It’s been a year . . . pumpkins . . . creations . . . and a GIVEAWAY . . .

 Oh my gosh, it has been a year exactly!!! October 30th 2010 was my first post . . . 
And here we are, full circle round the sun and many more posts to go . . . This has been fun thus far. I love having somewhere to put bits of my days, which after turning into a post feel like a completed, tied in project. I love having the faraway people I have gotten to know, even if it is only a glimpse into their worlds. I love writing often, and not just in scribbles on random bits of paper, tucked in my pocket or my bag, rarely to resurface. I take residence in this Wasabi Honey Bee domain, and I like it. 
It is a space to keep track of the things I do, and to share them with people who have the same continues desire to make make make things . . .
I love when I receive comments, it is so satisfying and reassuring . . . 
And I love taking pictures . . . Sometimes so many to just get that one perfect shot . . . 
Other times hundreds not to get even one satisfactory square of moment captured . . . 
I thank you to all the readers and friends who come by this space,
 and I would like to offer a giveaway.  
A completely autumn package including
              Earrings, made by my dear dear friend . . . I will be telling you more about her soon.
              Decorative puppet, as you see above.
              Cookbook, written by my mother and illustrated by me. . . 

                                   with so many wonderful holiday recipes 

             Warm winter hat, you saw the beginnings of in a recent post

To enter please leave a comment on this post. If you link about this giveaway I will enter you twice, and if you feel encouraged to follow this blog, I will even add you again. 

Last chance to enter will be November 5th 
I will be posting the winner here and on the most current post on November 6th 2011 

The winner of the Autumn Package is:

For now, thank you and best wishes . . . 
                                                            ~ Marica    

Down to the river bottom and back . . .

Today we met up with some dear, dear friends to make the short hike to the river bottom. It had been a ridiculously long time since we had seen them and everybody had grown. 
 The little boys ran practically nonstop until we got there . . . 
 We passed the remnants of an old vineyard . . .
 And after this picture, I officially name this giant rock Dragon Toe . . . 
Or maybe it is already called that . . . 
 The kids were so happy . . . 
And I caught this picture of one of my daughter’s favorite dresses. This same dress that has been worn year after year. . . It used to be far below her knees  . . . 
 And it has now been proven that pants make very good hats . . .
 Really truly . . . 
There was a bit of time to crochet . . . 
But all too soon we had to pack up to go home . . . 
 Leaving in the late afternoon sun . . . 
A perfect October walk.
                                               ~ Marica

Indulgence of simmering heaven . . . A recipe for dinner . . .

I wish I could post smells . . . The smell of cayenne peppers, fresh chopped and sauteing in olive oil is something that whoever finally finds claim to its essence will be wealthy beyond measure. But hopefully that will never in actuality happen. I do however encourage everyone and anyone to a mid-autumn indulgence in late summer peppers, cooked in olive oil over low heat until their peek has been reached. Then, only then, poured over pasta Alfredo.
 The delicate intensity of a fresh sprig of thyme gently added to that white sauce, making perfection an understatement . . . Please please please don’t forget to smell while these miracles of the garden cook. 
This is a pretty basic white sauce:
Saute over medium heat:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion yellow onion minced
2 carrots chopped finely
Once carrots are tender but definitely not soft, add,
mixing constantly until smooth and thickened:
1-2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup corn
1 cup peas
1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon unbleached white flour dissolved in
1 + 1/2 cups parmesan grated
Salt, black pepper and cayenne to taste
Place a bed of washed, chopped chard on each plate, then add a mound of cooked noodles.
I used lasagna noodles torn into manageable pieces. Pour the sauce over and garnish with black
salt cured olives and the pepper oil from above. And if you’re like me and can’t decide if you’re addicted to spicy or there is just something in it you need, add pepper flakes too . . .

                                                                           Please enjoy ~ Marica

Cloudy day stove top meatloaf . . .

Well it wasn’t actually a cloudy day. In fact it was a relatively warm evening. 
But, the name fit so perfectly, and I kept thinking how I could be eating this in a pub in some 
far off cold part of the world . . . 
I accompanied my sandwich with one of my most favorite of beers ever . . . 
Anderson Valley IPA. The beer is such a compliment, I suggest waiting to make these
 sandwiches until you’re in the mood to open a beer and set it aside your plate, making
 this meal a complete experience . . .
Cloudy Day Stove Top Meat Loaf
Begin by sauteing until pretty tender:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 new potatoes chopped pretty finely
2 carrots chopped very finely
1/2 red onion minced
1/2 red onion chopped into big pieces
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more if you tend to like salt 
dash black pepper
Once potatoes are fully cooked and carrots are acceptable, add:
1 lb ground beef, pressed evenly across the pan. 
Cover and simmer until desired doneness. 
Serve on sandwich bun with plenty of mustard and mayonnaise
P.S. I actually skipped mayonnaise for myself, I am not a big fan, but others
seem to like it. 
                                                 ~ Marica

Well he is a puppy . . .

When you’re a child, you think you might adopt every dog in the world when you’re 
all grown up. Maybe you’ll have a farm and rescue every puppy and sad old dog who has 
no home. But then you grow up. When you’re a grown up, and your children look up at you with eyes as big a saucers, hopping hopping you might say yes they can take that sweet little ball of fuzziness home . . . You hear the word “No” slipping through your lips and you remember what it felt like, and you tell them you remember, but they don’t really think you do. Well, that has happened many a time. But there are other times when there is that little ball of fuzz you, or shall I say I, can’t live with out . . . And your grown up head is telling you “Say no, say no,” But the words uttered from your lips this time are “Yes, we would love him.” And the funniest part about this time . . . And the last time . . . and the time before that is . . . The kids weren’t even the ones to ask. This time all on my own I said yes, without any children tugging, or voicing chiming, or eyes pleading. Nope, it was all me. All by myself wanting so hard to keep him that it didn’t matter if we already had two dogs, and it didn’t matter if he would need to be potty trained. This perfect sweet bundle, oh what a complete baby bundle, to cuddle and snuggle and squeeze. 
                           ~ Marica

Yesterday’s simple foods . . .

