let’s get this party kickstarted

this summer i have the opportunity to work on a big photo project again! this time around, we’re working on bringing old hollywood to life. this project will be super duper fun and i’m really excited about it. i’ll be working with a lot of the same people who were part of the cosplay calendar i did a couple years ago. (which was also super duper fun.)

SO. it’s currently in a kickstarter, and we need to get this funded! i’m going to up the ante for my blog readers: if you fund this at $20 & up, and it gets fully funded, i’ll send you a copy of any 8×10 photo or notecards from my etsy shop. (you also get a piece of jewelry from the set!) just make a screen shot of your receipt and comment with it below (make sure to comment with your name so i know who you are). or you can email it to me if you have my email.

let’s get this going! click here for the kickstarter page!

c-dogg

got some pics of craig yesterday! unfortunately, the christmas photo didn’t happen, so jane and i took craig and i got some 1-yr-old photos of him. talk about sir moves-a-lot! didn’t get many of him where he wasn’t a blur because he was moving around so much.

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thanksgiving!

today is foodblog. sorry for the lack of words!

  1. bacon made that galette SO MUCH BETTER. any future squash spinach galettes will include bacon. 

bacon  galette jane

so i spatchcocked the bird again, which reduces cooking time significantly i’ve never been able to capture the seasoning process of the turkey before, but liz was able to get some pics of jane scooping in the seasoning while i shoved it under the skin. spatched squash

bird

mmm look at that bird! i think i forgot a step that would have flattened the breast out a little more, but that’s quite all right. it was pretty delicious as is! 

day 3: the OCEAN

it’s so BRIGHT here. all the time! it’s pretty weird.

today after facing some ugly truths, jane and i hopped in the convertible and headed as far west as we could. after driving on narrow lanes once again (seriously – not sure what’s up with the narrow traffic lanes around here [but dang if these peeps don’t keep a great amount of following distance! love it]), we finally came around a bend and saw the pacific! that’s a big piece of water.

after hanging out on hwy 101 for a bit, we were able to get off onto the pacific coast highway (hwy 1). we immediately found a pull off and went to the beach to dip our toes in the chilly water and pick up some rocks and shells. jane didn’t roll her pants up high enough and got wet pants at least three times. 

then we took off northward on the PCH/101, landing in santa barbara, where we parked the car and took a stroll on the beach (where we saw a creepy, really tanned old dude in a speedo who should’ve taken a dip in the cold ocean), then walked out to stern’s wharf.

at that point, it suddenly got super hot. jane was using the ladies and i stood in the shade, where i sweated from just being. i also awkwardly chatted with a guy in steampunk gear who had his cat on a leash (the cat was cool). 

after saying goodbye to the cat, we had drinks and lunch at a restaurant (moby dick’s) out on the wharf, overlooking a harbor and the palm trees of santa barbara. i’d definitely recommend SB if you want to just hang out in a smaller town with a beach and typical tropical atmosphere. lots of palm trees, giant beach, constant sun. 

then we left and drove back down 101, hooking up with hwy 1 again via a weird, roundabout, interstate farmland area (seriously, weird farming stuff here). we drove through malibu and saw a ton of fancypants houses that we wouldn’t be able to pay taxes on, let alone buy. i think i saw ellen degeneres’ house! j/k i don’t know if i did, but i’m sure i saw the house of someone famous!

then we went to santa monica pier, where we had surprisingly easy and CHEAP access to parking (seriously, $6 for parking; i thought it was going to be $20). headed out on the pier and looked at a bunch of tacky stuff, picked up a couple souvenirs, then watched the sunset off the pier, along with every other person on the pier at the time. got some great pics, though! 

we got back to the hotel by backtracking a bit because the timing was pretty horrible due to rush hour. we drove through topanga canyon and were surprised at the end of it by a GREAT overlook of LA at night. after half an hour of windy, 20-mph driving, it was worth it. it’d be fun to see that during the day too. 

