Saturday, October 31, 2009

For the Kids

Well, it's Halloween Eve in the City of Rensselaer.  The wee ones (and their parents) are out in full force.  See for yourself!

A really, really productive day!

Stiva and I had the most productive day.  I did a TON of marketing this morning, then washed sheets and hung them out in the whipping wind.  I mean, seriously whipping!!  I made a whole mess of meatballs for the freezer, and Stiva finished the last of the flooring upstairs, the main hall.  Now it doesn't look like freshly sanded wood, but like the finely finished hardwood floor that it is.  Then he proceeded to pick a TON of collard greens out of our still barely producing garden.  I can't believe that it is almost November, and we are still harvesting the garden.  You can see the bucket and chair that have been overturned by the strong wind!

So, having simmered a ham, I am just about to make collard greens Mama's Way from this month's Southern Living Magazine:

12 hickory smoked bacon slices, finely chopped
2 medium size sweet onions, finely chopped
3/4 lb. smoked ham, chopped
3 32 oz. continers chicken broth (or homemade, like I am using)
3 1lb. packages fresh collard greens, washed and trimmed (or freshly picked, as I am using)
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
1 T sugar
1 t. salt
3/4 t. pepper

Cook the bacon in 10-qt. stockpot over med. heat 10-12 minutes, or until almost crisp.  Add onion, and saute 8 minutes.  Add ham & garlic, and saute 1 minute.  Stir in broth and remaining incredients   Cook 2 hours, or to desired degree of tenderness.

Not liking to do anything in a small way, I am going to cook the ginormous bag o' collard greens in like fashion, and freeze the excess for the winter:

I'll try to post a picture of the finished product!


I had convinced myself that this year we were NOT going to participate in this annual shakedown of grown-ups for candy.  After all, when you're a grown-up, you make your own decisions and you can be grumpy and surly and turn off your porch light if you darn well please.  Can I get an amen here?

Well, I got home from work tonight, thinking it was halloween, and feeling mighty bad.  After all, I remember when, as a child, I went out trick-or-treating and wanting to show off my fine choice of costume, at the very least.  I remember seeing those few darkened front porches and feeling just a little disappointed.

So, I'm off to BJ's for a bag of candy.  Whatever is left can go with me to work on Monday.  There is a dear, dear lady who delivers our mail who will do almost anything for a chocolate fix!  And her hugs are sweeter than almost anything else that goes on at my workplace.

So, my conscience will be assuaged, the kids will be happy, Miss Nancy-Pants will be happy, and I might get a great big hug out of the deal to boot.  Miss Nancy-Pants, hats off to you, even if you are, well, slightly bananas!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Need Counsel

I am considering my next project.  I have wanted to do the "Walkaway Dress" for ever and ever so long.  It was available on ebay for way more than I could ever afford to pay for a dress pattern.  But this year, Butterick decided to reprint the pattern, and I got it for 99 cents at JoAnn.  I have been doing some research, and have learned that many women have problems with the dress.  It seems like it sags in the front and sags in the back due to the weight of the wrap-around dress.  I'm pretty confident that I have enough hitch in my get-along to pull off the back of the dress.  It looks something like this:

So anyway, I've got the pattern for this and not only do I have the pattern, but I have the MOST ADORABLE vintage chapeau to go with.  It was my mother's.  She paid mega bucks for it in the 50's (maybe 40's) from the Imperial in downtown Schenectady.  Looky here:

Awesome, I know.  You are jealous!!!  But I digress.

The other project that might be next in my hit parade would be something I could actually wear to work and would give my colleagues a break from the (polyester, never needs to be ironed, black man made fiber); uniform I have been abusing of late.  It is also a reprint of a vintage pattern.

So anyway...opinions, please!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Les Halles

That's the name of the wonderful brasserie my oldest son (Jeffrey) and his dear girlfriend (Kim) took me and my Mom (Nonnie) to on Sunday.  Coming from the Capital District, I am not used to such wonder and such efficiency.  We started with the Escargots and Coutons de Coulommiers rotis au miel et poivre.  Just enough to share to whet our appetites, and every bite was ecstasy.  I ended up with the Confit de Canard.  I haven't had duck in ever so long, and this was so wonderfully crispy on the outside, and warm, moist, dark, tender deliciousness on the inside.  I coveted my companion's dishes, and hope to return some time to savor those too.

We chose to close without coffee or dessert.  Rather, we took a cab to Jeffrey's neighborhood Starbucks, and then enjoyed the coffee, company, and Turkish delight candy at Jeff & Kim's apartment.  It was a most restful and enjoyable day.  If only you could see Simone, their luscious kitty.

The Ocean

I got a lovely call from Stephanie today, followed by a message with this photo.  It's where she is right now, in Palm Springs, CA.  It seems she appreciates the healing powers of the sound of the sea as much as I do.  I would say I am jealous, but I know how much she needs this time out.  So I am so happy for her.  Have you ever experienced the stress-drawing properties of the sound of the sea?

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Dress - It's Done

And Stephanie looks just like a princess in it, not that I'm biased.  It's not done, no hem, needs to be pressed, but you get the idea. 

Here's the dress, without Stef inside, but with the bodice to see the full look.  I still think it's cuter with the kid, but of course, I'm her mom...

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Dress

This is the dress that is bringing me back into the world of sewing after a long hiatus.  It WILL be done tomorrow, come what may.  I'll take a picture of it when it's done, and post it.  Hopefully, on my daughter, who it's for.  It's the one on the right.