steaming

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 – Filed under: kid friendly,kids,summer ::

It’s been a little bit a lot like an oven outside these days. And holding a baby is like holding an oven. So that’s an oven in an oven. Sort of. Mostly, I’m trying to savour and store away the warmth for those long winter days. And watch my little ones delight in it.

My bigger one built ice block towers with salt – it took longer than we thought for them to melt.

And my little one revelled in bare skin and sun, and endless food :)

Tomorrow I’ll share our new (super economical¬† + quite delightful) water table with you. Have a great day!

picnicking

Friday, June 10, 2011 – Filed under: picnic blankets,seasonal,SewnNatural,summer ::

Our gingham cotton, all-natural picnic blankets are some of our most popular summer sellers. So this year we decided to make up some rainbow colored gingham napkins too – for a picnic or a backyard supper or even a summer supper table inside.

With such a short, sweet summer season around here (is it already June?) – we need all the alfresco time we can get.

What are your favorite picnic pack-ables? Favorite picnic recipes? Treats? I think this summer we’re going to be doing lots of picnics, where we can combine some of our favorite things right now – eating, sunning and staring at one sweet boy.

alabaster sea stones

Saturday, August 21, 2010 – Filed under: children,collecting,kids,natural,natural. toys. kids,ocean,stones,summer ::

Awhile back, I found an Etsy seller, Sivylla, who collects snowy white, sea-smoothed rocks from a Greek beach. I have some beautiful memories from Greece, from a 6-week trip one summer while in university: it was there I saw the most stunningly blue waters I’ve ever seen, red and black volcanic rock beaches, and walked amid ruins from thousands of years ago.

And I wanted so much to bring a little piece of that here to our home.

A few days ago, our little package of white sea stones was delivered, each one carefully wrapped in paper and tied with string… I didn’t manage to get a photo because a little girl I know was too excited to slow down unwrapping.

Here are these beautiful stones.

She found a cloth that reminded her of the sea – a vintage Vera napkin.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to do a worldwide special stone exchange?

tzaziki and profound thoughts

Thursday, August 19, 2010 – Filed under: children,cooking,cucumber,quotes,recipes,summer,thoughts,yogurt ::

The lovely Amy of ProgressivePioneer just posted a guest post by me about one of our favorite summer recipes.  Pop by her blog to see how we make ours. These days I love pairing the refreshing cucumber yogurt with the very, very hot Ethiopian meat sandwiches we get from a local biodynamic Ottawa-area farmer each week, Berhanu Wassihun.

Berhanu is profoundly amazing, and a very inspiring individual to know.

Just like the little 8 month old whippersnapper who visited our home yesterday. I barely slept last night with all that loud clock ticking in my head… my heart.

At the beginning of the visit, she and her 3 and a half year old friend were sitting side by side as we moms talked about how much growing babies need to do before they can run and jump and build block towers. My daughter paused for a few long moments, and then said: “Mama, my baby part is still inside me… right here” as she patted her chest.

Yes, my love, yours is right there and always will be. All of ours are. We need to be gentle with one another in life and honor our baby selves and the amazingly free, creative and trusting little people inside ourselves.

I will leave you on a lighter note – the same day, in the afternoon, my daughter was chatting with her Grandma (SewnNatural’s other pair of hands) on the phone. She turned our (old fashioned, corded phone) upside down and asked: “I’m holding the phone upside down. Are you standing upside down in your house, Grandma?”

Made me think back to the days I was sure that teeny tiny people lived in our television and made it all work.  I was really really certain.

(photo credit, Flickr)

b r u s c h e t t a (and hayfever)

Saturday, August 14, 2010 – Filed under: allergies,appetizer,cooking,gardening,natural health,summer ::

Last night, I made some bruschetta with our dinner, and I couldn’t believe how wonderful it was.

