Bon Voyage

Getting really excited.  Tomorrow we leave for warm waters for a week.  Very good timing as there is a nasty blizzard going on outside right now.  I wish I could take the dog and cats with me.  They have this look in their eye of fear that I’m leaving them behind.  Such guilt.  My friend Viv comes and stays here and takes really good care of them so…..they will be just fine.

I wanted to share this picture first: 

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I took this yesterday while we were at the beach.  I got this hair brained idea that it would be fun to walk on the beach at low tide, 3 p.m.  Oh so wrong!  The Blizz was just beginning, the sand was frozen at dead low so it was a ice rink and cold beyond belief.  There is something about wet, sub zero, gray, dark ocean – geech, bad idea.  And, it was windy as hell.  Luna was content but we were trying to walk backwards as the snow/sleet stung us.  Hum, walking backwards on a wet sheet of ice crystals, not good.  We drove up to the Nubble after our short 10 minute walk.  Ruth and Matt got married where those cars are parked on December 23rd. seven years ago?  Really?  Paul’s mom said it was the very first drive up wedding she had ever been to.  It was awesome cause no other fools were out (it was much like yesterday); we had the whole place to ourselves, 15 of us, and Granny could be right up front and hear yet be comfortable in the car with the heat blasting.  Their wedding was about 5 minutes long and we all skedadled back to our house to eat the zillions of appetizers we made.

This past week, realizing we were going to be somewhere else the week before Christmas (yeah) I made Christmas Stollens.

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I like this picture but I do miss those fake colors of the Christmas fruits you get at the store.  Paul is always so offended that I would use them I decided this year to “not hear it anymore” so I cut up all my own dried fruits from around my shelves.  It’s just not the same.

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Really yummy toasted w/butter and coffee on the side in the morning.  One of my happy foods.

About six weeks back I made some Indian Sauerkraut.  It’s ready.  I made it with Napa cabbage as that is what I had excess of.  I used lots of tumeric as you can see from the color, cumin,  garlic, onions and some caraway.  It’s nice, not terribly spicy or crisp but I guess that’s because Napa is a soft cabbage. 

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That’s it.  Have a lovely holiday.  A few of these pictures were taken with Instagram.  I’m not sure how you get them from me on there, if your interested but try carla rollins perhaps?  ciao ciao

 

Correction on the Chocolate thing

Skip the sugar in the Smoothie.  It is too much!  I tried it this morning with no sugar and liked it much better.  I get enough for two large drinks which amounts to 8 grams of sugar from the cherries alone.  It’s not too much.  Ruth suggests putting raspberries in also – I like that idea.

And, the bath towels are done.  Cushy! 

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I’m going to dig into my cottolin for lighter colors and make some bath towels for Ruth and Matt’s new up and coming baby.  This towel has a great “hand” which means feel.  I think the old boy will be happy with it even though it’s got a lot of pink in it.  I tried to tone it down on the second one by using blue & green as it’s weft instead of pink & green.  They have an inch of fringe on either end.

Chocolate

It’s a dark and dreary day out there.  I’m not sure it can be any worse, drizzly, cold, raw, gray just plain horrible.  The plan, chocolate.

I picked up a book last night at The Shreaf St. Bookstore in Portsmouth.  It’s a tiny, cute little used book store, one man operation.  We took three canvas bags of books in to donate and came home with half a bag full of purchased used books.  Such suckers.  But, there was a book called “50 Shades of Kale”.  Very interesting, great recipes written by a doctor who, among other things, deals with anxiety and depression.  It’s a clever book.  As I was flipping through there was a chocolate smoothie that looked awesome….really rich and dark, kind of like thick cocoa.  He states all the ingredients energize, boost blood flow, improve mood, etc.  Check these ingredients.

1 C. chopped kale

12 oz. frozen pitted black cherries

2 Tbs. cocoa powder

2 Tbs. organic sugar

That’s it and I happened to have it all.  I keep those cherries for our smoothies in the morning and the kale I grow, bag and freeze for the winter – the rest is a given in our house.  I put it all in the blender, added water to the right consistency.  Yummy!  Really, yummy!  I felt like I was drinking a very thick chilled cocoa.  Who would know it was all good?

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I was having a rough morning, made this, drank a large glass (not this weeny) and honestly within 10 minutes I was feeling a whole lot better.

