Monthly Archives: September 2012

Art Journaling

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I adore art journals. I have many blank books just waiting for me to fill up the pages only to remain empty. I finally decided to devote some time to it. I chose a regular spiral bound artist’s sketchbook for my first one (so I don’t “ruin” it). I am trying to overcome my resistance to creating the “perfect” page and started in the middle of the book, took a Sharpie and just started drawing (after consulting with myself as to what I might want to draw). I love flowers, so I decided to draw some fantasy flowers. I would draw a couple and then go do something else. And come back later and add more.

For this project it was important for me to focus on the process, not worry about the finished product. As a matter of fact, my goal was to “draw one shitty page.” I’m trying to practice baby steps and lowering my expectations (to overcome my blocks).

Overall, it was fun and I want to explore flowers more but I think my next page is going to be about animals. I’m checking out my National Geographics as I write this and for this page my goal will be to draw a bad interpretation of my inspiration.

It’s better to set the bar low so that I will at least do something rather than do nothing at all. My only expectation is forward movement.

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Knitted Cowl

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I made this cowl out of some cotton yarn I found at the thrift store. It is the perfect complement for a denim jackt. I did a lace bobble edging and then knit the body up in a seed stitch so that it was reversible.

To get the second edging right, I had to knit it separately and then kitchener stitch it on. Now, I’m not a big fan of the kitchener stitch, I would much rather do a three needle bind off. But once I got into the grove of it, it wasn’t so bad.

 

Sweet Potato Ravioli and stocking up

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Today I spent my Labor Day laboring away in my kitchen. I didn’t really mind. I like good, homemade food and I like cooking so I decided to stock up my freezer.

First off, I decided to make sweet potato ravioli. I had cooked up two sweet potatoes (just stuck them in the crock pot) for sweet potato enchiladas (yum) and only used one so I decided to use the second one for ravioli filling. I mashed up the sweet potatoes (I probably had about a cup and a half ), added about 2/3 cup ricotta, a 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and about 1/3 cup chopped walnuts.

I used the pasta recipe that came with my ravioli mold (well worth the $15 I spent on it) and made 48 ravioli which are now sitting in my freezer.

Couple of hints for on making ravioli – first off, get the mold if you intend to make it more than once. I mean, look how pretty those little puffs of pasta are. Plus, you don’t waste so much dough. My first try at ravioli was hilarious – they were all wonky and the dough to filling ratio was way off.

 Second, make sure that you use water or egg to seal your edges. I’ve had ravioli filling spill out when cooking and water downed ravioli is not the best.

Inevitably I have pasta dough left over. I hate waste so I roll it out and take my pizza cutter and slice it up into misshapen noodles. Then I set them out on a baking rack and let them dry overnight. Homemade pasta is always good.

I actually enjoy these days when I stock up my pantry/freezer. I rarely buy prepared foods. I usually cook from scratch breakfast, lunch (mostly leftovers) and dinner. It’s taken me about a year to really get into my cooking grove, but it has paid off tremendously. And except for labor intensive stuff like ravioli, most of my meals do not take a lot of time. I’m a working mom and with a little thought, some handy made-ahead meals and a selection of well-loved recipes, it takes me just as much time to make dinner as it would to run to the fast food joint and buy it. While I have spent a lot of money on groceries, careful planning and cooking from ingredients I have on hand has kept my food bill down.

After I made ravioli, I went outside and got some basil from my basil bush and made a batch of pesto. One of the secrets to good pesto is to toast your pine nuts. Then I used my small ice cream scoop (it’s about an inch wide – it works great for filling the ravioli also) and scooped the pesto onto a baking sheet lined with freezer paper and popped it into the freezer also. Once my little pesto balls were frozen, I put them into a plastic freezer zip lock bag.  The trick to getting all the air out is to put a straw into the bag and close it up to the straw then suck as much air out as you can. Quickly pull out the straw and finish closing the bag.

My final project was to make some peach muffins for my son’s breakfast.

All together a pretty productive day!