Monday, July 23, 2007

Heading Forward

Meet our new headboard, aka the closest I have ever come to having a fully furnished bedroom:

I'm really liking this. It adds quite a bit to the overall feel of the room despite the so-so appearance in pictures, and it's functional to boot which is great and I don't have to move anything to be able to vacuum under it which is even greater. My only wish is that I was showing it to you as a part of a finished room rather than lame assedness that is a lovely headboard on an ugly white-primered wall.


The bed and headboard fit into a nook for which I think design opportunities abound. So it's not so much a lack of ideas as it is my typical indecisiveness that has caused said bed/headboard cubby and room to remain dressed in ugly white primer for this long. But at least now I have a starting point and a bit of a nudge to get to work choosing a paint color for the space.

Along with the ick that is the white walls, this new acquisition has also caused me to take notice that our bed linens are looking a little tired and could use replacing. Fortunately, I've been on the verge of undertaking a first-for-me quiltmaking project...something I will get around to just as soon as I make a decision about the general direction I'd like to head with this room.

Are you sensing a theme, here?

Now head on over to Modern in MN to check out the other project I'm indecisive about :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What's for Dinner Wednesday!

At long last, I'm finally on the ball enough to manage a WFDW meal:

That was a delicious pick by Boy, Thai Shrimp Curry. It took all of twenty minutes to make so I'm not even sure if I should lay claim to having really cooked but since I've been so severely lacking in the kitchen activities department lately I think I'll count it. This is a super yummy and a definite make again recipe that did not disappoint....fortunately.

Because I had it and it looked like it wanted to be eaten, I took the liberty of adding some yellow squash that I picked up at the farm stand yesterday. Other than that, I stuck to the recipe exactly. I was wishing the sauce would have been a little thicker so I think I would change the order of operations around a bit next time but aside from that one minor little complaint it's a simple and perfect weeknight recipe that definitely falls into the 'add whatever veggies you've got on hand' category. Gotta love that.
I used two giant gobs of Mae Ploy brand green curry paste so it turned out pretty spicy, but I had had the foresight earlier to throw together a quick pickled green bean and cucumber (also from my farm stand visit yesterday) salad that did a nice job of cutting the heat and clearing the palate, making every bite a whole new mouthfull of deliciousness.

Anyone else?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sometimes You Just Need A Waffle

...with real maple syrup, of course!

This one was part of Sundays' breakfast. Do I need to tell you it wasn't the only one that I enjoyed?
Waffles were Boy's request, and what I really wanted was the much too delicious authentic Belgian waffles from the Joy of Cooking which is a yeast batter recipe. But because I wanted to get things going and eating before the start of the MotoGP race on TV, I had to go with a plan B that wasn't going to require an hours' worth of rising time. And in a pinch, the basic waffle recipe will most certainly do.
While collecting my eggs, soy milk and butter from the fridge, I noticed some strawberries that needed to be eaten up and grabbed those as well to slice up and let macerate for a bit with some sugar and a bit of lemon juice. The scent of the ripe, juicy berries along with a little freshly whipped organic cream and the baking waffles made for a scent in my kitchen that was almost as good as the eating portion of the event. It's one of those times I really wish I could write a little bit of html and give you smell link.

Anyway, like I said, about the waffle recipe...a basic version is certainly no slouch in the breakfast department particularly given the fact that it goes from ingredients to finished product in like ten minutes flat, but I have to beg you to try a waffle recipe that calls for yeast sometime, because the result is absolutely 100% worth the extra time and effort. They're obsessively good, really, and quite unlike any 'regular' waffle you may have had.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

So Cute, It Should Be Illegal

One of Boy's coworkers wives just had a baby, and I, never being one to pass up an opportunity to create something trial-size, just had to whip this up for her. This fabric is just the funniest thing ever (I was laughing like a kook about it in the fabric store), and since new baby's dad happens to be a huge sushi fan, I think a baby-sized kimono is the perfect gift.

It turned out pretty darn well considering I drafted the pattern myself from scratch and was too impatient to bother making a muslin first. I started out looking for a pattern online but none of those that I found were what I wanted and it didn't seem like they were very well designed anyway so I figured I may as well take a stab at it despite the fact that I have exactly zero experience designing or patterning baby clothes. Anyway, my only misstep was having to have a do-over with the collar/edge band, but after I realized I wasn't looking for a facing piece so much as just a straight band to ease onto the neck edge, my second try worked great.

I hope she loves it. I think it's so cute I may have to make a few more to have on stand-by for other new babies and now that I have the pattern nailed down, that'll be a snap. If I can figure out how to make the pattern into something electronic and share-able, I'll put up a tutorial because it's a fun and easy project. If anyone has any ideas about how to do this, please let me know!

Note to self: MUST get some personalized labels made. I have no idea why I've spent 30 years as a sewer without some...

Friday, July 13, 2007

New Kitchen Swag

A peek at some fresh new stuff in my Etsy shop:

And there's more to come...

