Allergies to dust and grain, maladies, remedies and still these allergies remain. — Paul Simon
Spring is … wonderful … well, except for that little allergy thing that happens every year. I have some generally mild allergies to tree pollen and usually I can count on 5-7 days of itchy eyes, a scratchy throat, and – of course – a runny nose. This morning brings Day Fifteen of the most horrible spring allergies I can remember in … well … a long-ass time! So I did a quick Google search yesterday to see if my Off-The-Charts allergies were a one-off, or not… (really, I should have included a box of Kleenex™ in the above photo because we spent so much time together! lol)
Turns out, it’s a Big OR NOT… sigh.
So this weekend was all about not thinking about my allergy symptoms (and not rubbing my eyes, gah!)
My Mind Over Matter things… knitting, that water color class, and some Word contemplation (this month Ali Edwards is having us look back and look forward a bit, which is such an interesting way to consider my word at the “mid-year” point!)
First up… Knitting. In my Year of Never Not Gnoming, I began my June Gnome (a repeat of Gnombleberry that I had previously knit for Steve’s mom.) I have Gnombleberry’s body done… as well as the start of his “backpack”… which I am going to change up a bit and make it a cross-body messenger-style bag I think. Stay tuned.
Next… that watercolor class. I have watched the “make thumbnail sketches” video twice. The first time, I just watched what Rick Surowicz did. Wow, is he fast! LOL Anyways, the second time watching I picked up my pencil and managed to get two thumbnail sketches done in the time he did four. The first is perhaps too detailed for the watercolor process and the second might be a bit closer to how Rick did his four. The best thing about a video class… I can play the video’s over and over and over if I need to. I am working on letting go of my desire for perfection… but gosh, the struggle is real. Haha. Today I am going to watch the value study video … likely several times.
And that word work… I have made some notes from each month that fell into the “out of sight, out of mind” hole. A mid-year reflection is exactly what I needed to gather up some pieces I do not want to lose!
Finally, another list… and boy, I really wish that this would be the last ever list like this that anyone has to make:
- Philadelphia, PA
- Omaha, NE
- Chattanooga, TN
- Summerton, SC
- Phoenix, AZ
- Mesa, AZ
- Socorro, TX
- Chesterfield, VA
- Macon, GA
- Saginaw, MI
That’s right… 10 cities, 10 mass shootings, 15 dead, 60 injured…during the weekend.
Enough. Really. My gosh.
The best laid plans of bloggers… sigh. I had planned on giving you all a May Word update today. But Carolyn posted this weekend that word update would be next Monday.
Okay… that works, because it gives me a few more days to contemplate Four Thousand Weeks, which I will finish up this morning. I am enjoying it and I am adding bits to my Word Sheet for May. Last month, thanks to Kym’s encouragement, I signed up for Ali Edward’s One Little Word Year Long Workshop and I spent much of April catching myself up. I don’t plan on doing a separate Word Journal – a scrapbooker I am not – but I am loving the creative conversations that are inspiring new ways of thinking.
And speaking of Journals… someone brought this journaling opportunity to my attention yesterday. I immediately sent the link to my daughters… what a fun activity to inspire Genevieve, Winston, and Olivia as June begins. I am going to participate as well…and I am so excited!
As MacroMay is drawing to a close, I continue to learn how to use my pseudo-macro iPhone lens. This week’s wins:
An ant visits the primrose
I’ve got sunshine…
But here we are with another Monday, another week, another fresh page, another opportunity. And thinking about Monday in that way is exciting… don’t you think?
And it was with those thoughts in my head that I set about my weekly list which was not the same as last week’s … no carry overs… a true fresh page.
I leave you with my Beardy Attempts from yesterday… yes, I made two and I might make another one this morning, lol.
Happy Fresh Start Monday, everyone! See you all back here on Wednesday!
…is for sharing!
Gentle Readers, do you have a spouse who is an IG Junkie? Steve must send me at least 4 “reels” a day… and most of them are about food… specifically IG Recipes.
Some weeks ago he sent me a recipe for baked feta, and I was so curious as to why he would send it to me… a main ingredient was fresh cherry tomatoes (which he hates!) Now I don’t know about the flavor of cherry tomatoes in February in your area, but in my neck of the woods… they are flavorless things. But I thought the idea of the recipe had some merit, if I could somehow figure out a tomato work around.
Enter a group I am in on Facebook… I know… but while FB by itself has no redeeming qualities, that is not necessarily true of some of the FB Groups! LOL… Anyways, in the Milk Street Community Group someone shared that Mutti Ciliegini Tomatoes were crazy delicious straight from the can. And so I began my search… no grocers near me stock these babies, but Amazon does but they seemed pricey to me. So began The Great Mutti Tomato Price Watch… and when the price fell to what I felt was reasonable, I nabbed a case of them!
And… Oh.My.Gosh. Really, it is summer perfectly preserved in a can. Cherry tomato flavor bombs picked at the peak of ripeness and snuggled in a silky, rich sauce. Now I had everything I needed to make the Baked Feta… and so I did. It is super easy… and I am so happy to share my tweaks that pushed this utterly simple dish to perfection.
