January 29, 2011

DIY Food Storage

OK, how much do you LOVE these???? I took this idea out of the eco-craft book I loaned from the library. Easy Peasy and fun to make. 

Gather any old glass jars you have. I get a lot of mine from spaghetti sauce, coconut oil or jams. Let them soak in hot soapy water and scrub the labels off. A little goo gone works well on any glue residue left on your jars. Dry thoroughly...

Use masking tape to square of a front section of your jar. Using chalkboard paint give this section a few good coats. Make sure to allow to dry before peeling away the tape. I will know I have matured fully when I actually wait until paint is dry....

You are also going to give a few coats of paint to those lids. Use any colour of paint you want....I just happened to have some brown paint in the garage...

 Easy as that you have a very green food storage jar with a re-writable label!!!
You can also you these to drink smoothies out of and you could write the type of smoothie on the front....now how uber trendy would that be!!

Sorry about all the !!!, but I REALLY like these!!!

January 28, 2011

Thors New Hat!

Yay! Last night I put the finishing touches on Thor's new "House Hat". I made this hat super warm and cozy by using smaller needles than I normally use and alternating between rows of purls and knits. This hat is big enough so that Thor can pull it down to completely cover his eyes and ears! 

For those interested....

US size 8 (5.0mm) Circular needles - I am a big fan of bamboo...less dropped stitches for me)
Cascade Medium weight yarn
4 US size 8 Double Pointed Needled

Cast on 72.
Row 1: K1, P1, K1, P1...
Row 2: P1, K1, P1, K1...
Repeat above 2 rows for 4 more rows. This will give you a seed stitch border. 
For the body of the hat just alternate between knitting a row and purling a row. I went up about 5 inches (see picture) before I started to decrease and then I did a very gradual decrease. 

Knit 10, K2tog, Knit 10, k2tog....through end of row
Purl entire row
knit entire row
P 9, p2tog, P9, p2tog...through end of row...etc
Just keep going, just keep going.... moving to dpn's when needed

I went in this fashion  until I had four stitches left. Cut the yarn, thread through your stitches, eave in any lose ends....and wah lah!
A new FAVOURITE hat!

Maybe, YOU will be smiling this big!!!

If you live in the Spokane area and want to learn the basics of knitting let me know. Id me happy to teach you in exchange for a coffee! :)

January 27, 2011

Snowed In Blog Hop!

Welcome to Samantha's World!

I am participating in "Snowed in Blog Hop" all weekend to take some time to get to know other global bloggers, find new blog land friends and even a chance to win give-aways! I am a newby blogger so very happy that you have taken the time to stop by!

"Blizzard  Bloghop 2010 hosted by Household 6 Diva

This blog is all about my little corner of the world. If I ruled the world there would be lots of time spent showing friends and strangers love, lots of yummy cooking (healthy vegetarian of course), plenty of coffee and wine to drink, lots of yarn for knitting and other crafts, working out really hard and lots of downtime in front of a fire chatting with a few good friends.

I was born and raised in Bristol, England and have friends and family all over the U.S and world! I am primarily using this blog as a way to share with them my day-to-day life.

I am currently live in Spokane, WA with my boyfriend of over 4 years Thor. He does a great job of putting up with my constant need to be cooking or creating something!

I know a lot of the blog hoppers out there are connected to the military service. My little brother recently joined the army and is just finishing up his medic training. I am SO proud of him....but it is so strange to see the little twerp with a gun!! I am so thankful for our special relationship and the brother/sister bond that can never be taken from us.

Feel free to take a look around and make yourself at home in my world. If you see anything I could improve as a new blogger please do not hesitate to let me know!

This event is being hosted by Miss Ann Marie over at Household 6 Diva.
If you are a blogger and have not linked up yet, why not?!?!

January 26, 2011

Bike MS Jersey

Just a quick note to thank all my 2010 Bike MS 150 sponsors. Last September I rode my bike 150 miles through sun and HEAVY rain to help find a cure for MS. Thanks to generous support from friends and family like you I raised over $600. Last night I came home after a long day of work to find that my long awaited MS bike jersey had arrived...YAY! Just wanted to show off my first ever bike jersey and thank you all again your love and support. Is it spring yet??

Please excuse the tired/hungry look...

Already looking forward to bike MS 150 2011!

Also, a huge thanks to The Bike Hub for their support and encouragement on rides like this. If you are in the Spokane area and looking for a great community of riders or just a rad place to shop for bikes and service be sure to check them out!

