Now that I have space, I'm having a lot of fun learning some new things and going back to an old hobby. I am trying to learn how to cook. Its not something I enjoy because I get frustrated easily, but I've been trying to prepare more meals myself and pay more attention to what Chris is doing when he is fixing food so that I can learn from him. We signed up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) this spring and so every week we get a box full of fresh produce. We never know what the box will contain, and there have been many veggies that are new to us-- radishes, arugula, kale, etc. Its been a fun challenge to find recipes for them! I'm going to try to post to the blog at least once a week with a photo of our box and the meals we have made/ recipes we have used. You can see photos of some of the boxes we've received already here.
Though cooking is a challenge for me, I've always enjoyed baking. I don't do much of it, though, because most things that are baked aren't terribly healthy. Cookies, cakes, brownies, etc. But this summer I've started baking bread. I always assumed that bread would be hard to make. So much kneading and making sure that the dough is placed in the perfect spot and the right temperature. But then I discovered this great book, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, and it makes bread making SO easy and SO approachable. And bread is something that we would be eating anyway- we'd just be spending more on it at the store and wouldn't have control over the ingredients. And even though yes, its got a fair share of calories, most breads aren't unhealthy, especially if used for a sandwich or to replace a less healthy snack (like cookies or chips). Since I got the book a month ago I've been making bread several times a week-- sometimes even every day! I've posted some photos here.
Another new thing is the garden. I've always wanted to be a gardener but since we've lived in apartments for the last 5 years I haven't been very successful. In case you are wondering, hot peppers do very well in window boxes but tomatoes do not! We have hot peppers (because we've had success with them in the past!), tomatoes, squash and herbs. Chris is like a nervous parent- checking them every day for bugs and worrying about every little change. So far we've used clippings from the rosemary, thyme and basil in stew, bread and other meals, and Chris has mentioned using some of the mint for mojitos. Hopefully we'll eventually have something we can eat from the veggetable plants, too!
The new/old hobby I mentioned earlier is sewing. In a past life, or so it feels to me, I did a lot of sewing. Kind of like how I am now with knitting. I sewed everything, all the time. For pleasure and for pay. But then I burned out and I stopped. Cold turkey. And since then the only sewing I've done was to occasionally line a bag or make a knitting project bag. But lately I had been get the urge to get back into and now that we have so much space its actually possible! I've been taking full advantage of my HUGE open floor in my studio to lay out fabric and patterns to cut. I almost feel like I'm starting over with my sewing. I'm doing small, simple projects but paying alot of attention to the details and doing everything right- not taking short cuts. I'm ironing in between steps, finishing the seams nicely, etc. In the past I rushed too much and the quality of my work suffered as a consequence. I'm taking a different strategy this time around. I've made a couple of sundresses and have fabric for several aprons. One or maybe two of the aprons are for myself (all that bread making is messy!) but one of them is for a friend who is getting married this summer and another is for Alli (fabric shown). I need to be careful though or I'll spend all my money at the fabric store- the beautiful colors and prints are mesmerizing and I always end up leaving with more than I planned!