Monday, March 28, 2011

sunny things on a rainy day

Sorry for my absence of late. I got put on a temporary work project that has had me working 12 hour days for the past week and will have me on the same schedule until next Monday. I'm not going in to work until 3pm today, so I'm enjoying the down time......

Daffodils I bought for $5. Most are still closed, and this is the first flower to open up

Enjoying a cup of coffee. A sprinkle of cinnamon added to the grounds before brewing... yum.

This little fruit is my new favorite thing ever. Picture a kiwi the size of a grape that you don't have to peel. At $5 a container they're quite an indulgence, but well worth it. Trust me. {you can purchase these lovelies at Whole Foods, or see more pictures of them here at}

Feeling a little guilty that my garden is still seedless, but hopefully I'll put these little guys in the ground soon.

And, of course, I'm giving some much-needed attention to this little girl. I've been coming home only to sleep, so I think Barley's been feeling abandoned.

I am thoroughly enjoying sitting on the couch, sweeping, doing laundry, and relaxing. I'm also dreaming about the day that I have time to make these cookies. Yum!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Just wanted to pop in and wish you all a happy St. Patrick's Day! I'm feeling a little nostalgic for the Emerald Isle at the moment - our Robison Family Vacation back in July was so amazing and I'd love to be over there now.

About a year ago I started this blog to chronicle my attempts at cooking Irish food in preparation for that Ireland trip, and the blog has evolved into so much more ever since then. {Coincidentally, I just found Judith, the Irish Foodie, who actually does cook Irish food.}

For this one year anniversary, I had thoughts of putting together my favorite posts of the last year and writing something poignant and meaningful, but since I spent four hours commuting today I'm just going to enjoy a nice cold glass of white green wine and chill out.

Thanks for being here everyone. It means a lot to me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Make like a tourist and head out, Georgia

Just for fun, I decided to put together a list of must-do's for Georgia residents and visitors. This is all part of my resolution to "act like a tourist." I move around a lot. Several years ago, I started pretending that I would be moving in a year and would never be coming back. Acting like I would never see my town - Asheville, Escondido, Carlsbad, Decatur, Atlanta, Kennesaw - again prevented  me from putting off the fun stuff until later.

Full Disclosure: I also made this list to remind myself why I love Georgia. Sometimes the negative news prevails and I forget how much I love it here. Case in point: This morning I heard that Sunday alcohol sales are unlikely to pass legislation. In the same breath the announcer said that... - wait for it - ..... those same legislators will decide today whether to allow people to carry guns into church. Ha! I love you Georgia!

Today seems as good a time as any to make my list of things I want to do in Georgia in the next year. I've already done a lot of these, but want to make sure I make time to do them again.

Atlanta - Food
1. Plan an exotic meal and go on an extensive shopping trip to DeKalb Farmers Market to get the ingredients
2. Eat fried chicken at Mary Mac's
3. Plan a Decatur-date that includes a taco at Taqueria del Sol and a beer at Brickstore

Atlanta - Events
4. Watch a classic and drink some wine at Screen on the Green (ONLY if it's held at Piedmont Park)
5. Have a picnic in Piedmont Park at sunset on a summer evening
6. Read Gone with the Wind, watch the movie, and visit all 3 GWTW museums in the area (yes, there are 3)
7. Watch a Braves game at Turner Field
8. Get inspired to write at the Decatur Book Festival
9. Run the Peachtree Road Race (largest 10K in the U S of A!)
10. Learn to shear sheep at Sheep to Shawl
11. Visit Oakland Cemetery for a Twilight Tour
12. Spend a few hours in Kudzu

Georgia - Great Outdoors
13. Take pictures of the wild horses at Cumberland Island National Seashore
14. Visit Callaway Gardens again (site of my 28th birthday celebration - so fun!)
15. Hike the GA section of the Appalachian Trail (planned for this April!)
16. Kayak through the Okefenokee Swamp

Georgia - Events
17. Make the Habitat for Humanity Global Village part of a road trip
18. Go to the Brunswick Rockin' Stewbilee in October, or perhaps the Wild Georgia Shrimp and Grits Festival in September
19. Go to the GA Apple Festival
20. Take pictures of old houses in Savannah
21. Visit some sheep at one of these agricultural state fairs

Georgia - Food
22. Visit Serenbe Farms and eat brunch at the restaurant there
23. Say howdy to Pablo*
24. Get some fried chicken at Paula Deen's restaurant
25. Eat fried green tomatoes at The Whistle Stop Cafe

