Saturday, February 27, 2016

ice ice everywhere

it warmed up enough and then rained, and all the snow turned to ice.
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ice and a little water. those are tree branches reflected on the patio
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ice ice everywhere
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dog toys trapped in ice that melted in the rain and refroze. i took this picture from inside the greenhouse, so you can see the white wire shelving reflected in the glass.
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dog paw prints that were left in the snow, and turned into ice paw prints.
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Monday, February 22, 2016

sweetpea vs radish greens

sweetpea munching on radish greens
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the bunnies are still around and active all winter long. and they often use the path i shovel for the mailman.
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Saturday, February 20, 2016

cashew cheese

i made three different versions. i didnt know how much raw cashews to buy so i got a pound, and just kept trying recipes till i used them all up.

you start with raw cashews and soak them. finding raw cashews took a little investigating. most nuts have been roasted.
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they do swell a little
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they're not cheap.
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i used the salad spinner to get the extra water off. i've used this salad spinner for lots of things, but never once for salad, hehehe.
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the first recipe said to strain in cheesecloth
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after straining
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smooshed into an oven proof container i picked up at goodwill
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after baking. it was the firmest of the three cheeses. i liked its texture best. but it didnt have the nutritional yeast in it. i would make it again and add that. and more salt. i followed the recipe exactly and even my parents agreed it was bland, but had the best texture.
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it was still soft and spreadable, and nice on crackers. and still warm out of the oven.
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Vegan Cashew Dry-Baked Cheese
2 cups raw cashews, soaked in salted water for at least 8 hours
1/2 cup salted soaking water (reserved for recipe)
1 tsp sea salt (use an herbed salt if you'd like - high quality goes a long way here)
optional: garlic powder, additional herbs/spices for rubbing on top before baking

1. Soak your cashews in salted water overnight or at least 8 hours. I soak mine on the counter top - covered.
2. Drain your cashews - but reserve about 1/2 cup of water, maybe more.
3. Add your cashews, salt and 1/2 cup salted soaking water to a food processor. Blend until as smooth and velvety as you can possibly get them. You want the consistency to be that or a thick ricotta cheese. If you need to add more water - do so. But don't add too much and get a soggy mixture.
**Stop and Taste Your Food: do a taste test here and add more salt if needed - but remember the saltiness will condense as the cheese dries out. So the taste test should taste slightly under-salted - but still flavorful**
4. Set up your cheesecloth and pour the mixture into the center of your cloth.
5. Wrap the cheese mixture in a tight bundle and tie with a rubber band or string.
6. Suspend the bundle over your deep bowl/bucket/pitcher.
7. Allow your cheese to "drain" at room temperature for 2-4 hours. Some cheese mixtures will drain a bit of liquid off and some will simply dry out and the water will soak into the cloth. Today my cheesecloth was super dry and no actual water collected in my pitcher - but the cheese cloth soaked up a good amount of moisture.
8. Next, place your cheese (still in the bundle) in the fridge.
9. Let chill overnight or at least a few hours.
10. Remove the cheese from the cloth! It should be in a nice firm ball now. Some of the moist cheese shell may stick to the cloth - that's OK. Just be gentle removing the cheese. Plop it into an oven-safe serving cheese dish. Sprinkle a bit of herbed salt and pepper on the top of it. I added a dash of garlic powder for color, texture and flavor.
11. Place in a 200-250 degree oven to bake for 45 minutes-2 hours. If doing 2 hours be sure to have your oven turned to 200 degrees or even a bit lower. This process will slow-bake the cheese, drying it out without "melting" or burning it. I baked my cheese at about 215 degrees for 90 minutes.
12. Remove cheese and allow to cool a few minutes before serving. Or you can allow to cool in fridge for at least an hour, or overnight for a firm cheese with a less crisp crust.

the second recipe, i think something was wonky with the measurements. it was extremely liquid. i double and triple checked the amounts and i did follow the recipe correctly.
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then you cook it on the stove, and it was still really really liquid.
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but it had nutritional yeast in it and i wanted to try that
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it also had agar agar in it as a thickener, but it didnt thicken up much.
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it was supposed to be a slice-able cheese. it was not.
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extremely soft mushy cheese. and sour/tart from the lemon juice in it. least favorite of the three.
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i tried slicing it, it just all mushed back together.
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1/2 cup water to 1/3 cup cashews didnt make a paste, it made soup. and then add to ANOTHER 1/2 cup water with the agar agar. it just didnt set up, even though i cooked out a lot of liquid on the stove.

