Tuesday, May 26, 2015
A burgeoning Christmas tradition between Robbie and I is to get each other gifts that inspire or teach us to make new things. This past Christmas Robbie got me One Hour Cheese by Claudia Lucero of Urban Cheesecraft. I was so excited by so many of the recipes, but the one that stood out most was Chipotle-Lime Oaxaca. It's a sort of Mexican mozzarella that is rubbed with a chipotle chili powder and lime juice mixture. Before I made the cheese, I wanted to come up with the perfect dish to add it to.
The inspiration for the dish came during a trip to Whole Foods, where I found a mole sauce that I immediately wanted to try with the oaxaca. I knew the roasted chili flavors would pair so well with the sharp creaminess of the cheese. From here the rest of the dish came together easily; I knew that I wanted to make pulled chicken tacos, so that the flavor of the other ingredients would really stand out. I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy of One Hour Cheese for this recipe, not only to make the best version of this dish, but also to teach yourself how to make great, easy cheeses. If you can't wait to make these tacos, though, queso fresco also works.
Shredded Chicken Mole Tacos
2 chicken breasts
4 12 oz bottles of Malta Goya
1/4 c cumin seeds
1 c mole poblano (Sky Valley Mole is a great organic option)
2 ears of corn, kernels cut off the cob
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 poblano pepper, sliced
1 c dried black beans, soaked overnight and cooked ahead OR 1 can, drained and rinsed
1 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
Chipotle-Lime Oaxaca or queso fresco
1. Add the chicken breasts, Malta Goya, and cumin seeds to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours. At the end of that time, shred the chicken and toss in mole sauce. Add more mole sauce as desired.
2. Heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes)
3. Add the sliced poblano pepper and cook until soft. Mix in the ground cumin and stir to coat the onion and pepper. When the peppers and onion start to brown add the corn. As the corn starts to brown, toss the black beans into the pot, and cook for an additional 4 minutes.
4. Serve the cooked vegetables and chicken with warmed tortillas, oaxaca, lime wedges and avocado.
at 2:00 PM
Monday, May 25, 2015
Patrick is looking at Grad schools and I'm planning my next step. In moving forward, I really want to find a career doing something that I love. I've looked at Rhode Island School of Design to see if they have a general crafting Master's program, and googled around a few traditional craft programs that aren't accredited. How does one become a Master crafter? Where does Martha Stewart find the people that fold paper flowers and hot glue acorns to wooden boxes? How do I get that job?
It doesn't seem as though there is simple answer. There are very focused programs for knitting design at RISD, we have several glass blowing schools nearby, and I'm terrible at pottery. I was hoping for a craft program with a liberal arts structure; learn a little about everything, decide what works best for you.
As strong supporters of the 10,000 hour rule (10,000 hours of practice makes you an expert in a field), Pat and I decided to aggressively craft as much as we can throughout a year. Easy, right?
Our idea had humble beginnings, but as we planned our idea we found a few kinks. We needed a comprehensive text book for this program that would both inspire us to keep moving forward, fully educate us on the proper techniques, and produce quality end results.
The only answer was Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts. After we chose the book, the rest was simple.
-We will be making a craft for each letter present (9 are skipped)
-The letters that are not accounted for will be replaced by an appropriate holiday or vintage craft from our collection of other Martha Stewart books.
-We will have two weeks to complete each craft, keeping this project within the time frame of one year.
-We will share honest reviews of each project finished, and any modifications made to the original directions. These modifications may be made with regard to material sourcing, time adjustments or personal taste.
So that's it. We' ll be self-proclaimed craft masters in one year! See you at the finish line!
The Martha Project: Letter A, "Album" - Specimen Boxes (Page 29)
We love the finished box! Scrapbooking seems so limiting now! When we vacation or go on adventures, we usually take a lot of Instagrams and digital photos but we are not so great about printing them out. However, we do collect a lot of books and trinkets from our travels. A shadow box is a perfect way to display these things and share them with our guests. This project went very smoothly and quickly.
