Monday, January 25, 2016

A New Week Begins

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

I had plans to do a lot of sewing but I ended up not doing so much. Instead I was rather busy getting caught up with laundry, sweeping and washing floors, doing dishes, grocery shopping and vegetable preparation. Whenever I can, I like to wash all my vegetables and dry them before storing so they are ready to use during the week.  This helps ensure that I actually use the vegetables as sometimes I get lazy and don't feel like doing the prep when I'm actually making dinner. There are always so many vegetables that I have to soak (I use vinegar in water), rinse, dry and store so I do it in stages. Sunday night I did the green peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, cilantro and kale. The other vegetables I don't mind doing as needed; like celery, carrots, etc.

Last night's dinner was stir fried vegetables with thin strips of beef and noodles. It was very good. I made a lot of it so there were left overs for lunch today.

Dinner tonight is nachos.  I cooked up the ground beef last night and washed the green peppers, tomatoes and lettuce. Tonight I just have to chop up the onions and tomatoes for salsa and wash the avocados for the guacamole. I don't eat this stuff very often anymore.  When I was much younger I had it every weekend.  Nowadays I might have it once a year or even less but it is a nice change.  I discovered I was out of cheddar cheese so had to buy some of that today to top the nachos.  I usually always have this on hand but suddenly it was gone.  I do like mozzarella on my nachos too but I am saving the mozzarella for home made pizza in the not too distant future. The pizza has been on my mind since before Christmas, lol.

I started a book called Americanah by an author I've read once before. Her name is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I really enjoy her style of writing. If I can make good progress on the book this week I may join several people on Friday for a discussion over dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant I've been wanting to try. I will only go if I've had time to read the book.  I  like what I've read so far.

As for my sewing,  I decided to make myself a nightgown before I finish mom's nightgown and dresses. So now I have 3 projects to finish plus one ready made dress to alter. I finished the navy dress late last week. I'm about half finished on the necklines for the other 3 projects so it shouldn't take much longer. I like to work slowly on the necklines because I work without a pattern.  Since I'm working without a pattern and I lack patience where sewing is concerned, my cutting is a bit freehand.  For sewers you will know that freehand cutting can mean wrong "fit" if not careful. So far I'm doing fine. When I started making the clothing for mom I hadn't really planned on making a lot of clothing because sewing is not my favourite thing in the world. I thought the things she requested would be "one off"  projects but I'm now realizing that I will have to continue sewing for her.   It is just easier than trying to find the right ready made clothing. For future projects, I will probably try to cut out a pattern on piece of paper to use for necklines (v-neck and round neck) and for sleeves (set in and dropped shoulders).  This will make future sewing projects go much quicker both in cutting and sewing.

I also spent a lot of time on Saturday getting mail off to my niece for Valentine's Day. She will love the Star Wars calendar I bought her since we went to see the latest Star Wars film over Christmas. Of course, I also sent her some some chocolates in the shape of lipstick and nail polish. She loves nail polish and I think will like the lipstick too though she won't mind eating it at all, lol. 

A Kenyan friend is having a birthday early in the month. It is difficult to send things so far away due to the cost and postage theft is also a problem so I tried to get something nice but not so expensive. I sent a calendar with  photos of my beautiful city and I hope he likes it. I also sent my sponsored boys some picture post cards. One of the young boys I write to told me how much he looks forward to receiving my letters. I've been sponsoring him for just over 5 years and the time has flown by! Since the Fall I've been making a conscious effort to increase the letters and cards I sent to my sponsored boys. There are 3 of them so if I send mail a few times a month that makes for a lot of writing. But it is so very important to these youngsters to know that someone cares about them and prays for them and sends money each month for their needs. If any of you are looking to sponsor children, I would recommend Compassion International. They do a wonderful job of keeping the sponsor involved and informed about everything like the child's development, community information and country information. They provide an updated photo each year along with a letter from the leadership in the community and some community and country information so you know the context within which the child is living and learning. They make sure every child receives a gift at Christmas whether you send funds or not for that purpose.  Of course they encourage you to contribute to the Christmas Fund but they make sure no child is left out. You are also able to make gifts throughout the year to the family and to the child to provide for other things like food and housing needs.