January 24, 2011

Lovin' Sundays!

First, I leaned how to create links in my blog posts so beware of all the yellow!!! :)

What a wonderful weekend I had! Topped off by a terrific Sunday. First, the man and I spent WAY too much time lounging in PJ's catching up on Jersey Shore....a little guilty indulgence for us...Did a little housework and cooking and went to a candlelight flow yoga class at Lila Yoga. On my way home I stopped by Goodwill and picked up some necklaces to later take apart and create earrings!

I'm thinking of taking these four pairs to this awesome little 2nd hand and vintage boutique in Spokane Fringe and Fray to see if they want to sell them for me....kinda scary! I love them but who knows if they will think they are lovable?!?

Also, I checked my e-mail to see that my little 12 year old brother just created a blog to share his cooking recipes...hmm I wonder where he came up with that idea??? :) But go check it out and leave him some blogging encouragement, Blayne's Recipes, I guarantee that you will smile when you see his recipe!

Thor and I ended the perfect day with some snuggling and wedding talk...I know I know...hes getting closer people!!!! Still not holding my breath though...

January 23, 2011

Best Boyfriend Ever!

Just wanted to show off the beautiful daffodils Thor brought home to me!!!

He doesn't get me flowers too often so I need to recognize and reward when he does. I'm trying to create a behavior pattern....

A little sunshine in my kitchen...they make me smile every time I look at them....Thank you Thor!!!

Clean the Cupboards Minestrone

Decided to switch things up and show you the finished product first.....

Last night I got to hang out with one of my favourite Italian families! Well one of my favourite families that happen to be Italian really.....they served up great food and great company... bliss!
You know I think the Italians got a lot of things right...wine, espresso, garlic, pasta, family, cannoli's.....all high on my list I can tell you that! So I thought this Sunday I would make Minestrone soup. One of my favourite things about soup and using the crock pot is its pretty hard to do anything wrong...I am going to share with you what I used to make this soup but really be flexible with whatever you want to use out of your fridge and cupboards!


8 Cups Veggie Broth
1 can diced toms
1 can kidney beans
3 handfuls (1 cup?) Blackeye peas
Huge Handful baby carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1/2 yam, diced
1/4 onion, diced
1 big handful fresh baby spinach
2 handfuls of whole grain pasta (I used like 4 and it was too much!)
1/2 TBS Italian seasoning
Black pepper to taste

**I would also recommend a clove or two of garlic but the bf has been complaining about my liberal use of onion and garlic lately so I tried to tone it down... :)

Throw everything except the pasta into the magical wonderful crock pot and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or low for 7-8 hours. Add pasta and cook on high for about 20 minutes. 

This is my mixture when I first put it all in the crock pot...

Bon Appetite!

Lots a veggies, fiber, protein, vit c, vit K and iron and vegan friendly!

Oh and my fav part.....leftovers!!
*If you freeze the pasta will expand so just be ready with more veggie broth when you defrost*

100 Chips Banana Bread

Yesterday Thor and I had the honour of attending a 100th birthday party. The party was for a client of Thor's, Roy Abel, born in 1911....just think about that...2 world wars, depression, civil rights, he was basically around for everything in the 20th century and heard first hand stories about the 19th from his father and grandfather...... You will probably have a hard time believing me when I tell you that this centurion was working the room like a champ at his 100th birthday. Walking around, greeting everyone by name, asking about their family members by name...did I mention that he still drives!

Well, you are probably wondering how all this relates to a banana bread recipe. Thor and I were very excited to receive the invite to Roy's birthday but he did state on there that he did not want any gifts. Apparently he received a lot of books at his 99th and wanted a break from that! But, ever the socially traditional English woman that I am, I could not show up empty handed!! So I decided to bake something...and then I decided to be cheesy and correlate it to his 100th birthday and thus 100 Chips Banana Bread. 

SO, now you are thinking that I am going to get on with the recipe but HA! Well actually I'm guessing most readers did not even read this and are already at the recipe, which is OK. But I have to tell you about a little dilemma I face when cooking and baking for others. If I am to make any recipe for myself I like to play and make it ridiculously healthy. I really enjoy these items but I know that when someone is not expecting it the item with just taste "different" to them. However, I feel as though I am doing a disservice to the world when I give dishes away with butter and sugar and refined and processed ingredients....I cant do it..... 
I tried to find a happy medium with this banana bread, and while I didn't get to taste it, it smelled WONDERFUL!

