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Filtering by Tag: slow living

Eva Kosmas Flores + Adventures in Slow Living

Ben Ashby

this story originally ran in Slow Living by Where Women Cook

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A native Oregonian, Eva Kosmas Flores currently resides in Portland with her husband, cat, two dogs, seven chickens and hive of bees. She shares recipes, travel guides, and all-around how-to's on her blog, Adventures in Cooking. When she's not working in her garden or baking in her kitchen, she can be found with her nose buried in a good book. She has a soft spot for stinky cheese, her beagle’s muzzle, kneading dough, and Rumi.

“Whatever lifts the corners of your mouth, trust that." –Rumi

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Food is my passion AND my livelihood. I launched my blog, Adventures in Cooking, in 2009. From that journey grew the publication of my two cookbooks, Adventures in Chicken and First We Eat written in 2016 and 2018. Since 2014, I’ve hosted travel-based food photography workshops through my company of the same name, First We Eat.

Oregon has always been my home, and food and cooking have always been a huge part of my life. I live in Portland, and I grew up in Hillsboro where my parents ran a Greek deli and restaurant. Every Saturday of my childhood was spent there helping out, and I was there on school breaks too.

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My mom is American, and my dad is from a small Greek island called Aegina, and they're very yin and yang. My mom is the social, adventurous extrovert and my dad is the reserved introvert. At the restaurant my mom would be in the front, taking customers' orders and making them feel welcome, while my dad was in the kitchen cooking. I'd Ping-Pong between them, wearing an apron folded in half so I wouldn't trip over it because I was so small! It was hectic, but I loved it, and I learned so much growing up among the many meals and customers.

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Food defined my childhood; it's always been a deeply rooted love and fascination. I've been in the kitchen cooking as long as I can remember…when I was very small, my mom would pull a chair up to the stove so I could stand on it to help stir the pot. I wanted to help whenever she cooked anything—the transformation of ingredients through cooking was so mesmerizing to me as a kid—and is to this day!

My parents are both avid gardeners and growing up we always had fresh produce from the garden. They were composting back in the 90s and used produce from the garden in the restaurant. I learned about the many merits of farm-to-table before it was a marketable thing when food was seen differently by most in the industry.

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While I learned to cook from both my mother and father, they have very different cooking styles. My mom was more creative, she'd just look around the cupboards and refrigerator for whatever we had on hand and could create a beautiful meal. My dad had to cook everything for the restaurant, and it had to taste the same every time so that the menu was consistent. At the restaurant, he was a perfectionist.

It took me hours until I learned to peel a cucumber "correctly." Between the two of them, I learned a lot about cooking with improvisation, but also the importance of precision, especially developing written recipes for the blog and my cookbooks. 

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The importance of food in my life really hit me when I went to college in Los Angeles. The food on campus was prepared by Sodexho (it's a processed food company that also caters many prisons), and after eating that for the first month and not having access to a real kitchen I felt really, really depressed—disconnected and out of sorts. I think that's when I realized what a tremendous role food had in my life, and the positive impact of cooking and the joy of preparing and eating good, fresh food. Luckily I was able to get an on-campus apartment with some roommates the next year; that kitchenette saved me!

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I’ve also realized that food connects us to community and memory. I love that you can share moments and sensations with other people through a recipe. For example, if I follow Julia Child's recipe for beef bourguignon, I know that I'm enjoying the same flavors, smells, and textures that she did many years ago—along with all the others who have cooked it over the years! 

The same special connection follows with family recipes; it's an incredible way to connect with loved ones who aren't here anymore. My yiayia lived in Greece, I only met her once when I was one, and so for me being able to cook recipes that she used to make for my father helps me feel connected to her.

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Slow living with the seasons is a win-win. Ninety-nine percent of what I make is seasonally based. When we eat seasonally and support local farmers and growers, there are SO MANY AWESOME things that happen. Our meals taste infinitely better, your local community's economy grows, you're eating nutrient-dense foods, and you're helping the environment by reducing carbon emissions that come from shipping food all over the world. It's a win-win for literally everyone involved from the grower to the consumer…

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Growing your own food also instills a sense of patience within you, and forces you to slow down. You get to watch your meal be created from a tiny seed to a bubbling pot of tomato sauce over the course of several months. If you can start a small garden, even a container herb garden on your windowsill, I highly recommend it. There's nothing like the connection that's created between you and your food when you get to nurture it, care for it, and watch it grow into something big and bountiful—and then the plant gets to nurture you right back with fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables. It's incredibly grounding.

