A home for all things crafty, health-conscious, cake-related, or in need of a wagon!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thanksgiving in 1.5 hours

Yes, this seriously happened this year.  Here was my list:

First, I started on the stuffing...

I chopped up these ingredients, plus an onion, and sauteed them up.  Then I added breadcrumbs and seasoning from my box of Trader Joe's stuffing mix. (that's only slightly cheating)

I baked it for over an hour at 350*, along with everything else. 

The yams I'd prepped the day before (peeling and chopping), so now I just added some freshly squeezed mandarin juice, and about a tablespoon of agave nectar.. then bake!

John prepped the brussels sprouts for me; it takes forever for me to halve them and take off all the icky bits. I sauteed them with some shallots, butter, and a little veggie broth.

We decided that we didn't care about skins in our mashed potatoes, so that easily saved half an hour from not peeling them!  Just chop, boil, smash with some butter, milk, and veggie broth. 

Green beans, I sauteed up some more shallots and poured them over the trimmed green beans.  Topped with some roasted pecans.

Corn pudding was really cheating; frozen corn, dotted with butter, salt, and pepper.

Veggie gravy: sauteed mushrooms, add some veggie broth, sprinkle with cornstarch and stir until thickened.

All in all, a delicious and easy vegetarian Thanksgiving feast!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

UCU Winter Show!

This weekend is the Urban Craft Uprising show!  If you're looking for cool crafty things, delicious foods, beautiful yarn, jewelry that looks like food or is made from crazy things like old typewriter letters... this is the place to be!  I'm going on Saturday, and even though I always find piles of things that I want for myself, I usually get some great gifts too.  Like soap from Estrella, or yarn from (the best name ever) Yarnia.  Last year, I got some tea that I couldn't stop smelling, and was barely able to give it away.  I met Cakespy and Jill Bliss there, and learned how to needle felt in years past.  It is really a very cool event, and a nice way to kick off your holiday shopping.  Go, go, go!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Menu

Here are some things I'll be making for our very small (2-person) Thanksgiving this year:

Brussels Sprouts 

 Corn Pudding

And Yams (of course!).. not mashed this year though; roasted with mandarin orange juice and maple syrup!

Also on the menu? Stuffing with veggie sausage, mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, green beans with shallots (and possibly pecans), and the crazy delicious Pumpkin Cheesecake from this book:

I would post the recipe, but since I don't alter it at all, I don't want to offend the copyright fairies.  Aren't you lucky that it is on the Post-Punk Kitchen right here?!  It's pretty labor intensive and time consuming, but totally worth it!  (pictures will be coming soon!)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bat Baby Pictures

Just in case you wanted proof that I made my baby a Halloween costume before she was even born...

I made a tiny cape, and bat ears on a headband that surprisingly fit her.

This is her scariest pose.

She really likes looking around at things, particularly lights and the ceiling.

Sometimes, she's had enough.

I made the ears out of some leftover pinstriped material, so I was joking that they were her "formal ears". 

We all dressed up like vampires this year, including Lulu... but I don't have access to any of our group pictures yet.  They will be awesome though! (I had my purple wig and everything!)

This one is my favorite:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Roasted Parmesan Broccoli

A few months ago, I stumbled across this blog by a woman in Gig Harbor who not only is trying to grow 2000 pounds of vegetables this year (and has almost done it, crazily enough) she also manages to feed her family of four (with 2 teenagers) on $100 a month.  Yes, she is a crazy couponer, and she posts at least 5 times a day... but she is awesome!  She also sometimes dresses up like a pilgrim and hands out vegetables.  She may be a little nuts, but I really enjoy her blog.  And this is her recipe.

A large quantity of broccoli; as much as you want to eat
1/4 c. bread crumbs (Someday I'll share my super easy way to make homemade ones that you store in your fridge)
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 c. parmesan cheese, grated (I cheated and used shaky cheese)
1/4 tsp. dried oregano

Boil a pot of water and blanch your broccoli; cook it for just a couple of minutes, not all the way.  You want it to still be bright green.

Like this

Mix together the crumb ingredients.  Honestly, I don't think I even measured the bread crumbs.  Or the cheese.  Or the oil, really.  You're just aiming for delicious crumb-y-ness here. 

