Monthly Archives: March 2010

When It Works

I’m not even sure how to begin describing the bliss of the past 48 hours. To say I had a ‘good’ weekend doesn’t quite capture it—but I also wouldn’t use the word ‘perfect,’ since it’s not really about perfection. ‘Productive’ isn’t right because it implies discipline, whereas I enjoyed every little ounce of the past two days, doing exactly what I felt like doing every step of the way.

That being said, I accomplished a lot—too much, in fact, for a single post. So I won’t be sharing the highlight of the weekend for a couple of days (a decision that will become clear when I do post it). How’s that for some incentive to check back soon? 🙂

So, where to begin? I guess from the top. After a long Friday night, Kyle and I decided to unwind with absurdly large margaritas:

 

Then something strange happened. We went home with every intention of crashing, but I got the sudden urge to bake cookies. Now, I hardly ever bake cookies—in fact, I don’t bake much at all aside from bread since I’m really more of an ice-cream-for-dessert kind of girl. Apparently, margaritas put me in the baking mood. I followed this super simple recipe for peanut butter cookies, broke out a tub of strawberry ice cream, and made peanut butter and jelly ice cream cookie sandwiches:

 

So you see, even when I do bake, I’m creating a vehicle for ice cream.

After a wonderful, long run on Saturday morning, I decided I needed to shake things up in the breakfast department. Since I usually eat breakfast in a hurry at work, I have the same thing 95% of the time: Greek yogurt, a banana, and instant oatmeal. It’s fairly nutritious (though I recently learned that the instant stuff really isn’t all that great for you due to the abundance of folic acid), but also a tad redundant. So I decided to break out my jar of old fashioned oats and make oatmeal pancakes:

 

Each pancake consisted of: ¾ cup of oats, 1 egg, a splash of milk, 1 heaping teaspoon of brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. Kyle is more of a berry man, but I stuck with my usual banana as a topping (and yes, I still had my Greek yogurt on the side—baby steps, people), and I topped both pancakes with a drizzle of syrup.

I spent the rest of my morning finishing up my latest sewing project. There are no words, no real way to explain this one, so I’ll let the picture speak for itself:

 

Yes, I made a giant flannel patchwork elephant (Flannelphant?) I wish I could explain this one with some clever story or other type of justification, but I’m still not entirely sure what inspired me. All I know is, he brings me immense joy. I guess it makes sense: I love patchwork and I love elephants. There you have it.

I love to cook, but I’m not always in the mood to spend hours preparing a meal—however, for some reason, I couldn’t get enough kitchen time in this weekend. Saturday night, I decided to make my own noodles following this very unintimidating recipe from Sugarlaws (I recently discovered this blog and I love it!) The noodles came out a tad thick, but that wasn’t such a bad thing since it meant they had a gnocchi-like consistency: hearty and satisfying.

 

I covered them with a sauce made of: full-fat yogurt (leftover from last weekend’s naan), garlic, spinach, salt, and a few roasted tomatoes.

 

The original Saturday night plan was to lay low and get to sleep early since I really wanted to go to Emily Shea’s Sunday morning class at Baron Baptiste. No offense to the other Baptiste teachers, but Emily is by far my favorite. I don’t go to yoga for a lifestyle lecture or spiritual awakening—Emily makes me laugh even while my thighs are burning from the inside out, and I appreciate that.

Well, the laying low didn’t really work out: Kyle and I ended up meeting friends for drinks at Sagra, where I made it my mission to try out as many different mojitos as possible. The champagne mojito won out in the flavor-department, but the blueberry mojito was the prettiest:

 

I was fairly certain this would mean no yoga for me, but I mysteriously woke up about half an hour before yoga class started, so I sucked it up and went. Emily is also the kind of teacher who tells you that it’s perfectly acceptable to spend the entire 90 minutes in child’s pose if need be, and really seems to mean it—I haven’t had to do this yet, but it’s a nice back up. I half expected to be sweating blue, but no such luck. In fact, it was a surprisingly awesome class considering my Saturday night escapades. Like I said, it was just one of those weekends where nothing could get me down.

