Friday, 22 August 2014


So I've essentially given up on spinning at this point in my life.  I can say that now that I haven't used my wheel in almost a year.  I'm kind of sad, but every time I think of spinning I think how much knitting I could do instead ... it seems to appeal to me more, and thus I knit.

But I also garden now :)
I had no idea when I bought everything this spring how labour intensive and rewarding gardening is!  My mom has always been a gardener, and I have helped to put some of her flowers to rest on more than one occasion.  She shakes her head at me when I talk about cross-pollination now, but I can't help it.  The difference: I grow food.
To the left
And to the right

  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Herbs
  • Lettuce
  • Raspberries
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Onions

  • Strawberries
  • Green Bush Beans
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Serrano Peppers
  • Bell Peppers
  • and yet more onions ...

From a salad point of view, this little plot has been the best investment ever.  The lettuce and kale just keep giving, no matter how I abuse them, and the broccoli was the sweetest I have ever had.  The berries will be much more exciting next year, I'm sure.  Few things I know I'll never plant again:
  • Zucchini - way too big for such a small space
  • Spinach - I suck at it
  • Green Beans - no one likes them but me ;)
  • Broccoli - it pains me to say this a little because it was so tasty, but massive amount of real estate as well.  We'll see.
My favourite part of this whole endeavour is doing it with the gingersnap.  She loves to plant, water, and eat almost everything we have grown!  A few more close-ups?  I think so!
Blueberries and rosemary
Garlic lowers and a yet to flower clematis

Beautiful, delicious tomatoes

All kinds of peppers!

Many lovely zucchinis

Monday, 11 August 2014

So Now That's Done ...

I'm finished school.  Excellent.  And there's no point in even thinking about jobs for a week or so, thus I get to do more fun things now!
We just came back from a lovely holiday and all I want to do is spend time in the kitchen and garden (I want to talk about the garden separately because I need to devote some time to it ;) ).  First up, BBQ sauce.  It is super hot and muggy here and we bought ribs yesterday for some friends coming over for dinner and I was inspired.

The Barbeque Sauce recipe came from a quick search on Tastespotting, and I will definitely be adding that blog to my frequently surfed.  It is totally delicious, even after a few dicey substitutions:
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1/2 a finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 a minced jalapeƱos
  • 3 smoked garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic scape salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup homemade ketchup
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
I cooked everything up according to her instructions, and used one of the most exciting purchases from my trip - smoked baby garlic.  

Having not made anything without this wonderful product, I'm not sure about what difference it made to the flavour, but I would like to think a lot since my whole kitchen reeks of the stuff ;)
The other wonderful ingredient that I have access to is garlic scape salt.  

This stuff is gold - it can turn the most boring dish into something fantastic.  Get some if you can!!

We're also talking a lot about sugar content in our house right now, being not super healthy people, but wanting to be.  So I subbed out the brown sugar for honey, the apricot preserves for fresh blueberries, and I made my own ketchup.  Again with mods:
  • 13 oz can of tomato paste
  • 2 cups of water
  • 4 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp of Grade A maple syrup
  • 2 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1/2 tsp garlic scape salt
This is settling in the fridge right now - it might need some more maple syrup.  I halved the quantity ... 

Anywho - that was the first day home in my kitchen and it was wonderful!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

A New Life

So I have gone back to school - for what will be the last time.  I swear.  I am so done with it - I want a job!!  It's only one year, but it is full time ... full days.

It's been quite the adjustment for everyone involved.  Lukie has found himself with way more responsibility than ever before, I have homework again, and baby is away from both of us for a good chunk of the day.  That was the kicker.  Let me say that we could not *be* more fortunate.  My SIL is taking care of her, and not only does she live super close, but her 4 year old son is gingersnap's favourite person in the whole wide world :)

That doesn't mean that it's going super smoothly, but I'm sure it would be a lot harder than if we had to use some other form of child care.  The three hardest things to date?

  1. Finding time to cook and bake.  Those are not optional in our home and the amount of time I have to do them is down by a lot.  Today is inspiring me to call Sunday baking days since it is so freaking miserable here ... that might help ;)
  2. The work/homework/life balance thing.  I don't enjoy sitting in the living room doing my homework while gingersnap plays.  But there isn't enough time to finish if I don't ... and finally
  3. She doesn't care that I'm gone.  This is wonderful because I know she's really happy where she is ... but it sucks because I spend all my time thinking about her and often when we go to pick her up she isn't ready to leave.
Anywho that's life right now.  From a hobby point of view, little projects can get worked on because this first part of the year is a lot of discussion and no one cares that my needles are flying :)

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Everyday Bread

I found today that my favorite source for bread recipes is missing :(
I'm not sure what is going on but since I make this *at least* once a week, I'm recording this case I have a brain fart one day and need a reference.

