Sunday, November 03, 2013

First Baby Sweater

From a pattern my Grandma handed on to me the last time I was in New York. It only took my 7 different cast-ons to get it right! But in the end it was much easier than I expected. Now all I have to do is wait for the nieces and nephews to start showing up. . .

I'm sure one sleeve (the left one) is a little larger than the other. . .but it's too late now.

Oh, Cinnamon Bear. You think you look pretty cute, don't you? You need to wait for one in your size!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Summer can be summed up in a Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Now that the Farmer's Market is back up, I've promised myself to go each week and get a pound or two or rhubarb. I found some great recipes for jam, and lately, I've been obsessed with strawberry-rhubarb pie. I think I've settled on the best recipe. At least, I've received a lot of good feedback on the results, so I think this will be my go-to recipe from now on!

It looks just like Mom's!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

prep time – about 30 minutes

bake time – 50-60 minutes

makes one regular-sized pie with a crumb topping.

3/2 cups shortening
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup boiling water
1 ½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour

1 cup white sugar
½ cup flour
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 heaping cups chopped rhubarb
2 heaping cups sliced strawberries

1/3 cup butter (softened
½ cup sugar
¾ cup flour

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Use generous cups of fruit. I had about 2 and ¼ cups of each, and as long as you heap it near the center, it will make for a full pie. Frozen is fine, but will have more liquid, so you may need to add more flour.

Cream shortening and salt together in a bowl. Add boiling water, then flour. Mix together until a soft dough has formed. Add more flour if it seems too soft, a tablespoon at a time. Press the dough into a pie pan, crimp edges and set aside.

Mix flour, sugar, and nutmeg in a small bowl. 

In a larger bowl, combine the flour mixture with the rhubarb and strawberries. More or less sugar can be used, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Later rhubarb and earlier strawberries tend to be less sweet, and need extra sugar. It's a good idea to taste your fruit before hand, so you'll have an idea of how tart you would like your filling. If it turns out to be too tart after baking, don't worry. This is why God gave us ice cream!

This isn't even as full as it could be. You can pile more up in the middle there! More fruit!

After transferring the filling to the pie crust, mix up the crumb topping. You can use any of your favorite crumb toppings. It's also fun to add a teaspoon of cinnamon once in a while. But this is a simple topping that complements the rhubarb and strawberries very well. Cream all three ingredients together until it is crumbly and coarse. Spoon it onto the pie.

Bake the pie at 400 for 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for 40 to 50 minutes longer, until the top of the crust is browned, and the filling is bubbling around the edges. You may need to put a pan on the lower rack under the pie to catch the drips.

Cool the pie for at least 20-30 minutes for best results. It will still be warm, but the filling will have a chance to set, and it won't be too runny. I have seen a number of recipes calling for tapioca or gelatin to combat the runny filling issue. But I'm convinced that this is a very easy-going pie, and trying to firm the filling up is sort of defeating the purpose of summer fruit. Besides, tapioca is just plain weird! It has no place in a fruit pie, ESPECIALLY not during the summer months.

Serve with vanilla ice cream for best results. Research shows that this pie tastes best when eaten on your grandparents back patio, or on your family picnic bench.
It was hard to wait for this to cool down enough to cut. But it was worth it. I like it to be still warm, but cool enough so that your ice cream doesn't completely melt in the first five minutes - if the pie lasts that long on your plate :D

Sunday, April 21, 2013


      So I've been getting sushi at Winco, where it's cheap, Safeway (where it's pricy), and Red Bento, where it's delicious! But I wanted to make my own, so a few months ago (like, November), I got a bamboo mat and some nori sheets. And they sat in my cupboard, lonely and forgotten. Until today! I had assumed that the hardest part would be making the rice. I can never make good rice. But I found some good recipes, and after sifting through all the tips, I ended up with some killer rice. I had to stop myself from eating it all before I made the sushi.

Just a note on the equipment - I've heard that you can use tin foil, plastic bags and wax paper to roll sushi. Maybe so. But I like how the bamboo rolled the rice nice and tight, so for six bucks, I think it was a good investment.

The knife is a sharp, serrated bread knife. It worked perfectly. But you really do need to keep it wet between cutting. I cut two rolls, then wiped it with a wet towl. Worked like a charm.

These here are veggie rolls - not quite California rolls, since I hate the smell of imitation
crab meat. I used carrot, cucumber and avacado.
These are tuna salad rolls! I should have done a little more work on the tuna, but they still taste great. I mixed  tuna with
garden veggie-flavoured cream cheese, and added half of a minced shallot. I put cucumber in, too. Next time, I'll add my pickled ginger to the tuna.

