Tag Archives: cooking

Christmas weekend.

This Christmas was pretty nice.  It’s wasn’t as snowy and awesome as last year but it was a weekend filled with sleep and cooking and a couple new things.

Saturday night I made pretzel rolls

and used them for sandwiches with sauteed sausage and onions and they were delicious!  The pretzel bread was so easy, I want to make them all the time.

Having started them the night before, I baked  no-knead pumpkin rolls on Sunday morning that were so good.  The recipe made 17 rolls; so what if I ate two for breakfast yesterday and today and one for dessert?  There’s no time like the holidays to be a fat kid :)

For Christmas dinner I made garlic schmeared rosemary chicken, butternut squash risotto with sage and bacon, crispy parmesan asparagus sticks, Martha’s trusty baked macaroni & cheese, and garlic pull apart bread (based on this recipe).

The risotto didn’t really work, I think it just lacked seasoning and I wish the squash had been more finely cut.  The asparagus wasn’t very good either.  I didn’t get pre-seasoned Panko breadcrumbs, which might have made the difference.  But all in all, the deliciousness of the chicken, bread, and pasta made up for it!  And I was pretty proud of myself for making three yeast breads in 24 hours!

One of my goals for Christmas day was to learn how to crochet granny shapes (hexagons in this case).  I pinned this photo on Pinterest months ago so following the tutorial, I made a couple and I love them!

I’m just using some Bamboo Ewe yarn I got with coupons at JoAnn’s and I thought I would stick with these same four colors the entire time but I might throw in a couple more along the way, keeping the grey outer ring a constant.  Three down, only 78 more to go!

Remember the photo I posted of the wrapped books I received and were saving for Christmas morning?  Well I eagerly opened them and spent a couple hours just flipping through the pages.

My dad so kindly got me The Break Baker’s Apprentice, Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, and The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt so I can join in on the quilt along next month!  I’m so excited about all these things.  I was really inspired by a sentiment Amanda talked about when we met at the Sewing Summit.  She talked of her desire to live a handmade life and I absolutely want to do the same thing.  Any small thing I can quilt to use around the house, making more of my own food, using my hands to knead bread and mend things; that sounds like such a rewarding life.

Oh and of course, how can I forget that I finally joined Instagram!  I love seeing everyone’s photos from there but hate that you have to have particular Apple products to use it.  I have a Mac but nothing else that would work, until Friday when Marcus brought home an iPad, a year end gift from his boss!  I won’t be carrying it around with me so I’ll only be posting things around the house but I still get to “like” and comment on other people’s things.  My name is @kaitcetera and you should follow me!

With new toys comes the creation of new things to use with them.  I noticed the hunching problem when using it while sitting down so following Betty Crocker Ass’ tutorial, I made a handy iPad rest!

The fabric was one of the only home dec fabrics I have in my stash (Amy Butler Imperial Fans in forest from Nigella), and definitely the least “girly” one.  Marcus and I have a bit of an argument about what’s manly :) I bought 5 or so yards of a wood grain fabric I fell in love with a few years ago and used it heavily in his quilt (and lots of other projects) but he insists it’s not actually manly at all. I want to make an iPad case but he said he wanted it to be black and purely functional.   What’s the fun in that?

So instead, I finally made a lined drawstring bag from Jeni’s wonderful tutorial!  It really was so simple and the fabric combinations are endless so I’m sure there are many more in my future.  I used fabric from my stash: an unknown floral print, the aforementioned wood grain, a yellow DS Quilts print, and an off-white twill tape for the pulls.

Having a houseguest, being a houseguest.

I’m having one of those times where I feel like I have so much to write about that it’s overwhelming and I don’t know where to start.  So, I’m just going to post some pictures I’ve taken over the last couple of weeks and write blurbs.

I picked up my friend Holly in Columbia South Carolina where we hung out with our friend Joe.  We had breakfast at Immaculate Consumption (mediocre latte, good granola),

and went to the Riverview Zoo where we saw, among other things, penguins! (Did you know emperor penguins can be up to 4 feet tall and 100 pounds?  That’s a pretty large penguin.)

Coming back to Winston we cooked some delicious caramelized leek and spaghetti squash polenta (which I didn’t photograph) and broccoli lentil soup from the Vegan Yum Yum cookbook,

and vegan ginger cookie cupcakes.  So good!  So sugary!  (Holly blogged about them and gave the recipe over at MPLS.TV where she’s a regular contributor!)

