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So, the secret destination I mentioned earlier was Oaxaca (say “wah-HOCK-ah”), Mexico. I love this city! I had visited once 15 years ago and always dreamed of going back.
The capital city of the state of Oaxaca, it’s like a jewel-box deep in heart of the southern mountains of Mexico, full of stunning architecture, intricate handicrafts, and oh yes, fantastic food.
The top photo was my first meal there, an ancho chile relleno next to plaintain mash with Oaxacan cheese. Surprisingly, it was actually a lot prettier than it was flavorful, but I enjoyed trying it anyway.
Below are the appetizers from that night, including, from the back of the slate platter, cheese, guacamole, and chapulinas. Chapulinas are a Oaxacan specialty—roasted grasshoppers!
Our Mexican friends told us that if you eat one, it means you get to come back to Oaxaca. It would be a lie to say they’re my favorite dish, but I was super glad I DID eat one 15 years ago. So glad, in fact, that I ate several more, hoping I will for sure get to visit again.
Below you see chiles drying at a restaurant where we ate lunch. The set up was unusual—you walk through the kitchen area up to the roof to eat. Sadly I didn’t take pics of the wonderful chicken red mole enchiladas I had.
Mole is a type of sauce involving many ingredients, including cocoa, which was first cultivated in ancient Mesoamerica. There are many different kinds of mole, and they’re not at all sweet, so don’t worry, it’s not at all like eating candy on your meat.
From the rooftop of the lunch restaurant, there’s a view of the historic Santo Domingo church, and we had great seats to see a traditional wedding celebration going out of the church, complete with dancers, costumes, and these enormous puppets that lead the way to the reception.
Lastly, here’s a photo (from the same location) of Caldo de Piedra, or “Stone Soup.” I couldn’t actually eat it, since I can’t do shellfish, but it was fascinating to watch our chef cook it, tableside.
The rocks were heated to such a high degree that when they were placed in the bowls of raw food (shellfish and broth, veggies), the liquid immediately boiled like mad. After a few moments, the liquid cooled a bit, and the chef removed the first stones and added a second hot stone to each bowl.
If you look closely, you can see the beautiful handcarving on the bowls, which are made of what I gather is a kind of gourd.
Delicious foods not pictured: duck tacos, Oaxacan tamales (wrapped in banana leaves), hot chocolate, and eggs smothered in fantastic sauces. Breakfast was not to be missed.
More on Oaxaca to come. Hope you have a great weekend. It’s like 75 degrees here today. I can’t believe it’s December!
By: Emily Smith Pearce,
Blog: Emily Smith Pearce
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Sorry for being away so long! I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving. Ours was nice and low-key, and featured some gluten-free apple pie. There was a big to-do about who got the last pieces, and not just among the GF folks. It’s that good.
The hubs and I also took a trip just before Thanksgiving, which I’ll have to tell you more about in another post.
Here I wanted to show you a little holiday craft we did. Last year I made gift cloths with Christmas fabric and existing Christmas linens, but this year I decided to add to the collection by decorating and sewing up scraps of fabric I already had in my stash.
The red and green stripe in the back left corner was made with watercolor-type fabric paints by Deka. I’ve had that paint forEVER. I tried to find a link to a place you can buy it, but it’s looking like it’s not sold in the US anymore. Bummer. It’s good stuff.
We decorated the fabric for the center red-ribboned present with Target brand “slick” fabric paints (you squeeze the bottles to draw with them). My least favorite fabric paint ever. Really poor quality, but we made the best of it.
The blue-ribboned gift cloth is pale pink, and we drew on it with Tee Juice markers, which are great for quick and easy projects, especially with kids. They are totally permanent, though, so, as with all of these supplies, dress accordingly.
Lastly, on the red-spotted cloth with the dark green ribbon, we used stamps with cheap acrylic paints from Michaels mixed with textile medium. This is one of my favorite ways to paint on fabric, because mixing it yourself gives you a wide range of choices. And in the end you aren’t left with a bunch of fabric paint you may never use again.
