Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Native Roots

Well, look at what the cat dragged in. I have been spread thin these past few months, you guys, please forgive me for my blogging absence. The blog has been on my mind. In the back, mostly, and a little to the right among things like the artificial Christmas tree and old clothes that I have been meaning to donate. Can you tell that I am mid-move?
Jon graduated from Augsburg beginning of this month and I was done with the city job shortly after. We have decided to move back home for the spring/summer planting season this year. This means, we will be able to finally immerse ourselves in the dirt, the seeds, the elements, the growth, the tending to, the harvest: everything that organic-farming-on-a-beginner's-budget involves. YUP, we're nuts.
Last year, it was tough, but we were able to leave our little 1/4 acre community garden in the hands of Mother Earth and other members, and come back to it on the weekends. We have expanded to almost an acre, will be planting a memorial garden at the Little Crow historical marker (6 miles north of Hutchinson, MN) and our chickens will arrive in a couple of days. We will be selling at three markets this year - Litchfield (Thursdays), Minneapolis, West Broadway (Fridays) and Hutchinson (Saturdays). We would love to see you this season!
We do not know which way the winds will blow us after harvest and although we like what 'settling' looks like, we know it probably won't happen for a little while. Until then, a little sunshine and dry weather in the forecast will do. It's good to be home.
Check out farm updates @

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gracias Cozumel: Taco Layer Dip

I just made this masterpiece for the second time in two weeks! A big thanks to Dr. Kandace (my lovely, new boss) who practices nutrition-based healing and chiropractic for this, now favorite, recipe.  The night before my family left for a week long trip to Cozumel, Mexico, J and I hosted a small dinner gathering for my dad's birthday. The dip went almost as fast as my week off went - like poof. I was back in MN by Friday eve and am still bursting at the seams with excitement to be back in this frigid weather. NOT. So, I had some warming up to do, a craving to satiate and an empty 'fridge to fill: a win, win, win. Now, grab that cerveza with lime and let's toast to one hell of a life-changing, international experience. Barriga llena corazon contento (full stomach, happy heart, en espanol).

Serves 10-12

2 cans refried, black beans (vegetarian)
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
1 16 oz container sour cream
1 pkg cream cheese
1-1 1/2 cups of salsa
1-2 cups shredded lettuce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 can large, pitted black olives

In medium bowl, mix beans with taco seasoning mix. As the base, spread the mixed beans evenly onto a round platter. Mix sour cream and cream cheese (at room temperature), season with salt and pepper and spread atop the beans. Next, salsa. Sprinkle with lettuce, then cheese, then garnish with olives, red peppers, etc. Refrigerate for an hour or two to blend flavors. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips. I would highly recommend Garden of Eatin's Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, GMO free and made with organic, blue corn. Delicioso!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


We started off the year right with a 50th birthday celebration for my lovely father. A dad is the most important man in a woman's life and he sure is just that.
I turned the BIG 2-3 and celebrated with the whole fam.

Jon entered his senior year at Augsburg. He will graduate in May! We are looking forward to that. Hockey ending, on the other hand, will be hard.

I learned so much from the fabulous ladies at Love and Life Architects as LoveLife Design Concierge. I was blessed with the opportunity to work in such a fascinating industry along with Miss Kailen Rosenberg, who was hailed by the one and only, Oprah Winfrey, as OWN tv's Love Ambassador.

The Peace Project was an idea that came to Jon and I in the beginning of the year. It started with a complaining session about how our little hometown was lacking in the healthy food department and evolved into something much more that coincided with the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota War. In short, we devoted most of the winter preparing, planning and researching the rich, Dakota history that once was. 

In March, Jon and I celebrated 5 years (that's HALF a decade, people) of 'official' love on St. Patrick's Day with a small road trip to Mankato, Minnesota. Mostly to do research at the Blue Earth Historical Society and to commemorate the Dakota 38 that were hanged there. Although we are not Irish, we truly are lucky in love.

On Earth Day (April), The Peace Project planted one of our first labors of love, our sign that stood in previously conventionally farmed soil right on Highway 24 for all to see. Boy, did the questions start rolling then.

June brought Jon, Jason and I away from the U's West Bank and Augsburg to the comforting area of Bryn Mawr. Wooden floors, large park right across the street, on-street parking, squirrels in the ceiling, plenty of windows, small-town feel that we have been looking for (minus the squirrels, of course).

