Friday, February 27, 2009

shall we dance, or i love corn chowder


If I can manage one coherent thought today, I’m going to chalk up the day as a rousing success. Currently, the boy is studying and holding a thermometer under his tongue and I am trying to get in touch with the school nurse so I can arrange early pick-up for the girl.

Good times.

But enough negativity, how about some dancing and corn chowder? (Really, they go together.)

Last night, our Cub Scout pack celebrated with the annual Blue and Gold Banquet. There was dancing in celebration of Native American culture. The teens on the dance team did a wonderful job and they served as great ambassadors for Scouting and just teens in general.

I’m not posting faces, but you get the idea…


And we had a pot luck dinner – I brought corn chowder. (Thanks for sticking around while I got to the point.) I also brought Styrofoam cups, for which I am paying environmental penance. What did I not bring? Spoons.

Corn Chowder

1 small onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 teaspoon curry powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound (ish) potatoes, peeled and chopped

4 cups vegetable broth

2 cans creamed corn

2 cups frozen corn (or fresh, if you have it)

2 cups milk (preferably organic, whole milk)

2 tablespoons butter

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Kosher salt

Combine onion, garlic and curry powder in olive oil in a small pan. Sauté until onion is translucent.

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain (reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid) and return to pot. Add onion mixture, deglazing the pan with potato cooking liquid. Add broth, corn and milk. Simmer, stirring often, until soup is heated through.

Blend with a hand blender until soup is smooth. (You could do this in batches in a blender or food processor if you don’t have a hand blender.) Add butter and pepper. Simmer until butter has melted.

This soup is inspired by a recipe I got from a cookbook years ago. If I can find it, I will give proper credit, but it probably doesn’t resemble the original recipe very much at this point.

Notes: Measurements are very flexible. If you like a little more kick, add more curry. Not sweet enough? Add a tablespoon of sugar. Carnivores could use chicken broth, I suppose. Make it more or less creamy by adding more or less milk, some heavy cream and/or a can of evaporated milk. This soup is better reheated the next day, which is why I saved some for lunch.

I probably won’t dance while I eat my reheated soup, but you never know.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

ode to craig and his list


I’m baaack. My blog is probably on a milk carton somewhere. This is what happens when homeschooling and working collide. Many thanks for the blog design and retro dress advice. I plan to make/do both.

Anyway… I don’t think I have ever expressed my deep and abiding love for Craigslist. I know there are some untoward goods and services offered there, but if you stick to the for sale page, you are pretty safe. You know, except you buy stuff.

We have numerous Craiglist purchases floating around here. My favorites are the auction lot containing Mrs. M’s fabric stash and a boatload of vintage patterns (many of which have ended up in my Etsy shop) and the vintage and new Fiesta dishes. We bought our first Fiesta last spring, in an attempt to find something sturdy, lead-free and made in the USA. And not ugly. Craigslist brought us a box of 1930’s dishes, complete with uranium glaze. Very cool.

Last week I hit the jackpot: dinner plates, bowls, serving pieces and more on my beloved Craigslist for a song, relatively speaking.

Head on over there and find what you need. You will save money and keep stuff out of landfills. You might spend some money, too, but you know, you’re really saving money, so…


Overheard from the family room: “Running with a rocket launcher is not a good idea.” True. (They were saving the planet from aliens via XBox.)

And if you pray (and if you don’t, why not? :) ), Carolina Mama had the most wonderful idea. She has started Pray It Forward Fridays. We are all willing to send each other recipes and answer questions and such, we should be willing to pray for each other as well.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

design-y types

I need a three-column Blogger template, people. It’s getting too cluttered here for my taste. Suggestions?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


One of my favorite people has launched a new ministry for women, Kardia Ministries. Amy, along with the equally wonderful Judy, will inspire you. Trust me, these ladies know God and they make the perfect team. Honestly, to know them is to know two people who fit together like puzzle pieces. It almost seems like they were made that way. Hmmm… :)

And Amy and I have freakishly similar learning styles, but that’s a thought for another day. Please head over to KM and leave these ladies an encouraging comment. Then check back weekly for their updates. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

cavalcade of soups

(Picture to be added soon, I promise.)

Call it the Great Soup Cavalcade of 2008-2009. While I know our weather has been balmy compared to other parts of the country, I hate winter in all forms. I remedy that with soup – lots of soup. Soup has become such a predominant menu item that the boy has declared his disdain for all “soups, stews and chowders.”

I will post some of my favorites because, despite that sunshine outside my window, it’s not over yet, baby.

Homemade Tomato Soup

1 can (14 oz.–ish) diced tomatoes, fire-roasted if possible

1/2 pound cooked baby carrots*

2 cups vegetable broth

Kosher salt

Freshly cracked pepper

1/2 cup milk (or cream, if you laugh in the face of fat and calories)

While the carrots are roasting, simmer the tomatoes and broth. When carrots are done, add carrots and tomato mixture to food processor and pulse until desired consistency. (I like tiny bits, but you can puree if you prefer. You can also use a hand blender for this part, but be careful of the hot soup.)

Return the whole caboodle to the pot and add milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat through, but don’t allow the soup to scorch. Enjoy with a yummy slice of homemade focaccia.

* Toss the baby carrots with a little olive oil, Kosher salt and pepper. Roast at 375 until softened. Sneak a few for munching before making soup.

Friday, February 13, 2009

considering the possibilities


I want this dress. And it just so happens that I will need a dress for an afternoon wedding this June.

The pattern is from 1956. It will have to be resized. I don’t know how to do that. It might make me look like a bus.

And yet, I am considering the possibilities.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

assisting with today’s endeavors


Uhura, Chief Communications Officer. Please direct any phone calls to her. Thanks. (If only…)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

it’s not a party until…


…somebody breaks out the sprinkles.

Monday, February 9, 2009

where the boys are

Well, at least on Saturday… DSC_0013


Dear God,

Thank you for warm weather. It has saved my sanity. Probably.




Charlie Brown, I found your kite.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

a moment in time



DSC_0023 DSC_0029

Downtown Greenville, South Carolina.

11 a.m. Feb. 3, 2009.

Colder than it appears.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

etouffee, eh?


When we visited the Walt Disney World Food and Wine Festival last October, the non-vegetarians in the family devoured escargot from the French pavilion and crawfish etouffee from Louisiana. (I enjoyed some yummy veggies.) The good folks from the Louisiana tourism board handed out beads and more importantly, recipe cards. And thus, a new family favorite was born.

A word on the crawfish: I’m pretty sure they are vermin, but my husband and kids love them, so I’m cool with it. I buy lump crawfish meat (frozen) from Whole Foods. I hear you can get it cheaper elsewhere, but the cheaper varieties come from China. Caveat emptor.

This is our tweaked version of the recipe we were given at WDW.

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter

1 cup flour

1 large green pepper, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies

Kosher salt, to taste

about 1 t. of cayenne pepper

1 t. paprika (Hungarian is terrific.) (I probably put 2 teaspoons.)

11/2 cups of water (or a little more if needed)

1 lb. crawfish meat

4 cups cooked white rice

Melt butter and stir in flour to make a roux. Stir constantly over medium heat until roux browns to a lovely shade of copper. Add veggies and spices. Continue stirring. Add water a little at a time and stir until smooth. Reduce heat to low and stir often until thickened. Add crawfish. Simmer until crawfish is heated thoroughly but do not boil. Season to taste. Serve over rice.

Since the critters go in last, I do get to taste this for seasoning. It is a hearty dish and not low fat, obviously. The finished dish seems like it is harder to make than it actually is, so be sure to point out that you spent hours making it.