Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Easy samosas

I didn't intend this to be a cooking blog, but these were so easy and delicious that I wanted to share them.  My wonderful husband Dave is vegetarian (ovo/lacto/pesco which means he does eat eggs/dairy/fish), and I struggle to find quick and good non-meat dishes to put into rotation.  This one definitely made the cut.  They turned out really well even though I had to scramble to finish them to get Arden who woke early from her nap.

[caption id="attachment_42" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Easy samosas"][/caption]


Easy Samosas 

Source:  Real Simple


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

  • Kosher salt and black pepper (I used table salt)

  • 2 cups store-bought refrigerated mashed or frozen mashed potatoes, thawed (about 16 ounces) (I used Idahoan brand potato flakes)

  • 1 10-ounce package frozen peas, thawed

  • 1 15-ounce package refrigerated piecrusts

  • 1 jar mango chutney (optional)

  • (Sour cream or plain yogurt) This is my addition


  1. Heat oven to 375° F. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the curry powder, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the potatoes and peas.

  2. Unroll the piecrusts and cut each into 6 triangles. Place a heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture in the center of each piece. Gather the corners of the dough and pinch to form a point. Pinch the seams to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet.

  3. Bake the samosas until golden, 22 to 25 minutes. Serve with the mango chutney and/or sour cream/plain yogurt if using.

I made these last week for the first time, and I already bought ingredients to make them again this week.  That good and easy!  I hope you enjoy as well!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Arden is my Etsy business spokesmodel

This weekend, Arden and I attended a friend's Annual End of Summer BBQ.  We got to take a break from the demolition, and Arden got to hang out with her friend Hannah.  I dressed Arden in one of her little pinafores - one of the products I plan to sell on Etsy.  I think they're adorable, but I had no idea they would be so popular at the BBQ.  Nearly every other mother at the party commented on it, and when I said I made it at least two people said I should sell them, to which I replied "I'm planning to!".  If I had been really on the ball, I would have already had business cards to hand out, but since that's about the last thing I still need to do before opening the shop (besides sewing and taking photos), I won't beat myself up too much about it.

[caption id="attachment_33" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Meep-meep"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_34" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Back view while the girls say good-bye to departing guests"][/caption]

Garage demolition

It's funny how big projects seem to stretch out forever, and then all of a sudden, things come together seemingly overnight.  We've been working on a garage reconstruction project for about a year.  We started by asking my brother to draw up some plans for us.   We wanted to mirror the roofline of our house to give us some additional storage in the loft area.


[caption id="attachment_23" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Garage Elevation"][/caption]

He did a beautiful job, and then we began the process of getting a variance since our proposed structure exceeded the wall height dimension for our local building codes.  That took some time, since they only reviewed variance applications once a month and the offices are only open during the workday.  Once we submitted all the paperwork around April, Dave and my brother attended the hearing to present it to the zoning board.  Arden and I attended, and we tried our best not to be a distraction. 

Our application was approved, so then we needed to begin lining up our contractor.  My parents and my brother are friends with Chris Ratcliffe of Ratcliffe Builders, so we wanted to get an estimate from him.  The estimate came in at the beginning of August for a bit less than we expected, so we're going with it.

Demolition.  Dave wanted to hire my brother Jeff and my nephew Nathan to help with the demolition.  Jeff is going back to school this fall, so this set an automatic deadline for us of August 29.  Dave arranged for the dumpster, and set up time with Jeff and Nathan to start demo on August 27, thinking it would take a couple of weekends.

Friday, the 30-yard dumpster arrived in our driveway and Jeff and Nathan arrived in the afternoon to start on "some really easy stuff" while Dave was picking up some supplies.  By the end of  Friday, the doors were off, and all the wood siding.

[caption id="attachment_24" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Demolition begins"][/caption]

Saturday said good-bye to the roof

[caption id="attachment_26" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Roof going"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_25" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Roof gone"][/caption]

And Sunday saw the end of the garage.  It only took the one weekend, and they completely filled the dumpster.  My nephew learned a good lesson about hard work in the process.  Who knows how long the rest of the project will take, but at least there's been a big forward leap in progress. 

[caption id="attachment_54" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Final pieces"][/caption]

We made a squirrel family homeless in the process, but at least we can rest easier knowing that the weather is still nice and they have plenty of time to seek alternate accommodations.   I can stop having to clean squirrel poop off my car, and Dave will be able to cruise right into his parking spot instead of having to perform stunt-driver-worthy manuevers to get into the garage while avoiding hitting the house/fence/garage door/garage wall.

Monday, August 23, 2010


One of my intended products for my eventual Etsy store Jennuine Design will be reversable pinafore tops.  I've made several for Arden and one as a gift for a friend and they sew up very quickly.  Arden's nursery is ladybug-themed, so my mom was eyeing up all the novelty prints at Joanne's, but I wasn't going for them at all.  Then we found this adorable and way more subtle print with little cute ladybugs.  The reverse fabric is multicolored polka dots on black - the best we found for not showing through the white background of the print.  I've made a matching kerchief, but don't have photos of that.  Way too cute!

[caption id="attachment_12" align="alignnone" width="225" caption="Arden modeling her newest pinnie"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_13" align="alignnone" width="225" caption="Playing shy"][/caption]

Friday, August 20, 2010


So, this is where I'm supposed to say something incredibly witty about myself and why I'm starting this blog.  Well.  Umm.  Here goes nothing.  Can't promise witty, but it will be about me and why I'm starting this blog

I'm a 30-something mother to Arden, my adorable little girl who I love more than my arms can hold.  My awesome physicist husband Dave and I have been married for 3 years.  We have two black labs named Laser and Sophie, and three cats named Erwin, Otto, and Poe.  We didn't start out intending to have a menagerie, but between his cats (Erwin and Otto), my cats (Bailey and Frank), losing two cats (Frank and later diabetic Bailey) fostering a PAWS With a Cause dog (Laser), the PAWS dog getting "career changed" and we decided to keep the frustrating but loveable lug, adopting a friend for said lug (Sophie), and finding a discarded black cat (Poe) just before Halloween one year, stuff happens.  I'm a sometimes runner and former (and hopefully future) marathoner.  I spent over ten years training and teaching Muay Thai and while I miss how empowered and fit that made me feel, I really don't miss the time investment or all the bruises!

I've been crafting as long as I can remember.  I made doll's clothes while staying with my grandma on her antique Singer.  My mom taught me how to cross-stitch when I was little, and we sewed a whole bedding ensemble for my cabbage patch doll Krissy Lynn.  Later Mom taught me how to crochet (which I've since forgotten), and let me go with her to her monthly craft group, and occasionally sit in on her weekly stitch gathering.  As an adult, I learned how to quilt, and tried to start my own craft group where a friend taught me how to knit.  During my pregnancy, my nesting instinct took the form of sewing and knitting, and I made burp cloths out of cloth diapers, quilts for expecting friends, and knitted like a woman posessed.  After Arden was born, I made my husband and my brother-in-law "man slings" after Dave kept poaching my pink one.  Now, I'm trying to begin a small business selling "simply sweet designs for tiny people" on Etsy.

My Dad was a home builder and instilled in me a can-do attitude.  I'm not afraid of power tools, and am willing to try anything once.  I've tiled my own bathroom, re-fashioned an antique window into a shadow box/shelf, made a rolling ottoman out of a drawer, and re-screened a sliding door to name a few.

I hope you find something I write here interesting, funny, helpful, or inspirational.

Gotta run,

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