Upside Down

Is this not the happiest looking bag you’ve ever seen?

 

But of course it is. Clearly, I decided to add the buttons. I think it was a wise decision.

Do you know what else makes me very happy these days? Besides, of course, the fact that I’m engaged (sorry, I had to throw that in there—it hasn’t gotten old yet)! Cake.

Here’s the weird thing—I really don’t think of myself as a cake person. I’m always preaching about how ice cream is my number one dessert of choice. But take a look at the lovelies that I’ve consumed at various restaurants in the past week or so:

 

And that doesn’t even include the chocolate cake that Kyle and I fed each other on Saturday night.

Clearly, I have a particular fondness for any cake whose description includes the words ‘warm’ and ‘chocolate,’ thus the first two cakes from Bistro du Midi and Rialto. That misfit is sticky toffee pudding from Hamersley’s Bistro, one of few alternatives that can tear me away from chocolate (and no, I don’t normally eat out this much!)

Upon further reflection, I think the issue isn’t so much the cake itself, but the way that most cakes come: as big old honking rounds that you have to slice into and eat as much as possible of lest they go bad. 

(OK, this was a particularly horrendous example that I came across a couple of weeks ago at a super divey diner in New Jersey, but still…)

But give me an individually-sized cake, warm and fresh from the oven—and accompanied by a side of something cool and creamy—and I’m a happy gal.

Another one of my non-chocolate favorites has always been pineapple upside down cake. Baking a cake upside down makes it different in a good way—and since my life has recently been turned upside down, also in a good way, I declared this past week Upside Down Cake Week. The best part is, I used my beloved 2 cup Mario Batali pan to make individually sized cakes which we could eat in one go—therefore enabling me to make a whole new kind of cake the next night, guilt-free!

 

 In order: the classic pineapple upside down cake, banana chocolate chip upside down cake, and strawberry peanut butter upside down cake. The accompaniments, in order: pineapple fool (yes, fool is back!), my homemade banana chocolate ice cream, and Edy’s strawberry ice cream—I may have come to terms with my love of cake, but I still can’t forgo the creamy accompaniment.

The best part of upside down cakes is, of course, the layer of fruit, butter, and brown sugar that caramelizes beautifully while the cake cooks, and ultimately ends up on top once you’ve flipped the cake out of the pan. I used the same basic recipe for all three of these cakes, but tweaked it a tiny bit each time. And, naturally, I used whole wheat flour because you know more theory about whole grains negating caloric content…

Individual Upside Down Cakes

For the topping:

  • 1 heaping tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons melted butter
  • Fruit of your choice:
    • 2 slices of pineapple
    • ½ banana, sliced
    • About 4 strawberries, sliced

For the cake

  • 3 tablespoons of whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • ½  small egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • Additions:
    • Pineapple: 1 tablespoon of pineapple juice
    • Banana: 1 heaping tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • Strawberries: 1 tablespoon crunchy peanut butter (I melted the peanut butter in the milk before adding it to the flour mixture, and I left out the regular butter)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the topping, melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until it has dissolved slightly. Cover the bottom of a small dish with the butter/sugar mixture (my pans are about 4¾” in diameter), and lay the fruit on top.

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the egg, butter, and whole milk, and any ‘additions’ (pineapple juice, chocolate chips, etc.) and beat until just incorporated. Poor the cake batter over the fruit topping. Cook at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until the cake springs back slightly when touched.

Allow the cake to cool for about 3 minutes before flipping it right-side up.

Tomorrow my fiancé (sorry—last time!) and I are off to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, so we’ve decided to lay low tonight. He has some preliminary business school paperwork to get through, so I will gladly give him the couch and park myself in my new favorite spot. I’m calling it my stitching station:

 

For some reason, I’m spending lots of time on the floor these days—it’s good for spreading out all of my stuff and having a fellow carpet buddy makes Shuffle a very happy bunny. His new favorite pastime is removing the pins from my pincushion, one by one:

 

While Kyle is working, I’m planning on a marathon crochet session (yes, I just confessed to a Friday night of ‘marathon crocheting’)…

 

 …and methinks individual apple and almond upside down cakes are in order.

