Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thank You!

Zach and I would like to say the BIGGEST "thank you" to everyone who braved the rain to attend the Small Spaces: Lafayette Talk & Tour this afternoon. We not only got to hear the Mayor, Economic Development Director, Dennis Carson, and Zach speak about the project and the impact of it on our community, but there was also a lively Q&A session that went on afterwards.

For those who joined us on the downtown tour, we hope you had some fun in spite of the weather. If you took pictures and want to share them, you can do so on the Small Spaces Facebook page. Alternatively, you can also use the hashtag #smallspaceslafayette on whichever social media platform you prefer. We look forward to seeing your additions!

photos by Pete Brown, via Midwest Street Art

Recipe of the Week: Butternut Squash and White Bean Soup

About a month ago, Zach and I were so fortunate to be invited to our friends Kathleen and Dana's house for a visit. They live in a house Dana built out in beautiful Warren County.

The unique house and their artful lives were the cover story for last fall's Lafayette Magazine!

We had too much fun on our visit. We helped out in the gorgeous vegetable garden, took hikes and foraged for mushrooms. Zach and Dana climbed a 100 ft tall white pine tree, while I stayed on the ground and bonded with their cats and dogs.

Kathleen has been sharing with us fresh produce from her garden and eggs from her chickens for the better part of this year. In return, Zach is painting her and Dana's new outhouse.

letter blocks say what

The second time we went out to their house, Kathleen fed us an unforgettably delicious butternut squash and white bean soup.

I've never been a big fan of butternut squash but I loved her soup. We also just received some white beans from Zach's mom that we helped to plant earlier in the spring. So I decided to write and ask Kathleen for her recipe. Try it. I think you'll love this soup too.

1 cup dried white beans (soaked overnight in 4 cups of water)
1 medium butternut squash, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
2 onions, sliced thin
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
3-4 sage leaves
salt, to taste

In a large pot, cook beans in 3 cups of chicken broth and 4 cups of water until soft, about 45 minutes.
While you wait for the beans, saute onions until golden, then add herbs and squash, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
When the beans are done, add squash mixture into large pot with beans.
Cook at a simmer until the squash and beans become very soft.
Season with salt.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Small Spaces: Talk and Tour

Zach and a couple other speakers will be giving a short talk about this trailblazing project, followed with a tour downtown to see the artworks painted over the summer. Please consider joining us for this event. You'll get to learn more about the project, hear more about the work, and meet some of the artists involved! 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Limited Edition Stencil Paintings

small spaces lafayette

Zach spent all day in the studio today working on a series of limited edition stencil paintings of Whistler's Mother Sewing Sol LeWitt's Quilt. It's a fun little replica of the piece we collaborated on the side of Sylvia's Brick Oven, and I love how it turned out! This painting is a whimsical mix of our ideas, the traditional and the modern, the softness of Whistler's mother and the bright, colorful Sol LeWitt-inspired geometric forms.

zach medler art

zach medler art

zach medler art

If you're a fan of Small Spaces, this is such a great way to own a small piece of the project!

whistler's mother sewing sol lewitt's quilt

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Almost Thanksgiving!

We're about a week away from Thanksgiving, and everywhere I look on Facebook, people have their Christmas trees up already. Is it because the weather outside is frightful? We don't have the tradition of putting up a tree for the holiday season. But we are looking forward to cooking for the hoildays. Last year, Zach and I were super ambitious. We made a gourmet mac and cheese, pickled beets, a wild rice casserole, pumpkin pies, and a tres leches cake (why not?!!!). This year, we are planning on bringing with us the same pickled beets, wild rice casserole, and pumpkin pies. But instead of slaving over the mac and cheese, Zach is making turkey meatballs, and I am thinking about possibly baking some ginger cookies. His grandparents, mom, and aunts will make everything else. I also can't wait to go shopping at the last farmers' market of the season this weekend! I like seeing my farmer friends one last time and thank them for feeding us so well this year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sew, a needle pulling thread ...

Brrrrrrr! It's only 16°F (about -9°C) out right now. My fingers have not felt warm all day so I put them to work, embroidering some simple and colorful designs on the block print ornaments Zach is making for the holiday season.

I like the little details. It makes each one of the ornaments a one of a kind. You'll have to wait and see the final product in a couple of days!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Slow Cooker Harissa Chili with Garbanzo Beans

We call this chili with a twist. We substituted chili powder with harissa spice for an even fuller flavor, and switched out the kidney beans for chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), which, if you can believe it, are just as awesome for you.

1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp ginger juice
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 bell pepper (any color but green), diced
1 (28oz) can of crushed tomatoes
1 (15oz) can of garbanzo beans, drained
2 cups of chicken broth
4 tbsp harissa spice
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
salt, to taste

In a large pan, cook onions, bell pepper, and garlic until soft.
Add ground beef and spices, cook until the beef is no longer pink.
Transfer the mixture to slow cooker, then add crushed tomatoes, carrots, and beans. Stir to combine.
Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or 4 hours on high.
Serve with a side of corn bread.

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