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.

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6 Comments

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

6 responses to “When It Works

  1. ALL of that food looks amazing – the ice cream cookie sandwiches AND the noodles – I love thick noodles!

  2. sally

    i hope you spent your sunday getting married in vegas. because i’m still waiting for that to happen.

  3. Oh Pippa! I’m exhausted after reading all of your accomplishments you’ve let us in on for the weekend. I excuse myself since you are about half my age but I think I may need to step it up a bit.

    So what did you do Sunday afternoon??

  4. Izzy

    I finally understand about the patchwork elephant…Pepe, he’s beautiful 🙂 Another success my love, I hope he and Harold get along!

  5. Any weekend that begins with huge margaritas is off to a good start! Your pancakes look delicious– I recently made blender-oatmeal pancakes from this recipe: http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,235,159176-236201,00.html

    The batter was pretty runny, so we added another 1/2 cup flour. They turned out great!

  6. Pingback: A Lucky Lady « Pippa Patchwork

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