Sweater Season

It’s sweater season! … at least for a day. Oh fall, you fickle thing.

I wanted to share the details on two sweaters that I’m excited to start rotating into my wardrobe this season.

Bohus Cowl

First up is the Bohus-inspired cowl neck sweater. It’s from an issue of Vogue Knitting, but lucky for you, the pattern is now available as a free download from their site!

Live Seasoned sweater progress-17

If you don’t know much about Bohus sweaters, it’s worth going down that rabbit hole and learning about these beautiful designs.

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Ginger + Vanilla

Ginger is our ingredient of the season. You can find our archive of ginger posts here and our previous featured ingredients here. Today we’re adding something sweet to the docket.

Get ready to start planning your next dinner party, because we have the perfect dessert : vanilla ice cream + ginger spread. This is such a simple combination, but the results are phenomenal. ginger_icecream

We used Talenti Vanilla Bean Gelato for the base, and topped it with a syrup made from Ginger People’s ginger spread. I scooped some paste into a ramekin, added almost an equal amount of water, and microwaved it for a few seconds until the syrup was warm but not hot. Then I gave the mixture a good stir and drizzled it over the gelato.

Can’t find ginger paste in your grocery store? Amazon delivers.

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And I’m not joking about the dinner party. Sometimes a fancy dessert is in order. Sometimes you can plan ahead and bake something the day before. But sometimes, a tub of ice cream is the way to go. This combination takes that easy dessert and dresses it up just enough to leave an impression.

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Plus, maybe it’s time that we make ginger the new flavor of fall! Pumpkin’s had its run. #outwithpumpkin #gingerishot #gingersarehot Wait. Am I doing this right?

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Moroccan Spiced Shepherd’s Pie

Ginger is our ingredient of the season. You can find our archive of ginger posts here and our previous featured ingredients here.

I mentioned this dish in my recent farm share post, and with fall right around the corner, it’s a perfect time to add this to your repertoire.

This dish includes all of the best comforts of shepherd’s pie with added interest from the Moroccan spices and added simplicity from the sliced potatoes. The first time I made this we took it to a friend’s house and everyone around the table (from the 1 yo to the adults) loved it!

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We are big shepherd’s pie fans, but honestly, I never make it because I don’t want to mash the potatoes. But as soon as I saw this recipe, I was all in because the potatoes are sliced instead of mashed. The recipe is from Modern Israeli Cooking, with just a few slight variations…  I have a feeling you’re going to see us mentioning this book many times throughout the season!

This dish also appeals to me because it takes familiar ingredients and makes them a platform for introducing new flavors through the spices. And, from a Seasoned perspective, we love a good savory dish that includes ginger!

Moroccan Spiced Shepherd’s Pie

Moroccan Spiced Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 cups veggie or beef stock
  • 5 potatoes peeled
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • more paprika for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat about 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a sauté pan. Added the chopped onion, carrots, and bell pepper and sauté until they begin to soften and the onions are slightly translucent.
  2. Add the ground beef, breaking it up with a fork as it cooks.
  3. When the beef is no longer pink, add the ginger, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, salt, black pepper, and tomato paste. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the flour and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add the parsley and stock. Bring the filling to a low boil, then turn down the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. While the filling is simmering, preheat the oven to 400F.
  7. Put the peeled potatoes in a pot, cover them with water, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 12-15 minutes, until the potatoes are just undercooked and slightly firm. Drain the potatoes, cool slightly, and cut into 1/2 inch slices.
  8. Stir the peas into the filling, and transfer it to a 8x11 (or 9x13, which worked for me) baking dish. Arrange the potatoes on top of the filling, overlapping slightly as pictured. Brush the potatoes with olive oil and season generously with paprika and salt.
  9. Bake for about an hour until the filling is bubbly and the potatoes are golden brown and cooked through. Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
http://liveseasoned.com/moroccan-spiced-shepherds-pie/

Promise me, the moment temps dip below 60F, you’ll give this dinner a try. It’s delicious, comforting, and perfect with a glass of wine!

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Welcome September {2017}

Near the beginning of each month we like to pause and make an intention for the month, thinking about what the new season will bring, whether it’s in the way of animal activity, farmers’ fields, or environmental events. *You can find our archive of previous welcomes here (a few months are missing from the archive, we’re bowing our heads in shame).*

Let’s start with a good old confession : having just come back from the beach, this post is hard to write. It’s not that I’m heading into September kicking and screaming, it’s just that I feel like the door to summer hit me in the rear.

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BUT I know that come tomorrow morning I’m going to find myself a pumpkin something or other, pop something in the oven, and start day-dreaming about brisk fall hikes amidst the foliage.

Below I’m sharing a few more things that I’m looking forward to as well as a bit of news that made me so happy and had me looking backwards (by a few years!).

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Saxis Souvenirs 2017

For the first couple of years that our beach house has been in the family, everyone got homemade t-shirts (first with a sailboat silhouette and then with a blue crab). So as not to overstuff our shirt drawers, we’ve steered away from t-shirts more recently. Last year the souvenirs were canvas bags and water bottles (with clams!).  This year we went with pint glasses for the adults and t-shirts for the kids!

