Friday, November 23, 2012

Baby Bandana Bib

My lil' dude starting drooling before he was 3 months old. I saw these cute bandana bibs on Purl Bee a while back and didn't think too much of them until I had the exact same thought as the author: putting a regular bib on him makes him look like he's ready to eat, but not wearing a bib is no longer an option.
So it was clearly time to make him a cute bib disguised as a bandana around his neck.

I'm also enjoying these because they give him a little extra warmth around his neck which is one area that is often exposed to the cold when I wear him in any sort of carrier.

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Big Winter Cowl

I've been eyeing this Purl Soho pattern for what feels like forever. Before my son was born I decided it would soon come to fruition and the opening of a new yarn shop in my neighbourhood seemed like the perfect push I needed to get started. 

I really loved the idea of using thread throughout as a way to add different spurts of colour but couldn't find thread that was affordable enough at my local shop. So I chose one big ball of multi colored sock yarn, and just altered how many strands of the sock yarn I used (or didn't use) to create a similar effect.
I love how thick and wide it is and have already been wearing it non-stop. So cozy!  

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Brown Butter Spiced Winter Squash Bread

Oh boy. This was a good one. I think I easily polished off the whole loaf by day two.
The spices! The texture! Oh my I do adore this cakey bread.

The recipe comes from none other than my current favourite Ms. Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks. I followed the recipe pretty much completely as is, except I used walnut oil instead of hazelnut, and I made my own garam masala-esque blend of spices (coriander, cumin, ginger, black pepper, bay leaf, cardamom, and clove).
One bizarre thing I did do though was NOT measure my squash. Yup, that's right, I chopped, roasted, and pureed it but somewhere in my zombie mom brain I didn't think about measuring the damn stuff. Oh well, turns out lady luck was on my side and this turned out great. Now the only thing is I wonder how it'll turn out the next time...

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Beet & Corn Hash

This post seemed have gotten lost in the shuffle somewhere. Seems a little out of place now that we're almost heading into November but it was delish so here it is nonetheless!

I love meals that really represent the transition of seasons, especially summer to fall. Lately I've been diving into fall produce while still trying to use up some of late summers best offerings. I feel like the addition of sweet fresh corn really adds a touch of summer to an otherwise heavy fall dish. 

No recipe this time, just hoping to inspire you to take a breakfast staple like hash and give it a good ol' seasonal twist!

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Summer Squash Soup

So it's official. This is the time for soup. 
Not just weather wise, but baby wise. 

I've quickly realized that soup is the perfect meal for me to cook while taking care of the babe while my husband's at work. I start it late in the morning while the babe is napping, eat some for lunch then serve the rest for dinner, or just save it for another days lunch. If the babe wakes up and I have to leave my cooking, it's so easy to just take it off the heat or turn it down while putting it together, and of course once its done its perfect to just leave on the low heat ready for whenever I can sit down and eat some.

I wish I had found this recipe earlier. It's the perfect way to use up oodles of zucchini or other summer squash that we all end up having a little too much of now and then. With a hint of coconut milk and green curry, this simple soup was another great way to celebrate the transition into fall. I think I'll definitely be making this again this winter with some of the zucchini I've tucked away into my freezer.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Quirky Baby Cardigan

The great thing about knitting for tiny babies is how quickly clothes can come together. This little sweater was so quick to knit up. The only thing that slowed me down was um, having to take care of the little babe who was to wear it. 

I made this little number for the upcoming cool fall days. So far the mornings are cool enough that he needs a sweater but by midday he could be in shorts. My other knit sweater I've made for him (shown on baby below) is too annoying to put on/take off repeatedly. Also I feel like this one won't be too warm for him to wear while he's in a carrier because the front is open. 

I roughly based this sweater off a pattern from Joelle Hoverson's "More Last Minute Knitted Gifts" but changed the dimensions a lot and then ended up realizing it was too small and added the grey portions for more coverage. 

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Beet Greens with Tofu and Soba Noodles

When the end of summer nears closer and closer I feel myself clinging to the seasons best produce; green beans, tomatoes, peaches, and berries. Even though I'm actually slowly getting tired of these foods and actually can't wait to dive into my first winter squash or bag of brussels sprouts, I just feel like I need to avoid eating fall/winter vegetables as long as I can because before I know it beets, potatoes, cabbage and turnips will be some of my only culinary choices. 

During todays market trip however I just couldn't help myself. Its been weeks that I've been eyeing bunches of beets and piles of winter squash and I couldn't resist them any longer. We're heading out of the city for a few days tomorrow so I knew I needed to make quick work of the beet greens before my refrigerators crisper gets to them first. 

