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Posts Tagged ‘Charlottesville City Market’

Can you believe this guy? How cute is he?!? I found this pint-sized, yellow colander at the Seasonal Cook today. At $19.95 it was a sweet little splurge, but I figure it’s a tool that will not just be handy in the kitchen (it’s just the right size for straining a can of beans), but it will also be a piece that will look great on the table. Double-duty, I couldn’t resist! And, it will go perfectly with my everyday plates and my vintage, coca-cola crate.

Whoever said retail therapy doesn’t work is very, very wrong. I’m not exactly sure which ailment I’m treating with this colander, but I can tell you it sure is working! This little guy just makes me smile. Happy Friday, everyone!

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I thought I would share a recipe for how to make homemade ginger tea. When I first heard about ginger tea, I thought: how hard can it be? I don’t need a recipe, I’ll just whip some up using my general kitchen know-how. Well, that resulted in a cup of tea that was—well, it wasn’t tea— it was just warm water. Bleh. It turns out that making ginger tea is not hard; it’s just not made the way you’d think it would be (e.g. pouring boiling water over herbs, flavors, etc.). The process does take a little bit of time— it’s not a single-serve kind of recipe. But, it’s worth the wait, especially when it means you can have a big batch of ginger tea in your fridge for the week!

Ingredients

10 cups  Water

1  Medium-sized piece of ginger root

1/3 cup  Sugar

 

You want to start with raw ginger root, like the one pictured above. Depending on how strong of a ginger taste you want your tea to have, you can use all or just a portion of the root. For my taste, I chose to use about 3/4 of a similarly sized piece of ginger root. I used a vegetable peeler to peel off the majority of the peel. Because you will eventually discard the ginger, you don’t need to peel it perfectly, but you do want to keep in mind that you want to expose as much flesh of the root as possible so that the water can seep into it.

After you’ve peeled the root, cut it into very thin slices. Add the slices to 10 cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it’s boiling and the ginger becomes very aromatic, you can take the mixture off the heat. Now, the steeping process begins (this is what makes this recipe long!). You want to let the mixture steep for about 30 minutes… longer if you want a spicier, more robust flavor. I recommend tasting it along the way, every 10 minutes or so, to gauge your preference for flavor. The mixture will get darker the longer it steeps and you’re ideally going for a nice, light golden color— like the the color of a light, green tea.

Once you’ve gotten the tea to a flavor that you like, strain the mixture into a pitcher.

See that pretty golden color? That’s what you’re going for! At this point, the tea should still be warm but not hot, so it’s the perfect time to add sugar. I used about 1/3 of a cup, which I consider to be a just a tad sweet, perfect for an afternoon treat. For a healthier version, skip the sugar all together, and for a super-yummy, indulgent version add more sugar until it’s just short of a syrup. I poured my fresh ginger tea over some ice cubes and added a few blackberries from the farmer’s market.

Ginger tea is terrific on it’s own, but I also found myself adding it to my morning cup of green tea as a sweetner. And, Ryan has found that ginger tea makes a good mixer for vodka!

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Yep. I’m back to talking about my plants. Ryan and I had a super productive weekend. We cleaned our house (majorly), rearranged his new office, and I even got around to re-potting my two orchids and buying some basil to try to grow in my kitchen.

There they are! We’ll see how long they last.

I went to Fifth Season Gardening on Preston Ave. to get my orchid soil. It was my first time going there and the people couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful. The smallest bag of regular soil they sold was still way too huge for the little pot I needed to fill for my basil, so they just filled it up for me for free, nada!

And, miraculously, this weekend, I was able to convince Ryan to go see Water for Elephants with me. The movie was ok,  but Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon were both so gorgeous. All I could say after the movie was… they were so beautiful. Really, really beautiful.

Anybody else think that Robert Pattinson looks like Elvis?

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What’s that I see? Oh, why that’s the Charlottesville City Market… right outside my front door! And, look who’s back!

This pretty much sums up our relationship. Me trying to do things while taking pictures and Ryan trailing behind talking on his phone. PS- Ethan this sweatshirt is for you!!!

