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Graasland used to be mainly about books and bentos. And then menu planning with CSA vegetables. But for a while now this grazing land has become barren.
Life goes on and people change. There’s no real need for me to make lunchboxes. And I can’t seem to beat my reading slump. BUT. There’s plenty of other stuff going on!
So this month I plan on flooding you with… snailmailing! I love old-fashioned letter writing and card sending (you did not think I meant the mailing of real snails I hope; a thing that actually happens I recently learned *HORROR*). It’s called snailmail because, well: it’s sloooooweeeer than electronic messaging. Not just because of the time and effort that go into handwriting or the journey it takes from sender to receiver. There’s also the added touch of decorating and/or choosing small gifts to send along your mail. Check the #snailmail and #mailart hashtags on Instagram (IG) if your interested!
April started as National Letter Writing Month in the US and turned global after letterpress greeting card companies Egg Press and Hello!Lucky shared their joint Write_On campaign on social media in 2014, to “promote joy, creativity, expression, and connection through hand-written correspondence“. The challenge to write 30 letters in 30 days has had a growing fanbase. I bet the free stationery kits they supply help – 10.000 this year! :D
The first thing I sent out (on April 1st), was the garden-themed March “Winner Takes All” prize in the photo above. It went to Ciska in The Netherlands, who won it on the Swap-Bot SENG forum.
Because there’s no mail pickup in the weekend, I decided to also mail my item for April 2nd early. It’s a thank you to Marion from Snailmail Magazine who sent me #42 in her 366 postcards project back in February. I hadn’t gotten around to that so YAY for letter writing month!
It’s New Year y’all: time for clean-ups , clean-outs, decisions and resolutions! So YAY for the Winter 2016 Mini Bloggiesta!!!
It’s high time I had a good look at Graasland. My blog has been comatose for a long, long time now, with only a sporadic sign of life during (mainly) readathons. It’s not that I don’t like blogging, nor do I lack inspiration. It just takes up so much valuable time. I tried several ways but haven’t been able to get it under control. So I got frustrated. Also, my attention diverged more to 3.0 social media (well, really just Instagram folks ;) and I don’t surf the web nor read as many weblogs as I used to years ago. A big part of the fun is interacting with other bloggers… Oh, and did I mention my return to 1.0 art of letter writing?
Now what do I want???
The past year I’ve been selectively building my Bloglovin‘ list and this is working well for me. I don’t get as easily overwhelmed seeing new posts from different sites in one consecutive stream. Unfortunately I have a lot of trouble commenting on posts from Bloglovin’, but I enjoy following again – and miss the sharing myself! This weekend I am using to decide if and how I’ll revive Gnoe’s Graasland. Realistically.
I’m only able to technically participate on Sunday, so today I’ll do my thinking bit. And some of the tasks I’m able to manage while ‘on the road’. In my Bloggiesta to-do list these are marked with an asterisk (*).
Bloggiesta to-do list
- ✓ Decide future of Graasland *
- ✓ Clean up Graasland (i.e. remove irrelevant buttons from sidebar, irrelevant pages)
- ✓ Post Bloggiesta to-do list
- ✓ Visit other Bloggiesta participants’ blogs * [done and ongoing]
- ✓ Write one post (next to this one)
- Fix back-up procedure main computer!! [in process; turned out a big job]
- ✓ ETA: fix failing Instagram widget in sidebar
- ETA: backup after Bloggiesta
- ✓ Update About-page
- ✓ Post Books Read in 2015 [drafted and planned]
- Post Films of 2015
- Email and post about crowdfunding project donkey sanctuary!!
- Plan 5 year anniversary ExtraVeganza! (deadline January 27th)
- Post about snailmail hobby
- Check for missing images *
- BuJo mini-challenge
- Clean up e-mail (mini-challenge) *
Added future tasks
- ETA: clean up Notes app iPhone *
- ETA: write bento lunch post for VeggieChallenge newsletter (deadline before April)
- ETA: claim blog on Bloglovin’ once Bloggiesta post is no longer sticky
- ETA: check for broken links
Wish me luck! ;)
Yup, it’s that time of year again: curling up on the couch in comfy clothes, with cats (!) a fleece blanket and a pile of books to read. Who cares it’s cold and dreary outside? I don’t – it’s rather perfect for fall 24 hour readathon!
