11–18 of 18 entries from the month of: April 2007

Boob Toobe

April 12th

After last night’s episode of LOST, I’m considering unplugging my television for good. Anyone else so frustrated they want to pull their hair out?

Juliet — karma is a bitch and it’s coming your way. I hope Kate is the one who gets to hand it to you on a silver platter. Better yet, with silver boxing gloves.

Jack — you are a dope. A sexy, gruff, sweet dope. I wish you would wake up. Sawyer is taking off with your girl and you’re still hungover from the Kool Aid they slipped you on the other side of the island!

Suddenly my favorite character is Hugo Hurley, although I still think it is pretty unlikely that after 95 days on a stranded island he wouldn’t need a smaller belt.

What did you think?

~K

Posted in
Journal, Media
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Kitchen Dreaming

April 11th

granola, cooling

I made one of my domestic bliss folders for a girlfriend the other day and took about an hour to go through my blog archives to find photos and recipes I’ve posted. I printed these out and when I was going through them, a thought crossed my mind: wouldn’t it be fun to make my own cookbook? I was driving to work this morning thinking about how — even better! — wouldn’t it be fun to have my own cooking show?
I would prepare healthy, quick recipes in a no fuss manner and include information on how you could add meat if so desired. I think I’d format my cookbook in the same way. Each recipe would have a small icon at the bottom of the page indicating the amount of meat to add for carnivores. I’d also had a heavy dose of quotes and statistics about how living a vegetarian lifestyle is healthier and better for the environment. While perched on my soap box, I’d include icons to show how many minutes you’d have to walk to burn off one serving of the recipe at hand. And then there would be the desserts. Oh, the desserts. Eat the veggie dinner and top it off with a large dose of sugary goodness. The five mile walk is often worth the five minutes of nirvana.
The cookbook would come packaged in a cloth tote with a small tag encouraging the owner to forgo those horrid plastic grocery bags. I’d also strongly recommend buying locally and growing your own garden. {Now stepping off said soap box.}
Until the producers of FoodTV come knocking, how about some granola?

granola

I found some glass jars at Ikea and love them. They are cheap, reusable and pretty. I filled them with a basic homemade granola and added a piece of ribbon and stamped tag. We collectively celebrated Easter and Spring in my office with a large crunchy bowl, topped off with vanilla soy milk.

Nutty Spring Granola:
8 cups rolled oat
3 cups of extras: coconut, nuts, seeds
1 cup (or more!) of peanut butter. The chunkier the better.
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon of salt

Spread oats out on a large jelly roll pan and toast them at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Be watchful. These will need to come out of the oven after 5 minutes and be stirred or they will burn.

In a saucepan on medium heat, add your molasses, honey, peanut butter, vanilla and almond extracts and salt. Stir this until it is a wonderful gooey consistency. Remove from heat.

Place toasted oats in a large bowl. Add any or all of your extras now. I used two cups of raw coconut, a cup of peanuts and a mixed bag of toasted nuts. Pour the saucepan over your bowl, carefully mixing the ingredients. Return all of this to your jelly roll pan and into the oven for another 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.
Again, don’t leave the kitchen. This will burn if you don’t regularly mix it.
Let the granola cool (a great time to gather your jars, cards and ribbon). Spoon this into your jars and package with a small box of soy milk. Voila — a perfect Spring gift.

Easter granola

If you are looking for some kitchen inspiration today:
A great feature on brownies in The New York Times
— I’ll never be too old for grilled cheese. Even better with horseradish!
Smitten and Cookthink push me to be a better cook and photographer
— And for some vegetarian and athletic inspiration — a resource

Tonight I’ll be enjoying LOST while conducting some pinot noir research, searching for a clean apron and working out the kinks in my new banana bread/chocolate chip cookie hybrid.

Cheers,
Kelli

Posted in
Domestic Art, June Cleaver, Recipes
Comments (41)

Colorful Genes

April 10th

painting with fabric, colorado

My mom’s fabric painting of Colorado. The detail is incredible!

