The Planting of the Apple Tree

Posted by Nina on Aug 28, 2010



Come, let us plant the apple-tree. Cleave the tough greensward with the spade; Wide let its hollow bed be made; There gently lay the roots, and there

Sift the dark mould with kindly care, And press it o’er them tenderly, As round the sleeping infant’s feet We softly fold the cradle sheet; So plant we the apple-tree.

What plant we in this apple-tree?
Buds, which the breath of summer days
Shall lengthen into leafy sprays;
Boughs where the thrush, with crimson breast,
Shall haunt, and sing, and hide her nest;
We plant, upon the sunny lea,
A shadow for the noontide hour,
A shelter from the summer shower,
When we plant the apple-tree.

What plant we in this apple-tree?
Sweets for a hundred flowery springs,
To load the May wind’s restless wings,
When, from the orchard row, he pours
Its fragrance through our open doors;
A world of blossoms for the bee,
Flowers for the sick girl’s silent room,
For the glad infant sprigs of bloom,
We plant with the apple-tree.

What plant we in this apple-tree?
Fruits that shall swell in sunny June,
And redden in the August noon,
And drop, when gentle airs come by,
That fan the blue September sky,
While children come, with cries of glee,
And seek them where the fragrant grass
Betrays their bed to those who pass,
At the foot of the apple-tree.

And when, above this apple-tree,
The winter stars are quivering bright,
The winds go howling through the night,
Girls, whose eyes o’erflow with mirth,
Shall peel its fruit by cottage hearth,
And guests in prouder homes shall see,
Heaped with the grape of Cintra’s vine,
And golden orange of the line,
The fruit of the apple-tree.

The fruitage of this apple-tree,
Winds and our flag of stripe and star
Shall bear to coasts that lie afar,
Where men shall wonder at the view,
And ask in what fair groves they grew;
And sojourners beyond the sea
Shall think of childhood’s careless day,
And long, long hours of summer play,
In the shade of the apple-tree.

Each year shall give this apple-tree
A broader flush of roseate bloom,
A deeper maze of verdurous gloom,
And loosen, when the frost-clouds lower,
The crisp brown leaves in thicker shower.
The years shall come and pass, but we
Shall hear no longer, where we lie,
The summer’s songs, the autumn’s sigh,
In the boughs of the apple-tree.

And time shall waste this apple-tree.
Oh, when its aged branches throw
Thin shadows on the ground below,
Shall fraud and force and iron will
Oppress the weak and helpless still!
What shall the tasks of mercy be,
Amid the toils, the strifes, the tears
Of those who live when length of years
Is wasting this apple-tree?

“Who planted this old apple-tree?”
The children of that distant day
Thus to some aged man shall say;
And, gazing on its mossy stem,
The gray-haired man shall answer them:
“A poet of the land was he,
Born in the rude but good old times;
‘Tis said he made some quaint old rhymes
On planting the apple-tree.”


“The Planting of the Apple-Tree” has become a favourite for “Arbour
Day” exercises. The planting of trees as against their destruction is a
vital point in our political and national welfare. William Cullen
Bryant (1794-1878).

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500 Vegan Recipes: Seitan en Croute

Posted by Nina on Nov 8, 2009


What could be more delicious than a seitan loaf? A seitan loaf encased in flaky, buttery, pastry, that’s what! Don’t be surprised if this month is largely dedicated to 500 Vegan Recipes! It’s one of my newest cookbooks and I really can’t put it down! Let me start by telling you that this is the best seitan recipe I have ever tasted! Yes, ever!

Celine told me that this is one of Joni’s recipes and she was kind enough to share the recipe on her blog! So, what does that mean? It means that YOU can try this recipe before you buy the book! and I am pretty sure, if you try this recipe, you WILL buy the book! Yes, it’s that good!

