Here Comes the Rain

Rain showers my spirit and waters my soul. ~ Emily Logan Decens

Last week was wet! I know you’re thinking the PNW is well known for being wet. Most of the time it’s a light rain or more of a mist.  Actually downpours don’t happen that often. Last week was an exception. Naturally, every day the British Hubby and I wanted to hike it was down-pouring. Hiking in this type of weather isn’t that much fun.

Our next idea was to cook! If you haven’t guessed yet, I like to cook, bake and eat. We bought a ham from our new favorite butcher. My favorite way to make ham is this simple recipes glazed ham. It was fantastic with our leftover brussels sprouts. 004.JPGNext I made this low carb/low sugar pumpkin cheese cake. Instead of using a graham cracker crust that is full of sugar, I made a coconut macaroon crust. Next, I only added half the sugar. I use an organic coconut palm sugar that isn’t as sweet as regular sugar. This made a fantastic holiday dessert. Although, I still think my Ginger Pumpkin Fudgy Flaxseed Cake may still be one of my all time favorite no carb/no sugar adaptations. I’ve been thinking I need to make a Christmas themed one maybe with cranberries? 009Most important this past week was all the time spent snuggling! IMG_20171121_1935506.jpgIt’s the end of the month and I only have one completed wip so far, eek. I was hoping to get three or four done this month. Let’s see how many I can finish in the next few days.

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Sprouts, Sausages and Sales

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. ~ Harriett van Horne

I’m a feeder. I grew up with a large extended family that liked to eat. My grandma cooked everything from scratch. No boxes or mixes in her kitchen. The British Hubby says I learned how to cook for an army. Then I had to relearn how to cook for two people. Okay, it’s debatable if I actually mastered that last one. I always cook more food than we actually need. It’s a good thing we love leftovers. This week I had a chance to try a few new recipes and a new butcher. IMG_20171121_1815148A few years ago, I tried a broccoli casserole that tasted great, but gave us such horrible gas that we didn’t finish the dish. Since then, I’ve been a bit skeptical to try a new cooked vegetable dish. Our no carbs and no sugar quest meant I needed to rethink our traditional holiday foods. (All though our Thanksgiving holiday is anything but traditional, it has been a bit carb heavy in the past.) I came across this brussels sprouts recipe. I made a few adaptations by using salad cream instead of mayo (The British Hubby isn’t a mayo fan) and using cheddar cheese instead of swiss. (That last change was an accident.) The recipe was easy to make and could be prepared ahead if you’re feeding a crowd. IMG_20171121_1856195This was my first attempt at cooking brussels sprouts as well as eating cooked ones. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. The salad cream gives them a nice tangy flavor. While, this didn’t replace my all time favorite cooked veggie, asparagus, this is a nutritious low carb and high fiber side dish that I would make again. 002.JPG

Next we had sausage taste test. We tried a new to us local butcher. The British Hubby was very excited to see they make Bangers in house. Naturally, our first trip had several of those in our cart. We also tried some chicken curry sausages. The Bangers didn’t live up to the British Hubby’s expectations. Personally, I thought they were quite delicious, but the British Hubby thinks the spices weren’t quite right. The chicken curry ones are fantastic! An exact replica of a proper take out curry in the form of a breakfast sausage. I can’t wait to try more flavors. 009My local Ben Franklin Store has already started holiday sales. I’m constantly impressed with the selection at this local store. I went in for some fabric to start a few holiday gifts and was pleasantly surprised to find all yarn 20% off. To my delight they had several new colors of Malabrigo in stock. I had a difficult time deciding, but I finally chose a Renaissance in Mechita. Check out the neat fabric I found. I’m especially excited about the cats in space. 002.JPGErnie maybe to tired to craft, but stay tuned for plenty of gift giving ideas. I’m a fan of giving small handmade items that can be used through out the year.

Celebrating Life: No Workie this Weekie!

Tolerance and celebration of individual differences is the fire that fuels lasting love. ~ Tom Hannah

Today is the very first day of a nine day Thanksgiving Break the British Hubby and I have together. My day job completely closes the week of American Thanksgiving so the British Hubby uses some of his vacation time so we can have time off together. Our kitchen calendar reads, “No workie this weekie!” 005I started the nine day celebration of with a fantastic cup of Autumn Almond Chai. It’s great as tea or in a tea latte. On a whim, I joined a tea club last Spring. It was the best gift I could give to myself. If you are holiday shopping for a tea lover, I highly recommend signing them up for a tea club. Amazing loose leaf teas come right to my door! A tea lovers dream. 006My lovely cuppa was a perfect pairing with the Thanksgiving Fudgy Flax Cake I made. I made a few adaptations to the original recipe. I added some chopped up crystallized ginger pieces along with cinnamon spice, all spice, nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice. This lovely chocolate cake now has a little bit of a kick. I think I prefer our holiday version to the original. 001.JPGWhat’s in store for the next nine days? A low carb and sugar free culinary feast including a few new recipes, hiking, riding Ulysses and plenty of crafting. Ernie is preparing for nine solid days of snuggling.

Stay tuned of tales of our outdoor adventures.

