food rituals: mother and nurse hannah peterson

by Nicole on November 24, 2014

Today’s installment of “food rituals” features one of my little sisters, Hannah Peterson. Hannah is a 20-something first-time mom and is also studying to become a nurse. 

First off, tell us a little bit about you.
I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. I live with my Russian fiance, Kosta, and our 15 month old son, Ansem. I work at Jordan Valley Hospital in the Laboratory. I process and result an array of laboratory exams as well as provide Venipuncture services to patients all over the hospital grounds including surgery and ER traumas. I am currently pursuing my Bachelors of Science in Nursing. I consider motherhood a second job in itself. I never get a day off work, even if I’m not at the hospital. When I do have any free time, I enjoy DIY projects and scrapbooking in my son’s baby book.

What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
On days that I work at the hospital, coffee is usually my only breakfast and either I bring a homemade lunch, or grab something from the hospital cafeteria (which has surprisingly delicious food!) If I make my own lunch, I usually bring a sandwich and Triscuits, sometimes a Lean Cuisine if I’m in a hurry. The cafeteria’s menu at the hospital changes daily, but my favorite is their grilled chicken and avocado wrap.

How often do you dine out, and what do you eat?
I LOVE to go out to eat. I’m the least picky eater you’ll find. Kosta is a sushi fanatic and our local sushi joint is usually his pick. One of my favorite places in the valley is Chipotle. I’ve eaten there since I was a kid in Katy, TX and their barbacoa burritos never get old! I also really enjoy Mimi’s Cafe, which is a French-style food restaurant in Utah that serves breakfast and lunch. Most importantly, we choose where we go out based on their family-friendly settings and entree options for our little one.

What are your favorite foods–those ingredients you always cook with, or the things that you see on a menu that you always end up ordering?
I love Mexican food. I love to make it. I love to eat it. A Mexican joint is usually my first pick for enjoying a night out at a restaurant. A margarita and fajitas really hit the spot! At home, my specialties usually involve Mexican cuisine, whether it be tostadas, enchiladas, tacos… you name it! My family prefers my barbacoa tacos and Chipotle copy-cat cilantro lime rice. When my mom or siblings come over, it’s usually what they want me to make. That, or smothered queso burritos, with Wolf chili of course.

What do you eat when you’re alone?
I don’t like to make large meals for just myself, so normally Triscuits and cheese. All kinds of cheeses, but my favorite is Smoked Gouda. I mostly snack. Nuts, avocado, crackers, etc.

How do you take your coffee/tea?

I prefer coffee. When I order coffee at a shop, I usually go for a white mocha. At home, it’s columbian K-Cups in my Kuerig with original creamer and a couple spoonfuls of sugar in the raw.

Condiment of choice?
Fry sauce (it’s a Utah thing), which consists of mayo, ketchup, and sometimes BBQ sauce, in a delicious mixture which goes great on burgers, or with your french fries.

Are there any foods you dislike?
None. I generally like all types of foods. My diet is usually restricted (grocery wise) since Kosta suffers from Crohns Disease and cannot eat many things that I like to eat.

Do you have any weird food quirks?
Jello can only be eaten before 4pm with a knife. Lol. No, no quirks.

Favorite cocktail/beer/wine?
Utah is known for our many micro-breweries. My favorite event in Utah is Oktoberfest at Snowbird. My favorite is our Wasatch pumpkin with whipped cream on top, or any Heffy.

Sweet, sour, salty, bitter, or umami?
Salty, for sure!

 Note: All photos in this post are from Hannah’s Instagram.


Previous installments of “food rituals”:
nicole morgan
luisa weiss

food rituals: author, editor, and food blogger luisa weiss

by Nicole on November 17, 2014

I’m so glad you guys enjoyed the first food rituals post! I’ve got many more installments in the works, featuring a wide variety of people. All of the interviews have been super interesting and different so far, and I can’t wait to share them all with you!

Today I’m featuring Luisa Weiss of The Wednesday Chef. I always discover the best cookbooks through her, and am in awe of the beautiful foods she posts. There’s something that feels very genuine and honest about her food; you really get the feeling that she cooks for love, and so her meals are always simple, comforting, and nourishing all at once. Yet they also retain this elegance or charm that shows she really takes cares with what she cooks.

First off, tell us a little bit about you.
I live in Berlin with my husband Max and our 2 year old son Hugo. I’m the food columnist for Harper’s Bazaar Germany, a freelance editor, and food blogger. (Added by Nicole: Luisa is also the author of My Berlin Kitchen and is currently working on a second book about German cooking.) My life is busy! I get up early with my son, we see my husband for a few minutes before he leaves for work, and then spend a few hours hanging out, playing, reading books and eating breakfast before I take him to daycare. That’s when my working day starts and it’s a total blur at the moment: manuscripts, recipe testing, video shoots, article deadlines, answering emails, and a million other things that work-from-home people are stuck doing, like laundry and grocery shopping. In the later afternoon, I get to pick up Hugo for a few more hours together. We take a long walk or play, make dinner, maybe take a bath, and then it’s time for reading and bedtime. At that point, my husband usually comes home and we have a few hours together to eat dinner, talk, watch a show and collapse, catatonic, in bed.

What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
The first thing I do in the morning is make myself a cup of Earl Grey tea with milk. That has to happen within the first 20 minutes of getting up. Essential. That usually tides me over until I come home after dropping Hugo at daycare. I’ll have breakfast (buttered toast with jam, or a bowl of oats, fruit and nuts with milk, or my latest obsession, Turkish bread stuffed with salted, sliced cherry tomatoes, dried oregano and oil) and get to work.

