What a fricking week.  Kitchen renovation…
No really when I say “what a week” I mean it.
Imagine 6 people, 3 dogs, 1 cat and a bunny all living without a kitchen sink or dishwasher….add in Summertime so kids are ALL home all day.
I am tired.  Like bone tired.
Like “I just shop vaccumed my kitchen for the third time today where the heck is this dust coming from?
Like “I feel odd washing my dishes in a sink beside a toilet….”   but it’s that or the garden hose and at least this way we have hot water.
Like “Where is ….(insert whatever item that you have zero clue where it went too)????”
Like “When is this going to be finished again?” question from every single family member at least multiple times a day.

I could go on BUT I really don’t want to sound like I am complaining.
I have waited close to a decade to get these concrete countertops fixed…hopefully correctly.
The story of the concrete countertops is a very long one but let’s just make it fast and say they were never sealed correctly…actually the only person who managed to seal them even halfway correctly was ME.
And that only lasted a year before it went poo poo too.

The kitchen sink was my biggest complaint.
Dear friends, never….ever….ever…get a kitchen sink made of concrete.  It is a super bad idea.  Like crazy bad idea.  Learn from the error of my ways.
You know how I know?
I can list off every single business in my town that has concrete sinks in their bathroom and I can report their sinks aren’t holding up well either.  Concrete simply doesn’t like water.
Bad idea.  The worst.
It was gorgeous for a year then a dirty yucky mess for the remaining years.
Now perhaps some of you out in blog land did manage to find a concrete expert who did your stuff right…you are lucky!! So so lucky! Count your blessings and kiss your person who created that masterpiece!
It’s a modern marvel.
This will NOT be the outcome for many who aren’t as lucky.
But yes, I have heard rumor that some actually do this concrete thing correctly.  I am just jaded.
So take this warning with a side of “Man she is just jaded.“.

So out it went last Monday.
I all but had Joey throw it straight out the door.  I would have taken a sledge hammer to it if I hadn’t ripped out the 17 year old tile back splash the day before….by beating the heck out of it with a hammer. (No really I did and my arms hurt!)

The truth be told I want nothing more in life than lovely Carrara marble counter tops BUT I have two kids with tuitions and am a homeschool mom who runs a photography biz (I see you clients out there wanting your family Fall sessions!  Better get on the books soon the leaf change dates are filling already) and crafts/apparel shop (which by the way is almost back up.  September 1 the shop will go live again).
The $5600k they wanted for that wasn’t gonna happen.
Carrara marble didn’t even make a short list of reasonable idea when it came to fixing our counter top dilemma.
Epoxy redo won out.  Considering I work with Epoxy often with my jewelry you guys know I already have a love affair going with the stuff.
Found a fella who saidYa know I can make you faux marbleish concrete at a fraction of the price” and I was like “Sign me up!  I have nothing to lose but a crappy disgusting sink.

So it started with the counter tops and has merged to backsplash being torn down, painting all the walls downstairs…and ceilings (good Lord I fricking hate painting ceilings).
Oh the things I get myself into!

Then first layer of epoxy…

Then the 60th layer of Epoxy…don’t ask.

Well and that is kindof where we are at now…the sink did get dropped in today but we still need to re-hit the fronts of the counters one more time.
Through this process one thing has become super clear.
I have mad construction worker skills.  No really…
It’s all my mothers doing.  Three girls in a house without a man.  You fix your own everything.
No whining you just do it.  Sometimes it’s just the only way to get what you need done…done.
I think I would need to actually enjoy doing it to actually make it a career choice though…but if you need something done I could probably tell ya how to do it.
My life.  Filled with random and weird knowledge and often interesting skill sets.

This week (assuming I get running water back tomorrow and a completed kitchen) I will be moving on to painting the cabinets and finishing painting the living room walls and ceiling.

Did I mention the massive amounts of homeschool, college, high school events/planning and overload I am buried under right now?
That is a post for another day…it will be long and rambling no doubt (just like the good old blogging days).
I know some of you have missed my Bramble Rambles 😉
Now back to my sander and shop vac.
You haven’t lived until you sand at least 5 times a day for days on end.
Sorry for all the cell pics instead of the real camera…my life right now does not have time padded in for the fancy camera images just yet…lol.

P.S. I think my new kitchen may just need this sign😂

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Tomato soup…what else is a gal to make with a million tomatoes?
Right about now the tomatoes are coming out of the garden for most of us.
It’s like a tomatoes hurricane around here!  Only difference being of course that I love tomatoes. Hurricanes…not so much.
What’s a gal to do?