Below are some pre-decorated and hemmed gift cloths: a thrifted plaid tablecloth and two tea towels from Target marked down to 88¢!
The kids loved trying to guess what all these fake presents were, the favorite by far being the pink one below that’s wrapped like candy. It’s a sack of corn meal.
Loving this free printable nativity the kids can color themselves at Made by Joel.
Hope to be back soon with some details of our trip.
I can’t take any credit for this pie, other than having been an experienced taste-tester. At my kids’ request, my mother-in-law took the reins on this project during a recent visit.
She used the pastry recipe here from Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking and her favorite apple pie filling recipe for the center. According to her, the dough was “terrible, just terrible to work with,” but of course GF doughs are often tricky and tend to fall apart a lot. We wondered if using a pastry cloth would’ve made it easier (I don’t have one). Still, though, isn’t it a beautiful pie?
The results are so delicious that I would definitely try this again, tricky dough or not! A certain anonymous person (not a gluten-free eater) even tried to eat more than his allotted share.
I would say the pastry was a bit more crackery in texture than traditional dough, but it was still yummy. I think I’ll try it again at Thanksgiving, though I may use a crumble-top instead of a pastry top.
Currently reading America’s Women by Gail Collins. She’s got such a fresh voice and fantastic sense of humor—-this is the way history should be written.
A few of posts around the web that caught my fancy recently:
–this one from Amy Karol of Angry Chicken about using free digital art from the Rijksmuseum
–a glow-in-the-dark party over at Elsie Marley
–love, loooove this collaboration between an illustrator and her 4-year-old
Hope you had a great weekend. Ours was long and relatively lazy. We even started some Christmas crafting. Feels a little early, but I know it’ll be here before we know it. I even went totallly nerdo and made a spreadsheet of the gifts I’ve already purchased and squirreled away. I have more of a head start than I thought. Woohooo!
Here’s one of my best sewing creations yet, from this Lisette pattern (the Traveler dress). Yet another pink-ish dress!
It took me a long time, but I did it! The buttonholes were the scariest part, but turns out my sewing machine salesman was right: if you practice twelve times (on the appropriate fabric) you can make them beautifully.
I made no alterations to the pattern other than to leave off the bottom pockets and to use two different sizes for the top and bottom (aha! That’s why I have trouble fitting in store-bought dresses).
Didn’t my kids do a good job with the photos?
Pattern: Simplicity 2246 by Liesl Gibson
Fabric: pinklish oxford cloth from an open-air market in Germany
Earrings: Ron Cravens
Boots: Bruno Premi (no, you can’t have them!)
By: Emily Smith Pearce,
Blog: Emily Smith Pearce
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I was in Trader Joe’s yesterday, and my eyes landed on these beauties. According to TJ’s, they are “Gold Nugget Squash,” but they’re similar what we called Hokkaido pumpkins in Germany, and I knew I just had to have some pumpkin soup for lunch. I’d been looking for some similar pumpkins here, but this was the first time I’d seen anything close.
I was psyched to find that the Gold Nugget cooked up just like a Hokkaido, which is loads better than a pie pumpkin when it comes to soup-making.
I wanted to recreate some soup, chef unknown, that I’d had at a school function, but I didn’t want to spend my day making soup, since it was just for me. Sadly, the family is not nearly as enthusiastic about pumpkin soup as I am. All the recipes I could find were pretty involved, so I came up with my own.
I’m sure the “involved” recipes are, you know, fancier, but this method totally floated my boat. Super delicious and easy! Here’s my Amelia-Bedelia* recipe:
Simplest Curried Pumpkin Soup
1 thin-skinned, dark red pumpkin/ squash (My pumpkin was about the size of a grapefruit. Adjust spices up if your pumpkin is bigger, always tasting to see if it suits you).
