I haven’t posted much in the last year. I got caught up with working… and it wasn’t so much that work itself took up too much time for me to blog, but as a web editor, mostly working with blog posts, I wasn’t inspired to do much of my own writing. And as D. got older I wasn’t sure if I wanted to drift towards “mommy blogging” or try to keep her out of it as much as possible. So, I stopped.

But now I’m leaving the aforementioned job, and while I might have less time available than before, I might be inspired to at least start posting recipes and projects again. I recently made a spreadsheet of all of our preserved and stockpiled food! But just in case I don’t start posting again, here are a few of the blogs I read that are basically doing the same things I am, but take better photos and/or write better! :)

The Local Kitchener – A stay-at-home dad in Waterloo Region posts his locally sourced meal plans and other neat food projects.

Northwest Edible Life – A mother in Cascadia who, you know, gardens and preserves and stuff. And writes really well.

Little City Farm – Our neighbours! 

Sweet Madeleine – More of a lifestyle blog, but with touches of green living, and quite humourous. Her daughter is just about the same age as D.

Casaubon’s Book – An environmentalist who has written several books about peak oil, living frugally and so on. Her blog has turned from not only being about environmental issues but also about fostering and adoption! (As of this month she has five kids!)

Offbeat Home – Not quite a blog, but I read just about everything this site puts out. Topics for everyone from all ages, backgrounds, and lifestyles to enjoy! 


I’ve had a busy week with two yoga classes, two climbing sessions, and a fair bit of other activity, so today at the Digs we treated ourselves to some delicious eats!

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Emu steak and poutine

For dinner we had emu steak from the market, with local potatoes, CSA carrots and daikon radish as the base of a poutine with mushroom gravy and market cheese curds. As both an appetizer and dessert we had carrot cake, also with CSA carrots and many other local ingredients. The inspiration for the carrot cake was the discovery of (on sale!) organic cream cheese from Organic Meadow. I had done a quick internet search for maple carrot cake but the first results were mostly about maple cream cheese frosting. Then I remembered the Maple Syrup Cookbook from which I adapted the following recipe.

 

Maple Spelt Kamut Hazelnut Carrot Cake Recipe

  • 4 eggs
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A small piece of maple carrot cake

  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil (I used sunflower
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup kamut flour
  • 1 1/2 cups hazelnut meal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • approx. 4 cups grated carrots

Scrape into a 9×13 pan or two pans that equal those dimensions. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees. The recipe had specific instructions on mixing dry and wet separately, etc. but I don’t let those kinds of rules tie me down. I varied the recipe a bit. It called for light vegetable oil, sour cream instead of yogurt, whole-wheat and all-purpose flours, and finely ground almond, which I replaced with the dumpstered hazelnut meal we’ve had in the freezer for about a year. I also omitted lemon juice and orange zest (due to not being a fan of citrus-y baked goods), allspice (due to not having any) and raisins (not a fan and we don’t have any). The recipe also called for 2 cups of carrots, but that just didn’t seem like enough.

The icing was cream cheese and, surprise surprise, maple syrup, mixed together. Yum!

[Edited to add that the only good thing about not being able to fall asleep tonight was that I heard the strange dog-related sounds coming from the kitchen. Upon investigation Nala had gnawed off the top of one of the carrot cakes that I'd left on the counter when Dewi got cranky at bedtime. Silly dog. At least I got there before she ate the whole thing!]


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Our Dewdrop is three months old today! She goes through a lot of phases it seems these days – fussy a little more than the first few months but still pretty cheery. Perhaps next month I’ll post about what it’s been like having her with me at work (mostly great though occasionally stressful!).

Last Sunday Dewi was quite content and fell asleep in her kitchen swing several times throughout the day leaving me lots of time to cook and bake. I made fairly normal spelt/kamut bread and tempeh pasta sauce from our canned tomatoes. I finally took down the mint that had been drying in the office and put it into jars. Both spearmint and chocolate mint, yum! And I finally found a gluten-free vegan muffin recipe I like!