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Even Better than Buttons

I woke up on Saturday morning to this:

 

Kyle told me they’d had an antique show near his work where he’d bought me buttons. I love antique buttons so I was pretty thrilled—what a wonderful way to start the day! I slowly sorted through them for about 5 minutes, all the while thinking to myself, ‘it’s the little things like this that make me want to spend the rest of my life with him.’

Then I saw the box.

 

And, of course, I said yes.

 

It’s really hard to write a blog post that manages to capture the feeling you have on the day you decide to spend the rest of your life with the man you love. Kyle and I have been together for nearly eight years, but nothing could prepare me for the moment when he kneeled down before me and I knew without a single doubt that this was exactly what I wanted for the rest of my life. I can’t even begin to describe the countless ways in which he makes me so incredibly happy–but from the mundane to the extraordinary, every moment we spend together feels special. I have just as much fun traveling to exotic places and eating fancy food with him as I do watching TV in our pajamas and chowing down on sandwiches.    

Speaking of which, we celebrated with a picnic lunch:

 

And a dinner at Bistro du Midi which, of course, was full of copious amounts of incredibly good champagne, food, and wine—but none of that matters as much as the incredibly good people who met up with us afterwards to celebrate the night away.

Sisters (real and spiritual), and good friends…

 

And our honorary best (and biggest) man Brecher, who along with my beloved sister Z, organized this night of utter shenanigans and merriment.

 

Let’s just say, we didn’t go home until the city started to shut down around us.

 

Waking up on Sunday morning was a slow and gradual process. Kyle and I said farewell to those who had spent the night on our sofa, then had a recovery breakfast of pancake truffles (adapted from Caitlin’s brilliant recipe—thank you!), served with maple syrup from a white elephant teapot that my mom recently gave me.

The rest of our Sunday was gloriously slow-paced and low key. After the whirlwind of excitement, it felt really good to engage in my usual, calming activities. I baked some bread (simple honey wheat hamburger buns):

And, of course, did some sewing—turns out, this is even more fun when you have a gorgeous diamond ring to admire while cutting and stitching (I always thought I wasn’t really into diamonds, but it turns out I’m more traditional than I thought—for the past 48 hours, I’ve been that girl who can’t stop holding out her hand to look at her engagement ring. I absolutely love it.)

Anyway, remember my idea of making a kickass patchwork bag out of my hand-dyed fabrics? I decided to model it off of one of my favorite totes which has a nice big slouchy shape and round base.

 

It went together surprisingly quickly:

 

I decided a brown base on the outside would be a nice contrast with the colorful patchwork, so I threw in a fun base on the inside instead:

 

I’m incredibly pleased with how it’s turned out but I don’t think it’s entirely done just yet. I went back and forth with the idea of adding buttons and I think I’m going to give it a go. In fact, some of those antique buttons match the fabrics beautifully—if that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is.

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Freak Flags and Fads

I like to crochet in unusual places. For instance, in my car when I’m stuck in bad traffic:

 

If I’m stuck at a really long red light, I’ll even weave in and trim the loose ends, thus my cup holder is actually full of scraps of yarn:

 

Last night, I knit in Noir bar while enjoying an LA Confidential (stoli peach, cointreau, peach nectar & champagne) and waiting for my dinner companion. Yes, I have no pride shame. But hey, we all have our freak flags­—it’s just that some of us wave them a little higher than others.

Fortunately, Welton arrived soon enough and we enjoyed a delicious dinner (not to mention inexpensive: Noir has to have the best happy hour deal in town with $5 flatbreads, $4 sandwiches, $3 salads, $2 snacks, $1 sweets, and free nuts!)

 

That glorious looking goo would be gruyere, spinach, and bacon dip. There are no words—and there wasn’t any left by the time we were through, either. I love eating with Welton because, like me, he has a hearty appetite. The only alarming thing about our dining together, however, is the mound of perfectly polished-off plates at the end of the meal.

