Monday, February 28, 2011

In which we make rolled-up pizza, with pictures!

Last night I had some unexpected time and motivation so I decided to tackle a lasagna-inside-a-calzone that I had seen on Lottie and Doof. The recipe was suppose to serve 6-8 as appetizers; my husband and I ate 7/8 of it over the course of about 5 hours... so appetizer, entree, and late-night snack. It was delicious. It was not easy. But I will probably make it again...

The dough, rolled out and adorned with sauce and cheese. Six-year-old sous chef provided for scale.

The dough, folded up and placed in a very hot oven:

The thing after about 20 minutes of baking. (Notice the roasted Brussel sprouts on the lower rack.)

The thing after we'd had dinner. You can clearly see the layers of lasagna inside the charred outer shell. I don't think I rolled the dough thin enough... it should have had twice as many layers!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

WIP: Bella Mittens, sixth time 'round

We finally had some good light, and I had my phone fully charged, so I put those two events together to end up with an actual photograph! These are my sixth go-round with Bella's Mittens.

The astute observer will notice that I haven't yet put a thumb on the first mitten.

Yarn: Berkshire Bulky from WEBS
Needles: size 8 DPNs, wooden, can't remember the brand anymore.
Modifications: made them slightly bigger (4 stitches) around, as the intended recipient has rather plump hands.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

An unexpectedly lovely day, and "I am Number Four"

My in-laws took the kids for much of today, so DH and I were able to see a movie and have a quick dinner, just the two of us.

"I am Number Four" is based on a book that I haven't read, so I can't comment on how well it fits with the novel. I do know that the hero in the book was supposed to be 15 and this actor (Alex Pettyfer) looked about 20, although he was apparently playing 16 or 17 in the movie. The acting was surprisingly good and the plot ratcheted up the tension nicely. I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the "Twilight" movies.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Photo-less Friday

because I forgot to take pictures of EITHER of my mittens-in-progress... grr....

I think I should experiment with leaving dairy and white flour out of my diet for a while. I get so sleepy right after eating anything with white flour in it! With the dairy, while I love it, I am lactose intolerant and I've heard a lot of anecdotal evidence about how eliminating dairy can help with recurring sinus problems. So maybe that's my goal for March: playing with my diet.

My original goal for February was to practice piano every day, but that fell apart pretty quickly. I didn't have the sheet music for most of the songs I wanted to learn, and I also kept forgetting to practice until the boys were asleep and then I couldn't because the piano is almost directly under their bedroom.

I have lots of other potential goals in mind: like exercising every day. Or trying a new recipe three times a week. Or a new cocktail. I should get back to sewing, and I'd like to try my own personal "write-a-novel-in-a-month" and "knit-a-sweater-in-a-month" schemes. Well, we'll see what I decide to try in March, which is really just a few days away! (One of my friends had to remind me that "30 doesn't happen in February!")

Thursday, February 24, 2011

FO: knee-socks!

Size: child age 7
Yarn: Knitpick's Felici Sport, 2 skeins
Colour: Garden Gate (sadly, discontinued)
Pattern: basically just the sock pattern that lives in my head, although I did use some help from More Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. Since I knit these socks toe-up, I used up basically every inch of yarn in both skeins.

I actually knit these back in June, but didn't get a chance to photograph them properly until today.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

drive-by blogging

I had a great blog post written out in my head earlier today, but it's gone now.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

10 on Tuesday: ten favorite cocktails

At first I was a little grumpy about this topic... I mean, I barely drink, and when I do drink it's just a beer or a glass of wine. But then I started remembering my early 20s, when I did go to bars with my friends and we did compete to order the craziest cocktail we had ever heard about.

1) White Russian
2) Toasted Almond
3) Mai Thai
4) Sex on the Beach (DH and I still order this one at our local Chinese restaurant...)
5) Margarita
6) Martini (I first made one after hearing the Tom Lehrer song: "Hearts full of youth, hearts full of truth, six parts gin to one part vermouth!")
7) Fuzzy Navel (although I think this is even better when made as a milkshake: peach schnapps, orange juice, and peach ice cream.)
8) Pom-tini

and I truly can't think of anything else I've liked! Sad, isn't it? Is there a special name for all of those hot chocolate + liquor drinks?