Today I managed to get around to using my Vitamix to make cashew milk! Yeah! I was inspired by Teresa's blog over at Affectioknit  I've been wanting to make the cashew milk for a long time but didn't make it a priority. I needed to find a source of raw organic cashews and also figure out how to do it. Teresa's post showed how easy it is so I got inspired.  

I've looked on line at Nut.Com, Amazon and a local supplier Nut Hut. In the end, I decided to purchase some raw, organic cashews at my local grocers. In fact, I purchased some at two different grocers just to try them out. I just bought a small amount to experiment and made up my first batch today.

My procedure is a little different because I soaked my nuts overnight. I've read several health practitioners say it is necessary to soak nuts because nuts have phytic acid and enzymes inhibitors.  Soaking them reduces the phytic acid and neutralizes enzyme inhibitors. There are other benefits to soaking and you can read more about it on line. Phytates can interfere with your body's absorption of important minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc and lead to bone loss (even whole wheat grains should be soaked for this reason.  You might remember my experiment with soaked grains here.  I haven't made a lot of bread lately due to blood glucose issues but if I make more I will remember to soak the grains).

Here is my procedure:

- 1/2 cup of raw, organic cashews
- cover with water and soak overnight.

In the morning I discarded the water as it looked rather dirty. I put the cashews in the Vitamix blender along with a pinch of Celtic sea salt, a half teaspoon of honey and a cup of water. 

After zapping until smooth it looked like this. I will be using it for coffee and if I find I like it I will be making more to use for cereal in the morning.

The cashew milk/cream. It is surprisingly white though the nuts look more ivory in colour.

Ready for coffee

                               The first cup was great and I found the cashew cream made my coffee less bitter tasting.

I hope to get some outdoor photos to share soon but for now here are two moon shots I snapped on Friday using my phone camera.

I like the first shot where the city street lights bracket the moon.

Unfortunately the phone camera doesn't capture moon detail and it is even hard to get a clear photo at night.

Joining up with Lady Fi and others at Our World Tuesday.
Have a glorious week.


carol l mckenna said...

Wow! I am glad I was not hungry when I read and saw your post ~ Delicious goodies!

Your moon and city shots are delightful!

Wishing you peace in your week ~ ^_^

colleen said...

You are very industrious! I'm always frustrated at my attempts at capturing the moon in photos.

Joanne Noragon said...

I think I'll have to try milk from nuts. Your meals sound wonderful.

Anonymous said...

The cashew cream looks delicious.

Jeanie said...

You have been one busy woman. All the cooking sounds delicious but boy -- those nachos! I't stime for breakfast here but I could be persuaded. And good for you with the cashew cream!

Denise said...

praying for you

Indrani said...

I must try that coffee with cashew milk! :)

Barb said...

You are busy, busy! I have never liked to sew but admire folks that can make their own garments. I have a Blendtec, but I've never tried the nut milks. I like almond or coconut milk in smoothies or if I have cereal. I rarely drink cow's milk. Wishing you a good week.

affectioknit said...

I'm so glad you loved the Cashew's my favorite in coffee and tea...and I use it for anything creamy that Julia makes too...

~Have a lovely day!

Pietro Brosio said...

All so delicious. Very nice moon and city images.
Happy weekend!

John's Island said...

Hi Joyful, What a pleasure to get your very kind comment on my new blog post, January Skies, and that led me over here to Snap That to find this very interesting post! I did a Google search on Americanah and it sure looks like a book I would enjoy. It truly fascinates me to think about people coming to America and how they experience things without all the cultural baggage we natives deal with as "the way things are." I think it reinforces the importance of keeping an open mind. I will be interested to see what you think about the book. Thanks for giving me some suggestions for dinner next week! :-) When you said, "Last night's dinner was stir fried vegetables with thin strips of beef and noodles" I thought ... Oh my ... I'm going to need to go to the store! Yes, it sounded that good! :-) Using your Vitamix to make the cashew cream for coffee sounded excellent as well. Wow, great post ... Thank you for sharing and for your kind comments on my blog too! Wishing you a fine rest of the weekend!

Small Kucing said...

Americanah a new book? Will hunt for it. I enjoyed her other book too.

Earlier this month i have fust finished reading Jojo moyes Me Before You . Very good read

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