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The Friday Buzz: Clevr Chai Tea, Cooking with Wool, and the Best Caramels Ever

The Friday Buzz: Clevr Chai Tea, Cooking with Wool, and the Best Caramels Ever

Here's our roundup of all good things, good advice, and good feelings. It’s the happy hour of blog posts! Up this week we are sharing our favorites including (but not limited to) Clevr Chai Tea, Cooking with Wool, and the best caramels ever.

Welcome to The Friday Buzz, our roundup of all good things, good advice, and good feelings. It’s the happy hour of blog posts! Up this week we are sharing our favorites including (but not limited to) Clevr Chai Tea, Cooking with Wool, and Snowshoe & Co!

The sickies have hit the Cash household, and they’ve hit hard. Blergh. It started the week before Christmas, and has slowly taken us down one-by-one and has managed to get 7 out of 8 of us.

I’ve learned to fight hard, though. Real tough. Mama Cash does NOT have time to be sick! So I stock up on my Vitamin C, Zinc, and Echinacea and drink my special concoction twice daily that’s made up of the following: 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons honey mixed into 8 oz water and heated to desired hotness. (I know, such technical terms.)

Once it has been heated, add a sprinkling of cinnamon and sip slowly. Or try and sip it down as fast as possible, because it’s not the best tasting, but dang it! Every time I drink it, I think there’s no way this’ll help anything, but it most certainly does! It does the job. It may not cure me completely (one can be hopeful, right?) but it does help me get better quickly.

Now I’m turning to you to see what are some of your tried and true methods for fighting off the sickies are. Do share! Do tell!

And now it’s time to see what the Simply Team is sharing this week!

OUR FAVORITES FROM THE WEEK

  • Super lattes to the rescue! Megan has us convinced that these chai tea blends are ah-maze because they get super frothy (thanks to oat milk!) and are very low in sugar and are just like a little dream in the morning.
  • Inhale the gloriousness – Emma tipped us off to these candles and I want to buy every single one! I think I’ll start off with the Wizardy Buttery Drink candle first!
  • Cooking with Wool(?) – Andy thinks these videos are amazing and we all agree one million percent. Beyond clever!
  • Ten Percent Happier – This podcast about intuitive eating really hit home with Emma in light of our January Reset Challenge!
  • High quality H2O – I’ve been trying to drink more water and I LOVE this water bottle! Cute color, keeps my water cold, and it doesn’t leak. Woot!
  • Snowshoe & Co – Summer introduced us all to these caramels and we’re all more than obsessed!

MEANWHILE ON THE INSTAGRAM

We have been diving deep into our January Reset Challenge and love seeing all your pictures! You can follow along too by looking up #simplyreset ! So many wonderful and fantastic ideas. Seriously. You all have some great recipes out there!

COMMENT OF THE WEEK

Alex left THE BEST comment on our Quick and Easy Pan-Fried Flank Steak recipe:

This is anonymous, right?

Because I don’t want anyone in real life to know that I just literally licked the pan.

This was so delicious. I could have eaten the entire steak myself (I stopped myself, don’t worry!) I made it just as written but also added a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce to the sauce. Who knew flank steak could be so incredible?

Yes, Anonymous Alex, flank steak CAN be that incredible!

Want to know what else is incredible? THE WEEKEND AHEAD!

Cheers!


About the Author

Matt Stone is an independent health researcher, author of more than 15 books, and founder of 180DegreeHealth. He is best known for his research on metabolic rate and its central role in many health conditions as well as his criticisms of extreme dieting. Learn more by signing up for his free Raising Metabolism eCourse HERE ,?which also includes? THIS FREE BOOK , and subscribing to the 180DegreeHealth podcast HERE .


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Sleeping Beauties - Stephen King and Owen King

I'm a long time Stephen King fan, having read everything he's ever written. His sons, Owen King and Joe Hill are also talented writers. Sleeping Beauties is a joint effort between father and son Owen.

Sleeping Beauties is set in a small Appalachian town where the biggest employer is the women's prison. I love the weirdness that creeps into King's small towns. This one is no exception. As the women of the town start falling asleep, they become covered by white, gauzy tendrils. And once they're asleep and covered, well, they don't wake up. If the covering is torn away - let's just say it's not good for the men. There's one woman who has no trouble waking and sleeping with no ill effects. Who is the mysterious Evie? As more and more women fall asleep, the men begin to panic. are they ready for a world with no women?

On the one hand, Sleeping Beauties is a classic King horror tale. Taking something as innocuous as falling asleep and running with it. I love King's sideways view of the world and the pockets of unreality he imagines. But you could also look at the book with a different eye as well - in a social commentary sense if you will. Women's rights, the abuse of those rights, sexism, violence and more. There's also a snake in a tree and a woman called Evie. 'nuff said. There's a choice to be made by the women in the book. (Yep, including the sleepers)

I chose to listen to Sleeping Beauties. I've often said that listening to a book immerses me more fully in the story than reading. This was definitely the case for Sleeping Beauties. The performer (because she did more than narrate!) was Marin Ireland - and she was fantastic! She has a bold voice, easy to listen to and so very, very expressive. There are many characters in this novel and she created numerous voices, accents, tones and cadences to illustrate them. Her interpretation of the book was spot on.

How much of the book is Steven and how much is Owen? You know, it's not something I ever tried to discern. Instead, I happily popped in my earbuds for twenty five hours of what if. and enjoyed every moment of it. Listen to an excerpt of Sleeping Beauties.


How to Make a Mixed Berry Smoothie

Okay, this mixed berry smoothie could not be any easier! Do not worry if you do not have a fancy blender, any good blender will do. In a blender add the berries, ice, greek yogurt, honey, and apple juice. Blend until smooth. If you need to stop and scrape the sides that will help too. It is so simple and delicious!

Tips and Variations For The Best Berry Smoothie

The best thing about this berry smoothie is how customizable it is. Change the ingredients just the way you like it! Make this mixed berry smoothie even better with these quick tips and variations.

  • Mixed Berries: You can skip the ice and use frozen berries. Frozen berries are often more nutritious because they are frozen at the peak of freshness. The longer fresh berries sit the more nutrients they lose.
  • Greek Yogurt: Use nonfat Greek yogurt for less fat, but without compromising flavor or creaminess.
  • Apple Juice: If you do not want the extra sugar you can substitute it out for almond milk, water, or coconut water.
  • Add Your Greens: This is one of those smoothies that adding spinach or kale to this smoothie is perfect. The berries hide the green color so your kids will still drink it.
  • Add Some Protein: Add a scoop of your favorite protein powder to up the protein and nutrition.
  • Extras: Up the fiber and nutrients and add a tablespoon of chia seeds or flaxseed meal.
  • Frozen Bananas: I love adding a frozen banana to up the creaminess, sweetness, and nutrition.

More Grab and Go Breakfast Ideas

Mixed Berry Smoothies are a great grab-and-go breakfast when I’m short on time and have a big need. These breakfasts are quick and easy to make and great to take on the go.

