Monthly Archives: February 2013

Crafty Post: Plastic Bag Dryer

As you may recall from the tour of my kitchen post, we wash and reuse our plastic bags. That day I took all those pictures was a good day when there weren’t 20 bags sitting around, because once they go over there to dry, I tend to just leave them there. And then they get dirty again, because they fall on the floor. It was really frustrating.

At the First Alternative Co-op in Corvallis one day we had seen a bag dryer that we really liked, but for whatever reason didn’t buy it at the time. I think it was one of those things where Mr Pine Nut said, “I could MAKE something like that,” and of course, it never actually got made.

At long last, however (perhaps my tidy husband finally had it with the avalanche of drying plastic bags?), Mr Pine Nut made me a bag dryer. He went outside and about half an hour later came back in bearing this:


A few branches from the apple tree he’d been pruning a few days prior, a couple blocks of wood, and the faucet handle from the bathtub in the hideous house we tore down on the property: my new bag dryer. It’s so pretty and everything is CONTAINED and my windowsill looks SO MUCH BETTER. Thank you, Mr Pine Nut. ❤


Categories: around the kitchen, crafty crafts | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Curried Pumpkin-Acorn Squash-Carrot-Spinach Soup

Well, things have settled a little bit around here. We’re all on the mend. I’ve got a pulled muscle in my ribcage from coughing that hurts pretty badly, and I get tired easily. GooGoo still has a runny nose of epic gloppiness. But otherwise, things aren’t too bad. I spent my entire day pretty much washing laundry. I had a lot more than usual because my washer had some issues last week and Mr Pine Nut got a part just yesterday to fix the issues.

So, I not only washed clothes, but I’m working on washing all our sheets and blankets too, to rid them of the ickies from the flu. Kind of like how they burned everything in the Velveteen Rabbit, except less destructive. Tomorrow I get to wash diapers and more blankets. Woohoo.

In between loads of laundry, I made soup.


This is one of those soups that was born out of an urgent need to Use Things Up. In this case, we had an acorn squash, a pumpkin, some spinach, and some carrots. I decided to make a pumpkin soup. Curried pumpkin soup sounded good. So I asked The Google and The Google found me this recipe.

Squash is generally considered more autumn-y, but I don’t care particularly. One must use what one has, even in February. This soup will kill any bacteria residing in your digestive tract and clean out your sinusi* as well as taste delicious.

I changed it a bit from the original. This is what I did.

In your soup pan, stir together:
2 c chopped green onions
1 T cocoanut oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 T grated fresh ginger
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes

Saute a few minutes, until oil is melted and onions are tender.

4 c pumpkin puree
4 c water
1 1/2 c mock chicken or veggie broth
2 c diced carrots

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let it cook about 20 minutes. Carrots should be to desired tenderness.


In a separate pan, stir together:
2 T cocoanut oil
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
2-4 c packed spinach (you could also use kale or another leafy green. I used 2 cups and next time would use 4.)

Stir oil and mustard seeds together until seeds begin to pop. Add spinach and continue stirring until wilted. Add to pot of soup right before serving.


Enjoy. I’m looking forward to eating the leftovers from this tomorrow.


*Neither of these statements have been validated by the FDA, but I am pretty sure I’m right.


Categories: gluten-free, lunch, recipes, soup, soy-free, vegan, vegetables | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

I opened the window, and in flew Enza.

Two weeks ago today I was preparing to head north for a weekend with some friends, one of whom was having a baby shower. I felt really tired, lay down for a nap, and at some point after lunch, I became aware that I felt unnaturally cold. I cranked up the heater until it was 71 degrees in the house, and I was still cold. (Under normal circumstances I’d have been melting by this point. I like it cold.)


So, I figured I had a fever, and sure enough I did. It fluctuated between 99.5-102.3 from Wednesday afternoon on until I woke up Monday (the 4th) fever-free. On Friday I actually had to go to the ER for an IV because I was so dehydrated and could not seem to get enough water into me (my nose was so stuffed up that I had to breathe through my mouth and that’s the worst way to dry yourself out).

I don’t think I’ve ever had the flu before. I hope I never have it again. This was vicious and merciless to me. I was useless for days, barely able to get up to just go to the bathroom. Over the weekend my milk supply tanked and I struggled to keep Lou Who fed and hydrated. I got her to drink a couple small bottles of warm water with peppermint one night but the next night we had to get her some formula because I just had nothing for her.

