Basil Chickpea Balls

Fall seems to have officially arrived in Colorado – the air is crisp in the morning and remains cooler throughout the days. I love it! I’ve already pulled out my pumpkin decorations and bought my Jack O’ Lantern at Costco.

Fall calls for savory meals, so for lunch the other day, I made a cous-cous dish with the loads of garden tomatoes that are popping up, adding these simple, full of protein basil chickpea balls for some extra heartiness. I altered the recipe from thecrunchychronicles.com, using fresh basil and panko flakes.

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons Flax Seed Meal
6 Tablespoons of water
1/2 cup of Panko flakes
1 can of chickpeas (reserve about a tablespoon of the water they are in)
A handful of fresh, chopped basil
Pinch of Salt
Pepper
1/2 teaspoon of garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
Red Pepper Flakes to taste

  1. Mix your flax seed egg – meal & water – and let sit for 10 minutes (in the fridge)
  2. Get a food processor out and mix your chickpeas & flax egg (once ready) to a smooth paste (some lumps are ok)
  3. Add remaining ingredients (I did this is a bigger bowl)
  4. Roll the balls into small rounds with your hands
  5. Bake at 450 for 20-25 minutes

I sauteed garden peppers, garlic, coconut oil and kale to top my cous cous & paired it all with these delicious treats, adding garden tomatoes as a topper. It was filling and full of plant goodness!

Enjoy!

A Memorial for Poppa

Last weekend, the Lawrence family gathered from all corners of the US to memorialize my poppa, who passed away on July 31st, 2017 after 92 years on this planet. What a beautiful way to celebrate our poppa, a man who had such an incredible life!

We flew into Philadelphia on Thursday evening, stopping to see an old friend of ours, Andy (Mike hasn’t been back to PA since we moved!). Staying the night with Mike’s Mom, we left on Friday to head north to Connecticut, stopping along the way for a scrumptious lunch. My Aunt Robin, who lives in Massachusetts, organized the out-of-towners to stay in Stamford, Connecticut at a beautiful 5 bedroom house. The home was lovely, and what a special thing it is to wake up and all be together.

The whole gang was there upon our arrival and the fun started. Drinks flowed, stories were shared, and the family love could be felt.It was Mike’s birthday and Aunt Robin & Leah had prepared a carrot cake so we all could celebrate. With Mike’s mom being there with us, it was a truly special way to celebrate his 39th birthday. My aunt Robin made a homemade carrot cake (his favorite, we even had it at our wedding!) and we sang and everything.

Later that evening, the cousins got goofy, lining up along the staircase in the house and posing for “prom” pictures. The truly hilarious photos were a reminder of how awesome it was to be together as a family!

The next day, we woke and headed to the First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan to set up displays of his wood working projects, family pictures, Yale memorabilia, articles he published, and photos of him and my grandmother. His life displayed on two large tables made us all reflect on the impact he had on all of us.

After rushing back to change, we were ready to officially memorialize him. The family was organized and entered the beautiful church, where him and my grandmother had belonged for years. Prayers were read, psalms were recited, and a story I had written years ago (for his 80th birthday) was read by my sister.

The Saw Dust Jungle

A musty smell hit my nose as the creaking stairs announced my decent. I paused not wanting to disturb this environment.

Nature’s fallen soldiers stretched as far as the eye could see; propped up, waiting to be reincarnated.

The native emerged from the shadows, traveling down a well-known path.

Metallic beasts with razor sharp edges lay still as he passed; for he had tamed them, giving them a purpose. It was time for the selection. Which carcass would be given a new life?

The natives’ hands listened to each piece he passed, hearing the stories of their past, smoothing over the angst of their future.

The animals could sense his readiness, snapping and hissing in anticipation.

The time had come. Selection had been made. Creation began.

I watched from a safe distance, taking it all in. The scent wafted towards me and I inhaled deeply, breathing burnt wood and dampness.

