Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

We're making decisions and slowly but surely piecing together a plan. There are still huge gaping holes in the plan, like the fact that we have no jobs, but we've definitely decided a few things.

We're definitely moving. Our house here in Austin TX will go on the market at the end of this week. And the POD has landing in the driveway. I'm pretty sure I move more than any human alive, and yet I am still always totally overwhelmed by the packing. This is especially true with this move as there is a fair amount of load lightening going on - it is our intention to move in the POD which means we'll be selling off most of our furniture and packing light.

We're headed back to Minneapolis. Mostly this is awesome. I love Minneapolis, and I've missed her while I was away. My family is in Minneapolis, as are many of my friends. Minneapolis is home for me in the truest since of the word. But Winter has already started to rear its ugly head and we probably couldn't have picked a worse time of year for our return. I guess you take the bad with the good and roll with it.

We don't have a departure date yet. We don't know if we'll rent or buy when we get there. We don't know if we'll have jobs. There is still a lot we don't know. But we know we're moving back to Minneapolis.

Moving is always a little bittersweet and this move is no different. While I'm pretty much thrilled to be going home, I have made some great friends here in Austin and they will be missed. I have been reminding myself, as consolation, that all of my friends in Minneapolis whom I left three years ago are still my friends, and that all of my friends here in Austin will also remain my friends. Sure we won't see each other as often but with a little effort and planning and the miracle of FaceBook, we'll still be friends.

And that's news.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Brand New Design

In my knitting life I love felted knits. I also love handcrafted housewares. So it only makes sense that I should design a felted knit for the home. Meet Harbor - A Felted Wool Rug.

I have a secret fantasy of a new/old house with a good old fashion porch for which this rug will be perfect. And in this fantasy I am knitting, barefoot on this porch with my feet resting on this rug, and a glass of red wine at my side, and three happy dogs scattered about the floor. And the best thing about this secret fantasy is it just might come true.

I love this rug. It has that special warmth, charm, and handmade touch that makes a house a home. It is also sturdy and comfortable, just like home.

Harbor would be a cozy addition to any room in your home also. It is knit from super bulky wool and then felted so the fabric is very dense, yet it is soft enough to welcome those aforementioned bare feet. As it turns out, it is also a welcoming resting spot for sleepy dogs -- mine tried it out just as soon as it hit the floor.

The pattern is an easy knit, suitable for the beginning knitter and includes clear felting instructions. The pattern is available here on my website. And also here on Ravelry.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's Chili Time! Turkey Tomatillo Chili

Here in Austin TX, the weather has had us on a crazy roller coaster ride - 96 degrees one day, 56 degrees the next. To quote my friend Angie "Fall is in and out of our lives like a bad boyfriend." Today it is one of those 56 degree days, and the humidity is low, and it finally feels like Fall. I couldn't be more pleased.

On the other end of my world - up in Minneapolis - they saw their first snow of the season today. And while I'm sure they're mostly not thrilled with the idea of snow as early as October 10th, I'm more than a little envious.

This means it chili makin' time. Any soup will do really, but chili has always been one of my favorites 'cause I like it hot, spicy that is.

This recipe was inspired by something a friend made once. I'm not sure of her recipe, or its source. Rather, I did what I love to do most in the kitchen - I improvised. I did my best to recollect the slightly smoky, spicy chili I ate last winter, made something similar several times making adjustments each time, until I was satisfied with this recipe.

Turkey Tomatillo Chili

12-15 tomatillos husks removed and quartered
1 large jalapeno pepper cut in thirds
2 large dried New Mexican chilis (or ancho chilis)
1 cup boiling water
6 cloves roasted garlic
1 large yellow onion chopped
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves raw garlic minced
1 pound ground turkey (optional)
1 1/2 cups of cooked great northern beans
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon hot smoked paprika
4 cups homemade vegetable or chicken stock
sea salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Puree the tomatillos and the jalapeno in blender and set aside. Soak dried chilis in boiling water for 20 minutes, then puree with the roasted garlic in a blender and set aside. Saute the onions and raw garlic in olive oil until the onion starts to soften. Add the turkey and brown. Add the dried spices and stir until turkey is coated nicely. Add the beans. Add the chili puree, the tomatillo puree, and the stock. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for at least 30 to 45 minutes until flavors have had a chance to blend and the chili starts to thicken a bit. Add salt and pepper. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, grated cheese, and chopped fresh cilantro.

Notes: I like to roast several heads of garlic when I have the oven on for some other reason, just to have them around for recipes like this one. Roasted garlic is sweeter than raw, and lends itself to smoky recipes. I use pasture raised, organic turkey from a local farm, you could leave the turkey out completely, add more beans, and go vegetarian. I keep homemade stock on hand in the freezer, but you could - of course - use an organic store bought variety. For more heat add an extra jalapeno or a Serrano pepper.

Serves 6


Ground Turkey Chili on Foodista