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Life Lately / A Cookbook Update

As I mentioned thursday, I want to give a big high five to food bloggers who blog recipes consistently  all while creating cookbook! Seriously, that's an intense job. For me, the recipes, the photos, the stories, and the entire manuscript was turned in long ago, but I obviously haven't been posting recipes in that time--- or even after! It was just too much. It sort of felt like a relief when I turned it in, sort of not. For me, I think it'll take a book in my hands to feel accomplished.

So when does the book come out? Well that's still not finalized. It is now 3 or 4 months(?) since my turn in date and now that the book has had a good go-over and edit, it is now my job again to go through all 55,000 - 57,000 words. The whole thing has sort of taken over christmas and my family time and pulled me back into "can't leave desk" mode, but I know it all means I'm one step closer to having a final book finished. There's a tentative August, late summer release date. But there is also a slim chance of the book being held until the following Christmas season--- because well, Holidays are always an extra incentive to buy. For me, yes, I'd like to have it out sooner, rather than later (think months ago, haha), but at this point, I'm not completely against a later release date either. I'm kind of just in a mode where I stare at this computer and think "whatever happens will happen"--- because that's all I can think, you know? Not bad, not good, just let it go.

I'm sure I'll go into more details later--- but for now--- I want to let it be known, beyond the recipes, I've included a lot of guidance sections. Tips on feeding toddlers and kids and tips on feeding yourself. My passion for food keeps growing, but beyond that, my passion for sustainable farming keeps growing. I want to see more changes, and I know that if we all make small changes in the way we look at food, we can create big changes together. This thought and the thought of kids moving away from boxed, sugary foods is my driving force. Real, organic food, it's good for our farmers, earth, and our guts and soul. 

Lately, I just keep thinking, 'I have this blog-- and it's pretty cool, but what more can I do to improve on my life and this world' I have so many circling thoughts on this. I'm scared of big ideas. I like to manage small ideas and let them grow. And well, I know this is getting ramble-y, you guys know I'm good at that, but I'm hoping to find a way to no longer fear the big thoughts in front of me. I feel like all the steps I've taken in this last year and all the plans I have already set for next year are all moving me into the same, colliding direction. Or I hope so anyway. Right now, even though I'm still struggling to balance this overly busy editing time of the year, I feel as if all my steps had a purpose. And while many details of this year may not have been planned by myself, it still feels like they came together for a reason. Even on the days that I feel like I'm drowning, I feel better than I've ever felt before--- and I've got to say, that's a pretty good way to end this year. 

In just a few more days, I turn this book in once again, then there will be another editing process, then a design process, and probably a few more details in between. I hope you'll like this cookbook, though I'm tempted to call it more of a guide-- because I hope you take away from it, more than just recipes, but also, a revived way to look at food and an accompaniment to grow. I'm sure I'll have many more thoughts on the New Year (like I always do), but for now, know that I'm editing away at this book once more, breathing in and out each day, and very grateful for this challenging time and year. 

Other life lately notes: 
-My family and I did/are doing a gift free Christmas. It feels SO good. 
-Marlowe is hysterical and nurturing. I seriously could not have asked for a better kid.
-Waylon is huge, sweet, but annoying.
-I have to check to see if Jerry the dog and Jerry the fish are still breathing-- sometimes I worry that they're not. 
-I'm doing a three day juice cleanse this/next week? I'm nervous, it's been a while!
-Yoga is awesome. I'm so happy I started it up again. I'm getting stronger.
-It was bad planning (or awesome?!) planning on my part, but there's another recipe up next. But hey, it's a healthy one! It's really good, guys! 
-Alex is on his way home, I think I shall drink a glass of wine with him (it's currently 1 am)
-I'm looking forward to many, many things. 

I hope you guys had an amazing weekend! 

