Internship at Spoonriver Restaurant 2016

Silkie Chickie Update

This post is long overdue, but it’s time.

R.I.P. Olive <3

She was taken by a hawk on May 30th, 2018. She was so sweet and taken too early from this world. She is always loved and kept in our hearts.

We brought home Sweetpea, so Chickpea could have a friend. Chickens are very social animals and they need companions! They immediately bonded and grew very close.

They used to play-fight all the time growing up. Sweetpea established dominance very quickly – she was super sassy and loved running very fast. Catching her was nearly impossible! Chickpea was a bit more mellow and laid back. She was always ready for bed first.

They got increasingly fluffy every single day. Soon it became hard for them to see because of their poofy heads! They kept on bumping into things so we eventually trimmed their eye feathers. After a long couple months, they grew long silkie manes and super fluffy feet. They were fully grown after 5 months.

One day I heard a loud screech coming from outside. I thought my chickens were being attacked by a dog (because that has happened before). I ran outside to find nothing wrong. It turns out it was a little cock-a-doodle-doo. I didn’t realize it at the time, so I got really worried. It happened again the next morning so I ran save my chickens, however they both acted completely normal. It wasn’t until weeks later that I realized Sweetpea was a boy!

Chickpea started cock-a-doodle-doing a little later because he is the less dominant male. So yeah, this whole time I thought they were girls, but now I have two roosters! They wake me up at 6 AM everyday… and 7 AM and 8 AM…

Their favorite snacks through the seasons have been: cherries, grapes, avocados, strawberries, watermelon, tomatoes, plums, persimmons, pomegranates, pears, squash, worms, beetles, dandelions, clover and eggs!

Every night at sunset, they huddle by the door to be let inside. They sleep in a bin with bedding inside our house to be protected from predators.

I love being their mom, but now they are all grown up and too cool to be seen with me. They still love to cuddle, however they are aggressive toward certain family members.

Now that it is winter in Minnesota,

We’re Raising Chicks!

Meet Olive and Chickpea!

These two silkie chickens from VJP Poultry Farm have stolen my heart this summer.

When I studied abroad in France last June, my host family had two pet chickens in their backyard. I thought it was the most amazing concept, but I never thought to have chickens of my own.

This summer, on a whim, I decided to get two little babies to take care of. My parents have a big backyard with a lot of privacy, so it is the perfect environment for chicks to roam free! My dad, being a farm boy growing up, gladly agreed. We called and picked them up that day.

They were born on April 23, 2018, so they are roughly 1 month old now. We got them when they were only a week old!

Why silkies? Good question.

  1. Silkie chickens are the fluffiest and most cuddly chickens out there
    • They have very soft, silky-feeling feathers
    • They are very friendly and good to keep as pets
  2. Due to their fluffy feathers, silkie chickens can’t fly
  3. Their skin, bones and meat are all black!
    • Yeah, we probably won’t eat them
    • Our chickens have white feathers, but they come in other colors
  4. They have five toes, instead of 4 like most chickens.
  5. They might produce eggs, but we won’t know until they grow up!
    • Silkies aren’t the best egg layers, but we didn’t get them for their eggs. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I have definitely taken on the role of the mother hen. I love watching their feathers (and personalities) grow. My favorite part about being a 21-year-old-single-unemployed mother is when they fall asleep on my lap as I stroke their feathers. <3

Chickpea loves to cuddle, while Olive is a little more fiesty. They love exploring, digging, napping and eating worms. They are afraid of loud noises and bumble bees, but enjoy spending quality time outdoors. They climb all over my brother and I, and try to run away during chicky photoshoots. Typical.

They look like little T-rexs running around my backyard, but one day they are gonna be chicken-puppy hybrids. I will write an updated post once they get bigger! Check out my personal instagram for more photos!

For now, just enjoy growth updates:

April 29th:

May 9th:

May 15th:

May 20th

May 24th:

Fresh from the Market: France 2017

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I’ve had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in France this past month through the University of Minnesota. I’m so excited to come back and share some amazing recipes and talk about my experience with you all! I’ve been exploring Paris, Nantes and Angers while learning about the agriculture and food systems. One of the highlights of this trip was visiting the beautiful farmers markets with my host mom every Saturday. I have never been happier being surrounded by an abundance of fruits and veggies, all grown locally and organically.

