Category Archives: Food for Thought

Making Stuff Happen – My 101 in 1001

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I was minding my own business the other day, when the reality that in about 550 days I will turn 30. That doesn’t bother me (yet). But, it suddenly occurred to me that my life is passing by and I’m not taking the time to make stuff happen.

By stuff, I mean the guts of life. Gaining self-discipline, nurturing passions, and self-educating (since my school days are long-gone). I’ve seen a few people on the internet create these 101 in 1001 lists – listing 101 things they want to accomplish in 1001 days. It’s more like a well-thought-out, fruit-producing bucket list concept.

In 1001 days I will be 31 years ago. Many people say their 30s are their favorite decade, and I’m (truly) looking forward to them. (But not a day before they arrive!) I’d like to embark on the next decade of my life with a few things under my belt, be them successes, failures, passions, skills, or simply things I want from life.

In 1001 days I will say to myself, “I made stuff happen!”

(And of course I’m publishing it here because nothing motivated me like publicly stating a goal – or 101 of them.)

Kat’s 101 in 1001

Personal

  1. Go to before by 10:00pm every day for 2 weeks
  2. Wake up at 6:00am every morning for 2 weeks
  3. Sign up for a 10k
  4. Try a Bikram Yoga class
  5. Run 8 miles without stopping
  6. Go hiking in the White Mountains
  7. Take an online class in something I enjoy
  8. Learn handlettering
  9. Organize music and get rid of CDs Finished April 2014
  10. Create and maintain an address book
  11. Learn a skill that I don’t know
  12. Edit together our wedding video

Cooking

  1. Learn to can food
  2. Make bread from scratch
  3. Plant a vegetable garden
  4. Make my own granola
  5. Learn the art of making a great cup of coffee
  6. Find the perfect waffle recipe
  7. Make my own pizza dough
  8. Experiment making 10 new flavors of homemade ice cream
  9. Successfully replicate a homemade version of Uno’s “The Cookie”

Spiritual

  1. Daily devotionals for 1 month straight
  2. Get involved in a ministry I feel passionate about
  3. Do one pro-bono design job
  4. Reread all works by C.S. Lewis
  5. Attend one weekend retreat

Writing

  1. Write a short novel
  2. Write and illustrate a children’s story
  3. Write one piece of fan fiction
  4. Start and complete a 1001 gifts journal Started April 2014
  5. Write to 10 of my favorite writers and ask for their advice

DIY

  1. Restore Granna’s steamer trunk
  2. Install board and batten
  3. Learn how to tile
  4. Learn metal stamping
  5. Learn to use 5 new power tools
  6. Make my own candles
  7. Try glass etching
  8. Learn to crochet (and actually make something)
  9. Sew a patchwork quilt
  10. Sew something I can actually wear

Boston

  1. Go candlepin bowling
  2. Buy a book from the outdoor Brattle St Bookshop
  3. Visit Castle Island
  4. Go to SOWA
  5. Attend Boston Marathon Attended April 2014
  6. Attend Head of the Charles
  7. Organize a girls “bakery crawl”
  8. Walk the whole Freedom Trail
  9. Eat at Upstairs on the Square
  10. FINALLY go to a Red Sox Game at Fenway
  11. Sam Adams Brewery Tour

Massachusetts / New England

  1. Spend an afternoon at the Worcester Art Museum
  2. Visit Newport (and go inside the mansions this time)
  3. Go to the seaglass beach in Maine
  4. Visit Martha’s Vineyard
  5. Go to polo match at Myopia
  6. Go to Brimfield Antique Market
  7. Explore 5 nearby towns I’ve never been
  8. Explore the South Shore
  9. Go to Block Island
  10. Visit a cranberry bog (in season)

Travel

  1. Take a weekend trip with my Mom
  2. Girls weekend in Stone Harbor
  3. Visit Brian in DC Finished April 2014
  4. Visit Colls in FL
  5. Go somewhere I’ve never been

