Monday, August 21, 2017

Chocolate Cherry Buckwheat Pancakes Vegan & GF

hiwandergirl blog

These pancakes have replaced all the other pancakes I've made over the years as my weekly treat. It's difficult to experiment with other flavors when these rock my world every time. Since I cook for a party of one this recipe makes 2-3 medium-ish pancakes.

1/2  cup Buckwheat Flour
2   tsp of Cacao Powder or Cocoa Powder
1   tsp Baking Powder
1   Tbsp Flax Seed Meal
1/2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1   Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 1/4 cup of Coconut Milk/Almond Milk or water
1/2    cup chopped sweet cherries


Both the chia seeds and flax seed meal mixed with a little water are used as egg replacers. I like the nutty flavor the flax adds to the mix.
Let the batter set on the counter for 5-10 minutes to make the pancakes fluffier. You may need to add more liquid if it becomes too thick though.
After you pour onto your skillet, lift and turn so that the batter runs a little in all directions, making the pancake bigger and thinner. If its too thick it will take longer to cook and may not cook evenly.
Once you start to see air bubbles around the edges it is safe to flip.


Nothing is better with chocolate than peanut butter or in my case being allergic to peanuts, a peanut butter alternative.
I make my own sunflower seed butter by putting roasted sunflower seeds in the food processor along with a little sunflower seed oil and salt until it's creamy. I can make a whole jar for less than $2 this way. Budget-friendly and really yummy!

In between the pancakes is sunflower seed butter with maple syrup and sliced cherries on top.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Bee Balm Tea - DIY Growing, Harvesting & Drying


I bought a small Bee Balm plant at Gardens of Babylon last spring and planted it near the corner of the garden. I dreamed of going out my back door and picking blooms for tea and I'd have a great view of the butterflies. It was a little 4-inch pot and it was so small I almost put it in a planter. It did get bigger but I didn't pick the blossoms the first year. My grand idea of making my own herbal teas drowned in a sea of a stressful job in a surface of the sun summer. 

This spring the little Bee Balm came back and brought all its friends. 


It quickly grew to over 5ft tall and started cuddling up to the echinacea, kale, and squash. I thinned it out and planted it in 3 other places in my yard. It loves the sun! Once established it didn't even need to be watered. The consistent blooming brought in more butterflies and bees than my garden had seen the previous years. Franklin got a lot of rain in June. I used twine and a couple of tomato stakes to encircle the lower half and keep the blooms off the ground.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 
Hummingbird Moth (they are the cutest!!)

Pipevine Swallowtail

The entire Bee balm plant is edible. I used the blossoms and the leaves for tea. It's great as a calming before bed tea as it's been known to help with insomnia. As part of the mint family, it is also great for digestion. 

Bouquets drying in the windowsill. 

Fresh Bee Balm, dried bouquet, and when the dried blooms and leaves are removed. 


Each small bouquet fills a Mason jar with tea.  I leave it whole and loose but you could also crunch it up and enclose in reusable tea bags. You can make your own from organic cotton muslin, I found a cute DIY post from Little House Living here or buy some on Etsy from Bear Earth Herbals here . 

When I make a large batch of tea I use the French Press. I throw in about an inch high of herbs and pour in my whistling tea pot water, let set to desired strongness, then press. In two 32 oz glass jars I put one tablespoon of maple syrup. I pour in the French press tea in equal parts to the two jars, swish around mixing the syrup then add fresh filtered water (I drink reverse osmosis) until the jars are full. 
Then refrigerate for great iced tea in the summer. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Everyone Has Their Own El Guapo

My personality type, an INFJ, is often called a walking contradiction. 
As much as I hate being pigeonholed, there is truth in this statement. 
I swim in the depths of the creative and adhere to the logical. I want it now and I’ll wait til later. I want your skin attached to mine and I want to be left alone. I search endlessly for my soul mate and fall in love with men that are emotionally unavailable. My music is alphabetized; my closet arranged by color and season, my movies by category and sub-category…i.e.-Sci-fi- Space, Sci-Fi-Time Travel, Zombie, Superheros-DC, Superhero-Marvel etc.

