Chipotle Fish Tacos ala Deb!

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Yay!  I am finally getting my world-famous Fish Taco recipe on the interweb-thingie! You know, that thing that a certain Billionaire said wouldn’t catch on?  I wonder what he thinks about that statement now?

Anyway, back to fish tacos….yum..yum..yum! Ramona ~ This is for you, so go ahead and share away!

This recipe is great when you need to whip up a dinner fairly fast, the only part that needs time to percolate (love that old fashioned term) is the salsa, it’s basically being pickled to develop the favours.  It is also fairly waist friendly when the chipotle sauce * is used in moderation,  for an even lighter option, check out the * tip at the bottom of the page.

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Chipotle Fish Tacos ala Deb!

Ingredients

1 Haddock fish filet per person (or any firm, white fish), sliced into 1″ chunks
2 Cups shredded iceburg lettuce
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup diced red or green bell pepper
1/4 cup diced radishes or jicama
1 Tbsp finely diced jalapeño
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning (recipe below to make your own)
Juice of 2 limes
3 Tbsp mayonnaise (Hellman’s)
1/4 tsp (or more to taste) of Chiptole Chile powder
3 Large whole wheat flour tortillas
Fresh cilantro leaves
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

1. At least 4 hours before serving, prepare the salsa by combining the radish (or jicama)   , peppers, onions and the juice of 1 lime.  Stir to combine, cover and keep refrigerated until time to assemble.

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2. Thinly slice the lettuce into a bowl, cover and chill until needed.

3. Prepare the Chipotle Mayo by combining the mayonnaise, chipotle chile powder and 1/2 tsp of the fresh lime juice.  Stir to combine then refrigerate until needed.

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4. In a frying pan set over med-high heat, add 1 Tbsp of Olive oil and sprinkle half the cajun seasoning all over the bottom of the pan.  Add fish and liberally sprinkle the remaining seasoning on the top side of the fish.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until fish starts to brown on the bottom, flip fish and cook until the bottoms start to brown.  Add remaining lime juice to pan and cook for another 2 minutes or so until the juice cooks off and the fish flakes easily with a fork.  Remove from heat.

To assemble Tacos

1. Warm tortillas by zapping in the microwave for 15 seconds.
2. Spread a tsp of chipotle mayo in the middle of each tortilla.
3. Divide shredded lettuce evenly among the 3 tortillas
4. Divide the salsa evenly among the 3 tortillas.
5. Divide the fish pieces evenly among the 3 tortillas.
6. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.

We roll our tacos up burrito style, but these would also be good in hard corn tortilla shells but way messier!

Note ~ This makes 3 tacos ~ 1 for me and 2 for hubs,
so increase amounts for feeding more people.

* To lighten up the chipotle mayo, sub fat-free yogurt for the mayo.

Make your own Cajun Seasoning

In a mortar and pestle, combine the following ingredients (makes about 3/4 cup):

1 1/2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp Dried Thyme
1 tsp fresh ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp dried Basil
1 tsp dried Oregano

We have ours with a large side salad, but these would also be great with a side of Mexican rice. Enjoy!

Deborah

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Bok Choy and Mushroom Stir Fry In A Wrap

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I know, I know, I have been remiss of late, life gets in the way you know?  I have many ideas and unfortunately not enough hours in the day.  BUT, today I managed to pull this together in less than 15 minutes, combined with the time it took to make lunch AND type this out, it gives me hope I can throw together some more gems to this blog in the future.

So here it is!

I love wraps.  The food kind that is, although I do like the knitted kind as well, but you can’t eat those.  I love to rummage in the fridge and see what’s in there to insert into the ever-present whole wheat wraps that are a staple in our house.

Usually its lettuce, tomatoes, cukes, avocado, etc that get layered and rolled up to be scarfed down at lunch, but today I had some Asian inspiration with the leftover bok choy from the weekend.

I thinly sliced the bok choy (about a cup), and thinly sliced the remaining half of a yellow bell pepper, one crimini mushroom and a couple tablespoons thinly sliced red onion.  I added everything to a hot pan over medium heat with a tablespoon or two of Olive Oil (along with fresh ground pepper and salt) and sauteed until veg’s were tender.  Oh, and I added a sprinkling of ground garlic as I thought a whole clove would have over-powered the dish seeing as the amounts were made for one wrap.  If making enough for 4 people, then I would definitely add a clove or two of garlic.

