Monthly Archives: June 2015

Eating Seasonally

mulberry treeIt’s a long road to the self sustainable life. For me, it started a few years ago when I stopped eating gluten, dairy, and eggs and started cooking for myself. I’ve become acquainted with gardening, lacto-fermentation, essential oils and herbal medicine, sewing, and a plethora of other traditional crafts we have now woven into the homespun fabric of our daily life. A newer addition to the list has been eating seasonally.

I used to eat seasonally, seasonally. You know –  eating from the farmer’s markets and kitchen garden in the summer but then swinging back to the grocery store in December for raspberries and asparagus because, well, they’re there. I decided this year after reading Gluten-Free Girl‘s blog that I would challenge myself creatively by truly eating seasonally. As of this summer I’ve only been eating what vegetables our garden produces, with a few small exceptions. Right now, in late June, we have spinach, several kinds of lettuce, strawberries, and rainbow Swiss chard. That’s it. And boy are they DELICIOUS! While it’s been boring eating the same rotation of vegetables each week, my mind has been freed, in a way, by having a smaller selection to choose from while meal planning. Instead of having the entire range of the vegetable kingdom available to me at my local Trader Joe’s, all I have are a few humble green tablefellows to consume. The spinach is tender, mild and faintly vegetal without the overwhelming “vegetabley” taste that most kids hate. The lettuce is butter-soft, crisp and dainty. And the strawberries? Like vibrant red jewels, bright splashes of flavor on your tongue.


Another aspect of seasonal eating I am trying to implement into our lives is using what we have from our wild plants. I’m still learning about harvesting wild food, but mulberries and stinging nettle are on my radar. Our mulberry tree is quite prolific, and if you walk underneath it your feet are sure to be left splotched with purple stains. I’m not sure how I feel about mulberries. They look deceptively like blackberries, are sweet for sure, but don’t really have much flavor. I’ve found that when used in baked goods they take on a brighter flavor, but otherwise they’re kind of just….meh. The challenge lies in using these free, organic, wild berries because they are here, and not buying the luscious blueberries, figs, apricots at the grocery store. Well, okay, I bought a few, but keeping my focus on what we grow ourselves is the goal.

 I created this recipe for the mulberries because I was tired of using them in sweets. Really, don’t we have enough sweets, too frequently? Plus it is more challenging for me to create a savory recipe using fruit since I am not much acquainted with that type of cooking. This recipe for lamb is really delicious. The meat is so tender, moderately spiced, and falls apart without a hint of dryness. Persian cuisine frequently features mulberries. They are known in that culture as the “king of berries.”

Slow-Roasted Persian Lamb with Mulberries

Slow-Roasted Persian Lamb with Mulberries


1 4-lb boneless leg of lamb

2 lbs carrots, chopped

1 1/2 cups fresh mulberries

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon ginger

1 slice preserved lemon

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint


1. In a food processor, blend together mulberries, preserved lemon, and liquids until completely broken down.

2. Add in other spices and combine well. It should taste spicy and pungent.

3. Place the lamb in your crockpot and cover liberally with mulberry sauce. Place chopped carrots around (but not on) the lamb.

4. Cook on low for 7-8 hours, until meat is falling apart and aromatic.

I served this dish with yellow rice, sauteed chard and coconut yogurt.

This post was featured on Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday.


Moon Time

I recently finished a book about the feminine connection to the lunar cycle and how it manifests in daily life. Need I say it was very interesting? Looking past some of the occult themes in the book, the author provided a vivid link between the moon, the female hormonal cycle, and the energetic transformation of our feminine selves throughout.
In a womans body which is aligned with the lunar cycle, the new moon corresponds to the first day of bleeding; this is a time of inner darkness, sadness, withdrawal anf renewal.The full moon corresponds to ovulation, and brings vitality, creativity, fertility, and sexual energy. Within this cycle, the waxing of the moon is tied to an increase in energy, and the waning of the moon – a decrease in energy. Essentially, it is completely normal and even necessary for a woman to be “on” for two weeks and “off” for another two weeks.
As I read this book I was struck (not for the first time) by our culture’s dominating masculine structure. We are expected to be “on” constantly: at home, in our relationships, on social media, at work, even in our personal health and mentality. I could enumerate countless examples of our culture’s exhausting demands on our energy… such as the postpartum period, or lack thereof. (Pardon me while I mount my soapbox here) For almost the entirety of human history, families have lived together with several generations in one home. Work, play, cooking, eating, and childrearing were all shared responsibilities. Only within the last hundred years have families separated into discrete “nuclear” units which have truly created literal and psychological isolation, destroying our sense of community, family, and mutual responsibility. It is every man (or woman) for themselves. Traditional cultures celebrated the primal human fluctuations with ritual and ceremony, always fleshed out by the strong community bonds. During her “moon time,” a woman would retreat to a moon lodge, red tent, or other sacred space to be in the company of her fellow women while she bled, rested, and allowed for the cyclical spiritual transformation to be completed.

