A Little Bit of This…


Friends, my life is so scattered at the moment, I feel like a sandcastle that’s just been hit by an ice cold wave. Then again — it is self-imposed chaos after three back-to-back trips and a new job. And so, I ask that you hang in there with me while I get reorganized.

A couple of odd errors I’ve been meaning to correct:

1. My recipe for this month’s OYW project? 1/2 cup of peanut butter. NOT 1 1/2 cups. Jeez.


2. The sewing projects for this month’s OYW project? They are the summer nightie and the pintucked top. Also, you have 2 months to complete these. I am going to try both. I know. Big promises for a girl who can’t seem to buy groceries and make dinner most nights of the week nowadays. (Is nowadays a word? If not, I’m making it so.)

So — 1/2 a cup of PB. Cute clothes. Two months to complete. Cook. Sew. Go!


In other news, I’ve read a bunch of great books lately and haven’t posted the details:

1. The Help. 4 out of 5 bananas. I really enjoyed this read and it left me with a newfound hunger for southern American writers. I actually bought Faulkner after reading this. It is a beautiful story of race, women, motherhood, and the South in the 1960s. This was an anti-vampire book club selection and I was very pleased. Read this book.

2. Little Bee. 3 out of 5 bananas. I also enjoyed this, mainly because it discusses both refugees and Africa. I thought the story was interesting and the characters were good. I simply wanted more. The main character in particular — Little Bee — was fascinating and I felt like we only got a glimpse at who she really was. Plus the ending left me wondering if it was written for a sequel. Nonetheless, any book that discusses these heavy topics is a winner with me. I appreciate the author’s attempt to teach the masses about those often overlooked in society.

3. The Blood of Flowers. 3 out of 5 bananas. An interesting story about Persian women and carpet making centuries ago.

I am currently reading, The Elegance of the Hedgehog for book club. It is translated from French and you can tell, which drives me a little batty. But the story is so far keeping my attention. I am debating several options for my selection for book club next month, including Brady Udall’s newest book, The Lonely Polygamist. Udall is the author of one of my favorite books of all time, The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint. Others under consideration include: People of the Book and Half the Sky.


Also? I currently have about 10,000 tomatoes, thanks to those 23 plants I planted back in January. I am going to can tomatoes this weekend, like some sort of homesteader. And do laundry. And by groceries. Because, by golly, I will catch up, put away the suitcase. I will. I will. I will!


Orange Love

Almost a year ago, I heard a blog friend from Georgia would be moving to Phoenix. I was delighted.  As she planned the move westward, we exchanged countless emails about neighborhoods, churches and activities. I was really looking forward to spending time with Tina. (Once upon a time, she’d sent me a gorgeous crochet scarf that I wear regularly.)

It is always strange to meet someone in person for the first time when you’ve been chatting as friends on the Internets for years. I’ve pushed through this level of social discomfort and have met some amazing women. It is a sweet pleasure to hear someone’s actual voice for the first time, in contrast with how you thought it would sound. Without fail, each blogger I’ve met “in real life” has been even kinder than I could have imagined.

Tina and I have been spending time together since she arrived. Her family is incredibly kind and our mutual domestic hobbies keep us chatting away in knitting stores. She’s introduced me to Arizona landmarks I never made the time to explore. I’ve shown her the culinary pleasures of Pita Jungle.When we were knitting together in December, I was working on my light pink wrap, which ended up far too small. I still wear and adore it, because I spent gobs of money on cashmere yarn and countless hours knitting, but I bemoaned how I’d love a bigger version.

Love this orange wrap!


Tina. Made. This. For. Me.

Can you believe that?

The glorious orange sweater

It is orange, beautiful, soft, perfect, warm and made me feel quite at home this weekend in Idaho with Finny — who is a masterful knitter.

I am overwhelmed by the kindness of this act and so very thankful that yet again, I’ve been blessed with a generous and sweet friendship. Thank you Tina!


Hike, Eat, Repeat

View of Ketchum from Baldy Mtn

Dorks, hiking

Fancy bubbly

Beet Salad -- whatev.

