Urban Jungle Bloggers #17
Spring is here! We had some incredible sunshine this week and the first cacti in the greenhouse had a growth spurt! The Euphorbia ingens succulent (no it's not a cactus!) in our kitchen is still in hibernation, so he let me dress him up for Easter without resistance ;)
For last year's Easter styling with Urban Jungle Bloggers, I created a nest and planted succulents and cacti in egg shells. Spring and Easter means eggs & nesting to me, which is very real here at home because we have a green woodpecker couple nesting in a tree outside. They are loud and squawk day and night. I call them terror birds.
Anyway, back to our Easter styling with plants. I realized I had this box with fluffy feathers that I collected as a 7-year-old. So I turned my Euphorbia into a bunch of Indians and Easter bunnies:
A feathery nest requires a fluffy nest-like plant, like this hairy cactus, a Cephalocereus senilis (a.k.a. Old Man Cactus hahaha):
My favorites as a 7-year-old girl were the polkadotted Guineafowl feathers, the small red Ara feather and the pink one... of course! This is the entire collection:
Fluffy and ready for Easter:
Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series hosted by 2 bloggers: Igor (Happy Interior Blog) and Judith (JOELIX.com). Every month we share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs and green tips & tricks. You can find additional inspiration on our Urban Jungle Bloggers Pinterest board and keep up-to-date via our Facebook page. Want to join? Find out how on our website and use #urbanjunglebloggers on twitter and instagram. Let's bring some green into our homes and blogs!
► Fore more Easter stylings with plants, check out the gallery!
Running with flowers
Life is busy around here. I constantly have the feeling that I'm running behind, my daily to-do-list is rarely ever entirely checked off at night, and I haven't felt that precious Inbox-Zero feeling in a long time. Besides dreaming of a roadtrip, my regular runs around the neighborhood keep me from going insane. And now that spring is here, I picked up some red blossom from the side of the road. People stared at me, because running with a few branches of flowers probably looks pretty strange. But it was worth it, I like how they match the red, pink and sunlight in our cinema room.
Below you can see the top of one of my little fig trees. Our cat Wally loves nibbling on the leaves (is it the typical fig smell? or the taste of the leaves?) and the lower leaves unfortunately look more like this. I think I'll have to move them to another cat-safe room, before he eats them all... But please: if you have any tricks for keeping cats from eating plants, I'm all ears!
Sugarfree lemon meringue pie
When life gives you lemons... or when a styling project leaves you with a basket of lemons: make lemon pie! That exactly what I did when I didn't really know what to do with the lemons I used in the IKEA Go Green photoshoot. There's only so much lemon water that you can drink in a day, right?
Ever since I had this Saturday job as a teenager at a meringue factory (yes they exist!), I haven't eaten a single meringue. But a sugarfree option sounded like a fun challenge. This is my very first lemon meringue pie and because I had lots of fun making it (and instagramming about it) and it turned out pretty good, I wanted to share my recipe. I can tell: the filling is very delicious!
First, start with a simple pie crust. I went straight to The Lemony Goodness and rushed the pie crust and that was not a good idea. It's not as tasty as it should be. I simply mixed flour, butter, 1 egg and some sucralose and baked it for 25 minutes on 175°C. But you can make it as fancy as you like.
Oh and by the way I love using my Rosti Mepal Margrethe bowls. These melamine bowls were a kitchen staple in my mom's kitchen, but my husband, the chef at home, only uses professional stainless steel bowls and I cannot get used to them. Now that I'm baking sugarfree treats more often, I wanted my own mixing bowls with their clever anti-slip ring. In bright & beautiful colors of course!
