Monday, June 30, 2014

Quietness & Solitude

Quiet beauty. Fragrance. Flutter.

The meadow is lush and green, thanks to the cool and rainy weather of June.

It was a cabin day. 

Sudo, the city dog, is taking it all in and seems to find that country life appeals to her too.

The view from our perch on the point. 

Yarrow fills the meadow.

We found a turkey feather near the fire pit. We didn't see any turkeys today, but they are around. We captured a flock of them on our cabin camera this week. The photos showed that they were quite content in the companionship of a beautiful deer. The cabin camera also revealed that a bobcat and coyote walked right on by at a leisurely pace during one night last week.

Sudo can run super fast! That's what greyhounds do! And since she is a sight-hound with inbred tendencies to run, we are extra careful to keep her near. Her leash is retractable, so she has good range. She's still a puppy and in training to return immediately when called. We are taking extra care not to lose her while she's in our care.

The wildflowers are beautiful and abundant right now. 

Sudo enjoyed exploring around the homestead cabin on the other side of the meadow. It needs a new coat of paint, but in the meantime, I am enjoying its chippy wear.

At dusk the woods can seem very dark!

Time for a bit of a rest before we return home.

Sudo was tired after her busy day. She was zonked out as soon as the truck was on the road. As we neared the base of the mountain we saw some deer right beside the road. We stopped to enjoy them. They were so contented eating from the pea field that they barely looked up! Sweet peas were all that they were concerned with. And sleep was all Sudo cared about. Quietness and solitude. Nature. Respite. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sudo & Sweden

We are loving having Sudo staying with us for awhile. She has adapted to our household very well. In fact, I'm afraid she is becoming very spoiled! The world revolves around her and she thinks that is the way it is supposed to be. Even Ms. Schnauzer has taken a secondary role to sweet Sudo. Every day they spend time playing together; pulling tug-of-war with a pair of socks or taking turns chewing up a piece of cardboard. Such fun! I'm sure she misses her master and mistress, but she doesn't seem to be pining away. It's a good thing, because they are far away.

The master {also called my oldest son} is doing a good job of sending pictures from their journey. This one came with the caption: Somewhere over Nunavut. Sometimes Earth looks very alien. 

Do you know where Nunavut is? I had forgotten and had to look it up again.
  • Nunavut is the largest, northernmost and newest territory of Canada. It was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, via the Nunavut Act and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act, though the boundaries had been contemplatively drawn in 1993. The creation of Nunavut resulted in the first major change to Canada's political map since the incorporation of the new province of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1949. Nunavut comprises a major portion of Northern Canada, and most of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Its vast territory makes it the fifth-largest country subdivision in the world, as well as the largest in North America. {Wikipedia}

From the bridge connecting Djurgården to Östermalm

Their flight took them to Amsterdam where they changed planes and flew on to Stockholm, Sweden. It is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe that is known for agriculture, vast areas of forestland, and Vikings! After seeing a few pictures, I think it must also be known for its beautiful, cheerful colors! 

Somewhere in Stockholm

It seems timely that Sweden has been in the news this past week with the announcement that Prince Carl Philip is engaged to a lovely woman named Sofia Hellqvist. PrinceCarl Philip is third in line to the throne and the second oldest child of King Carl XVI and Queen Silvia. I'm always interested in royalty, no matter what country they are from. And with Sweden in my radar screen, this was a fitting announcement.

Vaxholm, Sweden

Vaxholm, Sweden

Hembygdsgård Vaxholm 

As a {semi} faithful blogger, I'm always thinking of things that might be fun or interesting to write about. So, when eldest son dropped off Sudo, I asked him to "please send pictures so I have something to blog about --- especially pictures of FOOD". Look at that cute little cafe! It's quaint, old, colorfully painted, and the bicycle out front simply adds to its charm.

Chanterelle quiche, with garden greens and watermelon. Swedish pastries and TEA.

I'm so glad that they remembered the tea!

