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Monday, 8 February 2016

VEGGIE MOUSSAKA

It's been almost two years since Graeme stopped being a vegetarian and started eating meat, but this vegetarian version of moussaka is still a favorite at ours. It's delicious, super easy to make and pretty much the perfect comfort food to beat the winter blues. So when Graeme suggested we have moussaka for dinner, I was all in.

I did my fair share of experimenting with vegetarian recipes while Graeme was a vegetarian, and quickly found that I wasn't a big fan of most fake meat products. Most of them seem to get their flavor from whatever sauce you add anyway, so I prefer omitting them all together and focusing on the flavor from the vegetables instead. So this recipe doesn't contain any meat replacement products, but I really don't think it needs it—it's got plenty of aubergines to make up for it. And aren't we all supposed to be eating less red meat? Meatfree Mondays and all that?


Veggie moussaka recipe:
2 aubergines, sliced
500 g potatoes, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
400 g cherry tomatoes, halved
200 g feta cheese
300 ml greek yogurt
3 eggs
1 tin chopped tomatoes
parmesan
olive oil

Directions: Start by preparing the aubergines and preheating the oven to 200 degrees celcius. Slice the aubergines, and place them on a roasting trey with a Jamie Oliver sized glug of olive oil and some salt. Roast for about half an hour, flipping them over halfway and adding more olive oil if necessary. Meanwhile, quickly boil the potatoes for about 5 minutes. Once the aubergines are done, put them aside and roast the potatoes along with the onion and garlic with a bit of seasoning for about 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and roast for another 10 minutes. In a bowl, mix yogurt, eggs and half of the feta cheese. To assemble the moussaka, start by layering with half of the roast vegetables in an oven proof dish, add a layer of the the remaining feta cheese and the tin of chopped tomatoes. Add the rest of the roast vegetables, and then pour over the yogurt mixture. Top with some grated parmesan. Pop the whole thing back into oven for about 20 to 30 minutes, until the top starts to go golden brown. Serve with some freshly baked focaccia! (This one's my go to focaccia recipe)

Thursday, 4 February 2016

A CHEATER'S QUILT

Somehow, I got it in my head that with a new baby on the way, I had to make a quilt. A quilt for him to snuggle up in, play on and make forts out of. I guess I've entered the nesting phase? And while we're waiting on our bedroom to get sorted before we can start on the nursery, I might as well spend my nesting efforts on projects. 


I've seen so many beautiful modern quilts around, with solid colors and geometric patterns, and they're so inspiring. But I've never made a quilt before, and I know they're a lot of work and quite time consuming to say the least. And believe it or not, I have some self-insight. I know I often get carried away making plans for big, elaborate, time consuming projects that would turn out awesome if only I just got around to finishing them. But I get bored. I want to start something new. My morganite cardigan is still in my knitting basket next to the couch, and this crochet hexagon blanket is still embarrassingly unfinished (though I do occasionally drag it out and add to it, and it's a lot bigger now!). Not to mention my list of project ideas that haven’t even begun to materialize. And when I asked my friend who recently decided to make a quilt how she was finding it, she replied that it was "bloody hard work," and that "the cutting of the squares takes so long!" So I was quite skeptical that making a quilt was a good idea for me.





But then I came across the concept of cheater quilts. They're genius. Only two bits of fabric with batting in between. No spending ages trying to decide which fabrics to use. No cutting. No fretting over uneven pieces and no wonky alignments. And after seeing all the beautiful ones Kate from SeeKateSew has made, I was sold.


So after much humming and hawing and trying to decide which one to go for, I ended up with a yard of this one from Spoonflower. I love the color combination and I decided one yard would be a good size to start with. I've never used Spoonflower before, but must say I was quite impressed, both price and delivery speed! The fabric arrived two weeks after, and I headed to my local fabric store the next day to pick something to back it with. My original plan was to back it with a simple black and white repeating pattern, but after spending an hour and a half in the store and not really finding any that I liked, I came to the somewhat boring conclusion that I don't really like most patterns, and ended up with a nice solid charcoal cotton. I love how it turned out against the blues, that it's not very busy, and that the white thread contrasts with the dark grey. 