After the veg has cooked until tender (about 5 minutes, you may have to add a couple tablespoons of water if it starts to dry the pan out), add a couple shakes of red pepper flakes and about 3 tablespoons of Hoisin Sauce.  Stir together and remove from heat.

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Zap the wrap in the microwave on high for 10 seconds, place the sauteed veggies in the middle of the wrap, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and top with chopped green onion.

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Roll up and eat!  This totally hit the spot and was quick, easy and done in slightly less than 15 minutes.  This is also one of those recipes that can be totally customized, like tossing in leftover grilled chicken or pork…and BAM! a new menu item created to feed the masses.

Buen Provecho! (Oh wait, that’s Spanish…. I wonder how it is said in Mandarin?…. I must go google…)

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Bodacious Banana Bread ~ Take II

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I am taking the time to update my Banana Bread recipe from its current form to a low-sugar form.  Hubby and I have embarked on our get healthy, get fit movement for a year now and collectively, we have lost about 65lbs! WooHoo for us!  There is still some weight loss to go, but in order to achieve (and maintain) a healthy weight, you need to change your eating habits and since we both love our banana bread, I wanted to be able to continue eating/enjoying this yummy stuff so the sugar and a lot of the AP flour had to go.  Here is an updated version, but I will leave the original version below the updated one for anyone wanting to enjoy it.

**Mainstream Bodacious Banana Bread**

Ingredients

3-4 Medium bananas (over-ripe), mashed
2 large Eggs, room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/3 cup Unsalted butter
1/4 tsp Baking soda
2 1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup All Purpose flour
3/4 cup Whole Wheat flour
3 Tbsp Ground Flax meal
1/2 cup Chopped walnuts

Directions ~ Whip butter, eggs and vanilla and then follow the remaining directions below in the original recipe, making sure you omit the sugar*

* You really don’t need the sugar in the banana bread as over-ripe bananas are really sweet unto themselves (and trust me, you won’t even miss it!).

The Banana

banana

You can mash it.
You can slice it.
You can slather it in peanut butter.
You can make a banana split sundae out of it.
Or you can peel it and just eat it plain….

But one of the most amazing things to come from the humble banana is Banana Bread.

Walking into a home to the aroma of banana bread baking is just about as good as it can get…aside from regular bread baking or cookies.

These are known as comfort smells.

Which is way better than stinky sneakers…

Banana Bread is one of those things that can be whipped up quickly, hence the name ‘Quick Bread’ as there is no need for yeast and therefore does not need to be coddled like regular bread.  Start to finish, it takes about an hour and 20 minutes to make, including baking time.

To make your own loaf of this yummy, banana goodness, just follow the recipe below and soon you will be slathering butter on a hot from the oven slice of this marvelous, Bodacious Banana Bread.

So gather up the ingredients and let’s get started.

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Ingredients

3-4 over-ripe bananas, about 1 cup mashed
1/3 cup un-salted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

In a large bowl (or stand-mixer), whip butter and sugar together, add eggs and vanilla and whip until light and fluffy…

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In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda; mix well.

In another bowl, mash bananas to desired consistency.  If you like chunks of banana in your banana bread, leave larger pieces, or puree if you don’t like chunks.

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Add the mashed bananas to the batter and beat until well incorporated.

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Add the flour mixture and mix well.

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Finally, fold in the chopped walnuts…

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 Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spoon  batter into a greased 5″ x 7″ loaf pan.  Let sit for 10 minutes.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean.  Some ovens are hotter than others, so check every 5 minutes after the 50 minute mark.

Bodacious Banana Bread

Remove from oven and let cool for about 45 minutes on a wire rack.  Remove from pan, slice and serve to the masses.

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Washing Up In Style ~ Take II

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This is a blog update for my original post back in January of 2013 to which I have modified the pattern slightly to give a symmetrical border to the washcloths as well as to account for the weight (thickness of yarn) difference from Bernat’s Handi-Crafter cotton to KnitPick’s Dishie.  With KP Dishie being slightly thinner, I have added extra stitches and pattern rows to get the same size washcloth as when knitted with Bernat’s yarn.

I have actually become a cotton yarn snob, KnitPick’s Dishie has won me over and aside from the Christmas speckled washcloths I am making for gifts this year, moving forward I will be treating myself to working exclusively with Dishie yarn.  It is actually cheaper and has more yardage per ball than Bernat’s.  PLUS, it is a tighter spun fibre, smoother and knits without splitting. (Gee, I should maybe get some free yarn out of this plug?) ;)

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A quick, easy to memorize pattern transforms cotton yarn into brightly coloured squares worthy of anyone’s cocina.

