30 January 2013

A recipe and a giveaway

Every once in a while I like to make granola to throw in with my yogurt.  This is a really easy recipe and another way for me to use that lovely golden honey my girls produced this past summer season.

If you are so inclined, here is the recipe:
{I use organic but the choice is yours}

4 cups large flake oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup flax meal
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 Tablespoon cinnamon

Mix together in a large bowl. 

Warm and mix well together:
1/4 cup safflower oil
1/2 cup honey

dried cranberries or raisins

Pour oil/honey mix over the dry mix.  Toss until well coated.  Lay out on a parchment covered baking sheet.   If you use the average size baking sheet prepare two and bake at the same time or one larger industrial size bake pan.  
Bake at 350 F for 5 minute intervals stirring and then returning to the oven for another 5 minutes 3 times for a total of 15 minutes or until golden brown (or browned to you're liking).  I like mine slightly darker and crunchier so I bake for the whole 15 minutes.
Toss in dried cranberries or raisins - stir.  Let cool.

And the giveaway . . .

I have one ticket for the Thunder Bay & District Master Gardeners 
"A Winter Day of Gardening" seminar taking place Saturday, February 9th.
This ticket is for 1/2 day either from 10-12 or 1-3 and does not include lunch.
If you're interested, just leave a comment below and I will randomly select the winner.  

For more information on the seminar see my earlier post or you can also take a stroll over to the February issue of The Walleye ~ Thunder Bay's arts & culture magazine, page 41.

25 January 2013

You never know

what you are going to find in them there boxes.
So you know I've been cleaning, purging and sorting, right? 
After seeing this fb post a few weeks back I was reminded that what seems like a really long time ago, I also made yogurt.  I go through stages you see.  I used to grow a whole lot of sprouts, make yogurt and jam . . . .  I started sprouting again a year or so ago and do still make jam from time to time.  This past summer I made a lovely batch of apricot jam.  But, for some reason, I stopped making yogurt.  I probably stopped eating yogurt for a while then when I picked it up again plain yogurt was so readily available.  Now, plain greek yogurt is my go-to yogurt.  Mixed with just a drizzle of my own honey, mmmm. 
Well, back to the cleaning, purging, sorting part of this story . . . while I was cleaning, purging and sorting, I came across my old Salton Yogurt maker.  Yay!  I knew there was a reason I saved things!  I thought it was long ago gone, or at least that the jars were gone.  But alas, there it was, jars and all ~ well almost all.  Now I get to make 6 jars instead of 7.
And, I forgot how easy it is when you have an incubator.

If you are a regular at the country market then you know Wilma of the Slate River Dairy.  She makes really wonderful yogurt.  I mix Wilma's yogurt with greek yogurt. 
I wanted to make my own once again so that I could control the fat content.
If you aren't into making your own yogurt or don't have an incubator (by the by, some dehydrator's come with a yogurt setting) then Wilma's yogurt is the absolute next best thing and, it comes in these really cool returnable bottles.
A quick tutorial then:
There are two ways that I know of to make yogurt.  You can buy a yogurt starter from the health food store.  It should contain active culture and probiotics - read the package.
You can also use yogurt.  This time around, because I love Wilma's yogurt and I know it is made locally, of local milk products and contains no additives or other stuff, I used Slate River Dairy yogurt.  

Measure 1 litre of milk.  I used 1% milk.  Heat to 180 degrees F.  My yogurt maker comes with a thermometer spoon!  Let cool to 75 degree F.  Add 2 Tablespoons yogurt to 1/4 cup cooled milk - mix well.  Add this back into the remaining cooled milk.  Stir well.  Pour into jars and place in the yogurt maker.  
I no longer have the instructions for my yogurt maker so I really didn't know how long I should leave it in the y.m.   Because I made this in the evening, I just plugged in the y.m. and went to bed.  When I awoke, voila, 6 lovely, homemade jars of yogurt.  Just the right tang in my humble opinion.

Now, I can just use my own yogurt for a starter but the next time just for fun I may try the starter to see if the taste is any different. 

Have a great, great weekend, I'll be back on Sunday with all the DIY CLASS details.

23 January 2013

A Gardener's Day

Are you a gardener?  Are you busy planning, looking forward to the coming spring season?  Are you up for a day of learning?
The Thunder Bay Master Gardeners are hosting
Holly Rupert tells me that this is a day-long symposium with horticulturalist Rick Durand at Confederation College, Saturday, February 9, 2013.
Holly says "Rick is a plant developer with tons of knowledge about shrubs, roses, trees and perennials.  He is going to be talking about what's up-and-coming and will give people a real heads up on cultivars we can expect to see in the next few seasons".

Interested?  For further information visit www.tbmastergardeners.homestead.com
For tickets contact Holly at 767-7806 or any MG you may know.

Sounds like the perfect way to spend a February day.

18 January 2013

Cabin Fever . . .