Easy Vegan Spiced Apple & Pear Pie


It's been a long while since I posted a recipe, right? I'm not sure how full on food bloggers post food recipes AND create cookbooks at the same time! I've been finding it hard enough to photograph and talk about daily enough on top of all the cookbook work! I'd like to send them all big high fives, and maybe a pizza delivery. Good job, guys.

So this recipe, it's super simple-- and a really great variation of the typical apple pie. It's filled a warming ginger and garam masala spices, lightly sweetened, and overall it's really delicious and perfect for this holiday season. The pie crust recipe will actually be in the cookbook-- and trust me, it's not overwhelming, and doesn't contain weird ingredients--- it's straight forward too! But hey, if you're scared of dough (which I understand) this pie could take you a good 15 minutes of actual work time if you just by a pre-made crust. I won't be offended ;)

Maybe you don't love indian spices as much as I do (maybe you do), but I still recommend giving it a go! It's not overwhelming and it won't feel like you're getting kicked in the face with curry. It really has a perfect balance. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream  served with hot cocoa, or even sprinkled in chocolate--- perfect with a warm latte for breakfast too ;) 

Vegan Spiced Apple & Pear Pie

filling ingredients:
2 pears, de-cored and sliced
3 apples, de-cored and sliced (we used two pink ladies and one granny smith, but I'd recommend two macintosh and one granny smith-- or any combination of those)
juice of half lemon
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons grated ginger (I use a microplane to grate, it's my best friend)
3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons garam masala

pie dough ingredients:
-2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
-1 tablespoon sugar
-2 sticks cold/refrigerated vegan butter (I use earth balance)
-1 cup ice water

*if you'd like to create a lattice top or cover for the pie, you'll need two batches of pie crust.

dough how to:
-in a big bowl combine flour and sugar
-slice sticks of butter into small pieces and add on top of flour mixture.
-with a pastry blenderfood processor, or your hands, combine cold butter with flour. I use my hands, it's cheap and is easy clean up :) The flour is going to clump together from the butter. Once you have itty bitty clumps, you're good for the next step!
-pour about a quarter cup ice cold water over flour and with your hands, begin to work it around edges of dough, creating a ball. If needed, add another quarter/tiny bit at a time and continue to try to form a solid dough ball. Sometimes I use about a 1/4 cup, sometimes 1/2 a cup, it varies. Just add water slowly because you don't want a mushy ball, and you don't want it dry--- just keep at it slowly, (almost kneading your dough) to create a ball.
-pat it smooth, wrap in plastic, and place in fridge to rest for at least an hour, or overnight if you're planning on making pie the next day.

method:
-dough in fridge? check.
-pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
-in a large bowl, combine sliced apples, pears, sugar, garam masala, and ginger and allow to sit for 20 to 30 minutes. At this point, I need you to try really hard not to eat all the fruit. It's really delicious, I know, but the pie wants it.
-drain out extra liquid from fruit bowl and your fruit is ready for you pie!
-pull dough out of the fridge, and carefully roll out pie dough on a floured surface. Once the dough is wide enough to cover the entire pie pan (and sides), it is time to ever so carefully pick up the dough and place in pie pan. You can do this by rolling your dough over your rolling pin (too scary for me) or I might recommend asking a friend to help (yes, thats what I do-- four hands are better than two). 
-place on pan and carefully press into sides. You can cut extra dough off for a clean edge or make a pattern with thumbs by pressing along the rim (oooh, so fancy!) 
-place fruit in pan, leaving a taller mound and center. 
-create a top, or ask your toddler to make hearts for the top. At this point, you can sprinkle with sugar if you'd like, for an extra sweetness. 
-place pie in oven and allow to cook for 40 to 55 minutes, until golden brown.
-share with (or hide from) friends. 
-enjoy!