I present my take on…
Baked Feta with Tomatoes and Chickpeas:
- 1 can of Mutti Ciliegini Tomatoes
- 1 can of TJ’s Greek Chickpeas, drained but not rinsed (you can do this with a can of regular chickpeas, but you absolute need to drain and rinse the chickpeas and then get those skins off… I rub them between a couple of layers of paper towels, but golly is this tremendously fiddly and time consuming. Thankfully, Steve found the Chickpeas at TJs! They are so good and no zero fiddly-ness)
- 8 ounces of Sheep’s milk feta in brine (the best I have found to date is Trader Joe’s Israeli Feta… it is the least salty and bakes beautifully)
- One (or two?) baguette, sliced and toasted… or Pita Chips… whatever your preference!
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
While the oven is pre-heating, drain and gently pat dry your feta. (If you are using the block of Feta from TJ’s, I recommend cutting it in half.) Place the feta in a baking dish and pour around it the canned tomatoes, including every bit of the sauce, and the drained chickpeas. If you are using regular chickpeas, drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil over the entire dish. Sprinkle some freshly ground pepper over the feta and bake in the oven for 25 minutes (or until the tomatoes are beginning to pop open and the sauce is bubbling)
Then turn the broiler on high and broil for 5-8 minutes until the cheese begins to brown a bit and the tomatoes start to blister.
Remove from the oven and serve with a crusty bread or pita chips. I baked this Olive Bread this weekend and served it with that… delish!
This is my new favorite for Friday Happy Hour… it is so good! Don’t like chickpeas? I have tried it with olives (Kalamata and Sicilian Olives are both excellent choices) and it is amazing. I even think canned artichoke hearts would be a great addition!
Oh…and if you should happen to have any leftovers… never fear! It reheats beautifully… or even better, toss everything in the food processor and puree it. Yes, any leftover feta, chickpeas, and tomatoes/sauce… oh my gosh. So Good! We had this last night with the rest of that Olive Bread but it would be great with fresh veggies… carrots, peppers, cucumbers, etc.
And there you have my take on a truly delicious Baked Feta!
Happy Monday everyone!
Is for lists of things… good and not so great. I would ask you if you want the good or the not so great first, but since you are not here… I will get the not so great out of the way. If your Monday is Monday enough without any more not so great, please skip ahead to Thing Three!
Thing One… today is my sister’s 58th birthday and it has been 3 months since I have heard a word from her. I am holding on to the thought that no one has contacted me with bad news… Still, it was so easy to get used to talking again…however brief… and even though it was simply because she had hit the bottoms bottom… I miss talking to her… even it if it just to listen to her version of truth.
Thing Two… (as if Thing One was not depressing enough) 100 days into 2022 and Pittsburgh has had 4-whole-days-of-sunshine. 4-freaking-days. I am more than ready for some prolonged moments (days? weeks?) of sunshine. Also… I am going to remind myself of this in August when it is 90-gazillion degrees and we need rain.
The remainder of my list is for your ears… things to listen to while you work on your Monday list.
Thing Three… This morning Season Five of Poetry Unbound began! Ahhhh…and this morning’s episode was exactly what I needed (“I put myself back into the trance…weather, gossip, news”)… because of course poetry helps all things…and even more Pádraig’s commentary… it helped me make sense of my void.
Thing Four…Thankfully, Jon Meacham has returned with another podcast offering. I have listened to several installments… they are short… and so lovely. If you like history, then I think you will enjoy Reflections of History.
Thing Five… Ocean Vuong. His latest book of poetry, Time is a Mother, was released on the 5th. You can listen to a beautiful interview here from NPR’s Book of the Day podcast. I found myself nodding with so much of what Ocean shared with Rachel Martin.
I hope your Monday is gentle… see you all back here on Wednesday.
Our life is March weather, savage and serene in one hour. ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Truer words were never spoken, no? The weather certainly brought that point home in my neighborhood this weekend,,,with an exclamation point! We have had rain, snow (the official total is 8″ but I think we got a bit more than that in my neighborhood), ice, winds, more winds, and even a bit of a warm weather teaser to usher all that crazy weather in. I am hesitant to say this… but it was a balmy 29° F this morning for Sherman’s walk. Yes, balmy! After a weekend that spent too much time in the single digits I will take a balmy 29°!
But really, I am not complaining about the weather. I am hopeful that this mornings peace talks are more serene and perhaps even fruitful (although, I am not holding my breath) my heart and prayers are with the Ukrainian people.
I tried valiantly to ignore the savage reality this weekend and engaged in The Great Pattern Cut Out. Yes, I cut out patterns… pajama’s (hopefully a wearable muslin… in wait for it…a vintage set of sheets, HA!), two sweatshirts, and another pair of Free Range pants. Lots of cutting… oof.
I don’t have a table big enough to cut on, so yes, I commandeer a good portion of the living room floor and begin the process. Hopefully I am getting bonus points for practicing this tricky move that Kym showed us last month! FYI… I can’t do it yet, but I am trying!
And when I needed a bit more than that, I discovered sew-ga thanks to Bernina’s We All Sew. FYI… Head Rolled Hems and Seam Rippers are excellent to get the kinks out after you have been hunched over fabric, pinning out patterns for hours.
And now I have my work cut out for me (literally, lol) for the week. I am starting with the muslin and will move on from there. Why the muslin you ask? Well… button holes, oy. I want them over and done with…ugh! One thing I have been able to do with this pattern is what I hope are some very good pattern alterations (thanks to excellent finished garment measurements) I have very high hopes for a very wearable muslin that will need little to no alterations!
I hope your Monday is productive! I will see you all back here on Wednesday with a knitting update (and perhaps even a sewing update! Ha!)