Introduction Survey (mini-challenge #1)
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
- Utrecht, the Netherlands (Europe, obviously)
- Hug Time by Patrick McDonnell ^_^ It’s actually a present I bought for a dear friend needing a care package but I can’t resist reading it -carefully- first.
- Well it can’t be the apple cake I didn’t bake… I guess it’ a cold soy macchiato! And I bought myself a whole load of vegan cookies *grin*
- I love animals more than books, especially (my own) cats, donkeys (!) and wildebeests. ‘Gnoe’ is Dutch for gnu and I got this nickname in highschool as it’s rhyme with my real name.
- I’m not going to be hard on myself. Just chill and have fun. Change my reading spots and don’t forget to go outside (yay audio books!)
I will mostly be updating on Instagram today!
Are you joining me today?
Note to my English readers
Books & Kisses’ BKReadAThon ran from Monday April 28th till Sunday May 4th. This is my wrap-up post but since it was a Dutch event I’m updating in my native language.
De Books & Kisses ReadAThon is alweer bijna een week voorbij. Dat ik pas nu mijn afrondende bericht schrijf komt doordat ik nog wilde meedoen aan challenge #6: Playlist. En dat was een beetje een breinkraker, zodat ik mijn lijstje pas vandaag, op de laatste dag, heb ingezonden. Daarover straks meer.
De readathon was wat mij betreft een succes! Ik heb twee van mijn drie doelen bereikt, redelijk actief deelgenomen aan het sociale gebeuren en vooral: genoten van het lezen.
- Ik heb het boek waarin ik bezig was uitgelezen, ruimschoots op tijd voor de bijeenkomst van mijn leesclub. A first! *bloos*
- Ik heb (vrijwel) iedere dag minstens 30 minuten gelezen; maar één dag is het me niet gelukt door mijn volle programma. Dat vind ik een aanvaardbaar, want realistisch resultaat. Gemiddeld heb ik bovendien ruim een uur per dag gelezen.
- Ik was NIET ruimschoots gevorderd in een nieuw boek – integendeel: ik had er net eentje afgerond en moest in een nieuw beginnen… Dat zijn nou juist mijn zwakke momenten, dus dat ik dit doel niet heb gehaald is een grote #FAIL. Hoe dat afliep lees je in een volgend bericht… ;D
Challenge #6: 1q84 Playlist
De pagina omslaan verzon een hele leuke uitdaging:
Bij de Playlist Challenge is het de bedoeling dat je een playlist verzint bij één van je favoriete boeken. Maak een playlist van 3-5 nummers en kies nummers die voor jouw gevoel precies bij het boek passen.
Niet zo eenvoudig als het lijkt! De moeilijkheid begon voor mij al bij de keuze voor een van mijn favorieten. Dacht ik eerst aan Mr Sandman van Barbara Gowdy, kwam ik er al gauw achter dat ik nog te weinig van het verhaal weet om daarvoor een goed lijstje samen te stellen! :( Naast Mr Sandman van The Puppini Sisters natuurlijk. ;) Maar wat heerlijk dat ik dus snel eens opnieuw in dit boek kan beginnen!
Ik koos uiteindelijk voor 1q84 van Haruki Murakami en maakte daarvoor een melancholisch muzieklijstje dat voor mijn gevoel bij de sfeer van het boek – en goed bij mij past. Het eerste nummer is nogal voorspelbaar omdat het een belangrijke rol speelt in het boek en bij naam wordt genoemd. Dûh dus. Maar de rest is puur associatief.
- Sinfonietta ~ Janáček
- Sex Crime (1984) ~ Eurythmics
- Urami Bushi (The Flower of Carnage) ~ Meiko Kaji
- In My Room ~ The Beach Boys
- Goodnight Mr. Moon ~ John Travolta
Je kunt de playlist beluisteren op Spotify.
Ik verklaar mij nader
Over het eerste nummer hoef ik niet veel te vertellen. De Sinfonietta speelt een belangrijke rol in de toegang naar een andere wereld, een andere tijd: 1q84 – een parallelle wereld. De andere songs uit mijn playlist passen allemaal bij een van de voornaamste personages uit deze trilogie.