Materials Needed:

Bernat Handicrafter Cotton – 42.5 g / 1.5 oz. (1 Ball per square, if using different colours, allow a half ball per square)

OR

KnitPick’s Dishie – 80 g / 2 oz. (1 Ball will make 2 washcloths and you will still have some leftover!)
4.5 mm (U.S. # 7) Straight knitting needles

Gauge: It isn’t important with this project.

Directions if using Bernat’s Handi-Crafter Cotton:

Cast on 38 Stitches using the Thumb Method (sometimes called ‘e-loop’ method) or the Long-Tail Method, either of these give a nice, stretchy cast on edge.  Perfect for beginners, it is very easy to do and you only need one needle to do it.

Border: Knit 6 rows (garter stitch – see note below before starting)

*Note; if using the Long tail cast on method, once you cast on, Knit 5 rows (garter stitch), THEN proceed to pattern below

Slipped Stitch Waffle Pattern:

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: K3, purl to last 3 stitches, K3
Row 3: K3, *P2, S1 (slip next stitch knit-ways, keeping the yarn at back of work, but do not knit the stitch, just pass it to the right needle), after slipping the stitch, bring yarn to the front for the purl stitches, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, K3
Row 4: K3, *K2, P1, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, K3

These four rows make one pattern set.  Work 14 pattern sets for each dishcloth.

Ending Border: Knit 6 rows (garter stitch)

Bind off stitches loosely and weave in ends.

Directions for KnitPick’s Dishie Yarn:

Cast on 41 Stitches using the Thumb Method (sometimes called ‘e-loop’ method) or the Long-Tail Method, either of these give a nice, stretchy cast on edge.  Perfect for beginners, it is very easy to do and you only need one needle to do it.

Border: Knit 6 rows (garter stitch – see note below before starting)

*Note; if using the Long tail cast on method, once you cast on, Knit 5 rows (garter stitch), THEN proceed to pattern below.

Slipped Stitch Waffle Pattern:

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: K3, purl to last 3 stitches, K3
Row 3: K3, *P2, S1 (slip next stitch knit-ways, keeping the yarn at back of work, but do not knit the stitch, just pass it to the right needle), after slipping the stitch, bring yarn to the front for the purl stitches, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, K3
Row 4: K3, *K2, P1, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, K3

These four rows make one pattern set.  Work 15 pattern sets for each dishcloth.

Ending Border: Knit 6 rows (garter stitch)

Bind off stitches loosely and weave in ends.

Be creative in your colour choices, as here is an opportunity to make a bold colour statement in your kitchen without using paint.  Bright pops of colour are mandatory in my kitchen.  On  the plus side, if you have bits and bobs of leftover cotton yarn, use them up for additional washcloths that can be delegated to laundry room duty.  Heck, use them in the kitchen or bathroom, no matter the colours as long as they work, and work hard they will.

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Not So Rainy Day Blues

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As the skies opened to overdue and highly welcomed rains on Friday morning (we have been in a drought of late) and the rain forecast for well into Saturday, the outdoor gardening tasks were wiped off the whiteboard for the weekend to be replaced by indoor ones.

Hubs had a passle of work planned for us in the crawlspace, but the deluge of rain meant the inevitable rise in water down under and within a couple hours, there was an inch of standing water in the front portion of the crawlspace.  He still managed quite a bit of work down there, but it wasn’t the weekend results he wanted.

For me, I could only help so much, so with a  lot of free time with no garden chores to do in the pouring rain, I settled into a quiet rythym with my Spin-Well spinning wheel finishing up a gradient yarn project that turned out exactly as envisioned.

My lovely daughter had given me 3 coloured rovings from KnitPicks for Christmas and after mulling over what to do with them, a plan emerged to spin half of each colour with itself and the other half with the next colour in line, blending one shade into the next creating a visually appealing colour run from light to dark.

Studio_20160711_095028_medium2Here they are sectioned out, ready to go with the first colour already spun.  Studio_20160815_100536And these are the final skeins of yarn, looking even better spun and plied than their bare state counterparts.

I have been cruising various knitting websites looking for the perfect pattern, hopefully one jumps out at me soon, meanwhile, I think I will leave these on display, like a bouquet of flowers, and at least yarn doesn’t wilt after a few days.

Happy knitting!