Just for Fun

  1. Attend two concerts
  2. See the Phantom of the Opera
  3. Host a fancy girly brunch
  4. Host a fall BBQ
  5. Host a seafood bake
  6. Host a salt water taffy pull
  7. Go camping
  8. Take a dancing class
  9. Read 5 classics I haven’t read before
  10. Participate in a book club
  11. Learn to sail
  12. Go Wine Tasting in the Finger Lakes
  13. Learn to Water Ski on 1 ski
  14. Go swing and salsa dancing
  15. Buy one piece of original artwork that I love
  16. Visit three new art museums
  17. Take a pottery class
  18. Find a perfume I love and buy it

Marriage

  1. (Finally) finish reading the Meaning of Marriage together
  2. Start playing tennis together
  3. Attempt to learn how to play golf
  4. Buy fishing equipment and go fishing
  5. Start a family memories book

Blogger/Design

  1. Update personal freelance website
  2. Update/organize my design portfolio
  3. Redesign blog
  4. Transfer to WordPress self-hosted
  5. Start an editorial calendar and stick to it (for at least a month)
  6. Attend 6 blogger events
  7. Launch an Etsy shop
  8. Learn about aperture and iOS on my camera
  9. Start painting again
  10. Find and complete 8 freelance design jobs

Wintery Life Lately

I have just made a whole carafe of black cherry tea. For myself.

It has been a cold week and I can still hardly feel my toes!

(Frost on my windshield – how beautiful!)

I’ve settled back into life after a week in California visiting friends and family. That one snowless week definitely helped! We’ve gotten over 24″ of snow in the last two weeks!

This weekend was spent with my parents attempting other cold weather activities like jigsaw puzzles, board games, battling the lines at Trader Joe’s and, YES, finalizing our tile choices at The Tile Shop.

Friends and I have taken to mall-walking to get some exercise in. Too bad the malls have cupcakes. I think that definitely cancels out the exercise aspect. :p

There’s a lot to do, but nothing seems to get done (cougholympicscough), and that’s okay for now. I look forward to this time of year to stay at home and hunker down.

Hopefully next week I’ll be inspired to write some more posts 😛 I have lots of topics waiting to be covered!

How is winter treating you?

Dinner Menu for a Lumberjack Party

A Lumberjack Birthday Party

If there is any “rule” in my book to hosting a dinner party, it’s don’t make it too complicated!

What’s the point of preparing and hosting a get-together if you’re going to miss it all?

For our Lumberjack Party I knew I wanted a hearty menu to live up to the ruggedness of the theme. What’s a universal man meal? Meat and potatoes.

Lumberjack Menu: All Recipes/Links in this Post

  • Turkey Chili
  • White Chicken Chili
  • Baked Potatoes
  • Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread
  • Maple Bacon Cupcakes
  • Maple Flapjacks Cupcakes
  • S’mores on a Stick
The best part of this menu? I made most of it 1-2 days before the party to minimize day-of preparation craze.
A Lumberjack Birthday Party
I made two pots of chili – a traditional tomato based chili with beans and ground turkey. I also made a white chili broth-base with chicken and cannellini beans.

Turkey Chili Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb ground turkey
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 3  15oz cans kidney beans
  • 2 15oz cans black beans
  • 1 15oz can Mexicorn
  • 60 oz diced tomatoes
  • 30 oz tomato puree
  • 30 oz water
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 5 tsp taco seasoning
  • 4 T sugar
  • Tabasco to desired taste

Brown the turkey, garlic and onions first, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes.

White Chicken Chili Recipe:

Modified from the Tennessee White Chili at FoodRepublic.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds diced chicken breast
  • 3 15-ounce cans cannellini beans
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 15oz can Mexicorn
  • 1 15oz can black beans
  • 1 container chicken broth, to desired consistency
Saute the chicken, garlic and onions first, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes.

Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes were the easy solution to the potato part of the meal. After I scrubbed some yellow potatoes, I wrapped them in aluminum foil. I cooked them on a cookie sheet at 300 degrees for 90 minutes.