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
a few sprinkles dried onion flakes
a few sprinkles garlic powder
small sprinkle red pepper flakes
salt to taste
One of these gold nuggets made about 3-4 bowls of soup (umm….yes, I ate it all in one sitting).
Preheat the oven (I used the toaster oven) to 375 degrees F. Prick the skin of the pumpkin a few times with a fork or knife tip. Roast whole until it’s nice and tender. I think mine took about 35 minutes or so. At this point, you could set it aside to cool and refrigerate until you’re ready to make the soup.
Slice the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Now scoop the flesh out of the skin, and if you have a hand blender, place directly in your soup pot. I mashed mine a little with the potato masher. Add a cup or so of water, mash a little more, and then puree with the hand blender. Add more water if needed to make it the consistency you like.
Alternatively you could place the pumpkin flesh in your blender with water, then empty the puree into your soup pot.
Okay, you’ve got pumpkin puree. Now heat slowly and season with the spices to your taste. I used Penzey’s mild curry powder, which worked beautifully.
Serve and eat. I added a squeeze of lime and a dash of Sriracha sauce to mine. This is definitely going into my rotation for as long as I can get my hands on those little pumpkins!
*for friends unfamiliar with Amelia Bedelia, she’s a children’s book character. Ms. Bedelia is a little dim with housework, but her saving grace is her fabulous no-recipe cooking. She cooks with ”a little of this, a little of that.”
It’s been Soup Central around here, with tomato soup, golden chick pea soup, and coming tomorrow, chili. For more of my less-meatarian cooking posts, look here. What have you been cooking lately?
Meanwhile I think our costumes are allllllmost finished. Just need to paint our little ninja’s cardboard weapon. Hope to post directions for his tunic soon. Happy Halloween!
Do you ever feel like your subconscious is leaking out?
I was researching decorations for my dear friend’s wedding when I got kind of stuck on sticks. Here’s my pinterest page on stick decorating.
My kids never saw any of this, but somehow, they seemed to know about it, because later that day, after hubs had trimmed some bushes, they hunted down the paint and began decorating these sticks. I’m loving the Dr. Seuss vibe.
I also chopped (with the trimmer) a bunch of sticks into shorter segments for us to make into a new winter wreath. Our old one is kind of sad and decrepit.
I’m alllllllmost finished with a dress I’m making. Just three more buttons! I can’t believe I actually made 9 successful buttonholes. This is a new milestone.
Meanwhile, I hope a certain little ninja will appreciate his costume that’s nearly finished. Who am I kidding? Kids have no idea the work that goes into costume-making. That’s okay. I’ve had fun making it, and I’ve kept it really low-key. I may make a little tutorial about the tunic part of it.
I’m still plugging away at my writing projects. Trying to keep my nose to the grindstone. And made Foster’s Market Jamaican black bean soup last night. Also put up some pesto. Yum!
I’m sorry to have been away so long—I’ve missed being here in this space. I’ve been very busy on my writing projects and trying to use my days to work on them. But don’t worry, I’m still here.
My six-year-old made this robot, with just a tiny bit of help from his older sister on the hands. I love it! I think he must’ve been inspired by this robot display photo, sent to us by a friend while she was in London. The robot a continuation of the Cardboard Factory that hatched in our dining room over the summer.
I’ve been sewing a little, trying to screw up my courage to make some buttonholes (an Achilles heel of mine) on a dress. Also, I’ve been working on another Halloween ninja costume.
I’m a little stuck in the cooking department, having most days used my creative energy to write. But it’s got to change, because I get tired of the same old stuff. Any great fall ideas for vegetable dishes?
On the reading front: NEWSFLASH! It’s now scientifically documented that reading literary fiction promotes emotional intelligence. Read all about it here. I understand from a psychologist friend that Eleanor Estes’ The Hundred Dresses (not mentioned in the article) was used in this study.
