Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Still here... and alive.

Trudging through work... with not enough hours in the day for my sweet blog right now.   Hope you all are well!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


 illustration from Toothpastefordinner.com

I have been hiding out for a while.   Life has been super busy (and messy) and I have a lot of loose ends hanging out in the wind.   So many in fact, that I have just wanted to pull the covers over my head and not think about any of them.   DENIAL... it is beautiful and has saved my sanity this past two months.   But, at some point you have to push for resolution.   Mac and I were facing: relocating out of the country for Mac's job; his ever-pending retirement from the military; selling two houses, one of which needs quite a bit of work; going out town for work for an extended period of time; and actually planning our own nuptials.    And not being able to go forward on any of them... because making a decision on one required a resolution on another... we have been stuck.   So... this weekend we made a decision to not relocate, thus allowing for us to make decisions on the other pending issues.   And I am starting to feel better.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Project: Convertible/Infinity Dress

Dresses above are available at Butter by Nadia

My current project involves (hopefully) making a beachy dress to wear to my sisters wedding. I have been in love with the convertible dress for a few years now... and I have even made one, it was out of jersey knit - not really appropriate for a wedding even if it is on a beach.   These dresses are ridiculously easy to make I am now trying to locate some high quality jersey satin, which I am finding is the biggest challenge in reproducing these dresses. 

Now there are two options in creating your convertible dress (aside from the fullness or length of the skirt) and one is to create the skirt and attach the top pieces to the skirt OR to just attach a trim piece to a larger cut of fabric and the whole thing becomes your dress (the all in one version). I have made the former and recently stumbled across the other option, which is a fantastic less formal option, read: beach cover up.

Youtube video's below show the different in the two styles AND demonstrate the varying tying techniques.
Also let me know if you know where I can get some nice satin jersey.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Listening to... Lissie

Lissie - Catching a Tiger

I have been obsessed with this album for about two weeks... wandering the internet looking for places to play the not-yet-released-album.   I am so happy today that I can finally BUY it and listen at will.   This is a great mix of country/blues/folk.   One minute she reminds me of Stevie Nicks, the next Edie Brickell and then a moment later Bobbie Gentry and Neko Case.   Might have just passed Marina as my summer favorite.

Listen here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Like her writing or not...

Here is a very interesting lecture by Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing the creative process.   It is long... but well worth your time. Also, check out other lectures on TED... this is a fantastic site...Riveting Talks by Remarkable People

Thursday, August 12, 2010

4 Goals

So... it is funny sometimes how things come a long at just the right moment.   I was just having an email discussion with some of my girlfriends about developing future career strategies.   We picked a date and decided that we would each formulate, in our own ways, how we would like our careers to look in the future.   A few hours later I was reading Ms. Elsie's Blog, A Beautiful Mess, where she is proposing a blog challenge: Make 4 Simple Goals to accomplish by the end of the year... the catch is... they have to be activity oriented not result oriented.   Perfect for ME...who needs a bit of inspiration.   So... I have thought about mine and here they are:

1) Learn to knit and do it without being anxious.   For some weird reason whenever I have tried to knit in the past it has made me VERY anxious.   I would like to try again, but in a more zen fashion.

2) Learn some (more) french....apprendre le fran├žais

3) Take more pictures of everyday life.   (I am taking this from Elsie).   I used to take pictures all the time, I carried my camera in my purse and it was used constantly.   Now that I have a larger non-purse friendly camera ergo I have really gotten away from taking random photos.   Not so good.

4)  Do something creative everyday.   Just something small, doesn't have to be perfect, be it post-it note origami... just a bit of creating everyday.    I need to step out of the left brain humdrum of my daily routine... mix it up.

Thanks so much Elsie... you are the perfect muse... motivating and inspiring (like reading your lovely blog wasn't enough!)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Recipe: Carne Adovada

The thing from New Mexico I miss the most (besides my family) is the red chile.   You can find it no where else but in New Mexico (trust me I have looked).   Every once in a while I will get a craving and do something crazy like order it in a restaurant and I am always unhappy with what comes out of the kitchen... ALWAYS.   For some reason people seem to think that red sauce means adding tomatoes, couple that with oregano and guess what you have...an Italian burrito... gross.

