Friday, April 28, 2017

Vegan Thai Butternut Squash Red Curry

With a fair few winter squash still saved from the garden last fall, I've been on the hunt for new ways to use them up.  As much as I adore winter squash, the same few ways of roasting or puréeing or stuffing them is getting a bit redundant.

Enter a new recipe that I've adapted a bit for my taste and what I had on hand.

This curry is delicious!  Plain and simple, this is a tasty and comforting meal that I plan to make time and time again.  It's also adaptable.  Have a glut of kale or broccoli leaves, add that instead of spinach.  Have some leftover chicken you don't want to go to waste?  Toss that in, too.  Don't have butternut squash but do have pumpkin or trombocino or some other winter squash variety?  Not to worry as they all taste similar and would all work in this dish!

It's just an absolute winner of a recipe and I can't wait to make it a regular in my rotation.

THAI BUTTERNUT SQUASH RED CURRY

Ingredients:

* 1 tbls oil of choice
* 2 small onions, chopped 
* 3-4 cups butternut {or other winter} squash, chopped
* 1 tbls grated fresh ginger
* 2-3 tsp red curry paste
* 1 tbls yellow curry powder
* 1 {15 ounce} can coconut milk
* 3/4 cup broth or water
* 2 tsp sugar or honey
* 1 large bag frozen or fresh spinach
* lime wedges
* brown or basmati rice for serving

Directions:

* Heat oil in large pan over medium high heat.  Add onions and sauté until tender and beginning to turn golden.  Add squash and ginger, toss to coat and incorporate.

* Add the red curry paste, yellow curry powder, toss to incorporate.  Cook 5-6 minutes, then add broth, coconut milk, spinach, and sugar. Bring sauce up to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, turning heat down a bit if needed.  

* Serve over rice {I served over brown rice} with a lime wedge.  




Let me know if you try this!  It's a delicious and different way to use up squash!

XOKK


Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Dose Of Adorable: Toddlers and TeePees

When my baby bestie H turned two, I made him this teepee for his birthday.  It was a labor of love, taking so much more work than I ever imagined.  And while I would change a few things if I ever made one again, I'm still really pleased with how well it turned out.




Last weekend while I was hanging out with my best boy and trying to convince him it was quiet time, he got out the teepee.  How could I possibly say no to a little KK and H play time?!




Right after these photos were taken I got in there with him.  I was tying the ribbons that I sewed on the inside to keep the legs in place and he got behind me and just gave me hugs.  My bucket got filled right to the top with sugar that night.  

I love kids of all ages.  But I've said it countless times that ages 3-7 are the sweet spot years in my heart.  And four year old baby bestie H is no exception!  A funny little love bug who knows how to melt his Auntie KK with a single hug.

XOKK

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Spring In The City

This has by far been the most amazing spring I can ever remember.  And while that probably means the ice caps are melting and polar bears will be extinct soon, at the moment, I am an incredibly selfish human who struggles to keep the cuckoo in the clock during the dark, cold winters.  I am swooning over the warm days and cool nights.




I've been able to take my long Sadie walks most nights, go for walks and hikes {really just walks in the woods...please don't get the impression I am scaling some mountain...it's me we're talking about here} to soak up sunshine and nature on weekends, play in the garden, and exhale again.  Add in a healthy amount of yoga and I am in my happy bubble again.




I've been able to plant seeds earlier this year than any previous year.  I have high hopes that last year's bean bust will be well made up for this year as I have already planted sugar snap peas, sweet peas, snow peas, wax beans, green beans, and a few other varieties.  




The funny thing about this unseasonably warm spring is that it's still too early to trust the weather to plant most things.  Because sure, it's nice now.  But the weather has a way of throwing curve balls and giving us late season frosts.  So while it feels like summer and feels like I should be able to plant all the seedlings taking over my dining room table, it's still too early.  So when I go to the garden, most of the time it's just to stare at straw beds and imagine what they will look like in two months.  




In the mean time, I'm taking in all the colors showing off around town.




This spring has been exceptionally bright and cheerful!

What's spring been like where you live this year?  

XOKK

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Science Not Silence

I went to my first march in January, my second in February, and on Saturday, I went to my third.  I marched for Science and it was fantastic!

An entire political party pretending they don't believe in science reminds me of a petulant toddler throwing a tantrum over not wanting the red lolly pop that they insisted on having.  We all believe in science.  We all go to doctors and use smart phones and drive safe cars and color our hair and wear sunscreen and take headache medicine and brush our teeth...and and and.  Science is in everything and pretending it's not is nothing short of absurd.




We all believe in science and it's crazy that millions of people around the globe have to march to say as much.  Science is real.  Climate change is real.  Research saves lives.  