Roll the wet broccoli into the crumb mixture.  Put back in your baking pan, then sprinkle the leftovers on the top.

Bake at 425* for 15 minutes, or until the broccoli is your desired doneness (I may have cooked it a bit longer).  Serve as a side dish with pretty much anything!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Savory Pumpkin Pastry

I was inspired by this recipe from Sunset last month... and then completely changed it (of course).  For several years, I made a pumpkin/feta pastry appetizer at my annual Halloween parties, so that played a role here too... Here's what I did:

Thaw out one box of puff pastry for about an hour (conveniently, just enough time to feed the baby)

I roasted a small pumpkin the day before, and used about 1 1/2 cups of the pumpkin.  
I added:
1 clove garlic
1 c. white beans
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. sage
1/4 c. water
and blended it up in a bowl with my hand blender.  Then I unfolded the puff pastry.  I'd been planning to make individual puffs, and then thought... why bother?!

Spread out the dough on a parchment-covered cookie sheet

Try not to wake the baby.

Spread around the pumpkin mixture, then sprinkle it with half a container of feta cheese.  Then cover it with the other pastry sheet.

Bake at 400* for about 20 minutes (check it after 15 minutes for brownness).

Slice and serve!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

She's Here!!

Zephyr Elizabeth Arden Laughlin was born on October 5, 2012!  After many hours of craziness, labor, and several containers of vegan jello, she joined us a little over 2 weeks ago. 

 She is a ridiculously good baby, even if Lulu doesn't necessarily think so.

So, while I may not be up for mucho posts every week, I'm going to try to update at least a bit more often than I did my last few months of pregnancy.  (Between the not sleeping from being congested, there was also the feeling that there were always more things to get done... you know how it goes.)  Since we've been home, I've actually done a surprising amount of cooking and crafts- at least way more than I expected to.  Coming up soon, roasted veggie creations, my take on this month's Sunset cover recipe, and how to bake cookies with a baby as your co-chef.

This? Oh just something I whipped up in between feedings.  (reality? It took me a few days, but I totally vegetarianized it!  And it was freaking delicious.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Planting Potatoes

A month or so ago, I went to the farmer's market specifically to get some potatoes to seed.  What does that mean? I picked the coolest varieties I could find (note the purple ones) and chose ones with lots of "eyes" on them.  Then, I stuck them in the cupboard in a large bowl until they started to look like aliens from another planet... or at least kind of like succulents.

Now I've cut out the sprouting bits, and am letting them sit like this for a couple of days to "cure".  Usually, I cut them and throw them straight into my giant potato pot and cover them with dirt... but the last time I tried that, it didn't work.  So, now I'm trying this method.

After they've cured for a couple of days, (I'm assuming this means that they're not wet any more) you can space them out in a giant giant pot, make a potato tower like Mavis does in 100 dollars a month, or put them in the ground (although I think that only works if you have really workable soil.)  Put them way at the bottom of your pot, and only cover them with an inch or so of soil.  Don't fill the whole thing at once!  Once they sprout through the soil, cover them again. Apparently, you can get more potatoes if you alternate covering them with soil and then adding some straw or hay.  Since I still have piles of hay from last fall, this is not a problem for me!  If you're making a potato tower and you want it to look extra fancy (and keep in some more water, esp. in hotter weather) you can wrap it with some oilcloth like Stacy from Seattle Seedling does.  (I'm totally doing that next year when I'm more mobile and have some chicken wire on hand.)  So far this year, I've managed one potato harvest of about a pound and a half of potatoes, so here's hoping that this one does better... even if it is growing over the winter!

Monday, September 10, 2012

DIY Almond Milk

I'm seeing a hand specialist on Tuesday, with the hope that they will be able to offer me some sort of relief from the constant falling-asleep hand syndrome that has been plaguing me for the last month or more.  Then, perhaps I can write more than a sentence without tingling fingers!

This is my new dream.

However for you, faithful readers, your dream might be this almond milk.  I know that people make their own soy milk (nutters) or ketchup or other premade things that I usually deem too time consuming or difficult to make at home.  Almond milk is not one of those things!

