Archives for September 2017

09/28/2017

Simple Apple Spice Gluten Free Muffins Recipe

There is a return to Eden experience when you visit an apple orchard. On a recent Indian summer weekend we did just that, driving north to a farm, paying $20 for two empty bags, and Luc got in his trick or treating practice by stuffing the bags until the handles began to tear. You are in organic bliss with so many apples to munch on, and they definitely taste better when eaten directly from the tree. We sampled the varieties like some kind of fruit experts, pegged the apples at one another, got lost in the maze of orchards. At home we discovered that we had too many apples with not enough neighbors to gift them too. A good reason to test out recipes.

From tree to table.

We decided on healthy apple spice muffins, a simple recipe that inserts avocado oil over butter, honey and rice syrup versus excessive sugar, and whole wheat gluten free flour instead of white.

Apple Spice Gluten Free Muffins

Yield:

6 jumbo muffins

Time:

Prep: 15 minutes

Bake: 20 -25 minutes

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1 cup brown sugar in the raw

1/2 cup Lindberg rice syrup

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons almond milk

1/2 cup avocado oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups diced apples

2 cups all-purpose King Arthur gluten free whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon,

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 6 muffin pan.

Beat eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl; add apples.

Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon in a separate bowl; add to mixture. Stir batter until completely mixed. Pour batter into muffin tin.

Drizzle each muffin with honey, sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. If toothpick is wet, cover tin and watch for another 5 to 10 minutes as stove temperatures vary. Let cool.

Snacking delight.

Resources:

Table cloth: Linen Me

Bowls: Tuvalu Home

Tea towel: Pomegranate Home

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09/25/2017

Travel – Experience the Transition of Greenport

I often thought of Greenport, Long Island, as the Hamptons’ challenged stepsister. During the drive for a quick getaway to investigate the area I adjusted my stance. The North Fork is the one who gets it but has no interest in letting too many in on the secret for fear of spoiling its inherent nature.

Greenport’s pier is the site of the North Ferry to Shelter Island.

The North Fork has been lauded for its agricultural bounties, dense with farms, vineyards, lavender and seafood operators, though characteristics of its tony neighbor across the bay have steadily been encroaching.

There are Hampton styled cottages that are softly updated aside homes that could benefit from a visit to the Home Depot just three town aways. I saw such a ramshackle home on the drive to the hotel. Aside a cheerful sunflower patch was an antique farmhouse with no trespassing signs nailed to its side. A crusty character sat on the porch who would not appear out of place holding a shot gun and wearing long johns held up with suspenders, perhaps guarding his moonshine.

In the hub of Greenport’s town consignment shops may outnumber organic lifestyle retailers, which works with me as I returned home with a set of china not made in China, fuchsia slip dress and gilded picture frames. The stores were decorated with vintage flair, a gratuitous use of patriotic emblems, which reminded me of Southampton in the bicentennial year. In fact Greenport may be Southampton in the 70s but it’s in a conflicted pace to catch up.

The 67 Steps that give the beach its namesake.

The region offers a mix of activities. You can tour wineries, stock up on just picked produce from the farm stands or swim along hidden beaches that offer stunning views of the bay and coast.

A private watering spot to help you forget.

We stayed at American Beech, a hip boutique hotel that could be the country version of a SoHo counterpart. Proprietor Brent Pelton is suitably qualified in acknowledging Greenport’s innate charm while giving the town a nudge into its deserved haute destination category, using his background in hospitality and law to create a lifestyle resort plotted within town. The compound includes a check in bungalow with a well edited shop, restaurants, bar and five tasteful suites with those details travelers adore like crispy white linens and bottles of Fred water for a charge.

In walking distance is shopping, restaurants, IGA market (another relic from a past decade) and pier with a quaint carousel. The Monday evening we visited the town hosted a band with dancing where you will fraternize with New Yorkers capitalizing on a three day weekend along with locals who have the we’ve-been-here-first elitism. I’ve always found that a devoted supporter to a town’s native essence allows a gem’s preservation to be thoughtfully handled.

Local band with dancing along the pier.

The pull between local and upscale is evident in everything from the boutiques to service the urban crowd like Calypso, or restaurants such as The Frisky Oyster if you have a hankering for duck confit spring rolls.

Wandering the town and you will find personalized authenticity in the seaside storefronts.

Autumn is another known commodity known to true North Forkers, its golden season is when you sieve out the ladies-drink-free and families with Thules clasped on to their SUVs crowd. The agricultural bounties kick in, with farm stands bursting with harvested crops and corresponding activities like hay rides and fundraisers. There are events aplenty, which include an Oyster Festival and East End Maritime Festival to showcase the area’s rich nautical history.

