Easy Throw-Together Lentil Loaf

I wanted an easy lentil loaf that would hold together and taste nice. The recipes I found online had a lot of spices to measure and I wanted something simpler.
The weather was beautiful and I didn’t want to be stuck inside so I cooked the lentils and threw the rest together later.

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2C cooked lentils, soaked then cooked with stock
1 small chopped onion
1C egg whites (I had this in the fridge, use whole eggs if that’s what you have). Add last so you can season to taste
2-ish tsp nutritional yeast
Salt, pepper
Seasoning (I used smoked paprika)
Pour into lined loaf tin. Cook at 175C for 10 minutes or so, then reduce to around 155C. Cook for a while (I didn’t time it…check at 30 mins), perhaps around 45 minutes.
Full of protein and slices well for freezing.

Garden Update

As we finally approach the frost date for our area  (mid May!), the garden is slowly coming together. We’ve been given use of a garden plot in our neighbourhood! It measures 5×3 metres and we plan to plant the longer growing plants over there. Last month we built the bean poles and then decided to plant out the tall beans and soup peas under fleece. Unfortunately, April optimism gets us every year and all the beans are dead. Some peas are hanging on and we’ll soon be able to plant out directly.

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In trying to figure out the best way to reach the middle of the plot without stepping in the patch, I took to instagram to ask people with allotments how they managed. The consensus seemed to be either plant it and then step back for the season, or divide and conquer with paths. I was worried about compacting the soil but this seems to be unfounded.
We purchased some round stepping stones (our local B&Q doesn’t stock them but we managed to find them at Homebase) and I dug them in across the middle of the plot. That’s when I realised we’d need more to reach the rest of the plot.
Just then a neighbour walked by and commented on the plot and as we chatted, she offered me spare stepping stones from her garden. This neighbourhood seriously fills me with such gratitude. I went to collect them and she also offered me strawberry plants, which I gratefully accepted. That evening, I dug in the new stones, tilled the soil until my hand blistered, andadded the strawberries to our patch out back.

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Mogget really likes our quasi-allotment and follows me there whenever he can!

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Our backyard has been a base for roofers over the past few weeks so we haven’t gotten much done there, but outdoor fruit has received some attention. We tied up the tayberry, weeded the strawberry patch, un-fleeced the small pear (upper right corner of photo below), rescued an ailing supermarket blueberry plant (bottom right), and are trying potted raspberries. A few years ago we tried growing raspberries from canes and they never established. They kept moving away from the place we had them and they never thrived.

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We need to get back on the ball and start more seedlings. All we have at the moment are brassicas, zucchini, tomatoes, and asparagus pea. Planting, and photos, to follow…

Artful Mending

Although my play jeans have grown with me over the past year, they’ve begun to wear through. In my late teens and early twenties, my favourite jeans became a network of patches over time. And I loved them.

When looking for mending inspiration, I was captivated by the ideas of visible mending, artful mending, and Japanese boro and sashiko stitching.

Since I wanted to feel secure and have confidence that extra fabric really is there in the crotch area, I put the rectangle of fabric inside rather than outside (as common in boro techniques) of the jeans. I pinned it in place and then started stitching.

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I used two colours of blue embroidery floss (for greater compatability with future patches) and took my time, finding pleasure in the process as well as the outcome.

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.