For some reason, I was in the something uncharacteristically simple as my main course: a three-cheese pizza with spicy tomato sauce and caramelized onions. Of course, I dipped this baby in the gruyere goodness so it wasn’t really all that simple in the end:

 

It tasted just as good as it looks, and reminded me that I haven’t made my own pizza in quite some time…

Actually, I’m having a bit of a dilemma these days. I’ve been meaning to watch Food, Inc. for a while, but I’ve also been skeptical about this film since, like many young women, I’ve gotten caught up in diet fads in the past and it did me no good—I now try to avoid all that food hysteria and eat everything in moderation (most of the time…).

Anyway, on Wednesday night I took the plunge and squeezed in the first 15 minutes of this film before making dinner for some friends. So far, I’m sensing that the gist is this: be very careful about where your meat comes from. I respect that message, I really do. And I hope I can become a bit more conscious of it. I’m also really trying to be slightly vegetarian, especially when eating at home…but it’s hard! Gosh, I even contemplated buying turkey bacon for Wednesday night’s meal, but that lasted a whole two and a half seconds. Who am I kidding. What’s pasta carbonara without real, fatty, crispy bacon?

 

Some things you just can’t substitute. This was one good pasta, if I do say so myself, and I credit that to the fact that the sauce contained a good dollop of bacon fat (and plenty of butter). That being said, I’m an animal lover—believe it or not, I dream of the day when my house is full of giant pet bunnies and teacup pigs. I’ll never be a full-on vegetarian, but I’m going to suck it up, finish Food, Inc., and hopefully approach my meat consumption with a bit more awareness.

Meanwhile, bacon was actually buy one get one free at the grocery store so I have a whole lot in my fridge—I also happen to have plenty of cheese and a bag of spinach. Dare I attempt to make my own cheese-spinach-bacon dip?

My lovely dinner left me feeling rather energized so I went home, put on some elastic-wasted pants, and filled my sink with warm water and laundry detergent. My hand-dyed fabrics are now washed and hanging to dry, ready for my patchworking pleasure. Let’s admire them one last time (and ignore the blurry shot), shall we?

 

Other weekend plans include an Owl City concert and bike ride to Concord Center.

Sigh, life is good. This morning’s sing-along of choice: Cat Stevens. I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul.

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Tuesday Night Injenuity

The thing about working fulltime, even at a job you absolutely love, is that it sometimes feels like you have to save up the real quality you-time for the weekends. That’s not to say that I don’t thoroughly enjoy my weekday evenings. I wake up isanely early so I can leave the office by 4 and therefore have plenty of ‘real life’ time—I’m someone who needs a lot of this to feel like an actual human being. Still, by the time I get home, pack my lunch for the next day, kiss my bunny hello, empty the dishwasher, etc., it can sometimes feel like the evening flies by before I’ve had a chance to savor any real downtime. Often, the most I am able to accomplish is some knitting (or crocheting these days) and hand stitching.

This was case on Monday night. I squeezed in about an hour of work on my Kandinsky quilt before heading to Ole with Kyle for dinner. I mean, I’m not complaining. What’s better than a massive Monday night margarita and fresh guacamole?

 

Well, a couple of things. For one, the fact that Monday is taco day at Ole and you can choose from dozens of delectable flavors (the duck mole won by far):

 

And secondly, the fried plantains covered in cheese that I can’t help but order every single time we come here:

 

Good food and quality time with my good man: not a bad way to start of the week. But last night was marvelous in a very different way. Kyle was out of town so I decided to indulge in the type of activities that I generally reserve for weekends. I came home, put on the grungiest clothes I could find (sorry, Kyle!), sacrificed a few Tupperware containers to the cause, and within a couple of hours, had produced this:

 

Yes, I finally dyed my own fabric—and actually like love the results! I kept this very simple and used powdered dyes and a low-water immersion method and, as you can see, I stuck to solids for this go around. I have plenty more dye and plan on experimenting soon with marbling, but I have to admit I’m very into solids these days—having a simple, bold palette lets the design speak for itself.

I’ve discovered that there’s nothing quite like the high you get from dyeing your own yarn and fabric. It’s beyond gratifying. Having that type of ownership over the materials you use and being involved in every step of the creative process is very empowering.