I always have these grand plans of cooking myself a hot lunch, but 50% of the time, nah, 70% of the time, I’m so busy with work that I realize too late that I’m starving and then I can’t possibly wait the time it would take to make a meal, so I’ll eat a sort of cobbled-together cold lunch picnic from the fridge: salami sandwich, sliced peppers, a yogurt, something like that. If I’m lucky, there will be leftovers from last night’s dinner that I can doctor somehow (with an egg on top or with hot sauce, for example). If I’m really lucky, I cook myself a fresh meal. Doesn’t happen as much as I would like, though.

Then, in the afternoon, I always end up scavenging for something to nibble on with my second cup of tea. I’m trying to stick with nuts or a piece of fruit, because I have totally sedentary lifestyle at the moment, but I’ll be honest, that doesn’t happen as much as I would like. There’s always some kind of chocolate that sneaks its way into my mouth. Still, life’s too short to freak out about your afternoon snack.

The next and final meal of the day is dinner. This part is all over the map for me. Sometimes I make spaghetti with tomato sauce and a boiled vegetable with olive oil and lemon (what I grew up eating 5 nights of the week and my version of “fast food” that I can do in my sleep. Sometimes I do some elaborate recipe for the blog. Sometimes I’ll make a veg, a protein and rice in the rice cooker and feel very Suzy Homemaker about it. It sort of varies widely. Lately, I’ve been so busy and so tired come dinner time that I’ve gone for the really easy meal again and again. I’m becoming quite a pro at it – quick, tasty and something both child and adult will eat. And then, of course, sometimes we just eat cold sandwiches in front of the tv because I am just too damn tired. (Luckily, this is considered a normal and traditional dinner in Germany.)

How often do you dine out, and what do you eat?
We go out maybe once or twice a week, almost always on a weekend when my husband is home. We’ll go to our favorite Chinese restaurant where we order the same three dishes every time (smoked tofu salad, dry-fried Sichuanese green beans and dry-fried beef with Sichuan pepper) or to a Korean place on the other side of town that my husband is obsessed with (the first with child, the second without). We’re definitely still in that phase of having a small child where leaving the house seems to be an almost insurmountable thing or at least, not always entirely worth it. But that’s okay – we’re both homebodies.

What are your favorite foods–those ingredients you always cook with, or the things that you see on a menu that you always end up ordering?
In restaurants, I always end up ordering artichokes, because I hate cleaning them and never make them at home.

At home, I would be lost without canned tomatoes and onions. They’re not sexy or glamorous, but they are the basis of so much of what I make.

What do you eat when you’re alone?
see above

How do you take your coffee/tea?
My black tea is always with milk, no sugar.

Condiment of choice?
Olive oil

Are there any foods you dislike?

Do you have any weird food quirks?
I really like ketchup. Is that weird?

Favorite cocktail/beer/wine?

Sweet, sour, salty, bitter, or umami?
Sour, salty and bitter forever!

*Note: All pictures are from Luisa’s blog and Instagram.

monochrome triangles dress: my plantain dress hack

by Nicole on November 14, 2014

I really love the Deer & Doe Plantain pattern and have made it up five different times now, all unblogged (one solid, two florals, and two stripes). I love the neckline, and I really like the fit though the shoulders. I’ve made the Moneta once, but after many wearings, I just don’t love how it fits in the shoulders/arms, and I don’t think the gathered skirt is all that flattering on me. So finally it dawned on me… Plantain bodice + full circle skirt = knit dress love.

And yes, I reallllly love this dress. So much so that I’ve already bought a drapey black knit and some black stretch lace to make a “fancy” version. And really, this is a dress I could never get sick of, so I’m sure I’ll eventually have like 10 different versions in different fabrics, sleeve lengths, and skirt combos.

To make the dress, I slimmed down the side seams of the Plantain pattern and cut the bodice around the waistline instead of at the usual t-shirt hem. I then drafted a circle skirt using BHL’s app. I attached the circle skirt to the bodice and stabilized with clear elastic. I did end up taking in the bodice seams about an inch or two on each side after sewing it up, because I was initially trying to be conservative and didn’t really account for negative ease. And I confess that I haven’t hemmed it yet. Hemming is my least-favorite part of knits, and this hem is miiiiiiiles long. It doesn’t look too bad unfinished, so I’ll probably wait a while.

Oh, and the fabric! Isn’t is awesome!?! I bought it a few months ago from the Austin Fabric Co-Op, and I felt a little bad because the shop owner told me she had actually planned to purchase the end of the bolt that night, but I beat her to it. It’s a little meaty, but has great drape, softness, and spongey-ness, and is the perfect weight for a knit dress, in my opinion. I love how the triangles look hand-printed too! I bought it fully intending to make a sleeveless Moneta with it, but I’m so glad it stayed in my stash for a while, because I like it much better as a Plantain!

I totally intended for this dress to have a contrasting Peter Pan collar. I read some tutorials, drafted my pattern, cut, interfaced, sewed, pressed, and then… I hated it. The collar just didn’t lay right and it cheapened the dress. I’m thinking I screwed up the drafting somewhere in the process, but the collar also just might have stretched as I sewed it since I can’t adjust the pressure of my presser foot and the knit was pretty thin. Two hours down the drain, but at least I tried, and at least I learned something. I think failures are good every once in a while, even though I don’t particularly enjoy them. Keeps me well-adjusted.

So yeah, simple dress, but very very cute and wearable. And I feel pretty proud of myself for my first hack, even though it was dead easy and probably shouldn’t even count as hacking!

Oh, and what’s a post about a circle skirt without a blurry twirl pic?!?