More food! The breakfast buffet at the hotel. I hear the pineapple is delicious! And look at all those crusty breads.

Sudo is busy playing with Ms. Schnauzer as I type. This is her "hour of terror", at least that is what we call it. It's her play time before she settles down for the night. It's hard play and then deep sleep. Her master and mistress are waking up in Sweden just as we settle down for the night. Well, we will settle down as soon as Sudo does. 

I'm enjoying the armchair travels and Sudo adventures and I hope you are too.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Almond Carob Truffles

Almond Carob Truffles

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp. carob powder
  • 3 Tbsp. water, warm
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Place almonds and dates in food processor and mix until ground.  Add cinnamon, carob powder, water, and vanilla.  Mix until well blended.

Fill mini-muffin tin with papers.  Using a small cookie scoop, measure out scoops of mixture.  With hands, roll into uniform balls and place in muffin papers.

Refrigerate to chill and ready to eat.

Really yummy!

*You may use chocolate instead of carob if you prefer, but carob has a 'sweeter' taste and it delicious in this recipe.

**The napkin ring in the picture was made with vintage jewelry bits and pieces and a simple napkin ring.  A fun project, to be sure! I enjoyed the project and how each napkin ring was unique and different from the other.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Remembering Mother on Her Birthday

Remembering my mother. . .on this day of what would have been her 80th birthday. How she loved nature, and especially wild flowers. She's has been gone for ten years now, but her legacy lives on. She taught about life through everyday things. It was natural for her to teach life lessons to young and old alike through nature studies. Today I am reminded of wildflowers as I think of her.

This Calypso Lady Slipper Orchid was found right near the cabin yesterday in what I've named Lady Slipper Hollow.

Although winter stayed late, spring and summer arrived quickly once the snows melted. The flowers could not be held back and this week burst forth in colorful bloom!

I found many of her favorites as I walked through the woods this week.

She so enjoyed the
Calypso Lady-slipper Orchids
Shooting Stars
Yellow Violets

She loved Cat's Ears both because they were unique and had such a darling name! They are also called Star Tulips and grow independently from others of its kind on the forest floor.

I was surprised to find this favorite flower of mom's this week as well. Shy and quiet, the wild ginger grows close to the ground and is usually hidden by its heart-shaped leaves. Mom enjoyed transplanting this plant to her home garden where it grew well.

June 24, 1934

Monday, June 23, 2014

Teacup Rose & Friendship

It feels so good to have a friend on whom you can depend. A friend can help to mend a heart, boost you toward a brand-new start, clown with carefree schoolgirl glee, share a quiet cup of tea.

Jan Miller, Pals

Thinking of my tea-loving, kindred spirit friend whom I've been friends with since high school. Thank you for this beautiful teacup, RuthAnn.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Longest Day

How did you spend "the longest day"? From here on out, each day will just get shorter and shorter, until the cycle starts all over again, of course. Yesterday we had 15 hours, 22 minutes, and 7 seconds of daylight. 

It was a perfect day to spend in nature. Lunch was complete with fresh foods of the season: blueberries, strawberries, Rainier cherries, and sweet onions. Fresh and local food is such a delight!

Sudo enjoyed the longest day too. She experienced her first visit to "the woods". She did quite well for a city dog. She loved attacking the pillows on the cabin sofas and took naps on a plaid, wool blanket. Actually, she took her naps burrowed under the wool blanket. She loves to be covered up! Later, she took a very long walk and actually wore herself out and begged to be carried for awhile.

There was a chill in the air and a campfire was welcoming and warming.

The wildflowers of the woods are transitioning into summer flowers. It seems like those plants that bloom with red blossoms don't show up until June. The Indian Paintbrush is lining "Paintbrush Lane" aka the winding road from gate to cabin.

Yesterday there were 24 hours of daylight at the North Pole. We didn't get close to that here, but the day was amazing anyway. How did you spend your longest day?

Happy summer!

Today I am linking up to Bernideen's Tea in the Garden

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Lemon Balm Berry Ice Cream

So yummy!

