Tabbouleh is a great recipe to start the year!  It’s great for those on a gluten free diet, or otherwise.  It just plain tastes yummy!  I prefer to set aside time to make it a day before eating it.

As with all things with stevia in them, it tastes better after sitting overnight.  If you want to avoid that, just use sugar instead of stevia in the dressing recipe. 🙂

This recipe serves 6-8 people, depending how hungry they are and what it’s paired with.  We usually have several salads for a salad meal – a green leafy salad, a tuna waldorf salad, and tabbouleh.


1c. quinoa
1/2 c. finely diced carrots
1/2 c. dried currants
1/2 c. sliced green onions
1/2 c. finely chopped parsley/cilantro, OR 3 Tbsp. dried parsley
2/3 c. sliced almonds, lightly toasted
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced or use a garlic press
1/16 tsp. stevia extract powder (or 1 tsp. sugar)
1/8 tsp. curry powder
1/8 tsp. cloves
¼ tsp sea salt

Cook 1 c. dried quinoa in 2 c. water for 10 minutes, until white ring appears around the grains. Drain. Let cool. Chop vegetables and put in a medium sized bowl. Add the cool quinoa.

Use a jar to combine all the dressing ingredients. Shake till well mixed. Pour over salad and toss everything. Let sit a few hours before eating. Tastes better the second day.

Enjoy! 🙂

And so it begins…

Last Import - 1 of 4 Happy New Year!

Hope everyone had a great holiday season!  I know I did.  New Year’s Eve we held an impromptu party and had fun getting to know people and playing word games…and eating. 🙂

For those of you new to the blog, let me introduce myself…

I am Jean Ottosen, a fibre artist working in the medium of traditional rug hooking.  I am a folk artist hooking with primarily silk and wool fibres on primitive linen backing.  I sell my work in shops and exhibit across North America.  I work out of my home studio located in beautiful Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

I blog to motivate myself to finish projects, and inspire myself to create new work.  I hope it inspires my readers too.  I look for inspiration around me and post photos to inspire others.  My motto is “Seek – Create – Inspire”.

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I also blog to share the daily life of an artist with my readers.

And, I blog about food, because what’s a good hook-in with friends without food?!  Recipes appear not only on this blog, but can be found indexed and linked on the page “Recipes”.

Since Christmas I have been busy working up plans for this new year. Things will change a bit on the blog. Well, really it’s more a formalizing of what I’ve already been doing. Here is some of what you’ll see…

  • a Monday post on my plans for the week,
  • recipe posted once a week,
  • inspirational photo(s) once a week,
  • WIPs (works in progress) not only in rug hooking, but also in other crafting areas,
  • a Friday post summarizing what was accomplished this week.
  • there will be no posts on Saturday and Sunday.

I hope you like the changes and, if there is anything you’d like to see on my blog, either leave a comment below or email me at

Thank-you for following my blog and “liking” my posts. 🙂

I’m ready ahead of time!

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Quiche Lorraine – “Joy of Cooking” 1975 edition. I use gluten-free pastry dough and make individual servings in muffin tins.

I managed to get everything on my Christmas list done yesterday.  I’m all set for Christmas now.  Just need to remember to take things out of the freezer ahead of time. 🙂

On today’s agenda?

  • press and hem Wascana Creek,
  • sew on a hanging sleeve,
  • label and price it.

Perhaps not all that today.  I also need to do laundry before company arrives tomorrow.

Have a great day everyone! 🙂


Ooops!  Looks like plans have been derailed.  Company coming for lunch and the afternoon today.  Wascana Creek will have to wait till after Christmas now. 🙂




Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Pumpkin Cheesecake cooling for the freezer.

My readers are going to think this blog has gone from a rug hooking blog to a foodie blog!  I promise I’ll only go foodie occasionally.  After all, what’s a hook in or day of hooking without a good treat or two?! Christmas and Easter are my real foodie times of year.  And Pumpkin Cheesecake is a favourite I don’t bake very often.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 1/4 c. gingersnap crumbs (Grind up gingersnaps in a food processor)
1/4 c. melted butter

Combine and press in bottom of 9″ springform pan.

2 pkgs. cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
14 oz. pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix till smooth.  Pour into pan on top of base and bake at 350 F for 50-60 minutes.  Leave pan in oven and don’t peek.  Cool 1 hour or more in oven, till at room temperature.  This took 3 hours in my oven.

