Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Pie Project: Chocolate Cream

I had a lot of flexibility with February's pie, which is chocolate. I could have chosen to do the recipe suggested by Modern Farmer, which (I think) was a bit on the rich side. I could have made chocolate pudding pie (which was always a staple of my mom's when I was a kid). But I went with a chocolate cream pie, which I thought was a happy medium: not as rich as MF's recipe, but more difficult than pudding pie.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Belated Valentine's Apron

Here it is! Finally! My latest sewing project. I actually finished it almost two weeks ago but am just now working up the motivation to post about it.

I've had my eye on this heart fabric since I saw it on the Jo-Ann website several months ago. But, being the cheapskate I am, I decided to wait and see if it went on clearance after Valentine's Day. Sadly it didn't but I did find it on sale for 50% off so I decided to get it anyway. I'm not totally sure why but it reminds me a bit of the midcentury cookbook illustrations I love so much. You know the ones I'm talking about; they're black and white drawings accented with a single color--like this and this. Maybe it's a stretch, but that's what I see in this fabric. So of course I thought it would be a perfect match for this vintage pattern I had in my stash.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Page to Plate: The Congressional Club Cook Book - Rice and Chicken Amandine

With so many old cookbooks on my shelves, it's hard to choose a favorite. Each one has its own unique quirks and charms. Some have great illustrations or funny titles (Did you catch the 1915 book in this post that's titled A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband?). Others have such utterly grotesque midcentury food photography that it somehow makes me love them even more. No matter the book, if it was published before the 1970s, I will find a reason to love it.

But if I had to choose my favorite vintage cookbook find of all time, it would have to be The Congressional Club Cook Book from 1965. Just take a minute to admire that cover and really let it sink it. It is so bizarre and yet somehow manages to be cute and charming at the same time.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Project Preview: Simplicity 2750

Here's a little preview of my latest project! Check back soon to see the finished product!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Page to Plate

Nearly every recipe I cook comes from the internet. Generally, I'm trying to cook around what we already have on hand so it's easy to hop on the computer, type in what I've got, and find a recipe that uses those ingredients. This is how I do 80 - 90% of my cooking.

Why then, you might ask, are my bookshelves absolutely overflowing with cookbooks?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Weeknight Wonder: Taco Salads

I love to cook. I really do. But not necessarily every. single. night. Especially after a particularly busy day at work. Or when we've got to eat quick and get out the door for our weekly trivia night. Some nights I have a million other things that need to get done. Then there's those nights when I just want to make time for other creative pursuits (like this afghan that's still not finished!). There are lots of different reasons for not having time to prepare an elaborate or time consuming meal. But I try not to let those reasons become excuses for not having a delicious meal with at least some nutritional merit. The best way to do that, I've found, is to have an arsenal of quick and easy meals for those occasions.

One of my favorite meals for busy nights is taco salads.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Chinese Lantern Apron + Chinese Takeout Gift Box

I bought my sewing machine four years ago. And in that four years, the only thing I ever managed to make was a couple of pillow covers to match the couch cushions my mom recovered for me. Over the years I've been collecting sewing books, patterns, fabric and notions from thrift stores and estate sales, but I've just always been a little too intimidated to start anything.

Finally, when I was home in California this past Christmas, my mom helped me sew an adorable apron and the experience boosted my confidence enough that I was finally ready to attempt something on my own. I knew I needed to start with something simple so I turned to a book my sister bought me a couple years ago: One-Yard Wonders.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Man, Eater: The Pie Project

I was looking for a good way to get my resolution started (I didn't want to have my first dish be spaghetti with Prego) when I found a baking challenge that would keep me occupied all year. It was a piece by Modern Farmer called “The Modern Farmer Pie Chart of Pies.” It's basically a chart of what kind of pie is best suited to each month of the year, based on what's in season. If you haven't seen it before, you should definitely check it out.

 With a pie for every month, I thought it would be a fun and engaging way to keep my interest in my new resolution. [Tracy, here: I also imagine it will be a fun way to totally destroy my own New Year's Resolution to drop a few pounds!]   With that said, let's get to January's pie, the Pecan Pie.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Man, Eater

No, I'm not talking about this Maneater:

Nope, not this one either:

I'm talking about this Man, Eater:

I never stick to my New Year's Resolutions. At most, they last a few weeks, I pat myself on the back for trying, and then I move on. But this year, I made a resolution to do something I've wanted to do for a long time, something that would benefit Tracy as much as it would benefit me: I wanted to learn how to cook.

Tracy was definitely one of my inspirations. The way she could look at a seemingly random list of ingredients and come up with a recipe has always impressed me and I have to admit, I've become quite the sous-chef under her teaching. Tracy was also incredibly supportive of my resolution because every (successful) meal I can create is one more night a week she can hand over cooking responsibilities. I was also inspired by a love of food and wanting to be able to combine flavors and ingredients in exciting ways.

That's where these Man, Eater posts come into play. As a way of tracking my progress, I'll be writing these guest posts and covering meals that I make over the course of the year. I can't guarantee that every recipe will turn out great, but I can guarantee that it should be an interesting read.