Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nettle Smoothie, Nettle Eggs, Nettle Juice, Nettle Soup....Nettle Everything!

We've been...OK, I've been feeling pretty desperate for some fresh new greens in our diet.  We've done sprouts again (for some reason we typically only do these in the first few months of each year).
Thankfully our generous friend lets us pick nettle at her house.  Ours is nowhere to be seen and, I'm guessing, still shivering under the ground waiting until the earth warms and it is safe to come up.  We've been having lots of smoothies with nettle.
And yesterday I came home with a big box full, enough to have a fresh supply for a week and a little left over to dry.
We've had nettle/chickpea/ricotta canneloni filling.

Green eggs(nettle) and pan-fried thyme/garlic potatoes.
This morning W reminded me that I didn't need to put nettle in EVERYTHING. I am all astonishment. ;-)  Why wouldn't one want to put nettle in everything?  And so, he ate plain old pea soup for lunch...whilst I had a delightful springtime broth with nettle, potato, onion,garlic and just a touch of red pepper flakes and Bragg's.
Just he better wait until our next pizza night!  Nettle goes so well in pizza.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Denim Raggy Quilt and a Rainbow Too!

I finished clipping the seams on my denim quilt yesterday then washed, defluffed and hung it to dry.  I'm quite happy with how it turned out and I especially love that it was made out of jeans (holey, worn jeans) which would have likely ended up in the landfill.  I love making something from "nothing".
And this morning the snow is (mostly) gone and there is a rainbow over town.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Snow, Snow Go Away!!

Just lately I've been missing my gardens from our old home.  I was managing quite nicely by  reading Shelia's garden blog and living vicariously through her transplanting, edging and general springtime garden enjoyment.  But then yesterday we woke up to snow again.  It snowed all morning and into the afternoon a bit.  What to do? What to do to bring some sunny cheer to this home?

Well, for starters a batch of pumpkin cinnamon buns seemed like a good idea, but then a triple batch to go with a visit from friends seemed an even better idea.
I love this recipe because you roll out the dough and then slather it with a creamed butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon mixture.
They were delicious.  A visit with friends is hard to beat, but pumpkin cinnamon buns and friends (especially one who helps clip seams on a denim quilt!)...delightful.  We hardly noticed the snow.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Denim Raggy Quilt

Turning these...
into these...
and then...
into rows...
to join into panels...
to join into this...

sure does take a lot of thread.

Now I just need to clip all the edges and try to fit it into my washer to turn the seam edges "raggy".    Can't wait 'til it's finished.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Peanut Butter Biscuits

Yesterday E decided he wanted to make something "sorta sweet and cookie-like" and it couldn't have any eggs because...well, we didn't have any.  He decided to make a sweet biscuit dough and add peanut butter and chocolate chips to it.  He was quite confident that they would be good and assured me that even if they didn't quite turn out the way he thought they would they'd still have chocolate chips ergo...still good.  Sound logic, I thought.  Off he went to make this creation on his own with No Help from me so  I happily amused myself with other distractions.
This is such a fun set of CDs.  I've been waiting impatiently for my turn for it at the library since a friend told me about it. It has several songs that I adored as a child - Rhinestone Cowboy, Tie a Yellow Ribbon, Let
Your Love Flow, Put Your Hand in the Hand, Rose Garden and many more.  I clearly remember singing along to Rhinestone Cowboy on my way home from riding lessons in 1975, I think I must have thought I was going to be a cowboy and, if you're going to be a cowboy why not be a Rhinestone cowboy?  It just sounds so much more interesting, doesn't it?  Just in case you can't remember it and want to hear it you could click here.  Hmm, better get back to E's biscuits before I start talking about Captain and Tenille too.

Here are Ev's biscuits in progress.  He made the biscuit dough.
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup dry sweetener
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup butter (if I had been there while he was mixing it I would have suggested reducing that, especially as he was adding peanut butter)
1 cup milk (soymilk, nutmilk or what have you)
Mix dry.  Cut in butter.  Add milk.  Now here is the good part.  He added:
3 blobs (?!?) peanut butter (next time he would add 4 blobs)
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Mix until everything is well worked in.  Roll out and cut with biscuit cutter.  Bake at 400 for 12 minutes.
And they really were delicious, especially when they were straight from the oven and the chips were still melty.  I love having boys who, not only love to cook but, feel confident enough in the kitchen to create their own recipes.
And this morning I came down to a delightful surprise in the kitchen, not only was E up before me (very unusual) but he had made breakfast for us and cleaned up the mess.  I do so love eating food prepared lovingly by someone else.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Got Eggs?

The boys were given a dozen double yolk eggs when we were visiting a farm last week.  When we saw the huge shells we knew we had to do something with them. 
We decided we would grow some wheat grass in them.  We drew faces on them, put some soil into them and added some soaked wheat kernels.  Then we let them sit on the windowsill.
In a while they started sprouting some "hair".
E has already given his egg a "hair" cut while somehow managing to avoid having me give him his own overdue haircut.

These are so much fun that we've decided to make we just need to decide what we should call them - Eggheads or Wheatheads (sorta like Meatheads). ;-)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Roasted Squash (or Pumpkin!) Bisque

Last night I made Roasted Squash Bisque to go with our dinner.  It was so delicious I had to share the recipe.  My husband had two bowls full and was scraping the bowl to get the last drop (I think he likely would have licked the bowl clean if I hadn't been there).  It is very simple to make if you already have (bags and bags) of roasted pumpkin or squash puree in your freezer.  If not you could make this when you wanted to use up some leftover baked squash or you could probably also use a can of pumpkin.

