Monday, April 16, 2018

Sunday Smoothie

I am a creature of habit. We used to make this smoothie every single day, but it got to be too much and became a Sunday morning tradition instead. Sometimes I make it during the week though, because it's nice to get a big dose of fruits and veggies in such a convenient and tasty form.

A digital kitchen scale is super useful for this recipe. It's been forever since I've used measuring cups for it so I don't even know what those measurements would be.

Sunday Smoothie
This recipe make 6 cups, so adjust accordingly if your blender is smaller.

1 banana
15 ounces orange juice
150 g carrots
150 g fresh baby spinach
150 g frozen blueberries
170 g frozen mango
170 g frozen pineapple

Layer ingredients in the blender and turn that baby on high. It's fun to watch the smoothie change from green in color to purple (it's the simple things).

I like to freeze this smoothie in 6oz mason jars. They thaw (without getting too warm, because warm smoothie is just gross) in our microwave for 1 minute on high.

5 things

1. I'm working on a picture book for my kids, inspired mainly by my middle child, whose favorite animal is the skunk. There just aren't a lot of books featuring the majestic skunk out there, folks.
2. Hubs has done a lot of research on my behalf regarding iron deficiency, iron supplements, absorption, etc. He's the best :) The subject is actually pretty interesting, and articles about it from the NIH and WHO have helped answer a lot of questions we've had about why my iron levels have been low: pregnancies and past blood donations deplete iron stores, and a mostly-vegetarian diet doesn't lend itself to good iron absorption. A 25mg supplement may only be 5% absorbed! Crazy.
3. I've been re-reading Calvin and Hobbes books (well, more like re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-reading, but anyway). It seems a little different now that I'm a mom to a very Calvin-like 6-year-old. Also, wow, has the world changed since the strips were written, or what.
4. We're coming up on the one-year anniversaries of a series of events that led to us moving across the country, and I'm excited to celebrate and reflect on those things. A year can seem like forever when you're looking into the future, but looking back on a year that has just gone feels so fast.
5. There are white crocuses popping up everywhere in our backyard, and tiny purple flowers that I can't identify, and snowdrops. Only later did I realize that his boots were on the wrong feet. ;) Spring must be coming, right??

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Life these days

1. It has been snowing (lightly) for days. I love it. It looks pretty on our neighbors' lattice.
2. I was taking pictures of how the paper flowers look from inside and thinking, man- I just can't get a nice shot of them between the ugly blinds and rolled up towels we have wedged in the gaps to block drafts...I wish I could get everything to look clean and beautiful and perfect. But then I thought, Why get worked up over that? Life is good. So here's pictures of how things really look.
3. I'm working on a new drawing from the Book of Kells.
4. Little girl took a bath this morning without screaming her head off the whole time. Win!
5. J brought his juice cup to me while I was drawing and calmly asked for a refill. This is a huge improvement over his tendency to holler at me from the family room. I have been telling him that that is inappropriate behavior and he needs to come find me instead of yelling...and it worked? Whoa!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Colorful window flowers

Earlier this winter was the first time in ages that I made paper snowflakes. I made around 40 of them in various sizes and taped them in the windows of our house and they looked so pretty, but once March arrived, it just seemed a little depressing to have them up (even though snow is forecast for seven of the next ten days- ha!). A couple weeks ago B gave me the idea of doing the same kind of thing but with colored paper, to look like flowers. Our house is all white, so the pop of color could look really cool from outside (especially during the long, slow transition from winter to spring that we have here). Well, I was instantly sold on that idea- thanks, hubby!- and the next morning eagerly browsed Neenah paper. I knew I needed paper similar to what I’d used for the snowflakes: text weight and pearlized/iridescent. I couldn’t believe it when I found the same paper I’d used for the snowflakes (which I’d ordered from them in 2008), plus a bunch of other gloriously hued papers. They have this amazing deal where you can buy sample packs of 5, 12.5x19-inch sheets for less than $2 (shipping prices are a bit of a buzzkill though), which is perfect for this project. I ordered eight colors! They arrived about a week later; B laughed as I gazed at the shimmery colors with a crazed grin on my face.

Next comes cutting the paper into squares. Each sheet can be made into 3 squares: 12.5x12.5”, 6.5x6.5” and 6x6”, plus a 6x0.5” strip (save it!). I’m going to layer the snowflake/flowers since many flowers are more than one color and it’ll add some nice contrast.

Here they are in process! We have a lot of windows, and even though I'm limiting the scope to the windows that can be seen from the road (which is the majority of them), and since I believe that more is better- I'm aiming for about 40 flowers, plus some leaves that I'll cut separately from the green paper. More pictures to come soon, once they're all finished and taped-- I mean, "installed" (sounds so much better in artspeak)-- in the windows.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Molasses chocolate chip cookies recipe

I tried to donate blood yesterday. For the third time this year, my iron levels were too low to donate (not too low for my health, though). Frustrated, I stopped by the store on the way home and bought a big ol' bottle of blackstrap molasses (it's high in iron) and then made these cookies.

Here is the original recipe:

I modified it to suit my desires and I think they turned out really well: chewy with a little bit of crunch, courtesy of the sugar you roll the balls of dough in before baking.
  • For the Cookies
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon brewed coffee -OR- natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 3-4 ounces (1/3 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3-4 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 3-4 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 3 ounces raisins
  • For the Cinnamon-Sugar Coating for Rolling
  • about ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. For the Cookies - Melt the butter in a large bowl and cool slightly. Add the next ingredients, through salt, mixing well. Add the flours and baking soda and stir to just incorporate; batter will be thick.
  2. Fold in the chocolate chips and raisins. Cover mixing bowl and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, up to 5 days, prior to baking.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F, line two baking trays with parchment paper.
  4. For the Cinnamon-Sugar Coating for Rolling - In a small bowl, combine about ¾ cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and stir to combine.
  5. Scoop out balls and roll them each in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, and place on baking trays, spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 8 to 9 minutes, or until tops have just set.
  6. Makes about 40 cookies.
If you're interested in learning more about iron and the many things that inhibit the absorption of it and so's pretty complex...go ahead and google it. I take a women's multivitamin, but the calcium in it prevents the iron from being fully absorbed. Fiber (like in beans and lentils, which are good sources of iron), cocoa powder, some teas, and many other things block iron to some degree. And, obviously, I'm not eating these cookies solely for their iron-boosting properties. We love spinach, beans, lentils, nuts, raisins, and many other non-meat sources of iron, but maybe the other nutritional properties of those foods are not allowing me to get all I need. My goal is to donate blood five times this year, so I'm taking an iron supplement with some orange juice (vitamin C aids the absorption of iron) before bed every night to try to keep those levels elevated.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Aaaand, done!

Took a couple months (mostly while watching hockey games- go Coyotes....) and about 5,500 seed beads. It measures about 7.5" across. Yay!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

2 things I've been working on...

1) Beady #5 (almost done!)
2) GIFs