oh yes! Sun and colour and being outside!

spring tree

The sun has been streaming through the branches of our great tree, and we are outside again! TBM can crawl now and has been having ever so much fun eating dirt, rolling in dirt, teetering on uneven ground and bonking her nose and generally acting pretty thrilled with this whole new breezy, flashy, wet and dirty world she has been discovering on her own.

dirt eater

dirt digger

garden

The arugula is sprouting.

pansies

And I planted some pansies. Oh I love them.

Our wild veggie garden is coming back to life as well, but it deserves a whole post of its own.

blossoms and tomatoes

I’ve been stealthily snipping blossoms off the occasional tree for our table and tomato plants destined for wild garden are on every window sill.

magnolia blossoms

RRTT brought these magnolia prunings home from work and put them in an enormous jar of water. This is definitely the largest bunch of blossoms we’ve ever had inside. They fill the whole corner of the room!

grow window

Our house is really getting chock full of alive things these days. An underestimation of the growing power of our large south facing windows  has left us wondering what to do with all the rapidly growing seedlings as it is still not warm enough to plant out things like the peppers and tomatoes!

basils

Basil! Which will soon be getting quite desperate for a bit more space… must move some other things outside in order to make room for all the of these babies to have their own pots!

picnic eats

Picnic dinner! On the Easter weekend we went up to the Lac du Bois Grasslands and had a yummy picnic dinner. Initially we drove a bit too far, and it was not quite “springy” enough. There was still a good amount of snow, and the grasslands were pretty grey.

picnic 03

alpine lily

But 5 minutes back in the home direction and we were among lots of little yellow wild flowers and the sun was lovely and warm on us.

wiener in the meadow

picnic 02

picnic 04

And on top of all THAT fun…RRTT turned 25! There were chips, cupcakes, mini eggs, and dutch licorice for dinner.

birthday

birthday 02

BEFORE…

birthday 03

AFTER…

Gussy sabotaged the cupcakes. The little sneak climbed on the table when I wasn’t looking and licked off a good amount of icing. I suppose I’m lucky he didn’t just tear into them all.

 

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Chapter 2: Apple and Aged Cheddar Muffins (In which February whizzes by and much is crochetededed)

Well, only one recipe so far for this month (it is a short month, I say to myself).

I have another recipe for you today; a very yummy one that comes all the way from England for us from Attic 24. If you peruse the site you will see that much of my yarny and hoooky inspiration comes from this wonderful little site that offers lots of whimsical photos of a creative family life as well as many many amazing crochet tutorials. And the odd yummy recipe as well. This lady has a cult following I tells ya.

apple cheddar muffins

So where has February  gone?

Well during my those short moments of quiet, where I might potentially blog a recipe of some such thing, the temptation to twirl some nice wooly yarn with a cup of creamy Krakus instead continually won out. On the upside, TBM’s ripple blanket is coming along nicely (check out Lucy’s pattern).

When I am working on it I can’t decide if it makes me sea-sick to look at, or if it is just too psychedelic. But when I glimpse it out of the corner of my eye draped on the couch, I feel more confident that I am quite fond of its colour madness. It is so fun to work on because every new colour I add changes the way all the other colours look together. Also, when the crochet hook is dipping and spinning and twirling, I feel like a happy little dolphin.

ripple

And then, to make matters even worse (BETTER), a big box of yarn arrived from Knitpicks! I ordered a bunch of Shine Sport Yarn, which is a Pima cotton and modal blend. I had a baby blanket in mind for some friends who have a baby due in April. I thought I’d try cotton for a cooler summer blanket, and whoooooa is this stuff ever lovely. It is so nice to work with, so soft, and soooo colourful. The colours really remind me of a garden full of spring flowers.

spring time yarn

When it arrived I immediately abandoned ripple blanket and have been making a granny square patchwork blanket from, you guessed it, my crochet guru over at Attic 24.

granny square patch work

My mum also ordered some yarn in this batch, and even though I am quite happy with my own selection…I was covetting hers before I handed it over. She got some of the Capra Cashmere Merino wool blend, the Gloss DK silk and merino blend, and some of the Swish DK Superwash Merino. I took some photos of it before I had to say goodbye.

warm winter yarn

Some other distractions have been of the seedy variety. Yes, Spring is on it s way, and we have a little nursery set up in our South-facing window. We’ve got all sorts of things set up in there. If I can convince RRTT, he might be so sweet as to do a how-to post on how to make your own seed starting stand.

Seed starting shelves

baby broccoli

Baby Broccoli

old german tomato seedlings

Some stout little tomato seedlings, Old Germans.

seedlings

Seeds seeds seeds

thyme

A row of thyme. We’ve got looooots of thyme.

