Category Archives: clothing

Posts about my clothing projects.

A Mean Tuna Pasta

My mom makes a mean tuna pasta.

When Kyle and I first started dating—back when I was a youngin of only 16 years old and we still pretended to sleep in separate bedrooms when he stayed over at my parents’ house—my mom decided to make said pasta one evening for dinner. As we walked downstairs to the dining room, Kyle confessed to me that he really didn’t like tuna. I assured him that my mom wouldn’t be offended (she’s an amazing cook so I think she knows by now that if someone doesn’t like one of her dishes, it’s their problem and not hers).

Kyle proceeded to scarf down an entire bowl—and then asked for seconds. Meanwhile, I’m thinking, ‘gosh, he’s really good at faking it.’ I assumed it was part of his Southern boy politeness (I still couldn’t get over the fact that he called my parents ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’ for crying out loud). Afterwards, he confessed that it was one of the best pastas he had ever had. I told you it was good.

Naturally, when my mom gave my sisters and I recipe books last Christmas, this tuna pasta was one of the first entries. She must have photocopied it from some magazine years ago.

 

But the first time I made this pasta on my own, I realized that the recipe is almost entirely irrelevant. It did not taste the same—and it occurred to me that during the dozens of times I’d watched my mom make this dish, I hadn’t seen her use a measuring tool once, let alone follow a recipe.

So, while I often enter the kitchen with the goal of making something original and interesting, when it comes to dishes like this tuna pasta, my only ambition is to make it taste exactly like it does when my mom makes it. Sure, I could always just ask her what exactly she does differently–but where’s the fun in that?

It’s taken some trial and error, but I think I’ve finally nailed the tuna pasta. When I made this last night, I couldn’t stop pestering Kyle: “Doesn’t it taste just like Anne made it?!?” His mouth was too full to reply, which I’ll take as a good sign.

The trick seems to be this: more sauce, more tuna, and more veggies (cooked, not raw) so that the pasta-sauce ratio is nearly equal.

This is a perfect summertime (or any time) pasta: light and healthy, but still oh-so-flavorful. Give it a go—even if you don’t like tuna.

Mom’s Mean Tuna Pasta

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 3 heaping tablespoons capers
  • 3 7 oz. cans tuna, drained
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 large carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1 ½ cups broccoli florets
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • Plenty of olive oil and salt
  • 12 oz. of pasta*
  • Parmesan cheese, for grating

 In a large sauce pan, heat the shallot in a generous coating of olive oil. Add the carrots and continue to stir until softened (about 8 minutes). Add the peas and broccoli and, again, stir until softened. You may want to continue to add olive oil as you add veggies—and, of course, sprinkle with salt to taste. Finally, add the red bell pepper, stir until softened, then turn off the heat. Add the tuna and capers.

 Boil a large pot of water, add the pasta, and cook. While waiting for the water to boil, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar and thyme.

 Add the cooked pasta to the veggie and tuna mixture. Poor the olive oil and vinegar mixture over the pasta and stir to combine. Serve warm in individual bowls (it’s great cold, too) and top with grated parmesan cheese. 

 *Normally, I would make this with bow ties but since Kyle and I are moving to a new apartment in only a couple short months, I’m trying to empty out our pantry so I used whole wheat penne instead.

Like everything else in my life, I like my pasta colorful.

Speaking of colorful, look who’s finished:

 

While my fingers are very fond of crocheting these days, sewing together granny puffy squares is only slightly more fun than stitching together knitted seams. Still, though the final construction of this scarf wasn’t quite as enjoyable as the individual components, the end result is just what I’d hoped for.

 And if you thought scarf season was over…you clearly don’t live in Boston. It’s a cold rainy morning and my landlord apparently doesn’t believe in heating the building post-March so I’m happy to have a scarf to wear today.

 

Meanwhile, my crochet kick is still going strong:

 

As for my double wedding ring quilt…well, I’ve been using my seam ripper as much as my sewing machine, but it’s getting there.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to think of some indulgent treat to make this weekend since I can no longer turn to my chocolate pudding in times of stitching-induced anxiety. Sadly, I finished it off post-pasta last night, topped with a roasted marshmallow and graham cracker leftover from last weekend’s dessert-making binge:

Oh warm chocolatey goodness, I will miss you. Fortunately, I buy my sugar in bulk at Costco, so I’m sure I’ll figure out a comparably indulgent substitute soon.

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Filed under clothing, cooking, crochet, Pasta

Some More

When I was in Cairns, Australia last summer, I bought these pants…

 

Actually, they’re not quite pants. They’re sort of a harem pants/skirt hybrid. Sometimes wearing them makes me feel like a genie, other times I feel like a total dork and can’t help but be reminded of Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed and her gaucho pants…but they’re not really gaucho pants either.

All that really matters in the end is that they are incredibly comfortable. They’re soft, swishy, and allow all the free leg movement of a skirt, but all the ‘coverage’ of pants (meaning I can bike in them, sit cross-legged, pop a headstand if I’m so inclined). I love them.