We also went to a highly recommended vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Greensboro called Boba House where we had an unbelievable sampler platter of “calamari,” “chicken drumsticks,” and “crab” won tons.  When I say unbelievable, I mean it, too.  How can they possibly make vegan things exactly like the real thing?  I’ll definitely be going back there.

Only a few days after Holly left for DC, I drove up to Roanoke to meet Catherine and head to Kentucky for, among other things, an early Thanksgiving with her family.  Addie came along and as it turned out, was a really good dog all week.

We saw Beirut the first night we were there at the Kentucky Theater in Lexington, a show that was so good.  The current trumpet player is from Lexington so the crowd was pretty wild about that.  (Bad phone picture alert:)

We went to Louisville for a couple days and stayed with the family Cat used to nanny for.  We took the kids, Lily and Aidan to the zoo where we saw an albino alligator named Louie,

and the cutest baby polar bear ever.The kids were pretty cute, themselves.

We also ate at a really good restaurant called Ramsi’s where I had a seitan (vegan “meat” made of textured vegetable protein – much tastier than that sounds!) parmesan sandwich with vegan mozzarella.

Back in Lexington we had Thanksgiving dinner with Catherine’s family, since she won’t be able to go back there during the holidays.  Her sister Caroline was just about to have a baby (she spent 12 hours at the hospital a couple days after we got there but she didn’t come out then) so I kinda commandeered the meal :)

I made apple and onion stuffing muffins as per Cat’s request,

mac and cheese (from Martha Stewart’s Cooking School), as per Shane’s request,

cranberry mousse (a little melty), because it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without that (recipe to come next week!),

and silky smooth pumpkin pie.

Cat’s dad smoked the turkey and we had green beans, corn pudding, and rolls.  It was pretty delicious!  Some of us definitely vegged out afterwards :)

I had a really good time on the trip.  It was nice to get away and have Addie with me.  She was so happy to have a yard and to be able to go outside any time she wanted.  I caught her lounging in the grass in the sun a few times :) I think she’s actually a little depressed to be back.  But Louisville was awesome and Lexington was okay.  The family was a bit much sometimes but I always had a room and my book (Dracula; so good!) to escape to.  I love Catherine and it was great to spend some time together.

Recap.

I wanted to post a quick recap about the last couple weeks, including the visit with my mom Kerrie and aunt Reen.  They came to see me from California for almost a week and were so generous with their time (cleaning) and money; I’m glad they came!

We did a couple touristy things that I wouldn’t probably do by myself like go to the Reynolda House.  It’s the historical home of RJ Reynolds (a very attractive man, as it turns out) that houses both the original furniture and history, as an art museum, currently showing Modern Masters from the Smithsonian.  I really enjoyed the whole experience.  There are also beautiful gardens near the home that while not in season, are still well manicured and lovely.  The garden is surrounded in weeping cherry trees that are probably gorgeous in spring (future quilt photography site?); I’ll definitely be returning.

We drove up to Asheville for a day and it was a beautiful day with the perfect fall colors. I had never been to Asheville before and didn’t really know what to do with the few hours we had so we wandered around the arts district by the river a little bit, ate at the Early Girl, went into the Grove Arcade,

and lots of other little shops.  There’s a lot of really interesting history there (not that I know it, I just know it’s there) and so much art and busking. At only two hours away, and a lovely drive at that, I’ll definitely go up there again.

We ate a lot of good food while they were here including 6th and Vine, Mellow Mushroom, Breakfast of Course, and First Street Draught House, while I made steak tacos, mini broccoli pesto lasagnas, and chili.  Yum!  They were really gracious and bought me so many great things I needed like a bath mat, a Swiffer-like cleaner, an immersion blender (even though it was 4 times more expensive than thought!), a nice little cat perch for the window, dishes, soap, chocolate, and a massage!  They also mowed both yards, scrubbed my shower, mopped the whole upstairs, and did countless dishes.  I wish they were around all the time! :)

While it was great to have them around, I didn’t realize how much time I usually have to myself.  After I took them to the airport I spent the day laying around, doing pretty much nothing. I’m enjoying some alone time before Holly comes next week!

I finally finished a Swoon block!