July brought tons and tons of, zucchini. I am now a chocolate zucchini cake master.

In August, Jon presented our project in front of a whole crowd of students and professors in Berkeley, California.

And plenty of weekends spent canning salsa, stewed tomatoes, spaghetti sauce and enjoying the occasional bloody mary.

Too many trips to the Animal Humane Society, since we live 2 miles from one now. Hopefully 2013 will bring what we've wanted for too long.

September brought curing onions, basil pesto and plenty of pickles.

The Peace Project sold our bounty at both the Litchfield and Minneapolis (West Broadway) Farmer's Markets. What a fun experience to be able to connect with people that are looking for fresh, local produce and are SO thankful to be recipients.

We joined the Wirth Co-op membership committee to help raise awareness and gain members for a neighborhood co-op that should be up and running by Earth Day 2013.

I jumped into the grad school ring, from east coast to west coast, getting some great advice from like-minded individuals. Although the educational path is set, I have some soul-finding to experience before I can think about hitting the books again.

October brought the most ample amount of squash that I have ever seen in my life, and naturally, a bunch of puree-making, seed-saving and pumpkin-carving.

November and December: lots of holiday celebrating, seeing friends, a new job as a Practice Coordinator/Chiropractor's Assistant for a holistic office just west of the metro (so exciting, btw) seeing family, life-changing dreams, bronchitis, and then returning bronchitis, lots of antibiotics, cookie-baking, snow and life-changing conversations.

On December 26, 2012, the year came full-circle, our hearts were with the approximately 67 Dakota horse riders as their 330 mile journey came to an end on the 150th anniversary of the largest mass execution in U.S. history. On that day in 1862, 38 Dakota men were hanged from a single gallows platform in downtown Mankato. An unplanned, 40 mounds lined the medicine wheel garden to grow our three sisters (squash, corn, beans).

Mitakuye Oyasin, We Are All Related.

The best is yet to be in 2013, the year of Little Crow. Wishing you all peace, love and happiness in the new year!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce

No two times that I've made lasagna have been quite the same. The time of year as well as the seasonal produce available typically determines what I throw into the mix. The fall version combines a hint of sweet and a bunch of savory, and is infused with a creamy bechamel sauce.
Perhaps it's time to dig in.

Butternut Squash Lasagna
1 pkg no-boil lasagna noodles
6 cups bechamel sauce
2 cups spinach
16 oz. ricotta cheese
16 oz cottage cheese
1 egg
mozzerella cheese, parmesan cheese
3 cups pureed, butternut squash
1 medium onion, 3 large garlic cloves (sauteed)
1 cup sliced mushrooms

Easy Bechamel Sauce
5 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups milk or half & half
2 teaspoons salt
nutmeg to taste

Recipe Directions.

1. Pre-heat oven to 400.
2. Mix ricotta, cottage cheese, 2 tsp of salt and pepper, and 1 raw egg together.
  • Spread bechamel sauce on the bottom of an oval, baking dish.
  • Next, layer the pasta on top of the sauce, try and cover the bottom of the pan.
  • Add squash puree.
  • Then another layer of pasta.
  • Add final layer of ricotta/cottage cheese mixture.
  • Place mushrooms, spinach and sauteed onions/garlic on top, evenly.
  • Add one last layer of noodles.
  • Top with bechamel sauce.
3. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, add more bechamel on top, if needed. Add a foil cover for the final 30 minutes.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


We may have added a roommate, or two, or maybe more. Within the past few, pre-winter months, we have realized that we have been accompanied by none other than, mice. YES, it's true! First thought (queue the dramatic tone): EEEKK, ewww, yuck, WHY, how, HOW MANY, WHERE?! Second thought: Now what? I don't say this often, but this is a perk to renting as opposed to owning; Just pick up the telephone when you have a problem, let it be known and it will be solved, for free. Our inconveniences in this rental apartment have been few and far between and when they are present, are typically fixed pronto. Mice are a little different. No quick fixes. After catching three in a trap during the first three nightly attempts, they have disappeared. Well, not so much. We still hear them scurrying about in the ceiling above our bed (lovely, I know) and in the walls. Poison was the next option. It's been about a week. Although the pitter patter has been stifled, it's still there every now and again. This might be something I might just have to ignore, or get used to for about six more months. Painful? Not really. Life? Yup. (Queue heebie jeebies).