This is, I think, what the recipe from is.  Either that or it is my interpretation of it!


1 cup rolled oats
2 cups boiling water

3 tsp yeast
1 tbsp soft unsalted butter
1/2 cup molasses
1 tsp salt

2 cups whole wheat bread flour
~2 cups white bread flour

Putting it Together

Pour the boiling water over the rolled oats and leave until cooled.

Add all the other ingredients, minus the flour, and mix with a bread hook until well blended.  Add the whole wheat flour and mix until well blended.  Add the white flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough is dry enough that it doesn't stick too badly when poked.

Let sit in the bowl, covered, until it has visibly risen to about double its size (this can take up to 2 hours).
Preheat oven to 350 F
Transfer dough to 2 bread pans, cover and place on top of warming oven.  Wait until they double in bulk (usually only about a half hour).

Bake bread for about 35 minutes, or until the top crust is brown and a knock on the bottom of the pan sounds hollow.


This yields me 2 rather short loaves of bread.  As I have lots of time right now, I make this whenever we're running low.
My plan for the fall is to double it and hopefully get 3 normal sandwich loaves from it.  Two for us and one for my parents, but only need to make it once a week!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

And One More Thing ...

I've had a spinning wheel for almost 3 years now ... though I only got excited about it just over 2 years ago ... and then baby came :P

At first it was totally do-able while nursing - this girl ate *so* much and so frequently, I had to find ways to do things while she was eating so I didn't go crazy.  I found a comfortable position for her to eat and me to spin.  It was a wonderful arrangement.

Then she got more efficient at nursing and by the time I thought about it, it was too late so my production slowed significantly.  She was still completely immobile, and the noise seemed to be soothing so there was still opportunity.

Then she started moving.  For the last 6 months, it was not an option.  Gingersnap was so intent on *helping* me spin, and the Sidekick I have has lots of opportunity for little fingers to get hurt, so I stopped entirely.  But ...

The other day while she napped I thought I would take it back out, if only for a few minutes, and spun for 2 hours.  I was so enthralled when she woke up I tried to keep going ... and wouldn't you know it?  She left me alone!!

I spun the whole 5oz Loop Bullseye Bump that day, albeit rather poorly :P very overspun and quite thick and thin ... but I made it and I love it and it's going to grow up to be a Milo for gingersnap :)

So maybe I have another hobby that will start to make more of an appearance again?!?  It will have to wait until I get a few sweaters off the needles ... hopefully more to come in the very near future!

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Happy Late Mother's Day

As we spent most of Mother's Day in the car this year, and my traditional gift is to make dinner for my mom and mother-in-law (and any other family that cares to show up), we postponed it by a week.  It was a lovely evening - I made pineapple chicken with rice, salad and roasted veggies.  Quite tasty but *I* think that dessert stole the show.

Doesn't that look delicious?!?  I got both recipes from Ezra Pound Cake - the crisp is her strawberry rhubarb cobbler and I topped it (as the post suggested) with her maple gelato.  I made only one change per recipe - and they would both be *perfect* as written - the gelato was made as ice cream and I put candied ginger in the crisp topping.  Because candied ginger should be in everything.  Just so you know.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Car Baby!

So we had a great trip - totally got myself all worked up for nothing!  We split the 11-ish hours of driving over 2 days (in both directions) and baby did great ... which means I had a *ton* of knitting time :)

The first is my new me sweater:  it's Viridis by Robin Melanson and is being knit in Elsebeth Lavold Silky wool in an orange colour numbered 36 and I'm pleased to say that I got a fair amount accomplished!!  

Next up was a fall sweater for the gingersnap - Gramps by TinCan knits out of madelintosh vintage in Thunderstorm, and Tanis Fibre Arts Green Label in Royal blush.  We're off to find buttons for this one today so I can call it finished!

And what kind of trip would it be if there wasn't a little stash acquisition?!?

The first is Knitted Wit, DK superwash merino in the Moody blues colour, and the second is Spud and Cloe fine in the sidewalk colour (there's a few more of these off camera ... I may have bought a sweater's worth ...)

So it wasn't really a holiday as I normally define it, but between the disposable diapers and only being responsible for gingersnap food, it was pretty good!