Monday, September 20, 2010

Dill Pickles and Chocolate Cake

How's that for an appetizing post title?? Just thought I'd finally share with you what I hinted at in my Labor Day post.

The canning was dill pickles - I opened one of the jars before I even got around to taking photos. They were delicious! I'm so happy with how they turned out.

This was the first canning that I did completely on my own. My mom got me a canning set similar to this one, though for less money and from out local hardware store. I'm so thrilled; it's the perfect 'just because' gift! I've used my set again since the dill pickles, so I'll share more with you soon.

The baking was chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. It's from this book, and was incredible. I have a very good friend who was going through some hard times, so I looked in the 'comfort food' section of Nigella's book, and knew that this would be the perfect thing to make and share with her. I love how at the end of the recipe Nigella says that this cake "serves 10. Or 1 with a broken heart."

We only managed one piece each, so I took the rest in to school to share with my co-teachers. It disappeared pretty quickly. :)

I have so much more to share with you! Lots of crafty things have been happening 'round these parts. I'll be back soon...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Birthday Yoga and a Card

My friend C's birthday was on Sunday, so I made this card for her:

I was inspired by this post, though I did my own take on it. (But I do love how her bunting can be removed and actually used! Mine is just paper).

To celebrate C's birthday, she had us get together for yoga on Saturday morning. We all took yoga together once a week last school year, but our (fabulous!) instructor had taken the summer off, so this was our first session together this fall. It was so wonderful to be back together and practicing yoga again!

But we didn't get together in our regular location. We had an extra-special spot for C's birthday yoga - the Sculpture Garden in Minneapolis. We did our yoga right on a work of art!

The beginning of the school year is such a busy time as a teacher. Last week I felt I hardly had time to even sleep. And at first just the thought of getting up and having to actually be somewhere on a Saturday morning exhausted me. I contemplated (briefly) not going, but I am so glad that I did. Though it was C's birthday, she was really the one who gave all of us a present.

To just ::stop:: for a while and be fully present in the moment. To take the time to clear my mind and focus on nothing more than my breath. To feel the sun on my face and the wind against my skin, to not worry about the looooooong to-do lists. To exercise my body. To laugh with friends.

It was a good reminder to slow down, to enjoy this moment instead of concentrating on everything that has to happen next. And it's something I'm trying very hard to keep in mind as another incredibly busy week at school starts up!

Friday, September 10, 2010


Remember this post? I promised I'd share the finished product, and here it is!

The last weekend in August my friend and I spent hours upon hours in the kitchen, peeling, dicing, de-seeding, chopping, slicing, crying (those onions!). And finally we had enough tomatoes, hot peppers, onions, garlic, and cilantro prepared so we could mix up a giant batch of salsa!

I've got a whole bunch of pints and half-pints here. The plan was to keep some and to share some. I love giving homemade gifts, you know?

But then I tasted it. And Oh. Wow. Yum. Yum, yum, yum! Excuse me here for blowing my own horn, but this is the best salsa I have ever tasted. Honestly. The Best. I was just going to have a taste. And then I ate an entire half-pint. In one sitting. (Good thing I didn't open a pint!).

Umm...but I'm going to share. I promise. My family and friends will get some. At least a little. Cause I'm generous like that.


The recipe is from this book. And if you have any interest in canning, go and make some as soon as possible!
[And in case you do want to make it, I'll share our little secret: we upped the amount of hot peppers, and even included some of the seeds. Hot salsa is dee-licious!]

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day

Happy Labor Day, to those of you celebrating it! Here in MN it was a rather dreary, blustery sort of day.

The view out my kitchen window, where I spent most of the day.

It threatened to rain all day, and eventually did. I feel bad for anyone who had picnics planned for today. Especially since yesterday looked like this:

Now that would have been good Labor Day weather. Luckily, plans for today in the Kittens household included a lot of canning (yes! again!):

And a lot of baking:

And it was just right weather for those two things!

I will share the results of today's labor soon...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Farmers' Market Flowers

In general, when I go to the Farmers' Market I'm there for the food. But it is often so hard to resist the beautiful flowers! Last weekend when I went, I got this gorgeous bouquet. I saw someone walking with one, and it took my breath away. I knew I just had to take some home with me!

{I absolutely adore chinese lanterns.}

I found that my floral arrangement dried beautifully, so this morning at the market I picked up a similar bouquet to add to the first one. As you can see, more unique plants were in this one! [And there's my sweet girl in the background...]

I took the pink ones out, and put them in a vase on their own (you can just see them there, to the left of my big guy's ear).

Now I have an enormous bunch of flowers! They make me heart-skippy happy (to borrow Lucy's phrase) every time I look at them (and the eucalyptus leaves smell wonderful).

And since they dried so nicely, my fall flowers really should last me through the whole fall.

Welcome, September!