Tuesday 26 July 2016

Local Produce Box: Week 7

Another fantastic produce box this week: salad greens, red leaf lettuce, green beans, onions, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, tomato, and kohlrabi

More lettuce simply means that we are still having a salad with every meal. I look at it this way: we can happily get our fill now and then come winter, when the lettuce from the supermarket is tasteless and expensive, we can do without; such is how it goes when you are eating in season.

And I have to specifically mention the cherry tomatoes: sweet and absolutely delicious - the way tomatoes are supposed to taste. The same can be said for the carrots as well.

When it came to cooking, I stuck to preparing simple dishes this week. Here is what we ate:
(from left to right)
  1. Cabbage Salad - recipe courtesy of last year's produce box. This salad is delicious and has become a family favorite. As soon as I opened our box this week and saw what was inside, I got to making this salad (using the cabbage, onion, and broccoli).
  2. Balsamic Honey Roasted Cabbage Steaks - recipe courtesy of Eat Well 101. I found this recipe ages ago and kept it tucked away for when I had some cabbage on hand. It was delicious. I served the 'cabbage steaks' with roasted broccoli leaves which I have mentioned here before. We grew broccoli in our garden this year and, having already harvested the crowns, we are now eating the large leaves roasted in the oven with garlic, sesame oil and soy sauce...yummy.
  3. Green Bean Salad - recipe adapted from The Forest Feast (she used purple beans, I used green). A delicious and simple salad - the pumpkin seeds and feta were a tasty touch.
  4. Accordion Zucchini - I have wanted to try this for a long time. Not surprising, the recipe is from The Forest Feast and is so tasty. 
As I work with all this fresh produce every week, in addition to the veggies that I am harvesting from our garden, I feel my confidence in the kitchen growing. Not that I was ever uncertain of myself as a cook (goodness knows I have had a lot of practice) but I now feel much more aware of what to do with certain produce, I have a greater arsenal of recipes to pull from, and I feel more and more adventurous to try something new. Having all this local produce on hand and cooking from it is an incredible learning experience for me and one that I am really enjoying.

    Sunday 24 July 2016


    "A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2016."

    A perfect summer day at the beach: swimming, diving, laughing, digging in the sand; you girls had such a great day.

    Joining in with Jodi for the 52 Week Project.

    Friday 22 July 2016

    Now is Now

    Some things that are making me happy this week:
    • My Rose of Sharon is blooming
    • Our bountiful veggie patch
    • Having completed the girls' school memory books
    • New recipes
    • Game of Thrones
    • Ice cream
    • More decluttering
    • A beach trip planned for the weekend
    • Coffee
    • A great sleep
    • Crochet 
    • Friday
    • Hearing about the girls' days at art camp....they are so excited and having such a great time creating every day
    • Make some headway, although slow, on a few of my projects
    What has made you happy this week?

    Wednesday 20 July 2016

    Local Produce Box: Week 6

    This week's box included: onions, beets, tomatoes, kohlrabi, peas, cherries, broccoli, chard, nevada lettuce, parsley, and garlic

    I cut the kohlrabi up and we ate it with hummus...delicious. Kohlrabi is a vegetable that I ate as a child from my parents' garden, but until we started getting it in our produce box it was one that I ignored at the supermarket; I'm so glad I was reintroduced to this vegetable as it has become a family favorite.

    The cherries were amazing; I needed to strictly ration myself and the girls so that we did not eat them all in one go.

    And I am still making salad, though this week's lettuce was not as tasty as in previous weeks.  

    As for cooking, here is what I prepared this week:
    (from left to right)
    1. Broccoli and Rice Casserole - recipe courtesy of Forks Over Knives The Cookbook. This dish required a great deal of prep work, made a lot of dishes, and was kind of bland tasting; not something that I would make again
    2. Millet Stuffed Chard Rolls - recipe courtesy of Forks Over Knives The Cookbook. Again, a very labor intensive dish, and while this one tasted better, it did not taste as great as it should have for all the work involved.
    3. Roasted Broccoli with Garlic - recipe adapted from The Forest Feast. A simple recipe - cue a huge sigh of relief
    4. Roasted Beets with Rosemary - recipe from The Forest Feast. Another simple one, and I used fresh rosemary from our garden.
    In my cooking this week, I reaffirmed something that I really already knew: I prefer simple dishes. This is the reason why I rave about The Forest Feast cookbook so much: the recipes have minimal ingredients, are simple to put together, and are always tasty. I'm not lazy in the kitchen, but a recipe that requires three pots, the blender, a baking tray, and a casserole dish is really a little much, especially at the end of the work day.

    When we were on vacation last summer we ate lunch at a fantastic restaurant that had some really great quotes written on the walls. One has stood out in my mind since then, "Good food is very often, even most often, simple food." After this week's marathon sessions in the kitchen (on top of planning and preparing food for Claire's birthday party) I am back to simple dishes. Let me roast some veggies with a little olive oil and sea salt and I will be a happy lady....

    Monday 18 July 2016


    "A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2016."

    Claire: In your seven-year-old face, I still see my baby girl. Happy Birthday Claire-Bear.

    Bridget: Always crafting (just like your mom). Your current project is a "very stylish" scarf that you plan to wear when you go back to school in the fall.

    Joining in with Jodi for the 52 Week Project.

    Friday 15 July 2016

    Color Block Blanket: The Beginning

    I love starting a new blanket project. Just knowing that it is a project that I am going to work on over time, through a few seasons most likely, makes me feel feel all cozy and happy. While quick makes certainly have a leg up when it comes to immediate satisfaction (and I do enjoy that as well), hunkering down for the long haul to crochet a blanket holds a special place in my heart.

