Dandelion Tea

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Another great use of dandelions is to brew them into as a simple tea. It’s really easy to make. Simply steep a handful of fresh leaves and blossoms in hot water for 5-10 minutes.

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The tea is quite mild and reminds me of spring, which seems appropriate for the plant that truly is one of the earliest signs of the season.

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Notes:

More about Dandelion Tea:

  • Cool after brewing and serve as an iced tea, sweetened with honey.
  • Dry the blossoms and leaves and store in an airtight container for a dried tea mixture that can be used throughout the year.

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Add blossoms to iced tea before serving for a pretty presentation.

Not in the mood for dandelion iced tea? Simply add dandelion blossoms to icy lemonade for a sweet touch.

You should NEVER harvest dandelions for consumption from any area that has been fertilized or treated with chemicals, such as most suburban lawns or parks. They should be gathered from wild areas, free of pesticides and chemicals.

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Dandelion in Watercolor

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A sweet and simple way to capture dandelions for all time is to create your very own watercolor painting, but with the actual flowers used in the making.

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What you’ll need is a few dandelions, some watercolor paints, a paintbrush, 5″x7″ watercolor paper, parchment paper, and a rolling pin. To begin, place your watercolor paper on one side of your parchment paper:

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Arrange dandelions where you’d like them to appear on your painting:

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Bend the necks of the flowers so they’re facing straight down on the watercolor paper:

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Carefully keeping flowers in place, fold parchment paper over the top of the flowers and watercolor paper:

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Roll the rolling pin very firmly up and down over the top of the flowers:

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Pull back parchment paper:

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Peel dandelions off the watercolor paper. (Your artwork doesn’t look very pretty at this point, but don’t worry, it will soon):

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To paint the stem and flower petals, either use a watercolor paint color you like, or mix your own. I wanted brown and didn’t have any on hand, so I mixed red and green together, along with some water:

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Next, study a dandelion to see its unique petals so you can recreate your own artistic version. I see graduated layers of petals, so that’s what I’ll focus on:

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Start at the center of the flower and lightly brush out, little sweeps of color to create the petals, graduating them in size as you go, to emulate the flower. Do the same with the stem, starting at the bottom and sweeping the brush upward until it connects with the flower. Repeat with each flower until you’re done:

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Lastly, paint any word you like on the painting. I love old specimens, so I kept it simple and painted the word dandelion as if it were a dandelion specimen for cataloging:

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And now the dandelions are preserved for all time as a sweet little reminder of spring.

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Notes:

I purchased all of my art supplies at Dick Blick. Watercolor paper here, watercolors here.

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Dandelion Morning

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Yesterday I talked about the nutritional value of the dandelion – such a gem of a plant, and a great ingredient for starting your day in a healthy way. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Although the flower is a great source of nutrition, it’s a little too bitter for me to eat raw, so I like to look for ways to incorporate the flowers with other ingredients that balance the bitterness. Smoothies are a nice way to accomplish this. Here’s all you’ll need for a Dandelion Smoothie:

  • Almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • Handful of dandelion flowers (with stems)
  • A splash of maple syrup

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Dandelion flowers really compliment the flavor of the banana creating a tasty combination. Blend and serve. It’s as simple as that.

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And how about some dandelion greens? They’re a favorite of mine, for sure. In our house, the boys are partial to egg whites, so some eggs with dandelion greens and chives are sure to please. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 eggs per serving (we separate out the whites and use them only)
  • 1 handful of dandelion greens per serving, chopped
  • Chives to taste, finely chopped
  • Olive oil for frying
  • White pepper and salt to taste

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Drizzle a skillet with olive oil and heat over a medium-hot flame. Add eggs to skillet. Sprinkle with a little white pepper and salt. Once they’re just about cooked all the way, sprinkle with the greens and chives and quickly turn a couple of times to wilt. Breakfast is served!

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Notes:

White pepper is a nice seasoning for eggs as it’s not too overpowering.

For an afternoon snack, cook eggs the same way (with or without the yolk) and place on lightly toasted wheat bread with a little mayonnaise for a delicious egg sandwich.

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Notes:

If you’re into juicing, dandelion greens would make a great addition to your mix. If you’re feeling ambitious, dig up some dandelion roots to throw in as well. (See note below regarding where to harvest dandelions).

For best nutritional value with dandelions and any other plant, eat as soon after harvesting as possible.

You should NEVER harvest dandelions for consumption from any area that has been fertilized or treated with chemicals, such as most suburban lawns or parks. They should be gathered from wild areas, free of pesticides and chemicals.

Just as the greens you grow in your garden, the first picking of dandelion leaves is the most tasty. If you pick regrowth from the same plant, the leaves will be increasingly bitter.