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


A few interesting events happened to have conicided over the last week or two...

I've been kicking myself now that we are into the real bounty of fresh summer produce that I neglected to get signed up for a CSA farmshare this season. I have been intending to do this forever, and I never seem to be able to get my act together and think of it in time and that's really lame and loserish of me. So as a way of making amends for that and to be sure I'll be more on the ball in the future, I did a little research and made a list and contacted several participating farms in our area to be sure I am notified when it comes time to sign up for next seasons' shares.
Now, being handed a pre-packed box of everything that is in season and beautiful and tasty on a regular schedule certainly makes things simpler, but even I am bright enough to know that's not the only path to fresh and locally grown. So while I was looking into the CSA thing, I also spent some time figuring out what farms and markets fall within the path of my daily activities. As it turns out there are several, and never being one to wait around, I took a trip over to At the Farm on Saturday and picked up a whole basket full of gorgeous, organic and home grown stuff and found some respite from the insane 100 degree heat in their 120+ year old earth sheltered German style barn-cum-farm stand...
And then I brought it all home and made some art for dinner:

Sort of an ad lib version of salad nicoise. I mixed up a quick vinagrette to dress it all and we enjoyed a perfect hot weather meal with plenty of leftovers. With the exception of the Maytag blue cheese (Iowa) the corn and the olives, everything is organic and local, as in grown in practically in my back yard local. And the bacon is from my adored Lorenz meats in Cannon Falls and the eggs from Litchfield.
I could have done better, actually, because many local farmers sell eggs and chicken, so I am going to start picking these up on my produce gathering runs whenever possible too.

Now, for various reasons I find that I've become more and more attentive over the years to the pedigree of my food and I've always been inclined to purchase Minnesota products when the option presents itself. And I also enjoy and look forward to the bounty of farmers markets and farm stands in the summer, but beyond that, as ashamed as I am to admit it, I've never really given the impact of eating local much thought or looked at the big picture until recently.
But then, in a cosmically coincidental event given my recent efforts at being more proactive about obtaining local food, I happened to pick up Barbara Kingsolvers book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" at the bookstore over the weekend and I don't think my life will be the same.
Besides delivering an absolutely compelling, rational and well researched argument for eating seasonally and locally, it's also an interesting story and a fun read and I can't recommend this book enough if you care at all about anything.
If nothing else, start paying attention to where stuff comes from and consider how it has been produced, OK? And then, where ever you live, head to the nearest farmers market or farm stand and pick up whatever's in season and local. You can munch on it while you read :)


Friday, July 06, 2007

Mauled by a Fatboy

The 70's kid in me has been secretly coveting one of these ever since I first saw them several years ago, and when I happened across them for super cheap on, I just couldn't resist:

I have actually had one of these on my list of furniture wants for the media room for a while and was completely OK with paying the $229+ shipping, despite the irony of having given away or tossed at least two other beanbag chairs in my lifetime (just SO not as cool at this one). But they come in delicious colors, and I was caught up in the woe of not being able to make a decision about that and had elected to do nothing until I was sure.

As it turns out my procrastination was a win, because at $84.99 plus free shipping I ended up not having to make that decision....they were only available in black which isn't as cute as orange or red or purple or lime but works:

I've only just sat in the thing long enough to pose it for a picture and it kind of mauled me so I'm hoping it breaks in or has a learning curve or something. And, it's HUGE, which I guess is what makes it cool. Plus, it has the kind of 'sense of humor' vibe that I like to throw in here and there so I think it's a win.
Worst case it becomes a super duper awesome dog bed... if he can beat the kitties to it, that is.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Who Put Crack in the Watermelon?

I need to go to watermelon rehab, seriously.

I made my first score a couple of weeks ago and it's been down hill ever since.

Back then, the whole melon I picked up on a whim sat in my fridge for a week or so before I got around to cutting it up. Once that happened, I discovered it was really super good, and exactly what I was craving on a hot day. So, between breakfast and lunch I easily downed a quarter of it. I put another quarter cut up in a container in the fridge and wrapped the rest.
Later that evening, as we were finishing dinner I told Boy there was cut watermelon in the fridge that he needed to eat. But he didn't jump up out of his chair to get it even though I told him how outrageously good it was. And because I couldn't stop thinking about it, I got the bowl out later that night and ate everything in it, and that introductory score of a melon was gone in two days flat.
That's pretty much been the way it's gone every day since then.
It's a slippery slope, people.

I can't get my next bowl of watermelon out of my head. It's the last thing I think about before I go to sleep, and the first thing I think about when I wake up. Thoughts of watermelon follow me everywhere.
Yesterday, on our way back from the dog park:
Me: "We have to stop at the store so I can buy some more watermelon." And then, a little panicky "The store IS open, right??, because I really need to get some watermelon. OMG, I hope the store is open, because I NEED some more watermelon."

