Lost Winter

Being from Minnesota I have a quiet appreciation for a cold winter. Well, a quiet appreciation that lasts about a month and then after New Years I am pretty sick of being cold. Living in D.C. now, we didn’t get much of a winter this year. In fact it was an unusually warm winter across the board in America. Tony was particularly upset because I promised we would see some snow here in D.C. but none ever came. In tribute to missing winter (and rather than getting up in arms about climate change like I usually would because that is not what this blog is for) I am going to post some of the winter fashion inspirations that I had but never got to fully execute.

Tony and I love Twin Peaks. We are re-watching the whole show right now and we own the prequel on DVD (this is the only DVD we actually have in the apartment). In addition to the impeccable characters and  plot, I think that the aesthetic of the show is wonderful. After attending Lewis & Clark Tony and I both have a deep appreciation for the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. The landscape and scenery in the show brings me right back to Tryon Creek National Park and the Lewis & Clark Campus. The cast members are also dressed in a great late 80s early 90s small-logging-town-chic (a combination of words I thought I would never make).

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MyKea

We love love love Ikea. According to Tony, Ikea is the greatest store. Unlike our previous post on furniture, Ikea has sleek looking pieces at reasonable prices (I advise to avoid purchasing the Ikea dressers if you intend to fill the drawers to the brim). In addition, Ikea furniture all requires self assembly, which can be aggravating or be a rare opportunity to bring out ones natural carpentry skills.

Naturally I was thrilled when I saw MyKea. MyKea is a online store that sells custom prints to apply to any kind of Ikea furniture. They have a variety of creative designs from several artists. I encourage anyone who is interested in spicing up their Ikea furniture to check out this site.

Arts and Crafts

Recently Tony and I have gotten into the arts and crafts scene in an effort to remain relatively productive while waiting to hear about potential jobs. We have done a large variety of crafts in the past week however, I have become fond of felting. This is a particular craft that I have become extremely enthusiastic about!

The project is these very sweet felt sewn birds. They are based on a pattern that I found on the website: Felting Crafts. The pattern was originally posted by Kata Golda on her website Petite Purls. The birds are extremely easy to make; they only require a small amount of felt, embroidery floss, and stuffing. Originally, I was just putting together birds in the image of those posted on Petite Purls but was later inspired to create the Pigs from Angry Birds© and a pug.

I highly recommend that all unemployed liberal arts graduates take up a variety of crafts. Crafts are an excellent way to occupy the empty void of time that is the life of a broke and educated 20+ year old.

Top Chef Masters: Utter Disappointment

We are extremely distraught because Naomi Pomeroy (an alumni of our alma mater) was eliminated from Top Chief Masters on Wednesday night. In our opinion it was completely unjustified. Naomi had won one quickfire challenge,  two elimination challenges, and  $26,800 for her charity.

At the quickfire challenge this week Naomi was runner-up with her poached egg with bacon and mushrooms. The quickfire challenge twist was the chefs had a surprise partner who had to produce the same dish as the chefs. However, they could not see who the person was or what they were doing. The chefs had to direct their partners with verbal instructions.

At the elimination challenges the chefs had to cook a buffet meal for members of the armed forces. In honesty, we thought that Traci should have been eliminated. Traci’s food was boring, unattractive, and the judges said they were not sure if it was top chef master material. Naomi’s food went over well with the exception of her shrimp fired rice. Guest judge and author of “Restaurant Girl” Danyelle Freeman, said that Naomi’s shrimp was undercooked. Now we did not taste the food so I guess we cannot evaluate the quality but simply based on our bias we thought Traci’s looked far worse.

Chicken Dumpling Soup

Today I made a chicken dumpling soup for the family. The soup is based on a recipe that I got from searching “chicken dumpling soup” on google (google is my cookbook). I made some modifications in the direction section because I ran into some issues.

Ingredients

Soup:

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 stalk celery, diced
  • Meat from 1 chicken, cooked and shredded (I used 5 chicken breasts, which was probably way too much! Depending on how thick you enjoy your soup.
  • 4 to 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup fresh cut green beans
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper

Dumplings:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cupall-purpose flour (I don’t know if I did something wrong but I ended up using about 4 cups of flour to the amount of butter and milk they requested)
  • 3 eggs

Directions

Soup:

In a small amount of cooking oil sweat the onion, carrots and celery (this part is important for the flavor. It’s a great tip!). Add chicken, broth, green beans, barley, celery salt, parsley and bay leaves. Simmer until the barley is tender, about 30 minutes. (The barley absorbs a lot of the broth, consider using half a cup.)

Make dumplings:

Bring the milk and butter to a boil, add salt and nutmeg. Remove from heat and immediately add flour stirring until dough leaves the sides of the pan. (Because the ratio of flour to milk/butter seems to be off I would recommend adding the milk/butter mixture slowly while stirring to monitor the consistency.) Incorporate the eggs, 1 at a time, forming a sticky dough.

Season the soup, to taste, with salt and pepper. Add spoon sized balls (I recommend making them a bit smaller) of dumpling dough and simmer until dumplings rise.