Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wonky Stripes Baby Quilt

The first time my friend Lisa told me about her experience of adopting a child from Ethiopia, I struggled to keep the tears back. Her adoption story was so beautiful and touching I think it would be impossible for someone to not be moved by it. She's such a energizing and selfless woman who was clearly changed forever the day she brought back her little girl. When Lisa recently told me she was going to back to Ethiopia this winter and was organizing a fundraiser for C.H.O.I.R. I knew immediately that I wanted to help.
The fundraiser is in the form of a shopping event featuring handmade artisan gifts with a child in mind. I've clearly had children on my mind for quite sometime now so it felt really natural to make another craft intended for a child.
This is the first quilt I've made for someone else other than myself and I must say I'm pretty sad to have to see it go! Good thing I can just make another one.

If you live in the Halifax area come check out Handsmade for Helping at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth on Thursday November 3rd at 6:30pm. This quilt will be for sale as well as pottery, textiles, rugs, jewelry and so much more. 100% of all proceeds will go to C.H.O.I.R.
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Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

Do you ever have those days when you wake up and it's pouring and you say to yourself "I'm not going to leave the house today."? Well I'm having one of those days and it's great!
I love that rainy days make me feel less guilty for being a hermit. It feels a bit more socially acceptable to keep my pajamas on while I bake bread, make soup and quilt, when it's pouring outside.
I predict that the rest of the day will include pots of tea,  crib games, and knitting. Is it really any wonder why I love rainy days?

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Cabbage and Beans

Sounds boring doesn't it?
But I promise you this modest combination of wilted cabbage, browned potatoes and beans is far superior than the sum of it's parts. As I dove in for my first bite I was surprised (maybe even shocked) by how tasty it was. I think this is easily going to become my new favourite healthy cold weather dish.

And if that's not enough to convince you to make this right away let me tell you about how I added the leftovers to some homemade turkey soup stock for the simplest and quickest, yet hearty and filling brothy soup.
I might even just have to make it again tomorrow morning for breakfast with a poached egg on top.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Winter Panzanella Salad

The last few days have felt like a bit of a whirlwind, but I'd like to think that this salad has helped keep me grounded. Maybe that sounds silly but I really think comfort food has the ability to soothe the mind as well as nourish the body. 
We started looking at houses this week, with no expectations to actually find one we liked. But of course we DID find one we love, very very much. So now my husband and I have been full of anxious nervous energy for the last few days and I'm using food as a way to try to bring us back down to earth. 
All the nerve-wracking waiting feels slightly less obvious while I'm chopping apples for applesauce, or stirring a hot pot of soup. 

After falling in love with Feisty Chef's Panzanella Salad this summer I couldn't help but let my mind wander into other seasons full of other produce that might be adaptable to this delicious bread salad. I remembered seeing a winter panzanella salad on Smitten Kitchen years ago and decided to just google it and see how the world out there is interpreting it. Well it turned out that Michael Chiarello made a pretty damn good salad that caused a flurry of bloggers to follow suit, including SK and now of course myself.   
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Raw Kale Salad

I never imagined I'd love raw kale so much. This salad is bursting with bright and bold flavours that make it a rather addictive dish. After eating it (and learning how to make it!) in a recent Feisty Chef cooking class, I just couldn't stop thinking about it. I made it for Thanksgiving dinner a few days later and despite how "un-thanksgiving" it seems it really fit in well amongst mashed potatoes, turkey and stuffing. But it's also quite deserving of a plate of its own for an afternoon snack, just like I'm eating it now.
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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Knit Baby Pants

Don't you just wish there was a wee little babe wearing these that you could scoop up and cuddle in your arms?? Well I sure do. I can't wait for all my pregnant friends to start delivering their babies so I can have some models for these baby knit blog posts. I can't wait to see little tiny toes poking out of the cuffs of these pants! 
I used a pattern from "Vintage Knits for Modern Babies" (great book by the way, I think I might bite the bullet and just buy it) by Hadley Fierlinger. I ran out of yarn which resulted in a few stripes near the waist which I actually really like. I didn't however think about how that also meant I'd need to sew the seams together with a different yarn. Not so fond of that look but I suppose it's not terribly noticeable. I sewed some elastic around the waist to help keep them up as the pattern suggested. I think next time I might try decreasing as I near the waist to see if I could get away without the elastic.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

No-Knead Dinner Rolls

My kitchen still smells like turkey and there's some lonely leftover whipped cream in the fridge. The pie plates have been licked clean, and the napkins have been folded and returned to storage.
Thanksgiving has come and gone again. This year's dinner was just lovely, spent with a mix of friends and family, plenty of food, and plenty of rambunctious children squealing and running about. Polished off by plenty of wine and card games it was all that I could have asked for.

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thanksgiving Meal Ideas

Am I the only one who totally keeps forgetting that Thanksgiving is this weekend?? Aaaah! Where does the time go?! I'd like to think that the culprit of forgetting thanksgiving is the freakishly warm weather we have been spoiled with, but I must admit that my head has been in the clouds lately. All I can seem to do is read and watch coverage of Occupy Wall Street. I never thought in my lifetime I'd see this kind of thing happening in America but I couldn't be more thrilled. It gives me chills and makes my eyes well up just thinking about it. If you don't know what I'm talking about please, PLEASE take it upon yourself to find out what's going on in NYC (and around the world), because clearly most media outlets aren't going to do it for you.

Phew! So what was I talking about? Things that feel slightly meaningless next to social change? Oh right, Thanksgiving! Well the warm weather disappeared quite suddenly today and brought me back to reality. It's October 6th and I don't know what I'm making for Thanksgiving. So as I try to decide what to make, I figured someone out there might need some help too. Here are some delicious side dishes and desserts that your guests are sure to adore (while you all take the time to converse about the state of global and national politics, right?).

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Bacon

Potato Turnip Gratin

Brussels Sprout Hash

Roasted Broccoli

Balsamic Braised Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprout and Pecan Salad

The following salads might seem a bit unconventional for Thanksgiving (well come to think of it any salad is probably considered unconventional) but why not take advantage of some beautiful fall produce and opt for a healthier side to balance out all those heavy mashed potatoes and rich gravies.

Apple and Bacon Slaw

Cabbage, Apple and Pecan Salad

In my childhood home growing up we always had pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner. That is until my mother started using squash but (at least as I remember it) she didn't tell us because she probably knew we'd protest. "Eww! Squash Pie? Gross Mom!" But of course we didn't notice and loved it anyway.
I've made a few pumpkin/squash pies in my adult life but sometimes I feel like I want something more interesting...especially more texturally interesting, like the following.

Pecan Pie

Apple Coffee Cake

Pear Pie

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Another Log Cabin Pillow

Despite my attempts to keep my bedding from looking so "matchy matchy" I just couldn't help but make some cute brown log cabin throw pillows to go with our new duvet.
With some new pink striped pillow cases I also made (and some floral ones not shown) I felt like I needed to tone down the girliness by adding some more muted tones to the bed. I mean I do have to share this room with someone else, who happens to be a man. He politely says he loves it all, and I love him all the more for it.Pin It
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