I hope you don't mind if I interrupt my wanna-be artsy/foodie/lifestyle blog with a political update.  The last two weeks it's been impossible to avoid that fact that I am indeed a public education teacher, in Wisconsin.  This weekend I attended an organized rally in our state capital building and am so glad that I did.  I rode the bus with my fellow union members and stood among 100,000 + other people in solidarity.

This is what democracy looks like.

(iphone photos via my husband)



I've been dabbling a bit!  And recently have built up my collection of oils again.  It seems whenever I get my hands on them I promptly use them up in my bathwater, but lately I've been trying to group scents.  I'd say my first successful mix has been with pine, bergamot, and ylang ylang (base, middle, and top note).  There is so much to learn about blending and I definitely have a ways to go.   I spotted the "fancy" perfume sprayer and decided to make my mom a birthday blend.  Shhhhhhh....don't tell!  Next week I'll be mixing up a special chakra blend for emotional balance.  There is a great teacher in town who is showing me the way.  Lately I've been overjoyed with the natural healing community here, and feel that I've really begun to find my group of folks.


outside currently...

We're making the best of it though.  My sewing machine has been going full speed, my closet is totally organized, kitchen is full of soup and homemade granola bars, and I've actually been reading.  Spring, we'll be reunited soon enough and I promise it will be sweeter than ever.


love to you and yours

Nick and I celebrated this weekend with not one, but two date nights!  We bought a painting for our house, went to a concert, had drinks, and dinner, and saw this beautiful film.  It couldn't have been better!

I hope your valentines is filled with hugs, kisses, cuddles, and quality time with boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, friends, family, puppies, and cute kids.  It is so important to remember to cultivate more love in our lives on a daily basis.  I know I've been working on being more loving and accepting of myself and others these days.  Valentine's Day is a great reminder of that.  And, is also a great excuse to eat a fancy cupcake!



fig [meyer] newtons

We had the best time skiing and snowboarding with friends this weekend.  The frost covered trees and fresh air reminded me that February isn't so bad sometimes if you get outside and enjoy it!  But we are always exhausted after an afternoon  on the slopes and it's nice to have plenty of snacks around to refuel.  Our friends brought along fig newtons, and I swear they were the best thing I ever tasted.  How could I have possibly forgotten about this delightful little cookie that tricks you into thinking you are eating something kind of healthy?

Well, I haven't been doing much in the kitchen these days that doesn't involve vegetables or homemade trail mix so I thought I'd borrow my girlfriend's stand mixer (I am putting one of these on my birthday wish list) and give these fig newton cookies a try.

Fig [meyer] Newtons
adapted from here and here

Fig Filling
1 lb. dried mission figs, quartered and de-stemmed
1 1/2 c. apple juice
1/4 c. water
1 lemon, juiced

Place quartered figs in a medium bowl and cover with apple, lemon juice, and water (make sure all fruit is covered).  Let soak overnight until fruit is plump and liquid is absorbed.  Drain the extra juice and place fruit in a food processor or blender.  Whirl into a paste.

1 stick of unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. cane sugar
2 eggs
1 t. milk
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. nutmeg
2 c. whole wheat pasty flour
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt

Using a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar well. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat after each addition. Add milk, vanilla, nutmeg and blend. In the first cup of four, add baking powder and salt. Continue adding flour until the mixture is the proper consistency.  Divide dough in half and make 2 round, flat discs.  Cover in saran wrap and chill at least 1 hour or overnight.

To make fig newtons, divide each disc into 2 parts so they are easier to roll and roll between 2 pieces of waxed paper, into nice squares or rectangles.   Remove top layer of waxed paper and cut dough into 2 equal sized pieces (one for the top and one for the bottom) Generously spoon fig filling onto one half and place the other half on top.  Gently press down the sides (but not all of the way) and cut into nice, fig newton, sized cookies.

Bake at 350* for 15 min.  Cool on wire rack.  Makes about 3 dozen.

Although some assembly is required, it's the rewarding kind that makes you feel like superwoman for making something from scratch that is usually store bought!  Enjoy.
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