This week, I’ve been…

1. … kinda sick. I’ve been drinking lots of hot liquids. Mostly hot water with honey, lemon, and ginger.

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2. …working on my super soft angora mittens (pattern here, yarn here). This project has gone SUPER quickly.

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3. …making soup. This is the beginnings of very tasty onion soup. I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, except I didn’t have wine (sad), and I added some rosemary and a parmesan rind, because obviously. I didn’t bother with the croutons, but I did add cheese to my bowl. Soup is good for sick people.

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4. …blocking the finished mittens! Yeah!!

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5. …not finishing my Shepherd sweater. Not yet, folks. I did wind up yarn for a new sweater project, though! More details when I get it cast on :)

Happy Things :)

There have been lots of happy things in the past week!

I’ve spent lots of time drinking tea…

This calls for tea.

Making (and consuming) fall-feeling desserts, like this Cardamom Gingerbread…

Tastiest!

Staying inside while perfect, gray days unroll outdoors…

Rainiest!

And hanging out with my furry, occasionally cuddly cat!

Furriest!

 

There’s a lot of knitting going on, too – but most of it is secret, for now :)

Molasses cookies!

I totally lived up to my last post – I baked molasses cookies yesterday! Even though it’s sunny and warm today, weather-wise, I still have fall feelings in my heart (and I guess in my stomach ;) ).

pre-cookies!

I tried out a new recipe, and it took a couple of trays to figure out just the right baking time – as you can see in the photo below, there were some uglies (at the top of the photo) before I figured it out.

cookie success and failure

Sparkly, spicy, molasses-ey :) Add a big glass of milk (or tea) – perfection!

delicious cookie success!

Food is one of my favourite things about fall :)

WOOOO FALL FAIR! :D

I really, REALLY love fall fairs. This week, someone asked me what I was most looking forward to at the fair, and I just could not pick only one thing… there is SO MUCH to see and do and eat!

(Disclaimer: I should warn you, this post has about one million photos.)

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I also entered some knitting and spinning this year, which was super fun.

Here’s what I dropped off on Friday for judging:

A pile of fair entries

That pile has two sweaters, a large shawl, a pair of mittens, and some handspun yarn.

I’m not even going to pretend that I didn’t head straight for the handcrafts room once I got to the fair – I really wanted to see whether I had won any ribbons! To my excitement, I did :)

Winning plain sweater!

The yarn for the sweater above is neat because some of it has a Vancouver Island connection! The pink and green yarn in the yoke is from Eastwin Farms, and was hand-dyed by Leola of Leola’s Studio. The natural yarn is from Juniper Moon Farm!

Winning Hooray sweater!

The yarn for this green cabled sweater is pretty special too – the 2012 Juniper Moon CSA share yarn!

In the Hand Knitted Shawl category - "Special Mention"!

Winning mittens!

I will definitely aim to enter again next year. Everyone running the fair and staffing the handcrafts room was really sweet, and seemed to be enjoying the fair as much as I do!  The handcrafts section was full of amazing things, from displays with information about wool and knitting to masterpiece creations, like a fully hand knit cornucopia! The genius of the i-cord green onions blew me away completely.

Wool facts! I did know this stuff, actually.

Knitting display

Incredible knit cornucopia on display!

Next up, time for some fair food. I went for a classic: a hot dog with fried onions!

Hot dog - a must!

After that, we checked out the vegetable, fruit, and flower exhibits. I have a totally black thumb, so I was amazed at the gorgeous produce people grew! Everything from giant squash to tiny cucumbers to HUGE kale to beautiful dahlias.

Giant squash!

Giant Kale!

Tiny cucumbers!

Longest beans

Neat tomatoes!

Carnivorous plants

Dahlia!

There was also some incredible baking on display, like this multi-seed challah!

Challah with many seeds

A fair wouldn’t be a fair without tons of amazing animals, either. There were sheep, goats, birds, bunnies, and both alpacas AND llamas galore!

Sheep sign!

Whoa, sheep sign!

Sheep butts

Sheep deets

Goat buddies

Alpaca!!

Serious flowing mane action.

Oh hello pretty!

Llama butts

Winner of best hair feathers

Lovely duck

Sweet gray dove

Hello soft rabbit!

OMG BUNNIES

We even caught the end of some recreational agility dog races, which were so fun to watch. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such happy excited dogs and trainers!

Dog races!

We finished out the fair with another must: mini-donuts!

Mini-donuts are integral to the fair!

I can’t wait until next year :)

See you next year, fair :)

Tastiness in Photos: Granola!

So, I mentioned Susan Gibbs’ amazing granola last week. Once I started making granola at home, I was hooked! I really like customizing things :) Definitely check out Susan’s recipe – it’s a bit different than other granola recipes, but hella tasty.