Monday, February 21, 2011

The King's Speech

was excellent, and I am exhausted, and so I am heading to bed!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Preliminary thoughts about "Among Others"

I just finished reading Among Others. I thought it was amazing, although the resolution was not at all what I had been envisioning. Of course, now that I write that, I see that the resolution does fit very well into the rest of the book, so I think I just wasn't thinking about it hard enough.

I wonder whether Jo Walton read The Magicians and decided that she had to write this book in response. I could really see the books as a call-and-response pair. Too bad I'm about the only one of my friends who really liked The Magicians because I don't see me being able to start much of a conversation about this with anyone.

Among Others was really a love letter to Science Fiction, to the fandom of the early 70s. I now must go track down all the books that Mor reads, so that I can fully understand all the great reading group conversations.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Almost forgot to post today!

I am reading Among Others by Jo Walton, and it is AMAZING. (I'm only 100 pages in, so perhaps I withhold judgement, but I am without other inspiration for a really quick blog entry tonight.)

I now have a half-dozen books to look up, so that I can read everything Mor is reading in the novel.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Inertia is a powerful force. Right now, it's the only reason I'm blogging: I don't have any cool photos to share with you and I can't think of anything witty to say. I didn't make further progress on the pink mitten. I haven't read enough books to do another report.

Also, I can't figure out how to respond to my comments, which at one point I thought I figured out how to do... so if you know how to respond to comments from BlogSpot, please let me know?

I haven't cooked anything so interesting that I should report on it... no wait, that one's a lie. I've actually cooked a lot of interesting stuff over the past two weeks, but without photos it hardly seems worth mentioning.

OK, I'll go for it anyway:

Chocolate vegan cupcakes - delicious, although I completely messed up the frosting and had to send them out unfrosted. I had a few moments of panic when I couldn't locate the apple cider vinegar and was faced with a choice among seasoned rice wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, or tarragon vinegar for the batter. I think I would have chosen the sherry vinegar, but fortunately I did dig up the apple cider vinegar (hidden behind the black bean sauce in the pantry) so it didn't come to that.

Vegetables Korma - better the first time I made it, when I didn't measure the ginger root and probably doubled or tripled the amount the recipe wanted. I made a huge batch the second time around, so we're still working our way through the left-overs. I added a lot of ginger and some fried tofu to it tonight, and it was pretty good. (I just realized that I mentioned this on the blog earlier, but without all the details.)

Challah - made this once with zested orange and once without and it was very good both ways.

Drunken Apple Cake - a lot of work but definitely an impressive dessert. It's much better on the second day, after the rum flavour has mellowed.

And... a huge thunderstorm just started rolling in, so I'm going to post this and go make sure all my windows are closed (after today's high of 60).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bellas mittens, large and pink (and in progress)

I missed WIP Wednesday but I did manage to snap a bad picture of my mitten-in-progress, which I thought I'd share today:

Details: size 8 DPNs
Berkshire Bulky in "Rose"
Extensive modifications, which I will detail when the mittens are finished.

True confessions: that's a right-handed mitten being worn on my left hand, because my nails look awful and I wanted to show off the cables so this was my clever way of doing it!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What I Won

My prize came!

Really bad photo courtesy of now being able to find my cell phone, and having lousy lighting in the living room.

(But I'm really, really excited about the Noro sock yarn! This is probably the prettiest skein of Noro I've ever seen.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Non-knitting Blogs

My non-knit-blog reading can be essentially split into categories.

1) John Scalzi - funny, liberal, and he posts more than once a day!
2) Neil Gaiman - posts irregularly, but writes beautifully and lives a fascinating life.
3) Robin McKinley - posts daily. Extremely funny and sarcastic. I almost didn't include her because she's "learning to knit" but so far as I can tell, she's managed to cast on three stitches. I don't think she counts as a knit-blogger yet!
4) Charles Stross - while I disagree with some of his politics, I find his extrapolation pieces informative and thought-provoking.