I recently received Colette Sewing Handbook as a gift. I’m loving it. It’s so nicely laid out, and already there are so many little details that I’m learning about the sewing process that I never knew before. It comes with five patterns.
In other completely random news, Trader Joe’s is giving me no money to say this, but I’ve found a couple of new-to-me great things there lately. Their Five Country Blend whole bean espresso is totally awesome, as good as Illy. And I found a Hungarian gruener veltliner wine (Floriana) that reminds us of minerally, grassy, Austrian ones we’ve had but can’t find here. In our TJ’s, it’s in the German wine section, but the shelf label is French, so it’s not so easy to find, but well, there you go. Good luck.
Have a great weekend! Oh, and I’ve been a bit more active on Instagram and Twitter lately, so meet me there if you want to see more of what I’ve been up to.
I love looking at craft books almost as much (okay, sometimes more) than crafting. In my house growing up, my mom and I always called these ”make it/ do it” books, after two of our favorites, her own McCall’s Giant Make It Book (1953) and my Great Big Golden Make It & Do It Book (1980).
Many happy hours were spent poring over those pages. Most of the projects I never made or did, but just knowing that I could, imagining them, and looking over the pictures and instructions was (is) very satisfying.
I still love make it/ do it books, and in the stack are a few more recent favorites.
Made to Play by blogger Joel Henriques. This book, given to us by a good friend, inspired our cardboard factory last summer. The author’s blog is madebyjoel.
Sticks & Stones & Ice Cream Cones by Phyllis Fioratta is another childhood favorite.
Oodles to Do with Loo-Loo and Boo by Denis Roche, a Vermont College friend of mine. This one has great illustrations and fun characters who guide you throughout as you make arts and crafts with easy-to-find and recyclable items.
Things to Do Book by Jennie Maizels. I love, love this concept for a book. Each illustrated spread has a theme (“in the car,” “in the garden”) picturing various activities in a particular setting. There are little flaps to lift that are like secret treasures. In concept, it’s a little like a Richard Scarry book with activities to do instead of labels. Perfect for those “I don’t have anything to do!” moments.
I also remember loving A Boat, A Bat, and A Beanie: Things to Make from Newspaper from the library back in the day. It shows you how to make great stuff (sandals! a wig!) out of, yes, newspaper. I think I need to order a copy of it. I love getting copies of old library books I used to check out over and over.
Below: It was so well-loved, we had to re-cover mom’s copy of the McCall’s Giant Make It Book:
Here are a few of the inside pages:
Ach! There’s just something about these glowing 50s illustrations that just gets me every time. Everything looks so fun! The clothes so quaint! I just want to jump into the pictures, like Mary Poppins’ chalk drawings.
There’s a little video about the McCall’s book here.
What about you? Do you have any favorite craft books of your own, or do your kids? I think craft books make great gifts.
For more kid craft posts, click here.
Hope you have a great weekend. I’m off to the Carolinas conference of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Lucky for me, it’s right here in town.
My friend Laurel, who is visiting London, sent me this photo. Aren’t the robots great? I love how the cardboard is rolled for the arms. This is the window of a shoe store called Schuh on Oxford Street.
In case you missed my earlier post about our own cardboard adventures, it’s here.
Meanwhile, I am still deep in research mode on my nonfiction book. It’s keeping me quite engrossed.
I’m looking forward to the Carolinas SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) conference here in Charlotte this weekend. Say “hi” if you’ll be there!
This is a really simple way to do green beans and a favorite in our house. Until I was in my twenties, I had never had a crunchy-ish green bean—always the soft and soupy kind. I still like the soft ones now and then, but roasting is my go-to way to cook them, and the garlic, onions, almonds, and vinegar give this dish lots of flavor.