Decided I was on a roll.  Paul has been bugging me for brownies of late.  I don’t like to make them for him because to me they are inedible, high fat content, way to rich.  And, it’s not good for him either.  So, I made the gluten free ones that I can usually slip by him.

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1 C. Garbanzo bean flour

1/4 C. potato starch

2 Tbs. arrowroot

1/2 C. cocoa powder

3/4 C. sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. xanthan gum

1 tsp. salt

1/2 C. coconut oil

1/2 C. unsweetened applesauce

2 Tbs. vanilla

1/2 C. hot water

1 C. rich chocolate chips

1 C. walnuts

Now these ingredients you’ll probably have to shop for.  It’s a miracle I found everything downstairs but then remember, if there is a problem in the world, come here because I’ll be able to feed hundreds for at least a year or so it seems.

Set oven at 350.  Grease a baking dish.  Mix everything together with a whisk, pour in pan, bake at least 1/2 hour, check it occasionally with a toothpick.  Pull it when it’s still moist.

But, check it out, pretty healthy fats, no dairy, no eggs.  We can eat this.

A day of chocolate and I’m a happy camper!

Another kale thing you may want to try:

2 C. chopped kale

1/2 tsp. salt

2 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1 C. mayonnaise or 1/2 yogurt/1/2 mayo.

zest & juice of one lemon

Combine it all in a food processor.  Use this instead of mayo.  I need to get more kale!

In between all this stuff I’ve been weaving today I finished up one 55″ bath towel, changed weft colors from a variegated pink to variegated blues.  I love the change.  The pink was just too way out there for me. 

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Toned down, yes?  But, this is the warp I’m dealing with and it’s hard to cover.

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Just after Thanksgiving I made pizza.  How come homemade pizza is just so satisfying?  It hits all our buttons.  We have it often and there is nothing like a dark beer to go with it.

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First of December

King Leo Appears

 

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This is yet another “memory” food for me.  When the kids were little we used to look at the Williams Sonoma magazine and buy cool things for christmas cookies, etc.  We didn’t get out much with two kids a year apart and one 8 years older, living in a loft in a barn we stayed home most of the time.  The magazine was such a treat and with beautiful pictures.  I loved to bake, even then so we’d buy all sorts of sprinkles, etc. and decorate.  The King Leo peppermint sticks were a must have.  Now whenever I see them (it’s a rare sighting) I buy a few cans and keep them in the freezer – this is one, actually my last one so I’m rationing my sticks.  But, when I take the bubble wrap off and freezer paper it always brings back some really happy memories.

Speaking of happy memories.  I made a terrarium from found woods things yesterday and surrounded it with our nutcrackers which the kids got when they were little.  We had flights of steps all over the place in the apartment so we would get a new nutcracker each year to sit on the step.  It’s a miracle any of them have survived….kids, dogs, fooling around, nutcrackers falling many stairs at a time.  It was a crazy house.  But, they have survived and we seems to have quite a few, like 25 I think.  I set them up on our porch table and that is our Christmas “tree”.  I’ll put a picture up next time.

I’m hoping to make stollens this week.  I usually make them in time to give as gifts on Christmas Eve for our neighbors for their Christmas morning breakfast but we’re heading south next Monday and won’t be back until the day before Christmas….yeah, yeah, yeah.  Crabby Paul says they’re gross, no one wants them anyway.  He’s a torturer, so nasty.  They are delicious, jerk.

Go get some kale.

Are we all done eating now?????

Yiikes, my stomach is smaller yet I am bigger.  How does that work?  I even used my grandmother’s dishes this year.  I received them in 1969 when my Nana passed and you know, those dishes are so much smaller than what we use now.  Well, we loaded them up,  reasonably I think, and I still couldn’t eat it all.  I was so stuffed!  At 7 p.m. I was looking at our guests really wishing I could EXIT, so I did, they all went home.  I felt kind of rude but you know when you get to that I’m overdone mode – that is what it is! Fini.  That cooking, planning, cleaning for days on end can grind you down.  The unfortunate part (tiny unfortunate) was Turkey Day was my Birthday so suddenly I’m this creepy age and I’m overly full and tired.  Not a good match.  Next year will be different (without the impact of another year tacked on to me).

So, how about if I put some more food up????

