Crochet baby cardigan

Yes again, another crochet baby cardigan.

…..Because handmade is fairmade

…..Because this pattern calls for endless colourful variations

…..Because babygirls are born all around us ( boys, where are you?) and these cardigans make such a sweet little gift

…And just….well……because…………..

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You can find other variations of this pattern here, and here, and here….

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Reduce plastic waste #2

Slowly slowly we are getting used to a different way of consuming. And slowly slowly the plastic pile is decreasing.

More and more I try to buy in bulk and make my own.

Really, once you’ve remembered to pour some water on your beans or chickpeas the night before and let ‘m soak, making your own burgers or falafel is hardly any more difficult than tearing open a package of ‘vegan burgers’.

And, promising the kids to make them popcorn once we get home after a trip sounds ( and probably is) a lot more cosy than proposing to open up a bag of crisps. And no, I don’t mean plastic wrapped microwave popcorn. I mean actual corn, bought in big packages, sprinkeled in a pan, and popped. Do you know a little handful of corn easily makes four servings? And a jar filled with corn, means about ten cosy snackmoments, popping corn?

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I’m  a happy person since I’ve discovered our local Turkish supermarket sells big big bags of basic products such as corn, rice and flour.

And I’m an even happier person since we’ve got our own pop up package free store in town. Here, you bring your own bags and jars, and fill ‘m up with mostly organic products. My daughter and I went here for the first time this week and filled up our jar with organic chickpeas and had a nice chat with the guy running this place. Hopefully this fall Leiden will finally have it’s own big, real, permanent package free store! So, lets start saving up our jars, and sew our own cotton bags ( to be continued!)

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Lately I’ve been experimenting with falafel and hummus recipes. Pinterest, and ‘blush’ videos on Youtube have been my rescue! why not give it a try too?

And if you have any succes recipes that include amaranth, let me know. That jar in the picture just doesn’t get emptier since I don’t really know what to do with it …..’blush’, again…..

 

 

Roasted cauliflower

Lately I’ve become quite addicted to cauliflower. In Dutch cuisine cauliflower used to be the equivalent of ‘boring’: plain, no colour, all taste cooked out of it, and served with a plain white sauce…..

But wow! The things you can do with cauliflower! It’s so tasty in curries, crispy when fried, silken when turned into soup. All of these I’ve tried and enjoyed, and made over and over again. Just search for ‘cauliflower’ on Pinterest, and a whole new world will open up !

And then there are the recipes I haven’t tried yet: cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower couscous and yes, even cauliflower risotto. This just so might not be my last ode to the cauliflower…..

My favorite? Roasted cauliflower. wash, chop up, mix with oil and spices (Cumin!) and roast. Or, if you’re looking for a pretty and tasty way to bring your cauliflower to the table, try this:

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Heat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius and wash your cauliflower  (you do not need to remove the leaves), place in a heat proof dish. Add about 2 cm of water.

Brush some (olive) oil on the entire cauliflower, and cover the cauliflower in a mixture of black pepper, salt and cumin (a lot! make sure it’s fully covered in  crispy, tasty layer). Then sprinkle some more oil on the spices, and place the entire cauliflower in the oven. Bake for at least one hour. The larger your cauliflower the more time you’ll need.

Place on a pretty plate, cut and serve, eat and enjoy!

 

baby blanket: crochet ripple

Last January my niece was born. And don’t you think  every baby ought to have a soft, warm crochet blanket?

I think I started working on this blanket shortly after my sister told me she was expecting a baby. I crocheted a few rows at a time, thus keeping myself busy until shortly before my little niece was born. Very, very therapeutic business for aunties who can hardly wait to meet their little nieces and nephews……

 

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I made the pattern up as I went along. It wasn’t my first ripple blanket, and I learned the trick by watching tutorials on Youtube, like this one. Once you’ve learned the basics, you can make up your on variations quite easily.

The yarn I used is Scheepjeswol Stone washed: a mixture of cotton and acrylics: very, very soft!

 

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Reduce plastic waste #1

Remember my new years resolutions? The plan for 2016 was to reduce the amount of plastic used in this household of ours.