More Drinks To Sip and Love

Sometimes the day, the occasion, or the celebration calls for a great drink. A tall glass of the perfect drink can be the perfect touch to your meal. They can be hot, cold, thick, or thin. Whether it’s to quench your thirst, warm you up or complete a special meal, a great drink can do wonders. They can be sweet and bubbly or smooth and velvety. With a wide range of flavors and ideas, it can be tough to know where to start. These tried and true drinks can get you started when you are looking for that perfect drink.

Calories 154 kcal (8%) Carbohydrates 36 g (12%) Protein 2 g (4%) Fat 1 g (2%) Saturated Fat 1 g (5%) Cholesterol 1 mg Sodium 15 mg (1%) Potassium 240 mg (7%) Fiber 3 g (12%) Sugar 29 g (32%) Vitamin A 56 IU (1%) Vitamin C 4 mg (5%) Calcium 38 mg (4%) Iron 1 mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.


The Friday Buzz: Clevr Chai Tea, Cooking with Wool, and the Best Caramels Ever - Recipes

clockwise from bottom left: Concord grapes, Stanley plum, Inca berries and ground cherries (Physalis), goji berries, Fall Gold raspberries.

I was out picking some fruit for lunch during a break in the rain, and snapped a few photos of a portion of the backyard. The rains have re-greened the garden very quickly. I’m struggling to pick and roast and preserve tomatoes before the continued rains split them all. Same with the plums.

It’s not officially autumn yet, but it sure feels like it this week. The chill in the morning when I handle garden chores is quick to remind me that the days remaining in the garden are relatively few. The summer veggies and fruits are beginning to fade, but so many fall foods are coming in, I am swamped with produce.

It’s always been my goal to have an even distribution of fruit crops throughout the year. Late September is no exception. Raspberries, grapes, late plums, apples, goji berries are all still going strong. Physalis (Inca berries and ground cherries) are just beginning to ripen, and the quince, medlars, kiwis won’t be ready for another several weeks.

Here are a few photos from a little portion of the garden, as it appears today – lush and green, but beginning to ebb for the year:

Some of the backyard and the chicken coop.

More of the backyard and the duck house.

Echinacea still going strong.

Quince will be ready in a few weeks to a month.

Ruth with her favorite hen, Cookie.

Fresh Elderberry Syrup

One of my favorite fall activities is harvesting elderberries to make elderberry syrup.

I have two black elders (Sambucus nigra) and one blue elder (S. nigra ssp. cerulea), and most years can harvest 40 lbs or more of fruit from these three shrubs.

Most of the fruit can be reached from the ground, but I have a pole-pruner to help me access the large clusters up high.

We had a heavy rain which washed all of the forest-fire ash off, so it seemed like a good time to harvest the second round of fruit.



I let the poultry out of their run, so they could hunt for worms and bugs in the rain-soaked mulch. Ducks don’t like elderberries, and the chickens will only clean up a few. They would much rather go for the protein-rich invertebrates which abound in the shade garden.

One of the black elders makes smaller clusters than the other, but each individual berry in the umbel is larger.

All parts of the elder contain cyanogenic glycosides. The berries contain the least amount, which dissipates during cooking. However, stems, leaves, and roots contain toxic amounts. Elderberries need to be removed from the stems which hold them in a cluster before they can be cooked. Even the small stems which hold the berries together in their characteristic umbel shape need to be removed before cooking.


The berries stain clothes and skin, and can be fiddly to remove from the stems. I use a fork. Freezing the berries first can make it easier to remove them from the stems, as well.

After the berries are de-stemmed, they are washed to remove any grit, bugs, spider webs, and dried flowers. I then make a batch of fresh syrup, and freeze the rest in packages to make more syrup throughout the winter. I have dried them in the past, but feel that freezing better preserves the flavor and nutrition.

I take elderberry syrup regularly during cold and flu season – straight, stirred into hot tea, or even mixed with seltzer water. Elderberries contain very high quantities of vitamin C, and are rich in vit A, iron, B6, and potassium. They are a nutritional powerhouse, and I feel very privileged to be able to grow them at home, where I can control how the fruit is produced. The berries and plants are never sprayed. The shrubs are fed with rock dust minerals, organic poultry manure, worm castings, comfrey and compost tea. I know that I am feeding the soil so the plant can benefit and produce for me the most nutritionally-dense berries possible.

If you’re local and interested in some of my all-organic elderberry syrup, please check out the order form HERE (details are on the form). I will be making a batch that will be ready for pickup (or delivery to Oaks Park for derby folks) on Sept 27. Because I’ve had issues with folks ordering and not paying in the past, I’m going to take payment before I make a batch this time around.

If you have any questions about growing elders or making syrup, feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected] or leave a comment below. Thanks!

Mushroom Cultivation- Winecaps

Yes, there is still gardening to do in February! Today, we were planting morel mushroom spawn under the apple trees, and this afternoon, I started prepping to plant the yummy Winecap mushroom around the garden. Here’s a video I made all about Stropharia, and some tips for success in cultivating this delicious gourmet mushroom in your garden.

If you havent had a chance, dont forget to subscribe to my youtube channel!

Tea and a Visitor

One of my kids’ favorite rituals is afternoon tea. We used to have a high tea on Thursdays, but as the kids have grown and their needs have changed, we’ve shifted to having a casual afternoon tea any day of the week they want to sit down and have it.

George inevitably wants to have tea every day, whether or not his siblings want to. He loves getting out the china and his favorite mint tea and feeling very grown up.

With our tea, we had the last of the Seckel pears from our tree, and the first of the medlars (well, I enjoyed them. George wasn’t so keen. He did like the pears – I don’t think anyone can resist a pear whose taste matches its nickname,”sugar pear”.)

While George enjoyed his tea, Hal got some snuggle time with our favorite houseguest: Annabelle the Pionus parrot. She is the most sweet-tempered, gentle parrot I’ve ever known (and I’ve known a lot of parrots). She has such a calm demeanor and likes hanging out with the kids, although she seems to prefer Hal to everyone else – which is a good thing, because he absolutely adores her.

One thing I really enjoy about tea-time is that I can sit and knit while George and I chit-chat. Today I finished a remnant hat while we were hanging out. I seem to have lots of small balls of various greys and yellows in worsted weight and have made a few hats with grey and yellow stripes – I really like the combination. I’ve now worked through all my grey odds and ends and George has asked me to make him a cotton hat with red in it, so that’s next on the list for knitting projects. (I also have a shawl on the needles, but I usually like a mindless, easy project to fall back on at the same time, and hats or socks always fit that bill.)

I’ll be back tomorrow for Ginny’s Yarn Along.

Cassis Shawlette

The Cassis Shawlette is off the needles and blocked. I made a few alterations to the pattern and am extremely pleased with the results.

The yarn is Malabrigo laceweight I purchased on clearance ages ago and can’t remember the colorway. It knits up very nicely, and I love the fuzzy halo and loft in the finished piece. The yarn is extremely soft and great to work with. I used about 3/4 of one skein for the shawlette and may make some baby booties with the remnants.

Joining Ginny for her Yarn Along today, where we share what we’re knitting and reading. This weekend I’ll be reffing a men’s derby tournament in Eugene, so today I’m trying to get caught up on house chores and snuggle time with the kids. I haven’t had much time to read, except for an hour before the kids got up this morning. I read a little further in Robert Harrison’s Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition.