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When thinking about what to put on the souvenirs, Sarah happened to mention that the dragonfly populations were out of control this year. That’s actually a good thing, because the dragonflies love to snack on mosquitos! To add some interest, I played with words and wrote “Where dragons fly.”

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Teachable Moments : Beach Reads

Teachable Moments is a relatively new series on the blog, you can find the archive here. You can learn more about Saxis in this selection of posts, and here are more beach book recommendations for adults and kids. If you’d like to see our favorite sun gear for toddlers, click here.

beach time = reading time. #amiright

When we start planning for our time at the beach, my mind immediately turns to the books I’ll read. Hours sitting on the beach provide the uninterrupted reading time that we just don’t seem to find elsewhere in life. Wait, if you’re a parent reading this, that statement is laughable. Who sits still on the beach with two kids? And to that, I say, touché. That’s when you teach your kids about the joys of the beach nap.

But in all seriousness, as the boys have grown, I’ve started to think more intentionally about their beach reads. These boys love a good adventure, and when we’re traveling I find that they fully immerse themselves in the new environment. They aren’t sitting around thinking about Colorado and the mountains; instead, they’re exploring!  And what better way could there be to teach them about the place they’re visiting, and the animals and people that live there, than to read books?

I’ve made an effort over the years to stock the beach house with good ocean and bay-related books for the kids. It’s nice to have these books there rather than at home because the stories really come alive when they’re reading about animals that they just saw on the beach and in the marsh. And I know that they can relate to crabbing and fishing adventures when they’ve just spent the afternoon on Poppop’s boat putting bait in the crab pots and casting out their finishing lines.

Below is a list of our current favorites (for reference, the boys are 2 and 4). Admittedly, I’m particularly smitten with books written and illustrated by local artists, so you’ll see quite a few on the list. They add an intimate feel in their descriptions of the place that could never be achieved in a generic book about ocean/beach life.

live seasoned beach reads

The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library

I know opinions can vary when it comes to Dr. Seuss. The wording can be awkward and leave you tongue-tied, which is not the best for reading aloud. But it rhymes, and I’m a sucker for a good rhyming text, especially one that’s educational.  Each book flows really well after one or two readings.

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The Farm

The images in this post were taken by Katie and the words written by Sarah.

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About five years ago, I babysat for a family of five in central Pennsylvania. They were residents of NYC, but every year during July and August they would drive to PA to visit the grandparents’ farm. I spent the long summer days helping the kids pick tomatoes, harvest peas, and feed the animals.  When it rained we pulled out piles of craft supplies and got to work. When we were restless we climbed ropes and trees and explored the fields seeking out wild flowers. Without fail, at the end of each evening, the kids needed a bath and good night’s sleep.

It wasn’t until I saw these simple summer farm scenes laid out before me that I realized I had it pretty good growing up. A whole host of opportunities granted simply because of geography. Summer days exploring the garden and forests in bare feet. Nurturing not only chickens but a hearty compost pile. Chasing dogs, neighbors, and fireflies before gathering around a campfire only to look up and gaze at the Milky Way. Now as adults, blazing and hiking trails, foraging for mushrooms and taking home poison ivy too. Gathering in the green fields to celebrate the land with the little ones who will visit year after year, taking home memories and lessons from a summer on the farm.

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Mitchell Lake Trail : Summer

We like a good hike, and every once in a while we take the opportunity to slow down, take pictures, and share the adventure with you. You can check out some of our previous Colorado hikes here.

Hello from Virginia! I’m popping in to share a hike that we took a few weeks ago in mid/late July.

We hiked this same trail (and more) two times last October when there was snow on the ground and ice on the trails. You can read more about those hikes in that post, and I’m going to repost some of the general information about the Brainard Lake Recreation Area the Mitchell Lake Trailhead below.

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Trail Location

The trail starts within the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, but quickly leaves that area and continues on into the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area.

Brainard Lake Recreation Area is open to vehicles from June – October, but the exact opening and closing dates vary each year based on the weather. The entrance fee is on a sliding scale from $1 if you’re walking to $10/car, BUT you can access this area for free with a Nation Parks annual pass. When the area is closed during the winter, you can still park at a lot near the entrance and then enter the area by foot/ski/bike.

During the summer months, you can drive into the area and park at a number of lots. There’s a day-use lot near the main lake that often has spaces, and then there are two smaller lots near the Long Lake and Mitchell Lake trailheads, but in our experience, both of these fill up fairly early and remain packed throughout the day.

If possible, park at the Mitchell Lakes Trailhead and you’ll be able to quickly access the trail, if the lot is full, you’ll have to park in one of the other lots and walk over to the trailhead.

On this particular day, the Long Lake and Mitchell Lake parking areas were full, BUT we brought bikes! It was an easy ride from the day-use lot over to the Mitchell lot, and then we locked the bikes up by the ranger shed at the start of the trail. 

