pickled beets + urban picnic

Pickled Beets

i’ve been into quick pickling
this summer,
mainly because we have a glut
of vegs,
also because
it’s good for digestion,
and because
we have a lot of jars,
either i chuck ‘em or use ‘em.

when i’m in a mood
and food is the last thing
i want to play with,
we have picnics,
stuffed heaped on bread,
though not as fancy as this,
still very satisfying.

what’s your fave pickled veg?
(and, can you send me some?)

pickled beets + urban picnic

pickled beets

*note: this is the kind of recipe that is going to require you to use some common sense. beets vary in size, you might like your beets more tender, or more al dente. this is just a guideline.

12 small – medium beets, scrubbed and peeled
drizzle of oil (olive oil, i used organic canola oil)
dry italian seasoning (though fresh rosemary or thyme would be nice)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vinegar
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice berries
2 -3 wide strips lemon zest
3 – 5 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks

heat oven to 400F.

meanwhile, with netflix going (i was watching Arrow, i think i’m gonna hit up The Returned next), scrub beets and peel. (i have a love hate relationship with this step. you can roast them first and then it’s easier to peel the skin away while warm, but i find that messy, with oil and random bits of herbs sticking to your hands. it’s up to you.) cut up any large beets so they’re all approximately the same size. place beets on baking dish lined with large piece of foil. drizzle with oil, top with italian seasoning, salt/pepper. cover with another sheet of foil and roast for 45min – 1 hour, until beets have reached desired doneness. this time around i made them tender, but the batch before that were toothier. do what you like.

when beets are warm to the touch, slice them up in either 3/8″ rounds or wedges. (i’ve done it where i sliced the beets before roasting, which made for much quicker roasting time, again, up to you.)

meanwhile, stir sugar, salt + 2 cups in sauce pan. bring to a gentle boil and stir until sugar dissolves. take off heat, stir in the vinegar and remaining seasonings. allow to cool.

in clean mason jars (or in our case, our huge 1/2 gallon mason jar) put the beets in a layer formation. (note: you can also add in sliced onions or cucumbers). half way up, pour a bit of the brine in, along with the various seasonings. continue to layer up with remaining beets and pour the rest of the brine into jar. if there is any leftover space in the jar, add a bit more water & vinegar (1:1 ratio) to top.

refrigerate for a day or so and consume. they do last awhile, just remember to use clean utensils when extracting the beets from the jar to keep from contamination etc.

BAM!

also pictured:
dutch oven bread
bruised cucumber salad

crochet | ombre granny square baby blanket

granny square blanket

a super quick post
you probably think
we’re not cooking much
these days,
what with all the crafty
stuff i’ve been posting lately.
in a way, you’re right
it’s been mainly raw csa salads
and playing with yarn
this summer

a baby blanket for a
new addition to the group
baby fig made her appearance
this week
early

my excitement for her existence,
and for fig mama’s venture into
mommyhood
is a stark contrast to
how i feel about
motherhood in general.
no matter.
this bebe will be doted on,
and i already have a
Date scheduled with her.
dw has diaper duty though.

the pattern i used
was poorly written
so i will just link to some
granny square patterns
i searched for on craftgawker.
if you want to follow along
on my yarn adventure,
i do have a ravelry account.

are you working on anything crafty, yarn or otherwise?
i’ve got another blanket to complete,
and then it’ll be scarf and cowl season…

blueberry clafoutis

Blueberry Clafoutis

i’ve talked about it before
living in the city
has its perks
the vibrancy
the nearness of things
the anonymity
and for me,
the hilarity of it
but sometimes,
just sometimes,
i get that inkling for country living.
the abundance of space
the friendliness
and the farmland for berry picking.
come the warmer months
you’ll likely find us
hands in the dirt
picking some gem or another
it’s just like heaven.
i like to think this dessert
has the perfect balance
of fancy urban life
and laid back country charm.

Blueberry Clafoutis

it’s quiet around here
that’s how summer is,
you know?
hope yours has been just a lovely.