Sex Crime (Nineteen Eighty Four)
Annie Lennox die “1984” zingt was wel het eerste waar ik aan dacht bij 1q84, maar dit nummer past ook goed bij Fukaeri, de dochter van de leider van een sekte waar meisjes brutaal worden verkracht. Fukaeri is gevlucht en schrijft een boek over de geloofsgemeenschap.
Een Japans lied uit Kill Bill met de titel “The Flower of Carnage” is natuurlijk perfect voor de huurmoordenares Aomame!
In My Room
Als ik aan de (afstotelijke) Ushikawa denk zie ik hem achter het gordijn spionerend in een appartement, opgesloten in een kamer. Hij is een triest personage; In my room is een melancholisch nummer. “There’s a world where I can go and tell my secrets too.” [lyrics]
Goodnight Mr. MoonAwww. *going weak at the knees* Dit sentimentele lied van Mister Travolta doet me ontzettend denken aan onze zachtaardige held Tengo, terwijl hij op de trap van de glijbaan naar de (dubbele) maan kijkt. Zucht. Een beeld om niet te vergeten! ;)
En nu voel ik ook de behoefte om 1q84 te gaan herlezen… Er zitten niet genoeg uren in een dag, dagen in een week en jaren in een mensenleven!
De readaton op een rijtje
- Geëindigd met boek(en)
- Gelezen boeken
Crossing to Safety ~ Wallace Stegner (e-book)
Cats: Kobus Kruls parmantige kattenboek (Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats) ~ T.S. Eliot
We the Animals ~ Justin Torres
- Aantal gelezen pagina’s
- Totale leestijd
- Challenges en events
Twitterchat #1 (maandag) en twitterchat #3 (vrijdag)
Challenge #3: wishlistC en Challenge #6: playlist
This Weekend Cooking post is a hotchpot of food-related topics that have been left stewing the past weeks. I’m focussing on bentos and swaps.
Bento making has gotten a bit neglected lately; the following, hastily filled boxes are the only lunches I have to share.
Buckwheat Pancake Bento #205
- buckwheat pancakes from Vega Dutchie (which I found too gritty, even more when eaten cold like this)
- Lithuanian dried plum “cake”
- treacle for pancakes in the small container
- carrot-cabbage salad with walnuts
MiL Bento #206
The brown rice with ratatouille in the round blue thermos is a leftover from dinner at my mother-in-law’s the night before. The small lock & lock box contains red cabbage coleslaw with apple, raisins and an orange dressing. Two sandwiches in the butterfly bag and clementines for dessert.
I’ve recently discovered swap-bot. What I don’t like about that other random mail-exchange ‘program’ Postcrossing is that I often put a lot of thought in what I write on a card, but get the shortest messages in return. Also, although I receive awesome postcards every once in a while, many people send free ad cards or touristy multi-views, both of which don’t interest me. On Swap-bot on the other hand there’s themes you can choose — and people that really like to write! A trip down memory lane as I was a fervent penpal when I was young. So thanks to Uniflame for reacquainting me with S-B! :)
Now what does this have to do with food? I hear you think. Well, the first two swaps I joined are food ’n drink-centered.
Tea For You And Tea For Me, What’s Your Resolution?
For the easy Tea For You And Tea For Me, What’s Your Resolution? trade we had to send three bags of tea to our partner plus a note revealing our resolutions for 2013. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but I have things that I’d like to achieve this year concerning my health. So I shared those.
Now the assignment may originally have been quick and easy, it wasn’t as simple as it seemed… My partner Barsook likes green teas — how was I supposed to choose only three??? So I sent her a whole bunch. :)
Myself, I was pampered with five teas in a lovely decorated envelope: pure rooibos red tea, earthy vanilla scented rooibos, Tulsi sweet rose, apricot vanilla crème and jasmine green. But I won’t tell what JessicaLynn1978’s resolution is!
Lovely Vegan Dinner Recipe Swap
Recipe cards seem to be common in the States, but not here in Holland. I very much like the concept though! So I joined the Lovely Vegan Dinner Recipe Swap in which I had to share a virtual meal via recipes for a starter, main course and dessert. All animal-free. Luckily it was okay to make your own recipe cards as long as they had the standard format of approximately A5. So these are the ones I made for lob.
