Archive for July, 2011

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Fashion Plate

In honor of the new season of Project Runway!  Did you watch it?

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Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Dinner :: I Made It

Like as in I made it through Thursday without going to Chipotle.  I’m feeling a little inspired by the July/August issue of Everyday Food (thanks dearie for letting me borrow your brand new issue.)  There’s a nice recipe in there for rice salad.  I didn’t follow the recipe exactly (shocking) but I improvised a little and followed some general guidelines.  A little spicy, a little salty, a little sour, a little sweet.  I didn’t have any jalapenos so I put some red pepper flakes in the dressing, I subbed red wine for rice vinegar and I added some blanched, chopped green beans.

My kids wouldn’t eat it but they did eat the component parts and Avery ate some chicken and declared it tasty so I’m thrilled.  It was realyl tasty.  I served it along side some random chicken parts that I found in the freezer.  That’s the kind of well thought out menu we’ve been enjoying this week.  At least it’s nice to have summer’s bounty to fall back on.  As of last night we were one melon down and one to go and two days until the next market day.  On Saturday somebody remind me that we don’t need to eat a whole watermelon every. single. week.

There are a bunch of recipes in this issue that  I want to try.  Including the BLT soup which is like gazpacho with bacon crumbled on top.  Sounds like a can’t miss to me.  We’re under heat advisory but I’m still making soups.  I make this soup whenever I don’t make it all the way through the corn.   I also want to try the baked fried chicken and macaroni salad that calls for a hardboiled egg in the dressing.  Oh, and there’s a two page spread on sangrias.

Happy Friday before I forget.  Here’s a little bit of pretty for you.  Chase likes to pick flowers at the grocery store to make our kitchen smell bootiful.  Who would begrudge that?

Rice Salad (From Everyday Food July/August 2011 p.14)

1 c long-grain white rice

3 med carrots grated

1 mild green chile (like anaheim), seeded and chopped

1/2 c chopped fresh parsley

1/4 small red onion, diced

1 T rice vinegar

1 t sugar

Cook rice and transfer to a large bowl.  Add carrots, chile. parsley, onions, vinegar and sugar.  Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.


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Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

The New Girls

Chase’s girls have a new style.  Lots of curly hair and full, round lips.  She is also incorporating some scenery.  Oh, and armpits, she’s still adding the armpits.  You might be getting one of these in the mail one day soon.  While we were in Virginia Beach Chase received a big stack of construction paper and she’s squirreled it away all over the house.  She’ll ask if she can draw and then have all her tools out before I can give her an answer.  That girl loves to draw.

In other news, things are finally settling down around here again.  There was lots of sleeping this week.  That might be because of all the travel or it might be because of growth spurts.  Ben thought that Avery looked bigger when he got home from work on Tuesday than she had when he put her to bed the night before.  It’s possible I suppose.  Both girls are logging 14 or 15 hours a day.  I say that tonight so that when I’m complaining next week about how they never sleep I’ll have something to hold onto.

I haven’t been doing a great job of writing about all of the new things that Avery can do.  Recently she’s started saying two words together.  Most of her statements start with MY, MY pony, MY, MY, MY!  But she’s putting two words together nonetheless.  Everyday she says new words.  Last night it was “fork” which sounds decidedly like something other than fork.  Today she pinched me and said “cheek” and then “face.”   That was after she took her “cuppa” milk and dumped it on the floor.  She’s a wild one.  It’s kind of cute that when she wakes up in the morning she wants her “cuppa” right away.  Me too baby, me too.

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Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Vintage Ticking

Unfortunately, my love of vintage textiles is taking me down a slippery shabby chic slope.  I can see that now.  I never intended for this to happen but here I am with a closetful of mismatched vintage linens for the girls’ room and quilts and afghans are coming out of my ears.  I had such a promising start with the Alexander Henry bedspread too.  What happened there?

I had all kids of plans involving these little wooden birdhouses and now, well, I just don’t know anymore.  In any event, I bought these two little quilts over the weekend.  I think that they’re handmade.  The stitching is kind of wonky and one of the squares isn’t quilted.  I looked at that thinking how did that make it through QC?  But reliable sources agree that they’re probably handmade.  I LOVE the prints.  Lots of greens and pinks and paisley and the quilts are similar but not the same.  Someone worked really hard on them and I think that the backs are pieced too.  Not like album quilt hard but hard enough to make them cute I think. Read the rest of this entry »

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Monday, July 25th, 2011

Cookie Time :: Hunka Chunka Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Treats for Kids by Jill O'Connor

I bet that if you go back through the archives you’ll find 10 posts about cookie time.  But this is it.  The definitive chocolate chip cookie.  I finally went to the source.  You know who knows about cookies?  10 year olds (though I could be a year or two off on that… she’s pretty mature and I kind of still think of myself as not far off of 10 so it’s hard to say).  Awesome 10 year old neighbors that are handy in the kitchen and can write out a recipe too.  You have one of those, right?

Honestly, I liked my chocolate chip cookie recipe but it had orange zest in it and it was too flat for Ben’s liking.  We all agree though that these are the best true chocolate chippers.  You can find the original recipe here but the version that I was given calls for 2 2/3 cups of chocolate chips and 1/3 cup of toffee bits so that’s what I used and it’s a delicious variation.  I’m telling you that girl knows what she’s talking about.  Best cookies ever! (From Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Treats for Kids by Jill O’Connor)

Also, I had no idea that there was so much gas station bathroom lore out there.  You guys are awesome.

