Thursday, October 9, 2014

Let's go do the HOP

Fingers crossed...
...last week Sustainablemum invited me to join in a blog hop that was going around.  Unfortunately my computer has not been very co-operative these last few days, ( it's shuts it's self off when ever it feels like it then won't switch on for again for ages) so without further hesitation, I'm going to press publish before it drops off into the land of computer nod again.

What am I working on?
Well on the needlework front - socks for Tino, a Favorite Things Infinity Scarf for me and a Ripple Blanket for the house.
In the kitchen, today, along with dinner, some gluten free brownies.  I like to think of the kitchen as part of my 'creative work' - planning meun's, cooking healthy meals, serving them up nicely  - the table set with candles and cloth napkins - I have to do it everyday, may as well approach it as an artistic endeavor rather than a chore.


How does my work differ from others?
It's been said that 'No man ever steps in the same river twice' (Heraclitus).   What ever I make, even if it's been done before and will be done again by others or myself, each time it will in essence, be different.
(Tough question that one!)

Why do I create what I do?
It keeps me sane!  I create, in some small way everyday.  Cooking aside, I find time to knit or crochet daily.  I've made it part of my routine (wish a could be so faithful to my running!).
I enjoy creating immensely, especially so when it can also contribute to the management of the family budget - cooking from scratch, gardening, making my own washing powder, deodorant etc.
But deep down I think there's other reasons too.  Like control!  I feel empowered when I make things that I would otherwise have to buy.  And handmade always seems so much more 'pure', more environmentally conscious, so maybe I create as my part in trying to fix what wrong with the world or a least in an attempt to not 'damage' it anymore than I have too...



How does my creative process work?
Rather erratically when it comes to knitting - I'm a multi project gal!!  All those lovely blogs and web sites making things look so easy, I just can't help myself.  I'd like to say that what I make I make out of necessity but that's not always true.  However, the difficulty of buying yarn here, without ordering it on-line, means that my wooly impulses are generally kept in check.
In the kitchen it's rather more military style - my 'creations' are planned in advance to cover all the right food groups, seasonal offerings and personal preferences, and there are few, if any deviations to the weekly menu!!!

Thank you to sustainable mum for including me in this.  I'd like to invite Kristina and Meredith to join us.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Slow Living Monthly 9 Link Up - September


Time to link up with Linda over at the Green Haven for September Slow Living Essentials


{Nourish}
I did the Whole30 again this month, which turned into a whole25ish, when I decided to re-introduce chick peas and oats to my diet during the last week.  I still abstained from all the other non-approved foods for the 30 days and think I will continue to keep my gluten and dairy intake to a very occasional minimum.  As with when I did the 'diet' back in November, again this time I have found myself with much more energy throughout the day. I've even got my running mojo back and am enjoying regular early morning runs to the lake with Ringo.


{Prepare}
Pickles -  my garden finally produced enough cucumbers at the same time to make three jars.


{Create}
Knitting socks at the moment for Tino but thinking of new hats and mitts, we're enjoying very warm days here but the mornings are starting to have a distinct chill to them.

{Reduce}


A bit of spit and polish and this old toy box - which itself was originally used for something else - became my new nightstand.

{Green}
Running hot and cold with the baking soda/ACV hair washing and conditioning method.  I stick with it for a few weeks then my hair starts to get very dry and I end up going back to shampoo.

{Grow}
We're coming to the end of our garden here but Kim, who's climate seems much like ours, is still growing away on her plot.  I'm following her methods attentively to try and prolong our growing season next year.
Here's a great link for autumn gardening tips.

{Enhance}
Since the beginning of the new school year, the boys have had school on wednesday mornings.  Up until now  schools in France had only a four day week with a 1 1/2 hour dinner break. These new school reforms were brought in as it was decided that the school day was too long 8.30 am - 4 or in some cases 4.30 pm.  Now they start school at the same time and finish at the same time but have a 2 hours and 15 minutes lunch break, thus making the hours that they actually study, shorter  (and wednesday mornings 9 am - 12 noon). It's all going great at the moment with the lovely autumn weather but in the depths of winter when temperature go between -10° and -20° this super long playtime is not going to be so much fun.  With this in mind I have agreed to be part of the school committee who are trying to put in place some kind of plan to occupy the kids for part this long break with opportunity for inside 'creative and fun' activities on those days were it is very cold or for the kids who don't want to freeze (on an almost zero budget).

{Discover}
Deliciously Ella Despite feeling great after the Whole30, I don't want to follow this eating plan full time.  Ella's website proposes great plant based, gluten and dairy free recipes which appeal more to my taste buds than the 'Paleo' style of the Whole30.  I'm still going to eat meat when I can get good local or organic produce and obviously as I keep chickens I'm not going to give up eggs either.
Thoroughly enjoying Ella's gluten free muesli every morning with home made almond milk or coconut milk yogurt (even if mine keeps coming out a little too runny!)

{Enjoy}
Fantastic autumn weather here, very welcome after a rather wet and cold summer.   We're doing lots of hiking with the kids who are always very willing participants provided they get ice-cream at some point during the day.  Two sundays ago we visited the Lac du Verny in Italy so they got to enjoy some delicious 'gelati'.





We also have a new arrival - Bunny, she's called.  As expected, the kids love cuddling her but are no where to be seen when it's time to clean out her droppings!!!  Ringo likes her a lot...he manages to sit nice and calm next to her for a few minutes before launching into his favorite game of 'you bite my ears and I'll bite yours' - Bunny doesn't share his enthusiasm for this!!  She stamps her hind legs on the ground when it gets to much for her and he seems to understand that this means 'go away dog'!!!


