I'm now almost two months into my sabbatical and I must say, it is pretty great. While I'm keeping myself somewhat busy with classes (I'll have a new post about that soon) I'm also exploring other things. One of them is opening a new shop on Etsy to sell chainmaille jewelry. It makes my hobby seem a lot more serious, although partly it is just that one can only own so many chainmaille bracelets before it become ridiculous.

Feta and Bacon Frittata

This is another recipe from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook but I thought it deserved its own post. It would be an excellent addition to any brunch but was easy enough to make on a lazy Saturday morning.

Tapas Party

Now that I'm not working, I'm definitely not getting out as much. I have to be a lot more proactive about seeing people. So I decided to have friends over on a Friday night for a little tapas party.

Cookbook Review: Smitten Kitchen

This is another cookbook from a food blogger, Deb Perelman at Smitten Kitchen. This cookbook has already proven itself in that I have cooked a number of things out of it (and not only from the dessert section). Incidentally, I often judge cookbooks by the size of their dessert section and this one is doing pretty well at 30%. I think the largest dessert section I've seen was the William-Sonoma Holiday one my mom has, which had to be like 45% desserts (which is really what the holidays are about.

But back to this cookbook. The recipes are much more comfort food based than Super Natural Every Day. One of the recipes I loved (but failed to photograph) was Sweet Peas and Shells Alfredo; rich, creamy, definitely not for the calorically conscious. Actually, I really enjoyed all the recipes I tried. It is clear the book is aimed at every day cooking, not a lot of fancy, hard-to-find ingredients and not a lot of really daring or out-there recipes. I highly recommend this book, especially if you're looking to expand your weeknight repertoire but if you're looking for ideas for an elaborate dinner party this might not be the book for you.

Spinach-Feta Scramble

This is the most frequent thing we make for breakfast (aside from cereal and protein bars). Mostly it is a Cory specialty. He'll usually put in red onions, spinach, cheese (or whatever we have) and always yellow mustard. Cory loves yellow mustard, which is weird to me because yellow mustard is not really very good and dijon mustard is amazing. But there's no accounting for taste (in mustards, obviously his taste in women is impeccable).

Dress Illustrations

Of all my classes, the one that is hardest for me is fashion illustration. I am struggling a bit with both the "fashion" and the "illustration" aspects.

While I love fashion in the personal sense (I like shopping and dressing up) I don't pay much attention in the broader sense. Perhaps also it is a bit too open ended and I have too many ideas. How can I possible pick just one design? And once I pick one, what if it looks terrible or boring after I spend a lot of time on it.

The illustration part is difficult too. I don't consider myself a bad drawer (except for I still can't get my faces to not be terrifying) but I know what good drawing is and mine is not it. It is frustrating when what ends up on the paper is not a fair representation of what is in my head.

The cure for both is clearly more practice, and luckily it is a lot of fun to draw. It is fun to turn an idea into something concrete and to play with how small changes can make a big difference.

Cookbook Review: Super Natural Every Day

Now that I'm not working, I have a lot more free time and have started cooking more. I love baking but I am much better at baking dessert than at actually cooking dinner (I am also much better at eating dessert). I have more mixed feelings about cooking. Sometimes it is super fun and delicious, sometimes I make a huge mess of it.

As part of a way to help pick out recipes, I've started picking just one cookbook for the week and trying out several recipes from it. This week was Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson. She also does the blog 101 Cookbooks which I really enjoy and have used before on this blog (Sesame Tempeh Salad).

Overall, I like the cookbook. It is vegetarian and very focused on vegetables. For that reason, and the fact that it is very natural food/health focused, I found the dinners a little unsatisfying. I'm not interested in putting in a ton of work for "Dilled Green Beans with Seitan". The recipes were mostly straightforward but did have a tendency to require atypical ingredients, such as Pomegranate Molasses used in "Pomegranate-Glazed Eggplant with Tempeh".