Here's the rice recipe I used. It's super good, and would be great with any stir fry :D

Sushi Rice:

2 cups short-grain white rice (actually, I used long-grain, and it probably makes no difference.)
3 cups water
1/4 cups rice vinegar (you can adjust this to taste. A little less if you're not a vinegar fan)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, or sesame oil for a heartier flavour
1-2 tablespoons of sugar, depending on how sweet you like your rice
1 teaspoon of salt.

Rinse the rice until your water is clear. I'm sure that this was the missing step in all my previous rice attempts. I've always had mushy rice, and this time, it was exactly like restaurant rice. Imagine my joy!! Add it to a pan with the three cups of water and bring it to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low, then cook for 20 minutes. Cool it enough to handle.

In a small saucepan, combine rice vinegar, oil, sugar and sale. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Cool, and stir into the cooked rice. The rice will soak up the liquid as it cools, so don't worry if it looks too wet at first. I tasted my liquid mixture until I thought I had a good sugar/vinegar ratio. But once it cools, it's sticky and delicious! However, this makes a ton of rice, and I only rolled two sheets of nori, so I had a bunch of leftovers. I couldn't really eat it all for lunch, so I made Rebekah some rice balls for her bento box.

Here are some tips I found extrememly useful! 

When you're spreading the rice over the nori, keep your hands wet. That'll make it one hundred percent easier to handle the rice, and it will spread evenly.

When I added the filling, I kept it about 3/4's of the way up the mat, towards me. So when I rolled it, the first fold got the filling, and it was right in the middle.

I've heard that you should pour the vinegar over a spoon when adding it to the rice, for more even distribution. I did that, but I think that if you dump it in, and mix the rice well, it will be evenly coated. I've also heard that you should not use a metal bowl, because it will react with the vinegar. Okay, so I used a ceramic bowl.

I think you could put absolutely anything in these rolls. I'm excited to try some smoked salmon next time and/or sweet potato next time!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Baking passes the time. I'm waiting for my sisters to get from Boise to Moscow, and so I baked them muffins! My dream of perfect blueberry muffins did not pan out, but I expected that. What I did not expect was that my topping would sink! But I guess I should've know better. . . that leftover wine should have stayed in the bottle until tomorrow night!

These are frozen. Soon, summer. Soon.

Is pastry flour worth it? Mmm. . . I'm just a peasant.  I can't tell the difference!

I nearly ate this with a spoon. . . But I had a dream. A dream of a sweet, sticky muffin that was dense and light at the same time. A magic muffin. So I just licked the spoon. (As you can see, this batter is nowhere near as thick as the 'glue-like consistency' that those fancy cooks hold up as your muffin Mecca). 

Hmm. That Strussel topping looks good. Maybe too good?

*SOB* Where'd my topping go?! I sure miss it. . .On the plus side, however, there is a nice crunchy top on my muffins, sort of what I always thought a brulee topping would be like. So it was not a total loss. Next time, I should probably follow the recipe more closely. . . I used about 5 times the amount of butter needed! Me and my butter lust. . .

Ah, muffin! You were worth it! Even if you are basically a fruity cupcake.

Ham Night

We are alone on the ocean known as the Palouse, and danger lurks behind every wheat field and coffee shop. The life of an Alaskan Pirate is not easy. But we hold fast to the simple comforts in life, the little things that reaffirm our places in the universe. Things like: Ham Night. 

Ham Night included cheesy garlic potatoes and stir-fried asparagus. 

The ham was huge. . .promising many mini-ham nights to come. Also, there's the
crazy-good sweet and sour sauce that comes in a can at Winco. The brand is Contadina
and it has chunky pineapple in it. I can see me pouring this on a vast array of things in the future!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

It was a shame when I realized that I had forgotten what a clock sounded like. It's a very steadying sound. But I don't need a clock to tell me that it's Spring! Sunshine is presenting itself at 7 am again, and I can finally be excited to get out of bed.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Spring was in the air today! Now that I have a spiffy new camera, I feel obligated to get out there and find things to photograph. So, I hope I captured a little of the spring-like qualities of the day here in Moscow, Idaho.

Snowdrops in East City Park

Pussywillows on the banks of Paradise Creek - which is probably a fifth of the size of Campbell Creek back home, so I have a hard time acknowledging it as a creek at all!

This Mourning Dove was obviously of the opinion that he was King of the pine grove. 

There is a huge field across the creek, and I always say 'hi' to my cow-buddy! There are some horses in the field as well, but they aren't so good for conversation.

Just some Canadian Geese in the pasture.

Acts 14:17

Nevertheless, He did not leave himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.