I'm polishing off a bowl full as I type and what's left from the chunk pictured above that wouldn't fit in the bowl sits on the chopping block waiting for round two. Lunchtime round two, that is, because as you can probably guess by now I had some for breakfast, as well. And that marks the official last bit of my most recent whole melon conquest. Which reminds me that I had better put the back up melon that's sitting on my counter into the fridge for later.

Yep, another sign that I'm addicted...I'm buying them in quantity now :)

So, if you're watching the "news" and you hear an unbelievable story that some person in Minnesota has succumbed to a strange and tragic disease from eating too much watermelon (like the little girl who just got her guts sucked out by a pool drain...definitely NOT funny), that was probably me.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I'll Have a Mojito, Please

I am so freaking excited about this hot-off-the-sewing-machine creation that I can hardly contain myself nor wait for the weekend to invite some friends over for cocktails and apps...

Remember the new fabric arrivals I've been celebrating?
And remember my discovery that I was under-equipped in the cocktail napkin department?

Behold, new cocktailing swag:

But wait...just one more look:

I love this stuff so much that I think I may just have to sleep with it under my pillow tonight, and all I have to left to say now is LET'S PARTY!!

I think I am going to make a few more sets for my Etsy shop, so if you're interested let me know. And I should mention that the coasters aren't just any old coaster, but absorbent AND waterproof on the bottom because there's nothing like unruly condensation to spoil your party :)


Monday, July 02, 2007

Is Breakfast Ready?

I am a little ashamed of this picture, but this was one of those occasions where more attempts would have produced only a delay in gratification, not a better looking photo so I'm giving it to you anyway.
Saturday morning, Bacon, Egg, and Avocado Sandwich with caramelized onions, tomato, and homemade spicy pimenton aioli:

With a freshly made berry muffin to go along side, this was my response to Boy's suggestion that we have egg sandwiches for breakfast. Surely this wasn't what he had in mind, being a reflexively plain food kind of guy (it's just butter, egg and bread if he's cooking...I even have to get my own catsup) but I could tell from the speed with which he consumed this, wordless, that he enjoyed it.

When I dug into the fridge to compile the ingredients for the requested breakfast, I discovered a lonely but perfectly ripe avocado that needed eating up, and that brought me back to a few weeks ago when Knit-Whit and I enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Good Day Cafe.
On that occasion, I opted for the crab cakes eggs benedict (holy crap, so freaking delicious, and dont' even get me thinking about the beignets and caramel roll), and she chose their amazing looking egg sandwich that provided today's inspiraition. Checking my facts, the GDC version contains ham rather than bacon, but I the ingredient that really got my attention was the avocado...

Casa Splatgirl's Bacon, Egg, and Avocado Sandwich:
makes one

Two eggs, fried however you like them
Two pieces of toasted bread. (GDC uses brioche, I used whole wheat, sourdough would be awesome)
Three or four strips of the best bacon you can find, cooked crisp
1/2 a small onion, sliced and cooked in a bit of oil or butter until soft and beginning to caramelize
1/2 ripe Haas avocado, sliced
sliced tomato
homemade aioli or spicy mayo

Start cooking the onion first while you compile and prep the rest of the ingredients. And if you're feeling particularly naughty, you can fry your eggs in the grease that's left in the pan from cooking the bacon so that they get all lacy and brown and crispy around the edges.
Once everything is ready to go, slather the toast with as much aioli as you want, pile the rest of the stuff on top and enjoy the most crazily delicous egg sandwich you've ever made.

Not to leave out the berry muffins, I whipped them up using my older-than-me copy of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. It's their basic muffins with the "blueberry" variation of a bit more sugar and a cup of berries (I used frozed mixed berries), plus soy milk instead of cow. The batter turned out really thick so I was able to pile the whole batch into six regular sized muffin cups. The end result was a really good dense and cakey muffin and I love how they ended up nice and big and tall so I think this recipe will become my muffin stand-by. Next time I'm going to sprinkle sugar on the tops.

And a little side note here: If you haven't enjoyed the pleasure of making and eating your own aioli (aka garlicky mayo) PLEASE do it now. It's the most amazing, simple to make stuff and is fantastic on everything from grilled fish to veggies to a breakfast sandwich. Recipes abound, but it's basically garlic cloves, egg yolk and olive oil with a little lemon juice and salt carefully zized in the blender. My aioli was left over from some that I made to accompany grilled veggies, and included the addition of a 1/2tsp. or so of smoked hot Spanish paprika (pimenton), but you can add whatever other savory spice you want (saffron is nice)...or not. Plain or embellished, it's like condiment crack and you'll start dreaming up all kinds of ways to use it afterward. But make it in small batches unless you plan to take a bath in it, because even a two-egg-yolk recipe makes a huge amount and you don't want it hanging around for too long.
As I said, it's super quick to make but for the sandwich, if you're starving or can't be bothered, some Chipotle Tabasco or Sriracha stirred into some Hellman's would be good too.

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