Blueberry Clafoutis

blueberry clafoutis
note: to make this gluten free, use whatever gf flour you like to use, like almond flour. local milk made a gorgeous one recently.

1 ¼ cups coconut milk, i use SO Delicious
6 TBL sugar
6 eggs
¾ cup spelt flour
3 cups ​blueberries
​zest of lemon & juice of half lemon​
icing sugar, for dusting

preheat oven to 425°.

grease a 9″ baking dish/pie pan. set aside, forget about it.

in a vitamix or blender, add the coconut milk, eggs, salt & lemon juice. blend until combined, add in the flour and blend until smooth.

pour into prepared pan, then distribute the blueberries evenly throughout. sprinkle with the zest.

bake 30 – 40 minutes, though check on it at the 30 minute mark. depending on how deep your dish is, the middle might still be liquidy. you want the finished product to be nicely browned on top and have some jiggle in the middle. mine puffed up a smidge while in the oven but sank as it cooled.

to serve, sprinkle with icing sugar.

best at room temp, and i prefer it the next day. it reminds me of a denser flan.

BAM!

Blueberry Clafoutis

diy | copper pipe wall sconce

DIY: Copper Wall Sconce

the dressing room,
the room i keep talking about
but haven’t shown you,
is the smallest room
and has the lowest ceiling
in our humble abode.
there is a small & tall window
in the corner
that peers out
onto the fire escape.
it’s all so very urban,
but you can imagine, it’s
a dark room.
in my humble opinion
for it to be a successful
room to dress in
it requires good lighting.
and that’s exactly what i
received when i told dw
that i absolutely cannot
get dressed in the dark anymore,
for fear of looking like
an assclown
(um. you guys.
who dressed me back then?!)

i showed dw what i wanted
and let him have at it
and like
jesus gawd
a boss
he made light.

DIY: Copper Wall Sconce

as inspired & adapted from Camille Styles

materials
led bulb – $12.99 x 2
1/2″ tube strap – $0.29/each x 4
elbow 90 1/2″ – $1.29/each x 4
reducing elbow 3/4″x1/2″ – $3.49/each x 2
outlet adapter – $1.88 x 2
white heavy duty switch cord – $3.82 x2
1/2″  wood screws – $1.18/pack of 12
IKEA hemma cord set – $5 x 2
1/2″ copper pipe, cut to size: 3″, 5″ 8″ (2 of each) – free! this was because the salesrep was having a hard time cutting the pipe, felt bad and gave it to us as “scrap”. it would’ve cost approx $7.50, which we would’ve gladly paid

total for both sconces: $60.86

DIY: Copper Wall Sconce

things we already had on hand:
piece of wood, reused from broken down dresser – 3 1/3 x 9 1/4, 1/2″ thick, painted white
screws – 1 1/4″ wood screw to mount wood to the wall
plastic wall anchors, for same

  • connect copper pipes in order, with no glue. (insert them like legos, the tension holds them together). set aside.
  • the hemma cord is 15ft long, if you want cut it to desired length.
  • feed the cord through the copper pipe starting at the shorter end (you’re going backwards). *tip: as you’re feeding it through the copper, do not have the pieces assembled, go through each piece individually and then connect once the cord is all the way through.
  • when it’s all the way fed  through, attach the outlet adapter according to instructions on the package.
  • choose how high you want the switch to be attached, and hook it up according to instructions on the package.
  • the original inspiration did not pull the cord taut to the pipe, but instead kept her bulb danging. we decided to pull it to the hilt, but it’s up to you.
  • now you have a fully wired and connected lamp cord fixture. now prepare the wood against the wall.
  • place wall anchors and screw wood into the wall.
  • we opted to have the screws dead center of the wood so that the pipe would cover it, you don’t have to be anal like us. the last step: affix the fixture using two tube straps.
  • Plug in and BAM!