My delicious pizza

Best coconut ice cream ever

Panna Cotta

The Fin and the Donk

Dinner at Ciro in Sun Valley was outstanding. So very good! Asparagus pizza, beet salad, homemade panna cotta and coconut ice cream. This morning, we worked off the carb fog by hiking along the Frenchman’s Bend trail at Baldy Mountain. Sights included: my feet in snow, pine cones, dirt, mud, more snow, aspens, giant Douglas fir, baby Douglas fir, tiny wildflowers, a happy + chatty Finny, a happy + sweaty me*, and fresh mountain lion tracks.

(That last part was kinda scary. Fin reassured me that as long as we kept talking, he’d say away from us on the trail. If you know either of us, you know silence is hard even during sleep. I finished the hike talking like a four-year-old after a giant piece of birthday cake, while clapping my hands for extra noise — just in case.)

Ketchum and Sun Valley are a fun mix of the super rich and the super down-to-earth. There are a lot of gigantic second homes and many sweet people in town who love the local thrift store. Fin and I are enjoying the bizarre mix — including both trips to said thrift store and to the fancy restaurants. (I’ve decided $10 homemade coconut ice cream is like having a little tropical vacation in your mouth.)

Tomorrow we are home again to the routine. This tour of our own personal Idaho has been truly splendid. I am looking forward to next year’s adventure with Finny already.


* You know those 60 days of yoga? While they provided bendy enlightenment, they killed my cardio. I’ve been struggling the last month to find my running legs again and am so thankful this trip has been so active. We’ve hiked quite a bit and rented bikes and walked to and fro. I hope when I lace up the running shoes later this week, the jaunt around Tempe Town Lake is a wee bit easier. I do love running, but right now I am paying dearly for giving my other athletic hobbies such attention. Time to get back on the cardio horse, one sweaty, out of breath gallup at a time.


The Fin and the Donk are on their annual adventure. This year? We’ve decided to take Sun Valley, Idaho by storm.

Boise ---> Sun Valley

Come to find out, in the off season, it isn’t terribly difficult to take Sun Valley, or Idaho in general, by storm. It is sweet, quiet, lovely little spot. There are snow-capped mountains, tiny wildflowers trying to push through to bloom, bright blue skies, happy hikers with gaggles of excited dogs, swans swimming in lakes, geese destroying lawns and two girls trying to enjoy every sight and sound. (and a partridge in a pear tree…)

With cameras in one hand and gin and tonics in the other.

(Fin isn’t the best for my moderation. “You like it. BUY IT!”  + “Oh, come on. What’s one gin and tonic for breakfast?” I kid. Kinda.)

The Finny

Who could say no that that silly face?

So far, we’ve celebrated our outdoorsy hobbies by hiking and  renting bikes and touring around Sun Valley and Ketchum. It is far too chilly for this desert wanderer, but I am enjoying a breath of cool, mountain air. Not to mention my Finny time.

Bikes! And boy did we.

The magical bike ride

We hiked this entire trail system

Boise ---> Sun Valley


We are having a lot of fun, but really — I firmly believe that you could put us in Death Valley and we’d find a way to knit, gab, exercise and eat really well.

Next year there are several new locales in consideration. We will also incorporate a blogger meet-up. Neither of us think to talk about these trips beforehand to coordinate a get-together with our friends elsewhere. Next year, watch out. We’ve got some wild plans for the Fin + Donk travel extravaganza.

In the meantime, off to yet another meal. And another swim in hot springs. And more than likely, another round of knitting under some pine trees. Because I can be my dorkiest self with Fin and she not only loves it, but revels in the same domestic and nerdy hobbies.

Happy, happy, oh so very happy,


Bobby Sooce


When I was a baby, I couldn’t say “apple sauce.” Instead, it became “bobby sooce,” which is lovingly what my mom still calls it. On my recent trip to Texas, I found a giant jar of bobby sooce in the fridge and ate it every morning for breakfast with a bit of cereal. My mom had made it from scratch, which she assured me was easy-peasy.

