September

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Autumn seems to be arriving right on time this year, which is so lovely, because September is often peak fire season and heatwaves are not uncommon this time of year around here. This September, however, has been cooler and we’ve even had rain! The leaves on the trees up here in the mountains have a tinge of yellow, so we’ll have some brilliant color very soon. I’ve decided to keep track of what’s been going on for the last few weeks and then just publish a post at the end of the month, so here we go!

In September I finished a most enjoyable series of books called The Lunar Chronicles. I actually read the first one, Cinder, at the beginning of the summer and then requested the others from my library. I had to wait a bit for Scarlet, the second book, and then immediately read the last two, Cress and Winter over Labor Day weekend. I’m not sure how to classify them other than sci-fi/steampunk/fairy tale retellings, but it was a fun series that I highly recommend.

Speaking of fairy tales, I usually also have an audiobook going for my drive to and from work, and this month I finished As You Wish, followed by a screening of The Princess Bride (currently on Netflix). It was charming and fun, and reminded me how much I loved the movie. I highly recommend the audio version of the book, it’s read by Cary Elwes himself, and features many of the other cast members too.

I try to bring my lunch to work most days. I’m always on the lookout for good salad recipes and usually will prep all the ingredients and then eat the same salad for a few days. I found a couple winners via Pinterest this month. First up was Lamb and Dill Meatballs with Horitaki salad. The meatballs were really simple and so delicious. As soon as I was done with the first batch of meatballs I bought more ground lamb for the freezer so I could make them again soon. Basically, everything in this salad is my favorite, so it’s a big winner.

lamb meatball salad

Another new and delicious find was this Moroccan Steak Salad. The prep for this one was more intensive, but worth it. The pomegranate seeds were a nice touch.

steak salad

Here are some of my favorite finds this month:

  • Draw Every Day, Draw Every Way – I’m not an artist, but I decided to start practicing drawing. This is a fun book, full of prompts and different types of paper for sketching. So far I have created some terrible drawings, and a couple that I actually like. I may share more on Instagram eventually.
  • Duolingo <– the link goes to the website, but I’m using the phone app. Twenty-something years ago I was pretty good at speaking Dutch. When you don’t use a language for that many years you get a little rusty. I’ve been practicing with 5-minute sessions and it’s coming back!
  • Hillview Yarns is an Etsy shop recently opened by my friend Vivian. I’ve invested in a few skeins for some hat designs I’ve been working on, and I just love the colors she’s been coming up with, especially her blues and greens. I just got a skein of Socky McSockface for a pair of elaborately cabled socks that I can’t wait to cast on.
  • I’m working on my first sweater made from my handspun yarn, and have another handspun sweater quantity in the works, but I really want to make Mohr from the new Brooklyn Tweed collection.
  • I invested in the handiest piece of jewelry ever: Wrist Ruler (I have the medium leather), also available at Tolt

I like collecting my favorites for the month and just throwing them up here. I think I’ll keep doing this each month.

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something delicious

I can’t decide what to do with this here little blog. I don’t know that I have anything terribly unique to say, but I do  like having a record of the things I make and find and like. Instagram and Pinterest make it easy to share and save a lot of those things, but I think this can be a space to elaborate a little more on some of them. So that’s what I’m going to do more regularly here, I think. We’ll see how it goes.

chipotle mushrooms

Here’s a little something delicious to try. Recently Mr. Heylucy and I went out to eat at a local cantina. I was intrigued to find a mushroom appetizer on the menu, since I don’t usually think of mushrooms when I think of Mexican food. They were so delicious that I had to try to replicate them at home. It took a couple of attempts, but they were really quite easy to make. This is my usual non-recipe recipe, exact measurements aren’t essential and should be adjusted for your own tastes, and for the number of servings you need.

