Foodie Friday #3

(This was first published yesterday for about an hour and a half… But I refuse to make the same mistake two weeks in a row… So it’s reappeared for real today!)

So I’ve now completed my first two weeks of grad school, and in an effort to save money I’ve mostly been taking lunch into campus with me.

Over the summer I picked up some lunch supplies, meaning more dishes. I like kitchen supplies very much. So I found a nice thermos, for soups. It’s been too hot for soup.

I also picked up a nice, though largish, container, which has been nice for random pasta dish leftovers. And tapas like stuff. Helped out by silicone cupcake molds for spacing and separating.

But what I really like so far is my bento box. It’s not terribly pretty and I found out the hard way that it wasn’t leakproof. And I don’t even make the super pretty bento. You know the ones that look like pandas and Hello Kitty and are so sweet they hurt? I don’t make those… mostly because I don’t have the supplies or the will to obtain those supplies.

However, I like the structure of bento lunches. They’ve got easy to understand guidelines on how to put together your box and they are good for eaters like me. Aka those who like to eat little bits of everything instead of a lot of one thing. I’ve technically been eating the same stuff all week, but I’ve been puzzling them together in a variety of ways. Here is the site that helped me put together my bento plan for the semester: Just Bento. But simply using the guidelines half carbs, quarter veggies, quarter meat has been fantastic, and I (most of the time) don’t feel like snacking. Before lunch yes, but after lunch no.

It’s full of fun information, and lots of different ideas for filler items. I haven’t used any recipes from them yet, but these cabbage rolls, sweet veggie confetti, stir fried cabbage, and this kale-bacon-potato recipe sound delicious. This week my main filler items were cherry tomatoes from the farmer’s market, sauerkraut, and refrigerator pickles.

In fact, the refrigerator pickles were fantastic enough to share more about them! I think I may have well established my love of the site The Kitchn. I had bookmarked it a few months ago, but I never got a cucumber from the store. Fast forward a month and a half and I have an ugly overripe cucumber sitting in my fridge. My roommate was doing a mini fridge clean and pulled it out of the crisper and wrote a note, saying “Bad?” I knew at that point I needed to either use it or trash it. Originally I planned to put it in mini quiches, but as I was searching for a recipe for those, I re-stumbled upon the refrigerator pickles recipe. I eyeballed the measurements, since I was working with a smaller amount of ingredients late at night, and most of the silverware was dirty. I then actually forgot about them for a few days, at which point I found them and added them to my box. So delicious! The “quiches” turned out well too, though they ended up more like mini omelettes. Eggs, milk, and cheese do not a quiche make.

And a bread update! I made another loaf! This time it cooked all the way through, and even looked fairly pretty. Excepting the bottom of the loaf, that wasn’t so pretty. Still dense though. For some reason my dough just isn’t rising. I was hoping not to need to use yeast in my bread recipes, but it looks like if I want something even vaguely fluffy, the starter needs some boost.

 

Design Donnerstag: The Moment and Falling

Recently I got the idea to bring my artists tablet to my office at  grad school, as there are a few times that I have nothing much to do, which lend themselves greatly to designing things.

Meaning midday Friday when I have a three hour chunk of time between classes… And the likelihood that I would do work over my “extended lunchtime” is small.

So last Friday I finished these up!

A simple text based design of a Claudia quote from Warehouse 13:

fallingdeath

And an illustration of the Moment button from the DW 50th Anniversary episode. Because why not!

great men

Plus the quote is lovely. If a little sad.

Burgundy Bliss?

I should not be in charge of titles. They rarely work out well… ie see the title for this post.

front

Anyways, I finally finished one of my knitted shrug plans though it is not in any way the shrug it was intended to be.

Remember last year how I said I was going to make a Cardilero?

anniversary

That didn’t happen.

Did I tell you last spring that I frogged it?

I cast on early on in the summer, and honestly that one didn’t make it far either.

But then I got a library card. And visited the knitting section. And found this book. It intrigued me, as I very much dislike seaming and finishing knits.

The cable was actually from a shrug pattern, Serenity Shrug… but how often do I actually follow patterns?

Especially knitted ones.

So I took the lovely cable and followed nearly the entire instructions for the back… Maybe mixing up which size I was making. That happens a bunch. And then I got close to the sleeves.

Now I was making this in the heat of July. Yes I was indoors, and yes I had air conditioning, but anytime its super exhausting outside, you can feel it inside too, right? So why was I making a fall-weight shrug thing in July?

side

Don’t expect an answer for that.

I don’t know why I couldn’t understand what the pattern was asking me, but it just wasn’t working for me, so I decided to take out some circular needles and zip away on my own.

The cap sleeves were accomplished by short rows, though they looked terrible the first time around. I had to frog pretty much all the short rows of my first attempt, mainly because then (and realistically now) I had difficulties understanding how short rows were meant to work, and I was also attempting to correct the imbalance of the back of the arcscye being too far back on my shoulders. The second time around I ignored it. I’m never going to see it!