So this Saturday, while it thunderstormed outside my window, I decided to make some more of them.

I made a pair out of my Jay McCarroll Germania knit:

 

And another out of this fun, paint-swiped fabric that I bought at Mecca for approximately $2:

 

And then… I made three more.

 

It probably goes without saying that these are incredibly easy to reproduce. And I now have a lifetime’s (or close to a week’s) supply of genie pants. How marvelous.

Speaking of some more of a good thing, when I was put in charge of dessert for our Mother’s Day dinner, only one thing came to mind. Summertime meals in the Eccles family are all about outdoor grilling and this often followed by roasting marshmallows over the remaining coals. However, I decided to step it up a notch this time and make the s’more ingredients myself.

First, I whipped up a batch of graham crackers from this recipe. Quite easy and loaded with cinnamon:

 

Then I tackled the slightly more daunting task of homemade marshmallows.

Whenever I’m going to make a recipe that intimidates me, I read through it several times—often over the course of a few days—so I know exactly what to expect. This is helpful, but can also exaggerate the difficulty of the task. Making marshmallows did require some attentiveness—I diligently watched my thermometer for about 8 minutes until the sugar-water mixture was exactly 240 degrees—but it wasn’t rocket science.

And the result, if I do say so myself, was pretty divine:

 

Fluffy, sweet, soft…delicious. And even better when roasted.

 

In case you were wondering, you can also roast a marshmallow over a regular old candle. I may have experimented with this on Saturday afternoon—you know, just to be sure these babies were really truly marshmallows.

And while I bought Hershey’s Dark chocolate for the s’mores (I figured making 2 out of 3 of the ingredients was good enough), I did make some other chocolatey treats this weekend.

Friday was a crazy busy day at work, so by the time I got home I was craving some comfort food, nothing complicated or fancy. In fact, I really just wanted one flavor. The solution could only be chocolate pudding:

 

No words. Really, there are no words. All I can say is that whatever comes in those individual Jell-O cups is not even remotely the same dessert. Fresh, warm chocolate pudding is like eating a bowlful of the gooey middle of a piece of warm chocolate cake—which is the best part anyway (and we all know how I feel about warm chocolate cake). Oh, and if you’re thinking that warm chocolate pudding topped with roasted marshmallow would be as close as your taste buds can get to heaven, you’d be right…

My only two alterations to the recipe would be this: I found that I didn’t need to use a sift, and the only way this would amount to 5-6 servings was if you have the willpower of the gods.

I also made dark chocolate-covered espresso beans for my Dad’s birthday (which is today):

 

Basically, there’s always room for some more chocolate.

Progress on my latest quilting project has been a bit more modest. Those of you familiar with traditional patterns probably recognized my sketch of a Double Wedding Ring Quilt. Yes, I decided that in light of my recent engagement, I had to make one of these quilts—I’m an art historian at heart, after all, and I love the quilting tradition as much as I love its contemporary counterpart. I figured that using my own multi-colored dyed fabrics would allow me to put my personal stamp on it.

So far, I’ve managed to cut nearly all the necessary pieces:

 

But have only gotten through this much actual piecing:

 

Turns out, I’ve taken on a very ambitious project—methinks that this pattern was invented at a time when young brides-to-be had nothing to do but sew (hey, no judgment; I often wish I had nothing to do but sew). So far, the process is slow-going and finicky, but hopefully it will start to come a little more naturally. Either way, I’ve committed to this project and I’m determined to succeed. It will be hard work, but worth the effort—not unlike a successful marriage.

And if Kyle this quilt ever really starts to stress me out, at least I’ve got lots of leftover marshmallows and a bowlful of chocolate pudding in the fridge.

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Filed under clothing, cooking, history, quilting, sewing

Engagemoon

When I discovered that the latest meeting of the New England Modern Quilt Guild was going to be held at this marvelous place:

 

I decided that this would be the perfect excuse for a little getaway. Portsmouth is only an hour (or 45 minutes when Kyle is driving) away, but it’s one of the most charming, classically New England towns ever so once you’re there, you inevitably want to spend the night. Conveniently, Kyle proposed a week before the guild meeting, so we had yet another excuse to go: our Engagemoon.

What does an Engagemoon involve? Well, after ogling some gorgeous quilts at the guild meeting’s show-and-tell, I managed to escape Portsmouth Fabric, which is a literally overflowing with temptation, having only purchased this:

 

Really, the last thing I need is more fabric, but who can resist such a lovely fat quarter pack of Kaffe Fassett polka dots?

 

 Sigh, I didn’t even try to fight it.

Afterwards, Kyle and I met up for an evening on the town, starting off with a bit of bar hopping. In honor of the Kentucky Derby, one bar was offering $5 Mint Julips. This may sound like a light, refreshing summer drink—and don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely tasty—but as far as I can tell, it’s basically just sweet whisky and this made the rest of the night rather entertaining.