You’ll need:
Cremini Mushrooms, thickly sliced
Minced Garlic
Minced Yellow Onion
Canned Chipotles in Adobo, minced
Optional, if you can get it: Epazote, minced
Butter

For two servings I use about half a pound of mushrooms, a couple big cloves of garlic, and an equal amount of onion, and one chipotle along with whatever adobo sticks to it when removing it from the can.

Melt a generous knob of butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute until softened. Add the mushrooms and turn up the heat just a bit to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to get a little brown. Add more butter if the pan starts to look dry. Add the chipotle and epazote if you have it, and stir to combine well with the mushrooms. Cook, stirring regularly just a few minutes more, until the mushrooms are tender and a little crisp around the edges.

These are delicious just as they are, but you can sprinkle a some queso fresco on top and just eat them like that. They make a nice taco filling if you have some good, fresh corn tortillas, and they would be perfect as a side with some carne asada.

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autumn to-do list

Now it really is starting to feel like autumn up here in the mountains, and the cottonwoods have the barest tinge of yellow. Something about the change of seasons makes me want to get some things done. I made a list, and I’ve already started working on it:

  • Wash and re-block hand knits.
    I pulled out a couple scarves, and they’re not dirty, just a bit crumpled from being shoved in a drawer all summer. A good blocking will do them all some good.
  • Take a crochet class.
    I went on Saturday for a class, and it was so helpful! I’ve done a little crochet on my own, but was never sure if I was doing it right. I especially never felt very comfortable juggling the hook and the yarn. In my class I learned a good way to hold them both, and I can single and double crochet quite well now. I even found a pattern for a ripple blanket and started on the first stripe. I actually had tried to do a similar pattern years ago, but I was never happy with the way it looked. I thought it would be a great project to use up leftover bits of worsted weight yarns. I’ll be working on it for a long time, but it will be a nice break to do a stripe here and there. 

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  • Make roast goose.
    So, I’ll be brief on this one. We had two mean geese. They were noisy and unpleasant and I found someone who was willing to “process” them for me. And now they are in the freezer. I’m still working myself up to it, but I found a good tutorial for when I am ready.
  • Get some more chickens.
    My girls aren’t laying much, and two of the six hens are now six years old, so it’s time for some fresh young hens. I’ll let my old ladies enjoy the rest of their days in our yard, though. They don’t try to nip at me when I feed them.
  • Finish website re-design/cleanup.
    I want to keep things clean and simple around here. I’ll probably do  a little here and there on this one, but I’m still not in a mood to spend my evenings in front of the computer.
  • Learn to use Lightroom, and organize my photos.
    I’ve started doing this too. In fact, I’ve even switched to shooting in RAW. I’m not totally sure what that even means, but I’m doing it! 
  • Bake a cake (flourless, of course).
    Done, and it was good, but I’m still searching for a really good grain-free cake recipe. I used this recipe, and it was dense and moist, which I expected. It was just a little too sweet for me (which might have been the pears I used, they were very ripe and sweet), and a little heavy. But it was so fun to bake again. I won’t be making it a regular habit, just a now and then treat.  

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  • Make a scarf from a piece of Liberty fabric I’ve been hoarding.
    This should take about ten minutes, I’ve got a yard, so I think I’ll just cut it in half and sew it end-to-end for length. 
  • Make a sweater for Pulley
    He doesn’t have fur like the other dogs, I think he’s going to need some warm clothes for the winter. 
  • Start making soup.
    I need to find some new soup recipes. Do you have any good ones? 
  • Knit the perfect cabled sweater.
    I want something cozy and slouchy. This might be just the thing. I have to decide what kind of yarn to use. 
  • Buy a lot of pumpkins and decorate the porch.
    I’ve got two so far, but I’m going to need some more.

Bonus items:

The Autumn pin board.
I also just needed to share the fact that you can follow an astronaut on pinterest.

