Tuesday, March 30, 2010

soup, gardening, etc.

After months of trying to find and order the right ingredients, I finally got around to making the first recipe from my Williams Sonoma Asian cook book that H gave me years ago. Yes years. I tell you though, the wait was worth it - this udon noodle soup is to die for. One of the things we miss most about NYC is our local Japanese restaurant where we always got udon noodle soup. This involves boiling konbu (seaweed), then adding bonito flakes (fish flakes), then straining, then adding a bunch of flavors like rice vinegar and soy sauce, then pouring over scallions and noodles. Yum!

A couple of weeks ago, H and I planted a rain garden with his leadership group, which was so much fun!!! I can't believe how much I miss gardening. What thrilled me most was how much H enjoyed it. We have lots gardening in our future...

You can read our little local article about it here. This is really the first time I had ever heard of rain gardens, so I'm just now learning all about them. I'm excited to learn more and someday plant my own :)

This is another gorgeous quilt from H's grandmother. She made it using free fabric samples from Sherwin Williams way back in the day. To me it looks like something from anthropologie - I love it! It's also very light, making it the perfect blanket for the coming summer months.

In other news, I'm still working on that painting for my mom...as you can see in the picture above I've put strips of fabric in and around the crevices of broken glass - genius! Mom actually thought of it which was just a stroke of brilliance. I plan to use this technique again in future paintings. It is so much more interesting a solution than grout or modeling paste.

And take a look at this mess:

What a cutie! I had this purring monster waking me up all morning today. I've got to remember to play with him more before bed...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

wire hanger

I was looking through my stuff from Italy a while ago (I did a foreign study there in 2001), I found a stack of beautiful postcards that I couldn't believe I didn't have hanging up. The trouble was how to hang them. I didn't want to tape them up, and I didn't want to just lean them against something. After looking at several wire wall card holders in places like Pottery Barn, I decided I would make my own (story of my life).

It took about 5 hangers, bascially all twisted by hand except the spirals which were twisted using pliers. 10 very sore fingers later, instant gratification without shelling out dollars for wire. Yay!

I think it's wonky shape is anthropologie-esque. I hope I'm not the only one :) Here it is holding some of my postcards:

It really does brighten up our bedroom too. I should take a picture once I have the room cleaned up a bit.
Just for fun, here's a cute pic of our little Pipsqueak asleep in his chair - adorable!

Monday, March 1, 2010

whole lotta bakin goin on

I baked two loaves of whole wheat bread for the first time! I used outdated yeast which did proof (albeit not heartily), but it didn't rise a ton. I was sweating it, but it turned out wonderfully - nice and dense. As H put it, you don't feel like you're being cheated :)

It really has been a delicious treat. I've been craving toast for a long time, and I never could find a consistent source of organic bread. So I did what I tend to do - made my own. How satisfying! I used Martha Stewart's multigrain bread recipe and altered it a bit. I left out the rye flour (since I don't particularly love rye) and used more whole wheat flour instead. I also left out the sunflower seeds since I forgot to buy them - heh. I'm telling you, it really is good bread. Even with old yeast :)

Craving satisfied.

Next, H and I got on a blueberry muffin craze. I was trying to use up some fresh blueberries before they went to mush, and they turned out to be a tasty and healthy dessert. It's been nice to reach for a muffin instead of, say, cake (which *cough* we actually baked yesterday - organic, yummy, and yet...evil). For the muffins, I used this recipe from Williams Sonoma. The cinnamon is great in these.
As you can see in the picture above, I used wax paper liners - I just cut squares from a roll of paper. Cheap, handy and fancy.

This is before I tried that trick, and it was H-E-double-hockey-sticks to get them out of the friggin tin, even though I greased it with butter. Sigh. For my aforementioned evil cake, I tried using wax paper to line the pan, and it was glorious to simply lift the cake out. No sticking, no mess. I used this brand of organic mix, and a separate box of icing mix from the same company. Very good. Very evil.
Next I plan to try apple wheat bran muffins. I must get back to healthy desserts.