Also this month, us and some of those folks over at Bollokscraft Records got together and made a zine of sorts. It is kind of a mish and a mash of lots of different things, just the way we like it in this neighbourhood. Here is a link to check it out: Bollokscraft Xine volume 1

And finally, one other very distracting but very exciting goings-on around here is the hatching, brewing, stewing, bubbling plan for one very teensy house. Teensy, but completely ours. We are a teensy family so what could be more perfect? Much researching, designing and calculating has been going on. Many nights lying awake with brains buzzing with excitement. Now we are on the hunt for a flat bed trailer, or an old travel trailer that we can deconstruct and then reconstruct into the mobile foundation of one tiny home. Here are some links to some of the designs that I like, and to give you a sense of what on earth I am talking about: Little Yellow Door and Golden Thread Tiny House. More on this to come…

And finally finally, the recipe you’ve all been waiting for:

Apple and aged cheddar muffins mmm

Apple and Aged Cheddar Muffins

adapted from this recipe at Attic 24

The recipe is measured by weight because, well, it’s British. But you know what, it makes sense, it is a more accurate way to measure for baking. Get a scale! Or Google some conversions….

Makes 6-8 muffins, a mini batch for ultimate freshness.

125 g flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
50 g sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp milk
2 tbsp coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
1/4 c apple sauce
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 grated apple
little squares of aged white cheddar, 1 for each muffin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and cinnamon.

In a measuring jug, combine milk, coconut oil, apple sauce and vanilla. Stir to mix it all up.

Grate one apple (peel and all) into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients on top next, and very gently and sparingly, mix the batter. Like only 3 or 4 stirs. Just enough so that it is roughly combined. It’s ok if you can still see some flour, it will disappear in the baking. Don’t OVERMIX or you will have TOUGH MUFFINS.

Plop your batter into muffin cups and add a square of cheddar to the top of each one. I like to do a mix of toppings sometimes, like walnuts or brown sugar instead of cheddar. But cheddar is by far the favourite when there is a choice.

Bake in the oven for 20 or so minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown.

Eat when fresh! Eat when warm and soft from the oven!

Winter Sad-lad Salad- Beet, Rutabaga and Carrot Citrus Slaw!

winterscape

Supposedly we recently had, what the “scientists” have deemed, the “most depressing day of the year.”

They say we are in some sad somewhere between Christmas and Spring, and all the New Year’s Resolutions are broken.

Well maybe those last few days of January were a bit of a drag. Short, cold, and grey days can bring you down. But this February came in all mild and sunny, and some tobogganing down by the river with my baba and our dogs provided ample evidence that winter is so very glorious and lovely.

winterscape 04

Still, amid those cold, slushy and short-on-daylight winter days, do you feel like something is missing in your life?

Well, if you are in the northern hemisphere you are missing the sun. It’s no joke. But the days are getting longer so hang in there.

winterscape 05

It could also be the exuberance and love of a loyal pet (or two.) If this is the case, you should get some animal friends right away.

Or it could be the fresh crunch of a salad.

You may have found that you are drifting past the salad greens at the grocery store. Why? Perhaps it is because you know, in your heart, that they are world-weary lettuce heads. You know they are far far from home, and they are exhausted from their long cramped journey in a shipping truck.

Such sad, tired and homesick greens may not call out to you in the grocery store. In fact, they are probably emanating a “keep on walkin’ “ sort of vibe.

Let us wilt away in peace.

So how can we experience some fresh salady goodness in our land of winter without dragging poor leafy greens across the continent? Well…make a salad out of seasonally appropriate veggies, of course!

Root veggies are seasonally appropriate for winter because they store well. So theoretically, you could use locally grown veggies that have been happily snoozing down in nice cool root cellar. If you live around here, you can check out the Farmer’s Market in Sahali Mall, or grocery stores like Heartland Foods or NuLeaf to get your hands on some local roughage for this winter salad. Or better yet…if you have your own root cellar or cool storage, you can dig out some of your own garden-grown rooties!

All that being said, the dressing calls for lemons and oranges…not local, obviously, because they don’t grow here in Canader. To me they add a very yummy zing, but if you want to really stay seasonal, replace the citrus juice with ½ c of apple cider vinegar + 1 tsp of maple syrup or honey.

Beet, Rutabaga and Carrot Citrus Slaw

recipe cred goes to Handsome Ol’ RRTT. He invented this.

winter slaw 04

Salad:

2 c grated carrot
2 c grated rutabaga
1 c grated beet
(cabbage is also a great addition!)
¼ c of toasted almond slices, sunflower seeds or whatever little bit of crunch you fancy

Dressing:

Juice of one lemon
Juice of one orange (if you don’t have any oranges, substitute another lemon + tsp maple syrup or honey for a little sweetness)
1 tsp lemon zest (make sure you only use organic when using the rind!)
1.5 tsp grated ginger
2 tbsp of diced green onion
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp of miso
2 tsp of sesame oil (optional- it adds a bit more of an Asian spin)

winter slaw

Put all your grated veg together in a bowl. Take a moment to enjoy the beauty of the colours.

Combine all the dressing ingredients together and whisk, or shake up in a jar, to thoroughly combine (especially the little glob of miso.)

Add dressing to the grated veg and combine. The beets will take over with their ruby hue in typical beet fashion.

Allow it all to sit together in the fridge for at least an hour so that the flavours can really stew and develop.

Top with toasted nuts and/or seeds and enjoy! Sprouts and/or microgreens are a great topping too, and you can grow them in your sunny winter window! A post on our microgreen growing endeavors to follow!

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