I first discovered someone who makes this on a regular basis on my new favorite blog, Seattle Seedling.  (I'm seriously obsessed with this blog; It's open in my browser right now, so I can go back and read every post she's written.  I've never said that about anyone else!)  But, she used a recipe from a book, and didn't want to reprint it without permission... so google led me to this easy recipe.  And that's what I did... to the tee! (although next time, I would add a bit more sweetener)

The only possibly time consuming step is soaking the almonds overnight; everything else was done in about 15 minutes tops.

Vanilla Almond Milk
slightly adapted from manmadediy.com

1 c. raw almonds (I used Trader Joe's)
2 Tbsp. agave nectar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3 c. water

Cover the almonds with water, and let soak in your fridge overnight.  Strain and rinse the almonds, then add to your blender with 3 c. water.  Blend.

Blend some more.

Add the vanilla, agave nectar, and salt.

Blend a little more, then strain through a fine mesh strainer.  It may take a few batches to get it all done.

You are now left with some almond bits, which you can add to your morning oatmeal, cereal, cottage cheese with a little jam (yum!).. I even baked a little into my granola this week, and it turned out great.  I've kept it for up to a week in my fridge, with no ill effects.

If the almond bits still seem like there is more milk in there that wants to get out, you can leave it straining like this in your fridge overnight too.
All the rest of it? Is now your cheap-o almond milk!  It makes about 3 cups, ferments with vinegar just like soymilk does, and this is the perfect amount for making a batch of waffles, with a little leftover for oatmeal the next day.  It will keep for about 3-4 days in your fridge- which, I admit, is less time than commercial brands- but there are no preservatives and you know exactly what's in there.  Win-win, as far as I'm concerned!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Seattle Tilth's Harvest Fair

The harvest fair is tomorrow!!!  If you can make it out, it will be a great time. :)  More details can be found here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Baby Crafts!

I thought I'd show you a few things I've been working on lately...

First up?  A Beyonce/Tardis onesie, courtesy of The Bloggess- who I met last week!  She was awesome enough to sign it for me. :)  I used one of those printer-t/shirt transfer things; the ironing was kind of difficult, but I just joked that it looks like it went through Instagram. 

I bought this cute cow flannel years and years ago, with the intention of making it into pyjama pants for a friend of mine.  Now, it is the correct dimensions to use as the perfect swaddling blanket!

I was super proud to get this yard of minky fabric for only $5.  Then I found the super cute rainbow blanket binding for $4.88.  Then, I easily spent 2 hours of frustration, trying to sew on both of these things- it was slippery, and the edge of the minky kept leaving a gap in the binding that really pissed me off.  My secret trick? I ended up ironing some stitch witchery to one side of the binding before trying to pin or sew it; it worked just fine, but I can kind of see it.  It's not the most perfect thing ever, but what girl baby isn't going to like hot pink or rainbows? No one, that's who!  And... it's super soft.

This one was made by my friend, Shelley.  The theme is cats and gardening!  It's clear that she worked much harder on it than I did on mine. :)

And so did my friend Sarah, with this pink/monster/Star Wars quilt.  I am lucky to have such awesome friends!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Grilled Veggie Pasta with Chickpeas

Sometimes, inspiration strikes when you least expect it.  Sometimes, it is when you are starving, and trying to find something in your house to eat for dinner.  This may have been one of those times.

Grilled Veggie Pasta with Chickpeas

6 oz. pasta (I weigh it with a scale before cooking)
1 large zucchini, cut into half moons
1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 c. kale, chopped finely
3-4 Tbsp. vegetable oil  (I would generally try to skimp on the oil, but here, it is really great and makes everything blend together really well.  Just do it!)
1 tsp. Italian spices (or a mix of rosemary, basil, marjoram, and oregano)

In a mixing bowl, stir together the zucchini, tomatoes, pepper, spices, and oil.  Pour into either a large grill basket (lined with foil for easy cleanup, and to keep in the oil) or just make a packet out of a few layers of foil.  Add about 1/4 c. of water, and grill for 20-25 minutes over medium high heat.  In the meantime, cook your pasta.  When it is mostly done, add the kale, and let it cook for a minute or two.  Drain the pasta/kale.  Return the pasta to the pan, and add your drained chickpeas.  When the veggies are tender, bring them back inside, and let them cool for a few minutes.  Then add to the pasta, mix together, and top with parmesan cheese, if you so desire.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


