Tonight, I begged my fellow Heavy Table photographers to take my place at a celebratory Sausage Fest, a fundraiser for Twin Cities Daily Planet. Copious amounts of free sausage, a good social and networking opportunity and plenty of gorgeous pictures to be taken hold no candle to recovering from a long week of working hard (well, hard for a 26 week woman pregnant with twins) while parking my ass on the couch and letting Kyle cook dinner for me and the boys. Fortunately others couldn't resist (or really, are just very sweet and are taking pity on me) and my ideal night has come though. It's also my dearest friend Claudia's birthday celebration, which I will also forgo for a relaxing episode of Law and Order: SVU. Truth: kids do change you.
So, if you're anything like me, you're a stickler for specific thanksgiving recipes. Generally there are a few things on the table I can't stand, and a few others I wouldn't change for the world. The former includes candied carrots (yuck!) and cranberry relish (or standard cranberry sauce... neither of which ever find their way onto my plate). And even, honestly, I don't really care about the Turkey! I do enjoy a crunchy wing, some turkey skin and a bit of thigh meat, but when it comes to turkey day, I live for the carbs. Mashed potatoes are a must (with or without gravy, really, I'm not picky) some brussels sprouts for good measure (I will post my "brussels sprouts for people who hate brussels sprouts recipe one day, perhaps) and of course, stuffing! Now, I'm not talking about that goopy substance that sticks to your fork as a byproduct of milk soaked bread. I'm sure your mother makes a delicious version of that, and that's great, but the stuffing I grew up on is moist but not gelatinous, flavorful, good with gravy or without and works well stuffed into a bird or out, depending on your opinion on the matter. Oh, and it includes two of the best ingredients on earth; cornbread and sausage. Not that "cornbread" that comes in stuffing mix bags, but freshly baked, home made cornbread. Yum. So yum in fact, that Kyle suggested I make my family's stuffing for dinner last night, two days before Thanksgiving. This sounded perfect to me, given that since finding out I'm pregnant, my desire to eat meat has been limited to pieces of it being mixed in with things. Oh, did I forget to mention, I'm pregnant?
Okay, this was really a scapegoat of a post for me to tell you in my own weird "I'm not good at big announcements" way that I'm pregnant. I will still give you a picture of the cornbread and recipe at the end of the post (what, food is important too!). But first! Let's focus on the babies, and yes, that would be children, plural. The twins are expected to show up next year on May 9th, and we couldn't be more thrilled, and quite frankly, a little scared. But mostly, thrilled! We've been wanting this for a long time and every day we grow more excited about expanding the Sommers clan. Today marks my 16th week of pregnancy, and I'm definitely starting to look the part.
The first trimester was a mixed bag of being excited to be pregnant, scared of miscarriage, feeling like SHIT and being unbearably tired. But my energy is back (to a degree) and my appetite is quite healthy. I still haven't had a hamburger in over 3 months (sad face), but for the most part my eating habits have returned and then some. If more than 2-3 hours go by without a bite of food WATCH OUT! Kyle has been an amazing partner throughout, taking care of me and not judging me when all I could eat was Mac and cheese for days on end (Kraft is what I wanted, but I settled for Annie's blue box to give me peace of mind) and allowing me to live while barely lifting a finger. Now that I'm in my 2nd trimester I try to make compromises with myself so that he doesn't have to do everything, but sometimes just getting up for a glass of water takes more energy than I can fathom.
Otherwise, things have gotten a bit "boring" on my front, which I love. Wedding season is over, and I've been focusing on ME, which I hope to continue throughout. Staying at home on weekend nights watching movies and making dinner is just my speed, and my 9-10pm bedtime is pretty much set in stone. We plan to find out the sexes next month (regardless of the many opinions out there regarding this decision) and can't wait to start decorating the designated baby room as soon as we clean all the shit out of there (it's been serving as an enormous walk in closet for about 2 years now...) I've gone to prenatal yoga once, and have been working out with a trainer to build up my strength. Since I'm considered "high risk" becaus of the multiples factor, I go into the Dr every 2 weeks for an ultrasound to make sure my body isn't doing anything it shouldn't be. While some people might find this annoying I LOVE seeing them move around every two weeks! It's amazing how fast they're growing in there, and I love watching my body change along with them. At this point, it makes me so grateful to have a twin pregnancy, because I love that i'm changing so rapidly. Ask me again at 30 weeks and I'm sure you'll get a different story.