I think every fall I search for new exciting things to do with beets, especially the greens. I love their flavour but often find it quite overpowering.
After checking all my usual sources for inspiration and finding nothing, google provided me with this recipe from Canadian Living. I added this yummy tofu my friend Renee got me hooked on, as well as cashews and soba noodles. It was the perfect quick Saturday lunch! 
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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Color Block Baby Sweater

Another cute little hand knit for my cute little guy. 

I started this sweater the week he was born and was about half way through the blue when he decided to show up. I worked on it a bit in the hospital and then at home I slowly figured out how to juggle knitting and nursing. I was planning on it just being 4 colors but I not only ran out of yellow yarn but also misjudged how much yarn I'd need for the yoke so I had to add the white. 

This is definitely my sharpest looking hand knit (thanks merino yarn!) and I think it's making my husband envious. Time to pull out the sweater I started for him last year so I can finally finish it. 

By the way, I used this pattern for a seamless raglan in case you're interested.
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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've had a real hankerin' for some classic chocolate chip cookies lately. I've often been a bit overwhelmed when looking for "the perfect" recipe for this classic cookie, and have just as often been disappointed with the results. This cookie is soft, not tooth-achingly-sweet and has just the right amount of chocolate in it. Just what I've been searching for!
Pair it with a cold glass of milk and you've got my favourite after dinner snack.

Not only do I love how these taste but they feel so fast to throw together. The recipe is simple enough that I'm sure I'll commit to memory after a few more times making them, and something about the melted butter step just seems to speed it all up which I'm grateful for these days.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Lev's Birth Story

As you may have figured out, much to my surprise and delight this little guy showed up three weeks early on Saturday August 11th! Motherhood feels amazing and I'm loving every single moment with him. Isn't he just perfect?!
If you're interested in our birth story just click "read more" below.
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Simple Carrot Salad

This is my entire carrot harvest of summer 2012.

Looks kind of sad when you think of it like that, but I prefer to appreciate the fact that I got one big bowl of sweet crunchy fresh carrots rather than none at all. The glass has been pretty well half full around these parts lately, thanks to this little beauty:
With him strapped to my chest or asleep on Daddy, I've finally been able to venture back into our overgrown forgotten garden and harvest some goodies, rip out some oldies, and plant some newbies.

The bebe has also been such a great reminder to slow down and stop and smell the roses. Life takes on such a different pace with him around and everything holds such a different meaning.
Which is why I just devoured and enjoyed this little carrot salad for what it was in the moment, and nothing more.

The recipe is from Everybody Likes Sandwiches, check it out here.
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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Knitted Panda Bear Hand Puppet

Well this might not be the most handsome Panda Bear on the block but he's still pretty darn cute. Kind of got a gnarly goofy thing going on. Hopefully my son will be charmed by him rather than freaked out. Fingers crossed!
I used a pattern from Susan Anderson's book "Itty Bitty Toys" , a machine washable merino yarn, and then lined it with a bright turquoise cotton. 

I'm already thinking he needs a little friend. Maybe a cat, a rabbit, or a pig? So many cute possibilities! 

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Striped Fingerless Gloves

I think it's about time I knit myself something, don't ya think? I've been making so many handknit goodies for this baby o' mine and the closer I get to his arrival I realize I should really starting making myself a few sweet little things for fall, because clearly I'm not going to have much time to do this in the coming months.  

I've been wanting to make fingerless gloves for quite some time now. I love the idea of a glove that is perfect for crisp fall days and I'm imagining that there'll be plenty of cool walks that will require free fingers to care for baby. My husband also made a good point that if my fingers do get cold I could probably slip then within the folds of a wrap as I wear baby around.

I used a pattern from Purl Bee (surprise! surprise!) and some merino that I originally bought for a baby blanket. I ended up altering the pattern and added some decreases to make it more of a fitted glove.
I was iffy about the length but they are actually the perfect length to meet the short sleeves of my favourite denim jacket. 
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Monday, August 6, 2012

Peach Icebox Cake

It's probably no surprise that I've been seeking out ways to keep cool lately. Despite still baking a fresh loaf of bread every other day, I'm really trying to keep the oven turned off during this heat.
I made a variation of this cake about a week ago that was so lackluster it's a wonder I tried again. I built it in a small but high sided dish (thinking it would be easier) and ending up using WAY too much whip cream. I used both peaches and plums and yet the cake was so bland and boring I couldn't quite believe it. 
This cake on the other hand is far from boring, far from bland and really quite delightful. I made it for dessert last night and am kicking myself for not having leftovers to snack on right now. 
Somehow despite all the cream this ends up tasting so light, and fresh while the coconut and almonds really round out the flavour. Pair that with a soft and pillowy texture, and in my books you've got a winner!

