Friday, September 28, 2012

Literary Lunches: One Morning in Maine Clam Chowder

Today my son had an early release day from school.  He also has his first loose tooth!  To celebrate we are having clam chowder for lunch.  While it simmers on the stove we’ll read a book from one of my favorite children’s book authors, One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey.   Sal, the main character also has her first loose tooth!  Enjoy this sweet little story and simple chowder recipe with your little one.
Simple Clam Chowder
Marge Perry,   JANUARY 2008

·         2 bacon slices
·         2 cups chopped onion
·         1 1/4 cups chopped celery  
·         1/2 teaspoon salt
·         1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
·         2 garlic cloves, minced  
·         6 (6 1/2-ounce) cans chopped clams, undrained  
·         5 cups diced peeled baking potato (about 1 pound)
·         4 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
·         1 bay leaf
·         3 cups fat-free milk  
·         1/2 cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 ounces)

1.     Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 teaspoon drippings in pan. Crumble bacon; set aside. Add onion, celery, salt, thyme, and garlic to drippings in pan; cook 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
2.     Drain clams, reserving liquid. Add clam liquid, potato, clam juice, and bay leaf to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until potato is tender. Discard bay leaf.
3.     Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 12 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Add clams; cook 2 minutes. Sprinkle with bacon.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Terrycloth Tiaras

Hooded Towels available at my etsy store
Tonight I am finishing up a princess hooded towel for a birthday party my son was invited to.  I set to work on it last night and was delighted to find that I had just enough light brown for the hair without having to run to the store first.  I had a full towel of yellow but I hate to mindlessly make every princess towel blonde. 
I don’t have any daughters, so my first hooded towels were specifically gender neutral, lots of animals and the like, but friends urged me to make something more “girly”.  So the result: a pink and purple butterfly and a pink and purple princess with flowing blonde hair.  There’s nothing wrong with blonde hair, and some little girls with hair of other textures and colors might enjoy the “dress up” aspect of having a blonde hooded princess towel.  But when a friend of mine was moving last year she requested a princess towel with curly dark brown hair to match her daughter’s locks, it was like new light was being shed on my original quest to make “something girly”.  It became more of a celebration of all little princesses. 
One of my favorite musical clips from Sesame Street is “I Love My Hair”.  My husband heard a piece on NPR about the head writer of Sesame Street who wrote the song.  He and his wife adopted their daughter from Ethiopia and at the time she was fascinated with Barbie dolls and their straight blonde hair.  It concerned him and he wrote the song to express that her hair was great.  It’s a simple message but very moving to a wide audience and the Youtube video quickly spread, being shared on many Facebook pages.
As I sewed the light brown curls to the back of this towel tonight I reflected on how much I enjoy making custom items like this.  It offers the opportunity to be more than simply “something girly” to sell.  It offers little girls something that can be uniquely made for them.  Something that can quietly encourage them to embrace their own unique selves and helps us in redefining what society has stereotyped as beautiful.  So celebrate all the little princesses, whether their hair is light, dark, curly, or straight!  And whether their favorite colors are pink and purple or something else!