Thursday, August 29, 2013

Last Week of Summer and a Gluten-Free Cupcake Recipe

Last Week of Summer

As August winds down and even cools to autumn temperatures, I find myself grasping at the last, dwindling signs of summer.  I do this every year.  Why is it so hard to say good-bye to summer?  I always scramble to enjoy one final dose of freedom, fun and sun.
My quest this year included an invigorating hike with a friend up Sugarloaf Mountain in Boyds, Maryland.  As this tiger swallowtail did, we baked in the warm sun and relished the gentle breezes.

A tea with special friends paid tribute to the last days of sun and fun.  Together we sipped peppermint and mango teas, accompanied by luscious fruit salad, a sampling of grain-free goodies and dollops of cool mango ice cream.  Yum.

One final swim at the pool with good friends?  Yes!  My hopes were high this week with the weather forecasted to be hot and humid.  Sadly, my pool date with Carmen and her kids became a play date inside, when the weather turned rainy.  So, we solaced ourselves with coconut flour cupcakes, a movie and games of Duck-Duck-Goose and Rock-Paper-Scissors.

Going gluten-free or grain free?  Are you know or someone you know sensitive to wheat?  Then I have a tip for you.

Vanilla Coconut Flour Cupcake Recipe 

Today's cupcakes were made with all real, whole ingredients.   No White Flour. No White Sugar.  This coconut flour recipe is gluten-free, loaded with healthy coconut ingredients and uses no white sugar.  Give them a try!
Thanks to Hannah at Healy Real Food Vegetarian for the delicious recipe.  You can link to it below.  *Keep in mind, if you are not accustomed to eating a real whole food diet, these will not taste as sweet as Betty Crocker cupcakes.*
 Have you enjoyed your last days of summer?  Have the kids already returned to school?  And what fun things are you looking forward to this fall?
I hope to hear from you!  Until then...
Happy Trails,
--Two Peas

Monday, August 19, 2013

Summer Highlights from The Farm

We have worked steadily this spring and summer to begin to convert our property into our dream...a farm.  Here are a few highlights from our summer.
It all started in early spring with the creation of a small orchard, the planting of eight fruit trees.  Scouring library books, we stumbled our way through the art and science of planting these fragile saplings in hopes of a long, fruitful life.  The fulfillment of a childhood dream for each of us.

For July 4th my sister's family visited-- a silent smile and warmth permeates just remembering their visit.  One of the activities was picking wild black raspberries, thus fulfilling a year-long vision.  You see, when we first viewed the property last summer, those wild brambles seduced me.  Oh, how I had been thinking of them ever since. 
A fun, long overdue project was recently completed:  a $12 compost bin.  Complete with pallets and a few fence pickets, Greg and I pieced and nailed together a functional 3-bin composting system. 

The compost bin replaces a "pile" of stuff we accumulated all spring and summer.  This "pile" however, has turned out to be of great value-- an enormous, fertile spaghetti squash stalk is spewing out of it.  When first discovered, one of the vines was even growing vertically up a tree!  It has since dropped to the ground under the weight of the squash.  Needless to say, we are looking forward to this harvest, one we neither planted, nor water, but most heartily will reap.
In closing, I leave you with one of our sunsets on the farm.  As the days grow shorter and cooler, the tales of our first summer have served to create warm and lasting memories.
Happy Trails,        
--Two Peas