Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Larabars

I cannot believe how good these taste, considering it's mostly just dates and cashews! It's another gem of a recipe from Oh She Glows: raw, vegan, and nutritous. I used the gram measurements for the cashews and dates, and 1 tsp of water, and they turned out great!

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Larabars
1.5 cups (230 grams) raw cashews
1/4 to 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
1 cup (190 grams) tightly packed pitted medjool or honey dates
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp dairy-free chocolate chips
  1. If your dates are stiff or dry, soak the dates in a bowl of water for 30-60 minutes before beginning. Drain well and pat dry before use.
  2. Add cashews and salt into a food processor and process the until the cashew crumbs are just smaller than peas.
  3. Now add in the pitted dates and process until the mixture comes together. The mixture should stick together easily when you squeeze it between your fingers. If it doesn’t stick or it’s still a bit crumbly, add a very small amount of water (1 tsp at a time) and process it again.
  4. Add the vanilla and process until combined. Finally, pulse in the chocolate.
  5. Line an 8-inch square pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper, one going each way (this makes it easier to lift out). Scoop mixture into pan and smooth out with hand until it’s level. Beginning at the centre, push down firmly all over the mixture. The more you pack it down the better the bars will hold together.
  6. Freeze for at least 15 minutes and then slice into 10-12 bars. The bars are a bit fragile and can break apart, so just handle them carefully. For on-the-go, wrap bars in parchment paper and store in the fridge or freezer. Or just store them all in an air-tight container if enjoying at home.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sick in wintry Quebec City

Last weekend Mark and I went to Quebec City for an ultimate frisbee tournament. As timing would unfortunately have it, I was hitting the peak of a cold that I still haven't shaken. So instead of watching Mark and his team place 12th of 120 teams (!!), I spent the majority of the weekend in the hotel room resting and watching horrible (but very entertaining) shows on TLC. I did muster myself together to go for one short walk to the old town, because it's just so beautiful! I also found a fantastic raw/vegan eatery just around the corner from the hotel, and had an incredibly delicious sandwich and juice there — food medicine :)

Looking down on the lower old town from the terrace by the Chateau.
Note the very ice-covered St. Lawrence in the background!

One of my favourite view points in Quebec City.

Walking back downtown along Rue Saint-Jean.

A delicious and nourishing sandwich from Om Prana.
Sprouted bread, beets, spinach, cashew "cheese", basil pesto, sprouts, and tomatoes. Delish! 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

This is getting ridiculous.

Spring (technically) arrived on Thursday. But not in Ottawa (or much of the rest of Ontario). I awoke this morning to the second snowstorm since the arrival of Spring, and it is newly deflating each time. We are still buried under mounds of snow, and save for a few very sporadic days, the temperatures have been below zero, with windchills far below that... This winter has been long and cold, and the lack of any sort of hint that spring is around the corner is depressing...

Today. The roads were clear yesterday.

Still several feet of snow... Booooo, winter. Boo.

This sketch by Rick Mercer pretty much sums up my incessant and naively optimistic looking at the long-term forecast for signs of hope. Now I don't even believe the 5 at the end of this 7-day forecast...

Currently -4 with a windchill of -12. Yup.

How I yearn to hang laundry on the line again, go outside with just a light jacket, go for long walks in the warm sunshine, or see the crocuses pushing up through traces of snow.

So until things turn around here, I've decided I'm not going to look out the window anymore, and will only be listening to steel drum music and watching movies set in Hawaii.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The most amazing geocaching scavenger hunt

At our 20-week ultrasound last week, Mark and I wanted to find out the gender of our baby, but keep it a surprise. We had the results written down, and we gave them to some good friends of ours, and told them they could reveal it to us, in any way they chose, at any time they chose, over the following week. (We had talked about this with them ahead of time to make sure this was something they were interested in! And they were!)

So on Monday night, as the snow began to steadily fall (because apparently this winter just will not quit), we got a text with our first clue: GPS coordinates leading us to the Arboretum, where we found the second clue, in an illuminated mason jar in the snow. They had created these ingenious lights using LED bulbs and some batteries to light up the jars bearing the clues. And each clue bore information and coordinates to the next clue. Through the forest we followed the clues to the final destination, a huge tree decorated with glow sticks, under which was a log bench with a blanket, thermos of hot apple cider, and a wrapped box. We sat down, cozied up, had some cider, and opened the box to reveal three cupcakes, which spelled out B-O-Y. We're having a boy!!

It was such a fun, meaningful, and magical treasure hunt, and we are so lucky to have such amazing friends to go to such elaborate lengths to create this moment for us!

All the clues — informative and directional!  :)

We found the third clue! (It's the illuminated jar on top of the sign.)

(Snow-covered) bench, blanket, cider, and box of cupcakes!

We're going to have a boy!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A new quilt project

Because it's going to be a few more years still before The Quilt is anywhere near done—since it's taken me two years of off-and-on work to get this far—I've begun working on a new quilt project. It seemed like a good idea to take a break and work on a smaller project. Something much smaller than queen-sized... Crib-sized to be specific... for the special little someone currently growing in my belly:

Baby at 20 weeks! Due to arrive around July 29 :)

I bought the fabric a couple of years ago when we were in Massachussetts, not knowing it was going to be for a baby quilt for my future baby, but here we are! I can't wait to swaddle up my little bundle in this quilt! My cousin contributed some delightful patterns to help even out the colour scheme, and I love how it's coming together!

Here is a portion of the first 6 of 23 rows.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Wee Fabric House: Little Red Roof

Just added to the shopLittle Red Roof, a new Wee Fabric House made of soft red flannel and cream-coloured polar fleece. On the inside there's a kitty curled up on the rug beside the fire, and a warm woolen armchair to snuggle up in, a tiny, hand-painted landscape painting, and gingham curtains. In the front yard, stepping stones lead over a bridge and past the river, perfect for an afternoon stroll.