Since I don’t have time, community, or space to do my own retreat like traditional women, I am actively becoming more cognizant of the moon phases and how I feel throughout the month. I’m still not cycling (yay ecological breastfeeding) but there are definitely hormonal changes that influence my mood, energy level, and creativity. Also, giving myself permission to be tired, quiet, home-bound and sad when my body is meant to be. One of my not-so-good qualities is having really high (read: imppssible) standards for myself, and for the past few years I’ve been anxious about my waning energy sometimes… Why am I so tired? Is it my thyroid? Am I eating something bad? It must be my thyroid… And so on. Upon examining my energy levels and the lunar phase, I have often found that, indeed, my tiredness with life frequently coincides with the new moon.

Life is so much easier when we embrace things for the way they are meant to be, isn’t it? Ourselves, the people around us, the natural cycle of life. When we fight it is when things get sticky.

I created a “moon tea” to drink when I’m feeling low on energy, nutrients, and general support. Here is the recipe:


1/4 cup dried chamomile flowers

1/4 cup dried nettle leaves

1/4 cup red raspberry leaf

1 tablespoon holy basil leaf

8 cups of water

For best results, drink while relaxing and looking at, really feeling the moon. 🙂

Until next time,


What’s In My Name?

The title of this little blog is “Emily Awake.” It wasn’t my first choice, not by a long shot, but it turns out my ideal name had already been taken. Thanks, WordPress. So I chose this name instead, and I have a feeling it will turn out to be auspicious in its own way.

For a large part of my life I was very sad, confused, depressed, aching, hurting in my whole being. I didn’t understand why things were the way they were, or how to change my circumstances. I couldn’t express how I felt or name my demons. My purpose in life was shrouded. I avoided the pain. Everything seemed meaningless or just another pathway to un-fulfillment.

But recently, I have… awakened.

Well, when I put it that way, it sure seems like my life is a shining beacon of driven purpose and meaning. And in a way, it is. What happened was that through a series of events, I “woke up” to the ticking of the world: the endless patterns and interweaving lives, the complete interconnectedness of being, the fact that we all matter and have a place in the universe. I discovered that God really does exist, but not in the storybook, reserved way I’d grown up believing.

And in another way, my life makes no sense and is a complete mess. I barely have my shit together, being a new mom and all. Things happen that I have no control over – scary things, bad things, overwhelming things, shocking things, and beautiful things. The difference is that my perspective has changed, and what used to look like a big scary mess now is an expected unpredictable kaleidoscope of life-changing events.

Everything matters.

I am awake.

Good morning!

Hello, my name is Emily. I don’t know anything, but I have a lot to say.

Awhile ago I conceived the idea to start a blog, but quickly squashed it in fears of being just another ” [insert stereotype here] blogger.” But my brain wouldn’t leave it alone; the idea kept popping up like spring violets, here and there amongst the unkempt grass of my day to day thoughts. So I decided to say yes, and here I am.

I couldn’t tell you what kind of blog this will end up being, exactly, since I’m writing this for myself. Depending on the day, it might be a food blog, parenting blog, gardening blog, lifestyle blog, or health blog. If I get tons of readers – great! If nobody reads – great! I love being a new mother, but I need an outlet for my creative juices that isn’t finding a new way to stack blocks or hang laundry on the line.

I’m not much of a writer, but I promise to be honest, open, and thoughtful.

Until next time,