It seems like a lot of work-- cause I'm kind of wordy--- but trust me, its easy to make! and vegan! and not completely packed with sugar! and really, really good too! Perfect for the holidays next week! Let me know if you try it :) 

A big thanks to my friend alana for helping me photograph then eat my pie. With the exception of two pieces, the pie never even made it to the table, we devoured it after the photos were taken. mmm pie. 

leftover tip: hide the pie, otherwise your husband will eat it when you're not looking. womp womp.
ps: looking for more holiday recipes? try THIS vegan holiday post! pps. this is what three days of pajamas look like. 

hooray!  

Marlowe & Abu Make Arepas


I don't think I've mentioned it yet, but my mom is in town. Her visits seem less frequent these days-- or maybe it's just that time moves more quickly and it's been the busiest year I've ever had. I can't and shouldn't complain about busyness, because I really love being busy, but I think my mom passed that *I'm so busy gene* down to me ;) I'm working on slowing down time and taking in the moments--- and sometimes I'm amazing at it, and sometimes I just can't figure it out. Sometimes I feel emotions and I wonder if it can come through in the screen, but I know most things really can't--- so if it seems like I've been flustered and distant, I guess it's because I have been ;) I don't think I've seen her enough (completely my fault), but regardless, we've had a great time with my mom here and we've all gained a few pounds too. Arepas will do that to you. And so will hispanic mothers in general--- oh and hispanic grandmothers are the worst when it comes to portion control. THE WORST. Need to gain weight? Find a hispanic grandmother. 

It'll be hard when my mom leaves. We've talked about it this week and it's agreed, the best goodbyes and the ones that feel like, "see you soons"--- luckily for Marlowe, my mom will return in February to help lesson the undeniable upset that will come from my time away. Who will be more upset?---- I'm not sure, but it will happen. As for right now, Marlowe is excited, very excited to know that 'Abu' will be here for a "long, long time"--- and doesn't seem to mind (yet), the fact that I'll be gone for a "long, long time." I'm happy for all of us that my mom has the opportunity to do this.

I know when my mother moved to the states it was incredibly hard for her to be away from her mother--- when phone calls would cost big bucks for each minute and the time on phone cards would always seem to speed up and pass too quickly. So while I miss my mom when she returns home, I'm happy to be able to have her so close. Technology can be weird sometimes but I'm happy it's made my world smaller to be closer to far away friends and family.  

I'll be back with a delicious pie recipe soon and a mini update on my book too! Soon enough, I'll be like the hispanic mother trying to feed your bellies ;) Happy wednesday, friends!

ps. I just realized this post is titled "marlowe and abu make areas"-- but no where did I discuss them actually making them-- oops. They've been making them often :) 

Tips For International Travel // How To Have The Best Vacation EVER


I feel like you guys are gonna see a fair share of travel posts from me in the next 6 months. Between an upcoming girls trip, india, hopefully mexico, and wherever else I end up--- well, there will be a lot of travel and a lot of photos. I'm not complaining (I'm actually quite excited-- and antsy) and I hope you'll like it too :)

One of my brother's friends actually just picked up and decided to be a starfruit farmer--- and while chatting about mead, honey, life, and whatever else, I think he said it best "the first three quarters are the hustle and bustle time, the end is just to sit back and enjoy"--- and he's right. It's how I like to do it too anyway. Well, while all my hopes to wind down are taking place, and all this prep for future travel is happening, Lisa and I decided it might be nice to put together a little travel tip post for those of you who plan to leave the country (whatever country!) in the near or far future. Some of these tips I've known and follow, some are great tips that I never thought of for myself (good job, professional traveler Lisa), some I'm too lazy to actually do-- though I should, because they all are great and easy too! We do hope you find these tips helpful! 

Oh! and on the topic of travel and india, two ladies had to drop the trip due to unforeseen events--- it's a bit of a bummer, but it also means that we now have two (or three) spaces left for last minute sign ups. So if you've been dreaming of the perfect artisan, yoga, food retreat to india, you might want to check it out :)

Okay.... on to the tips!
 
