Forgotten Photo Friday: Handmade, Sugar-free Chocolate Bars

Over the past year, Honey has reduced the amount of sugar she eats and now noticed that chocolate bars taste different to her. For Christmas, I chose a day when she would be away all day and late into the evening and made her chocolate.

I wanted to use a recipe that would create a hard chocolate that did not need to be refrigerated, was tempered (and thus shiny!), and sweetened with honey. I found the perfect recipe on Living Healthy with Chocolate. I used the silicone moulds we used to make our lotion bars for a nice chunky mouthful of chocolate.

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Early May Garden 

As I (somewhat) patiently approach our 19th May average frost date, I’m finding joy in the things I won’t have to plant out. Yes, the greenhouse is full of seedlings at various stages, but the autumn sowings, volunteers, and perrenials are winning my heart in the quasiallotment because I know they’re past that nerve-inducing tender stage.

The onions and garlic seem to be continuing fine, last year’s calendula is flowering, we’ve some volunteer potatoes in the backyard veg patch, and I’ve spied some visiting nettle which I hope to naturalise in a section of the plot. 

Finally, the alliums that I planted to be an end of June bloom creep ever earlier and have begun blooming now. 

Forgotten Photo Friday: Ricketts Glen State Park Falls Trail 

This weekend, my family is headed to Ricketts Glen State Park to camp. Some, like my parents and uncle, are staying all week while others including cousins and sister are staying the weekend. They’ll be hiking the Falls Trail. One of the family highlights of visiting Ricketts Glen has always been this trail and several members of the camping party have never walked it before. 

The trail loop is 7.2 miles for the full trail and 3.2 miles for a smaller loop.  The longer loop takes you past 21 waterfalls which range from 11-94ft tall. We’ve walked it as a nuclear family many times and have taken nieces and nephews, friends, and dogs along the path. As a child, the steep and narrow paths, the seemingly endless views, and the humidity and rushing water made the Falls Trail seem like a high adventure. It remains one of my favourite hikes anywhere. I can say with 100% certainly that this trail is why I love waterfalls so much. 

In 2014 (sadly, the last time that both Honey and I were over in the US), we spent the day ‘at the Glen’. The last set of falls on the trail is just a short and easy walk from the carpark, so we walked with my mom-just over 6 months after her kidney transplant- to those falls and admired the view. Then, Honey, my dad and I walked the trail for the day. 

Bracklinn Falls, Callender

On Saturday, we headed to Bracklinn Falls. It’s a loop trail that gets steep and is a hike, but the falls are visible just 1/3 of the way in. We stayed in that area and Honey geocached while I photographed the water, then we sat by the falls for a while. As I sat on the rocks with the steady stream rushing by me and bringing by thoughts here, to the present, I felt safe on my island surrounded by trees and hills and reflected that this is the type of setting where I feel most at home*. I can’t wait to visit with the littles of the family- none of the youngest 5 have ever been! 

*Maybe I’m really a dobsonfly, meant to live by the wooded streams. Their larval stages, hellgramites, prefer the highly oxegenated waters of quickly flowing and rocky areas, the same areas that soothe my senses. 

Jewel-Toned Stripey Scarf

When Honey and I ran errands on Saturday, I saw this scarf in a charity shop window. I asked inside for the price, and before I even heard the ‘£2.99’, I knew I was taking it home. 

I washed the scarf on Sunday and couldn’t wait to iron before wearing it to work today.  The jewel tones means it will match nearly everything I wear. Yay. 

Dehydrator Cookies

I made delicious, chewy cookies that looked like this. I thought of them as human scooby-snacks. Using the coconut flour with the almond pulp was based on my cupboard but it turned out to be perfect. They reminded me of the coconut caramel from caramel delights Girl Scout cookies, so I’m planning that!

I don’t have a cookie press, so they were supposed to look like this:

I’ll definitely make a double batch next time because these were gone in a few days. Here’s the recipe from Excalibur Dehydrator’s instagram:

Spring 

The clocks changed this weekend, we welcomed friends to the area with a hike in the sunshine, and it’s time to crawl out of the cave*. 

‘now winging selves sing sweetly, while ghosts(there and here) of snow cringe; dazed an earth shakes sleep out of her brightening mind: now everywhere space tastes of the amazement which is hope

gone are those hugest hours of dark and cold when blood and flesh to inexistence bow (all that was doubtful’s certain, timid’s bold; old’s youthful and reluctant’s eager now)

anywhere upward somethings yearn and stir piercing a tangled wreck of wishless known: nothing is like this keen(who breathes us)air immortal with the fragrance of begin

winter is over–now(for me and you, darling!)life’s star prances the blinding blue’

~e.e.cummings 

*Photo from Sunday’s wander through the Darn Walk, Bridge of Allan. 

Crochet Unicorn

One day at work, a group of us ended up getting into a conversation about unicorns. A colleague said something that we all responded to and the conversation amused me as I reflected on it later. I love my workplace. 

I decided to make one colleague his own pet unicorn because I thought it would make him laugh and smile. I searched for yarn in my stash that would work. Finding the right colours in the same thickness was the challenge, but I finally hit on it. I used this pattern and brought the happy unicorn in to the office on the following Monday. 

Making the unicorn reminded me of how much I love making small surprises for people. With the backlog of crafting I feel I have, I had forgotten that.