Friday, May 31, 2019

Root Veggies, But Not Imaginative

So, in the last produce box, I found beets and colorful carrots.  I've never actually cooked beets; the only ones I've ever had were the canned pickled beets.  You know the ones, packed in purple juice, that stain everything on your plate....

So I peeled and chopped 2 beets, lightly coated them with olive oil, and sprinkled with Himalayan pink salt.  Roasted at 350 in my convection oven, stirring once or twice, until they were fork tender (I don't know how long....please don't judge).  They did shrink down; the baking sheet was completely covered when they went in.

They smelled like potatoes as they were roasting, which isn't entirely a surprise, since they're root vegetables.  Beets are a little sweet, so the salt was a nice little contrast.  Ryan and Mark liked them, Patrick fed most of his to Thatcher, and Patrick's girlfriend raved about how wonderful they are.  (To be fair, since the girl eats mostly veggies, and she's very polite, I think she'd rave about them no matter how poorly I did with them.)  She also told me I could "juice" the third beet.  I did a lot of nodding and smiling for that one.

The other thing I was interested in was my colorful carrots.  I scrubbed and peeled them (one of the purple ones was actually orange in the middle; it looked really interesting), put them in a pan with a touch of salt and 1/4 cup of water, cooked off the water at medium heat (maybe 10 minutes), which was the time it took to make them fork tender, then added 1 tablespoon each butter and honey and heated until both were melted and coating the carrots.  They were not too sweet, with marvelous flavor.  Plus, all that color!

So, root veggies.  Pretty basic, but really good.

Happy weekending, everyone!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Whatever's Handy Bread

Making steak one night last week caused me to decide that steak, bread and salad was a perfectly respectable meal.  I didn't want to work all that hard at finding and following a recipe, so I just made a single loaf using things that were in my refrigerator.  I dubbed it....


3/4 cup warm milk
1 egg, warmed
1 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp gluten powder
2 to 2-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp. sugar

melted butter

Whisk together the milk and egg with a fork, then add the ingredients to your bread machine bucket or mixer bowl in the order listed.  Start with 2 cups of flour, and add more as necessary to form a nice ball. (Guidelines located to the right, of course).  Let it knead through the first cycle, or knead on low speed in your mixer for about 12 to 15 minutes, until the dough is smooth, then let it rest for 10 minutes and punch down the dough.  Form into a nice loaf in a bread pan, the let it rise for abuot 15 to 20 minutes while the oven preheats to 375F (350F for convection oven).  When the dough has doubled in size, cut a split into the middle of the loaf, brush the top with butter, and let it rise 3 to 5 more minutes.  Then put it into the preheated oven for about 25 minutes.

Slice and serve warm.  This is a nice, flavorful bread without being overly rich.  It could also be made with 1 cup regular flour and 1 cup whole wheat.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Produce Box

If I remember to take pictures of my produce box every week, and post it, then I might start remembering to take other pictures, too.

At the very least, it will enable me to review what I've gotten over time, and determine if it's worthwhile for me, that is to say, am I getting produce I like and use?

This week:  More kale, more lettuce, a box of baby spinach, 2 boxes of heirloom cherry tomatoes (they were fantastic!), colorful carrots, 3 beets, more spaghetti squash (Ryan and I are pretty pleased), apples, mangoes, lemons, potatoes, onions.  I'm going to try making soup with the kale and seeing how we like it.

There we are! It only took me 4 days to get to this!  Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, May 27, 2019

The Brown Wardrobe....

When I attended Sew Camp last September, I bought bundles of fabric, and organized them by color.  It seemed like a good idea at the time: sew in a color family, get coordinating garments, be happy.  Oh, and one other rule: I must sew everything in one bag before I can progress to another.  Otherwise, I'll just sew fabrics I love, and never get a chance to enjoy everything else.

So, in January, I decided to sew the brown bundle.  Specifically, I decided on this bundle because there was a piece of brown with white polka dots that I really wanted to sew.  Of course, it was a very lightweight fabric, completely inappropriate for single digit temperatures, made doubly so because there was only enough for a sleeveless summer dress.