Planning & Prep

Get an idea of all of the paperwork and details needed for your trip! Things like a visa or a reciprocity fee are required to enter certain countries, arrive without and you’ll be sent packing. While this is a dramatic example, there are other things that are just plain in convenient - like arriving to a place where you can apply for your visa upon arrival, but forgetting the required photo of yourself for the visa.

from drea: I've actually had a friend once make it all the way to Brazil (from massachusetts) who was then detained in airport and unable to go it into the country because she forgot to check if she needed a visa. She did. She got sent home 13 hours later. 


Pack Light!

Thinking about your clothes both in terms of outfits and layering is the easiest way to reduce the need to bring more stuff. Leave your valuables at home, organize your stuff and use packing cubes - it makes it much easier to find things when you’re looking for them and since things are readily available you don’t need to bring as much stuff!  Oh and roll your clothes rather than fold them, it saves room!

from drea: having a black, grey, jean wardrobe like me does wonders. Seriously stick the staples and neutral colors. Also: I hate rolling my clothes. I know, I know, it's supposed to be a space saver and wrinkle decreaser, but I'm a folding girl for life. 


Leave the Travelers Checks at home!

Research local currency and figure out options that can all work for you. Most destinations around the world now have ATMs (even remote Himalayan villages) and even more accept credit cards.  Check in with your bank, let your credit card companies know where you’ll be traveling and plan on gathering local currency in one of the airports you’ll pass through on your way to your final destination. Oh and don’t forget to get comfortable with the currency exchange so you can be aware of what you’re actually spending!

from drea: please please remember to let your bank know. You do not want to deal with your card being on hold while you're on vacation.



Plan for Emergencies - Leave one to two people at home who are contact people.
Copy all of your documents for travel (passport, e-tickets, itinerary, credit cards, phone numbers, hotel confirmations, driver’s license, foreign visa etc ....) and leave them all with someone so that if something comes up (loosing your passport, weather delay etc...) you’ll have a resource at home that can be helpful. (Don’t forget to bring with you a copy of your passport and leave it in your bag as well!)

Bring you some back up money with you.

While ATM’s are readily available most places of late, and credit cards are ubiquitous now a days - it is still important to plan for the unexpected. Bringing with you a back up set of emergency funds is extremely important and can make all the difference if the unexpected happens.  Bring it in a mix of denominations and plan on bringing it home with you as well - that way, if something happens you’ve got yourself covered and if not - you’ll come home with all the extra cash!

from drea: or have the cash to spend on pretty textiles on your last day? No? Not responsible enough? ;)


Odds and Ends - Just In Case

Bringing your Smartphone with you? Put it to good use! Traveling can put all of us in a haze and it’s incredibly easy to loose some of the many tiny pieces of paper we all get (ticket stubs, luggage tags, business cards etc...) - but they are so important!  The best way to prevent this from becoming a problem? Take a few seconds and just take photos of things that are important - like your luggage before you close it (if something get’s lost, it’s a lot easier to make a list of what’s missing), baggage tags (in case the airline has a hard time locating it) or even your tickets (if you loose them between security and the gate it makes it easy to get a new one printed).

from drea: seriously such a good tip.



Write It All Down
I’m not someone who takes pictures naturally. It doesn’t occur to me - especially at home, but when I travel I do my best to remind myself of how much I’ll want to “remember” a place, so I try to take as many images as possible. Going back through the pictures when I get home, or even years later - is always great. It brings back memories of what I saw, where I was and how I did. These images will often drive the way in which I remember a trip, certainly monuments, views, sunrises etc… When I started to realize that my own memories were being reinforced by what I had brought back with me from my travels I started to want to increase the quality and details of those memories - so I started to write. Sometimes what I’m writing feels profound and turns out to be illegible scribbles, and other times I feel like I’m just making lists of the day and a year later I’ll find that entry and feel so full of joy to remember the amazing breakfast we bought on the street.  All in all, the entires have been a window into the moments of trips that have changed my perspective on the world, what I missed about home when I was away, what was weighing on my mind and the things I was actively learning during trips and what new ideas or thoughts the experience was bringing to me. Learning to take more photos has been a great gift of creating a visual history of what I saw - but learning to write it all down has bought me the gift of knowing what I felt, why and how something the trips felt to me, right at the moment of impact.

from drea: I'm obviously a picture taker-- and usually it only take a glance at a photo to feel the moment. That being said--- I happen to be an accidental writer too-- and it's been such a great gift to read through my years ago journeys and reflect on them as almost a new person. 