It’s the sort of thing that is only so delicious fresh, with the freshest of ingredients. Luckily, tomatoes and basil is right in our raised bed garden, and garlic was picked not too long ago. I think I might have an all-bruschetta supper tonight. Seriously.

TO make mine, I chopped up some (very) fresh tomatoes, added plenty of ripped basil leaves, 3 chopped cloves of garlic, drizzles of olive oil and baslamic vinegar. And some salt and pepper. Then I left it sit for at least an hour at room temperature.

I didn’t have fresh sourdough on hand, so I used the end of a loaf of kamut bread we had on hand, and broiled the bread with drizzles of the tomato/oil juice at the bottom of the bowl.

When browned, I filled the bread with the tomato mix, and grated some parmesan cheese over top, placing the tray back in the broiler for a minute or 2.

As the tomatoes in garden ripens, the hayfever is maturing too, and my symptoms have started a little too intensely this year. I have neglected my daily regimen of a teaspoon of fall honey (I’ve had it a few times a week). A friend recommended nettle tea infusion. If you have hayfever, how do you manage this time of year?

impromptu flower petals crown

Monday, August 2, 2010 – Filed under: flowers,gardening,how-to,kids,natural,summer,tutorials ::

My tutorial about how to make a sweet flower petals crown is over at Progressive Pioneer today. If you haven’t already found her beautiful blog, I highly recommend it – love her definition of what a progressive pioneer is here.

The day we made this the sun streamed in from the kitchen window and made the petals glow. Here are some photos from the day.

lemon, oh, lemon meringue pie

Sunday, August 1, 2010 – Filed under: baking,citrus,eggs,lemons,meringue,recipes,summer ::

I woke up a few days ago with a clear and distinct craving for lemon meringue pie. Sweet memories of summer meals on our backyard picnic table ending with this amazing pie. I don’t think I’ve had it in over a decade.

(photo above, via Flickr)

This is a pie whose simple and intense flavors belie a little bit more work than I like to put into a dessert. A tad bit fussy to make, not at all fussy to eat. It’s been (unfortunately) turned into a too-sugary, not-lemony-enough, rather-artificial-tasting concotion by lots and lots of restaurants and grocery store chains.

Nothin’ beats the real thing.

I made it without a crust – partly because I was trying to keep it as healthy as possible, and partly because it made it a lot simpler (& quicker) to put together. I’m not a big pie crust gal, so I didn’t miss it. But you can certainly put this pie into your favorite single pie crust, or grind up some ginger snaps or graham crackers and mix that into a crust with some butter or coconut oil.

Lemon Meringue Pie (long-standing family recipe)

In a bain marie (double boiler) mix 3/4 cup of sugar, 6 tbsp of arrowroot flour (or cornstarch), 1/8 tsp of salt and 2 cups of water.

Stir constantly for about 12 minutes, until it’s started to thicken. Then cover and cook on low for about 10 more minutes, stirring a few times.

Remove from the heat and add 3 egg yolks (save the whites separately). I found the easiest way to add them in without “scrambling” them in the mixture was to add a bit of the mix to the egg yolks in their little bowl (repeating this several times) to bring the temperature of the egg yolks up before adding them into the larger pot.
Beat the egg yolks well into the mixture, cooking them for about 5 minutes on medium-lower heat (still in the double boiler).
 Then add 2 tbsp of butter, 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed (if at all possible) organic lemon juice, and at least 2 tbsp of the rind. It’s best to carefully wash even organic lemons with soap, as they probably will have travelled quite a ways. I found organic lemons in a sealed plastic bag at the store. Do not cook the mixture now, just remove from the heat, and pour into your pie plate.
Meanwhile, make your meringue.

On high speed, I blended the 3 leftover egg whites with about 1 tsp of sugar (you can certainly add more) until stiff peaks formed.

Dollop the egg whites onto your pie, breaking them up as little as possible, and place in the middle of a 425F oven for about 5 minutes.

I found it’s best to completely chill the pie before serving, especially if you’re going piecrust-less like me.