Friday Finds: Really Pointy Sticks

I got kind of wrapped up reading a sub-Reddit called "Explain Like I'm Five" about "ObamaCare" and nearly forgot to tell you guys about this week's find. If you're interested in learning about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in simple language with actual citations, go here:   I actually feel informed!

Now... on to the fun bit. If you read my post from the other day, you'll know that I'm currently fighting with some lace-weight Hair of the Mo. Honestly, I've never knit lace in my life and this yarn is so tiny it's ridiculous. It's beautiful to feel and the finished fabric is lovely but I learned a few things the hard way:

Seriously. This is like hair

1. You can't really un-knit or frog lace-weight mohair. You're better off just breaking off the bit you don't want and starting over.

2. You can't really knit lace-weight mohair with Clover Takumi bamboo needles. The tips are too large and too round.

So, my revelation for this week was learning about super-pointy lace-appropriate knitting needles. Friend of Might Distractible (and test-knitter extraordinaire), Gael (aka Stitchlilly), recommended two needles in particular: Addi Lace and Knitter's Pride Dreamz. The Addi's are metal (as far as I can tell) and I'm not really a metal needle girl so I bought a couple pair of the Knitter's Pride Dreamz. What a great purchase! Awesomely pointy, smooth, pretty (for each size the wood is dyed a different lovely color), and with the most supple cable you can imagine.
Gorgeous and easy to use

If you're in the market to knit some super tiny yarn, I can't recommend these enough.

Have a great weekend!

- Alex

I'm just like Ma Ingalls

Well, not really. But I am going to a cabin next week. And I am a mom.

I love you Caroline Ingalls.
Last year I wrote about our family camping vacation. It was real camping...tents, dirt, open fire cooking, and all. This year we are going to a cabin. From what I understand, this cabin on a lake business is "civilized" camping. I will have a kitchen, bathroom, shower, and all the outlets a girl could need. Total game-changer.

Where before I was worried about what to cook and how I was going to manage sleeping on an air mattress, now I am wondering what crafts to bring along. I realize that my "me time" will be limited and I will still be cooking, chasing little boys around, and trying to keep things clean. Still, I have visions of myself on a lawn chair in the shade, with some handwork on my lap.

Only my fellow crafters will understand when I say that I had a small bit of panic on this subject last night before I went to sleep. What I bring with me is REALLY important. Really, really.

Normally I would just lug along my knitting bag with whatever is currently on the needles. But it's going to be hot out. And I'm not sure I feel like working under a sweater that is 3/4 finished. And I'm probably going to be interrupted every 10 minutes so that could make the knitting design projects I have going difficult to keep track of with notations and all. Sewing machine? Yeah right. Maybe if it was a cabin full of my awesome girlfriends! that's a thought!

A tumble of floss that resides in my knitting bag.
Embroidery is so summer to me. Easy to pick up and put down. Lightweight and minimal on supplies. Love it. I have some plain flour sack dish towels in my cedar chest that have been waiting for embellishment for quite a while. See, my hoarding has paid off! :)

Also, there is one little guy left in our Woodland Series embroidery templates waiting to be stitched. We have Owl, Hare, and Bear for you as free downloads. But Fox, poor Fox...he was designed and then set aside for some bigger fish to fry. Maybe it's time to give him some color and share him with you. Yeah, he might just have to come up north with me.

Fox needs to be taken from sketch to reality.
Speaking of embroidery...this past weekend, I went antiquing at my favorite antique fair in Elkhorn, Wis. Wandering around the fair grounds pieces of embroidered fabric kept catching me eye. Still starched, never used, lovingly stitched items. Made me pause. I said to my mother, "see they made them and saved them for "special"....and they should have just used them everyday because here they sit." And I really believe that. Live with your handmade items. Every day is special.

I was wishing I had the initial S when I saw this beauty.

Designing Women

While we're no Sugarbakers, Cassandra and I are, officially, knitwear designers and we're women so... well... we'll feel free to co-opt the name for the purposes of this blog post.


