My Pretty New Baby

Let me tell you about how I was an extremely lucky girl!  My job sells Le Creuset pots, and for years I have coveted one, but as I’m sure you are well aware they are quite an investment.  I love the Carribean Blue color especially, but my store only stocks the Cobalt Blue.

Once a year we get an employee appreciation extra discount, but we aren’t allowed to buy anything that requires a special order; for example a Le Creuset pot in a non-stock color.  We had a few in stock in the size I wanted so I said to myself, “Self, just have a look at the Cobalt and maybe you’ll like it enough to get over the fact that you can’t order the color you want.”

I cracked open the orange box that was labeled Cobalt Blue and LO AND BEHOLD, when I flipped the lid around the ocean was shining up at me. It was a MISPICK! Some soul in France was distracted momentarily and a Carribean Blue pot was slipped into a box labeled Cobalt Blue, it was shipped to NYC and it was meant to be mine!  I was able to buy it with my extra discount and I took that gorgeous beauty home and now it lives on my cooker in its rightful place of honor.  :O)  I’m the happiest girl in the world today. -m

Great Product & Healthy Treats

When I first saw these little produce bags I thought they were terribly silly, and pointless…

Then I got to thinking about how many of the plastic produce bags I go through at the supermarket. What a waste! This set of 5, washable drawstring bags is the perfect reusable solution, and so cute! And they hold so much!

I went to the market and got a bunch of produce, and decided to invent a yummy frozen treat. Its been hot as blazes and something cold with only a few calories was exactly what I was looking for.

I took the stones out of a few apricots (my fav!) a peach and a mango and blitzed then in the blender.

I pushed the puree through a sieve and then put it back in the blender with some greek yogurt and a couple teaspoons of sugar to add a touch of sweetness.

Once it all was well blended I poured the mixture into some small ice pop molds and popped them into the freezer. In a few hours they were cold fruity and smooth. Sooo good.

Tappin’ my trees

Me and my new drill

I was all set to go out and tap my trees for sap, when I realised that the drill I have needed to be plugged in, and with a couple of extension cords probably still wouldn’t reach the trees. So  after a few days delay, the waiting was driving me mad), I got  a cordless drill. I love power tools, love, love, love em.

Before I venture outside I make my drill bit with tape so that i don’t drill too far into my tree. 2 1/2 inches is the depth to drill.

oh boy!

I know there are maples hidden amongst all these trees. If I  were a forward planner, I would identified the maples in the summer when they were covered in leaves. I’m not, so I have to deduce and remember where I picked up some pretty coloured leaves in the autumn.

I'm guessing this one

I’m sure I remember maple leaves around this one. There are a few things to know before for tapping, Only tap a healthy tree that is 12 inches or greater in diameter. Although all maples can be tapped for sap, not all maples will sap equally. Sugar maples are the best, followed by black  then red then silver. I have no clue what type of maples I have. Hack I;m not entirely sure that this one is a maple. The other thing, In order for the sap to flow,the nighttime temp must be below freezing and the day time temp has to be above freeze.

Here goes

I’m drilling the hole at a slight angle so the sap can trickle out.

Sorry tree

The hole will heal over, and I will try not to tap the same tree next year.

A few taps with my hammer and the spile and hook are securely in.

Ok, the bucket is on, Where’s the sap? Lemme take a closer look

strumming fingers

Huuum, I kind of thought that the sap would flow straight away.

Lid on to keep out the elements and critters

I’m going to put the lid on,trust in nature and go tap my next tree.

For the record, when I tapped my second, I could heR the sap dripping in. I have one more bucket to use, but think I will wait to see if I get sap from either of these taps first. f

Tree Tappin’

Earlier in the  week, I arrived home and to my delight there was a package waiting for me. Let’s take a peak inside..

OK, so you’ve probably figured out that I’m going to tap my trees for sap to turn into maple syrup.

This is how it all go started ; The other week,  I met a guy called Wesley, among other things he is a maple syrup producer.  It’s a relatively new venture for him and he spoke very passionately about it, some of the finer points being lost on me. Wesley said that on a small non commercial level there wasn’t  much to it. Anyway, it go me thinkin’ and that go me researchin’. It turns out that all Maple trees can be tapped for their sap!  Here at The Croakery we have a few scattered about, So I thought what the heck, it’s winter it’ll give me something (else) to do. I went to Tap my trees, and ordered my kit.

See how I got on tappin’ my trees

Cocoa Latte

This my new love, and it appears that everyone who has visited The Croakery lately has fallen for it also. The Queen of the Galaxy aka my Mother purchased her own when she returned home from a visit.

It’s the Back to basics cocoa latte. It makes fabulous frothy coffee and hot chocolate as well as a host of other beverages. Since moving to the sticks I have missed being able to walk to get a latte, but this provides a perfect  caffeine fix with some bells and whistles.

So this is what I do;

I pour in a cup or two of milk. Feel free to make it with 50/50 water milk. Some days I add a splash of cream! There are little markings on the side to guide you.

Add in a heaped teaspoon..

…Or two of instant espresso.  I know instant espresso, but paraphrasing Tim Gun, I’m making it work. I like the brand Ferrara, but you could use instant coffee.

Press the switch to on and…

… The machine heats the milk and swishes it all around to dissolve the coffee.

Once it has reached it’s warming temperature it automatically stops

On the other side of the cocoa latte, there is this button, press it a let the machine froth away for a 3o seconds or so

Ready to drink

Place your cup or latte bowl under the dispense nozzle

Push the lever on the nozzle down and the coffee flows out

Frothy

All that’s left now is too enjoy. f

Chef’n

I love getting my mits round these tools to help the prep along in my kitchen. The chef’n palm peeler and chef’n palm brush fit snuggly in my palm (where else right).

Nifty

Nifty

They let me get to grips with peeling pounds of apples for pie, or scrubbing muck off my tatties. There is a ring like piece to slip your finger through.DSCF1159

Nifty

Nifty

They have loads of cool tools in bright fun colours,for making cooking even more fun, I’ve got my eye on the palm zester. Go to  their web site and check out the goods! Chef’n!