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As someone who has a very busy mind with lots of random thoughts flying through it all the time, being out in the garden or cooking in the kitchen are the two times when my mind really quiets down. I just get to focus on the task at hand, there's something very meditative about it. Seasonal living is the best for so many reasons!

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Kayla Haupt + Homesteading in Iowa

Ben Ashby

Kayla Haupt


Homesteader, a first-generation farmer, and single stay-at-home mother, Kayla Haupt, lives in rural Iowa on a small farm that sits among one of the largest Amish settlements west of the Mississippi River. This master gardener spends her days close to the land, working to instill the idea of sustainability, creativity, and seasonal living in others through her blog and the business, Under a Tin Roof, she launched with her mother, Jill, in 2015. 

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Growing up it was just my parents and me, so I spent a lot of time imagining elaborate storylines for my dolls and pretending I lived in the woods behind my house. That led me to writing, and I planned to pursue a career in film directing and screenwriting. That changed when I found out that I was going to have my son! He was a pleasant surprise, and he started a domino effect leading us to what we now do for a living. 

I never knew much about food, nor did I care much about it. It was an unhealthy relationship…sometimes I’d skip, sometimes I’d gorge, and I ate fast food and processed groceries. That all changed when I got pregnant and started cooking. I knew what I ate would affect my son, and I did not want him addicted to junk food! But, I still didn’t really understand real, whole food.

I began to experiment and learn. I fell in love with growing vegetables and collecting eggs from our backyard chickens. My family realized that whole food with minimal processing was important. Fresh tasted better and was healthier for us—this made an enormous impact on our lives.

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It was a huge accomplishment to convert our kitchen from processed foods to whole food and to eat by the seasons. We now eat meat that is butchered at that time of year and cook with the vegetables and fruits that are growing. In the cold months, we eat the food that I put by in the summer.  

In December 2017 we moved to our small three and a half acre farm. We were living in a nearby town for a few years before that—after a bigger move from Houston in 2015 when I was pregnant.

We were feeling our way into a new lifestyle, I was blogging, and we had started our business making and selling useful, handmade goods, learning as we went. Moving to a farm was not our plan, but when the property went up for sale, we were drawn to it. With more than 800 mature aronia berry bushes, a large garage we envisioned could be a small store to sell our creations, and a gorgeous 20th-century foursquare farmhouse...we made the leap! 

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It’s been a whirlwind working to grow produce and cut flowers and expand our business to include farming. My mom is a talented illustrator, and I am a writer—so the combination of our skills works well, and we are dedicated to living an inspiring lifestyle on our homestead and through our business…so encouraged by the opportunity of more farming!

We now grow and sell vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers, and our shop hosts a small country store where we sell various useful, handmade goods that we design and make ourselves like sustainable apparel, household items, hand poured beeswax candles and embroidery kits. We offer pasture-raised eggs from our hens and fresh baked goods that I make on special occasions.

We also participate in a seasonal Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program where customers can purchase a share of our farm among others and receive fresh produce, flowers, and meats to enjoy during the summer and autumn seasons. 

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It's the history behind slow living that draws me to it; my ancestors lived this way not too long ago. Somehow that art was lost in more recent years with advanced farming technology. But, I no longer want to buy useless products or ones that make us unhealthy. I love the idea of creating my own economy by growing and raising food! My most profound goal in this entire lifestyle change is to share these tips with my son, Tad, so he can pass them on to his children.

There has to be a balance—I cannot be a total purist. Sometimes I eat a box of crackers and some days I buy meat from the grocery store. So, while I strive to do it all; shear the sheep, spin the wool, and knit the sweater, that's not possible. We do the best we can, and we're changed people because of the small yet substantial steps we've taken in just a few years. We want to encourage others to do the same.

Our website offers info on homesteading topics like keeping chickens, growing and eating your own food, living a waste-free lifestyle, herbal healing, and natural cleaning. We want our readers and customers to feel as if they can make a difference in their own lives with wholesome, simple, seasonal living.

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My cooking style is old-fashioned—rustic and simple. I’m inspired by recipes of the 18th and 19th centuries—I love reading them and putting my spin on their elements. 

If we have friends over for supper, I like to make a chicken noodle soup, a black bean and sweet potato chili, or a beef stew—with fresh bread. My family’s favorite meal is pasture-raised chicken roasted in a cast iron skillet and basted with butter and rosemary. I add some chopped potatoes and onions, and we’re set!! Simple and good is the way to go for us.

