Aiming to keep my dirt-dwelling life simple, special and sweet

Scientifically Special

At the marinas we used to visit, there would be a crusier's hideaway of sorts, complete with bathrooms (yay!), couches, tv, magazines, and my favorite, a bookshelf with books available under the 'read and return' policy. In the town that housed our home marina, there was a small local grocery that, too, had the same kind of bookshelf. Patrons would bring in used books and leave them for new readers. Not only could I buy provisions, but for free, I could expand my mind.

With bookshelves of books, I can't help myself. That is why when I began attending classes at my local healing center, the tall bookshelf tucked away in the dining room caught my attention. To my delight, there was a hand-written sign informing me that I could take any of the books home, read and enjoy them, and bring them back when I was ready. Even better was that I was in a healing center, so the books to borrow were of a collection of my favorite topics: spirituality, simplicity, peace, the divine. I chose,  The Divine Code of Life by Kazuo Murakami, Ph.D.
The Dalai Lama (Himself) recommended this book, so I thought that it would be a good read. It is. The book is based on gene research, specifically in the realm of spirit and the ability to reprogram genes from negative to positive.

I especially like this passage, which made me feel quite special. It's on page xx. (Yes, I'm only in the Introducation and I'm already posting about it.)

But there is another piece of the picture that intrigues scientists like myself. Who wrote this amazing [genetic] code in the first place? Human beings could not possibly have created the genetic code, but does that mean that it happended spontaneously? After all, the ingredients neccessary for life abound in the natural world.

In my opinion, life cannot be the result of mere coincidence. If that were true, a car should be able to assemble itself spontaneously as long as all the requisite parts are gathered together in one spot. We know that this does not happen. Some greater being must be behind this, a force that transcends human understanding.

And, I like this, too (on page xix):

For any one child, there are seventy trillion possible combinations of genes....look at it this way: You exist becuase you just happened to be chosen from seventy trillion possibilities. That is how special you are.

Love that - every one is special. Proven by science :)

I'm thankful for strawberries!

I know that we are supposed to buy in season all year long, and I have a difficult time doing this in the winter. Yet, now that it's summer I am very thankful for the organic strawberries that I enjoyed this week. I washed, dried and topped them with frozen organic raspberries and kept the mix in the fridge for when I needed a cold, sweet snack. So good! 

Quick Quiche

It was so nice for a classmate of mine to give me a dozen eggs. She has chickens at her home and they lay TONS of eggs. This woman came to class last week with a dozen eggs for each participant, and I used some of them to make a ham and cheese quiche for my husband. He said that it was the best quiche that I have ever made, so I believe that's worth sharing here. You'll see that I have approximated some of the ingredients as they can be as big or small as you want them to be. And you can change the meat and cheese. You're the cook, do what you want!

The ladies that run our marina have a good technique that I will use next week when I head to class. Whenever someone gives you a dish of something good, return the dish with something from you. When I made the marina ladies a quiche in my baking dish, they gave the dish back with a wonderful winter soup. I think this is such a great practice, so next week along with the empty carton, I will have a quiche for my classmate. Hope she likes ham...

Quiche directions:

Deep dish ready-made pie crust 
6 eggs 
1 cup milk 
enough cubed or sliced up ham to cover the bottom of the crust
2 or more slices of swiss cheese