If you open the door and subject the cheesecake to sudden temperature changes, it will crack.  Mine has cracked a bit, because I opened the oven door a couple times to check on it while it was cooling.  But they aren’t deep cracks.  So I’ll just cover them with whipped cream and no one will know the difference! 🙂

Black Bean Brownies

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My Black Bean Brownies is an Internet recipe from a board I was on years ago.  It’s now gone public, so I feel free to share with you…

Black Bean Brownies
Makes an 8″ x 8″ pan

15 1/2 oz. can black beans
3 eggs
3 tbsp. vegetable oil or applesauce
1/4 c. cocoa powder (I use Bernard Callebaut)
pinch salt
3/4 c. granulated white sugar
1 tsp. instant coffee powder
1/2 c. chocolate chips, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Put all ingredients but the chips in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into a lightly greased 8″ x 8″ pan.  Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.  Make sure the centre is no longer glossy.  This has a tendency to crack, but it still tastes good!  Cool thoroughly and sprinkle with icing sugar through a sieve.



In other news… 🙂

I have a sore throat.  There goes Christmas!  I do not have a good immune system.  It takes three to four weeks to get over a simple cold because it seems to have to go through bronchitis before it finishes. 🙁

Not happy.  I will have to change my plans today and not visit my elderly neighbor.  Probably won’t go carol singing tonight either.  Ugh! 🙁

I will however, stay in and try to finish up the business statement.  I might even get some rug hooking done.  🙂

Yesterday was productive.  We went Christmas shopping and finally realized the only place we could find what we wanted was online for an exorbitant price from L.L. Bean.  I ordered it anyway.  It was the only place we could find that sold pajamas tall enough and skinny enough to fit Hubby, and we’re not really sure they’ll fit.

I spent time in the afternoon working on a charity project.  Also had a brief nap.  Then I did some baking and cooking for Christmas.  I baked a pan of Black Bean Brownies and prepared a couple of Lasagnas for the freezer.

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The recipe is Classic Lasagna from Anne Lindsay’s “Lighthearted Everyday Cooking”.

Hope everyone has a great day!  I’ll be resting up, trying to get rid of this cold…

A slow day…

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It’s overcast and gray here.  Just waiting for snow to fall.  I’ve been online all morning…mostly doing some research.

I will be working on Wascana Creek this afternoon. 🙂

Time for another recipe I think!  This one originated on the Internet and I’ve modified it for a gluten free, sugar free, dairy free diet.  Well, almost…the semi-sweet chocolate chips have a bit of sugar and dairy in them. 🙂

Chocolate Cake-in-a-Mug (gf/df/sf and regular option)

4 Tbsp. gluten free flour mix – if not gf/df/sf, use regular flour
1/4 tsp. powdered stevia (NOW brand) – or 1 tsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. dark cocoa (I use Bernard Callebaut)
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
dash sea salt
1 beaten egg
3 Tbsp. almond milk – or regular milk
3 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce – or vegetable oil like canola
1 Tbsp. semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Mix dry ingredients in a 2 cup microwaveable bowl or large mug.  Mix wet ingredients together.  Add to dry and stir till completely mixed.  Add in chocolate chips and stir.  Bake on high in 1200 watt microwave for 3 minutes.

Serve plain, or with coconut whipped cream – just whip up the coconut solids in a can of full fat coconut milk with a bit of stevia and vanilla extract.


Alas and alack!

I did not achieve any rug hooking related activities today.

The chimney sweep came and told us not to build a fire bigger than the firebox in the fireplace.  It’s an old house with no liner in the chimney and a single layer of bricks between the flue and the walls!  He didn’t want us burning the house down.  He recommended a Fire Code inspection on it.  Oh dear!  That means no more fires in the fireplace.   Not only that, but some of the chimney needs re-pointing outside at the top…a job for next year.

Then the City sent the guys in to clean out our sewer line down to the main line.  They could only bore a 2″ hole to the main line.  Our 80+ year old cast iron sewer line is cracked in numerous places and filled with roots.  Sooo…looks like I’ll be overseeing workmen again.  Our side of the line certainly has to be replaced.  Not sure about theirs.  We have about 20 feet of the line on our property and another 20 feet on theirs before we connect to the sewer main.

Not a great news day, but what do you expect when you live in a house that was built in 1928?  Not every day is going to be rosy.  Hubby and I knew at some point the house, while well built, was going to need major money to fix it up.  These are small ticket items.  We are counting ourselves fortunate.

Me?  I decided to have some comfort food for supper tonight…homemade stir fry on brown and wild rice, with a chocolate quinoa porridge for dessert (it’s really more like pudding). 🙂

ETA: for those wanting the recipe. 🙂  Here it is…

Chocolate Quinoa Porridge
Serves 2 or 1 very hungry or depressed person!

