I come from a long line of reuben lovers, so trust me when I tell you that if you love a reuben, you must treat yourself to the Zingerman’s Roadhouse turkey reuben called “The Dexter.” Pit-smoked (onsite) pulled free-range turkey (from the nearby farm in Dexter Township), thick sauerkraut and baby swiss along with house-made russian dressing and house-made rye bread. On the side, I chose Sea Island Fries: hand-cut, twice cooked sweet potatoes served with spicy mayo. It all washed down so nicely with tart (Michigan) cherry soda. Salty, sour, bitter, sweet, and umami: my taste buds danced happily to the consonance of flavor! Also pictured is the amazingly comforting pit-smoked pulled pork, served with mustard coleslaw and choice of house-made bbq sauce.
One fun aspect of keeping a blog is meeting other bloggers with similar interests and being inspired by their unique perspectives. I have been following Joann’s blog, Chickypea, for a year now and enjoy her simply designed posts, playful watercolors, and thoughtful touches to whatever topic she is documenting. Earlier this month I contacted her to see if she was interested in making a few “cozywalls” watercolors for me, and look what she delivered! I can’t decide on a favorite, because there is something charming about each of them. What do you think?
About Joann: My love of fine arts started when I was a child. I adored drawing everything in bold bright colors, most of the time not paying attention to realism. Then transitioning to the academic world, everything had restrictions. What I could create, how I should create it, and how long it should take. Even years later as a Sr. Graphic Designer there are so many guidelines to heed, so I started doing illustrations, watercolor, DIY projects, and created a blog, Chickypea, to revisit the childlike curiosity I had in my youth and to design with no holds barred.
About her process: My process starts with research and mood boards. It’s a nice way to collect all your thoughts and if you are doing work for someone else it gets everyone on the same page. Then I start sketching. Once I have ideas that I like, I transition to either fine art tools or digital programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator. For this project, I tried to keep the process as freehand as possible to achieve a hand made look.
To contact Joann about projects, email her: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you, Joann, for being so swift and sweet to work with! I am also thinking about including “interview” posts on the blog now… we’ll see.
It all starts with a crock of split peas on Sunday and eventually evolves into my favorite silky soup by the time Tuesday rolls around. Bonus transition time snack: split pea sweet potato dip. I am convinced the in between days are what makes this soup a promisingly tasty journey from start to finish. My steps are loosely recorded below.
Day 1: Toss in a few cups of split peas, a few cups of vegetable stock, a little water, and seasonings (salt, pepper, I switch up between cumin & ground coriander) in a crock pot. Either cook on high for 2 hours or low for about 6 hours. Roast some sweet potatoes and bacon in the oven (do it together if there are no vegetarians on the premises and by all means throw in some garlic cloves): sweet potatoes tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper, sometimes cumin, and bacon sprinkled with your preferred sweet granules. Bake for 20 minutes in 350-degree oven, remove bacon, bump heat up to 400-degrees, and finish roasting sweet potatoes for an additional 15 minutes. I like to eat all of these things together with arborio rice.
Day 2: Synthesize the left over split peas and roasted sweet potatoes in your blending mechanism with the amount of olive oil necessary to achieve a spreadable or dippable consistency. Black bean chipotle chips are recommended utensils, though carrots and celery maintain their respective merits.
Day 3: Use leftover dip to create a silky soup. Thin the dip down by adding hot water or stock. Crème fraîche or sour cream also slides in a tangy edge. A bacon garnish never hurt either.
Shiny Brite ornaments were the most popular Christmas tree ornaments made in the 1940′s and 1950′s in the United States. I have an original box set that my grandma gave to me when I had my first apartment, and Christmas tree, of my own. Those ornaments hark back to the time when she and her sisters were the age that I am today. I always keep an eye out for them in antique stores, and it makes me wonder what will evoke memories of Christmases past when I am in my eighties.
It is easy to feel homesick around the holidays, because it’s often a mile marker for realizing that things are never going to be the same. For others, the times seem more joyous and precious than ever, and I need to keep that in mind. I am just missing people right now, but on New Year’s Eve, I’ll raise my cup to the shiny nostalgic memories and hopes for unexpectedly brite futures.
Giant cinnamon ribbon candy | Hand-dipped turtles by a man with 35 years worth of practice | 100 year old diner with a lunch counter across from a candy counter | Candy cane heart pendant lights hanging from a tin ceiling | Best-tasting soda shop lemonade ever | My first visit to the Olympia Candy Kitchen, a place ”reminiscent of the days when the world revolved a little slower.” Now that’s more my speed.
One of my dad’s hobbies is making paper models of historic homes. He gave a few of his prototypes to my niece to color over Thanksgiving, and here is one brilliantly surfaced product that she gave to me. I thought it would be nice to live there and be snowed in (a chimney implies a fireplace!). And if we were snowed in we might not so feel guilty watching college basketball and Christmas movies on TV for a day (a few of my dad’s other hobbies that I happen to enjoy). No snow here, yet.