So... that's that! Here's that stuffing recipe for you*:
Cornbread Stuffing From Time Life Foods of the World: American Cooking
- 8 T butter
- 1 1⁄2 c finely chopped onio
- 1 lb sausage meat
- 1⁄2 t salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 2 t fresh thyme leaves
- 1⁄4 c finely chopped parsley
- 1⁄4 c dry madiera or sherry
- 1⁄4 c heavy cream
Cornbread for stuffing
- 1 ½ C. yellow cornmeal
- 1 C. all-purpose flour
- 1 t. salt
- 1 T. baking powder
- 2 eggs
- ½ C. melted butter
- 1 ½ C. milk
Preheat the oven to 400º. Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Beat the eggs lightly, stir in the milk and add the melted butter. Pour into the bowl of dry ingredients and beat together for about a minute, or until smooth. Do not overbeat. Lightly butter an 8-by-12 inch shallow baking pan and pour in the batter. Bake in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the bread comes slightly away from the edge of the pan and is golden brown.
While your cornbread is baking:
Melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet, add the chopped onions and cook over moderate heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until they color lightly. Scrape them in into a large mixing bowl. Add the sausage to the skillet, now set over medium heat, and break the meat up with a fork as it cools. When the meat is lightly browned, transfer it to a sieve set over a small bowl and let the fat drain through. Combine the drained sausage meat, cornbread crumbs, salt a few grindings of pepper, the thyme and parsley. With a large spoon, gently stir the ingredients together, then moisten with the sherry and cream. Taste for seasoning.
(The original recipes calls to brown the turkey liver in butter, then to chop and add it as well, but my mom always puts it in the gravy. I on the other hand usually end up with a Kosher Bird which doesn't include the innards)
*It seems I've posted this recipe before. But perhaps that reiterates how much I love it. Plus, this picture is WAY better
I can hardly believe it's been a year since my friends Rae and Meghan started up their IMMEDIATELY successful Mighty Swell Vintage pop up shop. Mighty Swell is the number one reason I've all but stopped buying clothes at regular retail outlets (aside from the occasional tank top, tights or jeans) Their clothes are adorable, in great shape and stylish, not to mention very kind to the pocketbook (unless of course you're like me and buy bag loads at every sale). Here are a few pictures I snapped for their First Anniversary Sale sneak peeks on Facebook, (styled by the lovely Rae Alexis Danneman) Make sure you swing by their spot at 3109 E 42nd Street in South Minneapolis Saturday or Sunday to spruce up your fall waredrobe! Oh, and fellas, this season's sale has LOADS of Mens Wear too!
Oh, what? You thought you'd never hear from me again? Well, it turns out the kitchen remodel took a little longer than expected (three months), and if you can't cook on a food blog, what's the point. Does that mean I'll blog with regularity again? No promises there, but I've definitely had requests to post pictures of our 99.5% complete kitchen, so here it goes.
First off, i would definitely recommend you check out this post before reading any further. You definitely need a reminder of how gross our kitchen started compared to how it looks today.
Okay, did you check? Because really, you need the reminder. Here's that link again.
Alright, now I trust you remember the crappy laminate covered by crappy ikea flooring. and the ugly cabinets. and the sink to the left of the window. Are you dying of anticipation? Good! Behold, heavenly kitchen:
Not too shabby, right? I'm really happy with the way everything turned out. I of course have a few wishes, and we ran into a few issues along the way but damn, that looks magazine worthy... well maybe if we didn't cook so we didn't have so much stuff on our countertops.
