Monday, November 29, 2010

Britt's Heavenly Brussels!

For all your brussel sprouts nay sayers out there this ones for you...
I must admit that I was once one of you, who would continue on along the Christmas buffet food lineup, and not even give this vegetable a mere second thought, but truth be told I have been living off this brussel recipe for the last 2-3 months straight. Morning, noon, midnight snack, you name it these brussels are my friend, my craving, my comfort food.
So when I was asked to make them for an Ugly Sweater Thanksgiving Dinner party last Friday (my sweater featured below), I sprang at the chance to share my love, with the world :)
Directions to success :
- First peel and mince around 6 cloves of garlic (I prefer my breath to ward off evil creatures of the night after this meal, so use your own discretion), then saute in pan with a generous amount of butter, until starting to brown.

-Meanwhile cut off the end of your lovely brussels, remove any darkening leave, then chop them into quarters, and then they are ready to be thrown in the pan. Flip them around, until they are covered in butter and leave them be for a good 5 mins so that they soften up a fair bit.
-Come back to your pan, and stir them up, add salt, and lemon juice, and then let them sit for another 5 mins. Since you are not technically steaming them, they are going to take a bit to tenderize, so be patient!
-For the last portion of your cooking, add butter, salt, and lemon as you see fit. They should start to brown, and get soft. At about 5 more mintues taste test those bad boys and see if they need to get a little less crunchy still. The should partially melt in your mouth :)


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Taking the UK by Storm

Tales of 2 weeks of exploring including countless amounts of castles and cathedrals, green rolling hills, and family quirks, will come soon :)


My hibernating tendancies have taken over a fair bit more than normal, this past winter month. Nothing seems like a better plan than to sit cozily in front of my fire, swaddled in quilts and entertained by the pages of a good book. Contentment.
However this is how I have a love/hate relationship with winter, as my otherwise semi social ideals fly by the way side, during these chilly snow filled *crosses fingers* months.
Tonight I succeeded in venturing out of my cocoon, and right down to the Legion for some worthwhile singing adventures, and found myself surrounded by others who had not seen the light of "social friendships" in ages. It is important to have these moments to show you that you are not alone. That there are others like you, to which social gatherings, sometimes just doesn't measure up to the comfort of a warm bed and a good Christmas movie on the telly.
I love these people.
People who you don't have to talk to for months on end.
People who don't care if you haven't attended the latest social gatherings.
People who down right let you know that they are glad to see you, and understand how truly hard it was to get out there, because they had just experienced it themselves.

I guess all I am trying to say here is embrace the season however you see fit. Go for a snowy walk, catch the occasional concert, meet up with friends.... but don't feel bad for hibernating every once in a while. Thats just silly.
Take the time to listen to the snow fall, and play a match of scrabble :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nates Mushroom Gravy!

Since becoming a Vegetarian I have been getting my Nate, to make me his famous Mushroom gravy! Its great with Tofurky, Yorkshire puddings, and any other veggie treats! Bear with me, as he has never had to put his recipe into words before. It is still pretty choppy, so please feel free to message me with any questions and I will try to help you out! Enjoy!


4-6 Portabello Mushrooms
1/2 Bulb of Garlic
I Small Red onion
Red Wine



-Mince garlic and onion, saute for a bit until either caramelized or golden brown.
-Use a food processor to grind up mushroom until almost a pasty consistency (very fine), but don't let them been to mushy, you still want them to hold some shape (almost sand like).
-Add the mushrooms to the onion and garlic, and let simmer until sweaty. Then add a cup of red wine and 1/2 cup of Braggs (or to taste). Then let simmer.
-Make vegetable stock (enough to fill a sauce pan 3/4 to the top)
-Make a Rue (which will be the thickening agent and binder to your gravy) consisting of a cup of butter and white flour melted together and mixed into a thick paste (almost to the consistency of a dough). Add slowly to wet mix while stirring with a whisk. Mix it all together and it should start to thicken into gravy.
-Spice to taste! (Recommended spices; sage, salt, pepper, and oregano)

Hope this works out for you!

Harvest Cupcakes that fill your home with warmth and cardamom

I made these perfectly delicious Harvest Cupcakes last month from the Alive Magazine and want to share the recipe here with you : If you haven't already checked out the Alive Magazine, I would totally recommend it as they have tons of seasonal recipes and health tips, and are a free print at your local organic grocery store.
These cupcakes a totally vegan on their own (my first attempt at vegan baking!), but the recipe also recommends a cream cheese icing that you can add on top with orange zest, which is also very tasty!
You can see below how happy these cupcakes made me, but to see for yourself you should try and bake them! - Nymph

Spooky Cloth Pumpkins!