That was really, really hard for me. I hadn’t wanted to start her on solids for maybe another month still and now I’ve had to introduce all kinds of foreign substances into her gut just to keep her fed. Was it necessary? Yes. I couldn’t let her starve. But that doesn’t mean I enjoyed having to do it. Formula’s first ingredient is corn syrup, after all, and without labelling we have no way to know it’s not GMO corn, and the soy probably is GMO too.

Thankfully she only had to have it a few times. She really hated it. There were a couple times she guzzled it down, but my guess is she finally got hungry enough that she took it. Most of what we made ended up down the drain wasted, unfortunately. One of my friends got me an herbal tincture and some fenugreek to take and it seems that they helped, because my supply is now back.

Lesson learned: I need to have a stash of pumped milk on hand. I intend to start putting up a stash as soon as I can find where I stuck my box of bags. (I put them in one of those so-obvious places that I’d surely remember.) I hope I’ll never have to fall back on the stash, but at least I’ll have it. If I don’t use it, I’ll give it away to someone who can. (Check out Human Milk for Human Babies, Oregon.)

Nothing like Instagram to document one's sickness in vintageous detail.

Nothing like Instagram to document one’s sickness in vintageous detail.

Anyway, it’s been a lousy 2 weeks, and I’m just now starting to get back on my feet. Kind people have brought us a lot of food to eat and this has really helped because Mr Pine Nut and then Lou Who both came down with this. Lou Who had the fever and the stuffy nose mostly; she seemed to remain fairly alert. GooGoo finally got the fever this Sunday, so we’ll see how she fares. Mr Pine Nut was out for a couple days but never seemed quite as close to death’s door as I felt. I hope next week I can have something foodie to share with you, but no promises.


Categories: Mrs Pine Nut, sickness | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Literary Post: Flicka, Ricka, Dicka Bake a Cake. THE Cake.

Maj Lindman’s “Flicka, Ricka, Dicka” series (and the corresponding “Snipp, Snapp, Snurr” series) were staples of my childhood reading experience. These girls are industrious, helpful, model little citizens without being preachy about it. They seek to help those less fortunate and the elderly, make sure they right wrongs, and are willing work hard for things they want, and unhesitatingly give up the things they’ve worked for to help someone else.

In Flicka, Ricka, Dicka Bake a Cake, the girls want to give Mother a surprise for her birthday and an aunt helps them to bake her a cake.

flicka ricka dicka cake

I always thought this cake looked so delicious. My mind’s mouth said it should be cherry-flavoured. The book was kind enough to detail what all the girls dumped into the bowl to make the cake:

…butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, cream, and raisins were all mixed together in the big blue bowl.

They frosted it with pink frosting and put small pieces of candied fruit all over the frosting. Here’s the picture of the girls rejoicing over their finished product:

flicka ricka dicka bake a cake

So… where to begin? I decided to use a recipe from my Betty Crocker cookbook as a starting off point, and this is what came of it: a cake that tasted like a Pillsbury funfetti cake. In other words, totally a classic birthday cake flavour that is intensely sweet but quite fantastic.

(One note: I used almond milk. If you want a more creamy milk for the “cream” you could skim the cream off canned cocoanut milk and use that, but I don’t think it’d make that much difference in the end.)

The Cake

Sift together:
2 c all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

In separate bowl, mix with a mixer:
1/2 c vegan margarine
1 1/2 c brown sugar
1 c non-dairy milk
1 tsp cherry flavour (I used the liquid from a jar of maraschino cherries)

In small bowl, whip until frothy:
4 eggs’ worth Ener-G Egg Replacer (1/2 c water+2 T powder)

Combine the margarine and flour mixtures in a bowl. Using a handmixer, beat about 30 seconds at low speed and around 2 minutes on high speed. Fold in egg replacer and thoroughly incorporate. Then fold in 1/2 c golden raisins.

Bake in a bundt pan (I used an angel food cake pan) at 375 for 30-40 minutes and allow to cool. Remove from pan to cake plate when completely cool.

My finished cake

My finished cake

The Frosting

3 c powdered sugar
1/3 c vegan margarine, softened
2 T non-dairy milk
2 T maraschino cherries
A few drops red food colouring

Blend cherries and milk together in a blender until cherries are well pulverised.

In a bowl with a hand mixer, blend margarine and powdered sugar until crumbly. Add milk/cherry blend and beat until smooth and fluffy. You can add more milk if needed. Spread over the cake. Decorate with golden raisins (or, alternately, sliced almonds).

Categories: birthdays, book-inspired food, dessert, holiday, recipes, vegan | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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