Bonfire Night & The Second Snow

Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have. It is the very last inch of us, but within that last inch, we are free. ~ V for Vendetta

November 5 is Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes night in Britain. This is one of my favorite British holidays. I love that they celebrate an attempt to blow-up parliament. This mild mannered tea drinking culture wants the people in power to remember the 5th of November. The British Hubby and I watch V for Vendetta every year. Typically, we eat sausage rolls with quality street treats from our favorite British supplier. This year we settled for bangers, veggies and more tomato soup (sans the bread). 010

I also started the first of many Cable KAL projects, Bonfire Headband, using Malabrigo Rios in Niebla. 005.JPG

We also had another round of snow. Since turning on the heat six days ago, we’ve had two days of snow fall and about three inches of snow! I suspect this is going to be a great snow shoe year. I know you’re probably wondering why the British Hubby and I haven’t been hiking or out on Ulysses in a bit. We’re preparing for a family event in the Midwest. I know I’m missing my nature fixes, but sometimes one has to make sacrifices for your loved ones. IMG_20171106_1752284.jpg

Speaking of sacrifices, look at how Ernie instead to sit this evening. Secretly, I think it’s because he wants his own Malabrigo Caracol Cape. I really wasn’t sure when I finished this project if I would wear it. I wear it all the time. It’s perfect for wearing around the house doing chores or cuddling with Ernie trying to knit.

The First Snow

There’s just something beautiful about walking in snow that nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe your special. ~ Carol Brunt

We’ve had some chilly spells already in the PNW, but I certainly wasn’t expecting snow already. Yesterday on my morning run, it started out raining and changed over to sleet/snow. By the time I was ready to leave for the day job, we had a good covering on the yard. IMG_20171103_0605099.jpgIt seemed only natural the British Hubby and I would celebrate the first snow of the season with a pot of homemade tomato soup. We love to eat tomato soup, but I had never made it myself. I started out using this Tesco recipe, but added a few more ingredients. Extra ingredients include some bacon pieces, a little bit of cream and a variety of spices. I wanted to soup to have some depth in the flavors. Yes, you do see a french roll in the photo below. We had a little carb treat. It felt so decadent having bread!

I’m also celebrating life this month by casting on a few new projects. Okay, maybe more than a few. You know I can never resist a good KAL. The Malabrigo Junkies group is doing a Cable KAL for November. You can use any Malabrigo yarn and any pattern that contains a cable. It’s an informal KAL so no prizes other than the joy of crafting with Malabrigo and of course plenty of fun and encouragement. 007.JPGThis photo has six potential new projects. I know casting on new projects is counter productive to having less wips. Let’s see how many I actually cast on. 010.JPGIsn’t Gracie cute? She was snoring when I took this photo.

Sunday Dinner

Do what makes your soul shine.

In Autumn and Winter, the British Hubby and I love having a proper Sunday dinner with roasted vegetables and pudding. I must say, I do miss the roasted garlic sweet potatoes I used to make. Since we’ve gone sugar free and carb free, I thought we would have to forego Sunday dinners. I recently discovered this chicken recipe, Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Stuffed with Herb Cream Cheese . It was so decadent. It seemed like we were having chicken with gravy and mashed potatoes. It was amazing!

Once a month we get to have a dessert. So I tried this flax fudge brownies. This was another great recipe from The Complete Low Carb Cookbook. It turned out to be a cross between chocolate cake and bread pudding. With a hint of cream, it’s also amazing. It’s hard to believe these recipes are both low carb and low sugar. Bring on the healthy eating. This week I hit my first weight loss goal. I’ve officially lost more than 10 kilos since we made the change to no carb and no sugar. The British Hubby is down almost 15 kilos.

Burt and I spent a good part of the afternoon winding yarn. I’m getting ready to cast on a few more projects. 006.JPG

I think Burt is trying to figure out how the loom works. Or maybe it’s a new sleep spot? 008.JPG

Inspired by Orange

I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Autumn is one of my favorite seasons. I love watching the fall foliage colors emerge on trees. There are a few trees on my morning run route that are simply stunning. I almost forget I’m working out when I see them in the moonlight (yes, it’s still dark when I run). 004.JPG

The trees inspired my soup choice this week. I tried pumpkin soup from Quick and Easy Low Carb. This was my first time making pumpkin soup. The British Hubby was a little skeptical. I introduced him to pumpkin pie so he was unsure how this dessert staple would make a good soup. I’m happy to report we both think it’s fantastic! I think this is my new favorite fall soup. The pepitas provide a nice crunch. This recipe is going into immediate soup rotation.

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“Hey, where did all these socks come from?”

I know it seems like I hardly have time to knit any more between my day job, weaving classes, hiking and Ulysses. I’ve found small snippets to squeeze in a few rows here and there. I started six pairs of socks during July and August. I still think I’m on track to finish them all yet this year. (I know you’re doubting this statement, but I’m sticking to it.)

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“This photo shoot is going to cost you years of treats!”

Sock Update: 

  • Shark Bait II: I’m working on the foot. About every other day, I measure it to see if it’s long enough to start the toe. It’s not yet.
  • Junkie U: This was an impulse cast on that I’m glad I started. These are so bright and cheerful. I’m going to love wearing them on those gloomy rainy days. I’m on the leg of sock two.
  • TDS 5.2.17: This is sock is interesting. I made few modifications to the pattern that I’m not sure were for the best, but in for a penny in for a pound. I’m on the toe of sock one.
  • Watermelon: These are my socializing-traveling-don’t need to look at a pattern socks. I’m not making steady progress on them yet.
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    “Tucked up with knitting, what could be better?”

    The month is half over. I only have one finished wip so far this month. Just two weeks to finish two more.