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Zucchini Crumble

The humidity index is back up to 70% and the summer heat has left us. I do love 15 degree mornings and 22-24 degree highs. This morning we took a walk on the beach at cherry point and collected some old abandoned wood there which Kurt will craft into a clothing rack for our dress-up corner.

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This was some fabulous 1:1 time with my little guy, a while back, with Daria the photographer. We have had an amazing 4 months of transitioning into Island life, and are enjoying stuffing ourselves with blackberries, zucchini (HUGE ones!), blueberries, peaches (local supplier of Okanagan ones finally – yah!), cucumbers, and tomatoes, some even right from our garden. Here is an annual recipe in our family, as we say good bye to summer. Daria has become our family’s expert crumble topping maker… yah!

Zucchini Crumble: 8c peeled grated zucchini, 1/3 c lemon juice,  – cook and stir for 15-20 min with lid off on medium heat, then stir in: 1c sugar or honey, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg. Remove from heat. Combine 2c flour (I use spelt), 1c brown sugar, 3/4c butter, and layer this crumble topping on top of the zucchini mix in a 10×15″ dish (I use smaller, deeper one). Bake for 40 min at 375F. My favorite is to serve this to guests as simply a “crumble” and have them guess the ingredients!

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Blueberry face

Janelle, complete with blueberry crumble lips, follows me to the bathroom “remember mom when i was a baby and i would sit on the potty with you!?!? HA HA HA (belly laugh) – that was FUNNY!! remember that? me in your lap! AH HA HA HA HA!”. Then to Daria – “how old were you when I was a baby?”. Daria – “maybe 3 or 4”. Janelle – “remember when i was a baby and would sit on mommy’s lap on the potty!??! remember that!??! AH HA HA HA!”.

Janelle loves life and is always up for a good belly laugh.

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Thanks Janelle for all the belly laughs about the simple things.

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Timeless

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Here are the last 2 photos I took last weekend, just before our camera BROKE! when ferrying over to Saltspring Island to meet up with our Godchildren and good friends Christina and Jeff. They both seem timeless somehow – a starfish with umpteen legs, and this photo of my oldest child, Daria… measured today at 46.5″, with best question of the day “mom what words do you NOT know how to spell?”… she brings me joy, and keeps me on my toes!

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Today we shared the story with Daria of when she was 18 months old… if people would ask us how old she was, we would turn to her and say “Daria how old are you” and she would reply “a-tee muths old” or some variation thereof. Seems like ages ago.

Fortunately Stefan, at 21 months, shows us daily all the fun of toddlerhood – he is now linking 2 words “bye bye geeth” is his favorite (for geese flying overhead). Well, I could go on… joy, joy, joy, and more joy. What an amazing time of life.

No camera may make blogging a tad difficult for a bit… we’ll see if I can be creative!

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Spelt Pizza Dough

Since I have had a request to share my pizza dough recipe, here goes sharing it to all who frequent my blog! Unfortunately our camera is broken, but you can see the pizza on this old entry or this bbq one.

Pizza dough recipe originally from Karlene, who I worked with at CN RAILWAY. Yes, I did kinesiology work in their gym (right on the tracks in Surrey) before going to OT school. This job is part of what inspired my career change. As a personal trainer for CN workers, I found if they came into my office sharing their stories of relationship, addiction, or what have you I was much more apt to listen and talk then to hit the chin up bar or stair climber. So I wasn’t a great trainer… here’s hoping I am a better OT!

1c beer (now I have changed to milk and I find spelt flour needs only about 3/4 c)

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp sugar (i use cane)

1 tsp salt

3 c white flour (here is what I changed to half whole spelt and half light spelt)

1.25 tsp yeast

So here is what you do. Mix the flour, salt, and half the sugar. Put the other 1/2 of the sugar with the yeast and add lukewarm water (about temperature of your wrist like making a baby bottle) not more than 1/4c. the less liquid the better here, just get it all wet and mixed. wait 5 min. yeast should froth up. wish I could show a photo, mine is doing this now on my counter. meanwhile mix the butter into the flour, separating into little balls as for making crumble topping or something.

Now, have 1/2 cup milk or beer ready. pour into well in flour, along WITH the yeasty mixture, and mix up quick. You don’t really want the yeast to cool down by the other liquid… but most of the time the milk/beer is cold, so just stir quick. at least that is what i do. stir and if not kneadable into dough, add more liquid.

This recipe is always different. If you want a lighter fluffier and more easily kneadable dough it seems you must do more white than whole flour, and possibly go generous on the butter (that is what Kurt does!). Mine always turns out a bit tougher, but still nice thin crust for pizza. YUMM! Enjoy. Oh, knead about 5 min (or less), let sit in a bowl with wet tea towel over it for most of the day… or an hour, or whatever time you have. then roll it out.

I always spread oil on the tray and sprinkle on cornmeal. Then put on the rolled out crust, top with toppings, and bake at 400F until yummy! ha ha

Rotate trays if need be. If convection baking may be done in 15-20 min, if no convection more like 30, but keep your eye on it!

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Hidden Life in Our Garden

Today I tore apart the front garden. There were 2 overgrown shrubs there – one a rhododendron, hardly recognizable, and the other some kind of thornless rose bush… I wish I took a before picture, but here is the after one, as well as the blackberries I had no idea were there! woo hoo!

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You can imagine how overgrown it was, given all the waste around.

The waste is fitting as this week I have come face to face with the reality that there is a lot that can be cut out of life. I am halfway through Radical Simplicity, and it is inspiring me. How can I live a more basic life, focused on what really matters? When? Jim Merkel says if not now, when? If not me, then who?

My motherhood soul-mate, Joanna, who I have been side by side with since giving birth to my first baby 6 years ago, is now side by side with her mom who is in hospital. Today I thought of Gwen as I rescued a beautiful evergreen tree I found beneath the overgrown bushes… you can see it here beside Daria (not so baby anymore!):

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We planted it in our backyard, in a new spot full of sunshine and space of its own.

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The tree has one side with short wilted branches, where the sun hasn’t been able to reach. I pray that as the branches recover our family is inspired to appreciate each and every health-giving day together. And I pray our little tree breathes freshness, peace, and recovery into Gwen. I am thinking of you, praying for you, and at a loss as to how else to help you and your family. We love you all, and feel so small, like this little tree.

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Grateful

Thank you. I feel so fortunate to have spent so many days with you three little beauties. As my Dad used to say to me every night: You are perfect in every way!

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It has been said “every time we remember to say ‘thank you’ we experience nothing less than heaven on earth” (sarah ban breathnach).

Thank you!!!