Deborah

 

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Strawberries and Spring Water

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Here in Canada, June is a special month.  It is when our strawberries come into season.  The short, and I mean a very short season lasting barely 3 weeks, weather depending.  So when the berries are ripe, people come en masse to pick their own or buy ready picked baskets and gorge themselves until there are no more.IMG_20160630_084240

The local berry farm is about a 10 minute drive away, down a dusty dirt road made dustier by road reconstruction along the way.  Arriving at the farm, I pull into the gravel lane and head over the front lawn which serves as the farms parking lot and back the car into a spot, immediately taking notice of several deer flies cruising around the side mirrors.  The only draw back to berry season are the deer flies…the things we must endure to get luscious, ripe berries.

I grab my floppy hat, 3 empty baskets and my trusty bug zapper.  I never go anywhere without it, otherwise you will soon be needing a blood infusion and headed down the laneway towards the strawberry fields.  There is a “bus” to take folks to and fro, but I prefer to walk (and swat) for some exercise.

Once I find where everyone else is picking, I quickly get to work filling up the baskets before the heat intensifies as well as the deer flies swarming.  In and out in about 30 minutes with 3 baskets of fresh, ripe, tasty morsels of summer.

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I head back to the entrance, pay for my goodies and hop back into the car.  On to the next stop on today’s to-do list, filling up 5 x 20 litre jugs of Spring water.  The natural Spring is a few kilometers from the berry patch and down yet another very dusty gravel road (so much for the car wash yesterday while at the dealership getting a tire fixed).  There are no signs for the Spring, just a hose coming out of the thick bush which, so I am told, is a mile or so back in.  I have no idea who owns the land or operates it, but we have been using this water source for the past 30 years, learning of its existence from the locals when we started coming up to the area before we purchased the homestead property.

As I drive along the dusty road, I slow the car down while approaching a farm that was built a few years ago, and not just any farm either.  We (ok, me) had been keeping tabs on what the owner was doing as he cleared the land of bush and started to fence in what looked like pastures.  My first thought was cattle as there are quite a few cattle farms in the area, but was I surprised one day when I came around the bend and saw alpacas!  Kismet, fate, whatever you call it, this fibre geek was thrilled to see these cute as all get out critters living so close to me.  One of these days I still have to go up the driveway and introduce myself to the owner, and maybe smuggle an alpaca into the car while there, but I digress, as I rounded the corner and slowed the car, there they were, freshly shorn and stuffing their faces full of grass.  I stopped the car, got out and took my phone out for a picture.  I whistled at them, trying to get them to look up, nope, heads down, they kept stuffing their faces.  Perhaps they are used to people driving by and whistling at them.

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I hopped back in the car just as a horsefly whizzed by my ear.  Summer is wonderful, but I sure could use a little less of the biting insects.

I headed down the road, arriving at the watering hole with no one else around.  If you try to get water on the weekends, there are cars lined up waiting, better to come during the week while it is quiet.  I turned the car around and pull up just in front of where the hose is.  As I turn the car off, I look at the side mirrors to see more deer flies swarming.  I popped the trunk lid, put my jacket on (even though it was 20C and getting warmer by the minute) pulling the hood up over my head, then I jammed my floppy beach hat on.  I may look like a total goob, but I wasn’t looking forward to getting bit on the back of the head which is where they like to for whatever reason.

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I step out of the car with trusty zapper in hand and immediately started swinging, perfecting my backhand and forehand and loop-de-looping-hand.  I start filling jugs, all the while, swatting.  After eliminating 5 or 6 of them, it quieted down and I was able to fill a couple jugs in peace.  Then another car pulled up, rats, for some reason, deer flies know cars = people and follow them.  Soon I was madly swinging the racket again.

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The fella stayed in his car until I was done, he wasn’t a newbie that’s for sure.  Once the jugs were filled and hauled out of the ditch and put in the trunk, I hopped back in the car sweating like crazy from having so much stuff on, pulling off the hat and peeling off the jacket and tossing it on the passenger seat.  There, done, time to get out of dodge before the flies pick the car up and carry it away.

I headed back to the homestead with the trunk full of jugs of Spring water and the inside of the car smelling like strawberries.  With the off-site to-do list done, I can get on with the rest of the chores, but first I must enjoy a dish of freshly picked berries.