Goodness gracious, this quilt is so labor intensive, especially when I’m trying to make two at one time and have sewn a few things wrong.  The coloring of this picture is off but this quilt is both a gift and part of the Habitat challenge in the Modern Quilt Guild (and I am using three different neutrals).  Unlike most people, from what I’ve gathered, I love this line and bought a half yard set and would like to get more.  I can already tell I’m going to love this quilt.

The weather has been lovely and wonderfully autumnal but today it took a turn for the cold this weekend.  (It was 74 yesterday and it’s more like 40 today.)  I turned the heat on for the first time and am making Herbed White Bean and Sausage Stew for dinner.

Tomorrow is the big Halloween party at work.  You have to dress up to get in, hundreds of people come, and all out friends play in amazing cover bands.  Last yea the boyfriend and I only stayed for half of it but we saw the Zombies which were amazing.  This year will be Weezer, Led Zeppelin, Dick Dale, the Buzzcocks, and Nirvana.  I’m working it and I’m really looking forward to it.  Pictures to come!

Tomorrow is also Marcus’s birthday!  Whoo!  I bought him a little something and I think we’ll go to dinner.  Nothing fancy but he (we) isn’t too hard to please :)

Hopefully I’ll have more crafty photos to share soon!

Inspiration.

I think I decided what I want to do for the Habitat challenge and now I’m completely obsessed with it!  It’s all I want to work on!  I think I’m going to have to hold off for a little while though.  Not that I don’t have plenty of other things to occupy my time.

Most of today was spent on the dining room floor thread basting my Single Girl queen sized quilt.

The dining room is the only floor space big enough to baste most quilts on.  I realized today how much I hate thread basting but it works much better when you’re hand quilting.  I’ve traced and am cutting a template to mark the quilting lines and then I can take it off the floor and get to work!  I’m determined to finish in less than a year (which is how long my first and most recent hand quilting endeavor took).

As an aside, and something else I’ve been a bit obsessed with lately, I have never been much into yoyo quilts. I don’t know why, they just always seem old fashioned in a not-so-hip way. Until I saw this one on Pinterest.It is so fresh and cheery looking!  Penny of Sew Take A Hike started a Yo Yo Quilt Along a few months back and I’m thinking of joining her.  I’d love to make it all with vintage fabric but that might be asking a lot.  I think I’ll buy one of the makers and maybe just start with some white ones.

I’m a little ashamed to admit it but ever since we moved into this house (13 months ago), we’ve never stocked our pantry.  We’ve always bought on a per meal basis which was not the most efficient.  But we were inspired by our week at the beach with all the cooking we did with only one shopping trip.  So today, I stocked.

I bought the makings for 6 dinners, a few lunches and breakfasts.  I’m excited about it!

I made tacos tonight and while they definitely weren’t my best, they are one of the easiest and my favorite dinners.

Here’s to a week of better eating.  Or at least, eating at home.

I just ate anchovy and liked it.

While on a break at work (it’s been so slow lately but filled with weirdos) I was reading yesterday’s New York Times and they had a recipe for Pan Seared Asparagus Salad with Frisée and Fried Egg. My mouth started watering.
After my shift on Thursdays, my friend Lindsey is hosting a yoga class by donation in the gallery at work so Marcus and I went. It was pretty hard (I haven’t done yoga for 2 years) and really super hot (it was 97 today and though a 3-minute rain storm cooled things down a bit, the gallery has no windows or air conditioning), but Lindsey is a good teacher and I really enjoyed it. Feeling healthful, I wanted a salad for dinner. Marcus, however, does not like asparagus (though neither did I until a few months ago when my friend Catherine made it and it was delicious!) but he decided to go to dinner with friends so I went to Whole Foods, bought the makings, and may I just say, that was one of the best salads I’ve ever had.


Since I’m still not sure about reposting recipes straight up (without any adjustments), I won’t put it here but I linked to it above. Mine did not look as pretty as theirs (I fried my egg on both sides, the first time I’ve ever friend an egg in fact) and the market didn’t have frisée so I got a mix of greens, but it was damn good. If you haven’t gathered, the dressing has anchovy in it. I didn’t want to buy a tin so I bought the paste which is good until Oct 2012 which means I might just use it up eventually.

