Posts filed in: November 2014

Autumnglow

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At around four o'clock on several afternoons this week I've gone racing home from wherever I am to grab my camera and then careen back out to the east side of Mt. Tabor to try to catch the alpenglow on Mt. Hood. It's short-lived but so worth the race (I only have a 50% success rate in catching it so far). I've already got the sled, the toddler snowpants, the toddler snow mittens, the toddler snowcoat, all ready for when we actually go up there. Up there, to where the snow lives.

This week has been cold and blustery, nevertheless. To warm up, I made chicken curry and these things we always made when I was a kid, from one of my mom's Pillsbury cookbooks — we called them apple babies:

Apple Babies

Take a can of refrigerated crescent-roll dough and cut the triangles lengthwise so you have sixteen long, skinny triangles. Peel and core two apples and cut them into eight slices each. Starting at the fat end of the triangle, wrap each apple slice in dough. Put them in an 8" x 8" baking pan. Drizzle about 1/4 cup melted butter all over the tops of the babies. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (don't skimp). Add about 1/4 cup apple cider or orange juice or whatever you have to the pan, pouring it around but not on the apples. Bake in a 350-degree (F) oven until nicely browned. Serve plain or with a bit of cream. Try not to inhale all sixteen before other residents get home.

My curry was based on this recipe, though I used the shredded meat from a roasted chicken (I've been roasting or buying one every week, then making stock), didn't add the tomatoes or tomato paste (I'm not super keen on tomatoes), and did add a diced sweet potato, a diced Yukon gold potato, a bag of peas, and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Oh, and I used Dean & Deluca yellow curry powder (my favorite). If left to my own devices, I would probably eat some form of chicken and rice every single day. I should have a board for that. I'm still working my way through your suggestions for soups. There are so many amazing-looking ones; the comments on that post are like their own cookbook, I'm so excited. I made this potato-leek soup (photo above) and it was delicious (thank you, commenter Amelia!). You can't imagine how much this inspiration is helping me get back into the kitchen! Thank you all!

Today it's errands and a few chores, and haircuts, and getting a new binder, and getting some magnets, and taking the hose inside for the winter. Yesterday I bought candles and fake autumn flowers for the table (toddler-proof). I got placemats (toddler-proof), and made an appointment to have the windows measured for wooden blinds. A little bit of everything, and not too much at all, just the way I like these days. Slow and cold outside, warm and wooly in.

Have a good weekend, dear friends!

***Yep, that's the water room in the toddler area at (and the view from) our science museum, OMSI; Mimi's crocheted dress pattern is here; and she's showing you her thrifted prairie-girl dress, which I absolutely love and wish I had a pattern for (it's clearly homemade).

Baby Warm

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As the leaves turn and drop, and the winds blow and blow, and the rain falls, and the clouds cover, and the frost comes, and the heat turns on, and the fake fireplace glows, and the apple cake bakes, and the chicken with wild rice soup simmers, and the mountain gets whiter, and the nights get longer, and the golden mornings become more and more rare, I try to keep my baby warm. Sweet baby girl. All warm. Sweet and soft and warm. Dear girl.

Warm Little Things

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I had my handwriting analyzed when I was twenty-four. One of the (many) things it told me was that I was not spontaneous. This is true. I'm plodding. My one spontaneous act seems to be to start making a quilt at the exact time that I have lots of other things going on. It's really weird. It must be some sort of reflex. It's like just all of a sudden if I have all of five minutes to myself I walk, zombielike, to the rotary cutter and start slicing away at stacks of fabric. Before I know it, I have a basketful. In this case, I cut 2"-wide strips of dozens — I don't know how many — tons — way more than I needed — of the cutest, sweetest fabrics in my stash, to make a little quilt for my cutest-sweetest. Creams, pinks, blues, flowers, bunnies, dots. Tiny rosebuds and little elephants. Hedgehogs and purple cherries. Polka-dots (which she calls "bubbles") and baby cats (which she calls "ah-ahs").

