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the haas machine: January 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

DIY Weekend

We didn't have a lot going on this weekend (which delights & terrifies John all at the same time), so we decided to tackle some projects that we've been meaning to get done (what else do you do when it's freezing outside?) 
Project Number One:
This one paired two things I absolutely love: cooking & organization. We normally buy the majority of our cooking & baking spices in bulk, which is great on our wallets, but not so great when you're hunting through the drawer of packed spices. On our way back from Missouri over Christmas, we just had to make a stop at Ikea, where we found these perfect spice jars.... they just needed a little Haas touch!
We washed & filled the jars & then I typed out each spice on a brown bag & John glued them all on. So easy! So organized!
And of course, I put them in alphabetical order (dorky, I know). I don't quite remember, but I think we paid around $5 for 4 jars, so $15 total. Well worth it!

Project Number Two:
My paternal grandmother bought me this chest as a "hope chest" when I was a little girl. It was meant to fill things that I collected (linens & things) for my marriage. It was one of my most favorite gifts that she gave me & a lovely piece of furniture. When I moved to La Crosse, we had a bit of a mis-hap with the upholstery, though. An unmentioned person was happily ironing curtains on this plush chest when, much to his/her dismay, a hole burned right through, exposing the foam padding! It was ok, though, since I had always wanted to recover it anyway. This week I purchased some fabric at a craft store & then I carefully washed, ironed, & cut the fabric to measure & then John helped me staple it to the wood with his staple gun (thank God for men with tools!) Voila!

Project Number Three:
This one I cannot take any credit for! This was the cradle that my dad purchased for me when I was a wee baby & my mom still had it in storage! It wasn't assembled & she couldn't find screws & things to secure it together, so John had a little project on his hands. Luckily, I married an engineer (which I am thankful for every day!) & he had it together in no time. Now all we need to do is rig up a little mattress & it's ready to go for the baby.We love real wood furniture & this adds a special touch since my first days were spent here.

Project Number Four:
A few years back my mom purchased me a sewing machine, at my request. I was bound & determined to finally learn how to sew (other than by hand). I'm embarrassed to admit that I've only attempted to work with it a handful of times. For some reason, it's really daunting & intimidating. Sure it's quick & efficient, but dang, the thread can get stuck in soo many places! This weekend I was, once again, set on lugging out my sewing machine to sew a blanket for our little one. John tried with all his might (in between helping a friend fix his car) to get the machine to work, but it just wasn't happening. Did that stop my hopes & dreams for a new blanket? Absolutely not! I sewed this entire thing by hand (thank you very much). But it was fun & relaxing & I had a great time praying for our baby & just enjoying (many) moments of silence & warmth (I sewed for awhile in the baby's room, by far the sunniest & warmest room in our house). I made the blanket reverse-able & sewed the two fabrics around a simple blanket, which was also purchased at Ikea.

Now, I call that a productive weekend!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cheddar Corn Chowder

Who doesn't love a good, hearty soup in Siberia-like temperatures? (Especially one that's garnished with bacon?!) John found this recipe this week & we decided to give it a whirl. We were not disappointed at all & now have plenty of left-overs to get us through this chilly weekend (it's -7 degrees right now).
Cheddar Corn Chowder
8 ounces bacon, chopped
1/4 cup good olive oil
6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
12 cups chicken stock
6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)
10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon. 

Recipe taken from foodnetwork.com.

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