Thursday, February 11, 2010
Still Waiting For Spring
Our groundhog, General Beauregard Lee, predicted an early spring. But that Yankee groundhog was right. It's winter here. Lilah and I have started some plants indoors, and this weekend, we were going to plan our raised beds for our tiny yard, which is covered in snow. We have planted carrots, thyme, basil, fennel (for our Swallowtail caterpillars), parsley, and some flowers Lilah picked out. The herbs and fennel will go in one of our front landscaping beds. The carrots will go in a raised bed out front. I think we're going to do at least one other raised bed, in the back, and plant some sunflowers in the landscaping beds as well. We have a sort of strange looking rose bush that sprawls on the ground. I'd like to move it, but that seems like a production. Once the raised beds are set up, we'll plant broccoli rabe, the carrot seedlings, zucchini, and who knows what else. Lilah is particularly excited about the carrots, and the fennel for the caterpillars. We used a biodegradable egg carton, along with some peat pots we picked up when we bought seeds. Lilah was thrilled to do the entire project. She scooped in the soil, made a space for the seeds, dropped in the seeds, and "tucked them in to be so cozy", then watered. She checks on her seeds every morning after she gets up. The flowers, thyme, and fennel have all germinated, and the carrots are just barely starting. We also did an avocado pit in a jar of water. That's taking forever, of course, but she hasn't lost interest.
Knitting: I sucked it up and ripped back on Hjalte's back (after finishing the front...yay!!!!). Just one more pattern repeat to the neckline. I'm nearly finished with Tomato. Just the sleeve edging and neck edging to do. I love the top-down, in-the-round construction with no seaming! So nice and easy. This has been my purse knitting, and it's been a blast. I love Calmer, and I love the pattern. I expect to have modeled shots of this by the time it's warm enough for modeled shots of the Two-Fisted Tank. Meanwhile, here is some of my knitting out in the snow. My Tesla Scarf:
On my hands are fingerless mitts crocheted by my talented SIL.
And Lilah's hat, mittens and scarf:
She loves wearing them! Most kids avoid bundling up, but Lilah really likes her special things I knit her. That's so awesome.
Lilah's preschool is a co-op, so parents volunteer in the classroom a couple times a month, bringing a healthy snack with them. My dad gave us a cute muffin/cakelette pan with bug shapes, so I decided to use those. Lilah loved helping to make bug muffins! I took an already healthified version of an apple bread recipe and tweaked it. These were the most moist, flavorful healthy muffins I've made. Even Matt liked them. My apple butter was my homemade version simmered with lots of spices. You could substitute drained applesauce, but you'll want to add spices to the batter or it will be bland. Lilah's school is nut-free, so I chose to add granola for a bit of crunch in place of the walnuts I'd normally use.
Reading: Not much of note lately, but I did just receive a review copy of Alan Bradley's second Flavia deLuce mystery, The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag. The first, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, is well worth picking up if you enjoy mystery and/or precocious heroines.
Writing: Nothing really in the way of page number progress, just more noodling. But that's better than nothing.
Apple Granola Muffins
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup apple butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
4 cups peeled, chopped apple (Granny Smith makes for a nice, tart muffin)
1 cup granola (I used Back to Nature apple blueberry)
In the bowl of an electric mixer, add oil, apple butter, and sugars. Beat until combined. Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla. Whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add slowly to liquid ingredients. Stir in apple and granola. Pour into muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes (shorter for smaller muffins) or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Makes 16 large muffins. Get your own bug muffin tin here.