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GreenChefAcademy_Square-Foot-Garden::rubs hands together::

I’m SO EXCITED to share the beginnings of my square foot garden with you!! But I want to be straight up about my (non!) expertise in this. I’m learning as I go!

Funny, it reminds me of my start with raw foods. Sometimes you just jump in as a total newbie, and seek guidance where you can. So that’s what I’m doing. Maybe one day someone will call me an “expert” with this too?!

I’ve gardened before, but…

It was always in a garden that was shared!

1. A ‘lil ‘ol community garden plot in Jax, FL. I was pregnant with Lilla and felt that I MUST have more time with my feet in the dirt. That was at the Beaches Local Food Network in Neptune Beach.
2. A shared garden (here on our shared property in Brazil) along with our property’s caretaker. Who happens to be a Master Gardener. Yes, that’s official that he’s a Master Gardener! (I think…).
3. A community solar greenhouse on Martha’s Vineyard COMSOG is a super-cool setup. YES – fresh foods and such in the height of winter in New England.

This is different.

It’s MINE! And I don’t have much space that’s technically all mine, so I’m working with what I have. (Our property is HUGE, but it’s shared with two other families. Technically, our private piece of land is only 20 meters x 10 meters. Including the house and porch!)

So here’s what I’m doing…

Step 1. Ripping up the grass!

GCA_SquareFoodGarden_GRASSI’m actually ripping up grass my own husband planted 9 years ago. Cute.

The Tools

I’m using exactly one hand-made tool to pull up the grass. :-) In Portuguese it’s called “enxadao”.

GCA_SquareFoodGarden_DIGWhat to do to rip up grass

Swing it high then WHACK! hit the grass with it. Once it cuts through the grass, I wiggle it back and forth like a lever. I do that in a line, piece by piece, kind of like cutting just the top of a square.

Then I go back from another angle to get the sides and bottom. I’m just cutting out maybe 20 centimeters at a time because I’m finding it far easier to cut little chunks than big chunks.

I shake out as much of the soil as possible, then toss the dry/grass bits into a pile to compost later.

What to do next (for now) + WHY

GreenChefAcademy_Square-Foot-Garden-HOESWHY

Grass sucks the moisture + nutrients from the soil, so I’m working to get this soil ready for planting. On top of that, the roots will keep coming back, but I don’t want to kill them with chemicals, so while I mix up the soil I’m removing the roots before they grow much.

WHAT

After ripping up the grass with the enxadao, we’re now starting the process of preparing the soil for planting. So now (at least) daily, go back to break down any left over roots + mix the soil using an enxada.

ALSO: Put some LOVE into it.

I almost feel silly sharing this with you, but I sing a special song when I’m gardening. It’s a made-up song that was the ONLY way I could help my daughter when she was teething. It’s lovely, but very simple.

So I have a few simple questions!

GCA_SquareFoodGarden_Close1. Would you like me to share my Lilla + garden song with you?! I’d be up for recording it if you really want me to! It’s hard to explain – but I feel like it was divinely inspired and connects me to a “Space of Love”. Almost like a song from church. But not.

2. Do you have any questions so far? (If I don’t know the answer, I can ask Jair!)

3. Do you have any TIPS for me? I could sure use ‘em!

It might sound kinda boring until you’ve tried it with an open heart and mind. If it’s snowing where you are, perhaps tuck this info away for a sunny-ish day?

The purpose of this kind of sunbathing isn’t to get a tan; it’s to soak up the sun’s rays and feel the grounding and bliss from that lovely earth connection.

(I do this every day when I’m in a warm place. It’s become a ritual because in 5 seconds flat I get into the most blissful state humanly possible. It’s a MUST try. Honestly, talking about something so simple even feels ridiculous. But luckily simple things like this CAN have a huge impact on how we feel! :-)

HERE’S EXACTLY WHAT TO DO:
  1. Consciously set the intention to soak up the sun’s rays and feel the bliss of a lovely earth connection.
  2. Take off your shoes and socks.
  3. Find a sunny spot.
  4. Lay down in the grass with your face to the sun.
  5. Close your eyes, and soak up the love.

GreenChefAcademy_SunBathingwithLillaThat’s it.

THIS is what the experience of true, deep, non-commercial, non-romantic LOVE feels like to me. It doesn’t matter what’s happening in the world, this bliss is “mine” but can be SHARED, it’s UNLIMITED, and it’s just so EASY, FREE, and FREEING.

Plus, there are no conditions. Others can say you’re fat or thin, stupid or smart, nice or mean, and you can STILL soak up this love. It’s always there waiting. Well… when the sun is out.