When my mom wasn’t watching, I took a few photos this weekend of things I love in her home. I’ve mentioned before she is a quilter. I definitely get my motivation to express myself creatively through crafts from her. {My dad is the creative writer.} She’s got stacks and stacks and stacks of quilts she’s sewn.

close up of the clouds, mom's fabric painting

I love these clouds. They are so delicate.
At last count the woman owns six sewing machines, “And a serger.” I opened the closet in the guest room this weekend to find a quilt rack full of carefully pieced, colorful works of art. My dad jokes soon enough the walls will be padded.

star wall quilt

One of her many small wall quilts. Stars are my favorite.

My mom’s favorite colors are purple and cobalt blue. She also loves turquoise. In turn, these colors make me feel at home. She’s carefully added these colors in different ways throughout their house.

blue plate on a ribbon
blue glass in the window
pretty table runner

Whenever I get a bit too confident about my sewing skills, a walk through her house brings me back to earth. I feel blessed to have grown up in an artistic home — one where Prince was blasting on the stereo and we were encouraged to express our emotions. And buckle up. The woman still tells me every time I speak to her to “buckle up and be good.”

I’m working on it.
~K

Posted in
Domestic Art, Journal
Comments (33)

Childhood at 27

April 9th

howdy

Part of the joy of visiting my parents is being taken care of. They pick me up from the airport, shower me with attention, take me to eat at their favorite restaurants, tuck me in at night and eventually drive me back to the airport. I sleep 12 hours a night without a care in the world. I eat a slice of any delicious family recipe I can get a plate of. I laugh until it hurts. I enjoy every drop of the time we get to spend together.

mom and dad, the gulf

This quick Easter jaunt was no different. We saw “Blades of Glory” — which I loved. My father, on the other hand, isn’t a fan of Will Ferrell. He kept this to himself until after the movie. I stood there shocked and could only reply, “You just need more cowbell.”
We took a quick trip to Corpus Christi to see the Gulf of Mexico. It is decidedly brown in comparison to the Pacific.

Fishing of the Bob Hall Pier
why they call them sheephead fish

Sheephead fish. Look at those teeth!

My mom and I shopped until our credit cards threatened to strike. My dad and I watched the Masters and were thrilled when a young, newbie won. I also spent some quality time with Dharma, the favorite child. It was a wonderful weekend.

dharma, napping, eyes closed

Now, back to the previously scheduled routine. I’ve got lots of tri-training, working and crafting to enjoy this week. It feels great to do so with the fresh start of post-Easter spring.

A wonderful week to all!
Kelli

Posted in
Journal, Travel
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Kindness Returned

April 4th

tulips

Easter is around the corner and I’m off to Texas to celebrate the holiday with family. Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s Calculated Acts of Kindness Campaign. I have so enjoyed seeing the photos of your good deeds and reading your email. You are such a thoughtful bunch!

Kindness is a boomerang. You put it out there and it comes flying back at you before you know it — and often when you least expect it.

If you participated in CAOK in any way, please leave a comment and share how you pay it forward. On Sunday, I’ll select a winner randomly to receive a purse of her liking (handmade, not Prada), filled with lovely goodies. If the winner is male, perhaps some FedExed baked goods. {I can just see myself at the post with a chocolate cake and an overnight box. Ay!}

easter lily

Thank you again and I wish you all a lovely holiday weekend!

Cheers,
Kelli

Posted in
CAOK
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Spring Redux

April 3rd

Dear Finny,
Lady, if I haven’t said it lately — you are amazing. Look at you rocking that 10k! And you did so in style! I love it. You are just awesome and I am so proud of you. A runner and a neighborhood negotiator. Seriously Finny — you are one talented dame!
Have you seen the beautiful collection of clutches created for the In Stitches March sew-a-long? I don’t know why I am constantly surprised by the creativity of others; y’all regularly wow me with your thoughtful projects. The fabric selection, adaptations (everyone hates Velcro, and everyone loves straps), the colors. I feel Spring in the air.
Our randomly selected winner for the March assignment is: Junie Moon.

