Lakes instead of seas…railroad tracks…

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This gallery contains 18 photos.

My little family and I left the Aegean Sea months ago… I miss it! The smell, the color shift depending on the mood of sky…from blues to greens to grays and back again… that salty smell… That vibrancy in that … Continue reading

whipping wind and snail hunting…

The normally blue Aegean turns an eerie, gorgeous green when the storms whip through…

I know…it looks like a twister may pop up and whisk my polka dotted princess to Oz…but…

I assure you she would be singing the whole way there…she loved it!

sea…

sky…

land…

Shells make the perfect scoopers…

The rain, the storms are amazing in so many ways…but mainly…

we’re into…the snail hunting!

All those silly little slippery creatures come out with the moisture…stay curious!

That cute little fat “hannie”…

Thanks for joining us again on a nature walk…

this momma needs to get to sleep now…

my polka dotted princess AKA “the bigs” will be waking up before I know it!

xo

Planet Earth from the discover channel is on in the background…amazing our world! Much respect!

Do you want to follow the clouds with me? Do you live in the now?

Lately I’ve been feeling uninspired, overwhelmed, a monotony of life pressing down on me pending the reality that it will all explode in my face soon. Everything will change. Wondering what we will do next and how will we all deal with it. Feeling like we can’t move soon enough yet WTF will we do when we actually do this thing, moving to Minnesota. This thing I have thought I have wanted so badly for the past 3+ years.

Plus I’ve felt tired…

And so…I haven’t been posting. My brain was just imploding. Waking me up at 4 A.m. to think. Bloody terrible hour(been hanging out with lots of Brits lately, hence the bloody).

But today the clouds were just too gorgeous to ignore. Felt good to want to have my camera in hand again.

Felt good that it rained! Smells good that it rained!

The wind blows in the fresh sea air. Stirs that big wet pot. Salt. Plants. Life.

Feels good that I don’t feel like my skin is going to burn off and can exit the house safely during midday hours. Summers are long and hot here…got it? Lovely for swimming and good if you can live as a creature of the night but small children inhibit night owlism…yes I might have made that word up?

Long story short…fall is fabulous! Although it isn’t my mid-western mindset of fall. No leaves change gorgeous shades of red, yellow and orange. The Apples are just ok but pomegranates…nar are bursting from the trees. When a yellow shade the fruit inside still sour but the Aegean sun is turning them this amazing coral color sweeting those jewel like pink fruits only to soon rupture brilliant, vibrant, sweet red!

I will miss this. I know. Love it now. Live in the now.

Do you live in the now?

Love my family framed in fluff. Fluffy bougainvillea flowers. Fluffy white clouds.

Terribly two. Terribly tired here. Terrible tantrum ensues as she wants to get out and push the stroller herself.

Terribly smart. Terribly stubborn. Terribly sassy. Fights terribly hard for her independence. Terribly normal from what I understand…terrible test of parents patience:)

Compromise? or was it distraction? Let’s do it together…

ALWAYS happy in the sand.

Hero, one of the neighborhood street dogs joins us sometimes too…

Typical Turkish view; colorful cement townhouses with solar water heating panels…and satilite dishes…

Thanks for joining us on the walk around the neighborhood…

I feel better now…how about you?

Fresh air and family. gratitude. calms the brain.

Rain came back in full force.

Listening to Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan…amazing!

Living in the now these past couple days…

Exploding fig bars…

The Aegean region is literally exploding with this sensitive little fruit. Hence the name! Every where you look, it’s distinct leaves still green even in the heat with fruits bursting about. Literally you know if they are ripe when soft and the end splits open, dripping a sweet nectar.

Although they dry so well I don’t know how to do this (anyone? storage tips?). They spoil really quickly and don’t keep all that great in the fridge so what was I going to do with all these sensitive little figs?

My maximum personal consumption tops at just one or two per day.

At the house sat some from the pazar, some from the trees around the neighborhood, a few really juicy ones from the farmer’s tree where my husband and baby girl had gotten the fresh eggs that morning. They were already split wide open from someones tiny two year old fingers digging into that juicy, gooshy center.

I got on the internet and adapted from there…

This recipe calls for 4 cups of figs and I was surprised I didn’t quite have enough so I added grapes. They are also exteremely plentiful right now. Other recipes called for raisins so why couldn’t I add grapes? Also an after thought was the dried Iranian dates that had hardened and need to be used up.

This recipe is adapted from the California fig site, Fresh Fig Bars

-3 cups peeled and chopped fresh figs
-1 cup grapes
-1/2 cup dried dates
-1 cup water
-3/4 cup honey
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-2 tablespoons lemon peel
-2 tablespoons flour
-2 tablespoons water
-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
-1 cup walnuts

-1 cup butter
-3/4 sugar(would have used brown sugar but don’t have it much here)
-2 cups sifted flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
– 3 cups oatmeal

Combine the figs, grapes, dates, honey, water, salt and lemon peel. Heat and simmer for 1- 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally until it looks like a thick jam. Then thicken more with the 2 tablespoons water and flour, mixed then added into the fig mixture. Cook 5 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and walnuts.

Preheat oven to 350° F or 175° C. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.(the original recipe had called for shortening and brown sugar?) Combine flour, salt and oatmeal; stir into creamed mixture. Divide and press half of the oatmeal mixture into bottom of well greased 9×13 inch pan. Spread fig mixture. Sprinkle remaining oatmeal on top. press lightly together.

