Brownies!

Having given up sugar over a year and a half ago, and being off gluten and dairy, it’s been a while since I had a brownie. I found a coconut flour brownie recipe from Renee’s Kitchen Adventures and they’re wonderful! I omitted the chips and made them one weekend. Honey tried them and really liked them. The next day, a friend and my sister-in-law tried them (neither of them are used to trying my style of food) and they both approved. The friend even requested the brownies a couple of weeks later when I was heading over to her house. Brownies for the win!

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Baby Quilt

At the end of December, I found out that a friend’s baby had arrived sooner than expected. I knew I needed to send love and energy their way and dug out fabric.

I made a ‘strip and flip’ quilt (though I will vary the height of strips more in the future) and carefully stitched line after line. I sat there for a full day singing songs that I would have sang with his mom at summer camp and, with each stitch, thinking about the amazing things he’ll get to do here on earth.

 

20160214_094315Once I headed back to work in January, my sewing stalled so they didn’t receive this until late February.

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Wardrobe Modifications

Remember when I said I wouldn’t be buying any new clothes for the school year? Well, we’re going to have to call it a short university year! Although I thought I would have more than enough clothing to last me through the year, I didn’t count on both wearing through things and gaining weight. 

Not planning on gaining weight? Yeah, rookie mistake, I know. Considering my size has been stable for two years and I am in my mid 30s and had never been able to gain weight when I tried, I just didn’t think I could. I have slowly (and happily) crept up the scales since going gluten and dairy free last summer and imagine that I am now around the weight I would have been ages ago had my body been able to absorb the nutrients I was shoveling into it. My formerly loose clothing is now just on the other side of fitting. 

One pair of jeans were no longer tolerable to wear as they pinched my thighs (as far as I can tell, there is no internet hack for that!) so I was down to one pair with some stretch in them that grew with me. They’re on their last (two) legs though and I couldn’t wear them all week to work. In looking to replace them, I visited charity shop after charity shop: over 30 visits until I finally found a pair that fits well! For some reason, while I can find jeans that fit me somewhat easily in the US, I can almost never find jeans that accommodate certain curves here. In fact, after about two weeks of wearing my new jeans, I read the label and discovered they were made in the US. I haven’t taken a shot of them, but they’re just a dark wash pair of jeans that I hemmed using this technique

This skirt now has to sit so high up that the zip digs into my ribs all day. I was going to add a triangle of fabric in the zip area but the insert would have needed to be pretty wide and tall and would have been visible below any shirt. I pondered cutting it, raising it up, and adding elastic to the waist but the shaping is so nice in the lower back area I didn’t want to ruin it for someone else if I end up donating it. So I grabbed this skirt out one evening after work and tried it on. I yanked it off and knew immediately what I would do with it! Since it had a button, I could just make a button panel to add in without damaging the integrity of the design and giving myself a bit more (actual) breathing room. I was really proud of my buttonholing…  

and of the reclaimed comfort factor while knowing the modification will be hidden.

Tahini Dressing

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Back when I thought I’d have a (veg) pregnancy, I bought a book called The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book.I bought it because I read positive reviews about  the recipes and thought it would be nice to expand my recipe base. I didn’t feel like there was anything particularly innovative or interesting and I was disappointed to see that it relies very heavily on soy. Considering how important correct hormone levels are and how soy just throws that out the window, I felt let down. In short, I  wouldn’t recommend the book.

What I definitely do recommend, however, is this one gem of a recipe: ‘You are a Goddess Dressing’, which I just call GoddessTahini Dressing.

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I have made it more times than I can count and use coconut aminos (which can be a bit sweeter than standard soy sauce), balanced out by more sea salt and a splash more acidic juice (lemon juice or acv). I’ve made it for others with some braggs soy sauce and didn’t sweeten it.  It is great on salads, for dipping veggies, and added cold on top of hot grain salads. The creamy, salty, tangy, sweet balance will leave you craving more.

Elephant Mala Beads

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At the end of 2015, in the quiet time between Christmas and New Year that allows for contemplation, I started more regular meditation focused on affirmations. While a plastic bead bracelet I had helped me keep track, I wanted something more earthy for the practice.
I picked out some wooden beads carved from scraps from the furniture industry, some stone beads to intersperse, and then fell in love with the carved obsidian elephants at prettyfunkybeads on etsy.
The necklace has a nice weight to it and I often find it in my hands not just during meditation but when I need a bit of grounding.

Right Now…

I am:
– enjoying the slow, a new kind of ‘hibernation’ instead of my previous lethargic or foggy winters
– without a camera until I purchase new batteries and a charger, hesitant to buy a ‘universal’ charger lest my batteries get damaged again
– not spending my time crafting, by choice. Quieting the relentless drive to create.

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– finding myself being drawn to making food and reading books. Books I’m devouring through kindle unlimited until I get my library card back online.
– glad I’ve removed all expectations from authors (they can’t all be L.M. Montgomery, Bradbury, Steinbeck, or Seuss) to be great and simply reading for enjoyment in the now. Not all books need to teach or change me. I’m enjoying reading those that don’t.
– letting myself get lost in fiction, a world away…