Afterwards, I made myself baked banana oatmeal consisting of: ¾ cups oatmeal, ¼ cup of mashed banana, ¼ cup whole milk, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. I topped it off with some sliced banana, and baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

 

 While not drastically different then my weekday routine, there was something so nice about taking a little extra time at breakfast to revel in the leisurely pace that my weekend mornings afford.

The rest of my day was a haze of crafting bliss, but this is the post that I’ll be sharing in a couple of days. Fast forward to Sunday evening: I was back in the kitchen making Sugarlaws whole wheat parmesan bread.

 

I was a little skeptical about this recipe since you don’t proof the yeast first, but combine it with the flour, salt, and sugar, then add hot water. Of course, this made me nervous and I had my usual bread-baking self-doubts, but yet again, the yeast didn’t let me down. This is a fabulous bread: very crusty on the outside,  yet soft and moist on the inside. However, I would add more parmesan next time since it really was a very subtle flavor.

I couldn’t subject Kyle to two meatless dinners in a row, so I used this bread to make meatball subs (the recipe makes 8″ mini loaves which are just the right size):

 

We topped them off with Provel cheese that my grandmother sent a while back (I froze a few slices for special occasions such as this). This is a fabulous cheese that is a St. Louis specialty. It’s a combination of Swiss, Cheddar, and Provolone, and has a soft, butter-like texture. Thank you, Grandma!

After dinner, I finished up the most painful part of the sweater-making process: the seaming. I mean, does anyone like doing this? It took 3-4 hours (I tried not to watch the clock since I really should have been sleeping at this point), but the patchwork cardigan is fini:

 

 It fits!

 

And I love it.

Whether you’re a chef, baker, knitter, sewer…or anyone who make things, you know that you are bound to have disappointments. I can’t tell you how many subpar sweaters I’ve knit, or how many bland dinners I’ve produced. But I honestly do love the processes—whether cooking, sewing, or knitting—enough to not be bothered. That being said, it’s really nice when these endeavors work, when you experience a sense of accomplishment and pride in what you’ve created. It’s not about perfection (like I said, my noodles were super thick, and I wouldn’t encourage anyone to look too closely at my cardigan’s shoulder seams), but it is about setting expectations, striving for your best, and taking the time to do it right.

I don’t mean to be preachy, and I try to avoid getting overly sappy on the blog as well—but I can’t end this post without noting that one of the most important things about a weekend like this is the person you share it with. All my crazy crafting and cooking escapades wouldn’t be as fun if it weren’t for the man who is ever-so-patiently by my side through them all, who doesn’t blink (too much) when I present him with a giant patchwork elephant, who happily eats whatever I happen to feel like making, who snoars waits patiently on the sofa instead of going to bed without me when I announce that I will not sleep until my sweater is finished (and who then takes pictures of said sweater for the blog). Kyle and I have been together for more than seven years, so it probably goes without saying that I’m more than a little fond of him, but weekends like this really remind me that I snagged a good one—and he deserves a thank you.

When you see how I spent my Sunday afternoon, you’ll really understand what I’m talking about.

Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under Bread, clothing, cooking, knitting, Pasta, sewing

My Weekend Necessities

I have a serious aversion to rush hour traffic (hence my unusual work hours of 7 to 4) so I normally drive straight home from work without a single detour, park my car, and either cozy on in for the night or, if I go somewhere, stick to public (or Kyle-driven) transportation.

But for some reason,  yesterday  I decided to brave the bumper-to-bumper madness and do some post-work errands (in the end, the traffic really wasn’t so bad–I think I’m little paranoid). My mind had been busily brewing all day and I had come up with a several fabulous ideas (read: recipes and sewing projects) that I am determined to try out this weekend. Since I don’t want to waste any time, I thought I’d squeeze in a trip to the grocery and my favorite place on earth so I would have all the necessities ready as soon as the weekend officially arrived.

