Saturday, September 24, 2011

Food and Crafts

Let me start out by saying I am NOT a food blogger. Shouldn't come as a surprise to most people. Generally speaking, food has never been my strong point. On a wedding gift card my friend Ben pointed out that I'd made the comment: "Food is Fuel." He thought I should change my outlook and see it as something exciting, invigorating, life giving. A little tough to stomach.
But since getting married, or even since Mark and I started our relationship, I've learned that food is important. Part of creating a family requires feeding them, after all. And more and more I've found myself blogging about food. Not just pretty little dishes that I threw together to feed me, or different things that I ate in restaurants, but actual food that I cooked by myself. Not to mention the fact that I've become a little obsessed with shows on the Food Network, and reading Rachel Ray magazine. But despite all I've read and watched and tried to let infiltrate my being, cooking still sorta freaks me out.
Sure, when it comes right down to it, I can make something to eat. My parents have been gone for the past week and Mark and I have neither starved, nor eaten at McDonalds. That's quite a feat considering that our first month or so of marriage we were staying in McMinnville and I bought BigMacs for Mark almost every day. But that's the sort of spending trend that was destined to end. This week he's been served a variety of egg burrito renditions involving pepperoni, not to mention countless pepperoni, butter and cheese sandwiches, and some egg salad for good measure. Still, I'm a long way from being any sort of culinary anything.
Today, Mark said he wanted something chocolate. We were out of anything specific, and so I decided to make chocolate chip cookies. Only problem: no chocolate chips in the pantry. But did I let this stop me? Normally the answer would be yes, but today I decided to do something brave, something bold. I used the internet. Wahoo! I knew we had nutella so I did a search for nutella cookies, and was blessed to find one that only required 3 ingredients. How cool is that? And how could even I possibly go wrong?
So within half an hour of so I was able to serve Mark a platter of cookies.

They're a bit on the crumbly side, and probably wouldn't suffer from having a few more ingredients, but they were even relatively moist.
To make things even more shocking, I decided to create my own variation. I added about a tablespoon of peanut butter to the mixture that was left after baking the first pan full and came up with these little buddies.

In my opinionation (little salute to "Blossom" there ;) you just can't go wrong with nutella and peanut butter. And basically I'd say I was right. While they basically fall apart as soon as you pick them up, they taste pretty fantastic, and went excellently with my Hills Bros. Mocha.
I'm pretty all over the place with the links today, but they add a little something, and I like to give credit where credit is due. As I said, I'm not any sort of expert who will tell you about the brilliant and complex combination of flavors, or the expert plating designs of a dish. It's just a mishap or a magical moment here and there in my own haphazard experiences in the kitchen.
Now on to topic number two. After all, this is my blog, my place to say what I feel like saying, and I can be as mishmashed and all over the place as I'd like. So I'm going to share a recent inspiration/project idea. I've decided, thanks to years of personal experience, to create journals. In Prague I found what might be called, found journals, on display for 300kc+. In American markets I discovered re-purposed book journals for $15+. I've also found different sites online where you can buy handmade journals like one of my current blog faves Gadanke. All of these visions have helped to inspire me with the idea that this is something I could do as well.
Over the past few weeks I've been to a lot of garage sales collecting components for this fun new project. I still have a way to go in figuring out how to really do the book re-purposing, partly because it's hard to bring myself to cut up the lovely old books, and partly because it's hard to figure out how to get the pages securely inside. But I'm working on it, and am slowly gathering ideas on that front.
The past couple of days, however, I have done a lot of work on one journal in particular. Here's a little sneak peak into what I've come up with. It would be my niece Adelia's dream journal for sure:

Beyond what I've already inserted, I want to add bits of my own poetry to some of the pages. I thought about doing famous quotes and maybe Bible verses, but I don't want to risk any sort of copyright infringement, so for now I think I'll steer clear of things like that. With my collection of photos from around the world, I'm certain that I can create unique journals and pieces of art, that hopefully other people will enjoy as well. It's a thought at least. And if no one buys them, then I'll always have the chance to fill them myself...Perhaps at some point I'll even add creative covers using my powers of crochet, or include original artwork by Haley. Always best to incorporate family, right?
The writing dream is not dead. It still resides here in my head. But life proceeds. I just have to do my best to keep up and not go crazy in the process.

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