Pumpkins

October 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

We took our two little pumpkins to a pumpkin patch for the afternoon. We have lots of Autumn and Halloweeney fun coming up. I’m excited about all the projects, hopefully some of them actually get finished!

Spiced Apples

October 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Avery has been asking for cherry pie lately.

We tried to explain that it wasn’t really cherry season at the moment, I pointed out the lack of cherries in the grocery store and how we don’t have a constant supply in the refrigerator either. He’s not entirely convinced about it all but he did allow for me to suggest making an apple pie instead. Our neighbor had recently picked the apples from her tree and had sent a ginormous amount in our direction (Thanks!!)…although Avery has been sneaking one whenever we take Keiko for a walk for the past month or so… Anyway, this Sunday morning, I attempted to enlist some help from A, but apparently peeling apples is too tiresome for a three year old. He galavanted off to the deck with his dad and brother and I got stuck in to a good 2 hours of peeling, slicing and coring. Good times.

The recipe is so simple it’s almost criminal to call it a recipe. Basically you put apples in a pan with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a bunch of spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and a little bit of ginger) and a cup or two of apple juice. Then you cook them gently (for about 30 mins, give or take) until they’re yummy and soft and taste nice. Can’t screw that up, right?! I would have thrown in some raisins, maybe some orange zest, but my husband is a purist, so this is how the apples shall be for now.

Best thing about all of this is that it’s really a decently healthy snack/desert/pie filling, whatever you want it to be. I canned it all in pint and a 1/2 jars with the intention being that it should be the ideal amount to fill a pie, whenever I actually get around to making some pastry. Although, one jar has already disappeared into a toddlers belly, he suddenly regained interest when the kitchen started smelling like spiced candy….he may have also had a little bit of help from the rest of the team.

I filled 6 jars altogether, so 9 pints of apples currently sit in our kitchen! I will probably give some to neighbors and friends but still, that’s a couple of pies in our near future. I think Avery is pretty chuffed about that.

 

A day on the town

October 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

It sometimes feels like I don’t get out much.

Not in the ways I used to anyway. In my first few years living in NYC I would spend endless hours just wandering around neighborhoods, nosing at bookstores and boutiques and delicious cafés. These days things are different. I am not complaining in the least, but the difference is notable, so it was nice to spend a leisurely morning doing some of those old things with a dear friend. I am so excited to have Cristalle living close by once more! The opportunity to chat and bake and wonder and make together, is enough to make me a little bit giddy, but we took it easy and spent our first real hang-out, drinking Blue Bottle coffee, eating macarons from Miette and wandering some of the SF streets.

love is in the air

October 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

I am forever behind on my posts

but I’m just going to jump in and update when I can!

We recently attended our good friends, Megan and James’s wedding. It was an absolutely wonderful weekend. The wedding was held in Lake Tahoe, which is only about 4 hours drive from us and is gorgeous. It was my first time visiting and I fell in love. I can’t wait to go back again in the snow!

The wedding itself was delightful. I’m not a huge “wedding” person and this is actually only the second wedding (not counting my own) that I’ve managed to attend. The laid back atmosphere and simple sophistication of the whole event was perfect. Also, they had very generously lined up babysitters for the evenings and so we even managed to wrangle a few kid free hours. Matt put together a version of a photobooth for them to capture pictures of all their guests.


It was also a certain little boy’s third birthday (I have no idea how it is possible that he’s three already) while we were there, so we managed to squeeze in a couple of special things just for him. A gondola ride up the mountain with a birds-eye view (or superman view) over the lake and a PERSONAL mini-train experience, thanks to a family friend of Megan’s. He’s still talking about it so I’m fairly sure it was a hit.

I just want to end this post wishing Megan and James all the best in their married life together. They are amazing people, both separately and together. I could not be more confident in their ability to live life to the fullest, with love and commitment.

Heart you guys.

 

Lavender Lemonade

August 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

A leftover project from the weekend.

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Avery and I had picked the lavender for this delicious treat on Sunday but we didn’t have the time to put it all together, so today, just before nap, we got stuck in. The recipe came from our facebook / pinterest group The Unmendables (which I adore! Feel free to join in!!). Of course, as usual, I deviated pretty heavily from the suggested everything.

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Firstly I have to say that this is devine! And an amazingly fun activity to do with an inquisitive 3 year old. As far as the changes I made: I used 10 lemons and almost 1/2 a cup of lavender flowers. I would actually use more lavender next time as, although the flavor is there, it’s pretty subtle and I’d like a bit more of a floral kick. I also boiled the water, lavender and sugar on the stove for about 15 minutes. I felt like the colour really deepened in this time and the solution became nice and syrupy and fragrant. I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t pour off a little bottle of lavender syrup at this point. Silly Kate. I’m also really sad that I didn’t believe that the colour change would be such a pretty one. I had Avery stirring for me to see it but I didn’t pull Matt and Oliver over or record it (I had the thought in the back of my mind but for some reason thought…nahhhh). It was amazing! The liquid goes from a dusky purple to an almost neon pink, in heavy, lemony clouds, as you add the juice. I’m considering doing another smaller batch just to catch this change. Avery and I were smitten with it.

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Oh, also, one other thing we did that I didn’t see in the recipe, we strained out the lavender flowers. I guess, maybe the results would be more flavorful if we’d left them in and I wouldn’t be complaining about it not being lavender-y enough but there’s no way I’m going to get my kid to drink lemonade with floating flowers in it. Nor my husband either, for that matter. Anyway, after we’d boiled the mix for a while, I strained them out before adding the lemon juice.