My favorite in-print book for foraging is Wild Edibles by Sergei Boutenko.

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Between posts on my website, I document my life on Instagram. You can follow along with me there.

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All About Dandelions

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Winnie lived down the river from our place at Croy Gulch. She was as wise as she was welcoming and my connection to her was strong as I was named after her daughter, Serena. She was the first teacher I ever knew, a mentor of sorts to my mom, and my first example of a woman sharing everything she knew to help another. There were blackberries to be picked  and icknish to gather and I learned from her the joys of foraging – a way of life for her as a Klamath River Indian. Most importantly, what I gained from Winnie was a connection to the earth and an appreciation for what it provides. Sadly, it seems as though many of the earth’s gifts are overlooked these days. Take the dandelion, for example.

At some point along the way, the dandelion became the villain of the suburban American landscape and a blight in the quest for the absolutely perfect lawn. Oh dear. Truth is, the dandelion is one of the most nutritious plants that exists and the entire plant, from the flower to the root is edible. The leaves are richer in beta-carotene than carrots and contain more vitamins than most greens, the flower contains anti-oxidants, and the root works as a blood purifier, clearing the toxins from the body and is a significant aid in liver and colon health. I really could go on all day about the health benefits of the dandelion, but really, if you’re interested, I encourage you to visit your local library to find books with brilliant information on this amazing plant, of which there are more than 300 varieties and can be found in most parts of the world.

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For me, the greens are the most palatable and are somewhat similar to arugula. They’re tasty fresh or cooked. The flower and root on the other hand are pretty bitter in my opinion and require some preparation in order to be enjoyed. But I’ll talk about that more in the next few days.

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Dandelion leaves vary, depending on the variety. They range in size from tiny, as seen here, to very large. But what they share in common are the jagged edges and smooth, non-hairy backed leaves. If you find a dandelion with hairy leaves, it’s actually not a dandelion, but a look-alike.

And of course, let’s not overlook the obvious. Dandelions are such a sweet and happy little flower, and if nothing else, you can enjoy them for just that. The flowers are an incredibly important food source for honey bees in the spring, before most other flowers are blooming. This week, I’m celebrating the common dandelion. Underrated, unappreciated, and most often unloved. But why? I do hope you’ll give them a chance…

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I’ll be talking all about dandelions and great ways to utilize this plant – some healthy and useful and some just for fun. Here are some basic things to know about dandelions:

  • Dandelions are not toxic, nor are their look-a-like, the “Cat’s Ear”.
  • You should NEVER harvest dandelions for consumption from any area that has been fertilized or treated with chemicals, such as most suburban lawns or parks. They should be gathered from wild areas, free of pesticides and chemicals.
  • Just as the greens you grow in your garden, the first picking of dandelion leaves is the most tasty. If you pick regrowth from the same plant, the leaves will be increasingly bitter.

Notes:

The icknish plant I mentioned is found in the wilds of Northern California and is vaguely similar to celery.

My favorite in-print book for foraging is Wild Edibles by Sergei Boutenko.

I just finished reading the book, Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan. A story of the life and photographs of Edward Curtis. Although it has nothing at all to do with dandelions, it’s an interesting story of the life of a Seattle photographer who dedicated his life to capturing the story of the American Indian, through film, primitive recordings, and language, and tradition documentation.  Although it was sort of a slow read for me, it was another interesting perspective on the life of early Native Americans which has always been really fascinating to me.

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Between posts on my website, I document my life on Instagram. You can follow along with me there.

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The Farm Chicks Antiques Show 2014 Curator Map

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The much anticipated 2014 Farm Chicks Antiques Show Map is here! Click the poster to see the map. Hip! Hip! Hooray!

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The Farm Chicks Show Curators

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This week I’ve been talking all about curating. It’s something I really believe in, so it makes sense that I apply the concept to The Farm Chicks Antiques Show as well. It all begins when I start pulling together all of the folks who will be selling their wares at the show. Throughout the year, I receive applications from potential participants, and it’s from this pool that I select those who will be selling. This process is very important to me, and really sets the stage for what will unfold at the show. There’s a lot that goes into this process: What do I think of the pictures they’ve submitted? What is their style? How do their words come across to me, and so on. The curation begins here.

Curating a show of this size can be really tricky because I start out with 300 blank spaces and need to fill them in a way that feels just right to me. It needs to be visually appealing and the finds and creations need to be amazing. After all these years, it really comes down to trusting my instincts.

Once I’ve identified all of the participants for the show, my curation is now complete. I’ve curated what I sort of look at as my palette (the overall show), and now each of them will bring that palette to life (their individual spaces). It’s a beautiful thing.

