Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving to everyone Stateside. It's been a good holiday here in Mississippi, where I'm eating my turkey. My sister asked us all what we were thankful for, primarily so she could gloat and say she's thankful for Nick Saban (she's an Alabama fan; the rest of us root for Ole Miss). But her question got me thinking. I'm obviously thankful for all the *important* things -- life, free country, family, friends, health, etc. -- but I'm also thankful for so many little things as well. Little things that I appreciate on a daily basis but rarely stop to think about, like sunny days, live music, and Converse. But instead of rambling on with hackneyed tryptophan-induced musings, I will leave you with just one superficial thing I'm thankful for: pecan beer (and a brother willing to import it for me from Louisiana). Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Guest blogging

I've got a guest post up at my good friend Amanda's humorous public transportation-stories blog. Check it out.

Friday, November 14, 2008

First you start with a roux

I'm big on second chances. I gave DC a second chance and fell in love with it. I've given countless people second chances. So I figured I should probably give delicata a second chance too. It was a wise decision.

All week long, I've been salivating over this recipe, drawn primarily to the cashew cream. I considered using a different squash like a butternut, but after hearing a friend's horror story of trying to peel those bad boys, I decided to stick with the delicata. Being the overachieving perfectionist that I am, I decided to forego store-bought broth and make my own. And because I'm scared of dead chickens, veggie broth became the de facto winner. I threw in all the typical broth ingredients: carrots, celery, onions, garlic, peppercorns, oil, salt, etc. But I wanted to add some additional flavors, so I chopped up a pepper and -- on a whim -- plucked a few leaves off the ornamental cabbage I've been trying to keep alive in my living room. (I checked first -- it's edible.)

After an hour-ish of broth-making, my stomach told me it was time to get the show on the road, so I strained my veggies and rigged up a sweet apparatus (potholders covered with plastic bags) to squeeze out the additional juice. My hands are only slightly worse for the wear. My dinner guest decided the shenanigans needed to be documented -- but I think she just wanted to play with my new toy.

Finally the broth was ready. The delicata had been roasting all the while, and it was time to get down to business. The cashew cream was really interesting. My guest and I were completely intrigued by the process. And it added an excellent flavor, texture and pallor to the otherwise disgusting-looking soup.

My drizzling skills leave something to be desired, but I managed to make one of the bowls look halfway decent, and the soup was delish!

So I didn't actually start with a roux -- there was no flour involved -- but I figured it was an appropriate enough title. Plus, I've had Louisiana on the brain recently. I blame it on this muggy, dreary weather.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Where's my banjo player?

Last night I needed to make cookies for several reasons -- the primary one being that I wanted to eat some. And it was my first free evening at home in about two weeks, so naturally I needed something to do to fill my time. I couldn't just sit around and watch TV and knit like a normal person. Not me. So I decided to make some snickerdoodles. And not just any snickerdoodles; they had to be Ms. Jennifer's special snickerdoodles.

Growing up, my brother, sister and I had a pretty awesome lineup of regular babysitters. My hometown is a college town, and that school was my parents' alma mater, so they frequently attended football and basketball games, and we kids got to hang out with our awesome babysitters.

First, there was Ms. Frazier. She made these amazing mini-pancake things. Plus, she lived in an old house, which was cool. Then there was Miss Genia, who quite possibly -- along with my grandmother -- inspired my love of crafting. Every Saturday while my parents were tailgating and watching football, Miss Genia helped us undertake dozens of messy crafty endeavors -- I think much to my mother's chagrin because we never cleaned up. There was also Miss Kathryn, whose artwork hangs in my kitchen to this day. But the babysitter of note in this post was Ms. Jennifer because she introduced us to snickerdoodles. (I should probably also note that looking back on it, she was just a generally cool person: gymnastics coach, Spanish teacher, granddaughter of a governor, and I'm pretty sure she also dated the mandolin/banjo player in a local band for a while, which totally ups her street cred in grown-up Katie's book.)

But that's all a very long aside to the true purpose of this post: the cookies.

Making these cookies is fun because in doing so, I get to use two of my favorite kitchen tools:

1. my sifter. I love sifting. I could literally sift all day. I love the machine. I love the fluffy piles of white powder (OK, that's going to put me in some interesting google searches). Seriously, I love it. I almost had a nervous breakdown a few years ago when I couldn't find a sifter anywhere. I searched and searched and finally found one at a grocery store. Go figure.

2. my Pampered Chef mini whisk thingie. This tool is awesome. My mom gave it to me, touting dozens of perks. And she was right. It's great. She also told me to never lose it and to never let anyone steal it from me. So far I've succeeded -- don't get any fresh ideas, Cole. I use it in basically everything that requires mixing. It also works well for stirring soup.

Unfortunately for all of you, my photo tutorial will have to suffice. My mom just told me it's a secret recipe!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Better late than never

As mentioned earlier, there was a third hipster headband made for the big birthday fete of 2008. Sorry it took me eons to catch my favorite organic farming, veg-oil-converting West Virginian wearing hers. For "The Richele," I chose an earthy motif to match her hippie-ish nature. The butterfly adds a girlish touch so she can still feel like a lady even if she's wearing a dirty jumpsuit and is underneath the hood of a giant diesel truck. Purple is her favorite color, so naturellement it played a role.

You may recall I also promised to make a more age-appropriate hipster headband. So for "The Porkchop," I went with princess styling because what 2-year-old doesn't want to be a princess? There's also sequined bling because Layla loves flashy things as I discovered when I gave her some of my Mardi Gras beads back in the spring. (It sounds a lot fishier than it is -- don't worry, I didn't make the poor 2-year-old flash for her beads. For that matter, I didn't flash for the beads!) Perhaps Richele will get some pictures of Princess Porkchop this weekend that I can share next week. Happy Thursday and almost-end to the longest week ever.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dressed to pin

In another lifetime, sorority girl Katie used to love "dressing to pin" (i.e., dressing up so I could wear my sorority badge and not disrespect my letters). And while sorority girl Katie remains a distant memory for the most part, I still get a little thrill when I know I'm dressed to pin. This quirk is more than likely responsible for my current obsession with brooches. Here's a sneak peak at my "new" peacock one I got at a vintage store not long ago. It's supposedly 1920s-era, but who knows if that's accurate. Regardless, I like it. (And might I add it's surprisingly difficult to take a picture of one's own chest.)

Dixieland delight

Sorry I'm such a blogging tease. I was quite the active blogger last week, and then nothing. Whatever did you do with yourselves? I apologize. But I was MIA for good reason: My little sister turned 21, so I went down to Alabama for a visit. Coincidentally, this past weekend was also her school's Homecoming, and she was in charge of the parade (wow!), so I thought I'd share a few photos here. Don't worry, crafty endeavors will return soon. I've actually been fairly productive recently despite all the election brouhaha and lots of exciting copy editing.

It took a lot of work -- and sweet-talking -- to get the parade going, but everything eventually fell into place, the judges took their seats and the show began.

Then it was time for football (No.-1-team-in-the-nation football, if I might add)...

We sat in the student section, which made me feel old...

But we were next to the Queen, which was cool.

Of course, there were typical birthday shenanigans as well.

Looks like she liked her gifts.

All in all, a good weekend. Happiness.