instead of taking the freeway to our hotel, we decided to drive ventura boulevard for 11 miles to our hotel. it was CONSTANT COMMERCE. just weird. saw a lot of porn shops (one with a giant, stuffed penis for sale in the window), psychics, sushi shops, then walgreens, target, pier one, then fancy restaurants, organic pet food stores, yoga studios, then a mcdonald’s, trader joe’s, michael’s craft store, then a store dedicated entirely lightbulbs, chandelier stores, etc. etc. and all the time, traffic was tight with the narrow lanes. i’m not sure how a person is supposed to turn left onto the road. 

we got through ventura, then jane made her only navigational mistake of the day. we were turning right into the hotel, and it was coming up, and i said, “it’s coming up. there it is. here it is. turn here. right here. there it is. there it goes.” 

then we had to drive around on some side streets, but jane made it. 

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lighten up

with a backpacking trip impending (as in, probably next year), i have been thinking about what to pack and what not to pack. obviously, a lighter pack is a better pack when you’re carrying it on your back while hiking up and down hills for 10 miles a day.

one thing i keep coming back to: my camera. i would LOVE to bring my camera and a couple lenses. unfortunately, my camera and two lenses i would bring weigh a TON in the packing world. like, we’re talking ounces when you’re speaking with an appalachian trail through-hiker. every ounce counts.

but part of me is thinking, i can’t NOT bring my camera. it just doesn’t make sense to not bring it. my phone camera wouldn’t do anything real justice, and i just can’t justify buying a specific, lighter, not-quite-as-functional camera for a trip. 

so what do i not bring? do i get a kindle so i can leave a couple paperbacks at home? make sure all my clothes are ultra light? buy a new, lighter nalgene? or do i say, this time, no camera? me without a camera on a trip like this is probably like me without a limb. do i just suck it up and carry the extra two pounds? i think i do.

let’s make a pie

following a bunch of chefs on twitter only results in one thing: me wanting to make a bunch of food. 

andrew zimmern (renowned travel channel chef AND minnesotan) posted his blueberry pie.

OKAY. I’LL MAKE YOUR PIE, AZ.

i used my own pie crust recipe, which is below. it’s the same one my mom used for pumpkin pies while i was growning up, except instead of crisco (transfats central), i use butter and sometimes lard if i have it. i also add a quarter cup of sugar for pies.

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a couple notes on crust making: keep that butter cold. i’ve tried making it in a food processor, and nothing beats just getting in there with your hands. 

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cover up that bad boy and throw it in the fridge while you do the rest of your pie making. crust is easier to handle if it’s chilled. 

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the recipe calls for 5 cups of blueberries, but i used SIX. such a rebel.

it also calls for cardamom, which i actually had. i did have to grind it up though, which is easily done in a coffee grinder. not just for coffee! use it for grinding spices AND your poppyseed. it also called for orange zest. this should be tasty! i did add some nutmeg too, which AZ did NOT call for. i hope it turns out ok.

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time for the crust! let me tell you, the best thing i did was get a dough scraper. that thing is the bomb for helping roll out pie crusts. 

blueberry-pie06once it’s rolled up on your pin, you just roll it back out over your pie plate. SO EASY. i feel like i should go back in time and tell my mom before she used store-bought crusts. 

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throw in those blueberries. 6 cups certainly fit.  

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lattices look like a huge pain, but they’re just a little tedious. pro-tip: after rolling out your dough, use a pizza cutter to cut the strips. this is also helpful for cutting all different kinds of dough. no sticking, no jagged edges. 

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and in the oven to cook! AZ’s pie had this fancy edging, but i cheated and just used a fork to tamp everything down.

