A piece a Week… NYE treats, a warm bulky knit hat and a Custom Draft Snake filled with Pinto Beans!

In continuation of ‘A piece a week’ from last year I am taking the challenge to projects that I am working on to expand my knowledge of making. So with my craft room fully organized this year I plan to make clothes from the fabric in my stash and see what I can create and of course, learn!
I made some delicious treats for NYE for our neighborly celebration. For dessert this is a riff on Chocolate Crackles made with a mysterious ingredient I cannot find here called Copha. So I looked through Super Natural Cooking and made these from the Peanut Butter Krispy Treats recipe. This is using Almond Butter and Cacao Rice Puffs and they are amazing!!

Cacao Rice Crackles

3/4 cup almond butter
1/2 cup maple syrup (the cacao puffs are super sweet)
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 1/2 teaspoons agar flakes
3 cups Cacao Rice Puffs
Combine almond butter, maple syrup, sale and agar flakes in a large saucepan over LOW heat and stir constantly until smooth, hot, melted and bubbling just a little BIT. Add the cacao rice puffs and stir until well coated. Transfer to individual baking cups using a tablespoon or more to fill. Refrigerate until completely cool, then enjoy! 
Makes around 30
Super tasty cacao crackles!
As the dinner was a eat what you like from the table type meal I made a broccoli cous cous with a harissa dressing which went down a treat. This was inspired by this recipe.
Broccolli Cous cous with the Harissa dressing on top – mix it through and it is perfect with smoked salmon and salad
The spread of tasty morsels on the table including a babaganoush dip, cheeses, olives for snacks
How can I forget the cocktails – this mint inspired vodka cocktail is from a recipe I found on Food and Wine making the base sugar syrup with the herbs and adding extra vodka and lemon pieces when serving – refreshing and you can drink a fair amount and be very happy! 
Vodka lemon mint cocktail
The kids were enjoying the time by the fire and eating popcorn with nutritional yeast and watching Elf – I have to thank my friends for recommending it as the best holiday film ever! The kids all loved it very much 😀
Super warm
Popcorn with nutritional yeast – oh so good!!
The night was complete success with our neighbors leaving around 9:30 very happy and ready to get their kiddos into bed though our pair were so keen to stay up until midnight so lucky for us we had some holiday films to get through with Santa Paws and cat videos on YouTube!
Happy New Year to all!!
We had a busy New Years day with catching up with friends for brunch, lunch and dinner and in between a bike ride to Shoreline. A wonderful start to 2015!
As it was the last weekend before school was back into the swing of things we decided to go for a drive to Elkhorn Slough to check out some wildlife – sea otters, birds and whatever else we might find. We went prepared after our chilling hike last week and the weather turned out to be absolutely stunning with sunshine and warmth. Such a perfect day for a walk in a very peaceful part of the world. We spotted a sea otter cleaning himself through this super scope and borrowed binoculars from the visitor center who were full of information. 

Checking out the sea otter!

Hang on and don’t fall in the mud

Selfie with a background sign

Sea otter skeleton at the visitor center

After our walk of about 4 miles we were pretty hungry and decided we wanted to check out Phil’s Fish Market. Man we waited and waited in line for maybe one hour and we were just about to faint when there was the cashier! Thank goodness we ordered and sat down outside with the aggressive seagulls and our food was with us in about 15 minutes. We ordered sardines with a lemon and caper sauce, a salmon burger, chowder in a bread bowl and the kids had fish and chips and squid and chips. What a feast – there was no dinner for us when we got home! I would say this place is well worth the wait and judging by the line even when we left it does not matter what time you get there, this place is very popular. According to the guy we were chatting to in the line Phil’s has been in Moss Landing for over 20 years and has always been excellent. Oh and keep a lookout for the black cat near the boat.

The freshest fish in Moss Landing

Entertainment with the fisherman

 I knit a bulky hat for our walk as last time we were hiking it was super cold – this time I did not necessarily need this as it was warm and sunny but I could not take it off because of hat hair! This hat is super comfy and warm and made from a hand spun merino my friend gave me from Australia – I love it! Super easy to knit up and fast as well.

With Mr Ash who enjoys Selfies!
Our farewell to Moss Landing

 A friend of mine at school ordered a custom snake at the holiday boutique and wanted it as a draft stopper so I filled it with a pound of pinto beans in between the stuffing! Here it is ready to go to it’s new home!

‘Drafts be gone!’

Oh and how can I forget our last day of the holidays and a ride to Shoreline again – 8 miles with the kiddos going at their pace still worked my legs! We stopped for a ice cream and sweets and headed back home in the cool evening air. We found this friendly ground squirrel wanting a snack!

Hanging at Ground Squirrel HeadQuarters at Shoreline

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