Archive for February, 2011

fresh bread

This just came out of the oven:

Can you smell it? Warm, buttery beer bread.
Nothing better on a cold Friday afternoon, when you’ve just arrived home from a business trip and have nothing else in the house to eat, than pouring a bottle of beer in a bowl with some beer bread mix and shoving it in the oven.

See all the yummy bumps and cracks from the butter? Mmmmm.

If you’ve never had beer bread, I’m truly sorry for you. It doesn’t taste like beer, per se. But I will say it’s almost as good as popping open a cold brew (and even better for times when you can’t throw a few back, like when you actually have a hundred upcoming deadlines and need to sit and work all afternoon. Perfect for those times.)

So yeah. I’m going to eat that and get back to work 🙂

Just thought you might like the photos.

crafty ladies

When I first walked into the basement of this house a year ago with my realtor, I instantly envisioned it filled with friends and fabric and paper scraps and knitting needles, drinking tea and hot cocoa on cold winter weekends.

The month of January didn’t disappoint.

Thanks to all the beautiful and talented ladies who shared their ideas and good spirits over the last few weekends:

Meredith and her mod podge letters

Maggie and her cards

Miriam and her jewelry (and Gone With the Wind)

Me and Meredith’s sewing machine

Maggie (above and below), master of ribbons and craft photographer extraordinaire

Danica, getting ready for a jewelry show

Erika and her amazing, original, Nordic-inspired fingerless glove patterns

Jen, cutting up an old t-shirt (trying valiantly to make these) and Amber, cutting out fabric for a dress

Karissa, making valentines

We’re already collecting project ideas for the next afternoon of crafting (see mine here, on Pinterest). If you want to join the fun, let me know!

And soon I’ll post the photos of the sewing projects I’ve been working on. Until then… go and be creative, my friends. That’s what winter hibernation is for.

The Dinner Project in Action

It’s the heart of winter here in Minnesota, and the house projects have taken a back seat to weekends of skiing, seeing family and curling up in the basement with friends to sew and knit.

So I thought I’d entertain you with a few of the things I’ve been feeding these poor people that I cajole into coming over to fulfill my weekly quota.

Corn and Roasted Pepper Soup with Pepper Jack Quesadillas

Made with:
Corn and Roasted Pepper soup from Trader Joe’s
Shredded pepper jack cheese
Sour Cream
Mexican crumbling cheese (I get mine at Midtown Global Market)

Kale Chips

Variations of these have been all over the blogosphere this year, but I love them best with sea salt, garlic powder and parmesan cheese shaken over olive oil-covered pieces of dinosaur kale. Pop ’em in the oven for about 12 minutes at 375, and you have a healthy snack that satisfies the “I need something crunchy and salty” craving. In fact, you’ll probably want to make two pans… they kind of disappear once people get over the fact they’re eating baked kale.

Lentil and Spinach Salad

This is one of my new favorite recipes – I’ve served it at least three times in the last few weeks. I made it up one night when I made last-minute dinner plans and didn’t have time to stop at the grocery store. I had these amazing pre-cooked lentils from (you guessed it) Trader Joe’s, and I warmed them up then spooned them over a bed of baby spinach leaves. I threw some feta cheese on top, and made a simple dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and minced garlic. It’s a great salad for a cold winter evening.

Friends and family have also helped me with this project by introducing me to two amazing desserts – both happen to be new takes on old classics… Pies in a Jar and Cake Balls. The photos alone make me hungry, and believe me, they’re just as good in real life:

Top: Peach Pie in a Jar, courtesy of Betsey
Bottom: Red Velvet Cake Balls (covered in white and dark chocolate), courtesy of Maria
I don’t know the exact recipes, but I can tell you that they’re both delicious. The pies are perfect for making ahead of time and keeping in the freezer, and the Cake Balls are some magical mixture of cake and frosting dipped in melted chocolate.
And with that, I’m off to cook spaghetti with some friends because they’re saying we’ll get 12-18″ of snow today and tonight. Nothing says spaghetti and wine like a snow storm.