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We let the mixture cool, Avery & Oliver took their afternoon nap and then we poured ourselves a long, icy glass of pink, floral lemonade. It was delightful! I think some of us could go for it a bit sweeter but I love the tang of a sour lemonade so I’ll leave the other parties to add their extra sugar should they so desire.

Make this. It tastes nice.

<disclaimer: I did not feel stoned after drinking this. I did however feel the need to lie on the floor for about 30 minutes but I think that’s mostly to do with the two tiny boys following me around and demanding hugs/tickles/piggybacks/etc>

Amidst the chaos

August 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

It has been an action packed couple of months.

  • Trip to London, flying both ways BY MYSELF with the two boys. Actually really quite easy and almost (!) enjoyable. Travelling with kids is really no big deal, unless you make a big-ol fuss about it yourself (or you happen to have some bad luck…despite having an annoying delay, kids that did not sleep more than two winks on either flight, I was overall, very, very lucky)
  • Mini-trip to Paris with Matt and Oliver. He’s an international jet-setter before he’s even one! Gosh, I love Paris.
  • First night, first WEEKEND away from Avery!!!! He got to spend the weekend with Gran and Grandad in London. There were no complaints from either party.
  • Flight to San Diego with little O. Week at the beach with Grandma and Grandpa. Road trip back up to the bay via multiple  wonderful locations.

I have an endless list of blogposts to catch up on and another endless list of projects and things to get done or at least, to attempt. It can seem a little daunting at times like these when I just seem to be surrounded by alleyways and side streets cut through towering to-do lists but I feel rather calm and positive these days. The boys are starting to be a little more independent. Avery can pretty much go to bed on his own now, with a few extra cuddles and kisses and hand holds here and there. He very happily sleeps the entire night in his own bed (in your FACE people who said that my co-sleeping, midnight breastfeeding 1 year old would never be able to sleep on his own) he doesn’t wear diapers at all and we’ve only had one or two nighttime accidents. I couldn’t be more proud of the little guy. Oliver falls asleep with me in our  bed mostly  but he’ll happily sleep in his crib until the early hours when he wakes up for a snack. Anyway, the point of all of this is that we’re actually starting to get a little bit of alone time in the evenings. We watched The Grey the other night and made it all the way through the movie in one night!! With only a couple of interruptions!!! Doesn’t sound like a lot, but that’s a pretty big deal. I’m also starting to relax the amount of work I’m taking on a bit, at least, I’m trying to. I am generally awake with the boys throughout the day, doing all the fun (exhausting) stuff and then once they’re finally sleeping, I tuck into my work, often not making it to bed myself until the early hours. This schedule doesn’t actually bother me much at all except for the fact that it leaves no time at all for me to draw/write/make/bake/read or just hang out with my lovely husband. So, that’s what I’m working on fixing, and I’m getting there. Slowly.

One step at a time.

 

Lemon Ginger Simple Syrup

March 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

There are few things that I go to the trouble of doing just for myself.

Generally, if I’m not doing it for someone else as well, then it’ll get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list and eventually, probably just fall off. This is most certainly NOT the case for this syrup. Matt is not a fan of bold, sour, spicy flavors and the combo of ginger and lemon might be one of his all time least favorite things, however, I could drink it by the gallon!

I stumbled across it mostly by accident after making limoncello for gifts over the holidays. I had around 20 peeled lemons and no ideas what to do with them. I also had a chunk of fresh ginger that I needed to use up as my ginger cookies were just never going to get made. I juiced the lemons, threw the ginger in the food processor and then dumped it into a pan with some scoops of sugar and boiled it up for about an hour. I didn’t really know what I was going to do with it but I strained it into a bottle and popped it into the fridge. That night I tipped a bit into a mug with some hot water and rum and instantly, heaven. Matt snarled and wrinkled his nose in disgust. More for me! It’s fantastic for creating cocktails, just having with some hot water in the evening, or on ice cream…I could go on and on. I polished off that bottle within a fortnight and have been on the fence about making another batch ever since. Today, I couldn’t take it any more and made it official by writing down the recipe!

Lemon Ginger Simple Syrup.

7 lemons (this works out as about 2 cups of juice)

1 chunk of fresh ginger (3 tbsp chopped)

1 cup water

2 cups sugar

The best way to chop the ginger is to just throw the chunk into a food processor. You don’t have to worry about taking the skin off as you’ll be straining the ginger out later anyway.

Put all ingredients into a large pan and heat over high heat until it boils. Lower the heat slightly and let it bubble for 10 minutes, stirring regularly to make sure it doesn’t stick.  Turn the heat off and cover. Let the syrup sit for around an hour. This step isn’t essential but it really gets the most out of the ginger and that’s a huge bonus for me.

Uncover and return to the heat. Boil until bubbling happily and then continue to boil for 20 minutes while stirring to prevent sticking. You’ll want to do a taste test at this point (remember to let it cool on the spoon before putting it in your mouth! this stuff is HOT!). You might want to add a touch more sugar, depending on taste. When you’re happy with the flavor, turn off the heat and let it cool. It should be thickening slowly as it cools, ending up at a nice pouring consistency. The longer you boil, the thicker it’ll end up.

Strain the syrup into a large measuring jug and then, with a funnel, pour the mixture into a bottle that you can seal up and keep (or gift. Reluctantly). After it has completely cooled, it’s best to keep it in the refrigerator. I mostly add it to soda water for a refreshing “ginger ale” or to hot water for a yummy, warming drink.

Enjoy!

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