Welcome

to day one of the new stuff actually happening!  Finally!

It’s been a day of building the temporary site for CTW, sorting through supplies for the kits for HomeWorks, SchoolWorks, KnitWorks and FabricWorks.  Two down, two more to go.  This is going to be a week chock full of photoshoots and sorting through the 100+ boxes that arrived last week.

I think and sincerely hope we are on to something fun and exciting and I can’t wait to let you know how it all pans out.

Apologising

jenmcox:

Would it be wrong to print this out and leave it on everyone’s chair at work tomorrow? I guess we’ll find out! :)

Originally posted on Gippsland Granny:

apologizingI need to remind myself of this now and again.  This is a reblog from a few years ago.

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Burnt Butter Mashed Potatoes

jenmcox:

Just getting back into the swing. Work had me on a travel tear, but landed today — with scads to do — and made a promise to get the blog in order, get the CTW site UP THIS WEEKEND, organize photos from all the product shoots, and take a daily break at 2:30 EVERYDAY for some hot yoga to get me centered. Until the weekend comes and I get all that in order (pray for me, if you pray, and send me good thoughts if you’d rather) some reblogging is in order. Given that tomorrow is another meat-free Friday, these potatoes are just the thing … Nice to see you all again!

Originally posted on Ali Does It Herself:

Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes 12

This is an elegant twist on your average mashed potatoes and it’s worth the little bit of extra effort.

Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes 1

Start with 3 1/2lbs of white potatoes. When I’m cooking for the Pie’s family, who are all mashed potato fiends, I generally go with one large potato for each eater.

Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes 2

I don’t usually peel potatoes before mashing them because I like the texture of the skin but in this case I followed the recipe and peeled them up. Then I chopped them into smaller pieces and chucked them into a large pot with some salted water.

Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes 3

Simmer the potatoes for at least 25 minutes, or until they’re all soft and you can poke through them with a fork very easily. Drain the potatoes and put them back on the warm element before you start mashing them.

Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes 5

In a small pot on the side, dump about 1/2 cup butter

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10 Months, 23 Days

Until Christmas.  Just like every other year, I’ve promised myself that I’ll start with the making early so as to not be weaving in ends on Christmas Eve.  I mean, that does lend an air of excitement to the holiday, but in the end, it takes a toll.

In addition to the one sock, two baby blankets and one sweater I’m trying to finish in February, hoping to get a start on at least one Christmas project before the month is out.  I’m thinking this one is it:

Tempo Cowl

Click the image to link to the pattern for this Tempo Cowl.  I’m making mine in grey and green, just as soon as I finish the stuff already on the needles, I swear!

Final Food Feed

This is the last one, I swear.  See previous about the glory I discovered at my local grocery.  They have a huge section of organic and/or locally sourced foods, too, which I perused after my salad bar happiness meltdown.

I wasn’t sure what I’d get, until I saw a vendor with sweet potatoes.  And, they were right next to the cheese display.  And, I thought, “Hmm, universe.  Are you trying to tell me that I should find a way to get my favorite thing (dairy) onto my second favorite thing (potatoes) and make something tremendous?  And, unto me, this gift was given:  Baked Sweet Potatoes + Kerry Gold Butter + Bacon + Bleu Cheese + Maple Syrup.

sweet potato

(Photo credit:  happyherbivore.com)

Don’t make me say it again.  Here’s how it works:

1)  Wash your sweet potatoes  (NOT yams, you need sweet potatoes)

2)  Cut off all the weird bits and squigglyness.

3)  Wrap them in foil.

4)  Put them in the oven and turn the heat up to 350 degrees

5)  Wait. Wait and check every 20 minutes, but just wait.  When you squish the foil and it feels like the potato has given up, you’re done.

6)  Remove the potatoes from the oven and set them to cool.  Not too long, just until you can handle them without going, “Ooh, ah, ouch, mama, sonofaxxx”.

7)  Get ’em outta the foil and slice them down the middle.

8)  Put a generous pat of Kerry Gold Salted butter in the opening you’ve made.  Here, two things to note:  a) get your head out of the gutter waiting for me to make some obvious innuendo about this action; and, 2)  if you’re not using Kerry Gold butter, throw the whole thing in the garbage.  Kerry Gold is all there is, and stop using anything else, ever.

9)  Calm down from me yelling at you in step #8

10) Mush the butter around inside the potato, then add a half handful of bleu cheese, and mush it around a bit, but not too much

11)  Add a half handful of cooked, drained, crisp bacon.  Do not mush.