Plan to stay healthy.

Traveling will introduce you to a lot of new things - germs included. The best way to prevent little bits of bacteria from having very large impacts on your travel is to bring along some medications to give you the leg up in the fight. The first and most important is anti-bacterial (use generously!) followed up quickly by vitamins and basic over the counter medications like ibuprofen. You know your body better than anyone else so you have insight into the things that you may be the most susceptible to (like motion sickness) and what works best to help you feel your best.  Don’t forget to visit the doctors too before any big trip - between vaccines, advice and prescriptions - it can be one of your most important pre-trip stops.

from drea: I personally think this is a good thing to bring up--- no, no one plans to get sick, but at the same times it's important to plan to not get sick. Preventative medicine is the best medicine. Get yourself in the best shape (your body, mind, and gut) to help tackle any unexpected health related events. 



Take care of yourself on the flight
Getting there can be a difficult section of the trip and it’s incredibly tough on your body, flights that are over 10 hours especially! Make sure you drink a lot of water, hydration is vital and the dry air and atmosphere of the plane can make it even harder on your body. Bring a pair of compression socks along on the plane with you - having some tension in your lower legs can help prevent dangerous blood clots. And don’t forget to get up, walk around and do your best to keep blood flow moving.

Snacks and Other Important Things
From drea: You really never know what can happen on a trip. Even if you already believer you're the best packer ever (me, me, I'm good at it!), things happen. On my worst nightmare of a flight ever, where I was delayed, no joke, for 48 hours--- and stranded in the airport for most of it--- with no stores or restaurants open (planned for a red eye flight)-- with A TODDLER--- I wish I had over-prepared. About 10 hours into the airport experience, I was out of diaper, out of snacks, out of water, it was a mess. Pack light for actual vacation, pack a bit more for long flights--- with connecting flights or not. Especially if you have special dietary needs-- don't second guess, just grab an extra three snack bars for the flight. 


side note: How bout my hair in the first picture?! I showed the picture to marlowe and she didm;t know who it was. When I told her, "thats me!" her reaction was, "but you have blonde hair and a red purse!!" ---- obviously it can't be me, since I'm wearing a red purse, guys ;) 

Have more tips? Please share! Whats the longest flight you've ever done? Mine is only 6, but I'm possibly jumping on the 15 hour non-stop to india this february! Nervous!  Are you ready for winter travel? It's hardly winter here, but I'm still very, very excited for mini (and longer) getaways--- oh and Marlowe is super excited too ;) 

Thanks Lisa from ATC for helping create such a helpful post! Hoooray india! 

What Marlowe Eats


Our Once Upon A Time Market


I could be wrong, after all my memory is sort of terrible--- but I do believe it was here, at this market, where I had my second encounter with Alex. Not terribly long after, maybe a year or so later, this market would become the place that Alex and I would spend every saturday morning. We spent just around every weekend together, buying produce and cashew milkshakes here. Then we would spend the rest of our day at botanical gardens or cooking. These slower days are now some of my favorites memories and moments I miss about Miami. 

This market would also be one of the first places we would take Marlowe together--- on one of his first visits down to see her. Looking back on those moments, well, I know I was in a lot of pain then and I struggled but kept pushing through--- and I'm very happy to be where we are now. We've come a long way and I'm grateful to now have this place with a story to return to.

This past month we had the chance to take some photos together at this market. A photographer, Celia, asked if she could shoot some photos. When we discussed market photos, I automatically knew I wanted them to be at this one--- less lush, glamorous, and scenic than most produce markets, but perfect for us. 

