Quick & Easy Lunch Salads II

And here’s a quick meal I made yesterday, unexpectedly finding myself tied up at home with my 5-year old who was supposed to not be here at all during the day this week, one of life’s little surprises.

I really find it challenging to get any work done if walked in on and talked to about (take your pick: finding the princess costume, broken crayons, braiding hair, making a sandwich, pouring some juice, calling about a play date…) every couple minutes – I’m just too used to having the place to myself during the day, I suppose. No doubt I’d die on my first day in any modern working environment (open plan, loft style office – the horror, the horror!). Sigh. So I’m struggling with finishing a quote, uploading a new app I need to work on, making new dentist’s appointments for the kids, buying new sneakers online, checking my email, speaking to a potential new client, paying doctor’s bills and generally getting my desk in working order after the vacation hiatus, when all of a sudden LUNCH is demanded …

The holiday hiatus has also taken its toll on the pantry – leaving me with no red lentils to make the Turkish lentil soup we all love, as intended. Instead, there was half a packet of Beluga lentils (they’re black, look sort of unappealing, but are in fact really tasty). So I decided Black was the new Orange (are you watching that show, by the way…?) and ended up stewing them with 1 chopped shallot, 1 carrot and 1 parsley root, diced (I was out of celery _also_), seasoning the whole thing with a bit of powdered beef broth (only after they’re done please, salt seemingly prevents lentils from softening, ever), black pepper and ginger, fish sauce and soy sauce (the stuff comes out black anyway, so never mind the color)  and throwing together a salad of: chopped arugula, finely chopped parsley, diced tomatoes, the pot’s muddy-looking contents and a generous dash of extra virgin olive oil. Added a bit of lemon juice and zest for good measure (it was all in my head, actually it tasted great even without the lemony seasoning), and invited my sweet and very pregnant friend B. over to join Little E. and me for lunch.

I did NOT snap a picture – we were so hungry it didn’t occur to me that I had just come up with a new recipe before we were scraping our plates. I’ll add one when I make this again, probably soon. It looks a bit weird with the blackish lentils, but I assure you it’s a lovely and wholesome lunch.

Try it some time, and do come back for more recipes soon!

Enjoy 🙂

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Huge Ripple Blanket Finished

Oh my, it has been a ride. M.’s birthday came and went, and I was NOT NEARLY done with her blanket. Thankfully, the world cup allowed for many hours of crochet on the side. But I didn’t get to finish up until the summer vacation.

After a while, I switched from my good old sturdy basket to a blue IKEA bag to accommodate both all the yarn and the ever growing blanket itself. Of course, that girl would have a queen size bed, tsk …

But finish I did, and I darned in the last ends on the day of her arrival at our summer house the first week of August. Here’s a math problem for you: There were 280 stitches in one row, one row took 20 minutes to make (is that fast or slow? How long would it take you?), and the whole blanket took 48 hours to make. How many rows did I do;-)? If you can work it out, let me know. You could always cheat by counting them in the pictures, but that would be – well, cheating, right?

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Here it is in M.’s room, and if I say so myself, I think it looks perfect :-).

Thinking back about the time I was working on it, The Making of The Blanket was quite the public event. I literally brought my blue IKEA bag with me everywhere I went: parents meetings, doctor’s offices, parties, playdates, dinner parties, public viewing venues, train stations, airport, and of course lawn chairs and beaches, once our vacation had started. Many people took an interest, asking me about the project, yarn and pattern. I never failed to point them to Attic 24 – bless Lucy and her tutorials! My friends were very supportive, sweet N. even crocheted a row or two herself, to battle her own withdrawal symptoms :-). I got great advice on color combinations, strangers complimented my work at the park, and once I had a really nice chat by the lakeside about crafts with a canoer I didn’t know from Adam.

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And ultimately, The Blanket even inspired a number of people to want to learn how to crochet themselves: M. and her younger sister R. who spent a week with us now both know how to make chains, slip stitches, single crochet and double crochet – and they have learned how to make flowers, roses (again, thank you Lucy!) and leaves. For even in that brief period, we pulled off the most amazing little project:

We made the sweetest flowery cushion for their Gran’s 75th birthday. Sadly, I neglected to take pictures, but I’ll show it as soon as possible: no less than 6 people joined forces to hook up a petally storm to make 75 flowers and leaves in less than 3 days, which we went on to sew on a small white cushion. We were going for a freeform crochet effect, and I have to say it was such a gratifying experience, to see the girls‘ eyes shine in triumph once their fingers had mastered the tricky tasks, and to see how they got better and better at their newly acquired skill. I was thinking to myself: wow, how wonderful it must be to teach crafts. Especially if you have motivated and eager students like I did that week. Girls, you were awesome!!!

And now we’re easing back into school routine – never easy after 6 weeks of freedom – but we’re doing well. In the next post, I’ll share a few favorite summer 2014 recipes, and I may have to show a new granny squares cushion soon.

I’d like to finish this post with the flowery birthday card I gave to a sweet new friend: IMG_1611

See you soon!