A wooden blizzard began falling, covering the ground, filling the air with flakes. And then all grew silent. I waited.

The sawdust jungle parted and my Poppa, covered with cedar bits, came over to take my hand, and we boarded the steps that led to the house to go have lunch. (4/15/2015)

 

I wrote, and read, the following…

How do you sum up 92 years of a life fully lived? To pack up this man, my grandfather, my poppa, in a few moments is near impossible, so I will talk of what I, and my cousins, knew of him, the memories we share, and the things I think all would recognize about him.

He was not an idle man. His hearty lineage included hard working, self-sufficient men, who used their hands to make a living as farmers and carpenters. My sister, the eldest of his grandchildren passed on the following: “I learned from Poppa the importance of diligence and hard work. I never recall him sitting down, watching TV or relaxing. He was always in motion. If he sat down, it wasn’t for very long – even at meals. He always had a project that he was working on.” Our poppa did things. He explored things. He built and crafted things. And the things he didn’t know? He made it his mission to find out. The things that he found interesting? He’d dig into with a tenacity most would envy. He read books and researched, his thirst for knowledge never quenched. As his youngest granddaughter, my cousin, Lauren recalls, “He loved to learn as much as he could and that fire in him never died.”  Our Poppa’s hands, and mind, were always moving.

He was fearless, a genuine trail blazer, a man Lewis and Clark would have kept in their company. His energy was timeless, the years never seem to slow him down. My sister recalls, “He never seemed to age, he was up on a roof at 80!” Poppa went beyond the boundaries of most men. There was not a lobster in all of Castco Bay he couldn’t hypnotize, a roof he couldn’t climb, a piece of wood he couldn’t find a soul. His workshop filled with tamed metallic beasts, ready at a moment’s notice for his master skills. Each of his grandchildren have a few of his wooden masterpieces and for that I am truly grateful. From applesauce, to gorgeous butterflies, loons, and pedestal tables, his legacy lives within his art.

He was a kind, gentle man, one who always had time to tell stories.Lauren, remembers this the most. She shared a memory with me….“Poppa babysat for me a lot when I was younger and whenever I stayed over at their house I had Poppa tell me stories about the island, usually the same 2 or 3 stories but he was always happy to oblige and he always knew so much! I think he would have made a great historian if he had not been an engineer. Poppa was one of the kindest people I have ever met, he never raised his voice, he was never hurtful and in times of stress would just add a calm little “well, Priscilla, I think…” There was not a mean bone in his body.”

He was a Maine-iac. Lower Goose, the beloved island bought by his father, Linwood, was an extension of him, a member of the family, and we all grew up with the wild taste of blueberries in our mouths. Life here was hard at best, but many hands make light work, and when Poppa was on the island, there was a project to complete (more like several), scavenger hunts to explore, with clues like “look at the place where Poppa lays his head at night” and later, an island skills course, to learn how to tie knots, light lanterns, and clean off the boat. I remember participating in work weekends when I was young girl, a tomboy, so excited to be included and up on the roof with my poppa and dad. We all had a purpose, working together on something so deeply rooted in all of us.

Lauren shared the following with me, “I can’t even begin to explain the love and the ties I feel to Camp Lawrence and I know that is a bond that will never break. I have always been so thankful to have that little piece of paradise in my life and without Poppa that would not be possible. He loved that island and has passed that love down to all of us.”

His beloved island, Maine, is a part of all of us and our poppa made sure that Casco Bay coursed through our veins.