Monday, November 12, 2012


Oftentimes I find myself searching and for what, I wish I knew. Sometimes I don't know whether I should be annoyed or angry with my lack of contentedness, or just let it be. Humans, in general, are always pursuing something, and probably a different thing at any given time; a new job, money, social acceptance, vanity, material goods, etc. As of late, my thoughts and dreams have blown up to the point where blogs that I have thought about posting seem either much too trivial or much too personal, or spacey, for lack of better words. There is much to share, but the timing is off. I'm still in discovery and wondering how to make sense of it all, as well as learning that not everything should or can be deciphered immediately. A precursor to stage 4, otherwise known as a quarter-life-crisis in upon me. Sigh.

Saturday afternoon, a surpising 65-and-sunny day graced us with her lovely presence. I haven't been spending much time at the park across the street mostly because I need to get my priorities in check. But mostly, because I've been busy; a lame, overused, festering excuse. So, I grabbed Bill Plotkin's Soulcraft (a book that I've been reading for over 2 months, because I've been too busy) and ventured outside. The warm, humid (November?) air embraced my face as if summer and I had met again, like old friends. I settled on one of the sunniest spots in the park on a cedar bench and dug in. The inner is no less real than the outer, and, although it is part of us, it is not literally inside our skin. We imagine the unconscious... WOOF. HONK, HONK! CHIRP. SCREEEEEECH.
Although the parks that sprinkle our metro area are a godsend, they are still band-aids, meant to exercise, relax and otherwise distract us from the destruction that we are causing our mother earth. Onward, ...Looked at with soulcentric eyes, every dream reveals hidden...[insert sounds of basketballs hitting concrete, baseballs hitting bats, laughter, traffic, more dogs barking, birds chirping, doors slamming here]. GAHHhh. So. hard. to. focus. After 20 minutes or so, I nearly gave up, lost all hope and almost my sanity and headed back inside to the cave that I call home. Away from all the humanity. It sounded good at the time, but that sun was just too damn good to me and us Minnesotans take our sunshine when we can get it.
Again, ...Looked at with soulcentric eyes, every dream reveals hidden potentials of our deeper lives and stories and provides the opportunity for the ego to be rooted more firmly in the soils of soul.... I looked up at a tall oak tree, I felt warm and much more relaxed. Many pages and many minutes flew by without my knowledge, without my care, without my stress, without my anxiety, without distraction. Flow. A term that is coined by psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, as a "state of heightened focus and immersion in activities such as art, play and work." Flow, for me, usually only occurs when I'm outdoors; gardening, biking, hiking, walking, exploring, anything really. It has always been that way, especially as a young girl. Kelsey lately is on the pursuit of flow. Happiness will be not far behind.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Calypso Bean

Of all the wonderful things in the wonderful universe of God, nothing seems to me more surprising than the planting of a seed in the blank earth and the result thereof.  
Julie Moir Messervy

The Black Calypso Bean, otherwise referred to as orca or yin yang is an heirloom variety. I purchased the seeds through Seed Savers Exchange, who say that the beans were originally found in the Caribbean. Besides being one of the best for baking and soups, this full-of-flavor bean wears a dramatic outer shell, which is just, awesome. Many of our high school friends back in the rural homestead have followed in their parent's footsteps and taken on conventional farming. It's a bit of crazy-making conversation when we find ourselves together, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms. One night on 'the town,' Jon, still in his garden jeans, discovered a few Calypso Beans from a test picking earlier. We weren't surprised when there was little interest in the beans that we had proudly harvested. A few minutes and a few changes of subject later, a gentleman approached Jon and I and through his heavy, Mexican accent he spoke, "Those beans...can I see those beans?" He must have noticed us admiring them, or rolling eyes at them, depending on who he had been watching.

When we flashed the beans, his eyes lit up with intrigue, "Where did you get these," he rang out. We explained to him that we had purchased them through the Seed Savers Exchange and he went on, "The last time I had seen these beans, it was over twenty years ago in Mexico." He proceeded to mention something almost inaudible with regard to his family. Realizing it was a bittersweet moment full of cherished memories, but of loved ones left behind was when we found all of our hearts sinking. "Take them," we insisted, "Plant them. Then you will have some to share." The man smiled from ear to ear and through his smile came the gracious, yet quiet, "Thank you."

This moving moment is one that will not be forgotten: we will never take for granted the power of an heirloom seed.