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  • september bits

    September second marked one month in Tromsø for me. It also seems to be a seasonal milestone: in the past week there's been a noticeable change in the weather, almost like someone's flipped a switch. The air outside feels fresh and brisk. A few of the eager birches are starting to turn golden yellow, and the colors on the mountainsides have (just barely) started shifting from green to bronze. I turned on the heat in my apartment for the first time this week. As someone who grew up in North Carolina, where it always felt like it took aaages for fall to come around (especially since people started talking about it in August), I have to admit I'm enjoying the early shift. I'm already looking forward to snow appearing on the mountains nearby, and I'm very curious to see when the first snow in the city will be this year. We shall see!

    In an attempt to bottle up some of the remaining arctic summer, I made red currant jelly this week. I got the idea from Unlikely Pairing and then loosely followed the instructions on this blog. Highly recommended. Otherwise I've still been working on settling into the new apartment (we finally got some of the art up on the walls) and focusing on school. I've been scoping out study spots and I'm pretty sure I've found my favorite on campus.

    For those who are curious about what it is I'm doing in school, I wanted to point you toward this bit on BBC Radio 4 (streamable online through the end of the month). It's an episode of Fry's English Delight - and I love Stephen Fry - called English Plus One, all about bilingualism. The area I'm planning to focus on for my thesis is bilingual language acquisition in children, which is one of the topics that comes up. It's a half hour segment and interesting stuff for anyone who's interested in language.

    Finally, I've actually been able to start knitting again regularly! Some days it's a few minutes and others it could be an hour or two, but it's been so nice to be able to unwind with knitting again. The change in weather has certainly helped encourage me to pick it up this week.

    And speaking of knitting, some pieces of knitting news:

    - Karen has highlighted some of the creative mods knitters have made to Laurus over on the Fringe blog. You know I love mods, so I loved this post!

    - If you've ever wanted to knit yourself a Sundottir but you've been putting it off for whatever reason, you might want to join in on Fern Fiber's Sundottir KAL! Cast-on date is September 23rd and you can get the pattern for 10% off if you're joining in. Fern Fiber is a natural dye company run by Maria and Nikki (who you've probably heard before if you listen to the Woolful podcast - they're frequent Man on the Street contributors) and they'll also offering a limited number of yarn kits in the colors of your choice for the KAL. You can read up on the KAL details in their Ravelry group and check out the listing for the naturally dyed yarn kits on Etsy.  Fern Fiber hail from North Carolina (my home state!) and I'm so excited they've put this KAL together. It makes me wish I had time to take part (or that I needed another Sundottir).

    - Have you heard that Kate Davies has developed a yarn? I'm ecstatic about this news! It's called Buchaille and you can read all about it on her blog in a series of posts - everything from how they sourced the fiber (all Scottish), where is was scoured and prepped for spinning (with a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility), what kinds of colors will be included in the line, and more. There will, of course, be a collection of patterns to accompany the release of the yarn.

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  • golden milk smoothie

    I've probably used the "I know this isn't a food blog" disclaimer before, but I do enjoy sharing the very occasional recipe in this space when I come up with something I actually think is worth sharing. In any case, I've been pretty into making smoothies in my Vita-Mix since the start of the new year, and I'm kind of an Oh She Glows devotee at this point. One of my favorite smoothie recipes in the Oh She Glows cookbook is the Cheerful Chocolate Smoothie, a vegan chocolate smoothie that uses a combo of almond milk and avocado (rather than banana, which is not my favorite smoothie ingredient) to create the creamy base. To give credit where credit is due, that's the smoothie that put this idea in my head. Thanks for that, Angela!

    Golden milk is something I've seen popping up all over lately, and for good reason. It's long been a folk remedy for colds and other sicknesses, largely due to the benefits of turmeric - which is what gives it its namesake golden color. A quick Google search will have the Internet hitting you over the head with the magical! healing! properties! of turmeric! so search the Internet at your own risk and take it with a grain of salt. But at the very least, the mix of sweet and spicy in golden milk does do a great job of being refreshing while also clearing out your sinuses. It's served as a hot drink, and I've definitely enjoyed it before bed a few times. If you've had golden milk and liked it, or if you just know you like turmeric and ginger, this smoothie version's totally for you.

    Vegan Golden Milk Smoothie

    A few notes on the recipe:

    - It involves frozen goods and ice cubes, and dates can be on the hard side depending on where they're coming from, so you may not want to attempt this if you haven't got a high speed blender with a good motor in it.

    - When cutting into a new avocado for a batch of smoothie, I go ahead and quarter it so that the sections are ready to go for future batches. Pop the 3/4 you're not using in a freezer-safe container and freeze them for later.

    - The almond milk could be swapped out for any other non-dairy milk (or even dairy milk if you roll that way). I use unsweetened and would recommend that for this smoothie, since the dates act as a sweetener. 

    - When I make this, it yields about 3 cups. I like to pour half in a glass and the other half into a jar I can pop in the fridge for later.

    Ingredients

    • approx. 1/4 of an avocado
    • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk or other non-dairy milk
    • 1 heaping tsp turmeric powder
    • small quantity chopped ginger (I chop up about a 1/2" piece)
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 4-6 medium medjool dates, pitted
    • 1/8 tsp cardamom
    • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
    • 4-6 ice cubes
    • pinch of salt
    • dash of black pepper

    1. Add the avocado, almond milk, turmeric powder, ginger, and vanilla to blender. Blend on high speed until mixed.

    2. Add the pitted dates, cardamom, cinnamon, ice, salt, and black pepper to blender, then blend again on high speed until mixture is smooth.

    3. That's it! Pour and enjoy!

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