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Deborah

 

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Meet Fert and Palladin

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10351730_10152717633959054_2321268615927224487_nFert & Palladin are Alpacas living on a farm just outside Niagara Falls, ON.  In October 2014, my daughter and her hubby went to go visit the farm on one of their very few days of the year that they allow visitors.  Unfortunately I couldn’t go with them that day (boo), but they did bring me back a piece of the farm.  In the form of 2 alpaca fleeces.  Not just a part of the fleece, but the-whole-fleece of 2 animals, which weighed about 3.5 lbs each.

Fert is a lovely brown fleece with highlights of red on the tips from the sun’s bleaching rays.  Palladin is as white as snow, after a good bath that is as both fleeces were pretty darn dusty but with minimal VM (vegetable matter, i.e. bits of hay & grass).1966716_10152717634219054_389215263030384962_nMy mind spun (get it) as to what I could make out of all this lovely, soft fibre.  An idea formed and it was time to get to work.  Once the fleeces were clean (which took me close to a month between other commitments), it was time to start carding and spinning.DSC02308_medium2

I first started with Palladin, whose newly washed fleece was brilliant white and as soft and silky as bunny fur.  With an idea in mind, I needed to figure out how much yardage required for the whole project and then back track.  Lots of math involved.   I hate math, hated it in school and always said to myself, “just where I am going to use all this darn stuff? No one can possibly use all this math stuff in the future”, well, here I am today doing tons of math not only in spinning, but weaving and knitting too.  Bah, anyway, back to math calculations and sampling, yes, sampling, not only do you have to do your math, you also have to make a small amount of yarn and then sample with it to make sure what you have in mind as gauge will work out for the intended project.  Like knitting instructions always say at the start of every pattern “To save Time, Take Time to check Gauge” (who me? guilty of NOT doing this? I won’t answer that)…..

Not wanting to waste 2 alpaca fleeces, checking my math and sett/gauge were even more important.

So I carded and spun up a small amount of fleece, then warped up my small Cricket loom to check how dense/open a fabric I wanted.  I started out at 12 epi (ends per inch) but the resulting fabric felt too stiff/dense.  I rethreaded the loom using my 8 epi heddle and while it appeared far too open, I knew that ‘wet finishing’ would tighten up the weave.  So I washed/dryed the sample and the resulting fabric was in the ballpark of what I wanted.  Time to finish the calculations now that I knew what sett (loom speak for warp thread spacing) to use.  The pic below shows fleece to finished fabric, yes, the two items on the right are gray as I was playing with natural dyes when I spun this last summer so took the opportunity to experiment at the same time.

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All that math behind me, it was now time to get into the groove of carding and spinning up all the alpaca, which took me almost a year between other projects/life.

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Once I had the last project off the loom, a blanket for a baby whose due date was looming (ha! another fibre pun!) it was time to finally get Fert & Palladin’s soft and luscious yarns wound and onto Bob the loom.

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After that, it wove up pretty quickly, a heck of a lot more time spent in prep than in actual weaving, but hey, that is the nature of the beast (another pun! I am firing on all cylinders this morning) when creating something from animal to finished product.

13260244_10156880387985291_875112006034015639_n_medium2This has been a great challenge in taking a raw material, applying newly learned skills and being self-sufficient.  I do believe I now qualify for being ready for a post-apocalyptic world, but sincerely hope that it doesn’t come to fruition.

So without further ado, here is the long-in-the-works alpaca throw blanket. Woven in a 2-2 Herringbone Twill pattern, it is soft, (seriously fuzzy, you should have seen the fuzzy dust-bunnies galloping around the condo while it was on the loom) and it has a beautiful drape and feel,  not too heavy, but with just enough weight to ‘feel’ like a blanket.  Incredibly warm too, although the temps outside this past week have been in the 30′s (Celsius), it will be put to good use come this Fall/Winter at the Homestead.

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Bob has been cleaned up and de-fuzzed but will most likely sit empty for the summer while I concentrate on my vegetable gardens and the next spinning project ~ a sweater currently being spun and knit from a whole Icelandic sheep fleece, then come Fall a couple of scarves are to be woven from gorgeous handspun and hand-dyed yarns that I have been working on.

Yes, I am busy, busy, busy, and I love it.

Deborah

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Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

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Hubby says these are NOT cookies.  Cookies are super sweet and bad for you.

I beg to differ.

DSC04550I found this recipe in a magazine and as usual, tweaked it to add things to my liking.  These are a great option for when you have zero time in the morning for breakfast before you run out the door.  Just grab and go.