Personally I can, freeze and ferment mine.
This weekend you will find me canning and fermenting salsa.  Lots of it.
I literally just realized I haven’t shared a fermenting salsa recipe yet!!?  What the heck!
That is my favorite!  I shall make you guys a blog post on that this weekend.

But today….it’s going to be one of the fastest, yummiest and seriously so easy meals I make.
Admittedly, I just promised alot there but this one truly is all those things.
Once upon a time I went to San Francisco with Daryl.
We rolled up into this little Italian cafe one day.
I was starving.  Just wanted something fast so I could get back to site seeing so I ordered the tomato soup. It was the BEST soup I have ever had.
Granted I had so many “the bests” out there that week that I truly know I need to live there.
But since I don’t live there…I had to try and make my own copycat recipe.
Or as close as I could get.
This was as close as I have gotten thus far (because my recipes are always evolving and changing just like my gardens)

Creamy Coconut Basil Tomato Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 Can/Jar crushed tomatoes (or put 6 to 12 fresh tomatoes in the food processor 😉
  • 1 container broth (I typically use vegetable broth)
  • 1 Can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2-3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1-2 tbs oregano
  • 4-5 large basil leaves (dried will work as well but won't be quite as vibrant in flavor)
  • Salt/pepper/cayenne pepper (all to preferred taste)
  • 1-2 tsp Potato Starch


  1. Are you ready for this?
  2. For me....I throw everything in a big old pot (except the potato starch and half of the basil...those I wait on).
  3. If I want to add the onions without my kiddos whining about the junks I literally will put a bit of the tomato sauce/broth into my vitamixer and add the garlic and onions. This makes them "disappear" and the kids have no clue.
  4. If the soup is too thin I take a bowl and add about a cup of the soup to it then the potato starch. I use a whisk and blend the potato starch in until all the lumps and bumps are gone (you can also throw it back in the food processor / vitamixer too). I then drop it back into the pot and let it all slowly simmer for a bit and thicken up. The potato starch thickens anything you need it too....I love that stuff!
  5. Personally I like to cook the soup with only half of the basil leaves and opt to add the basil leaves to the soup bowls at the end. I feel like this gives my bowl a burst of extra flavor.
  6. ****Additional add in ideas: carrots, ginger, garlic olive oil drizzled on top, sour cream, feta, cheddar, red peppers, noodles even.
  7. The options on what you could add to this soup are endless...but really we typically just add a panini on the plate beside the bowl 😉
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Woot!  Woot!!
Bramble is back up and kicking💃🏻
This makes me happier than you guys will ever know.

When last we left off…
Life had become crazy town for me.  My thyroid went rogue and I was surrounded by teens and a toddler. Two opposite ends of hard spectrums.
I knew it wouldn’t last though but I also knew something had to be sacrificed…Bramble went on the old back burner.

But now? Oh yes life has slowed….ok no it hasn’t BUT my people are all old enough for me to make a little blog post from time to time 😉

Lots of changes in our lives and lots of the same.

Pretty much plant based eater 98% of the time still.  I do eat fish occasionally and well…cheese and I are having a “messy” break-up currently.  I fuzzy heart cheese.  That stuff is my weakness.
I typically don’t classify myself much as either Vegan or Vegetarian because it is my experience that the moment you tell someone you are their eyes glaze over, they tune out and you just know that every word out of your mouth sounds like the adults talking in the Peanuts cartoon “Mwa-mha-mwa-mha“.
Plants.  I like plants. I am not perfect but I do eat a crap load of plants.
They are my favorite.
Gluten had to go for good though…darn thyroid Hashimoto’s kicked in but heck it has been almost 3 years since they took out half my thyroid and I am still not at levels high enough to add medication.
The Dr. says my diet has definitely played into that.
So the plants stay.  I shall keep fighting the good fight to keep this little half a thyroid chugging.
“I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”

Adam now DRIVES, has a car & goes to COLLEGE!  (I feel so old but in my defense he went like 3 years early) He is still considered a homeschool student but let’s be real here…he takes 12-16 credit hours.  He isn’t doing much at home other than home work.
Haley is off to high school and doing amazing.  My years of homeschooling these two didn’t mess them up!!!  Woot woot!  They actually have both done amazing.
Lucas went off to Kindergarten this last year (you read that right KINDERGARTEN) and he LOVED it but as we have done for all of them he will be coming home next year and back to homeschooling.
My biggest fear with homeschooling him is that he will be jumping to far ahead next year.
Homeschooling allows kids to go at their own speed and his seems to be full force ahead.
Ready or not here we come.