1 c. water
1/4 c. sliced almonds
1-2 dried medjool dates, finely chopped
4 dried apricots, finely chopped
1/3 c. quinoa flakes
1/32 tsp. stevia powder (the small scoop that comes in the NOW brand) OR 1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder (I use Bernard Callebaut)
1 Tbsp. semi-sweet chocolate chips OR (if you’re sugar free) carob chips

Put fruit and nuts in 1 c. of water in a saucepan on the stove.  Bring to boil and simmer 5 minutes.  Add quinoa flakes, stevia, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips.  Cook for 90 seconds at a boil.  Porridge thickens as it cools.  Take off heat and stir occasionally until cool enough to eat.

If not sweet enough you can either use more stevia or more dates.

You can eat it straight up, or add an alternative dairy product if you’re lactose intolerant, or just plain milk if you aren’t.    Personally, I like it straight up. 🙂

This porridge can be made into a breakfast dish with almost any combination of dried and fresh fruits.  Just leave out the chocolate and chips, and add a bit of cinnamon and a chopped apple for a yummy breakfast.  Hubby likes it with raisins, cranberries and fresh chopped apple.  I’ve had it with dried mango.  Yummy!

Motoring on…


WIP “Prairie Sky – Altocumulus”

One more Prairie Sky wall hanging finished hooking!  Two more left to go.  Should be done this week. 🙂

More food prep for fall on my plate today.  Processing more beans. 🙂


Gluten-free flour mix

Gluten-free flour mix

Made more gluten-free flour mix to use as a 1:1 replacement with regular flour in recipes. My recipe is a take off of the recipe offered up in More from the Gluten-Free Gourmet by Bette Hagman.

Gluten-Free Flour Mix
9 cups

3 c. white rice flour
3 c. brown rice flour
2 c. potato starch
1 c. tapioca flour
3 tbsp. xanthan gum

Blend together and use as a flour replacement in any recipe calling for flour.


Curry Rub/Powder in the making.

Curry Rub/Powder in the making.

My other accomplishment last night was to make up a batch of gluten-free curry powder/rub from the Company’s Coming cookbook Christmas Gifts from the Kitchen.  I’d be breaking copyright laws to post it here, but it’s on page 54 if anyone is interested.  Take the book out of the library and check out the cool recipes!


Tackle it Tuesday

Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator Pickles

Made some refrigerator pickles yesterday.  I was given the recipe by a lady who lived out by one of our local community gardens.  We used to garden out there when the girls were young.

Refrigerator Pickles
1 gallon

6 c. sliced cucumbers, sliced
2 large onions, sliced
1 green or red pepper, chopped
4 c. white sugar
2 c. white vinegar (in my case I modify it to 1 3/4 c. vinegar and 1/4 c. water)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. tumeric
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. mustard seed

Chop and slice the vegetables and put in a gallon ice-cream bucket.  Combine the rest of the ingredients in a pot on the stove, stir, and bring to a boil.  Pour over the vegetables.  Cover and let sit in the fridge one week before eating.  Keep indefinitely. (ETA: We’ve never had them last long enough to go bad!)

Aside from the pickles, I also have another Prairie Sky wall hanging finished. 🙂

“Prairie Sky – Paisley”

Today I will be hooking another Prairie Sky wall hanging.

Finish up Friday

WIP "Prairie Sky - Altocumulus"

WIP “Prairie Sky – Altocumulus”

Finished another Prairie Sky – Altocumulus wall hanging yesterday.  Starting on a Cirrus one.  That will be half the backing complete by the end of today. 🙂

Spent time editing photos of wall hangings for a shop.  Just have to check and make sure I have enough oak dowels for hanging before taking them up to the shop.

Other than that, I have spearmint to dry today.  I finished drying this year’s crop of peppermint yesterday.  Between the two of them that should give me my mint tea for the year.

I dry my homegrown mint every year.  I grow my mint in pots on the back patio, to control its wandering nature.  I dry it on parchment paper on a cookie sheet in my oven at 200 C for 15 – 20 minutes, or until it’s dry and crumbly.

I love the smell of mint in the house!

Hope everyone is having a great day today! 🙂

Peppermint, ready for tea!

Peppermint, ready for tea!

Friday Finales

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies. Yum!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today was supposed to be my final day at the gym.  But I’m sick…with a cold…for the first time in over three years.   I used to get everything going around.  Then I found a naturopath who was able to help me build my immune system.  After her treatment (oil of oregano) I have not been sick till now.   I don’t like it.  I’m spending the day mostly in bed.

Or attaching hanging sleeves to wall hangings.  That did not happen yesterday.  We had some other issues to deal with yesterday that related to retirement planning for Hubby and immigration issues for a friend.  It was a busy day.

I baked some GF Chocolate Chip Cookies for stress relief.  ‘Nuf said.