Even the locals have more of an edge to them versus the typical coastal native profile who speak with heavy accents that can be sourced to the colonial days and eat lobster for breakfast. This is Long Island.

Hotels:

http://www.greenportvillage.com/category/lodging/hotels-and-motels/

Restaurants:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g47827-Greenport_North_Fork_Long_Island_New_York.html

 

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09/18/2017

Living in a Modern Day Teepee

The teepee will always fascinate from its lore, tribal romance, and having the habitable efficiency of a portable umbrella. It has grown in popularity, designed in trendy fabrics as a decorative novelty for children to retreat and reboot. On a grander scale tepees are associated with Ralph Lauren’s Telluride and shelter on glamping trips.

Teepees are more than just novelties but unique, eco-efficient homes.

While commonly associated with American Indians, teepees have also populated parts of Europe and Asia. The structure not only has benefits for a nomadic existence but in the current day they are eco-friendly.

The “pointy-hat” cantilevers are erected slightly above ground, which prevents insects, humidity and fallen snow from entering the house.

In this home in Nasu, Tochigi, a resort area in Japan, the homeowners are a young couple who enjoy an environmentally-aware existence with organic gardening and limiting their carbon footprint in this natural environs. They enlisted architect Hiroshi Nakamura &NAP with the task of preserving the surrounding woods where they plotted the home. “We avoided large-scale construction to build the rooms on the few remaining flat surfaces of the sloping ground, as if sewing them together,” says Nakamura.

The high ceiling allows the structure to receive direct sunlight, which is especially needed in the dense woods. To offset the expense of air-conditioning they eliminated unnecessary space.

The teepee’s form matches the neighboring tree branches.

Nakamura’s design process:

+ They began by cutting down the upper space diagonally to make the ceiling lower based on the way people move.

+ The new form matches the tree branches that spread out radially. This resulted in a tent-shaped house with only one-third of the volumes. Although the highest ceiling is 26 feet, the average ceiling height is 16 feet. Dwellers cannot stand upright close to the walls, so Nakamura simply turned the spaces into sleeping and sitting areas. The ceiling descends like a tent and enables the creation of a warm living space that mingles with the trees. “You will feel the warmhearted embrace of the house around you,” he says.

+ Other eco-conscious design tricks include the “pointy-hat” building cantilevers, which are slightly above ground in order to prevent insects, humidity and fallen snow from entering the house.

+ The windows are all double glazed in order to ensure that the tall spaces are airtight and well insulated. The fireplace and the air-conditioning underfloor capitalize on the floor heating and pit.

+ During summer, warm air gathers at the top and escapes through the upper window. In winter, warm air at the upper part will be drawn in and blown out at floor level, creating a comfortable air flow.

A constant surprise with light and, in this instance, sheds an intriguing profile.

The design fosters family gatherings and connecting naturally. “It is similar to primitive spaces seen in the houses of the Jomon People (Ancient Japanese) and Native Americans. The structure of the house initiated a lifestyle with close interaction, because the family sat along the low wall facing each other. A fire, a light or a table was set in the middle to initiate conversation as the family gathered around the center. The architecture has had an influence on people’s habits and it strengthened the connection and bond of the family,” Nakamura says.

Built in tables detailed with wooden poles capture the outdoors into indoors theme.

“Design touches include light wood, natural tones and artisanal additions like the pressed flower glass door. “Akebi, viola, anemone, geranium, larkspur – the wild flowers found in the pressed flower glass all came from the surrounding woods,” says Nakamura. “Our idea was to find a new way to reflect the blessings of nature, not just in the context of samples or picture books. We manufactured the glass by sandwiching the pressed flowers in resin films between two thick glasses and firing them in vacuum.”

Flower cuttings from the surrounding area are immortalized within indoor glass windows.

Pressed flowers sealed between two panes of glass protect the flowers from decolorization.

An almost space age feel happens at night.

The home takes on a new direction once night falls. Moonlight naturally illuminates the exterior, wild animals circulate freely around the home, which has a presence that is as natural as its neighboring trees. “In the darkness of the night, you will find a house filled with warm and gentle looks,” Nakamura says. It’s like living on a camp ground with all the efficiencies.

There is an alluring quality from the lit teepee, like a jack-o-lantern at night.

For more information please visit http://www.nakam.info/en/

Photography by Koji Fujii / Nacasa and Partners Inc.