Eating seasonally has taught me about where food comes from and how to live in harmony with the land to find fulfillment. Every year I feel the same way that I did the first time I ever grew my own food. When you bring that initial harvest into the house, clean and chop it, you feel this incredible sense of accomplishment and pride, humility and reward. I want as many people as possible to know that feeling, and I will continue to farm, work, write and cook to share it.

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Jenn Davis + A Slow Living Conversation

Ben Ashby

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Jenn Davis is the creator of Two Cups Flour, a baking blog that showcases classic breakfast, bread, and dessert recipes with her own twist. She shares these food stories through inspiring photos styled with a southern, rustic spin from her Nashville, TN studio kitchen. As a foodie, photographer and baker, Jenn’s work has a nostalgic approach that ignites a love of baking in her audience. Her inimitable artistry captures each recipe with a mood that inspires home bakers to experiment with exciting ingredient combos and helpful—and often humorous—tips.

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“Embrace the glorious mess that you are.” 

As a child, if I wasn’t learning about art, I was being instructed on the beauty of nature—my mom was a designer and my dad a horticulturist. I inherited my mother’s creativity and my father’s sense of humor…and I call upon these traits in my work! 

Food was “hands-on” in our family; my parents both shared in preparing meals. Dad had a garden and Mom canned the vegetables, Dad hunted deer and doves and Mom could turn them into a three-course meal, Dad made Sunday morning pancakes and Mom made pies and bread. With no formal culinary training, just good old trial and error home-style techniques, I learned from watching them and grew from licking beaters to being a helpful sous chef.

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We were a suburban family, with deep, country roots. Growing up, preparing food was a special art form, a way to bring people together. Meals were—and still are—a time for us to spend quality time. Even though my mom worked full-time, she prepared everything herself. I learned early that homemade tastes best…and it’s worth the effort! 

In my twenties I was caught up with other things…eating takeout for the umpteenth time, my friends and I decided it was gross and we could make better. This revelation turned into a weekly recipe night with wine, endless chatter, and mini feasts. My renewed interest in cooking and baking grew from there. I bought new cookware and a few cookbooks. We tried new flavor twists, pigged out on warm cookies and cultivated lifelong friendships over the food we made.

Years later, after college, I was living on a horse farm when my passion for baking re-ignited. I wanted to smell and taste all the food from my childhood and I began baking for joy, when time from my equestrian duties allowed. 

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Then, just after my 33rd birthday, I really started missing the artistic side of my life. So, I gave up my career with horses and started over as a photographer, but something was still missing. I wasn’t passionate about what I was shooting, but back in the kitchen I was trying new recipes, perfecting old ones, and enjoying every minute of it! 

So, I started pointing my camera at food. Like magic, creating in the kitchen turned into capturing food images. Now, I bake almost everyday and share how I see it. I live slow and share it.

Slow living speaks to my heart. I’ve done the fast paced, stressful, cluttered, and insatiable lifestyle. It left me feeling tired, unfulfilled, and lonely. I want to have a life full of experiences, not things, I want to eat food made from ingredients I’ve grown or harvested, and have the luxury to soak up the world around me. I want to live an authentic life at a slower pace…without the regrets of—if I only had time, visited, or enjoyed—lingering in my mind.

Slow living is reflected in my work. I encourage my readers to take time for the things they love. Follow their passions. Pursue curiosity. Slow down. Be patient. Soak up the moment.

To live slowly I had to first acknowledge what I value most. I prefer to make choices about my schedule, so I choose to live a creative life and work for myself. This comes with challenges and rewards; I work hard to achieve my goals, but balance work with down time.

Everyone can relate to enjoying something delicious. Whether you prepared the recipe, shared a slice of cake with a friend, or handed a bag of food to someone hungry, food connects us in its traditions, its possibilities and its joys. 

So, I work hard to share that cooking or baking doesn’t have to be perfect; you just need to enjoy it. Anyone can make something from scratch; it just takes a little patience and a willingness to try…and acceptance of the occasional failure! Sometimes I have to laugh and throw an experiment in the trash, other times I do a happy dance in surprise. I want my readers and followers to do the same; I want to inspire them to head into the kitchen to have fun and enjoy the results!

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“Live a life driven more strongly by curiosity, than by fear.” –Elizabeth Gilbert | —