Tuesday, April 27, 2021

April Showers Bring May Flowers and Mayflowers Bring Pilgrims

Predictably, Omaha has gone from wintery weather directly into the throes of summer with it reaching an almost unheard of 91 degrees F (33 C). I'm sure it will settle back into more seasonable temperatures but it does make getting dressed a bit challenging. I've packed away most of my winter items but left a few warmer cardigans and coats available-just in case it decides to snow again. I like living in Nebraska, but our weather is bonkers. 

Yeah, don't mind me-just holding the wall up, as you do.

I bought this silk/linen blend skirt for the antique looking print. If you look hard you might be able to spot a cheeky monkey in the leaves. It doesn't crease as horridly as most linen and I wonder if that's down to the silk. The label suggests dry cleaning, but I've been laundering it gently in cold water with no ill effects. Line dry though-I wouldn't tumble dry anything silk. 

The block printed blouse was made in Pakistan. I fell in love with the pattern as it is so different from the typical prints you see from the region. It almost looks like a line drawing. The tiny sequins at the neckline and cuffs are annoying, and slightly scratchy but probably not worth removing. It is rather long, but looks better tucked in on my body as it is a bit narrow through the hips and...I am not. 

Outfit Particulars:
Linen/silk blend skirt-Goodwill
Block printed shirt-Thrift World
Vintage belt-New Life Thrift
Earrings (part of a set)-Goodwill
Vintage Shoes-Goodwill
Fragrance-Cabotine Rose (poorly named as it is a cherry blossom fragrance)

I can't remember the last time this dress was worn, but it has been a few years at least. No reason, I like it well enough. There's a built-in slip on the bottom half but the top is quite sheer as well, so I'm also wearing a full slip with it (in navy blue-knew there was a good reason I hoard vintage slips in a variety of colours). Next time I need to remember to photograph the slip-it is almost pretty enough to wear alone (I mean, by someone much, much younger. Not me. If I go out wearing a slip I'll look mad.
Close-up of the ring I'm wearing. It isn't Georgian, but rather a modern reproduction piece. It is a very, very good copy though. I like being able to wear it without worrying about it being damaged or lost, especially now when I'm subjecting my hands to sanitiser and frequent washing. This particular design is currently sold out, but do have a look around Danielle's shop. She even has a sale going at the moment. 

I'm trying to shop small whenever possible, and when I can support artists at the same time, that makes it all the better. Gwen is someone I've met through Tumblr. She's a student and selling her beautiful art to help with tuition. My photo does not do justice to how lovely this bee print is. You may find her shop Earned Magic by clicking the link. 

Now, you're probably wondering what I've been cooking. If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen these so feel free to scroll past. 

Last summer before the Fresh Thyme organic market closed I bought several deeply discounted lamb shoulder chops without any real plans. As they'd been in the freezer some time now, I decided to trim the meat from the bones, cube it, and use it to make a Navarin (French lamb stew). That turned out to be a very good decision. I didn't have any potatoes, but I had several pounds of very small Swedes (rutabagas) and turnips. That was also a very good decision. They boys ate it for several nights with it improving upon sitting. I followed the basic recipe HERE substituting turkey bacon and adding some red wine and celery to the mix. I also used both frozen green beans and peas. It was well received. I'm cooking much differently now to accommodate both their dietary requirements (because I am NOT cooking them each separate meals-I ain't a short-order cook and this ain't a diner) but  so far have been able to keep the meals interesting. Earlier in the week I made a fish chowder from cod and salmon and used non-dairy cream to great effect. The Silk brand heavy whipping "cream" does an excellent job of mimicking heavy cream and doesn't split or separate when heated. It is also very nice in mashed celeraic. 
Of course ratatouille works with both their diets, and with colourful bell peppers on sale it seemed like the obvious thing to make. This is the Julia Child recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking and it is, well,  a major pain in the ass. There, I said it. It is however, the best ratatouille I've ever run across. It took a couple of hours, and I'm afraid there aren't any shortcuts. Worth it? If you enjoy ratatouille, then yes, certainly. Caponata is definitely quicker though, if you're looking for an eggplant/courgette/pepper dish. They ate this for several days as well, so I thought of it as a good time investment. 
This is also a Julia Child recipe for Carbonnades A La Flamande
That's mashed celeriac in the photo. They adored this, and it was a good use for another bargain cut of meat I found in the "Reduced for quick sale" chiller at Target. It wasn't expired or anything-don't want you thinking I serve my family tainted meat. There's always something on a special offer, so I buy whatever it is (unless it is pork, obviously). I've come home with some interesting cuts of beef/lamb/chicken that I never dealt with before, but it is always good to learn something new. Anyway, they're well fed. 
This is Soutzoukakia, a Greek meatball dish. It isn't terribly photogenic, but they loved it. I followed the recipe HERE. The pasta I served it over is more of the chickpea flour noodles from Banza. They like it. The chickpea "rice" is rather convincing, especially when you're serving something on it. 
This is what the "Rice" looks like. I haven't tried any of it, but if they're happy, I'm happy. It cooks quickly-about five minutes. 
This was a stew with white beans, bell peppers, spinach, onions, herbs, and chicken sausages. I'm of the belief that if you use good quality olive oil and enough herbs and spices even the most basic white beans can become something impressive. I make this sort of dish when it is close to shopping day and I only have a bit of this and that left in the vegetable bins. 
And when all else fails, there's always tofu😀. So that's it for interesting food from here. I try to make things that have at least a day's worth of leftovers because who wants to do this every night? I've been feeding Mr. ETB for close to 30 years now-I can take a day off here and there. Once the temperature gets steadily into summer I'll break out the slow cooker so the kitchen doesn't get too heated up. That's even easier-set it in a pot and forget it for 8 hours. 
You've seen this dress many times over the years. 
This was 2015. In hindsight, I'd do the hat or the parasol-not both. 