A PERSONAL NOTE ON COLDER CLIMATES

While I do this daily in Brazil, I realized all too late that it could easily be done often in colder climates like New England’s!

I remember a day in the late fall in Massachusetts when Lilla wanted to cloud-watch. We were running in a field by the ocean with our cold-weather boots and scarves, and she just… stopped. Next thing you knew she was on the ground looking at the sky. I asked her what she was doing. “Looking at the clouds. They so pretty, Mamai.”

[Note: If you haven’t met her yet :-) Lilla is my 3-year old daughter, and over and over again she teaches me the most precious and useful bits in life!]

So on that cold but sunny-ish day, I laid down beside her gazing at the clouds and soaking in the sunshine. I was surprised how warm and nurtured I felt next to the earth. It might have been cold, but I bet it would have been (more than) fine to even take off my socks and shoes.

HAVE YOU TRIED THIS?!

If you haven’t tried it, I know it might sound like it’s not that big of a deal.

But it is for me.

It’s such a joy that the bliss and earth connection and sunshine together bring me close to happy tears. Every. Single. Time.

YOU MUST EXPERIENCE THIS TO FULLY UNDERSTAND!

Try it and share how it goes? :-)

Or if you do something like this too by lovely not-so-random chance, would you share what your experience is like with us?

icon_sproutingcheatsheetHello dear reader!!

Can you believe it… I totally missed Earth Day! Me – director of the GREEN Chef Academy! The funniest part is that part of the reason I missed it was because I spent so much time walking in the sunshine + in the garden! Plus on a call with a group of fabulous raw food chefs who are actively making this world even better! I suppose I didn’t totally miss Earth Day! But I would have loved to do something special for it!

So I had this idea bright and early this morning, which I hope you’ll “dig”. hehe.

What about… Earth Day… CONTINUED…?!

For me, personally, I feel like planting new trees is WONDERFUL but really just a good start. And so are reducing, reusing, and recycling. But more important than this, again, for me, is being in an environment that is otherwise healing and lovely.

In my opinion, The Lamest Thing Ever is not plastic on the ground; it’s what I’ll call “emotional pollution”. You know, when we forget that the other people around us are human beings! So included on that list would be stuff like anger, hatred, animosity, impatience, etc.

But on the other side, it tickles me green when we appreciate the awesomeness in the people around us. (News Flash: EVERYONE has awesomeness to appreciate. EVERYONE) Same deal when we open our eyes to the beautiful things that are already happening.

So my idea for Earth Day (CONTINUED) is that we take a moment to honor the beautiful things that already exist in this world. The people who say lovely somethings to us. Or give an encouraging nod at just the right time. The parks that bring us peace. The beaches that bring us freshness. The restaurants that bring us gratitude. ETC.

And… just as a THANK YOU for being part of Earth Day (Continued), I’d like to give you something. Something that my intention was to SELL. A whole flippin’ set of somethings that’s pretty rad (especially if you make use of it!). I don’t know if I’ll keep them up forever, but I feel really strongly that this is a pretty Awesomely Perfect Earth Day Continued kinda gift!

CLICK HERE for a FREE CHECKOUT to access my HUGEST of THANK YOUs for being the change in the world. For being the person whose smile is a sweet something to lift us all up. For being the person who ACTIVELY looks for the Awesome in the people around you.

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 9.01.09 PMAnd specifically… in the comments below please share SOMETHING (ANYTHING!) with our community that lifts you up and shows you that already, today, NOW, the world has a lot of fabulous going on!!

And hey – if you know someone else who could use a little lift, send them on over to www.EarthDayContinued.com

Peace out, yo!
:-) xxo Eva

rainbow flax chips and dips

Note: As a special bonus for our “Green-Inspired Connection” readers, we have a recipe card to print or keep on your computer for you right here… Just click the image of the lovely recipes, and complete the FREE download. :-)

If you have ANY questions about ANY of the recipes included in the grand slam collection, post your comments below! Or if you try it and want to take the time to share. Or if you change it up and want to share your brilliance! We love to hear from you… And if you want to keep to yourself and just download and enjoy that’s A-OK too of course! :-D xxo Eva

GCA_RecipeCard3_Preview Note: As a special bonus for our “Green-Inspired Connection” readers, we have a recipe card to print or keep on your computer for you right here… Just click the image above to complete the FREE download. :-)

SWEET CALIFORNIA SALAD

YIELD: 2 entree servings or 6 appetizer servings
EQUIPMENT: spiralizer [optional], knife
TIME: 20 minutes or less

THIS SALAD IS: vegan, raw, gluten-free, nut-free, low sodium, portable, fast, easy

INGREDIENTS
1 head crisp lettuce, torn
1 cucumber, spiralized or thinly sliced
1 small avocado, cubed
1 apple, cubed
1/2 carrot, julienned
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 lime, juiced

OPTIONAL DRESSING, TO TASTE
Olive oil
Lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or additional lime juice
Pink or grey salt

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Wash your lettuce, then tear into small pieces for the base of the salad.
2. Spiralize the cucumber, cube the apple, and julienne the carrot. Sprinkle these and the cranberries into the mix, then add the avocado and lime juice last.
3. Add the dressing, if desired.

