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Do the (Carrots with Sage and Garlic) Mash.

As promised, a homemade recipe from my Day in the Kitchen: Carrot Mash with Sage and Garlic. I thought for just one hot second about letting you figure it out using that chicken scratch I call shorthand above. But then, I’d also like you to visit again. That said, enjoy my friends.

Carrot Mash with Sage and Garlic
+ Makes…quite a bit
This recipe was one I made up a few months back when I became obsessed with La Cascada’s dips. First, let me say that I like dips. And by dips, I don’t mean spicy Velveeta nacho cheese or sour cream and chive. I’m talking veggie dips. La Cascada’s eggplant dip, spicy zucchini dip, the Mediterranean dip… all good, and all stupidly expensive at my little local grocery. (Let’s just get real: shit there ain’t cheap.) $5.99 for a 4 ounce container that maybe had a two day refrigerator life (because I ATE IT in two days) was starting to lose it’s appeal and possibly get on my husband’s nerves. So I bought a food processor and went on a semi-kitchen adventure to figure out how  I could make the dip at home. What came out of that little rompus was a couple of things – but the best one is below. Carrot Mash. It’s like grown-up baby food. If it makes you feel better to think of it as a pudding, go right on ahead and knock yourself out. You can eat it hot or cold, add butter or not; use it as a dip, or eat it alone. I will tell you that in two days I’ve eaten it over steak, chicken, with vegetables and by itself. I’ve eaten it a lot, and I still love it. In fact, I’ll probably eat it for lunch. Yay for me!

1250 g / 45 oz. carrots, peeled and cut into consistently sized stalks (2″ long and about 1/2″ thick)
2 onions, peeled and sliced
4 grams / 1 oz fresh sage, torn into pieces
6-10 garlic cloves, peeled
*2 TB butter olive oil
**20 oz / 2 1/2 c pureed butternut squash soup
470 g / 2 cans white kidney beans, drained
1 TB butter olive oil (optional)

* I’m lucky enough to live close to Amphora, a shop that sells all kinds of wonderful flavors of olive oil and vinegars. This one, the butter olive oil, is a great alternative to using butter and olive oil. If you don’t have it, that’s ok! Just use regular extra virgin olive oil or butter – whichever you prefer.
** I’m also lucky enough to live near a Trader Joe’s, a Whole Foods and within spitting distance of a small gourmet grocery store. It goes without saying that I have options. The butternut squash soup I used here is from Trader Joe’s. However, you can also use low-sodium chicken  broth or even pureed pumpkin soup. There are a slew of substitutions you can use here, so just play with it.
***For the salt, I used Smoked Salt from Trader Joe’s. It’s just a nice alternative to the regular stuff, but the regular stuff works just fine, too.


  1. Turn oven to 350.
  2. Place parchment paper on two cookie sheets.
  3. Get your food processor from whatever dusty cabinet it’s in and place it on the counter. You should use the metal blade for this recipe.
  4. A container to hold the shit-ton of carrot mash you’ll be making.


  1. In a large bowl, toss your carrots, onions, sage and garlic in the butter olive oil.
  2. Lay your mixture out in one single layer on the cookie sheets.
  3. Cook for 30-45 minutes. Depending on your oven, it may need to be longer. For me, because I have an old Merritt and O’Keefe, I need to turn my sheets around every 15-20 minutes to make sure things are cooked evenly. I also swap my pans (top goes on bottom, bottom goes on top). You may not need to do this, but at the very least, you should turn your carrots over about midway through the cooking process.
  4. Once everything is cooked, take it out of the oven and let it cool slightly. If you need sustenance, feel free to eat some carrots.
  5. Throw 1/3 of the carrot mix into your food processor, along with a 1/3 of the soup and 1/3 of the beans. If you’re going to add the olive oil, add one teaspoon for the first 1/3 of the mix.
  6. Process away until your mix is nice and smooth. I’m okay with there being some course bits in my mash, so you may need to adjust the amount of soup you add to make it as smooth as you want. If you’re still not getting the texture you want, butter or cream never hurt anyone and always helps in these matters.
  7. Remove the first 1/3 of the mix from the processor, place in a large bowl and repeat step 5 and 6.
  8. Once all of the carrots have been processed and are in the large bowl, give them a good mix.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste.

Let me stress that you can use this a base for a bunch of different substitutions. Don’t like carrots? Try butternut squash, pumpkin or sweet potatas (that’s potatoes when I say it like I’m from the West coast). Don’t like sage? Use thyme or rosemary – or get wild and try curry. Don’t like garlic? Good luck with that. I’m kidding. Don’t use it, or if you love it, use more. Whatever you do, don’t give up on it. You can make it as high-fat or as low-fat as you want, as creamy or as crunchy as you want – you just have to work with it. And if you do make it, by all means – let me know how it comes out!


