One chicken, 3 dinners

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Deep into the second month of social distancing, I am becoming an expert at making food last. I have one shop a week and I need to make it work for us. I decided to make it work for my budget as well and it’s become quite a game for me to see how well we can eat for how little.

Good, healthy food should be available to all. No one should have to buy something in a box because it’s cheaper. I’ve been saying this for years. No matter how much or how little you have, healthy eating should be a basic right. So, I am challenging myself to see how far I can go with everything I buy.

I hope I can encourage veering away from the middle isles in a grocery store and mostly staying at the edges, with the fresh veggies and (hopefully ethically raised) meat.

(Even more, when I can, I visit any local farm near me hardly needing to go to a store at all.)

You’ve all seen it. There are a million chicken recipes. But here’s mine, at its most simple:

I make a lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper rub and rub it all over, dripping some into the cavity. I then place half the cut lemon inside the chicken with rosemary and thyme. I place into an preheated oven at 400 degrees and cook for 2 hours.

Comes out perfect every single time.

Dinner 1, done. Now….

No matter how hungry you are, save a tiny bit of meat! Doesn’t have to be much, even the little scraps still hanging and save the bones as well. I’ll be back tomorrow with the second meal.

Enjoy!

 


Mung Beans and Rice (with Curry and Shiitake)

image1.jpgWhen it became apparent that life would be changing and trips to the store would be few and far between I thought about what I would need to keep us healthy and happy.

Instead of rushing to the frozen food section, I went to my local grocer and special ordered 50 pounds of dried beans (mung and garbanzo) and 25 pounds of rice.

We now had our base on which to add little things here and there. I cannot stress enough how economical this was to do. We have saved so much money and 5 weeks in I still have pounds and pounds of it.

If you are at all struggling with how to eat on a budget, buy dry!

As you can imagine I have lots of ways to eat beans now.

This one is my son’s favorite and we have it at least 4 times a week.

The secret is how you use the ginger.

The bigger secret is how to include the kale. Since my kids were little I have used my food processor to chop up kale/collards/spinach into little tiny bits that I put in everything.

(For the rice and beans I always soak at least 8 hours in water with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for each.)

Best of all? It’s fast and easy!

You need (and this generously serves 4):

2 cups brown basmati rice (or any rice you like), soaked

1 1/2 cups whole green mung beans, soaked

1 bunch kale, chopped as fine as you like

1 medium yellow onion

3 to 5 tablespoons ginger, grated into a fine paste (I use a cheese grater) –this is really important as the more it’s ground up, the richer the dish will be.

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon coriander

olive oil

shitake mushrooms (optional)

To cook:

Drain and rinse the rice and beans.

Heat oil in a large pot adding curry and onion. Sauté slowly over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Add coriander and ginger and stir for only one minute (you don’t want the ginger to burn.)

Add beans and rice and water (you want to cover them with about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of water on top) and place lid on.

Bring to boil and put timer on for 30 min. (You can check water here and there to make sure you added enough.)

At 20 min lift lid and stir in chopped up kale. Replace lid while you sauté the shiitake in a little olive oil with lots of salt and pepper.

At 30 min you are ready to eat!

Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Gluten free banana bread (with macadamia nuts and cacao)

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I am so appreciative for all the readers who have come along with this blog and its journey. I’ve decided to shift gears with it and use it to share my passion: food.

I am a big believer in nutrition. The kitchen is my happy place and where I spend hours and hours every day.

I try to eat as local as possible so these recipes will change depending on the country we are living in.

One of my children has celiac so all of these recipes are gluten free. I do not believe in eating processed food and for so many a celiac diagnosis means reaching for packaged “gluten free” goods. I hope to show you all here how easy it can be to eat gluten free with only whole foods.

So here we go…welcome to my food blog!

xo Sabrina

 

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I make this bread unsweetened and add the sweetness on top. That way you can decide what your body is craving. Are the bananas enough? Or do you need some honey? Either way it’s just about perfect. You need:

2 cups almond flour (it’s very easy to make your own, but easy to find in stores)

3 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 bananas

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup macadamia nuts

1 1/4 teaspoon cacao powder

1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients (only use 1 teaspoon of the cacao) in one bowl. In another use a hand mixer to blend the wet (except the honey.)

