Not Martha

links: misc

6 extraordinarily stubborn ‘nail houses’, like the house in Up. Edith’s house here in Seattle is the first example! (via Kottke)

Pick Punch Make guitar picks from anything. Interesting. I wonder if it would actually punch through a credit card? Or should Scott just keep using his keychain nail clippers to make a pick? (From Alyssa, thanks!)

The cultural signifiers and genre sexism of urban fantasy :: Rebecca Blood. Rebecca points us to a very good article.

The Park Bench: How to Meet and Woo a Nerdy Girl. Very funny, I like Tip #11.

Make hay while the sun shines : Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm. Susan Gibbs explains why this isn’t just a saying.

· comments [3] · 06-30-2009 · categories:links · misc ·

links: food

The Syrah Boom That Wasn’t : Why do people think this wine sucks? – CHOW. A brief explanation of good and bad Syrah and why everybody seems to have stopped buying it.

cheese straws | smitten kitchen. Perfect party trick indeed.

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Bowl Sundae – Ruhlman.com. My goodness I love this.

DIY Maraschino Cherries at Edible Crafts

pork, knife & spoon A blog all about pork!

BaconCamp / Bacone totally brilliant, bacon cooked into the shape of a cone. Puts my bacon cup to shame, really.

New Finds: Garlic-Destroying Bowl I once watched Chef Reinvented make a paste of garlic by throwing in a little salt and dragging a knife across the mixture. I couldn’t recreate it at home, maybe this bowl would sooth my ego? At Chow.

Brie: Should You Eat the Rind? At Chow. I’ve never figured this out.

Donut Day! at Cook & Eat. For a moment I thought that was a ham and cheese donut. Now I must try to make that.

Whole Wheat Drop Biscuits I used regular milk for these and with a little butter and honey they were a quick save to an otherwise boring breakfast.

A Defining Moment A tested and approved version of no-knead bread that includes whole wheat flour and steel cut oats. At Kiss My Spatula.

lemon, parmesan & chickpea cabbage salad at everybody likes sandwiches

Bahhh-licious! 3-D soup crackers, gluten free. At Design*Sponge.

· comments [12] · 06-29-2009 · categories:food · links ·

Sponsor Thank You – A Shepherd’s Tale

A Shepherds Tale

A big thanks to A Sheherd’s Tale, the blog of the Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm, for being a sponsor on this site. I’ve talked previously about the farm and how amazing it is that Susan can keep an amazing blog considering how very, very much she does. I’m truly in awe of her, the business, and how much goodness she brings into the world. If you don’t already follow her adventures I highly encourage you to do so, she gives such a generous window into her world. And if you are looking for an incredible gift for a knitter or spinner, I suggest again a share in the fiber CSA would be perfect.

Say hello to the cuteness:

A Shepherds Tale

· comments [4] · 06-26-2009 · categories:sponsor thank you ·

links: drink

I’ll buy no kits before it’s time. | Ask Metafilter. Home brewing without buying a kit. At Ask Metafilter.

Cave B Estate Winery. Found via Seattle Tall Poppy‘s Twitter stream, full of great food info.

How to Make Your Own Irish Cream Liqueur | The Hungry Mouse. Found on Edible Crafts.

Tasty crops for a gin garden? | Ask Metafilter. Now, I could get into this sort of edible gardening.

Margarita etiquette | Ask Metafilter. Is there an accepted way to get to enjoy the salt?

Peach White-Wine Sangria Recipe at Epicurious.com. I’m going to have to find a reason to make this sangria sometime soon.

· comments [7] · 06-25-2009 · categories:drink · links ·

Sponsor Thank You – MirrorMate Frames

MirrorMate Frames

A big thanks to MirrorMate Frames for being a sponsor for this site. I’ve talked about their custom sized and easy to install frames for mirrors previously, but I didn’t get a chance to go into how much I appreciate their attention to detail. I have a huge mirror, 39 x 63 inches, that I inherited with this house. It’s incredibly heavy and the edges are chipped. When I was first reading about MirrorMate Frames I figured they wouldn’t work for my huge mirror because it sits on the floor and I thought the frames would need clearance around the outside of the mirror. Turns out, the MirrorMate people had already considered that and can make frames to clear when a mirror is up against a wall or counter. They’ve also taken into consideration if a mirror is held up with those clear plastic clips and can build the frames so that the clips don’t interfere with the frames sitting flush against the surface of your mirror. They even have a video on their website that shows all the steps of assembling and placing the frame, which is made as easy for you as possible and includes temporary placement corners as guides.