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Welcome back, dear readers.



I’m sure you’ve all just been dying for this little blog to update – bated-breath-style. I’d like to say that I was off doing Extremely Important Things, but I wasn’t. I’d like to say that I was really just fulfilling my New Year’s Resolution of being less connected, but that would be a total lie. Life came up. I know you understand.

Ready for some highlights? Well, the last time I blogged was March, so let’s see…

  • I got a promotion at work in March. Yay for me, now let’s move on.
  • My sister-in-law and my Mom both made a trip out here (not at the same time) in April and May. Visitors are always nice.
  • B and I flew to NYC to meet up with our dear Frenchie, Clau, in May.
  • Finally painted our kitchen a nice shade of pick-me-up orange.
  • I went to Las Vegas for a conference in June. Blech. Las Vegas. So hot. Just thinking about it makes me sweat.
  • Then nothing….
  • Made some terrariums that I’m sure are going to die soon, because B. can’t contain his compulsion to water them.
  • Followed by a little more nothing…
  • And then at some point I made my Mom’s canned sweet pickles. I’ll have to get that recipe posted – easy and good – and I don’t even like sweet pickles.
  • More nothing…
  • At the end of July, we made it down to Pasadena to visit friends and meet their new baby girl. I was a star in my own rite – the 2 year old was completely entranced with my hair. No, there is nothing – nothing – particularly spectacular about my hair. But it’s long, and that was enough for her.
  • That trip was followed by a short solo trip back home to my beloved A-town (Alexandria for folks not in the know), where I did nothing but eat okra and tomatoes, and sweat. No lie.
  • And the last big adventure? Painting our bathroom after deciding we could no longer deal with it’s hideousness.

And that’s pretty much been the last six months of my life. In a really small nutshell.

So. Welcome back folks. Up next? A True Grit story. Stay tuned…

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Checking out 2010…

Oh goody, I was able to find that list of 2010 resolutions I blogged about as I started the new year. As I begin to think about my 2011 resolutions, I wanted to check out how I did in 2010.

  • lose 10-15 pounds (this really won’t happen, since I’m already in pretty good shape and have weighed the same for almost ten years – but I just like to put the dream out there in the universe) ……….I was dead on. Nothing lost. But nothing gained, either, so really it’s a win-win.

  • start sewing more and making homemade gifts (love this one, and it’s something I may actually be able to stick to now that I have my craft room)………….So, I don’t think I crafted as much as I wanted to, but I definitely made some things that I loved and gave them to friends.

  • reel in my spending (damn you, Starbucks, and your awesome awesomeness) – and therefore save more……..I did, in fact, give up my morning Starbucks.

  • keep up my monthly anniversary cards to my husband (easy – I love to write them – he loves to read them)………Check! Done! Except for December, which I’m totally blaming on Christmas.

  • start carrying around my camera more often and taking more video with the flip – these are the days we’ll want those future kids of ours to see – when we were young and hip (or something like that)…………..I could’ve been better at this, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. One, B. just gave me a Leica for Christmas (I wanna do a little dance just thinking about it), and two, I actually filmed us opening our presents this year. It’s so funny and nice – there’s a point where B. is having trouble reading my handwriting on the card I gave him, and you can just see the wheels turning before he finally looks at me to ask me what the first word says.

  • watch less tv and read more……….I don’t know if I watch tv less, but I definitely read more. Even if I’m not updating my Books page, I promise, there’s reading going on.

  • plan our big trip to who-knows-where (any suggestions?)…………..Geographically, we didn’t go anywhere new. But we did take a big trip when flew home to New Orleans to help build a house with Habitat for Humanity. Sun, sweat, and long-felt exhaustion never felt so good.

  • keep up this dang blog of mine……………….Well, it’s sort of like the tv thing. And the camera thing. And the spending thing. It’s not that I failed miserably, but I could’ve done better.
  • All in all, not a total loss, right? Come back for Checking in 2011 in the next couple of days.

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    And life is but…ter cream.

    I have to admit I get a lot of joy out of cooking and baking for other people. Although this holiday season hasn’t felt as busy as it has in the past – no big Christmas dinner to plan or party to host  – I was still able to find myself in the kitchen, trying out new things. A few of the new recipes I’ll be adding to my permanent collection are below. Just click on the pictures for the link to the recipe.

    As for Christmas, it was nice and quiet – and our sushi was just fine, thank you. The best part? Someone else cleaned up.

