Monday, December 1, 2014

balancing living at home and working at home

My house is a mess.
Not dirty, mind you; there is just stuff everywhere.
No, not like hoarders, either: it is useful stuff that gets used on a daily basis.
Consider that it is my apartment and a full papercraft studio and a full jewelry studio.
It is not uncommon to have the dining room table set up for beading, a card table up in the living room for card making, Makes it tough to have people in for a visit.
Plus, i hate my tiny kitchen.
Over the summer, Amy and I were going to get together for tea and i decided that by jiminey i was going to host it, mess or no mess, crappy small kitchen and all.

STEP 1: consolidate in-progress jewelry projects into containers; stack them neatly to the side of the room

STEP 2: consolidate in-progress paper craft projects onto the dining room table; cover gently with a table cloth; add a pretty teapot to keep with the theme
STEP 3: cover wretchedly small, mismatched counter tops with a matching tablecloth to create the illusion of a buffet; lay out food that was prepared well in advance so that the kitchen did not need to be utilized that day, except to boil water
(from left: chips with Rea's homemade peach salsa; toast fingers with Rea's homemade black raspberry jelly; trail mix customized to my specifications (fruit and nuts have to be a 1:1 ratio, people); cantaloupe and grapes; black and white cookies (made by the grocery store because i don't really bake); 2 versions of toasted party ryes {cream cheese herbed with basil and garlic, topped with tiny tomatoes & cream cheese herbed with garlic and oregano, topped with prosciutto}; zucchini rounds with either plain or chipotle hummus; and green olives)
STEP 4: eat, drink, be merry

Tea turned out so well that i've decided more entertaining needs to happen in Chez Nicole.
Lydia and I were supposed to have a Friday adventure, but i had to cancel at the last minute so i invited her over for home cooking instead.
One of the house specialties is Nik'obo Stew: a seasonally variable stew that is loosely based on jambalaya and a bbq hobo stew a friend made for me 20 years ago.
It always has sausage and/or chicken, a sweet element balanced against a savory element and a grain of some type.

This Autumnal version was kielbasa, black beans, chili beans, sauteed onions and corn cooked in a tomato base with bay leaves as the savory half mixed with the sweet half of eggplant, butternut squash, chopped onions and whole garlic cloves roasted with nutmeg and ground cloves. 
I think it is okay to serve on tv trays as long as you have pretty napkins folded into flatware pockets, right?

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