The love our Poppa and grandma had for us is felt deeply. Throughout the years, the holidays, gathered together were truly special times. During Easter, eggs were hidden around the pond for my younger cousins Leah, Luke and Lauren. Thanksgivings gathered around the table, giving thanks for one another and eating green bean casserole. He even got to meet his great grandkids, Ben and Ella, at Leah & Joe’s wedding, almost two years ago, whispering to my sister as he hugged her goodbye, “Your kids are great.”  And the love he shared with my grandmother, a love that spanned 65 years, this love was palpable. My cousin, his granddaughter Leah, told me that in the last few years she was privy to numerous occasions of this adornment, even when time had taken it’s toll and they had to be separated. He would ask, “Priscilla, would you like to go to lunch with me today?” or mention “We must get Pricilla for dinner, we can’t forget her.” Their love is, and forever shall be, a timeless love.

Thank you Poppa, for teaching us, guiding us, showing us this love.

The weekend was beautiful, spent with family we rarely get to see, reminiscing about our dear poppa. I feel so lucky to have known him for all of my life and to have him know me into adulthood.

My aunt Nancy gave the eulogy, honoring his incredible life as a marine, a Yale man, a master carpenter, a family man, who explored the world and country with adventure on the brain. It was a beautiful tribute. Following the memorial, there was a lovely reception where friends and family could chat, look at old photos, and be together. My dad, my poppas only son, held up pretty well, tears filling his eyes as his daughters read. The whole weekend was an amazing family gathering to honor my poppa.

Treasure the time spent with those you love, be happy in each other’s presence, for time goes quickly!

One Year of Marriage: The Good, the Bad, & the Happy

It’s been 365 days since we got married, in our backyard in Colorado, where we have made an amazing life. It’s been quite the year indeed!

We’ve bought two investment properties, sold one and have the biggest project for our company Happy Homes ltd. to date in front of us.

We got Avalanche certified , skied and explored countless mountain towns together, in every season (Crestone, Jacksone hole, Steamboat, Crested Butte, Salida, Fort Collins to name a few!) and survived a backcountry ski accident together, where our patience and trust for each other was put to a test.

We’ve ridden mountain biking trails, hiked to Alpine lakes, skinned up hills and skied down sky chutes.

We’ve drank at countless breweries, enjoyed hundreds of home cooked, garden grown veggie meals, where both our strengths came together beautifully, him growing the food I’m cooking.

Our year has been productive, full of adventure, with times of frustration & sadness sprinkled in….but most of all, the year has been full of happy.

I married “late” in life, waiting until I knew myself a bit more, until there was no doubt in my mind that the person I was joining forces with was going to be a true partner. Now, I’m not naive; there are no guarantees in life and for things to work well, you have to work at them. So, in reflecting on this past year, here are a few lessons I’ve learned (and am still learning) about being married…