More reasons to like them: they are doing everything they can to be a green company, their frames are build here in the USA, they are woman created and owned and the entire idea was started when Lisa Huntting needed a solution for the mirrors in her bathroom and decided that if she couldn’t find it she would make one.

· comments [3] · 06-24-2009 · categories:sponsor thank you ·

freezing bacon

preparing bacon to freeze

This one might be something a lot of you do already, but if you don’t please allow me to recommend that the next time you buy bacon you get an extra package to squirrel away in the freezer. It leads to happy Saturday mornings like this one:

Him: Let’s make french toast. Do we have something to go with it?
Me: Let me check the freezer… YES! WE HAVE BACON!

preparing bacon to freeze

I cut the whole package of bacon in half only because I find it easier to separate later (it also is easier to cook crispy when you don’t have to worry about the other end burning). I cut a strip of parchment paper the width of the bacon then put a strip down, fold over, put another strip down, fold that over, etc. Put it in an airtight container in the freezer and when you need some you simply unroll the package and pop out a few strips at a time. There, so much nicer than trying to pry off a strip from a frozen mass of bacon.

update: I just wanted to add that I have seen this a few places before I started doing it. The one that immediately comes to mind is this post over at Eating Well Anywhere.

· comments [41] · 06-23-2009 · categories:food ·

links: technology

Amazon.com: Lowel EGO Digital Imaging, Tabletop Fluorescent Light Unit: Camera & Photo. These came from a tip by Savory Sweet Life on Twitter.

Cool Feet Laptop Stands available at Delight.com. Scott and I were just talking about needing this very thing when we hook up the laptop to the tv to watch online shows like The Guild.

Women in Tech, Gina Trapani and Tiffany B. Brown. Cinnamon on two women in technology that she admires.

Leaked: first video of Ico/Shadow of the Colossus creators’ Trico – Offworld. Eee!! We’re going to buy our next gaming console based on which one will play this game.

Where Can I Listen to Other People’s Conversations? | Ask Metafilter.

Superfiller. Find a Filler to Qualify for Amazon.com’s Free Shipping! The Amazon Discount Table is also really useful when you just need something like an extra SD card.

· comments [7] · 06-22-2009 · categories:links · technology ·

links: the home

Easy Storage Solutions From A to Z, at Real Simple. My cabinet handle as hanging bar was mentioned in this article. Sadly the print edition gave the URL notmartha.com, but it was fixed in the online article.

Guest bedroom window. At Door Sixteen. Great post about repairing old windows with links to resources.

Target Pod Chair We need a few casual chairs, and in a room with an orange wall, but I don’t know if I these would flop-able enough.

Nexus medicine cabinet Really nice in-wall medicine cabinet. At Ikea Hacker.

diy wednesdays: wallpapered medicine cabinet We’re getting ready to redo a bathroom, I like this idea for decorating the interior of a medicine cabinet. At Design*Sponge.

Delight Your Room Wallflowers! available at Delight.com I like these better than most of the wall stickers.

Silicone Door Stop (set of 3)– Better Living Through Design Simple and functional.

Strips 4 Seat Sofa– Better Living Through Design I hate itchy sofa fabrics, maybe I could make a quilted cover like this one should I ever, uh, accidentally buy an itchy sofa.

Advice for growing hops | Ask Metafilter

ironing board cubby spice rack She used screw eyes as shelf supports that are easy to adjust to make the shelves level, very clever!

Mighty Girl » Green Pockets by Maruja Fuentes

shelterrific » more fun with window film

swissmiss | Mila. A nicely minimal profile shoe rack.

· comments [10] · 06-19-2009 · categories:links · the home ·

links: shopping

Jeri’s Organizing & Decluttering News: Purse Organizer Found During Flight to Paris (and 8 More).

Black Canvas Dress – Lincoln Center. I love this dress from Shabby Apple. Via Chez Shoes. Shabby Apple makes dresses that cover a bit more skin, but are in no way unsexy. Nice.