Looking forward to catching up on everyone else’s posts in the Yarn Along when I get back Sunday night.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Magic Potion Kit

We’re hunkered down at home today thanks to the weather. All derby practices and scrimmages have been called-off on account of the wind storms and flooding in Portland. All my big garden projects for the afternoon are similarly on hold. But we have found plenty to keep us busy in the hosue today.

Hal has a birthday party for a close friend from his ReWild Nature Immersion program, and I asked him what his friend might want for his birthday. He replied, “Carmine’s really into Minecraft, and I think a magic potion kit would be a cool gift. Let’s make it a ReWild-style kit, though, okay?”

Every magic potion kit needs something in which to grind the ingredients. We started wtih a wooden mortar + pestle set I found online. We polished it with some of our Beeswax Polish, and set about finding potion ingredients that could be ground in it.

George helped pack dried flowers (calendula, lavender) and herbs in babyfood jars (I had picked up a bunch on Freecycle for the kids’ craft projects).

I added sweet myrrh resin (Opoponax, from Somalia), which smells amazing and is fun to grind up.

I lined a thrifted wooden box with some gardeny-herby fabric cut to fit, then Hal helped arrange the jars of herbs and flowers and magical-doo-dads and dropper bottles and wrap it all up.

I know Hal was really proud of his homemade gift and I hope Carmine likes the finished kit and he gets a chance to create all sorts of messy magical projects and potions!

Banana-Sesame-Spelt Muffin Recipe

After a long derby weekend, we had a PJ day at the Baker House today to catch up and recover a bit.

The younger kids spent the bulk of the morning continuing to listen to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on book CD, while I got some more of the border for my Cassis Shawlette completed. I started this shawl ages ago, frogged it, and just re-started it after making some changes. So far, it’s not the most thrilling knit, but I’ve never made a shawl with this kind of construction before (border knit vertically and then body of the shawl picked up from the long edge), so I wanted to give it a try.

Between house chores and knitting, I got about 4 solid hours of yard work done, pruning grape and fall clean up and the like. I made a video showing some of the work I’ve been doing in the front yard as I get reading to cycle three annual beds over to perennial fruit guilds as part of our mini front yard food forest. You can view it here.

One of the trees I mention briefly in the videos is the the pawpaw. It’s sometimes called the Arkansas banana – it’s native to the Eastern US and is a fruit that I have a great fondness for. While I won’t have pawpaws for a few years if I plant them this fall (they have an extremely short shelf life and are not available commercially). In baked goods, pawpaws and bananas are interchangeable.

Since I had a ripe bananas on the counter and a hankering for pawpaws, I made banana muffins. Not the same, but tasty nonetheless. Here’s my favorite banana muffin recipe, and the one the kids always ask for. We had them for lunch and again for an afternoon snack. The leftovers will keep nicely for breakfast tomorrow.

This recipe uses tahini and spelt flour, both of which have a delicate nutty quality that melds nicely with the banana. If you don’t have spelt flour, you can substitute with whole wheat.

Banana Sesame Muffins

Makes 24 standard muffins

1 Preheat the oven to 400F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper or grease well

2..Combine the following wet ingredients in a non-reactive bowl:

3 chicken eggs or 2 duck eggs, slightly beaten

⅛ C coconut oil + ¼ C tahini melted together and cooled

3 medium bananas, peeled and mashed

3. In separate bowl, sift together the following dry ingredients.

scant ¾ C unbleached flour

4. Then fold following the add-ins to the dry ingredients:

¼ C quick-cook oats OR toasted unsulphured/unsweetened coconut

5. Now fold the dry ingredients into the wet, being careful not to over-combine. Batter will be lumpy. When combined, fold in:

In a small bowl, combine: ⅓ C sesame seeds mixed with ½ C turbinado sugar

5. Fill each muffin cup at least 3/4 full of batter, and sprinkle with sesame-sugar mixture to top. Bake at 400F for approx 20-23 minutes or until muffins are browning on top, and set in the middle.

A Morning Indoors

Hal is at ReWild’s Nature Immersion program on Fridays. It’s the highlight of his week. He gets to run around outside all day, learn primitive skills, and engage in loads of imaginative play with his friends. He comes home tired, filthy, and very, very happy.

It’s not just a benefit for him: In a house with lots of kids, sending just one kid off for the day has lots of perks. It not only provides him with adventure apart from his siblings, but it also reduces the conflict, mess, noise, etc in the house by a significant portion. And considering that resolving sibling conflict normally comprises the bulk of my “parenting” lately, Friday is a day I’ve been looking forward to, as well. I get so much accomplished on Fridays, all while having a quiet, peaceful morning.

I got a loaf of sesame-spelt bread baked early this morning. It has 2 cups of unbleached flour, and 1 cup of spelt, so it takes longer to rise, but it gets some loft eventually. It is much less dense than an all-spelt bread, with the nutty flavor of the spelt still coming through.

While the bread was rising, I worked on a pair of top-down mix-n-match socks I started ages ago. I’m down to the toe on the last sock, and then I can block them! (Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along. These are 100% wool yarn my sister-in-law gave me some time ago. They’re leftovers from another project she did, so I’m not sure of the brand.)

While I’m knitting this morning, George has been alternating between working on a puzzle and playing with items on the nature shelf. He loves to look at the agates and limpet shells we collected at the beach last month, and added some hazelnuts from the backyard.

It seems that everywhere you look in the kitchen, there are medlars strewn about. The kids and I keep bringing them in as they fall from the tree. They need to sit on the counter for a few weeks to soften and be edible. I can’t wait to eat them: they taste intensely of autumn to me. (See my new video about growing and eating medlars here.)

This weekend is packed with derby. I’m officiating four bouts, in three days, as well as a few scrimmages. But next weekend I’m taking the weekend off to work on fall garden clean-up and transition some of the front yard garden from annuals to perennials. The plan is to add two new pawpaw trees, another pomegranate, and a “Nikita’s Gift” persimmon amongst the shrubs and herbaceous perennials I established the last two years. Finding derby-life balance is hard for me, especially as autumn in the garden is still a busy time, but I’m looking forward to a crazy derby weekend starting today and a permaculture weekend next weekend.

Fig + 3 Citrus Jam Recipe

The dry summer and mild autumn here in Oregon have produced a pleasant surprise: the main crop of Negronne Figs have ripened! In our cool climate, the only figs suitable to grow are those that produce a delicious breba (first) crop. Many figs produce small, mealy breba figs that aren’t sweet and aren’t worth eating. Some varieties – like my Desert King and Negronne figs – are prized for their sweet, abundant breba figs. Most years the weather turns too cold for the later, main crop of figs to ripen. However, this year the Negronne’s main crop has been producing about 10 lbs of figs per week the past three weeks.

With the unexpected abundance of figs so late in the season, I’ve been cutting and freezing and preserving them, because we cannot possibly eat them all fresh. Truly ripe figs that have the most complex and fully-developed flavor only keep for a few days, and must be utilized quickly. One way to use up a significant portion of the bounty is to make jam.

