedest to make it happen. If I stay in real estate it will only be for the love of the business. Not pride, not fear. For only then will I know I did my best while I was here.

If there is something you have yet to do, something calling you, go after it. Be it a career path, a hobby,  a healthier life, a fitter body, skydiving… anything. Go for it. You never know just how much time you have.

Take something from this. You live just one life.

You have but one chance to enjoy this world.

Follow your dreams.

…even when they take a turn.

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What a beautiful weekend it was in The Shire! I woke Saturday to find new blooms in the Border Garden. Lovely lily’s. It seems everything is loving this Summer as much as I am. Pots are bursting, beds are overflowing. The fennel is screaming to be roasted with pork. It’s bittersweet, harvesting. Watching something fill the space allotted. Gardens bursting. To pull a pile of radishes or carrots is thrilling and rewarding. Yet, to see the bare spot where so much color once lived is a bit saddening.

The mister and I have been visiting all of the local, and not so local, farmers markets. We ventured to the Rollinsford market at Wentworth Greenhouse Saturday. Anxious anticipation for the mushrooms we read would greet us… only to find there weren’t any. Our only other must have, and a definite for next years gardens, were golden beets. The week prior we found glorious bunches at the Portsmouth market. Again, to our dismay there were none to be had. We did, however, buy some exquisite smoked caprice from Via Lactea. It nearly burst with creamy goodness when sliced into. Divine. And I can not forget the lovely rosemary bread from Borealis. Together they made for the perfect Summer evening paired with cherries, olives and a cool Pinot Grigio enjoyed on the porch.

We had lunch on a deck then took a drive. A favorite pastime of ours. Winding our way through the summer streets. Past farms and gardens in bloom. Country roads with long views.

Sunday took us to one of our favorite garden centers, Spiderweb Gardens. Isn’t the name just darling? Located in the beautiful sleepy town of Tuftonboro, you can find nearly anything you are looking for and many things you weren’t. Greenhouse after greenhouse of plump, healthy splendor. And to our delightful surprise they were having a buy one, get one free sale on all annuals…. including vegetables! So, that bare spot where the fennel once lived will now be home to some spicy red peppers!

Green fields and darker forests, blue skies and gentle breezes.
There is nothing like Summer in The Shire!

*The last four photos courtesy of the budding photographer, Mr. B.

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This beauty was the very first cucumber harvested this year and it sure was put to good use!

Spicy Sweet Curry Pickles!

Refrigerator pickles are so easy it’s almost frightening. And it’s a great way to keep a single cucumber from going to waste. They take moments to make, last for weeks in the fridge and will wow your family and friends.

Here is my recipe-

1  1/2 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons mustard seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
– you can use ground but there is something I love about grinding my own in a mortar and pestle. I swear you taste the love infused.
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 cloves of sliced garlic

Place ingredients in a pot and bring just to a boil

Next you need-

3 dill flowers
3 sprigs of dill leaves
1 large cucumber sliced
1 cup onion sliced

Layer in large mason jar starting with dill

Then cucumber, then dill

Then onion and lastly dill.
Pour the liquid mixture over the top and cap.

Simply leave them on the counter over night to cool, give them a shake here and there, then put them in the fridge.
They will be best after 3-4 days.

Enjoy!

Live Well!
~S

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