Market Finds

Oh, sweet Pacific Northwest Summer.  I love you.

The Olympia Farmer’s Market is currently packed with the most amazing produce- local farmers are really delivering the goods this year.  I picked up a few ingredients from three of my favorite vendors (Smoked Chicken from Johnson’s Smokehouse, Beets/Carrots from Kirsop Farm, Walla Walla Sweet Onions from The Fresh Approach, rosemary garlic bread from the San Francisco Street Bakery this week to throw together some smoked chicken stew.

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Mid-Week Retreat

I’ve been working. A lot. So has the Handsome.  He managed to swing vacation this week which he deserved and needed so much.  Knowing I couldn’t take a whole week off, I opted for a mini break from my hectic schedule.

We took to the woods for an overnight and midweek recharge and retreat.  With such short notice and a very busy holiday weekend ahead of us, we stayed close to home and stayed at Millersylvania State Park.  Staying mid week, we almost had the entire campground to ourselves. We had our girls in tow, so we didn’t take to the lake on the canoes/kayaks, but did managed to let them paddle near the shore for a bit. We love to camp. Our dogs love to camp. The smell of the forest is healing and refreshing. We had a great camp fire, chatted, and heard every bird in what seemed within a mile radius. It was the perfect way to slow down and catch up with each other.

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Sweet Tooth

Our house has always embraced the old fashioned, outdated qualities that slow living provides.  I love technology in so many ways, but really admire the classics and the quality and pride of making something for yourself.

I recently had an ice cream making experience with my favorite ginger that was so successful we were trying to figure out ways to bring the “left overs” home more than a few hours away. Afterwards,  I scoured the web for my own little piece of ice cream history.  I found my very own antique maker thanks to In the Top Drawer via etsy.  After gathering my favorite (and locally sourced) ingredients, we were on to our frozen kitchen adventure.

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The Must Have:

    • Plenty of Ice & Salt for the bucket
    • 1 1/2 Cup half & half
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 1 Cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream
    • FLAVOR: Fresh Strawberries (you can really add anything here

 The How To:

1. Heat the half & half in a sauce pan over low heat.

2. In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks and sugar.

3. Slowly add the egg and sugar mixture into the saucepan.

4.Continue to cook on low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon.

5. Add heavy whipping cream to the  mixture.

6. Pour everything into the metal canister and secure the lid.

7. Insert canister into bucket, surround with crushed ice, add salt, and crank it for almost 30 minutes or until there is resistance in the cream.

8. Pour into a freezer safe container and freeze over night.

9. Scoop and enjoy- even for breakfast.

 

In the Kitchen

I had a few days on my own this last week. I took full advantage of the quiet to spend some time in the kitchen.  It also allowed for lots of geekery in the photography aspect of my life. Food photos are always a favorite for me.

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I tend to gravitate to lighter fare when I am cooking solo.  Polenta has been a long time favorite for me, so I thought I would make a pretty little dish. Here are the easy instructions.

Roasted Vegetable with Goat Cheese over Polenta Patties

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You’ll Need:

  • Veggies for roasting
  • Goat Cheese
  • 1 Cup unprepared Polenta
  • Olive Oil

The How-To:

1. Prepare your polenta on the stove as directed

2. Pour into a casserole dish and cool in the fridge

3. Roast vegetables with a light spray of olive oil and a pinch of saltpolenta3

4. Using a circular cutter or a glass, create patties from your cooled polentaPolenta4

5. Place patty on plate, slice/crumble goat cheese, and top with vegetables

6. Enjoy with a glass of wine

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Easy DIY Apron

I cook a lot. You probably already know that from the many food themed blogs of the last few years.  Cooking a lot = lots of messes. Sometimes those messes end up on your favorite shirt and you find the need for an apron.

I’ve had this round table cloth- hanging out around the house for some time now. It was time it was put to good use.  I don’t have a round table and its clearly too small to make curtains.  Thanks to Martha, I found the right basic pattern to make even more simple. No pockets necessary for this gal, so I forgot all about the need to fold, add a couple extra seams, and just cut the entire pattern up about 6 inches. This made a plain front apron that hit me about the knees.

Cut out your pattern, alter as needed. Pin to ironed fabric. Cut to pattern. With a little ironing turning a hem that is about 1/2 inch wide. Turn again another 1/2 inch on all sides and iron. Sew each seam. Make you waist and neck straps in the same fashion. Attach and VIOLA! Apron City. No more splashes on my clothes any more.

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The Blue Octopus- Sips-n-Canvas

Hi, my name is Monica. I am a craftaholic.

I certainly can’t decide which skills I would like to hone in on in the craft world, so I’ve decided to dabble in them all- and I mean ALL. This week’s adventure brought me to The Blue Octopus in Tacoma, Washington.  My dear friend over at Mary Jo Photography recommended this adventure thanks to a quick snag of a Living Social deal.  I am so glad she did. This is soley a blog about my super excitement about the entire experience. So. Much. Fun.

Walking into the studio space- The Saint Helens Ave Mercantile, you will find a creative co-op run by 4 fabulous and entrepreneurial women.   Located there is the OCD Candy Company, The Tea Works, Wolf Bear Treasures & Orcal Card Reader- Gail Scott, and of course The Blue Octopus. It is filled will all things lovely, creative, and a bit eclectic. Something for everyone really. The painting class is taught by Kerry Cole, who quit corporate job permanently a few years ago to get fully immersed in her art. Luckily for her students and the community, she did.  Her art covers the walls and can be felt in every speck of paint on the tables.  Every piece feels like it is personal and has a story.

The Sips-N-Canvas class is an opportunity for those interested in painting to dabble (stipple) their way into the paint media.  Kerry starts everyone off by having them choose an image that speaks to them.  She gets you all the supplies and techniques needed to create a masterpiece including cheese, crackers, and wine. of course wine. During the two hour class, she is patient, knowledgeable and SO encouraging.

This was one of the best guided art experiences I’ve had in a while, and would highly recommend Kerry’s classes to anyone interested in painting.  Her art is for sale on etsy, in her shop, and at exhibits. Her painting classes are open to everyone, and she even offers private parties. Who’s in?

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Easy Apple Chips

I don’t make resolutions. I  only make goals. This year, I’ve set the goal to be a happier, healthier me- mind, body, soul.

Food would be a big part of living healthier. I tend to go to lighter fare, but can find myself seeking sweets. All. the. time. Cold fruits get slightly monotonous for me, so I’m always seeking something healthy, easy to pack, and delicious. Finding myself without a dehydrator (would use too much counter space, I have to improvise.  Baked Apple Chips. Recipe/DIY at bottom.

You’ll need:

2 of your favorite apples

1 cup of apple juice

Cinnamon (for taste)

Tools: Mandoline Slicer, cookie sheets, cooling racks (parchment paper)

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1. Slice your apples into the thinnest slices your cutter allows.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper (trust me, this will save sticky scrubbing later)

3. Soak in apple juice with cinnamon in a bowl for 20 minutes

4. Line apples onto cooling racks without overlapping.

5. Put cooling rack onto cookie sheet.

6. Bake for 25 Minutes at 350 degrees.

7. Turn heat off, open oven to cool it a bit, and keep an eye on the apples.

8. When apples are dry, take off racks and enjoy or put in seal-able container for fresh keeping.