12)  Pour ~ 2 tablespoons of maple syrup over the whole shebang.  Here, I mean MAPLE SYRUP — the kind where, when you’re in the syrup section at the grocery store, you go, “Why is this 8x the price of this other thing called ‘pancake syrup’?”  Because it’s worth it.  Get it.  You can use it on pancakes, waffles, or, I’m betting, more baked sweet potatoes with bleu cheese and bacon.

Tomorrow, we knit!

Since When Are We Talking About Food?

I know, right?  So, the salad in a jar thing + new Kitchen Aid stand mixer + not living in a miserable place in a miserable situation = me happy and back to making, in whatever way that plays out.

Recently, that’s been cooking (or, if I’m honest, just putting ingredients together.  I’d like to call it cooking, though, if that’s okay).

I discovered the magic that is Farm Fresh Groceries yesterday and it’s changed my life.  It’s like a combination of Target, Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, and a bodega.  All less than a quarter of a mile from my front door.  Who knew what wonders I’d find if I just turned left instead of right one day?  It’s been there the whole time, and I just discovered it today.

Upon looking at everything on offer, I decided to change up my Greek, Buffalo Chicken, Thai and Balsamic Cranberry Chicken salads this week and try some Cobb Salad in a jar.  Bonus is that the salad bar is so extensive, I could do all my shopping there, and buy exactly the amount and what I needed and not find myself with a half-bunch of wilted celery/romaine/butter bib at the end of the week.  I made 3 for the week and one for dinner, and it was amazing.  If you want to try it, here’s how I did it.  Read the “recipe” from the bottom up to layer your salad so nothing gets squishy.

Slide1

Stay tuned for one more food discovery and then, I swear, it’s back to crafting and Russell Jenkins!

Herhmmm….

I tried to reblog this post, but error messages all over the place.  It was so good, though, I couldn’t let it go, so click the link and see for yourself.  How many hours have I wasted trying to find a pencil, paper or some other way of recording where I’m at with a dang cable?  I’ll tell you how many:  All of them!  This is a great help.  Read it and knit faster!

New Year, New Routine

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Hey, y’all!  I’ve been busy getting my life in order and finishing up Christmas projects that are, as of this writing, only three weeks late.  Blurgh. I’ll never learn that one person’s “weekend knitting project” is my “two-week-long-project-because-I-can’t-stop-looking-for-new-things-to-make-and-chasing-my-pets-around-trying-to-keep-them-from-eating/licking/destroying-everything-in-my-apartment” project.

One thing I have taken time to do is to work on eating better now that I’m settled in and happy.  My body type belies my love of vegetables.  They are, really, my favorite thing.  I could eat lima beans for EVERY meal and be okay.  Seriously.  So, I made a plan to get just organized enough to ensure a healthy dose of fibrous greenery (and orangery and redery) in my life on the daily basis.  Bonus is, it’s Pinterest-approved eating.  And, by that I mean, I got the idea from Pinterest, and as it turns out, it wasn’t my typical Pinterest-fail.  I actually got this one — these salads in a jar — right.

5 little salads, sitting on a shelf.  I will eat them all myself.

5 little salads, sitting on a shelf. I will eat them all myself.

Because I was new to the experience, I didn’t go too crazy experimenting, just stuck to what I know I like — Greek Salad, Buffalo Chicken Salad, and a Thai-style salad. I’ve had all three so far, and can say that they keep really well — I had one today that’d been jarred up since Sunday and it was as crisp and fresh as when I made it.  I think the canning jars do a great job of keeping moisture out, at least better than a plastic tub would.  My favorite so far is the Greek salad, but they’ve all been good.  I’m going to try some new ones (keeping the Greek, though) this weekend.

Since a couple of you asked me, here are the recipes I used, all using quart-sized Ball Canning jars.  That sounds big, but it’s mostly lettuce which has negative calories, as far as I’m concerned.

GREEK SALAD IN A JAR:

Ingredients:

  • 1-Quart Canning Jar (do not eat this, though)
  • Marzetti’s Simply Dressed Lemon Vinaigrette (you could use something else, but this was terrific)
  • Romaine lettuce (chop it up!)
  • Shredded carrots
  • Chopped celery
  • Chopped red onion
  • Chopped cucumber (seeded, skin-on)
  • Sliced kalamata olives packed in oil (get them­­ from the grocery store olive bar if you have one)
  • Shredded/pulled chicken (I used chicken breast because it came already shredded and I am lazy, but you could use light and dark meat) I bought the equivalent of 1.5 chicken breasts and used that to make 5 salads. You don’t need a lot.
  • Low-salt Feta cheese

The fun is that you don’t really have to measure anything, just use your eyeballs. The work that you have to is:

  • Slice up the olives if they’re not already sliced
  • Chop up the chicken – this helps a little go a long way
  • Chop up the romaine – which is fun and a stress reliever
  • Chop up the celery
  • Chop up the cucumbers and be sure to remove the seeds — lots of liquid there!

