Three French Hens

I couldn’t let Grace down by not keeping up with the title theme…

Look at her go!

Katie asked me a while back if I’d help her learn how to cook. I couldn’t wait! Visions of aprons and journals and gourmet meals danced through my head. Then I remembered my audience. Katie is a sweet girl with simple tastes and gourmet would bore her. (Not that she’d tell me. Her manners are fabulous.)

Mac & cheese that didn’t come out of a box? Well… that was a fascinating concept.

Cooking with Katie

And chicken that didn’t come in a nugget form? Amazing.

Cooking with Katie

We spent the afternoon Christmas and then grocery shopping. And because the stars aligned, four other friends showed up for lunch so Katie had her very own audience. Everyone was quite impressed.

Table set -- cooking with Katie

(Look! My new folding chairs! Thanks again Santa!)

Katie is the daughter of a former coworker. We’ve been hanging out for a couple of years. I invited her to Nicaragua with me last summer. During our work trip, we really got to know each other and not just because we ended up as roommates. I was able to see her out of her environment — able to admire her grace, her patience, her incredible work ethic and true kindness. She impressed me a thousand ways.

She was the youngest member of our team and she worked tirelessly without ever complaining. It was back breaking work, but she did it with wide eyes — excited to be in a new country. She reminded me how fun it was to be 15 with a passport, youth and a passion for the world.

She’s recently decided to go to a new high school. She’ll start all over, with a new opportunity to create who is she, in just a few weeks. I think she’s almost as excited to not have to wear a school uniform for the first time in 15 years as she is to have new classes, including fashion design. We spent a lot of our cooking time talking about who she will be at this school. For the first time — after more than a year of telling her myself — she said she’d be the smart girl. I truly had to hold back jumping up and down, I was so thrilled. She’s in a couple honors classes for the first time and I think her new-found sense of self-esteem couldn’t come soon enough.

Something tells me we’ll always be friends. And I’m going to have a lot of fun watching the amazing things she’ll do.

~K

Mazel Tov!

Dradle Dradle Dradle!

Hanukkah!

First night -- a few days early

Kolberg: Best wine in the world. Love this Malbec

My very favorite wine in the world: Bolivian Malbec.

Trash can full of skins...

shredded potatoes, flour, onion and eggs

heating up

Sizzling

pushing them down

Sizzling

in the pan the go

Making Latkes with the Wrights

Flipping the cakes

Go potato!

Flipping

Frying

Latkes!

Sour cream and apple sauce

What’s Yiddish for delicious? Because this gentile thoroughly enjoyed learning how to make latkes with the Wrights last night. Such a fun gathering of friends, great food, and of course with Adam (Salty Senor) — football.

The only downside of leaning over bubbling pans of frying food is you go home smelling like a McDonald’s employee. I woke up this morning, after having showered, and still felt like I smelled fried potatoes. It was coming from my laundry basket. Anyone else totally repulsed at smelling like food? I hate the stale coffee scent that sticks to your clothing in coffee shops too, which is why I keep a teeny bottle of Febreeze in my car. You laugh, but at least I admit to my neurotic behavior.

~Kelli, a Goya Berryer

Jars of Renewal: Spicy Tomato Chutney

Jars of Renewal: Spicy Tomato Chutney

Jars of Renewal: Spicy Tomato Chutney

Jars of Renewal: Spicy Tomato Chutney

Jars of Renewal: Spicy Tomato Chutney

Jars of Renewal: Spicy Tomato Chutney

Jars of Renewal: Spicy Tomato Chutney

Jars of Renewal: Spicy Tomato Chutney

Jars of Renewal: Spicy Tomato Chutney

A month or so ago, Colleen sent me a sweet package including a jar of her spicy tomato chutney {recipe here!}. She said in her note that this was good on “just about everything.” I am a pretty basic girl when it comes to condiments. I like spicy mustard, balsamic vinegar, salsa, and a bit of pepper. I rarely need anything more — unless it is the occasional dip into the crunchy peanut butter for a bagel.

Once I opened the jar, I quickly realized I was going to need more of this stuff and I was going to need it soon! It was rich, spicy, tangy and just as she said — good as a dip with vegetables, great as a spread on a whole wheat tortilla and turkey wrap, yummy on quinoa, and delicious as a spread with grilled chicken. I was in love.

Colleen shared her recipe and yesterday I managed to get a bit of cooking accomplished. Using a canning book Finny sent me for my birthday, I used a few more of those Jars of Renewal recycled jars and voila — seven more small gifts for the holidays.

Considering both of my forays into canning have been solo adventures, I’m not certain I’m doing everything just right. Also, I really should have read the recipe better because malt vinegar and normal old vinegar aren’t the same. It is still yummy, but it is different than what Colleen sent me. Next time, I’ll follow her words to the t.

I highly recommend this simple and sassy recipe. I plan to partner these with freshly baked loaves of bread and a great bottle of red wine for a few Christmas gifts. I am also quite pleased at the number of jars I’ve repurposed with this little Jars of Renewal project. Yahoo!

If you are looking for other great frugal (yet truly fabulous) ideas for Christmas, check out my other friend Colleen’s great project.

Cheers,

K