Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Little Hand's First Birthday

Little Hand's birthday was a low-key event with exactly three guests: himself, his dad, and me :) Everything else was likewise simple.

Decorations were kept to the general notion of red, yellow, and blue. (Slightly more complex than our wedding's colors of black and white ^-^). We hung the decorations the night before, so Little Hands could enjoy his decorations. My assessment is that he was charmed by the change of colors in the kitchen.

Yup, unceremoniously hung with masking tape.

I hung a few blue fans from the tray of his high chair, yet Litlte Hands quickly plucked them off for closer inspection and tasting.

His birthday events were likewise simple. When DH came home he blew up a yellow, helium balloon which served as Little Hand's birthday present. Kiddo was delighted by its defiance of gravity. We had all of his favorite foods over the course of the day: formula for first breakfast, fresh strawberries with vanilla yogurt and granola for second breakfast; pepper jack cheese, hotdogs, and tortillas for lunch; spaghetti and frozen peas for dinner, and more formula for second dinner. I made the spaghetti sauce the week before and froze it, so dinner was particularly easy.

Oh? You noticed I missed second lunch? That would be smash cake :) It was a heavy debate between a "healthy" cake and a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. In the end, I went middle of the road: strawberries, shortcake, and a mound of mildly sweet whipped cream. Little Hands ate with both hands and a serious demeanor, but managed to make a big enough mess to make his mama proud.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Bunny Buns [Delicious Yet Ugly]

It seems every spring Pinterest goes gaga again for these adorable bunny buns. They’ve been so over-pinned that I had no luck in tracing down the original pin.

(Photo courtesy of Pinterest. Just search for “bunny buns” and you’ll find a million links seemingly none of which go back to the original author.)

Several weeks ago I tried out an delicious orange knot recipe that held it’s knot shape really well, so I decided to try it again as bunny buns.

Yeah, that wasn’t a winning decision.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fabric Stash Note Cards

Back in October, I saw on Pinterest a set of pretty cards used to document one’s fabric stash. I wasn’t interested in purchasing them at 50-cents apiece – especially when I noticed that they didn’t include the metadata for the attributes I wanted to record.

So, as part of the Pinterst Challenge I decided to make my own note cards.

As natural consequence of making card for organizing, I organized my stash. Little Hands helped by verifying the structural integrity of my stash box.

When I was lucky, this is how my stash was previously with a single piece of label tape.

Now I have quite a bit more information: when and where the material was purchased; my project intent; the type and yardage of the material; whether or not it has been prewashed; and the patterns’ manufacturer, designer, collection, and title and colorway.

By theory when I use the material, I can attach a scrap of fabric for a project reference archive.

I drilled two holes in the stack of cards using my paper awl. I don't want to dull my pins when I'm attaching the card. These holes are also useful for tying a stack of unused cards together with a ribbon. (Do remember that in some materials you don't necessarily want to go poking holes into it.)

Now my stash is happily labeled and organized. This picture does look rather drab. I promise I have lots of pretty fabrics! It’s just the pretty ones were prioritized and put in the bin first. I ended up “destashing” nearly six yards of fabric; they’d been lingering for years, weren’t as pretty or useful as my other materials, and simply wouldn’t fit in the bin.

Here is my pdf file that I used to print out my cards. The cut into a 4.25” wide by 3.5” tall card with a half inch of unused paper space.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Roti Chicken and Pancakes

I was surfing the web when I came across a recipe for Roti Chicken in which the author declared she was making a lot of friends “very, very” happy for posting this particular secret recipe. That selling point is promising, yet what intrigued me was this is allegedly a Surinamese dish from a woman who is Dutch. What really sold me was its liberal use of curry. We in my house are people who love our curry.

Unfortunately, the dish is pretty ugly. Go see the original post because it does a much better job making the food pretty.

Kay, the author, does a beautiful job of meticulously documenting every step of the recipe with sharp, meaningful photos, directions, and commentary. She does a nearly perfect job streamlining the steps and providing all the information I need such that I didn’t have to scroll back to the top of the post to review the recipe itself.

The only change I made was I used one habanero chili in place of her recommended red chili or Madam Jeanette chili. Much to my surprise – HEB didn’t have fresh red chilis! I did commit and purchased a bottle of Sunflower oil and the flavor it lent to the dish was entirely worth adding to bottle to my pantry. (Well, half a bottle. The recipe used half of what I purchased! It loves its sunflower oil.)

Foremost, despite the use of an entire habanero between the curry dish and the pancakes, this recipe isn’t at all hot. It was completely mild in terms of heat. The habanero did lend a nice, chili flavor to everything, yet no heat that I could discern. (So little heat, in fact, that I handed over a pancake to Little Hands and he happily ate it. Stuck his tongue out a lot while smiling, but he’s been pretty fascinated by his tongue all evening.)

The chicken and potatoes dish itself is good. It’s tasty. It doesn’t make our curry-loving tongues sing, but it didn’t make them sad either. I think the green beans went in much too soon and became over cooked. That is the only fault in an otherwise perfectly written recipe. (And maybe it had something to do with my green beans.)

The Roti pancakes? We love them. Love love love. I’ll probably just start making these “just because” to go with other curry dishes. They’re tender and have just the right amount of garlic, onion, potato, and chili to flavor them. Absolutely fantastic.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

A few weeks ago DH remarked that he had a delicious chimichurri sauce at work and that we ought to make some sometime. I took this to mean, “Go to the internet, find a recipe, and pin it for future reference.” We recently acquired a grill, and I am now having fun experimenting cooking with it. Thus, when the Pinterest Challenge arose, I already had the ingredients on my grocery shopping list.

I did have to make the sauce twice because I was halving the recipe and the first time I forgot to half the salt - yuck! The second time was much more successful even with suplementing the lemon juice with the bottled variety.

I’m quite proud of this meal being it was the first steak I’ve ever grilled on a proper grill in my life. The only negative was that the chimichurri sauce was a bit too bitter – but that is because the parsley it was based on was very bitter. Lesson learned: taste the parsley before committing to it when a ~fourth of the recipe is comprised of parsley. In the future we do want to try to brighten the flavor by adding in fresh lime juice and lemon zest.

I’d say this would be a great sauce for a St Patrick’s Day meal, but Saint Patrick’s day is the day I use as an excuse to make ham, potatoes, and cabbage.