Quote from Joni’s Blog

The Recipe:

2 cups (288 g) vital wheat gluten flour
1 cup (120 g) whole wheat flour
1/4 cup (30 g) nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup (235 ml) beef flavored vegetable broth (or plain veggie broth)
1/2 cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (60 ml) soy sauce or tamari
3 tablespoons (50 g) tomato paste
1 tablespoon (45 g) prepared stone ground mustard
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
2 sheets vegan frozen puff pastry

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4).
Have ready a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat such as Silpat.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together, gluten flour, wheat flour, nutritional yeast, parsley, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper.
In a separate bowl, mix together broth, oil, soy sauce, tomato paste, mustard, and liquid smoke.
Add wet to dry and knead together until well incorporated and until moist dough forms.
Let rest 20 minutes.
Thaw puff pastry according to package instructions.
Form into a loaf (similar to a meat loaf shape) and place in the center of the baking sheet.
Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Increase the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5).
Cover the loaf entirely with one of the pastry sheets, tucking the edges underneath the loaf.
Slice the other sheet into 10 even strips for weaving. Weave the strips, on the diagonal across the top of the loaf. Tuck loose ends under the loaf.
Sprinkle a little paprika and parsley on top for color.
Return to the oven and bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until pastry is fluffy and golden brown.

Yield: 1 loaf (about 8 servings)

Go take a peek at her blog, her photos are much better than mine!

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500 Vegan Recipes: Morning Fuel

Posted by Nina on Nov 6, 2009


It’s no secret I have been struggling with energy for a while now. Dieting seems to suck the energy right out of me and no matter how healthy I eat and how much I exercise it never seemed to come back to me… until now!

No, I am not talking about diet supplements, I am not talking about herbal energy pills.. I am talking about this kick ass recipe from 500 Vegan Recipes. It takes me all about 1 minute to make in the morning and it is just delicious! All you need is a hand full of ingredients and a blender. As a Vegan, I can pretty much assure you that you do have all these ingredients on hand and everything is fresh and amazing.

It makes a decent sized mug full of ‘fuel’ and comes out to a light pudding consistency or more of a smoothie/frostie blend if you freeze some of your ingredients first. You can lighten the calorie count by using light/reduced fat ingredients.

It has some protein, some fruit, and chocolate. Seriously, why wouldn’t you try this?! It keeps me full for at least 4 hours… even Slimfast couldn’t do that! and the energy doesn’t burn off or crash like energy drinks will. This is going to be my daily breakfast for a long while I think! It’s seriously that amazing!!!

I have made 2 recipes from this book (see next blog post 😉 ) and it is just kick ass! The only thing I can find to complain about (and it’s hard!) is the lack of photos, BUT, I’m not bothered by that since the authors have made a very public flickr stream where you can see not only them but real people posting images from the recipes of this book. Go look if you are a visual learner! I wouldn’t take down a star or even half a star for lack of photos because its amazing. Every recipe looks delicious!

Go now, and buy this book!

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Vegan Pad Thai

Posted by Nina on Sep 23, 2009

I’m still singing the praises of Vegan Planet. I am not kidding when I tell you that I turn to this book all the time for dinner recipes because it is that awesome! I wanted some pad thai but didn’t want to go out and order it somewhere and have it dripping in fat and oils.. so I turned to Vegan Planet and found this amazing recipe! It has all the flavors of the take out stuff with a lot less fat and a ton more flavor! It was ridiculously easy to make and soooooo good to eat. When I say that Vegan Planet is a book everyone should have on their bookshelves, I truly mean it!!

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Vegan Planet: Tuscan White Bean Soup

Posted by Nina on Jun 18, 2009

I think Vegan Planet might just be the cookbook of the century for awesome food. I made this delicious Tuscan white bean soup. It’s got a rich tomato base, pasta, and beans! win!! win!! win!! Most of all every recipe I have tried has been filling with generous portion sizes and very weight watcher’s friendly.

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Vegan Planet: Ultimate Shepherd’s Pie

Posted by Nina on Jun 8, 2009

I’m often asked “how can you stand to give up meat since it adds so much flavor to food rather than just life on rabbit food?” and the truth is.. I never eat bland, boring food. Vegetarian living is much more than just salads and tofu. You can make every recipe vegetarian if not vegan, you just need to know a few basics and tweak the recipe to taste and viola! you have a fantastic animal friendly recipe.

