Pumpkin House pop-up shop

Earlier this spring I did a really fun craft show at the Pumpkin House in Oakland, and I’m happy to announce that I will be doing their holiday show this weekend.

Here are the details:

In addition to my usual goodies (poufs, cowls, fingerless gloves, cable berets, owls), I’ll have lots and lots of little crocheted bowls.

The weather is supposed to be crappy, but we’ll have plenty of snacks plus hot coffee and tea. And I’ll find something cozy for you to wear home. 🙂

And we’re off!

I’ll be taking a little break from posting while we travel for Thanksgiving. When I get back I’ll have some information on upcoming craft shows. I can’t wait to finally get out there with loads of knitted goods!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with all the fall leaves, turkey, football and holiday deals you can handle. I can’t wait!

6 months

Coming up on 28 weeks now, and let’s just say I feel a lot bigger. It’s like all the sudden I crossed over some line and I am round. I notice little things like bending over and fitting through our garage door (which is partially blocked by our dishwasher) are getting harder. Doing yoga with an extra 20 pounds is not so easy. And oh how my hips have been aching at night. Fortunately my yoga teacher gave me some advice on piling up pillows and I slept much better last night. I’m sure I look ridiculous sleeping with every pillow in the house, but oh well.

Next week we take our last big trip before baby — to the midwest to see our families for Thanksgiving. I’m really looking forward to taking a break, meeting all the new babies that have come along in the last few months, and of course eating!

I have my glucose test before I leave town, and then once I get back I will start seeing the midwife more frequently. It’s really hitting home that we will have a baby in 3 months. It seems both like a really long and a really short amount of time. I’m starting to get curious about this tiny creature that kicks me all the time.

I wanted to mention some things I have loved so far during my pregnancy:

Old Navy maternity tanks, like the one I’m wearing in the pictures, are awesome, and so affordable.

Also Liz Lange for Target’s maternity jeans. I have two of her long-sleeved tops, too, but I can’t seem to find them online. (By the way, I’m kind of in love with maternity pants. For a curvy lady who always has problems with pants that fit on the hips but are too big on the waist, they are great. Someone may have to take them away from me in a few months.)

Belly butter, as I mentioned before. So far it’s working.

I got a belly band, but it’s been pretty much useless, as it sort of rides up over time. Believe it or not, plain old Hanes underwear are awesome for an expanding booty.

The book Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother. It’s a quick read, and it’s full of honest advice and reflection.

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Rooibos tea. I drink it every morning. TJs also has a great variety of sliced cheeses that make great snacks for when you need extra protein.

That’s all I can think of for the moment, but I’m sure I’ll have more later on.

Feta couscous salad & more goodies

This week has been one of those weeks when a bunch of stupid stuff happens that just stresses me out. Thank goodness for the election and newborn babies. Otherwise I think I might have gone nuts.

I have had some luck with recipes, though, and I wanted to share some of them with you. The first is a super easy side dish that goes great with boxed falafel mix, if you need a quick dinner.

Feta couscous salad
adapted from Cooking Light

1 cup water
2/3 cup dry couscous
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup feta cheese
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (or you could use pine nuts)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light balsamic dressing (I like Newman’s Own)
1 cup baby spinach leaves, cut into ribbons

Bring the water to boil in a small saucepan. Then add the couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Move the couscous to a big bowl and let it cool for a few minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine.
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I also really enjoyed these salmon tacos I saw on a Cup of Jo. I got some colorful heirloom cherry tomatoes, which made a gorgeous salsa.

I followed the recipe exactly. The only thing I had to change was cooking the salmon an extra 10 minutes because I had thick fillets. I will definitely be making this again.

But the best recipe of all was this chicken pot pie with cream cheese and chive biscuits from Joy the Baker. Wow, was it good. This picture does not do it justice.

The biscuits alone are fantastic. Using cream cheese in place of some of the butter is genius, and really does add another element of flavor to them. They were also super easy to roll out. I still like Heidi Swanson’s yogurt biscuits, but they take a little more time.

For the filling I used 2% milk instead of whole and got a soupier consistency than I would have liked. But it was still great. Maybe it’s not a true pot pie if it has biscuits rather than a baked-on top, but I have to say I like this recipe even better than Ina’s veggie pot pie, which is damn good.

Mom’s pumpkin bread

This is one of those recipes that takes me straight back to childhood. I remember my mom making this pumpkin bread seasonally, and we would often eat it cold for breakfast with a smear of butter. It’s crunchy from the pecans, and sweet, but not too sweet.

Making it now I realize that the recipe is actually really easy, and, bonus!, it makes two loaves. (Though you could always halve the recipe if you wanted.)

Mom’s pumpkin bread

3 1/2 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
1 cup chopped pecans
1 15-ounce can pumpkin (or 2 cups homemade)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a big mixing bowl. Then combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Then divide into two greased loaf pans and bake for 1 hour. Check for doneness. Mine needed another 10 minutes or so.

After the loaves have cooled a bit, turn them over and gently shake them out of the pans. If you want, wrap one and freeze it for later. Or not.

*You could also make these into mini loaves. Just cut back on the baking time a little.

Reggie en repose

Reggie has been so funny lately. I keep capturing her in all kinds of relaxed positions. She’s normally such an anxious dog, so it’s nice to see her cuddled up and content.

She seems to have claimed that stripey blanket, or at least the side of the couch it’s always on.

Anytime she can get a lap, she takes it.

Sometimes she squeezes in between the couch cushions.

And I don’t know how the heck she got herself into this position, but it was hilarious.

Brown Sugar Kitchen

I did not want any kind of grand celebration for my birthday last week (32, eek!), but I did really want to try breakfast at the Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland, so that’s what we did.

The restaurant is located in the middle of a warehouse district, but plenty of people knew where to find it. The place was already filling up at 8:45 a.m. The menu is short and sweet — mainly soul food goodies like grits and eggs, chicken and waffles and pork hash. We ogled the baked goods at the entrance — bread pudding, pie, and the like.

Mike had the pork hash, which was really strongly flavored, but perfect with two plain poached eggs.

I had a waffle with a side of bacon. The waffle was light but crispy from the cornmeal inside, and came with a delish flavored syrup. We also tried one of the buttermilk biscuits. Along with coffee (a rare treat for me these days) it was the perfect breakfast.

The Brown Sugar Kitchen has a sister restaurant in Oakland called BSide BBQ, which we also tried a few weeks ago. We decided it’s as close to upscale as you ever want to go with something like barbecue, but we really liked the brisket.

Mike had a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw that was pretty tasty. The only miss was the lemonade of the day, which was flavored with mango, and just didn’t really work.

I think I’d like to go back and try lunch at Brown Sugar. They have some different offerings from BSide, and based on breakfast I’m willing to bet lunch is pretty darn good.

Get crafty on Goodsmiths

I have a new post up on the Goodsmiths blog today about how to make use of those adorable steel cut oats tins. I can’t bear to throw them away once they are empty.

It was really fun putting together all the projects. I plan to do more of these “5 things to make with…” posts. The idea is to show people quick and easy projects rather than one more complicated tutorial. Check it out!