  1. The relationship you have with yourself is the most important, so make sure you know yourself and nurture your passions. Far too often I hear of women putting their needs aside for their family, their husband, sacrificing their own wants because they don’t want to appear selfish, they are busy taking care of everyone else’s needs to bother with their own. Well, I think that is horse shi#£. And I say this because I too am guilty of it. For turning down a dinner with a friend because I feel I need to cook dinner for Mike. For not going for an afternoon swim, because I have laundry or cleaning to do that Mike hasn’t offered to do. For not going to that Sunday morning yoga class cause maybe we’ll do something. It is ok to put my needs first sometimes and Mike is almost always fine with whatever I plan for myself, and often encourages it! Don’t make excuses for not pursuing your own stuff. I’m not saying you should give in to every whim you have, say ‘screw you’ to your family responsibilities, but when you make time for you, and those things you love, well, I know I’m a happier, more productive person and bring that to the marriage table.
  2. Know and appreciate each other’s strengths and recognize each other’s weaknesses (and don’t use them against each other!). I’m not a patient person. It’s a weakness for sure, one that I’m actively working on. I also have a major case of FOMO (fear of missing out) so often get so wrapped up in wanting to do more, make each day epic, that I can miss what’s in front of me. But, I’m organized, great at planning, and have a knack for cooking. Mike can get lost in the moment, a perfectionist with certain things, so can take longer to do tasks and can only handle one at a time. But he can fix and build anything, is a master gardener and loves to do yard work. We each bring our own set of goods & not so goods to the table, but where I may lack, Mike picks up & vice versa. He may never plan a trip, and definitely needs a lesson in housekeeping, but he packs the car after I’ve laid it all out, and brings me fresh grown kale for salads. I’ve learned not to throw his weaknesses at him (trial and error for sure!) because I know our individual strengths make us a better team & we need to flaunt them!
  3. Use your words. There have been times I’ve not said I was annoyed, but was, times I’ve not wanted to go down that run, but did anyway, times when I’ve gone silent because feelings are stupid. I’ve found out that if I’m annoyed, I need to say something, explain my side and why and let him talk through his. Mike is not a mind reader, nor should he be, and my feelings and perspective (expressed in a respectful way) should be considered. If I remain silent, then shame on me. Confrontation sucks and it can be unpleasant, but the times when we did talk through things have turned out much better than the times we didn’t.
  4. You can have different play books as long as you’re on the same team. We are individuals, handle things differently, approach situations with different perspective. As long as you’re on the same page about the objective, goal or end result (and communicate along the way) be open to, and patient about, how the other person is accomplishing their task at hand. Just because you wouldn’t do it that way (and your way is most definitely better) doesn’t mean the job won’t get done.
  5. Take care of, and responsibility for, your own sh$#. I can check the air pressure in my own mountain bike tires, can change a flat on the bike if needed, and can get it in and out of the truck myself. I used to just expect Mike to do it, so let him. Then I got a flat on a trail, without an extra tube, and something clicked. I need to take responsibility for the things I participate in….the good, bad and annoying. This goes for Mike as well. I’ve stopped folding his clothes (unless I have time to) have stopped packing for him, and don’t usually stock the house before I leave for a business trip. We are both adults and have the capability of taking care of ourselves. This is not to say we don’t do things for the greater good of the partnership. When I cook a meal, I don’t just serve myself. When I clean the house, I don’t dust around Mike’s things. And when Mike plants and nurtures our garden, he is proud to share the fruits of his labor. It is not about what you won’t deal with or do for the other person, I think it’s more about having mutual respect for each other and the things that you partake in.
  6. Be honest & patient with yourself and with each other. If I’m being truly honest, I am not that good of a mountain biker (yet) but I want to be at Mike’s level, so instead of picking the trails myself, I’ve let him pick. I’ve also not been putting in the time practicing or strengthening during the week, so halfway into our ride, I’m usually frustrated, feel like crap cause I can tell Mike is frustrated, and my confidence is shot. That’s no way to get better! This past weekend, on our anniversary trip (to Grand Junction, which I’ll write about!) I was honest and said I should probably stick to green trails, maybe head to some blues, and once I did that, we both had a better time. But, I did need to ask for Mike’s patience as I get better, as my ACL heals (although I do use that as an excuse) and know I need to put the work in. A similar patience needs to come from me for Mike. As an example, our current Happy Homes investment property is taking a lot longer due to the scope of the project and frustrations around lack of movement on his end, for not having a project to keep him busy, has been spewed towards him. We finally discussed it calmly (after the yelling of course) and I realized he had done as much as he could at the state the project was, and he already felt frustrated with himself about things, so my harping wasn’t helping. Patience, honesty and communication poured out from both sides was the best remedy.
  7. Be Happy. It’s just that easy, huh? Yes. I truly believe you have a choice in dealing with things, especially the hard things. If you have a sour attitude, think only of the bad, focus on the negative, you will only attract the bad, the negative, the sour. If you focus on the happy, the abundance, the good, those things will flock to you. You attract what you put out into the world and if you greet each day with a grateful, happy heart, well…happiness will find you. Life is precious and the love I have for our life, for my husband, makes me happy. Everyday with each other is a gift, so treat your partner with respect, love and happy.

It’s only been a year, and I’m really no expert on relationships, but with happiness and hard work on our side, I feel the next year of our marriage will be just as amazing!