Anyway, that was a long post with a lot of parenthetical notes about a little salad but if it sounds good to you, believe me, it is. It’s fast, fairly healthy, and easy to do for one person or a few.Make it.

My 27th year: week 3.

15/365 JoAnn’s spoils. Lisette pattern, fabric remnant, Denyse Schmidt Picnics and Fairgrounds, travel pillow form, striped linen clearance fabric.


16/365 Maverick star circle.

17/365 Latin style mini “lasagnas” with chorizo, sweet potato, tomatillo salsa, mozzarella, manchego, and wonton wrappers.

18/365 Napping in the yard.

19/365 It’s a jungle out there.

20/365 Grilling by candlelight with friends.

21/365 My latest time suck.

Mostly food, and a couple other things.

Nothing much has been going on around here, it seems.

Tax day has come and gone and I am thrilled that I will be getting some money back this year, enough to pay for my trip to Salt Lake City in October for Sewing Summit!
The Sewing Summit
I am so excited about this conference, I will get to meet so many women whose blogs I read and admire. I’m hoping my friend Lindsay will go with me. I’m sure Salt Lake will be beautiful in October!

Another thing I’ll be able to do with my return is a long overdue trip to Ikea. I have big plans for my studio with the organization, seating, and overall arrangement. I have high hopes for what I can do with this space.

I got a couple books in the mail yesterday that I’m excited about. “All New Square Foot Gardening” will (hopefully) be really helpful in our yard. I also have big plans for that space and want to build raised beds before the starter plants sale at our local farmers market next week.

I also got “Hobo Quilts,” an interesting quilting book based on the symbolic language of train hoppers or hobos. I had seen the book at JoAnns a couple times and was intrigued but it wasn’t until I heard that a friend of ours who is a big train hopper and tagger is getting married next month that I knew I had to make one. I still feel like the demographic that these quilts will appeal to is small but even one quilt is worth the price of the book.

I’m working away at the boy version of this quilt. I had wanted to find another grey that was slightly darker than what I had but I decided to go with a navy instead. This quilt won’t be finished in five days like the first one but I’m looking forward to having the pair.

We made some damn fine burgers on Friday night. Grilling season is definitely here and these turkey burgers are one of our favorites. The patty is ground turkey, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, sage, paprika, minced onion, and garlic, though I’ve probably not made them the same way twice. Put that on a toasted bun and top with hummus, avocado, red onion, bacon, pepper jack cheese, and sprouts. Yum.

I tried making Raspberry Lemonade bars a couple days ago and while they didn’t quite turn out right, they are still delicious. I don’t own an 8″ by 8″ pan (I don’t really know how that’s possible) so I used the same recipe in an 8″ by 6″ pan so the filling was too thick and didn’t set in the middle. They are tart, sweet, and gooey. I’ll definitely make these again, they are a great summer dessert.

Tonight I made some individual pesto lasagnas with sweet Italian sausage in wonton wrappers and my goodness, they were so good.

Petite Pesto Lasagnas
Adapted from Can You Stay for Dinner? and The Italian Dish.

Pesto:
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Two ¾ ounce packs of basil or about 1 cup packed leaves
3 cloves garlic
¼ cup pine nuts or walnuts
½ cup olive oil

Bechamel sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk (I used 2% but any kind would work)
1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon in chicken (or 1 bouillon cube)
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
pinch of nutmeg

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 package won ton skins
½ pound ground Italian sausage
1 tablespoon dried oregano

Cook ground sausage over medium heat until no longer pink. Set aside in paper towel lined bowl. Spray 18 muffin tins with non stick spray and line with one won ton skin each.

Add basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, and garlic to a food processor. Process until finely chopped, wiping down sides if necessary. With motor running, slowly add olive oil until it becomes smooth. Set aside.

Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour and bouillon and whisk until smooth. Slowly add the milk while you whisk. Add the nutmeg and pepper and continue to whisk until smooth and slightly thickened. Pour into heat proof bowl to cool slightly and add pesto. Mix well.

Spoon a small amount of pesto sauce into each wonton shell. Divide all the sausage evenly between them. Sprinkle with half the parmesan and mozzarella. Repeat the layers, wonton skin (I only did one but would go with two on this layer next time, if the package amount permits), pesto sauce, and the remaining cheese. Sprinkle with oregano.

Place in 375° oven for 10 minutes, rotating trays half way through. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Enjoy!