Wednesday, November 29, 2017

May I Introduce you to Freekah?

(That is if you don't already know it.)

I first ate freekeh at book club a few weeks ago, prepared by my friend Jamie. She served it with some delicious Cuban food, and I immediately knew that I needed more freekeh in my life. It's a Middle Eastern grain similar to rice or quinoa, but it has much more earthiness and flavor. Jamie recommended I order it on Amazon, so as soon as book blue ended, I primed it straight to Charleswood. I've been eating it ever since.

While the instructions on the package say to use a 5:1 ratio of water/broth to freekah and cook "until done." I followed that the first time (using chicken broth) and cooked it for about 30 minutes. The freekah appeared "done," but there were still about 3 cups of unabsorbed broth in the pot. I just strained the freekah, and it tasted great.

The second time I made it, I used a 3:1 ratio and only had to strain out a little broth. That part of freekah still a work in progress, but so far, it seems to be very forgiving and difficult to screw up (a godsend for a by-the-seat-of-her-pants chef).

Once the cooked freekah is in hand, it becomes your palette. The first time I made it, I paired it with roasted butternut squash, sautéed spinach (with a little onion/garlic goodness), dried cherries, goat cheese, and a dressing of honey + brown mustard + mayo.

The next time I made it, I made it just like I did above but added chicken.

The next time I'll make it (literally as I type this right now), I think I'll do the same.

IT IS THAT GOOD. And it has that so elusive combination of healthy + delicious. You know how sometimes when you're at a county fair eating a funnel cake, you can just feel your arteries clogging? This has the opposite effect. You can feel the vitamins and protein coursing through your body. Maybe not, but it is genuinely healthy and genuinely delicious.

Thanks to Jamie for introducing me to a food that will be in my rotation for the foreseeable future.

Rejected Titles for this Post: (You're welcome.)
Lady in the streets but freekah in the sheets
Get Your Freekah On
Freekah of Nature
Control Freekah
Freekah Friday
Freekahs and Geekahs
Freekah by the Speaker

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 15

Alright, Pattiwagoneers. We are nearing the end of the challenge. I have only two normal real weeks of school left plus a week a finals, in which I assume I'll be getting some jean days. The post covers the week before Thanksgiving break. I hope everyone reading had a restful and delicious Thanksgiving. I certainly did, enjoying time with both Andy and my family. On to the week-old fashion: 

Monday (Day 46): 

Black pants from J. Crew, aquamarine sweater from Banana received as a Christmas gift from Laurel a few years ago, and old standby Sperry's. I added my "Put A Bird On It" necklace (also received as a Christmas gift from Laurel) to complete this relaxed look. 

Tuesday (Day 47): 

This is a Bargain Barn special I dug out of a bin for a dollar about five years ago. I wear it sparingly (see: quality, poor), but I chose the right day this year, as I found out at school I would be giving a speech at the middle school NHS induction that same evening. Thanks to kismet I was already looking professional. 

Wednesday (Day 48):  

I documented the creation of this $8 vest on the Pattiwagon here. It's one of my proudest creations, and three years later, it's still going strong. I'm wearing it with a black cowl sweater, black J. Crew pants, and my favorite booties. (And yes, I'm still dressing for the weather I want. It was almost 70 degrees on this Wednesday.) (Both the sweater and booties were Christmas gifts from my parents. Really getting into the Christmas spirit this week!) 

Thursday (Day 49): 

This Thursday look was sponsored by Target. Shirt, pants, and vest are all Targe. (Confession, the vest is a repeat wear from Week 6. But you won't hold that against me, will you?) Shoes are my favorite mocs. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 14

We're scraping the bottom of the metaphorical clothing barrel this week, but the fashion challenge surges on. I'm featuring some hand-me-downs, both intentional and accidental. Also find some tips on savvy shopping. Read on!

