Basil Chicken and Zucchini Green Curry, the Ultimate Comfort Food

This is my favorite dish that I make. We always make it for friends and family when they come to visit, and we also make it just for ourselves (usually in bulk so we can savor the leftovers!) It is one of those dishes that is almost better on the second day.

Ingredients:
-2 chicken breasts (approx 1 lb)
-2 tbs green curry paste
-1 can coconut milk
-3 small zucchini
-1 can of chicken broth
-2/3 cup of water
-2 tbs fish sauce
-2 tsp sugar
-2 tsp corn starch
-5 cups rice (prepared)
-1 cup fresh thai or italian basil

Directions:
1. Cut chicken and Zucchini into small pieces, set aside.
2. Pour half of the can of coconut milk into a large saucepan. Turn burner onto medium-high, and when the milk starts to bubble and boil, add the green curry paste (you can add more curry paste for added hotness!) and stir it until it is mixed in thoroughly.
3. Add the chicken and keep stirring for 1-2 minutes until chicken is coated with the curry and coconut milk mixture.
4. Add the remaining coconut milk, the zucchini, fish sauce, sugar, chicken broth, half of the basil (chopped), and water to the saucepan, and heat until simmering. Once the mixture is simmering, you don't want it to come to a full boil or your chicken will become rubbery. Keep it on a light simmer, and make sure to stir it occasionally.
5. When zucchini is tender, your curry is almost done. All you need to do is add the cornstarch (make sure to mix the cornstarch with a tablespoon or two of water before you add it to the curry) and stir it in. This will thicken the sauce slightly.
6. Fill bowl halfway with rice, and pour the curry over the top. Garnish with the remaining basil. Enjoy!

*If you want to make a vegetarian version of this, use firm tofu instead of the chicken, veggie broth instead of the chicken broth, and a teaspoon of salt instead of the fish sauce.

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Decorating on the Cheap!

I'm not a huge fan of the traditional red and green Christmas color scheme, so I've started collecting decorations at the thrift store in blue, white, silver, and gold. I had found these pretty white fake flowers at the thrift store, and then when I was at the craft store yesterday picking up some gift cards, I came across these fun little sticks that were on super-clearance. I was going to buy a vase for them, but I was sure that I could find something at home to use instead.
So I took a vodka bottle that Nate and I had emptied (over a long period of time mind you) and taped around the area where the label used to be and then spray-painted the outside gold with some spray-paint that I had leftover from an art project I had done. I think it turned out super cute, and very festive looking, especially for spending only about $1.50!
We also set up our tree a few days ago. The tree, the ornaments, and the tinsel were all thrift store finds as well, and I just used a scarf I had as a cover for the bottom. :)
I hope you all are having a not-too-stressful start to your holiday seasons!

Semester Accomplished!

I just got done posting grades from my class, and got all of my paperwork squared away. This semester was very busy, but went pretty smoothly nonetheless. Here are some of my students' final projects.I was really happy with how the final projects turned out.
But, now that the semester is through, I am taking a break for a little while, and focusing on some much needed knitting time. :)
These are a mock-up for a pattern I want to write up. The fair-isle makes them very thick and super warm. I can't wait to finish them so that I can wear them! Lastly, one of the most avid readers of this blog, my grandma c, or G-ma as we call her, is in the hospital this week recovering from a not-so-fun surgery. If anyone would like to leave her a comment here, I'm sure she would appreciate it! My G-ma is the one who really got me interested in crafting as a kid. She taught me how to sew, crochet, and most importantly how to be thrifty! Get well G-ma, we love you!

Little Tiny Painting Project

I'm in the process of wrapping up the little loose ends of my semester. I've been chugging along with my paintings, and I thought I'd share one of them with you. I am doing a series of these small paintings of my apartment on the back of formica samples.

I hope you get a little chuckle out of them.

I've also been doing some planning for paintings I am going to be working on in the near future. Whenever I do a watercolor or an oil painting, I like to draw it out first to set up the lighting. This is one of the ones I'm working on - but I think I may crop it differently. I've also been considering picking up drawing again. It is so much more instantaneous than painting!

