Thursday, 28 January 2016

Knitting: Celtic earth hat Test knit

On 24 January I was invited to join a test knit. This time for a hat, the Celtic earth hat. It has been designed by Linda Dawkins, also known as mamma4earth. It looks really nice and it should knit up really fast and easily.
I have looked through my stash and found a fitting yarn that will do nicely. Not the nicest of colours, but just nice.

On 26 January I cast on and I finished it on the 27th. It was a very straightforward and easy pattern to knit. When it goes on sale I recommend getting it and making this hat for as many family members as would like to have one LOL

Finished, laying flat on the table.

On a child's head :-)

As said child immediately confiscated it, I have in the meantime cast on another one for myself, as I really like the hat and want one for myself as well.

This one will be in a blue and white yarn. I really like this yarn.

Here is the link to the blog post of Linda about this hat:

And here you can find her on

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

St. Nicholas pepernoten, spiced little cookies


This is an old recipe. It is from the time when people were still fasting before the christmas period. This means that there are no dairy or eggs used in this recipe. I personally do sometimes use milk or butter, simply because I like the flavour.
There is pepper in this recipe, as you can see in the name of the cookies. There are also other spices in there, which were shipped in from Asia by the Dutch trading ships and because of that fairly soon already common goods in The Netherlands, while they were still relatively unknown in other European countries.

Origin: The Netherlands

Difficulty: easy
Time: 30 minutes preparation, 1 night waiting, 20 minutes baking
Yield: about 50, depending on the size you make them


  • Oven
  • Kitchen machine


  • 125 grams sprouted flour
  • 125 grams sprouted rye flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 100 ml honey
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon aniseed
  • 100 ml water (I often use buttermilk as this prepares the flour better for digestion)
  • a bit of oil or ghee
  • Put all the spices in the kitchen machine and grind to a powder consistency. alternatively use all powder, though the flavour will be more rounded when using the whole spices and grinding them yourself.
  • Make sure honey is fluid, if need be warm it up a bit au bain marie.
  • Mix baking powder and flour, make sure there are no lumps in there.
  • Mix in the spices.
  • Mix in the honey and maple syrup
  • Add the water (or buttermilk) bit by bit, maybe you will need a bit less or a bit more than the 100 ml. Try to achieve a nice soft dough.
  • Put it in the fridge overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Rub a bit of oil or ghee on a baking tray, or use a silicon mat.
  • Make balls the size of a marble, or cut squares the size of marbles from the dough. Make sure the balls lay relatively close to each other, so that they rise up in stead of sideways.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, check after about 10 minutes how they are fairing. When you have made your balls small, they may need to go out after 10 minutes, when they are average it takes about 15 and big ones take about 20 minutes, use your nose and your eyes to check where they are.

Possible substitutions:
  1. butter - coconut, tallow, etc. depending on which flavour you can handle. In this case I would go for deodorised coconut oil if at all possible.
  2. sugar - honey, but then leave out the milk.
  3. sprouted flour - plain flour

Friday, 22 January 2016

St. Nicholas, 5 December

I am very late with writing this blog post, but better late than never.
We are educating our children at home in the Waldorf tradition. This is one of the reasons why we celebrate St. Nicholas in our home. As I am Dutch, this only adds to wanting to celebrate it. We celebrate it in a traditional way. 

I always decorate the Nature Table in the theme as you can see above. I have made several of the decorations myself with wool, felt and silk. I still have several others to make. I have the kits for it, but this is a slow process, due to priorities being as they are.

When we celebrate it we keep an eye on when the arrival of St. Nicholas is in The Netherlands. From then onwards I let the children put their shoe out to get a little gift in them, which is a nice pencil, bit of chocolate, some bees wax, a pretty gem stone, crafting yarn, wool roving or so.

On the last day of November when they put out their shoes they know that the advent calendar will be in there the next morning, I love giving the advent calendar on that day.

On the day itself we always have the traditional Dutch Pea Soup for dinner, this we eat together with sourdough rye bread. It is just the way I grew up, so I still do that. During the weeks before I have done my St. Nicholas baking, so I have made kruidnootjes, pepernoten, speculatius, filled speculatius, taaitaai, banketstaaf and such. These we have already had since I started baking, but I like to make sure that we have enough for the day itself.

In the evening we receive a letter from St. Nicholas. In this letter he explains that his helpers have put the gifts for all the family members in various places on our home and that the children can search for them. 
The gifts are useful gifts and things they really like. I always make sure that we stay in budget as I am of the opinion that it is all in good fun and should not cost a lot of money. 

The children love it when I read out the hints on where the gifts are and to go out a find them. We do this one by one so that everyone gets to see what everyone gets. Once all gifts have been unpacked we have hot chocolate with whipped cream and some of the baked goods. Usually we have some left overs of that for a couple of more days.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Knitting: Toe-up sock pattern

I have recently started writing out the way I make toe-up socks. I am not finished with it yet, as I need to check the lay-out, spelling and such. 
After I have finished with that all I will have to find a few test knitters to see whether I wrote it all out understandably. For me it is all clear cut and such as I knit them regularly, but for others it may not be so easy to follow. So test knitters are very useful. I will try to find some on Ravelry as there are test knitters groups there.

Once I am fully done with writing it all out I will put the pattern on Ravelry and post the link to my blog for all who are interested in this pattern. 

