I love fall. I think it's my favorite season. Until summer is on the horizon, at least. This year fall brought lots of things--sun, bold, bright leaves, pumpkins, more sun, warmth, blue sky, and a feeling of coziness that only crisp (not freezing!) air can bring. Minneapolis and her icons glowed under the sun's rays for 20 some days straight and it felt like an Indian summer on more than one occasion. Still, however, the trees changed, pumpkins showed up at the farmer's market (see the little one on our porch?) and cheesy macaroni somehow managed to taste crisp, as well as ooey, gooey and warm. Here's to you, fall! You did us proud. Even a displaced Southerner was more than satisfied.
And for posterity, here's my mother's famous (at least in our kitchen!) recipe for macaroni and cheese. It won't let you down.
2 cups elbow macaroni
1 small onion, minced
margarine or butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups milk
1/2 pound shredded cheese
3/4 bread crumbs
pinch of Italian seasoning
Prepare macaroni as label directs. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place onion and 2 tablespoons margarine in small saucepan. Over medium heat, cook until tender. Stir in flour, salt, mustard, and pepper; cook one minute. Slowly stir in milk; cook, stirring until smooth. Add about 3/4 of cheese; stir until cheese is melted. When macaroni is tender, drain; turn into greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Pour cheese sauce over, tossing with fork to coat all macaroni. Top with rest of cheese. In small saucepan over low heat, melt 1 tablespoon margarine. Stir in bread crumbs then sprinkle over cheese. Lightly sprinkle Italian seasoning over top. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
It sounds silly. How can someone have a crush on fabric? I bet if you went into digs (a totally charming little store in Northfield) you'd develop a crush too. Yesterday, after a quick doctors appointment to try and tame an extensive headache that decided this would be the best week to appear, a check card eaten by the ATM machine (yes, this actually happens!), and a bit of time to waste before another appointment, I ventured into digs to see what was new.
I headed down the rickety spiral staircase to the basement, a fabric lover's dream. Though I don't yet have a sewing machine, and can't actually say I've ever sewn something on my own from a pattern, I found myself carrying this Amy Butler pattern around as my fingers lightly touched every beautiful, eye-popping, soft, muted, bold, exciting bolt of fabric that was an Amy Butler creation or at least looked like one. My crush is named Amy Butler. She designs fabric and lives in a tiny town called Granville, Ohio. (How I wish I had known her when my dear sister was a student at Denison, right in smack middle of quiet, quaint, classy Granville!)
But, back to my shoulder bag pattern. It was only $12.95, and I wouldn't need that much fabric...but I didn't have two crucial things:
1. a sewing machine. 2. time.
Oh, and I couldn't decide which fabric to use either. Too many great choices.
So, I put the little pattern back, promising to return for it one day. Perhaps over Christmas holidays in Tennessee. I happen have a lovely mother who knows just how to sew pretty, delicate little things.
I've been on a poetry hunt lately to find the perfect verses for our wedding readings. I didn't choose this one, but found it to be sweetly inspiring!
Do you ask what the birds say? The Sparrow, the Dove,
The Linnet and Thrush say, "I love and I love!"
In the winter they're silent--the wind is so strong;
What is says, I don't know, but it sings a loud song.
But green leaves, and blossoms, and sunny warm weather,
And singing, and loving--all come back together.
But the Lark is so brimful of gladness and love,
The green fields below him, the blue sky above,
That he sings, and he sings; and for ever sings he-
"I love my Love, and my Love loves me!"
If you are reading my blog right now, you've probably noticed things look a little different around here. Though I loved the pink and green borders that once framed my words, I decided to freshen things up a little. Even as someone who loves all things colorful, sometimes adding white space does more than any plethora of bright colors could ever do.
Be on the lookout for a few more tweaks in the next several weeks as I slowly master more photoshop and web design skills. I can't wait to finish designing my fresh, new canvas.
Karl is very good in the kitchen. In particular, he's an excellent bread maker. Last week he made 2 delicious loaves of honey wheat bread to go with a fresh soup full of farmer's market ingredients. We didn't want to be too healthy, however, so the next day we mixed up a batch of homemade cinnamon rolls.
When I was younger my grandmother Claire made the most excellent cinnamon rolls. They always rose perfectly, had just the right amount of cinnamon to sugar ratio, and were topped with a creamy, melt in your mouth icing. Grandma would serve her cinnamon rolls with dinner, not as breakfast or dessert. Definitely better than a french loaf or boring white dinner rolls.
I've tried to make my own cinnamon rolls using Grandma's receipe with both my mother and my friend Linnea. We never seem to have the right touch. Either they don't rise or they don't taste right. (The taste issue might have been related to the fact that Linnea and I forgot the salt. Whoops.)
So, I was a bit leery when Karl and I started our cinnamon roll experiment. However, the fabulous bread maker succeeded once again! He even remembered to take a picture for my blog since I was out on a walk (with Linnea!) when they came out of the oven.
They barely lasted 4 days in our kitchen! So yummy.
If you want to try a cinnamon roll experiment yourself, here's the recipe we used:
I wrote this about a week ago but never posted it. Here it is and an addendum follows:
My life is anything but simple these days. And it's not something I'm excited about. I yearn for things to be simple. For Homecoming to be done, for wedding planning to be easy and for life to return to "normal." Or at least a new normal. While my mind is daily occupied with details, schedules, to-do lists, and more, I'm pre-occupied with the urge to do calming, stress relieving things. I want to clean. I want to vaccum, wash mirrors and counters, organize pantries, closets, and cabinets. I want to hang art work, decorate, put odds and ends away. I want to feel satisfied with my surroundings at home, in my office, on my porch. All are currently satisfying--but not in the ultimate way I envision them in my mind. I'm content with discontent for a while...I can only focus on so many items on my to-do list at once, of course. But when the dust settles and Oles have come home, and wedding celebrations are gloriously within reach (instead of 25 days away!) and life returns to a new normal....I want to find contentment. I want routines to be in place...but not to get so stuck in them that they become a rut. I want to stay busy and social and be a part of every fun thing that's happening...but I also want days where there is nothing but blank, white space on both my Google and mental calendars.
Homecoming is over! And it was a brilliant success thanks to the amazing help of the great colleagues I have the blessing to work with everyday. The weather was perfect--cool, sunny, and full of fall color. We had one of the biggest crowds come back for the weekend ever. And the best part? I actually had fun! The same event that in the planning stages gave me headaches, nausea, caused me to grind my teeth, and operate on a very short fuse turned out to be a proud accomplishment with very little glitches along the way.
So, that's done. Now I'm tediously trying to solve the reception seating puzzles, finalize vendor details, and figure out how everything will happen on Oct. 23. But this is definitely an enjoyable experience. Mainly because the most important and best part of the day is that I get to marry my best friend and set off on our adventures in life together.
However, I still feel like I need to get a grip on returning life to something that's "real simple." Something that makes me appreciate the beauty in every day, the love in even little things, and the pure joy of being able to do things spontaneously instead of being locked into a certain schedule day in and day out. I'm not sure when or how I'll get there...but I'm on the lookout for the path that will lead me there.
Maybe it starts with getting a sewing machine, some Amy Butler fabric, and finally being able to use my imagination without any bounds. First project? Perhaps a few pillows to dress up the couch.
hello! i'm meredith.
i currently live in the beautiful twin cities of minnesota, but am a true southern girl at heart, born and raised in east tennessee. bright colors, baking, designing and being creative are my passions. here's where i document my inspirations, creations, and attempts to fuse southern style into life in the midwest.