I used to call the participants “vendors”, but that title never sat quite right with me. They are doing so much more than just selling their wares. For those selling antiques and vintage, their process starts with the hunting and gathering of their goods. Then comes the repairs, cleaning, sometimes the painting or refinishing, sorting, and pricing, all while staying true to their overall style and the display they’ll be presenting for the show.

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Image: Heather Bullard

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Image: Heather Bullard

When the show rolls around, they’ll load their goods and begin their journey to the show. And once they arrive, they’ll unload those wares and begin their display, just as they’ve been laying it all out and practicing for the whole year leading up to this one weekend.

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Image: Samantha Cabrera

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Image: Kate Jennings

For those selling handmade goods, much is the same except instead of hunting and gathering, they’re building and creating.

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Image: Kate Jennings

So anyway, I didn’t want to call them “vendors” any more, because you know, they’re a pretty big deal. Can you guess what I’ve re-named them? Curators!

The Farm Chicks Show Curators. I love them and I know you will too.

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Image: Heather Bullard

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Image: Heather Bullard

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Image: Kate Jennings

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Image: Heather Bullard

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Image: Kate Jennings

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Want to learn more about my thoughts on curating? I talked about it here and here.

The Farm Chicks Show is always held the first full weekend in June, in Spokane, Washington. This year, it’s June 7 & 8. You can find out more about it here.

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Between posts on my website, I document my life on Instagram. You can follow along with me there.

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Curating Your Wardrobe

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Tuesday I was talking about curating in general and how you can use that practice to really make a difference in your home. But curating applies to other areas of your life, like your wardrobe for example.

Around the end of February, I start dreaming about cute outfits that don’t involve heavy sweaters or boots. Spring and summer are on my mind and I begin to think about the one color that will be my inspiration for the season. This year, I’m into yellow. Well, I can DREAM of all these cute things, right? (Sources listed at the bottom of this post).

yellowSo when I start thinking about my season’s color, I start noticing it all around and taking little mental notes of what I love. My plan is to buy a handful of new things in that color to mix in with what I already have. Usually a new top, maybe a couple of tanks, some sandals,  a piece of jewelry, and if I can find a steal, a cute new clutch or tote.

By doing this wardrobe curation, I’m bringing together a collection that will work and make sense – the old with the new, giving me lots of mix and match options.

To get started, I recommend going through your closet and dresser drawers. Move your fall and winter pieces aside and place your spring and summer pieces in the most prominent space. Do you have flowery tops and need a new pair of stripe or solid shorts or capris to balance them out? Would you wear yellow stripes with that navy blouse? Yes! What does that pink skirt need? How about a buttery yellow tank? Yes! And so on…

I think you’ll find in the process that you can also do some thinning of what you have on hand, and that’s good too. Because too much is too much. That leather purse you’ve been saving because it’s a name brand? Take it to a consignment shop, list it on ebay, or trade with a friend. Curation is all about letting go of what doesn’t work for you any more and putting together what does.

Tips:

Want to find lots of choices in your color? Go to your favorite websites and search for it, like I did here on Bodenusa.com with the search: yellow

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Do you have a hard time putting colors together? Click around on your favorite websites or leaf through your favorite catalogs. You know all those cute shots? They were all carefully put together by great stylists and can be very inspiring.

Cute new pieces don’t need to be “new”. Check out your local vintage clothing and thrift shops for one-of-a-kind finds. Estate sales are also really great for vintage jewelry, dresses, and blouses. Just remember, only buy what works for your collection, not items that you’re only buying because they’re a great deal. I promise, you’ll never wear it.

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Tomorrow I’m going to be talking about the one and only Farm Chicks Antiques Show and the curation that takes place there. Yippeeeeee!!

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Sources:

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1.) Flowery top by Boden. 2.) Sunglasses from Nordstrom. 3.) Lemon slice earrings from Forever 21. 4.) Bangles from Forever 21. 5.) Keds sneakers. 6.) Ciate polish. 7.) Kate Spade coin purse. 8.) Daisy Eau So Fresh fragrance. 9.) Bike from Target.

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Image by Heather Bullard

Curating

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This week I’m going to be talking about curating, what it means, and how it affects our lives. Who knew, right?

I think when most people hear the word, curator, they think of a museum and the people who bring together a museum’s collections. But curating is actually intertwined into our everyday lives more than we think. Take your home, for example. What you’ve created, the collections you’ve accumulated, and the furnishings you’ve gathered are works of your curation.

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But let’s be honest. Over time, many of us accumulate more than we need, our taste and style evolves, and oftentimes, we’re left with clutter. That clutter can actually affect us in negative ways, becoming much like a constant noise, interruption, or a chaotic element in our lives. And all of that curation has pretty much gone out the window. But the great thing is, we can start anew, and it can be life changing.