Food blogs:
5) The Wednesday Chef - I read her mostly just to hear about life in Berlin; she also has some amazing pasta recipes.
6) Lottie and Doof - the food tends to be more complex than I want to tackle on a weeknight, but this blog makes me dream.
7) Smitten Kitchen - delicious and very approachable. I've made over a dozen recipes from her website and they've all been great!
8) Pastry Studio - my most recent discovery. Purely pastries, as the name implies, but the Bench Notes and careful explanations take this well beyond the typical food blog.
9) The Pioneer Woman - I don't cook most of the food on her blog (I'd be even fatter if I did...)

Mommy blogs: I used to read more of these, but as their interests slowly diverged from mine, I let most of them go. The lone survivor is
10) Half-Changed World - which is more of a policy-wonk blog than a mommy-blog, anyway.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy 14th!

As you can see, I had a lovely Valentine's Day.

And to top it off... delicious Thai food! (quite a long drive, but totally worth it.)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Getting late...

and I have no blog fodder. Nothing.

Well, I did make a yummy curry tonight.

And I made my poor husband listen to Eminem because he claimed he'd never heard him before: I struck out with "I Need a Doctor" and "Cocaine" before I landed on "Toy Soldiers" which he had, in fact, heard before.

So then I had to look up the lyrics and explanation of "I Need a Doctor" because, heaven knows, it doesn't make a lot of sense when heard out of context.

I'm slowly evolving back to Healthy which is a Good Thing because I've got a busy week ahead!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I'm a winner!

I donated some money to Petes Greens CSA just because I thought it was a worthy cause, but I've actually won a prize worth more than my donation!

And... in other news, I believe this is my 200th blog post.

Off to take a nap before our family outing this evening.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Knitting makes me feel better

I absolutely couldn't handle the intricacies of the 3-color mitten I'm working on right now, so I pulled out some Berkshire Bulky from the stash and started another pair (my 6th?) of Bella's Mittens.

Perhaps a picture tomorrow, if the weather cooperates...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I got nothin' for ya

Still sick. Doctor can't squeeze in my appointment until tomorrow. Kind of hoping it's strep, as I won't then feel like an idiot for taking up her time.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A quick check-in

just to say that I seem to have caught Strep Throat from my younger son, and am therefore quite beyond any photography or saying anything witty.

Oh - while I was in the lodge at Ski Sundown today, I saw a woman knitting the most gorgeous hat. It was from Hats On! by Charlene Schurch. I think I need to track down a copy of this book...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

10 on Tuesday: ten favorite Oscar-winning movies

I don't know whether this limits me to "Best Picture" winners, or if all those movies that won another type of Oscar are also eligible.

If we go with Best Picture, then (only in chronological order, because I really can't compare light musicals to bloody tragedies)

The Godfather
My Fair Lady
Annie Hall
Out of Africa
Silence of the Lambs
Forrest Gump
The English Patient
Shakespeare in Love
American Beauty
Return of the King
The Departed

I'm not going to bother scanning the list of every movie that's ever won any Oscar, but I'll just throw in

Spirited Away
Sophie's Choice
A River Runs Through It
Gosford Park
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Sweeney Todd

And yes... my primary loves are musicals, animated children's movies, and bloody shoot-'em-ups.

Monday, February 7, 2011

What a difference a bath makes!

I know I shouldn't be surprised... but I still am, every time I finish washing and blocking a piece of knitwear, to see how my lumpy stitches are suddenly even and flat. I don't have a good picture of mittens to fully show this off, but it's true.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What I've been reading

I never remember to do monthly book reports, but having just finished off a pile of novels this seemed like the right moment.

