Simple Pickled Onions

May 24, 2012 § 3 Comments

Pickled onions: sliced red onion, a cup or so of red wine vinegar, a few teaspoons of honey, smashed gloves of garlic, and two bay leaves (chili flakes, whole pepper corns, whole cloves, if you want them) that you let sit for several hours or a couple of weeks in your refrigerator.  I love them and they’re my current favorite thing to put in everything.  Eggs, salads, rice dishes, bean dishes, meat dishes, tacos, mixtures of salads and grains (like this yummy concoction I ate, sans sausage, for lunch and will probably eat for dinner), on toasts with cheese, eating them straight out of the jar, what have you.  I told you I loved them.

I know all the onion haters out there are crinkling their lips and noses, but seriously, these are not the onions you are thinking of when you say “I hate onions”.  They are briny, fruity, a little sweet.  Perfect for a dish that tastes just a little flat.  You know what I mean: like it could stand some tartness and color punctuating the mix.  Try these.

Keeping pickled onions on hand was one of the many great things I picked up from An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler (yes, I’ve talked about this book so much, you may come back next time to find that this blog’s new title is “I love Tamar Adler”. Just kidding).  What I really enjoy about her is the sanity that she brings to the table when talking about cooking (see this TED talk she did).  She tells you to use what you have, what’s readily available, what you can afford, and to use it all to the fullest.  Beans can become transcendent, bread is not something to avoid but something with a million possibilities, eggs are a wonder, and pickled onions a powerful force in the life of a meal.  I can’t recommend her book, her articles, or videos enough if you are at all intimidated in the kitchen or feel like you can’t afford to eat well (something I have definitely felt before).

Moving on to unrelated, but fun things:

::This lemon cream is another delicious egg user (we are calling it “lemon pudding” and “filling”, sandwiched between two butter cookies, but I feel a lemon tart coming on).

::Just remembered how much I like Cowboy Junkies (a blast from the past)

::about to start this book (thanks to Autumn and Michelle for recommending it)

::Still plugging away at the Daisy Chain Sampler and loving how it makes me slow down.

::Thinking of going here with the kids this weekend (I’ve never been!)

::AND I got a special, surprise delivery of liquid gold from my friend Kathy! Excitement!



May 12, 2012 § 3 Comments

First, one of my favorite sights of the week.  Seeing my kids playing together happily is one of my favorite things.  Being able to let them run “wild” outside in the pre-dinner light isn’t bad either.

Then, I had to share this in the name of keeping things real:

What you’re looking at is one of my kid’s Mother’s Day papers she completed at school for me.  She says some funny stuff in there like “The smartest thing my mother has ever told me is that I’m smart!”, but I did feel convicted over my oft seen impatience when I read “What’s one thing you think your mom should do less of?” and she said, “yelling at me, my brother, and sisters.”  OUCH!!!! And, how about “What’s one thing you think your mom should do more of?” answered “Spending time with us”?? Ouch, again! Nothing like kids to tell you how they feel! Now, what to do with this information?? We’ve already had a pretty good conversation about how she feels, but I’d like more, and will pursue those.

I think it’s so interesting (and frightening) that I’m going to affect  my kids differently b/c they are all, in fact, different! To one child, I may be able to express frustration  with a raised voice without doing damage, but doing that with another could shut them down.  I feel a responsibility to parent  my four differently, as individuals, but I can only do what I can do.  And sometimes, I just walk around feeling like a huge failure (like right after reading this sheet).  This parenting thing is no joke.  I’m hoping that admitting my failures goes a long way.  And then, since I’m usually yelling and being “angrey” when my children are acting less like friends and more like my enemies (trashing their straightened-by-me drawers,  demanding service with no gratitude, etc), I want to be working on loving the “enemies” in my own house.  To fight be kind when I least want to would be good for everyone I live with.

Some comfort from that sheet: she said I was good a making dinner and she is sure that before I had kids, I was spending most of my time wanting to have kids.  So, she at least knows she’s wanted!  But, seriously, I never could have known how much I would enjoy my children. They are the gifts I didn’t know I wanted, but needed the most.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mother’s out there.  In honor:

::this story

::requested this from the library

::a picture into the worry of a soon-to-be mother’s mind

::a potential mother’s day treat?

