Monthly Archives: June 2010

Bloomin’

All things in the garden are blooming.  The hot sunny weather has resulted in lots of blooms on the tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and cucumber plants.  The annual flowers are so pretty.  But I have no photos to share — yet.

I watched the World Cup games again over the weekend.  It was too bad the USA lost to Ghana, but they gave it all they had and they could leave the tournament with their heads held high — unlike the French team. . . but we won’t go there.  Wow — Germany and Argentina are just steamrolling their way through the games! 

The pug's disappointment at the USA's loss to Ghana

I had a pretty good weekend.  Friday night I went out to dinner and music theater with a coworker.  Saturday morning I was up early to go to the farm market.  I really stocked up — I bought cucumbers for Greek salad, yellow squash, eggs, tomatoes, purple bush beans, green bush beans, corn, local apricots — ah, food heaven!

A good friend had knee surgery last week, and I am taking dinner to her this evening.  I am making my good Greek salad, and another friend is grilling some chicken.  I baked a cherry/apricot clafouti yesterday for dessert.

I want to do some sewing this summer, and in particular, aprons.  I found the cutest pattern at Hobby Lobby last week when I was buying dishcloth cotton to make the fashionista some plain dark brown facecloths.

The fashionista has chosen the middle view for her apron and I went fabric shopping and took photos of various fabrics and she loved the browns.  The lining and the inset waistband will be plain brown.  I tried to match the green, but couldn’t find anything that looked close enough.  And the fashionista is very particular about things matching EXACTLY, so brown it will be.

I was telling the young woman who does my hair about sewing aprons — she is a close family friend — and I showed her the pattern, and she told me at church yesterday that she would like an apr0n, and if I would agree to sew it, she would go fabric shopping soon.  I see a few aprons in my future!

I have no new knitting photos to share, but here are a couple of food photos!

Farm market steamed beans dressed with organic butter, sea salt, pepper

Fish tacos with mango habanero salsa


Nothing Exciting Here

Wednesday.  Middle of the work week.  Not much going on around here except the usual-ness of life.

I did take this past Friday off — and my boss was rather unhappy about that.  I have several vacation days to burn before my anniversary date near the end of July.  He just doesn’t like it when I am gone.  ????? I do like my job a lot, and I enjoy working for him, but I have a life outside of work — and he would rather I didn’t.  You would think after 14 years he could come to terms with that.  Oh, well.  As I said, I do like my job a lot and I am very blessed to have my job.

Friday I did a bit of shopping at my favorite clothing store.  I purchased a skirt back in May that I thought I would wear and then determined that I would not wear it, so I had it sitting in my room with the receipt.  I had gotten a $10 rewards certificate that needed to be used before the end of June, so I decided to return the skirt and see if I could find a new shirt or jacket and use my rewards money.  When I arrived at the store, everything was marked 30 – 50% off and there was an additional 50% off clearance items.  Well, there were quite a few things on the clearance racks that I liked, so — to make a long story short, I began shopping with a $25 store credit for my return, I had my $10 rewards money, and an additional 50% off clearance which made the total cost for three new shirts and a jacket = $17.82.  I was pretty pleased with that!

In the afternoon, I spent a couple of hours at the pottery studio during open studio time.  I worked on throwing cylinders.  I rehabbed some clay from previous throwing.  Bagged up some clay to take home — I want to make some beads and pendants for jewelry and I also want to try doing some hand building — or coiled pots.  I sanded my first pot so that it could be bisque fired when the opportunity arises. I made good use of my time.

Friday evening I went with a couple of friends to a Shakespeare in the Park production of Merry Wives of Windsor.  It was very well done, and a fun way to spend a couple of hours.

Saturday I finished the second hunting sock and realized when I compared the two socks that I had forgotten to knit an inch between the end of the ribbing and the heel flap — so I ripped back to the ribbing and Monday night I finally finished the sock again and this time it matches the first.  I haven’t had to rip anything back like that in a very long time.  It just proves that I need to check the pattern occasionally instead of assuming I know what I am doing!