Figs are the sweetest fruit, with a Brix rating of 20-30, and rarely as high as 40. (A very rough, untechnical definition: Brix is a measurement of sugar content, with 1 Brix = approx 1-2% sugar by volume). They have no acid and can by cloyingly sweet. I find plain fig jam almost overwhelmingly sweet and like to eat it with salty cheese to cut the sweetness.

Another option is to add a highly acidic ingredient to fig jam, so that its sharpness will cut the intense sweetness of the fruit. I’ve made fig and balsamic vinegar jam, and thoroughly enjoy it – especially over ice cream. The flavor is sophisticated and refreshing, but not particularly kid-friendly. This time, I had citrus in the fridge, and so chose that for the acid component of the jam. (If you like your jam quite tart, feel free to double the lime pulp and lime zest in this recipe.)

Fig + 3 Citrus Jam

4 cups of finely chopped fresh figs (I cut them into 12ths)

2 1/2 C white granulated sugar

Optional: 2 -3 Tbsp Grand Marnier

  1. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the chopped figs and sugar, stirring to combine. Allow to macerate while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Using a microplane, zest the lemon, orange and one lime. Juice the lemon. Set zest aside.
  3. Remove the peel/pith from the orange. Section out the fruit, and chop it. Squeeze the remaining membrane and reserve the juice. Repeat with the two limes. (Total reserved juice = about 3 Tbsp)

4. Prepare a hot water bath and sterilize jars, lids, and rings. Recipe makes 4-5 half-pints.

5. Turn heat to medium on the figs and sugar. As it warms, stir in the citrus ingredients and 1/2 tsp salt.

6. Bring mixture to a full boil, and cook, stirring frequently to avoid scorching. Periodically mash with the back of the spoon or a potato masher to break up the pieces of fig. In 45-60 min, jam will thicken to desired consistency. Keep in mind, this is an old-fashioned jam without extra commercial pectin, and figs are low in pectin. The citrus contains pectin and will set the jam, but it will be a little thinner than jams with added pectin.

Immediately before pouring jam into jars, stir in 2-3 Tbsp of Grand Marnier (taste, if you want more, add another Tbsp), and stir thoroughly. Allow to cook for 2 minutes. (be careful, too much alcohol will thin the jam too much.)

8. Pour finished jam into hot sterilized half-pint jars, wipe rims, place lids and rings on, and process in a hot-water bath for 10 minutes. Jam will continue to thicken in the jar over the next 24 hours.

Pear-Quince Butter Recipe

Yesterday I spend the morning making Pear-Quince Butter. It’s a twist on the traditional apple butter because I’m using the ingredients I have on hand. I have an abundance of quince trees in the garden, and the fruit is now beginning to ripen up. I also have basket full of pears right now – some from our Seckel pear tree, but most the girls picked up in Hood River this past weekend.

I make membrillo out of quince every year, and also Caramel-Spice Pear Butter (sorry, the recipe is top-secret!), but with the quantity of both in my kitchen right now, I thought I’d try mixing them together. I’m quite happy with the result. Here’s my recipe:

Spiced Quince-Pear Butter

10 pears (I used a mixture of Comice, Seckel, Barlett, and Red Anjou)

  1. Wash the fruit, peel and core it. Cut the quince into 16ths and the Pear into 8ths (quince are harder and take longer to cook, cutting them into smaller pieces insures they will cook at the same rate).
  2. To a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch Oven, add the chopped fruit and water. Cover, and cook on medium until all of the fruit is tender (about 30 min).
  3. After fruit is tender, remove lid and reduce head. Here you have two options: for a super smooth butter, process fruit in a food mill. For a more rustic butter, mash thoroughly with a potato masher. Measure pulp. You should have 8 cups.

Clockwise from far left: salt, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger.

Butter halfway cooked down

Off the needles…pale blues.

Thrifted yarn and easy patterns = two finished shawlettes.

I think this yarn is alpaca. It’s two shades done in stripes to get enough to make a shawlette. The knitting is easy, mindless, meditative.

This yarn is a wool/alpaca blend. Simple feather n fan style shawlette. Wish there had been more to make a larger shawl. I’m just about done with a larger autumnal shawl in worsted brown and purple with a feather n fan border, and will post pics when I get it finished (maybe next week?)

This one is a birthday present for my mom next week (Shh! Don’t tell!). I used to dislike feather n fan patterns and favor more delicate, intricate lacework. But with four busy kids, and needing to put my work down frequently, I have learned to appreciate a simple, predictable pattern.

I’ll be in Salem tomorrow reffing a derby bout, but will be back Sunday with a new recipe.

Blessings on your weekend!

Chanterelle and Gruyere Tart Recipe

I’ve made this Chanterelle and Gruyere Tart a few times in the past few weeks. It’s quick and easy, and uses ingredients I’ve had readily on hand in the pantry, and in the garden. It only takes a few minutes to put together, and is packed with autumnal flavor. If Chanterelles aren’t in season, you can substitute with any fresh, meaty mushroom, thinly sliced.

Chanterelle and Gruyere Tart

1 piece storebought puff pastry, thawed in the fridge

One heaping cup chanterelles, thinly sliced

Four pieces of curly kale, stems removed, and torn into one inch pieces

1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp heavy cream

1)Preheat the oven to 375 F. Roll out the pastry. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and lay the pastry on top. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash mixture and fold over 1/2 inch. Press with a fork to seal and crimp the edges. Add more egg wash to the outside crimped edge. Return to the fridge to chill for 10-15 minutes if the pastry has warmed too much during this time.

2) Carefully spread the chevre across the bottom of the pastry. Sprinkle with half the shredded gruyere, the mushrooms, and the kale. Top with remaining gruyere. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, then sprinkle lightly with pink salt and liberally with cracked black pepper.

3) Bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes or until crust is browning. Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and turning golden. Remove from oven and immediately place on a wire cooling rack.

Cut into 16 pieces. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

End of Summer Salad

A friend from derby is recovering from a broken leg and I’m taking her tomato bisque and homemade bread for dinner and needed a salad for the side dish. The garden is bursting with tomatoes and peppers, the mint has spread everywhere, and the fall curly kale is ready to start harvesting. I have a big block of feta in my fridge and a lot of Israeli couscous in my pantry. And thus, this salad came together.

(Note: The recipe serves four, but some of the quantities look large in the photos because I made a quadruple batch to share with my parents and so our family could have some for dinner, too.)

End of Summer Israeli Couscous Salad

2 cups Israeli couscous (sometimes sold as “pearl couscous”)

2 tsp salt (I prefer pink Himalayan)

1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 C chopped tomatoes (I used a mix of cherry and beefsteak tomatoes)

1/2 C finely chopped sweet peppers (I used pimiento and part of a yellow bell pepper)

1/4 sweet onion, very finely chopped

2 large pieces curly Scotch kale, washed, ribs removed, and chopped

2 tsp fresh mint, cut in a fine chiffonade

1/8 tsp cracked black pepper

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the couscous, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes or until couscous is tender and cooked through. Remove from heat, remove lid, toss gently with the olive oil, and allow to cool to room temperature.

2. In a large bowl, combine all chopped veggies, mint, pepper, vinegar, and feta and gently toss.

3. Gently fold the cooled couscous into the bowl of veggies. Add salt and additional pepper to taste. Garnish with sprigs of mint, and serve at room temperature or chilled – your choice. Enjoy!

