Tuesday, October 21, 2014

All Aboard the Presleywagon!

Pattiwagon, meet Presley. She is the daughter of my dear friends Corrie and Michael, and she is a doll. I've never met a happier, cheerier, more go-with-the-flow baby. And she doesn't mind when we use inappropriate trivia names. What's not to love? 
Presley celebrated her first birthday last weekend, so I figured, with such beautiful red hair, who wouldn't need another green dress? 

I did not go about making said green dress in the Pattiwagon way, that is I actually went to Hancock Fabrics. I looked at the pattern books. I selected a pattern. I read the directions. I followed the directions. I bought recommended fabric. I measured exactly. 
I used a very basic pattern, and the seersucker I chose was a dream to work with. The stripes helped in keeping things even, but I didn't feel the pressure to match everything up perfectly. 

I learned how to make a button hole on my machine, and while they are the buttonholes of a novice, I think they're passable. I had the initials monogramed at a local shop. I'm really pleased with how everything turned out. 
Feeling confident, I decided to tackle the matching shirt and pants that were also available in the pattern.
I followed all of my anti-Pattiwagon steps, and everything was going well until I got to the neckline. The train derailed there. I started to list all the problems here, but you're already bored. I need to do a model fitting and take it to my sewing sensei at Thanksgiving for a serger tutorial. Maybe problem #1 (the fact that it is HUGE) will be resolved by the time I actually give it to Baby Presley. 
Happy Birthday, Baby P! 

Speaking of model fittings, have I ever gotten into Project Runway this season!?! Team Sean! (Or Kini!) Season finale is on Thursday! 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall Notes

Some things I've been up to lately:
1. Enjoying Germany and everything German. This is the first semester I've taught German I in a couple years, and I have rekindled my love of Germany with this group of students. They are so curious and hungry (both figuratively and literarily) for knowledge of Germany and its customs. This has inspired me to embrace Germany this fall. I've made spƤtzle, this peach kuchen, and bratwurst with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes (a fav of mine). I went to Schweinehaus, a new German restaurant in Memphis for an Oktoberfest celebration, taking in the food, drink, and Masskrugstemmen (stein holding contest). Here are some photos! (Can you guess which dinner I made and which dinner Schweinehaus made?)

 2. Book clubbing. My book club took an extended summer respite, but we're back on, and I'm glad for it. We just read The Informationist by Taylor Stevens. It's a quick international thriller, not super eloquent, but very engaging.

3. Pottery Class. The ceramics teacher at my new school offers classes for teachers after school. Sign me up for every single one until the end of my career, right? In our first class this year, we made mugs. Once I get it fired and glazed and am enjoying coffee out of it, I'll do another post, but here's a tease.

 4. Map My Running. I am notoriously late to the party when it comes to technology, especially running technology. (I only recently even started running with headphones.) I have discovered the Map My Run app, and I see it as a watershed moment. No longer am I chained to my preordained route, as measured by my car odometer. I can track my pace and splits and distances! WATERSHED! I'm running in a half marathon in one week, so we'll see if it watersheds my time as well.

5. Bulletin Boarding. Avid Pattiwagoneers know that I would quit my job tomorrow if I could become a professional bulletin boarder. My new school does not have community bulletin boards. Travesty, I know. But where there's a wall, there's a way. I volunteered to make this GIANT sign for the cafeteria. (The arrow moves w/ velcro, and the X comes off as well.)  It's 14 feet tall, no joke. I'm happy with it, but it did take approximately forever to complete. I'm in the process of turning a community dry erase board into a bulletin board, so hopefully I'll be able to continue my quest to become the most decorated bulletin boarder in Pinterest history. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Two for Thursday: Easy Dinners

Yes, as the leader of the Pattiwagon, I promote taking time to cook delicious food and enjoying the process of creation. Why buy cheese when you can make it? Even it it takes 36 hours? Why buy honey when you can find it? Even if it involves the stickiest mess this side of La Brea. 

But sometimes, I just want dinner now, or better five minutes ago. And I imagine that you do too. So here are two excellent recipes for those busy fall nights. 

Recipe #1: Shrimp Curry
This recipe is totally inspired from my trips to VH Foods, but even if you don't have an awesome ethnic grocery store, I'm sure you can make it work. 
2T red curry paste
1t vegetable oil
1 16 oz can coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth
variety of cut up vegetables (Zucchini, carrot, mushrooms, and peppers seem to work well.)
1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and cleaned
1/2 pint of slurry (basically crushed tomatoes)
heavy-handed dash of fish sauce
rice noodles

1. Cook the rice noodles according to the directions. I put them in a big bowl, then pour boiling water over them, and allow them to cook for about 10 minutes. However you do it, just make sure to keep them very al dente. They will cook more when you add the sauce. And no one likes mushy noodles. 
2. Put the oil in a big pot on the stove on medium. Add the curry paste and stir it around a bit to "saute" it. Add in the coconut milk and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. 
3. Add in the sliced veggies, keeping in mind that their cooking times might vary. I like to add the peppers last, as I find mushy peppers as abhorrent as mushy noodles. Let the vegetables cook for 3-5 minutes, or until they have just started to soften. 
4. Add in the shrimp and let cook for about 1-2 minutes, or until they curl up and turn opaque. 
5. To finish, I add in a half pint of slurry (from our canning camp) and some fish sauce. 
6. Serve over the noodles. (Or over rice. Or just ingest with a straw.)

Recipe #2: Chorizo Sweet Potato Skillet
This recipe is stolen from Budget Bytes. The combination of sweet and spicy is so flipping good here. The only adaptation I did was precook the chorizo and omit most of the cheese. You should make this recipe tonight. And then again tomorrow. I'll say two words: you're welcome.