Don't Even Have to Leave the House.....
26. Make sweet tea from scratch!
27. Serve that sweet tea (and other cold beverages) on the patio once our backyard is lookin' pretty

* Ok, this isn't technically in Georgia. When Tom and I had known each other for less than two months, we took a road trip from Atlanta to St. Augustine (FL) to Jekyll Island to Savannah, where we celebrated St. Patrick's Day on 3/17/09. Heading north out of St. Augustine we decided to stop at Pablo's Mexican Restaurant in Fernandina Beach, FL. Pablo himself took care of us and served us his finest margaritas. He also drastically under-charged us. We really need to get back there, and if you're in the area you should say howdy to Pablo too. Might I recommend the back patio if the weather is pleasant.

What about you? Have you taken advantage of everything your state has to offer? Of course, your list doesn't have to include touristy stuff (though acting like a tourist when you aren't one is insanely fun). Think big. Think different. What does your town/state/region have to offer? And what would you have to experience if you were going to be moving - and never coming back?

Georgia Fans - what have I missed? This list will be evolving as the year goes on, so feel free to let me know if I've missed a must-do.

PS. Here are my favorite lists for Maine, NYC, DC, and San Fran.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Prepping the garden

It is absolutely gorgeous here in Georgia - a perfect weekend to start the garden! We were busy this weekend: selecting the right soil, putting together raised beds, filling those beds with soil, and choosing plants and seeds for the perfect garden. I also 'constructed' my worm bin. Here was my to-do list for the weekend:

Choose which plants to grow this year
Determine which plants will be grown in a container and which will be put in the ground
Map out a garden plan
Build a raised bed*
Build  a worm bin
Get cold-weather crops in the ground (carrots, peas, spinach)
Determine whether we want to join a CSA**
Celebrate the 70+ degree weather by drinking a mimosa on Sunday afternoon after all the work is done

I think we did a pretty good job with the list. Nothing is in the ground yet, but everything is purchased and I'll work on planting when I get home every evening this week.

Selecting the Soil
I really wanted to support a local business for all of my gardening needs, but I called around to all the seed/garden supply stores in the area, and none of them had organic soil in stock. I was considering going to Farmer D's down in Atlanta, but I decided I didn't want to drive the 25 miles to get down there. They take food waste from Whole Foods and turn it into compost. I love that idea - so much better than throwing food in the dumpster.

Anyway, I ended up getting organic garden soil from Home Depot for $6.97 a bag. I also got a couple bags of Moo-Nure (ha!) and some mushroom compost. And yes we certainly did stuff 13 bags of soil/compost into Tom's Acura.

{back seat of the Acura}


{I returned that bag of peat moss - decided I didn't need/want it}

Prepping the Earth
If you'll remember from Friday's post, the future herb garden was covered with some red mulch that needed to be removed. Soil from both gardens needed to be broken up with a hoe, and a wood structure needed to be put around each garden to keep in the new soil.

{Tom prepping the herb garden}

{The vegetable garden after I have loosened the soil}

Putting the raised bed frame together
Y'all, I have a big fat confession: I am extremely averse to construction and carpentry projects. I don't know exactly where this came from, but I'm pretty sure I can blame it on my father. Pa built the house that I grew up in (and that my parents still live in) almost single-handedly. Bit by bit the house grew and improved. The bulk of the construction was done by the time I was about ten (I think), but the home improvement projects were pretty constant in the Robison Residence. My childhood instilled in me two very concrete truths: 1) My father is awesome!!! Seriously, who is proficient enough in construction, plumbing and electric that they are able to build a house single-handedly?; and 2) Construction projects make me anxious. Whenever something is being built, I have anxiety about how long it is going to take. Habitat for Humanity, the last time I built a worm box, building this raised bed. All three are events that gave me mild to major bouts of anxiety.

All this is to say that rather than buying wood and building my own raised bed frame, I got one prebuilt four-sided frame and used two sides for one garden and two sides for the other. And since it was only $30 for the kit (also at Home Depot), I think we actually saved money by doing it this way (and definitely a lot of time).

{Here it is deconstructed. You can see the box in the back seat picture above.}

In no time at all Tom and I put together two sides of the box for the herb garden and two sides of the box for the vegetable garden. Minimal carpentry required - phew!