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pickled

I’m so happy there are more farmer’s markets popping up around here. I went to a tiny one at a nursery in a nearby town the other night and came home with a bunch of little golden beets. Mr. Heylucy hates beets. The man will eat anything, except for beets and liver. Luckily, he wasn’t home that night, so I roasted my beet greens with a little olive oil and salt to eat for dinner, along with some salmon. Then I got to work on the beets themselves.

Photo Jun 14, 7 33 27 PM

I looked at a few pickled beet recipes, but I wanted to keep it simple, so I boiled them until they were just tender, and then peeled and sliced them with my trusty cheese plane (aka my poor-man’s mandolin). Next I made a brine with water, apple cider vinegar, pepper corns, mustard seed, bay leaf, salt, and sugar, which I heated just until it started to boil. I poured it over the beets and let it cool. Then I just stuck the jar in the fridge to chill overnight. The next day, I had some delicious (and pretty!) golden pickled beets.

beet salad

I had some in a salad with feta and a simple vinaigrette, but mostly I’ve just been eating them straight out of the jar.

I am going to have to see if I can’t get him to try just one little pickle. He loves pickles.

 

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pinterest for dinner

I didn’t really ‘get’ pinterest at first. I have a tumblr blog where I’ve always just posted little inspirations as I come across them, and didn’t think I needed yet another social website to keep track of. In fact, I deleted my account after a few weeks. Then I tried it again, and now I totally get it. It’s the first place I look when I want to find out how to do something. It’s always great when I need a little shot of inspiration. Especially when I need inspiration for dinner.

So this past weekend, while we were still nursing our colds, and any exertion required a 30 minute nap afterward, I wanted something easy, healthy, and delicious for dinner. As usual, pinterest was the solution. I mean really, bacon-wrapped king prawns on rosemary skewers, what could go wrong? Nothing, that’s what. We have a few enormous, overgrown rosemary bushes, so any time I can use some of it, I’m happy. Everything about the prawn recipe sounded good since we haven’t actually felt like eating much lately, and it was really easy and quick. Avocados are at their peak right now, so we are eating them nearly every day, and a simple salad was a nice change from the usual guacamole. I just used some homemade shallot mustard vinaigrette, because I had some in the fridge, but the salad dressing explanation at the link is worth a read if you don’t yet make your own. It’s so easy and so worth it. Have you looked at the ingredients on a bottle of salad dressing these days? It’s a chemistry experiment in a jar.

dinner

Corn has started making an appearance at the farm stand, so I cooked up a couple ears, and it was so good with everything else. How do you like your corn-on-the-cob? I think butter/salt/lime/Cholula hot sauce is pretty much a perfect combination.

dinner2

Do you use pinterest for cooking? I find that I am much more likely to make a recipe that I pin to my food board than when I would stumble across a recipe on a website and just think that I’d remember it and make it someday. I’ve already made quite a few things that I’ve pinned, some of which have made it into the regular rotation around here.

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list of the week

  1. Have you heard of Skillshare? I’m taking a class to learn the basics of Adobe Illustrator. I think it will be fun, even for a non-artist like me.
  2. Another photo printing app: Printic prints cute little photos that look like Polaroids and come in a cheery orange envelope. I think they make a nice thank you gift. printic
  3. A few books that I’ve read recently and really liked (you’ve probably already heard of most of these, but just in case): The Fault in Our Stars (YA, and I listened to the audiobook. my advice: don’t listen in the car on the way to work. my mascara was just ruined one day), Phantom (the best in the Harry Hole series, I hope it’s not the last), The Paris Wife (now I want to read A Moveable Feast and re-read A Farewell to Arms), Dark Places (Gillian Flynn’s second novel, I liked it better than Sharp Objects, although it was dark, it didn’t have quite the twists and turns of Gone Girl). I’ve been reading the Isabel Dalhousie series, but now that I’m on to book four I’m realizing that I don’t care all that much for Isabel, so I don’t know that I’ll go any farther.
  4. I made this and it was really rich, but also really delicious.cheese shrimp flatbread
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