I know that I haven't been posting as much here lately.  I can feel the "slowing down" starting to happen, and extra tiredness creeping in.... and it doesn't help that my hands will fall asleep doing things as simple as holding a phone, typing for five minutes,  or stirring up waffle batter. :(  But, I do have some craftiness to show you soon, and a delicious peanut-Phad-Thai-esque salad recipe to share in the coming days.  Hang in there, faithful readers!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Farmer's Market

Here's what I got this week at the Redmond Farmer's Market for $15:

3 tomatoes
3 kinds of potatoes 
2 lemon cucumbers
4 donut peaches
and a bunch of Chinese spinach; my favorite green in the world!  ( I always tell people, "It tastes like HEALTH!")

Just the other day, I found seeds to grow this myself here, so next year we will have some in the garden!  I also specifically selected potatoes that looked like they'll sprout soon, so that I can start another potato harvest this year.  In my new favorite blog, one hundred dollars a month, the writer has a whole section on growing potatoes in towers.  I'm totally going to try that next!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Perfect Granola

I have finally gotten there: The Perfect Granola! A lot of this recipe is not so rigid; so use up whatever nuts and dried fruits you have in your house (I know that my drawer is a lot cleaner right now.)

Save for a day when it's not too hot to bake. :)

Perfect Granola 
(*adapted from Miss Dahl's Voluptous Delights, by Sophie Dahl)

3 c. oats  (rolled ones, not that instant crap)
1 c. assorted nuts (I used cashews and almonds here; can also be a little less)
1/2 c. shredded coconut
1/2 c. pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
1/2 c. honey or agave nectar
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. raisins, dried cherries, craisins, dried apricots cut up, etc- your choice!

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, nuts, coconut, seeds, and spices.  Then add the honey and the oil, and mix to combine.  Then add the vanilla and mix again.  Try to make sure that all of it gets a bit wet.

Preheat the oven to 350*, and spread the granola mixture onto a parchment-covered cookie sheet.  Bake for around 20 minutes, until the granola turns a golden brown.  Watch it though!  If it bakes too long, it will burn.  (while my husband likes this, it is not my favorite)  After it is done baking, add the dried fruit, and mix together.  Store in a giant airtight container, and serve with milk and fruit, or whatever else you like with cereal.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Goat Cheese and Squash Pasta

Some days, you are running out of food in your house.  Like the other day when I wanted pasta for lunch.  But we really didn't have any pasta to speak of, just a few lasagne noodles.  So, I measured them out with my scale, broke them into pieces, and started cooking.

Thrown Together Lunch Special!
5 lasagne noodles
1/2 zucchini
1 patty pan squash (my grandpa used to call them "sputniks")
4 kale leaves, cut into ribbons
2 oz. goat cheese
parmesan for on top

In a large pot, boil some water for your noodles.  Chop up your squash into bite-sized pieces.  Boil the noodles and the squash together, until they both are done.  Throw in the kale at the last minute, and cook for another minute.  Drain.

Decide that instead of boring marinara sauce, you want to see what other things are in your fridge.  Discover some goat cheese.  Put the hot drained pasta and veggies back into your pot, and add about 2 oz. of the goat cheese.  Stir to melt it.  Add a little pepper.  Stir.  Serve with grated parmesan on top.

Be happy that you were able to use up random things in your house for a delicious lunch!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Update from the Twins' Garden

We were at the Twins' house a couple of weeks ago, and I'm pleased to show you how great everything is growing!

Box #1: Kale, chard, basil, and squash

Box #2: Tomatoes, beans, peas and CORN!  (well, not technically yet, but it's coming along!)

Here are the beans and peas

And tomato forest!


They also have several jealousy-inducing fruit trees around.  Here are the apples that will be ready in a few months.

Pear tree that's possibly the neighbor's. 

And another apple tree!  There's also a giant Italian plum in the front yard that I neglected to get a picture of. All in all, good eating!