Dishcloth Trio

Can you tell I love green?  It is my favorite color!  The fashionista now has a green kitchen and wants green dishcloths, so I sent her this photo so she could choose a color.  She likes the second two. My favorite is the first.  While I was rummaging around in my dishcloth bin, I decided to count the finished cloths to see where I am on my “dishcloths for Sudan” project.  I have 24 finished cloths, so I am nearly halfway to my goal.  And I won’t need them until fall of 2011, so this is great!

Sunday afternoon was spent in the kitchen.  This is probably one of the more ludicrous things I have done in my life, but I am now cooking for the pug.  I know.  I never thought I would be one of those.  But I do believe it is healthier for her, and since I started doing this and walking her more, I am noticing that she has lost some of the weight I have been trying to get off her since the fashionista left.  Anyway, I still buy her good dry food — I only use half the amount each meal.  The rest is cooked food.  I cooked three pounds of ground turkey in a bit of olive oil, then I add brown rice and water and grated fresh organic carrots.  I fill two quart size freezer bags and put those in the freezer.  The rest goes into a container to be refrigerated and used for a week.  So each batch makes about 3 weeks of meals. And she LOVES her food!  If I don’t fix it quickly enough in the mornings and the evenings, she barks at me and dances around anxiously.

So Sunday afternoon while I was grating carrots, I baked a batch of my carrot-pineapple-walnut muffins.  And I made Ina Garten’s Old-Fashioned Carrot Salad, which is delicious.  I subsituted a couple of things — I didn’t have golden raisins, so I used regular raisins, and I had crushed pineapple instead of chunk.

Old-Fashioned Carrot Salad

It is yummy, yummy, yummy!  I also made a modified eggplant parmesan which recipe is from a Mark Bittman column.  It doesn’t use fried eggplant slices and is a much healthier version.


If it’s Tuesday, this must be —

I thought that was a cool title for a movie when I was a kid — If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium. My father and his wife are currently in Germany, I think.  They have been traveling for about a month now.  As I was watching Germany roll over Australia in the World Cup on Saturday, I wondered if they had watched the game somewhere in Germany.

I took the afternoon off on Friday, and went to the downtown library and then to the pottery studio.  I didn’t make anything — just worked on centering, coning, and trying to make a decent cylinder.  I have nearly gone through a bag of clay already and need to buy another bag this evening.  I save what I destroy on the wheel and will rehab it soon.

The weekend was either hot and humid or rainy.  I never did get the pug out to the park for a walk.  I did get the front flower beds weeded and mulched.  Other than that, I just kind of hung out in the house and did the usual humdrum household chores and read, knitted, watched the World Cup and the Cooking Channel.

But I do have knitting photos to share.

Organic cotton baby sweater

 I need to add a button and a loop, but am waiting until I have someone to give it to.

Lavender skinny scarf

I bought the yarn for this scarf several years ago on a weekend trip to Lawrence.  I cannot recall the name of it.  But it is lightweight and has an interesting texture.

Vintage style dishtowel

This dishtowel is from a pattern I found at the Purl Bee site.  I used eco recycled cotton paired with a sage Sugar n’ Cream for this towel.  It is rather small, but I like the way it looks.

And I made an Italian White Bean and Tuna Salad over the weekend. A can of cannellini beans, a can of tuna in olive oil, thinly sliced celery, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Easy peasy!

Italian white bean and tuna salad


Summer Reading List

I have been working on my summer reading list and here it is:

1.  Organic Manifesto by Maria Rodale. (Nonfiction)

2.  Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs by Heather Lende. (Nonfiction)

3.  Bonobo Handshake by Vanessa Woods. (Nonfiction)

4.  Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson. (Fiction)

5.  The Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse. (Fiction)

6. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. (Fiction)

7. The room and the chair by Lorraine Adams. (Fiction)

8. The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman. (Fiction)

9. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. (Fiction)

10. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. (Fiction)

11. Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok. (Fiction)

12.  Every Day in Tuscany: seasons of an Italian life by Frances Mayes. (Nonfiction)

13. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. (Fiction)

14. Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery. (Fiction)

15. This Body of Death by Elizabeth George. (Fiction)

At the moment I am reading Organic Manifesto.  It is depressing to learn about what we are doing to ourselves through the use of pesticides and GMOs.  I have made it a point to try to eat healthier, and I buy more organic foods when possible and little to no processed food.  I eat a vegetarian diet.  I try to eat local as much as I possibly can.  But I have to admit that yesterday afternoon when I was eating my organic apple as an afternoon snack, I wished it was as crisp as its pesticide-laden likely GMO counterpart at the grocery store. Then I read the Roundup horror story, and I think that an apple that is a bit mealy (it likely traveled several days to get to Kansas) is a small price to pay for health.

