Friday, March 30, 2012

What I'm Loving





Oh, so many lovely things this week have caught my eye...
: :  With summer seemingly being upon us, Homemade Orange Creamsicles sound wonderful
: :  SouleMama using some lovely fabric by Betz White - the Stitch Collection
: :  Butternut Squash Ravioli... who knew you could make this amazing pasta dish?
: :  Single Girl quilt in Cherish Nature fabric
: :  Remembering how yummy these Fresh Spring Rolls are
: :  Hot Cross Buns for Easter

And I'm loving...
: :  Bike rides with Pieter after dinner
: :  Naps that happen at the same time
: :  Thrift store finds
: :  Barefeet in and out of the house
: :  Tantrums for being made to come inside (how great is that!)
: :  Passionate book reading by my little boy
: :  Smiles from my little girl
: :  Plans to head into the hills over the weekend

Monday, March 26, 2012

Trailering

Bike trailer is a new phrase in this house! We bought one over the weekend from some friends and have already had it out for a fun and bumpy ride. Pieter thinks it is a lot of fun and so does his mama. Now if only Juliana will grow big enough to be able to ride with him. But she has it pretty good at home right now with Daddy!

Friday, March 23, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - AS

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vernal Equinox


So often my life revolves around the inside of our home. All the things to do. I often need to pull myself away from the inside world to the outside, the land and sky.  I do so today, for it is a special day. It is not just the first day of spring, a day on the calendar, but a special day in the solar system, the Equinox. This morning at 5:14 UTC, the Sun was directly over the Earth's equator. Those in the tropics will have equal time of day and night in this world that is spinning around and around. Ironically enough, I have been using a paper calendar to help me focus more on the outside world in this year of 2012. It is Chris Hardman's ECOlogical Calendar. I highly recommend it. These sweet daffodils are already blooming at our home.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Saint Patrick's Day Feast

I kept my fingers crossed all week as the brisket cured in the fridge.  I pulled it out Saturday morning and cooked the corned beef just as I do with all my roasts (put it in the slow cooker with peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme sprigs, and beef broth), but I added a pint of Guinness stout instead of red wine. After a day of simmering, it was delicious! The Brown Soda Bread (with whiskey soaked currants) and Colcannon Mashed Potatoes were super yummy with it.  We had some friends over to celebrate with us and we all enjoyed the unusually warm weather for this time of the year. Pieter already seemed to have forgotten what shorts and t-shirts were like and was quite excited about them. After being outside all weekend, we are hunkering down inside for the day as the wind is gusting up to 35mph today. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - AS

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Nutty Frozen Treats

I found the idea for this yummy recipe via Pinterest. It is a nice little jar of treats in the freezer waiting for a little desire for some dark chocolate. This could be changed with any other kinds of raw nuts and sweetener.

Ingredients
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw walnuts
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips and/or dried fruit finely chopped
  • In a food processor, chop up the nuts, oats and flax seeds (if the seeds don't break down enough, use a coffee grinder for them). 
  • Add cinnamon, salt and flour.
  • Drizzle in the honey or agave nectar until the dough starts to stick together.
  • Stir in the chocolate and/or fruit.
  • Form small balls. If you are having trouble with it rolling together and sticking to your hands, add some more flour.
  • Freeze on a tray and then jar up. Leave in freezer for a quick snack.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Evidence of Spring

Spring is upon us in earnest this week with temperatures in the 50s and 60s and lots of sun. We are peaking around the yard to see what new life is popping up every morning. Last December I had two bags of daffodil bulbs in the garage waiting to be dug in. I bought them in October, but just hadn't gotten around to it. So, there I was nine months pregnant, trying to bend over to dig in the bulbs. Well, I'm very glad I did it now as I see them push up through the mulch. Simba is also checking things out in the yard. By his excited behavior around the catnip, he is also pleased that spring is here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Home-cured Corned Beef

I've had a brisket in the freezer for a while, waiting for it's moment on Saint Patrick's Day to become the famed corned beef of the Irish American dinner. Last Thursday I set to work on getting it into the brine. Nourished Kitchen as great instructions on how to do this with salt, pickling spices, celery juice and whey. I have been turning it every day and wondering just how this is going to turn out. I'm planning a feast for Saturday - Brown Soda Bread and Colcannon Mashed Potatoes sound like great accompaniments.

Friday, March 9, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - AS

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Puss in Boots

Who couldn't love this scene? Puss in Boots on the screen with a puss purring in support. We don't have an exact birthday for Simba, but we do know it is in the spring. Happy 19th Birthday, Simba! It is official now that he has been with us for more than half his life, coming into our home at 9 years old. He was a Wisconsin kitty then, but now is widely traveled cat having been in all of these states:

We love this old man who still happily purrs for love and affection from us. And somehow he is surviving toddlerhood. I'm not sure how...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Irish Porridge Bread

Yum... I do love this bread. It has a wonderful, nutty feel to it from the steel-cut oats. The perfect breakfast bread with some homemade jam. It is even better baked in my new Pampered Chef loaf pan that I scored from the thrift store last week. I adapted this from a recipe in King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking. This recipe is the beginning of celebrating Saint Patrick's Day as it quickly approaches.

Irish Porridge Bread
1-1/2 cups water
2/3 cup Irish oats (steel cut)
1/4 cup plain yogurt, whey or buttermilk
1/4 cup honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-1/4 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup oat bran
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
2 cups unbleached bread flour
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
2 teaspoons instant yeast

The night before you plan to make the bread, stir together the Irish steel cut oats, water, and plain yogurt, whey or buttermilk. Cover and let soak over night in a small pot. (Nourished Kitchen has a great introduction to soaking grains). In the morning, simmer until the oats are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in honey, salt, butter and rolled oats. Cover and let cool. This will allow the grains to absorb the liquids. 

Combine all ingredients and mix and knead them - by hand, mixer or bread machine - until you have a smooth dough. Add a bit more water if necessary (sometimes the oats absorb more). Cover and allow the dough to rise to doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours. (I use instant yeast because it can be mixed directly into the ingredients without having to dissolve it in water before hand).

Lightly grease a loaf pan. Deflate the dough, shape it into a log, and place in the pan. Cover and let rise until the loaf crests 1 inch above the pan.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake for about 35-40 minutes. This bread is dense, so make sure the oven is entirely heated. When done, remove from oven, wait about 5 minutes, then remove loaf from the pan to a cooling rack.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Purposeful Days

When I started blogging, I titled this blog "the end of the day" in an effort to keep my computer time purposeful and targeted to after bedtime. I've struggled with this and often ignore my desire to follow my own rules. After reading Ginny's post at Small Things about similar thoughts, I've decided to give it another shot during Lent. So, I'll be blogging, emailing, shopping, and surfing in the evenings (with a quick check in the morning before the day begins), which should open up my entire day to reading with a smiling boy and holding a growing baby. Oh, my, I do quite a few things online these days. I like Ginny's idea of keeping a list during the day of the things to do later online.

Doing this will change how some things happen around here. Without quick recipe searches, I will open up my cookbooks a little bit more. Unread magazines and knitting will get their due during nap time. The camera will more often focus on special, everyday moments as I think of you and the next post. But, what I am most curious about? If I will continue in this vein after Lent.

Friday, March 2, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - AS


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bringing spring inside

With every longer day, I am so much happier and lighter on my feet. Bright sunny days into the evening is quite a blessing as one gazes on the brown, winter landscape. These cheerful daffodils bring a bit of this into our home. While many view March as the beginning of spring, we are going to have to wait until April to really enjoy that season here in South Dakota. For now, we will bring it inside.
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