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Adapted from Florida Coastal Cooking

4 tbsp ground flax seed + 12 tbsp water (vegan “eggs”)
1 cup olive oil
2/3 c honey
2 cups shredded zucchini
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon and/or pumpkin pie spice
2 cups sorghum flour
1 cup quinoa flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1 tsp sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Mix the flax egg and set aside for about 5 minutes. Mix the olive oil, honey, zucchini and vanilla in a medium bowl.  Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt; mix until just wet and ingredients are combined; fold in chocolate chips.

2. Pour batter into 18 or 24 greased muffin tins.  Bake about 18 minutes or until browned and a knife comes out clean.

J. made them with carrot instead of zucchini and they were tasty but a little crumbly, so I think I’ll try them with some applesauce in the mix next time and see if it holds a bit better.


Today’s title is punny! Here’s why:

1. It was 12 degrees today. It’s January. Dan planted garlic, since the last time weather was like this we had a teeny tiny baby and less energy than we do now.

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2. Awhile ago I decided to finally chop the hot peppers we had been drying in the kitchen. I underestimated how hot they are, and had to stop since I was using my bare hands. The peppers sat on a cutting board in the kitchen for weeks – I had a very doubtful hope that someone else might take on the task since I was worried I might burn the babies eyes, but alas, they continued to sit. Tonight I realized that the new gloves I bought for the bathroom could be inaugurated with the pepper chopping task before being relegated to the bathroom.

In conclusion, my nostrils are burning (but my hands are not).

PS. Would anyone like to trade for some jam? I overestimated the Digs’ ability to eat large quantities of the stuff. I have grape jelly, apple butter, strawberry jam, nectarine jam (regular, curry and cayenne), tomato jam and plum jam. They come in a variety of sizes and are all no/low sugar (honey & maple syrup only).


The second month of Dewi’s life has slowed down considerably compared to the first month. We are starting to get into some routines, which will be even more necessary when I start a bit of work in January, though I’ve enjoyed having this winter holiday to relax a bit longer before life speeds up again. I’ve actually been waiting weeks to write this post, since there hasn’t been much else to commemorate in the last few weeks until Dewi turned two months old today!

I caved and got a fancy new phone even though my old one hadn’t quite bitten the dust yet. But now I’ll be able to take much better photos of the baby and skype with my sister more easily and blog more and on and on. The gluten-free chocolate cupcakes recipe gets a lot of hits, so I might try to start posting more recipes. I’m hoping to cut WAY back on sugar and yeast in the new year, which should be interesting since I already avoid

Sleeping in her swing

Sleeping in her swing

both of those to a pretty good degree. I also want to get back to a more vegetarian diet, by cutting out pork completely and trying to cook beans/lentils far more often. If anyone has any favourite recipes for bean &/or lentil dishes please let me know!

Some neighbours dropped off a swing for us after Dewi was born, and I moved it into the kitchen so I’d be able to start doing dishes and cooking again, and the small amount of battery power left sometimes kicks in and magically rocks her to sleep. She can now also sit in the swing or her car seat and just babble for up to an hour! It’s pretty amazing, watching her grow and change already! But I am certainly savouring these early days, just like everyone tells me to. Being a mom is pretty great, folks!

In closing, I recommend you learn a bit about Idle No More, if you’re not already in the know. This holiday season my house is trying to get through a 27-pound turkey, while Chief Theresa Spence is on a hunger strike until she can meet with Stephen Harper about her community of Attawapiskat.  I don’t want my daughter to grow up in a country where indigenous sovereignty is not recognized and the living environment is not valued, so hopefully things start to change across turtle island!

 


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Dewi at two weeks old, skin still peeling (it happens after sitting in amniotic fluid for the full 42 weeks!)

It’s been one month since our dear daughter Dieuwke was born. And what a wonderful month it has been. She came into the world on the floor right in front of our bed (well, into the hands of midwives just above the floor), as seen in the picture below. This picture has 5/6 of our house family (not including our furry friends), plus one grandma/oma/omi/nanny, on the very day that Dewi was born. Though she was born at 1:38AM, so it’s almost like the day after her birth since we got to sleep in between. We are still keeping up our eco-friendly habits, whether it’s cloth pads for me, cloth diapers for Dewi, or simply not driving around with her in the car to get her to sleep. That’s what babywearing is for! ImageWe’re very grateful for all the support we’ve received, from the midwives and our doula who brought her into the world, to everyone who has supported us financially, emotionally and materially. We have more than enough clothing to keep her warm this winter (if we have a son next he’s going to be wearing a lot of pink though!).

