Friday, May 22, 2009



I was planning on telling you all about my dinner party on Tuesday and sharing some of the recipes I used (which were all great), but I am in Grand Haven and 1. I don't have the book with the recipes and 2. I don't have my card reader! I know... So unprepared.

We did have a lot of fun though! I made zucchini bread, brownies and asparagus pasta. The zucchini bread was easy and delicious! It had cinnamon and brown sugar, mmmm. The pasta was kind of like an asparagus pesto. I blended the asparagus up with pine nuts, lemon zest and a few other things. It turned out delicious. Chelsea brought her awesome cornbread muffins, Matt brought salad fixings and bread and spices, and Ashley and Isaac brought wine. We ate at my new awesome dining table and it passed the test.

Isaac claimed his stool in the yard (really the base to a cement bird bath), Gracie climbed and scooted down the stairs too many times to count, and in general everyone was fairly impressed with our planting and the cleanliness of the house. Which really was an impressive thing, since we finally deep cleaned it!

I wish I had the photos to go along with this, though I don't have any of my friends... But, there are a few that Chelsea took on her Flickr. Thanks, Chels!

I do have one recipe that I made up, and that is my recipe for french-pressed iced coffee. Let me tell you, it was delicious. I would've brewed it in my electric brewer, except I only had coffee ground for the press. I'm glad it happened that way, too. I used Starbucks' Kenya blend, because it's free for me, it's my favorite coffee that they offer, and my manager told me it makes a damn good iced coffee. All of those reasons are good enough for me! If you don't have a french press, that's fine, but it probably won't have as much of the lemony tang that Kenya has when it's pressed.

I don't know if this really counts as a recipe, but here you go:

Some coffee
Something with which to brew it

No matter how you brew it, do exactly what you usually would, except put twice as much coffee in. Brew enough coffee to fill your pitcher of choice about halfway. Because the press makes stronger coffee anyway, I put about 8 cups' worth of coffee in and between 5 and 6 cups of water. It turned out perfect. I did this twice to have enough to fill half of my pitcher. Once it's all brewed and in the pitcher, fill it to the top with ice. Ta-da!

Delicious natural sweetener

1 cup regular white sugar
1 cup fancy brown rock sugar
2 cups water

Boil it all until all of the sugar is dissolved. Wait for it to cool, pour it into a nice big mason jar and it will keep in the fridge forever.
The fancy rock sugar makes the syrup a nice root beer color and gives it that yummy taste. This way, you don't have to wait for the sugar to dissolve in your iced beverage of choice.

Enjoy your weekend!!
We're on our way up to my parents' cottage, where there is no internet. I plan to make jewelry, read and relax.

What are you up to this weekend?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

ikea, i love you

dining room before is pretty much an in-between room, used only for transit. also where the vacuum lives.

chairs! i did those. no super heavy wood and painful screws. there's eric!

so embarrassing for him. hahahaha. he says he looks awesome though.

the ikea pamphlet instructions told us to put a protective covering on the floor. their instruction pictures are so funny! there was also a part that told him to have two people do it. and it had a picture of one sad person, but it was crossed out. next to it was a picture of two grinning people. love it!

finished with our stylish array of seating options! i love love love it. yes, that's a bench on the left.

better shot of the bench. and it's right by the window.

solid birch! the wood is really pretty. just a light oil on top, nothing shiny or ucky. it's really pretty :)

hooray! i'm posting this on my laptop on my new table. yay!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

like a fresh salad

That is what these photos are like for me.

forgotten shibori

I just realized I forgot to show you this piece. When I smushed it all down on the pole, it was too big for the bucket I was using to dye it, so I put it in anyway. I hoped that if I got the top bit wet enough, the dye would sort of travel up the fabric, as water likes to do. Well, it did! I was very pleased, as I'm sure you can imagine. So, enjoy the subtlety that is displayed up toward the top. And well, everywhere else, too.

Monday, May 4, 2009


I just started reading Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" yesterday. I spied it while scouting out the "New" section of my library. Since it's been on my to read list for well over a year now, I grabbed it and hugged it tight on my walk home. I went for one book, thinking a walk would be nice, and left with six, half regretting my decision. But, it was well worth it. Her writing is engaging and honest, and the subject is so inspiring. I think this book is really the kick in the ass that I've been needing. Knowledge alone is, apparently, not enough. Everything seems so much more doable after reading about someone else's experience.

And so, I would like to make a goal for myself. This summer, I will eat as locally and wholly as possible. I won't pick the easiest thing, or the cheapest. Thought, eating this way is, for the most part, cheaper. I will learn how to cook and stop being afraid of it. Not afraid, really.... When I'm stressed out and have a ton of homework to do, it's just easier to heat something up, or to run out and get food that was probably imported, then processed, then made for me by a teenager. Globally, is that easier? No.

Last year, we rented out a 24'x24' community garden plot, hoping to accomplish something like this, though less lofty of a goal. Well, it sucked. It didn't drain, it flooded. It was a bad year for peppers. The tomatoes were very sad. It was far away and a huge thorn in our sides. By the end of the season, we nearly gave up. And we had weeds to show for it. This year, we have a tiny yard. I want to use about half for food and half for flowers. I have sugar snap peas, carrots, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, herbs and beans in my plan. All things that I love to eat. It may not be the most practical mix of things, and given the size of my space it will not be enough to supply us all of what we need, obviously. But, it will make a dent. These are all things that we would otherwise buy in the store. Well, I do have to give myself credit and say that most of our veggies we buy at the farmers' market. But still.

I want to do most of my shopping at the farmers' markets. Northville on Thursday, Ann Arbor or Eastern Market on Saturday. I think Canton's is Sunday, if I'm feeling really ambitious some weeks. I hope to learn what each market's best things are, and to take some from each. This probably isn't that realistic, since I work most weekend mornings (I plan on taking Saturday morning off, though), but ambition will push me. Also, telling all of you this will push me. Documenting this on my blog and through Flickr and Twitter and god knows what else will motivate me to have something to show. So, thank you for your help :)

First step I think: learn how to cook. Learn to really value cooking. Our cooking, not just going home and having my mom's fabulous cooking. I want to cook like that. I want people to want to eat what I cook. I want to have friends over to share a meal that I made. While I don't have the space that my mom does, I want to follow in her path in this way. I don't, however, think my landlord will allow chickens. Even if they lay blue eggs.

I'll start tomorrow by cooking dinner. I need to find a really good, user-friendly seasonal cookbook. Anyone have any recommendations? Lisa?