My bakerella sister offered me a set for Christmas and Rosti Mepal sent me their new tower set in retro colors. I love the sturdy melamine and the clean & practical Danish design. To me it's obvious why these bowls celebrated their 60th birthday last year ;)
Now let's get on with The Lemony Goodness filling:
► 12 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
► 2 cups of water
► 1/3 of a cup of lemon juice
► 3 egg yolks
► 3 tablespoons of butter
► 1 1/4 cup of agave syrup
Mix the agave syrup and flour together and warm it au-bain-marie. Add the two cups of water. Combine egg yolks with lemon juice and beat until well mixed. Add this to the rest of the agave mixture. Cook over boiling water au-bain-marie until it thickens (it took me about 20 minutes). Add the butter and pour mixture into the pie crust, and let it all cool.
The "Meringue" topping:
► 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
► 2 tablespoons of cold water
► 1/2 cup of boiling water
► 3 egg whites (I used the ones left over from The Lemony Goodness)
► 6 Tablespoons of agave syrup
► 1 pinch of salt
Mix together the flour and cold water in a saucepan. Add boiling water, and cook, stirring until clear and thickened. Let your mixture sit until it's cold. Now wbeat the egg whites until foamy and gradually add the agave syrup and beat until stiff and add the pinch of salt. Gradually beat in the completely cold flour mixture. Spread meringue over cooled pie filling and then bake the whole thing at 175°C for 10 minutes (or until the top is lightly browned). Decorate with some slices of lemon.
A set of 3 bowls was sent to me by Mepal Rosti (they also carry durable tableware (servies in Dutch), but all photos and opinions are my own. Merci Rosti Mepal!
Recipe freely inspired by Easy Sugar Free Recipes.
A little spring party!
What a week! I hope yours was just as fun as mine although maybe slightly less chaotic? Thank you everyone for the super kind messages, tweets, DMs, emails about the new green Go Green campaign that we as Urban Jungle Bloggers launched with IKEA. Read all about it here.
The other day the weather was so extremely nice that I sneaked outside and hung the IKEA solar-powered LED lights in the tree in the garden. It looked like a party. That's exactly what I'm ready for! While you read this, there will be a film crew at our home for more fun. Let's hope it will go as smoothly as possible and that we can pop some champagne afterwards ;)
Oh and I shot a mini-video from our greenhouse. It's wobbly, but Nick approved it, so here it is:
Go Green with IKEA
I'm super excited to share today's post about a cool collaboration between the Urban Jungle Bloggers and IKEA Germany! Igor and I teamed up with IKEA Germany for their new outdoor campaign and we want to encourage you to go green together with us. We both styled some pieces of the new outdoor collection in our homes to inspire you. So let's go!
Our greenhouse is where I grow palm trees or propagate succulents and basically: just get my hands dirty! But it's spacious too, around 80m², so why not create an indoor jungle where we can also relax, hang out with family and friends, and drink fresh lemon juice, until it's warm enough to go outside? Let me take you on a little tour through my jungle:
To create a tropical green indoor jungle feeling, I gathered all my 120 potted plants from around the house (this is what that looked like!) and installed this clever vertical garden construction called Socker. It holds all my small planters and creates a green curtain in front of the window. I can't wait to add more hanging and climbing plants, like Ivy and Donkey's Tail and make the plant pots and structure disappear.
This would work also really well on a balcony: you can place the plant stand in a corner, fill it with as many plant pots as you like and save some precious floor space. It holds plant pots with different dimensions too as you can bend the metal rings to keep smaller pots in place.
Below, on the left, you see one of my souvenirs from Corsica: a fern that I dug out at a hilltop near the mountain peaks of Bavella. It grows at the darkest spot in the greenhouse, under one of the bigger plants and survived 4 winters so far. On the right is my toolbox, a reclaimed drawer from one of the offices in our building:
These boots are made for... working in the greenhouse!
One of the things I really like from the new IKEA outdoor collection, are the packages of seeds. No lush pictures of perfect veggies and herbs, but simple graphics that you understand without the need for words:
Besides the large table where I can sit down with friends, I also wanted a little seat just for me, on the other side of the (empty) indoor pond:
Another travel souvenir are these fishing floats that we picked up from the beaches in Galicia. It's also my statement necklace ;)
shadow & sun!