Pantry Raid

I was bragging a couple weeks ago about my superhero power in this blog post so I thought I’d better demonstrate said powers.

This recipe is in heavy rotation March thru September at Chez Vee*. It’s simple, fresh, protein packed and bright. The ingredients are flexible, not only to your preferences, but to what you have on hand.

Also, I guess this is really two very simple recipes.

Tuna & Chickpea Salad

5 oz chunk white albacore tuna (chunky is best, but any tuna will work)
15 oz can chick peas or cannellini beans (drained)
1/2 of a red onion (chopped)
extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1-2 lemons (bottled is fine)
Chopped Parsley (curly or flat-leaf, also fresh arugula or spinach are great)
Salt & Pepper

Directions

I a bowl, mix the chick peas, tuna, red onion and parsley with a glug or two of extra virgin olive oil and as much of the lemon juice your heart desires. Salt and pepper to taste. If serving with a salad with feta, you may want to go easy on the salt.

Serve with toasted pita, naan, flatbread, crackers, or whatever you have on hand. Or nothing, if you’re into that kinda thing,

This salad is also great as a pasta salad… just add cooked pasta (orecchiette and cavatappi are perfect) and adjust oil, lemon and seasoning. Arugula and spinach make this version even better.

Greek Tomato Cucumber Salad

1 cucumber (peeled, I sometimes leave a little stripe of skin, and sometimes scoop out seeds)
Fresh tomatoes (any kind, just sliced close to size of cucumber if not cherry)
1/4 red onion (chopped)
feta cheese (crumbled or chunks, cotija will work too)
chopped parsley (see above)

Directions

Toss all of this lightly in a bowl with either store bought greek dressing or a homemade vinaigrette. This can be as simple as some extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar or lemon juice shaken in a jar.

Rule of thumb 1:4 1 part vinegar; 3-4 parts oil

You may add fresh or dried herbs and maybe a smidgen of dijon mustard. You just want it to taste bright.

Note: I’d like to make it clear that while the Greek dressing pictured above is just fine, John the Greek Original Salad Dressing is better… but requires a 42 mile round trip. Full disclosure, I usually use store bought dressing for this salad.

Lagniappe

My friend Rachel gave me a Zyliss Herb Mill for a wedding gift and I love using it for this recipe because just hold it over the bowl, cram leaves and stems into the little hooper, give it a few cranks and it comes out just perfect for this, or for a gremolata or chimichurri. I’m not a fan of one hit wonders in the kitchen, but this tool is a favorite.

Note: Zyliss does not make this model fashioned after a french mouli anymore, but there are similar new products out there.

Norpro Deluxe Garden Parsley Chive Herb Mill 
Stainless Steel Herb Mill

Or you can treat yourself and find a beautiful vintage Mouli Parsmint on eBay or Etsy.

* Chez Vee is the nickname we gave our home. We’re dorks.

Brooke Gaar-Bever: The Five Question Interview

Brooke Gaar-Bever is the owner, creator of OtherPeoplesFamily! She collects found photos in antique shops, flea markets, etc. and turns them into black and white watercolor images and portraits. Her paintings are inspired by these photos, as well as people and places which interest her. She lives with a disability called hEDS and uses painting as a form of physical therapy.

Brooke lives in Taylor with her husband Nathan, and a pack of sweet senior dogs.

1. Why did you move to Taylor? 

We moved to Taylor in 2013 because of our love of 100+ year old houses. Taylor had quite a few to choose from in our price range, so it was a good fit.  

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

I’ve always had a love of museums and the visual arts. In college I studied art history and restoration and was classically trained as an art conservator. Due to a medical condition I can no longer perform art restoration, but I started to paint 5 years ago as a form of physical therapy. My inspiration comes from found photos, books, and film. My favorite recent series is of Appalachian serpent handlers.

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

In the past five years, I learned that family doesn’t have to be blood-related, it’s okay to take time for myself, and I don’t always have to be in control, (still working on this one!).

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

I read one book a week and have a different theme each month. My current topic is injustice within the criminal justice system. This week, I’m reading the autobiography Solitary by Albert Woodfox, who spent 40 years in solitary confinement. 

5. Cake or Pie?

I really like cake, but I LOVE homemade vegan cherry pie!

Shop www.otherpeoplesfamily.etsy.com
Instagram @otherpeoplesfamily

Don’t Adjust Your Screen

@colorful_kimmes

I am gobsmacked that all this color! This amazing home in the Netherlands belongs to Kim and her family. As you can see I had a hard time choosing which images to use in this post, so grabbed a sampling from her Instagram.

