Recipe: White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

I love white cheddar mashed potatoes! I suggest using smoked white cheddar with whole peppercorns if you can find it.

Click image below to print recipe.

White-Cheddar-Mashed-Potatoes

Holiday Knitting

Tomorrow is the first day of July. The first day of the second half of the year.

Tick tock.

It’s time to start planning and working on handmade holiday gifts already. I’m so great at planning ahead and getting everything made way, way ahead of time!

No. Not really. I’m a last minute gal no matter how early I start.

But.

But.

If I do one here and there, it’s got to help relieve stress six months from now, right?

Let’s do it. Together. Let’s get started. Okay?

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This morning I made this Fair Isle mug cozy. Well, it’s supposed to be a mug cozy, but because I never swatch to check gauge, mine ended up too small. Fits this bottle nicely, though, so that’s cool.

Or something.

Anyway, it was good practice and my first colorwork project ever aside from stripes. Loved it. Will certainly be making more. They’ll make fun gifts for mail carriers, UPS drivers, the hilarious lady that works the register at Walgreens, firewood delivery people, etc.

Now, what else shall I put on my gifts-to-make list? And what’s on yours?

 

P.S. Ignore the glitter glue on the craft table. I used my daughter’s table because there was good light, okay?

Never Stop Creating

Today, after 5+ years, The Green Wife has a new look! It was overdue. The old design was fun, colorful, vibrant, but I was ready for an update. Something a little cleaner and fresher looking.

If some of my many designer and/or developer friends took a look at my code right now, they might get a good laugh. I’m coding on my shaky Bambi legs right now and I am not afraid to admit it! So there!

But I did it. I redid the site entirely on my own. And I enjoyed the hell out of it.

I see a big divide between my crafty friends and my web design/development friends. I feel like I have kind of bridged that gap in that I love to create. Period. I love to knit beautiful things. I love to paint stuff. I love to cook delicious food. And now I love to create websites.

Creating is creating. The satisfaction of creating something is just as fulfilling if it’s in my hands or on my computer screen. Either way, I’m getting my creativity flowing and enjoying the satisfaction that comes with a finished project.

Never stop creating.

Never stop learning.

Never be afraid to try new things.

If you want to try your hand at building a site, jump in! Every resource you could ever need is available. Answers are everywhere.

What I use:

  • WordPress. WordPress, WordPress, WordPress. Don’t leave home without it. I could go on and on, but that’s another post for another time.
  • StudioPress. Working with the Genesis framework and a beautiful child theme will give you a great head start. Good people. Great support. Pure class and quality.
  • Codecademy. This is an excellent, free resource for building your code skills.

Other great resources:

WordPress for Dummies –A great book written by my brilliant, funny, kind, and amazing friend Lisa Sabin-Wilson. She knows her stuff. Check out the book.

WP101 –A series of excellent WordPress tutorials created by Shawn Hesketh. He and his wife, Kay, are just fantastic people who have inspired me and many others to “Never Stop Learning”. I even have the shirt.

WordCamp –Seriously. Find a WordCamp in your area and go. I’ve been to….hmm…18? 20? A lot. I’ve lost count. Every one that I’ve been to has taught me something. You’ll fall in love with the WordPress community and find sessions for beginners, developers, and everything in between. You don’t have to know a thing about WP when you walk in the door, but I promise that you’ll leave inspired and more informed.

My point? Don’t let fear stop you from trying something new, whether it’s web design, pottery, woodworking, anything…just try it. You don’t have to be perfect or great at any one thing, but don’t be afraid to experiment. And never, never stop creating.

So…uhhh….what do you think of the new look?

Pecan Tacos with Poblano Sour Cream

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YUM!

I mean…uh…hi. I need to share something with you. It’s kind of a recipe and kind of just a meal idea. Take it and do with it what you will.

It all started at a cute little downtown restaurant when I had a delicious salad that included spicy pecans. The entire salad was amazing, but I was left craving those pecans for weeks and weeks. I contacted the owner of said restaurant and she told me the secret was just taco seasoning! Of course, I made my own batch of these spicy pecans just to have around as snacks.

I found, though, that every time I ate them I craved cheese, sour cream, tortillas….the works! This, my friends, is how my idea for Pecan Tacos with Poblano Sour Cream came to be. I’m not vegetarian, but I tend to go through periods where I just really don’t want to eat meat. This meal provides the perfect vegetarian option for someone like me in a house full of carnivores! My love for all things dairy will forever keep me from being vegan, but you could easily take these tacos that direction if you wanted to.

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(Thanks to my awesome friend and neighbor Michelle for helping me get them photo-ready and for taste testing for me!)

What you see here is:

  • Homemade tortillas (directions not included)
  • Pecans roasted in taco seasoning (directions to follow)
  • Homemade guacamole (directions not included, because…it’s guac)
  • Homemade poblano sour cream (recipe included)
  • Shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, cilantro, lime (duh)

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First, let’s talk about the pecans. Good quality pecans will make all the difference. Don’t skimp. Go for the good stuff. You can use halves, pieces, or minced nuts. Your call.

