It’s been over a year since the studio closed due to the pandemic. At the time I was distressed, and rather uncertain whether I wanted to move classes online. I went with my gut and came to a decision that online was not my jam. We got a puppy instead;) With no rent to pay we thankfully had the benefit of that choice, many weren’t so fortunate.
I wasn’t sure if I’d made a big mistake, but in hindsight taking a break from the studio was revitalizing. I think if I hadn’t hit pause I’d be burnt out by now. I see it all around me, and feel grateful I was able to spend the year focusing on my family and sharing my studio space with them. I didn’t really add any new creative interests, but I was able to deepen my love and knowledge of gardening, cooking, baking, and yoga. I’ve come back to the studio from my break inspired.
We all need to remind ourselves that regardless of all the feelings of the past year, the ups and downs of fear, uncertainty, doubt, joy, hope, love and gratitude that we showed up daily. Maybe not at our best, but we did.
In the words of my kind yogi friend Marcia, “I guess this is really what a life of practice is: meeting yourself right where you are at, and just as you are.” I’m so thankful I listened to my intuition and could do just that.
I celebrated a little seasonal transition, claimed Valentine’s Day officially over and changed out some cushions.
I love this color way and seeing its return.
It’s also nice to see a little sunshine in the locations of the house not usually as bright.
Turns out I remember how to sew;) After staring at a sample for my Magic Numbers workshop started months ago, I made some adjustments and it all came together to my liking.
Well, almost. I connected the rows into pairs and will try to get at least one of the pairs connected each day this week.
Part of this progress is that Boss has finally been able to chill for brief moments in the studio, opening up the sewing part of my life again.
He’s been the best distraction, 7-months old, silly, mischievous and playful when not napping. The most strong willed dog I’ve ever had.
It’s been a while since I’ve been here so of course I’ve done a lot of cooking and baking in between. This whole post could easily be food photos. Links are affiliate if you find yourself drawn to something.
With no family around this year we forgot about Easter and in a weird twist had planned to celebrate Saint Patty’s day. As a child my mom often made corn beef and cabbage (I just learned that’s not an Irish dish) when my Pappi would come over. My favorite part was the cabbage with a healthy dose of white vinegar. This was the first year I pressure cooked it and that method will become the norm.
In my 20s, living in Flagstaff I discovered Saveur Magazine. With my cultural anthropology background I loved how the articles covered food from the perspective of the people and their culture. It just made trying something new more engaging and sometimes personal. This magazine and living in Arizona blossomed my appreciation for food’s ability to care less about borders. Yes, the U.S. has been termed a melting pot, but we’re also a tossed salad.
The first of many from this mag was a recipe for Irish Soda bread. More than good with golden raisins and toasted the next morning with a smear of butter. I’ve had it written down for years and finally bought the New Classics to have it in print. Be sure to try the hot and sour soup if you get a copy.
I make a lot of broth and freeze in jars with straight sides. Mostly from all the cut vegetable bits and peels, cheese rinds or bones around. I get a craving for pho at least once a month and generally do a recipe combo from Nom Nom paleo’s and Nguyen’s Pho book in the pressure cooker, but we occasionally will just heat some for breakfast and whisk in an egg and some spinach.
I always improv making fried rice and was never really impressed with my efforts. The cookbook Quick and Easy Chinese changed that. It isn’t generally a book I’d buy because upon first glance it just looks well…too generic. It’s part of a series (Korean, This, Vietnamese) that I now own the whole collection of because:
A). I apparently like to collect
B) The ingredient lists are things you have in your frig or pantry
C) It had recipes for both hot and sour soup, Kung Pau chicken and something called almost-instant noodles which pretty much is a deal breaker for me
Add some frozen potstickers and it’s a meal. When school was full on and soccer practices abundant this became my thermos ready meal to hand hungry kids in carpool. I like to use Tj’s pancetta instead of ham.
Our sunny weather came on pretty strong, but before that I was still making a lot of easy comfort food. I’ve shared this recipe before as my favorite Shepards pie and the first recipe thought of when the potatoes need to be used. I discovered it’s also printed in this cute little book called Sunday Suppers which I’ve now gifted several times.
PCC is our local co-op. I worked there for awhile when Jefe went back to school. I was always pleased when Tiger Mountain chili was in the soup bar and bought their book, Cooking from Scratch specifically to make it. I’ll take my cup with a sprinkle of cheddar and some oyster crackers or tortilla chips please.
I’ve fallen off the band wagon a bit with making something really hearty and nourishing for breakfast, but if we have some leftover lentils from Madison’s Vegetable Soups book I throw an egg on it in the morning. I love to toss in a Parmesan rind while it simmers.
While thrifting I found a couple of whoopie pie pans that I obviously needed. I’m kind of a sucker for kitchen things like this and it fit in my little convection oven which was a bonus. They also stack way better than my bundt pan collection;)
After wading through my cookbook collection and learning way more information than I needed to know about the origins of whoopie pies and how to make them I settled on this excellent recipe from Deliciously Vintage. I cut the amount of cream cheese filling, but I like the idea of mini cakes and these would travel well to the lake for a picnic.
Baked: New Frontiers in Baking is moving up the list of good baking books. I’ll have a rootbeer chocolate cake to share soon, but these banana espresso chocolate chip muffins were my vehicle for the brown bananas this round.
Speaking of bundt pans not stacking, I also have a collection of cakelet pans with the same issue. Smitten Kitchen Everyday has my go-to blueberry muffin recipe, mostly because of its use of frozen berries. I noticed that she also had a marbled bundt cake recipe and thought that might make a cute spotted bunny. One kind of looked like it was smiling;), The cake was moist and tasty, but the molds where too small and the shape easily broke. No one complained, but I’ll use a full size pan next round.
On my second round I went with a yellow cake from King Arthur. Though they looked like a murder scene after I frosted them with a chocolate fudge several people commented on how they tasted like a cake their grandmother use to make. Some said the same of the root beer cake I mentioned above. I think that not too sweet, dense and moist pulls us from the airy boxed cake mix type. Regardless, I love them sharing a memory.
As mentioned, I’m not one to celebrate Easter beyond a good excuse for family, ham, scallop potatoes and apparently a slight bunny collection issue, but I couldn’t resist these little $1 egg cups at Target and replanting some of my succulents for a few little neighborhood friends and one bunny loving friend.
I’m hopeful we’ll all be able to be together soon in the studio around the beginning of June and am thankful people are planning and looking to this brighter future.
If you live in Colorado, Texas, Alaska, Nebraska or California I’ve got teaching on the calendar and to those of you that have reached out, I’ll keep you posted here about the studio’s status once I catch up on those students that had reserved open studios prepandemic. I’ve been informed my contact form isn’t always working so I’ve provided my email there.
Thank goodness spring’s here and we’re able to spend more time outside with friends, including Boss’s girlfriend Fiona:)
Cheers peeps. xoxo, Katie