DIY: Copper Wall Sconce

previous dressing room shenanigans:
diy | linen board

diy | linen pinboard

DIY Linen Board

after what seems like
an eternity
the dressing room is done!
depending on how photos turn out
(i BROKE my tripod)
i might include a dressing room reveal!
just kidding
i was gonna show off the dressing room
anyway

DIY Linen Board

if you know me
you know that i don’t usually do
accessories.
i almost didn’t wear earrings
for my wedding
i take off my wedding & engagement rings at night
(i’m not the only one who
when she sleeps sometimes ends up
with a ring crease on her face
or forehead from cradling her
head in her hand, right?)
but
having said that
i do have trinkets,
lovely ones,
tucked away in drawers
boxes
out of sight
and never worn.
with the creation of our
new space
i wanted to use up some wall
real estate,
showcase some pretty.

enter the linen board.
it’s not a revolutionary item
and the diy route,
while economical,
can be time consuming,
especially if you don’t have all
the materials & tools readily available.
our method worked for us
but i have read
various other ways
of creating it.
do what’s comfortable for you,
for your skill level,
and for your convenience.

diy linen board
as inspired by elephantine & this.

materials:

  • canvas – i went through a phase a few years ago where i painted. i know. i had a few blank canvases lying around that i use to bounce light. purchased at michael’s, value pack probably. free, obviously i paid for it but that was years ago.
  • 1 yard of linen, though you will not use the entire yard. $5.99, purchased from joann’s fabric (for the additional 2 boards we made, i did buy 2 more yards of linen, less than $10.00)
  • styrofoam – leftover from boxes of ikea stuff, was in the recycling bin, reused, so we’ll say it’s free. alternatively, you can use cork board or poly panel insulation boards ($7.25 for 6pk), that’s sold at home depot or lowes
  • staple gun – investment item, which will be used for other crafty stuff. will list price, but not in total. $20.99 BUT 40% coupon so $12.59
  • copper nail tacks – optional, for decorative purposes only, $1.99/box
  • fiberboard – optional, when we did up the dressing room, we broke down my very old, hand-me-down dresser and kept what could be re-used. this piece was one of it. free. it can also be called particle board, home depot & lowes sells them for super cheap and they’ll cut it to size for you.
  • saw tooth frame hanger – it was in dw’s tool box for whatever reason, so free, but it costs like $4.29/pack at the hardware store.
  • wood glue – i don’t know why we have this but we do, thankfully. free.

total for the first linen board: $7.98. take that pottery barn & restoration hardware.

note: dw made two more for me (the man spoils me. i also have a niggling feeling that he liked playing with the staple gun), and again the cost was so minimal compared to what the finished product retails for at designer home stores. keep an eye out for things that you can reuse, recycle, and use COUPONS.

directions:

so the back of the canvas has that space, fill it with either the styrofoam, insulation foam or cork board. measure it out accordingly. the sytrofoams i used were in pieces so i had to glue them to each other and dabbed a bit on the corners so they adhered to the canvas. (the last two boards were made with the poly panel insulation boards. we used one sheet for both boards, and there’s still some left over. super easy to cut, i used an old bread knife. this method did not require the glue, we measured it so it would fit snug int the space)

DIY Linen Board tutorial

if you want, iron out linen piece. measure it to size, you want there to be enough for it to fold over the canvas and be stapled comfortably. lay out the linen piece, place the canvas face down on it and pull the sides up & over it.
carefully staple one side, keeping the staples evenly spaced. when you reach the corners, fold them like how you would wrap a box. when you reach the opposite side of the canvas of the already stapled side, be sure to pull the linen taut. it helps to have someone pull and the other staple.
at this point, the board is done, it can be hung as is, but dw decided to add the backing and picture hanger.

DIY Linen Board Tutorial

cut the fake wood to size and lay down on the stapled side. staple it down onto the canvas.
if using, add the hook to the middle of the canvas.

DIY Linen Board Tutorial

hang and pin to your heart’s content.

BAM!

DIY Linen Board