Here’s what I came away with in the fiber-department:

 

 That’s approximately 9 yards of 100% cotton fabric that cost me less than $20 (have I mentioned how much I LOVE Sewfisticated lately?) Like I said, my quilting muse is back and I have a plan that’s giving me itchy sewing fingers…

But I haven’t forgotten about my other little project which I’ve been slowly working away at and will hopefully finish up this weekend as well.

 

 Bet you still can’t tell what it is. It will make sense soon enough…

I also—finally!—got myself a new self-healing mat. For a long time, all I’ve had was this dinky little 18″ x 12″ mat (the first one I ever bought!)

I’ve been meaning to get a larger one forever, but whenever I go to spend money at a fabric store, I usually feel guilty buying anything besides fabric. When I saw this glorious 24″ x 18″ mat for only $16, I knew it had to be mine.

 

 As far as food is concerned, this is the only ingredient I needed (that I didn’t already have) to execute my weekend meal plans:

 

And, actually, I do already have this but I’m down to half a bag and whole wheat flour never lasts long in my apartment.

The only thing I still need is one of these:

Which Kyle agreed to procure since he’ll be the primary benefactor of my culinary masterpieces 🙂

For the first time in a long time, I plan on leaving my apartment as little as possible, aside from: 1. An evening excursion that I must attend tonight and 2. A knit-a-thon. Yes, such miraculous events really do exist—and I’ll be meeting Kristin Nicholas. Hooray!  

Otherwise, I’m sleeping in, sewing, and spending some quality time in the kitchen. Pure joy.

Leave a comment

Filed under cooking, quilting, sewing

NYC and Naan!

As I had suspected, a little foray into the city was just what I needed to reawaken my muse. I feel rejuvenated and relaxed at the same time (if not a tad underslept—but I’ll make up for that soon enough).

Our plans to lay low on Friday night fell through and after a fun evening at Ole, Kyle and I weren’t really up for catching the Saturday morning bus at 9:30. Instead, we decided to drive to the city—and by ‘we,’ I mean Kyle drove and I was a happy passenger:

 

I finished the first sleeve of my cardigan and about half of the second one. I probably would have finished both but I passed out slept on the way back. Driving (er, being driven) is a much more pleasant way to commute to the city. We rolled down the windows, soaked in some sunshine, and stopped for snacks whenever we felt like it. The only downside is that Kyle thinks this is music…and I beg to differ.

Let’s just say that Saturday night was one of those epic nights in the city. Kyle and I wandered around in the warm weather and got pre-dinner drinks at an outdoors bar, then met up with my college friends at Angon. There’s nothing like a reunion.

I took a few random pictures here and there, but mainly I was having too much of a good time to stop and shoot every two seconds. However, for some reason, I did snag a picture of this glorious pizza which I inhaled at the wee hours of Sunday morning (at this point, I can’t explain how I was deciding what was and was not worth recording but I have an interesting collection of images from this final stretch of the night):

There’s nothing like NYC pizza, especially when it’s consumed at ungodly hours after a long night in the city. It has to be done.

Several hours before this, I do recall eating lots of good Indian food—naan, in particular. Though our waiter kindly informed us that one bread basket would be more than enough for the table, we ordered 3 or 4 more throughout the course of the evening. Naturally, this awakened the interest of my inner bread baker.

Another perk to driving to the city is that Kyle is a very ‘efficient’ driver, so we were back in Boston with enough time for me to take a leisurely bike ride to the grocery store where I bought the makings for homemade naan (I needed whole milk yogurt which was surprisingly difficult to find!) I followed this recipe quite closely, but added minced garlic to the dough and brushed homemade garlic and oregano butter over each piece as soon as it came out of the oven.

 

 Nearly every time I try out a new bread recipe, I have a moment of doubt where I’m convinced that I’ve messed something up. Bread is a little finicky, after all. Usually, at some point during the process, I announce to Kyle that “this might not work.” He’s used to my yeast-related insecurities and every time he dutifully replies, “of course it will.” (This time, I panicked a bit when the recipe started calling for “baker’s peels” and “quarry tiles,” and when I realized I don’t own a rolling pin! But I improvised.)