Sliceable Vegan Cashew Cheese
Raw Cashews-1/3 cup [Soaked overnight in a cup of water]
Nutritional yeast-1 heaped Tbsp+1.5 tsp
Garlic-1 clove (you don’t want this to be a garlic cheese)
Starch of your choice (Tapioca/Arrowroot/Corn)-1.5 tsp
Agar Agar powder- 1.5 tsp
Juice from Lemon-1 Tbsp + 2 tsp
Water-1/2 cup +1/2 cup
Salt-to taste
In a saucepan, mix agar agar in 1/2 cup water. Keep aside
Discard the water from cashews. Rinse them really well. Add cashews to a food processor with nutritional yeast, garlic, starch, salt, lemon juice & 1/2 cup of water. Make a very very smooth paste.
Add the cashew paste to agar agar mixture.
Bring this to boil on a low-medium heat until it forms a thick pancake-batter consistency.
Quickly transfer to ramekins. This quantity makes one full ramekin and another 1/2 ramekin sized cheeses.
Refrigerate for an hour. Carefully remove from the ramekin

the third one was kinda gritty. not cooked at all.
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gritty looking, and soft/spreadable. but tasty, with the nutritional yeast. flavor was voted best in this one.
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Cashew Cheese Recipe

1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1/2 cup water (to start)
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
Step One- Soak the cashews! Place about 1 1/2 cups of cashews in a container with warm water and soak for at least 2 hours. This is incredibly important because it will soften the cashews, allowing them to be fully blended – no one likes little chunks of cashews in their sauces.
Step Two - Then, drain the cashews and add all ingredients (cashews, water, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt) to a high-powered blender like a Vitamix and blend until smooth. This will likely be very thick and you will need to manage the speed to ensure that it continues blending. If it’s way too thick, add a little more water.
The nutritional yeast adds a distinctly cheesy taste, the garlic and salt intensify the flavors, while the acid from the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar brighten things up.
Step Three - Chill. Spoon the cheese into a jar or container and refrigerate. cashew cheeses become better after refrigerating for several hours (according to *this* recipe). The texture improves and the flavors meld together perfectly.
The final texture will be solid, but spreadable. You can easily thin it out (such as for pasta sauces) by adding more water. If stored in a sealed jar, the cheese will last for about a week in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

puppy had a lump removed from his lip

puppys shaved face, and stitches where the benign lip lump was removed.
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you can see the blueish thread they used. it only turned blue in the camera flash. in reality its as black as all of puppys whiskers, which were also all shaved on that side. puppys whiskers on that side have grown out about 3/4" long since that surgery.
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molly was worried when puppy came home from the vet. she knew his face smelled weird, but he didnt want her all up in his face sniffing around.
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the bag the vet sent home with puppys meds after his surgery
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i bought a solar turtle light. its adorable. unfortunately it doesnt work.
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Monday, February 15, 2016

homemade waffles!

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my little waffle maker. its over 15 years old and still going strong. its a regular waffle maker, not belgium. i dont like belgium waffles. and it is square instead of round so i can make extras and pop them in the toaster to reheat them. it was incredibly hard to find. most of the waffle makers are either belgium or round.
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they were so good i nearly forgot to take a picture, hehehe. i used homemade jam that had turned out a bit runny instead of syrup. SO GOOD!
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sometimes i overfill it and it squishes out the sides. and it makes a fart-like noise and puppy ALWAYS turns around and checks out his butt. because all strange noises come from puppys butt. 11 years of puppy doing this and this still makes me laugh every time.
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yummy yummy yummy get in my tummy
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cooling off
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EVERYONE wants waffles
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please to be having waffles yes?
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they beg silently and patiently.
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they beg with their eyes.
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gimme more gimme more
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i made a double batch because leftovers are just as good
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the very very last bit of batter
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extra crunchy, extra yummy
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recipe for waffles
1/3 cup melted Butter
2 Eggs
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 cup Flour
1 cup Milk

mix the dry ingredients together first.
add the rest but barely mix it all together, do not over mix.
it WILL be lumpy, leave it be lumpy.
plug in the waffle maker and let the batter sit while the waffle maker warms up.
when the waffle maker is ready, give the batter a stir, adding more milk if its too thick.
then cook according to your waffle maker directions.

my mom has suggested beating the eggs until fluffy and then adding the other ingredients. but i'm lazy... so i dont do that.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

butterfly puzzle

the butterfly puzzle i did had butterfly shaped pieces as well.
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and pieces that formed butterfly pieces
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and the whole thing was also butterfly shaped (and bigger than the table)
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it didnt fit on my card table all in one piece, it only fit divided in half
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