. . . can have a way of settling in by the time February rolls around.  
Although this winter has been mild and manageable, true to the Northwest, winter will be here with or without the cold and snow for some time to come. 
I don't mind winter.  I actually prefer the cold because along with it comes that incredible sunshine other parts of the country don't see for as many months.
But, having said that, come February ~ March, I'm craving longer days and much less winter. 
I'm anxious to change things up and that often involves a DIY project or two.
As promised I'm in the process of finalizing the details for a number of DIY classes and here's just a sneak peak of one ~

I'm really obsessed with the process of printing.  Any medium of printing catches my attention and the desire to learn more about the process.  This past year I've screen printed the traditional way, begun experimenting with Photo Emulsion screen printing, dove into a number of different mediums involving image transfer.  
If you are anything like me, I'm an impatient learner and crave instant results.
That's why in this class I will be showing you two printing techniques that are fun, easy to do at home (don't require endless tools and expensive equipment) and have endless possibilities.

Here's just a sample of one project we created this season
{the photo is seriously lacking but I think you get the idea}

both of these projects use the same technique.  The class will include one other fun transfer method you are going to love.  Chances are you won't want to stop.

 The sky is almost the limit.
Class details will be posted next week.

Have a really fantastic weekend ~ Enjoy the snow.

15 January 2013


I'm still in busy bee purging mode.
Making room for fresh.

{image:  thatinspirationalgirl.com}

The Christmas tree came down yesterday.  I miss the lights.

In keeping with my purging commitment, this desk is outta here and up for grabs.  It's a vintage oak and oak veneer office desk.  But it's time to move it out.  I picked her up at a yard sale in Winnipeg many years ago before we moved here.
It's generally in good shape with natural wear in all the right spots.  The top has wear and tear on one edge but overall she has good bones and nothing a good dusting, waxing and perhaps re-staining won't take care of.  
The "typewriter" table pops out and up on a spring loaded mechanism.  Would make a great sewing station. 
Going cheap ~ if you're interested, e-mail me and we'll chat. 

Dimensions:  Front to back depth 34", length end to end 60", Height 30 1/2"

10 January 2013


I managed to get in a few lovely, restful, really lazy days over the holiday season.  I hope that you did also.  But alas, a new year is upon us and I am in creative planning, looking ahead momentum.
I've been busy with the proverbial clean up and organizing that always happens at this time of year.  It doesn't always actually take place ~ some years I just think about it long enough that it feels like I've done something!  This year I have indeed been cleaning and organizing like a busy little bee.  One floor, numerous closets, drawers and trunks have been purged.  Another 1/2 a floor and a basement that resembles that of someone who hoards and we'll be done!  Actually, in fairness, the basement situation arose late this fall as a result of a renovation and just as I was about to begin preparing for the Christmas season in the shop.  Boxes and the like were simply relocated, temporarily, until after the shop closed for the season.
I have to admit, while I never like getting started, it feels really good once it's done.  Now, I'm in the mood for change.  The renovation is moving along and the cosmetic update to the master bedroom can begin to move ahead.  I'll keep you posted on my progress.

My love of wire storage baskets may prove useful.

Looking back on the Christmas season here in the shop I am truly mindful of what a lovely season it was.  Because of you.  We changed up the scenery around here this year and it felt refreshing and just as I imagined it should.  Those of you who graced our doors were happy to share your love of Moss Cottage and the changes we'd made.  Thank you. 
For the first time in some time I felt inspired in my work.  With comments like "it just doesn't begin to feel like Christmas until I come here" and "coming here just makes my soul happy" and other such lovely, generous, soulful notes, I find myself already looking forward to the most glorious of seasons in 2013.  
The hamster wheel is turning madly as plans for next year brew.  We really stepped up the "handmade" goodness in the shop in 2012 and you can expect a much larger presence of handmade goodness next year.  
Thank you for supporting local handmade goodness, I trust it brought you as much joy as it did me. 
In the meantime, I'm working on a few Cabin Fever classes for February.  You know, that month when you are just itching to get out and do something fun and new. 
Some great ideas are cooking for The Urban Farmchick soap line and a totally new idea for those of you getting hitched are in the works.  I have had my first meeting with a bride and groom to discuss the lovely flowers for their wedding, the seeds have been ordered and I'm seriously committed to updating the online shop. 

Speaking of the online shop . . .
I'm really picky about the product photos for the blog and online shop.  I have a decent camera but I'm itching to take better photographs.  Which leads me to ask for your feedback.  I'm on the hunt for a new camera.  What I've learned so far is that folks are seriously committed to their "brand" of camera.   At this point, I'm open.  Canon or Nikon, Nikon or Canon.  What I'm after is a semi-professional DSLR.  My goal is to find a camera that allows for great close-up shots while allowing me to really control the background blur.  A beginner lens is on the wish list.  Any thoughts, suggestions ~ I'd love to hear.  
If you would be so kind as to share either by leaving a comment here on the blog or on 
The Urban Farmchick facebook page that would be FANTASTIC.

Cheers and really, all the best in 2013.

{Source:  mapleandmagnolia.com, google, interestbox.net/photographer-2}