Kid’s Clothes Week

April 23, 2012 § 1 Comment

I’m participating in something called “Kids Clothes Week” put on by the super-talented Meg from the blog Elsie Marley.  It’s basically another way to get myself moving on some sewing I’ve been meaning to do, but, you know, just don’t.  It’s amazing how calling something “Kids Clothes Week” and setting up a Flickr group can spur people to action.  Maybe I need to name next week “Organize Your Filthy, Overflowing Closets Week”, set up a Flickr group and see if that works just as well!

These little shorts are the simple, flat front pants pattern you can find at Dana Made It  (a great resource), and I added the little pockets.  They are a small version of the deep pockets on this skirt.   These are the perfect egg collecting shorts.  The chickens are laying a lot these days and the youngest kid is all about pilfering their eggs. Now, she can now carry up to six eggs into the house in one trip!!  No basket required.  Tripping and falling could get ugly, though.

I also put a little, sun hat together from this  Martha Stewart pattern.  It was a bit of a bear to put together b/c the pattern was sort of incomplete or just really confusing.  I couldn’t tell which.  I barreled through, though and it will accomplish the task of keeping the sun off of her fair head.  She has some crazy moles and a dad that had melanoma at age 35, so I’m gonna be as careful as I can manage.   She looks excited about it, doesn’t she?  I experimented with the running stitches around the side panel, so, it was fun for me, at least!

In other news:

This article has me glad to be dealing with a funny smelling, disheveled back yard full of chickens.  No question. It’s worth it.

Love these patterns.  Not sure I can afford them.

Finished this book.  Recommended by Kathy (thanks, K!) Corruption, greed, but some hope, too.

About to start this book.  Anyone read it?

New Stitches

April 17, 2012 § 2 Comments

Somewhere in my home-school days (I only did it for ONE year) I started thinking it would be a good idea to have the kids embroider.  I had dabbled (and I mean dabbled) in embroidery and thought it was a really accessible way to introduce them to the joys of making things with their hands. So, I got four hoops, cut some pieces of leftover canvas,  opened my half-decopaged shoe box of cotton embroidery floss (a gift from a friend in SF) and let them have at it.

We started with letters of the alphabet, their names, and the easiest stitch, the back stitch.  Being left totally to themselves, they started drawing their own pictures on fabric and embroidering around the edges.  They could get pretty gnarly.  And sometimes they would ask me if they could embroider and I would say “no” b/c I knew I would be asked to re-thread their needles about seventy times in the span of five minutes.

My most quiet, quirky, and sensitive (and horse-loving) kid has been the one who is most persistent about getting the hoop and thread out to work. Now that she is 8, she has a lot of the coordination and patience necessary to make smaller, neater stitches (something that really makes a difference), and to thread her own needle and tie her own knots.  We had some time alone recently and she declared (as she likes to do) that she wanted to embroider.  So, we found a picture of a horse (of course) and made a copy.  She transferred it to fabric with transfer paper, and she worked for a couple of hours on it, taking breaks whenever she needed it.

Here’s the almost finished product.  She’s pretty excited about her “horsey” (as am I).  She even learned how to do a french knot for the eyeball.  We are already looking at embroidery books together for new stitches and skills.  We’re both pretty into it, so if anyone has any suggestions for books to websites to check out, let me know.

And some unrelated fun stuff:

This dressing. Oh my.

Fancy chickens

Daisy Chain Sampler and check out her free downloads, too. I love some of the dishtowel designs.

AND I took this picture to my hair stylist and said “give me this”. I’m all over the map about it, loving it followed immediately by wondering what I was thinking,  but I think I’m settling down, now.  What else is there to do, right? It’s a good change, I think.

AND, AND I finished our taxes on time!! Relief.

Goings On

March 26, 2012 § 8 Comments

Hello reader! It’s been a while, hasn’t it. Well, it has been for me.  I dropped my computer on the floor a few weeks ago, killing it instantly, and silencing me for a while.  If you’ve been paying attention you know this is the SECOND time I’ve done this. My husband is losing his patience.   I may just need to stay away from computers altogether, but for now, here is a quick update on things around here:

:::I made my first loaf of naturally leavened bread!!  I started it from my own starter and everything! Was I this proud of myself on the days I gave birth? I’m not sure.  I used a recipe from Maggie Glezer’s Artisan Bakingbut there are lots of recipes out there.  Try here and here, for instance.

