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Fall Harvest & Quiche

When I woke up this morning I wondered how I would get going (top photo)… I kept rolling over and over in bed, wishing I could do that for a few more hours. Then I thought… it must be Fall! Kurt and I have a contest to keep our heat off until Oct 1st… usually no problem in the Okanagan, here our indoor temperature has been between 16 and 18C the last few days… and damp! Still, we keep going – 2 more sleeps!

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Tonight we did a Fall craft… (isn’t our Rec room great? a true WRECK room!! yah!). We needed a reason to head out in the inclement weather, so we all brought a paper bag (it stayed dry enough!) and filled it with signs of Fall… leaves, pinecones, berries, anything we could find fallen on our path (there is a trail down the way – 5 min walk from our house). We had a good giggle when we decided to go off-piste and traipse our way through the dense foliage… only to later be tracked down by a small dog who found us quite amusing – and came bark, bark, barking! He’d probably never come across 5 people off in the dense bushes on his wanderings!! Anyways Kurt cut out 3 cardboard wreaths, et voila! A good dose of glue, and we’ll see what still sticks by morning!

To go with our Fall harvest we made a little quiche. My children didn’t used to be fond of quiche… but they gobbled it up tonight, particularly as it was served alongside baked apple/winter squash dish (squash is a notorious un-favorite here!). Next time I will double the recipe!

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Crustless Quiche: mix 6 eggs, 1/4c milk, 1 c. chopped spinach, 1/4c green or red pepper, 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, some dill (or thyme, or rosemary), and if you like dairy add 2 T sour cream and 1/2c grated cheese of your choice. Put into a greased pie pan, at 350F until not jiggly in the middle… this will vary but give yourself 1/2hr anyway. You can mix up the veggies – try broccoli, mushroom, whatever you have around.

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Navigating new territory

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Here I am heading out on the road this morning, off to navigate the new to me city just south of me… part of Greater Victoria. This was a coastal day.

The roads are not the only new territory we are forging… but they represent much. It is hard work. One day at a time. Some better than others. I had the great joy of talking to good friends A, L, and J this week. Hearing familiar voices is unbelievable. Inspiring. Helps me climb out of a rut, be patient with the jam of life:

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To me this appears Lower-Mainland-esque. A challenge for me. One I thought I’d left behind. In times of challenge, me being me, I focus in on food. The no-grain, no-dairy diet has been cleansing and inspiring, and bit of a nuisance, all at once. Last night I was bored of the usual combinations of egg & legume dishes, and came up with:

IMG_0540 IMG_0542And, my darling little boy munching some grain-free granola, my 2nd batch;thank you for your sweet smile. Stefan, you brighten my rainy day!

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Salads of a feather flock together

Every once in the while, in the middle of a week without much rhythm to our interactions, there is a window of joy. We just had one in our pre-dinner hour… Daria happily chopping tofu, Janelle sweeping up bits, and Stefan doing dishes, his favorite… all happily at peace with one another. Joy!

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I must say Stefan is growing into his own, now finding his own niches of play throughout the house. Today he was “sleeping” on our 1 stair in our rancher:

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As for me, I have been indulging in mondo sized salads! I don’t have bowls big enough for this many vegetables, mixed with my favorite basil dressing, for which I can still by HUGE bags of basil just around the corner at Mobetta Herbs!

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Eventually I made it close to the bottom of the pot. IMG_0532

 

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Soul-Full Chili Monday

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Here is my sweet little son… he was absolutely sobbing in a puddle of tears this morning at daycare drop off. Melts me.  Missed you today, Stefan.

Fortunately, after my 1 hour drop off tour – 7 hour work day – 45 min pick up tour day, we had this crock pot of chili to enjoy IMMEDIATELY (in door – wash hands – serve chili!). Kurt was not even home yet, and Daria and Stefan had both finished 3 bowlfuls each:

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Fed children are happy children, so I think we may make this a repeater on Monday. Although I’m not a fan of onion chopping at 7am… the pay off was worth it! From dinner to bath to books to 2 in bed before 6:45pm. Tonight the race was on!

This recipe was adapted from “The Every Day Vegan”. Just threw it all in the pot and left it 8 hours on low setting.

Soul-Full Chili: 1 onion, 1 tbsp olive oil, 3 stalks celery, 2 carrots, 3 garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 TBSP chili powder (us adults added fresh chipotle chilies to our bowls to take it up a notch), 1 tsp oregano, pinch of cinnamon, 1 green pepper, 2 c frozen corn kernels, 2-4c kidney beans (or mix of your favorite), 2 x 28oz cans diced tomatoes, 1 can tomato paste and a dash of maple syrup. Also called for 1 tbsp soy sauce but I was fresh out!

