Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunshine on her shoulder makes me happy

Yay! Spring is here!!! Or it's supposed to be anyway. Yesterday was the first official day of spring and the past few days have been super nice and warm.

I love spring. I love the new beginnings, the start of warm days, a little (or lot) of rain, the smell of the earth, emerging life from the ground. Hip, hip, hooray!!! Spring is such a special reward for enduring the endless qualities of winter.

We got new baby chicks this weekend, they are so sweet...and not scary. Why do I get terrified of them when they get bigger? My girls are loving them, they are checking on them constantly and holding them, it's very sweet.

I've started plotting my garden layout. And we are getting fruit trees this year!! I'm so excited...this is something we've always wanted to do, and never got around to, but this is the year. Oh! And blueberries! We are planting blueberry bushes also. We go through blueberries like there is no tomorrow. My little one eats them like crazy, it will be nice to have a lot in the freezer eventually. I'm guessing they take a year or two to produce?

I took these pictures of my sweet on a warm sunny day last week. I can feel the sun just looking at them.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Good and good for you

My people love granola bars. Love them. I like to make them myself, that way I have control of the ingredients and can make them healthy. No additives or preservatives, just straight up goodness. I've actually made these 3 times in the past week...they are going over like gangbusters!

I've been through several granola recipes through the years, so I kinda tweaked them all together and this one is definitely a keeper. This makes a nice chewy a traditional chewy granola bar you would by at the store. Except 1000 times better.

Granola bars

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts
1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter (I used almond butter)

6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. pan,

Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter , liquid sweeteners and water. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if you’re using it) until the mixture is crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (You have to press really, really hard for this to pack correctly. Like really hard. I even take it out of the oven and press again after it's baked for about 20min.)

Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too.

*I use Almond butter unless I have freshly ground peanut butter on hand.

*As far as fruits and nuts, the sky is the limit. I use raisins, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, dried cherries, currants, pecans, coconut, and I always put chocolate chips in mine. Gotta have the chocolate.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


One of my resolutions this year was to make a quilt. I am always in awe of people who make quilts...and like everything else the past few years..I kinda feel like if I just jumped in, I could figure it out. So far that philosophy has worked with photography, knitting and random sewing projects.

So recently I've had lots of extra time on my hands...(or hand as it were) so I've been summoning up the courage and today was the day. I don't have any quilt how-to books in my possession so I really just kind of jumped right in and went for it. I knew I wanted to start with a 12 inch square so I got out my cutting mat and rotary cutter, and some bits of random fabric I had. And since this was just for practice, I didn't worry about the color scheme, I just used whatever I had smallish pieces of.

I cut out pieces in different shapes and started fitting them into my 12 inch square. I did it! It really wasn't that hard. I am literally the worst cutter in the world. I can't cut a straight line to save my life, even WITH a rotary cutter. But I just kept trimming and squaring up and it worked great.

I decided after I had my square sewn together to go ahead and make a slipcover for one of my couch pillows. They are getting pretty raggedy and could use a new look. My pillows are 18 in., so I knew I would have to add a 3 in. border around my square. I used some natural linen I had lying around to frame the square, and I think it looks great! I can never get enough of linen I think it is my favorite design fabric.

Next, I made an envelope back with two colors that were on the front patchwork part.The cover actually ended being a little bit too big, but I think that's because my pillow has lost a lot of it's fluff. Oh, I forgot to take a picture of the back...ooops. I'm so happy with how it turned out for my first time.

It actually came together without a hitch. Which NEVER happens for me, it was almost too easy..hmmmm. I am going to make another one since I have another pillow on my couch which now needs covered. I think it looks perfect on my window seat. Don't you?

Now I'm going to start scouting fabric for my real quilt. I think I want some bold colors with linen sashing and I'm not sure about the backing yet. Feel free to comment on any new fabric lines that you are loving. :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Radio girl

I am a radio girl. I listen to the radio almost all the time, in the car, while I'm working, and I have one on in my kitchen at all times. In this age of computerized music files, mp3's, itunes whatever else I still prefer the radio. I love music obviously first and foremost, but I love the conversation as well. I love me some knowledgeable dj's. Those are few and far between these days with all the practical joking and hy-jinks that go on during a typical radio morning show...but I listen to a privately-owned station who specialize in lots of independent artists....I love that. I love branching out into new music territories. Now don't get me wrong..I love my classic stuff too, which they also play, so it's all good. :)

I'm also a fan of talk radio, I don't get to listen to it as much as I'd like to, but I do like it. And I'm not talking about Rush Limbaugh, or any other political rhetoric.......good grief no. I'm talking about cooking segments and book reviews, the kind of stuff that is on NPR. Good stuff indeed.

Call me old-fashioned....I'll take my radio, over your ipod. I'm sorry shuffle just isn't the same...I don't know who Apple was trying to fool. ;) I just love the element of never know what's coming next!

Oh...and raise your hand if you used to record songs of the radio onto a cassette? Mix tape anyone? Yeah....I thought so. ;)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Healing nectar

It's been a week since I maimed myself. 8 days actually, 7 days since my surgery. Oy. I can't believe I had to have surgery. It seems like time has passed in slow motion. Crawling by. I'm able to do a little more now, not much but a little. Even though this whole experience has been miserable, I am thankful for a few little things. 1. Good friends... I've had a TON of food cooked for my family and delivered to the house, thanks everyone. 2. Time....lots, and lots and lots of down time. I've been able to read at least 957 books to my littlest one, and play lots of board games with the other two. (the kind of games you can play with one hand that is..) 3. attitude has been a huge part of this. Sure I've had my sobbing moments over not being able to hold a broom in my hand..(what?) but overall those have been few. I've been trying to eat lots of healing things to speed this whole process up, if that's possible.

Green smoothies are my life blood. Well, along with coffee, who am I kidding? I drink one of these every day of my life. I've had a few people ask for recipes for green smoothies, but there really isn't one. Just make a fruit smoothie and throw a bunch of green stuff in it. Seriously, don' t be afraid to mix it up. My favorite combo is fresh pineapple, banana, spinach, kale or swiss chard, and a big handful of flat leaf parsley. But I use everything, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, mango, apples, kiwi, any fruit at all in any combination. And you can really use any combo of greens also; spinach, kale, swiss chard, parsley, cabbage. I prefer the milder tasting ones myself, but I try and put about 1 1/2 cups in my batch.

A lots of times I'll add some seeds also. Like flax, or hemp or chia...whatever I might have on hand. Also I add bee pollen, honey, coconut oil...whatever strikes my fancy. I usually end up drinking the entire pitcher over the course of the morning and lunch.

It's so energizing and fresh to drink this everyday. And honestly, once it gets warm, I don' t even drink coffee...just my smoothies.

I added these to my daily food repertoire about 2 years ago. My mom was diagnosed with a rare disease and actually died from it around the same time. I've been spurred in the direction of healthy living ever since she was diagnosed 6 years ago. This is just one of the many preventative food measures I make now.