Monday, March 30, 2009

Compost, pruning and first blooms...

We've been spending our free time this past week working on our yard...getting things raked and tidied up, emptying compost bins and pruning fruit trees, perennials and grapes. Things are looking quite good now and it's lovely to see some blooms around. Now I can focus some energy on the veg garden, so far I've only planted some peas.

Yesterday my husband took a third truckload of prunings off to our dump to be mulched (oh, what I would do for our own shredder) and he came back with a surprise for me. My mind does tend to work in strange ways and so the first thing that came to my mind when I saw what he brought me was the song It's In His Kiss". You know how it goes?

Does he love me? I wanna know! How can I tell if he loves me so?

(Is it in his eyes?)Oh no! You need to see!
(Is it in his size?)Oh no! You make believe!
If you wanna know If he loves you so
Its in his kiss!(That's where it is!)

In his kiss? Well...maybe...but for me it is in what he brings me home from the dump. ;-) Or in what he brings me home for my compost. Coffee grounds, leaves, lawn clippings and now...
free bins!! With wheels and lids!! To store my excess compost so that I can empty out all my bins and get new batches going. You see how much he loves me?

Our city recently started a new waste program with new garbage, yard waste and recycle bins and so my husband noticed that our dump is full of plastic garbage cans that people have dropped off for recycling. He asked if he could take some home and was told that he could. What a kind and thoughtful man. ;-) He knows the way to my heart. ;-)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Homemade yogurt

Things we are lovin' this morning...

with the strawberries we froze in July and a good drizzle of our new favourite honey. (the kind we just bought a 30lb bucket of on Seedy Saturday. Yum!)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pumpkin rolls, pumpkin scones, pumpkin muffins....

I usually try to keep Mondays as at home days, I like to do any baking and food prep that needs doing for the week on that day, this starts off our week on a (somewhat) organized note. Yesterday was a pumpkiny sort of day as I tried to use up some more pumpkin from the freezer. Last week I made pumpkin crescent rolls and they went down so well with our lunch of lentil soup that I decided to make another batch yesterday.I also made some pumpkin raisin scones and they were absolutely delicious. These are sure to be a new favourite in our home.

Those empty spots on the tray of scones? Erm, someone has to be willing to test the recipes, right? ;-)

They went down a treat with a bit of butter and a spoon of last summer's cherry preserves.

*Edited to add the recipe for Rebecca -

Pumpkin Scones

1 1/2 c unbleached flour
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter

1 1/2 cup cooked pumpkin puree
2 eggs

3/4 cup raisins (dried cranberries would be nice too)

In large bowl mix all dry ingredients. Cut butter into flour mixture. In a separate bowl combine the eggs and pumpkin puree. Add this to dry mixture and mix until moistened and then fold in raisins. (depending on how moist your pumpkin puree is you may need to add a tablespoon or two of milk or water here. you want the dough to hold together nicely but not be too sticky) Turn out onto floured surface, knead a few times, divide into two equal pieces and then pat out into two circles. Slice each of these into 8 pie like wedges. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until baked through. Best served warm with butter and jam or honey.

Edited one more time to include the pumpkin roll recipe for Andrea.

Here is a link to the pumpkin roll recipe. I have a Fleishmann's Yeast Bread Machine Favourites book and I found the recipe in there. It is online here on their website. I don't add the nuts though. I just use the dough setting on my bread machine and then roll them into crescents. Oh and I use just cinnamon instead of the pumpkin pie spice mix.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Springtime needle felted wreath

My springtime wreath is mostly done and has been put up on the door, hopefully it will encourage some springlike temps to follow. I put it up and then later realized that my bee and ladybug had been misplaced.
I added those on (shown below) with the bee sort of hovering above the daffodils. I quite like the way it turned out and just need to get some ivy to tuck in here and there. I had to add a clothesline because there isn't much I love more than the smell of line-dried, sunshine infused bedsheets in springtime.
I also added some eyes to the chickadee - all the better to see with...and maybe to help it to be on lookout for Putty (she likes to find good hiding spots from which she can launch surprise attacks).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The birds and the bees...and a needle felted ladybug too.