Well, enough about food and GMOs and pesticides (I should move to Europe where they have been banned!). In my desire to try some new things this summer, I am branching out a bit from just knitting and playing music by taking a wheel pottery class, and I have also decided to try my hand at some jewelry.

Soon to be a Bracelet

 I am stringing a pattern of beads onto nylon cord and will then knit it into a bracelet.  I have a printed pattern at home (not for the beads, but for the bracelet) and I think it may have been something I found on Knitty a few years ago, but I am unable to recall.  It will take 50 repeats of my bead pattern to have a strand long enough to knit, and I have just under 30 repeats completed.


TOO SOON —

for temps close to 100!  So far this week it is humid humid humid and in the low 90s.

Over the weekend I had the new cooking channel on as I did things around the house.  I used to absolutely love watching the Two Fat Ladies — and two of their episodes were on.  French food, Indian food, bbq, Jamie Oliver, Giada — good cooking shows.

As for my cooking —

Greek Salad with Fava Beans and Chickpeas

Spaghetti alla limone

I spent a rather quiet weekend around the house.  I finished two books — C. Alan Bradley’s The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag and Laurie R. King’s The God of the Hive. I enjoyed both immensely.  I am now attempting for the second time to read Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. I am not sure I will be able to finish it this time.  We shall see.

I finished the hunting socks I have been knitting last night.  I keep meaning to take photos of the recent baby sweater and the kitchen towel, but have not gotten that done yet. Now I have the striped toddler cardi to finish.  I intended to cast on a new dishcloth today during lunch for my lunchtime knitting, but found that I grabbed two different size needles this morning.  So that will wait until tomorrow.  No knitting tonight as I have my pottery class.

Last night’s dinner was a multigrain tortilla spread with my own hummus, grated carrot, sliced radishes, cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, and grated monterey jack cheese.

Hummus Veggie Jack Cheese Wrap

Hopefully no tornadoes tonight!


Finally Figured Out . . .

how to email photos to myself from my phone.  I know.  I am technologically challenged.  The fashionista could have taught me how to do it — since my current phone is her old phone and since she knows the ins and outs of all that stuff.  But, she is not here and so it takes me awhile.

So here is another photo of Basin Park in Eureka Springs.

Basin Park

And the best pizza I have eaten since the years I lived in Sicily — the pesto veggie pizza from Geraldi’s in Eureka Springs.  The smell of baking pizza dough drew us in off the street.

Geraldi's Pesto Veggie Pizza

MMMMMMMMM. Just looking at it makes me hungry — even though I just had a peach breakfast smoothie.

Two more food photos — first caprese salad of the summer and the bulgur cherry salad I made over the weekend (recipe from Whole Living).

Insalata Caprese

Bulgur Cherry Salad

 

I had a pretty decent weekend.  Babysitting, farm market and grocery shopping, knitting, music, reading, walking the pug, family cookout, homemade Greek salad with farm market romaine, talking to the fashionista, among other things.

In high school and college (many many moons ago), my first love was music.  But my second was pottery.  I spent many hours in the art studio bent over a wheel.  Returning to pottery throwing has been on my bucket list.  And last night I took the plunge.  I found a studio within 2 miles of my residence which has classes for all levels, and last night I spent two blissful hours relearning wheel pottery — or the initial basics, anyway.  The instructor told me it is like riding a bike, and that even though I had not thrown a pot in 25 years or so, I should be able to pick it back up fairly easily.  And so this is my first pot!  I had such fun last night and I look forward to next Tuesday!!

First Wheel Pot -- 2010

It was such a good feeling to get my hands around clay again.