But back to the March...




I had a great time!  People are always so kind and friendly at these events.  They're cheerful and family oriented, offering a very welcoming vibe.  This one was particularly calm, because scientists.  

First I have to brag that I managed to find the world's most impressive parking spot!  I was running late {as always} and knew parking would be a bear.  I was driving past the rally, knowing I would have to drive around a while to find parking.  But just then, two women walked to their car, literally across the street from the rally, got in, and left.  As I was backing in, a jerk in a red truck tried to swipe it from me. But I prevailed and got myself a piece of prime parking.  And have not stopped bragging about it because that just never happens to me.

Above was my favorite sign from the day.  I had wanted to make mine on black cardboard but was too lazy to go to the store to get it when I already had white foam core at home.  I really loved the way the silver popped on the black.

Below are my signs.  Most people only make a sign on one side of cardboard but because people are both in front of you and behind you, I think that's a total missed opportunity.  Or maybe that's just because I struggle to narrow down which two signs I want to make.  






I get a lot out of marching.  And our country has gained a lot from these marches too.  Progress begins on the streets.  Always.  Not in a politician's office.  That's where things get signed.  But progress begins step by step in homes and streets and with individual voices.  It's such a positive and uplifting vibe that really boosts morale to know you're not alone.  Here's hoping there are some marches planned in the upcoming {warm} months!

XOKK

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Week In Review: All The Little Things

Week in review is a lie.  It's weeks.  Plural.  Several weeks that I am throwing into one post so I have it down for posterity.

Spring sprang sprung!  We found sunshine and longer days and all was right in the world again.  I am just a different {better} person on sunny days.  Being able to take a long walk in the evenings again has been a game changer.




Speaking of long walks, the beautiful weather this past month has meant I'm able to get back to my favorite walking/running/but let's get real it's really walking spots on the weekends.  People who don't get my love of old cemeteries must find my Instagram feed so morbid.  But I just see beauty when I look at this old buildings.







All of my seeds have been started.  Tomatoes were the last thing to start because even though they seem small now, once they get growing next month, they take off.  So I purposefully started them even later this year.  I decided on 17 varieties.  That's not at all excessive...right?!  

Don't answer that!




Every single day I comment to anyone in earshot how pretty the blue sky is.  After months of cold and grey, it feels so novel and exciting.  Can't stop, won't stop!




She's here.  Spring.  Her first gift every year is the crocus.  This was the first little bundle I found a week or so ago.  




And a few minutes later I spied these lovely grape hyacinth. 







If you noticed a few posts back, my Sadie's 15th birthday was the 11th of April.  It was our first birthday apart, me here a mess of tears and her in Heaven.  

I'd love to tell you that the day wasn't a big deal, but we both know that's not true.  I struggled a lot for a few days leading up to it and cried a good bit that day.  I went out to see her spot in the morning for a hot minute and brought her a few new painted stones.  I also brought a few of the weathered stones home to refresh and bring back.  It gives me something to focus on.  We all need a way to deal with grief and painting stones {as well as walking and yoga and blogging my feels} has been my outlet.  




It was the most beautiful day out on the farm, visiting Sadie's spot.  She would have loved everything about that day!  Especially my Sadie walk that evening to all of her favorite spots.  

Our one year apart is coming up in a few weeks and I am dreading it.  




Thankfully I have been able to get into the garden a lot this past week as the weather has felt like July around here.  I planted peas, pole beans, bush beans, carrots, and potatoes Easter week and weekend, which is at least a month earlier than I have ever managed to plant before.  I know we will get more cold weather as it's still just April.  I've seen snow in April before so I'm not that foolish.  But being able to get those seeds germinating this early is exciting and I feel like I have a really great chance of a successful growing season!

The other day I went to grab those bricks below and something moved.  I screamed as my gut reaction when I saw the snake!

But then I collected myself, grabbed my phone, and sat down and just watched that snake, who was clearly more scared of me.  Snakes are actually a garden friend as they eat pests such as mice.  So as long as we don't have to touch each other {we've had a few incidents in past years}, I welcome the visit.  




He wouldn't leave until I backed up behind him.  Or her.  I don't want to impose a gender on the little friend.  Anyway, they were really cool to watch after I got myself together.  And I was finally able to move those ugly bricks out of the way to plant zinnia and sunflower seeds, too!




This little secret church garden was Sadie's favorite.  We came in here on her very last walk and took photos together.  You'll never convince me that these flowers are for anyone other than her!