We could not find a place to cut us such a small piece of plexiglass for a reasonable price. We decided to buy a plywood specimen box and to stain it. All others supplies and steps are as instructed.
Robbie & Patrick
at 2:16 PM
Monday, May 18, 2015
Handmade things are an important part of our lifestyle. Not only do we try to make a lot of the things that we need or want, but often we are searching for the most authentic source of the things we cannot create. Handmade Monday is going to be a reflection of that. If we have made something, or are in the process, we'll use Monday to discuss what we are learning or to share something that we've finished. Alternately, if we are not diligently working on something, we will use Mondays to highlight a maker or a item that we are lusting over. Please feel free to share something you're working on, or a handmade items in the comments below! We'd loved to see what you're making and what's inspiring you!
On Thursday, we stopped by Home Made on the way home from a picnic at the zoo. I'm always super excited to swing by Julie's shop but I never have a project in mind when we do. I always end up buying a handful of odds and ends and Patrick always picks out yarn for our Beekeeper's quilt. They have giant selection of Madeline Tosh Unicorn Tails and we never leave without picking out at least one.
With a sense of urgency, I flipped through the pattern binders to find something quick to knit. I found a hat pattern from Dull Roar, grabbed a skein of Manos and we headed home for dinner.
By bed time, half of the hat was knitted and I knew I was going to run out of yarn. I did. You can figure out how I solved that problem if you look at the back view of the hat :)
I decided that if I was diligently knitting a project or so a week, that I would have tons of Christmas gifts ready by December. However, Pat immediately claimed this hat once it was blocked and dry. Hopefully the next project will make it to the gift basket.
The pattern was really straightforward and simple, and if we ignore the fact that I underestimated yardage, this project went super well. I'm kind of glad we're keeping it.
at 12:43 PM
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Our bedroom is my favorite place to decorate. There are tons of houseplants and antiques, and everything else is white. It's so fresh and comfortable; like staying in hotel but not having to use those dusty, tiny soaps in the shower.
However, I have this weird thing about light switches and electrical outlets. They look so sad to me and we rent, so I can't change the plates or paint over them (I don't think so, anyway). So I try to hide them.
I love to pretend that I'm immune to Pinterest whims, but I'm always digging around the supply closet to check and see if we have all of the tools and components for a last minute late night project.
When I saw this wall hanging from Poppytalk, I knew it would be the perfect project to camouflage yet another gnarly switch plate. We didn't have a dowel, though. My intense need to craft found me in the laundry room digging around for something dowel like. Yarn and eucalyptus were easier to find; they're all over the house.
I tried a few things; a paint stick, a yard stick, a mixing spoon. Determined. I finally ended up dismantling an aluminum broom left by the previous tenants and coloring the ends of the handle with a gold sharpie.
As soon as Patrick got home, we cut and tied all of the yarn and he added the Stargazer lights from Terrain. I actually really adore this project.
at 1:38 PM
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Pat picked this book up for me on a day that didn't seem to really be working out, knowing how much I love Miranda July. She has a kooky sense of humanity that inspires me by asking really difficult and interesting questions; questions that make you feel like you may simultaneously understand really big things by exploring their smallness.
I should have prefaced that we read to each other, out loud before/in bed. It's one of those little quirks about our relationship that is absolutely indicative of the romantic personality we've created together over the past few years.
This book is tough, uncomfortable and beautiful. I honestly think that working together through some of the uncomfortable subject matter together audibly made this book even more interesting than reading it alone and carrying the secrets privately.
The book is mostly about the games adults play in their private lives, and hearing them be said out loud brought a kind of catharsis that reading alone could not have achieved. It's like a scene in one of those movies where someone has a revelation about something and then yells what they've learned from the tallest hill/mountain/building that is closest to them. Except that their significant other is next to them, and they're yelling too. Both voices know and understand. Yeah, its like that.
I guess what you should take away from this review (Is this a review?) is this:
Find this book.
Read it with someone.
Watch the Universe unfold.
Robbie + Patrick
at 5:50 PM