I made a big batch yesterday, and took some photos as I went…

First, unsweetened shredded coconut!

granola coco

It turned into TOASTED coconut!

granola toast coco

Next up, toasted sesame seeds!

granola coco sesame

Pumpkin seeds!!

granola seeds

Dried cranberries are very pretty.

granola cran

Also dried apricots which are delicious!

granola fruit

Oats are pretty key to successful granola.

granola oats

Not pictured: toasted almonds, pistachios, and hazelnuts. Oops.

granola finished

 

Ready to be scooped on top of greek yogurt and some Babe’s honey!

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos!

Hi friends!

I made a really delicious meal and thought I would share it with you :)

Tacos are a favourite around here, and there are even several different tacos trucks in my city. I’ve made some really excellent fish tacos with halibut and other white fish before, but I’m always looking for more vegetarian meals to add to our regular rotation. (No one in the family is vegetarian, we just like vegetables, recognize that it’s probably healthy to consume less meat, and like keeping the grocery bills down.)

Enter vegetable tacos! Specifically, sweet potato & black bean tacos!

Yam & Black Bean Tacos

I used Joy the Baker’s very tasty recipe for the black beans and for the perfect, tangy cabbage slaw. I used a slightly different spice mix on my sweet potatoes though, adapted from the spice mix in this baked sweet potato recipe (which used to be on the Pioneer Woman’s site but apparently isn’t anymore?).

I also added some extra toppings, because aren’t tacos ALL about the toppings? Sour cream, grated carrot, and avocado :) YUM!

Honey & Hurraw

So, I ran out of honey.

Since it’s the season of yogurt-for-breakfast (in contrast to the other half of the year, which is oatmeal-for-breakfast season), I needed to pick up more honey asap. I like plain greek yogurt with honey and Susan Gibbs inspired granola best!

(I also needed to get the last dregs of honey out of the empty jar, and found this clever and tasty solution – which is GENIUS!)

So, I popped over to my local small grocer and picked up some of my favourite: Babe’s Honey! I have to say, although I don’t always buy locally produced food, I do try to… and when I tried local honey, the taste difference was SO HUGE that I haven’t bought mass produced honey since.

honey & hurraw

I also picked up some new lip balm! After reading about Hurraw balm on another excellent and local-to-me knitting blog, I was totally intrigued. I had to try it! I chose the Earl Grey tea flavour; how could I not?!

Growing up, I thought Earl Grey was just “regular” tea – it’s all my mom ever drank or had in the house. I still remember ordering tea in a restaurant as a semi-adult teenage person, and being stunned when Orange Pekoe was what came.

Anywho! I really wanted to try the Grapefruit flavour of Hurraw too, it smelled amazing. I think it might be coming home with me next time!

Cinnamon-ey Pie Crust Win!

So, remember on Monday, I made those butter tarts for Canada Day?

Butter tart day is one of the only times I make pie crust from scratch. (Which is silly, because I LOVE pie, and pie crust is not particularly hard to make).

So I had some pie dough leftover! Usually I make turnovers with leftover dough, but I have a critical lack of jam at the moment. (That is terrible. I LOVE JAM! How can I have no jam?!)

The solution to extra-pie-dough-and-no-jam? CINNAMON PIE CRUST omgggggg.

Holy yum. Whoa.

Probably easier and faster than turnovers, too. Roll out, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (I didn’t even add melted butter or anything, and it still worked totally fine), slice, and bake at 350 until golden (for me, that was 15 minutes). Hella yum! I totally ate them for breakfast. Because, adulthood!

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

Happy Canada Day! Today is a holiday for me, and I’ve spent it relaxing and hanging out with family.

My Canada Day tradition is to make butter tarts from scratch. There are a number of uniquely Canadian foods (almost all of which are super delicious), and butter tarts are among them.

This year, I used Smitten Kitchen’s all butter pastry crust recipe, and as always, my mom’s “extra runny” butter tart filling recipe.

Butter Tart Canada Day

Right now I’m knitting on Ease and drinking a mojito. We’re going to barbeque for dinner tonight, and later on, watch some fireworks over the harbour.

As a Canadian historian, I’m very aware that we have lots of things not to be proud of in our past, but we also have good things. Today I’m glad, and proud, to be Canadian.

Things that I like nearly as much as knitting…

… include consuming cheese. Cliché, but true :)

It was hot today. It’s finally cooling off enough this evening to knit with wool and alpaca (Ease of course!).

Instead of spending my Sunday knitting, I ran some errands, had lunch at a local taco spot, and made a really awesome cheese plate in lieu of dinner. When it’s hot out, having a cold dinner of cheese, crackers, fruit, vegetables, and dips is a favourite strategy of mine. I like it because it’s cooler, but also because it makes me feel like I’m at a party with fun snacks!

Cheese Plate

The plate on the right, and the sweet twig-like cheese knife, were a gift from my best friend and her husband to me and mine, for our upcoming 5th anniversary. It seems to me that a friend who understands the love of cheese is a very good friend indeed :)