Don't get me wrong, this blanket is far from perfect and full of flaws, but I kinda like that too. And it certainly took me longer than an hour to make, but it's a bit hard to stick to your schedule when your mom drops by halfway through for a chat and a cup of tea. But I love the results and can't wait for it to get put to use!


Sunday, 31 January 2016

2016 ALBUM: JANUARY

This year I’ve decided to take a slightly different take on my monthly Instagram posts. Inspired by this blog post, I’ve decided to take the challenge and turn my Instagram account into a physical album. Because no surprise here: I love physical albums. I’ve always been inspired by those full year Project Life albums, but at the same time I know I’d get fed up and burned out and never complete a whole year. But this is doable, right?  So I got myself a mini album, and got started. And without further ado, here’s the January chapter in my 2016 mini album!


January has been a pretty cold month. We saw a good bit of snow, and temperatures got as low as -12 C. I love the snow, so I was really sad to see it go! Should see a bit more of it in a few weeks though, as we're heading up to the mountains and spending the weekend with some friends. Should be fun!

I've kept embellishments pretty minimal, but might add some later if I feel like it. I'm curious to see how this will evolve, and what my January will look like compared to my December. Hopefully it'll all fit in the same album!

To be continued!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

LITTLE STAR BABY BLANKET

It was really just a matter of time before I made a baby blanket in preparation for our little one. I put it off for a long time, but while I have a long list of things I'd like to get done around the house, I also have a long list of crafty baby projects I'd like to get done. And if any of it's to get done at all, I better get started, huh?

As you can see, my blanket model Bo approved very much. Half the time while I was knitting it she would jump up on my lap and try to snuggle in it, so she was quite happy when I was finally done with it and she got to lie in it for a little while (though a bit less happy when I was done taking pictures, shooed her away and folded the blanket neatly away).

Other projects I'd like to get done in time include some other knitted items, a mobile and a quilt (!), which should be interesting as I've never quilted before, nor do I think I have the patience for it at all. I'm also trying to convince Graeme to make one of those cute wooden baby gyms, as they seem very simple and so much nicer looking than a lot of the ones you can buy. Not sure all of it will get done, but at least now that's a baby blanket ticked off the list!



The pattern is this one from Pickles, and the yarn is Drops' Baby Merino 100% wool in grey.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

WORK IN PROGRESS: OUR BEDROOM

I have a huge list of things I'd like to get done before the baby arrives in April. It's a pretty unrealistic list, but that's just how I operate. And a lot of the items on my list aren't even really baby related, more like stuff that I'd like to get done in general and that I worry would get put off until forever if we waited until after. As new parents with limited baby knowledge, I assume we're gonna have our hands full.

One of the things on my list was to paint our master bedroom. This is definitely one of those non-essential and non-baby related things, but it's something that's been on my to do list for a very long time, and should be relatively easy to tick off...right? And, currently our guest room is just across the hall, so it's really not a big deal sleeping in there for a few nights while the room is painted. Our plan is to turn this guest room into a nursery and have our guest room downstairs instead, so it makes sense to get the room done before then. And you have no idea how sick I am of those beige stripes (that were ALL over the house, you might recognize them from this kitchen before post), so I'm very excited to see them go!






And it probably would have been a pretty quick paint job, had we not discovered a pretty nasty patch of black mold underneath one of the windows. You can kinda see it through the wallpaper in the below photo actually, but it looked a million times worse once the wallpaper was removed. So what we assumed would be a pretty quick update is already proving to be a bit more elaborate than expected. We've had a professional come look at it, and it appears there's been a leak so the whole window will have to be replaced before we can continue. Bummer. And as the window factory we should be receiving our window from suffered huge damages this winter due to flooding, delivery could take up to a month. Double bummer. So as it turns out, not such an "easy task to tick off" after all! Guess we'll be camping out in our guest room for a bit longer than what we expected. On the upside though, I'm glad we discovered it so we can get it fixed. I shudder to think of how long we've been sleeping in a mold infested bedroom!


I'm still pretty excited about actually having started the room though. It might end up taking a bit longer than expected, but I've got my eye on the prize! So in addition to replacing the window and re-wallpapering and painting the walls, we also plan on adding black out blinds (which I think Graeme is the most excited about, he hates how light it gets in summer when the sun really never sets haha), and adding some cute shelves or artwork on the walls. So stay tuned!