The first thing I noticed was the connection to food in this country. I’ve been visiting so many organic farms with my classmates and it’s truly incredible to see the value that people put into their food. I’ve noticed that most French people are aware of where their food comes from and really strive to buy produce that was grown in France.

My message to you: shop local and know where your food comes from!

Some of the best apricots and cherries I’ve eaten on this trip came from my host family’s backyard. Also the best Camembert cheese I’ve tasted came from a small farm, where I got to meet the cows and watch the farmer produce the very product that he loves.

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Some amazing goat cheese I bought <3

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A New Found Passion


Gardening has been a tradition at our house for as long as I can remember. My parents have tended a family garden every summer, and each year we have an abundance of fresh produce. As a kid it seemed like no big deal, but now I am realizing how fortunate I am to be surrounded by homegrown veggies. Of course my dad does all the hard work, and I take credit by taking pictures and cooking amazing meals. 🙂

There is so much beauty in growing your own food. Taking care of a plant or watching something grow from a seedling is more rewarding than I have ever imagined. It takes hard work, patience and dedication. Watering, weeding, harvesting – and chasing away bunnies takes a lot of energy.

I love being able to wake up every morning and pick out veggies for my breakfast, or get home from work and pick out my dinner for the evening. It’s an amazing feeling to have so much variety at my fingertips.

This year, I started paying attention to all the labor that goes into having a garden. I became passionate about growing my own vegetables and using them different recipes. I definitely want to carry on the tradition and have a garden of my own one day to share with those I love. My boyfriend and I even planted a couple of potted vegetables to experiment with.

This summer my family planted a plethora of vegetables, as usual. We have more cucumbers than we know what to do with and our tomatoes have just started ripening. I am amazed at how much everything has grown in just a few short months.

Beautiful heirloom and cherry tomatoes. According to my dad, we had 34 tomato plants this year!

3 types of kale: Russian, curly and lacianto (or dinosaur) kale

Zucchini, squash, eggplant

So many herbs! I consider myself to be the herb queen because I always find an excuse to use them in recipes. Mint, sage, rosemary, thyme, sweet basil, Thai basil and chives.

More beauties

My boyfriend and I planted basil, rosemary, cherry tomatoes and jalapenos.

Me and my baby

I love sharing my passion with him and I love watching him get excited about plants. We ran into some trouble with the bunnies and squirrels (it turns out we weren’t the only ones who were waiting for our veggies to grow) but we still have so much amazing produce! Pesto and salsa are definitely on the menu this summer. It’s a learning experience for the both of us and I can’t wait to do it again next summer.

Farmers Market Finds 

Yep, you guessed it! I spent another morning at the Minneapolis farmers market and found some amazing goodies!

  1. Kohlrabi
  2. Beets
  3. Strawberries
  4. Radishes
  5. Garlic Scapes

The usual freshly squeezed 🙂

This is my favorite way to enjoy beets! I roasted them with salt, pepper and olive oil.

Health Benefits of Beets:

  • Folic acid
  • magnesium
  • iron
  • detoxifies liver & gull bladder
  • prevents heart disease
  • immunity booster

Got these for $2! Garlic scapes are the flower bud of a garlic plant. They taste exactly like garlic and can be used in place of it in any recipe.

Health Benefits of Garlic Scapes:

  • boosts immunity
  • anti-bacterial
  • increases absorption of iron
  • antioxidants
  • fights cold and flu
  • lowers cholesterol
  • lowers blood sugar
  • aids in digestion
  • breaks down blood clots
  • reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes

 

Minneapolis Farmers Market 

I am definitely not a morning person, but in the summer you will always find me frolicking around my local farmers market. Nothing makes me happier than fresh, seasonal produce. I love spending my mornings drinking freshly squeezed orange juice, admiring the most beautiful flowers and discovering new veggies to add to my dinner menu.

Going to a farmers market is a great way to connect with local farmers and find amazing deals on the abundant fruits and vegetables. There are always homegrown goodies and unique finds in every row.