{herb garden}

{veggie garden}

Filling the garden with soil
This morning I got up first thing and put the soil in each bed. I used five bags of garden soil for the veggie garden, the whole bag of mushroom compost, and half the bag of moo-nure. The herb garden only needs to be about six inches deep, so I added two bags of garden soil and the other half of the bag of moo-nure. Herbs can grow in really poor soil, so I didn't put any compost in it (I used up all of my compost in the veggie garden).

Selecting Plants
The funnest part of this project was selecting the plants. I've been doing a lot of research over the past week on which plants would do well at our house, and was so excited to seem them in the flesh (sources of research and inspiration here and here). To choose the best plants, I thought about the foods that we eat on a regular basis. Even though I'll only be planting one or two of most of these plants, I bought seed packets rather than plants. For one, buying seed packets gave me much more variety. For another, seeds were $1 a pack (or $1.49 for the organic seed packs) rather than $3.33 for one plant. I did buy four tomato plants, some leeks and a rosemary plant because I didn't want to grow them from seed.

Garlic Chives
Organic Oregano
Fernleaf Dill
Organic Basil

Sugar Snap Peas
Organic Carrots
Garden Beans
Sweet Bell Peppers (Mix)
Tomatoes (one Roma, one Cherry, one Heirloom)

edible flowers
Bachelor's Buttons

Did I overdo it? Perhaps. But I plan on only growing one of each herb, and 2-3 of most of the veggies. Also, we'll be using our large deck area to support a little container garden so I think we can make all of the herbs and veggies happy here. 

All this is to say that I'll have lots of leftover seeds (with the exception of spinach, since I plan on doing successive plantings through the fall). So, if you'd like any of the seeds above please let me know - I would be more than happy to ship them to you for free! I just want these little dearies to have a forever home.

"Building" a Worm Bin
As I mentioned above, I'm not too big on the whole construction idea. Also, I like to recycle old items rather than buying new whenever possible. So when I was thinking of a home for my worms, I decided to save both a tree and the hassle of constructing a box all in one. I headed to the antique shop this morning and found an old box for $20. It was a little more than I wanted to spend, but if i didn't buy the box I would have been off to purchase some wood and nails to build my own - and suddenly $20 didn't seem like such a steep purchase. Behold, the house that 1,000 red worms will soon call home:

If you want to learn more about vermicomposting, check out this site. I would highly recommend using worms to turn your food scraps into high quality compost. And plus, they are about the only animals that this tiny homestead can support.

In addition to a worm box, I also got some other neat stuff when I was antique-ing. Like these dinosaur cookie cutters:

This was made in Mexico from reclaimed materials - love it!


When I saw this bowl I had to have it. This blue is my new favorite color - it is my color inspiration for the kitchen in the next house we live in.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend - Happy Sunday!

PS. As for that last thing on the to-do list at the beginning of the post.... we're taking care of that now. There's nothing like drinking a mimosa on a warm Sunday evening when spring is just starting to peek her little head around the corner.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Black Eyed Susan Starts a Homestead

Urban Homesteading, verb
participation in home-based activities such as gardening, raising poultry or small livestock, producing simple products, and generally seeking ways to increase self-sufficiency in a city or suburban environment.with the goal of reducing one’s environmental impact and returning to a home-based, family-centered, self-sufficient way of life.


Happy Friday friends! Here in Georgia we have been gripped by an icy chill in the last couple of days, but we expect temperatures to reach 70 degrees tomorrow. Hurray Spring - we are ready to welcome you with open arms.

One of my biggest epiphanies over the past week has been that I am waiting until later to have the life that I desire to have, rather than doing what I can to have that life now. I'm really looking forward to being a farmer, to owning a small bit of land and growing food for my family. For some reason, I have assumed that since I have no land I am unable to grow my own food and live a simpler life. But why can't I grow my own food now? I don't have land, but I do have a tiny yard backyard that - with careful planning - could support a lot of vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers. I may not be able to start a compost heap in the corner of the yard, but I can build a worm bin and use these little guys to create compost out of our food waste. I may not be able to have a sheep farm - yet! - but that doesn't mean I can't buy some yarn at a local shop and start creating hats and scarves. I am so excited by the prospect of redefining the can'ts in my life. That sounds so cliche, but it's true. All this time I thought I was unable to live the life that I want to live because my home isn't on an acre of land, but the only thing that has been stopping me is my inability to get a little creative with my definition of farmer.