Returning

I’ve always been a sporadic blogger. Honestly, the last several months, it’s been easier to Instagram. After a long, unintended blog break full of

the change of the seasons always draws me back here. I have recipes and knitting patterns in the works, and hope to be back to blogging on a semi-regular basis…for a while at least…until derby and work and unschool life with four kids gets overwhelming again.

Blessings on this tail end of summer. Back tomorrow with a recipe to share.

Chai-Spice Oatmeal Muffin Recipe

My youngest child, George, loves muffins. Several mornings a week, he requests muffins for breakfast. And he wants variety. Sometimes I make banana-tahini muffins, sometimes blueberry with streusel topping, sometimes molasses spice muffins. Thanks to G’s desire to be surprised with new types of muffins, I am always working up new recipes.

We have a lot of chai tea mix leftover from the holidays, so I have been working up a recipe for Chai-spice muffins. Our chai mix contains powdered milk, black tea, sugar, cinnamon, clove, cardamon, anise, and ginger. Over the past week I’ve baked several revisions and the kids gave me their honest feedback of every attempt. Here’s the winner:

George’s Chai-Spice Applesauce-Oatmeal Muffins

1 1/2 C old-fashioned oats, uncooked

3/4 C spelt flour (you can substitute whole wheat)

1 C applesauce (unsweetened)

3/4 C firmly-packed dark brown sugar

3 Tbsp oil (I use hazelnut, but you can use vegetable)

3/4 C chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips

Optional: sprinkle tops of the muffins with brown sugar before baking.

1)Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large bowl sift together dry ingredients

2)In a separate bowl, whisk together applesauce, brown sugar, milk, egg, and oil.

3)Fold wet ingredients into dry until just combined, then fold in chopped chocolate. Be careful not to overmix.

4)Fill lined muffin tins with batter. Tins will be nearly full to the top. Sprinkle with brown sugar if desired.

5)Bake at 400 F for 22-24 min, rotating halfway through. Let muffins rest for 5 min before removing from pan and cooling completely on a rack. Makes 12 muffins.

I am behind on my blogging, but it has been for good reason (and for once, that reason isn’t roller derby!). I’ve joined the blogging/writing team at Azure Standard, and have been busy working on my first two pieces. Keep an eye out for my posts in Azure’s new Healthy Living blog. I’ll be writing about gardening, permaculture, beekeeping, poultry keeping, and sharing LOTS of my original, healthy recipes.

January Garden Slumber

This is what gardening looks like in Western Oregon in January.

I’m trying to finish shoveling a giant pile of mulch off my driveway. I’m down the last couple of yards, and even though it was 38 degrees and raining out, today was the day when I had room in my schedule to work on it. So, I got to work.

Most of the garden is asleep in January, but I still make the rounds of all my perennials every week to check on them. Each one gets a visual inspection for weather/rodent damage, disease, state of dormancy, etc.

The Goumi berry (Eleagnus multiflora) (left) and Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) (right) plants may lose their leaves in winter, but they still provide visual interest with upright shape and scores of thorns. The Goumi’s thorns are only on younger growth, but their downward hook means it is easy to snag a hole in your pants as you walk by. Sea Buckthorns are notorious for their spines, but I grow Siberian varieties, which are less thorny than their German cousins. Both species are nitrogen fixers and produce their own nutritious tasty fruits, but their spikey nature means I have planted them on the perimeter of the garden – near enough to the pome fruits to provide nitrogen-fixing benefits, and where their own berries can be easily reached but not where kids will fall into them, or clothes become easily snagged on the spines.

Walking around today, I noticed that one of the rhubarbs in a particularly warm and sheltered spot has emerged early from dormancy. The new leaves are always a vibrant blend of fuschia and chartreuse, with salmon and tangerine overtones. Simply beautiful.

The rhubarb divisions potted up for our upcoming spring plant sale are all still dormant, but I can spy one in the upper right trying to wake up.

The backyard isn’t much to behold this time of year. One can hardly tell there is an orchard along the U-shaped perimeter of the yard – it all blends in to the fencing with the leaves and fruit absent. The rain garden in the foreground doesn’t impress much at the moment, either. But soon sleeping herbaceous perennials and spring bulbs will start to stir from their slumber.

For the time being, the ducks have the run of the place -the rain keeps the chickens hiding much of the time, and the ducks follow me around as I take care of morning chores, although here they’re happily preening in the rain garden, in the midst of a downpour. Always in their element in wet weather, the ducks.

Working outside every day in winter weather has taken a toll on my hands. Every time I come in, my knuckles seem to be cracked and bleeding. Potting up dormant berry bushes for the spring plant sale, in particular, has been really rough on them.

Because being out in wet, windy, cold weather so much was damaging my hands – and because my dad, a hobby woodworker, was experiencing similarly cracked and banged-up hands – I made up a special batch of lanolin-rich hand salve.

Lanolin is the waxy oil from sheep’s wool – because it is washed from the wool after shearing, and no sheep are harmed in production, it is a vegetarian (not vegan) product. But because it is also an animal fat, made to keep skin & wool healthy out in the elements, lanolin is the perfect choice to use on hands that spend many hours outdoors or in rough working conditions.

Combined together with beeswax, lanolin makes a water-resistant coating against rain and wind. And because lanolin is readily absorbed into the skin, it helps to heal and moisturize severely dry skin as it protects.

I’ll be back later in the week with more from the garden – evergreen plants that provide winter interest now – and nutritious fruit come summer!

If you’d like to order some of this batch of salve, you can find it here.

Little Quilt for Lucky Lola

My dear friend, Trish, from Lucky Lola Studios asked me to make her a little quilt she could use for newborn portraits. Something pastel and gender neutral. My local thrift store is the perfect place to pick up bags of scrap fabric for .50-$2. It’s often vintage or good quality quilting remnants from Fabric Depot. If you’ve got a use for little bits of this and that all the way up to fat-quarter sized pieces, their grab-bags can be a good deal.

A while back, I found a bag that was all 5࡫ or smaller pieces or strips of Depression-Era reproduction fabric. Most of the pieces were 2 inches or smaller, but some were long strips. I’d been holding it back for the perfect project, and it seemed like just enough to fulfill Trish’s request.

My favorite pieces were these teacup prints! Just enough to cobble together eight squares for the main blocks.

Since we’re on the subject of handwork, I wanted to share these books my sister-in-law got us for Christmas. All of the scenes are made from felted wool! The kids and I have loved looking through them and Ruth has been researching more about how to make felt figures with wire frames underneath.

I finished the quilt with some machine quilting and used some vintage thrift store fabric for the back and thrifted bias tape for the binding. Looking forward to getting it off in the mail this weekend!

January Nature Table

Now that the holidays are over, the kids helped switch the Nature shelf over from “Christmas” to “Late Winter”. With the change of the seasons, I bring out new objects and the children choose which ones to put up.

These little hand-carved camels were a gift from the girls’ preschool teacher, and we cherish them. They live in the tea cupboard with our best teacups, but George insisted we put them up on the nature shelf, along with a handmade cup his cousins gave to us last year. We weren’t quite sure how it matched the theme of the season, but there’s not arguing with a four year-old.