I found the dress at a costume shop that also had a selection of vintage clothing. I really miss the place as I'd always leave with something interesting. I once found a 1960s Mr. Blackwell evening gown there. *Makes mental note to wear the Mr. Blackwell*
How fun is that print? The dress is by Tanner of North Carolina which I think was sold through parties, like Sara Coventry, or Tupperware. 
Oooh, fashion pose.

I'm still regularly wearing the Merimekko for Target top I bought a few years back. There's matching shorts which give the overall impression of a vintage playsuit when worn together. The sleeves, and boxy cut of the shirt reminds me of some favourite items I had in the 80s, though without stand-up collars and diagonal zippers across the front. To my mind, worn with this 50s skirt, the overall look is something I'd have worn 35 years ago. I thought about adding an over-sized blazer, but it would have been too warm that day. The print is called Orange Slices, which takes a bit of imagination, but sure, OK. Short sleeves means the bangles get worn again and I didn't waste any time getting out my giant, white lucite one. 

Outfit Particulars:
Skirt-a thrift store in Boston, early 90s
Bangles-all over
Resin earrings-Target
Fragrance-I think it was Sunflowers. I've been wearing it an awful lot lately, but I have a giant bottle.

This was a first wearing of this skirt purchased long ago. The colour was so strange a shade of green that I never really knew what to wear with it. I finally put something together that seemed acceptable. I don't rush the clothes in my collection-sometimes it makes sense to live with something for a bit and see what suggests itself. I know there's the thinking that if something hasn't been worn in a year or two it should go, but for vintage clothing that just doesn't make sense-particularly if you are still collecting and acquiring pieces. Yes of course, space is a consideration, but I wouldn't get rid of something solely because it hadn't been worn in a year. 
Everything here is thrifted, including the vintage Scholls comfort shoes. I'm sorry to say I can't remember where I bought it but it was probably Goodwill. 

There's not a lot going on in the garden yet, but here's a few things...
Garlic and sorrel...
Mustard greens...
Sad doggie watching over the lettuce...
Startled cat watching over the chamomile... 
Lemongrass that needs to be planted in the ground...

And finally some peas and kale. 

The sunflowers, basil, violas, nasturtiums, and cardoons are starting to show signs of life as well. I'm praying we have an easy storm season because this time of year it can all be taken out by hail. Gardening is an awful lot like gambling in this part of the country. I didn't plant any tomatoes this year as the boys really don't like fresh ones. I know, I know. If I need nice tomatoes I can go across the street to the hippie health food store-they always have beautiful organic produce. 