Lemon Balm Berry Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups cashews
1 cup water
1 cup packed lemon balm leaves (we used lemon verbena leaves instead)
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raspberries
1/2 cup agave (any sweetener of choice will work)
1/3 cup lemon juice (we used Meyer lemons with the peelings left on)
2-3 drops lemon essential oil* - (we used lemon zest instead)

If you'd like little green specs, blend all but the lemon balm until smooth and creamy.
Add the balm and blend briefly.  Chill and process through an ice cream machine.

*Substitute lemon zest to taste.

Friday, June 20, 2014

One of a Kind Loaf

 Creating a unique and individualized vegetarian entree loaf is fun and simple with the following recipe. Each time you make it, the recipe will be unique and can use ingredients that you already have in your kitchen or that are available seasonally. This is a heart-healthy, low-calorie, and nutrient dense loaf. Tasty too! To create, simply choose the amount suggested for each ingredient type as shown below:

2 cups of legumes
  • cooked legumes of any variety such as: lentils, kidney beans, garbanzos, pinto beans, soybeans, or tofu, etc.
1 - 2 cups of grains
  • whole grain bread crumbs, rolled or quick oats, cooked brown rice or millet, Grape-Nuts cereal, crushed whole grain cereal flakes, whole grain cracker crumbs, whole grain croutons, etc.
1/2 cup chopped or ground nuts or seeds
  • almonds, cashews, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, etc.
1 1/2 cups liquid
  • broth from cooked vegetables, plain soy, nut, or grain milk, tomato juice or sauce, V8, etc.
1 Binder
  • 2 Tbsp. soy flour
  • 2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp. gluten flour
  • 3 Tbsp. potato flour
  • 3 Tbsp. minute tapioca
  • 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup cooked "cream of wheat"
  • 2 Tbsp. soaked mung beans, blended, etc.
1/2 - 1 teaspoon of one or several Seasonings as desired (I always use at least double this recommendation; be generous with the seasonings!)
  • cumin, sweet basil, Italian seasoning, oregano, parsley flakes, rosemary, sage, Bill's Best Chicknish, McKay's Chicken-Like Seasoning, celery salt, garlic or onion powder, nutritional yeast flakes, salt, Vegex, Bragg's Liquid Aminos, Marmite
1 or more Vegetables
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp. chopped pimiento
  • 3 - 5 stalks celery
  • 2/3 cup shredded carrots
  • 2/3 green beans or peas
Mix all the ingredients you selected together. Press into a sprayed loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes (or more if you prefer a darker loaf). Serve with a light savory or tomato gravy.

Leftover can be sliced and served in sandwiches or mashed for a spread (add olives, pickles, or Veganaise).

*Instead of baking as a casserole loaf, this recipe also makes delicious patties. Use a non-stick skillet with some extra-virgin olive oil and fry until crispy and golden.

**Although I make a vegan version of this recipe, you can add other ingredients that fit your likes and needs. Consider adding shredded cheese, eggs, or your favorite protein source.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summertime Three-Bean Soup

Summertime Three-Bean Soup
  • 3 cups water
  • 15 oz. can rinsed kidney beans
  • 15 oz. can black-eyed peas
  • 15 oz. can garbanzo beans
  • 1 - 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups whole corn kernels
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup zucchini, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Bill's Best Chicknish'
Combine water, beans, tomato paste, mustard, garlic, chili powder, basil, oregano, and cumin. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Then add corn, carrots, zucchini, and onion. Return to a boil, then simmer for 10 more minutes. Adjust seasonings as desired. When ready to serve, spoon into bowls and garnish as desired.

