Nature's Heart

Nature's Heart

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Quick and Easy 30 Minute Yeast Dinner Rolls

30 minutes and counting! That's how much time I realized I had before Ben would be home for dinner. Not very much time to make the original bread that I had on to plan B with just enough time to make some quick rolls. Ben loves his carbs...he is a bread and butter kind of man through and through and it can be a struggle keeping bread on the counter or in the house for that matter....the struggle is real people!!! Can anyone else relate to this?

We have at least reached a great communication milestone when it comes to "bread low" alerting. He has been doing great with letting me know before we run out of bread. That way I usually have time to whip up a batch of (my favorite) Dutch oven artisan bread or a french loaf or in this case...dinner rolls so as to avoid going to the store for the dreaded basic sliced store bought kind.

I am not opposed to the convenience of the grocery store but I love to provide wholesome, preservative free food for the table as often as possible...For one thing, who doesn't like the smell of fresh baked bread in their home and for another in this case with these rolls you don't have to sacrifice time to get here we go!

2 Tbsp Active Yeast (not rapid rise)
3 1/2 Cups Flour
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1- 1 1/8 Cups room temp or lukewarm water
3 Tbsp sugar or honey
(Optional- butter for brushing over the top of the rolls after baking)
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg 

In a large bowl add the water and stir in the sugar or honey until dissolved and then sprinkle in the yeast evenly over the top of the water. Let the yeast begin to activate and become foamy (5-10 minutes)
Stir in the oil, salt and egg  with a fork.
Add 1 cup of flour at a time...When you are approaching the last cup of flour I usually will use my hand at this point to mix the dough. Use the bowl or a floured surface to begin to kneed the dough for a minute or two. You want the dough to be a little tacky but NOT sticky. You may need to add a little bit of flour or water as needed.

Let rest and rise for a little bit (about 5-10 minutes)
Pull pieces of dough and divide evenly (should be 12-15 rolls), then using your hands roll each piece of dough into a ball and place evenly spaced apart on a non-stick cooking/baking sheet. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rest and rise for another 5-10 minutes

While the dough is rising preheat the oven to 400 degrees and make sure to adjust to bake on the center/middle rack.

Bake rolls for about 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. I turned my baking sheet around halfway through because my oven cooks a little unevenly.)

After you have removed from the oven, you can opt in to brush the tops with a little butter...but I opted out of this butter option for two reasons...It's obviously healthier not to and it doesn't really add to the flavor and you can always butter your bread for your dinner if you want. Ben said he didn't miss the butter either.

Eet Smakelijk!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

It’s in the little things…

It is always in the little things. Those little gestures that mean so much...often undervalued, more often overlooked.


“Flowers for my flower”, he said gently. He then drew from behind his back and presented me with a beautiful bouquet, bright plums and yellows offset by his dark shirt and shades of green surrounding foliage. I had to struggle not to dismissing this gesture, categorizing it as "corny" because it was anything but. This is our own story, a real moment filled with alstroemeria, hydrangea, spider mums and lilies surrounded by a gentle shush of greens and architectural eucalyptus …fragrant, bright, brilliant…almost overshadowing the gleam in his eye, proudly beaming, eager for my acceptance of this offering…”What is this for?” I asked, wondering if he knew something that I didn’t…”Because I love you” he replied. And that is enough…enough to make me swim into his shirt folds, and cling tightly, to open my heart a little more and allow. Allow love to pour in, to overwhelm me…I should allow more often…it feels wonderful. These are the moments when I question my walls…walls that we all have built in various ways for various reasons. But, I am working on this and eagerly, for although I have had time and experience with setting up my heart fortress…carefully constructing bricks of independence, distance, determination and career (to name a few) to build a lovely shield for that vulnerable life pumping muscle… Until now…now when I realize that it is time, time to disassemble a part of that wall and allow a doorway that is always open to receive and even more readily open to give.

I am ready, to the opening of my eyes to a yellow light-filled room, warmth, home…peace. So this is what peace feels like, a quieted world that moments ago was filled to overflowing with sounds and electric energy, of hellos and goodbyes, of busyness and urgency, laughter and dancing. I gaze eager to soak in and cherish every last detail like jewels inset into crowns of gold. Linen folds and the quiet whirring of the man-made AC unit, the pleasant sound of the one you love, “resting his eyes” as he calls it, for just "one" minute. Content to let him take all the time in the world…our world. A world that belongs to us in these moments. Granting us a pass to enjoy time, frozen, like blocks of ice stacked in rows of memories. Like those linen creases, I will tuck these memories into my heart folds.
I don’t want my perspective to change…to let tarnish set in, staining the luster that love lets shine, our own reflections shining back at us upon that surface. 