Finally, these palazzo pants from the 90s. 
I last wore them in 2017. They're very comfortable, and oh so swishy when I walk, which is rather pleasing.
"Ta da!"
I've had this tank shirt since the 80s. 
An Enid Collins bag that someone on Instagram was interested in as she collects and hadn't known of this one. It is early, pre-copyright and made for a dress shop in California. She asked me to send several photos for her website (she'll give me credit for the photos) and I was happy to help, though my shitty phone photos aren't all that great. 
Lastly, I bought a bikini. Because it was green. Duh. The pool opens at the end of May. Know how to get your body "Bikini ready?" You get a bikini and put your body in it. See you at the pool. 



Bibi Maizoon said...

That linen skirt is gorgeous!
Love that ring from Danielle's too.
Your garden looks amazing & your dishes look deliciously summery.

On the Indian Covid crisis: There are a lot of things us Westerners don't understand about healthcare in India & Nepal. I have never seen it reported in the Western media either. Like if you are hospitalized you must have family members to attend you. Your family (or someone?) will have to bring you food, source & purchase most medications prescribed by your doctor, and pretty much all services, meds, materials, and treatments must be paid for on the spot, cash in advance. Rarely do South Asian hospitals serve food to patients. A fmily member will often have to take your chart (a small paper booklet) or a prescription to the hospital pharmacy or an outside pharmacy and buy & bring you your meds. If you want to get into one of the posh private hospitals you better have connections and be willing to pay a premium in advance (even before Covid). As you can imagine all these family members having to attend you in hospital increases risk of hospital spread of Covid. It is the most cumbersome, inefficient, inherently dangerous, excuse for a healthcare system I have ever experienced. And I am not a fan of the American healthcare system at all after working in it for 15 years.

bahnwÀrterin said...

gorgeous bikini!!
because GREEN of cause - and exactly the right amount of fabric versus skin :-D
love the striped & flowered maxi dress, it is very glam without being over the top. merimekko & co. is faboulous too and yes: whore such in the 80s too - and wear this style again since almost 10 years because its flattering and casual and chic and propper dressed and not mainstrem...... speaking of - would wear the green skirt with a bright pink loose blouse/short tunic or a breton in crispy classic navy/white.
your dishes look very very yummy as always - cooking for 2 days is something i try too, especially with stews and soups as they get always better being warmed up a second time. but i do ratatouille "farmer style": chop veggies leisurely in cubes or small slices, heat good olive oil, roast onian or leek, then put aubergine in (takes the longest), then bell peppers and others, last the zucchini and garlic plus a good dose italian herbs, rose paprika and mixed pepper fresh grounded. - stir on very hot. then pouring passata over it, stir it again and let sit on low heat until the aubergine is good (the other stuff can be eathen "al dente") - salt if needed. a huge and heavy iron pot helps.
wakes up dead ones :-D
the BW does the grocery shopping and is always on the look for "sales" of normally expensive food.....
LOVE that you order your decoration from a real artist - instead of mass producing "poster shop"!

Vix said...

I love the bikini - I'd have bought that, too!
Your stripy maxi is lovely on you as is the cheeky monkey skirt and the Marimekko boxy top.
Jon's the shopper and the chef in this house although I've been called in to do something with the reduced to clear broccoli and button mushrooms he snaffled on his late supermarket trip. Ratatouille used to be my signature dish although I haven't made it in an age as Jon hates aubergines, gah! xxx

Vronni's Style Meanderings said...

Oh my goodness - such a range of dishes. I am the most boring cook in the world. I have a repertoire that gets repeated ad nauseum. Occasionally, I'll add something new or different. All your dishes looked delicious.

The outfits were fabulous. I loved the striped/floral dress, the green lace skirt and the swishy palazzo pants. Beautiful accessories as always and the Georgian ring is a beaut.

The green bikini looks fantastic; I haven't worn a bikini in donkey's years but I could be tempted by a GREEN one - I'd need a lot of hair removal cream, too!

I liked your hair straightened; it also looks shorter did you cut it?

Polyester Princess said...

Brilliant post title!
Wonderful round-up of fabulous clothes and tasty dishes. I was pleased to read that you've cooked one of Belgium's national dishes, although I'd rather go for the French lamb stew or the Ratatouille myself!
My favourite of your outfits is that amazing Tanner of North Carolina maxi dress! I'm amazed your Colombines are blooming already. I've got several varieties now, all of which are showing promise, but no flowers yet.
Love the bee print and yes to the green bikini! xxx

Emily said...

