Monday, February 28, 2011

Tea Tasting

Every season I jot down a list of things, fun things, that I would like to do during that season (things like work on my bread baking skills, knit another sweater, watch 3 classic movies, go snowshoeing with Dad etc.).  I find it helps me make sure I'm thoroughly taking advantage of the season, not just "getting through" it.  I usually don't accomplish everything on the list (and if I do I add more), the fun is in trying. 

One of the things left unchecked on my winter list was: have a tea tasting.  The end of February is the most perfect time for a tea tasting, don't you think?  I compared Earl Grey, Lady Grey, Irish Breakfast, and English Breakfast Teas.  Turns out I like them all.  No surprise as I have never met a tea I didn't like, but my favorite had to be the Lady Grey (which according to Twinings is a light and bright blend scented with notes of citrus). 

Anyone have another tea I should try?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Winter Texture

One of my new years resolutions was to take at least one hike a month throughout the year.  This short month seemed to slip away from me and this morning I realized that I hadn't taken my February hike yet.  So I strapped on my snowshoes and headed to the woods.  I gave myself an assignment on this hike: find texture...and texture I did find.

(The first photo reminds me of a cave full of stalactites and stalagmites.)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Soft White Pillows

"To watch a snowstorm is to turn off.  Nothing else matters.  Nothing can compete with the beauty of a living landscape.  We let go all the doings that we thought we had to do, or might do, or would have liked to do.  Friends, parties, rehearsals, meetings and concerts are all put on standby.  Time goes as the sand in an hourglass while tiny flakes of infinite number pile up and engulf our lives, covering all our rough places with soft white pillows."

Today we are having another snow storm, so I am putting aside what I "should" do and instead am spending the day working on my quilt, making lasagna, snuggling with the kitten, and later watching Gone With the Wind for the first time.  Even in late February when I'm aching for spring, snow storms can be wonderful and even welcome.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Meet Lucy

Our Lucy, she has only been here for two days and already she has such a big piece of our hearts.  She is cuddly and sweet (I don't think I've ever heard a cat purr so much!), but also playful, energetic, and so, so funny. 

We had such a hard time with her fact it was only decided on this morning...but in the end, once we got to know her a little better, she is most definitely a Lucy, super sweet but with some spunk.

Today I'm leaving her for a little while to go visit my Great Grandmother, let's hope she doesn't get into too much mischief while I'm gone!

Monday, February 21, 2011

This weekend...

This weekend there was knitting...

granola making... 

flower smelling...(those daffodils were only $2.50 a bunch at the grocery store...the best $2.50 I've spent all year...)

full moon gazing...

coconut popsicle eating...

movie poster hanging...(this poster was from our local opera house in 1937...dozens of them were used in my grandparents house for kind of makes me want to rip down all our walls to see what treasures are inside...I don't think our landlord shares the same sense of curiosity though...)

and best of all:

new kitty adopting...I took this picture of her on Saturday before we left the humane society and I'm going to bring her home today (there was an issue about her crossing state lines that the veterinarian had to sign off on, but she doesn't work weekends...).   We are so excited and happy to be giving a home and family to this sweet girl, but it breaks my heart that there are still so many sweet and loving animals there without a home and someone to call their own...

(Any name suggestions??? We've been struggling with it all top choices right now are Lucy, Hazel, Matilda, and Sadie...)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Darling Nelly Gray's Honey Cowl

On Valentine's Day I finished my "Darling Nelly Gray's Honey Cowl" (named for a song that my late grandfather used to play for us on his harmonica).  I thought I had been diligent when looking for twists during that first row, but apparently I wasn' all along while knitting I tried to convince myself that it is a design element and I guess at this point I have made peace with it.  Other than that, I am in love with this cowl, it is beautiful and snuggly and the most perfect shade of soft dove gray.

Ravelry details here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I've been struggling with finding balance between work and home this week in a major way.  Hopefully I'll be back in the blogging saddle tomorrow.  Today you can find me as a guest over at Winterness.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Caprese Soup

A couple of weeks ago I was craving the bright, summer flavors of Caprese Salad.  Unfortunately, this time of year, a good tomato and fresh basil are hard to find, if not impossible, so I improvised.

Caprese Soup

1 quart stewed tomatoes
1 small onion
2 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. orzo (optional)
1/4 c. pesto
1 T. balsamic vinegar (trust me, you don't want to skip this)
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Separate tomatoes from the juices, reserving juice.  Spread tomatoes out on a baking sheet, sprinkling with salt and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil.  Roast tomatoes until caramalized (about 15 minutes).  Meanwhile, over medium heat, soften onion in olive oil.  When onion is translucent, add in reserved tomato juices and broth.  When tomatoes are out of oven, add them to the pot, along with 1/2 of orzo if desired (I added the orzo thinking that the soup might need a little more "bite," but afterward decided that it is unnecessary).  When orzo is fully cooked, add in pesto and balsamic vinegar.  Just before serving add in small cubes of fresh mozzarella.