Monday (Day 42): 

Simple look of yellow and gray sweater from J. Crew (Christmas present from Laurel) and black pants (intentional hand-me-down from a teacher friend). If you vocalize that you don't buy clothes, you'd be amazed at the sympathy (pity?) that drives people to just toss some clothes your way. I approach free clothes like I approach free food. Where is it? And how can I get some? I also wore my favorite boots, two gems I found at a Target in Florida for less than $15. I think Target must have made only one pair of these (real leather) boots, and I happened upon them (in my size!) one day about six years ago. My mini lottery win.

Side note: The best place to buy winter clothes? Florida. Follow the logic: 1. People move from colder climates to Florida and quickly realize they don't need their winter clothes (See: furs.) 2. Said people are often wealthy and donate said furs to Goodwill. 3. Savvy shopper Pattiwagon swoops in and buys said furs for next to nothing.

Tuesday (Day 43): 

H&M dress and jean jacket bought in Germany in 2004 when "Hah und Em" was the holy grail of savvy shoppers. Some (more recent) items of H&M clothing last one wearing, but these are still going strong after thirteen years. It was a different time. I do not recommend the current incarnation of H&M to savvy shoppers.

Wednesday (Day 44): 

Another hand-me-down alert. These plaid J. Crew pants migrated into my wardrobe circa 2009 when Laurel was cleaning out her closet. I'm pretty sure they were old then. I'm now holding on until the wide leg fashion cycle comes back. Until then, though, I'll just keep wearing them. Red sweater from Gap and black flats complete this teacher look.

Thursday (Day 45): 

Bargain Barn refashion alert! I altered this skirt from a Bargain Barn special a few years ago. Confession not included in the original post: the first time I wore it, I sat down in my car and completely ripped the zipper out. Oop! That's the price I pay for my careless sewing. However, I fixed the zipper, and we've been good every since. I'm wearing it here with a deep purple top I bought in Scottsboro, Alabama at the Unclaimed Baggage Store (another holy grail for savvy shoppers). This top would be the "accidental hand-me-down" of the week. I'm also wearing black leggings and an olive green sweater from Banana. I like this look.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 13

Another week, another four outfits. This was the first week that I struggled with my wardrobe. My dress/skirt options are waning, and I know that I could just wear black pants and a different sweater every until the end of the semester, that's just too boring. I have two free weekends coming up, so hopefully you'll find me busy at work in my sewing room. On to the outfits! 

Monday (Day 38):

Last week, I told the story of the bedbug dress. On this Monday, I wore the Mardi Gras vest. I bought this vest about 10 years ago and immediately loved it. It's chunky cable knit with big nautical buttons. I was going to Mardi Gras that year, so I made sure to pack it as a cute cold weather option. I climbed up on the ladder on St. Charles to watch a parade and promptly spilled an entire beer on myself. (No surprise there.) I didn't mind smelling like beer for the rest of the day. (Blame Credit the beer for that.) But when I got home and washed the sweater, I still couldn't get the stale beer smell out. It was ingrained, and I didn't want to wash it too many times, lest I destroy it. I had only gotten to love the sweater a short time, so I wasn't willing to give up on it. I faithfully put it in the back of my closet and waited for time to heal that stench. And, tada, it worked! About a year later, I got it back out, and the smell was gone. I have worn it often every since. So, no fear, serial spillers, there is hope for your clothes! I'm wearing it with a royal blue sweater from H&M (Germany, circa 2004) and a denim skirt from Gap. Steve Madden booties and brown tights on my feet. 

Tuesday (Day 39): 

*Homemade alert* This shirt was made by Mama Pattiwagon (aka Sewing Sensei). It is so beautifully constructed that I accidentally wore it inside out last year and didn't notice until hours into the school day. Oop! I paired this teal top with some navy pants from Banana and black (navy and black, the horror!) shoes from Rack Room. 

Wednesday (Day 40): 

Black skinny jeans from J. Crew, boots from DSW, and tunic from Modcloth. This is a beloved top worn very rarely, just to keep it fresh.

Thursday (Day 41): 

Army green dress from J. Crew with a black cropped blazer/sweater from an unknown store. I can't for the life of me remember where I got this, but if anyone has a tip on where I can find another (this one is getting tired), hmu. Black tights and Nine West flats complete the ensemble.