As you've probably heard (because we won't stop talking about it), we're being published in What (Else) Would Madame Defarge Knit?. What we haven't shared with you yet is the fact that we had TWO patterns picked to go into the next installment of Heather Ordover's series, What Would Madame Defarge Knit: Shakespeare Edition. Cassandra and I are over the moon and infinitely grateful for the opportunity to be included in such a fun project and in the company of such talented knitters.

While we can't divulge any details of our patterns, we can give you some insight into the process of designing - which can be both wonderful and frustrating at the same time.

For WWMDfK? the process goes like this: Heather puts out a call for designs; you write up a description of what you want to do, including a sketch (if you can) or photos of potential stitch patterns - anything that will help the board get a sense of what your finished object will look like; the board reviews the submissions; you find out if you got picked. Once your pattern is chosen, it's time to get down to business.

Cassandra and I sourced our yarn from Knit Picks ( for our last WWMDfK? pattern and were so pleased with the quality of the yarn, we went back to Knit Picks this time around.For pattern #1, we wanted something that would provide an ethereal look so we tried the Aloft Kid Mohair. What an exceptional yarn this is! It's lace weight so, basically, it's like knitting with a hair but it is the softest and prettiest mohair I've ever seen. For pattern #2, we wanted something that would provide some weight but also color depth and variation. We choose Swish Tonal which is, possibly, the most gorgeous yarn I've ever seen. It knits up so beautifully, I can't even explain it. So, there's our shameless plug for Knit Picks. I had no idea they carried such exceptional yarn (and at reasonable prices) but I'm a total convert now and will continue to try their yarns going forward.

Various needle sizes and single vs double yarn

Knit Picks Swish Tonal - my new fave yarn
Next, we had to start testing our idea. At this point, nothing is written down - it's just an idea of how the finished object should look. Pattern #1 required some swatching to get the right needle size and "look" for our concept. Pattern #2 required some test knitting of various stitch patterns to decide which combination of stitches would achieve the look we were going for. I'm working on the main part of pattern #1 and Cassandra is working on the main part of pattern #2. We continuously check in with each other to ensure that the direction we're going is agreeable to both of us.

Our next step will be putting some instruction on paper and engaging a test knitter (this is happening tomorrow, actually). Then, the three of us will start frantically knitting the draft patterns and looking for mistakes which, we hope, will all be corrected by the time we turn the pattern in at the end of next month. (!) Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Truth be told, I really, really, really enjoy this process. It's a little nerve wracking but it's SO satisfying to think up an idea and have it develop into something that others can take away and use. I can't wait to be able to tell you all more about our WWMDfK? projects. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I've enjoyed creating them!

- Alex

Let me tell you about Wes

Every movie that Wes Anderson has made has given me shivers of pleasure. His aesthetic is everything that I love all rolled up in one place. As a matter of fact, when I am watching one of his films, I feel like he made it just for me. When I meet him one day, I'm going to thank him for that.

Last night I went to see Anderson's latest production, Moonrise Kingdom. I walked into the theater giddy with excitement and walked out wiping my eyes from the sweetness. On the car ride home I was framing everything in my field of vision - the traffic, the buildings, the people in their yards - as if they were storyboards in a Anderson film. Try it sometime, even the shabbiest of sights morph into something artistic and curiously innocent.

People dance together when they fall in love.
That innocence that he finds in everything and everyone, to me, is the heart of his work. No matter how deceitful the character or how ordinary the place, you get the feeling that you're viewing the scene as a childhood memory. And all the filters and revisionist history of remembering the past come along for that ride.