I don’t want to stop doing the little things, or noticing and allowing the little things, the in between moments of every day…They are brilliantly displayed like this gift of petals sitting on a wooden table, reminding me of what I will allow.

Thank you my love, for this reminder.
~ H.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

365 days, 365 sketches

365 days, 365 drawings, 365 days of pen, graphite or brush to paper. Doodles, ideas and pictures captured in exhausted moments of haste, other days filled with careful unhurried ease giving these pictures the time they desired. A year filled with days of loving to sketch a picture a day and other days where I simply tolerated this idea, trudging forward on others. I staying on top of the daily task for many of those days and I would spending a weekend catching up on others. 365 reasons to smile as I flip through a year later and gaze upon these wrinkled and worn pages... 

Grace was needed throughout this journey. Trying so hard not to have too many expectations or rules other than that there needed to be put down for every day.
A goal that when I started I was unsure of if I was capable of much ahead of little behind, but as one drawing became two and pages filled, thickened watercolor warped pages behind, clean, crisp and new pages waiting for me ahead...looking at how far I had come helped me to continue forward, drawing after drawing, page after page.


 A visual diary of one significant moment of that day that I felt needed capturing.
And now, I have this beautiful visual diary capturing some of the most significant moments of my life in a way that is so personal. I will cherish this journey. It has taken me over a week to even feel the urge to put ideas and pictures in my head and translate them to paper... Perhaps I needed the rest, to take the time to enjoy this achievement and goal completion before hastily attempting another goal...the time needed as a right of passage. Giving respect to the time taken and the time I am beginning. Time...what a glorious gift.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Less than a week into the New Year and with it I have been seeing and hearing so much excitement about the idea of "it's time for a brand new year and a brand new you". 

I love this idea but it seems SO drastic...Here's the thing, I don't want to be a whole new me...I have worked very hard all of my life to figure out who I am...what I am made of...and how FAR I have come! It has taken me 30+ years and I am just beginning to tap into the foundation and heart of what makes me who I am...That in and of itself is an accomplishment and something that should be celebrated.

Yes I want to improve and make changes that I think will better me (be they physical, emotional, spiritual) but so often with goals I think that people get overwhelmed when they look forward at how far they have to go. The beginning of a journey means that you are at the starting line...while we are beginning new journeys and goals, in those moments when we feel scarred, overwhelmed or discouraged it's okay to look back and celebrate just how far you have come! We need to take the time to celebrate the fact that we have and are continuing to move forward.

I can understand why so much emphasis is put on physical is easy to see physical  results when your body loses weight or your skin clears up from diet and exercise, but what about setting goals where the milestones are harder to measure and thus harder to celebrate? The intangible goals like, self-confidence, one's character or compassion?

Goals can lead to incredible things and are important and it is equally important to examine your true motives behind making a goal...I have to admit that I have totally made goals for the sake of making made me feel significant, important...So, the question that I have to ask myself (and you) is this: is the goal that you are making actually beneficial or is it a more of "busy" goal? A second and very important question to ask is the WHY behind a goal...I have taken on goals that when I look back on it while in the short term, they allowed me to accomplish and check off a box making me feel like I am living a life full of significance, in the long term, it actually distracted me from accomplishing a deep seeded desire and "bigger" more complicated goal...One(s) that might subconsciously have been put off for reasons of fear, discouragement or past derailments?

Lara Casey brought up a few questions for her #2016GOALSETTING to further examine your goals... or GOAL CHECK as she put it. Her few questions confirmed the convictions that have been building in my heart and on my mind:

Will this goal help me to cultivate what matters most?
- Where do I want to be when I’m 80 years old, and will this goal help me get there? 
- Does this goal also help other people?
- WHY do I want to make this goal happen? Am I desiring this goal for the right reasons, or am I striving for “perfect”—or whatever I’ve been chasing?

The other thought and desire that comes to mind for me this year is that I want to make goals that are bigger than myself! Isn't it amazing how when we include others into our plans or the bigger equation it increases one's drive and accountability to continue on, to meet them for that coffee, phone or exercise date? I have found that it can be that extra little push to stay on track, whether that is by having an accountability buddy or adopting a cause or organization that will also benefit and helps you feel that you are apart of something greater. Something more meaningful and important...and here's the thing...

You ARE!

In a land that is so "me Me ME!" focused, we need to surround and connect ourselves to a bigger community.

If you ever need a helping hand,
You will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older,
You will discover that you have two hands,
One for helping yourself,
And the other for helping others.
~ Audrey Hepburn

I can't begin to count the number of goals and New Year resolutions that I have set for myself...that were strictly for myself alone.
This year I will become apart of something bigger, I will find more goals that involve a heart that is people oriented... a little less of me and a bit more you. 

I have to say that I am excited to see where this leads.