Category Archives: cooking

The Soft Rains of April…

…are (almost) over.

If you’re not an a-ha fan, well, that’s a song title (as is the blog title).

I haven’t been around for a long, long time, so to catch you up, here are some pics from around my house the last few weeks. A lot of it’s been about food lately.

I’ve been doing the Menu Mailer from for the last 3 months and just signed on again for the next three. I held out for a long time, partly because I was really resistant to cooking things I wasn’t familiar with every night and having to go to the bother of making things I might not like. But what I found was that her recipes are geared toward busy cooks of any level, so there’s rarely anything complicated or time-consuming. The weekly menus are actually a collection of menus that meet different dietary needs, and everything comes with suggestions for accompaniments which has always been a stumbling block for me–I fear the vegetables. Since I started doing this, though, my cart is always full of produce and my husband has been really happy with the variety and the…vegetables.

So doing that has gone a long way to getting me out of the cooking (and general life) slump I had been in. Now that I’ve got the menu-planning, list-making, actually serving decent food thing back under control again, I’m starting to get back into making it “nice”.  I used to try produce attractive plates or serve family style in serving dishes instead of cooking pots, but for the last few years there have been a lot of cooking pots slapped on the table. (Even though, somewhere in there, I finally got a real table.)

This can be blamed on the fabulous Japanese housewifery of Ai Yori Aoshi (and perhaps the fact that the characters actually appreciate it!) And also on bento as presented at JustBento, and fantastic site that makes creating attractive boxed lunches look easy. Naturally I’ve been interested in bento off and on for some time now, as I already pack two lunches every day. But everyone’s bentos always had so much “healthy junk” in them, which is a turn-off for someone like me, and making things pretty just for pretty’s sake seemed like too much to ask of me until just recently. But when I poked around at Just Bento, especially reading through the Get Started Handbook and the 5-week Challenge, things started to click and I realized I could apply those FlyLady concepts of BabySteps and everything doesn’t have to be Perfect.

So I’ve been taking my baby-steps in bento and enjoying it. Forcing myself to grow up and eat some healthy junk. My goals right now are to make nicer lunches for daughter Briar, and to start making a healthier lunch for myself as part of my morning routine. (DH’s lunches are always made right after supper because he leaves so early in the morning.) I’m hoping to continuing the habit of making both of us girls portable lunches in the morning will keep us eating healthy and cheap through the summer.

Now, what else is in my picture? Two pictures of my sweater in progress. That is, or will be, Decimal from the Spring ’09 issue of Knitty. And it’s for me! I’m really enjoying this project. I bought the yarn at Loopville, a local yarn shop, and I try to drop by there once a week to hang out and work on it.

In sewing news, there hasn’t been a lot lately, but hopefully coming soon. I just bought a selection of fabrics and smocking patterns to work on for summer clothes for Briar who has grown out of/destroyed just about everything she owns. And I can’t find anything I really like for her in the stores. So hopefully I can turn these into some cuteness for her.

Not a lot of doll news either. There’s a picture of Dillon, my Lati Blue Rucas, and my STILL unnamed Minifee DES, both of whom recently received new wigs. The poor DES girl…before she gets a name she needs a face. Before I paint the face she needs a hair color. And I still don’t think this is the right wig for her.

And finally, to the writing content. I’ve been back to work on that, now working on a teen series that’s part of my overall urban fantasy (I guess) landscape. I’m coming up to the end of the first act on that, maybe 8 K words so far, and I suppose it’s going ok, considering how long it’s been since I’ve written any fiction.

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Filed under bento, cooking, knitting, sewing, writing