  • In a medium skillet, melt 1/4 cup butter.
  • Add 2 cups of pecans (makes enough for about 4-6 tacos).
  • Toss pecans in the melted butter until completely coated.
  • Add 1/3 cup of your favorite taco seasoning.
  • Continue to heat and stir pecans until coated in deliciousness.
  • Remove from heat and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Doesn’t hurt to spray a tiny bit of oil on there.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes at 300 degrees, flipping, stirring, turning them after about 8-10 minutes.

So that’s simple enough. Now for the poblano sour cream! This stuff? I’m kind of proud of having the idea and thrilled with how it turned out. Aside from being kickass on tacos, it makes a fantastic chip dip.

First, you’ll roast your peppers.

  • Put 3-5 poblano peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Broil on high for 8 minutes or so. Turn them and broil the other side for another 8-10. The skin will turn black, bubbly, crispy.
  • Immediately put them in a sealed plastic bag or a tightly covered bowl and let sit for 20 minutes. This steams them and makes it easy to remove the skins.
  • When cool enough to handle safely, remove and discard the blackened skins.
  • Remove seeds.

Throw the peppers and about a tablespoon of fresh cilantro (if desired) in a food processor until puréed. Add the purée to 1 cup of sour cream and mix thoroughly. Throw some on your taco, and put a big pile on your plate, because you are going to want more!

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Build your taco as desired and enjoy!

Click here to print the pecan and sour cream recipe!

Try your hand at hand lettering

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In the last two or three weeks, I’ve been playing around with hand lettering. I mean, it’s all the rage, right? It’s everywhere you look and it’s only gaining popularity along with typography. Most artsy-craftsy fads come and go and by the time they’ve run their course, we’re sick and tired of it (puff-painted sweatshirts, anyone?). Good riddance, right?!

However, I feel like hand lettering is an art that deserves all the time it can get. It’s one that has been around for ages. We’ve all become so used to the convenience and pixel-perfect products that are spit out of printers that we tend to forget what a beautiful, lost art hand lettering is. I’m so glad to see people everywhere taking interest in it. I know I’ve really enjoyed spending time  playing around with it.

 

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(Come on, you know you love Napoleon, too.)

 

In fact, out of my ridiculous number of hobbies, it’s without a doubt the most relaxing one I’ve ever had. I can get lost in it and really enjoy it without a lot of prep work. I can sit at the dining table and carry on a conversation with the kids as I work (can’t say that for a lot of hobbies I have), with the added benefit that the kids never fail to grab pencil and paper and start lettering on their own.

 

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(This says “Love for birth”. No idea where she came up with that, so I asked and she just said she thought it was nice.)

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Here’s my first try:

 

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I was so eager to try that I couldn’t wait another 24 hours for the delivery of the supplies I had ordered based on these recommendations. I grabbed a plain ol’ mechanical pencil along with a sheet of paper from the printer and I gave it a go. Not so hot! I was really stressing over it (because I’m neurotic as hell–not really but yeah–and have a tendency to stress over the strangest stuff) and unsteady hands just couldn’t make it  happen.

The next day I yanked the package from the delivery driver’s hands with rabid-animal intensity just knowing I was about to turn out some seriously beautiful and perfect hand lettered brilliance (Mmhmm. Right.)

 

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Nerves. Shaky hands. Why do I get all antsy in the pantsy when I start something new? I mean, SHEESH, it’s pencil and paper. I can erase. I have more paper. BUT. Then there’s pens. OMGWHATIFIMESSUP? Deep breath. It’s only pens, pencil, and paper. Time to relax and have fun. No need to be perfect. If I wanted perfection, I’ve got Photoshop and a laser printer, right?! That’s the whole freaking point of this! Chill, Abbie, chill.

I drew off some guidelines, looked at fonts online and in books, and started to play.

 

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Once I let go of the idea of achieving perfection (or that I will ever have steady hands), I really got into it. I remind myself that it’s just for fun and no hand lettering police will come beating down my door. So yeah. I LOVE THIS STUFF. I want to do it all day every day, but I wait for that glorious time right after the kids are in bed. That’s my play time.

As I’ve shared pictures of my practice lettering lately, I’ve had people tell me that they’re tempted to give hand lettering a shot. So I said to my self, “Self, why don’t we do a little giveaway and let somebody else venture out into the world of lettering along with us?”

So,whether you’re a total newbie like me or an old pro that would like a few new supplies, this giveaway is for you. My crafty friends, nerdy-techy-typograhy friends, artists…any and all of you anywhere. It’s for you.

The lucky winner will receive the following:

 

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To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me what your first hand lettering project will be.

The following are accepted but not required:

For a second entry, share on Facebook and leave a second comment here.

For a third entry, tweet it and leave a comment here linking me to that tweet.

For a fourth entry, pin the image below and leave a comment linking me to the pin.

 

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***Each entry MUST have a separate comment. If you combine them into a single comment, it will be considered a single entry. Thank you and good night!**

**Contest ends 10-17-13 at midnight CST. Entries made after that time will be disqualified. A winner will be chosen randomly on 10-18-13.**

(This giveaway is not sponsored by anyone. I just felt like sharing some goodies.)

 

Alright! I used random.org to select a winner…

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Kandice! Congrats! I can’t wait to see what you create with your new goodies. Just send me your address and I’ll get them on their way.

Thanks, everyone, for entering. Keep an eye out for future giveaways and go create beautiful things. If you feel like sharing, post them on Facebook. I’d love to see!