Apparently she just started her blog on March 15th, but has been posting on Instagram for a couple years. Follow her feed and it’s guaranteed to brighten your days… even the gloomiest of them.

colorfulkimmes.com
@colorful_kimmes

Joy of Missing Out

If you know me at all, you know I am happiest at home. But even a self-proclaimed homebody can get a little squirrelly when home becomes both work place and sanctuary for an indefinite amount of time.

I have always been good at entertaining myself, and these days I’ve been happily starting new knitting projects, cooking, and hope to get my vegetable garden ready for transplants.

When this is all over and we all return to at least a bit of normalcy, I hope to report that my garden has been started, I’m halfway finished with the shawl I just started, and I’ve finally finished the plaid shawl that’s been on my loom for a year. Yes, a year. Maybe longer. Definitely longer.

It will come as no surprise that I’m spending a fair amount of time knitting. I’m knitting up all these sock yarn ends into a mash up of a Find Your Fade and the semi circle shawl recipe on this PDF.

I am loving the comforting garter stitch of this simple 4 row pattern. I love watching a project grow from 3-4 stitches and become massive wraps. It’s so satisfying.

Here are a couple ideas for keeping your hands busy and your spirit light these days.

Watch (or Rewatch) Lighthearted TV

Rewatching all three seasons of The Detectorists last week was just the sweet, slow moving non-action I needed at the end of each day while I knit.

Learn to Fold a Fitted Sheet

I’ve always just balled them up and stuffed them in the linen closet, and felt it must be some sort of witchery that gave people the power to fold these nicely. This video makes it seem so simple.

Learn to Knit

I seriously don’t know why everyone does not knit. Aside from all the lovely hats, shawls, sweaters, and blankets, it is meditative and calming. Even for those that are nearby.

I love having a project with me when waiting for an oil change, an appointment, or a flight, or just need a break from staring at my computer screen. Ask any knitter how much they love airport and in flight knitting. It’s the best.

Don’t wait, knit.

I taught myself to knit with the modern knitter’s bible Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook before there were thousands of YouTube how to videos. Search there for help or sign up for a free two week trial of Bluprint, and learn from one of their many classes.

Learn Anything

I’ve been a longtime fan of Skillshare. I’ve taken classes on everything from email marketing to hand lettering.

Social Distancing… Now We’re All Cottage Core

Image by Kerstin Riemer from Pixabay

This article caught my eye last week, and at the time I found it a bit twee. Today, the reality of working mostly from home for the next couple weeks has my mind just reeling with all the knitting, gardening, and cooking that is possible between emails, Slacks, conference calls and production work.

Really, the biggest gain are the 2+ hours of commuting every day. I’m excited to have time to cook weekday meals, which have become a rarity at Chez Vee.

Years ago, a fellow waiter asked me what my superpower would be if I had one. I proudly replied, “The ability to create tasty and nutritious meals with barely anything in the cupboard.”

He blinked at me and said, “How sad.”

I disagree. After all, an apron is just a cape on backward.

I have a lot of great stuff to cook, but am also excited to dust off my cape and use my super power.

Stay healthy y’all!

Read the article here

Fifteen Years & Counting

I cannot believe I started this blog 15 years ago today.

Bean & Noodle started as a Typepad blog in 2005 and is now a blog + online shop for my letterpress cards and silverware.

There are many reasons people blog. Some people blog in hopes of landing a fat book deal. Others blog about specific subjects and somehow become regarded as experts in the field. Some may actually have the expertise to back it, some just have experiences to share and a voice that makes people listen. Artists, designers and stylists blog because it’s a super user friendly way to show their work instead of a website.

Why did I start blogging? 

Mine is a more personal reason. I started blogging to share my life with the women in my family… most importantly, at that time, my mother who I met in 2004. My sister and I were reunited with our mother who had given us up for adoption in the 1970s. We had spent the three years prior to adoption with an amazing foster family, with whom we have always remained in contact. We had not seen my mother since I was almost 5, and my sister was almost 2. When my sister found her, we traveled to New Jersey to visit her for a week. We knew she’d been a musician and artist (my parents were folk musicians in the 1960s… I was born in ’65, my sister in ’67). We discovered that she had been a weaver.

This struck a chord with me as I had always been drawn to textiles and had no idea why. My sister shares our mother’s love and talent for photography. I taught myself to knit when I returned home and have been knitting almost daily since. I feel I am tapping into some genetic memory every time I pick up my needles and yarn to knit.

I won’t go into much more detail, because this story belongs to my sister as much as it belongs to me. I mention it only to shed a little light on why it was so important for me to embark on, what seemed to me the ultimate narcissistic endeavour. I mean who really gives a shit if I finally finished my alpaca shawl and that after a long, crappy day only the comfort of a simple roast chicken and mashed potatoes would feel like a hug?