When I roast the beans and onions, I keep the onions all to one side of the pan so they can be easily separated. The kids won’t touch anything with a visible onion attached to it. They don’t eat the almonds, either. More for the grown-ups, right? The kids do like the flavor the finishing vinegar gives, though, and even my six-year-old, by far the pickiest, asked for seconds when I served this dish.
The Mollie Katzen recipe, from The New Moosewood Cookbook, is here. I just substituted sliced almonds for pine nuts, since I always have almonds on hand and pine nuts are crazy expensive.
For more of my cooking adventures, click here.
I thought you might like to see the T-shirts I designed for the Friends of the Library 5K I ran last Saturday. Here I am faux-modeling them with my friend Carin Siegfried, an independent editor here in Charlotte.
Carin and I were 5K teammates for the local Women’s National Book Association chapter. If you’re in the area and are a booklover, it’s a great place to meet people and network. We have book industry professionals as well as folks who just love books, and actually, you don’t need to be female.
Just this week I got lots of encouragement and excellent ideas for my nonfiction project from another of my WNBA friends (yes, that’s the acronym–no, we don’t play basketball). WNBA meets monthly for all manner of book-related events. In October we host our annual Bibliofeast event, which is a fantastic dinner with a full slate of authors. Details on that event and everything else here.
If you don’t live in Charlotte but are interested, there are Women’s National Book Associations in Boston, New York, Detroit, Nashville, San Francisco, Seattle, and D.C.
I’ve been neck-deep in my nonfiction research this week. Feels great! It finally seems to be moving forward. Hope you have a great weekend.
This dress is fairly Eastery for September, but that didn’t stop me from wearing it when I finished it last weekend.
It’s a whole lotta pink! A little girlier than I’d intended. I just can’t seem to stop picking up pink fabric.
The pattern is the Lisette Passport Dress (Simplicity 2209) by Liesl Gibson. While it’s not a particularly intricate pattern, it’s the most ambitious one I’ve sewn so far, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. It’s not perfect, but I’m proud of the finishing work and the fitting I did. Special thanks to my friend Amy G., seamster extraordinaire, who helped me figure out how to shorten the straps after I’d already completely finished them. That was the trickiest bit.
I had read that inserting the zipper as instructed was frustrating, so I ended up using an invisible zipper and this tutorial instead.
Besides the zipper part, the directions are very good, better than most commercial patterns I’ve used recently.
The linen fabric came from the fabric market in Hannover, Germany from when we lived there. Silver necklace from silversmith Gaines Kiker in Blowing Rock, NC. Silver earrings from a shop in Brookline, MA—-they’re over 10 years old so I don’t remember the name, sorry. Belt from Marshalls.
I’m already cutting out another version of the dress—if I can just figure out how to line it. For more of my sewing, click here.
In other news, I’ve really been getting into my nonfiction book project. So good to feel it finally starting to gel. A hint: it has to do with fashion.
Coming up on the blog: green beans! Craft books! All kinds of thrills.
It’s that time of year again. Time to slap together a costume or two! I thought I’d list some of our past hits as inspiration for you.
I don’t put a lot of fuss into making costumes, but I do like them to be comfortable and reusable. My favorite method involves hacking items we find in the thrift store. It’s inexpensive, much of the sewing is already done, and the fabrics are often more comfortable than those used in store-bought costumes.
For details on these costumes:
Center: Turtle Costume
Clockwise, from the top:
Anastasia Romanov (Russian princess)
Knight Tunic and Helmet
One more idea for you. My niece is evidently going to be a mermaid, and I loved the look of this simple costume her mom showed me.
I hope these inspire you. This reminds me, I have to get my kids to commit to their costumes now, too. If they had their way, they’d probably get 10 costumes and choose one at the last minute. Ha!
Y’all, I’ve tried a LOT of gluten-free pizza. Some baked goods are easy to make GF, but pizza isn’t one of them. It usually tastes kind of card-boardy. The best store-bought kind I’ve found was of a ball of frozen dough from Earth Fare (sorry, I don’t know the brand). But it was crazy, crazy expensive.
