Friday, March 16, 2018

Quinoa or Never

Well of course just as it is going out of fashion we decide to finally experience the miraculous grain known as quinoa.

We toasted it before cooking.

Made a yummy dressing that includes ginger and peanut butter.

Shredded colorful veg and herbs.

Gave it a toss.

And another with the dressing.

Topped with some peanuts and..... lunch is served.

Crunchy Thai Peanut & Quinoa Salad

      Author: Cookie and Kate
Yield: 4 servings
This Thai-flavored salad recipe is made with carrots, cabbage, snow peas, and quinoa, tossed in delicious peanut sauce. This healthy salad is vegan, gluten free, and packs well for lunch. 
Recipe yields 4 salads.


  • ¾ cup uncooked quinoa or millet
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup thinly sliced snow peas or sugar snap peas
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
  • ¼ cup chopped roasted and salted peanuts, for garnish
Peanut sauce
  • ¼ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (I love ginger so I used 2 teaspoons)
  • ½ lime, juiced (about 1 ½ tablespoons)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes


  1. Cook the quinoa: First, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander under running water. In a medium-sized pot, combine the rinsed quinoa and 1 ½ cups water. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer the quinoa until it has absorbed all of the water. Remove the quinoa from heat, cover the pot and let it rest for 5 minutes. Uncover the pot and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set it aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, make the peanut sauce: Whisk together the peanut butter and tamari until smooth (if this is difficult, microwave the mixture for up to 30 seconds to loosen it up). Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. If the mixture seems too thick to toss into the salad, whisk in a bit of water to loosen it up (I didn’t need to do this).
  3. In a large serving bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, shredded cabbage, carrot, snow peas, cilantro and green onion. Toss to combine, then pour in the peanut sauce. Toss again until everything it lightly coated in sauce. Taste, and if it doesn’t taste quite amazing yet, add a pinch of salt and toss again. Divide into individual bowls and garnish with peanuts.
  4. This salad keeps well, covered and refrigerated, for about 4 days. If you don’t want your chopped peanuts to get soggy, store them separately from the rest and garnish just before serving.

NOTES Recipe minimally adapted from Frugal Vegan by Katie Koteen and Kate Kasbee. 

Secret Society

Found in The Bottom Line monthly publication Up North.

We want to join, but who are they and where do they meet?

It reminds us of another group we once belonged to. The Rainbow Ladies back in the day could put a similar announcement in the Fish Wrapper with only the date and "The Rainbow ladies will meet. Call for information." If you were one of us no more needed to be said. 

For those who were dying to join us it must have been very frustrating. 

So now we know how it feels. If you are reading this and belong to the Moral Social and Uplift Society please contact us. We have both refreshments and stories to contribute and are in desperate need of both social and moral uplifting.

Thank you. We await the call.

Bye, Bye Birdie

Today is the day the winter theme has officially worn out its welcome.

We've loved this recycled sap bucket evergreen piece in the yard all winter, but now it's time for bunnies and eggs and flowers and Spring! to move in.

And judging by the bunny "frolicking" we have witnessed lately the first litter of bunnies may not wait for the snow to leave before they appear.

Perhaps Paul will have another bucket for our next outdoor decor theme scheme.

No website, no Facebook page. Just call him, show up at his house or catch him at a local craft fair.

Sunday, December 31, 2017


We are so thrilled that the non quilter in the household "got" the concept of this quilt we have adopted his name for the idea. The "Suburbs" pattern from Cluck, Cluck, Sew, in this iteration is henceforth to be known as "Duluth".

Top finished!

The first version of this pattern was Little Cabins in the Woods.

A Fine Litter of Pups

The bromeliad family is getting bigger.

Pup #1 was adopted out to a good home. Pup #2 is still in the house.

Here comes pup #3.

It too has been birthed, weaned from mom, and after spaying or neutering and getting its shots will also be off to live with another qualified family with a reliable track record for keeping houseplants alive. Housebreaking should be a snap.

Reusable Christmas

The young people in the family, ever aware of how our actions affect the planet, suggested that we strive to use less throw-away wrapping at Christmas time. "Here, here", we said and promptly got to hemming fabrics that we had purchased for their jaunty holiday patterns and/or attractive July sale prices, to use as wrap in the style of Japanese Furoshiki.

It was fun to both sew and wrap with these pretty fabrics that had been purchased with no real plan in mind. 

One can only make and use so many stockings, table runners, and tree skirts with all the amazing fabrics available.

These wraps, made in a variety of sizes should hold up for many Christmases to come. 

And, post Christmas there are plenty of other uses for the technique with other fabrics. 

This two bottle wrap is great for gifting, or for transporting party supplies.

Furoshiki also works for carrying loose objects such as a stack of books, awkward items like your potluck casserole, or anything that needs a temporary carrying handle. 

