May Highlights

It seems that the weekends have flown by this month.   Summer is not really making much of an appearance.  Though from last year, we are not expecting too much!  But we have managed the odd outing, including a trip to the bird reserve with friends (which involved some batman antics on the beach and lots of fun for our budding little birders), and a stroll on the beach with Claire when she came to visit. This month also heralded the advent of ‘Super Lightning Man’ who makes a regular appearance in our weekly life.

There was also plenty of opportunity for indoor play with puzzles, trains, lego and cars – largely due to the often inclement weather.  We are still holding out for the rain to disappear and for more outdoorsy weekend activities.

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Whiling Away the Winter Days

The winter days are lengthening finally.  We no longer leave for work and drive home in the dark.  But there is an icy grip on the land still, and whilst darling little buds are appearing in the garden (pinch me, I have a garden, with buds in it!) we are still cosying up for the final weeks of winter.  And the light has been low enough to warrant some mellow afternoons with candle power…and trains in the living room…and the toasty glow of the gas fire…and the eeiriness of a little iPad entertainment…

Wintry afternoons also call for a little home baking with Mama – and the wee one and I have tried our hand at gingerbread, choc-chip-cranberry-oatmeal cookies, muffins and shortbread – rolling and cutting out is the best part (apart from the gobbling down later).

There have been wonderful arty outbursts – wads of paper and oodles of ink later…

…and on the rainiest of days we have gathered together all the birdy friends in the living room for impromptu picnics…

…it seems that Pukeko are particularly partial to carrots…

…and of course, when the cars are out, sometimes they just need organising into a massive convoy…

So we are whiling away the winter days indoors, but also heading out into the chilly gardens and parks in anticpation of everything thawing out soon.  It has been the mildest of winters, so we have been lucky enough to spend much more time outside than previous winters – but the short days must also give way to warmth and hours of daylight to venture out after work and those days cannot come too soon!

Rice Fritters

Yesterday was another stormy day in St Louis – I do love those thunder storms, the lightning is AMAZING.  It meant that I missed going to the farmer’s market in the morning to stock up the fridge, so there was a dearth of vegetable options for lunch.  Then I realised that I had a bowl of cooked short grain brown paella rice in the fridge that needed using up.  I was inspired earlier in the summer by Rose Elliott’s New Vegetarian Cooking to consider doing more varied things with rice and grains.

One nice easy option was to mix the rice with some shoyu, chop up some green onion and garlic and bind it all together with peanut butter, then make up little fritters that I shallow fried in a little oil.  I had a little salad leftover from dinner last night… starting to look a little wilty I’m afraid… that I drizzled (well, dripped really) some balsamic vinegar over, and that was lunch.  The rice I had made about 10 fritters, so some in the freezer for later in the month when Akira is away for a week presenting at a Neuroscience conference in Chicago.

Quantities are all estimated here, I am really just going on the spirit of Rose Elliot’s suggestion, as I think it is more fun to just freefall with something this easy and tasty!

Rice/Grain Fritters

2 C cooked rice or some other grain (try bulghur, kibbled wheat, quinoa)

1-2 T Shoyu

3-4 T Peanut Butter

2-3 Green Onions, chopped

2 cloves Garlic, chopped fine

Mix all together and form into medium sized patties.  Shallow fry in a little oil until the patties acquire a little colour.  If you want to firm them up a little, then bake for 10mins after frying.  But these are pretty tasty straight out of the pan.  Taste great with some Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce, go well with a green salad.

My food photography is about as basic and homegrown as my cooking and as limited as my resources and my camera… apologies that this is not stunningly shot, but I hope it gives you the general idea.  I was hungry, and had four of these patties, but 2-3 will be sufficient!  Hope you enjoy messing about with grains.

Rice Fritters

Culmination of Craft Week

The sewing machine and all my craft materials have been taking over the dining room all week, so I thought I better get finished up for a few days so we can clear the clutter.  Also, the holiday weekend has turned into a washout of St Louis-style monsoony thunderstorms, so indoors activities were the order of the day.  Since my Monday post, I managed to complete these little trousers for Kazuo made out of an old t-shirt from the Goodwill:Upcycled Trousers

I made this little proto-type shoulder bag for a friend’s birthday:

Heart Bag

And this triptych for our dining room, using some organic motifs I have been mulling about for a while:

Paintings

Here they are hanging on our big bare dining room wall:

Dining Room

And although I didn’t have to do much (or spend any money, thanks to a Walgreen’s voucher for free digital photos), I did make up this photo mobile that the Moulin Lab sent us for Kazuo, it was great to gather up photos of family and friends for him to gaze at when he is lying about in the crib:

Mobile

Here he is getting acquainted with everyone, (I got some wire to string it up above his bed as there was no way we could screw into the ghastly plaster ceiling) it’s a little distracting for bedtime, so it is handy that I can just pull the mobile out of sight towards the window:

Pop and Mobile

A satisfyingly creative week, but I have loads more projects swirling about in my head, so I guess it won’t be long before the dining room is overcrowded with crafty scraps again!

Rainy Monday

So, after getting up at 5.30am with Kazuo this morning as he decided that was a good time to be awake, I discovered a grim, grey, rainy day that is set to be wet ALL day… how very English, and atypical for St Louis! So we drove Dada to work and then came home to think of some ways to pass the time.

What better way than to concoct some hearty minestrone-style soup? I say ‘minestrone-style’ as I usually just make this up as I go based on what is in the cupboard/vege bin.
Kaz in The Kitchen

So my little helper took up his vantage point in the bouncy seat (nearly too too big for this now!) and managed to keep his equilibrium until the last ingredient had been added and I could leave the soup to simmer for a while.

I have to admit to making use of a few canned shortcuts in this soup:

Soup ShortcutsAnd today I used some Vegan Vegetable Boullion Cubes that were really a bit too salty.  But it is something I can whip up quickly, and last for a week’s lunch breaks.

I used a few brightly coloured veges from the fridge:

VegesAnd started by sauteeing all but the broccoli to soften them up, then added some mixed herbs:

SauteeAnd then I threw in all the canned goods (though only used half the can of corn) and the vege boullion and a handful of pasta for a little texture:

Add the Canned StuffThen I left it all to simmer for about 15 – 20mins, checking now and then to make sure that there was still enough liquid.  We managed to have some tummy time and a bottle before it was done.  And then I gobbled up some for lunch once Kazuo was in bed.  Mmmmm…. just what was required on a rainy afternoon.

Soup

Rainy Monday Soup

Feeds 1 Person 5-6 times…

1 14-15oz  can each of Pinto Beans & Chopped Tomatoes

1 6oz can of Lge Olives

1 7oz can Whole Corn

2C Vege Stock/Boullion

1/2C Dried Pasta

Chopped Fresh Veges to taste:  Today I used 5 lge Button Mushrooms, 1/4 Red Pepper, 1 sm Head of Broccoli, 2 stalks of Celery, 3/4 med Courgette, 1 med Carrot.

Enjoy!!