Wild Foods

This last Saturday I took a class over the river at Wild Craft Studio School. I should say I took another class in the studio, as I could honestly be there every Saturday for the wonderfully curated class schedule. This particular class was taught by Herbalist and wild foods educator Elise Krohn. I took a Tree Medicine class from her in the fall that blew my mind. If you ever have a chance to learn from her take a class. She approaches each subject in a unique way. The Spring Wild Foods class began with a trail walk near a stream bed. I took this with the understanding that I wasn't going to learn about new plants, just new ways to use them. Well that idea was dispelled in the first 5 minutes with the flowers of the Big Leaf Maple.IMG_2687 I've really never paid much attention to them other than the golden beauty of the trees in the spring against the evergreen background. It didn't occur to me that they were fragrant or that they were edible. Just like Elder or Hawthorn you can pick the flowers, batter them and fry them as fritters. And later that day we did. We had an afternoon tea of nettle liquor with our flower fritters and dandelion flower biscuits topped with nettle pesto. IMG_2690 Look how bright green that is! Mine tends to be much darker color. The group that worked on this added other wild greens we gathered on our walk. I was so happy that I was going to learn new information I was like the eager young school child always with her hand in the air. After a while I felt like I should probably have kept quiet, but I was just too excited all day.

I love learning! I love adding new knowledge to a subject (like nettles). The walk was beautiful--even on a rainy day. I saw old plant friends and met several new ones. Found that a fiddle head I'd eaten in the past should probably be passed up in the future. Back in the studio we made the pesto, pickled dandelion buds (to which I've added chive buds at home) and a nettle, sesame salt. Mainly I just plain had a blissed out day with like minded people that enjoy getting dirty outside with the plants.

I was very inspired by our discoveries and of course see a different kind of future class on this little spot of Mt Hood. I love the idea of mixing cultivated and wild foods. Of investigating the healing properties of food. Of bringing out the best flavors with minimal additional ingredients. And of course have this all be as pleasing to the eyes as well as to our taste buds. My little spot is not ready for prime time yet. But it will be eventually. I have a list of classes that will be back yard based. For me taking classes inspires me more and more. Some for teaching, some for my own writings (definitely not for prime time yet), all for learning  and keeping the brain juices flowing.

100 Days of Making

Today begins the #100DaysProject. Each participant creates (builds on) a project over a 100 day period. You chose your own project, medium and level of challenge. It is daily posted over at Instagram with your own # that dedicates a series of 100 photos to your individual project. I am documenting #100daysoffood. I'll be posting photos of food I've made, been inspired by, am eating while traveling. All food that speaks to me in some way. Here I will be doing some writing (prose or recipes) about what I feel about said food. Not all the writing will end up here, but this is a great way for me to jumpstart some getting recipes on paper. I love this kind of creative accountability. I need it on occasion. Here is a link to the original post about this project. And here is a link to Cynthia Morris from whom I found this project. Cynthia will be creating a painting each day for the next 100 days! It's not too late to join in the fun--Today is Day 1! What would your #100dayproject be? It can be absolutely anything. This is perfect timing as we began lunch service at Gino's Restaurant today. I am always food focused whether from the very beginning of that food still growing in the garden or placing a lovely plate of something in front of my guests. I love what we were serving today and I love that it might be totally different by Wednesday. Following along on Instagram will bring you lots of photos of tasty Gino's food.

However, as the 100 days progress there will be change of scenery as we will be traveling abroad for 5 weeks. I am excited to be inspired by new food experiences and traditional spring dishes that I haven't had in quite a few years.

And I am feeling better. Not 100%, but at least 90%. I have been drinking a lot of medicinal teas and finally slowed myself down and just plain slept. I hope to be back to yoga by week's end. The best way not to get sick is to live the healthy life. Movement, drinking lots of good water, eating foods and herbs that are full of health, positive thoughts can't hurt either;)

Creative Exercises

Although this month gotta kind of crazy there for a bit I am participating in the Free Write Fling again. Cynthia Morris of Creative Impulse hosts these months of free writing. I talked about it in this post. During the month of March we were staying in Portland and out at the beach. It made a difference being out of my normal routine; I wrote everyday. This month started out with us in Hawaii and writing was, again, no problem to accomplish everyday. However, returning home it became a problem to break out of my routine and find that quiet time (and place) where I could just let go and write. Write without thinking about what I should write. Not journaling about my feelings (although sometimes those do sneak in), but just choosing a writing prompt and starting from that thought. Cynthia provides these prompts during the fling. I don't always use them, but reading them can sometimes get my brain going. I was thinking about these prompts in the shower this morning and a few of my own popped into my head. This being the place I have my most creative thoughts:) I went on to think it would be a good idea to write down my own prompts somewhere but, for me, not in a book. I will never go back and read them. So I am going to do something my sis and I did as kids when we couldn't decide what game to play...I am going to write down prompts as I think of them and put them in a vase. When I need something to jump start my creative juices I can pick a prompt and go. One prompt I thought of in the shower was "You Weirdo". To me that leads to writing about keeping Portland weird or surrounding myself with creative people or don't apologize for your creative ideas even if not everyone gets it. What would that bring up for you? Can you challenge yourself to think up ten prompts and then write for ten days using them? The other thing I've noticed as I've fallen into and out of writing over the past months is that if I approach every type of writing with intention I am much happier with the outcome. And I mean even a grocery list-I don't forget things if I am only thinking about this and not what else I need to do before leaving the house. With Free Writing I find that staying Intentional and Within the Moment brings out some beautiful writing and interesting thoughts. I may be the only person that every reads what I've written, but I am beginning to see how everything else in my life is affected in a positive way through all these exercises and thoughts.

So today I challenge you to Create with Intention. Whether you are creating breakfast, weeding the garden, in the middle of knitting a scarf or beginning a novel be present in what you are doing. After a while I think you will see a difference in yourself and your project. Believe me, a rather scattered person sometimes, it will make you feel like you can do anything!