Our market has changed a lot of over the years. New vendors have been added in, and what seems to be a new crowd too. And not just a new crowd-- but overwhelming crowds-- it's become more crowded than ever before. Oh and the constant tour busses driving by? Well, they seem surreal. I'm nostalgic for what our market once was and happy to experience it, in what I would like to think of as it's prime-- but I'm happy to see it grow and change. And more importantly, I'm contented that we did get to spend our time there---- as just the two of us and now the three of us (and I guess the puppy too) ;) 


I love you forever, Miami memories.

Thank you so much Celia for these photos! We're so happy to have met you and have these photos! Cant wait to see the rest of them :)
You can see more of Celia's work HERE and HERE.

ps. I found these photos from one of our other miami visits when marlowe was just a tiny nugget. I love them so much.

Have a wonderful weekend friends! I hope its a good one!

my dress / marlowe's dress

Our Tropical Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree!


Ohhhhh the christmas tree! It's funny (and actually not that funny or surprising) how a tree can be such a reoccurring topic of conversation! After moving out of my parents home and living on my own (millions of years ago), I felt indifferent about purchasing a tree-- I mean, I saw no reason to. Once Marlowe came in the picture it was a constant back and forth of, "should I get one or should I not?" The first year, Marlowe was three months old and so I had no tree. The second year, a few months after Alex and I got back together, we went out and got a tree--- because I mean, really--- a tree seemed like a romantic idea! It was really nice. Then, the following year I bought a tiny rosemary bush as a mini tree and drew a tree image on the chalkboard. It was fun and we still piled boxes of presents that family had mostly sent us in front of it---and it was, well, cute! And obviously much more eco-friendly. Last year, we went out and did it again-- we bought a tree--- Marlowe was getting older and it just seemed like something she would really be excited to have---you know, a bit of that parent guilt. It obviously wasn't awful--- (I mean, it's a christmas tree, they are not awful!) but it still didn't seem like the right fit for our family. We try to conserve as often as possible and putting a tree in our house (from who knows where-- we don't exactly grow christmas trees here in south florida) for a few weeks and then dumping it, well, it's fine, don't get me wrong, but it sort of went against my gut feeling. 
This year we finally found our solution to our "dilemma" ---- a real tree, but one that is alive with many, many future years to live! Is it christmas-y? Sure! Anything can be. And marlowe had a blast decorating--- the bottom half ;) And hey, we can even put presents, small children, and puppies under this sucker too! We're all pretty excited about our tree.

Like I mentioned, we don't exactly get to go to a tree farm down here and choose a tree--- so it's a whole other level effort and energy that goes into a temporary purchase. We figured, why not buy a nice tree that we would want to plant in our space that can serve a multi-purpose for a long time. Again, we hate uni-tasking items! We rarely splurge on bigger trees for our yard, so this was sort of a nice gift to ourselves too :) I actually really wanted a mast tree (buddah tree)-- since it was most christmas-like, but at 185$ for a (non fruit-bearing) tree, it was a bit out of our price range. Luckily, Alex and I are both obsessed with birds of paradise and they can be found relatively cheap down here. And we already have the perfect spot picked out for when our christmas season is over. So we're starting a new tradition... each year we plan to buy another tree for our home and space. We're so very happy.  

Marlowe's decorating skills are on point. 


Funny story--- we've been a little surprised to the fact that our friends aren't noticing our giant tree when stopping by our house! haha! They're like, "wasn't the plant always there??" and we're like "no, friends--- you're here weekly, you really think that 10 foot tree has been there? No." But I guess it makes sense--- there are plants everywhere--- so it doesn't seem completely out of place ;)

a photo by marlowe. 

bonus points for our tree: our stick loving dog can't reach the branches.

ps. our giraffe collection is still alive! And the other rainbow-y ornaments were thrifted, if you were wondering. Hooray!