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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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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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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Autumn to-do list

What are you planning to do this Autumn? Here's what I want to accomplish by the end of the year:

  • Finish Christmas shopping/making by the first week of December
  • Find the perfect  cream of mushroom soup recipe (I think I'll start with this one, Ina never lets me down!)
  • Bake a Ginger Pear Upside-down Cake
  • Bake a pear tart
  • Bake an apple cake
  • Make lots of pickles for gifts
  • Finish a quilt
  • Finish current knitting projects before starting a new one
  • Go on a hike
  • Clean up the garden
  • Plant some cold-weather vegatables (Kale, spinach, etc)
  • Plant pansies and flowering kale in pot on the porch
  • Make a desk for the guest room, so I can work there on my laptop instead of sitting in bed or on the couch
  • Chop wood for the stove and start building fires (I need to learn how to split wood, I think that will be a good skill to develop)
  • Move the mulch to the garden
  • Build another planting box

Pearcake

I can't wait to eat this cake again! 

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cooking & reading

It happens every summer, I just have to take a break from the computer, and so the blog suffers. Mostly I've been cooking and reading, and trying to stay cool up here in the mountains. Sadly, I haven't been taking many pictures, so  you will just have to imagine the following: fresh pea risotto with lemon zest (this would also work well with frozen peas. My secret ingrediant? Just add a couple tablespoons of cream at the very end); apricot yogurt popsicles (apricot nectar make surprisingly delicious popsicles, I highly recommend it!), white chocolate layer cake with apricot filling (there will be more on this at a later time, I am attempting to learn to make Italian buttercream, and my first go-round was a 
complete failure), and pasta salads (one with fresh tomatoes, fresh corn, fresh basil, and a lime-cumin dressing. Another, using orzo, with pesto, pistachios, golden raisins and green olives). I'm pretty 
sure I'll be making all of these things again soon, so there may be pictures and official recipes someday. Oh yes, I did manage a pizza photo:

Pizza

But it seems that my photography mojo is temporarily lacking. I'm hoping it will be back soon.

So, the pizza. It's a summer favorite I like to call bruschetta pizza. Roll out some dough, drizzle with olive oil, rub with a cut clove of garlic and bake just until it starts browning and is cooked through. As soon as you take it out of the oven, top with a mixture of diced tomatoes, fresh basil, salt & pepper and olive oil & vinegar to taste. I used some lovely heirloom tomatoes, and a little balsamic vinegar. Then you can top that with a salad lightly dressed with more oil & vinegar. I even added some crumbled feta to this one. I especially like an arugula salad, but this spring mix was delicious too. 

I've been doing lots of reading this summer, so just in case you're looking for something good to read, here are a few suggestions for you: 

  • Blessed Are the Cheesemakers by Sara Kate Lynch (Artisan cheesemakers in Ireland, a long, lost granddaughter, a Wall Street trader, down on his luck, and lots of other quirky characters, very cute!)
  • The Kill Artist (Gabriel Allon Novels) and The English Assassin  by Daniel Silva (The beginnings of a series featuring Gabriel Allon, art restorer and former Israeli super-spy. They're pretty decent thrillers. I'll continue the series when I'm in the mood for a satisfying thriller, but I'm not so invested in the characters that I have to finish one and immediately pick up the next)
  • Bruno, Chief of Police (Vintage) by Martin Walker (A small town in Provence, a police officer who avoids making arrests, villagers avoiding EU health inspections of their cheeses, sausages and patés, lovely descriptions of food, oh, and a grisly, mysterious, murder. What could be better? First in a series, and I'm eagerly awaiting the second installment from the library)
  • The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (Flavia De Luce Mystery 2) by Alan Bradley (I love 11-year-old sleuth, Flavia.)
  • The Spellman Files: A Novel (Izzy Spellman Mysteries) , Revenge of the Spellmans: A Novel , and Curse of the Spellmans: A Novel by Lisa Lutz (I actually listened to all these while driving to and from work, I love the narrator, Christina Moore, and the books are so fun. I was laughing out loud while stuck in traffic, and didn't want to get out of the car. They're just a fun, light read. If you're a Stephanie Plum fan, you'll probably enjoy these as well)
  • This Body of Death: An Inspector Lynley Novel by Elizabeth George (I've been reading the Inspector Lynley series for quite awhile. The last few books have not been as good, so it was nice to see the series improving a bit with this latest novel. There was a character I didn't really like, and hated seeing them hooking up with one of the regulars. I also listened to this one, and it was all I could do to not yell at them to knock it off. But that's only a small portion of the book, the mystery itself is quite good, lots of little twists at the end)
  • Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy Bundle: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (So suspenseful! Very dark, but also compelling! Who hasn't read these yet?)
  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: A Novel by Helen Simonson (So charming! But it also deals with issues like racism in a small English village, so it's not just fluff. There's also some lovely romance which I enjoyed, and I really liked the characters)
  • The Hunger Games , Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) , and Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins (thankfully, I only heard about this trilogy shortly before the final book came out last month. I would have hated to wait! These are so, so good. Don't let the fact that they are being marketed as Young Adult books deter you, or the fact that they are sort of sci-fi/fantasy. These are the sort of books that will stay with you for a long, long time. They are brutal, but there is so much depth to them. I'm still thinking about Katniss and all the other competitors in The Hunger Games, and the world they live in. There's just so much to consider)

There's more, but that will do for now. I added that little amazon widget to the sidebar, over there to your right, and I've put some of my favorites there, so if you did happen to want to get them (or anything else from amazon, for that matter) it would be ever so lovely to shop from here. I'll earn a tiny bit of cash, and you'll get a good book. Win-win! I like this better than the Blogher ads I had there before. They got on my nerves, so I finally took them down. 

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