Sunday, January 31, 2010

she's got teeth...

...and she knows how to use them. Not for chewing food, but her crib! Yeah, two teeth, and we're already missing paint in multiple places on the crib.

Here's a closer look. Good thing we had it tested for lead! Alicia had the same issue a while back and came up with a great-looking and functional fix. I'm so glad she's just 8 months ahead of me in this adventure!

She's so excited to be jumping on her mattress in these photos, her tongue doing crazy stunts as usual, but little does she know, those rails are being fitted with covers to prevent her from snacking on them. They've now been sewn and installed.

And did you notice that she's modeling her Corvette onesie? It's super cute with her pink flames babylegs!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Since the weather got cool, we've probably been eating soup about once a week, which means we go through a lot of vegetable stock. I try to buy the cartons and cans when they go on sale, but that's not often. It's one of those time-saving pre-made ingredients that just makes such a difference in flavor. But I had been thinking about whether there might be an easy homemade alternative. The thing holding me back from making my own stock was the idea of storing it. Our second freezer is already full of can-size portions of beans cooked in the crock pot, and stock takes up even more room.

So I was happy to find this timely recipe for homemade bouillon at 101 Cookbooks. I've used it once so far, and I think it's a great substitute for all that store-bought broth. Oh, and I only used about 2 tbs of salt rather than the large amount in the recipe, so I can season each dish individually.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'm finally asian

One of the highlights of the holidays each year is visiting with one of my favorite people, my friend Aubrie, who lives in Chicago. This year was especially fun because we invited some other friends over so that Aub's husband could practice his Japanese. It was such an interesting combination of people, and we shared lots of laughs.

Rewind about 13 years (whoa!): One day in high school, my Spanish teacher had been charged with conducting a mini-census and asked students to raise their hands when he called out their ethnicity. I was sitting with my friends, and when the teacher got to 'asian' and they all raised their hands (they really were asian), I did, too. From that time on, we laughed about how I had become an 'honorary asian'. I continued to earn the title in college when I roomed with three of those asian friends from high school. We ate lots of rice during those two years--I think we had four rice cookers in the apartment at one point!

And that's the story behind this doll that Aubrie gave me from my kokeshi. When I saw it, I immediately said, "That's me!" (But what I was really thinking was, "Hey, those are my eyebrows!") And can you see the inscription? It says, "For Kayla: Honorary Asian."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

zipper pouches

My new favorite thing to sew is zipper pouches. When my sister-in-law requested one for Christmas, I decided it was time to tackle this useful project. I used this helpful tutorial for reference, and ended up making a bunch of different renditions. If something crazy happens and I get some free time for sewing, I might add some to my etsy shop.

And as a little present to myself, I registered I think my regular blog address will still work, too, but the new address just feels more like it's my own space. The year is off to a great start already!

Monday, January 4, 2010

new recipe: winter panzanella

Wow! It's 2010. And I have to go back to work next week. I have thoroughly enjoyed my break, but one of the dangers of having 5 weeks off is that you get too used to it. But I know that work brings needed routine into my schedule.

One of the items that got checked off my to-do list during the break was organizing my recipe notebook. Some new favorites that are already in rotation needed to be printed and added. Too many ripped out magazine pages had accumulated, so I narrowed them down to about 20, and declared a goal of trying one new recipe a week.

I am such a huge fan of panzanella in the warm months because it doesn't require any heat to prepare, yet is more filling than just a salad. I had seen the idea of winter panzanella in Real Simple, but theirs seemed lacking in ingredients, so this is my version. It passed the test and is being added to the regular rotation.

Winter Panazanella
1 butternut squash, cut in 1 inch cubes and roasted with oil, salt and pepper, for ~30 min at 425, turning once.
chopped fresh spinach
white beans (about a can's worth, although I've been making big batches in the slow cooker for a while now)
crumbled goat cheese
sliced red onion
bread chunks, toasted lightly in the oven
dressing: 1 part apple cider vinegar, 1 part lemon juice, 2 parts olive oil

It's a new favorite, and perfect for the whole family because Cora can munch on some mashed squash. At this meal, though, I had made her some pureed brown rice (in the background), but I decided the boxed rice cereal is so much easier--another of those 'I said I would never' cases in which I proved myself wrong, again!

I'm excited about trying some more new meals this year. And I have lots of hope for 2010. I will never forget 2009, a year of great joy and terrible loss, but I'm ready and thankful for a new start.