scrabble cards

My most recent late night project - making scrabble cards!

Since anything scrabble is fun, I bought this paper a while ago (see below). At the time, I didn't really know what I would use it for, but when the card idea hit, I couldn't be stopped...

The inspiration.


baked eggs in ham

All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.

~ John Gunther

A weekend isn't a weekend without a fun breakfast. This Gourmet recipe has been in my stash of fav brunch foods for a while. Tarragon and eggs go marvelously together, and the crispy ham and sautéed mushrooms take it over the edge of yumminess. Folks are usually impressed by the presentation, but don't look too long or your eggs will get cold...

baked eggs in ham
serves 6

(about 3/4 lb) mushrooms, finely chopped
1/4 cup shallot, diced fine
2 Tbs unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs sour cream (or crème fraîche if you've got it)
1 Tbs finely chopped fresh tarragon, plus whole leaves for garnish
12 slices black forest or virginia ham (without holes!)
12 large eggs

Preheat oven to 400°. Cook mushrooms and shallot in butter. Add a dash of pepper and cook on med-high heat, stirring occasionally. When the mushrooms are tender and the liquid that they give off is evaporated (about 10 mins), remove from heat and stir in sour cream and tarragon.

Lightly oil muffin tin. Fit 1 slice of ham into each cup, letting the ends stick up and hang over the cups. Dollop some of the mushroom mixture into each of the ham-lined cups. Since my muffin tins never seem to be big enough to handle the ham, mushrooms, and a whole egg, I crack my eggs in a bowl and spoon a yolk and as much egg white that will fit into each.

Bake until whites are cooked but yolks are still slightly runny (15-20 mins). Gently remove from muffin tin (try using a couple spatulas, or a fork and spoon combo). Top with a sprig of tarragon and serve. I usually serve these with hot biscuits and fresh fruit.



Rice is born in water and must die in wine.

~ Italian Proverb

It's a shame that cheesy, starchy, yummy risotto often gets overlooked in this anti-carb world. Since I don't like peas or tomatoes or anything in mine (except maybe for a little prosciutto), here is a recipe for classic parmesan risotto. (It's adapted from my favourite cookbook: the New Best Recipe.)

serves 6

3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
4 Tbs (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1-2 shallot, diced fine
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
6-8 slices of prosciutto, chopped fine - optional
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Bring broth and water to a simmer in saucepan over med-high heat. Reduce heat to low, just enough to keep warm.

Meanwhile, melt butter in large saucepan over med heat. Once foaming subsides, add shallot and a dash of salt (but don't add salt if you're going to be adding prosciutto later--the meat is salty enough). Cook until shallots are soft and translucent.

Add rice and sauté, stirring often until the edges of the grains are ttransparent(about 4 mins). Pour in the wine. Cook, stirring often, until the wine is completely absorbed (about 2 mins). Then add about 3 cups of the broth mixture. Let simmer, stirring every few minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. If you want to add prosciutto do so now. Add more broth (1/2 cup at a time) until the rice is cooked (cooked through, but still a little firm in the center), being careful not to let the pan go dry. Stir in parmesan and serve!


spaghetti con vongole

Life is a combination of magic and pasta.


I try not to let life pass me by -- perhaps I'll sit down with one of Fellini's films (Amarcord is particularly magical) as I devour this delish dish.

spaghetti con vongole (a.k.a. pasta n' clams)
serves 4

porcini mushrooms (I usually use dried porcini -just soak 'em in water for a bit before using)
olive oil
1/4 teas dried red pepper flakes or a few dashes of cayenne
Fresh clams - enough for 4 seafood lovers
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tomato, cubed
handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Scrub and rinse clams, tossing any open or cracked shells. In a large saucepan over med heat, sauté mushrooms and pepper flakes in olive oil. Add clams and wine. Cook, covered, until clams open. Once clams open, pick them out and put them in a large bowl; set aside. Toss out any clams that didn't open. Stir tomatoes and parsley into the wine sauce. Simmer until thickened (about 15 mins).

Meanwhile, bring salted water to boil in saucepan and cook spaghetti al dente. Drain. Return clams to pot with winey-goodness. Add cooked pasta. Stir to combine, garnish with parmesan and parsley, and serve.


bloomin' napkin rings

I'm not one of those people who like hearts, wicker, and faux flowers, but I let my guard down ant made something with silk flowers. I found myself inspired by some mini mag in the grocery store check out line.... I don't remember which one. Perhaps I'm on a slippery slope and I'll soon start making other crafts in the "country decor" family-- ahh! In any case, I think they're cute. If you want to make these colourful (even if a little country) napkin rings...

Cut a wire-stemmed flower at about 7 inches or so and remove most of the leaves. Using needle-nose pliers, bend the stem into a C shape and bend a little hook on the end for securing under the flower.

I'll let you know if I start collecting apple crates.


who's afraid of socks?

This goes out to Glenda...I made a sock!

A bit of history...
After I taught Glenda the basics of knitting, she went on to tackle feats of strength-- such as badass socks, intricate baby blankets, a baby's thumper jumper, and cabled sweaters (but not for boyfriends)-- while I stayed in the land of knit 2, purl 2. I had convinced myself I didn't like to count, and was happy to knit scarves, toques, and legwarmers.

But now, wanting a bit of adventure, I ventured to make a sockette. With the mini sock pattern by Jackie E-S, I faced my fears and started small. :)

Just starting the heel...

...starting the toe (I was beginning to taste the victory)...



pretty in pink scarf

I just finished the first scarf of knitting season! I already threw out the label, but I think the yarn is Cathay, a cotton/silk blend by Debbie Bliss. The stitch is an elongated stitch (video link). For this scarf, I cast on 22 stitches, used 4 loops around the needle for the elongated stitch, and garter stitched 5 rows in between rows of elongated stitches. The scarf grows lopsided if you don't do an uneven number of garter stitched rows. It's not the warmest scarf I own, but they can't all be warm fuzzies. :)


Without question, the greatest invention in the

history of mankind is beer.

Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention,

but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza. ~Dave Barry

We made beer! Since we live in the land of lagers and no one has yet heard of using hops to improve the taste of beer, we needed to take matters into our own hands. The kit was a birthday present for my hubby and he's already addicted.

It's quite the process, but there are many helpful sites out there. We especially liked John Palmer's How to Brew. Let me warn you, there is lots of sterilizing and washing up involved! The fermenter sat in the middle of our living room floor (a place of reverence, and the coolest spot in the house) for 10 days. Bottling is the best part of the process because you get to use fun tools like a bottle capper. Five gallons of ale became 46 silver-starred bottles. These sat in dark boxes in our kitchen for the next 3 weeks until they were ready to drink. Now, we've got cheap (works out to about 50 cents a bottle!) and tasty ale!