March In Stitches winner

Tell me this doesn’t look like one of those cutouts from In Style magazine where they match the dress of the season with the accessories. So nicely done June! Check your mailbox next week for a prize.

Speaking of Spring and Amy Butler, I received the envelope of patterns this weekend. Included were the Frenchie Bag, Barcelona Skirt, Blue Sky Hat and Stash and Dash bags. {That sound you hear? It’s my feet dancing about in circles as I swing my hands above my head in happiness. Woo hoo!!} We’ll have to conquer these patterns together and share our feedback. I’m thinking that Barcelona Skirt is going to meet my New Year’s resolution of sewing my own clothes.

{I had a revelation the other day that soon enough I’m going to be the stereotypical hippie: a recycling-crazed vegetarian who sews her own clothes, would rather bike than drive, carries a Nalgene bottle just about everywhere and prefers homemade to store-bought any day of the week. Sweet veggie burger sandwich!}

My feedback for the March assignment: while I love the clutch shape, the original pattern is huge. Wowza huge. So, after chatting with Ms. Make it Snappy about this, I thought to put the pattern pieces on the copy machine at a 60% reduction. Voila:

In stitches clutch, mini

A much more appropriate sized clutch for the casual brunch in a sundress. This will hold car keys, cash, a driver’s license and some lip gloss. Parfait as they say! What’s the April assignment?

in stitches clutch, mini version, inside

xoxo,
Donk

Posted in
Domestic Art, In Stitches Sew Along
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A Toast to Africa

April 2nd

African map

The African dinner party was such fun. Thank you to everyone who encouraged my craziness; the planning was worth it. I cooked, shopped, cleaned and enjoyed every moment of a week preparing for this soir√©e. One guest couldn’t attend, but otherwise it was a hit.

Appetizer:

cashews

Cashews are one of Mozambique’s top exports.

plantain chips

I also served fried plantains and slices of toasted French bread — both pretty common where I’ve traveled in Africa. I added Smitten’s mango salsa for a touch of color.

Mango salsa

Main course:
Peanut soup — this recipe is simple and wonderful. I will certainly make this again.

cutting board

Koki — a Cameroonian bean dish. White beans, palm oil, pepper and banana leaves are needed. The result is something like a Mexican tamale. You wrap the bean mash in a banana leaf and steam them for one hour. These were bland, but the spice in the piri piri shrimp and the salt in the soup created a nice balance.

ingredients for koki
koki on the banana leaf
koki, tied and ready for steaming
koki, steaming

Pretty sure Africans don’t use a rice steamer for their koki, but I wasn’t about to buy a cast iron pot and build a fire — as I watched my Cameroonian friends cook a time or two. When you’ve got electricity, use it.
{You can find banana leaves and palm oil at Lee Lee’s Market, if your grocery list is exotic. That store is such a find! If you are ever cooking an international meal and need an odd ingredient, it is the first place to turn.}

elephant beer
south african wine

We toasted Africa and our upcoming adventure with elephant beer and South African wine. We are very much looking forward to touring the wineries near Cape Town.

Dessert:
Hungry woman’s simple sorbet in mango with fresh slices of mango on top and coconut sugar cookies. Yes, I am still full 18 hours later. And looking forward to left-overs tonight.

gift bags for guests

My guests received a parting gift — a small bag of coconut cookies and a soundtrack. While this may not be the homemaker Hollywood soundtrack I mentioned last week, it does fit the travel bill nicely:

Limpopo River Song — The Bulawayo Church Choir
Get Out the Map — Indigo Girls
Light Enough to Travel — The Be Good Tanyas
Other Side of the World — KT Tunstall
Under African Skies — Paul Simon
Maiden Voyage — Robert Glasper
Back to Black — Amy Winehouse
Stay or Leave — Dave Matthews
Fond Farewell — Elliot Smith
Go Tell the World — Joy Zipper
Graceland — Paul Simon
Y’outta Praise Him — Robert Glasper
You’re the Ocean — Teitur Lassen
Grace — Kate Havnevik
Where the Streets Have No Name — U2
Better Together — Jack Johnson
Home — Sheryl Crow