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Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Oh No, Not Another Lighthouse

We’re back from our little vacation.  It’s so hard to get back into the swing of things.  The plan was to come back with enough time to ease back into work mode but it is not easy.  Sleep routines are turned upside down and I’m just generally not ready to not be in vacation mode anymore.  I need another week of hanging around the house at least.  We had a lot of fun.  Beach, pool, hot tub repeat.  Some of us more than others.  I won’t bore you with the details of our fun in the sun but maybe you’re up for a little schadenfreude.

Let’s see, what happened.  Actually, it wasn’t that bad not until Thursday anyway.  Let’s see, we worked really hard on a homemade kite following some instructions in an old book I found.  It looked great but it didn’t fly.  Not even a little.   Maybe that’s because shortly after I took this picture I put my thumb through it.  Subsequent attempts at launching it only cause more tearing.  I attempted field repairs but, uh, not so much.  I ran.  I ran in the burning hot sand.  I REALLY wanted it to fly.  Next year.

Speaking of burning hot sand.  There was that time that Me and Chase had to stand on the canvas bag I was carrying while I tried to figure out what I was going to do about the third degree burns that we were sure to get on our feet.  I mean honestly.  If I had any inkling that sand could be that hot I would never attempted to go shoeless.  When we finally got to the beach and our feet weren’t charred the wind blew my umbrella inside out while I tried to set it up.  Everyone else had their umbrella’s up.  They were barely even blowing in the wind but mine was turned inside out.  I wanted to hurl it into the ocean.  That was awesome.

We left at 5:30 that afternoon sometime around 11:30 Avery stopped crying.  Madness.  Every other time that she’s tired she gets in the car and crashes. Except, that is, when we have hours of travel ahead of us.  We stopped way more than we would have liked to.  On one of those stops I took Chase into the gas station to use the bathroom.  I asked the attendant if there was a bathroom.  So he tells me that it’s outside.  I ask if it’s out back where the six cats are lying around a shed and he laughs and tells me that it’s on the back of building.  Listen buddy, if there are 6 cats hanging around the shed out back of your Nowhere, VA gas station I don’t think that bathroom in the shed is outside the realm of possibility.  So, you just keep your pity for my citified ways to yourself ok?  Ok.

Alright, just a few words about the fun parts.  We hit a couple of National Sea Shore sites.  Those Park Rangers are pretty awesome.  Chase learned all kids of stuff about pirates and lighthouses and they were infinitely patient even when she was being incredibly grumpy.  She got her Junior Ranger Pin and her National Sea Shore Ranger badge.  She’s pretty happy about that.  Anyway, time to deal with my email inbox.  Boo.

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Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Squeezing In Some Summer

We’re packing up our floppy hats and shades and hitting the road for a while.  Oh, but I’m packing a little pile of wooden dowels and some nylon string too.  We’re going to have some adventures while we’re gone.  See you soon!

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Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

The Kitchen

We’ve been here five years and it’s now, just maybe, starting to shape up.  Ben installed some shelves for me!  Sorry no staging here, oversized bags of pretzel chips and Cheerios, it holds them all.  And my Pyrex, my pyrex, it’s glorious!

It’s pretty great to actually have my cookbooks in the kitchen too.  The dining room was close but the kitchen is better.  AND did I mention that the shelves were purchased and installed on the same day.  You really can’t ask for much more than that.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Monday, July 11th, 2011

Make It :: Mayo

Being picky about mayo is inconvenient.  Wanting a specific brand in a specific size (read: not in Costco-esque restaurant quantity) means always making a special trip to buy it, running out or settling for second best.  So I started making it.  It’s not hard but here’s what I learned.

One batch is about enough to last us a summer week which is about how long you can store it for.  I’d have to tinker with cutting back the recipe for the winter but in the summer we’re always making potato salad, BLT’s and just generally seem to go through it faster.

I like storing it in a jar like the one in the picture.  It’s convenient, the glass is easy to clean and I feel like there’s less of a hurdle to everyone getting with the program of homemade mayo.  It’s very much like using a regular old jar from the store.

Your oil (and probably your eggs too) should be at room temp when you start.  I used to store canola oil in the fridge because we never use it.  I tried to make mayo once using cold oil… I figured this one out the hard way.

I use Julia Child’s recipe from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home.  2 egg yolks + 1 whole egg, 1 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 tsp of dijon mustard, salt and pepper.  You whiz all of that together in the food processor and then slowly stream in a scant 2 cups of canola oil with the machine running.  Once it starts to emulsify you can pour faster or hand it over to your assistant to finish up.  If you don’t like to see the flecks of black pepper in your mayo use white but it doesn’t bother me.  Then jar it up, pat yourself on the back and use it just as you would use your store-bought mayo.

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Saturday, July 9th, 2011

Finished :: Flower Girl Dress

Yay for me.  So it turns out if fits fine.  I was forgetting that I initially tried to squeeze it on her over the t shirt she was wearing.  So it’s fine but still the pattern runs incredible small because Avery is wee and she fits into the size 3 that I cut out.  By way of comparison, she can’t hold up a pair of RTW shorts in 24 months. Read the rest of this entry »

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