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09/10/2017

5 Steps to an Inviting Fall Front Porch

The switch over from daisies to mums is happening, and porches are starting to take note. In designing the front entrance, rather than go the Halloween route with crawling spiders and loud ghoulish ornaments that transform your yard into a Dollar Store graveyard, I’ve always preferred the harvest theme. Here, in our former Laguna Beach cottage, we let color and whatever looked good at the the nursery guide the exterior’s design.

A fall porch is as simple as selecting a few well edited pieces.

5 steps to a fall front porch:

  1. Browse your local nursery, market and farmstead for gourds and fall fruits that can add style to your tableau.
  2. Choose a secondary theme, as we did with burlap and straw, and find pieces that connect. We found the burlap garland on Etsy and mini stack of hay from Michael’s, which we tied to the front door and used as filler to the vignette.
  3. Place fake leaves here and there, also bought at Michael’s, if you live in a climate that does not shed its leaves in abundance.
  4. Survey your own pieces to use as decoration. A vintage wire basket is a great container for apples while a straw market bag is the perfect vessel for mums.
  5. Use your dog as a prop and, if you don’t have one, borrow a friend or neighbor’s like Baxter in this image.

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09/06/2017

How to Grill Lobster and Shellfish

The most difficult thing about grilling shellfish is to not play with the lobsters before you cook them. The technique is as simple as throwing them onto the grill. Our recommendation: buy lobster tails instead of the live crustaceans.

A grilled shellfish dinner packs in a lot of flavor with minimum effort.

Ingredients for 2-3:

4 lobster tails

10 clams

10 mussels

1/2 pound new potatoes

2 ears of corn

Fresh seasonal vegetables

Seasoning such as paprika, dried mustard and pepper

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Quartered lemon to serve

Directions:

  1. Soak the fish for 3-4 hours.
  2. Season with lemon, a  sprinkling of olive oil and your favorite seasoning or make your own with paprika, dry mustard, ginger, salt and pepper.
  3. Warm up grill to 350 degrees.
  4. Drizzle corn and fresh picked vegetables with olive oil, add seasoning and wrap in foil.
  5. Cook all food for five to ten minutes. Once the shells of the mussels and clams open they are ready.
  6. Serve with lemon.

What looks like an involved table setting could not be easier.

Resources:

Plates: Homer Laughlin

Grill: Weber

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09/04/2017

Shop the Indian Summer Look

We refuse to believe summer is coming to a close. There is no urgency to store away the sundresses and shorts. The grill’s covering is still gathering mold in the shed. The floors of the car are coated with sand. If you feel your summer gear was lacking this season, this is the best time to stock up with what you want and possible deals. It’s like buying Christmas decor the day after the holiday at half off and being fully prepared the following year. Here, we round up our wishlist favorites.

1. Native petite round towel 2. Bondi beach tent 3. Pagoda Kaeden umbrella 4. Santander Macrame Hammock 5. Beach cart 6. Carnival kite 7. Countryside gardening basket 8. Beach paddles

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09/04/2017

Celebrate Indian Summer

For those who are not part of the warm-weathered privilege who either live in a mild climate or chase the sun year round, September is a crucial time to take in summer’s last hurrah. As a four-season dweller, customs like squirrels gathering nuts early and the thickness of a spider’s web are noted and feared. (All signs in the Farmer’s Almanac of a cold winter).

Beach Tent by Lovin’ Summer creates an instant campground.

The exchange between summer to fall may be the most spectacular period of the year. In our neighborhood you won’t see a countdown sign till summer ends but in spring they are prevalent. This is why being outdoors is a necessity.

Beaches are less crowded. Deals on summer necessities abound. You can still feel the rays of the sun before she relinquishes her power to another hemisphere and go home to an evening by the fire. Engage in a seashore outing simply but with verve and style by erecting a beach tent with nibbles and games. Just because the month may switch over doesn’t mean you have to.

Boat’s experiencing their own end of summer moment.

Create an end of summer celebration:

  • Postpone stowing away beach gear and make a trip to the beach for a more private experience than jostling for sand space.
  • Take advantage of end of season specials and stock up on those great beach pieces you had your eye on.
  • Pack snacks, games, plan a kayak expedition or just go on one of those endless, meditative walks. Make an effort to get in beach time before days become cooler and shorter.

Indulge on the last stock of summer fruit.

Resources:

Beach Tent: https://lovinsummer.com/shop/beach-tent/santorini-beach-tent/

Wategos Round Beach Towel: http://thebeachpeopleco.com/thttp://thebeachpeopleco.com/the-wategos.htmlhe-native-petite.html

Fair Trade Basket Bag: http://basketsofafrica.com

Colored bowls: http://www.boboandboo.com.au/

Adirondack chair: https://www.polywoodoutdoor.com

Lovin’ Summer sums it up.

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