Monday, March 14, 2016

Glimpses of...March 6 - 12

Feb. Temperature Blanket
Micro Greens
Flourless, No Bake, Chocolate Almond Bites

It was 17*C when we took this walk.  Such a beautiful day spent with lovely people.  A mix of dry grass, water, slush, ice, mud and snow for a trail.  It was the best way to break in new shoes!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Flourless, No Bake, Chocolate Almond Bites

Are you thinking you would like something a little sweet...chocolatey...crunchy...oh, and a little salty?  This is the recipe you have been looking for.  Plus, they only take a few minutes to make up with no flour and no baking.  They do go in the fridge for a while, but seriously, you can eat them without the fridge time.

These little bites are absolutely delicious!  They are sweetened with the dates, which are sticky enough to also hold them together.  AND they are healthy!  Dates, almonds, coconut oil, sea salt and chocolate...what's not to love?

Even the kids love them!  My 15 year old hates dates but loves these bites and frequently asks me to make them.  He was washing up the lunch dishes when I was putting this batch together and was repulsed and fascinated that I always make them with dates!  He was thinking I was trying to sneak something healthy into the bites when he wasn't looking.

If some how your family does not enjoy these chocolatey, round, drops from heaven...GOOD.  More for you.  These are perfect for when you get a craving for "something" sweet and salty and crunchy.  And if you make them bite sized, you can have 2 or three little mouthfuls to enjoy while seeing to that need.

Chocolate Almond Bites

1 1/2 cups whole almonds
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup of dates + a few more
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Chop up the almonds in a food processor until crumb like.
Add the cocoa powder, salt, coconut oil and 1 cup of dates.  Process until the dates are ground up and sticking everything together.  Add more dates, if needed, to make the bites hold together.

Form into bite sized balls and lay out on a parchment cover cookie sheet.  Put in the fridge or freezer to firm up.  Store in an air tight container, in the fridge.

These would be even more delectable coated with dark chocolate and sprinkled with a few grains of sea salt!

My plan was to take photo's of these in a pretty dish, all staged and lovely but, you see, I blinked...and the kids ate them all.  That's what happens in my house.  

My inspiration for this recipe!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Micro Greens: Growing Pea Shoots Indoors

Dry pea seeds.
It is the deep, dark winter here...and by deep and dark I mean not really.  This is the mildest, snowy-less winter I can ever remember.  The sun has been bright and beautiful most days and the temperature just warm enough to make you wonder if you need your winter jacket when you go out. Still, nothing will grow in the frozen earth.

But, you see, I have an itch.  An itch to work in the earth and to make food grow!  An itch for sun and warmer days.  I itch for the green that you can only see in the first shoots of spring after the cold, grey winter, in the rays of the mornings warming sun.

I wanted to have some lovely fresh greens to nourish my family.  I admit, it was out of fear, too.  We are dependant on the grocery store.  If I want fruits and veggies, I will need to pay what they tell me to pay.  Or...we can become less dependent.  What if I took back some of that power and freed myself, a bit, from the fear of not being able to nourish my family...of not having enough.  I decided that we needed to DO something.  So do, we did!

Micro greens are (one of) my new favourite hobby.  More specifically, growing pea shoot since that is the only micro green I have tried, as of yet.

Pea seeds soaking.
I researched online but I was having difficulty trying to find a supplier of organic pea seeds from Canada.  Don't like paying the exchange and shipping, let me tell you!  After many long hours looking and looking on line, I happened into my local health food store and found Organic Peas for sale.  Why not see if they would grow!  They cost me $3.  Crazy, right!  The prices on line would have cost at least $12 for the same amount...then exchange...then Canada.

So, for $3, the use of a little potting soil I had laying around and the plastic clam shell that salad greens come in at the grocery store, I was able to grow some fantastic, tasty and nutritious pea shoots!

They are so very easy to grow and a great project to do with kids.  Start with your seeds a few days before you want to plant.  Put about 1/4 cup of the seeds into a glass and add spring water to cover.  Swirl the clean the seeds and remove any half seeds or broken ones...they will not grow.  Pour off the water and add more clean spring water to cover the seeds plus two inches.  Let them soak for 6-12 hours, changing the water once.  The seeds will have absorbed water and be much larger now.  Pour off the water and let the glass, with the seeds inside, lay on it's side for 12 hours.  Then you want to rinse the seeds with spring water and lay the glass, with the seeds, on it's side again, for 12 more hours.  Keep rinsing and leaving it lay until you see the seeds begin to sprout.