This Halloween I pleaded with my mother to make me a recreation of these "stuffed pumpkins" which used to adorn our house every Hallow's Eve. She agreed naturally but under the condition that I aid in the creation of these magical gourds. So for you learning pleasure here are the pumpkins we created step by step :

Materials :
- 2 Halloween fabrics that go well together
-Sewing Machine
-Old pens for curling jute
-Elastic Bands
-Cotton Stuffing
-Sewing needles and thread
-Green fabric (either plain or with simple designs)
-Thicker sticks found outside
- Glue Gun

 1.) Pick two Halloween fabrics that look well together, and take a rotary cutter and cutting board (if you don't have scissors will work as well but just be a little bit harder), cut out 2 squares of each (4 in total that are all the same size). The squares should be approximently 26 cm by 22 cm, but as long as the squares are the same size, they can be off by a little bit.
Serge or sew on a machine, each opposing color's longer side together so that all the "fronts
are facing the inside (as shown above). And then sew a loose running stitch on the sewing machine around the top and bottom, so that when a loose thread is pulled the future pumpkin will bunch.

2.) Something that you might even want to get prepared before you start but definitely before you get any furthur is to grab your pens and wrap jute tightly around them (then fasten them with an elastic band at the end), soak them in water and then leave them on a towel to dry. You should also blow them with a hair dryer to speed up the drying proccess because they do take a long time to dry, and should be bone dry when you remove them from the pen or else they will lose their curl quickly.
3.) Then back to your pumpkins. Take that loose thread that you created at the top and bottom, and pull on it gently from both sides carefully (be careful not to break the thread), until you have a pretty closed bunch, which you can then sew (only do one side at this time!).

Take a sewing needle, and thread (you can either use the thread that is already attached that you were just pulling on to bunch up the fabric, or use some new thread), and pull the thread around the gathered fabric a few times, making sure that all the bunched ends are not tucked in (very IMPORTANT!), and then sew through the gathering a couple of time and then tie off. What you are trying to achieve here is that this will not some apart as it is a real pain later if it does, just make sure it is all tight and if you were to flip it the other way there would be no ends sticking out. It doesn't have to be pretty just functional.

4.) Next flip it the other way around (so you are looking at the pretty side!), and then start pulling on the other loose thread gently so that it starts to bunch as well (now it is actually starting to look like a pumpkin). Don't close it too much right away as you will still want to be able to fit your hand into the pumpkin to stuff it and that is what you will do next.

Stuff the pumpkin, but not so that it is super plump (unless that is what you are going for), but just make sure that the stuffing is evenly dispersed in the fabric before starting to sew it up. Again either take the thread you were just pulling on to tighten the pumpkin or some new thread, and pull it as tight as you can and then start sewing it around the top to make sure that the pumpkin won't open up again on its own. Once tight, but not fully closed cause you still want to fit your stem in there, tie it off. And see how you feel about your pumpkin? Is everything in working order? Should you tighten anything? Any loose threads? Your almost done!
5.) Grab some your green materal and cut large circles out to be you pumpkin leaves (don't worry about the circles being uneven because they are ment to look natural).

We found it was a nice effect to use scissors with a serated edge so that the fabric would have more texture to it. But I would only use ones that are ment for fabric or else they will just get stuck in your blades.

6.) Take your pumpkins, cut green fabric and sticks that you have found outside, glue gun and get ready to assemble. Place the fabric over the pumpkin hole, and press in with the stick. No need to make a hole in the green fabric for the stick, as you just pull it out again once you like how it sits and looks and put a fair amout of glue into the stuffing and return the fabric and stick back in to set. You can cut the green fabric up a little more to make it more realistic or shorten it at this time.
Now back to that jute. Is it totally dry? Don't kid yourself, because you won't be happy with the results unless it is. But once it is just simply tie the jute around the stem and watch it bounce joyfully around your new cloth pumpkin.
As you can see I made alot of these beautiful little pumpkins (I was doing a fundraiser for my kitten who broke his femur), and I hope you enjoyed learning about how to make them. Feel free to ask me any questions you might have about them, or share some of your own festive crafts!

A new space for a new outlook...

Having come into a new time in my life, full of change, courage and compassion, I believe it is time for a new blog that may better suit my needs. So here is a link to my old work, and well read on for some of my new :) I look forward to shareing my life with you.