This recipe is by far the best I’ve had. Favorito. Really nice texture, not sandy or weird like some others. Even our six-year-old (who is newly gluten-free) loved it. It’s also incredibly easy if you’ve already made your stash of gluten-free flour mix.
And the best part is, the dough only has to rise 10 minutes, so, unlike traditional homemade pizza dough, you don’t have to plan so far in advance. It doesn’t require kneading, either, just mixing.
This recipe is a TOTAL keeper! Like my recent GF recipe trials, it’s also from Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking by Kelli and Peter Bronski. The recipe for a similar version of it is here.
The book includes a recipe for a bulk batch of GF flour mix, and then you’re all set to use it in many of the recipes. It’s completely worth the effort, and, although not inexpensive, is a better deal than buying pre-mixed GF flour.
One note on the recipe. My hubs grilled it, which went really well, but he had to pay close attention to the cooking time. I like it nice and crispy, but there are also directions for deep dish pizza in the book.
Yes, I hear you, you’re not gluten-free, and you wonder when my regularly scheduled cooking program is coming back. No worries, this is not going to become a blog solely about GF baking. It’s just what I’m excited about right now.
In other news, I’m waiting to get editorial notes on my young adult novel, and I’m currently researching for a nonfiction book project that had been on the back burner for quite awhile (since we were living in Germany over a year ago). Now that I’m researching in the U.S., with access to an American library, it’s way more fun! I’m still struggling with the shape of the project, but I’m happy to find that I’m just as interested in the subject matter. Hopefully I can share more about it when it’s a bit further along.
Meanwhile, I’ve been sewing a lot. Close to finishing a couple of projects that I hope to show you soon.
For more posts on cooking, click here.
I’m not exactly sure where it started (maybe with the rocket? maybe with this book?), but over the course of the summer, our dining room became piled high with cardboard creations.
I thought I’d share a few, in case they might inspire you or your kids. The center photo is the first guitar my son made. The others, clockwise from the top: a rocket, guitar #2 and drum, shadow puppets, tube puppets, shadow puppet theater, and sword.
Summer’s over, and the factory had to be cleaned up, but we make sure to have a small cardboard stash at all times for building material. For more kid’s crafts, click here.
My kids saw these cinnamon rolls in Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking and begged for days and days to make them. I usually save my cooking energy for meal-making, but the kids were determined, so we gathered ingredients and gave them a whirl.
Here’s the recipe on the Bronskis’ blog, No Gluten, No Problem.
As these things go, they were not all that hard to make. As usual with GF baking, the dough is a bit trickier to handle, but rolling it out between sheets of plastic wrap, as instructed, helped a lot.
When you roll the dough into a long tube, you can kind of pull the plastic out from under the dough, and it rolls together quite nicely.
We cut the sugar by about 1/3 cup and didn’t miss it because of the sugar glaze. They didn’t rise much (at all?), and the texture was a bit more like shortbread than a traditional cinnamon roll. As a friend pointed it, that’s probably because of all the butter! That said, they were a big hit with everyone, gluten-free or not, including my parents.
Two thumbs up for these. I’m sure we’ll make them again when we have the time. For more of my cooking posts, click here. For those of you who aren’t gluten-free, don’t worry, I’ll still be posting all kinds of meals, not just GF baking.
Coming up: some craft and sewing posts. Oh, and we just saw two movies worth watching. One, for grown-ups: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, with Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. The other, for kids: Dolphin Tale, inspired by the true story of a dolphin who got a prosthetic tail after losing hers to amputation. Our kids love animal movies and are extremely sensitive to anything scary. After a little coaxing past the beginning injury scene (not very graphic), it went over very well.
Hey folks! It’s me again. Sorry to have been MIA for awhile. We had some nice relaxing days at the beach with my folks before school started. The photo above is from a favorite spot at the beach—it’s a sidewalk crack garden, world’s best!
