Backyard Progress

We have been making some progress on the backyard lately (though when I say ‘we’, I really mean Kurt). Our gardens are nearly ready for planting, our grass is green, and the phase 2 of the pool is underway. I was really hoping to plant some flowers in the far back yard, but a tree branch that fell in the ice storm is occupying most of it still.

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In case you were wondering, that is not my cat in the picture. It is the cat I not so lovingly refer to as ‘damn whitecat’.

We bordered our gardens with concrete slabs from the backyard and filled them with a mix of peat moss, regular dirt and compost. Our region offers free compost from our food waste collection program, so we are using that, along with some worm casings from our worm bin.

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We rented a big saw last weekend and Kurt and his friends cut out some of the metal from the pool. There is still a long way to go, but at least progress is being made. I have hopes that one day there won’t be a giant death hole in the middle of our yard.

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I have dreams that one day our backyard will be a beautiful oasis filled with flowers, vegetables and butterflies, but until then, Kurt is really enjoying sledgehammering everything.

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Protein Pancakes

I generally don’t worry about getting enough protein. We very rarely eat meat, but we eat a lot cheese, nuts, eggs and beans. Lately I’ve been trying to train for the CN Tour Stair Climb, so I’ve been trying to eat some extra protein. These pancakes really make it easy. They are pretty much pure protein, but still taste like pancakes.

Whisk together:
1 cup of cottage cheese
3 eggs
splash of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 cup sugar*
3/4 cup flour (I used a mixture of spelt and white)

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It will look a little gross, but don’t worry.

Cook in a frying pan with a little bit of oil. Make them small otherwise they are impossible to flip.

*I don’t usually put sugar in my pancakes, but otherwise you can taste the egg

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Eat with fruit, syrup or whatever and enjoy the proteiny goodness!

Free Spring Home Updates

We are trying to save money these days. We are getting our windows replaced in August, going on a 2 week trip in July and my car’s lease is up in September. So that’s a lot of big expenses over a few months.

With things starting to clear up and grow outside it’s nice to freshen up a bit inside along with it. Here are some ways to cheer up your home for free.

Bring some nature inside. There are finally things growing outside. Maybe you have flowers, lucky you. All I could find on a walk Easter weekend was a branch of pussywillows. Though they isn’t colourful, they are still beautiful.

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Change out your winter bedding for some lighter and fresher. Now is a great time to switch out heavy blankets and duvets. Choose something you love!

Choose one area of the house (or the whole thing if you are feeling motivated). Deep clean and purge any extra stuff.

Make some free art. Use some of those art supplies I’m sure you have around somewhere. Create something and be proud of it. Hang it on the wall!

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Five Things About Me

Well I did it. After I mentioned how I haven’t been sick at all this school year and how I am an immunity super hero…I was sick on and off for two weeks. Ugh. I am finally getting better now. Because of this I haven’t really been creating anything or doing anything interesting, so I didn’t feel like I had anything to write about.

Rather than not blogging, I have decided to just do something easy. So here are five random things that I would like to share about me.

1. I like to read. When I find a book that I really like to usually sit down and read the entire thing at once. If I’m reading a book I don’t like so much, it takes a few weeks. Some of my favourite books are: anything by JD Salinger, Margaret Atwood’s “Year of the Flood” (which is part of a trilogy, but can also easily stand alone as a novel), Jane Urquhart’s “Away”,and Thomas King’s “Green Grass Running Water”.

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Homer doesn’t read so much as he lies in piles of books.

2. I drink a lot of tea. I only really drink tea and water, with the occasional juice and sometimes a pop if I am out somewhere.

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I also like playing Yatzee.

3. We have a pet crayfish. He is bright blue and named Vinn.

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4. My dream trip would be wondering around Europe for a few months visiting museums, castles and just taking in the views.

5. Both of our cats sleep curled up with us nearly every single night. Sometimes I wake up stiff because of this, but I still wouldn’t have it anything other way.

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Marbled Chocolate Banana Loaf

I wanted to make banana bread since my freezer has more bananas in it than a Costa Rican market. I looked for a recipe to use, but I didn’t really find anything appealing, so I just made one up. It turned out surprisingly well. To make it special I melted a little chocolate and mixed that in. I tried to ‘marbelize’ it, but as you will see I didn’t do a very good job.

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Here’s the recipe:

Mix together:
3 ripe bananas, mashed well
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
splash of vanilla

Mix together:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup spelt flour (or other whole grain flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
sprinkle of salt

Mix the two together, just until combined.

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Melt some chocolate in a double boiler over water. I used a chunk of chocolate easter bunny, but use whatever you want. If you use really dark chocolate you may want to add some more sugar. I added a splash of milk to help it smooth out. You will want to end up with about half a cup of chocolate.

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Once the chocolate is melted, stir in about half of your batter.

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Pour the two batters into a greased loaf pan, and then run a butter knife through to (hopefully) achieve a marble effect. You may prefer to add spoonfuls of each batter to better marble them.

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Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees. Let it cool, then slice and eat!

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Very moist, and super delicious!

Chocolate Pudding

These days I don’t have much spare time to try new recipes, but this recipe is pretty quick and uses ingredients that we always have. I used 2% milk (from the freezer) instead of whole milk, I had to add about a tablespoon more cornstarch, though I’m not sure if this is related.

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The verdict? It was good, very creamy and smooth. I don’t think it’s as rich and chocolatey as the pudding I used to make (which I never used a recipe for), but some people like that.

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Pudding is such a great thing to make because it’s easy, quick and a crowd-pleaser. It’s one of those things, I think, that people don’t really make anymore since it’s so easy to buy. but it is so worth it to make your own.

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