Sometimes grown-ups need to go outside with an axe and a bottle of red.
Anderson's movies have a "hey kids, let's put on a show!" (Little Rascals) quality. The sets, costumes, characters, dialog (and all the other stuff that movies are made of) seem to be designed from impressions. Let me clarify. I can draw a shark by sitting at the aquarium and sketching from life, or, I can just sit down with paper and draw a shark. An actor in a Wes Anderson's movie doesn't follow a doctor around for a month to learn to play a believable doctor... he puts on a white lab coat and stethoscope and plays his idea of a doctor, seemingly drawing from childhood impressions. Pulling that technique off so beautifully is one of the reasons I think Anderson is brilliant. It is a slippery slope where the movie could come off lame and amateur, but his never do. It becomes charming and leaves room for the visuals and music to help buoy up the story he's trying to tell. I think his characterizations work, in part, because he employs actors who "get it" and are able to make the process sing.

So, what makes me watch his movies over, and over, and over again? More than anything, it's the sets. I want to live on a Wes Anderson sound stage. The colors, the light, the furnishings...all so imperfect, but somehow perfect together. The style is always a careful blend of artistic and utilitarian. Every prop in every shot tells the story of the place and gives you insight into the character who belongs there. The most obvious example of this is the children's rooms in The Royal Tenenbaums:

I know that Anderson has a distinct style, and some scoff that he is a "one trick pony". I disagree. He's not a filmmaker who is bringing to life someone else's screenplay, his movies are cradle-to-grave his own. He is an artist creating a body of work. Like Picasso's cubism or Richard Avedon's portraits, he is creating a series that in retrospect will make perfect sense. An artist has to explore every nook and cranny of the theme that is driving them to create.

Thanks for letting me gush on about this subject. And, for the record, I could keep on going...


Weekends Are Too Short

I think we can all agree, right? Five days of work and two days of "leisure" is an incorrect balance. I mean, first of all, those two days are never actually leisurely to begin with so, really, you're working seven days a week - just at different jobs.

That being said, I do manage to cram a lot of fun into my two days of housework and errands.

This past weekend, I saw two movies at the theater (trying to keep up with my summer blockbuster movie list). One of these viewings allowed me to spend time with a group of friends that I don't get to see nearly as often as I'd like. I also did some gardening, cleaned my house, went to an Arbonne party where I spent more than planned (imagine that), and hosted a birthday party for two friends who both turned *cough, cough* this month. Not a bad showing for a mere 48 hour period of time.

As for movies, I finally saw Snow White and the Huntsman. It was really good - dark, creepy, and lots of action. The story seemed more like the original book than like the Disney-movie version. I'm tempted to go read the book again to see how closely it followed. There were a couple of "revisions" I didn't care for but, overall, it was pretty awesome. Charlize Theron is the best wicked witch ever. Seriously. I could have done with someone other than Kristen Stewart as Snow White. I just didn't buy her as "fairest in the land". She's pretty and all but she can't hold a candle to Charlize.

I also saw Moonrise Kingdom - the new Wes Anderson movie. *sigh* If you're not a fan of the Andersonian quirk, steer very clear of this movie. It is HIS movie - funny, beautiful, and weird. I was lucky enough to view it with three friends who are involved in movies - two for work, one as a reviewer - as well as three others who are passionate movie-goers with great opinions. After the film, we went out for a drink so we could "discuss it". One of the most film-educated of our group is exhausted by Anderson's need for the set/costume design and shot set-ups to take precedence over the story and acting. We had a lot of lively discussion about whether or not one could love a Wes Anderson film for just being pretty. And, me, being the corporate shill that I am, brought up the fact that, if Anderson stopped making Andersonian films, people might stop going to see them. Regardless of artistic integrity, at some point his style became his franchise. If the dude wants to keep making money, he needs to keep making his style of film. (see: Woody Allen)

You may also be interested in what happened in my garden this weekend. As many of you know, I've been battling a variety of garden pests and learning all about how to control the destructive little bastards as organically as possible. On Saturday, I discovered a whole new level of (*#$&Q$^ bugs on my chard plants - Leaf Miners (aka: Cockroaches of the Plant World) I swear, if there's a nuclear explosion, Leaf Miners will be living alongside the cockroaches in the brave new insect-ruled world.