Since I made the chili two days in advance, an hour before the party, I stuck the chili on the stove and the potatoes in the oven. Everything was self-serve.
A Lumberjack Birthday Party

I created a toppings bar on the sideboard of our dining room:

For the Toppings Bar

  • sour cream
  • shredded cheddar
  • chopped up bacon
  • black beans
  • diced chives
  • assortment of hot sauces.
A Lumberjack Birthday Party

Cornbread

I rounded out the meal with some Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread. I made Jiffy Cornbread, adding 2 de-seeded, diced jalapenos and 1/2 cup shredded cheddar per box of corn muffin mix. (For our party I made 3 boxes). Cook per box directions.

A Lumberjack Birthday Party

Beverages

I had several bottles of water on the table and several bottles of pop in the fridge. I also picked up some fun drinks: Maine Root Handcrafted Soda-Pop in Blueberry and Mandarin Orange (YUM! The Blueberry is my favorite. We discovered it at my cousin’s Maine wedding this summer!), Angry Orchard Ciders and some Summer Shandy (hopeful thinking – it’s almost summer, right?)
A Lumberjack Birthday Party

Maple Bacon Cupcakes

Recipe modified from The Fresh Fridge – for in-depth directions, check out her tutorial.

Maple Bacon Cupcake Batter: (This recipe yielded 24 cupcakes)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened (I replaced 1 tb with bacon fat)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

**NOTE: Keep an eye on these cupcakes while baking. I over-baked mine just a touch. Due to the maple sugar/brown sugar consistency it’s harder to tell when they are finished.

Maple Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar

Candied Bacon

Fry bacon as usual in a frying pan – add brown sugar to pan while frying. Watch carefully to prevent burning. When finished separate bacon to dry and harden. I chopped into smaller pieces for the cupcake topper. I used 8 slices of bacon.

I sprinkled the tops of the cupcakes with cinnamon and plopped the cooled-down bacon on top.

A Lumberjack Birthday Party

Maple Flapjack Cupcakes

I’ll post on this separately – basically it’s just sugar cookies and maple chocolate frosting. I’ll share my technique later!
A Lumberjack Birthday Party

S’mores on a Stick

(This time I used chocolate chips and crushed graham crackers.)

Suffice it to say, we were all stuffed…. and candied bacon is dangerously easy to make.

Could you eat a bacon cupcake? Everyone was freaked out to try it, but I think they liked them!

At Peace

IMG_0148

While we miss living right by the ocean, this pond near our house is quite beautiful. I snapped this shot on my way to the grocery store one evening. We bought a kayak this fall so we can paddle around in it come spring.

And don’t worry, I got out of the car – not driving and photographing simultaneously!

While things here on Withywindle have been fairly quiet, our lives have been anything but.

Around here was the buzz of Christmas preparations, then the roaring silence after the Sandy Hook tragedy, followed by the holiday train that starts moving whether we’re ready or not.

This weekend we relax.

We close out the year as I like to do with the end of a good book – snuggled up in an armchair with a mug of hot something.

We find our peaceful place in this holiday season before 2013 reveals a fresh page begging to be blotted with fresh ink.

We enjoy our colorful tree and twinkle lights around the house, charge through our DVR stash of favorite TV shows and recorded movies (we are cancelling our cable next month – so need to get through it all now!), try new recipes (from new cookbooks received on the 25th!) and sit by warm fires reading Anna Karenina (I have this thing about reading books before seeing the movie).

Well, I read Anna Karenina, my counterpart will likely read something equally riveting. Like a book about lawn care.

We have a few projects thrown in the mix as well – putting finishing touches on our whitewashed brick wall and re-arranging picture frames around the house. Trivial things.

During the Christmas season we hear about the silent night and the peace on earth but most often it’s overtaken with the holiday shopping hustle, driving through stressful snowstorms and go-go-go-go.

But this weekend is about pajamas and pancakes. And peace.

Merry Christmas to you all. And Happy New Year.

: )
Kat