:::I took an old turtleneck from one of my kids drawers and turned it into a dress with the help of some elastic and material I had lingering in my stack.  I was really winging it here and it shows a bit, but all in all, I think it will be a great summer dress for girl number 2.  You can get the real instructions here.

:::And the chickens are back in full force for the spring! We are swimming in eggs and it’s glorious.  I thought this page was a good place to start.

:::I’ve been reading Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking: the Science and Lore of the Kitchen, and it’s amazingly entertaining and fastidiously detailed at the same time.  I feel very studious when I read it, too.

:::I’m wanting to try something like this.  I think they are so simple and beautiful.

:::And finally, I tried to make goat milk ricotta twice to no (or very little) avail.  I used the directions found here.  It sounds so good, doesn’t it? And it would go so well with my new baby, I mean, bread! Does anyone out there know if my ultra pasteurized version of the milk is to blame?


Sewn Gifts for Babies

February 17, 2012 § 4 Comments

I went to a dinner the other night where, out of six of us, four were pregnant (not me!).  I have two sisters-in-law that are expecting and several friends, not at the dinner, that are pregnant, too.  So, I’ve been thinking about baby gifts, obviously.  These are two cute ideas for handmades I found at The Purl Bee, one of my favorite sites for sewing ideas (it’s great for the knitter, too).   You can find directions for the Penguin (I love this little guy!) here and instructions for the simple bibs here.  Purl Bee uses (glorious) Liberty of London fabrics on the bibs, but those are pricey, so I just used what I had.  The bibs are quick and simple, the penguin takes a bit longer, but is so fun!  I’m not even a stuffed animal person, but I loved making it.  It was a great way to use up scraps, too!

Other things I’ve been liking:

*The Marriage Plot…I really liked this book until the end when it just left you hanging. I’m still glad I read it.

*The Wonder Of Boys…I’ve realized I really don’t understand my son.  I have no idea what is going on in there.  This book is helping me understand why he does some of the things he does and how he needs different things than my girls do.  Very helpful and enlightening.

*MFK Fisher’s The Art of Eating…A collection of her essays.  Sometimes downright hilarious, the woman had some sass.

* This discussion about hair cuts (I’m thinking of going really short, so it’s been on the brain)

* This…The music, the faces, the outfits! It’s tough to stop laughing.

Highlights from Holiday Eating

January 6, 2012 § 2 Comments


I made several things over the holidays that I thought were good enough to remember, so I thought I’d make a list now that things are settling back into “normal” (notice the quotes).  So, here are links to my Thanksgiving and Christmas favorites:

Winter Panzanella from Michael Chiarello: This was SO good.  It was a little bit heavy on the prep side, but all is forgiven when you eat.  I’m just now learning to love pickling onions in vinegar before using them in a salad. I used to think it wasn’t worth it. I was wrong.

Leftover Squash Bread: Ok. It’s not really called “Leftover Squash Bread”.  It’s pumpkin, but I used leftover roasted squash as a stand in.  It’s a big recipe, so I put it in a bundt pan, adjusted the cooking time, and called it “Pumpkin Cake”.

Arugula, Prociutto, and Pomegranate Salad:  I deviated from the original recipe because when I went to buy fennel bulb that was called for it was $5 for one.  I subbed good old celery for the crunch and still really liked it.  Don’t forget the mint!

Jamie Oliver’s Mini Shell Pasta with Bacon, Pea, and Mint: I made this several times over the holiday.  If my kids ask for something with mint in it, I comply.

Creamed Onion Gratin: Goodness. This use of and onion will blow you away with it’s decadence. So, delicious.

Salted Butter Caramel Sauce: Oh my. I made this for a few gifts and loved how it turned out. I also loved that it only took three ingredients that I already had in the refrigerator and 10 minutes, max.  I’m sure it would taste better with French butter, but it was pretty darn good with Publix Salted.


And totally unrelated, but I still wanted to share: read this hilarious post from one of my favorite internet reads.  These people are funny.




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