Here's the deal - leaf miners start out as flies that lay eggs which turn to larvae on the backsides of your chard leaves (also susceptible are beets, spinach, and other leafy plants). The larvae then burrow in between the layers of the leaf and start eating, destroying the leaf in the process. Once the larvae is done, it turns into a fly which then lays more eggs and the cycle continues. Basically, they can wipe you out of leafy greens for the entire summer. So, how do we get rid of them? Well, outside of using some really harsh chemicals, the only option is mitigation and control - trying to stop the cycle before it happens again and staying on top of any eggs/larvae you see.

I spent over an hour on Saturday cutting all the damaged leaves off my chard plants *sob!* (they were almost ready for harvest too), and then sitting amongst my plants with a wet rag and insecticidal soap, wiping the disgusting eggs off the backs off all the undamaged leaves. If that's not garden love, I don't know what is.

Finally, for the birthday party we had at my house, I tried a variation on a recipe that I shared with you all a couple of weeks ago - Spinach and Feta Orzo Salad. Since a number of the attendees are vegetarian, I decided to try making the salad with quinoa instead of orzo. Not that orzo isn't vegetarian - it's a pasta - but the quinoa would add protein to the meal. The texture is very different but I have to say that I really enjoyed the end result - maybe even more than the original recipe. If you're interested in trying it, use all the same ingredients as the original recipe except substitute the orzo with 1.5 cups of quinoa cooked in vegetable broth.

So, those are the highlights of another too-short weekend. I think that, next weekend, I might just plan to do nothing. :)

- Alex

Friday Finds: Sewing Machine 911

Happy Friday people!

Today's find is a FREE....yes I said FREE...Craftsy online 5-part video class called Sewing Machine 911.

It is a super breakdown of a possibly very intimidating piece of equipment for a new sewer plus a great source for troubleshooting solutions for the experienced sewer. Love it!

Have a great weekend,


How My Garden Grows

Friends of Mighty Distractible know that I love to dig in the dirt. I've posted about my garden and/or my desire to be gardening many, many times - and this year was no different. I was lusting over seed catalogs and dreaming of putting plants in the ground before the ground was even defrosted.

The early spring and subsequent great weather has made this year a gardener's dream. My plants got in early (although still later than my more industrious neighbors) and many things are already starting to flower or fruit.

Happy Buddha = Happy Garden

When one lives in a relatively urban setting, one looks for any nook or cranny to plant in. I'm forever impressed by people who live in real cities, like NY or Chicago, and find empty lots or rooftops to cultivate. I'm lucky in that I have a pretty decent sized lot which allows me a yard for my dogs and spots to plant fruit, veg, and flowers.

My standard plantings include tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, basil (which gets its own plot), and arugula. One corner of my little plot only gets afternoon sun and I've tried for years to find the right plants to grow there. A few years ago I stumbled on the cucumber/arugula combo which seems to work fairly well. Once the cukes get high enough on the fence, they get more sun and they thrive very well. The arugula is always a bit puny but there's enough for a few meals anyway.

Any strip of ground is fair game

This basil will end up 2.5 feet tall and overflow this space

This "weed" along the edge of the basil is edible purslane

It looks a mess but this is my herb garden.

I was lucky enough to inherit two gorgeous plants when I bought the house - a prehistoric rhubarb and a likewise blackberry. Both of these plants are HUGE and prolific, keeping me in fruit for months.

I'm also lucky in that my thyme, oregano, and chives (of course) keep coming back each year so I haven't had to replant them in a while. My parsley was also perennial until this year when it inexplicably died. So, a new flat-leaf parsley went in this spring. I also decided to plant a raspberry to go along with the blackberries.

Then, for some reason, I went a little nutty. Maybe it's because, for the first time, I cultivated some items from seed. I grew things I'd never grown before - without thinking about where they might actually get planted. These actions led to this:

Greens, greens, and more greens

Eggplant, chard, & zucchini
Beans and peas
There are plants EVERYWHERE. Every container that I had laying about in the garage or the shed now has plants in them. And, when I ran out of containers, I went and bought more.

