Friday, April 27, 2012

Asparagus and Chickpea Spaghetti

Sorry I've been a bit silent -- the kids and I are visiting my folks this week, and as usual, we're too busy having fun to mess around on the computer.  Or to crochet, knit, or anything else like that, hee.

But we had this recipe before we left, and I thought I'd better quick post it before asparagus season is totally over...

Asparagus and Chickpea Spaghetti


1 lb spaghetti -- cooked
1 med. onion -- thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic -- minced
1 4oz jar sun dried tomatoes in oil -- reserve oil
1 can chickpeas -- drained and rinsed
1 bunch asparagus -- bias cut 1" long
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp. basil
4oz Feta cheese crumbles
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper


Toss onions and asparagus with 2 Tbsp oil from tomatoes, salt, and pepper.  Roast at 350 for 20 minutes, stirring once.  Put remaining oil in a large skillet.  Saute garlic in  oil for 30 seconds.  Add all but Feta and simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Toss with spaghetti and top with Feta.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Santa Fe Rollups

We had so much fun making these!  My 4-year-old and 2-year-old always want to help me cook, and usually they just get to help with prep work because I don't let them near the stove yet.  But this time, they got to help with every step!  I did have to do most of the cheese-sprinkling, though, once I discovered that more cheese was going in their mouths than on the wraps.  We at the leftovers for lunch today, and I realized this would be a great recipe to share, so I quick took a photo before I ate the last little bit.

Santa Fe Rollups


1 16oz can refried beans
1 bag fresh baby spinach
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
8 oz shaved ham
8-10 medium tortillas
sour cream


Spread beans evenly over tortillas (a rubbery spatula works well for this),  Layer with spinach, cheeses, and ham.  Roll tortillas up like a jelly roll.  Chill until ready to serve.  Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Rainy Days Inspire Me

Does rain inspire you?  I write so well when it rains.  I get a lot of cleaning done on rainy days.  I even seem to get more new ideas for craft projects on rainy days than when it's dry.  Take this rainy day, for example:  I've finished a short-short story, folded 2 loads of laundry, and come up with an idea for a new flower pattern.  And it's not even lunchtime yet!

I used to think I got all creative when it rained because I was stuck inside, but I don't think that's it.  Snow doesn't inspire me -- when it snows, I just want to watch the snow fall.  Or curl up with a book and some hot chocolate.  Maybe it's because rain usually cools things down, and I'm much happier cool than hot.  Or maybe my brain makes some sort of subconscious connection between rain replenishing the earth and my brain replenishing itself.  I don't know.  Whatever it is, I love it :-)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Progress Report #2

Week two of my efforts to clear out half of my bedroom is drawing to a close, and check it out!  Thanks to Mom reading a bunch of old Highlights for Children to the kids, I got five boxes unpacked!  I'm donating half a box of magazines to the library, I packed up a whole storage tub with my hubby's things (and freed up some closet space too!), and combined a couple other boxes that are things I'll be putting on shelves once I get shelves.

Yes, shelves.  I decided I need some storage space in here if I'm going to get organized.  After all, "A place for everything, and everything in its place" only works if everything has a place.  With that in mind, Mom and the kids and I went to Ikea yesterday to find me what I need.  But what I found was that Ikea is more expensive than I'd anticipated, and also I never found precisely what I want.  I want something with doors that open to reveal shelves that's about 4 feet high, and then on top of that, some shelves or cubes.  I like the idea of some storage bins to hold odds and ends that I need handy, but not all over the place, and I found several patterns for crocheting them yourself here, which I might try as a fun way to use up some excess yarn.

Anyway, since I couldn't find what I want while we were at Ikea, I'm going to go to Target soon and get a couple of things that you can add together.  I was thinking an organizer like this, with something like this on top of that, and then maybe these on top of the whole thing, all in white if I can manage it.  Let's hope I can find what I want!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Flower Power

I just have to share some of the gorgeous flowers we've discovered on our property!

Hyacinths by the front door.

Lily-of-the-Valley by the front door.

Azalea bush by the driveway.

Lilac bush at the side of the house.

Some unknown trees in the backyard with really pretty pink blossoms and heart-shaped leaves.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Eggs in Peppers

We had these for breakfast this weekend, and they're so fast and tasty!  Simply cut a bell pepper (color of your choice) into 1/2" rings, then put them in a frying pan with whatever you usually fry eggs in, crack an egg in each ring, and fry them up.