This definitely hit the spot and brought me a much needed taste of summer.  I think next time I'll try a variation--a creamy tomato-cheddar-pesto soup. Yum.

(Check back this week for my finished honey cowl and progress made on my project scrapbook)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hat for Baby Matthew

I casted on for this simple, little hat just after the new year for my cousin's new baby, Matthew.  I knit the majority of it within a couple of evenings and then stopped two rows from the end and let it sit (why do I do that??).  I picked it back up last night and finished it and wove the ends in within a matter of ten minutes.  I took some quick photos of it, blocked it, and hopefully I will be able to get it in the mail this afternoon...why didn't I do this sooner?

It is a simple pattern and perfect for the no-fuss couple.  I hope that even though it's so late in the season, he'll be able to get some wear out of it.  (Ravelry details here)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ice Village

Ice fishing shacks have always been incredibly romantic to me.  Now keep in mind, I've never been in one...I have a feeling that if I had been in one, the romantic notions would fly right down the hole to the icy depths of the river and stay there a good long time.  That little fact aside, I imagine pulling the days neccessities out to the shack on a baby's runner sled (much like this one), being cuddled up in thick wool, plaid blankets, drinking hot chocolate out of vintage plaid thermoses (there is lots of plaid in my imaginary fish shack), popping out the door for a quick ice skate when sitting became tedious, and of course old timers fish tales being told all day long, and laughter, lots and lots of laughter.

One of these days I'm going to have to find my way out there to one of those colorful little villages to see what they are really all about, and you can bet that when I do, I will be wearing plaid.

(You can also find me today as a guest at Winterness)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Right Now

Right now I'm:

reading-- Anyone who knows me at all knows that I have nostalgia pouring out my ears, so this is right up my alley...the only problem with this book is that it tempts me to want to do everything in the book ala Julie and Julia.

eating-- the best homemade tomato soup I have EVER had...its even better when it's with home canned tomatoes!

wanting--to make simple red and white checkered quilts like this...that room reminds me so much of my great grandmothers house.

listening to--The Wailin' to me and just what I needed right now...I haven't found a song I don't like, but One Voice has been on repeat the last few days.

dreaming about--a room like this to while away the winter hours in...and a house with lots of natural light...

What are you loving right now?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Under the Weather

A bad head cold has left me feeling very under the weather these last few days, but I'm trying to not let it interfere with everything we had planned this weekend.  Yesterday we went down to Boston for the Bruins game.  It is always fun to take a trip to the city, but everytime I'm there I wonder how on earth I managed to live down there for four years in college.  Only four short years later and I feel like the crowds and the constant bustle would suffocate my spirit.

Today the plan is to get as much rest as possible, inhale cup after cup of tea, make some progress on what feels like the million crafty projects I have going right now, and explore the old songbooks that my grandmother sent me home with, looking for some oldies but goodies.

Tonight we're headed to my sister-in-law's to watch the Superbowl.  I'm rooting for the Packers, but in all honesty I'll probably spend more time playing with the nieces and at the food table than watching the game...when the Patriots aren't in it, it's just not the same.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tortellini-Pesto Soup

(these are not the most appetizing pictures, but it was after dark and I was starving, so this is what I ended up with...)

This soup is one of our winter favorites, so simple and easy, yet so good. It was perfect to have simmering on the stove yesterday during our latest big snowstorm.  I found it in a cookbook in the play kitchen at the preschool I worked at during summers off from college of all places and has been on our favorites menu ever since.

Tortellini-Pesto Soup
1 Onion
(I usually use 4 cloves to a head, depending on the size of the head...but we love garlic, so if you don't you might want to cut this down)
10 cups of chicken stock
3 carrots
3 stalks of celery
2 heads of broccoli
1 package of frozen tortellini
1/4-1/2 c. pesto
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion and garlic in melted butter.  Once soft, add celery, carrots, broccoli, and stock.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low.  Allow vegetables to cook through, then add tortellini.  Once tortellini is cooked, add pesto and then salt and pepper to taste.

We like to shave a little cheddar cheese on top.

**This week I've been on the hunt for crock pot recipes, trying to branch out a bit, as right now I'm only using it to make a pork loin with (baked? steamed?) potatoes.  If you have any that you like I'd love to hear them! :)