December 2008


 

Dinner on the Fly

Dinner on the Fly

I belong to a food co-op that provides a huge amount of produce every week, all organic and in-season, and mostly locally grown. Although this is a wonderful way to get lots of fresh food into the kitchen, sometimes it leaves me with an excessive amount of one thing or another that I don’t know what to do with. Right now, it’s winter squash. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I love squash, and it’s great that hearty winter veggies stay fresh for a looooong time. But after eating squash as a side dish, in stir-fry concoctions, making gratin, and trying to arrange the pile of squash on my table as a centerpiece, I was running out of ideas. But a girl’s gotta eat, so I opened the fridge and threw something together. In the end, I made a baked mac and cheese dish that was made a little more grown up with the addition of sweet dumpling squash, gruyere cheese (which was left over from the gratin), and cubed smoked turkey. Click through for the full recipe.

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From Sooooound's esty Shop

From Sooooound's esty Shop

In addition to decals, classic framed wall art works to spruce up a room for the season without the hassle of removing the vinyl. I like the idea of a basic wall color that works well year round, with a space set aside for your own personal rotating gallery. Start a collection now, and when the season changes your wall can change, too. Then next year you can reevaluate your winter art, keep what you like, and donate/sell/recycle the rest.

Just as with rotating throw pillows, this is an easy way to keep a room interesting and refreshing. It also cuts down on clutter and old items you no longer find attractive since you are reevaluating your choices every few months. After the jump, a few finds from etsy to get started.

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Vinyl wall stickers are popping up all over the place lately. They are great for renters who can’t paint  the whole room, and they are lifesavers for people like me who constantly get bored with room decor. While it may not be practical to choose new decals for every season, it isn’t really a stretch to change them every six months or so. In case anyone is looking for some good winter designs, I like ShaNicker’s bare branches il_430xn48088666and Gecko’s simple snowflakes (I especially like that Gecko lets you customize the colors of their decals).floco_de_neve_01

Over the weekend I decided to put all my extra winter squash to good use and make this Winter Squash Gratin recipe from the Times. I used Delicata Squash, which has a flavor described as a combination of sweet potato and corn. The recipe called for 1 1/2 pounds, so I used three smallish delicatas. I also swapped out the parsley and sage for thyme, since that’s what I had in the kitchen. I really liked the flavor mixed with Gruyère cheese, so I’d call the improvisation a success. 

delicataI’d give this recipe 3 out of 5 wooden spoons, since the time needed to prepare it isn’t necessarily worth the finished product. If I’m still left with a table overflowing with winter squash in a few weeks, I’d consider it again, though. Click through for the full rundown. (more…)

Sine we spend so much time in front of a screen all day, it only makes sense to use all the customization options to reflect our moods and personalities, just as we do in our homes. Now that winter is officially here, I’ve updated a few themes and backgrounds to shake things up a bit. Also, living here in San Francisco, I miss the snow like crazy, so having some real winter to peek at makes me happy.

59_colinthompson_bluewillow_500-white2After the jump, details on updating a Mac screensaver and desktop with Flickr, iGoogle and Gmail themes, and other ways to winterize your tech.

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It just so happens that I’m changing my living situation in the next few weeks, and it’s starting with a complete bedroom makeover. I’m going to have a much smaller bedroom space, so I’m going to have to be very selective about what goes in there. My goal is to select foundation pieces that serve as a blank slate for all seasons, meaning I can easily swap out a few items to change things up and keep it interesting throughout the year. I haven’t decided exactly how I’m going to arrange the furniture, but I think the only pieces I’ll keep will be my bed (obviously), a night stand, bookshelf, and dresser. As of now the only piece I’ve decided on for sure is the bed, everything else is up for debate. I’d like to keep my existing night stand, which has a shelf for my printer and a file drawer below. I’m getting moving my desk out of the bedroom, but I’d like to keep a small workspace in there.

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Yuzu

Yuzu

The winter solstice is officially tomorrow, but a lot of the stories and festivals run roughly from Dec. 20 to Dec. 23 when the sun appears to rise in the same position every day, rather than move slightly north or south. The solstice marks the shortest days of the year. While we in the U.S. don’t have many “official” solstice traditions, we tend to mix old and new traditions into the season:

Seattle has an annual Winter Solstice Fire Festival with fire and dance performances that looks awesome. 

In Tokyo, people celebrate by bathing with yuzu, a small citrus fruit. 

At Stonehenge, when the sun is the brightest, it shines through a passageway and illuminates an engraving on the wall called the Triple Spiral, drawn to celebrate the arrival of the sun. Great party if you’re a druid. 

According to Norse tradition, the summer god is killed by an arrow made of mistletoe. Loki, the god of evil, made an arrow out of mistletoe and gave it to Hoder, the god of winter. It was he who killed Balder, the sun god. Frigga, Balder’s, mother restored him and cried tears of joy that turned into berries on the mistletoe branch. She was so happy she kissed everyone who passed under the tree.

For my part, I’m just excited that for the next six months we get to enjoy a bit more sunlight every day.

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