Truth is, I haven’t had any major inedible disasters, and my bread baking always ‘works’ but some attempts are far more successful than others and I’ve made my fair share of mediocre loaves. Well, to be perfectly honest, I can easily say that this is one of my most successful bread-baking endeavors thus far—perhaps the most successful. Maybe it was the addition of yogurt, or the way each piece is baked individually (of course, I used Le Creuset), but this bread was soft, fluffy, moist…heaven:

 

I’m a whole wheat fiend, but I have to admit that getting a nice moist bread using only whole wheat flour can be challenging. For some reason, this one just worked. And, of course, you can never have too much garlic.

I only made one mistake. Since I have an aversion to excess leftovers and hate wasting food (and since homemade bread seems to go bad more quickly than most), I halved the recipe so that I only had three 6″ x 10″ rectangles. Never again. I gave Kyle a pre-dinner taste test and he quickly informed that I should only make naan from now on. He then announced that he would like an entire rectangle with his meal. I started with half of one, but let’s just say that by the end of the night, we only had one rectangle left 😦 Don’t worry, we did get our far share of healthy (and beautifully colorful!) produce as well with this lovely vegetable stir fry  (steak was added post-photo but it looked prettier with just the veggies):

 

Even though we had freshly-baked bread, Kyle does not believe in stir fry without rice, so we got our far share of carbs last night, but after an evening of shenanigans in the city, nothing feels better in your belly.

Not only I am thrilled to have found a new favorite bread recipe, but I’m also pleased to announce that my sewing inspiration has returned. Of course, it returned on Friday afternoon when I had precious little time to respond. I was stitching up until when we departed on Saturday, and literally left my project in this state:

 

Not only does it feel good to be sewing again, it feels good to want to be sewing again. Last night was more of a pajamas-and-TV kind of night, but I’m looking forward to my nearly plan-free week and many hours of evening stitching.  What am I making exactly? Well, it’s not quite like anything I’ve done before. You’ll have to wait and see.

3 Comments

Filed under Bread, cooking, knitting, sewing

I’m Restless

This glorious spring weather really lifts the spirits. There’s nothing like the first day you can wear a skirt without tights, or leave the house without 6 cold-weather accessories (scarves, hats, mittens, etc.). But uplifting as it may be, this spring weather also has me climbing the walls

I really miss this feeling:

 

Sometimes I wish life consisted of nothing more than watching sunrises on a beach in Mexico. I’m not exactly in that serine state right now: my mind is going a mile a minute and I’m having a hard time dedicating myself to larger projects.

Here they are: my two big quilts just begging to be hand stitched.

And for some reason, I’m not feeling it. Yes, I said that. For the past couple of weeks, I just haven’t been in the mood to sew. Gasp. I’m a bit ashamed.

I mean, it would be an exaggeration to say that I haven’t sewn at all. I did decide to recreate the fabulous Marc Jacobs scarf that I bought in Vegas using one of Jay McCaroll’s Germania jersey knits:

 

MJ’s on the left, and Jay is on the right. (Pardon my awkward attempts to photograph myself in the mirror.)

I love sewing scarves. It’s so quick and easy, and this material is much more appropriate for warm weather wear. Plus, this project took less than an hour to stitch up on my machine. Otherwise, my needles, threads, and fabrics have been a tad neglected…

Perhaps part of my problem is an over-consumption of sugar. I’m a New Englander, and this means I frequently eat ice cream during blizzards, but this is the time of year when my addiction really kicks in. I basically can’t go more than 24 hours without a few scoops.

 

Ah, hello my old friend.

Fortunately, I’ve fallen in love with making my own cones which saves some cash–and I make them with whole wheat flour which means they are delicious and guilt-free (somewhere along the line, I convinced myself that whole grains negates caloric content).

