Friday, August 28, 2009

keema alu

my job situation is a little funky at the moment, so i did some recon in our freezer before going to the grocery store today. we have a very full freezer and really, i ought to be using that stuff before buying more food anyway. i guess i have this kind of depression mentality passed down from my grandmother via my mother... grandma and mom always had VERY full pantries, so it feels strange to me when ours gets "low," which really isn't low by any normal person's standards. like, there is nothing to eat because we only have 8 cans of tomatoes and 4 cans of corn and a bunch of pasta but no sauce and NO OLIVES, ohmygod what are we going to do without olives.

anyway, i found some ground beef and wondered what in the world i could do with it besides the usual: burritos, meatloaf, tamale pie, jury-rigged stroganoff. i looked through joy of cooking and found this recipe, and MAN if it doesn't ever sound good, and i generally have all these ingredients on hand anyway. apparently, it is traditionally served with dal, raita, and pita bread. YUM. we're definitely having this tomorrow night for dinner (tonight is ham with black-eyed peas and collard greens, yum!) so i'll let you know how it turned out.

keema alu (ground beef with potatoes and spices)
serves 4

3 T. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. turmeric
¼ tsp. ground red pepper, or to taste
1 lb. ground beed or turkey
½ c. chopped canned tomatoes, drained, plus 1 T. juice
¾ tsp. salt
12 oz. boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
1 c. water
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1 fresh serrano or jalapeño pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips (optional)

heat oil over medium-high heat in a large heavy skillet; cook onion until golden brown, 5-7 minutes. add garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and ground red pepper, and cook quickly, stirring just until well mixed. stir in beef, tomatoes, and salt; cook until meat is no logner pink and liquid is all evaporated, leaving the meat to sizzle in the oil, 8-10 minutes. stir in potatoes and cook for 2 minutes. add water. cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes. uncover, increase heat, and cook until all the water is evaporated. taste and adjust seasonings. sprinkle with cilantro and pepper strips, if desired. serve with pita bread, dal, and raita.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

i'm getting a box soon!

very excited to be getting some of this and this to make soakers for hannah's gdiapers. the only problem is, my serger had to go in to the repair shop. and though it is now out of the repair shop, it is sitting at my mother's house. 500 miles away. zigzag, here we come!

anyone tried using that zorb fabric or know anything about it?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


i'm making up a new word. freesewing. it's similar to upcycling, but the difference is that you're making something new from new materials, not reusing old ones. in freesewing, you cannot have purchased anything to make the item (fabric, pattern, and trims) except for notions. fabric you use, if you purchased it, must have been purchased at least 12 months ago. long enough ago that you probably won't ever get around to that project you had originally planned for it. (although, i did once use fabric for its intended purpose, ten years later - this dress that i wore to a friend's wedding in 2007.)

freesewing is more like this blouse or this blouse or even this blouse. this weekend's projects were more upcycling than freesewing, but i just wanted to get that out there.

first i cut down and recreated a tee shirt. i generally don't wear those oversize, unisex tee shirts; i just don't like how i look in them. so i cut them down if i care enough. this one is a promo shirt from last fall's life campaign at work. i'm welcome to wear it on casual fridays but i never had. (partly because i got knocked up, but still.) so for a year it just hung in my closet taking up space. it wasn't even a painting shirt.

now it is something i'll actually wear on casual fridays. i've also done this with old tees of brian's that i like and are still in good condition. for example, this giants tee:

total cost to me: $0.

i also made this little blanket for hannah. we've been hauling her nice quilt to mommy group each week, but it's kind of big. and because i take it back up to her room each week, sometimes i forget to bring it altogether. i know, i'm a bad mommy. what kind of mother forgets to bring her daughter's blanket to mommy group? one who hates her child, OBVIOUSLY. so this one is a small convenient size and i can just keep it in the car.

we had received these cute receiving blankets as a gift, but we just had so many blankets. i tried to return them but babies r us would not take them back. said they didn't carry them. LIARS. so i took them home, washed them, and hoped we'd use them. we didn't. and now here is where brian says my snob is showing: do you see how much those COST?? all they are is a piece of flannel with the edges serged. man, i should sell those. i could make me a killing. each of those i bet cost the company no more than $1 to make, and they sell them for $15 for four. ROBBERY, I TELL YOU. i could make better blankets for cheaper. so i did. her blanket is two of those pieces of flannel with a leftover piece of batting from alice's wedding quilt, quilted randomly, and bound with strips from a third blanket. total cost to me: $0.

now, what do i do with the fourth blanket? more burpies?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

childhood memories

the owl and the pussycat went to sea
in a beautiful pea-green boat.
they took some honey and plenty of money,
tied up in a five-pound note.
puss said to the owl, "you elegant fowl,
how charmingly sweet you sing.
so let us be married, too long we have tarried!
but what shall we do for a ring?"
they sailed away for a year and a day
to the land where the bong-trees grow.
and there in the wood a piggy-wig stood
with a ring at the end of his nose, his nose, his nose -
with a ring at the end of his nose.

"dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling, your ring?"
said the piggy, "i will."
so they took it away and were married next day
by the turkey who lives on the hill.
they dined on mince and slices of quince
which they ate with a runcible spoon,
and hand in hand on the edge of the sand
they danced by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon -
they danced by the light of the moon.

edward lear, "the owl and the pussycat" (1871)

Friday, August 21, 2009

did not fall off the face of the earth

instead, had a baby. said baby takes a lot of energy that could otherwise be devoted to blogging.

this month has been a bit of a busy one so far. the kiddo had her first overnight stay with nana while brian and i celebrated our five-year wedding anniversary, and she and i took her first big trip away when we went to san diego for a week to marry off my best friend. we're refinancing our house and i start back to work on september 1, so we have all the day care paperwork to deal with and i'm trying to enjoy my last days of freedom (and clean the house while i actually have the time). i will blog again, i promise.

Monday, August 3, 2009

update: it was the pattern after all.

thanks to elizabeth's comment the other day, i checked out pattern review to see what other people were saying about that dress i made. lo, i had already signed up for pattern review. how do i forget these things? i guess i am signed up for so darn many websites that it's easy to forget. it seems like everyone wants you to sign up (it's free!) just to access their content. only, you'd think i'd remember something like pattern review. and it's not like i signed up 86 billion years ago and hadn't used it since. it was only a couple months ago. oh wait. I HAD A BABY IN THE MEANTIME, that's where my brain went.

anyway, the reviews all pretty much had the same beefs i did. the bodice is insanely low, strange construction, and entirely too large. good to know i'm not nuts. the other thing i noticed that others commented on (but i did not post about) is how huge the skirt is. it is also gathered, which makes it a bit poofy. i had my reservations about doing the skirt that way instead of some sort of a-line, but this is what happens when you don't listen to yourself. you get a somewhat poofy, somewhat maternity-ish skirt. did i mention that they also removed my brain when they took hannah out of me?

all this to say, i still like the dress well enough to wear it to the bridal shower next sunday, and when do i get my brain back? oh, and sign up.