2 1/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs (I had some cute little fresh eggs so I used three)
1/3 cup unsweetened Apple Sauce
1 TBS vanilla extract
4 Ripe Bananas, mashed
100 chocolate chips (and yes I counted)

1. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease and flour a 9x5 loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl stir together dry ingredients. Add the wet and mix well. At this point you could stir in some raisins or nuts if you so desire....  Pour batter into loaf pan. Here I sprinkled my 100 chips on top and then just poked them around so all the chocolate is in the top inch of the banana bread.

3. Bake in oven for 45- 60 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Mine just took the 45.

Wowzers!!!! Allow to cool before attempting to remove from the pan.

Packaged and ready to go! A sweet treat that I feel good about giving and he can feel good about eating!

If you make this please post a comment letting me know what you think!

January 22, 2011

Chic in Minutes!

OK, here is a quickie but a goodie. Gather one or two twigs or small fallen branches from the great outdoors. Place in a bowl or vase and pour sand in to support (could also use very small stones). And then....Your done! I know its really too easy.....you could always spray paint the twigs to match the decor of your house if you wanted to go above and beyond...
This looks great as a stand alone item or to hang jewelry from as I have done......

Cheap, quick and practical....what not to love?? (get your minds out of the gutter and into the garden!)

Have fun!

January 20, 2011

Daily musings...

I want this book......hmmm...

So I have noticed that my blog is definitely taking more of a foodie spin than anticipated (I am actually holding myself back from posting more recipes). This is OK with me, but I would like to balance all the food with some more general life and craft posts....

I am currently partaking in a two week yoga cleanse (AKA Sam does as many yoga classes in two weeks as she can stand) and on Saturday I have the honour of not only attending a 100th birthday party but also a "barrel burn" gathering....so exciting and I'm sure it will provide me with lots of blogging inspiration!!
 Run-on sentence alert!!! Although, if you care at all about grammar and spelling you are reading the wrong blog....

But man I want that book.......

UPDATE: Just placed the book on hold at the library! How cool am I?!?

January 18, 2011

Sammy's Squash Pizza

I must say I am feeling pretty proud of myself right now. As I was driving to yoga this evening I was wondering what I could do for dinner with the yellow squash and zucchini I had bought on sale this weekend. And then it came to me....why not put them on that pizza crust you have in the cupboard?!?! Pretty outrageous stuff I know!!

After working up quite an appetite at yoga it was time to go home and play....here's what I did:

1/2 yellow squash, sliced
1/2 zucchini, sliced
1/8 sweet onion, diced
2 green onions, diced
1 tomato, sliced
1 cup spinach
1/4 cup parm cheeseor fav. vegan cheese
Sprinkling Dried basil
1 whole wheat pizza crust
pizza sauce (Ill often use jarred pasta sauce)
crushed red pepper (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 375 or heat that pizza crust packaged suggests. Tenderized the squash, zucchini and onions in a frying pan.

Next I gathered all my veggies to start assembling my pizza. OK I am feeling ridiculous writing instructions for this.....

I layered spinach, squash, zucchini, all onions, toms, parm, then basil...... I'm sure it doesn't really matter.....

Pop in the oven for 8-10 mins

It looks good......

And it tastes great!

I have to say this was SUPER yummy. It tasted so fresh and vibrant. I have to admit I did not stop at these two slices....
Unfortunately, Thor went to bed early with a headache. :( I know that he would have loved this so I saved some for his lunch tomorrow.

January 16, 2011

African Peanut Soup

This recipe has 3 qualities that I love...1) Crock pot  2) Peanut Butter 3) Inexpensive. Oh and did I mention super yummy and will make more than enough for lunch all week long?? It is also vegan, although I have heard that adding diced chicken is really good ( I added tofu). So, if you are anything like me, you are sold at this point so let me share with you how to make this recipe...

1 yellow onion, diced (I only used 1/2)
2 green onions, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28oz can crushed toms w/ liquid
8 cups veg broth
1/4 t black pepper
1/4-1/2 t chili powder
1/2 cup uncooked whole grain rice
Tofu/ Chicken (optional, I used about 8 oz tofu cubed)
1 cup peanut butter

Wash and cut all Veggies and bung them into your crock pot, along with toms, rice and spices. Add Veg broth. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for about 4 hours. My cooking mixture looked like the picture below....

Before serving stir in peanut butter and cook on high for 20-30 mins. If you want to make this look fancy put a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt on top with a sprinkle of Tabasco sauce.