Build your salad:

  • Put 2-3 tablespoons of dressing in the bottom of your jar. Swirl it around so it covers all the bottom of the jar.
  • Put in the hearty vegetables first, like this:
    • A handful of celery first. Spread it around in the bottom so it’s all in contact with the dressing.
    • A handful of the shredded carrot next
    • Then the cucumber
    • Then, the chopped red onion – you don’t have to chop it, but it makes it easier to layer if it’s small
  • Then, I put the chicken. About ¼ of a cup at most
  • Then, the olives
  • Then, the feta
  • Then as much lettuce as you can smush up in that jar.

It was DELICIOUS:

Day 1 Lunch!

Day 1 Lunch!

BUFFALO CHICKEN SALAD IN A JAR:

Ingredients:

  • 1-Quart Canning Jar (do not eat this, though)
  • Marie’s Yogurt Bleu Cheese Dressing (again, pick your favorite, but use a yogurt based one if you want to cut down on the calories)
  • Romaine lettuce (chop it up!)
  • Shredded carrots (you can buy this bagged)
  • Chopped celery
  • Chopped, seeded celery, skin on
  • Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (or some other, but Frank’s is THE BEST!)
  • Shredded/pulled chicken (see previous)
  • Bleu Cheese crumbles (or, buy a block and crumble it yourself, but a block of cheese in the house is dangerous in my world, so …)

Again, you don’t really have to measure anything, just use your eyeballs. The work that you have to is:

  • Chop up the chicken – this helps a little go a long way
  • Chop up the romaine – which is fun and a stress reliever
  • Chop up the celery
  • Chop up the cucumber (see previous re: seeding that sucker!)

Build your salad:

  • Put 2-3 tablespoons of dressing in the bottom of your jar and add hot sauce – I shook that jar of sauce a bunch of times, maybe for a teaspoon’s worth, but you do what you feel comfortable with.) Use a knife or a chopstick to mix up the hot sauce and the dressing, taste it and when you’re good, swirl it all around so it covers all the bottom of the jar.
  • Put in the hearty vegetables first, like this:
    • A handful of celery first. Spread it around in the bottom so it’s all in contact with the dressing.
    • A handful of cucumber next
    • A handful of the shredded carrot next
  • Then, I put the chicken. About ¼ of a cup at most
  • Then, the bleu cheese
  • Then as much lettuce as you can smush up in that jar.

THAI-STYLE CHICKEN SALAD IN A JAR:

Ingredients:

  • 1-Quart Canning Jar (do not eat this, though)
  • Maple Grove Sesame Ginger Dressing (again, pick your favorite if you don’t like/can’t find this one)
  • Romaine lettuce (chop it up!)
  • Shredded carrots (you can buy this bagged)
  • Chopped celery
  • Chopped cucumber (see previous – no seeds!)
  • Slivered almonds or chopped peanuts, whichever you can find/prefer
  • Shredded/pulled chicken (see previous)
  • Shredded cabbage

Once again, your eyeballs do the measuring. The work is that you have to:

  • Chop up the chicken – this helps a little go a long way
  • Chop up the romaine – which is fun and a stress reliever
  • Chop up the celery
  • Seed and chop up the cucumber

Build your salad:

  • Put 2-3 tablespoons of dressing in the bottom of your jar
  • Put in the hearty vegetables first, like this:
    • A handful of celery first. Spread it around in the bottom so it’s all in contact with the dressing.
    • Then the cucumber
    • A handful of the shredded carrot next
    • Then, the shredded cabbage
    • You could add onion, too, if you want, as I think it would be good in this, but I ran out of onions (or, to be honest, I didn’t feel like cutting any more) and it was fine without.)
  • Then, I put the chicken. About ¼ of a cup at most
  • Then, nuts
  • Then, of course, as much lettuce as you can smush up in that jar.

NOTE:  You can assembly line these if you’re not making more than three types at once.  It only took me about 30 minutes to make lunches for 5 days.  Also, I don’t like my salads to be super cold, so while I take one and put it in the fridge at work in the morning, I take it out about 20 minutes before lunch so it can get to room temperature. It also makes it easier for the dressing to “loosen up” and I can shake the jar up to distribute it.

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