We try to include seasonal objects from nature, but in January, most things are dormant…So putting our Living Stones (which don’t receive water all winter long) seemed like an appropriate addition.

Most of our collection of South African succulents are of the genus Lithops, but two are Pleiospilos, including the one above. They start to look shriveled and a little worse for wear toward the end of winter, but they live in a climate where they receive less than 3 inches of rain per year.

The rest of the time, they are conserving water in their tiny fleshy leaves. Over-watering can kill them, because they lack stomata like other plants – they will drink and drink and drink water until they burst and die, so they only receive a small amount of water during certain phases of their life cycle. You can see from the Lithops above, why they are called “Living Stones”. Aren’t they fascinating?

Hal chose a squirrel jaw and a turtle jaw for the table. To him, they represented “the harshness of winter for wildlife”. I recently found a handmade pineneedle basket at the thrift stire, and it serves as a stand for his contribution.

If you’re interested in keeping Lithops as houseplants, you can order them from Living Stones Nursery in Arizona. Lithops can be fussy as houseplants, but once you learn about their soil needs and their life cycle (they have lovely flowers!) – and as long as you do not overwater them – they make fascinating plants to keep in your home.

What do you have up on your Nature Table or Nature Shelf in late winter? The kid and I always love to see what other families are gathering for their tables.

Snow Day Knitting

Joining Small Things for the Yarn Along today. We’ve had what my eldest calls “knitting weather” the last few days – it’s been icy, and you just want to hide under a blanket and knit, knit, knit.

The last few days we’ve had snow, followed by ice and more ice which made the roads undriveable. The kids initially did a lot of sledding and playing outside until the falling snow turned to ice and everything became a dangerously slippery mess.

The backyard garden isn’t much to look at, but I put out some seed for the birds and within minutes a flock of Dark-eyed Juncos had landed to fill their bellies.

The chickens hid inside their coop most of the day, but the ducks seemed to really enjoy the snow. Even when the weather turned to freezing rain and their feathers were coated in ice, they stayed outside, looking contented.

Much like the chickens, I spent the bulk of my time staying out of the weather. Afterall, it was “knitting weather”.

I finished knitting a few pairs of mitts, women’s S/M for my Etsy Store.

At the cuff, they will get needle-felted designs, but I’m still working out exactly how I’ll decorate them. If you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

Back tomorrow with more crafting from winter break.

Apple Cider Vinegar Caramels Recipe

I’ve always loved making candies at the holidays – particularly nut brittles and toffees. This year, I’m trying something different. And I have the Portland Village School to thank for the inspiration: Earlier this month, I had a table at that school’s craft fair. During the last hour, the volunteers brought each of us vendors a couple of apple cider vinegar caramels to help us get through the last bit of the afternoon. The caramels were delicious, and I loved how the ACV cut the sweetness of the soft, rich caramel. So, I set out to come up with my own version to make for gifts this year.

Angela’s ACV Caramels (with Pink Himalayan Salt)

-4 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar (you can use Bragg’s or homemade) (Note: when making this recipe for myself, I prefer a stronger ACV flavor, and use 6 Tbsp of vinegar)

NOTES ON SAFETY: Candy-making involves boiling sugar, and can be dangerous and cause serious burns, so work carefully. Always work with a bowl of ice water nearby in case boiling sugar splashes on your skin. Also, as the caramel boils, it will bubble and foam up quite high in the pan – make sure your saucepan is deep enough to prevent the boiling sugar mixture from overflowing.

1)Line an 8࡮ square pan with parchment paper, and butter the parchment.

2)In a saucepan on medium heat, add the apple cider vinegar and simmer until vinegar has reduced by half

3)When vinegar has reduced, add the sugars, heavy cream and sea salt to the saucepan. Continue to cook on medium, and add a candy thermometer to the pan.

4)Cook, scraping down the sides now and then, until the mixture reaches 240 F. This will take several minutes, and the boiling mixture will foam and rise up quite a bit – if it approaches the top of the pot, stir it back down.

5) When the caramel reaches 240 F, immediately remove from the heat and carefully stir in the vanilla extract. Quickly pour into the parchment-lined pan.

6)Let pan of caramel sit on the counter for 2-3 minutes and then sprinkle with desired amount of pink Himalayan salt. Transfer pan to the refrigerator for a few hours until caramel is set.

7) To cut the caramel: Turn caramel out onto a lightly buttered cutting board. Coat both sides of your knife blade thinly with butter. Cut into squares. If you find the caramel is tearing or sticking instead of cutting, re-apply butter to the knife.

8)

Place each square in a rectangle of wax paper and twist ends to close. Store caramels in the fridge and eat within 2 weeks.

Recipe Variation: Omit apple cider vinegar. Heat caramel mixture to 245 F, remove from eat and add vanilla extract to the caramel, also add 2-3 Tbsp whiskey (be careful, the alcohol will boil immediately when it contacts the hot caramel). All other directions are the same.

Recipe © 2015, Angela Baker. Please don’t reprint or use photos without permission. Thanks.


MEN ’S AND WOMEN ’S CLOTHING

With a swarm of good-looking men and women mingling about Lizard Lounge’s swank living room furniture, logging onto iMac stations, playing ping-pong, and pondering the portraits on the walls shot by local photographers, it’s easy to confuse this hybrid lounge-boutique with a permanent First Thursday bash. But if you’re on the prowl for cool duds, join the party. Inside you’ll find racks lined with urban streetwear that manages to bridge the tricky gap between apparel that’s appropriate for 9-to-5ers as well as Friday-night revelers. With more than 40 sportswear and accessory brands on-site for both sexes—including the shop’s own Horny Toad Activewear, which recently acquired the struggling Portland-based outerwear company Nau—there’s plenty to choose from. And the knowledgeable (and just-helpful-enough) staff is ready and willing to wax poetic about nearly anything, including the durability of that messenger bag made from recycled truck tarps or whether that polka-dot shift is a little too short for the office.

MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

Many music shops are full of pushy staff salivating over commission checks. And even if you’ve explained to them that your guitar-picking prowess goes only as far as a poorly executed version of “Night Moves,” they’ll still strong-arm you into plugging in a $1,499 goldtop Les Paul guitar and an $800 Marshall amp. (“This setup rules. Just ask Jimmy Page!”) The vibe at Trade Up Music is different. Friendly (and intelligent) employees still want to sell you something, of course, but not anything you don’t need. And while used equipment here is typically refurbished with up-to-date components, it still comes with secondhand-size price tags, so you won’t need to take out a bank loan to land a banjo that twangs just right. But if you’ve got to have the most primo gear money can buy, there’s an ever-rotating selection of classic Fender Telecasters and vintage Rickenbackers that, yep, even Jimmy Page would kill for.