I measure the milk and then mix in the eggs within the measuring cup. Easy to pour into pie crust.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut up the ham that you will use. The squares of ham should be enough to layer the bottom of the pie crust. Recently, I used whatever I had left in the fridge, which was maybe four slices from a lunch meat container. Again, you can use as much or as little as you like. Just layer the ham in the crust, first. 
  3. Tear/cut up the swiss cheese slices and layer them on top of the ham. Leave some space between the cheese so the egg mixture will be able to get into the ham.
  4. Pour 1 cup of milk into the measuring cup and then add in the six eggs. Beat with a whisk until all the yolk is fully combined with the milk (Be careful, my measuring cup was quite full).
  5. Place the pie crust on a baking sheet. This will allow for easier transferring in and out of the oven, and catch any spills (should they happen, but they should not happen).
  6. Pour the egg/milk mixture into the pie crust, on top of the ham and cheese, directly on top of the middle. From the middle, the mixture will move to the edges and you'll be able to tell when there is enough mix in the crust. The pie crust should be filled to the top, but do not allow the egg/milk to spill over the edges. 
  7. Carefully place the quiche on the bottom rack of your oven and allow to cook for about 40 minutes, more or less. You will know that the quiche is ready when the crust edges have been browned, the center of the quiche is puffed up, and the quiche is beginning to separate from the crust edges.      
  8. Option - halfway through baking, I like to place another slice of swiss cheese (whole or torn-apart) on top of the cooking quiche. this way, the cheese doesn't get too brown by the end of baking time and creates a nice cheesy crust.    

Ham/swiss is on the right. I was also making a mushroom quiche, on the left.
 If you try this recipe, come back and let me know how you made your quiche. What meat/cheese did you use?

Convienent Shopping

One of our biggest events upon moving to land is stuff (what to have? where will it go? how much will it be? etc.) I cannot deny that a creatively and nicely filled home is beautiful. I love my friend's home in Montana, where each room is arranged with pieces that have been collected and refined in order to complete a cozy, mountain look. It's like she really wanted to say to visitors, come in, grab some coffee, and just relax.

I want my own cozy Montana home - right away! Yet, it's not possible. A home is created over time. My dad used to tell me that a person can always get a house, but a home is created. And I'm finding that creating a "home" is very expensive. My husband and I purchased a single loveseat last month, and the matching couch will be $800. It's important to us to have a couch that matches our loveseat as we want to have love and fun in our home with friends and family - and they need a place to sit! As we save for that couch (and then later, the chair and ottoman) we are collecting new-to-us items.

Instead of earning a monstrous amount of points on my Discover card, I've become a Craig's List hound. Each day, at some point, I look at which furniture is for sale in my area. To my husband's and my delight, we have nearly completed the basic furnishing of our home. There have been some more expensive finds, but if you look at current new-furniture prices you will agree that we've scored some good deals.

Table/Six chairs - $50

Our canine roommate, Maddie, with cherry coffee table - $30 (see mismatched loveseat and couch in the background)

Cherry queen size bed frame w/ head and foot boards - $250

Fairly new Kenmore washer and dryer - $300 (and the seller delivered)
  It is true that is is more "green" to have a front-loading washer instead of a top-loader. Yet, when on a strict budget one may have to compromise on a few things. I hope that my other water-conserving and air-drying practices will offset the water used with this washer. New washers are usually more than $500.

Full-size Beautyrest mattress and boxspring (w/out coverings) - $100

 This bed is in our spare room and we recently purchased a full-size bed frame for this bed ($100). When we arrived at the home of the previous owner, we learned that he was making a quick move and needed to unload a lot of his stuff. He gave us a bookshelf, below, for free. It's a sturdy basic fold down shelf which will help clear out my office closet which has collected my books (which I will not give away). My books are my friends and now they will have a home.
I've learned that we can find some good things at a fair price using Craig's List and my house is feeling like a home a bit more each day. I feel good about helping to reuse things instead of buy new. Buying used does help, I think. I'm not merely being a consumer who gives in to ridiculously high prices. Honestly, when I look at what items cost, I can't imagine that their true cost is that high. I feel differently about items that are handcrafted, but production-line things, in my opinion, are terribly too expensive.

Warning: if you do buy items from Craig's List, make sure that you have a friend or partner accompany you during the pick-up. You need to be careful when entering another person's home. Not everyone uses Craig's List for the good of mankind and recycled goods.  Go with a friend, be aware of your surroundings, and if something seems fishy, don't go inside the house. I always take my husband with me because he is a master intentions-reader and has ninja-like skills. If you don't have a Craig's List partner like mine, meet in a public place or arranged a delivery (when you have someone home with you). Deliveries may cost a bit more, but your safety is worth it.