The fabric is actually from old pillowcases so it’s  a very nice, soft, flannel. I’m imagining a kickass patchwork bag for the spring and summer. Like I said, there will be lots of fabric dyeing in my future (er, tonight?). In fact, I could barely stop myself last night and in my fabric dyeing frenzy, I even tore up a few more pillowcases:

 

But suddenly realized it was 7:30 and I was starving, having foregone my usual pre-dinner munchies (I decided that eating cheese and sweet potato chips while working with powdered dye would be a bad call). So I restrained myself from continuing, and instead whipped up a little pre-meal snack:

 

That would be my own (even tastier!) fried plantain. I’ve actually tried making these before using various different methods and ingredients, but I’ve discovered that this very sophisticated, complex technique is actually the best: melt a big old hunk of salted butter in a skillet and sauté away until the plantains are lightly browned on both sides. Yes, it’s that simple (I also recently learned that plantains aren’t truly ripe until they look all gross and black-skinned, and it’s worth waiting).

I enjoyed these with a side of sour cream, leftover guac, and feta cheese while I prepared my main course, a very different type of cuisine. I’m not one to give up and I just couldn’t let go of Saturday night’s mishap. Enter injera, round two:

 

Apparently, you can win them all—you just have to cheat 😉 This injera involved no fermenting, just the following simple ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole grain teff flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 ¾ cup club soda

I did save some of the batter to act as a sourdough starter for my next batch which I suppose will be more ‘authentic’, but I have to say: this simplified version turned out absolutely fabulous. Just look at that moist, spongy goodness:

 

Injera, it turns out, is alarmingly easy to eat in absurd quantities. It just rolls and folds and squishes so nicely—which means one whole piece can be consumed in a single bite. In my defense, I wasn’t sure if injera would save well so I felt I might as well eat as much as possible—but I did manage to set aside three pieces for lunch the rest of the week so hopefully it does.

Don’t worry, I ate more than a plantain and bread for dinner. The rest of my meal included, big surprise, sweet potato, cheese, and eggs (and my homemade ice cream, naturally)—but who cares? Injera was definitely the star of this meal.

Gosh, I need more weekday nights like this. Turns out, I have more than enough time to feed my creative muse (and my belly). I just have to go for it. I’m quite simply in the best mood ever this morning. I even caught myself belting out Elton John lyrics at the top of my lungs on the drive to work. Hey, don’t judge; there’s a Tiny Dancer in all of us.

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My Sewcial Saturday

Look what I made on Saturday:

 

Look what else I made:

 

In case you’re a little slow on the uptake, these are one and the same thing. Yes, I made a quillow. It was  rainy, dreary day and all I wanted to do was stay inside and sew. So, I whipped out a packet of sample squares from Deb Strain’s Saltbox Harvest line by Moda (as I’ve mentioned before, free fabric is another one of the many perks of working at a quilting magazine) and…I sewed. All day long. It was exactly what I needed.

I actually had no idea what a quillow was until Friday morning when I stumbled upon the term in an evening course catalogue that I was flipping through. I signed up for the upholstery class instead, since a quillow sounded like something I could figure out on my own; it is, quite simply, a quilt that folds up into a pillow. Furthermore, when unfolded, the pillow pocket can function as a foot warmer. Brilliant. I kept this super simple–straightforward patchwork, a pillowcase binding technique, and ties instead of quilting stitches, because my main goal was to figure out how to make this marvelous hybrid fabric creation.

But that’s not all, folks. I also squeezed in some hand stitching, and completed four of my Kandinsky quilt squares:

 

And began two more:

 

I warned you: Saturday was a very anti-social, but sewcial, kind of day.

Actually, my little hibernation began the night before. Kyle, who is working for Charlie Baker’s gubernatorial campaign, had a work-related even to attend to, but I just wanted in a going out mood. Instead, I came home and got all decked out in my Friday night best:

 

I made myself one of my favorite dinners, one that has gone through much trial and error but which I finally have down: sweet potato gnocchi with creamy tomato sauce.