Pre-made fabric pieces like handkerchiefs, scarves and dishtowels work too. And fabric with raw or pinked edges can of course be used and may even double as part of the gift for your favorite sewists.

Here is the basic wrap we used for most of the Christmas packages:

Image result for japanese wrap diagram

But there are so many more possibilities. Check out Suika Tsutsumi, the watermelon wrap.

Image result for japanese wrap diagram

And, while it is great to have one more idea for saving the planet, we all know the true value of this project.... reducing our fabric stash and acting like that was our plan all along.

The Good News About Bad Weather

 It is attractive to stay in one's nice warm sewing area vs. being tempted into more post-Christmas sale shopping when the temps are as they are today. 
It is -17F at present with the day's high predicted to be -6F. 

Baby, it's cold outside. 
And that is conducive to the time honored cabin fever tradition of sewing. No more putting off finishing projects when the alternative activities involve five layers of clothing and risking life and limb with frost bite or idiot drivers on slippery roads.

And being well stocked from a recent, sad, going out of business sale of a favorite fabric store there is no reason to venture out for additional stash building.

So finally we have:

A new ironing board cover.

Six new tea towels of MoMo for Moda Japanese cotton/linen.

Six new pillowcases to use up Julie Paschkis fabric. 

A log carrier.

And a good start on 68 little houses for a queen size

Suburbs quilt which may be called


Merry Making with Faux Suede

Getting in the holiday spirit we got back to the sewing machine for a seasonal home accessory update. A very generous friend shared some painterly deer print faux suede from Spoonflower with us. Wish you could feel it. Isn't the design great?

And so fitting as on Christmas Eve eve morning we saw three deer walking right down the middle of Columbia Street. Speculation was that they were doing advance intel for Santa to make the Chippewa Falls run go more smoothly. Probably they were noting details such as the loss of one of our two chimneys when we got new shingles and that our Norway maple has grown another 10 feet up into sleigh airspace. Important time saving tips like that make Santa's job easier for sure.

It must have helped. Santa was very, very good to us.


Look who's ready for some New Year's Eve fun!

Always the hit of the party. 

Penguins reminiscent of Wallace and Gromit's arch nemesis, Feathers McGraw,
bring smiles in the buffet line.

But nobody wants to take the last one off the platter. 

Who could you eat a face like that?

From Betty Crocker's Best Christmas Cookbook.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Hunt and Gather

Awhile back we heard author Sam Thayer  speak on foraging. Up until then we had no idea that many, maybe even most, of the plants, nuts, and berries that we see every time we go out in our Northern woods and waters are edible. We bought one of Sam's books and have checked out his website, Forager's Harvest. Now we are starting to see nature as one big pantry. 

Look at these:

They are American Hazelnuts
After realizing that the odd shaped clusters hanging on the ubiquitous, previously not even noticed shrubs are not mutant plant deformations one can recognize them as food. This is the kind of opportunity that hunter gathers like NDL delight in.

The nuts require husking, which can be a rather pleasant, even addicting activity that draws others in. It is a perfect pastime for chatting on a sunny screen porch or at the kitchen table.

Once husked the nuts are cracked and the nutmeats extracted. Taking a hammer to a handful of nuts is a surprisingly satisfying part of the process. 

Toasting brings out the flavor. 
Pretty, eh?

And now we can make our own Nutella, top a dish of ice cream, roll a cheese ball in them, use them in baked goods, or pop a fistful into our mouths as a snack if we are willing to give up an hour's work for one delicious moment.

From our first batch we made these previously featured Hazelnut Krinkle cookies.

Never did we think we would be making them some day with our very own harvest of hazelnuts.

So gratifying! So good!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Chlorociboria aeruginascens

Chlorociboria aeruginascens (say that five times fast) AKA Green Elf Cups.

Spotted by a keen-eyed nature lover while on a blackberry picking foray.

The rainy summer has brought out some amazing fungi, but this one is particularly charming. 

 9 out of 10 elves agree.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Titan Sphinx

Whose heinie is sticking out of the nasturtium?

Why, it's the Titan Sphinx moth of course. 

Aelepos titan is far from home. The most southern edge of his or her range is Uruguay. Wisconsin is about as far north as titan sightings are reported and their brooding area is the Florida Keys. Seems like someone heeded hurricane evacuation orders and hightailed it to safe space. Good call!

I guess if your favorite tropical hibiscus lunch has been blown out to sea, a northern narcissus will do. Any port in a storm, eh?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse Underfoot

We sat on the porch under the big overhanging roof so we wouldn't be tempted to stare at the sun.

We could still see the partial eclipse.

And then many mini eclipses. 

And some teeny tiny eclipses.  

And even more on the sidewalk under our big shade trees on Columbia Street. 

In the end we think we had more fun seeing hundreds of eclipses than if we had seen only one  

big, full, real one. 

And our retinas are completely unscathed.