Bodies in Motivation » Buying (and riding) a new bicycle: things to consider if you’re a n00b. Actual seriously good advice on buying a bicycle, thank goodness.

swissmiss | CableDrop. I’ve been wanting something like this, but to hold makeup brushes upside down while they dry.

Handmade Clothing on Etsy – Melton Lova by violinhalune

· comments [10] · 06-17-2009 · categories:links · shopping ·

Trophy Cupcakes now open in U Village

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcake

A friend and I got out to the opening of the second location of Trophy Cupcakes here in Seattle last week. The new shop is charming and filled with cupcakes and delightful party favors, and located in a nice stretch of the U Village mall that has a courtyard with tables so you can sit outside and enjoy.

four cupcakes in a box

I got Pineapple (upside down cake style), Strawberry and Lemon, Peanut Butter and Chocolate and Triple Coconut. I think my favorite is the coconut.

Cuppie card from Cakespy

I found some greeting cards made by Cakespy!

pick decorations

I love the amount of cupcake decorations they have, one of these is filled with Stormtrooper heads.

Strawberry cupcakes

I love seeing all the perfect cupcakes standing in tidy rows.

· comments [18] · 06-16-2009 · categories:food · seattle ·

links: craft

Dye suppliers, at Rebecca Blood. Good new to me resource.

French Novel Flower Bouquet Tutorial, by Jordan Roberts. Make gorgeous paper roses, from Offbeat Bride.

DIY J Crew Astrid Sweater with Ruffles, ooh la la, at Mighty Girl.

I declare the new name in knitting bags to be… Mario Batali! Presents Knits on why Mario Batali’s lunch bag makes an ideal knitting bag.

DIY Purse Organizer, video on YouTube.

· comments [4] · 06-15-2009 · categories:craft ·

how to blanch and freeze kale

kale in orange bowls, ready to blanch

Here is another thing I make in bulk and freeze so I can have something very nearly ready to go at dinnertime. By the end of the day I have no imagination left for dinner so often our nutrition suffers (Annie’s mac and cheese again? yay!). But, I can be virtuous and lazy if I have kale in my freezer.

If you would have told me two years ago that I would fall deeply in love with kale I wouldn’t have believed you. I only tried in initially because I felt guilted into eating better (see: Annie’s mac and cheese). However, preparing it for dinner can seem like it would just take too much effort what with all the washing and chopping. It took me way too long to realize that I could blanch it to freeze and have ready to go. One note: I did find bags of frozen kale for sale at Amazon Fresh but they are cut the same way that cut frozen spinach comes, roughly and too small, and I find it rather unpleasant to eat.

Below is step by step instructions on how I get it ready. I put it here because I figure I cannot be the only person who has no idea how to do this. I used the instructions from Pick Your Own, and these here are what I’ve figured out in order to do a lot of kale in batches as efficiently as possible.

blanched kale on a kitchen towel ready to be squeezed out

If you just freeze greens they get bitter, but if you dunk them in boiling water for a few minutes, then stop the cooking abruptly you kill of the enzymes that create the bitter flavor. This is called blanching and except for watching Martha Stewart do it to green beans years ago I never knew much about it.

I usually buy four bunches of kale, which is a lot of kale. First, start boiling water in a huge stockpot. (My electric kettle gets a lot of work here.) Put a large bowl in your sink and fill it with water. Dunk the kale around to wash it. If you bought it from your local organic market look closely for little buggies. Sometimes they just hug the stem and you can get rid of them in the next step. I usually don’t find bugs but there was this one time when I just re-fused to throw out four whole bunches of kale and had to work carefully.

dunking the kale

Next, trimming. The easiest way to trim out the stem is to fold the kale leaf in half lengthwise with the stem facing away from you. Run the tip of a knife along the stem to separate it. (I learned this in Everyday Food, I think.)

trimming the stem

Then you can leave the kale where it is and quickly chop it. Now move that into a bowl and do the next one. If you develop an assembly line rhythm at this point you can get through all your kale pretty quickly.