SHOES

How did this out-of-the-way shop manage to make our list two years running? Dedication. Halo owner Nathan Newell personally trots the globe in search of stunning footwear crafted by true artisans. The result is a prized, if modest, collection that we’d be willing to bet is the best in the entire state. (Seriously. A woman in Iceland recently called Halo in search of a pair of Vialis, which Newell had brought in from Spain.) And when you step inside to visit, that whiff of supple imported leather tickles your nostrils and says to your brain: Your quest will be rewarded. It also says, Get out your Gold Card. (Gadzooks, style ain’t cheap!) But even if you’ve stapled your wallet shut, once you slip on a pair of Dries Van Noten’s yellow high-heeled sandals—with their knotted silk detailing and oh-so-cute ankle straps—you’ll rip it open. Devilishly divine and one of a kind, they’re also soooo comfortable. What’s a girl to do but pony up the plastic and then go trotting out the door a friskier, happier woman?

DESIGN STORE

There’s no apparent rhyme or reason as to why certain merchandise graces the shelves of this quaint-meets-hip curiosity shop—it’s a mélange of old and new, novelties and elementals, utility and whimsy. In one corner there’s a pink, retro refrigerator in the other, a delicate Japanese tea set painted with bamboo shoots and snowy Mount Fuji. Heavy-duty Smith Corona typewriters sit near elegant necklaces from a local silversmith and three-dimensional paintings by local artist Brenda Rose. Work your way around the eclectic space and you’ll discover handwritten notes from owner Stephanie Sheldon, in which she lovingly explains why she was attracted to a certain something and offers creative suggestions for how you can incorporate it into your own space. (And she’s right, those antique brass perfume dispensers do make great pencil holders!) It’s then you realize that Noun isn’t just a place for things, it’s a source of inspiration.

A room of their own, an indoor playground, a garden of knowledge… growing up the right way

BEST STORYTELLER

Andrea Milano
Youth librarian, Hollywood Library

For someone who’s accustomed to using chin-scratching phrases like “dialogic reading,” Multnomah County librarian Andrea Milano certainly has a way with kids. Not that she’d utter such terms to the doting mob of 2-year-olds who—with parents in tow—flock to the Hollywood Library for her weekly Toddler Time reading sessions. “It’s a fine line I walk,” Milano says. “I want to teach kids and parents, but it can’t seem educational.” Evidently she walks it well: This year Milano became Portland’s first public librarian to be given the International Reading Association’s prestigious Celebrate Literacy Award. No doubt her energetic story times (she acts out all the characters and conducts sing-alongs) helped win her an honor traditionally reserved for classroom teachers. And her dedication doesn’t end there: Milano visits students at local schools to discuss the latest children’s books, and organizes open houses to let local reading teachers network. It was a simple phone call, however, that impressed Joyce Iliff, a third-grade teacher at Beverly Cleary-Fernwood Site Elementary, who nominated Milano for the award. “I’ve taught for 26 years,” Iliff says. “Andrea is the only librarian who’s ever called asking about my students’ reading homework. That’s above and beyond.” We’re betting it didn’t hurt that Milano also can belt out “The Hokey Pokey” like nobody’s business.

PROM DRESS SHOP

Sure, financial advisors routinely hawk college-savings plans to parents, but they ought to consider tossing in a plan for daughters’ proms, too. Given the cost of professional hair and makeup, not to mention teeth whitening (and can’t they get a mani-pedi too?), your daughter’s dreamy prom—which today requires mind-boggling amounts of cash—also comes with sticker shock. At least a trip to Seams to Fit lets you buckle down in the dress department. The ultra-hip consignment shop traffics in a slew of like-new designer dresses and accessories, by the likes of Prada and Chanel, that are still plenty fabulous—every item is less than two years old—and that can be had on the cheap. A shimmering BCBG dress and goddesslike gold Coach sandals for $150? Now that’s a prom night for you to remember.

KIDS’ FURNITURE

Goodnight Room’s goal is to be there for you as your child grows—from swaddling age on up to those fleeting preteen years. OK, the store’s mission oozes more sap than a Hallmark Hall of Fame special. But Goodnight Room lives up to every last word of it—at least when it comes to outfitting a Portland tot’s personal abode. Maybe Jimmy finally got his own room and he needs a bigger bed or the twins need to share one space, which means you need bunks or your 9-year-old wants a “grown-up” desk for his iMac. Goodnight Room stocks wares from 10 different furniture makers, including four-in-one cribs from Bonavita (a Consumer Digest best buy), which convert from a crib to a toddler bed to a daybed or twin bed. Sleek, modern desks and bed frames from AP Industries will appeal to older children. And if you’re having trouble figuring out whether all this stuff will actually fit in your child’s room? Plop yourself down at the nifty in-house computerized design center and dream away. Even better, have your son or daughter do the designing themselves.

KIDS’ WORKOUT

There’s really no better spot for your little ones to, quite literally, harness their penchant for climbing, given Portland Rock Gym’s safe and supportive environment—cushy mats, plenty of protective gear, and expert instructors will ease parental worries. Yes, rock climbing demands some physical bravado, but masterminding how best to slither over a hanging wall of rock while dangling from a rope 40 feet in the air teaches kids to problem-solve and develops their self-confidence. Plus, it’s a blast! So while your child is having the time of her life at the gym’s four-day summer camp, or at its after-school program (which runs once or twice a week), you get to sit back and enjoy the fact that she’s amassing a crucial set of social skills. Or you could just be happy that your 10-year-olds will be worn out when they get home, and your only job will be to tuck them into bed.

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM

This program offered to Portland elementary schools introduces topics like the importance of local farming and healthy ecosystems—not with snoozy lectures, but by getting the kids out of the classroom and onto Sauvie Island. They’ll tour Sauvie Island Organics to learn about the differences between fruits and vegetables while tasting carrots plucked straight from the ground. They’ll plant cucumbers in soil that came from a compost pile teeming with earthworms. And as they explore nearby 120-acre Howell Territorial Park, they’ll even study food chains, avian predators, and the like by examining owl pellets and discussing what the bird ate for lunch. “Kids aren’t grossed out by this stuff,” notes Jill Kuehler, the center’s director. “They’re fascinated by it.” Kuehler has a point: Regional elementary schools like James John, Aster, and Sitton have requested to attend tours for three years running, and the center has hosted more than 500 kids this year alone.

KIDS’ SHOE STORE

If the down-home brick storefront—complete with quirky purple-and-yellow awning—doesn’t put a smile on your face while you search for your child’s next pair of puddle-jumping, tree-climbing, run-everywhere kicks, then the dedicated staff inside Haggis McBaggis will. Whether through some kind of Jedi mind trick, or the simple fact that they’ve been selling footwear exclusively to kids for eight years, the folks here can fool any tyke into having fun while trying on shoes. The selection helps, too. The store stocks more than 20 brands, including popular European labels like Naturino and Primigi, as well eco-friendly sneakers from Simple. Meaning they’ve surely got something your 7-year-old can’t wait to run around in. And should the apple of your eye have wide feet or narrow arches? No problem. Haggis McBaggis also has shoes for hard-to-fit feet, and the knowledgeable staff can find the Keens that won’t squeeze toes—or the ones that’ll still fit six months from now.


Thursday, 16 December 2010

Dream Dress: Dorothy Perkins Spotty Stripe Dress


Spots or stripes? Spots or stripes? I can't decide. I flit between the two, which means that anything in my wardrobe is a huge pattern-clashy mess. And y'know what? I like it. I don't wear patterned things very often, so when I do I want to wear them all.