January 14, 2011

Cute Fridge Magnets

So I am absolutely baffled as to why we still get sent multiple yellow pages every year. It seems like such a waste of paper and a really outdated way to look up a dentist. The only redeeming quality is the couple of advertisement magnets that come with them. I found an idea on a wonderfully creative friends blog about how to give this magnets a new look. For great DIY ideas check out her blog at www.akateday.blogspot.com

This is really so very easy! Gather all those magnets and apply a thin layer of magical Mod Podge using a paint brush. Apply your favourite paper (cut a little large that the magnet)....you can get as creative here as your little heart desires! I just used some regular scrap booking paper and paper from a pretty envelope, but you could use tissue paper, ribbon or post cards (just make sure its not heavier than your magnet will support)!

Once the paper is applied to all the magnets, trim away the extra paper from around the magnets. Apply a layer of mod podge to the top of your paper and allow to dry. Once they are just about dry, take the a fore mentioned phone book and set them on the magnets for about 1/2 hour. This is just to make SURE that paper is firmly in place and the edges won't start to roll up.

Now my fav. part....time to put them on your fridge and admire your work.....

This is a fun and easy craft that does not take very long and is really practical! Great one for kids to do too!

Have fun!!!

January 12, 2011

Winter Beauty

There is no doubt in my mind. I am a summer girl. I love everything summer....the heat, the sun, the clothes, the running, the cycling, the water...EVERYTHING. So I suppose I should not be surprised that winter leaves me a little lethargic, if not down right blue! I do not like being cold every time I get into my car, I don't like having to run on the treadmill all the time, I hate that its getting dark at 4pm, and I am not a big fan of wearing "layers". A couple of winters ago I found something that made me able to get through those long months of January and February.....cross-country skiing!

Granted, I do not go nearly as often as I would like to, but even going up to Mt. Spokane a few times a year to breath fresh air and enjoying nature, is enough to bring me happiness and peace in winter. I wanted to share some of the beautiful pictures of my latest adventure at Mt. Spokane

Now, who can not love winter with pictures like that?!? Just another reminder that there is so much beauty in this world...but sometimes you have to go out and find it!

Vegan (mostly raw) Nori Rolls

For my first food blog I wanted to post a new favourite stand-by. I first made these Nori rolls a few months ago but they quickly became a regular. Thor LOVES them! Custom build these based on what needs to be used up in your fridge. To make these raw I use carrots instead of rice. Just pulse in a blender till the carrots are finely diced. I did add some whole wheat cous cous to my carrot mixture because I had some that needed to go soon!

Nori sushi sheet (should be sold in the Asian section at most supermarkets)
Whole Grain Rice and/or
Grated Carrots
*mix either with a little rice vinegar and agave or honey to make sticky and sweet!)
Veggies!! Pick any combo you like!
Avocado (a Thor and Sam Fav!)
Bell Peppers
Dulce (a red seaweed- super nutritious for vegans!)

I will also sometimes add some cheese. In this roll I used a vegan Mozz cheese

When you lay your ingredients on the Nori it should look a little like the picture below...

Roll the nori tightly with wet fingers.You can use a bamboo mat if you have one but its not the end of the world if you don't. Now rolling is a bit of an art....you want to roll as tightly as possibly....without tearing the nori. When I do tear the nori, I'm too strong for my own good sometimes, I just throw it all into a bowl with the nori all ripped up and make it a salad. BUT, assuming you roll successfully, seal the nori edge with some water and use a sharp serrated wet knife to cut you roll in half, then half again.

Wa lah! Display your beautiful rolls on a plate with a little soy sauce for dipping (I like to mix in wasabi powder for a kick) and some sliced avocado. For extra protein goodness I will also serve with some lightly steamed edamame beans. I like to sprinkle crushed red pepper on mine...
ENJOY! You little sushi chef you!

Hello World!

Welcome to the new blog of Samantha!!

Admittedly I am hoping there is a sharp learning curve to the blogging process because this all a bit new and over-whelming at the current time! So, you may ask me...."Samantha, why are you creating a blog?" As with most things there is more than one answer but I am primarily keeping this blog as a way to interact and share my life with distant friends and family members. Particularly those who shy away from other social media outlets. Secondarily, I have many passions in life including fitness, cooking, and crafting and this is a great venue for me to share what I am up to.

I hope this is a exciting adventure for everyone involved as I give you a peak into Samantha'a World!!