I’ll start with some rice we just got yesterday.  My friend Carol who lives in Louisiana came by to exchange our Christmas presents….we don’t see her very often but every Thanksgiving this is what we do.  She brought this fabulous purple rice, developed by an LSU researcher Milton Rush.  He crossed a Cypress variety of rice and Sri Lankan Hitan Kitan rice.  Apparently his quest was to create one with the health benefits similar to blueberries, green tea and red wine…high in antioxidants and it remains purple as you will see with my photo.  Carol teaches and does research at LSU also.  Her specialty is breast milk; not something you find in the ground out there, hopefully.

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Fabulous taste!  I washed the rice quite a bit then cooked it as it said, easy, water, rice, boil, 15 minutes.  Then I sauteed chopped onions, peppers, spinach, s & P and hot sauce with the rooster on the label.  I was wishing I had some tortillas but it was right as is.  The name of the company is Blanca Isabel, Purple rice.  purpleblackrice.com will get you to it.

We had an interesting dessert/appetizer during the week.  It was in Sept.Food & Wine, page 82 Goat Cheese Cakes w/Rosemary and Honey. 

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Absolutely delicious.  I’d rather it be an appetizer and with the crushed gingersnaps it was more of a sweet.  Next time I’ll crush up some savory crackers for the base, skip the honey and perhaps put some really thick balsamic vinegar or chutney on top as a garnish.  A keeper for sure, just with alterations.

On the same page is Moules Farcies recipe.  Seems complicated, it’s not.  Mussels dry cooked for a bit then a touch of wine, garlic, 3 minutes, done.  Put them out on a baking sheet (2 bags makes 2 sheets) get rid of the empty shells, keep the muscles you have in the half shell, put some pesto on top, crumb garnish, broil, done, nice appetizer with toothpicks.  Unlike other shell things these are easy as the mussels don’t stick to the shells so it’s just a little cute cup thing.

Ruth, that bad girl, wanted me to make Paula Deans sons Salty Pecan Pie.  I did.

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It starts with a pretzel crust (ick in my books) but then you cook the butter, brown sugar, sea salt and pecans together which is what you see.  That was yummmola, all warm, sweet, salty.  Once baked…..too salty, darn, it had such potential.  I wouldn’t bother with this one.

I got a bit of sewing in just before Ruth and Matt arrived.  I wanted to make some pillow cases to go in their room in the Apartment.

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I love making these crazy things.  I’m always such a goof ball regarding what I think goes together.  They look just awesome on the bed over there.  The white duvet they sit on has a slightly similar pattern to the larger cuff on the pillow so it kinda ties in and I have a large turquoise corduroy bolster on the bed……see, I’m not that far off.

Yesterday I went to Paul’s Leather Man.  This guy at JustLeather.com (not leathers) sells all this absolutely beautiful scraps and hides, half hides from a garage on his property, online usually but he does take walk in’s if you make an appointment.  I did.  Geech, I was so overwhelmed but not so much I didn’t totally endulge.  DARN, I just realized I hadn’t downloaded the pictures but…in your mind, picture fairly large, like 28″ x 40″ squares of turquoise (surprised?), orange, green, pinks, blues, tans and even a shiny metallic and then picture a heavier leather scrap burgundy color, larger, like 1/4 hide.  All for $30.00 total.  Next, a half large hide of a soft grey to upholster an old chair Paul has restored with a purple/mahogany finish with a nice loud pillow it should be totally amazing.  $75.00  All the leathers I got were soft as I was hoping to make some bags, etc. I didn’t want that heavy stuff which he has plenty of.  He had these squares the size of tiles, all different colors, patterns, etc. all the same size…..my mind is going crazy on what I could do with those????  I’ll go back, once I settle down a bit and mess with what I have.

No hunters out there today so Luna and I are off to the woods to collect mosses, bark, scraps, anything else sort of winterish.  I bought a $10.00 turtle tank the other day to make a Terrarium for our porch table.  It’s my Christmas tree this year.  I made one when my Mom was here and it was sooooo cool.  I still have the round beach rocks so I’ll glue gun them in a stack to look like a tree then stick those stars I’ve mentioned before that I never got as a kid, you know, the ones we wore on our foreheads?  I can’t wait to get at this project.  It’s fun.  I’ll post when done.  I’ll line up our Nutcrackers and that will be our big festive decorations.  

I’m pretty close to actually weaving those bath towels I’ve been trying to thread up on the loom.  Paul’s x-mas present so I’m on it now that the holiday is past.  Pictures soon of that one also.  Have a lovely day fellow dieters. ciao