Archive | May, 2010

Make Soda!

25 May

Did you know that with a small little packet of beer or champagne yeast, you can make your own soda out of basically any liquid?  It’s true!  All you need to do is create some kind of juice or tea mixture that contains sugar, make sure it’s room temperature, and pour it into an empty and clean two liter soda bottle.  Add 1/8 teaspoon of yeast and leave it alone for 24 hours.  This gives the yeast time to eat up the sugar and create carbonation.

For my first soda, I brewed just less than 1.5 of weak white tea, added about a cup of strawberries, and then mixed that with some basil simple syrup (made by heating and dissolving equal parts sugar and water with 1/2 cup of basil).  Once I let it sit for about an hour to let the flavors meld, I strained the mixture into a two liter bottle, added the 1/8 teaspoon of yeast, shook the bottle to dissolve the yeast, and let it sit for 24 hours.  After refrigerating it for a few more hours, I poured it over ice and drank!  Pretty delicious (and a great cocktail mixer).



21 May

Our cherry tree has two little cherries ripening!  The blackberry bush has a ton of berries waiting to ripen, the lettuce and greens are exploding, and the squash and melons are starting to sprout. Here’s to a bountiful season ahead.

Cocktail of the Week: Pink Gentleman

20 May

Another Mackey original.  This one was inspired by the pisco sour.  The egg yolk gives it a silky texture and beautiful pink foam on top.  I used Urban Moonshine citrus bitters, but Angostura bitters would work fine.


2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 oz rye whiskey

1/2 oz grenadine

white of small egg


Mix all ingredients in a cold shaker.  Shake VERY well and VERY vigorously and strain into a chilled glass.  Float about three dainty drops on the foam. The bitters shouldn’t mix into the drink- they’re meant to be a little foamy kick.

tart and tasty

Make a Planter

17 May

When Shawn bought the house, the bathroom had a tiny walk-in shower and an old claw foot tub.  Not being a big bath taker, Shawn used the tub for a variety of purposes- an ice-filled beer holder during parties, a storage place for laundry waiting to be folded, and later, when the tub was moved into the backyard, a home for badminton rackets and Bocce balls.  Last year it found its newest and most delightful use- a planter.

You can make just about any relatively non-porous container into a planter.  Just drill a few holes into the bottom to make sure it’s properly drained, buy some potting soil, fill ‘er up, and plant what you will!

Clockwise from far left: rosemary, thai basil, lemon thyme, chocolate mint, basil, mint, provincial lavender

Make Breakfast for Someone You Love

10 May

This is a friendly reminder to eat your breakfast, as we all know by now that it’s the most important meal of the day.  So make yourself something yummy, and while you’re at it, make something for someone else.

Every morning I wake up and think about what I’m going to eat.  It’s not that I’m hungry, per se, it’s just that never in my waking hours do I go that long without eating.  It’s usually just a granola bar or some yogurt, but lately I’ve been trying to actually make myself something more substantial.  I’m starting on the weekends and hoping the habit will spread to the weekdays.

A few weeks ago I introduced Shawn to something my mom used to make for us.  She called it “eggy-in-a-hole,” but I’ve also heard it referred to as egg in a basket, or egg in a boat or egg in a nest.  Basically, it’s a piece of buttered bread with a hole cut in the middle.  You put the bread in a hot buttered pan, then crack an egg into the hole and fry it until the bottom is set.  Flip and let the other side cook and you’ve got eggy-in-a-hole.  I’ve been trying to eat a little healthier, so while I made Shawn an eggy-in-the-hole, I sauteed some garlic and spinach in olive oil, poured  one egg with and a little grated cheese and salt and pepper over the whole thing, and made a spinach scramble.

A Very Important Meal

Artistic License 2010

7 May

I hope the Knoxvillians among you will stop by the Fluorescent Gallery tomorrow night for the opening of Artistic License 2010, a show Shawn and I have been planning for a while now.  In the words of yours truly:

“Knoxville is crawling with creatives. We are continually inspired by the photographers, designers, writers, musicians and visual artists who live here. Artistic License aims to facilitate creative collaboration between artists and art forms in Knoxville. Inspired by the children’s game of telephone, in which a sentence is passed from person to person through whispers until it reaches the end of the chain and is uttered aloud. It’s usually an entirely different sentence than the original, changed slightly by each person who hears it. Artistic License shows us what can be created when we put our words and images into another person’s hands.

Four photographers took a picture of a stranger. Each of these pictures was passed on to two writers who wrote a short piece based on the photo. These poems and stories were then each passed to two artists who created a piece of art based on the writing they received. Artistic License 2010 reflects the fruits of these 28 individual and collective labors.”