Monthly Archives: July 2008

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Presto, We have Pesto!!!*

Dear Ms. Pesto,

Are you sitting on the edge of your chair wondering how my pesto experiment went? You know I don’t like that green icky stuff, but I decided I’d try your recipe anyway — ’cause you never know, maybe the one and only time I tried it, the flavor was just too strong.

So, on Sunday afternoon, I went to MeMum’s and we had a little pesto adventure with TheManoftheHouse, BigDaddy and my nephew as willing taste testers. I know you’ll probably gasp in disbelief, but none of us had ever really had pesto. We gathered our supplies, as meticulously laid out in your very clear recipe.

Pesto

We dutifully chopped, blended and poured. (Ad btw…do you think this is a Holiday Inn Express? We don’t have a Trader Joe’s anywhere in the vicinity, so I had to toast my own pine nuts. I just felt darn fortunate that I didn’t have to go out and harvest them from our pine trees. I think I may have scorched a few of them, but all that green stuff will cover the black marks, right?) I didn’t take a picture of the green goo, ’cause it looked just like yours.

Now to taste. Is there some sort of official pesto connoisseur tasting exercise we should have followed? You know, like wine tasters do things — swirl, sniff, yadda, yadda? We all peered over the edge of the food processor bowl, and with our little testing spoons, we each took a sample. We gingerly placed a bit on our tongues….hmmmm….

Pesto

WAIT! You said to put it on pasta. But why limit ourselves? We should broaden our horizons and try it on a few other things no? How ’bout bananas? You know I love bananas…

Pesto

Not bad! Not bad at all! Could be the delicious banana overshadowing that gunky stuff though … how ’bout a potato chip?

Pesto

Umm…maybe not so much. But then I love bananas more than potato chips so that could be the problem. So, how ’bout a fig?

Pesto

Aren’t you proud of us? We’re not only trying pesto, but figs too! I think we liked the pesto better than the figs — we didn’t dislike figs, but they were very bland. (We tried them with drizzled honey too, but that’s another discussion.) And you should have been here for a good laugh during the fig cutting. Are we supposed to eat that skin or not? We eat peach skin, so we ate fig skin. Was that proper?

Ok, now the real test…Pesto on a Ding Dong…

Pesto

Yeah Baby, that’s what I’m talkin’ about! I know you think I didn’t really taste that, but I did. Not bad at all, but hey, it’s chocolate, so what’s not to love?

Ok…Ok…you’ve been pretty patient Ms. Pesto. As you noticed above, we did put your pesto on radiatore pasta as instructed…

Pesto

SMILES all around!!! We LIKED it! Dare I say, a few of us even REALLY liked it? I think you’re right…if someone doesn’t like pesto, it’s ’cause they haven’t had your pesto. So, thanks for broadening our horizons here in the unique-food-challenged heartland. We had great fun and we’ve found something new and exciting to have for dinner.

You ROCK, Ms. Pesto!

XOXO,
Anna

Oh, and two more little things…

Kim…oh Kim…are you there? Although I forgot to try it, I really think you should try pesto on mashed potatoes. This stuff is so good, it might cure your mashed potato phobia!

and…

Happy Birthday BigDaddy! You’re the best Dad ever and I LOVE you dearly!!! You make us all so happy with your wacky sense of humor and adventurous spirit. And thanks for trying the Pesto!!!

*Thanks Ms. Pesto for a great post title!

Flora and Fauna

Wow!  Thanks for all the Goofy Bag love!  You’re all so kind!

Did you all have a good weekend?  It’s been nice and relaxing here in Thimbleannaland after being away all week.  We cleaned the house a bit, saw Mama Mia (which was a pleasant surprise) and had a nice day with MeMum and Big Daddy today.

So, in the absence of any exciting crafty news, I thought I’d follow Sharon’s Flora and Fauna lead and show you a few pics of summer around here.  Remember my Gerbera Daisies?  This is their second bloom — aren’t they funny though?  There are two pots there — one pot grows really long stemmed flowers and the other pot has twice as many, but they’re short stemmed.

Gerbera Daisies

My pretty pink lilies bloomed while I was gone this week.  They won’t be around long with the heat,  so I’ll try to peek in on them every day.

Lilies

I have a few pots of petunias on the patio.  I’ll probably be trimming these in the next week or they’ll get too leggy.

Petunias

Now, for fauna, we’ve had a very exciting spring this year.  Two or three months ago, two big hawks moved into the top of one of our trees in the front yard and built a very large nest.