We actually had a great morning running around the FIRST city market of the season. There wasn’t much produce… but there were fabulous goodies by Erin McDermott!

I was so excited to see Erin… I had been coveting her designs all winter… and I was so certain that I wanted to pick up some pretty coral or tangerine earrings for summer. These grey and orange earrings were a top contender, but, when I tried on these beauties, I just had to have them.

 

I am loving them and I’ve only had them for three hours! I can’t take them off!

In other downtown Cville news, though, guess that is coming back to the mall?

Ten Thousand Villages! We used to have one maybe 5-6 years ago; it was very small and it was where Cinema Taco now is. It was literally a hole in the wall. But, it’s coming back in a bigger spot between Spring Street and Hamilton’s. I love their store, especially their linens. Their linens are intended for tableware, but that hasn’t stopped me from using napkins and tablecloths and turning them into pillows— like this one that I think either my mom or Aunt Paula sewed for me to match my dorm room quilt (which, incidentally, was a Ten Thousand Villages tablecloth that we lined with fleece).

I love the colors in this pillow… the mustard that you could use as either a neutral or play up as an accent… and you know about my love of purples and greens together. I don’t have this pillow out anywhere in my house right now, but I still have it because I know I’ll use it again, just as soon as I Ryan and I have more than a one bedroom apartment! I never let go of a good pillow. Like this one that I picked up at Patina, here in Cville, a few years ago.

I love this pillow. Something about it reminds me of the quirky, crocheted seat cushions my Grandma Kosut used to have on the bench that ran along her kitchen table. They were mismatched and had a true (what most people would call now-a-days) flea market look to them, sort of like this.

Image taken from here.

Or, this.

Image taken from here.

My pillow is just about the max of floral detail and yarn that I can take in one piece, but I think it’s a modern, sophisticated riff on something nostalgic and Americana. I don’t have a place for it yet, but I’m waiting for the perfect chair (and perfect house!) to come along and complement it.

Happy Saturday adventures!

 

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I feel like I might as well name this post… me and my cats. With Ryan having been gone a week and counting, I’m being to feel a bit like a plant lady, which I’m pretty sure, is only one notch above “cat lady” on the desperation scale.

Yes, I’ve taken to talking to my plants, mostly to encourage them to grow, not to catch up on how their days were or anything… I’m not that bad. Remember my beautiful orchid that I got at the Charlottesville City Market that used to look like this?

Well, for the past several months, it’s been looking like this.

Even though, it has looked dismal, I’ve hoped that it was just dormant; not dead. So, I’ve been watering it all winter and cheering it on (in recent days).  Can you see the grayish bump sprouting out of the green stem? I’m hoping that’s the beginning of a new stalk that will bring me beautiful buds this spring.

I know that it would be much easier to go by a new orchid— they are only $10 at Kroger and they are beautiful! But, if I can get this baby to come back to life, my satisfaction with myself will be off the charts. Every time I look at it, it will look better knowing that I nurtured it all winter… I am convinced!

Until then, I have this fun little purple guy that Peggy brought me the other week. Doesn’t he look great in his new blue pot?

I hope everyone has a good week! My cousin, Kelley, and I are going to see Cirque du Soleil on Wednesday which should be a ton of fun! I’ll be sure to report back!

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The past week with having Ryan back has been great. And, this week in particular, I’ve been reminded of just how blessed and happy I am. I’m usually relatively happy but right now, I’m really happy. In fact I’m so happy, yesterday morning I woke up and got out of bed and started dancing and singing “I love my life” around my room. Happy!!!

I think part of the reason I’ve been reflecting and evaluating my life a lot recently is that I’m coming up on the one-year anniversary of leaving my job at the Alumni Association. Exactly a year ago, I had submitted my resignation but I still had about two weeks left to work. It was a very awkward and uneasy time for me. Everyone that I bumped into had questions and reactions that I had to face: “why are you leaving?… I didn’t know you played an instrument… let me know when you have a gig… oh, so I’ll be able to say “I knew you when…” Everyday, I felt like I was putting myself out there in a way I’d never done before, really exposing my true passions to everyone from my family to the most casual acquaintances and  co-workers. And, on top of it, I felt like I was really misunderstood (which is probably a result of the fact that I was still trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do and how to present that to people).