So... I had another hankering this weekend.   I think it was because I missed out on the Navajo Taco served down in Mora and I was pouting and fantasizing all week about it.   So... out come the dried chile.   Now there are ton's of chile's out there so you can choose your heat level, but make sure they are dried.   Some people get desperate and use chile powder (not the one you add to chili con carne) but I never get it to come out right if I go this route.

Both the sauce and the Adovada can be used in many ways.   Eat it in burritos (both breakfast and main), with tortillas, over some cornbread as a tamale pie, in enchiladas.  

Red Chile Sauce
20 dried chile peppers; ancho, New Mexico, guajillo…..you pick your heat level.
6 cloves fresh garlic, smashed with skins removed
1 T dried oregano
1 T salt

De-stem and de-seed chile peppers and place on baking sheet.   Put in the oven for 5 minutes at 250 degrees to toast.   Remove peppers, cool and rinse.    Blend in sections adding water and chiles until everything is blended.    Strain through sieve.

Carne Adovada
10 pork chops or pork loin, cut into strips
Red Chili Sauce

Marinate pork in chile for 24-48 hours.   Place on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 1 and 1/2 hours.   If using a slow cooker, I put it on low for 8 hours.

Here is another recipe by Bobby Flay (includes a stacked enchilada recipe)
More New Mexican Recipes, here
Lots of great pictures of the red chile making process here

Monday, August 9, 2010

Recipe: Thai Style Pork Stew

This is a great slow cooker recipe to add to your collection and everyone really does need a few slow cooker they are really handy in certain situations!   I am always on the lookout for a good recipe that doesn't involve a can of cream of mushroom or chicken soup.   This one really fits the bill.   I was worried about making a Thai-Styled dish that cooks in teriyaki sauce for 8 hours but I trusted the reviews and doubled the sauce (it is reflected in the recipe below).   The original recipe also had bell peppers in the mix and I mixed it up by adding a slew of veggies at the end... it was well worth it and I will add even more next time.    One thing I would suggest is right after stirring in the peanut butter to taste it and see if there is enough peanut flavor... next time I think I will bump up the peanut butter an additional 2 tablespoons to get a bit more peanutty flavor. 

Thai-Style Pork Stew
Adapted from Cooking Light, original recipe here

2 pounds boned pork loin, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
4 tablespoons rice or white wine vinegar
2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced

1 onion chopped
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4-5 cups mixed cut veggies, we used cabbage, snow peas, broccoli and green beans, blanched

Remaining ingredients:
6 cups hot cooked basmati rice
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts
8 lime wedges

To prepare stew, trim fat from pork. Place pork and next 5 ingredients (pork through onion) in an electric slow cooker. Cover with lid, and cook on low-heat setting for 6-8 hours. Remove pork from slow cooker, and coarsely chop. Add peanut butter to liquid in slow cooker; stir well. Stir in pork and veggies and cook for another 15-30 minutes.  Combine stew and rice in a large bowl. Top each serving with onions and peanuts; serve with lime wedges.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Weekend Pictures aka My first all bird post

Well... I am not a huge bird watcher... but Mac loves it and I have learned that it is a great way to practice the Macro feature on my camera and practice the up-close and moving wildlife shots.   I really need to be better about bringing my tripod wherever my camera goes... I think that would have really made a difference in these shots.

 This one might be my favorite... I call it the "Bird Meeting"

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Well... Mr. Mac and I made it back from New Mexico.   It was a great time.   I am now busy catching up with work;  laundry (god it was muddy); and sorting through the gazillion pictures I took.   Hope everyone had a great weekend.

P.S. The slab pies were excellent.   I don't think I will make a regular pie ever again... well except for coconut cream pie.