Archive for January, 2008

31
Jan
08

on quilts & snow

I finally managed to get my little quilt all washed and dried, so now it has that wonderful wrinkly look that I think gives a quilt half of its appeal. I was foolish and used a normal pencil to trace on my quilting patterns and the markings didn’t totally wash out in this first laundering, but I have a feeling that this quilt will be washed often, so the marks should come out soon enough.
close-up1.jpg
I wanted to show the back of the quilt because I think this fabric is absolutely gorgeous. In my opinion, it doesn’t get any more cheerful than this!

quilt.jpg
Here’s the finished product. I’m thinking that I might have to re-evaluate my fondness for using busy prints. Hmmm.

I’d also like to apologize for the poor lighting in these pictures, but when you look outside my windows, you’ll understand!!
snow.jpg
This is officially the biggest snow storm I have ever seen. Just to give you some idea of the amount of snow that we have, Logos School is closed. If you ever went to Logos, you know what a monumental occasion this is. This is the first time in twelve years that they have closed for snow. This is a lot of snow. Now all of you in the midwest with your 6′ and rising can laugh at us and our 18″, just like we laugh at the people in Portland who close for 1″. All the schools are closed, half of the hospitals are closed, banks, libraries, and shops are closed. And it’s so fun!! Last night we took a little trek around the neighborhood and made snow angels and Little B informed us of what a “mess” the snow was. A big mess.

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31
Jan
08

Enough to Go Around

I found this post on Femina particularly encouraging.
30
Jan
08

watershed moments

Perhaps you can relate. That feeling that you get when you wake up on the day of your wedding and it hits you that the next time you wake up, he will be there with you. Or maybe it hit you when you were walking out the door that the next time you went through that door you’d be carrying a newborn baby into your home for the first time.

I remember learning about ‘watershed events’ in literature class somewhere back in highschool as a defining moment in the story that changes everything from there on out. The way the story goes before the event and after the event are completely different, all because of that one thing that happens.

Our watershed event will come today in the form of a letter or a phone call. We are waiting to see if my husband has been accepted into the Physician’s Assistant program at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “That feeling” hit me today as I was loading the dishwasher, and I realized that when I unload these dishes tomorrow, we will either be in the baby stages of planning a move, or gearing up for another year here on the Palouse. It also hit me just a second ago when I hung up the phone after talking with my husband and I realized that the next time I talk to him it will probably be with news, one way or another.

We’ve been preparing ourselves now for a response either way – we can see the wisdom and grace of God displayed in either outcome. We of course would prefer that He orchestrate our acceptance into P.A. school, but we have also prepared ourselves for a rejection. We’ve prayed for doors to open or shut, and so now we’re waiting to see which way it’ll swing on the hinges. We would be grateful for your prayers today as we wait in anticipation. Pray for patience, contentment, faith, and a spirit of genuine thankfulness, regardless of the outcome. Thank you!

28
Jan
08

gingerbread

I know that you’re probably looking at the title to this post and thinking that I need to flip my calendar page ahead a month or two, but if you had this view out your window, you’d probably be in the mood for some gingerbread too!!
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Last night we had some friends over so I made this gingerbread to snack on. I’ve never made gingerbread before, only gingerbread cookies, so this was something new. This bread (more of a cake) comes out incredibly moist and tasting of chocolate, despite the fact that there isn’t an ounce of cocoa in it. So if your neighborhood looks like a winter wonderland, I’d encourage you to whip out a pan of this gingerbread and enjoy it with a steaming cup of tea.

gingerbread.jpg

warm gingerbread
courtesy of Williams-Sonoma Special Occasions

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

Preheat an oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 9 x 13″ baking pan. Tap out the excess flour.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger, salt, cloves, and pepper.

In another bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water. Stir in the molasses and set aside to cool.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Slowly add the eggs, beating constantly. Beat in the fresh ginger and lemon zest. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture alternately with the molasses mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl often. The batter will be thin. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the gingerbread comes out clean, 30-40 minutes. If the gingerbread is browning too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Transfer to a rack and let cool until warm.