 

I realize they look like dog kibble but, trust me, they’re delicious. It took me some time to find the perfect potato-to-flour (whole wheat, naturally) ratio and to become truly adept at rolling and cutting the individual gnocchi, but I now have a system that works quite well and doesn’t take absurd amounts of time. I’ll get the recipe up here some day soon.

I also couldn’t resist trying out another soufflé. This time, I went with chocolate.

 

It was exquisite, if I do say so myself. Moist, warm, fluffy… It even rivaled my beloved warm chocolate truffle cake from EVOO! This is good news for my bank account but for my waistline? Not so much.

Thank goodness I enjoy working out, and started off my Saturday with a run in the rain. This is surprisingly pleasant and kind of invigorating—and definitely better than the treadmill—but it does call for a nice warm recovery breakfast. So, inspired by last weekend’s brunch, I made my own homemade granola:

 

The best thing about making your own granola, aside from getting to choose exactly what goes in it (in my case: oats, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, raisins, and dates), but eating it fresh out of the oven and still warm. Heavenly.

By mid-morning, I was sufficiently warmed up so decided to take my first stab at homemade ice cream in my cuisinart ice cream maker. My flavor of choice: chocolate banana. As I’ve said, I’ll eat ice cream in any weather, but I don’t normally have it at 11 in the morning. Well, I decided to treat myself to a pre-lunch mini cone since homemade ice cream calls for some rule breaking:

 

But this is where my successes in the kitchen ended. Remember that teff flour that  had been fermenting in preparation for injera? Epic fail. I’m not sure why—though I suspect it may have been that our apartment has been unusually cold these days and may have killed the yeast—but my Ethiopian bread-making attempt quite simply did not work. It fell apart, tasted sour, and looked more like concrete than bread. Let’s just say I was rather  disappointed. I’ll give it another go at some point, but at the time I wasn’t in the mood to troubleshoot so Z and I came up with a quick plan b and went to Sagra where I had…more gnocchi (this one in a lovely duck ragu).

 

Z also gave me a batch of her delicious mini chocolate chip banana muffins. Naturally, this paired quite perfectly with the chocolate banana ice cream.

 

Clearly, my Saturday night quickly recovered. Hey, you can’t win them all—and the failed bread was probably a sign that I needed to get out of the apartment at this point anyway.

Speaking of not winning them all, my Sunday morning yoga class was randomly brutal. I’m not a yogic master by any means, but I’ve been going to Baptiste for a while now and have many classes where I’m happily shooting up into crow or headstand (even the occasional handstand), effortlessly flowing through my sun salutations, feeling strong and balanced—this was not one of those classes. It was quite possibly the longest 90 minutes of my life. Even tree pose felt like an enormous amount of effort. Thankfully, yoga is usually a lot more pleasant, but I have to admit it’s good to have the occasional, humbling class. I slept and ate well the night before, I hydrated, and I did everything ‘right.’ But there’s only so much you can control: your body is going to tell you what it is and is not up for, and you really need to listen to it.

Nothing that a nice big omelet at the Cheesecake Factory, where I went with my Welton for brunch, couldn’t fix:

Is it just me, or is this post dragging on? I’ll end it here, and leave you with one last colorful picture that will hopefully brighten up your Monday:

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The Good, The Bad, and The Puffy

Let’s start with some bad. Kyle was supposed to attend his younger sister’s wedding in Kosovo this weekend (yes, you read that correctly), but due to a volcanic eruption in Iceland, his flight has been canceled. Actually, this is more bizarre than bad (a volcanic eruption? What are the chances) and, of course, I selfishly feel like it’s good news since I was nervous about him traveling and now he’s going to be safe at home.

Then again, in anticipation of his absence, I had made lots of fabulous plans with someone very special: me, myself, and I. Yes, aside from having Saturday dinner and Sunday brunch with other human beings (you know who you are and you know you’re special ;)), I’m really ready for a couple days of being more sewcial than social.  

I had planned on kicking off my me-time last night by finally making an individual soufflé in my new Mario Batali 2 cup pan. Fortunately, Kyle had massive amounts of cheeseburger and chili fries left over from a previous meal, so I went ahead and executed this plan anyway. And I’m very pleased to report that I had quite the soufflé success! (But Kyle also liked it, even though it was meat free, so next time I have to make two.)