    I finished my Cozy Stripe Blanket back in March and since then I have missed having a large project on-the-go. Fully committed to stash busting, I've been working on smaller projects, determined to use up some of the yarn I have at home, when one day I looked over at my yarn basket and a blanket idea popped into my head. I was sitting in my new crochet corner at the time, and there in my yarn basket were all the colors that I would need to make a blanket to coordinate perfectly with my bedroom - a colorful, happy blanket to wrap around myself when I am crocheting in my corner come the winter,  what could be more perfect.
    I decided on a simple color block blanket, something I have wanted to make for a while, and spent some time playing around with yarn snips until I found the perfect color order.
    I did have to go out and by some of the teal colored yarn - I only had a wee bit left from a previous project - but other than that all the rest of the yarn was in my stash and is now piled in my yarn basket waiting for its turn to be crocheted into my blanket.

    It is a simple pattern, just row after row of single crochet, which makes this the perfect project to work on while watching TV, while answering questions, while dinner cooks. And for now, until it gets much larger, it is fairly portable.
    I am nearing the end of the purple block and then I am on to orange...stay tuned...

    Tuesday 12 July 2016

    Local Produce Box: Week 5

    This week's box was very green: romaine lettuce, nevada lettuce, kale, onions, garlic scapes, snow peas, snap peas, shelling peas, kohlrabi, mint....and tomatoes (for a splash of red)

    With the produce this week being very similar to the last few weeks, I did not make any new recipes, but simply repeated some of our favorites:
    I also made kale chips which were devoured by my hungry munchkins.

    And with every meal we had a salad. I like to add a variety of toppings to my salads such as onions, chives, tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, pecans, raisins, cranberries...really, whatever I have on hand may end up in a salad.

    We ate the snap peas and the kohlrabi with hummus - delicious.

    And the girls shelled the other peas which I then blanched and froze to use later. I also chopped up the onion and froze it in small portions to add to future dishes.

    Great food again this week. And as we move into the middle of July I am excited to see what comes next...

    P.S. I don't often recommend things here on the blog, but Steve and I just finished watching the inspiring documentary "Cooked". It provided such an interesting look at food, cooking, the changes to our food system, the culture of food, and I would highly recommend it. 

    Monday 11 July 2016


    "A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2016."

    Claire: In a dress, your hair uncombed (though you would tell me otherwise), and learning how to throw a baseball....that's my girl.

    Bridget: I could not even guess how many times you have read this comic book...and each time with the same intense concentration.

    Joining in with Jodi for the 52 Week Project.

    Wednesday 6 July 2016

    My Little Crochet Corner

    I've claimed a spot in our bedroom and made it into a little crochet corner, a space just for me.
    It's nothing fancy - just an old chair, a table I borrowed from my Mom, my works-in-progress, and a good light - but it brings me happiness, calm, and a sense of accomplishment.

    I sit here in the early morning on weekends, if I can slip away in the afternoon, or before I go to bed at night, and crochet a few rounds. I think we all need a little time and space of our own, something that is ours alone and that feeds our soul. After I spend even a short while crafting - be it crochet or another type of craft - I feel so much calmer and at peace, so much more able to deal with and handle the busyness of life. And that is always a good thing. Also good is that slowly but surely, with more moments spent in my corner, I am making headway on my projects. And I need this. I need to feel like my creativity has a place to happen, that I can actually start and finish some of my projects. If I try and craft in the common areas of our home I am often distracted and/or drawn into something else, but here in my corner, I am alone with my hook and my yarn and I am able to finally get some of my projects done, and see some of my ideas come to life.

    My little crochet corner, my spot, thank you for all you've done so far to nourish my creative soul and bring some relaxation to my days. I hope to see you again very soon.

    Monday 4 July 2016

    Local Produce Box: Week 4

    Our produce box was very full this week: snap peas, chives, garlic scapes, oregano, strawberries, beet tops, snow peas, kohlrabi, onions, romaine lettuce, nevada lettuce, radishes.....a very bountiful box indeed.

    And here is what we ate:
    (from left to right)
    1. Mixed Green Salad (Romaine and Nevada lettuce) with Beet Tops - my own creation, topped with green onions and chives, and dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper.
    2. Kohlrabi and Radish Salad - recipe courtesy of this week's box. While it does not look like much, it was very good, so good that the girls asked for second helpings.
    3. Garlic Scape Pesto - we got this recipe in last year's box and loved it so much that we were eagerly hoping for more scapes to come our way this year so that we could make it again. We add this pesto to angel hair pasta and top it with fresh tomatoes and pine nuts; it is absolutely delicious.
    4. Lettuce Soup - an unusual recipe that came with this week's box. I thought I would give it a try as a means to use up some of the lettuce.
    I also repeated a few recipes from last week: Pea Stir-Fry with Mushrooms and Almonds and Cucumber and Strawberry Salad with Snap Peas.

    And with all that lettuce on hand, we had salad every day. I used the chives to make a Honey Chive Dressing; the recipe (from The Forest Feast) makes quite a bit and I simply stored it in a mason jar in the fridge and pulled it out throughout the week to dress our salads as needed - very handy indeed.

    Everything tastes so much better when it is fresh from the garden. Needless to say, we are eating very well around here. 

    Sunday 3 July 2016


    "A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2016."

    My two happy girls after another fantastic Canada Day camping weekend full of sun, sand, swimming, campfires, s'mores, mosquito bites, friends, forest walks, mud, imaginary games, and big smiles....

    Joining in with Jodi for the 52 Week Project.