The newest addition to my home has been Vegan Planet. Words cannot even begin to express how much I love this book. I have now made 4 or 5 recipes and all were absolutely fantastic. I was blown away by how easy, healthy, and amazing these recipes were. I am super calorie/fat conscious and these recipes fall within my dinner guidelines and all were satisfying. I never left the table hungry nor was I starving just an hour or two later. Portions are decently sized, the food is sooooo delicious, and I never made a single thing so far that I wouldn’t serve to a meat eater in fear that they would choke and snub the dish. I’d proudly serve each and every single dish.. in fact, I plan to.

The most recent for me was the Ultimate Shepherd’s Pie. I used my own recipe for the mashed potatoes and added only a single green pepper and then just prepared the recipe as is. AMAZING. My recipe ended up bing 418 calories, 11g of fat, 17g of fiber, and 16g of protein per serving. I was thrilled when I ran to Robin’s website and found that she listed the recipe!! so I can share it with you!

Ultimate Shepherd’s Pie

Since leftover mashed potatoes are often the inspiration for making a Shepherd’s Pie, I thought that the ultimate version should feature filling ingredients that are readily available and easy to use — hence the use of veggie burgers. Simply thaw them long enough so that you can chop them and they work like a charm, adding great taste and texture, enhanced by the ground walnuts. If you prefer, chopped seitan or tempeh may be used instead of the veggie burgers, just be sure to sauté them first in a little olive oil. Use the extra-rich “Mashed Potatoes and Company” on page 204, or your favorite mashed potato recipe.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 4 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup Basic Vegetable Stock (page 000)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh marjoram or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 3 vegetarian burgers, thawed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup ground walnuts
  • 3 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot. Cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook 3 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

2. Stir in the tomato paste, tamari, vegetable stock, thyme, marjoram, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and simmer to thicken slightly, about 1 minute.

3. Spoon the filling mixture into a lightly oiled 2-quart baking dish. Stir in the chopped burgers, the peas, and the walnuts. Taste to adjust seasonings.

4. Spread the mashed potatoes over top. Sprinkle with paprika and drizzle with the remaining oil. Bake until hot and bubbly and the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Serves 4

If you only own one Vegetarian/Vegan cookbook.. this one should be the one.

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Grilled Uncheese Lunch

Posted by Nina on Jun 4, 2009

This was a wonderful lunch! I’ve had the Uncheese book for awhile but I have never made anything from it.. but this sounded too good to be true! It was fantastic! I can’t wait to try more.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich from the Uncheese book & blueberry tea.

WW: 2pts!

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and so the fandom continues..

Posted by Nina on Mar 25, 2009

I am sure you all have noticed that my knitting has had a pretty reoccurring theme these last few months… revolving mainly around Twilight movie knitting.. well it’s ever on-going. It’s not just some random fan girl type stuff, its more like.. I watch all these movies and tv shows and see all of these awesome knitted things and I want to make them… Twilight, like the Harry Potter films, was chocked full of them… so I have seen a ton of things in the film that I really must add to my project list. Currently on my needles and soon to be finished is the Rosalie scarf… I am a lot further along than this image shows.. so I should have completed photos soon! 🙂

On to other news, what many of you might not know is there is a book in the works for Twilight inspired knits! It’s already in the development phases and I worked a little bit with a pattern author on a crochet portion of the Cullen blanket. Without describing any of the projects in detail, most of them are beginner friendly… any seasoned knitter will enjoy the book but I haven’t seen anything I would call challenging for my knitting level which saddens me a little 🙁 That being said, I am sort of required to mention that I’m not personally affiliated with the book or any of the designs, nor am I a test knitter, I am more of a consultant… or advice giver. Anyway, without further rambling, here’s an example of the crochet joins for the Cullen blanket 😉 I won’t tell you what the author chose or asked for.. you’ll have to wait for the book to see!

