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Deck the Halls

Christmas has come to Chez Lingbloom!  A Christmas tree and lights really help me get through the dark and gray days of winter.  To hang our Christmas lights (thanks, Scot) Tommy stood on the very tippy top of a 10-foot ladder and had to stretch all the way to reach the gutters.  Our one-story house is very tall.

Alex and Justin took us out to Manthey’s Tree Farm in Ferndale for our tree.

Mo and Alex


They charge $25 for any size Nordmann Fir. We have 10-foot ceilings so why not go for a 9.5-foot tree?

Tree Hug

Boots

All Decked Out

We have collected ornaments over the past few years – but they are all very tiny because our trees have all been very tiny.  I might have to make some beefier ones in the coming years; but next on my to-do list is to make a star for the top. I am thinking it will be like this.

Pies in Disguise

If you are going to dress up for Halloween, why not dress up your pastries too?

Pies in Disguise

Pies in Disguise makes pie in Asheville, NC. Jessica and I saw their photos online and had to immediately go to the farmer’s market outside of Asheville in order to get a pie – nevermind that we had been eating our entire East Coast Sister Trip, or that we were going to eat dinner in less than an hour, we needed a Pie in Disguise! Unfortunately, there were no Pies in Disguise to be had that day. Fortunately, Ashley English was there!

I had to google “clip art mustaches” for this project – my favorite is the one with the little goatee.

Only a few kids ventured down the South Side of Ellis street for Trick-or-Treating, so Tommy, Jessica, and I had plenty of time to eat our Pies in Disguise!

Homeowners!

August 31, 2011

Put a Beet on it

Have you noticed that beets are everywhere?

If you are going to a Farmer’s Market, expect to see some beets on the posters, or the roof, or the letterpressed cards, or the screen-printed clothing, or on the salad! I love beets. Do you?

Depot Market Square, Bellingham

Queen Anne Farmer's Market, Seattle

Beet Print, Etsy

Poster, Etsy

Letterpress Birthday Card, Etsy

Apricot (or peach) Mustard

When we visited Ellen and Roger, my great aunt and uncle, a few weekends ago, we were blessed with a cooler full of apricots from their trees out back. Most were RIPE and ready to be used immediately. Apricot mustard sounded great to me – but whenever I mentioned to friends that I was going to make it – they were skeptical. “Really, what will you put it on?”

Well, I was right. It turned out great. The best thing? The apricots did not need to be peeled!

Apricot Mustard

Apricot Mustard

from Urban Pantry by Amy Pennington

Before you start, read up on your water-bath canning techniques. Also, this is a 2-part recipe, so don’t start your boiling water bath until Step 3.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds apricots, pitted and halved
  • 2 ¼ cups sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 lemon, outer peel grated, halved, and juiced (seeds reserved in a muslin bag) **I used 1/4 cup lemon juice**
  • ¼ cup brown mustard seeds
  • ¼ cups yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground yellow mustard
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
Method
  1. In a large saucepan, combine the apricots, sugar, water, lemon juice, lemon halves, seed bag, and grated peel. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a simmer. Skim away any foam from the surface as it cooks. Cook until the fruit is soft and the sugar is dissolved, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and, leaving the mixture in the saucepan, cover and hold in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  2. While the apricots are cooking, smash the brown and yellow mustard seeds with a mortar and pestle, working in small batches. Or use a spice grinder, grind to a coarse meal. Put the smashed seeds and ground mustard in a small glass bowl, pour in the apple cider vinegar, and set aside, covered, on the counter top, at least 6 hours or overnight.
  3. Prepare jars for canning. You will need to sterilize the empty jars.
  4. Put a small plate in the freezer to check the set later on. Return the saucepan of fruit to medium heat on the stove top and cook down until thickened and amber in color, about 30 minutes. Stir in the vinegar-mustard seed mixture. Scoop out about a cup of the apricot mustard and puree in a blender, on high speed, until creamy and smooth. **I used my immersion blender and just blended the mustard in the saucepan until it looked how I wanted it.** Add the pureed fruit back to the pot and cook until thick and the mustard has set, about another 15 to 30 minutes. Skim foam as necessary. Remove the lemon halves and seeds from the stockpot, pressing out any mustard or remaining juice and pulp, and compost.
  5. To test the set, remove the plate from the freezer and spoon a small amount of mustard on it. Push the mustard with your fingertip. It should wrinkle, indicating it has set. If the mustard is loose, return the mixture to the heat and cook for another 10 minutes, checking the set until the desired consistency is reached.
  6. Add the mustard to the prepared jars and gently tap the bottom of the jars on the counter to release any air bubbles. Using a clean damp cloth, wipe the rims of the jars and put the lids and rings on the jars. Process in a water bath for 5 minutes (whether using half-pint or pint jars).
  7. Remove the jars with tongs and let cool on the counter. When the mustard is cool, remove the metal rings, check for proper seals, and label with date and contents.
Store
  • Store in a cool, dark cupboard until ready to use, for up to one year.
  • Once opened, store in the fridge for many months
Uses
  • as a pretzel dip
  • with pork or cured meats
  • on brats (with Luce’s zucchini relish!)
  • as a glaze on roasted meats

A Weekend with Friends

We spent the past weekend in Vancouver with our dear friends Kathy-Ann and Max as well as Becky and Isaac.

First stop was a tour through their newly updated home. Beautiful!

Next we had a lovely dinner at Havana – complete with a pitcher of Mojitos!

Then we hopped on the bus toward downtown on our way to the Celebration of Light – Vancouver hosts a fireworks competition every year over English Bay. We ended up having to run down to the beach, but it was well worth it. Great show.

In the morning, Kathy-Ann and Max created a beautiful brunch  spread – crepes, fruit, coffee. And their parents also stopped by so they could meet the “Mo and To” from the trip.

Kathy-Ann and Max in their pretty kitchen

Brunch

Finally, we took a lovely walk around town – stopping at Land to buy some pretty hand towels for our **new home** and then made  a quick stop at a sweet Italian ice cream shop. Yummy!

Thanks, friends!

**more on the house later!

Camping on Lopez Island

When I got my work schedule for the month of July, I immediately marked out the days that would work to go camping. It turned out that there was only one 2-night stretch that would work. So we made it happen!

Jessica and Tommy picked me up from work at 5pm on Thursday. Funny thing, Jessica and I were wearing the exact same outfit. Seriously. Every part of our outfit was the SAME. I know you can picture it.

We grabbed a slice of pizza from Pizzazza and drove straight to the ferry.

Then set up our tents. (Matching, of course! Thanks, Charlotte.)

Tents

Jessica switched from her turquoise jacket to her turquoise coat so that we wouldn’t look too twinsy anymore.

Sisters

Mom showed up at 7am the next morning. What a surprise!

We spent all day Friday exploring the island:

1) Spencer Spit – best for checking out the creations of others on the beach.

Spencer Spit self-portrait

pebbles in line on a log

rainbow rocks

2) Lopez Village – best for shopping for local crafts and Christmas presents.

3) Shark Reef – best for watching seals and sea lions bathing in the sun.

Shark Reef

sea lions or seals?

4) Iceberg Point – best for wishing I had gotten married there and meeting locals (shh, Iceberg Point is still secret to most visitors).

Mo and To

Mom and Sis napping

Iceberg Point

Did you know that Free Willy was filmed on Lopez in 1992?

Our camping trip was perfect. We capped it off by getting up at dawn on Saturday morning, buying our Holly B’s pastries the minute they opened, and making it on to the first ferry of the morning back to Anacortes.

Thanks Mom, Jess and Tommy!

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