We dined at Black Trumpet, a wonderful little hole-in-the-wall restaurant where we enjoyed lots of delicious food, the highlights being duck confit and a cheese sampler:

 

Hours later, we ended the night with Izzy’s ice cream where I got the best possible combination—warm, gooey, chocolate brownie buried beneath coffee heath bar ice cream. I didn’t take a picture; I was eating.

The lovely thing about made-up holidays, is you can use them as an excuse to do whatever you like, and to declare every little mundane aspect of the day(s) special. Our Engagemoon, therefore, included much more than just the trip to Portsmouth. It extended all weekend long and included homemade berry muffins (from Jessica’s recipe—thank you, they were delicious!):

 

And turning my fat quarter pack into a swingy, polka dot skirt:

 

Not to boast or anything, but this was quite the success given that I used no pattern, and really wasn’t sure how well it would turn out. It fits beautifully, and isn’t it just so joyful? Wearing it puts me in the mood to twirl.

Part of our Engagemoon also involved grungy clothes, the new red bucket that my mother gave me…

 

And a whole lot of fabric dyeing.

I know have a massive pile of hand-dyed fabric, ready and waiting.

 

Again, I stuck with solids; I’m drawn to them these days. I also enjoy the low-water immersion method since I get that mottled, imperfect look which gives the fabrics more character. Wait until you see what I have planned for these fabrics—it’s a little different than my usual quilting, but it’s sort of a once-in- a-lifetime opportunity.

What we didn’t expect was that our Engagemoon would involve a massive water contamination problem in the Boston area, and having to boil all of our water before drinking it—not incredibly convenient. But if there’s one thing the Eccles family does well, it’s turn lemons into lemonade (made with bottled water, of course). So we (my parents, sisters, Kyle and I) used this unpleasant problem as an excuse to get dinner together at the Summer Shack in Cambridge, one of the few non-contaminated towns. What a lovely way to end the weekend—with people I love and a dinner that’s just as classically New England as Portsmouth: a big old steamed lobster.

 

 Delicious.

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Filed under clothing, cooking, fabric, quilting, sewing

All Good Things

I just realized that the post I wrote on Friday never got published, so you might want to check out the previous post before this one. On that note…

Here are just a few of the reasons I had yet another joy-filled weekend:

1. I got a bike. And it’s a hybrid—like me! This means it can function as both a speedy road bike and a casual commuting bike. One side of the pedals are for clip-in shoes and longer, more hardcore rides (such as the one Kyle and I took Saturday afternoon) while the other side is ‘normal’ and allows me to bike to yoga in flip flops and to brunch in moccasins, both of which I did on Sunday. It doesn’t get much better than commuting in the sunshine and not having to get in a car all weekend long. I’m completely hooked.

 

2. I remembered how much I love Boston. I’ve lived here all my life, but I still have those moments when I discover something new or simply remember what I’ve always loved in the first place. Saturday afternoon, I went downtown and walked along Boston Common in the lovely, cool sunshine. My destination: Windsor Button, which I was visiting for the first time. I can’t believe I’d never been before! It’s a miraculous, adorable little store full of yarn, embroidery thread, and buttons that you can scoop up and buy in bulk:

 

I bought some more embroidery floss, needles, and small thread scissors. I decided that I needed a proper portable sewing kit to facilitate my current addiction to hand sewing (I even sewed on the T ride back!):

 

I also but buttons and…

3. I finished my Easter egg yarn project. I decided to make a small turtleneck scarf, which I thought might turn out really weird, but, actually, it’s adorable and comfy—not to mention perfect for cutting the slight chill of a windy bike ride:

 

4. Then, I dyed more yarn. Yes, I’m addicted.

 

5. I met a friend for brunch. Alicia was back in beantown for the weekend and we had a delicious brunch at Grafton St. Since I’m officially broke, I got the cheapest thing on the menu which happened to be outstandingly good. Creamy yogurt topped with warm, homemade granola. This is definitely going on my always-expanding list of foods to make on my own.

 

6. I finally tried Ethiopian food. A couple friends and I decided to go to Addis Red Sea for dinner, which I’ve been eager to do for the longest time. My conclusion? It’s absolutely fabulous. I mean, what’s not to love about lots mushy, flavorful food that’s eaten with mounds of spongy bread and no utensils? And what goes better with excessive amounts of carbs than a bottle of honey wine?

 

This must have put me in the mood for finger good because the next night.

7. I made tilapia tacos. Sometimes I’m really in the mood for those somewhat tedious kitchen tasks that require lots of chopping. Fortunately, this was one of those times since I decided to make avocado mango salsa:

 

I also tried my hand at homemade wheat tortillas. These actually weren’t difficult at all and, though they’re obviously more time consuming than heating up store bought tortillas, they were worth it—there’s nothing like tortillas straight off the griddle, even if they are a tad asymmetrical.

 

I bought a tub of sour cream, grilled some tilapia fish in hoisin sauce, and voila—the perfect finale to another perfect weekend.

 

I hope your weekend was full of all good things, too!

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Filed under clothing, cooking, knitting, sewing

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

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.

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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:

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