The particular life that I want to cultivate involves gardening, growing my own food, and making everything I can myself. Even if you are unable to relate to this desire, I think that many people can relate to this feeling of waiting. Waiting until you move to start a career you are passionate about, waiting until you have that perfect story to write your book, waiting until you are wealthy to take that dream trip, waiting until you have an acre of land to grow a few tomatoes. Lets not wait until tomorrow. Lets begin today - together - to live the life we have always wanted to have.

Alright, enough with the philosophy. On to the heavy lifting. Since I want to grow as much food as possible on our tiny plot of land, I'm going to have to get creative. This is what we're dealing with here:

{here I hope to plant herbs and edible flowers}

{this will be converted into a raised bed}

{we'll put our container garden on our deck, as well as switch out our patio set for a smaller one more suited to the area. A small trellis will be placed to the right of the deck, and will support peas.}

I admit it's not pretty now, but all the more reason to get going now right? Plus, having really unattractive 'before' pictures makes the 'afters' all the more beautiful. I have a lot to do this weekend - and beyond - to turn our mini backyard into a homegrown-food oasis, and I can't wait to get started. Here is my project list for this weekend:

Choose which plants to grow this year
Determine which plants will be grown in a container and which will be put in the ground
Map out a garden plan
Build a raised bed*
Build  a worm bin
Get cold-weather crops in the ground (carrots, peas, spinach)
Determine whether we want to join a CSA**
Celebrate the 70+ degree weather by drinking a mimosa on Sunday afternoon after all the work is done

* Even though I have a garden plot (shown in the second picture above), it really hasn't done well the past two years that I have attempted to garden there. The soil is not very good and is full of rocks, so I am going to create a root barrier and dump high quality soil and compost on top to get a fresh start.

** I'd like to start eating local food as much as possible. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to produce in the backyard, so am considering supplementing this tiny garden by joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). In a CSA, you pay a lump sum to a farmer in the beginning of the season - this goes to seed, fertilizers, etc. - and then you share in the produce when food is harvested. If you'd like to find a CSA near you, check out Local Harvest. Our particular CSA is organic, 26 weeks, and $650 ($25 per week). I haven't decided yet if I want to join the CSA or just see what we are able to produce in the backyard and supplement that by buying from our local farmer's market. Suggestions?

I'm really excited to get going on this garden, and hope to be able to produce a lot of our food ourselves. When we get a house with a real yard I'd like to add bees and chickens to the mix (as well as a much more extensive garden), but for now I'll just stick to basic herbs and vegetables and worms (for composting).

In this effort to homestead, I'd also like to start making other household goods myself (soap, pillows, laundry detergent, etc). In short, before I buy things at the store I'd like to attempt to either recycle another item I already have, make it myself from scratch, or refurbish something I can find at the secondhand store. In an effort to support my new home projects, we are converting our guest bedroom to my craft room (don't worry, we're keeping the guest bed and would still like to see as many friends and family here for a visit as often as possible!). I'll be on the lookout for a sewing machine soon, and will also be looking for new ways to make things myself. Any suggestions, projects, or tips you can throw this way would be welcome!

In an extreme coincidence, my sister Lisa in Maine just recently decided to convert one of her rooms to a craft room, and is also planning to create a garden! We must have some serious sister brain waves going on. My sister Laura lives in a tiny apartment in Oakland, CA, but she is asking her landlord if she can start a garden on the roof of her building. How's that for inspiration?! I just love those ladies - my very best friends!

{both pictures from our trip to Ireland last July}

Monday, March 7, 2011

Homemade Art

I just realized that I never shared the Christmas gift that I made for Tom. I had so much fun making this piece of art, and it really wasn't that difficult. First off, a huge thanks to The Inspirers:

Cheri at I Am Momma (I used her printable for the center piece)
The Petersiks at YHL (for showing me the technique)

The quote on the center piece reads: "whatever you can do or dream you can do, Begin It. boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." I love that quote and wanted to make something that would be both meaningful art and would also be a little inspiring. Tom is a pilot and a bike rider, so I decided to make the art piece a triptych rather than just framing the center piece.

The most difficult part of this project was choosing a background for the plane/bike pictures so that the color would match the background of Cheri's quote. I don't have photoshop or anything that fancy, so I used powerpoint to design the two side pieces. I played around in powerpoint until I had the right background color, and then found a sillhouette of a biplane and bicycle on google images and attached them to individual 'slides' in powerpoint. I then printed out each slide so that it would take up the entire 8.5 by 11 piece of paper, and cut off the white border.

Pretty low-tech way of making art, but it worked for me. Oh, and if you feel supremely inspired to do the same thing and want to match the background color, please email me. I have the RGB colors written down at work, and I can send them to you.

