Thursday, May 31, 2012

snacking revamp, part four

This is the final post (for now) about my weird snacking habits. If you've tuned into the first three installments, you'll know I'm trying to cut calories and boost vitamins in my nighttime snacking addiction.

I know it sounds unusual, but raw beet sticks dipped in hummus are truly tasty. I found this out when my good friend Amanda brought a veggie tray and hummus dip to a game night party (there's always that one person who brings healthy stuff like crudite to a potluck, but, oh yes, they will have the last laugh as they outlive the rest of us). I kept going back to her tray for more beets and hummus and I think I actually ate it all. Sorry, Amanda. :-)

I've never been a fan of canned beets (super yucky) but I discovered a few years ago that fresh beets are a whole different ballgame (Dwight Schrute would be proud). I love them roasted and raw. I don't do this snack as often at night because even though it is good for you, hummus is not low in calories.

But I give myself a little leeway sometimes because of the healthy veggies. Look at all those bright, beautiful red antioxidants. Don't they cancel out the olive oil calories?

Sure, why not.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

snacking revamp, part three

I'm back again to share another healthy movie nosh favorite: Granny Smith apple dipped in dukkah, which is an Egyptian hazelnut/spice mixture. I think traditionally you are supposed to enjoy this mixture with good crusty bread that's been dipped in olive oil, which I'm sure is delicious, but this way is healthier for my late night snacking.

This version of dukkah is slightly salty and you can taste just a bit of coriander and cumin. So good. I was very lucky to receive a jar of homemade from my big sister recently, and I can tell I need to already order a refill, and fast. Oh, Leigh...

If you need a little gift idea, take a page from Leigh's book and package a small jar of homemade dukkah up with a nice shiny apple and a recipe card. Here's Leigh's recipe, which is very similar to this one with some adjustments:


1 ½ cups hazelnuts
½ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup sesame seeds
2 TBS coriander seeds (or 1 TBS ground coriander)
1 TBS cumin seeds
½ tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Place the hazelnuts and almonds on a baking sheet, and bake for about 5-10 minutes, or until fragrant.

In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until light golden brown. Pour into a medium bowl as soon as they are done so they will not continue toasting.

Using the same skillet, toast the coriander and cumin seeds while shaking the pan or stirring occasionally until they begin to pop. (If you are using ground coriander, roast it in the skillet along with the cumin.)

Transfer the cumin/coriander to a food processor. Process until finely ground, then pour into the bowl with the sesame seeds.

Place the cooled hazelnuts/almonds into the food processor, and pulse until finely ground. Stir into the bowl with the spices. Season with the salt and pepper, and mix well.

Once it's cooled, store in an airtight glass container.

Monday, May 28, 2012

freedom is not free.

All gave some. Some gave all.
Remembering all who have served our country today. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

snacking revamp, part two

Hi, I'm Larissa, the unrepentant night snacker. This is the second installment in my effort to save myself from myself.

For my next low calorie, high fiber, high flavor TV snack I give to you:

Crisp celery dipped in a wondrous elixir of soy sauce and Vietnamese chili sa-te paste.

Mmm mmm good: salty, spicy and crunchy. The trifecta of late night snacking excellence.

This magical Tia Chieu SA-TE chili paste is sold by the jar in a Vietnamese market near me (thank you, thank you, Kim), and you could probably find a similar kind in a market near you. Try as I might, I can't seem to find this brand online. But if you are really dedicated you can make your own. I saw a recipe for it here, but *snorty snort* I'm not about to try it. Because I'm all about buying it in a jar.

The soy sauce adds saltiness, and the chili paste has a wonderful spicy heat with garlicy sweetness that is just so completely yummy with the slightly bitter celery. I mix a small amount of soy sauce (like one or two tablespoons) with just a teaspoon of the paste. Then I cut washed celery into nice, thin 3-inch stalks and double dip to my heart's content. One tiny bowl of this sauce is enough to last through a whole night's worth of celery dipping. A little goes a long way.

I've actually consumed an entire head of celery this way in one sitting. To the point where Michael had to just laugh out loud at the intrusive crunch crunch crunch noises coming steadily from my chair. I'm sorry, Michael. Being healthy is sometimes loud.

This same magic chili paste is also delicious when added to a myriad of things like noodles, stir fry and ahi poke (oh my word, nommy nom nom), so it will do much more than just make your celery snacking dreams come true.

I was curious so I did a little research at my local Publix and came up with this Thai Kitchen paste, hoping it was a good alternative. OK, it is tasty, but not on the same sublime level as the other sauce.

(I confess I actually used the Thai Kitchen sauce instead of the Tia Chieu SA-TE to stage the celery photo. I figured you guys wouldn't know the difference and I wouldn't risk wasting any of the good stuff, which is running dangerously low at the moment.)

Friday, May 25, 2012

snacking revamp, part one

Hi, I'm Larissa, and I'm a non-recovering late night snacker. I can't seem to help myself. Apparently my jaw must be moving up and down in order for me to enjoy a movie or TV show. So I've been looking for healthier alternatives to my typical high-calorie favorites (popcorn, pistachios, pretzels, chocolate).

One of my new obsessions likes: sliced Granny Smith apples dipped in good soy sauce. Please do not scoff at this until you try it. Oh, so awesome. Crunchy, slightly sweet, sour and salty. So good. And it takes a while to chew through a firm apple slice by slice, so it feels satisfying. Also, zero guilt about slicing up a second one if you like. Think of all the healthy fiber.