Of Course You Love Me: Sudo

According to dog experts, the Italian Greyhound has a gentle personality, loving and affectionate with family members. We've found this to be true with our house guest, Sudo. Essentially, she believes that she is the center of the universe with an endearing attitude of "of course you love me". The world revolves around Sudo these days, and everyone is happy with that occurrence. She sleeps burrowed deep under a quilt or blanket during her naps. At night she burrows beneath the covers of a human bed, cuddling close. But she is particular about who she'll sleep with. She has a mind of her own. She likes to sleep in, but once she wakes up she acts as delighted as can be to see you! It's like she cannot wiggle fast enough. Such joy! Her favorite place to sit and be is perched on the chest of a human. It goes with her "of course you love me" attitude. But, if you put her down or tell her to move along, she cheerfully goes without a second thought. Ms. Schnauzer is slowly adjusting and is coming out of hiding more and more. They had several fun "romp and play" sessions today with Sudo essentially dancing around Ms. Schnauzer who thought she was being active, but compared to Sudo was quite dignified and proper. Sudo's been a pleasure to have around. She's even learning to like it outside and has learned how to walk on green grass without stepping quite so high. But more about that another time. . .

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Blueberry Scones & Tea

I saved enough fresh blueberries from yesterday's picking to bake a batch of scones. They baked up beautifully with abundant, juicy, blue orbs in each one.

The recipe called for lemon zest, but I didn't have any lemons, so used lemon juice in the dough and baked them without zest. Then I decided that orange marmalade would be an appropriate sweet to go with the scones. The zest of the orange in the marmalade made up for the lack of zest in the scones. They paired perfectly.

Gluten free scones "act" a bit differently than regular ones. Because they don't contain gluten to trap the carbon dioxide gasses when the baking soda and baking powder do their job, I try to choose forms or shapes that are most likely to rise well without much handling. Sometimes I bake gluten free scones in one large mound that is flattened and then cut with a pizza cutter to make wedges. And at other times, like today, I prefer the drop biscuit approach. I was pleased with the lightness and flavor of these scones.

A simple black tea was selected to accompany the blueberry scones. My choice was Yorkshire Gold because it's full bodied without being overpowering. It's produced by Taylors of Harrogate, a company that was founded in 1886 in Harrogate, Yorkshire, England. It is a blend of five varieties of tea grown in Assam, Sri Lanka, and Kenya. A review of this tea on Serious Eats reports that: 
  • Yorkshire Gold from Taylors of Harrogate is a "luxury blend" of second flush Assam and peak-season East African teas. This is a robust black tea that works well with milk, though given its silky smoothness that's certainly not required. There are hints of cedar and earth; this tea is slightly fruity but mostly savory, perfect for getting your eyes open in the morning.
Although this is a delightful tea with the addition of milk and sugar, I tend to prefer my tea "black" or "plain" so I can taste every undertone as it is, with just a tiny touch of stevia to sweeten.

I chose this teacup because it was blue. It seemed so appropriate for the blueberry theme. It is called Saxony, by Royal Doulton. It is one of my everyday favorites.

Blueberry Scones

Makes 8 - 10

  • 2 cups gluten-free flour (I used 1 cup garbanzo/fava flour and 1 cup Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour blend)
  • 1 packet stevia powder (about 1/2 tsp.)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 6 Tbsp. Smart Balance margarine
  • 1 egg OR 1 egg substitute {flax seed gel}
  • 2/3 cup soymilk
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 generous cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add margarine and cut in with a pastry blender until the size of small peas. Add vanilla, egg, lemon juice, and soymilk. Stir gently with a fork until dough is moist and blended. Gently stir in blueberries.

Form scones by spoonful and place onto a baking stone. Push stray blueberries into dough so none are left out.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from heat and allow to cool on the baking stone. Serve with margarine or butter and orange marmalade. Also delicious with lemon curd.

Of course, at the end of every good photo shoot comes the pleasure of sitting down at a pretty table setting to enjoy what's set out to eat and a nice, hot cup of tea. Today I had a little helper. She's such a polite little thing. She was curious, but asked permission with her eyes before attempting to share. Her nose is long, though, and she has a pretty keen sniffer. I gave Sudo a few crumbs which she appreciated and enjoyed. I discovered, though, that she prefers plain blueberries to scones. She's such a dear.