The ice cream is a combination of Edy’s Strawberry, Chocolate, and Mint Chocolate Chip (I like color in my ice cream as much as in my crafting). I also have an ice cream maker which I’m dying to put to good use as soon as I have two free days in a row. Homemade ice cream in homemade cones? What blis…

Otherwise, there’s only one dessert that could tear me away from the soft stuff. You guessed it. EVOO is back, which means the return of warm chocolate truffle cake. I’ve already had it twice. The first time? Like I said, I’m not a food-photographing natural so I only remembered to shoot when consumption was near complete:

 

The second time, my fellow diners weren’t hungry for dessert. So I ordered t it to go and ate it in my pajamas on the sofa (and yes, I opened the container the wrong way and had to eat it off the lid.)

 

‘Nuff said.

Sugar consumption aside, I think there’s a chance that this springtime restlessness could be a good thing. I’m just going to follow my instincts. I can be a very disciplined person, but right now I have no desire to convince myself to do anything. I might not feel like working on my large quilt projects, but they’ll always be there waiting for me (in a week, a month, or even next winter)—and there have been some smaller, bite-sized sewing projects calling my name. I’m going to answer. Maybe the spring weather just begs for a little less commitment and a little more variety. I have plans, don’t you worry. It’s time to mix things up.

That being said, I have made surprising progress on my fairly large knitting commitment. Since my knitting needles are portable and enable me to craft in the open air, I’ve been stockinetting like crazy:

I’m about ¾ of the way done with sleeve #1 and I have two four-hour bus rides on my near future since I’m spending the weekend in NYC for a college friend reunion (hooray!) It’s definitely a good time to be getting away—and when I return, I’m going to dive into some springtime sewing.

2 Comments

Filed under knitting, quilting, sewing

The Unexpected

Well some mysterious blip in the blogosphere occurred, and though I thought I created this post yesterday, it never appeared. So here’s round 2—sorry for the delay!

Sometimes it’s good to do something a little out of character. For instance, wake up early on a Sunday (having already lost an hour, nonetheless) to run a 5K in the pouring rain and wind. You see, I’m normally a run-for-fun kind of girl, but was recently—and somewhat reluctantly—persuaded to run this race. Not long before the actual event, however, my running companions discovered they were no longer able to attend for various reasons. Since I’d already paid the $30 race entry fee (that’s a wine pairing for two people at EVOO!) and since I really wanted to wear the race T-shirt without shame:

 

I decided to suck it up and go it alone. The night before, I did do plenty of carbo-loading since I went to dinner at Figs with my sister Charlotte, where I consumed more than my fair share of glorious pizza (in addition to butternut squash angolotti, not pictured):

 

As far as I can tell, carbo-loading is one of the biggest perks of racing—it’s probably not all that necessary for running 3.1 miles but it’s a good excuse. The pitcher of sangria and 10 pm movie that I attended after dinner? A bit harder to justify.

Nonetheless, I woke up determined. Here I am pre-race: already wet, chilly, and trying to not talk myself out of this:

 

And afterwards, elated to be done:

 

Confession: I had a lot of fun. Like I said, I’m not really a competitive person (I didn’t even stick around to find out my time) and I’m not into the huge group mentality. That being said, braving the elements and feeling the excitement of the crowd (It was a St. Patty’s day race so there was lots of Irish merriment and bagpipe music) was exhilarating. I don’t think I’ll make racing a regular habit, but perhaps a very occasional one. Mostly, it’s nice to surprise yourself every now and then.

While most participants went pub-crawling afterwards, Kyle and I went home, took off our soaking wet clothes,

 

Showered, warmed up, and drove out to my house in Lexington for a more characteristic afternoon. (Kyle, by the way, earns major brownie points for walking me to the starting line and waiting for me while I ran. The only thing tougher than running in a downpour is standing in it.)

My mother recently bought me all the necessary supplies for my most recent crafting love: French memo boards. Though these boards are made out of fabric, they require many tools that aren’t a normal part of the quilter’s studio: a manual staple gun, hammer, thumbtacks, etc. I now have all the necessary supplies—thank you Mom!