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Speculatius spice mix

As I do not live in The Netherlands any more it isn't easy for me to get hold of speculatius spice mix these days, fortunately it is very easy to make myself.
Usually at the end of November I make a preserving jar full of it. I tend to use a LOT of it in the month of December for my St. Nicolas and Yuletide baking. And just in case I do not finish it, I can continue making speculatius biscuits until it is all finished.

This is what it looks like.

Origin: Dutch

Difficulty: easy
Time: 10 minutes
Traditional, Primal, Paleo, Vegetarian, etc

  • preserving jar
  • measuring spoons

  • 5 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon clove
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 2 teaspoons white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon anisseed


  • All need to be powder, so in case you only have the whole part, pulverise it.
  • Put all in the preserving jar, stir, done!

St. Nicholas Kruidnootjes, spiced small biscuit balls

As I am Dutch I really like making traditional Dutch treats during the St. Nicholas time. These are one of them.

Origin: Dutch

Difficulty: easy
Yield: about 80 to 100 kruidnootjes
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Traditional, Vegetarian

  • kitchen machine or pastry cutter
  • baking tray
  • oven

  • 150 grams sprouted flour
  • 100 grams cold butter
  • 75 grams rapadura, sucanat, coconut sugar or maple sugar
  • 5 grams baking powder
  • 10 grams speculatius spicemix
  • milk

Things to do ahead:
  • several days ahead: sprout your grains and make the sprouted flour

  • Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  • Cut the butter in with a pastry cutter or do it in the kitchen machine
  • Knead to a ball while adding little by little some milk to make it a nice and somewhat firm biscuit dough.
  • Once you have a nice ball put it in a bowl, covered, in the refrigerator for at the minimum half an hour, but overnight is just fine as well. I prefer leaving it in overnight as it is easier to work with when it has stood around for a bit.
  • Preheat your oven to 170C / 325F / Gas3.
  • Put baking paper on your baking tray.
  • Make small balls out of your dough and put those on your baking tray. If they want to roll away, push them onto the baking paper a bit, so they stick. My children love helping with this. But do make sure that the small balls have a similar size, else you may have the problem that some will be nearly black and others not done yet by the time you want to get them out of the oven. If you end up with the situation that they are all different, check regularly how they are fairing and taking out the ones that are done and leave the rest in until they are cooked. It can be done, it is just more hassle, but sometimes totally worth it when the children help out :-)
  • Make sure you put the small balls a little away from each other as they still rise a bit.
  • Baking takes anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of your balls. 

Variety ideas:
  • Dip them partially or fully in some melted chocolate (chocolade kruidnootjes)
  • Dip them in melted white chocolate or any other chocolate you like and dust them with cocoa powder (truffel kruidnootjes)

Possible substitutions:
  1. butter - coconut, tallow, etc. depending on which flavour you can handle. In this case I would go for deodorised coconut oil if at all possible.
  2. sugar - honey, but then leave out the milk.
  3. sprouted flour - plain flour

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Our nature walk today Sunday 17 January 2016

As we home education in the Waldorf tradition we daily take a nature walk. Today it was really lovely to go into the woods behind our house. We always take our dog along as this nicely goes hand in hand with each other. The children enjoy the woods, the running and looking at nature and such. Our dog enjoys the running around and playing with other dogs and the children. 
Often the children bring something home for our nature table or for our garden.
Sometimes the dog brings something home as well, usually the odd branch or so.

It had been freezing last night and it was snowing during the night. This morning it was still snowing. This lasted until well past 10 am, which was really nice. Our walk was around noon and there was still quite a nice dusting of snow to be found all about. Unfortunately for the children and the dog it all thawed away during the afternoon.

Shocking news: HPV cover up

Today I received an email in which I read some shocking news.

The following is part of it:

Dr. Sin Hang Lee, MD, Director, Milford Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, has submitted an official, open-letter complaint to the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Margaret Chan, alleging gross misconduct, malfeasance and what potentially amounts to criminal behavior to mislead the global public regarding the safety of HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix.

Dr. Lee has submitted a lengthy letter detailing communications between health officials from the US, Canada, Japan, and the WHO, which demonstrate that these officials knew that HPV vaccines cause an inflammatory reaction greater than other vaccines, yet reassured the public in official hearings and statements that the vaccines were safe.

Specifically, certain chemicals contained in the HPV vaccines have been demonstrated to trigger the release of cytokines or proteins called tumor necrosis factors (TNF) in the body. TNF cytokines can cause cell death. The release of the TNF can also result in a wide range of reactions such as tumor regression, septic shock (serious whole-body inflammatory response that can result in dangerously low blood pressure and death), and cachexia (a wasting syndrome where the body loses weight, becomes fatigued, and muscles atrophy). Administration of TNF has been proven to cause death in humans and animals.

The chain of emails shows what appears to be a trail of attempts to conceal the truth, cover up the dangers, and generally mislead the public about what is and is not known about HPV vaccines and the dangers inherent to them.

The officials discuss how to respond to the safety concerns raised by legitimate scientific inquiry rather than ways to ascertain the true extent of the dangers uncovered in the independent research. Official statements deliberately mislead the public about what is known of the dangers of the contaminants discovered in the HPV vaccines as well as the bodily responses to these ingredients. Official statements appear to be a deliberate attempt to confuse the public into believing the safety concerns have been addressed in the peer-reviewed, published scientific literature when this is not the case.


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