The recipes that travelled on these are:
- simple leek soup
- Ecofabulous red cabbage with tofu & ontbijtkoek (a kind of gingerbread cake which I included)
- chocolate syrup
Now I got the most AWESOME package from long-time veggie Seaglass! She put a lot of effort in making my parcel extra special — she’s the sweetest!
There’s recipes for:
- vegan ‘blue cheese’ dressing
- potato, sorrel & watercress soup
- quinoa salad with tofu
- tofu with snow peas and lemon lime vinaigrette
- spicy polenta with chili paste
- Lisa’s vegan zucchini carrot muffins
- chocolate upside down pudding cake
I have no idea where to start! :D I guess it won’t be the soup though since I have to find out first where to get sorrel (zuring). Any ideas, Dutchies? Should I just go and pick some in the fields? I’m a little afraid of catching tetanus from dog or fox pee… :\
Seaglass also included some empty recipe cards for me to use and a load mouthwatering vegan candy bars — those are hard to get over here! And a packet of California powdered chili for me to compare to its Dutch counterpart: American recipes containing chili somehow always get too hot; even though I can usually handle heat.
I LOVE the paper Lisa (Seaglass) wrote her letter on: it has a heron! So cute!
That’s it for me now. Do you have some foodie news to share for Weekend Cooking?
On Thursday I enjoyed an office lunch with several of the Lithuanian goodies I got from my November Foodie Penpal Vita.
The box up front contains both the kūčiukai and cookie rings (yay, cookies to add carbs to my bento ;) a freeze dried strawberry and candied radishes.
The middle ‘meat & veg’ tier holds some onion-leek-garlic-pepper (yellow & green) stir-fry, slices of Healthy Planet “chicken” fillet, a fresh radish, mini Brussels’ sprouts and a skewer of sliced raja potato and gherkin, all on a bed of corn salad. I also brought a small container of tomato ketchup for the faux meat but forgot to include it in the picture.
Dessert comes last of course: apple & clementine.
I didn’t mean to cross the bento-200 line so silently… Alas, I lacked the time to post numbers 200-202 but plan to make up for that later this month!
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Join us with a food related post in Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking!
YESH! It’s Foodie Penpal Reveal Day!
It was my first time participating but I’m SO happy that I overcame my hesitation and joined. Vita spoiled me with a big box of vegan goodies from Lithuania. Thank you so much!!!
She enclosed a lovely card in fall colours (and glitter — I love sparkly stuff!), explaining the contents of the parcel and her choices. So nice! And handy, since I can’t read Lithuanian labels. :) Are you curious??? Here’s what I got!
Up front is my biggest treasure: Vita’s home-made almond butter with a Dutch label. Vita studied my language for a shortwhile in the past! Wow. I haven’t tried the spread yet because I want to cherish it a little while longer and I didn’t want to open everything at once. I expect it will be awesome on some hot toast… So I’ve taken the necessary steps to finally get a new toaster – ours has been broken for two years! I can’t wait till the morning when I’ll be slathering this fluid gold on my first toast for ages. Mmmmm.
Speaking of gold, you should taste some of the pine bud syrup from the bottle at the back! OMG it’s delicious! I crowned it as my new favourite sweetener, leaving agave syrup far behind. I guess I’ll be booking shopping trips to Lithuania soon! ;)
But for now Vita appropriately sent me Lithuanian Vitamins, to get through winter. These freeze-dried strawberries melt in your mouth and have the full taste of fresh ones, though a bit more sour than I expected. Lovely! Perfect for breakfast, bento, or on the road. I bet Mr Gnoe is going to appreciate these a lot, but I haven’t let him taste any yet. I secretly enjoyed them on my own first. :)
I also got two kinds of cookies, the sweet-ish taste of which slightly reminds me of the Liga bars from my childhood. My mother never bought those, but I got them at a friends house. ;) The poppy seed balls are called kūčiukai, Lithuanian traditional pastries for Christmas Eve. You’re supposed to eat them with poppy seed milk, but as I had no idea what that is and the recipe is pretty time-consuming, I just had them with roasted cauliflower soup. A good combination! Though probably sacrilege. ;) The cookie rings in the green bag are organic wheat “Javine crisps”; Javinés traškučiai.