My least one is off to kindergarten, as of this week. So far, so good. He’s happy, so I’m happy. I’m suddenly faced with plenty of nice, quiet time to think. Wow, it works wonders. Shortly I’ll be digging back into my novel writing (and other writing), but these first few days have been all about catching up on chores: organizing, gardening, errand-running.
Currently reading Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being. Also listening to Fresh Air podcasts while folding laundry. Loved the ones with the author of Orange is the New Black and with the showrunner for the TV series of the same name. No, haven’t seen the show, but it sounds fascinating. Another interesting podcast is with Penelope Lewis, the author of The Secret World of Sleep.
And oh, loved the one with Demien Bichir, star of the Fx series The Bridge. By the way, The Bridge, a grisly murder mystery set on the border between Texas and Mexico, is fantastic. It’s not for the faint of heart, but the writing and the acting are excellent, really riveting.
Coming up, some sewing projects and gluten-free baking we’ve done recently. Hope you have a great weekend and a relaxing Labor Day.
We were going to go to the pool, but it was thundery. So we pulled out our pasta crank and got going on our first try at gluten-free homemade pasta.
Hubs got me Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking as a gift not long ago, and though I’d looked at its lovely pages many times, I’d never tried anything from it. Now that we’ve got two gluten-avoiders in the house, though, I’m more inclined to try gluten-free baking and such. The book has a special gluten-free flour blend recipe. You make a big batch of it and keep it in the fridge for all sorts of recipes.
I’ve made regular pasta with the crank a few times. The gluten-free version was definitely more challenging, and the results, while yummy, aren’t quiiiite the same. Everyone ate it enthusiastically, though, and fought over who got the last bits. I’m sure it will be easier and better the next time. The kids did a great job, but my patience was definitely wearing thin by the last few cranks.
Click here for a similar recipe by the cookbook authors. Hubs and I ate the pasta with basil and walnut puree (same ingredients as in the last post, just adding walnuts. Yum! The kids are begging to try the cinnamon rolls (from the book) next.
For more of my food posts, click here. Have a great weekend!
This is really more of a suggestion than a recipe. As I may have mentioned, I’m not doing wheat these days (long story), and in general I’m trying to eat more veggies and fewer grains. I miss my tabbouleh, though (usually made with bulghur wheat).
So, I changed up Mark Bittman’s tabbouleh recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Instead of bulghur wheat, I used a can of rinsed chickpeas, then added chopped cucumber and tomato as well. If you do dairy, you could add feta. Mmmmm…
As usual, the full-of-fresh-herbs dressing is the key ingredient, and it tied everything together nicely. Even got a thumbs up from the hubs. I planted a whole hedge of parsley this year and have been so, so happy to have it for salads like this. It’s really easy to grow from seed (basil, too).
For more of my recipes and cooking posts, click here. You’ll notice I seem to have a thing for chickpeas.
What about you? Made any interesting salads lately? My new herb garden is keeping me inspired.
My first instinct, when I saw these stains, was to freak. No, I knew it wasn’t blood. But markers are NOT allowed in bedrooms in our house! Especially not in bedrooms furnished with handmade patchworks! Especially not with mystery markers that may not be washable!
When I calmed down, I thought about my options. I could try to get the stains out, but with the mystery markers, there’s no telling what would happen. I saw visions of a splotchy pink stain covering half the duvet.
I finally decided to cut them out and replace them with appliques.
I like the results. I’ve been interested lately in mending that’s meant to be attractive, not invisible. Annekata has done several posts about beautiful mending, like this one. There’s a word in Japanese (wabi sabi) for the imperfect beauty of objects with a history. You’ll get the idea from this wabi sabi Pinterest page. It’s full of the most beautiful mending you’ve ever seen. I love to watch fibers age and weather.
For more of my patchwork projects, including more pics of this one, click here.