Oh, well.  I made the brown polka dot dress first, using a pattern I made from a dress I bought years ago, and wore out because I loved it so well.  I've tried it on, but it's definitely waiting for warm weather.

Then I made a skirt and jacket set.  I bought some white satin for the lining, and brown gimp for trim on the jacket.  The skirt is a simple, straight skirt.  I've forgotten which pattern I used, but it doesn't matter; it's a classic design, without a waistband.  Center back invisible 9" long zipper.  I didn't have a pattern for the jacket; I just "winged" it, based on a picture I saw in a magazine or advertisement or something.  I don't remember.  I figured I could wear it with its skirt, or with the polka dot dress to extend the season into earlier spring or later in the fall.

I made a top from a piece of light beige knit fabric I had, using a McCall's pattern.  Draped neck, flutter sleeves, long.  It's a useful pattern in that it has a longer option to make a dress.

I also made a brown dress from a 1990s era pattern I have.  I liked the dress, was indifferent to the color, but it wrinkled terribly while in the laundry and was a bear to iron.  I had to use sprayed water to get out the wrinkles, because even a steam iron wouldn't fix the problem.  I wore it once, then dropped it in the donation box.

Lastly, because I had just finished the brown wardrobe, I sewed up a tulip skirt from a piece of brown fabric gifted to me by GMarie.  Sadly, I think I'm fatter than I am, so it's 2 or 3 inches too large in the waist, with no easy fix, since it has a side zipper.  I solved the problem by wearing it with my beige top pulled out, and a belt worn around the waist.  I wore a brown belt one time, a beige one another time.  I'm not sure which I like better, but I'm leaning toward brown.

So, that's January's brown wardrobe.  I'm not that big a fan of brown, but I do like everything I made except the dress that wouldn't stay unwrinkled.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone.  Remember to honor those who have fallen, and to love your family and enjoy the day of rest guarded for us by those who protect us.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

About That Kale

I appreciated everyone's suggestions for kale, and especially enjoyed Sue's opinion that she'd feed it to the rabbits and deer.  The only problem with that is that said critters think my yard is a smorgasbord already; I surely don't want to encourage them.

That said, I decided to go a different route and cook it up to go with our fish on Monday.


Kale - whatever you have
2 cloves garlic
1/2 lemon
touch of salt
olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a skillet or large saucepan.  Peel and coarsely chop the garlic (hey - I have the bulbs of fresh garlic; why not use them, despite the fact that the pre-chopped is easier to use?), and saute at medium heat until softened.  Cut the ribs out of the kale, and chop it into 1" to 2" pieces.  Add the kale to the skillet with a touch of salt - whatever amount you like - and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until it's bright green and soft.  Squeeze half a lemon over it, or the garlic will be overpowering.

Ryan said it was fine, but not as good as spinach, while Patrick vehemently disagreed and said it was much better than spinach.  Go figure; the man who wouldn't even try spaghetti squash really liked the kale.  The world is a confusing place.

So, having baked the spaghetti squash, steamed the artichokes and sauteed the kale, along with enjoying the requisite salads and really loving the fruit, I'm eagerly awaiting my next "ugly produce" box at the end of the week.  And it might even inspire me to remember to take pictures of food!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Ugly Produce

Last week, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal, which. as you all know, is my go-to for everything, about so-called ugly produce.  An enormous amount of food is wasted because it doesn't meet the cosmetic standards for retail sale, and the Journal profiled 3 companies which sell said produce directly to the consumer.  One even delivers right here in my little corner of the world!  I thought about it for a couple of days, then decided, "Why not?"

Misfit Markets has 2 sizes of organic produce box: the 10 to 12 pound and the 20 to 24 pound box.  Of course, I opted for the larger box.  And when I opened it up, this (not quite as blurry in real life) was what I saw:

There was an enormous amount of food included in that box.  I unpacked it under the supervision of one of my daughters and my son-in-law, and with the "help" of 2 year old Nora, who didn't want me to line things up on the table to see what was there.  Still, I did manage to get it set out, and this is the bounty I received for a total of $38.99:

Kale, 2 kinds of lettuce, onions, potatoes, garlic, apples, pears, mango, blueberries (which I had to feed to Nora right then), peppers (which I promptly gave to Chris and Cass to remove from my house), spaghetti squash, tiny little cucumbers.....