[ Note: For our “Green-Inspired Connection” readers, click here for the recipe card to print or keep on your computer. Extra info includes a shopping list, substitutions, and ingredient health benefits. :-)]

3_GO Note: As a special bonus for our “Green-Inspired Connection” readers, we have a recipe card to print or keep on your computer for you right here… Just click the image at left to complete the FREE download. :-)

My 2-year-old loves the greasy french fries she gets out with daddy in restaurants, and I’m totally at peace with it. HOWEVER, for home, I thought it would be fun to make her fries that were fresh and actually pretty healthy. She LOVES THESE!! Just a few ingredients, simple recipe, and seriously delish!

By the way, Fresh Fries are: vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, (optionally) raw, oil-free, low sodium, portable, fast, and easy.

YIELD: 8 appetizer servings
EQUIPMENT: Cooking pot, Chef’s knife, Measuring spoon
TIME: 30 minutes or less

INGREDIENTS (TO COOK)
6 medium potatoes
1/8 medium pumpkin
1/8 teaspoon natural salt

INGREDIENTS (ADD AFTER COOKING)
1/2 lime, juiced
1 hass avocado, diced
natural salt, to taste

OPTIONAL GARNISH
sweet paprika or chili powder

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Set 2 liters of water to boil. While you’re waiting for the water to heat up, cut the pumpkin and potatoes into fry-shaped slices. You’ll end up with about 8 cups of fry-shaped slices. Keep the potatoes and pumpkin separated. [Note: See the back of the recipe card if you’d like some guidance on slicing!]

2. When the water is boiling, add 1/8 teaspoon salt and the potato slices. After 5 minutes, add the pumpkin slices and cook for another 7-10 minutes. Be careful not to over-cook, or you’ll end up better off eating mashed potatoes instead of fresh fries!

3. Drain the water. Either keep covered and allow to cool OR add just enough ice to bring the temperature down so that it’s warm not hot, then drain again.

4. Add the cubes of avocado, lime juice, and additional salt as desired, and serve warm or cold.

5. Optional: Sprinkle paprika or chili powder for garnish.

[Click here for the full recipe including a downloadable recipe card, complete with shopping list and extra tips + health benefits. And the raw option! :-)]

I'm sharing the following because I believe that this situation might shine a light on something in your own life. My recommendation is to read this TWICE. FIRST: just read. SECOND: think of a recent time when something didn't go your way and you had a reaction to that. (Disappointment, sadness, anger, etc.) Read again, thinking of your own situation and then answer the questions below.

Resistance is futile!

So what's the best thing you can do to stay with the flow and find the gifts?

Just a quick back story (why I’m sharing this!)… Our family lives just enough "off the grid" that we don't have the option to have internet or a land line at home. (Funny in this internet age, right?!) I choose to be in the garden and at home with my 2-year-old energy ball (Miss Lilla) during the day, so internet time every day is limited to evenings. That's when I go to the office, and Daddy-O brings Lilla out on the town for all sorts of adventures.

Usually.

Last night was different. I will spare you the details because I don't want to encourage any experiences you might have had to get mixed up here. It's not my intention to encourage you to take sides. It's my priority to be a LIGHT, not to be RIGHT! :-)

So here's what I'll say: Things didn't exactly go as planned, and my child-care situation was part of that. As it seems to happen, with brilliant 20/20 hindsight, I see huge gifts.

I will be straight up and tell you that I did not yet see any gifts last night. Because it's a personal goal to find gifts everywhere, I at least saw that I was missing them (a good start!). But at the time I saw that I planned to complete certain tasks, and I was upset that they didn't get finished on schedule. Being resistant of what-is didn't help me receive the situation's gifts, and the truth is that if I'd done things differently I even probably could have focused my energy on finishing what I wanted to…

But then I might have missed the gifts and lessons!

So for every single one of the following questions I have an answer… But to see it I find that separating myself from the details and the "situation" is key.