Yesterday I made a couple of very simple thing and somehow they were entirely satisfying: 
Lunch of sushi made with only chard, a squeeze of lemon and lemon rind
I made the rice with:
 2 cups sushi rice rinsed well 
4 cups water
A little salt 
Bring to a simmer then cook about 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. 
Once it was cooked I added a dash of rice vinegar and a bit of agave
 And as an afternoon dessert, I made Frozen banana ice cream . . . The simplest yummiest thing. It is something a lot of raw foodists will make as a cold treat. Simply freeze bananas, then push them through a juicer. 
 It is so cold, and creamy and smooth . . . 
                             ~ Marica

Wabi-Sabi through my camera’s lens . . .

In a past post I brought up Wabi-Sabi . . . Wabi-sabi is a Japanese word and as wikipedia describes: “Wabi-sabi (?) represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.[1] It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (三法印 sanbōin?), specifically impermanence (無常 mujō?)
I have begun to realize that as I look through my camera’s lens I am seeing wabi-sabi. It is the stopping moment, the appreciation of the everyday, the second of seeing without thinking forward. Yesterday I took picture after picture, and as always, felt immensely grateful I don’t have to now develop a million photographs to catch that one picture that feels settling to my eyes. Wabi-sabi through the lens as follows . . .
 The quaintness of pinto beans and dominoes . . . 
 Small hands . . .
 Cloth mats. . . 
 Morning light . . .
 A five-year-old’s toes . . . 
The awe that same five-year-old feels when a giant moth lands squarely on her arm . . .
The moth itself . . . 
 The bent sunflower filled with seeds  . . .
 The careful picking . . . 
 Seed after seed . . . 
 Together . . . 
New seeds ready to eat, something I had never done before . . .
 So perfectly packed it makes you have to wonder . . .
                                                           ~ Marica

Decadence in the form of chocolate . . .

Sometimes I like when I run out of the usual ingredients and I end up putting something together that would have otherwise never been made. Today was such an afternoon. The kids were scrambling to have something sweet, “Anything mommy . . . “ But alas, we had no ready made sweet things in the house. After a while of intermittent requesting . . . half begging . . . irritating whining . . . patient waiting . . . I was finished cleaning and actually had an idea. Ooo . . . it was a good idea, and it was relatively simple, and I thought it would take care of everybody’s sweet cravings. The following is the recipe. I recommend it and am sure I will make it again. My eleven year old requested I write it down so he can have it as his birthday cake next summer. We’ll see about that . . .
 For now though, best mid-October wishes . . . 

Chocolate Decadence
Mix thoroughly:
8 oz cream cheese room temperature
1 + 1/2 tablespoons butter melted
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 – 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Move 1 tablespoon of mixture to a new bowl for the “crust”, 
then add and mix 2 tablespoons almond meal.
Roll “crust” batter onto wax paper thickly strewn with almond meal.
Roll by covering the top in wax paper as well and rolling until the crust is about a 5” x 6” rectangle.
Whip 3/4  of the rest of the batter until light and smooth, 
then spread evenly over the crust.
With the last bit, add:
3/4 teaspoon finely ground coffee

Spread this last bit evenly over the top.
Shave unsweetened chocolate over the top.

Chill a bit before serving.
To serve, cut into 1” squares. 
It helps to wet the knife between cuts to make it come out more clean.

                                                                                    Cheers  ~ Marica

A gift for that tiny baby . . .

Finally finished, and given to my brother for his sweet new baby . . . 
 I used this pattern: Down Under Diaper Cover Pattern. It is so simple and was 
my favorite cover for my youngest son . . . more about that in this post.
As well as two hats . . . of extremely different sorts . . .
And one thick blanket to lay on the floor because babies need to be able to roll around a bit . . . 
Packaged up an passed on . . . 
Actually one of the things I miss most about having babies . . . Aside from snuggling them all day, and holding them all night, and carrying them month in and month out, and smelling their fuzzy heads, and looking at their tiny toes, and trying to remember them so I won’t forget once they get so big . . .  is making things for them. 

                         ~ Marica

October, and thinking of flowers . . .

I have decided to move my tea garden. As much time as I have spent building and planting it, every time I look at it now, I feel like it is sitting in the wrong place. 
When I first started to work on our yard, I remember feeling like I needed to know exactly what our plan was. It all seemed so permanent. After a bit I realized it may take a few start and backtracks to restart and be more clear about what we are doing. 
 Shrubs can be moved . . . so can stepping stones . . . And annual flowers put in their time with such vengeance . . . 
only to be done, on their own accord, before too long. 
I planted Hollyhock and sweet peas along a good portion of our back fence . . . I will be scattering poppy seeds out front where there is still so much vision needed . . .
We are discussing the home spot of one of my most favorite types of trees EVER . . . The Manzanita. My friend gave me this one for my birthday . . .
If I do everything right, someday, this will be a fifteen to twenty foot tall beauty . . .
With elongated curling branches, reaching for the sun, and hosting small snowy like
tear drop blossoms, that as a kid, we called snow. 

                                                                           ~ Marica