The second attempt was also created with the intention of almost creating an as-you-go-sleevehead.

After completing the cap sleeves on both sides, I decided that I probably would wear it even less if I continued to fiddle and make the sleeves longer. So I stopped and edged the sleeves and main body opening with my fuzzy German souvenir yarn and called it a day.

back

If it looks a little puffy from the back, well… I don’t have to look at it! And its warm, which resolves many looks related issues. It also doesn’t help that my tripod is short, even for me, so the views are all from below, adding natural puffyness (and the fact that my tiny bow on the back of my Nettie got in the way).

And there you have it!

P.S. In the pictures it does seem to blend well with my chocolate Nettie, don’t you think?

Foodie Friday #2

Another week, another Friday… And it looks like posting from my phone needs some work… So hello Thursday! I’m continuing on anyways…

This Friday is the first after starting grad school… I very much enjoy the classes, but at the same time I love the weekend freedom.

So this week I made some pralines. Pralines are delicious, and I’ve always wanted to make them, but I don’t often buy pecans, which are the staple of the candy for me. So when I went to Trader Joe’s this week, I picked up a pack of roughly chopped pecans. Then I read the recipe from the Kitchn, and I realized that it needed milk. Pralines would have to wait until after the orientation shenanigans, since I had run out last week. I’m not much of a milk drinker, and I drink lactose free milk when I do, which is much too expensive to use in recipes. Finally I was able to make the pralines, and they turned out lovely! I think I may have stirred a bit too long, though, since by the time I dropped the last few they were pretty much already crystallized. But pralines are definitely on my To Make Again list.

The Kitchn also has a lovely soft caramels recipe, which I highly recommend. Too tips for this though: Don’t make while its rainy, my second try turned out hard yet sticky due to a wrong temperature and the humidity. Also, learn what temperature your thermometer counts as boiling. Mine actually reads boiling at 97*C, so everything I make has to reach a slightly lower temperature, which could really mess up candy recipes.
I don’t have an update on bread making yet, but stay tuned!

Simple Staples

Looking at my wardrobe, I realized that there were some items that would be really helpful to fill out the holes. For instance, I had a few casual dresses that just didn’t fit, so I cut them down into shirts. I saved the cut edges, and one of these is coming up in a project. But this leaves a gap or two.

pockets

For instance, as much as I don’t like the idea that every woman should have a “little black dress” in their wardrobe, it does come in handy. Especially because for me it’ll fill in the gap between the casual running around dress and the slightly dressy option. So I took some black interlock that I had saved to make a skirt, and I made a dress instead.

What I really needed was a sleeveless dress, one with straps to make it summer appropriate, but because its interlock it’ll still be good for fall and spring. And simple. Something that doesn’t scream special, so I can wear sweaters or jewelry that outshine it without clashing.

back

So I brought out the trusty bodice block that I made the final Belle dress from and started cutting. I only used one layer for the bodice, keeping it cooler, and I’ve now noticed that the princess seams aren’t perfectly where they should be, and I had to take it in on the sides. Time to draft a new one!

I used a fabric band to finish the neckline, and created a simple waistband. I made up a half circle skirt, and added pockets. Who doesn’t love pockets?

Now I’ve got a question. Do you ever make yourself something that works perfectly with one specific bra? Not that it won’t work with others, but that it is meant for one? Because I placed the straps of this dress specifically to hide this one bra, knowing that I’m too lazy to always wear a strapless bra whenever I wear this dress. And after wearing it a day, I know that the straps need to be taken in!

front

It’s a super comfy dress, and filling in a wardrobe gap is always a good thing.

Rainforest Purse

This may be the project I’ve stashed the longest. I never cut it out, or even read the instructions.

I was in maybe seventh grade, or eighth, and I bought this at a moving sale for my favorite quilting store… AKA the store at which I learned to quilt and fell in love with sewing. Granted, they were moving next door, but to a much smaller space and they were getting rid of lots of cut fabric items.

fabrics

And look at these fabrics! Aren’t they really cool? And as for the quilting, I really hate the boring straight line approach, so I went with the lackadaisical curving way.

So I picked up this really neat looking purse pack. Originally I think it was supposed to be $20, but I got it for five… Which was probably better considering that my allowance was probably about five at the time, so twenty would have been extravagant for me. It’s called the CQ Quilter’s Purse, I believe.

But I am on a mission to finish projects, and this one was eating a hole in my blog (ship’s) hull.

teaser

Quilted the fabrics together, cut out the pieces, made the piping, and sewed it together in an afternoon! Or, rather, afternoon and evening… I took a long dinner break.

It’s the perfect size for a project purse. Enough room for all the necessary purse constants as well as a small knitting project. Like socks. Such as the Christmas presents I’m working at… I should get back to work on those…