Hope you are enjoying a great autumn/spring!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Whole 30 - Week 2

Breakfasts are looking pretty much the same as last week but I've tried to completely vary the mid-day and evening meals -


Do you do fruit omelette? My s.i.l used to work in a mountain refuge and on bad weather days when the clients were few and far between, her boss would to make her runny omelette with sugar and jam!  I don't like runny eggs and obviously sugar and jam are out at the moment but I tried some blackberries that the kids had picked, with a kale, bacon and mushroom concoction and it tasted just delicious.


Avocado stuffed with sardines and boiled egg - mushrooms and broccoli.


Salmon and salad


Ground Beef Chilli (minus the kidney beans) over lettuce.


Cauliflower Fried Rice - this would have been even better with some peas but I didn't have any!


 Tuna Steak.


Roasted Veggies with Bolognaise Sauce.


Chicken Stew.

Still going strong, but don't know how I'd get through this with out avocados (which unfortunately are ridiculously expensive here).
Missing my morning porridge!!



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Yarn Along - A little catching up...



It's been a while since I last joined in for a Yarn Along.  My needles haven't completely been in summer hibernation but they've definitely been putting their 'tips' and enjoying a rest.
However, I've finally finished my Nordic Trail Vest - with a little arm hole modification.  The arm was meant to be in the same rib as the front bands but I just couldn't seem to pick up the correct number of stitches, which made the arm hole too tight.  I opted in the end for one row of backwards single crochet (I think it's called scallop stitch).


As it's getting a bit chilly here in the mornings  I've been wearing it quite a bit - no photo's of it been worn I'm afraid - I'm three months into growing out a pixie cut and lets just say every day is a bad hair day!!


And I had just enough yarn left to do the sole's for a pair of slippers.


My Favorite Things Scarf is coming along slowly, just added these owls and am thinking of an abstract motif next in pink and purple.


Also made this little guy for my little guy.  Must admit, I don't enjoy sewing all those little pieces together at the end.

Currently on my night stand is A Tale of Two Cities which I'm quite enjoying.  Found the first chapter a little tough going but now the characters are a bit more established I'm getting in to it.  I'm also being inspired by Junk Genius and Rediscovered Treasures.


As you can see it's not really a night stand - it an old box.  It was the kids outdoor toy box but they have this annoying habit of not putting their toys away - (they throw them into the sand pit at the end of the day, at least that's something) so I reclaimed it - sanded it down, put on a coat of clear varnish and voila!


Linking up with Ginny for Yarn Along, what are you knitting and reading this week?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Whole 30* - week one

30 days of Meat, Fish, Seafood, Eggs, Vegetables, Fruit, Nuts and Seeds
or
30 days of NO Grains (wheat, rice, quinoa etc), Dairy, Alcohol, Sugars (including honey or maple syrup) or Legumes
Easy peasy!
Well it is only week one.

Last time I did the Whole30 was back in November and apart from a wee slip up with a slice of cake and glass of bubbly on Rémi's birthday I managed it.
But this time round it seems much easier.
I think it's the time of year, the garden is giving plenty and an 'endless' supply of veggies to hand makes things far more simple.


 This time I've planned a little better, re-read the book...
but like I said it only week one...

Here's a little sample of what the Whole 30 is looking like in my kitchen...
(the light in some of the photo's is a bit off as they were taken either at 6.30 am or 7 pm)


Roasted Beetroot (this is basically the only time I use tin foil,  I've tried kitchen paper and a covered pyrex dish but it just doesn't cook the same)
Creamy Ranch Coleslaw (I added carrot and red cabbage to mine)


Chicken with Cauliflower Rice


Salmon, Sweet Potato and Avocado


Coconut Wonder Bars


Pumpkin & Bacon Soup with Coconut Cream


Grain free pancakes - mashed banana, teaspoon of almond butter & egg.
Mix and fry in coconut oil just like a regular pancake.


Omelette with Kale and Horn of Plenty Mushrooms.


Chopped Un-Sweetened Dates, Nuts, Pumpkin Seeds and Shredded Coconut with home made Almond Milk, Blueberries and Peaches.


White Fish on a bed of Courgette Spaghetti


Roast Meat & Salad

*Potatoes are not on the Whole30 approved list but I can't resist a few fresh from the garden!

This eating program is great, I'm not craving anything that I can't have (well maybe dark chocolate just a little bit) and my energy levels stay constant throughout the day!
I may or may not have lost a few pounds, I don't know as I don't own a weighing scales but I'm certainly feeling good and 'trimmer'!!

Bring on week two!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

If you go down to the woods today...

... you might find some mushrooms!!  I did and I wasn't even looking for them!!!  I'd long since resigned myself to the fact that all the secret mushrooms spots here were to remain eternally secret to me, seventeen years of living in this valley and never found one. Until today that is...


... two 'cepes' and five 'chanrelles'!!
Combined with what the garden had to offer we had ourselves quite a feast this evening - Croute Savoyard and salad.


There's no particular recipe for a Croute - every family has their own depending on what's in the pantry.  It's one of those fantastically frugal dishes, originally made with stale bits and bobs - dry bread dipped in white wine to soften it up, the 'Croute' (the hard rind of a piece of cheese), the end bits of ham etc all covered in cream and baked in the oven.  For mine I added my 'two cepes and five chantrelles', some left over potatoes, an egg and a sliced tomato.



My own secret mushroom spot, I almost feel like a local!!!