Combine bowls and blend well.

Grease a pan (I always use a cast iron) with coconut oil and place in oven for 30 min.

Once done remove it from the oven and let cool for 10 min.

While cooling, heat the honey and remaining cacao powder on the oven.

Drizzle on top and enjoy!

 

 

 

 


Lockdown

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How are you handling the isolation?

We are drawing, listening to music. Trying to not read too much news (not working.)

Today was the first warm day in so very long and we had a picnic outside, right in the sunbeams.

Did you see this? Some much needed levity in this crazy situation. Thank you, Rita Wilson.

Italy is where most of my thoughts are these days.  It’s just too much. My beloved Italy, the whole world is holding you in its heart.

My husband is so many thousands of miles away, with Kenya now in lockdown as well.

Is this all real?

 

 

 

 


Nutrition

IMG_6567.jpgA recipe for crazy times. 

It’s been a crazy time. It is a crazy time. I vacillate between calm trust, and pure anxiety. For someone already prone to anxiety this is quite the test of will.

I hope this finds whoever is reading it with loved ones, feeling safe, feeling hopeful.

I have asked my husband so many times over the years, but what it there is a pandemic..?

And now we are here.

And I am alone with the kids in North America and he is thousands of miles away in Kenya.

Willpower.

I’ve got this.

All these years of moving around the world, an upcoming move back to Kenya, the hardships and fear and unexpected, and more fear, and I’ve got this.

One step at a time. That’s all I have to do. That’s all any of us have to do.

I have always been a passionate (obsessed) believer in nutrition. Did you see this? How Vietnam has handled the virus?

“First, the doctors are required to treat the symptoms, like fever. Second, the patients are placed on a strict, nutritious diet.”

I have read of isolated patients in the States who are offered cheeseburgers and fries and I am shocked at the lack of understanding between what we feed our bodies and how our bodies function.

I wanted to share my favorite salad that has been keeping me going through the stress, keeping me healthy, and just plain yummy. Could not be easier to make…

  • One bunch kale
  • Any kind of nut ( I love Brazil in this)
  • Shitake mushrooms
  • Shallots
  • Lemon
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Rinse and soak kale in salted cold water for about 10 minutes.
  2. While kale is soaking, heat olive oil in pan and sauté mushrooms, shallots and chopped up nuts.
  3. Rinse kale and chop as finely as you like.
  4. Cover with vinegar and lemon, salt and pepper.
  5. Add hot olive oil, mushroom, shallot, nut mixture.
  6. Toss so kale becomes wilted, maybe add a bit more olive oil.
  7. Try not to eat it all before you get to the table.

Stay safe. Wash those hands!

 

 

 


Tea time

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Radical self-care.

I’ve found myself gently easing into this. No big new year’s resolution. No waking up on the 1st with a whole new agenda. My 1st of January actually looked very similar to my 31st of December.

Then the 1st turned into the 2nd, turned into the 3rd….

I’ve been homeschooling my children on the island. I wasn’t sure I could do it. I’d homeschooled my youngest for kindergarten so wasn’t so worried about tackling first grade. But 7th grade for my daughter was a whole new world.

It’s amazing to me how we can rise to an occasion. I’ve surprised myself. Loving creating their educational world, I am finding teaching so much fun. I am watching them thrive and showing them this and showing them that and every moment wanting to give them more, read to them more, create something more.

I got tired. I found myself not so much sleeping at night but collapsing into my pillow. A collision of body against bed and a restless sleep from too much stimulation.

Mornings were quicksand fueled with espresso.

I’ve been so focused on giving them the world, showing them the magic of learning. But there’s also the cooking and cleaning and snowstorms.

The dog to walk.

The shopping to get done.

My head was down and I was getting through the days.

So January 1st was just another, and then it was the 2nd, turned into the 3rd…

…and somewhere in these last few weeks self-care became my mantra.

It started with a cup of tea.

I decided I needed to break up my day with some moments of stillness. Nothing more than making a cup of tea, and sitting.  No phone, no computer, no book, nothing but looking out the window and having a cup of tea.

I did it. Day after day after day I would make my tea and quietly sit, and now it’s become a ritual, and a habit.

