Sunday, November 8, 2009

kitchen by IKEA, dining room by Pier 1

I am so relieved that Pier 1 didn't actually go out of business when the whole financial world began to collapse this time last year. I don't know how they pulled through, because it's rare that I (or anyone I know) actually buy anything from them, but I'm glad they made it.

I just got the Pier 1 holiday mailer and I fell in love all over again. If you click the link you can poke through an electronic copy of the mailer and join me in saying, "who wouldn't want to eat off of these beautifully adorned tables? who wouldn't want to swoosh their pancakes around in the last bits of syrup on a happy sunflower plate? who wouldn't want to dig out the last scrumptious bites of an apple crumble to see a gleeful snowman waving?" I heart Pier 1.

When I was younger, I used to go through catalogs from stores I loved, like Pier 1, and add up how much I could spend if I just let myself go. I just totaled how much I would spend on just dinnerware and came to nearly $300. If I added furniture and decor, it would easily top $1,000. I have crafted entire Christmas Wish Lists from the Pier 1 mailers and website. My current obsession are these glasses:
Fortunately, at $8 a piece, they are an affordable indulgence.

Tonight, we had Seitanic Red & White Bean Jambalaya and again, the rice did not cook completely in the time it was supposed to, even though I followed the instructions to a T. Also, while contemplating the huge amount leftover after Mister had 3 bowls and I had 2, Mister asked a very insightful question:
"Does it say 6 servings or serves 6?"
"Well, maybe it serves 6 with three bowls like I had."
I open the cookbook and find that indeed, it says that it "serves 6" not that there are 6 servings. I still think the 1 is missing and will magically appear in future reprintings.
Also, I feel terrible saying this, because I know my mother reads my blog and she gave me the cast iron dutch oven for Christmas last year, but tonight was the first time I used it. It was so awesome! I don't see it being something that I use regularly, in place of my stock pot, primarily because it is so damn heavy, which is why I haven't used it until now. Well, that and the fact that it didn't have a home until I "renovated" the kitchen. It was really neat, though, and because it is so sturdy, it added an element of fearlessness to my cooking. Since I made the jambalaya in the dutch oven and actually baked it like the recipe says, rather than stubbornly simmering it stovetop, I had hoped that the rice would magically be done when it was supposed to be done. However, once again, Mister and I were thwarted by impatience and crunched on some not-so-tender kernals after it really should have been done.

Anyway, how cool is it that my dutch oven is campfire-ready?
It almost makes me want to go camping.

A final anecdote before I share the coming week's menu:
Angst is getting used to having his "safe place" in the middle of the living room. It's really quite amusing how he will actually run to his crumpled up blanket and beat-up pillow if he feels unsafe and then stand on it or put one paw on it as if to say "home base - I'm safe!" I think he's still trying to figure out what happened to his chair, but is getting a little more comfortable with the new set-up. He was adorably trying to get on his (little bitty) pillow today, and the sight of his 17 lb body trying to fit onto a 10-inch pillow cracked me up, so I thought I'd share:
Without further ado, then, here is the new menu:

1. Country Captain Stew from the Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook. This is a fun soup recipe, once again combining the terrific toothsome texture of baked cubes of tofu with a savory broth with hearty winter vegetables. The twist, of course, is that there is an equal number of potatoes and apples, and if you don't know by now that I love soup with fruit in it, you haven't been paying attention.

2. Mediterranean Chopped Salad, also from VTCC. This is a fabulous and very satisfying salad that I discovered, appropriately enough, over the summer. I was flipping through the pages of my cookbook and was about to skip the salad chapter, since autumn makes me yearn for hearty, savory, gut-heating food, but I remembered this salad and thought I would like to make it before it gets absurdly cold to have salad for dinner.

3. Five-Spice Vegetables and Tofu with Green Tea Rice. And this time, I will double check that my tofu makes it home. Once he's in the fridge, we'll have to find some way to prevent his escape...

4. Moroccan Mishmash

5. Seitan Cacciatore from The Accidental Vegan. This is another of the recipes that made me buy the book, so I figured I would try it out this week. It sounds fun and hearty, to balance out my silly salad, and I can remember my mom making Chicken Cacciatore when we were all still living at home (and eating meat).

6. Potato Corn Chowder, also from The Accidental Vegan. If this doesn't satisfy the heartiness I seek, then there is no hope for me.

One last thing before I go - Chocolate Covered Katie is hosting a giveaway as part of her effort to drive traffic to her blog. Just go to her blog to read more about it - you could win $35 towards the purchase of any item on

well...wasn't this post just linkalicious?

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