So, now I've got eggplant, zucchini, swiss chard, rainbow chard, two types of lettuce, spinach, two more varieties of basil (besides my normal plot), bay leaf, two more containers of arugula (because I want more than just a couple of meals out of it), green beans, yellow beans, and sweet peas. WHEW!

My first-ever green beans!

On top of this, I have my flower beds. Most are on autopilot now, having planted lots of perennials, but I did end up with a volunteer lupine that needed attention and I put in a few new flowers to fill in some gaps.

Clematis in the foreground and my lily & iris bed in the back

I had to do something to distract from the back of the garage!

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the garden this year. I'm excited to see how much yield I get from my vegetables and how well all these things are going to grow in pots.

I'd love to hear about our readers' gardening exploits. Do any of you have favorite plants you put in every year or a "best practice" you'd like to share? Let us know!

- Farmer Alex

The Perfect Bratwurst

Alex and I live in Wisconsin. And let me tell you about this place we live...folks here like their bratwurst. (For those who don't know, a bratwurst is a tasty German sausage.) And depending on where you're standing on the map of this state, you could fire up a heated argument as to where you buy the best brats and how they should be cooked. I am fascinated by this phenomena.

My husband (a born and bred Wisconsinite) has his own strong opinions on this subject. It's funny because our house is nearly meatless, aside from a couple times a year when then we tailgate at a Milwaukee Brewers game. Then, my husband makes some of the tastiest brats around.

Unlike other sausages, you can't just take them out of the package and throw them on the grill. They need a savory beer-bath first. Let me share it with you...

Chop a generous amount of onions, scallions, and peppers and throw them in a pot.

Then, you add a few cans of Guinness (I hear a gasp of horror coming from Ireland as I type this).

Pour in some regular beer (we keep it real Wisconsin with MGD) and Zatarains shrimp and crab boil spices.

Throw in the brats (note we boil on a propane burner).

Add a few more spices in the mix.

And start boiling...for like 2 hours. After that 2 hours, pull the brats out of the beer with tongs and brown them on a hot grill. Then, throw them back in the beer for 20 my husband says "to juice back up". Grab a bun and garnish your juicy brat with whatever your heart desires. I myself like simply mustard and sour kraut.

All ingredients on this page are approximate. They need to be tailored to your taste. You can't really mess up unless you a.) over-boil them so they get tough or b.) add too much hot pepper flakes which is fine for some tailgate party guests, but not others.

I would LOVE to hear comments about the regional foods where you live!


Book Review: The Homemade Pantry

Recently, Cassandra bought the book The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making by Alana Chernila. We hadn't done a review (product, book, or otherwise) in quite a while and this book seemed like a good fit for we "makers" of things. Plus, it fit with our promised "food" theme for this week. Yea!

So, in our fashion, Cassandra and I wrote our individual reviews without the other seeing it - and they're posted below. And, once again, we may as well be using one brain. LOL!

Alex's Review
4 out of 5 stars

When Cassandra dropped “The Homemade Pantry” on my desk, my first instinct was to touch the book. The cover (front and back) is not only beautifully designed but it also has multiple textures. The top, where the photo is, is a high-gloss, super-smooth coating that makes the picture of the homemade poptarts BURST off the page. The bottom, where the title and words are, is done in a mat coating that has a grainy feel to it. Obviously, I’m a tactile person. I, literally, couldn’t keep my hands off the book.

This is a hefty book – and not just because it’s nearly 300 pages long. Every interior page is printed on very thick paper stock. Again, a beautiful design element and one that guarantees a longer life of being spilled on and lain in goo on the kitchen counter.