Cut the gingerbread into squares and serve warm.

28
Jan
08

the glorious blt

There are two gifts that God has given us that I am particularly fond of – bacon and avocados. They’re both just so good, and only a wonderfully creative and loving God could have blessed us with them. A couple of years ago, I came across a recipe for BLTs that included avocados, and I knew this was something that had to make its way into our dinner menu for the week. I fell in love with them, and to this day they are my favorite sandwich of all. Here’s how you do it.

bread
bacon (the real stuff)
tomatoes
salt and pepper
crispy lettuce
perfectly ripe avocado
real mayo

One of the perennial problems with BLTs is the toasted bread. The wonderful toastiness may taste good but it can really do a number on the inside of your mouth and lessen the glory of the whole BLT experience. To avoid this, I broil my bread for a minute or two rather than toasting it, so that only one side of the bread is toasted. That toasted side goes toward the inside of the sandwich, thereby eliminating the whole problem. Your bread doesn’t get soggy, and your mouth remains intact. Genius.

How you cook your bacon is up to you, but my favorite way is to bake it. Put it on a cooling rack in a rimmed cookie sheet and bake it at 400 or so until it’s crispy – all the fat drips off into the pan so you have more evenly cooked and ‘lower fat bacon’ (hilarious phrase, I know).

Make sure to use salt and pepper on the tomatoes. It really brings out the flavor and adds that extra punch.

Put avocados on it. The creaminess of the avocado contrasts with the crispiness of the bacon in a wonderful way.

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And that, as they say, is that.

25
Jan
08

calling all comments…

Okay ladies, it’s time to contribute your two cents. I got my fabric all cut out last night as planned and I’m laying it out today. It’s turning out a little differently than I’d expected, i.e. the small print of the in-between fabric seems to be taking over. I keep reminding myself that when it’s actually pieced together (accounting for the seam allowances) the ratio of big squares of pretty fabric to little strips of tiny print fabric will be greater, but I’m still nervous. I don’t think it helps that I was planning on bordering the quilt with more of the tiny print fabric. I’m thinking now that I should choose one of the larger prints to use for the border, and I’m also considering making the in-between strips different. By different, I mean rather than a two inch wide strip of the tiny print in between all the big squares, I would do 3 strips of 3/4″ wide-ish fabric with the tiny print fabric as the 2 outside strips and a pink paisley as the middle strip.

Now, you don’t have to be a quilter to give your two cents. You just have to be able to look at things and tell me what you think about them. Is it too busy? Does it need some more dark pink to bring out the prints? I’m trying to avoid the ‘painfully earnest floral phase’/Laura Ashley look and going for more of a cute/whimsical/slightly-vintagey/cheerful girl look.

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I should mention that I ran out of the in-between fabric, so that white that you see shouldn’t be there, that’s just the felt I’m laying it out on. The close-up shot is to give you an idea of what it looks like when you only see it with the in-between fabric in place.

25
Jan
08

Beet and Goat Cheese Arugula Salad

Beet and Goat Cheese Arugula Salad

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
See this recipe on air Tuesday Jan. 29 at 1:30 PM ET/PT.
Show: Everyday Italian
Episode: Italian Fusion

Beet and Goat Cheese Arugula Salad

 
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons shallots, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 medium beets, cooked and quartered
6 cups fresh arugula
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
3 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled

Line a baking sheet with foil. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.Whisk the vinegar, shallots, and honey in a medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with salt and pepper. Toss the beets in a small bowl with enough dressing to coat. Place the beets on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the beets are slightly caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Set aside and cool.

Toss the arugula, walnuts, and cranberries in a large bowl with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad, to taste, with salt and pepper. Mound the salad atop 4 plates. Arrange the beets around the salad. Sprinkle with the avocado and goat cheese, and serve.




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