In exchange, I gladly offered her my services and spent the afternoon making two French memo boards for her studio. The first one was 3′ x 4′, much larger then the first one I made and quite the full-body operation:

 

The second one was a bit smaller (26′ x 26′) and only took an hour and a half or so to complete:

 

Though I tend to go for bold colors and wild patterns, I love the fabrics that she chose. Very appropriate for a landscape designer’s studio. Since I spent the entire afternoon creating (which always feels oh-so-good) I literally dreamt of French memo boards. Clearly, these are quickly becoming a highlight of my crafting arsenal.

On another note, in honor of St. Patty’s day and the delights of the unexpected, I thought I’d share one of my recent, random food experimentations. A couple of weeks ago, I had a delicious wrap from Neillio’s which consisted of tuna fish and guacamole. Since then, I’ve been making this wrap for myself. The other day, I was preparing the guacamole as usual when I suddenly decided to mix the tuna fish right in with the avocado. The result? Absolutely delicious. It might look a little funky, but this is a yummy and versatile dish. Of course, it makes a great wrap (I like it with lots of sharp cheddar cheese), but is also a lovely filling for a baked sweet potato, a fun pizza topping, or an appropriately green dip for a St. Patty’s day party.

 Tuna Guacamole

  • 2 ripe avocadoes
  • 1 spoonful jarred salsa
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 5 oz. can of tuna in oil, drained

Mash the avocadoes with a potato masher or fork until smooth. Mix in the salsa, salt, lemon and tuna. Yep, that’s all there is to it.

1 Comment

Filed under cooking

Taking It Easy

You know what they say: when life gets busy, knit. Well, maybe that’s just what I say. I seem to be going through a phase of unusual busy-ness. Normally, I avoid making too many plans in advance and going out every night of the week. Life’s best moments tend to be the unexpected, seemingly trivial ones that sneak upon you unexpectedly. If you don’t give yourself any down time, you might miss them. That being said, sometimes too many fun going-out opportunities arise, and that’s when I turn to knitting to keep me grounded amidst it all. When I’m on-the-go, it’s hard to fit in a lot of sewing, whether by machine or hand, and knitting has the advantage of being easily portable—and less antisocial.

When my parents told me I could make a birthday purchase, I considered doing some clothing shopping but soon decided that what I really wanted was yarn. So I headed to my favorite yarn store of all time, Wild and Woolly, about 95% sure that I would walk away with more Cascade. To my surprise and delight, I fell in love with Beroco’s Virgin Wool. It’s soft, light, and lovely. I bought about a few skeins in different colors, and wound them up:

 

 (Aren’t yarn winders beautiful?) And for the past couple of weeks, in all my in-between moments, I’ve been knitting a patchwork cardigan. So far, I’ve completed the back and the left front (not pictured).

 

I feel like my color and design choices really requires no explaining since they’re my quintessential aesthetic: bold hues, a somewhat random assortment of multi-colored squares, patchwork…no big surprises there. Intarsia work does require some patience, but thankfully this Virgin Wool is glorious, like knitting with butter—it just slides along the needles. I opted to use size 8s since I’m a tight knitter and larger needles keep the stitches looser and softer, giving this cardigan a lightness that will be perfect for cool Spring and Summer evenings. Next weekend I’m taking the bus to New York, and Easter weekend the family is driving to Princeton to visit my brother; long commutes are the best knitting time so this cardigan might not take me all that long to complete.

The other thing that keeps me grounded during busier times is the occasional wonderful evening at home. Yesterday afternoon I took my bike into the shop for a tune up so I didn’t have time to cook up anything too complicated, but I felt like having a bit of fun in the kitchen. Fortunately, I recently stumbled upon this recipe for egg muffins and decided to give it a go.

I am very fortunate to have a bountiful (and free!) supply of glorious fresh eggs from my mother’s chickens, so any dish involving eggs immediately catches my eye. These little muffins are brilliant because they’re incredibly simple, nutritious, and as I discovered last night, they’re delicious:

 

I beat together 5 small eggs, added some steamed and chopped broccoli, shredded gruyere cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and salt. No measuring required; I just eyeball the proportions that looked right—but a good rule of thumb that I learned from my mom is to add one pinch of salt per egg. I baked them in muffin tins at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. They turned out pretty small, so I ended up eating all four—guess I’ll just have to make more!