After I had my images, I went to Home Depot and had three pieces of plywood cut to 8.5 by 11 dimensions. I placed them on cardboard in the garage and painted them black with craft paint (about $2.50 at Hobby Lobby).

(There are six pieces here because I actually made a similar gift for my father. As it turns out, I didn't take pictures of Tom's gift in-the-making, and I didn't take a final picture of my father's gift. So this post is a hybrid of Tom's and my father's gift. Sorry!)

Before attaching the pictures to the wood, I rubbed a wet paper towel vigorously over each picture so that they would look a little more aged. I also rubbed a used tea bag all over each image to give them a more vintage look. Allow the paper to dry before attaching to the wood.


After the black paint on the wood was dry, I spread mod podge over the entire piece of wood, and then laid the piece of paper on top of the wood, placing it carefully and trying to make sure that the paper was as smooth as possible. I ended up having a lot of bumps, but it turned out fine in the end.

Next, spread a very generous amount of mod podge over the image, and allow to dry.

Attach picture hanging hooks on the back of each piece of wood and voila - instant art! We still haven't hung Tom's art yet, but the piece is leaning on some furniture at the foot of the bed and serves as early-morning inspiration when we first get up.... Ok, maybe it doesn't actually inspire us at 5am, but I bet it sends some sort of good vibes into our dreams while we're sleeping. Or something like that.

If you're curious as to what my father's piece looks like, the 'Home' piece goes in the center, and the map of Maine and the buck silhouette go on either side. I'll try to get him to take a picture and email it to me so that I can include it here.

Once again, thanks Cheri for giving away your printable art!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

An Inspired Sunday

Last night, I went to Borders to peruse their store-is-closing deals. Since they started their big sale two weeks ago, I expected things to be picked-over but also insanely clearanced. Things were definitely picked-over, but most books were only for 25-30% off (with the exception of holiday stuff and a few other things). But given that I was in the book mood - those times when I have an insatiable urge to spend hours in the library or the bookstore smelling, touching and reading books - I stayed. For two hours. And bought five books. I am so excited to sit down, open the blinds, sip hot coffee, and dive into these amazing books. I bought each book not because the deal was too good to pass up, but because they left me feeling inspired.

They are:

1. Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich

This book is a memoir, and looks awesome. I was going to buy it anyway, but once I saw that she wrote a chapter called Homemade Mountain Music I knew that had to have it. Since high school, I have wanted to learn how to play fiddle. When I went to college - a tiny place nestled in the mountains of North Carolina - I took two semesters of fiddle. Even while I was in class I was too preoccupied with the learning that seemed more likely to earn me a career than to spend any substantial time learning old time music. Now I wonder if perhaps I should have spent more time practicing my fiddle and less time poring over Organic Chemistry. Even much of basic chemistry has escaped me, but that desire to learn the fiddle is ever present.

2. The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan

"Oh Book Cover, you had me at your subtitle"

Eat from your garden year-round, make omelets from your own chickens, pick berries from your back door. Yup, yup, and yup. All three of these things give me tiny butterflies of excitement in my future-vision. It makes no difference that I currently have a non-existent plot of land. All the more reason to get there someday. And when I have that land, I will surely be prepared. To make Hot Pepper Jelly (page 72), to build a chicken coup a "poulet chalet" (page 236), and - most importantly - to make peach wine (page 133).

3. In Stitches by Amy Butler

I am not a sewer. Wait, is that the right spelling? I think it is, I just googled it. But I don't mean the underground system of pipes that carry unmentionables. I mean a person that sews. I guess I could just say seamstress.

I am not a seamstress. I have in my possession a pile of fabric and a quilt pattern that I bought when I was 19, thinking that I would pick up that oh-so-noble art of quilting. And then I learned that quilting requires cutting out pieces of fabric so meticulously that they are exactly the same size when you are finished. This is so not me. I lack delicacy, precision and patience in excessive abundance. But I am going to try. I want to try. In fact, I have already decided that I am going to make two major purchases this year: a digital camera and a sewing machine.

This book is beautiful and includes just the inspiration I need to start to cultivate the beginnings of delicacy, precision and patience in my own self. Isn't this apron just lovely?

And so, I sew. {I'm sorry. I really couldn't resist.}

4. Handmade Beginnings by Anna Maria Horner

No Mom, I am NOT pregnant. This book is. so. cute. and when I saw it couldn't resist. I want to make the things in this book so badly I can't resist. And since you learned about my sewing inadequacies in number 3 above, you know that I better start now if I hope to have any handmade clothes for my child by the time it is born. In ten years. But in the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that I bought this book because of the photo below.