I need to have parties like this more often. Even though my home is small, it all worked out. I even had enough silverware. Phew.
~K

Posted in
Africa, Journal, Recipes, Travel
Comments (26)

Suerte

April 2nd

to mexico we go

Nogales is a city split by an international border — Arizona, USA on one side, Sonora, Mexico on the other. The cities are fraternal twins. The familiarity is there, but the differences are stark.
While both are predominantly Hispanic, impoverished, and dusty this time of year, they are also overflowing with culture, color and activity. Being on this border is like visiting a circus with a dozen acts happening at the same time. The major difference between the two is public health — which of course is a benefit of a well-funded government. In the United States, public health services are often taken for granted. However, when a city like this is split in two by an imaginary line that defines opportunity — the necessity of the basics (sewage, running water, trash service) is more than apparent.

fast food nation flashbacks

The easiest way to cross from the United States to Mexico is by foot if you are going for the day. Taking your car across can be a pain, and then you must worry about parking and security. On the American side, you can park at the McDonald’s lot for $4 — which pays for a guard.

push your way through
crossing the border on foot

Crossing into Mexico is so simple it is unbelievable. You simply walk through a turnstile and voila — Mexico is there waiting for you with a sincere embrace, a dozen warm tortillas and a sombrero full of tequila. Bienvenidos!

tamales

I visited with a potential public health project for a few hours and was able to eat with a family in their home. The generosity and kindness of Mexican families never ceases to amaze me. They are truly wonderful people.

chile rellenos

We ate refried beans, rice, chile rellenos, tamales and corn tortillas for lunch. They also served cold Coca Cola. There is nothing like Mexican Coca Cola — made with sugar cane. Served in an ice cold bottle? Heaven on earth.

busses along the border 2

Buses lined up along the border.

boys on a dusty road

Children playing on a typical dusty hill. The hills here are scattered with tiny mud homes. While there isn’t running water or pavement, most homes do have electricity and some even have Internet.

crosses on the border, cu

The border fence is lined with crosses in remembrance of those who have died trying to cross illegally. Nogales is a return point for many undocumented immigrants who are caught in the United States. They are brought back to this border town and dropped off with a sincere warning against trying to return. The result is a growing community of people who’ve traveled from all over South and Central America, in addition to those who have been deported from the United States, and are waiting for their next trip across the line. When I asked what most people do for a living in Nogales, I was told by a priest, “They work in the factories or as coyotes.” Coyotes is a slang word for those who smuggle people across the desert. Last summer more than a dozen people died in the Arizona heat trying to do just that. The factory work pays $4 per day. By simply looking at the economics, it is easy to see why so many people are crossing legally and illegally each day.

dusty hill with homes

Hillside of homes.

home below

The typical home in Nogales, Mexico.

outdoor kitchen, 2

Without running water, the kitchen is outside. While this family lives in poverty, their home was spotless. Everything was clean and in its place — no small feat when you live in a cloud of dust.

Luis Vuitton

Goods sold along the border vary from “Luis Vuitton” sunglasses, to Coach and Prada knockoffs.

leather goods

Who wants a Prado bag when you could have something like this? The craftsmanship with their leather goods is outstanding.

colorful plates

There was a bounty of beautiful pottery, silver jewelry and glassware too.

lunch menu

Plus, I’d rather save my knockoff purse money for lunch. Oooh Mexican food, how I love thee. Let me count thy ways. Margaritas. Tortillas. Salsa. Beans…

Pancho y Kelli

It was a great day trip. Nogales sits just 3.5 hours from Phoenix. I bought my vanilla, got my work done, ate a wonderful meal and made some new friends, including this little guy — Panchito.

If the opportunity presented itself, I’d return to live in Mexico in a heartbeat. I simply love the country.

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Journal, Public Health, Travel
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