Love The Place You Live

A dozen reasons why I love Charlottesville

1. Walk/bike-ibility.  I can get all of my commuting/errands/socializing done while breathing fresh air!

2. The weather.  Yes, summer gets crazy hot and sticky for a short time but overall it’s great.  The seasons are unique and each beautiful in their own way and there’s a good balance of sun and rain.

3. The women.  🙂  I have made amazing friends over the last year and feel very blessed to have been welcomed into this community so quickly.

4. It’s a small town.  At first this scared me a little; six degrees of separation shrinks down to 2 or 3 degrees in a town this size!  I’ve grown to love that everyone knows each other!

5. UVA.  I love that C’ville is a college town yet maintains a pulse throughout the summer and away from “The Grounds”.

6. The landscape.  Lush, green, rolling hills…

7. The running community.  I can go for a run day or night, sun, rain, or sleet and there will be others out pounding the pavement with me.  Seriously.  (Except I would never actually go running in the sleet.)

8. Proximity to (most of my) family.  After 10 years of living many flying hours and many $$$ away from my parents it’s great to be able to jump in the car and be there in 2-3 hours.

9. Activism.  Sometimes it seems like there are committees and meetings to discuss even the most trivial of matters but in the end I love living in a community that is determined to be involved in the decision making process.

10. Wine country.  The Virginia wine industry is booming and the vineyards around town are gorgeous .

11. The growing season.  Five months of frost free sunshine for all my garden goodies!

12.  I live here! One year ago I made this place home and I’m a love it or leave it kinda gal…

Do you love where you live?  If not, try making a list of the positive aspects of your home.  I could just as easily make a list of negatives about C’ville but considering that I don’t want to move any time soon it wouldn’t be very productive now would it?

Love where you live!


Rule Breaker

I’ve never been one to conform to rules.

Perhaps it’s my homeschool education or my modern dance background…

Perhaps I just understand that they are meant to be broken.

Or are they?

When it comes to the kitchen I am especially liberal.  Following a recipe to a “t” takes much of the pleasure out of cooking for me; I love to create food that is uniquely mine.

Often this works out for me.

Berry Bliss Tart

And sometimes it doesn’t.

Apple Ginger Zucchini Bread

While at the beach last month my girl friend and I whipped up two zucchini breads.  We didn’t have enough chocolate for both so we looked around the kitchen for possible add-ins for the second one.  Apple and ginger were our best option.

We expected the fruity version to play second fiddle to the melty chocolate but in the end the apple ginger was gobbled up first.  Maybe it was the splash of dark rum that was added for good measure but I think it was more about the spicy ginger and tart-sweet apple chunks that made this bread a winner.

I’ve been wanting to recreate this baked good ever since returning home.  Yesterday was the day.  As I looked around the kitchen I noticed a few possible road-blocks to come between me and the bread.  No flour and no eggs.  “No problem!” I thought as I pulled out the rolled oats and flax meal.

Another bump in the road; I didn’t want to use any refined sugar in this bread.

What do you get when you combine oat flour, flax, yogurt, zucchini, molasses, dates, baking soda, baking powder, salt, fresh ginger, cinnamon, stevia, coconut oil, and apple?

A brown blob. 🙁

Not much to look at...

When it first came out of the oven my heart sank; it was straight up ugly.  Even liberal amounts of leavening couldn’t give rise to the dense oat flour.

The first bite confirmed my suspicions.  It was heavy and moist. But the second bite was better, the flavor was actually really nice and I somehow I managed to get down most of a mini loaf…

When I revisited the bread for breakfast I enjoyed it even more, especially when I stopped comparing it to other zucchini breads and saw it for what it was, a spicy-sweet and doughy treat!

Sweet. Spicy. Fruity. Moist. Dense. Nutritious.

Have you ever had a totally un-salvageable kitchen fail?  Lucky for me and my rule-breaking ways Tate will eat just about anything and neither of us like to waste food.  I don’t remember ever throwing something away…

Do you break the kitchen rules?  Most people stray from recipes when it comes to the stove top but stick to the formula for baking, I probably should but I don’t. 🙂