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Soft Letters

I have a confession. 
I'm starting to get nervous. 

There are only 4 weeks until I become a parent and my life changes forever. 4 WEEKS!?
I feel like I've been waiting for this time in my life to come for years, yet now that I'm faced with it I CANNOT wrap my head around it. There was a while there around the 3rd-4th month of pregnancy, that I was rather freaked out and nervous about giving birth. Now I feel like labour and delivery aren't even on my radar of anxiety but the thought of caring for a child every second of the day has become my main source of butterflies.
I know this will pass and I'll be filled with all the excitement that is deep down under the anxiety, but it's still a tough pill to swallow at the moment. Thankfully I do have 4 long weeks left to enjoy as simply a wife and not yet a mother, and I plan doing more things for me while I still can.

But on the topic of more things for the babe...
This was another project inspired by Lotta Jansdotter's book "Simple Sewing for Baby". I've always been drawn to the idea of having a baby's name spelt out on a wall in their room and these fabric letters just felt more me, than say wooden letters. It was such a super simple and quick project that gives his room just a little more personality. 
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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Nursery Wall Decor

My baby's room is quickly coming together and it feels so great. With four weeks (or more!) to go until he arrives, I'm quite happy to have his room generally finished. Today I browsed Pinterest for more fun nursery craft ideas as the walls are still a wee bit emptier than I'd like. I found this great polka dot print idea on Apartment Therapy and decided to bring this idea into my son's room.

I had these tiny little canvases stashed away in my craft room for whats felt like years (can't even remember why I bought them in the first place) that seemed like the perfect vehicle for the paper polka dots.

I've put these on the wall near our changing table and hopefully the playful pops of colour will captivate his attention while we get down to the dirty business of all those diaper changes.
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Friday, August 3, 2012

Zucchini Chocolate Muffins

Zucchini season has hit my backyard and I couldn't be happier. I think in the last two weeks I've harvested 7 big beautiful zucchinis. Not a bad start eh? Most of them I have been diced and frozen but I've also made a batch of one of our guilty summer pleasures: Zucchini Fritters with Whipped Feta and how could I resist the allure of chocolate zucchini muffins? I was really looking for a recipe that was slightly healthier...but still quite chocolatey. It was truthfully hard to find but I think this was pretty much what I was looking for.

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Knitted Teddy Bear

Here it is! My son's first teddy bear! Isn't it the cutest thing ever?! I've always wanted to make knitted baby toys and am not really quite sure why it's taken me so long. I found a great book last year by Susan Anderson called "Itty Bitty Toys" that really sparked an interest in me. She has the cutest patterns for simple hand puppets that I'd really love to make. Also one of my sisters-in-law sent me a great book on knitted toys that is sure to keep me busy for quite a while.

I used a Debbie Bliss pattern for this bear (found on Ravelry but can also be found in her book "Simply Baby") that I ended up really enjoying. The first part of the pattern was written quite strangely and I had to rip it out at least 4 times before I finally figured out what I was doing wrong. But other than that it knit up quite quickly and easily. There were many reviews on Ravelry stating that seaming it together was annoying or difficult but I really thought it was fine. I didn't want to overstuff it, but there are a few places (like it's head and snout) that could be fuller. 

I can just imagine this little bear being dragged along on all my son's adventures.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mushroom & Sausage Risotto

When you're home alone do you have different behaviour than when your partner is around? The question makes me think of Carrie from SATC and her "Secret Single Behaviour" theory, demonstrated by her eating saltines with grape jelly while standing in her kitchen reading fashion magazines. I truthfully don't think I have any remaining "Secret Single Behaviour" left after 7 years with my husband. I actually think that I had lived alone for long enough before meeting and moving in with him that it wasn't that easy to hide anything that would could have been considered "secretive" anyway.
But nowadays when the rare occasion comes along that I'm alone for days if my husband is away I have developed a new type of SSB: I eat food that I know he hates.
Like tuna sandwiches! And mushrooms!

I bought myself four baby portabello mushrooms at the market this week anticipating a few lonely meals but really had no specific dish in mind for them. Thankfully a little quick browsing on one of my go-to recipe blogs provided me with the perfect use for them.
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Baby Pullover Sweater

Another little project for my baby-to-be from my favourite knitting source
I somehow managed to make the body too narrow (which in turn makes the sleeves look too long) which must have happened by binding off too many stitches for the sleeves. I guess that's what happens when I roughly follow a pattern and am not paying attention the number of stitches called for. Oops! 