This is considered an "ugly" pear, presumably because of the wart.  I'm not gonna lie; it was pretty delicious.

I cooked the spaghetti squash Saturday night for dinner with the hungry horde.  Patrick refused to even try it (despite his girlfriend trying to feed it to him), and everyone else liked it.  Of course I didn't take a picture!  That might mean remembering to do things when my hungry horde is milling about, with 2 starving dogs in the mix.  Overall, I'm calling this experiment a success, even though I don't quite know what to do with kale....

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Sewciety

In October, after seeing a review by GMarie of a sample box she'd received, I signed up for a sewing subscription box from The Sewciety.  Each box includes a pattern with an amount of fabric appropriate to make said pattern, plus the thread and any notions needed to complete the project.  It also includes a small project, such as the little bag I sent to Maddie in November, potholders, things like that.  So, here's a rundown of the projects I've gotten and made from them.

October's box was an a-line tunic.  I made it as drafted, decided it made me look fat, and narrowed it with darts, adding a zipper to make it easier to wear.  Here it is in a gray fabric from them:

And here's the original blue fabric.  I love the fabric, but am rather indifferent to the pattern.  If I find a fabric I think will work well with it, I'll make it again; if not, eh....

November's box was another tunic.  It had an asymmetric collar, and I dithered for a long while before deciding to use some heavy white knit I had here for the collar, and add buttons for decoration.  I have to say that I hate cutting an entire front or back from a single layer of fabric, but I just love this pattern.  I would expect that I'll want to make more of this style next fall, when cold weather approaches.

December was another tunic.  The sleeves were a little odd, but I really liked this one, too.  I like the fabric, which is charcoal gray with a subtle floral print.  I'll probably make more of this next fall, as well.

January was a dolman sleeve tunic.  I made it, and felt like I was wearing a batwing suti.  Took out half the wing, still hated it, took one picture, and threw it into the donate pile. Let someone else like it or hate it.  I don't care.  The one good thing I have to say is that I didn't feel good about the pattern, so I used a fabric I had here, to which I was wildly indifferent.  I saved the fabric for something I did love.

February's pattern was "unmentionables".  Black unmentionables.  So, let's leave that unmentionable.

The March pattern was a sweater.  I looked at the pieces as I cut it out, and was horrified at how huge it was - and I was using the smallest size!  "What do they think a small person is, anyhow?" is pretty much what I thought as I worked on it.  It was a very fast and easy pattern.  The directions said the edges didn't need to be hemmed, but that doesn't work for me.  So I hemmed it.  And tried it on.  And liked it.

And then I made myself another in a lightweight white sweater knit that I purchased with one of my daughters and GMarie, in November of 2011 (I believe), at JoMar in Philadelphia.  It was well worth the wait to find just the right pattern for it.  I also made a red one for the relative in Denver, but forgot to take a picture of it before I sent it out.  She loves it, and red goes well with her dark hair and fair complexion.

The April pattern is for pants.  I don't wear pants, so I haven't even bothered to download it.  I'll probably use the fabric for skirts.

Overall, if I were on a tight budget, I'm not sure this would be a worthwhile subscription, mostly because I'm fussy about my clothing. (Yes, I know it isn't normal for someone to declare that they don't wear pants.  That's OK; if someone wants the pattern, let me know.)  But I've found new pattern designers I wouldn't have otherwise found, and I've loved every single piece of fabric that they've sent.  Plus, it's like I gave myself a present every month.  So that's nice.

I've done a lot of other sewing; it's been almost an obsession since the beginning of the year.  So look for more of that at some point.

Happy Weekending, everyone!

Friday, May 3, 2019


The newest member of our clan arrived shortly after midnight on Tuesday, April 30th.

At slightly over 7 pounds, she's double the weight of her big sister.  Big sister is quite certain that Baby Sister needs another blanket.  Always.  No matter how many blankets she may have, she needs "this blanket" too.  And Gamma is always allowed to hold her, which is very generous.

Mother and baby are very healthy, and happy to be home.  Of course, daddy and big sister are pretty pleased, too.

Happy Friday, everyone!