Note: Unsatisfying taste results may be had if you use a milder, sweeter apple for this instead of a nice, sour/sweet Granny Smith. Trust me. Blehhh. Not the same at all. For those of you concerned about sodium intake, I find the low sodium soy sauce also rocks it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

fat quarters

Purchased recently while browsing Decherd Needleworks. Some because they seemed like good doll clothes. Others just 'cause.

And I finally bought one of these bias tape maker gizmos. I used to scoff at them because I thought they were not that essential, but now I'm curious. Maybe I've needed it desperately and never realized it.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

home again, home again

Look, I managed to get the baby away from Aunt Jamie. Darcy likes me best, Jamie. Nyahhh. Wow. I really need a bang trim, don't I?

Hey, guys! I had a lovely little getaway last week to see my mom and my sisters in Huntsville. Lots of celebrations to join in while we were there: my niece Jamie graduated nursing school (Go, Nurse Jamie! Hey, let me show you this rash on my elbow...), my two lucky girls were given a joint birthday/pool party, my sister Lori and her husband Sam were given a grandparent shower for their new little first grandbaby, Brody, there was a GNO birthday party at Bridge Street for my sister Lita, and of course there was the Mother's Day celebration on Sunday. Hoo boy, there are a lot of mothers in our family so I took a lot of cards and little gifts.

I need to lose an extra ten pounds now. We know how to properly celebrate things in my family: by eating gobs of good food.

Another fun thing we did while I was there was a bucolic drive to Decherd, TN for an all-day sewing/quilting party at Decherd Needleworks (my girls were busy kickin it with my nieces and Aunt Lita, who gets hives at the mention of things like "fabric shop" and "crafts"). Shop owner Jim loans my sister Leigh's quilt group a large, airy room with tables to sew on and supplies a fridge full of drinks. He also arranges delicious take out lunches for the group. So you bring your machine and supplies and sew all day, and take breaks to ooh and ahh over each other's projects and browse through the fabric and notions in his shop. He'll gladly run you a tab.

My mom and I strolled down the sidewalk along Main Street and looked around a bit too, since we didn't bring our machines. Found some brand new beanie babies in a jumble shop for $2.50 a piece! Score for Things 1 & 2. The rest of the time we sat in the quilt room, yapped a lot, and made scads of yo yos for Leigh's new pillow sham project. She's a real whip cracker. It was a good day.

Monday, May 14, 2012

waiting to be finished

Here's a Little Red WIP patiently waiting for her slippers, cloak and basket. I like to revisit my patterns when I have the time and try variations. I have been experimenting with some different versions of  her face and hair. I'm also mentally designing a loooong-planned Pippi pattern while I experiment with Little Red. It's fun to think of the possibilities. A school bag and a Mr. Nilsson are surely a must.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thing 2 turns eight

Eight years ago at about 7pm Michael and I were speeding toward Piedmont Hospital and I was cautiously thinking "Well, this labor is not too bad." A complete change of opinion and three hours later, my littlest girl made her debut. All nine pounds of her. I can't believe she's already eight!

I love my silly, skinny girl with all the long brown hair so much. And she loves dogs more than anyone in the universe ever, but please don't bring an actual live dog very close to her or she might have to climb the nearest adult. Her favorite things are beanie babies, laughing, listening to music, driving her big sister crazy, reading Calvin and Hobbes aloud, meeting new friends, coordinating wild outfits, and eating pizza. My delicate flower can eat you under the table and issue some pretty impressive burps afterward. She keeps us laughing. We are so thankful for her.

With all that hair to manage, she adores hair accessories. Several times she has come into the studio casually dropping hints about new headbands. So I made a quick blue and pink felt flower and glued them with some leaves to a couple of inexpensive drugstore headbands. They are not as big as they look in these photos. That pink one is this really violent shade that does not photograph well, and I can't lighten the pictures without blowing out the pink completely, but you get the idea. I might be able to catch a photo of one in her hair later.

I found the chihuahua T-shirt at Old Navy the other day, and I made a quick skirt to go with it from my stash of Washi fabric. It's basically made like the Oliver + S Lazy Day skirt. I love the tidy finish and splash of color provided by the ribbon hem.

And of course the traditional mixtape (previously seen here, here, and here). I just realized I never blogged Thing 1's birthday mixtape last year. Oops. I'll have to do that. I love putting these together, but after three years of doing it for both girls I'm starting to run out out of upbeat, good, age appropriate songs. My goal when I put these together is to avoid Top 40, give them some songs they've heard, introduce some songs that I love, and find some that are new to both of us. This is basically self-defense since I will have to listen to it about a thousand times in the van. Man, I forgot how much I love The Safety Dance. And I reacquainted myself with college music that makes me kinda cringe now but I secretly still dig it (Book Of Love).

Monday, May 7, 2012

somebody's been very, very bad

Ok. It was me.

The first time this now iconic quilt fabric line was debuted I lollygagged around and finally bought a charm pack and then *poof* it was all gone. You could find small pieces for sale here and there but they were selling around the same price as uncut diamonds.

Then they released the County Fair line, which caused me brief excitement but it was just not the same. I even signed a petition that circulated a while back begging the Powers That Be to do a Flea Market Fancy reprint.


Now it's available again in a new legacy reprint. The colors have been changed a bit, and some of my favorite variations are missing. (Now, why they got to mess with it like that?) But. Lesson learned, folks. You can bet your sweet bobbin that THIS time I bought plenty.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

papercut cards

I started an oversized version of the tole painting card for my mantel and so far it's a fail. Poop. So I put it aside for now and made two more hand-cut cards. I like the woodcutty feel to them, and the fact you can play with paper colors behind them. I'm looking into getting a Silhouette Cameo. It would be fun to design more things like this and just let the digital cutter get the crick in its neck for a change. Do you love yours?