If you’re like me, wishing you lived in the Hamptons next door to Ina Garten, then this salad will let you live out your fantasy for a meal (or two).

If you live in the Hamptons, I expect an invite next summer. I’ll bring cookies.

And if you’re Ina Garten, I want your house.

We made this twice this month (so far). It’s the closest salad can get to comfort food. After feeling crummy/grumpy/homicidal all afternoon, I actually TURNED DOWN mac and cheese for this yesterday.

Men, PMS is the worst. Hug a lady today — and thank her for going through hormonal distress so you don’t have to.

My friend Julia gave me the cookbook Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics when I moved into my last apartment. Of the five or six recipes I’ve made from it, ALL of them have been winners. And ALL of them have been made multiple times. Highly recommended.

We made this recipe as written, with the exception of lowering the olive oil content in the vinaigrette. (Instead of 1/2 cup, I used 1/3 cup. And, in the end, only used about half of the dressing on the salad.) Oh, and I used a mix of walnuts and pecans instead of just walnuts. Because nuts are the best.

Make it. Make it now. Do so barefoot. Feel classy and comfy. Open a bottle of white wine. Then invite me over.

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Gone Gingham: The Lonsdale Dress

by Nadine on September 23, 2014

Since it feels like summer again this week — weather is weird — I thought I could squeeze in a post about the sundress I made last month and totally neglected to blog about/wear.

I first teased the project here. Yay, gingham!

According to trends emerging out of New York Fashion Week, gingham will be hot next summer. So I guess I just got a head-start?

[click on image for larger view]

Stats:

Pattern: Lonsdale Dress by Sewaholic Patterns
Fabric: Gingham rayon from King Textiles. ($7 a yard, I think?)
Size: Size 6 — but I (accidentally) made the seam allowance a little wider than instructed.

The fit isn’t perfect. I had to add darts near the loops at the back — hidden under the bow — to take in some excess fabric around the bust. And it still bunches a little. Maybe I should have shortened the bodice a little?

Anywho. The bodice is self-lined and looks VERY pro on the inside. I’m proud. And it’s comfy. And…pockets. Every dress should have pockets.

For $21, it ain’t bad. But next time, I’d avoid a geometric print. I’d go solid, floral or abstract.

Are you still wearing summer dresses, friends? Or are they packed away for next year?

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Dressing Like Annie

by Nadine on September 15, 2014

On the runway at New York Fashion Week:

Because every woman wants Annie Savoy’s wardrobe.

Oh, Bull Durham. ‘Tis the season for baseball movies starring Kevin Costner.

*Wouldn’t it be fun to dress like a movie character every day? (I mean, other than Bridget Jones on a bad day. I’ve got that look nailed down.)

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Gabriola Skirt: In Progress

by Nadine on September 5, 2014

So. This happened.

If you hand a man a skirt, he will turn into a samurai. Every single time.

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Moving Pictures with Matthew

by Nadine on September 5, 2014

Wanna see what my husband/office buddy has been up to lately?

Matthew directed, produced and animated this video promo for a cool company called Goalminded.

Yep, I married a pretty crazy-talented guy. With a very impressive work ethic. I don’t work well when I’m tired. He’s a rockstar, regardless of energy level.*

Um, he’s also good at protecting his skull while drawing:

I’m still adjusting to the fact that this project is completed. I was getting used to hearing a British voice introduce me to Tom every morning….

*I believe I sang “Everybody’s working through the weekend” on four different weekends while Matthew worked on this. I don’t have an ounce of workaholic in me. Watching someone work that hard is exhausting.

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Quinoa Chicken Salad in #Augtober

by Nadine on August 26, 2014

Dear, whoever first created the #Augtober hashtag: thank you for telling the truth. 

This recipe is quick to make, and can easily be doubled. It’s healthy. It’s gluten-free. It’s a crowd-pleaser. The leftovers are tasty. Everyone wins.

It even makes radish-haters like radishes!

The original recipe came from CookingLight, but we quickly changed things up. Most notably: we swapped out the couscous for quinoa.

Here’s the version you’ll get at Casa Kalinauskas:

Quinoa Chicken Salad
Print
Ingredients
  • 2 cups chicken broth (no sodium added)
  • 1 box uncooked quinoa
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked in olive oil and cubed
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup diced radishes
  • 1/2 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted in dry skillet over med-high heat
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
Instructions
  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions, using chicken broth instead of water.
  2. In the meantime, cook chicken (or just use leftovers), prepare vegetables and toast pine nuts.
  3. Let the quinoa cool for a few minutes, then combine quinoa, chicken, vegetables and pine nuts in a large bowl.
  4. In a small container, whisk together oil, vinegar, spices and garlic. Drizzle over salad, stir to combine.
  5. Serve in pitas (optional; not gluten-free) with arugula, cucumber slices and tzatziki.

 

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Go Long: Planning for the Gabriola Skirt

by Nadine on August 24, 2014

[Illustration: Paper Fashion]

I finally made the gingham Lonsdale dress I blogged about here. Photos to come.

(Here’s a shadowy Instagram pic. My handsome photographer was too busy working for a living to help me get a good shot.)

It was a bit of a lesson in “what not to do”: DON’T leave your machine with your needle aligned to the left. You will make all of your seam allowances too large and end up spending too much time worrying that you’re making a dress for a very tiny person.