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aw yiisss.

blueberry pie
Serves 8
mmm mmm blueberry pie
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Crust for 2 9-inch crusts
  1. 2 c. flour
  2. 1/2 tsp salt
  3. 1 c. fat (butter, lard, crisco)
  4. 1/4 c. sugar
  5. Cold water til dough comes together (1/4-1/3 c.)
For the pie
  1. 6 c. blueberries (3 pints)
  2. 1/4 c. cornstarch
  3. 3/4 c. sugar
  4. 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom (optional)
  5. 1/4 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
  6. 1/4 tsp. salt
  7. 1 tsp. grated orange peel
Crust
  1. Mix flour and salt together. Add cubed, cold butter chunks or other fat. Use fingers to mix and crumble together. Add water gradually until dough comes together. Bring dough together and cover - you can flatten it in a disk shape and wrap in plastic wrap or just cover the dough ball. Put in fridge while you deal with the berries.
Blueberries
  1. Mix the cornstarch, cardamom, sugar, salt, orange zest, and optional nutmeg together. Add to blueberries in a large bowl and mix it all together. Set aside and grab the dough.
  2. Set your oven: 400º
Put it together
  1. grease your pie plate. cut the dough in half and roll out half on a floured surface, flipping at first to make sure it doesn't stick. put it in the plate. throw those berries in. roll the rest of the dough out and cut off the jagged edges with your pizza cutter. cut into strips - 10-12 at least. lattice the strips by laying strips one way across the pie, then pulling them back alternating to insert the strips the opposite way. cut off the excess dough and make sure edges are all cohesive by using a fork on the edges or other method. time for the oven!
To bake
  1. bake at 400º for 30 mins, the drop temp to 350º for another 45-60 minutes til filling is thickened and bubbly.
Adapted from andrew zimmern
Adapted from andrew zimmern
Life in the Cheese Drawer http://katerrific.com/

spring!

tulips

The grass is greening up; the tulips are blooming; the temperature is rocketing between 40º and 80º – it must be spring!

i love these tulips. they start off like the lower right, greeny and yellowy, and they turn into the pink. it’s my destiny to plant a bunch of good looking tulips and then move away from them, over and over again. 

i have to get out and take pics of these guys with my real camera and not just my phone cam. i also need to step up my blogging game. wow!

photodump

i took a couple pics on my hike last weekend, then took some pics of my peppers trying to grow, and then i made a batch of bohemakuchen tonight, so there’s a pic of that, too!

mushie

trunk peppers kuchen

cookie time is here!

the little-known song in charlie brown christmas, of course, is “cookietime is here”. 

this weekend was cookie baking time! i actually started last weekend with my macarons (they’re better aged) and baked a couple batches of cookies throughout the week. charlie came this weekend and hung out, and helped out with a couple of the cookies (like the double-batch of molasses ginger that he requested).

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IMG_1438i tried something new this year (well a couple things). instead of using my boring, dry peanut butter batter for my blossoms that i always do, i looked up with america’s test kitchen had to say on peanut butter cookies. it looked a little more fancy than my other recipe, so i decided to give it a go.

i made the ATK peanut butter cookie recipe and stuck a chocolate star in the cookies and called it good. i don’t mind it, and it’s decent! i’m not a huge fan of just peanut butter cookies, so this is good news. sorta point, ATK??

also during the week i made my eggnog snickerdoodle cookies, which, along with the molasses ginger, are my favorite cookie of the season. 

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and of course i had to make these dumb, tedious things because not only are they my dad’s favorite cookie, but they’re nate’s as well. good grief.

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they’re pretty to look at, but man they take a lot of time.

new this year! i decided to try making spritzes. i needed a cookie press for this, so i managed to get to tjmaxx friday on my way home from work and pick on up. on the plus side, i can also use it for piping frosting, and the container is a lot bigger than my other frosting piping apparatus. after a couple failed attempts at the press, i had to sit down and watch a youtube tutorial on how to use it. huzzah! who knew i needed to click it twice to get it to stick. 

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and i tried to make rosettes again this year. i don’t know if it’s my irons, the batter recipe, or what, but i do not like the way they turn out. they’re still good; you can’t go wrong with deep-friend batter covered in powdered sugar. they just look weird, and i wonder what i’m doing wrong. 

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mmmmmm balls of deliciousness….

i also made some chocolate candies in silicon molds and some covered nuts and my peanut butter krispy balls. every year i try to make fewer cookies, and it seems like every year i add more cookies on. might be time to do a culling. at least i give a lot of them away. there’s something to be said for at least not eating all of them by myself like i used to!