Romance: I've been working my way through Christine Feehan's "Dark" series as they become available on E-reader.
Dark Legend: I really enjoyed this one. I also couldn't foresee a happy ending for the couple, which ratcheted up the tension very nicely.
Dark Guardian: Pretty good. I really liked the heroine and the hero was less of a jerk than the average Carpathian male.
Dark Challenge: OK, not memorable.
Dark Gold: I thought it was the weakest of the lot. Dear heavens, the hero was so irritating!

Mysteries: I'm slowly working my way through Ruth Rendell's backlist as I turn them up in the library.
Some Lie and Some Die: while this is set so long ago as to almost qualify as historical fiction, it was a well-told story that kept me guessing almost up to the final pages.
Death Notes: a strange case of mistaken identity and possible murder. I didn't enjoy this one as much as I have most of her others, probably because most of the book seemed so unfocused.

Fantasy/Science Fiction:
Shadow of the Scorpion by Neal Asher: a prequel to his previous novels about Ian Cormac. Really good, although having read most of the later books I predicted the ending far too early. I would only recommend this to people who like their SF very bloody.
The Skinner by Neal Asher: technically I'm rereading this, but since I didn't remember 7/8 of the plot I feel justified in counting it. Probably Asher's best work (IMHO). The characters are more varied and interesting than in his other work, and plot hangs together nicely. Once again, I would only recommend this to those who like their SF extremely bloody.
Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard: a murder mystery set among the Aztecs of the late 15th century. While it made an irritating number of references to the novella that precedes it, the plot hung together beautifully and I can't wait to read the sequel.
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson: a gorgeous stand-alone fantasy. Gods, princesses, mysterious historical figures returned to the current day, revenge, magic, and devious politics. I can't recommend this one highly enough!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

FO: Selbu Mittens

Selbu Mittens, finally finished!

Needles: size 3
Yarn: Heritage 150 Solids by Cascade
Modifications: I slightly modified the back of the thumb because it left white bumps on the side when I was decreasing... so I ended the pattern just before the decreases began.

Report: Oh my gosh I did it! Hardest pattern I've ever done. It looks gorgeous and the recipient is thrilled with the mittens.

Friday, February 4, 2011


I'm a huge fan of The Yarn Harlot (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, for the three people in the knitting world who haven't already heard of her.) A couple days ago she posted about making silk mittens straight from the mawata, without spinning.

Today she posted again, including a very nice set of basic directions.

I'm so tempted...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I'm late for St. Brigid's poetry recitation

but I love this idea, even thought it's fallen by the wayside in most parts of the world.

Some table talk, at lunch, of memory,
the anecdotal hypnotist who could
unlock the nursery. Not babyhood
occurred to me, but two weeks buried by

the next five years. That's when I should have made
poems each extraordinary day,
and I could read them now and brush away
the dust accrued over a half-decade,

and I'd remember everything we said
when we thought we were saying everything.
We did, I guess, what everybody does,
if I were better at remembering.
Sometimes I wonder who I thought I was,
And who on earth I thought was in my bed.

- Marilyn Hacker, from the Regents Park Sonnets

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cool stuff I notice on line

Somebody has a made up a color chart for dying with KoolAid.

Recently, an article on Ravelry described how to graft seed stitch. (I really need to practice this in scrap yarn so that I can fully wrap my mind around everything.)

I somehow missed the posting of the Winter Knitty. I only loved two patterns in it, but oh how I love them: Joanie and Palisander.

Vegan Chocolate Truffle Pie. I must try this.

I'm sure I had more things in mind when I started this post, but now I can't remember them...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things on your bedside table

Short answer: NOTHING! (Mu ha ha ha....) I don't have a bedside table, just a bedside window sill.

Long answer: on the window sill I have
1) a box of tissues
2) a Chapstick
3) a Vapo-Rub inhaler
4) my Sony E-Reader
5) my Droid, which doubles as my alarm clock

That's it!

If you want to talk about the things near the bed, we have
6) an excellent reading lamp
7) a humidifier
8) the last three or four books I was reading (I think that would be Geist, 60 Quick Knits, Asian Dumplings, and Warbreaker but I'm writing this from work so I can't just pop upstairs and check...)
9 and 10) see above