And yum…

The taste of this recipe is really good. It was a little crumbly and needed to be eaten with a fork. That crumbliness could have come from the slightly strange oatmeal my husband found me? Or because my pan was slightly smaller than the called for and the crusts became thicker?

I sort of had envisioned eating these with my hands; Aunt Polly isn’t it you who makes amazing date bars? I need to the recipe…or Auntie Janie you have those crazy sweet apricot bars too? recipes ladies:)?

Vanilla ice cream or even really good thick Turkish yogurt would be a nice compliment. All my relatives here ate it with tea, of course.

This is what my child was doing as her mother was cooking and taking photos instead of playing with her…

She gave herself a tattoo with a sharpie, a permanent marker her mother so carelessly left out. Whoops. All I could do was laugh, take a picture and notice she did a pretty good job really. I tried to seem mad but I just couldn’t…

My mother-in-law scrubbed her down the minute she saw her like that and says she was going to get ink poisoning…I don’t think so…Sharpies are non-toxic…

My baby liked, or at least like everything, she liked to explore it:)

Unfortunately blurry but tooooo cute none the less!

Affiyet olsun!

xo

Also a Turkish band I love…Pinhani!

“Photos” is the Greek word for “Light.”

Our happy place to cool down

“Photos” is the greek word for “light”.

This fact makes me so very happy and makes so much sense! What I love about photography is how it helps you capture not only a point of view but the light. One of my favorite things to notice about our world…is the light…

When that sun is peaking up over our hills or setting down into the corn fields this is my favorite time for the light to come out and play. Low on that horizon line I curse if my camera isn’t right next to me!

Light gives color to the sea, sparkling or stormy.

Our very own Coppertone baby...

The above fact I actually learned from The Pioneer Women. This lovely lady who has made a website empire for herself all from her farm/ranch/homestead all the while homeschooling her (I think 4) kids…so much can be done on this world wide web! Definitely inspirational!

Also I downloaded some Photoshop Elements Actions from her and have a whole new medium to play in!

I love this one of this little one so much!

What do you think?

Also stumbled upon this rad couples photography, day19…awesome work!

Salad dressing recipe…and the secret ingredient is???

So do you think it looks yummy?

Well what is in there?

3 large potatoes steamed and cooled
1 cob of corn, cut from cob, steamed and cooled
1 large tomato
2 small cucumbers
1 small white onion
1 large handful of chopped flat leaf parsley

chop it all up to your liking, fine chunks or hunks…

And the dressing…(approximately- I eye ball and taste)
2 heaping tablespoons extra virgin GOOD olive oil (very, very spoiled by that here on the Aegean coast)
3 heaping tablespoons apple cider vinegar
dash of salt to taste

plus the, drum roll please, secret ingredient…

1 heaping tablespoon sumac flakes

No need to emulsify the oil blah, blah, blah just pour the ingredients right over whatever your salad of choice is for that meal.

Mix well and let it sit as the flavors meld. Dash of pepper could do you good too.

I use this dressing often be it simple green salads or a whatever is in the fridge salad. (My sister is the granola bar rockstar but my mom is the whatever is in the fridge SALAD rockstar!!!)

So my secret sumac ingredient, (sumak in turkish) is no secret at all of course. It has been used for centuries or more. But was very new to me and I believe is for most Americans.

I learned it from the old chef at our cafe…and it’s bomb! He was from Adana in the south east of Turkey. This spice is commonly used there, getting closer to the middle east, as a compliment with kebabs, mmm…mmm…spicy Adana kebaps with a side of an onion, parsley and sumac salad! yes please!

These photos are from a lovely lunch with my hubby yesterday. Despite the heat we sat on the balcony…it was nice our baby girl was napping…we could eat slowly and chat. He doesn’t mind me taking pictures during our meal…very supportive:)

The salad is nice but did you notice the fried cheese…yeah that’s right…fried cheese…

Hellim in Turkish…is a hard, salty(some brands/village varieties need to be rinsed because sooo salty) cheese sliced lengthwise and fried! Turning it into this gooey textured goodness…yum and yum…

Lots of bread is a must, no excuse in a Turkish meal. My sister-in-law wonders how people get full in America if you don’t eat bread with every meal? Do they just go about hungry?

Anyways the bread is always fresh and crusty and serves as a utensil almost, a catalyst really for dipped delights. In this case olive oil from the olive bowl which is always full, ready in the fridge! (There’s my cute hubby reflected on the spoon)

In my Midwestern town we were mainly exposed to black olives that were factory pitted in a can and about the only good thing about them is that it was fun to eat them off the tips of your fingers(You know what I mean right?). Maybe throw some green ones with reds pimentos around too, slice them on your pizza…I guess…

Basically I never really liked olives…

Then I came to Turkey and lived on the Aegean coast…

There are huge (CRAZY ones my husband bought off the side of the road, you can hunt them out like that everywhere here!), big and little, black and green, and pink, and brown and yum and yum…and you can taste them ALL before you buy them (another whole post evolving here)…

But after all that goodness…

This is why I stay…it’s those eyes that won me over even without words…

Well I spilled many secrets today…AFIYET OLSUN!

Did you feed your unicorn today?

We did…

fresh figs from the neighborhood trees…they are full blow in season here around the Aegean and sensitive little fruits they are…

Our cowboy unicorn(when u tap it’s ear it sings cowboy songs? the unicorn? manufactures must have been a little confused about their English) none the less my baby girl loves it and we love to “feed” everything these days so it got a little pink mustache of fig juice love…mmm.mmm.good.

And…

she’s…

out…