Once you get past the beauty of the book itself, the real winner is the content. The easy to navigate “chapters” cover how to make favorites (that you’re probably paying for already) like yogurt, toaster pastries, potato chips, apple sauce salad dressing, pasta, and LOTS more. The recipes are simple and easy to follow and, again, the layout and photos are lovely. Additionally, there are some really helpful sections in the book like a list of must-have kitchen gadgets and little “how-to” tips. It’s these little sidebar items that make the book’s content even more special.

There were a few chapters that are fairly useless to me because I already make the items included in those sections. They seemed very “beginner” but I suppose there are people out there who don’t make their lemonade, or mac & cheese, or lasagna from scratch. I don’t know these people but I’m sure they exist. (unicorns) Regardless, I think the book may be worth it’s price for the peanut butter cup recipe alone. I’m just saying.

My only true complaint was with the “concept” of the book. I ADORE the idea of making “store bought” items from scratch (and potentially making them better) however, every recipe is preceded by the author’s personal story of this particular food and each story is preciously titled in this format: “Yellow Cake -or- The Gift”, “Mustard -or- The Case of the Mysterious Bratwurst”, “Tortilla -or- The Only Problem With New England”. This is WAY too twee for me. And, frankly, I don’t give a rip about the author’s life or her personal relationship with food and family. On the other hand, she’s a blogger and I’m sure that these are the exact reasons she got a book deal to begin with – she has a fan base that loves HER and her passion for food and family. Who am I to judge?

So, just like with TV programming, if I don’t like what’s on, I can choose not to watch it. I’ll skip the pages of personal stories and simply enjoy the gorgeous design and fun recipes offered up in this unique book.

Cassandra's Review
4 out of 5 stars

The initial reason I ordered this book is because it had a simple mayonnaise recipe in it. Seriously. I’ve been wanting to make my own for some time now, and this book seemed like it contained useful information about whipping my eggs into something heavenly.

And then I got the book in my hands. Yowza. I love it. How can you not love a book that has a recipe for home-made pop tarts! Be still my heart.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking
by Julia Child is like driving a Jaguar...this book has you tooling around in the family station wagon. And there ain't nothing wrong with the wagon. Basic recipes for everyday items. Ice cream, pickles, crackers, fish sticks, and more are presented so even the most timid chef could give them a whirl. All the directions are written simply and beautifully. And, when she suspects you may be alarmed by something like errant eggs sliding away from your flour volcano when making pasta dough on your counter, she eases you back to reality with her assurances. No freakouts needed.

What I actually found most intriguing was the section on canning. Alana holds your hand with a brilliant essay called Canning Isn’t Scary, and then goes on to walk you through the steps. I think she has given me a big girl pill about this subject. A canning kit is in my near future.

The design of the book is wonderful...large photos and just enough white space. The essays are well written and the author’s personality shines in those pages. She’s seriously likable and has really fun stories to tell.

Buy it, you won’t regret having this on your cookbook shelf.

Summer Chow

Summer food is the most glorious thing - especially if you try to prepare things "seasonally" as the garden matures. It's been a while since we've posted recipes here at Mighty Distractible and, as it turns out, both Cassandra and I had the same idea for our posts this week! Maybe we really have started sharing a brain.

So, consider the next few posts our homage to summer cooking. Whether you prefer cold salads or stuff hot off the grill, we'll have something to entice you and, hopefully, recipes you'll add to your collection.

Because we live in Wisconsin, a lot of the older homes (mine is 104 years old) don't have air conditioning. I heard that audible gasp... I have a large window unit that I ran for exactly four days last year. I also have ceiling fans and my house is cooled by the large shade trees in the front yard. However, the house is still too warm to eat like it's winter time. I'm rarely looking for heavy comfort foods in the summer so I have my collection of warm-weather recipes that I can whip up quickly and have in the refrigerator for snacking at a moment's notice.

Here are a few that I hope you'll enjoy.

