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Santa brought an Easy Bake Oven this year. It seems kind of silly considering how much we do together in the kitchen. She had Yummy Nummies on her Christmas list and I was all What Is This Crap? I convinced her that something that could be used again with store-bought ingredients might be a better choice. Today she made the frosted cookies that came in the box, and I realized how this is different than cooking with me: she can do everything herself. Normally she helps, but I still do the hot stuff with the oven. That tiny bit of additional independence was a big deal. The only thing that makes me a little sad is that there’s no lightbulb anymore. I always thought cooking with a lightbulb was super cool. 

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There used to be a little store in Baltimore’s Fells Point called Adrian’s Bookstore Café. It had the best vegetarian chili in the world. The closest I’ve ever come to replicating it at home was this recipe. I’m not sure how I ended up with a paper version because I can’t ever remember buying a copy of Women’s Day magazine. I was surprised to find it online, so of course I had to share it.

A few notes:

  • I have a feeling that the café used TVP instead of meat. I could be wrong. It’s been almost 20 years since I’ve had it. It would be fun to experiment with other non-meats.
  • I cooked up wheat berries instead of bulgur wheat by mistake tonight with no discernible difference in taste.
  • This filled seven pint-sized jars. That means seven lunches. Three are headed for the freezer, even though I could probably finish all of them this week.
  • I’m not sure how you could fit any more super foods into one meal. The pumpkin may seem like a strange ingredient, but just go with it. Trust me.

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Tonight I made the laziest of all lazy soups: Tri-bean Soup by Leanne Ely. You basically sauté some onion and garlic and then open a bunch of cans. I doubled the broth (veggie instead of chicken) and added a big handful of chopped frozen spinach. It made six lunches! My friend gave me some wide mouth jars so I can freeze without worrying about them breaking. Thanks Dawn!

Recipe from Saving Dinner. You can find it here.

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There’s no way to get a good photo of eggplant, but this dip is awesome: roast one with a shallot and olive oil, cool, process with lemon juice, tahini and salt, serve with crackers or on toast = YUM!

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Last year was Unikitty. That mask was a pain and she didn’t keep it over her face for most of the night. (Sorry, I was on a blogging break then, but you can find it in my Instagram feed.)

This year is all about leopards, especially since she convinced me to buy a faux fur leopard vest with the premise that it would be this year’s costume. 

Ears and tail are done using this tutorial I put together awhile ago. Leggings and vest are from Target. Full costume photo to come later this week. 


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Her ultimate goal was a black belt with her name. She’s not finished, though. Now she wants to be part of the Leadership Program. Love this girl.

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These are all that’s left from our #csa sweet potato haul last week. I think they were a hit. Tara Stiles candied sweet potato fries recipe here

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Four months later and I’m still feeling the #MasonJarSalad love. Kale is my favorite. How-tos posted here and here.

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I tried delicata squash for the first time tonight. It was so good, plus it doesn’t need to be peeled! Roasted with olive oil, salt, garlic, red onion and served over rice. It was perfect on its own, but I whisked a little yellow curry paste with coconut milk, tossed it in and OMG YUM. #csa 

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These crazy jeans. They were my first skinny pair (I’m a late adopter). I only bought them because they were super cheap and looked good on. I didn’t mind the distressed look, and I knew having cute, tiny holes near the knees was a bad idea.

I should have reinforced them right away. I should have reinforced them when I added darts when I lost a few pounds (and the holes had gotten bigger). But I didn’t, and now I have these jeans that still fit well with two huge holes in them. You all know how hard it is to find a good fitting pair of jeans, so you’ll understand why I pulled out my sewing machine today.

The holes weren’t really that difficult to fix, or too time consuming. I wish I hadn’t waited so long. Here is an easy how-to so you don’t have to hear over and over from your child, “Mom, when are you going to mend those holes?”

holey jeans
seam ripper
fabric scraps
sewing machine

Step 1
Using your trusty seam ripper, open up the non-topsitched seam a few inches above and below the hole. You’ll need it big enough to fit over the arm of your sewing machine. While you’re cleaning up all those ripped thread bits, go ahead and trim the threads around the hole, too.

Step 2
Rummage through your stash of fabric scraps for something cute. Keep switching out options until you find something you like. I really loved the red flowers, but went for something more subtle in the end. Also, my fabric was thin, so I doubled it up to make it a little more sturdy.

Step 3
Pin your fabric under the hole and start stitching to tack it down. I did a few rows back and forth all around because it’s the knee and will be under extra stress.

Step 4
Turn the leg inside out and close up the hole in the side seam. Turn it right side out and try on your fancy fixed jeans!

Optional Step
If you have a serger, use it to overlock your inside seam so it doesn’t fray and drive you nuts. You could zig zag over the edges with your sewing machine if you don’t have a serger.

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