I’ve been taking a very minimalist approach to grocery shopping these days since I’ve been pouring a fair amount of money into thread, fabric, yarn, etc., and I rather enjoy making do with what’s on hand in the kitchen (for the record, one of the best ways to economize your food budget is to ride your bike to the grocery store—you simply can’t overbuy). However, there are a couple of things that I always have on hand, and one of them is sweet potatoes (and, of course, eggs from my mother’s chickens). So, as is my usual approach, I did some scouting around online, flipped through a couple cookbooks and came up with a modified recipe that suited my current supplies. This one is worth sharing because it really was delicious—and, unlike my last soufflé, it rose beautifully; the perfect combination of puffy, moist, and creamy.

Sweet Potato & Cheese Soufflé

 

Ingredients

  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 2 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 ½ tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tbsp flour
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup grated cheese (I used a lovely yellow cheese that my mom gave me, but any hard cheese will do)
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • salt
  • thyme

Use 1 tbsp of the butter to the grease the inside of a 2 cup  pan and coat it with parmesan cheese.  

Wrap the sweet potato in foil and cook in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it is very soft. Remove the skin and mash the sweet potatoes in a bowl, adding salt and thyme to taste. Lower the oven heat to 375 degrees F.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining tbsp of butter and add the garlic, stirring for about a minute. Add the flour and 1 tsp of salt. Whisk consistently for about 30 seconds. Add the milk and continue whisking for 3 minutes; the sauce will begin to thicken. Add the sweet potato mixture and cook for about 1 minute. Pour in the cheese, stir until it has melted, and remove from heat.

Add about half of this sweet potato mixture to the egg yolks, then return the egg yolks to the rest of the sweet potato mixture and stir to combine.

Whisk the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks begin to form. Mix 1/3 of the whites into the sweet potato mixture, then fold in the remaining whites.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and cook for about 20 minutes at 375 degrees F.

Soufflés are without a doubt going to be a new dinner staple for me. I fell asleep imagining other soufflé possibilities. I want to try adding tuna, bacon, spinach, broccoli, leeks…I could go on and on. And don’t even get me started on the prospect of a chocolate soufflé.

The forecast for the rest of my weekend? Well, a little bit of bad: it’s supposed to rain/snow (really Boston? really?) which means minimal bike riding. The good: on Wednesday afternoon, I biked to Whole Foods. I save my trips to Hole Wallet for very special groceries. In this case:

 

Guess what teff flour is used for? To make injera, aka Ethiopian bread. Oh yes, I have not forgotten that miraculous spongy delight from last weekend, and as is the case with most delicious breads, I can’t resist making my own. I’ve already combined  1½ cups of the flour flour with 2 cups of water and it is currently fermenting in a large bowl on my kitchen counter. It smells a bit funky and it’s nicely puffed—believed it or not, this is a good thing. At this rate, it will be ready for Saturday night when my sister and I are making a homemade Ethiopian dinner, complete with honey wine!

I also have a new infatuation that will undoubtedly occupy me a great deal this weekend. For some reason, I decided to do something a bit different with my recent batch of dyed yarns:

 

I know, I know, crocheting instead of knitting isn’t exactly revolutionary—but doing something fresh with my fingers feels really, really good. It took me a little while to find my flow, but now the yarn is looping around my crochet hook in a fluid, rhythmic, and addictive way. I’ve tried crochet in the past and it never really clicked, but for some reason, this time is different and I’m completely, utterly hooked (get it?)

I love these little squares, but I feel like calling them ‘granny’ squares doesn’t do much for crocheting’s reputation, and it certainly doesn’t capture how lovely and fun they are. I’m calling mine puffy squares instead, and I adore them.

Kyle’s assessment: “I like these. They’re like mini knitting,” but I think I’m so fond of them because they’re very conducive to the bite-sized approach that I’m drawn to these days. Each little square is a mini-project in and of itself, but they will come together to create a larger, beautiful whole. How perfectly patchwork.

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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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