Now whát are those bright green and pink chips in a bag almost at the back??? Candied radishes! Sounds scary, I know, but they’re quite good. I cannot explain what they taste like, more than “candied radishes”, which doesn’t do them justice. ;)
Last but not least there’s Vita’s favourite nutty buckwheat pasta left to try, and a slice of plum cheese. I’m particularly curious about the latter, which I’ll be having at tea-time or dessert. Maybe after a dinner of buckwheat macaroni with a creamy mushroom sauce and almond topping. :) That brings us to a full circle!
I thoroughly enjoyed this first Foodie Penpal exchange. I hope Vita did too, as well as Sara, the recipient of my parcel in London. She’ll be writing a guest post on Graasland! But for now, please check out some other Foodie Penpal revelations from the link-up.
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Join us with a food related post in Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking!
You may have noticed that we get a bunch of lettuce in our CSA every week. And I’ll be honest with you: when it still needs to washed once I’m making lunch, 8 times out of 10 I just leave it sitting in the fridge. Guess what happens after a week or two…
So. I need to wash my greens right when they come in. I used to spin them dry and store ‘em in plastic zip-lock baggies. I reused these, but that doesn’t really feel like the most appropriate way for sustainable living with local veggies.
Now I’ve discovered the Salad Sac! Additional advantage: there’s one step less in the process because you don’t dry the leaves before they go into the bag – its wetness moistens the fabric so that the lettuce stays crisp and is ready to use.
You know what? It works! Here’s a pic that I took on the morning of our next CSA, when I had the last salad leaves of the previous week for lunch.
A plus of plastic over cloth is that it’s transparent. As the salad sack is rather big I sometimes put several leafy greens in together and there’s a lot of digging around to get the right stuff out. Or Mr Gnoe doesn’t dare put in his hand at all as he has no idea what’s in there. ;) Then again, transparency would allow light to filter in, which is not helpful in keeping the vegetables fresh!
But it would be wonderful if the bag came in different sizes. Of course I’ve thought of making some pouches myself… But I think it may be a special kind of terry cloth, maybe even treated (although it’s supposed to be 100% cotton). Any thoughts on that?
I haven’t yet tried to put in things like sliced cucumber or other chopped vegetables. But the ‘instruction tag‘ says that works too!
Now just in case anyone wonders: I bought this article with my own money and am not in any way connected to the manufacturer, nor do I get paid for a (positive) review. I’m just a happy user! :)
On with our colourful organic CSA vegetables of the past three weeks.
Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 21, 2012
- red Batavian endive
- pointed pepper
- pumpkin chutney
- spring onion
Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 22, 2012
Don’t you just LOVE the purple of the beets and mustard greens?
- Swiss chard
- mustard greens
- mizuna turnip tops
- curly leaf escarole
- bundle garlic
- ramson flower (daslook)
Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 23, 2012
This week’s veggies:
- plain lettuce
- spring onions
I may be late in posting my bentos but I try to keep up the pace of a bento a week.
Here are my latest bentos — both office lunches — dating from Thursday November 10th and Tuesday the 15th.
Bright Bento (#163)
Bento #163 was full of seasonal colours. Some hearty fall food! From left to right (a click on the pic will bring you to Flickr where you can look at a larger version):
Garlic-sunchoke soup with parsley. Toasted rosemary bread (two slices shown, the rest packed in my SnackTaxi bag). I wanted to try bringing toast but I’m not going to do it again because it doesn’t hold well.
Radish flowers, a scoop of Ethiopian lentil dish with faux sour cream and cucumber slices.
Two kinds of hummus (beetroot and pumpkin) with veggies to dip: the beforementioned cukes & radishes, gherkin, carrot and lettuce. Next to that some spicy kabocha pumpkin and sundried tomato.
Sweets: a stewed pear, dried apricot, cinnamon almonds and a ‘beach ball’ apple.
I figured you might want to have a better look at the paper cups MaaikeB brought me from Japan… You ask, we deliver! Cute stuff eh?
Jumble Bento (#164)
Stewed pear, red beet hummus, lettuce, Ethiopian lentils and faux sour cream.
Veggies to dip: gherkin, carrot, cucumber, red paprika, radishes and steamed green beans. Some mini Zaanse kermis biscuits for dessert. Just because I find them so cute!
The photo below shows my side container with pandan rice, Thai green curry and steamed baby cauliflower.
Did you notice I’m using even more new bento gear? I found these kawaii mini loaf cups at Xenos!