Soaked peas, drained and sprouting.
When the seeds begin sprouting, get the soil ready for planting.  I mixed potting soil with vermicompost at a 4-1 ratio.  I don't know if it is necessary to use the vermicompost because of the short time the seed grow before they are eaten but I have it, and I'm itching to use it.

 Moisten the soil.  I had to mix in a container large enough that I wouldn't be flinging the soil everywhere but still small enough that my youngest wouldn't decide to climb in if he found it while I happened to blink.  The cat was not allowed to even smell it.  She was kept in another room.  No cats aloud by potting soil...just NO.

This is my vermicompost from my wonderful
indoor worm bin.

You will need to make drainage holes in the plastic clam shell you are using for the pot.  Poked holes in the bottom of the clam shell plastic with a knife, carefully, because it is not very sturdy and you will need to support it with your hand whilst trying to jab a knife through.  Next, add two inches of the moistened soil/vermicompost to the bottom of your makeshift planter and gently pressed the soil down.  Not too much. You want the soil to be easy for the seedling to push roots through.  They are not going to need much support because you will be harvesting them when they reach 4-6 inches.

Sprinkle your sprouted seeds on top of the soil.  You want them to be planted thick and close together.  Remember, these are not going to grow out to full size.  They do not need much space.  Cover the seeds with more soil.  Just cover them...don't bury them.  A quarter to half an inch is great.

The fun and messy parts are now done.  Clean up your mess and put the planted clam shell on the lid as a drip tray and place everything in a bright window.  For me that would be a south facing window.  As luck would have it, my worm bin sits under a south facing window and has plenty of space on top for growing lovely sprouts!

As the peas start to grow, monitor for moisture and rotate the planter every day or two to keep the seedlings from straining towards the light.  Harvest in 7-10 days when the pea shoots are 4-6 inches tall.  Oh my!  That first bite of pea shoot after months of store bought, barely edible greens...I can't even tell you what that is like.

If you are anything like me, you could end up with many more pea shoot than you can eat.  When I have more than we can eat fresh, I dehydrate and grind them up for future use in smoothies and the such!

These are freakishly delicious.  Scratched my itch for the moment.

Hurry up, Spring!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Glimpses of...Feb. 28 - Mar. 5

Ever have one of those days where no one can get along with anyone else?  We had one.  The crazies were so thick in the house you could take a step without some of them sticking to your foot. They are tough things to get off, too.

A day full of crazies at home makes a great day to go for a walk.  Crazies seem to go on vacation for a few days when you add fresh air and activity to children.

My, how the kids are growing and growing!  

And then, the Cat!  He looks so comfy laying there.  



Thursday, March 3, 2016

Crocheted Temperature Blanket

Oh how I love to crochet!

It is so lovely how the stitches build on each other.  

I've been work on a project that will span the entire year.  365 days.  I am taking a piece of each day in 2016...each day of my life...the lives of my children...and capturing it and crocheting it into a tangible record of US.

We sit every night while, winding down our day, on the couch, the kids and I.  We sit and watch something on TV and I lay the blanket over us while I begin to crochet "today's" row.  And I build todays row, like I did yesterday and I will do again tomorrow.  Slowly, stitch by stitch, then row by row, the memories and days and conversations and cuddles and love are built into this blanket.

Except, for when I don't get around to it for a week.  Then it's a marathon of crazy mad crocheting and trying to remember what row/day I'm on and getting the kids to check what I wrote down as the temperature for three days, four days ago...and don't talk to me right now I trying to remember where I'm at.  Until...finally getting to todays row, I can relax...I'll do this row tomorrow, right?

(This is what the blanket looked like at the end of January.)

(These colours are much closer to the actual, true colour.)

(Folded over a few times...trying to hide the ends I haven't woven in, yet.)

On the right is New Years Day and on the left is the end of February.  February was very warm!  

My lovely niece is building snippets of her life into a blanket as well over at The Knotted Home if you would like to take a look at her beautiful work.

And if you like my Temperature Blanket, check out some more of my Arts and Crafty stuff.