I can count on one hand the number of people who do.

Facebook and Instagram lured me away from here for a while, but this past year I have found I like sharing here more than ever. I’m no writer, but I like to write and share things that I find funny, beautiful, or helpful. It’s also fun to look back at older posts. If you follow the link at the end of this post to my first ever blog posts…. you’ll find I still blog about knitting, cooking, and digging in the dirt.

Today I realize the real reason I started blogging was to show Toni that I have a good life. I am happy, have a wonderful husband, dogs and cats, that I am creating stuff all the time. That her decision did not destroy our lives.

And I pray every day that it did not destroy hers.

P.S. Check out my first ever post here

Melissa Ladd: The Five Question Interview

Melissa Ladd’s work spans many mediums. She has studied painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, and film.

About her work in the following images…

The series these photos came from started in 1995, and were shot over the course of the next 10 years. All were shot only in film, 35mm and Medium format and developed in darkroom. All the photos were expressions of Melissa’s own journey in marriage and tragic death of a dear family member and his wife. The photos helped her work thru grief, change and acceptance. Most of the images don’t have recognizable faces, so the impressions are left to the viewers interpretation. I also made a short film titled “Trainride”

She lives in a lovely studio home on Main Street with her dog Rosie.

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

I wanted to do a real estate project and learn about contracting a building or remodel job, saw opportunity in Elgin and went for it. And loved the powerful women that I knew here and the example they had set for living and thriving.

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

It is an inner need, that often has a very strong voice that takes over and leads me.  Thru the years that voice has manifested in various ways, photography, print making, screenwriting, film making, even contracting a building remodel was very creative brain process. 

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

To be comfortable with uncertainty, To trust myself fully whether a decision is Ok or not….And the love of a dog makes me a better person.

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

Tinkering with a story about my building and Mrs. Jones and the Jane Doe body they found near here years ago.   Reading lots of yoga stuff, in teacher training until March…Baron Baptiste, Sutras, and anatomy.  Watching lots of Netflix and amazon prime movies and series.  Most recently a doc about Gywneth Platrow Goop experimenting with alternative healing modalities 

5. Cake or Pie?

CAKE as long as there is plenty icing, preferable Chocolate!!

Lee Charlton: The Five Question Interview

Lee Charlton is the artist/owner at Felting Farmer Lady where she creates sculptures with wool, spins, and knits. She also sells hand-dyed fibers, roving, and handspun yarns for other fiber enthusiasts.

She lives on a small homestead farm in Central Texas with her husband and a host of critters.

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

We moved to Bastrop County in 1985 along with a group of friends when we found a most beautiful spot of land in the western part of the county.  It just happened to be in the Elgin ISD.  We raised 3 children here, all of whom attended the Elgin public schools.  In 2005 we bought a sweet little farm just south of Elgin which we share with 2 sheep, a pig, 3 donkeys, an old bull, 4 dogs and a cat.  The farm welcomes all sorts of visitors and especially the grandchildren.

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

I am not one that holds still well and love when my hands are busy.  Taking wool and creating beauty just fills my heart, it’s plain and simple.

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

I have always done crafty things but until I retired in 2011, had never attempted an art form that needed to be developed over time.  In the last five years I have learned to keep at it over and over and over again until what is in my mind communicates with what my hands create and the result pleases me. I have learned how to run a small business, all sorts of social media promotional stuff that is a pain but necessary and tackled creating a website which I am quite proud of.

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

Hmmm, I have to divide my time between creating product for my on-line business (I sell wool to others who do needle felting and spinning so process a lot of raw wool by washing and dyeing) and my own creating.  Needle felting is creating sculptures with wool.  I also spin yarn, knit and most recently, have dived into botanical printing. Botanical printing is a process that draws out the tannins from leaves onto wool/silk and cotton fabrics.  I use natural dyes to modify these prints as well.

This time of year I am busy planning upcoming workshops, doing taxes and all the fiddly stuff one has to do. I have several large projects swirling in my head that I want to tackle this year.  Spring will be a lovely time to get started.

5. Cake or Pie?

Pie! A good apple pie is the essence of life.

feltingfarmerlady.com
@feltingfarmerlady
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Free Printable Valentines

Do you still send Valentine’s? I realize (like me) you may only have faint memories of stuffing valentines in your classmates’ Valentine’s mailboxes, but these free printables just might be just as fun at the office, yoga class, or stitch & bitch.

Print, fold and tuck these tiny valentines on copy paper or card stock. These will fit into a 4-Bar size envelope, or just tuck one, as is, in that special someone’s laptop bag.

Download the free Valentine printable

Tip: Be sure to print in landscape mode and at the best quality your home printer can output. 

PS. Check out last year’s cute critter printable Valentines here