Still obsessed with green stitching

As an artist, I really struggle with working in a series. Too many ideas bursting out, begging to be made. Lately I’ve pushed myself to focus on more limited themes, so I can explore them in more depth. A recurrent one at the moment, is green botanical imagery. Heavily textured, lots of deep greens, beautiful sparkly glass, and natural stones. Some of these are available in my Etsy store.

IMG_3270IMG_3250IMG_3218cropped-IMG_2724-1-2.jpg

A year ago

Tomorrow is my daughters birthday. I don’t know if all mothers do this, but when one of my children has a birthday coming up, I can’t help but think of how I was feeling when their birth was imminent. In my daughters case, I remember pacing all around the living room, for hours. I was pretty certain labour was beginning, but nervous as it was too soon, and my c section wasn’t booked for another 3 weeks.

This year feels a bit different. Last year, I nearly lost my little girl on her birthday. We were on a weekend away. We’d packed a special lunch for her, and gone to a cafe for a special treat, so she could have a glass of lemonade. As I always do, I checked her seat, wiped the table, and made sure the area was free of allergens. She sat down, and took a sip of her lemonade. She started to cough. We thought she’d just drank too much at first, but then the coughing didn’t stop. After about a minute, I turned to my husband and said “I think she’s having a reaction, we need to get her outside”. He stayed with our baby and older son, and I carried her out, sat on the ground and laid her on my lap. I got the epipen out, ready, but was second guessing myself. Surely it couldn’t be anaphylaxis? I tried to get her to talk, so I could hear if her voice was croaky, but she wouldn’t. So I asked her to sing her favourite song. She struggled, gasping for air as she tried to get the words out. So I took the safety lid off the pen, and called an ambulance. As I was being connected, she lay limp in my arms, and I used the epipen.

After I called the ambulance, I called my sister to come and help my husband with the other children, and our car, while I went with my daughter to the hospital. The paramedics were nice. They gave her oxygen and a funny little knitted doll to cuddle. She recovered after about an hour, but we stayed for a few more hours, in case there was a secondary reaction.

It’s still surreal to think about it. Of course we’ve had so many chats with her doctors and nurses over the years, but you never really know how it’ll be until it actually happens. It was only a few minutes, but time slowed down as I held her that day.

Afterwards, we went home to the holiday house, and my sister had decorated her birthday cake. We sang happy birthday, and ate chocolate cake. Such a simple thing, but how different it felt, after a day like that.

 

Gooey Salted Caramel and Coconut Slice

How good is caramel? I love it, and I’m not letting the lack of dairy in our household hold us back! This yummy slice keeps very well in the fridge, and is great for a school lunch box treat (or a hooray! it’s morning tea time treat). I won’t pretend it’s super healthy, but it is super yum!

Ingredients

1/2 cup of dairy free margarine
1 cup of loosely packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup of gluten free self raising flour
1/2 cup gluten free plain flour
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup of soy milk

Salted caramel topping

270ml light coconut milk
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
Pinch of salt

Cream dairy free margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and mix well.
Fold in sifted flour alternately with milk. Stir in desiccated coconut.

Bake at 180 degrees for 35 minutes (or until cooked).

While slice is cooking, bring coconut milk and brown sugar to the boil, and then simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Add pinch of salt (to taste).

Allow slice to cool. Pour over caramel topping to serve

 

It’s not easy being green… Making all the green things, plus Zucchini Brownies!

We’ve had some big changes this year. First my oldest changed schools. A couple of weeks later, after lots of planning and meetings with her medical team, my middle child was able to join him and started her first year of school. So exciting, and plenty scary, but she is so happy about it.

So now, for the first time in a few years (!) I suddenly have a couple of spare hours during the day when the baby is asleep. As any parent knows, there is no time to waste once the baby is sleeping. It’s off to the studio, cup of tea in hand, and straight to work!

At the moment, I am not sure what direction my work will take. There will definitely be some colouring pages. But mainly, I just need to make all the things, and see what comes out of it. I’m focusing on colour, foliage and florals.

For the past two weeks, it’s been all about leafy greens. I can NEVER work on just one piece, so here’s a snap shot of what I’m making…

Since I’m all about green at the moment, I thought I’d throw in a recipe for our latest family favourite – Zucchini Brownies! I got this idea from a friend (thank you Mel), who swore the zucchini was undetectable, and she was right! I usually replace half the sugar with 1/2 a cup of granulated stevia, or you can just stick to regular sugar.

Zucchini Brownies

2 cups of gluten free self raising flour

1 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of cocoa

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

2 cups of finely grated zucchini

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

1 tablespoon of soy milk

1/2 tsp of salt

Instructions

  1. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a large bowl
  2. Pour in oil, eggs, and vanilla, and mix until just combined.
  3. Add grated zucchini and stir through
  4. Pour mixture into greased baking tray, and bake at 170 degrees for about 30 minutes.

 

Vegan rice, quinoa and chia balls (gluten free)

 

Gluten, dairy, nut and egg free. Vegan

About 6 months ago, my 8 year old son made the choice to become a vegetarian. In a household that is gluten, dairy, nut and legume free, this presented a few challenges! Together, he and I have worked on a few new recipes that would suit our family, and this one has become a firm favourite!

These rice, chia and quinoa balls are extremely versatile. We’ve made little ones to serve with dipping sauce as canapés, large ones squashed flat to replace burger patties, medium ones to replace meatballs in a rich tomato sauce, or we just eat them with a side salad for dinner. You could also add other vegetables to the mix, like cooked peas or soy beans if they are suitable for your family.

We make a large batch, and the freeze the leftovers. This recipe is enough for about 20 balls.

Ingredients

3 cups of cooked brown rice
1 cup of cooked quinoa
2 carrots
2 zucchinis
2 tsp of salt (it sounds like a lot, but most of this is squeezed away)
3 tablespoons of chia seeds
9 tablespoons of water
1/2 – 1 cup of rice crumbs or other suitable breadcrumb
1 tsp of vegetable based stock powder if desired
Canola or olive oil to shallow fry

Instructions

  1. Finely grate carrots and zucchinis
  2. Sprinkle salt on the grated vegetables, and mix through well with your hands. Allow to sit for 10 minutes
  3. While waiting, combine the chia seeds with the water, and allow to soak.
  4. Squeeze as much of water out of the grated vegetables as possible.
  5. Combine rice, quinoa, chia seeds, vegetables (and stock powder if you choose) in a large bowl. Knead together with your hands until well mixed.
  6. Gradually add bread crumbs, while continuing to mix. You may need a little more bread crumbs, depending on how much water you were able to squeeze out of the vegetables. If you want to add peas or soy beans, add them at this point so they don’t get squashed. Add enough bread crumbs, that you can easily roll the mixture into balls. It will still be a bit sticky.
  7. Roll into roughly tablespoon sized balls.
  8. On medium heat, shallow fry until golden on both sides.

Enjoy!