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SPOILER! Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows

Posted by Nina on Sep 25, 2007

I have to say.. though I enjoyed the book, I was very disappointed. I know lots of people who loved the book, some even think its the best of the series.. I on the other hand think its the worst of the series and feel let down and just…. well lets just say I read ahead of the HP:RA in all of the books — except this one. This one took me from July – September to finish because I just was NOT into the book at all.

If you haven’t read the book yet — WTF! What kind of HP fan are you!!?? — I am putting my thoughts (spoilers) behind the cut.

1. Dumbledore
She spends 6 books making this man into an amazingly influential, a hero if you will.. and the only one Harry pretty much sees as a father and then she spends the entire 7th book making him look ‘less himself’ and it just doesn’t work well for me. It felt disconnected for me and it just wasn’t…… Dumbledore. At least not as I had grown to know and love him. It was like she spent the whole book breaking him down to human and then in the end tried to build him back up in a few pages it was just… not working.

2. Snape
I always believed Snape would turn out to be a good guy because I believed in Dumbledore THAT much. I could see the Snape & Lily love connection in the 5th book when Harry saw into his memory of his mother protecting him against his father.. <– KNEW that was coming. His death was kind of lame… killed by Nagini at Voldemorts orders thinking he could win over the Elder wand…

3. Voldemort
He died because Harry used the EXPELLIARMUS! — need I say more?

4. Deaths
Almost all of the deaths in the previous 6 books have all been meaningful.. all of the deaths in this book were lame and useless. It’s pretty much like ‘everyone dies–the end.’ L-A-M-E. I had high hopes for Snape & Voldemorts deaths… and I felt almost robbed by how they died. I didn’t even find any of the deaths ‘interesting’……………. pretty much all of them died in cross-fire or back fired spells… and that includes Voldemort.

5. Hermione & Ron’s Love Scene
WTF.. ONE kiss that kind of sucked was all they got?? Well, we know they end up with Rose & Hugo so we know their love scene happened somewhere else but.. I would liked to have seen MORE of their relationship than just the implied one…

6. 19 Years Later
What the hell happened to George or all the other Weasleys? What did Harry do the day AFTER the battle? What was it like when he finally reunited with Ginny? What happened with Luna Lovegood?? or anyone else for that matter?? What the hell kind of ending is that?!!?

I dunno.. like I said, I am just over all disappointed. I know some of you really enjoyed it.. I wish I had enjoyed it as much as I hoped I would 🙁

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows leaked to BitTorrent

Posted by Nina on Jul 17, 2007


The final book in the Harry Potter series has been leaked to BitTorrent. A torrent with photographs of each page of the American edition of “Deathly Hallows” has shown up on multiple BitTorrent sites.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

We first got wind of this when two torrents of the book appeared on They became immensely popular with over a 1000 leechers and seeders each. But after some time were removed by either the uploader, or more likely, the moderators, in a move to avoid the attention of bloodthirsty publishers.

Not surprisingly, both those torrents spread over to mininova and several other sites and are still going strong (update: mininova removed the torrents). One of the torrents only has the first 495 pages of the book, whereas the second is the complete book.

Over the past couple of weeks, numerous torrents have surfaced online claiming to be the 7th and last Harry Potter book. They are all fakes. Fan fiction. This one, on the other hand, is the real thing. Someone has managed to get their hands on the American edition of the book and has photographed each page of the book and uploaded it to BitTorrent.

The main complaint that’s coming up in comment threads on these sites is that the quality isn’t great. You can just barely manage to read each page. And as some downloaders promptly noted, a few pages cannot be read at all without editing the images in Photoshop.

Die-hard fans of the series will undoubtedly rush to grab a copy of the torrent for themselves. But anybody else would really have to see whether reading the book a week before the rest of the world is worth risking their eyesight and brains, squinting to make out what happens when Harry confronts He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named for the last time.

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