Mid-March Charms

Despite the snow and wind storm on Tuesday the birds have been singing in the morning, Randall the chipmunk has emerged and we no longer need candlelight for dinner with the curtains pulled open.

Yesterday I made a colorful heart-healthy salad bowl (above) packed with flavor: grated red cabbage with sesame oil and a pinch of sugar; European cucumber and grape tomatoes tossed with a dash of vinegar, paprika and cumin; arugala; guacamole made with avocados and salsa. So simple and good!

These two photos of my dear late pal Wishy the chipmunk were taken five years ago today. He had just emerged underground from torpor, which is how chipmunks spend the winter. Their body temperature lowers and they go into a deep sleep, but wake up periodically to eat from their stash they collected all summer and fall. Although I had put out food for him he skipped over it and ran over to me and stood up to put his nose to my face. How sweet he was! You can share his magic with your little ones by purchasing his book.

I love essential oils for aromatherapy. This past weekend I made a “Cottage Summer” room spray with notes of roses and sandalwood and used a photo of my roses last summer for the label. For the upcoming Coronation of HM King Charles III I used lime and Bergamot and made the label with the official emblem. Just some simple late winter alchemy turning my mood into gold!

Maine Recipe: The Thrifty Yankee’s Navy Bean Soup

I’m loving my new vintage Maine lobster apron! However, no lobster on the menu tonight. I’m making a simple, frugal gluten-free vegan soup. I’m happy to share my own recipe with you:


16 oz dry Navy beans

2 cups sliced carrots

2 cups sliced celery (or a few shakes of celery seed)

1/4 cup sunflower oil

1/2 cup chopped onions

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp dill weed

1/2 tsp dried parsley

Optional: black pepper to taste


Rinse and check the beans for foreign objects, then add water to cover the beans and soak for six hours in a 5 to 5 1/2 quart dutch oven. Add more water until the dutch oven is halfway filled or less for a thicker broth. Turn the stove to medium high and bring to a boil and stir. Once boiling remove any bean foam and turn the heat down to low, add the salt, garlic, dill and parsley, stir then cover. Heat the sunflower oil in a skillet on medium high, add the carrots, celery and onions and stir for about five minutes until they are evenly coated and lightly cooked in the oil. Add the vegetables to the simmering soup and cover for about one to two hours until the beans are tender, or longer for a thicker broth, stirring occasionally.

Navy beans are rich in potassium, iron and fiber. One tablespoon of sunflower oil has 28% of the RDA for vitamin E! Plus, this is a budget-friendly meal.