Then I have the pile.

The pile consists of everything in my house I gathered together that no longer brings me joy. A weekend of thinning out the clutter, spurred on by The Minimalists documentary. I piled it up in the middle of my kitchen so I’d have to dispose of it quickly. Now 7 months later, I sweep around the pile, I dust the pile, I’ve told all my friends about the pile and I randomly give it the bird when I walk around it in the morning.
I could put these items in my trunk and take them to the local thrift store. But that wasn't the original plan for these items. I'd already donated most of it; this small man made mountain was actually the reduced version of the pile. These were the items I thought I could perhaps sell and make a little money on since my income is currently derived from freelance. 

Items like various coffee makers in their original boxes. 

I keep original boxes because when I move, it will make them easier to pack.
I’ve been living in the same house for 8 years.

I talk about tackling my pile every weekend. And every weekend I do something else, like pull weeds in the garden or lay on my couch and solve climate change.

To quote Steve Martin's character in The Three Amigos, “All of us have an El Guapo to face”.

Mine happens to be a pile of things that no longer bring me joy but continue to torment when I stump my toe on them in the dark on my way to the bathroom.

While talking about my El Guapo recently with a neighbor, she revealed to me her much larger and overwhelming El Guapo. Her El Guapo had reduced my El Guapo significantly to non-El Guapo status.  It wasn’t even Jefe at that point. 

I started going through my pile, taking pictures of anything I still thought was valuable to make my small eBay fortune and donated the rest. It only took me a few hours and it's no longer in the middle of my kitchen. Why did I let that self-inflicted Everest plague me for 7 months?!

The unknown can paralyze you. Fear of failure keeps you from making decisions. But once you take that first step, everything becomes easier than you thought it would be. Nothing will ever be perfect. Fear breeds in the over thinking, not in the actual doing. Whether you succeed or it backfires, nothing is as awful as being tormented by what if’s in your head.

Where you are right now probably feels like it will last forever. It's helpful for me to think back to where I was 6 months ago, 1 year ago, 5 years ago to realize how much things change. And even so, I may still be tapping my foot and wallowing in the misery. But it will pass. You are transitioning into something else as we speak. Let hope fill your heart to combat the anxiety in your head. 

  I love my imagination and I hate my imagination. It brings me through the tough times and creates the tough times. Maybe balancing my contradictions is my real El Guapo.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Tomorrow is bullshit

Harlinsdale Farm Sunset
Franklin, TN

 I lost two family members in the past 2 weeks. Two people, I saw only last month who live 700 miles away. I held their hands. I told them I loved them. I had a strong desire not to wait. I could have put it off, waited for better finances, or maybe the next holiday.  All the excuses were valid.  
But tomorrow is bullshit.

The thunder started before the sun went down. Distant thunder with the sun still setting. We needed the rain. My garden needed the rain. I can water the garden with the hose to keep it alive but the rain is what it thrives in. The rain is what gives it life to bare fruit.  I walked out to the field in the darkness. I listened to the thunder, watched the lightning strike over and over again and I waited for the rain.

I heard it before I felt it on my skin. It rustled through the trees announcing its arrival. When it came down on my head it was cold at first, like jumping into a river. I stood there with my arms outstretched and let it soak me through.

I want to thrive like the garden and bare fruit. I want to be drenched by the sky. Let the lightning wake me up and the thunder shake me. My heart is broken and I want to scream.

Today is all that matters. Someday is bullshit, tomorrow is bullshit, your perfect timing is bullshit.  What are you saving for later, for someday? If you love someone, tell them now. Say what you need to say this very minute. Live in the raw, imperfect you. Stand in the rain and let it soak you through.