If you are not collecting your plastic seperately, I recommend you start doing so. It really is an eye opener to see how much plastic one collects during a week, a month…..

we collect our plastic seperately and at the moment it’s enought to fill a plastic bag a week. I take this to the shopping centre to throw it away in a special container. But, collecting our plastics seperately so they can be recycled is one thing…. now it’s time to start reducing the amount of plastic that enters our household (and that wille leave it again eventually). But let’s do this step by step.

Step 1: try to avoid replacing plastics (and make your own stuff)

If I run out of something that’s packed in plastic..let’s see if there’s an alternative to replace it. Like, for example, deodorant. I ran out of my storebought, chemical, packed in plastic deodorant, and decided it was the perfect occasion to try and make my own, rather than running to the store to get myself a new one, in a new plastic container that would sooner or later be discarded.

I have heard many positive stories of home made deodorant, so, why not?

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I used a recipe I found on the blog Leven zonder afval ( living without waste).

All you need is a (re-used) glass container coconut oil, baking soda and corn starch (optional: glycerine and scented oil). I understood the glycerine helps to make it smoother, but since I didn’t have any, I skipped it.

All you need to do now is mix 4 table spoons of (soft) coconut oil with 3 table spoons of baking soda and 2 table spoons of corn starch, plus a few drops of your favorite scent if you wish. Stirr, well, store in your container and make sure you have clean hands, or a clean teaspoon every time you take some of this mixture out of the jar. You just need a small amount per armpit, so this little jar should get you quite far.

You can keep your deodorant in the bathroom, but on hot days,  it can turn quite liquid so you might want to store it in the fridge.

And PS: it works! It works really, really well.

now, let’s see which other steps we can take…….

 

 

The single parent’s survival guide to dinner

Do you know the feeling…it’s been a long day and yet you’ve tried to make the most of dinner. Some vitamins, some colour, nothing extraordinary, just, you know something healthy…

The food isn’t even on the table yet before number one claims she has a headache and therefore…no appetite…number two is tired and iritated, and number three starts screaming as if you try to feed her poison:  ‘what’s this?! Oh no, I can’t eat that!’

All you can think is ‘why did I even bother? ‘ and….. ‘Now why isn’t there another adult at this table to  tell me ‘well, honey this is just delicious, kids, don’t fuss, eat your dinner!’? ‘

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Some nights, you’ve just got to do what makes everybody happy: feed ‘m pancakes and ice cream…………… with hidden vitamins….

For your pancakes, just make your usual batter, then add a grated zucchini (use these light green ones if you can, they’re perfect camouflage. If you use the darker green ones, be prepared to answer questions  such as ‘Mom, what are these green spots in my pancake?!?’…now try to answer that without using the V-word!

Bake and serve as you normally would…..then sit and watch them eat their veggies and smile…..

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Since we’re in a good mood, why not add some ice cream? Blend 2 chopped banana’s (frozen) and a large mango (cut into small pieces)  with the juice of one lemon. Serve, watch ‘m eat, enjoy……

Don’t feel like eating pancakes? Make yourself some soup! Chop another zucchini, boil in a little vegetable stock, throw in a handful of kale, add some cumin, coriander and black pepper, blend. Serve with some (vegan) cream, and a good swirl of ground red pepper. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

simple, tasty lentil soup

Lentil soup is one of my favorite soups e-ver.

The basis is always the same: red lentils, an onion, vegetable stock, some veggies and cumin, lots and lots of cumin……

I can eat this for days on end, and it’s a good way of using some leftover vegetables aswell!

This version is extra creamy because I’ve added coconut milk.

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You will need:

200 grams of red lentils – an onion – a large carrot – a red paprika – 800 ml vegetable stock – 250 ml coconut milk  – 2 table spoons of sunflower oil – 2 table spoons of ground cumin – a table spoon of ground coriander – half a table spoon of ground curcuma – half a table spoon of curry spices -red pepper flakes according to taste ( the more the spicier) – dried mint

 

Chop the vegetables, wash your lentils, heat the oil in a large pan. Stirr fry the vegetables, lentils and spices (except the mint) for a few minutes. Add vegetable stock and  boil for 20 minutes ( or until lentils are soft). Add coconut milk, stirr well and boil for another 2 minutes. Blend smooth, and serve with a topping of dried mint, pepper flakes (and, if you like…more cumin!).

very, very tasty with home made flatbread!

 

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