Swedish Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 dozen large cookies or 3 dozen small cookies

1/3 – 1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 – 1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda dissolved in 2 Tbsp. hot water
1 1/2 c. flour or equivalent gluten free flour mix (I use the recipe from “More From the Gluten-Free Gourmet”)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. xantham gum (to make it all stick together.  Not necessary if using regular flour.)
3/4 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Cream the butter.  Add the sugars and cream.  Add egg and vanilla and beat till light.  Mix flour, salt and xantham gum together.  Add alternately with baking soda liquid to creamed mixture.  First one third of the flour mix, then one half of the soda mix, then one third of the flour, then the last half of the soda mix, then the last third of the flour.  Mix well.  Add chocolate chips and walnuts.

Drop by teaspoons or tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 F for 7-10 minutes for small cookies, and 10-12 minutes for larger cookies.  Cool on cookie sheet for five minutes before trying to remove onto cooling rack to finish cooling.  If you move them before they’ve cooled enough, they will crumble.  And if you wait too late, they will stick to the cookie sheet!

In My Studio …


Scarlet Runner Beans in flower.

It’s a busy time of year for outdoor things.  The patio garden is starting to produce.  I need to process and can some vegetables and fruits.  My freezer is still bursting from fruit from last year.  Last night I discovered a gallon of raspberries I didn’t know I had.

I was also going through old cookbooks to cull them, and found a recipe for Raspberry Vinegar, which I just happen to need as a salad dressing base for another recipe.  So I quickly thawed a gallon of raspberries, poured two cups of vinegar over them, and now am letting them set the required four days before straining, adding a cup of sugar per cup of vinegar liquid, and processing. 🙂

Also in the deep freeze are about 4 gallons each of crabapples and rhubarb, and a gallon of saskatoons (blueberry like berries, but not as sweet).  I am poised to embark on jam making.

However, none of that is in my studio!  In my studio I am trying to re-orient myself and catch up loose ends.

  • I want to sort through my projects and see where I’m at.  Line up an order to hook in,
  • I want to hook some poppy wall hangings,
  • I forgot to label Goldfish.  So that needs to be attended to,
  • I still need to work on my portfolio, which is sadly out of date,
  • I also need to add some work to my Etsy shop,
  • and I need to update my “For Sale” page here on my blog site.

I hope everyone has a great day!

patio-garden-2 patio-garden-3 patio-garden-1

Namul Recipes

IMG_2251I was up early Saturday morning and made some spinach namul and mushroom namul.  A namul is a Korean side dish.  A typical Korean meal will have a main dish, rice, and a bevy of these side dishes in small portions.

IMG_2252The recipe for the mushroom namul is from whats4eats.

The recipe for the spinach namul is from Maangchi.

Saturday was a busy day.  I spent it Christmas shopping in the morning.  Then working the church Gingerbread Nativity event.  It was a lot of fun!  Imagine 10-15 hyper-excited kids under the age of ten and you have a good picture of the scene!  🙂

I came home exhausted.  Had a nap…I seem to need those more these days.  Then wrapped presents and prepared gifts for mailing.  Figured out how much it will cost to mail the packages.  It is not cheap!  🙁

Hubby and I discussed Christmas.  He has a specific item he would like.  I have a specific item I would like.  We are each ordering our own present for under the tree! 🙂

Korean Recipes


Someone suggested I post some photos and recipes.  I have just made Korean Daanmooji to this point.  It is eaten like a pickle would be…a few on the side of any rice dish.  Or, if you are me, you just inhale them.  🙂

Korean Daanmooji (Radish Kimchi)

500 gm. yellow pickled radish (check your local Korean grocer)
1/4 c. chopped green onion
1 1/2 tbsp. Korean red pepper spice
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1/8 tsp. salt

Slice the radish fine (1/8″ thick).  Mix everything together.  Store in a glass container in the fridge.  Wait a day or two for it to settle flavour wise.  Then enjoy as an accompaniment to any meal with rice.  Or you can just snack on it.  One quarter cup has 40 calories. 🙂


Also finished the peanut butter cups.  Packaged a bunch up for presents already.  I use the recipe from Dining on a Dime by Tawra Jean Kellam.

Next up?  Spinach Namul and Mushroom Namul.


Wanna see kitchen photos?  Or are you sick of them yet?  These will be the last…I think… my kitchen at night. 🙂


We did manage to get everything in it in the end…we think.  We seem to have lost the wheat flour.  And I have yet to find a place for the sugar.  But those will be small bags for us, so not so big a problem to find space as a large bag would be.


I promise I will get back to posting about rug hooking soon.  I was up to one of the shops selling my wall hangings, ornaments, and cards and picked up a cheque.  Always nice to receive one of those! 🙂

I may have to clean up my sunroom studio to find a place to put a small Christmas tree this year.  Hubby and I agreed there will not be much under the tree.  Our Christmas present is the new kitchen. 🙂

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