Photography studio…yep it’s still there.  Granted it is about 75% food/stock (selling on at most of the big stock houses now)/commercial photography these days.  But I still get to see my loyal family clients at least once a year and I LOVE that.

Crafts…Well I opened my Etsy shop and filled it with “all the things” I love to make and it does decent.  It is my little creative outlet.  A place to sell my ADHD creations and help my family with “the extras”.
I will be adding my teeshirts and jewelry to this site in the coming weeks/months.
While I like Etsy and all…the tee shirt company I use doesn’t mesh with Etsy and since all my swag if zen/yoga/earthy it fits right in over here with my food, farms and basic homemaking goodies.
Goal is to have EVERYTHING up by September.  Key word “goal“.

I am still homeschooling.
I am still terrible at grammar and will continue to pester friends and family to edit for me.
I am still cooking just about every meal for this crew.
I am still VERY passionate about food as medicine.  EAT YOUR VEGGIES people 😉
I am still goofy, sarcastic and often forgetful.
I am still very very happy.
I am still buried under a pile of life that I am always just a bit behind on digging out of…but it is a wonderfully chaotic, beautiful mess.
I am still redoing furniture and walls and rooms and gardens….
I am still gardening.
Still photographing farms…added in a drone.
Pretty much everything is the same…except the family is growing up on me.

What will happen on Bramble this go around?
Pretty much the same but probably heavy on recipes, how to’s and nature….just sharing the things I love.
Easy enough.
My goal is to teach folks that eating your fruits and veggies doesn’t have to be painful.
It is actually pretty amazing!
Now…to go write up my tomatoes soup recipe 😉

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Goat cheese.
Everything is better with goat cheese. 
True story.

Eggplant on the grill…throw some goat cheese in there and BAM! So fricking good.

I am a big believer that folks would eat more veggies if they realized how easy they are to work with in the kitchen.
I am trying to share all my favorites that double as “fast, easy and tasty!” Eggplant with goat cheese:

Goat cheese on Grilled Eggplant


  • Eggplants
  • Goat Cheese
  • Pomegranate Seeds
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive Oil


  1. Thick slice eggplants length wise.
  2. Place on a sheet of foil and cover in olive oil.
  3. Add sprigs of rosemary, basil or oregano (or in my case all three from the garden) on top.
  4. Pour juice of 1-2 lemons on top.
  5. Add dash of salt and pepper.
  6. Throw those bad boys on the grill and flip them every 5 minutes or so.
  7. I like ours super soft but some like them firmer. 
  8. When they are cooked add some clumps of goat cheese, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and let them cook a few more minutes to soften the cheese.
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Would these be wonderful without the cheese?
But I am a weak girl and goat cheese is one my weaknesses. One day I will break up totally with cheese but for now…goat cheese stays🙈

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Taking a moment to tell you folks…stop fearing tofu/soy.
Did you know that there have been updated studies proving that soy has some very redeeming qualities.
Granted anything you read needs to be recent.
The types of beneficial soy are: non-GMO/Organic Tempeh, tofu,Misi and edamame.

I try to avoid processed soy as much as possible since I am chugging along with half a Thyroid. There is still a bit of debate on how much soy intake is too much soy intake for us lucky Thyroid folks but most seem to agree that good quality forms of soy on occasion may actually have benefit.
Which makes me happy because I heart tofu when cooked correctly😜

As promised…recipe time!


Teriyaki Tofu Quinoa Bowl


  • Firm tofu cut into tiny squares (I love the Wildwood baked teriyaki tofu personally. I pick it up at Whole Foods)
  • Quinoa (as much as you would like)
  • Chopped Onion
  • Chopped Peppers (bell and Jalapeño)
  • 1 chopped Squash
  • 1 chopped Zucchini 
  • 2 minced garlic cloves 
  • Basil
  • Parsley 
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt/pepper/cayenne pepper/Braggs Sea Kelp seasoning (to taste)
  • Olive oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Almonds


  1. Sauté the tofu, peppers, onions and garlic in a splash of olive oil and soy sauce.
  2. Once soft add chopped squash and zucchini.
  3. Cook the Quinoa at the same time.
  4. When finished throw it all in a bowl and add the chopped basil and parsley and squeeze a few lemon wedges on top.
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This one doesn’t disappoint❤️

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