    Two quick notes about these recipes…
    The Cream Puffs recipe – it wasn’t available online (dang you, Martha), so I had to route you to another blog that had the recipe laid out. This particular recipe has you making a fancy raspberry cream – scratch that, it’s made with cream cheese and Cool Whip for god’s sake, so I shouldn’t pretend that it’s that special. I will say that you can’t go wrong with those two ingredients, though, so if you want to make yourself a raspberry cream, go right on ahead and whip away. For me, I didn’t make this particular recipe – I decided on two other versions:
    • Cream puffs with buttercream on the inside and bittersweet melted chocolate on the outside
    • Cream puffs with whipped meringue and lemon curd on the inside and powdered sugar on the outside (Try not to eat the lemon curd before you actually use it. In fact, I suggest not opening the jar until the very last minute before you have to add it to the meringue. I’m just saying, there are some things that are really good on a spoon, and lemon curd is one of them.)

    After getting a call from my friend, Natalie, at 9:00 in the morning (hello, Natalie!) asking me why the *bleep* didn’t her cream puffs look like mine, I realize that I should give you the same reassuring news I gave her: these are cream puffs, and no matter what size they are, if they’re all the same size or not, people will eat them. It also doesn’t hurt if you have a mechanical pastry bag, which I use all the time. It really helps give you control over what you’re doing. The one from William’s Sonoma is easy to use, and it comes with everything you need to be fancy when the occasion calls for it.

    As for the Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake, it was really easy to make. To kind of tone down the chocolate-yness, I added slivered almonds and a bit of sea salt. B. said it was even better the next day, and you can take that to the bank, because his second job is the Official House Cake Taster.

    Everyday Food: Cream Puffs

    Everyday Food: Cream Puffs

    Real Simple Magazine: Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake

    Real Simple Magazine: Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake

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    Happy Friday. And. Adding this little picture just because it reminds me of home, and I like it so much (New Orleans, South Carrollton, right before enjoying Brocato’s sorbet).

    Just a quick post to let you know…………….both my Books and Dreams and Such pages have been updated.

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    Hello. Are you there readers? It’s me, Kelli.

    Life goes by so quickly and suddenly – POOFZAPZING – you’re two months behind on your blog. Work can only be described as a black hole sucking me into deep space, and very much the reason for the blog in-action. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and mad and frustrated and cranky – and haven’t been able to find time for myself.

    And? I’m done with that.

    It’s just a terrible cycle, isn’t it? You don’t find time for yourself and you end up overwhelmed and mad and frustrated and cranky, and then…you’re all those things because you don’t find time for yourself. It’s silly. I act like finding time for myself is like finding gold or a doughnut that doesn’t end up on my butt, when really it’s about saying Stop, or No, or I’m leaving at 5 no matter what. I haven’t been doing those things, and bottom line, it’s made me unhappy.

    So here’s to saying Stop, No, and I’m leaving at 5 no matter what. Let’s hope it works. Wish me luck.

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    Ugh. I totally suck at this.

    So I just found the Geotraveler’s Niche blog, and I kind of want to shoot myself in the face.

    In comparison, my blog is the equivalent of the Dollar Store after a hurricane has swept through.

    But you, my friend, should find yourself a search box and light up with Geotraveler’s Niche. Great stuff.

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    Another year.

    I decided that I should start a blog, let all my energy out in some way. Who doesn’t have a blog these days? I figure no one will really read this – unless they come upon it by mistake.

    (If you’ve come upon this by mistake, my apologies that I’m not better at the whole blogging thing. But you can’t say you weren’t warned in plenty of time to stop and move on to something better like huffpost or nytimes or

    Anyhoo. It’s another year, and the thought of making a goal that I will undoubtedly lose track of in ten days somehow seems pretty attractive. Go figure. Here’s the short list:

    (If you know me, you know I love bullet-points so here goes…………….)

    • lose 10-15 pounds (this really won’t happen, since I’m already in pretty good shape and have weighed the same for almost ten years – but I just like to put the dream out there in the universe)
    • start sewing more and making homemade gifts (love this one, and it’s something I may actually be able to stick to now that I have my craft room)
    • reel in my spending (damn you, Starbucks, and your awesome awesomeness) – and therefore…
    • save more
    • keep up my monthly anniversary cards to my husband (easy – I love to write them – he loves to read them)
    • start carrying around my camera more often and taking more video with the flip – these are the days we’ll want those future kids of ours to see – when we were young and hip (or something like that)
    • watch less tv and read more
    • plan our big trip to who-knows-where (any suggestions?)
    • keep up this dang blog of mine

    I think that’s a good start. Nothing radical.

    All right – that’s it – my first official post on Pins and Needling. Hope you enjoyed it. Hope you come back. Promises of better things next time.


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    Hello world!

    Welcome to This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

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