Greek Dressing.

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I love Greek food. It is my favorite. I have never been to Greece, but it is up there in my choices of places to visit. I love lemons, garlic, peppers, chicken, olive oil, sheesh, can I say anything more? OLIVES! I love Olives, too! I am so happy I came across this recipe the other day, for I have been at such a loss for a great Greek dressing for years. It was a successful homemade Greek night, plus the kids loved it too.
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My New Favorite Greek Salad & Dressing:

Ingredients:
English cucumber, seeds discarded
7 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 red and yellow pepper, chopped finely
red onion, sliced as thinly as you can
kalamata olives (optional)
feta cheese, cut into chunks

dressing (for a large salad)

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
1.5 tsp salt
1 tbsp dried oregano

How To Play:
Place peppers, cucumbers, cheese, onions, tomatoes, olives in a bowl. Mix dressing ingredients in a small jar with a lid, shake well, pour over top of salad.
Enjoy.
Image Credit: Painting by Pantelis Zografos

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Bridge.

I feel like I have been resting this day on a bridge. It is the bridge in which I rest my head on its support. I can see the river below. I can also see the one side of the bridge leads to the still pastures promised in Psalm 23, while the other side a reminder of the bothered remnants of a palace created without the Master’s hand. It is good to see hope, but better to be in it.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Anytime Squares.

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My hope for this post is to encourage moms or dads out there stuck with after school snacks. I am sure I am not the only one, but when my kids come home from all day at school, I prepare myself to be faced with whiney Caillou-like voices of mere starvation and discomfort….due to the absolute famishment, because they only had a large breakfast and lunch kit that would sustain any regular day at school that includes 2 recesses and a lunch break. However, out of mere frustration plus ambition, I decided to take advantage of the spectacular season of  the pumpkin, and try out these pumpkin squares I found from Oh She Glows. How it worked? How did they turn out? How did my kids respond to a nourishing square instead of a bowl of ice-cream? Let’s just say I was able to prepare dinner in silence, because these healthy little treats served their purpose. To fill and fulfill. These make for a great time.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Any-time Squares, Especially After School in this House!

Inspired by: Oh She Glows

Ingredients:
• 1 flax egg: (1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water)
• 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
• 3/4 cup coconut sugar
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
• 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground into a flour (Or use 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon oat flour)
• 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
• 3/4 cup almond flour
• 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
• 1/2 cup pecan halves, chopped
• 2 tablespoon chocolate chips, for garnish, I used ½ a cup
How To Play:
1. Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
2. Mix flax egg in a small bowl or mug and set aside to thicken for about 5 minutes.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the pumpkin and sugar with electric beaters until combined.
4. Pour in the flax egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
5. Add the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and beat again.
6. Finally add in the oat flour, rolled oats, almond flour, and pecans. Beat until combined.
7. Spoon dough into prepared pan and spread out until smooth and even. The dough will be very sticky, but this is normal. Bake for 17-20 minutes (I baked for 18 minutes), until lightly golden and firm to the touch.
8. Place pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then, lift out and place square directly on cooling rack for another 10-20 minutes, until cool. Slice and enjoy! The bars will crumble slightly if sliced warm, but they firm up nicely when cooled.

Enjoy.

Left Right.

Somewhere between right and wrong, good and bad, weak and strong, a temperature of balance has led me astray. It is a sacrifice, but a choice. Some days it seems it is the only option available. I want, but I don’t. There is a compulsion in me that is obsessive. The tendency to fraternize, then analyze with the possibility to equalize, only to generalize. A code, like Morris, but it is the only way I know how to vocalize the under mindedness of my philosophy to life. I want nothing more than to be all I am meant to be, real, not compromising an ounce of the authorities given to me. To dream, to scream, to love to share, will there be a time, one day, in which I will be given the freedom to go beyond the apparent?

Swaying in Fall.

The lights are low. The candles are soft. The music is immediate. Fall is tapping on the windows of our home and yes, I welcome it with a warm embrace. This is the moment the oven is on for the most of the day roasting vegetables, pumpkins, and feta cheese garlic spread. The experimentation of recipes has begun. A fantastic dessert to be shared from Oh She Glows may just be the thing you are looking for this week. It is chocolate perfection, not too sweet, and great to be shared with a fantastic tea, friends, and Dean Martin, of course.

Chilled Chocolate Espresso Torte with Toasted Hazelnut Crust

From Oh She Glows

Makes 1 (9-inch / 23-cm) torte; serves 8–14

For the crust:
¾ cup hazelnuts
¼ cup coconut oil
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
¼ tsp. fine-grain sea salt
1 ½ cups, divided, gluten-free if necessary

For the filling:
1 ½ cups, soaked for at least 4 hours
¾  cup  pure maple syrup
½  cup coconut oil
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, melted (I used chopped dark chocolate)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract  
½ tsp. fine-grain sea salt
1 tbsp. espresso powder (optional)
shaved dark chocolate, for garnish (optional)
coconut flakes, for garnish (optional)

How To Play:
1. Make the Crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 9-inch (23 cm) pie dish with coconut oil.
2. In a food processor, blend ½ cup of the rolled oats on high until you have a rough flour, place a small bowl and set aside. Without cleaning the machine, process the hazelnuts into a fine crumb with the texture of sand. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup, salt, and oat flour and process again until the dough comes together. Finally, add the remaining 1 cup of rolled oats and pulse until the oats are chopped, but still have some texture to them. The dough should stick together slightly when pressed between your fingers. If it doesn’t, try adding a bit more maple syrup or processing a bit longer.
3. With your fingers, crumble the dough evenly over the base of the pie dish. Starting from the middle, press the mixture firmly and evenly into the dish, moving outward and upward along the side of the pie dish. The harder you press the crumbs into the dish, the better the crust will hold together. Poke a few fork holes into the bottom to let steam escape.
4. Bake the crust, uncovered, for 10 to 13 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a rack for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Make the filling: Drain and rinse the cashews. In a high-speed blender, combine the soaked cashews, maple syrup, oil, cocoa powder, melted chocolate, vanilla, salt, and espresso powder (if using) and blend on high until the filling is completely smooth. It can take a few minutes of blending to get it smooth, depending on your blender. If the blender needs more liquid to get it going, add a tablespoon (15 mL) of almond milk (or a bit more) to help it along.
6. Pour the filling into the prepared crust, smoothing out the top evenly. Garnish with shaved chocolate and/or coconut flakes, if desired.
7. Place the pie dish on an even surface in the freezer, uncovered. Freeze for a couple of hours, and then cover the dish with foil and freeze overnight, or for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours, until the pie sets.
8. Remove the pie from the freezer and let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes before slicing. This pie is meant to be served frozen.

I can not take credit for this photo, for we ate it before the camera could take a photo!

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Photo Credit: Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows.

June beauty.

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Her legacy embraces me in a way which delicate brushes against the space between touch and impression. Grief. Have I grieved? There was a closure on the last day. It was hot. It was end of June beauty. She liked it this way. However, with the comfort of my nightgown, or the seemingly softness from the silk of my blouse, I cannot escape the loss pain. I am grieving. I am healing, but I am releasing. It is all I can and all I know to do. Death is not as black and white after all, but the very color of every color ever spoken into existence. These colors paint the very image of every life ever lived. And it is her life, a portrait that remains in a focused stillness, painted for the end of June beauty.