Ruby the Rhubarb plant is coming back strong.  She is in the most inconvenient location because I inherited her when I moved to this garden plot a few years ago and poorly planned the site not realizing how large and in charge she gets.  But that's okay.  I'm happy to work around her.  She's impressive and delicious!  Even if I trip over her 43 times each week.




My Easter had a few highlights this year.  The gorgeous weather, being able to garden, having one of those hams, and trying purple asparagus for the first time.

They're delicious and taste just like green shoots.  And they also kind of turn green when cooked so I might eat them raw next time I see them in the store {though this was the first time I had even seen them in this local stores so who knows when a next time might be...remember that I live in the North Pole}.  But they were fun and a lovely addition to ham and potatoes.




Oh and the simple but sweet ending to the loveliest Easter weekend was my egg custard pie topped with blueberry compote using blueberries I picked in Vermont last summer and fresh whipped cream.  




Overall, the last few weeks have been pretty good.  Sure, I had some emotional days thinking about Sadie.  But that's just my reality.  It comes and goes and I do a pretty good job of finding a way to work it into my life.  Beyond that though, things have been nice.  I've had some fun nights out and fun nights in and silly conversations and I've been rocking my yoga mat lately.  Life feels upbeat.  

How are you?  How was your Easter/Passover week?  Have you been on any dates or played in the garden or had any great deserts lately?

XOKK

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Art Show: Hudson Valley Seed Company Seed Packets

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Hudson Valley Seed Company {formerly Hudson Valley Seed Library}.  I've talked about them a lot on this blog, including telling you all about my visit to the seed farm last summer.  I also made a video swooning over new seeds I'm using this year.  I've been using their seeds for years and have nothing but good things to say about the entire company.

While touring the farm last summer and talking to the owner, Ken, I mentioned that I live in Troy.  He told me that they do a spring art show of the new art packs for the year, in downtown Troy.  I made a mental note to look for it this spring and popped over on the opening night.

The 12 new art packs for the year were featured with the art, created using a variety of mediums, the final art seed pack, and a description of how it came to be.  

Not only are the art packs unique in that they are such stunning covers for a simple pack of seeds, but they seek artists from a wide variety of backgrounds to submit work in consideration of the project.  Not just graphic designers.  Hudson Valley Seed Company purposefully seeks artists from all backgrounds and using all mediums.  Once chosen, they give the artist a story behind the seed they have been commissioned to bring to life.  The story might be about the seed itself, the food it produces, the land from which it originates, the way in which the unique seed variety came to the company, etc.  The artist takes this story and runs with it.  

Last summer I had the joy of getting to view this quilt up close and personal as we were talking inside the Hudson Valley Seed Company office.  Ken brought it out, told us the story, and let us linger around to view it up close.  These photos do not do it justice as it is stunning in person.  The colors are incredibly rich and lively.  




Do you see the skull?  Look closely!




I will be planting out these lettuce seeds this weekend.  I'm so excited to get growing!




I love this one because the Husky looks a bit like my Sadie girl.  Who never tasted watermelon but loved a bit of cantaloupe in the summer time with her momma.




This photo does not do these colors justice.  It's the art for kale.  Have you ever seen kale so stunning?!






In person this was really fun to look at as it's a painted tile.  And the paint all has metallic in it so it shines and shimmers in the light.  It amazes me that they can take the art from a quilt or tile or paper cutting and turn it into the wrap around packaging.  




Hands down my favorite.  Partially because it's kelly green, my favorite color.  And partially because it's remarkable in person.  It's a paper cutting.  The artist took a knife and cut out the relief parts from a white piece of paper and backed it on the green paper.  That's all been cut by hand and it's just amazingly detailed in person.  




All in all, it was a great way to spend a Friday evening.  The exhibit is open the rest of the month so if you are in the area, perhaps for the Farmer's Market on Saturday, be sure to pop in.  It's exactly the inspiration we all need as we start this next garden season!

XOKK

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Happy Birthday, Baby Bunny

Last year was such a hard one for us and I am not sure either one of us thought we would be able to celebrate your 14th birthday together on April 11, 2016.  But we made it.  We snuggled and took a long walk and I gave you a great dinner and told you endlessly that I loved you.


I think we both knew it to be the case that day.  So we took none of it for granted.




I can't believe you are celebrating your 15th birthday today in Heaven without me.  It's your very first birthday without your momma by your side.  And my heart crumbles every time I think about it.

But I know you must be having the very best day running and playing and eating treats.  Including fresh whipped cream!




Every day, I miss you, my baby bunny.  I still look for you instinctively.  I still forget that I no longer need to walk you each evening.  I still talk to you daily.  And I hope you can hear me.

Happy birthday to the little love who made my world better every day she was in it!  

I love you, Sadie!

XO Momma

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