I feel so much clearer now… but that didn’t happen overnight. Even a few months ago, particularly the March to June time, I felt like I was just spinning my wheels, treading water. I think a lot of my happiness has to do with my new job at the Music Resource Center. I’m really starting to carve out a place and purpose for myself there. I love interacting with the kids, I love being surrounded by music all day (even if it is listening to a 13 year old play “Smells Like Teen Spirit” over and over and over), and I love advancing the mission of such an incredible cause. My schedule of 25 hours per week works perfectly for me. It gives me a reason to get up every morning, but I still have enough time to work on my own music, get stuff done around the house, exercise, volunteer and socialize without feeling like a crazy person.

I not only love my schedule at work, I love my routines with Ryan. I love being able to wake up slow. I love having dinner together at night. I love going out to dinner on Thursday nights because it’s *almost* the weekend. I love our house. I love getting pizza and wings with Ethan and Allison. And I love that we possibly, might be semi-adopting two cats. More on this later.

As for the songwriting, it’s not moved to the back burner even though I have a job. However, I also realize that songwriting is my lifelong endeavor, it’s something I have to chip away at day after day, year after year. And, I am a songwriter. Whether or not I ever have a song recorded by a major artist will not change the fact that I am a songwriter.

Ok, enough heavy stuff for a Saturday afternoon. I managed to walk over to the market this morning (though that’s about all I’ve done)— and you know I love to share my market finds.

These peppers are gorgeous! I had to get the little purple one just because of the color!

First apples of the season!

And, I finally took the plunge! I got an orchid! I’ve been eye-ing these at the market for years but I’ve never had the guts to buy one. I figure winter is coming up, so if I can keep it alive, it might be nice to have to green (and pink!)  around the house. And, it’s very feng shui.

Okay,okay, these didn’t come from the market, but my sweet hubby did bring them back for me from San Francisco, and I had to share them!

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It seems to be a rare weekend that Ryan and I get a whole weekend to ourselves— no visitors, no dinner dates, no obligations— just us, alone in Charlottesville. This happened to be one of those weekends… and it’s been glorious! Yesterday we had breakfast at Bluegrass Grill, went to the market, putzed around in the afternoon (okay, I putzed around and Ryan “went into work” a.k.a. was playing on his new ipad for 4 hours outside of the house) and then we rounded out the evening by going to see Inception (it is as amazing as everyone says it is). I also tried out a new recipe last night: Ina Garten’s Pastitsio.

It’s a Greek lasagna that uses small shells instead of flat noodles. It was absolutely delicious and I would highly recommend trying it. I followed the recipe exactly, whole milk and heavy cream and all, and it turned out perfectly. It’s basically just a baked pasta in a meat sauce but the lamb and cinnamon give it an interesting twist that’s a welcome change from plain Italian red sauces.

Today, Ryan and I made a trip to Gordonsville— a small town that is a little north east of Charlottesville. I’ve been wanting to go to Gordonsville for a while just for the beautiful drive through Keswick and to walk around the little shops. But, when we heard that the chef at Fossett’s had opened a BBQ joint in downtown Gordonsville, it really “lit a fire under us” (pun very much intended) to get there. Here’s a few pics of me and Ry sampling the 3-meat platter at the BBQ Exchange.

Here are a few more pics of our stroll through the town. Unfortunately, most of the cute boutiques were closed because it was Sunday.

I finally finished the day by hanging some wall art that I’d made a week or so ago with some fabric that I’d found at a new local fabric store in town: u-fab. This store is amazing! They mainly sell close-out fabric, which is why their prices are so low, but I saw some really pricey fabrics in there that Calico Corners sells for $25-$35/ yd. and I even saw a really pricey designer fabric that Caroline Manzo has in her house! I’m guessing she didn’t pay $9.99/ yd. for it! After a productive weekend like this there’s only one thing left to do… sit around and wait for entourage to come on!

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