Saturday, 27 October 2012

creepy pumpkin surprise

I just had to share this awesome surprise: I came downstairs this morning to find my husband had carved a creepy pumkpkin!

Choosing "death" holding his scythe as an image meant my 2 year-old had a little trouble making it out ("it's only got one eye, mummy!") but hey, I was just impressed by the carving skills!

Apparently he used some kind of kit that makes it easy - I guess that shows those kits are totally worth it! Happy Halloween folks! We're going to an Autumn Festival tomorrow and eating proper pumpkin pie (made by a genuine American) this afternoon, so plan to blog soon with more Autumnal things.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Jo's owl

I met Jo through our blogs and it was a nice surprise to be partnered with her in the Correspondence Club. Our first exchange went well. Embarrassingly, after that I was a proper flake and sent her 2nd letter a month late. But Jo was amazing: just look at this gorgeous owl she sent me!

There's nothing lovelier than a handmade owl! I love the way she has used vintage fabric. She has a great eye for colour and texture. She also sent the most adorable little owl lipbalm, and my 2 year-old decided they were mummy and baby owl. Mummy owl lives displayed on the top of our sofa and gets lots of cuddles (and baby owl has to be hidden as my boy likes to put the lip balm on his feet!)

{image taken from the Crafty Kiwi blog}
Jo made a whole bunch of these cute owls for her brother-in-law's music Festival. I'd seen them on her blog and couldn't believe it when I received my very own in the post! I think Jo is planning an Etsy shop - so someday you may be lucky enough to own one yourself! Thank you so much, Jo!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

dad's purist granola

I shared some thoughts about my dad's approach to food back in January, after our most recent trip to visit him in Texas. Lately I've been craving his make of simple yet luxurious granola in the mornings.
(With apologies for the photos in this post: it's dark when I eat breakfast in the mornings, and dark when I do my cooking at night!) Of course my dad and his wife make their own granola. They experimented with different methods before fixing on this one - and they've been eating it every morning for over a decade!
The basic idea is that it has lots of nuts - whole not chopped - and is not sweet or oily. The flavour comes from roasting it all very slowly, and a drop of apple juice. It may sound austere but I promise you it is addictive (and you feel great all day!) 
Make a big batch (recipe below) and eat daily with yoghurt or milk and fresh fruit. Blueberries and banana with strawberry yoghurt is my current favourite mix (even though I'm sure my dad wouldn't go for the strawberry yoghurt, haha!)
Simple food is simple to make! I won't give quantities in the recipe below, since I do everything by eye.   Basically I think it works best when you're quite heavy on the whole nuts - but they're also the most expensive element, so whatever works for you. Add in any extra seeds or nuts you like. Try it first without dried fruit though, before adding any.


Jumbo rolled oats (I think my dad actually rolls them himself?!? I buy a big packet.)
Sunflower seeds
Sesame seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Brazil nuts
Pecan nuts
Unblanched almonds
Wheatgerm (my addition because it has lots of folic acid - good for pregnant women)
Groundnut oil (or other flavourless oil)
Apple juice (preferably locally sourced & organic)

How to

Preheat oven to a very low setting (Gas mark 2/300F/140C - lower if you have a fan oven).
Warm a small amount (I used about 1 tbsp for a 750g/1.6lb batch of granola) of oil in a large baking dish over the hob. Remove from heat and add all the dry ingredients in the desired proportions. Pour over a small glass of apple juice and mix everything together.

Spread evenly over the roasting dish and put in the oven for 2hrs or until crunchy and golden, turning occasionally. If you can, leave in the oven as it cools and leave over night to dry out fully.

Right, now I'm off to have my breakfast! Have a lovely Sunday everyone.

Friday, 12 October 2012

new life: part II

Oh dear, I've started and deleted this post so many times! In the end, I've decided to write it in the simplest way possible - no images, nothing fancy, just a simple announcement.

I'm having another baby, due in March next year!

This is a happy thing! But it's been full of ups and downs so far, and the Summer was very difficult. There have been several emotional, personal issues to deal with and on top of exhaustion, nausea and dizziness, I've had some horribly low times.

Things I love about being pregnant:
- the anticipation!
- the growing bump (suddenly I feel completely happy with my shape)
- not worrying about how much I eat
- craving lots of fruit and vegetables
- the good, happy hormones that kicked in a few weeks ago

Things I don't love about being pregnant:
- throwing up - yup, looks like I'm going to throw up the whole way through, like last time...
- having very specific desires about exactly what I eat (it can be complicated to assuage a sudden desire for fresh mango)
- still feeling so tired I regularly go to bed at 8pm (having got home from work at 7pm...)
- needing to visit the bathroom with absurd frequency, day and night...

But the very best thing of all is imagining my little boy as an older brother!

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