(Let’s talk briefly about knives. I have an expensive 8″ chefs knife, but I nearly always reach for my Oxo Santoku Knife, which is $20. Just saying. Good stuff.)

quickly chopping

Now get the following things ready: a huge pot of boiling water with a lid, a huge bowl of ice water, a strainer you can use to move the kale from the boiling water to the ice water, a salad spinner, a large kitchen towel laid out flat on your counter and a kitchen timer set to two minutes.

pot of boiling water, bowl of ice water, two minutes on the timer

When the water is boiling dump a bunch of the kale in it, put on the lid (the steam helps cook the bits bobbing on top) and let it cook for two minutes. I usually just stir it once.

When the time is up quickly lift the kale from the pot of water into the ice bath. You’ll reuse the boiling water for the next batch. The water turns progressively darker green with each batch but I cannot imagine that would hurt anything. Bet it would be great for making vegetable stock. Someday I’ll make stock of some sort.

kale in ice bath

Now we need to get it dry. I spin it in a salad spinner. (The OXO Salad Spinner still totally rules. I have the little one and it works fine for two people.)

kale in the salad spinner

Then I lay it flat on a kitchen towel. When all the batches of kale are done I roll the towel up…

kale being rolled in kitchen towl

and squeeze.

kitchen towel looking like a kale-filled burriot

Then I lay the kale out on a sheet of parchment on a cookie sheet. Pop that in the freezer and in about 30 minutes it will be frozen enough for you to shake into your airtight container of choice.

kale spread in single layer on a cookie sheet

And there you are, it’s all ready to pull out of the freezer, saute in olive oil with a little minced garlic (I’m not ashamed to love my garlic press) just until it’s hot, shake a bit of crushed red pepper and salt on top and, ta da!, excellent leafy green side dish that allow you to be smug about your eating habits and level of cleverness for the next 24 hours.

· comments [120] · 06-12-2009 · categories:recipes ·

free shipping at Delight

Delight.com logo

Hey, Delight.com was so happy with the response to the giveaway last week they’re offering readers free shipping on orders over $45. Just enter NotMarthaJune at checkout (case sensitive so be careful). It’s good through June 18th. Thanks Delight!

· comments [0] · 06-11-2009 · categories:shopping ·

new Trophy Cupcakes location open today

Trophy Cupcakes logo

Trophy Cupcake’s second location in U Village here in Seattle is officially open today, Thursday, June 11th. Yay! I adore their cupcakes and was so happy to hear about the new shop. I’m crossing my fingers that they’ll have some Pineapple Upside Down cupcakes ready (they are normally only available on Fridays). More details at Facebook.

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcake in all its glory

See also: Cakespy’s undercover pictures of the preview party.

· comments [5] · 06-11-2009 · categories:food · seattle ·

Next GBA Talk – Defining Business Success on Your Own Terms

Grassroots June Meeting

I’m very excited, Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears (co-founders of Raised Eyebrow Web Studio and authors of The Boss of You) will be the speakers for the Grassroots Business Association meeting next Wednesday here in Seattle. Lauren and Emira came and spoke at The Lab earlier this year and the information they had to share was incredibly helpful and solid, coming from what they learned as they started and grew their own business. I cannot wait to hear what wisdom they have to shed for the talk. If you’d like to attend please do us a favor and let us know over at Meetup.com, it helps us plan how many chairs we need to have in place, thanks.
The official copy:

We all think know what success looks like: wealth, happiness, perhaps a measure of fame… But creative entrepreneurs are redefining success to include other factors: time to care for ourselves and our loved ones; contributing to our communities; work that nourishes our creative instincts and fuels our passion.

When you consciously create your own personal definition of success, you breathe new life into your work. Why not explore what success looks like for you? Learn how to bring your values into the workplace, and hear stories of inspiring women who are reshaping the business world, blending entrepreneurial savvy with genuine heart and soul.

Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears co-founded Raised Eyebrow Web Studio, Inc. in February 2000, and at that time couldn’t imagine calling themselves the bosses of anyone. They now lead a team of five, and have developed a reputation for designing elegant and user-friendly websites for nonprofit organizations and small businesses. Their book, The Boss of You: Everything A Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run, and Maintain Her Own Business, is the business book they wish they’d had.

Due to the size again we are moving this to the Hugo House. We will be taking small donations to keep us going. If you want to purchase The Boss of You from Laura and Emira please remember to bring cash or your checkbook.

When: June 17, 2009 7:00 PM

Where: Richard Hugo House
1634 11th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
206-322-7030

· comments [3] · 06-11-2009 · categories:events · seattle ·