About a week into my new rhythm, I found myself journaling in the morning. Just a few pages, 10 minutes while the kids are still stirring and I am having my cup of coffee. It’s now been three weeks and I’ve filled a whole book with words.

I’ve started to meditate in the evening, just before I close my eyes. To lie, and listen, and breathe.

Just this week, I’ve found I can do 15 minutes of yoga while the kids eat their breakfast.

That’s it. A few stolen moments just for me. Five minutes here, ten there, fifteen tops and it’s brought a radical change into my life.

I feel ten years younger.

I get so much more done.

I am laughing more.

Sleeping better.

Hopeful about each day.

Looking up.

We don’t need some big new year resolution. Life doesn’t have to change at the stroke of midnight.

We can all start with a cup of tea.

 

 


A day in gold

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“This World” by Mary Oliver

I would like to write a poem about the world that has in it
nothing fancy.
But it seems impossible.
Whatever the subject, the morning sun
glimmers it.
The tulip feels the heat and flaps its petals open and becomes a star.
The ants bore into the peony bud and there is a dark
pinprick well of sweetness.
As for the stones on the beach, forget it.
Each one could be set in gold.
So I tried with my eyes shut, but of course the birds
were singing.
And the aspen trees were shaking the sweetest music
out of their leaves.
And that was followed by, guess what, a momentous and
beautiful silence
as comes to all of us, in little earfuls, if we’re not too
hurried to hear it.
As for spiders, how the dew hangs in their webs
even if they say nothing, or seem to say nothing.
So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe they sing.
So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe the stars sing too,
and the ants, and the peonies, and the warm stones,
so happy to be where they are, on the beach, instead of being
locked up in gold.


 

Today I ran on the beach with my children.

We hunted for spiders once home.

Watched a bald eagle fly over an orchard on our drive.

A pileated woodpecker visited our garden, drilling holes in my maple.

The rain fell at times.

The slightest hint of a sunrise when we woke.

Flashlights in the dark, as stars sprinkled the night, while frogs were hunted for before bed.

We listened closely to the silence.

 

 

 


Little bird

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A bird hit our window today. It’s happened before. Thankfully, not often.

Our windows are so big and beautiful. So easily missed in reflection.

My daughter stood at the window, crying out, as she watched it lying on the ground. I went to her, to see, but quickly walked away. I didn’t want to watch it suffer. I didn’t want to watch it die.

I told her to stop looking. I moved my son away.

I didn’t want to see it suffer.

Last night I finished the most beautiful book, In Love With the World. It’s about life, and death.

About fear, and moving past it.

My daughter was still at the window, my son hidden in his room.

I walked to the back of the house and got a small towel. Scooping it up as gently as I could, I sat down and placed it on my lap. She seemed so scared. Her small body shaking. I didn’t know what would happen, but I knew I didn’t want this creature to die alone. I would be with her, even if I was afraid.

I took the towel away and placed her against my flesh. She lay in my hand and closed her eyes. I wanted her breathing in and out. My children now at the window watching me.

After about 20 minutes, she started to move a little. One wing opened, followed by both eyes. I could see her coming back.

She stayed with me as I got up and walked around with her on my hand. I could tell she felt safe.

Finally, I put my hand up and both of her wings opened as my children and I watched her return to the sky.

 

 

 

 


The Dragonfly

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We didn’t expect to find it, so late in summer, with fall only some wind gusts away. My son caught it, called us over.

We didn’t expect to find a dragonfly hanging from its own death. We didn’t expect to see a dragonfly the moment it was born.

Its head seemed still attached to what it had once been. So slight one could almost imagine them already separate.

It was still attached or else its new head was resting against what once encased its old one. It may have been a thread. It may have been some sticky substance. I like to think it was a goodbye.

At first we weren’t sure it wasn’t dead. My son thought it lifeless as we stared for so long and nothing moved, its body as still as the grass it hung from.

We laughed and thought how funny for us to be sitting here staring at a dead dragonfly for such a very long time.

We laughed, and then it moved. Twitched its head. I could see it. I watched it. Life was coming into it. This brand new being.

I couldn’t move. I wouldn’t move. We were watching a dragonfly be born and I would witness its first flight.