2 carrots
2 potatoes
1 large onion
olive oil

Chop these and saute in pot with a big glug of olive oil and sage leaves. (I used about 8 off a branch of a sage plant I have hanging in the kitchen)  Cook, stirring often, until the onions brown a bit.

6-8 cups water and 1 bouillion cube or broth
2 cups (or more) of roasted pumpkin or squash

Add the broth and stir. Cook until potatoes and carrots are tender. Add cooked squash. Simmer.  Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.  (I blended the sage leaves right into it)

Serve with a dash of Bragg's or you could use some salt and pepper instead.  I also like to add a spoonful of nutritional yeast sometimes and a spoonful of coconut oil.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Between Gardens

The other day I was searching the library website for a book I read some time ago when I came across one called Between Gardens: Observations on Gardening, Friendship and Disability.  Between gardens, I thought, that sounds interesting (since I consider myself between gardens right now)  but I didn't put it on hold because I figured I had enough books and projects on the go.  Later that day I was in the library picking up holds and absent-mindedly looking at the shelves while the boys chose some books when I saw the same book on the shelf.  I'm a fan of serendipity and so I decided to take the book home to read when I got a chance.  I started reading the first couple pages that afternoon and decided I needed to finish it the next day so that I could take it to my friend to read, I knew she would enjoy as much as I was. 
It's a wonderful book.  I would highly recommend it as a read for any woman, gardener or nature lover - as a woman, gardener AND nature lover I found it very moving and insightful.  I'm so glad it found me at the library. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

E's Big Idea

We were talking about making a gift for our friend's birthday the other day and that night while E and I were having a cuddle (and he was holding his wheat heater bag) he came up with the idea that we should make our friend a "heater" bag.  But not just a heater bag...a personalized heater bag.  I loved the idea and love the E came up with it on his own.

He picked out the fabric from our stash of bits and pieces - soft flannel for extra comfort.  He traced letters onto fabric. 
He cut and then decided how the letters should be arranged "just so", adding an ' s to make it an even amount of letters.
I sewed the letters and then he sewed.
We filled it - the boys decided we should use rice rather than wheat (I think partly because they think it will smell better and partly - a big partly- because they don't like the short grain brown rice we have a massive bag of right  now and were happy to use up about 6 cups of it.  Now he has a gorgeous, useful gift that he is very proud to have made and can't wait to give to his friend.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Day at Home

We love us a day at home.  The whole day to work, putter, make things, eat and putter some more.  We've started off our last few days with my "find" of  blueberries at the bottom of the freezer (It wasn't a true find for me as I knew I had tucked them away there just for these pre-springtime mornings but it was a huge surprise to one little blueberry lover in our family).  We've enjoyed them with our oats, our granola and a few just plain.
I made myself another batch of nettle seed salt and was very pleased that I had thought ahead to put extra nettle seed away in my potions pantryThis is as delicious as it is healthful and so easy to make.
And I got a chance to try out the Navaho knitting method I've been wanting to check out since I posted about it here.  Fun to turn this thin cotton string into...
something thick enough to knit something useful with.
And E and I had a lot of fun making a special gift that E thought of, it turned out great and he is very excited to give it to his friend.  I love seeing my boys sew and  look forward to sharing his project tomorrow.  Wishing you a fun-filled day at home soon too.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Boymade Onion Bread

One of the things that has always been very important to me is that my boys know how to take care of themselves.  They both love to cook (and eat) and so, along with learning to grow their own food, they've also learned to prepare it.  This morning W was looking through his Country Wisdom and Know How book and decided he would make the onion bread recipe.
He has made bread in the bread machine before and made buns and bannock but I can't recall him making yeast bread completely on his own with no help before.  Off he went and sometime later he brought E and I a slice to sample.  It was really delicious!  And since we have a rule about not complaining about something someone else cooks (which is mostly followed) I didn't even say anything about the fact that he used the white flour usually reserved for pizza dough.
Happily for an ever-hungry teenage boy the recipe made enough for two loaves so he has a whole loaf left...I expect it will last for another hour or so.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do or Do Without

Even though we did a lot of decluttering last year in preparation for selling our house and moving we still seem to have plenty of "clutter" around.  This last little while I've been making a push to finally use up some things we've had sitting around.  I've got a good start on a stack of denim that I want to use to make one of these fun quilts.

I've got all the seams and extra bits cut out and I've tucked the zippers away for future use in felted bags.  W used the seamripper to take off the leather labels with the comment that they "should be good for something".  I love that attitude.
E has been using old t-shirts for making into pet beds.  In the past we've used old sheets for these but I am impressed with how well the t-shirt "yarn" works. 
We cut it into strips - round and round the shirt.
Then we just give the strips a little tug and the edges turn in to make a nice smooth edged yarn.
Then he uses a big crochet hook to make them into a little bed or rug.
I think these would make great bathroom rugs because they are very thick and soft.
And while usually my mending pile sits for ever quite awhile before I get round to it, I put this mending at the top of my priority list.  E came to me with his dragon suit tail in need of repair and I did it that very night.
  I know that it won't fit too much longer and I will miss this sight.