Foraged Summer Feast

mushroom harvestWe’re into August already, but this weekend was the first one that really felt like summer. Our good friends Jill and Joe came up for a visit, and reminded us of the pure joy that can only be found in a full day with absolutely nothing to do.

group
We took a long nature walk, talked about our dreams for the future, and ate really, really good food.
breakfast

During our walk in the woods, they showed us how to look for coral and oyster mushrooms. We harvested them and added them to our CSA chanterelles and black trumpets. We then paired them with our new favorite pasta recipe, good Pecorino Romano, fresh heirloom tomatoes and basil.

Pasta dinner

Oh, and big goblets of Wild Sumac Margaritas!

sumac margarita

This dinner was the perfect nod to summer’s bounty. I insist you find some good mushrooms, good friends, good tequila, and make this immediately before summer starts to disappear.

 

Foraged Summer Feast

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Our First CSA

This year, Trevor and I bit the bullet and bought a CSA membership.

fiddleheads

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Community members purchase a “share” of crops up front from a local farmer before the season begins. The farmer rewards CSA members with fresh, local, and delicious food every week. We purchased a “farm + forage” CSA, which means every week May-October we’ll get a box chock full of produce grown on the farm, as well as food foraged in the Maine wilderness, such as mushrooms, fiddle heads, blueberries, and spinach!Read More »

DIY: Shampoo without the bull

When’s the last time you took a look at the back of your shampoo bottle?

shampoo

What IS this stuff? Methylchloroisothiazolinone, seriously? (Google tells me this ingredient is also used to make glue, paint, and fuel.)

I’ve been fed up with shampoo for a while, but haven’t been ready to jump into the no-poo movement either. I found an easy all-natural shampoo recipe on one of my favorite blogs. It lathers, which was important to me, and left my hair thick and shiny.

hair

(sans blow drying)

Plus, it’s only 3 ingredients! It’s my new go-to, budget-friendly, guilt-free suds of choice. I highly recommend you shake up a batch pronto.

Shampoo without the Bull

(Recipe from Wellness Mama)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (I’ll be posting a recipe for what to do with the rest of the can soon!)
  • 1/3 cup Liquid Castille Soap (like Dr. Bronners)
  • 1/2 of a teaspoon Vitamin E oil, optional (though I think this is what helps with the shine)

ingredients

Mix ingredients together in a jar, clean bottle, or foam dispenser.

jar

I used peppermint-scented Dr. Bronner’s, but if you use an unscented soap you can add up to 20 drops of essential oil like lavender or rose.

Shake it up!

jar2

Store in your shower for up to 1 month, shake well before each use and use about 1 tsp per use, 2-3 times/week. Oh, and because this shampoo isn’t laden with harmful chemicals that strip your hair of its natural oils, there’s no reason to use conditioner.

It’s easy to forget that what you put on the outside of your body affects you just as much as the foods you consume. If you’re interested in learning more about natural body/beauty products, unsullied is a gorgeous, well-written and well-researched blog you should definitely check out. (It’s written by a former coworker of mine who taught me everything I know about social media.)

Happy suds-ing!

Catching Peak

ridge

This weekend, Trevor and I were fortunate enough to attend Maine Huts and Trails’ second annual Harvest at the Huts: a five course, sustainable, local meal served at Stratton Brook Hut. It’s a three mile hike up a hill with stunning views of Sugarloaf Mountain and the Bigelow Mountain range.

trailhead

We were utterly blown away.

menu

The guest chef, Jordan Rolleston, outdid himself. Every ingredient was brought up to the hut from a local Maine farm. No course was quite what we expected- the oysters were paired with a blueberry vinegar, the “salad” was made from pickled apples and squash, the rabbit dish was served with pine nut breadcrumbs.

Each course was paired with an exceptional wine. The 30 or so other guests there were warm and rugged (our two favorite qualities.) It was a weekend to remember, and repeat.

menu2

veggies

Our favorite course was the lobster veloute- a rich and creamy soup studded with big chunks of Maine lobster and dotted with chive cream.

soup

Though the rabbit pappardelle and the honey cake dessert were close runners up.

honeycake

Our sommelier was knowledgable, attentive, and friendly. He’d come around with every course and tell us small info-bites about each wine and why it was chosen:  “It’s got a fresh ripe overtone with an undertone of butter,” “The perfect example of what a Sauvignon Blanc should be,” “It has a velvety smooth taste which pairs well with the velvety smooth rabbit.”

Our favorite description was, “If I had to characterize a Syrah, it would be a cowboy wearing a tuxedo!”

wineguy

We paired up with another newly wed couple, Ben and Petra, and deemed ourselves the kids table.

cheers

We slept in bunks that night, waking several times to marvel at the stars. Trevor pointed out the Andromeda galaxy- a cluster of bright infinity.

The next morning we woke to coffee and blueberry pancakes with local syrup- and somehow managed to keep eating. We enjoyed a slow and easy hike back to our cars, stopping at every viewpoint we could find.

mountainboy mountaingirl

Since we were right next to Sugarloaf, and becuase it was the Great Maine Outdoors weekend, we decided to indulge in a lift ride up Sugarloaf mountain on our way home to take in the views one more time.

On our way down the mountain, our lift guide told us, “You guys are lucky- you just caught peak this weekend.”

fire

We are indeed exceptionally lucky. My advice to all Mainers? Take some time this week and go someplace quiet where you can completely revel in this color explosion. There’s something about the energy in the woods this time of year that lets you be your best self- surrounded by nature, free from worry, and filled to the brim with gratitude and love.