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Trail Overview

The hike to Mitchell Lake is just under a mile, and it’s another 1.6 miles to reach Blue Lake. These are both out-and-back destinations, making the round-trip hike to Mitchell approximately 1.8 miles and the hike to Blue Lake five miles. The altitude at the trailhead is approximately 10,500 ft, with a gradual climb of just 200 ft to Mitchell Lake and then reaching a final altitude of 11,300 ft at Blue Lake.

On this particular hike, we only made it to Mitchell lake, but last fall, we made it all the way to Blue Lake (on our second try!).

This is a popular, well-worn trail that is easily visible when there isn’t much snow on the ground, and was relatively well marked with flashes on the trees..

Near the base of the trail, hiking is relatively easy with that slow, gradual climb to Mitchell Lake. There is one large stream-crossing over a short wooden bridge, and then another crossing over a wider stream with fallen logs used as the bridge. In other segments, planks are used to keep hikers out of boggy areas.

If you go beyond Mitchell Lake, there are some steep areas where climbing the rocks is similar to climbing a steep set of stairs, with an increase in the portion of steep climbs as you approach Blue Lake.

Last fall, there was some snow on the trail that had been tramped down and turned to ice, making some areas slick. This summer there was no risk of snow on the trail, but there were plenty of mucky spots and mud puddles. 

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Hiking with Kids

Last fall I said that young kids (4 to 8 year olds) should be able to hike to Mitchell Lake with minimal help but would likely need help making the full trek to Blue Lake. Older kids 8+ should have no trouble with the full hike. Those estimates were based upon the kids we saw on the trails as we hiked. Seeing 4 year-old Alex run along the trail to Mitchell Lake this summer, I think that we were right on target with the lower range.

One big difference between our October and July hikes was the muck! As you can see, we had (almost) no reservations about letting them go wild.

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Dressing for the Trail

At this time of year (and almost any time!), it was really helpful to dress in light layers. Since it was summer, our base layer consisted of tank tops and shorts for the boys, with a hoodie for more coverage. 

I think the key to relaxing on this hike was recognizing that there was going to be muck and being prepared to let the boys play in it with wild abandon. Both boys wore their water shoes, which were perfect for this short hike. We let the boys get wet, jump in mud puddles, and generally disregarded the rules of hiking concerning good socks and dry shoes. If you’re going out for a longer hike and have kids with sensitive feet, water shoes may not be appropriate. 

And don’t forget sunscreen! While there are some segments with plenty of shade, there is a lot of sun shining on much of the trail.

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If you’re in the Boulder area, this hike and the whole Indian Peaks area is definitely worth your time. Just know that everyone else loves the area too, so try to get there early before the lots fill up. Good luck!

On this hike we realized that by 2pm on a summer afternoon the lots are starting to open up. If you’re going for a short hike like this one, that’s still a great time to head out, with the added benefit that you won’t have the strong mid-day sun shining on you.

Even so, facing the crowds is totally worth it to hike (or re-hike) the trails around Brainard Lake. This is such a beautiful area, and it’s such a pleasure to see the trails change with the seasons.

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Bloody Mary Basics

live seasoned crab bloody mary-1It’s summer vacation! At least for the Schu family, it is. We’re all gathered here on Saxis Island, Virginia for a few good beach weeks. Besides a good book on the screen porch, we start our morning with a big bloody mary. A couple years back we featured a rosemary vodka & herb bloody mary, but if that sounds like too much work (though it’s not!) we have a few bloody mary basics to elevate your morning booze game.

The best bloody marys are flavorful, cold, and topped with an amazing garnish. Over the years, I’ve mostly stopped making bloody mary mix from scratch. Instead, I spend my time jazzing up the pre-made mix, my favorite is Zing Zang, and prepping garnishes to really elevate the flavors. Start by stashing your bloody mary mix in the fridge overnight. When morning comes, brew a pot of coffee and then get to work.

Mix up the following spices then rim each glass by running a lemon or lime along the edge before dipping it into the spice mixture.

  • 1 tablespoon of celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Add 6-8oz of bloody mary mix and a shot (or two) of vodka to each glass. Then add a dash or a shake of the following, leaving out whatever doesn’t suit you. Give each glass a good stir and add a few ice cubes.

  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Clam juice
  • Pickle juice
  • Hot sauce (I use whatever is on hand, but Tapito is a great choice)
  • Horseradish
  • Ground pepper
  • Cayenne
  • Old Bay
  • Celery salt

Now it’s garnish time and really, here’s your opportunity to play it low-key, pile it on, or experiment with something over the top. Here are a few garnish suggestions, but don’t feel pressured to do it all, coming up with your own unique combo is the way to go.

  • Celery stick
  • Pickle
  • Bacon
  • Pickled okra, green beans or some other veggie
  • Olives
  • Mozzarella balls
  • Fried soft shell crab

Whaddaya say? Bloody marys with brunch this weekend? Stir one up for us too, we’ll be hanging out on the porch!

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