I love how the bee picture looks next to the owl! They have rather similar colors and patterns. I could swear, the owl is actually contemplating the bee very thoughtfully, just like a person at an art museum who lingers a little longer in front of one painting that is especially intriguing.

Your food looks scrumptious as always. I bookmarked the link to the Greek meatball dish. I want to make a vegan version of it this week.

The green and beige outfit is lovely. The palazzo pants look so comfortable and stylish, and they drape so elegantly without looking too baggy.

Señora Allnut said...

Lovely outfits, the first one is particularly fabulous, the print on the skirt is so beautiful, and colourful!, but my favourite is your striped dress, which is absolutely summery And absolutely classy, doubled fabulousness! and you have these perfectly matchy bracelets!, You Rock It!
Lovely marimekko blouse, I'm a huge fan of this kind of prints, this one is beautiful, and I love the 80's vibe, so cool!.
Glad to see you rocking your bangles!
Lovely swishy massive palazzo pants, they tick all the boxes!, and look so comfy!
Your cooking always inspires me, as we also cook to have leftovers (I can't imagine cooking in a different way, I'm a huge fan of 'all in one pot' récipes too.). And totally agree that a quality olive oil and some herbs make a difference.
Hope the weather behaves nicely so you can enjoy this new bikini asap!.

Beth Waltz said...

The ensemble of greens and creams (a mix of cashmere and brocade?) with just a fleck of metallic glitter is the perfect garment to wear to an exhibition of Japanese woodblock prints (or Chinese scrolls) followed by a supper at the finest restaurant in Omaha (or Kyoto). If you wear it, they will come. We live in hope.

I can easily envision Vix in that emerald green bikini on a Goan beach; I squint mine eyes to see you in it on a Nebraskan patio. If you see me at the pool I'll be wearing a one-piece with a skirt beneath my kaftan. Meanwhile I eagerly anticipate reading your report of getting a Brazilian bikini wax at your salon...

Goody said...

Oh god, that's awful. Unimaginable really. I'm so sorry.

That sounds like a good way to cook in layers. I'm really starting to hate cooking because I've been making three meals a day for a year now without a break, but hopefully now that we're all vaccinated I'll just be back to cooking one meal a day for them.
I have so many talented friends making art it only makes sense to purchase art from them.

I figured I'm not getting any younger so if I planned to wear a bikini this was probably the year. It has an interesting system of ties so it can be worn in a number of different ways-sort of like getting several suits in one. I walked past the pool today but no signs of them getting it ready yet. Usually they open it for Memorial Day at the end of May.
I can understand disliking eggplant but couldn't he just push it aside?

I haven't cut the length of my hair but I did cut some fringe (which I immediately regretted and pushed to the side). When it is humid it tries to curl right back up.
I'm trying to keep the food interesting because my husband has been put on a rather strict/complicated diet by his doctor. I figured if it is interesting enough it might not feel like a deprivation. This is radically different from the way he prefers to eat. Thankfully Danny will eat just about anything I put in front of him so it hasn't been an issue for him.
Whatever hair can't be removed with a pass of the razor will just have to stay. My legs rarely grow hair now (poor circulation issues) so I shave maybe once a month just to get the few strays. I suspect most people will be averting their eyes from me in a bikini anyway, so they shouldn't notice!!!

I need to explore more Belgian cookery as they really loved this dish.
My garden has a south exposure and is also on the side of the house where our tumble dryer vents out-so it stays very warm, which I'm sure has something to do with the early blooms. This year has been strange though-I already have strawberries forming which doesn't typically happen until June.

Oh, I'll be interested to know how it turns out with a meat replacement. I would even think you could flavour tempeh with similar spices to great effect.
We have so many of those plush toys from when Danny was little. When squeezed they emit a bird call that's quite accurate. I figured it was time to start working them into the décor.

@Senora Allnut
Thank you. It is so nice to finally have my arms free and I'm ready to wear bangles up to my elbows.
I always enjoy seeing your cooking as well. Looking forward to all the wonderful fresh produce from the markets this summer.

I will not be waxing :)
Trust me, no one will be looking that closely at me. Half the time I'm the only one at our pool during the day. It gets crowded in the afternoons and evenings.

Mim said...

Haaaa you wouldn't get m in a bikini, even at 33 degrees. You really do get ALL the weather in Nebraska, don't you?

Glad to see you're not swamped with cooking for everyone's differing dietary requirements. It looks like a lot of planning, even so.