I also roasted up some Jerusalem artichokes as a side. These are one of my favorite vegetables (they’re actually a species of sunflower) so I was thrilled when Kyle and I stumbled upon them in the grocery store the other day–their season is definitely coming to an end. The good news is that Kyle doesn’t like them which means more for me. The bad news is, well, Jerusalem artichokes are known for their gas-inducing properties, so I try to keep my serving sizes small. I like to roast them for quite a while, anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour depending on the amount, so they are very soft on the inside but still crisp and slightly chewy on the outside.

After such a virtuous and nutritious dinner—basically, pure protein and vegetables—I decided to treat myself to a rather decadent dessert:

 

That’s the remaining bit of the birthday cake that my mom made for me this weekend: a chocolate cappuccino cheesecake. On the side: chocolate fudge brownie ice cream. What can I say? Sometimes a girl needs… chocolate. (Incidentally, it seems very appropriate that even since I’ve moved out of the house, my mother still manages to keep me well-fed from a distance.)

I’m also very pleased to report that I’ve had two nights in a row during which I got a glorious 8+ hours of sleep—it certainly helps that the beautiful Spring-like weather means afternoon runs in the sunshine and sleeping in. Thank goodness, because tonight Kyle and I are attending the opening of club Royale downtown, so some less-than-virtuous shenanigans may be in order.

A part of me wonders, why have a club opening on a Thursday night? The other more convincing part of me thinks: why not? Of course I can’t say no. As long as I get my share of egg muffin and knitting evenings, I can afford a few crazy nights here and there.

3 Comments

Filed under clothing, cooking, knitting

From Head to Toe

Does it get much better than freshly baked bread and homemade soup on a Sunday night? I think not. Especially after a couple weeks that have been full of eating out, cozying up inside for a nice simple meal is so gratifying. Simple… but not dull. You see, I went to Craigie on Maine this week which is one of several restaurants that has picked up on the whole hog trend. (Warning: if you’re a hardcore vegetarian, stop reading. This blog post is not for you.) My entrée? A pig’s head:

 

 This might look a little jarring at first, but it’s exquisite. The skin is crispy and the meat underneath is soft, succulent, and fatty. As our waitress pointed out, the bits behind the eye socket are particularly good—but you really have to poke around to get at them. It’s an actually an entrée for two (I shared this with my mom) and even then, there’s a surprising amount of meat, so I thankfully took the remainder home and turned it into split pea soup.

My mother’s split pea soup has always been one of my favorite winter meals, and since winter is coming to a close (hooray!), I’m glad I got the chance to make my own while it’s still somewhat seasonally appropriate. As I’ve said before, I love a nice thick soup and I’d always assumed that my mother’s  stew-like split pea soup had to have some kind of mysterious, thickening ingredient. It turns out, the secret ingredient to split pea soup is…lots of split peas. It really couldn’t be simpler. I glanced at a couple recipes online, and winged it. Two small diced onions, a bag of split peas, and the head:

 

Cooked in water for a couple of hours until the peas had softened, and voila—no immersion blender required. Most of the meat fell off on its own, but I took out the head and pulled off the remaining bits myself. I also made a wheat-nut anise bread from the Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book:

 

Mmm, what a perfect Sunday dinner. Kyle and I followed it up with ice cream sundaes from JP Licks (sundaes on Sunday, we’re so original), but I was too busy enjoying thin mint and cappuccino crunch ice cream to take a picture. (Bad blogger confession: I find excessive picture taking to be obnoxious—too much recording interferes with actual living. So though I do my best to capture the important stuff, I slip every so often.)

On the other end of the bodily spectrum, my recuperated Vegas feet were happy to have a new pair of socks:

 

I’m quite pleased with how these scrappy socks turned out. Limited means really are the best stimulus for creativity. I like the balance between pattern and spontaneity and, of course, I love having a nice cozy pair of socks to lounge around in on a Sunday evening:

4 Comments

Filed under clothing, cooking, knitting