Do you know how to make a log cabin quilt? It's a wonderful thing. My friend Susan taught me how to do it. It's so easy. I don't do it exactly clockwise. I just do it randomly. It might be clockwise, but it might not be. I just go. When the blocks are done, you add the blue strips, horizontally between blocks and then a long strip of vertical "logs" with 2" squares at each intersection. I used wool batting, and then a grayish polka-dot flannel for the back. Cream-colored cotton with little lavender dots for the binding (which is done by machine and by hand). This one I'm going to tie (which is how I did this one and this one [and this is just plain funny]). I don't always tie them; sometimes I have them professionally finished. But I want to tie this one. I like how soft and floppy they are when you tie them.

We also made cinnamon baked doughnuts. They were delish. Ish. Maybe too much vanilla? Is that possible? Two teaspoons of vanilla is a lot. I think next time I'll leave out the vanilla and leave out the cinnamon in the batter. (I always leave out the nutmeg, in everything but bechamel. I don't like it in anything else.) The doughnuts were a little too . . . something. I can't put my finger on it. Almost perfect, though. The concept, in general, worked very nicely!

Been making soups, too. Will tell you about that, too. Thank you again for the inspiration! Still getting everything pinned!

***If you eat as many Mandarin oranges as we do you can simmer the peels with a few cloves and cardamom pods (and some cinnamon sticks, whatever you like) in a bit of water on a back burner throughout the day (don't forget about it; add more water as needed). It makes the house smell really wonderful.

Natural Environment

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My dear Meems in her lopapeysa. Special guest appearance by the incomparable Mt. Hood.

I forgot to say thank you most sincerely to all of our veterans and military servicepeople and your families for your tremendous sacrifices to protect and defend our cherished freedoms. Your efforts and trials do not go unnoticed. We are so grateful for you. Thank you.

Sweet Autumn

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Oh, we're in the thick of it, and it delights me: Cold clear days, cold gray days, mucky-bright leaf-slicks, neighborhood tromps, drooping gardens, hikes on the butte, boots and sweaters, roasted things, flushed cheeks, woodsmoke, white moons in the early evening sky. Halloween was just utterly adorable — Amelia had a fantastic time going door to door with her friends (that's the neighborhood crew, above, and my friend Gillian in her totally rad Mary Poppins costume — isn't that just brilliant? She looked so awesome). There are a LOT of stairs in our neighborhood. We made it to about fifteen houses, and once the Tootsie Pop showed up she was so focused on the lolli it became hard to walk up and down them and hold/eat the lolli at the same time. Man, it was cute. First-ever lollipop. I had to sneak it away when she was distracted. We didn't trick-or-treat last year because she had just learned to walk, so this year was basically her first Halloween. I had her wear the costume I made last year. It's so adorable watching her trying to figure out what in the world is going on. Every time someone opened their door she'd push past them and walk right into the house. Hilarious. Sweetly, she would also take the candy out of her basket and put it into the other kids'. Definitely my favorite Halloween ever.

When we weren't out walking — that was Powell Butte, on Saturday — I was cooking. Yes, me! I made this black bean soup (which we both thought was totally delicious). And then on Sunday we did our traditional First Fall Feast, though we did it a little differently, and just made several really savory side dishes: Ina's spinach gratin, and Brussels sprouts lardons, and caramelized root vegetables. Everything worked really well together and I was very happy! I also made a salad with mushrooms, shaved Gruyere, candied walnuts, pear slices, and my favorite salad dressing, Stacy and Elizabeth's "What Vinegar?" Salad Dressing. I swear I've written this down on the blog but I can't find it (all I can find is a picture of the recipe card, but I'll keep looking, or I'll rewrite it when I get a sec). THANK YOU thank you thank you for all of the soup suggestions. I'm in the process of pinning them all to my board and I am so incredibly inspired. Thank you so much. I even ordered some new soup bowls. I actually feel quite thrilled to cook now — thank you! Now I just have to figure out which one to start with! I think I should experiment with some breads, too. Okay. I can do this.

About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Photography

Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.