1. I made this for dinner Tuesday night, after Jason got back from work. I'm not even sure why, really. I just wanted to make a casserole so badly Monday and Jason got groceries on the way home Tuesday, so we had everything we needed.
I am the Casserole Queen. This has already been established. Soon I will rule them all.
It definitely made enough for a family dinner; they're not kiddin' when they say 8 - 10 servings. Obviously this is not a picture I took - I snagged it off the Whole Foods website because I didn't actually remember to take any picture of my version. Of course, being who I am, I used skim milk and whole-wheat all-purpose flour. Because that's how I do.
It tasted delicious, as anything full of smoked salmon and brie is likely to, but it was kind of problematic. The temperature that the recipe suggests baking at seems entirely too low to cook the potatoes in the time suggested - we ended up turning the oven up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit at the end for an extra 10 minutes or so. It's also partially my fault - I always start out cutting potatoes really thinly and then get bored and impatient and the slices get thicker and thicker and quicker and sloppier.
I'm not kidding, though.
Especially with hot sauce.
Just be aware that you'll probably end up baking this thing for close to an hour and a half and plan accordingly.
2. This is the website for the Made in America Movement. I've been browsing their company listings for a while now. They help support companies that make their products in America, enabling them to hopefully have an easier time connecting with consumers looking for their kinds of products.
I am a huge proponent of buying goods made in the USA. Unfortunately, I haven't been as good at keeping my end of the bargain on that as I'd like, because, well, money. The biggest problem is that labor standards and our cost-of-living mean that products made in the U.S. do tend to be more expensive, occasionally prohibitively so. One of my goals for myself in my 5-year 25-to-30 plan has been to shop more for American-made goods.
Here is a list of companies who have involved themselves with the movement and therefore get listed on the website's Products page. It's worth a browse!
My personal favorites I found off the list are The U.S. of Awesome, Eastland Shoe's Made in Maine collection, and Jacob Bromwell (The oldest housewares company in the U.S., which is pretty neat).
I should just do a blog entry one day that's my 5-year plan I made when I was 25. It's mostly sensible; what would be more fun, I suppose, is if I published my 10-year-plan from when I was 18. Or my 20-year-plan from high school. I'm pretty sure my plan was to be famous by now, or at least infamous.
3. This T-shirt from Life is Good. Because I don't just take up bicycling, I become the kind of person who wants a T-shirt with a bicycle on it. Although actually it's mostly because I really like Life is Good shirts, I love that color of green, plus also bicycle. So I'm not the bike equivalent of a crazy cat lady, I promise.
Actually, my ride yesterday was pretty harsh. I told Jason I think it's because I forgot to take my big water bottle home from work, so I was stuck making do with a 20 oz. instead of the 1.5 liter I usually have and I just wasn't able to drink enough water on my stops. Or something. But for whatever reason it felt like I was pushing myself four times as hard and getting nowhere.
Well, we'll just see if we can't fix that.
4. This painting by Mary Whyte, a South Carolina artist who lives on Johns Island. Some of her work is in the Greenville Museum of Art all the time, which is where I first saw any of her stuff. Since we order books for the gift shop, I get catalogs from various university presses and the latest I received from USC's press involved a press release for Whyte's newest book, which got me thinking about her again.
What is most impressive is that these paintings are watercolor, a medium generally not used for minute detail or at least not the level of detail we're seeing in Whyte's work.
But tell me that the above painting is not absolutely beautiful.
Look at that quilt! And the bark on the trees.
I'm going to be thinking about painting all day now, I can tell. Well, maybe I can take at least one of you with me. If we're all distracted, it's okay, right?
5. This blend by Caribou Coffee, which is basically all we drink at work right now.
I am in charge of coffee-making, by dint of nearly always being the first person to arrive, and also because it turns out I'm pretty good at making coffee. We go through lots of brands - Eight O'Clock is a good economic choice, New England Coffee often is on sale, but we seem always to cycle back around to Caribou Coffee's Caribou blend. Although my favorite is the Mahogany blend, I think it's a little too dark for one of my coworkers, so we rely on Caribou Blend, since it's a crowd-pleaser.
On a related note, I really wish there was a Caribou Coffee any closer to us than Charlotte, N.C. I like their coffeeshop drinks and their food a lot more than Starbucks.
Don't tell Starbucks I said that.
Now that's what I drink at work, at home I drink this:
That's Iron Brew Coffee, a South Carolina roaster whose stuff I picked up when I found it on sale a few months ago. I stocked up and I'm still working through the last bag. I try to stick to South Carolina roasters now that we live here, and it's usually either this or West End Coffee, who are located in Greenville and make the best version of Jamaican Me Crazy that has ever existed ever. I am prepared to defend that statement with fisticuffs.
Although if you actually challenge me to fisticuffs I will probably trip on my own feet, fall over, and call it a draw.
With that statement affirming my dignity, I bid you all good day.
And good coffee.