Thrifting, Weaving, and Cats

I'm working on some Christmas projects today. It is chilly outside, but it snowed for the first time this winter a couple of days ago and I've been cuddling up on my couch working on paintings and final projects. I'm almost done with everything for this semester. All that is left is some grading of student work, some documenting of my own work, and a couple of critiques.
So today I can indulge in a few distractions. Here are the 'kittens' helping me with my weaving.
Here is my view. It is one of the best things about living in our apartments (along with being able to have cats, gardens, and the large kitchen).
I've been doing some thrifting as well the last few weeks in order to collect sweaters for recycling yarn. I went in last week with a mission. "I am going to find an awesome pair of leather boots." Ok, so I go in with these kinds of missions all of the time, and I never find what I'm looking for. This time was the charm though! They fit pretty good, they just need to be worn in a little bit to fit my feet, but I can tell they are already fit better after wearing them a few times. I bought new insoles for them as well which helped increase the comfort level. Now I just need to find a pair of skinny jeans that fits right....
I also found this little cute owly. I think it is a candle holder (it has a space in the back for a tealight) but for now he resides on my secretary desk, bringing cheer to my work space. I also made some woven coasters from the excess warp yarn from a scarf I was making. They match the colors in our apartment which is mostly greys and yellows. After I took the pictures, I decided to felt them, and now they look more even and less wonky.
I hope you all had a nice thanksgiving! I did, but I forgot to bring my camera, so you will have to trust me on that. :)

Unraveled - The Sweater Project

The beginnings of a long term project I'm just starting to work on.

Sneak Previews, and Brrrr!

Between school and teaching I've been able to sneak in a surprising amount of knits and weaving.
The first is a scarf that I wove from Cascade 220 (weft) and Brown Sheep Nature Spun (warp). I only used about 1 skein of each. I am still amazed by how little yarn I use when weaving!
I am also giving you a sneak peak of some projects I am working on writing up patterns for. The first is a bulky cabled hat. I will hopefully have it written up by Christmas. :) It is a super quick knit, and less thank one skein of either Lion Brand Chunky or Brown Sheep Lambs Pride. This one is knit in Lamb's Pride.Lastly, there is the wonder cowl! I love it. It is the perfect winter accessory here in the north. I am always cold, and it looks cute with a jacket and with a sweater inside.
That's all for now folks. We are heading in to the last few weeks of the semester, so posts may be a little more sparse! Wish me luck!

Yay!

I finally got back home this weekend to visit my family, and look what I came back home with!
Here is a hint...

It's a loom!
My parents got it for me for my birthday. I saw it on craigslist on a whim, and I forced my mother to pick it up for me! :)
When I got it home I took off the project that was on it, and started my own.
As you can see, I started it and finished it within a couple of days. Yay!! Here is Nate modeling the scarf for me. I am amazed at how small of an amount of yarn it used, only one and a half skeins. I love it! I can't wait to get better.

Last but not least, I also got a present that I'd bought for myself on Etsy. It is a gocco print from Julianna Swaney of Oh My Cavalier! If you want to get one of your own, click here. It is residing right above my desk. Did I mention that I love it?Hope you are all having a wonderful week so far!
--Cassie

Taking a Week Off... Sort Of...

Things have been a little bit busy here with setting up and taking down the recurrence show, midterms, traveling, grad shows, and on and on, so I've decided to try and take a little 'break' this week and doing some non-school related things.
One of the things I've been working on is editing photos that I took from my friends Dejan and Jackie's wedding from two weeks ago. They had it at the Algoma Club in Oshkosh. It was beautiful and the reception was great. Here are some of the shots I've edited already, but I've still got a lot more to do! :)Don't they look so happy?I also started a new project. It is a blanket for our couch, and I think the cats approve.

Recurrence - Reception

I thought I would share some pictures of my show that was up this last week with all of you.
Here is a picture of Kim and I before the reception began.Here are some pics of the show!I will post more later, but I just wanted to get a few up for those couldn't make it.
Thanks to all who came out!
--Cassie

Recurrence - One Week Only!

My good friend Kim Strom and I have been working long and hard this semester to put this show together. It will be up all week, and there is a reception on Thursday. Here is our postcard for more details!

The Doily Project, Ikea, and Sunflowers!

I've been working on these the last few days, and just took them off the blocking boards. I used corn starch to starch them, and I really like how they turned out. They are for a painting project I'm working on.
Nate and I went to Naperville this last weekend to attend the Midwestern Electronic Music conference and to Ikea. It was a fun little jaunt, and we came home with some nice stuff from Ikea. My favorite thing is the lamp we got for above the kitchen table and the plates we got for our kitchen. I'm sure they'll make an appearance in some pictures sooner or later.
Yesterday I did a little thrift shopping in between errands, and I came across this awesome purse! I've been obsessed with yellow lately, and it is the perfect size. Oh, and those lovely sunflowers? The Jewel-Osco in town has an empty lot right next to it that hasn't been developed yet, and it is filled with sunflowers! I hopped out of my car and 'borrowed' these.

Bad Dog Gallery Show - Fringe

Last Thursday was the opening for the show Fringe at the Bad Dog Gallery. A good time was had by all, and many people showed up to say hi. Thanks to those who came out!
This was my piece from the show, it is titled 'Three Sisters.'This piece is by Kathie Webb
Brikena Boci
Kristine Chisamore