 

 

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Grain Free Gluten Free Pizza & Granola

In the last 24 hours we have been doing lots of foodie & gardening activities. The past week, I worked 4 of 7 days… way too many to achieve balance in our family, but necessarily to make up for days missed in August due to childcare shortage.

I was lagging in the food department… I think we had fruit for breakfast one day! Last night I worked on putting together this granola. I didn’t have cinnamon (oops!) and it was still a hit (5 for 5!) with some almond milk. Well, not entirely true, the littles had it with yogurt. Here is the granola, drying a bit on the towel before going in the oven:

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Daria made the playdough lady today, and wanted to take a picture of her. 

This grain-free, dairy-free stint is teaching us… and we are definitely eating WAY more vegetables. We are almost 2 weeks in, Daria, Kurt and I. Daria yearns for cheese and things, but doesn’t really protest or complain too much, she is amazing! Maybe she feels way better?!?!

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That was our gardening on “Sunday Funday” – Daria and I bought some flowers on a whim – mums, and pansies. Seemed a Sunday thing to do. And Kurt starting mulching, all the grub that was headed to the dump is to now be chopped and form the basis of our garlic bed. We pick up some straw next week, that a reliable local swears by (no seed!). Finally, tonight we made our 2nd grain free pizza. Daria opted for no-cheese rather than soy-cheese and I don’t blame her!

IMG_0513 What it lacks in crust and cheese, it makes up for in HEIGHT:

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It is an almond-flax pizza crust, somehow I cannot find the website it is from right now, but there are various ones out there…

Janelle: “whose pizza is that? ours? on the oven?”. mm-ba-mm-ba-mm-ba-mm-ba as she hops down the hall with a towel over her head, freshly bathed.

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Firsts

Daria and I each had a “first” this week.

Thursday, my first batch of homemade sauerkraut was ready! Thanks Kristy for the recipe in this post.

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And Daria finished knitting her first purse! Thank you to Miss Emily for this inspiration. She was simply beaming upon snipping the thread from the button!

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Look ahead, not behind

Everyday I have a choice – look ahead, or look back… and each day it is an active choice to move forward. One day at a time.

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That strategy has brought me, in 1 piece, to almost the end of my 5th month in Cowichan Bay. This week I decided to attack a lingering project… my 2012 photobook. Each year I make a shutterfly album, about 100 pages, less than 10 pages representing each month, and our family has a wonderful time flipping through old times, reminiscing, and getting excited about how much fun we’ve had! I was inspired to do this by my friend J starting in 2007.

I usually look forward to and enjoy (somewhat!) the process of muddling through thousands of pictures. It helps me refine what our family truly treasures and what I want to engage with again in the coming year! This time, I did not want to look back. Making my 2012 album was one of the hardest things, emotionally, I have put myself through intentionally. I am happy now that it is complete. I think it was a needed challenge. Yet every morsel of my body knows why I procrastinated so long. I cannot engage with any of it, ever again. Not in the same way.

What I can say is there is enough great things to do here, being so close to the ocean is magnificent, our children’s school is spectacular, we enjoy every bike ride there. I have been blessed with enough work to sustain our larger sq ft lifestyle. Each day, each week, we get to know new places: this week an organic apple orchard that is self-serve for 75 cents a pound and has at least 4 varieties including my favorite: honeycrisp!

What I cannot say is that I have a community of people – an intricately connected web of people who walked in and out of our lives (and us through theirs) for almost 10 years, weaving a beautiful quilt of connectedness, smiles, grace, and comfort. Here I feel coldness (and not just from being moist!) – I am not sure who is out there, or where, or what they are doing… or how I or we fit. I feel the presence of a larger city – one almost 2x the size of Kelowna – just south of us. I feel swimmy. And fragile – like that crabapple – that only lasts so long, under the right conditions, and then rots if not preserved.

I will look back once more to share with you the cover of our 2012 album, taken at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre:

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Tears. And then I must choose again to look ahead. Preserve every day. Each day continue to make the choice to live in the present and trust in the future. And not rot.

I cannot explain how much I miss ALL the Vernon-ites that I had the tremendous blessing of getting to know over the years 2004-2013. The people in my life (and in my children’s life too!) on a day-to-day level sure are the greatest blessing. Friends, colleagues, cashiers… all of you, immense thanks for sharing your day-to-day with us. We have been blessed. I will not forget you… visit anytime!