I had kind of a small pepper, so my eggs spilled out -- try to find a larger pepper so that doesn't happen to you.  But they were still tasty!  (We got the recipe here on

Did you have a good Easter?  We did!  We had a short egg hunt at home as soon as the kids woke up, ate breakfast with our church family before the service, sang lots of great hymns during church ("I Know that My Redeemer Lives" always makes me tear up), and then went to a relative's house for lunch and supper and lots of fun with our kids' second cousins.  A happy Easter indeed!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Progress Report #1

Well, we've come to the end of the first week of my effort to clean up my bedroom mess and turn it into a creative nook.  I managed to unpack the suitcases and put them away, and fill up a plastic tote with stuff to take to the basement.  I broke down some small boxes I'll be keeping to mail presents to people, and I put away some of the yarn that's been lying about.  Here's how it looks now:

Not a huge improvement, but next week my mom will be here, and I'm hoping that one afternoon she'll be able to play with the kids while I really dig into my mess.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Is it a Sprite? Or a Fairy?

So, know that Secret Project I mentioned a couple times, the one inspired by the beautiful green sock yarn from Six Skeins that I won a couple weeks ago?  I'm mostly done with the first part and ready to share a peek!

I was originally thinking this would be a fairy, with outfits that reflect the four seasons.  But wings are puzzling me.  Are there wingless fairies?  Or should I call it a sprite?  She doesn't have hair yet, but I really wanted to share right now cuz I'm so excited to have the body done -- it's my first time designing a doll crochet pattern -- a full-body one, I mean -- and after lots of experimenting, it finally came out satisfactorily.

So, I got the amazing green sock yarn from Six Skeins wound into two small cakes, and I also wound up three sock yarn mini skeins I got from Wullenstudio.  Have to have yarn for the other three seasons, not just green for spring!  Though I think the green will be my starting point for the clothes.  Each outfit will be designed to reflect the season, and come with a hat too.  I already have the basic look for each one figured out (maybe one day I'll sketch out my designs so I don't forget them, but right now, all my pattern ideas are stored in my head), I just need to make them.

(My yarn cakes are a little messy because when I wound them, I had two small helpers who are possessed of more enthusiasm than exactness.  They had lots of fun!)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Asparagus Berry Salad

As promised, here's the recipe for the salad we made last week.  This is a lovely seasonal salad -- we usually eat it warm as soon as it's made, but this time we ate it cold, which is good too.

Asparagus Berry Salad


1 lb asparagus -- trimmed and cut 1"
3 Tbsp olive oil -- divided
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 bag salad greens (about 5 oz)
1 lb strawberries -- quartered
1/4 small onion -- sliced thin
1/2 cup chopped walnuts -- toasted
2 Tbsp cooking sherry
2 tsp. sugar


In a sealable container, toss the asparagus with 1 Tbsp oil.  Spread on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  In a large bowl, mix greens, strawberries, onions, walnuts, and asparagus.  In a small bowl, whisk together the sherry, sugar, and remaining oil.  Drizzle over salad and toss to coat.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


There's a mouse in my basement.

Rather like the heroine of Ludwig Bemelman's Madeline (a favorite book around here), I am not afraid of mice, and I love winter, snow, and ice.  So the mouse in my basement isn't causing me to squeal and jump on any available bit of furniture.  But it is bothering me.

Why?  Because of the apartment we rented for six months before we moved here.  It was, to put it delicately, vermin-infested.  We were plagued with mice twice, once for over a month.  This mouse we have in our basement is, according to my husband, a nice, little, brown field mouse, and not one of the ugly, grey, ratlike city mice that we had in our previous apartment.  But all the same, I'm having flashbacks to our miserable existence there, and worried that the mouse in our basement is a precursor of a return to the world of mice, roaches, and misery.

Of course, it isn't.  It's just a mouse.  We'll catch it and be rid of it, and we'll figure out how it got in (we think a neighboring cat chased it in here, as one was sniffing around our deck last night) and plug the hole so other mice don't come here too.  All the same, I'm shuddering at the memory of those six horrible months and praying we'll never have to live anywhere so dreadful again.