My child WILL wear a baby-in-the-hood jacket. No ifs ands or buts about it. That jacket is so darned cute I might make two or three. The pattern seems to be a bit complicated, so I'll try out one of the other patterns in this book before tackling it. There are some great patterns that aren't just for baby, so even those of us that are childless will find this a useful book (slippers, a cute pillow, or a wrap dress that could easily be worn non-pregnancy).

5. Room to Write by Bonni Goldberg

For as much as I love to write, I almost never do it. This book is full of daily writing prompts, and I can't wait to dive in.

These books leave me full of inspiration, and make me really really happy. Lately I've been trying to surround myself with things that make me happy, not things that should make me happy. Which is why I bought a homesteading book even though I don't have land, and why I spent two hours of my Saturday evening in a bookstore rather than going out with friends. Here are some other things that have made me happy recently, and I hope they make you happy too.

1. Soule Mama - I just found this blog and I love it! The soule mama has five kids, lives in Maine, is focused on having a homemade home, and takes beautiful pics.

2. This fruit leather recipe. I can't wait for berry season!!

3. 37days. Please read this post to start. I almost bought her book, Life is a Verb, at the bookstore, but decided to wait. I'm going to read her blog for a while and then perhaps buy the book later.

4. A tiny library

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Feast for One

For the past couple of weeks, I have been in a food funk. Which has corresponded quite nicely with my work funk. And my commute funk. You may even say that I've been in a Funk (capitol F), but thinking of it that way is too overwhelming. I'm going to chip away at this Funk thing in bite-sized pieces, so right now I'm focusing on the food funk. (what? pun too corny?)

Anyway, yesterday morning on my way to work I started craving Real Food. The kind that doesn't come out of a box, the kind that isn't served to me by someone else, and the kind that I make myself. From scratch. Using real ingredients. And in light of the fact that I haven't cooked a meal in approximately 9 days {shameful!}, I decided to make myself a meal.

It may have been the weather, the fact that it was Friday night, my empty stomach or my new haircut, but I decided - somewhere along the line - to go all out.

Menu Extraordinaire 
Strawberry Shortcake Cake*

*I decided to make this cake because strawberries are in season right now. And yes, I was probably as shocked as you that strawberries are already being sold for 3lbs for 5dollars at the grocery store. Don't be depressed if you're looking at a negative number on the thermometer, you'll have fresh fruit soon too. {yes Maine, I'm talking to you}

I didn't really get a lot of photos of the process, but let me say that the food was delightful. Really, everything was delicious. It turns out that cauliflower soup is actually amazing (think a less starchy version of potato soup). It also turns out that if you spend four hours cooking, you aren't that hungry when all is said and done at 10:30 at night. Ah the joys of overdoing things once and a while.

And for those of you counting how many sticks of butter I used for my feast last night, don't you worry - you'll have your day when you outshine me during bikini season.

A few general tips about the food:
1. The focaccia is tastier if you toast it before eating.
2. One pound of strawberries isn't enough. I went back to the grocery store this morning and bought another pound of strawberries. These I crushed up, mixed with sugar, and used as a sauce for the cake. It made the cake much more moist and yummy.
3. All of these dishes went really well together. I was surprised, because I just picked a few dishes that looked tasty. But the spaghetti is amazing with the focaccia, which goes well with the soup. Yum!
4. I've been storing the cake in the freezer (covered with plastic wrap), and I love this cake cold. Definitely will add it to my list of recipes to make when one of our Georgia summers strikes with full force.

And that, my friends, is how you make up for two weeks of laziness all in one night. Thank heavens for the fabulous Ree Drummond for being generally awesome. And for being an amazing chef. And for handing out her recipes for free. You should go check her out here. No really, you should.

This food sure beats bar food, which I believe is what I ate last Friday night. And the Friday before? {Looking down sheepishly}

I feel very sufficiently funk-less at the moment. Maybe the way to my own heart is through my stomach - so long as the road there includes Louis Armstrong, cheap wine, dancing with my puppy, wearing a cute apron, wholesome food, and strawberry cake.

Hugs everyone. Have a terrific weekend.

How about you? Are you a one-dish wonder, or do you like to plan entire meals at a time. Please dish - I usually only make one thing at a time, and making four last night was pretty liberating.
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