I can roll the sleeves up, but I don't really love the look of them quite as much. I also wish my collar turned out as nice as the one on Purlbee. But I do love the slit detail on the hem and the fact that I was able to use up lots of this hand me down yarn. 

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Chocolate Nut Balls

Lately I've been craving chocolate. It makes me feel like such a typical 8 month pregnant woman; swollen feet, occasionally irritable, moaning and grunting while doing the smallest of physical activities, napping and eating all day, and now craving chocolate.

But it's not just any chocolate I was craving.
There are ice cream sandwiches in my freezer along side some Ben & Jerry's "If I had 1000,000 flavours", there's even some snickers bars in the pantry, and I could quickly whip up some of my favourite chocolate pudding. But none of those were scratching the itch.
I was craving a cold no-bake type of relatively healthy chocolate snack. Something with nuts and oats, maybe some coconut and no unnecessary butter.

So I searched and searched online, knowing that this dream recipe was out there somewhere. Thankfully it only took a few minutes to find this recipe which was EXACTLY what I was looking for. And how perfect is it for my stereotypical mom-to-be self to find said recipe on a blog called Natural Mommie. Haha! Mommy-land, here I come.Pin It

Monday, July 16, 2012

Nursing Pillow

Wanna know a secret? Sometimes I get lazy. Sometimes I give up and buy things I could make. Sometimes I just don't have the time or the drive to fulfill all my handmade dreams.
It happens to the best of us, right?

I had always wanted to make my own nursing pillow after seeing a cute handmade one in Lotta Jansdotters book "Simple Sewing for Baby". But while registering for our baby shower I had a moment of weakness and thought "Geez, I can't do everything myself. Maybe I should cut myself a break and just have a store bought pillow."
Thankfully I have a great partner in life who at just the right moments gently reminds me that I can do it myself. And sure maybe it'll be a while before I really find the time, but it will get done. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday.
This little life lesson is also one that I think my son is helping teach me from the womb. "It can wait" he says, as he makes me put off tasks for another day in favour of rest and relaxation. And it's true, most things can wait. The floors can be dirty for another day or two, the laundry can sit piled on the dresser moments away from it's final destination inside the drawers. Heck, even the bread dough can rise another day and not mind one bit.

When the baby shower rolled around there was no nursing pillow to be found amongst the gifts and I was secretly relieved. I added "make a nursing pillow" back onto my to-do-someday list, and just relaxed knowing that eventually the time would be found to get it done.
This morning the stars aligned (with the very cool morning breeze that blew into my sewing room) and I spent maybe 10-20 minutes making this simple but hopefully very useful pillow.Pin It

Saturday, July 14, 2012

July Garden Update

Lately I'm all about the COLOUR in my garden! Seeing little bits of bright pink or orange peeking out from within the jungle of green just makes me so happy. This could also be because my garden isn't producing much in the way of edibles right now. Aside from herbs, some lettuce and edible flowers, I'm still mostly waiting for things to mature (or show up at all). 
So let's dive right into the good stuff shall we? CHERRIES!! Aren't these spectacular?? Mostly because we had no idea we owned a cherry tree until it started to bloom early this spring, and then weeks later when fruit slowly started to appear. 
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Friday, July 13, 2012

Strawberry Almond Tart

So I don't want to sound like a broken record or anything...but have I mentioned how uncomfortably hot I've been lately? 33 weeks preggo in 25+ degree weather isn't as lovely as it may sound. 

I think I've been doing a pretty good job at not complaining too much but there are points in the day when a frown creeps onto my face and I just can't comprehend the fact that I need to stay out of the sun. Add to that picture my undying desire to cook and bake new fun things for almost every meal and my utter disregard for the fact that baking will in fact make my house hotter. 

Thankfully I've stumbled upon this little gem of a summer tart. Not only is it super fast to make but the end result is so light and refreshing that it almost makes me forget I had to turn the oven on at all. 
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Green Bean Hazelnut Salad

This summer has been just fantastic so far. Despite the fact that the high temperatures don't agree with my pregnant body, my feet are constantly swollen and I'm getting a wee bit crankier...I am actually having a really great summer.
Yesterday was a perfect day filled with two trips to the lake, a great burger from my favourite new burger joint, a long nap, a delicious quickly-thrown-together summer meal, refreshing mocktails, and board games in the yard at dusk. What more could I want?

This salad comes from (you guessed it) Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks. She comments on the surprisingly pleasant pairing of the tomatoes and the hazelnuts but I really think it's the green bean and hazelnut combo that wowed me. Either way, you must add this into your summer salad repertoire.

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