We waited and we watched. There was talk again of perhaps it really was dead and then it would twitch and silence us.

Slowly its wings which were bound together as one began to part. Only slightly so that we weren’t quite sure, but yes, they seemed a bit different than one minute ago.

Another twitch.

More waiting.

The wings suddenly opened.

And then more stillness.

My son started to get restless and walked to the other side of the puddle. My daughter stayed with me but her eyes moved to distance cries in the sky.

For me, I would not look away. I had to see this dragonfly be born. I could not bear to think I would miss its embodiment the moment we walked away.

Liquid dripped down its long body. Small round drops the size of a child’s tear fell from its tail to the mud below. It must have been some sort of liquid from the metamorphosis but it looked like a baptism to me.

The kids are tired and the sun is hot. We’ve been waiting and watching and their restlessness is wrapping me up in it. Just as I think we will have to stand and go, it moves. Its head moves from side to side. The whole dragonfly starts to shake and its head lifts and its wings move and I realize this is it, that it is about to take fight and I catch my scream in my throat as it lifts off and flies.
We watch it swoop and zag, and then disappear.

*******

Today we went back.

We walked back to the puddle that was our pond before the rains stopped. The exoskeleton was still there, hanging from the blade of grass. I gently tore the blade and walked it back to our car.

We will keep it. It will remind us of the day we watched a dragonfly become.


Books

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I love memoirs.

As I live this crazy life, as I ride the bumps, take the sharp curves, marvel at the beauty, weather the hardships, as I cry and laugh and pause, I wonder and wonder how we all do it, how other people do it, what their triumphs and weaknesses look like.

People’s stories I want to devour.

I am the woman who finds it a great joy to sit at the foot of an elderly person and become the well that they pour their memories into.

Tell me more, tell me more, tell me more I say.

Since January I’ve read 8 memoirs, all written by women. And they have all given me something; They all now live inside of me. Isn’t that the magic of a story, whether fiction or a life, when it embeds itself within you and changes you, shapes you? Makes you look at things differently?

I brought in the new year with What Falls From The Sky.  I love this book, love the space the author imposes upon herself by going a year without internet. In that space she rediscovers her religion. I think of her and that space and try very hard to create some for myself and dream of what will fill mine.

That space is also explored in The Burn Zone, an exploration into how one falls into a cult. Even after pulling herself out, the author’s life is deeply changed with all the meditation the cult leader had her do and encourages the reader to “invite stillness,”  the one thing she took from her horrendous experience that she didn’t want to lose. I have those words written in chalk upon a small blackboard that sits in our living room. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reached for my computer only to see those words and I just sit still instead.

From A Life Of Her Own I’ve meditated on the bigness of it all, this human journey, the chapters that veer and the ones that come back around. This memoir showed me that no matter how perfect or successful a life seems we all have our struggles, our deep terrible losses. Such a good reminder in this day of cropped lives that fit so neatly into little boxes.

Inheritance was a profound read to me as an adoptive parent. What makes us who we are? Who creates us? What defines us? What is nature to us, and where does nurture erase, or blur those lines ?

Sick was a page-turner for me. I am now completely terrified of ticks. I also realize how important it is–especially for women–to demand care when you know you need it.

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone is a book I desperately didn’t want to end and will probably read again. My goodness how flawed we all are. How deeply we all want to be loved. How random life can be and how “it ain’t over till it’s over.”

I just finished Love You Hard. My God, this book. Another I did not want to end. It’s a tragic and beautiful meditation on love. As the author listens over and over and over again to her husband’s memories as he tries desperately to reassemble his past after a horrific brain trauma, she writes, “The story of his life is now imprinted on my soul.” Just as her story is now imprinted on mine.

And of course I had to read An African Love Story. This memoir sent a deep longing into me to experience Africa in a way I never can. In this expat life we live in bubbles, are dropped in, sealed off,  and as much as we try and make air holes we are still encased, watching from within our own worlds, worlds away from the one we are in.  While it is amazing in its own way, to see the world and live for a moment in time in places I only dreamed of, I would do anything to take a time capsule to spend just one day as Daphne Sheldrick, in the wildest parts of this country, surrounded by elephants. To see and experience Kenya through her eyes.