Hawks

After they moved in, we didn’t see a whole lot of them.  At one point we even thought they might have abandoned the nest.  Then one day, we saw an extra head peeking over the edge of the nest.  So, we just watched for a few weeks and nothing exciting happened, and again, we wondered if they’d grown and gone.  Then one night about 10 days ago, we came home and there was lots of squawking up in the tree.   The kids all happened to be home and I’m sure the neighbors wondered what we were all doing under that big tree looking up and pointing.  It appeared that mama was kicking the baby birds out, as they were on the branches around the nest.  Then, one of them flew to the top of a nearby tree — convenient for a picture, as the top of the tree has lost it’s leaves.  I wasn’t sure if this was a parent or baby.

Hawks

Again it was quiet for a day or two and we thought they were gone.  Don’t birds leave the nest and fly away?  Apparently not…the Saturday morning that I went to see Cami, they were all lined up on a nearby branch.  Aren’t they cute?  Look at those new little downy feathers.  We initially thought there were only two babies, but these three all look like young birds.

Hawks

Tonight when we came home from MeMum and BigDaddy’s, these three were playing on the front lawn.  They were springing straight up in the air and TheManoftheHouse says he saw something in one of the birds talons.  We watched them for a minute and the neighbors came over.  They’ve been watching them too — it appears that the hawks live in our yard and their dining room is in the neighbor’s tree.  He said he frequently finds small bird carcasses at the base of his tree.  While we were watching them on the ground, they got spooked and flew into a tree where I could get a little closer and take this picture of one of them.  He (she?) looks older already.

Hawks

TheManoftheHouse came inside and did a little internet research.  He thinks they’re Cooper’s Hawks and this Cornell website is full of more info if you’re interested.  According to the website, they leave the nest around 5 weeks and go out on their own around 8 weeks.  According to that schedule, we might only have a week left with them.  We’ve had great fun watching them.  The downside is that our birdfeeders (and the neighbors) are pretty lonely this year.  It will be very interesting to see if they return next year.

If you have some interesting flora and fauna where you live, I’d love to see it!

XOXO,
Anna

Goofy Bags

Last weekend, when I decided to make a pit-stop into Clementine’s, I knew the girls would be feeding me goodies and therefore I wanted to make a little treat for them. Because it was a last-minute decision, I decided to make them some little bags like the Cousin Bags that I made for my cousins last year. I didn’t have time to come up with a fun new idea, so I stuck with the same ol’ cousin formula.

Goofy Bag

And ever since I made those cousin bags, I’ll occasionally get questions about how I made them. Poor Sharon even got tired of waiting on me to come up with some instructions and she made her own cute version. (Which shows that you don’t need a pattern and these aren’t rocket science!)

Goofy Bag

So, while I was making these little bags, I took some pictures and wrote up a little tutorial.  Only I didn’t know what to call them — they aren’t Cousin Bags anymore.  I thought about calling them Square Bags, but that was kind of boring.  Or maybe No-Name Bags.  I finally decided to call them Goofy Bags and you can find the instructions on a How to Make Goofy Bags page.

Goofy Bag

Obviously, you can embellish the outside of these little bags any way that you would like.  The little crochet bags I made for the quilty peeps when we went to Chicago were made in the same manner — they’re just embellished differently.  And for you zipper-phobes out there, there’s nothing to putting these zippers in — they’re easy peasy.

Goofy Bag

Goofy Bags are nice for controlling the clutter in larger tote bags.  I made them for the Cami Peeps to put knitting odds ‘n ends in their knitting bags.  The Goofy Bags for the quilty peeps were made to hold crochet items that are needed to make little crocheted cards.  And I have a Cousin Goofy Bag that I keep my ipod and cell phone cords in when I travel.

So.  Now you can all go and act Goofy.  And have a great weekend while you’re at it!

XOXO,
Anna

U-Haul Over-Haul

Back to the weekend (hey, you have to forgive me…I’m doing my monthly stint in NJ, so there’s no crafting going on here — I’m working hard to catch up with all of you though!)… after I left Clementine’s, I caught up with TheManoftheHouse and TheSecondChild at exit 90 on I-65.  (How on earth did we do that before cell phones???)  They were pulling a trailer of TheSecondChild’s junk and this was my view riding down the freeway.

Uhaul

Now, come on.  I’ve just been at Cami’s for 3 hours surrounded by fabric beauty and inspiration.  That U-Haul trailer is uhhh-gly.  The orange is ok, but, yuck.  So, what’s a girl to do but dream a little?  How ’bout some flowers?

Uhaul

Are you with me???  Better, no???  How ’bout these cute chocolate bunnies (can you see them?) in a brocade-like setting???

Uhaul

  Fabric lovers of the world unite!  It’s one way we can beautify our environment — a feast for weary traveler’s (that’s traveller’s for those of you in the UK LOL!) eyes.  Wait!  How ’bout some cupcakes???*

Uhaul

 And speaking of cupcakes, there’s a new cupcake on the blogger block!  The fabulous FABULOUS noblog Brigette has finally joined us and started up a blog.  (A few of you have already found her via her comments.)  Please join me in welcoming — Oh, gag me– we hear that line all the time when they’re making organizational announcements at work!

