Monday, March 3, 2014

creating
















we've been busy creating: food, art, clothing, moments and memories.

gianna and i made lasagnas together. fun and messy. we also made crackers. they were great except for her very liberal application of seeds and lots of salt. they're pretty much inedible, they're SO SALTY!

i'm got interested in making sourdough bread and discovered that the bakery at my local grocery store will give you some of their sourdough starter for free if you ask for it. once i got it i started feeding it flour and water, just like the recipe said to do, and wow did it take off! i need to feed it for a couple more days and then i can use some to bake my first loaf.

we rearranged the dining room and turned the spare room into more of a play room. it feels so nice to have less clutter in the dining room. New chairs make it even better!

i have finished the birthday strawberry shirt/dress and am halfway through the strawberry pants. i'm thinking about making some strawberry shorts too. why not?

and in case you're wondering, here's the recipe for the cocktail pictured above. i've been varying it by using different frozen berries. i can't wait to try it when there are fresh berries!

since i posted my ramen recipe i have a made a few changes to it, mainly just cooking almost everything separately and then combining it together at the last minute. the change was based on this article about the best way to recreate amazing ramen noodle bowls at home. i didn't try making this exact recipe, but i thought the idea of cooking everything separately made sense, and it really tastes better. everything tastes fresher. i've also been only adding miso paste to the broth, and omitting the sherry and soy sauce. maybe i'm longing for spring and lighter flavors. i don't know, but it tastes right right now. i also found this ramen recipe in my inbox from amazing illustrator heather ross. it seems sort of labor intensive, (i.e. not based on using leftover meat like i do) but i bet it is fantastic!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

valentine











we had a lovely valentine's day here. it has always been a mellow holiday for us (no big jewelry gifts) just having fun with small expressions of love and good food, of course :)

my mom came over earlier in the week and made the valentine garland with gianna. i had gotten gianna's dress in a bag of hand-me-downs and it had a huge hole it in. so i took some strawberry scrap fabric, patched it up and turned it into a beloved valentine dress. she declared that she is going to wear it "every valentine's day!"

i had fun planning a special dinner, complete with a chocolate cake frosted with cream cheese frosting. it really is the best. i picked up a box of classic conversation heart candies which gianna enjoyed decorating with (and eating - yuck!). for dinner i made mustard stout marinated pork chops, brown butter orzo, roasted acorn squash, and caesar salad. the pork chops were really good, although next time i'm going to pan-sear and then roast them instead of broiling them. there was so much smoke it was like the house was on fire! it wasn't the best atmosphere to dine in, but the food was good enough to make up for it. i was a bit late getting dinner on the table, which combined with hungry kids means i didn't get any pictures taken. i think i may have posted one on instagram though. vincent brought me a sweet card, a gorgeous bouquet, a chocolate bar and a bottle of lambic. he knows me well.

today is a rainy saturday. swim classes in the morning and pizza for dinner. i'm looking forward to drinking my lambic and having craft night in the basement after the kiddos are asleep. gianna's birthday dress still has a long way to go before it is ready to wear...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

snowy days







i'm so glad i picked up this pastry thursday morning. i had no idea it would be my last stop for the next few days!


















it's good to keep the home-brew warm & snug in a blanket, especially when it was brewed just for me!

the last time we had snow like this i was pregnant with gianna. usually we get less than an inch of snow and the whole city panics. it started snowing last thursday and i really didn't worry about it too much. i figured it would all be gone by saturday morning. wow was i wrong! it's tuesday today and the schools are finally back open and i drove my car for the first time since thursday. 

it was beautiful and fun to have something new and different going on. however, because we don't get snow very often, and we aren't skiers, we don't really have any snow gear, so it meant that we spent a whole lot of time inside. we took some chilly walks and gianna did a bit of inner tubing, but mainly we were inside. it's hard for a newly walking toddler to navigate grass, let alone snow! 

earlier in the week i'd made some yogurt, but i thickened it with gelatin which made it too thick, so i put a bunch of it into a blackberry coffee cake. i was really thankful that we have a giant freezer filled with bread and meat, and that i had just picked up our weekly produce and egg box the day before the snow. yes, we ran out of milk, but otherwise we ate quite well despite not going to the store at all.

saturday afternoon gianna and i went next door and had tea with our neighbor. what a nice change of pace it was. it is amazing how small the house can feel when you've been in it non-stop with two energetic kids. 

we made valentine's, put together a puppet theater out of a cardboard box, and played and played and played. so many toys everywhere! by sunday the weather had shifted from snow to freezing rain, so then the snow had a 1/4" thick layer of ice on it. it warmed up sunday night, but not enough to melt all of the snow. there is still no out there now, but it is raining so hopefully it will all wash away by the weekend. i had hopes of spending the whole snowy weekend sitting by the fire knitting, but that was just a fantasy! i did sit by the fire but usually with a child, not knitting, in my lap, which is just fine with me. 



Monday, February 3, 2014

snapshots from the weekend








i have started sewing the birthday dress! her birthday is two months and one day away. i feel pretty good that i've already cut it out and started sewing it. especially since she wants a full outfit for her doll too. i love this strawberry print by heather ross. i love all of her fabric designs. i bought a stack of fat quarters from her latest collection, Briar Rose, last summer. i still haven't done anything with those fat quarters, but i think about what kind of quilt i'm going to make at least twice a week. i made baby quilts for both of my babies, but that's all i've done when it comes to quilting. i don't think i need to make anything complicated, in fact i think simple will be better. i'm trying to decide between making a quilt for gianna's bed or a quilt for all of us to use in the backyard. hmm, i think the backyard quilt might need to be made out of something less precious than this gorgeous fabric. maybe i'll make this one. sorry my sewing photos are so dark. my studio is in the basement.

something i am hoping to attend, some time in the future, is a workshop/retreat with heather ross. i'm hoping she does one next winter in palm springs. wouldn't that be fantastic? the thought of it as a possibly keeps me from going totally crazy, being cooped up with little kids all the time. she also has mother/daughter workshops that look really wonderful. maybe someday i will take gianna to one. i hope she is still hosting them when gianna is old enough to attend.

we had a mellow weekend with simple food and family time. gianna and i went to a bee festival where we rolled beeswax candles, enjoyed some live music, and took a tour of a charming school. i made a kale/bean/sausage soup that was really good, and i made popovers for the first time. they were really good, although i think they would have been better if i'd baked them in a popover pan, not a muffin tin.

dean is walking all over the house and is starting to join his sister in terrorizing our cat. he is also waving, clapping, and saying a few words. i'm hoping that now he has achieved all of these latest developmental milestones maybe he will begin sleeping better.

last night i got to sit and knit in front of the fire. i'm making a hot water bottle cover for anna. it's a belated birthday gift. hopefully i'll finish it before winter is over...