I also sub them for a quick lunch and/or snack when I am on the road for several hours of the day.  Quick, healthy and good for you, regardless of hubby’s opinion.

Super easy to make, start to finish they are done in half an hour.

Ingredients

1 medium banana, mashed
1/2 cup peanut butter (or almond butter), smooth or chunky – your preference
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp skim milk or almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup regular oats
1/2 cup 12-grain flour (or whole wheat flour, I like the 12-grain though)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup pepitas (raw or roasted, no salt)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (raw or roasted, no salt)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, cherries, raisins or blueberries (experiment!)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F

2. In a large bowl, combine mashed banana, honey, milk, peanut butter and honey, mix well.

3. In a smaller bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda and cinnamon

4. Combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until just coming together.

5. Add seeds/fruit and mix to combine.

6. On parchment lined baking sheets (2), drop 1/4 cup spoonfuls and flatten to 1/2″.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 12-16 minutes.
Makes 12 cookies

These freeze beautifully too so may just want to double or triple the batch if you are making for a family.

Enjoy!

Deborah

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Beach Buddy Bag

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Everyone needs a beach buddy.

Meet my Beach Buddy.

DSC04515Pretty much 95% of the time I am lugging my humongous purse around town on various errands. I love my large purse as it has oodles of space for all of my needs as well as space for my ever present sock knitting projects. But sometimes you just need to run out on a quick errand and don’t need to take the large suitcase over the shoulder, OR, you are planning a beach or cruise vacation and only need a small satchel to house your room key, small bills and a sunblock stick. Enter Beach Buddy!

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At a modest 5″ x 4″ (not including strap), you can tuck this into your beach bag or shorts pocket or let it hang from your wrist as you wander the beach sipping a margarita while hunting sea shells. It is the perfect accessory for any family/friend BBQ event as well. They are fully lined and come with a snap closure on one end and a carrying strap on the other. $20CDN.

Do you want a Beach Buddy?   I have loads of fabric options available to cover everyone’s taste.  Leave a comment below and I will be in touch.

Deborah

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Cake Dyeing Experiment

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Sounds yummy doesn’t it?  Cake Dyeing….  Unfortunately no yummy cakes were baked, dyed or consumed for this project.

Cake dyeing is taking a skein of yarn and winding it into a “cake” with a ball winder and then dyeing it.  The word “cake” came about due to the resemblance of the wound yarn to a stacked layer cake.  This creates a centre-pull “ball” of yarn to knit from.

Ok, enough of word origins, on to the experiment!  I found 3 balls of sad looking yarn in the “free bin” in our condo craft room.  2 were an ugly golden-yellow colour, the third was a really ugly greenish-gray ball of what surely came out of a swamp.  No wonder they were cast off from whoever put them in the bin.  Nobody wants butt-ugly wool.  So I rescued them a few weeks ago with the intention of brightening them up in a dye experiment.

Enter cake dyeing.  The process where you wind yarn into the cake shape and submerse it up to half its height in a dye liquid, flip and do another colour and you come out with a wonderfully colour-patterned yarn.

DSC04434First off was to soak the 2 gold ones in water and citric acid (or vinegar) to prep the wool to accept the dye.  I then took a roasting tray with a rack and placed enough water in it to come up to halfway up the cake of yarn.  I then added my dye stock which was 1/2 tsp of Wilton’s Icing Gel red food colouring to half a cup of boiling water, stir to dissolve and dump in.  I also added another 3-4 tbsp of vinegar too.

DSC04439Add your yarn and bring the temp up to 170F and simmer for about an hour.  I carefully flipped the cakes over and let the second side soak for another hour.  Turn off the heat and left them to cool.  Once cool, rinse under the same temperature water, wind back into a skein and let dry.

The results are 2 very bright skeins of yarn now worthy of knitting.  I call these 2 skeins “Orange Sherbert”.

DSC04461Now with the other skein of butt-ugly greenish-gray yarn, I omitted the pre-soak to try and get the colour absorption to slow down.  Which worked a little too well as the colour didn’t penetrate as far into the cake of yarn as I would have liked.   The other steps were the same except for not pre-soaking.

DSC04453I added 1/2 tsp of cornflower blue Wiltons Icing Gel to one half, after an hour, flipped and added 1/2 tsp of violet.

The result?

DSC04468Burple ~ which is a combination of Butt Ugly and Purple.

I will re-dye this one solid purple as I really don’t like how it came out.  But heck, that is why they are called experiments as you never know exactly what you are going to get!

Deborah

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