Always check your settings, folks.

Sheesh. It was salvageable, thanks to super-slim seam allowances at the zipper and an (apparently) abnormally narrow ribcage.

If you sew — or are about to, as I know some of you are dreaming of doing — you’ll encounter 101 different sizing charts. By Hand London, so far, seems to fit me well. No alterations needed for their size 8/12. Sewaholic‘s size 6, however, sort of fits me at the waist, but is way too huge at the hips*, something that wasn’t an issue for the sundress, but might be for my next project: a long skirt.

*I’m more banana-shaped than pear-shaped. A broad-shouldered banana. Maybe a tall strawberry? Fun fact: All women are shaped like fruit.

If you use any of the commercial pattern companies — Simplicity, Butterick, Burda, Vogue — expect to wear a much larger size. Ignore numbers. They don’t mean a thing. Besides, there’s only a tag in the clothes if you add one, right?

Note to self: Order custom tags that say “I dressed myself!”

Anywho. I’m taking my sweet time figuring out how to fit this baby: The Gabriola Skirt.

So far, using this tutorial, I’ve traced the pattern pieces to grade from a side six waist to size 4 at the yoke and size 2 all the way down, hoping it will sit high on my waist. I could be in trouble.

I have plans for this lovely Gabriola: my brother-in-law’s wedding. In THREE WEEKS.

I don’t have fabric yet.

I’m the worst.

I first fell in love with the idea of wearing a long skirt to a formal event in 1997, when Claire Danes wore the most perfect sweater-skirt combo (by Narciso Rodriguez) at the Oscars.

I was 14. I wanted to be her.

Then, in 1999, Meg Ryan and Gwyneth Paltrow both rocked ball gown skirts the Golden Globes.

Then, more recently, these ladies reminded me that I should just get a long skirt already!

I want to go to there wear these. Now.

And…an endorsement from Ms. Kelly herself.

And if it were up to Matthew — and I’m not disagreeing with him here at all — I’d make a skirt that’s essentially the bottom of this dress. Beacause wow.

With the exception of my very long wedding dress — I bought it off-the-rack and had to have a seamstress magically add six inches to the bottom — and one cheap cotton sundress from H&M, all my skirts and dresses are knee length and shorter. Time to mix it up.

Do you go long, friends?

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YouTube Tuesday: ‘Baby Baby,’ baby

by Nadine on August 19, 2014


Amy’s back.

Not that she ever went anywhere.

Happy belated birthday to me.

I’m now THIRTY-ONE, guys. And I’m mostly pretty totally okay with it.

In somewhat-related news, John Stamos just turned 51. Sadly, I still don’t know his anti-aging secrets.

Whose blood* are you drinking, John? Tell me, before it’s too late!

 

*Please don’t let it be blood. Please say “red wine.”

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Easy as [Peach] Pie

by Nadine on August 15, 2014

I made a pie! From scratch! By myself!

“Make a pie” was on my “13 things in 2013” list. I didn’t do it. So I added it to the “14 things in 2014” list. And I kept not making pies.

Pie is intimidating. Scratch that. Pie CRUST is intimidating.

But when a basket of almost-too-ripe peaches stared me down on the counter yesterday, I knew I had to take action.

So with the help of my favourite online bakers and real-world friend Karen, I dove in.

For a wedding gift, Karen gave us a gorgeous illustrated recipe for vodka pie crust.

Lovely, right? Click on image for large version.

I swear this was the flakiest, most crave-worthy crust I’ve ever tasted. Pure pastry goodness. And I didn’t even know what I was doing! No-fail, people. You can do it, too.

With the dough made and cooling in the fridge, I turned to Smitten Kitchen for a filling recipe.

(Here you go.)

I stuck with Smitten Kitchen for dough-roll-out tips, then followed Joy the Baker’s top-crust advice and used an egg wash followed by some serious cinnamon-sugar sprinkling.

And then I went BACK to Smitten Kitchen for baking temps and times.

Phew.

What did the pioneers do without food bloggers and a million open tabs?

So thanks, Karen, Smitten Kitchen and Joy the Baker. Y’all are the best. Everything turned out freakin’ delicious.

Arguably the best thing I’ve ever made. Or at least the thing I’m most proud of making.

Have any recipes been intimidating you lately?

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Brr! Even our salad is in layers

by Nadine on August 14, 2014

Baby, it’s cold outside. What the heck?!

We’re wearing layers today. And eating ‘em, too.

Here’s my mom’s 7-layer salad. It tastes like my childhood.

Unlike her, I did NOT make my own pita bread. (Mom, how on earth did you have time to make pita pockets with three little kids running around?!)

Mom’s 7-Layer Salad
Print
Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, shredded
  • 1-1.5 cups chopped celery
  • 16 oz. frozen peas (DON’T YOU DARE COOK ‘EM)
  • 2 cups mayonnaise (sometimes less)
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups chopped ham
  • pitas, with pockets
Instructions
  1. Layer ingredients — in order — in a large bowl. Do not mix.
  2. Cut pitas in half. Stuff with salad.
  3. Eat. And then eat more.
Notes

Tastes great made a day ahead and covered in fridge.

 

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