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….. Making pretty things
….. Simple living
….. Growing a family

Three children (17, 15, 13)*** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”

 

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in the kitchen

Sourdough – my Sunday photo

If I looked back at my photos from this time last year, or the year before, they would pretty much match today. Gardening, dog walk in the woods, baking bread and sowing seeds. A leisurely Sunday.

I almost forgot how this year it is different.

 

 

How to make pumpkin spice

It’s pumpkin time again.

Runs around, hugging pumpkins.

I’ve been very self controlled up to now. I’ve mostly held off until mid October, but I’m just going to cut loose and enjoy everything pumpkin for a few weeks.  When else can I get away with it? Cooking, baking and making. I do love this time of year.

So. With no further ado, my first pumpkin themed activity to share is homemade pumpkin spice. A quick simple make. I use it in baking and drinks. It warms you up. Makes you smile. Although, I have to admit, that those last two are probably just me.

First up, because apparently this does confuse people, pumpkin spice does not contain pumpkin. Not a splodge. Think of it more as a spice you add to pumpkin, or something else, to bring pumpkins to mind.

Secondly, it is easily mistaken, on this side of the Pond, for Christmas spices. For a good reason. It uses pretty much the same spices. I use a similar mix for my Christmas pudding. The same spices. Maybe not in the same quantities. My top tip is not to mix it with citrus, otherwise it feels more like a Christmas spice than a pumpkin spice.

Thirdly, like Christmas spice, everyone has their favourite recipe. This is my go to recipe.

As you can probably tell, from the photo, I don’t have a preferred place to pick up spices. I do like to buy the unground versions, when I see them. I think they hold the taste and fragrance more.

Also I can cackle away and channel my inner potion maker, as I grind them with my mortar and pestle. For this recipe, the spices need to be ground.

How to make pumpkin spice

Ingredients

2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 – 1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 – 1/4tsp ground cloves

Mix the spices in a jam jar, with the lid on, then decant into a smaller jam jar, to reduce the air in the jar. Store in a cool place, along with your other spices.

This little jar should last me to the end of the month, I hope. I don’t need much each time. I like to make smaller quantities, otherwise it’s left to sit on the shelf until next October. I’d prefer to make fresh. Same applies to buying. As lovely as pumpkin spice is, I can’t see myself using it all year round and the jars you buy are more than I need.

The pumpkin spice can be added to all sorts of different recipes and even crafts. I have a few in mind, but I’ll leave the first one until next time.

Fresh – My word of the week

Life is certainly sent to try us, isn’t it? Yes, one of those weeks. Although it takes with one hand and gives back, in basketfuls, with the other. A couple of blah! moments this week concerning cars and sheds, but also lots of joy-in-the-heart times, that keep the balance. Life is good. On the whole. I do like that caveat. I tell the children that it’s not about the cards you are dealt in life, but how you choose to play them.

So I choose positive. The get-on-and-deal-with-it-all. Weekend plans changed. Opportunities elsewhere.

The rain has definitely brought freshness. The garden is swelling in goodies. First of the garden peas, this week, as well as the cucamelons, from the greenhouse. They are refreshing to eat. A burst of cucumber, with a twist of lime/lemon, when you crunch into one.

I didn’t grow the watermelon, but it does give an idea of the size and likeness to the cucamelons. In Mexico, they call cucamelons, little mouse melons. It’s just how they look.

Also been cooking with courgette. Courgettes are so easy to grow. They give and they give, but I’ve really struggled to find recipes that the whole family will eat. This weekend, I made courgette fritters, which always goes down well. Next day, I tried a courgette and pesto pasta sauce also. Clean plates all round. Always a good test of a successful recipe, and good to have another option. My mission to find the collection of best courgette dishes continues. I feel encouraged.

It might have helped that I made the pasta from scratch too, to go with the sauce. I love making pasta, but it is time consuming. I find the trick, to good pasta, is to run the pasta through the machine on the lowest setting a few times. Folding and turning each time, until it’s smooth. Don’t rush it. Anyway, the meal went down well.

(good job as I have more courgettes lined up and ready to eat)

Finished Youngest’s bedroom, this week, and he’s moved everything back in. Fresh and light. It’s looking more like his room now, than it does in the photo above. He’s kept the floor uncluttered, by storing everything away. I still have soft furnishings to do, which means I have sewing time to look forward to.

Middle teen has finished making her quilt. She started it a few years ago. I’ll write more about it another time, because it certainly deserves it. (edited: quilt write up is here) Folded up in the photo, so it gives no indication of the size. It is a generous lap quilt.

Also had a visit from grandparents. Rain held off, so I could give them the garden tour.

Another week gone of the holidays. Over half way now, which always seems strange when the US and Scotland have already gone back. Planning to make the most of the time left. It goes too fast.

Joining in with Anne’s Word of the week linky. I’m going with the word “fresh”.

Word of the Week linky

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