What if this spring, rather than just spring cleaning, you curate your home? From holiday collections to linens, to that broken side table you were going to fix up but never got around to? What is your style? What do you love? What can you eliminate? No matter what you have, or what you don’t, you can create a curated home.

Tips:

If you get overwhelmed by the thought of curating your possessions, take it one room at a time. Start on one side of the room, and work your way across. Pull unwanted items out of the room and place them outside the door, to stay focused and to see the results of your work as you go. Once you’re finished with that room, take the unwanted items to their new destination. To the garbage can or recycling bin for unusable items, the car for donated items, and a designated area in your home where you can process things to be sold at a yard sale or on websites such as ebay or craigslist.

To avoid burnout, give yourself  little breaks in between rooms. Have a sandwich, take a walk to the mailbox, or enjoy a few minutes leafing through your favorite magazine.

Moving forward, avoid buying things only because they’re on sale.

Make a list of items that you really want for your home and keep it in your purse. When you’re out and about you can reference your list to help you stay focused on what it is that you really want in your newly curated home.

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Tomorrow I’ll be talking about personal style, fashion, and pulling together and curating a wardrobe for the season.

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Between posts on my website, I document my life on Instagram. You can follow along with me there.

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Asian Quinoa Lettuce Wraps

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I’m always looking for healthy ways to add proteins into my meal making and quinoa is a big favorite of mine. I like how it can sort of mimic ground meat, when flavored well. I first created this recipe as an appetizer for a friend’s birthday party and have since been serving it to Colin and the boys for dinner. The first time I served it, one of the boys said, “Wow mom, this is actually really good!”

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Asian Quinoa Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Cooked Quinoa (1 cup dry quinoa, cooked with 2 cups water yields 3 cups cooked quinoa)
  • 1 cup Minced Carrots
  • 1 cup Finely Chopped Savoy Cabbage
  • 1/3 cup Finely Chopped Green Onions
  • 2 tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Fresh Chili Paste (This amount just adds flavor. To make it spicy, add 1-2 teaspoons more.)
  • 2 tablespoons Roasted Peanuts, Chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 head Butter Lettuce

Directions

Pull butter lettuce leaves off of lettuce head, carefully keeping each one whole. Rinse and dry and place on a serving tray.
Chop carrots, savoy cabbage, and green onions.
Heat sesame oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add chopped vegetables and fry until cabbage begins to wilt, about two minutes.
Add cooked quinoa, soy sauce, and chili paste. Turn mixture in the pan with a metal spatula, until combined. Cook until soy sauce and chili paste begin to caramelize and quinoa begins to slightly brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and place into a serving dish.
Combine peanuts and brown sugar and place in a small bowl, alongside the quinoa filling and lettuce leaves.
To eat, fill a lettuce leaf with several spoonfuls of the quinoa filling and sprinkle with peanuts. Eat like a taco.

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Spoon into lettuce leaves:

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and top with peanuts. The brown sugar peanuts add a nice flavor pop and crunch to the savory filling:

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Notes:

The quinoa mixture will taste slightly salty on its own, but you’ll find it’s just right once eaten in the wrap, as it needs the flavor to shine through the lettuce wrapping.

If you would rather use meat, substitute one pound of ground chicken for the cooked quinoa. Heat pan with sesame oil on high heat, add chicken to pan before the vegetables. Cook for one minute, then add vegetables, soy sauce, and chili paste all at once. Cook until chicken is all cooked, soy sauce and chili paste are beginning to caramelize, and mixture is beginning to slightly brown.

You can find Ground Fresh Chili Paste in the Asian food section of most grocery stores. If your store doesn’t carry it, you can order it on websites such as Amazon.com.

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Win A Farm Chicks SWAG Bag!

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Once a year, The Farm Chicks Antiques Show converges on the Spokane County Fairgrounds. A weekend of friendship, fun, shopping, and creative inspiration ensues. It’s also the one time a year that The Farm Chicks merchandise is available. This week, I though it’d be fun to give away a swag bag of goodies from the show!

A handy totebag:

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Farm Chicks Penant:

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Nature-inspired Farm Chicks cap:

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and a Farm Chicks license plate holder:

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Post Edit: This giveaway is now closed, winner announced below:

To enter, simply leave a comment telling me about your experience at The Farm Chicks Show or if you haven’t been, why you’d want to win this swag. You have until Sunday night, March 23rd to enter. Winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Monday. This giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere in the world. Good luck to you!

Congratulations to Amanda Morris, the winner of this giveaway!