Life is slowly getting back to “normal”, and hopefully more homesteading posts will come along soon!


The Inventory

20Oct12
Pumpkin Muffins

2 dozen large pumpkin muffins and 2 dozen mini muffins, gone in days

I’ve been meaning to make an inventory of all of our preserved food so we know how often to open a new jar of pickles or how quickly we can go through our frozen fruit before feeling sad that there is no more. However, I lost my nesting urge pretty much right around my due date (I am 41 weeks today!) and for the last week I have been completely avoiding any homemaking activities besides making K.’s sandwiches in the morning and ensuring that she eats breakfast.  Today I finally felt a wee bit inspired and dug through the freezer and cold room to come up with the following list. I also chopped up two bunches of kale, tossed them with oil and salt and put them in the dehydrator, so hopefully I’ll be able to add kale chips to the list soon! (Also if you were thinking of bringing us food once baby arrives but this list makes you think we don’t need it – you’re wrong! With five people in the house we go through anything edible very quickly, so we’d appreciate any tastiness anyone would like to offer).

Freezer:

  • 1 gluten-free apple pear pie
  • 2 bags chocolate zucchini maple walnut muffins
  • 7 shepherds pies
  • 4 bags soup

    Seven shepherd’s pies, made with ground turkey and love.

  • 1 bag chocolate beet carrot muffins
  • 1 bag pumpkin muffins
  • 3 bags peaches
  • 3 bags green beans
  • 7 whole peaches
  • 2 bags plum purée
  • 2 bags strawberries
  • 1 bag grated zucchini
  • 1 bag pancakes
  • 3 containers pesto
  • 1 bag cherry tomatoes
  • 1 jar amaranth
  • 12 bags of blueberries
  • 1 large chocolate beet cake
  • 16 turkey burgers
  • 2 9×12 lasagnas
  • 2 9×9 lasagnas
  • 2 bags of grapes
  • 1 bag of oatmeal cookies

Preserves (by the jar):

Four lasagnas for the freezer – some topped with cheese, some with tomatoes

  • 12 maple vanilla peaches
  • 7 whole plums in syrup
  • 7 plum jam
  • 2 strawberry jam
  • 7 grape jelly
  • 2 maple nectarines
  • 4 spicy nectarine jam
  • 3 garam masala nectarine jam
  • 3 plain nectarine jam
  • 6 apple butter
  • 8 apple sauce (4 plain, 4 spiced)
  • 13 pickled asparagus
  • 3 relish
  • 8 pickled beets
  • 9 pickles (1 sweet)
  • 1 dilly beans
  • 28 tomatoes
  • 10 ketchup
  • 3 tomato jam
  • 10 pears in syrup

Other:

  • 2 jars dehydrated apple chips (hidden away in my office so they actually survive for more than a few days)

    Dehydrated apple chips. Days of effort, but totally worth it.

  • 6 bunches dried mint (spearmint and chocolate mint)
  • 7 dried calendula blossoms
  • 1 jar dried chamomile
  • approx. 7 dried peppers (some was turned into hot sauce recently)

Prepared by others, stored throughout the house:

  • 3 jars salsa
  • 2 small jars frozen elderberries
  • 1 bag frozen rhubarb
  • 4 pkgs frozen tempeh
  • 2 jars pickled beets
  • 1 jar blueberry rhubarb jam
  • 1 jar pickles
  • 1 jar apple butter
  • 1 jar red peppers in oil
  • 1 jar zucchini jam
  • 4 pkgs assorted frozen organic chicken
  • 1 big box of dog meat (ground turkey)
  • 30 L of water from Site 41
  • 1 bu gala apples
  • 1/2 bu empire apples



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