What I really mean to say is run over to Brigette’s and say HI!  You won’t be sorry — she’s one very cool and FUNNY chick.  I mean, really.  Her blog name is My Mother-in-Law is a Troll.  The title alone should send you scampering over there.  She’s a quilter, an awesome cook,  and she’s lucky enough to live in sunny California amid bounteous (is that a word? it’s too close to beauteous) farms and she’s currently practicing extreme canning.  I think she needs a little cheering up tonight, so go leave her a comment!

Oh, and one last thing — Penny is having a cute giveaway, so go check that out too!

XOXO,
Anna

*No fabrics (or cupcakes) were harmed in the over-haul of the U-Haul.  I did, however, purchase those fabrics at Clementine’s.

Clementine’s Dry Goods

Whew! Did you all have a nice weekend?  Ours blitzed by — we got TheSecondChild all moved in to his hovel at school.  It’s so hard to imagine that this will be his senior year — it seems like we just went through all the college admission process!   I felt a bit sorry for the poor guy — he’s a neat freak and he’s moving in with some um… well, much less than neat freaks.  They’ll work it out though, I’m sure.

Amid all the work, the absolute highlight of my four days of moving was stopping in to Clementine’s Dry Goods.  Oh.  My. Gosh!!!  Those girls were hysterical!  Cami was there, of course.  And I was thrilled that Melly went to all the trouble to come from afar to meet me too.  And then sweet Rob (by now we’re old pals) and three new blog-less pals.

I left about 3 hours ahead of my guys so I had some time to shop and sit and knit with the ladies.  Cami has a perfect spot at the back of the shop with a couch and chairs where everyone can get comfy to sit and knit.  Oh, and, of course, EAT.  They spoiled me rotten and I felt SO special!  Just look at the spread they laid out for me:

Cami Food

We started with Melly’s absolutely amazing Banana Cream Pie.  All made from scratch.  Sooo delicious.  It doesn’t hurt that Banana Cream Pie is at the top of my all time favorites list — right up there and maybe even ahead of chocolate!  (I can hear the gasping now LOL.)  Fortunately I remembered to get my camera out before we ate it all.  Melly has promised that she’ll share her recipe on her blog so keep an eye out for it.

Cami Food

And then Cami.  Gosh.  She made a delicious Rhubarb Pie (a first for me) and Fantastic Chocolate Croissants.  I wish I could give you one — I’m not kidding — they belong in a bakery with Melly’s pie.  And that’s not Mrs. Smith’s (pick-a-name) puff pastry there — she makes all those layers From.  Scratch.  By. Hand.  (Oooh, and I just went to get her link for this post, and she’s letting us in on the secret behind those croissants!  Thanks Cami!)  I can’t even imagine how she has the time — there are 5 perfectly behaved children and a hubby and a quilt/yarn shop to run.

Cami Food

In between all that eating there was MUCH laughing and cracking up.  What a super fun group of girls — I so wish they all lived closer.  All too soon, the call came from my guys that they were passing by — my clue to catch up to them on the highway to continue our trip to Nashville.  Cami was so kind to send some croissants with me for the boys.   Not only were they to eat, they provided a little boredom relief as I lined them up on the dashboard of the car — they looked so pretty!

Cami Food

Speaking of the dashboard, there was some other lining-up.  Anyone know what this is?

Cracker Jacks

Anyone?  Cami knows.  I gave the girls some M&Ms and little snickers bars and Cami squealed “Look, she’s given me some round row counters” and Melly said “And I have some square ones!”  while I sat there wondering whether they do recreational drugs at Clementines!  Cami says you can use M&Ms (or chocolate chip cookies or whatever floats your boat) as row counters.  Just lay out the number of rows you have to knit in M&Ms and each time you finish a row, eat one.  When they’re all gone, you’ll know you’ve done X number of rows.  Who knew???  I put this new technique into play with my Cracker Jacks and it worked!  I’ve never been able to properly count my rows…I always forget to increment that little plastic counter or put a hash mark on my piece of paper, but I certainly didn’t forget to eat my Cracker Jacks.  That Cami is a genius!

All the ladies were full of little tidbits like that and they cracked me up.  I learned all about how to fix a suction problem from Melly — oh!  and Cami had some cute new shoes on too — they were REALLY educational!  So ladies — thank you SO much for a fabulous morning.  I came away with new ideas swirling around in my head — you are all so full of inspiration.  And especially thanks for all the work and effort you put into making me feel so special — I Can’t Wait until we can do it again.

If YOU happen to be traveling on I-65 just south of Indianapolis, take a 5-minute detour into Franklin at exit 90 and visit Clementine’s.  Cami has lots of Westminster and Rowan fabrics and some beautiful yarns for you knitters.   And I hope you’ll have as much fun as I did!

XOXO,
Anna