On the recent adventure to California, I introduced Roscoe and the gang to my mom’s apple sauce. And it was a huge hit. I thought I’d share the simple recipe for anyone interested:


Karel’s Bobby Sooce


8 apples (Granny Smith are best), skinned and cored

The juice of one lemon

Dash of cinnamon

4 tablespoons of water


Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan. Once it begins to simmer, lower to low heat, cover and let cook for 30 minutes or to the consistency desired. I like it chunky. Let cool and transfer to a jar. Enjoy!


The bobby sooce, in the back right-hand corner, was among the food prepared for the family this week. Meg kept the little containers in the fridge for dinners this week and the big ones (shepherd’s pie – minus mashed taters, and butternut squash mac-and-cheese) went in the freezer. I love when my hair-brained ideas for over-helping friends are accepted. I promised Meg a time will come when I’m pregnant and chasing another little one around and I’ll call in the favor in return.


One Yard Wonders, May


I’ve been on the road for the last few days and am behind, behind, delightfully behind. A couple pre-new-job-trips have me happily distracted. However, in trying to keep up with the new gig and the suitcase that hasn’t been put away for several weeks, I’ve been delayed in posting the new OYW projects!

Did you pick a winner? Is it my turn to pick a winner from the dog collar project gone awry?

{Update: It is my turn to pick! And Sarah HB! You win! Love this shot of your fab fennel salad. Brava! Prize forthcoming.}

What do you suggest for the May sewing project?

For the May cooking project, how about what I made last night. This goes with our theme of being both seasonal and cleaning up what you have in the pantry. Because let’s be honest — who doesn’t have 5-14 different boxes of pasta in their pantry that have 1 serving left? This recipe calls for angel hair, but I guarantee is delicious with whatever you’ve got. Including a handful of peppers from the farmer’s market.


Summer Thai Peanut Pasta

Serves 6


1 package of angel hair pasta

.5 cups of peanut butter (or almond paste, if you’d prefer) — updated!

1 bunch of scallions

3 bell peppers of your choice

3 cups of assorted veggies of your choice (I like broccoli and snap peas)

1/2 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced.

splash of rice vinegar

splash of teriyaki sauce

dash of cayenne

1 cube of chicken bouillon

splash of hot sauce (either a spicy oil, or your favorite salsa. Mine is Sriracha)

Can of water chestnuts

Peanuts (added as a topping, optional)


Boil water for pasta. Cook for 6-8 minutes — al dente.

In a wok or other large pan, brown onion and garlic with olive oil. Add diced veggies — minus the scallions. Add dash of vinegar and teriyaki. Drain pasta, saving 1/2 cup of cooking water. In the pan you cooked the pasta, add 1/2 cup of cooking water, 2 cups of warm water with chicken bouillon cube, peanut butter, another dash of teriyaki and a dash of cayenne. Mix until it comes to a simmer. Return pasta to this sauce and mix. Plate with cooked summer veggies on top, with a handful of peanuts and scallions. This is excellent with grilled asparagus on the side and a nice red wine. Or two.


Don’t judge. Did you see how many veggies were included in this recipe? A few more grapes won’t hurt.


Underwood Farm


I’m spending a few days with friends in southern California. You may remember my buddy Roscoe. His life has been well blogged.


Hi blog readers!



This weekend, his mom and I took him to a nearby farm to run around, see some animals and pick strawberries. After picking bushels of warm strawberries and  a gorgeous head of butter lettuce from the field, we rejoiced at the other offerings at their produce stand. I’m making a stirfry dinner this evening, incorporating many of these gorgeous gems. (As a gardener and a cook, my appreciation is through the roof for locally grown produce.)





Basically, the sum to this post is: cute kid, fun day at farm and OHMYWORD, I cannot stop thinking about cooking even when I’m on vacation.

A preview of tomorrow’s post: what I cooked! (Roscoe’s mama is actually wildly pregnant with a brother for the wee one. And so, I’m going to stock the freezer today with homemade dinners so they don’t have to worry about feeding themselves on top of caring for two little ones too.)