Things that had to chang/things that will change/things I wish were different:
- The floors. It was sad sad day when we realized the white stained floors weren't going to cut it. The beautiful greyish color and all the character went to hell when the poly cured and turned yellow. Now don't get me wrong, I like yellow. But not on floors that are meant to be white/grey. And not the color yellow that immediately makes you think about urine. Yeah. Sorry guys. So the floors have been painted white and hot damn, white they are. Guess what! That means everything shows up on them. This also means I clean the floors 3 times a week, so that can't be a bad thing, right? I tried to find a good solution to the cleaning, starting first with a Shark steamer (you can read my review of that piece of shit here) and now with the Bona system recommended by my mom. Is it perfect? No. Does it work better than anything aside from scrubbing the floors on your hands and knees? So far, yes. And if you think I'm EVER going to clean this floors on hands and knees you are SORELY mistaken my friend. Maybe if we'd found a more natural/water based poly for the stained wood they would been okay, but as far as I'm concerned, that route is not for me. And hopefully, since the floors ARE made of hard (well soft) wood (pine) they'll shift and give me a little more of that rustic look we were going for. They'll definitely get grooves in them as they wear, and I'm totally okay with that. Groves = character as far as i'm concerned.
- The shelves. I love the open shelving we went with. I think it keeps the space nice and open, and we do have lots of pretty things to go on the shelves. But also, some not so pretty things, or things that don't match. Now on my list of things to buy are water glasses, about 500 new pieces of pyrex, fiesta and le cruset (okay, not quite that many, but more... that match). I also envisioned them being darker (reclaimed?) but cost was starting to become an issue so we went with raw bitch (real birch, not ikea birch). I think that with time they'll darken a bit, but i might also like to stain them one day. We'll see!
- The Laundry station. Totally temporary... and by temporary I mean i will probably stay that way for 10 years. I'd like to replace that 110 year old drafty window with one at the same height as the sink window, so we can put the washer and dryer side by side and enclose them. Imperative? Definitely not. Right now the clothes on the station are what's holding up that vintage table cloth (which is hiding our recycling). We obviously need a more permanent solution for that in the meantime.
- The counter height stools. West elm has our stools on backorder until Mid october (jerks!) but they're pretty. (The ones with backs. As far as kyle is concerned, a stool is not a seat unless it has a back. He clearly doesn't have the perfect posture I do from 13 years of Violin playing)
Oh, look. The design of those kitchens are QUITE! reminiscent of ours. Obviously I should be an interior designer. I'm sure they're lots of room for that in a down economy, right? The stools we have in place now are from ikeas "as is" section (30% off, already assembled!) and I figure they'll be helpful when we have people over and are all hanging out in the kitchen.
- The light fixture. It's exactly what I wanted but because of weird wiring (thank you 115+ year old house) we can't JUST turn the light fixture above the sink on. Which means all the recessed lights are on when it is, and the pretty edison light bulb isn't a focal point. Whatevs.
- Spice racks. Right now our spices are either hidden or hanging out by the open pantry. Left of the fridge there is wall space waiting for me to hang spice racks I got from ikea. I plan to "hack" them a bit, because I don't really like the dowl
Things I couldn't be more happy about:
- Ikea cabinets. Way cheaper than pretty much any box cabinets, and they definitely have great functional abilities. We need to rearrange the interior some of them so we can put a garbage can and compost bin inside, rather than having it in the far corner of the room (very convenient).
- Bowling lane countertops. They are SO PRETTY! And easy to clean. We did decide we're not going to cut on them (!) because they're just too pretty. we have some rements in the garage that will eventually turn into nice butcherblock cutting boards for use on the concrete countertops, but for now, that bamboo one, and our many mini ones do the trick just fine.
- Concrete countertop. Also: GORGEOUS! adds a slight industrial edge to the room without being too grimy. Also, super easy to clean
- The sink. Also ikea. lovely, functional and seemly far more expensive than it was
- The faucet. am i a lame ass or what? I wanted to stick to chrome for a more 'authentic' look, but EVERYTHING is brushed nickle these days. I'm sorry, but i'm not 50 and i don't live in the suburbs. BRING ON THE CHROME! the head of the faucet pulls down and functions as the sink sprayer too. Huzzah!
- Subway tile. I love it, and that's all you need to know
- The drawerpulls, $4 a piece. I searched and searched for vintage drawer pulls, but found nothing the style i wanted, or enough of the same style.
I obviously have plenty of work to do regarding decorating, window treatments and organization, but what do you think? Is it your dream kitchen? What would you have done differently?