I’ve been working on a new dress. So far, so good, if I can just master the zipper. Crossing fingers.
Still reading Quiet and also This One is Mine by Maria Semple. Looking forward to the Austenland movie next month!
Above is a little summary of our New England vacation. A little Cape, a lot of New Hampshire, including a hike through the Flume Gorge, which I had never seen before. I was tickled to find these in a little shop in Bethlehem, NH. I love when old postcards come with messages on them. The bottom one was written by someone whose vacation mirrored ours, fifty some years ago.
I have lots to share, including some digital paintings I did while we were away. I finally finished Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re an introvert or have a loved one who is. There are lots of us, so you probably do! I learned a lot.
Hubs and I enjoyed listening to Rob Lowe’s memoir Stories I Only Tell My Friends on our car trip (read by Lowe), and we’ve almost finished listening to Yes, Chef, a memoir by Marcus Samuelsson. Really fascinating and read by Samuelsson himself in his fabulous scratchy voice. His story begins in Ethiopia, then goes on to Sweden, throughout Europe, and on to New York City as he follows his dream of becoming a master chef.
Loved this post of fun summer things to do with your kids, by Blair Stocker of wisecraft. Also, this spaghetti monsters post over at elsiemarley made me smile—it’s part cooking, part craft, and all silly fun.
What have you been up to?
Here’s my view of Truro, Massachusetts, where we visited old friends. I used the ArtRage app with my Sensu Brush on my iPad. I seem to “paint” mostly when I’m on vacation. Love Cape Cod!
More digital artwork to come. For some of my previous iPad paintings, click here and here.
The kids made these one day, and I had so much fun watching them. We used baby spinach, shaved carrot, brown rice, and sliced grilled chicken. We also used a sprinkling of mint leaves (our plant hasn’t been that prolific this year).
You can make summer rolls with all kinds of things: rice noodles, shrimp, cooked tofu, sliced beef, lettuce of any kind, sprouts, peppers, scallions, herbs. You’re really just making a wrap out of stuff that will taste good together, and in our case we love to dip them in peanut sauce. My friend tells me that the Vietnamese word for summer rolls translates literally as “rolled salad.”
For detailed summer roll instructions, click here. Just don’t get intimidated by all the detail. Simplify to suit your needs—it’s just a wrap, and after a couple of tries, you’ll get the hang of using the rice wrappers. Our favorite peanut sauce recipe, from The Moosewood Cookbook, is here. For more of my food posts, click here.
I did these while spending a week with the family at Lake Winnepesaukee in July. I used my Sensu brush/ stylist (except on the last one, where I used my fingers—you can totally tell) with the Artrage app on my iPad.
I loved watching the water and sky at different times of day and in different weather. The colors changed so dramatically in a short space of time.
Which one is your favorite?
For more of my iPad artwork, click here, here, and here. Anybody have any experience with making fine prints of your digital work? I’d love to know what worked for you.
Copyright 2013 Emily Smith Pearce
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I often feel compelled to buy summer squash even though none of us are huge fans of it. It looks so cute! So versatile! But then I get home and have to scheme to get anyone to eat it.
Truth be told, I still love the deep-fried squash I grew up with in South Carolina. Ilios Noche, a local restaurant, serves a fantastic updated Greek version of fried squash—with tzatziki!
But I may be onto something here with the basil puree. It definitely gave the squash a nice punch. And it was way easier than making pesto. Don’t get me wrong, I love pesto, but I hardly ever make it.
The basil puree from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is super simple, basically basil in the food processor with olive oil, lemon juice, a tiny bit of garlic, plus salt and pepper. I can see it with roasted veggies, potatoes, chicken, pasta…lots of possibilities. So glad we planted basil seeds. I had no idea it was so easy to grow from scratch, and now we have an overabundance.
What are your summer squash (and garden veggie) go-to dishes? I’ve also found that soaking the slices in Italian dressing before grilling is pretty yummy.