So basically, I'm smitten with this spotty stripy dress. It's basically everything I want in a pretty frock. It's a cute shape, has all the pattern fun I could ask for, and it's only 㿔 (handy, because I'm pretty sure I've got no money). I doubt I'd like this dress as much if it wasn't for the stripe trim, but it's lovely just as it is. It's from Dorothy Perkins and I'm off to try it on right this second. Might even wear it to our Sluttery Christmas party tonight.

Sluttishly Easy: Potato Dauphinoise

Let me tell you a little secret, dauphinoise potatoes are actually one of my very favourite things about christmas dinner.
  • 1kg waxy potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 500ml double cream
  • 150ml sour cream
  • 200ml full fat milk
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Fresh thyme
  • Knob of butter
  • Salt and pepper

Cool for kids (and grown-ups too!): Penguin children's classics

If you have a think about your favourite books, chances are that a children's book will be in your all-time top five, if not number one. The old favourite that you read and read and read again until its spine starting falling apart. A handful of those kid's classics have been given the deluxe treatment by Penguin with typically swoon-worthy results. They're perfect gifts for a son, daughter, niece or nephew - or a bosom friend or kindred spirit.

Here's the version of Peter Pan which captures perfectly the novel's dream world - full of mystery and adventure. Pleasingly there are no naff crocodiles (or Bob Hoskins) in sight.

I wasn't a horse-crazy girl but if you were you probably loved Black Beauty. And if you did, this edition deserves to be clutched closely to your heart.

The classic English tale of Robin Hood has been given a classic design. Love those trees and those stags.

The only disappointment in the group is in the very girlie treatment of Anne of Green Gables, which is probably my favourite novel of the bunch. There are bows and cakes and lots of pink when there should be clapboard houses, (broken) chalk slates and 'raspberry cordial'. Humph.

That geeky grumble aside, the selection of books is great. There's also The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Secret Garden and The Wind in the Willows available meaning every childhood taste and grown-up nostalgia is catered for. And reasonably priced too for certified classics: all the books cost 㾸.99 each and you can buy them at Anthropologie.

Win! ALL of our Christmas presents!


On the 12th day of Christmas, Domestic Sluttery gave to me. ALL of their super pretty Christmas presents!

Yay! It's the big day! We've been so excited about the build up to this giveaway. Didn't get to win your favourite prize earlier this week? Not got your tree up yet? Then you've got a chance to win EVERYTHING that we've given away over the last couple of weeks. And case you were wondering what all that everything included.

A cushion from Hunkydory Home, a decorated Christmas tree from Debenhams, awesome Lisa Stickley goodies, a papercut from Mr. Yen, cognac glasses from Bodie & Fou, a Fever dress from Aspire Style, a hamper from Unearthed food, a tea set from Dutch by Design, a Philips wake-up light, a case of Naked Wine, AND goodies from the V&A!

That is a whole lotta stuff. It's worth about 𧽂 altogether so it's our biggest giveaway EVER. What can you do to enter? Just leave a comment below telling us how you're spending Christmas . Want another couple on entries? You can also 'like' and leave a comment on our Facebook page entry or you can RT about this competition on Twitter . Or, if you really really want to win, do all three!

As it's a super special prize (and we'll be tipsy at our Christmas party) you've got until Midnight to enter. Then we'll pick a winner at random and announce tomorrow! So excited about doing that, so hurry up and enter to make sure you're in with a chance!

Good luck everyone! And merry Christmas!

Oh look, it's the small print. The competition will close at Midnight (GMT) December 16th. You must be UK based AND leave a name with your comment so that we know who you are! If you're anon your entry won't count and if you enter more than once, we'll discount all of your entries (yes, we do check). We're not allowed to enter our own competitions, but Siany is looking forward to going home to the countryside so she can have tipsy snowball fights with her mum on Christmas eve.


Knitting and bananas

Well my head is no longer smarting from the bang I got earlier in the week. Both children are back in school. One is twenty, the other sixteen. They require little of me to get them back in the swing of things. I do a little laundry, and they go about their business. It is September, that lovely month when we savour routine. Last night I baked a chicken. The house was damp and cold. I stuffed it with Quinoa, onion, feta , cranberries and celery. Then I made these quinoa and chick pea burgers, thinking I would have lots of food around for my family and friends that come and go.

With in minutes, my daughter walked in with three from her soccer team after soccer try outs. We devoured it all happily. After supper I showed the girls a great trick. It is this:

If you take a Kraft Caramel, and put it in your mouth with a few salted peanuts you have salted caramel, and it is really good. I went for a walk and they finished the bag of caramels and put a dent in the peanuts. I love feeding them it is a pleasure. Especially when I have good trick pony like that to show them. Who needs dessert when you are smart.

Like my daughter, she just melts some peanut butter and chocolate chips together and eats it. Who needs to make a pan of squares when you got that trick.

Salted peanuts are also good on ice cream. I just wanted you to know that in case you ever needed it. Particularly good on maple walnut ice cream.

Ice cream is a great staple. Like you can just fry a banana in butter, throw on some pecans and maple syrup , put it over ice cream, and pretend you are in a restaurant. You can even go out and leave the dishes in the sink, and maybe someone will do them while you are out. Let me know how that goes.

So then, after they ate us out of house and home, which truthfully, I love, I made a Chicken Soup, the first soup of the fall.

The evening was cold so I even shut the studio windows that remain open til October usually.

I love the chill of the fall. You get to wear your sweaters. You get to wear your scarves. I wore my second knitted scarf to work today. The first one has to be unravelled. The third one is on round needles and is coming along nicely.

Did you know you can get real whipped cream in a can? It comes out in a nice swirl.

Is it really real I wonder ? This week I am going to buy a can, and I am going to show the soccer girls my fried banana trick, and I am going to embellish it with the cream. Fried bananas are not very pretty.

Sweaters and ice cream, I have to tie this post together, and the thing they have in common, is well, they both can sometimes benefit from a little embellishment, or of course some times each are perfectly good on their own. How was that?

A stretch? Sweaters are stretchy but not bananas.

Perhaps you have had enough of this. I’ll stop now and let you get back to your handwork.

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Go Nanas Banana Bread Mix Review

February 20, 2021 BY That Vegan Life Doe - 0 COMMENTS

So, if you know me, you know that I do all of my shopping these days from Instagram ads and TikTok. Well, this review is for a product I found on TikTok because – let’s be real- I’m a hoe for TikTok. Speaking of TikTok, if you aren’t following my sister and I yet, check us out! Our TT handle is @cohen_twins. We just posted a veganized version of Gigi Hadid’s Tik Tok pasta and we post other vegan toks all the time!

Ok, enough self-promotion, we’re here to talk about banana bread, right? So, Go Nanas is a female-created small business that specializes in all kinds of vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, banana bread mixes, with flavors including chocolate chip, classic, pumpkin spice, crackly banana bread (IDK what this is, but sounds dank!!), and they even have a cookbook!

All you have to do is add a few bananas, some milk, some maple syrup, and some oil into the mix, and VOILA! You have yourself the.


Watch the video: Chai Latte, A Drink to Make You Feel Better (December 2021).