Orzo Salad
(stolen from my dear friend, Johanna)

1 lb of orzo
1/4 C chopped green onion
1/4 C chopped kalamata olives
1/4 C quartered cherry tomatoes
 A handful of pine nuts
1/2 C chopped fresh spinach
1/4 C Feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 C olive oil
crushed garlic (1-2 cloves
Lemon juice (optional)

This makes a BIG batch that's perfect for a picnic, a potluck, or to keep in the fridge for the week.

While the orzo is cooking (follow package direction and don't cook it past al dente), crush the garlic and put it in the olive oil to soak. Prepare all the vegetables and set aside. When the orzo is done cooking, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Put the orzo in a bowl and mix in all the vegetables, pine nuts, and cheese. Reserving the olive oil, strain the garlic out of it (now you have garlic-flavored olive oil). Mix in the olive oil and a little salt (the olives and feta are both salty so you shouldn't need much). Add a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten the flavors up a bit. Done!

This salad gets better the longer it sits. Make it early in the day and put it in the fridge for dinner. The flavors will mix and the salad will take on a whole new dimension. Also, be creative with the quantities. If you like more of a particular vegetable, put more in! This is an easily adjustable recipe depending on your tastes.

Beet Salad
(adapted from a local restaurant item - hopefully they won't sue)

This recipe is written for a single serving. Multiply it as necessary.

2 medium-size roasted beets (you can use pickled beets for a different flavor)
1 big handful of arugula
1/8 C coarsely chopped walnuts
1/8 C crumbled blue cheese (gorgonzola is good too)
1 small handful of dried cranberries
Balsamic vinaigrette

Dice the beets into bite-sized pieces. Mix all the ingredients and dress with the vinaigrette. That's it.... Great combo of flavors.

My Ex-Mother-in-Law's Perfect Potato Salad
(Thanks Joan!)

This is written for a small batch of salad.

One of the secret ingredients
3 lbs of red potatoes (Joan used some other kind - I don't remember - but I like the reds)
1 medium sweet onion (preferably Vidalia), chopped
1/2 C sweet pickle relish
A touch of Miracle Whip

Peel and quarter the potatoes. Cook in boiling water until a fork easily goes through a large piece of potato. DO NOT OVERCOOK or you'll end up with mashed potatoes. :)  Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Mix in the chopped onion and the sweet pickle-relish - coating the potatoes as much as possible. Leave the potatoes alone until they cool to room temperature (about an hour). You can stir them a couple of times to help the cooling along.

Once the potatoes are room temperature, add your mayonnaise and Miracle Whip. This is where it gets dicey... I've never measured the amount. I like my potato salad really creamy so, if I had to guess, I'd say I add about 3/4 C of mayonnaise and about 1/4 C Miracle Whip. That's the ratio you want - 3 parts mayo to 1 part Miracle Whip. You'll have to play with it though and decide how much you like...  Add salt to taste.

Optional - add some diced hard-boiled egg. I don't care for it but some folks like the added texture.

Orange Blossom Lemonade
(idea stolen from a local restaurant - hopefully they won't sue)

So, this is a bit of a cheat. I don't have a juicer and am not willing to make lemonade from scratch. If you are, go for it. If not, you can do it my lazy way.

1 can of good frozen lemonade - without pulp. I like Cascadian Farms Organic.
1 T orange blossom water (can be found at stores that have a good selection of ethnic foods - used a lot in Middle Eastern cooking)

Prepare lemonade as directed. Should make two quarts. Add orange blossom water - adjust (add more) if necessary to achieve a nice balance of lemon and orange. Serve over ice.

ENJOY! - Alex

Friday Find: Making Father's Day

I stumbled on this post on Pinterest a while back. I'm not sure why it came up - Father's Day was still a ways off, but maybe people don't procrastinate like I do and they were actually thinking about this months ago.

Anyway... I loved the idea of handmade gifts that are appropriate for men and, once I got into the content a bit, I found that the real gem was in the all the links to all the different craft blogs. WOW! There are some amazing resources on the interwebz.

So, thank you for creating this great list of fun, easy things to make your dad (or your kid's dad) and for introducing us to so many great, creative sites.


- Alex