Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shoe Bag

My creative brain has been neglected lately. Well, not in the work sense, but in the sense of making pretty and useful things. Finally, I had a night when I didn't have late meetings. I made this shoe bag. I'll use it next week for the big work trip.

Here's the tutorial I followed, from Betz White who wrote Sewing Green. The nice thing about this shoe bag is that it takes little fabric - a perfect scraps or salvaged fabric project!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Nurturing comes in many forms, but one of my favorites is tea and treats with a friend.

Sweetcakes and I planned some time together this weekend. When she asked me what I wanted to do I said, "I want to come to your house and do nothing." I think that's one of the highest compliments I could give her - that simply coming to her home is nurturing to me.

Well, Sweetcakes went above and beyond for this nurturing session, as we sipped hot tea and had raspberry financiers and warm toffee pudding in front of her fire. Wow - yumm! Thank you! Just what I needed! A good friend and tea.

I hold in my heart right now all my friends and family in need of their own nurturing, as well as those across our world, especially our brothers and sisters in Haiti. I send thoughts and prayers of safety, peace, and hope for the future.

I also hold in my heart those who find themselves in need of nurturing while being caregivers and nurturers to other. This is each of us at one point or another. May we find the courage to take care of ourselves so we can help others.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Baie Dankie

I learned to say "thank you" in Afrikaans this week. This came as part of my work project, where I'm preparing people all over the globe for a conference. Learning this has been one of the highlights of my week! I can now say thank you in five languages. Next up to learn: Japanese and Chinese.

Expressing gratitude is spiritual practice I am cultivating. I think it makes me a kinder, happier person.

Happy weekend!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Homemade Life

I've been coveting this book for some time now. I've checked it out twice from the library. I'm still not sure if I will buy it. The dilemma is that I'm actually thinning my book collection, in anticipation of a move. Now's not the time to be getting new ones. But I love this book! I might give in. The DH (dear hubby) and I have a date to the book store tonight.

The book is written by Molly Wizenberg, author of the Orangette blog. Read the first chapter here. I love the book for two reasons: 1 - The recipes appeal to me. 2 - The writing appeals to me. The concept of the book is not new. She takes recipes and weaves them into stories. In this case, Molly's love affairs with food, her family and her husband. It's an interesting and touching read, and it has recipes that I want to make.

Last weekend, I made two recipes: Fretwell soup and custard cornbread. The soup is an Italian vegetable soup with white beans, cabbage (from our CSA), chard (frozen from our garden), tomatoes, etc. It's delicious and I've eaten it for lunch all week long. That's rare for me. I move on quickly with leftovers.

The custard corn bread is a bit of heaven. Take corn bread batter and pour heavy cream in the center before it cooks. The cream makes a custard that is really, really, really good. I didn't see this recipe on Molly's blog - so find it in her book! :-)

If you've read the book, let me know what you think. If you're waiting on it from the library, I took it back two days ago. :-)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

White Whole Wheat Scones

I tried something new today - using white whole wheat flour instead of regular whole wheat or white flour for scones.

Let's start with the nutritional value of white whole wheat. I read several articles on the web about it, including one from the Mayo clinic. They all indicated that yes, indeed, white whole wheat is good for us. Read more here.

I modified a recipe from an old cookbook, Recipes from Scotland. I picked up this cookbook while I was on the Tea in London trip in March of 2007. The cookbook was first published in 1946. I have the ninth edition, from 1969.

Basically, I took a regular scone recipe and substituted white whole wheat flour. I also added frozen blueberries. One interesting feature of this recipe is that it called for syrup as the sweetener. I'm guessing this might mean golden syrup, which I didn't have. I did have leftover Caro syrup (from the homemade marshmallows), and that seemed to work OK.

The recipe also called for the flour measured in ounces. I'm glad I got out the scale (instead of chancing the Pyrex cup) because the measurement would have been off!
The recipe indicated that I should roll out the scones, which I didn't do because of the blueberries. And because I had added too much milk. ;-) My dough was very sticky. I had to bake mine about double the time called for because they were very think. Nonetheless, all's well...they tasted good!

As for the white whole wheat, I found it to be very pleasant. The taste was a little less nutty/intense and the texture was less crumbly than a normal whole wheat. I can't say I liked it better, as I'm a fan of regular whole wheat. However, the white whole wheat is a good transition tool for those in my life less inclined to enjoy the dark stuff! Plus, I think it will allow me to make some food items that don't work well with the dark stuff.

I encourage you to give white whole wheat a try! I used King Arthur flour. (Per the new blogging rules requiring disclosure in product reviews - I did NOT receive any money or product from the King Arthur flour company for this review.)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Busy Month

January is going to be a busy month for me. I will do my best to blog frequently, but I expect some gaps. Hang in there with me, and send me thoughts of health, organization and a level head. :-) I'm in the final sprint towards a very large work event in early Feb.
*Photo from Microsoft Images

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Blog Wordle

Happy 2010! I was inspired by this blog to start the year off with a wordle. The wordle tool looks at your blog and makes a word cloud, based on words you use most frequently. Cool! See I think it must have looked only at my most recent posts, given the words that appear.