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Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes with Avocado & Brown Rice Pasta

Shopping at Trader Joe’s over the weekend, I picked up a container of beautiful heirloom tomatoes. I admired the array of colors these tomatoes covered- red, yellow, purple and green- and wondered what I could make with them.

After grabbing some fresh avocados and a pound of brown rice pasta, I headed home to try out this simple recipe.

Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes with Avocado & Brown Rice Pasta

Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes with Avocado & Brown Rice Pasta

Ingredients

  • colorful heirloom cherry tomatoes- 1 pint, sliced in half lengthwise
  • avocados- 2 ripe, diced into chunks
  • brown rice pasta- 1 pound
  • garlic- 2 cloves, minced
  • olive oil- 1/2 cup
  • lemon juice- 1 tablespoon (or juice squeezed from 1/4 lemon)
  • salt

Instructions

  1. heat oven to Broil
  2. bring salted water to boil in large pasta pan
  3. place tomato slices on baking sheet
  4. drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and dust with salt
  5. roast tomatoes in oven until they begin to char, approximately 7 minutes
  6. once water is boiling, add pasta and cook until tender
  7. once pasta is tender, drain and rinse under cool water (I only rinse pasta when making a cold salad or if it's brown rice)
  8. heat olive oil in large heated saute pan
  9. add pasta, tomatoes (with drippings), garlic and avocado to saute until pasta is just warm, only about 2 minutes
  10. transfer to serving bowl
http://tonispilsbury.com/roasted-heirloom-tomatoes-with-avocado-brown-rice-pasta/

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We’re Composting!

That’s right, the Spilsbury family has taken the not-so-giant leap to composting.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to trade in my BCBG pumps for a pair of Birkenstocks just yet. The fact of the matter is that I just couldn’t not compost anymore.

For an entire year I’ve felt guilty each time I tossed out wilted lettuce, eggs shells, banana peels or tomato tops. I would look out onto my struggling garden that seemed to be begging for nutrients. It was like throwing food out in front of starving children.

Las Vegas isn’t exactly the ideal place for growing fruits and vegetables, with nutrient-deficient soil being one of the main problems. I started to feel like I was throwing out gold.

It didn’t require a lot of work to begin composting. I simply purchased a compost container for the backyard from Amazon.com and assembled it (okay, I had someone else assemble it), but you get the picture. Most of the work in composting comes from training your family to not throw away compost material.

Home Composting

egg shells are awesome for compost

I keep a small bucket on the kitchen counter while we accumulate scraps throughout the day. While I’m cleaning the kitchen that evening I have the kids run the bucket out and toss the contents into the compost container. Once a week I have the gardener throw in a bag of grass clippings and then I toss in any brown paper bags (like the ones from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods) that I acquired from forgetting my reusable shopping bags.

It’s actually pretty simple. Of course, I never use any animal fats, pet waste or other non-organic materials in our compost. For a great beginners guide to composting, visit Whole Foods Home Composting: The Basics.

I’m thinking that by this time next year my garden will be as fertile as a Montana prairie.

Banana Split French Toast by The Organized Cook

don’t toss these babies in the trash!

 

Why Do I Garden?

Recently I wrote about 7 Reasons To Grow A Home Garden here:

Home Gardening

read “7 Reasons To Grow A Home Garden” here

 

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Meditation Garden – Create Your Outdoor Sanctuary

Meditation is defined in many ways. According to one of my favorite authors, Eckhart Tolle, one conscious breath can qualify as a meditation.

This news is a huge relief to me because one breath is all I have time for most days.

When the sun and moon are aligned just perfectly, however, I’m handed the unexpected gift of an hour or two to sit, contemplate and connect…. yes, meditate.

Now that I’ve covered the “what” and “when” of meditation, it’s time to discuss the “where”.

Inside, my meditation alter is a small corner of my home office that I’ve claimed as my sacred spot, where crystals are arranged perfectly around books, rosaries, candles and other relics that remind me to connect with all that is higher than me while keeping my feet perfectly grounded to this planet (so many who connect with Spirit forget the “stay grounded” part).

 

Spiritual

Are all of these objects necessary for me to meditate? Of course not, but I can’t deny the immediate shift in perspective and mood when I sit down in my spiritual spot after a long frantic day. The smell of sandalwood and frankincense trigger a response in brain that reminds it to shut off, which is so necessary in meditation.

This summer evening was a cool 88 degrees in Las Vegas and I couldn’t help taking advantage of it by enjoying some time outside. As I sauntered over to my meditation garden I was struck by how neglected and sad it looked. I’ve spent so much time indoors lately that I’d forgotten how much more connected and spiritual I feel when I take my meditation outside. I wondered if this former outdoor sanctuary in any way reflected a neglected spiritual need within me.

Meditation garden

Before throwing away a decaying bouquet of flowers, I pluck off the living buds and toss them in my fountain

Before you write me off as dramatic or crazy, know that I’m already ahead of you in that area, we can agree to agree. The fact of the matter, however, is that your home is your sanctuary. Monks and nuns work tirelessly in the monastery or convent to create purposefully tended outdoor retreats to pray. Why should these spiritual spots and practices be left only to the sequestered divine?

Today, the kids and I have decided to get to work and rebuild our meditation garden. We’re de-spidering (yes, I know that’s not a word), planting, arranging and building. Check back soon for our “after” photos!

meditation garden

Meditation garden collage courtesy of #Muzy

 

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I love my garden statues. I don’t shop for statues the way I would clothing or curtains, rather I let them find me. To steal the phrase from Pier 1, I wait to “find what speaks to me”.

I have a great story about my big angel statue. I was shopping one day at Sam’s Club and saw this statue among other large garden items. They had boxes of them lined up next to each other. I thought it was beautiful. but I just continued on my way shopping.

From my kitchen sink I can see my meditation garden, and that night while washing dishes I looked out at this area and saw this empty spot that made me think of that angel statue. I had never considered placing anything there before, but all of the sudden it looked like it was missing something.

For several following nights, I looked out from my kitchen window and each time I felt like that statue was meant to go there.

I went back to Sam’s Club to find two things. One, there was only one angel statue left in stock. Two, it had been discounted in price to nearly half. Angel and I left Sam’s Club together and every night I see her from my kitchen, and sometimes I sit with her in my garden to meditate.

Meditation garden

Love my garden statues

 

Follow Our Garden Progress on Instagram!

My Instagram feed will, no doubt, be filled with all things “meditation garden” as long as you don’t mind the intermingling of cooking, fashion and wine photos.

 

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