Whenever I have a spare moment I do a little bit of needle felting on some springtime critters. I really enjoy this craft because it fits well for me, I can do a bit then go off to do something else and come back to it easily. There is no remembering where I am on a pattern or trying to recall where I finished - it is a good craft for a slapdasher such as myself. The ladybug and bee pictured above are so quick and easy to do. I also made a ladybug to attach to a bobbypin as a hair decoration for a special young friend who loves critters as much as I do.
And look Katherine, I found another use for my thimble besides making thimble cookies. Who knew it had so many uses. ;-)

I think my favourite thing to make so far is birds. I love watching (and listening to) Chickadees so I thought it only right to have one to go with the needle felted blackbird for my wreath.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sprouting seeds

E's green thumbs have been itching to plant some seeds and since it is still a bit on the cold side he has been sprouting edibles indoors. He regularly grows alfalfa or mixed sprouts in a jar and we add these to salads or sandwiches.
A few weeks back he decided to sprout some wheat kernels. He has been nibbling away on the wheat grass and quite enjoying having something fresh and green to graze on. Last week I left him upstairs in charge of the salad making part of dinner and came back up from my chores in time to sit down to a lovely dinner prepared by both boys. As I was eating my salad I noticed bit of what looked like grass mixed in amongst the other ingredients, a quick glance at the pot of wheat grass showed me that it had indeed been shorn. Wheat grass clippings in salad? Why not! :-)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Black bean cornmeal tortilla casserole

Eep, somehow I got sidetracked on the week of bean posts. ;-) Here is another of my favourites. This was one I found in a library book about 13 years ago and I've been enjoying it ever since.

Cornmeal tortillas
1 1/2 c water
1tsp salt
3 tbsp oil or butter
1 c cornmeal
1 c flour
Put water and salt into pot and bring to boil. Add in cornmeal and stir until cooked over low heat. (as if you were making polenta) Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit. Add 1 cup flour and mix well. Divide dough into 10 pieces and roll out into circles on floured surface. Cook on skillet until lightly browned on each side.
These tortillas are then used to make a bean casserole.
In oiled casserole dish put a thin layer of tomato sauce then a layer of tortilla. (I rip them into thirds). Put a layer of black beans on top and then a layer of stewed tomatoes. Repeat these layers (tortilla, beans, tomatoes) and then top with the last of the tortillas. Pour some more tomato sauce on top and then top with grated cheese. Bake for 45 minutes at 350.
I also like to put kernel corn in with the black beans sometimes if I still have corn in the freezer. Our stewed tomatoes already have peppers, zucchini, garlic and onion in them otherwise I would add these as well. Serve with guacamole, sour cream and hot sauce.

Very yum.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Future of Food and Seedy Saturday

We watched this film a few weeks ago and I keep thinking about it. We already grow most of our veg from heirloom seeds and we also save a lot of our own seeds but after watching this I feel compelled to do more...grow more, save more, share more, do more and talk more.
I want to be sure that more people know what is going on with our food and I want people to see how easy it is to grow more of our own. I want to share more seeds and encourage excitement about growing, preserving and, most of all, eating fresh homegrown vegetables.
This film is full of lots of information on genetically-modified seeds, corporate control and seed patents. It also contains information about simple things we can do - support local agriculture, save seeds, grow your own, etc. The second disc has some special features including an interview with Michael Pollan and a short film called How to Save Seeds from Vegetables by Underwood Gardens.
Just in case you want to get yourself some interesting seed varieties to get started for this year.
Seedy Saturday
Certified organic seeds, plants, many rare and heirloom varieties, especially tomatoes. There will also be music, food, planting kits, artwork, honey, lavender, speakers and more. Kelowna's Seedy Saturday will be at the Rutland Centennial Hall 180 Rutland Road North) again this year from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Remember to bring your saved seed to the seed swap table ~ a chance to perpetuate those family treasures, and acquire some new ones! Admission is by donation at the door to the Central Okanagan Community Gardens.
Many communities have Seedy Saturdays coming up in the next few weeks. They are a great place to meet people, find out more about gardening and get some great seeds or plants.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Needle felted bird and bird nest

Oh my!! This needle felting is addictive. The other day as I was cleaning I came across a twig wreath I have been meaning to do something with for years. I already have Autumn and Winter door wreaths so I thought it might be nice to make a Spring wreath. A friend and I were watching our kids needle felt gnomes the other day and talking about some things that we would like to needle felt, that chat motivated me to finish the bird I had on the go...and to create this little nest. There isn't much I love more than bird eggs of blue. I needed a few more things to fill up the wreath so I tried to make a few daffodils. I think I will try a few more flowers and then see if I can attach some live ivy to the wreath somehow too.

Seeing as how my real flowers are only looking like this so far the Spring flowers on my wreath might be the only ones I get to enjoy for a little while yet. ;-)