SOME QUESTIONS FOR WHEN THINGS DON'T "GO YOUR WAY"

* How can I use this as a gift?
* Is this part of a pattern in my life? Do I want to re-create that pattern for the future? If not, how can I be better prepared to create change?
* What life lessons can I find here? Am I finally ready to learn them?
* What's really important here?
* Who needs my love? (attention, approval, time, etc.)
* How can I be more giving? (to myself or others)
* Am I accepting the situation as it is? What do I want to change, and why?
* What is the below-the-surface reason that I'm really upset? (or angry, sad, disappointed, hurt, etc.)

WITH PEOPLE INVOLVED, HOW CAN WE SEE THE OTHER PERSON'S VIEW?

It's a common human tendency to think we are right. And we are. But so is everyone else. The key to raising us ALL up together in challenging situations, is to see that others don't have to be wrong in order for us to be right.

So you might not agree with someone else's choice. But resisting it, yup, futile. A choice was made. To take the other person's choice and feel disapproval, disappointment, disgust, or to "diss" them in any other way… guess what? It doesn't change a thing! But looking to understand the other person's view and WHY they made a certain choice… what a gift in itself!

By the way, you can do all the "dissing" in the world of another person's choices you wanna do… and you will find yourself feeling more separated from them. But look for understanding, and there is potential for everyone to benefit!

HOW MY PERSONAL BELIEFS HAVE INFLUENCED ALL OF THIS

It's my belief that EVERYTHING is ALWAYS for the greater good and therefore also for my best.

This feels true to me because it has positively affected my life to believe we are protected, cared for, connected both soul-to-soul and energetically, and co-creators of the lives we live.

I believe we have a LOT of power! (But I also think we are most powerful when we think of our own desires and using them how they might fit in with the greater good.)

HOW CAN YOU MAKE USE OF THIS?

If you are thinking about your own personal situation and find hidden gifts and lessons this time, next time they'll be easier to spot! Like flexing your gift-finding muscles. :-)

We posted this here so that we can benefit from each other's learnings. Please share your own "ah-ha!" Or if you are having challenges seeing gifts but you WANT to see them, c'mon and share with us. We'll see what we can find ~ sometimes it's easier from the outside looking in!

Fresh_Lasagna_Snacks_Preview Note: As a special bonus for our “Green-Inspired Connection” readers, we have a recipe card to print or keep on your computer for you right here… Just click the image at left to complete the FREE download. :-)

I confess I do feel a funny little pang using the word “lasagna” here because there is nothing hot, gooey, or naughty about them. The rebel in me says to just go for it because the flavors make me think of a fresher, brighter version of Lasagna. Lady Lasagna might be more like this if she spent a month at a health spa in the countryside of Brazil and got her Green-Gratitude groove on.

For this recipe, I had the great pleasure of having my mother here visiting from the USA and helping to taste test. The final result (the recipe below!) got tons of “mmmmm” sounds from both of us and even from Lilla too (age 2)!! Definitely a hit, and I’m so glad we snapped some photos before they were gone.

I really hope you will try them. They are worth the effort (not that they take that much effort!!)!

By the way, Fresh Lasagna Snacks are: vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, raw, oil-free, low sodium, portable, fast, and easy.

YIELD: 24 mini sandwiches (8 appetizers)
EQUIPMENT: Blender or Food Processor, Chef’s knife
TIME: 30 minutes or less

INGREDIENTS FOR BRAZIL NUT RICOTTA
1 cup Brazil nuts
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1/8 teaspoon natural salt
[add in by hand] 3 Tablespoons chopped green onions

INGREDIENTS FOR LASAGNA SNACKS
2 medium zucchinis
1/8 average pineapple
4 plum tomatoes
24 basil leaves

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS
Cold-pressed olive oil
Fresh black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS FOR BRAZIL NUT RICOTTA
Blend or food process the Brazil nuts, lime juice, and salt. Be careful not to over-process so that you still have a small amount of texture. Transfer to a bowl, then add the chopped green onions by hand.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR ASSEMBLY
1. Slice the zucchinis and tomatoes into 1/4-inch rounds. You’ll want to end up with 48 zucchini slices and 24 tomato slices to make 24 mini sandwiches.
2. To cut the pineapple, use a sharp chef’s knife. First cut off the bottom (the top being where the spiky green leaves are). Next, carefully trim a super-thin slice that’s about 1/8 of an inch. Cut this slice into quarters so that it fits your rounds.
3. Stack your sandwiches as follows (from bottom to top): zucchini, tomato, pineapple, 1 teaspoon ricotta, basil leaf, zucchini.
4. Optional: Top with olive oil and/or freshly cracked black pepper.

[Click here for the full recipe including a downloadable recipe card, complete with shopping list and extra tips + health benefits. ETC. Our graphic designer has totally outdone herself making our first recipe card super user-friendly. :-)]

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