Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

My mum is visiting. All the adults, plus my younger son, are sick. My older son is good about walking the dog, but neither son nor dog are any good at getting dinner on the table.

Fortunately, we're all happy to settle for basic meals.

So it's a happy low-key holiday.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ten on Tuesday: 10 books on my to-read list

I actually have a pile of more than 50 books that I've bought but not yet read... I also have a couple of library books out and over a dozen novels waiting on my Kindle. But having said all that, here are the ones I'm hoping to read before Xmas.

1) Alif the Unseen by G Willow Wilson

2) Abaddon's Gate by James SA Corey

3) The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

4) The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

5) God's War by Kameron Hurley

6) Ghost Spin by Chris Moriarty

7) Shadows by Robin McKinley

8) Parasite by Mira Grant

9) Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

10) Girl's Guide to Witchcraft by Mindy Klasky

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ten on Tuesday (late): 10 songs that make you want to dance!

1) "Love Shack" by the B-52s
2) "Just Like You" by Voice of the Beehive
3) "Smooth" by Santana, featuring Rob Thomas
4) "Walk this Way" by Aerosmith
5) "Groove is in the Heart" by Deeee-Lite
6) "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell
7) "Bizzarre Love Triangle" by New Order
8) "Livin' La Vida Loca" by Ricky Martin
9) "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred
10) "I'm Only Happy when it Rains" by Garbage

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Yes, I haven't posted in over a month.

No, I'm actually doing quite well.

Just busy. And distracted. Had a lovely summer, went to two nice family reunions, didn't knit as much as I'd hoped. Read a lot. More on that later.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Work in Progress Wednesday

I continue to knit Norwegian star mittens in Cascade 220 Superwash. Both blue mittens are just missing their thumbs, while the first red mitten is missing its thumb and the second red mitten is half-way through the second star. The blue is NHM #1 and the red is NHM #12.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

FO: Socks for a little boy

Actually, he now demands to be called a "medium boy".

Anyway, it was too hot to knit at the beach, so I worked on a pair of socks. I did the cast-on, heel, and toe while my mum did the boring (easy) bits in between.

Yarn: Felici Sport in "Dapple" from KnitPicks
Needles: #1 (as always, I did the "Two Circs" method using a pair of 16" wooden tipped needles)
Pattern: followed the basic sock pattern in "Sensational Knitted Socks", at 56 stitches. For variety, we did these cuff-to-toe. We didn't stress out about making them match, so these are technically fraternal twins instead of identical twin socks.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Week in Niantic

Sorry for the blog silence! We went to the beach at Niantic for the week surrounding July 4th and saw amazing (private) fireworks up and down the coast for hours. There's a new Thai restaurant in Niantic: The Spice Club. We only had take-out so I cannot speak to the dining-in experience, but as for the food we had: YUM! The crispy duck salad was amazing, and the Pad Thai and Massaman Curry were both good.

Other than that, we ate at our old standbys. The Black Sheep Pub is reliably good and they have a fascinating array of beers on tap. I highly recommend the sweet potato fries and the seafood salad wrap. DH loves their veggies burgers. The menu changes weekly, so don't get your heart set on a single entree until you check the menu. We had pizza from Eleni's - I lost the battle of the seafood pizza so I didn't get to try one, but their basic and their 5-cheese were both very good. We got lobster rolls and onion rings and fried onions at Skipper's. I wasn't a fan of the lobster roll, but that's on me not loving lobster and not on them: the service was great and the other food was great. I just couldn't face 7 oz of buttery lobster in one go. Next time I'll pay 1/3 the price for the seafood salad sandwich and probably enjoy it more.

Of course, the big draw for us is The Book Barn in Niantic. It's grown to 3 locations and is part is worth devoting several hours of your day. We like to go from 10-3, when we're trying not to get sunburnt. The pile shown below is about 1/3 of the total haul.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A long list of mediocre recipes

I've been great about trying new recipes since I went on summer break, but I haven't had much luck with actually picking the recipes. You know, they sound great when you read them, but...

Anyway, here's the handful of duds from the past couple week:

Peanut Noodles: never a fave in my house (DH prefers sesame noodles and I prefer something with fewer carbs) but my tahini had gone bad and we were hungry. So I tried a new, very easy version. Perfectly edible, but not memorable.

Kale and Lentil Stew in the Slow Cooker: DH got me a slow cooker and recipe book a few years ago. The recipes I tried were all terrible, so we gave up after 5 or 6 tries. In the course of unpacking the basement recently we located the slow cooker, so I thought I'd give it another try. This recipe is the best thing I've made in it yet, but that isn't saying much.

Greek Salad: a rare dud from Smitten Kitchen. Part of the problem may be that, first, I don't like raw peppers, and second, I didn't have any fresh oregano.

Peppers stuffed with pesto avocado: see above about me not liking raw peppers.

Vegetarian Stuffed Mushrooms: I was so entranced by the stuffed mushrooms from Blue Apocalypse that I thought I'd try to extend that love to the vegetarian side of the family. Um, no.

White Bean and Fennel Dip: it sounded so lovely in the description... and wasn't actually bad the first time out, but was just nasty as leftovers.

Chicken Poached in Milk with Tarragon and Peas: going the other way, this was intensely boring the first day, but had perked up noticeably by day 2. Still not worth doing again.

Spaghetti with Garlic and Arugula from You're Doing it Wrong: Sounded so lovely, tasted so boring. I used three HUGE cloves of very fresh garlic, which actually may have been too subtle for the dish. A smaller, older, feistier garlic may have been more effective.

New recipe count: 37

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things I want to do with my summer

1) Read a lot
2) Catch up on TV viewing (like Body of Proof, which I haven't even started watching the 3rd season and now it's been cancelled!)
3) Keep trying new recipes
4) Catch up with family. We've got THREE (count 'em, three) different mini-reunions this summer, not counting the one at my aunt's funeral last week
5) Learn all about the math section of the ACT...
6)... and the SAT
7) Relearn calculus
8) Lose some weight
9) Knit something really different, like lace.
10) Finish knitting my first sweater.
11) Knit more mittens. Like these:

Sunday, June 23, 2013

FO: more mittens

Just dropping in for a quick update. It's been a crazy month, what with the end of school and my aunt dying suddenly. I continued to push through trying to make mittens for ALL the people at the elementary school who were important in my sons' lives. Here are the next two pairs:

Yes, that's DROPS 110-39 (rav link) being done as fraternal twin mittens in pink and blue. My younger son was quite insistent. Yarn is Cascade 220 Superwash, knit on size 3 wooden needles.

And these are another mild variation on NHM #5(rav link) same brand of yarn, same needles, etc.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

More baked goods!

Tried's recipe for honey whole-wheat bread. It's easy and yummy, but cut the salt in half (or more) unless you like your baked goods REALLY salty.

In a desperate attempt to use up all the lousy strawberry jam, I tried this recipe for jam muffins. They turned out really well and I will definitely make them again.

Last month my husband bought a huge bag of shelled pistachios, which we aren't eating fast enough. Since I don't want the super-expensive nuts going to waste, I found a recipe for pistachio biscotti with olive oil. I was, well, dubious, and the fact that I set the oven too high and singed them didn't help... but they're really good. And different. And hard to stop eating.

And, finally, I made a terrific Italian apple cake a couple of weeks ago. It was super-easy and my kids were begging me for third helpings.

New recipe count: 29

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Flowering Tuesday

The previous owners of this house put in some wonderful flowers on three sides of the house. I didn't get a good shot of the irises and peonies in the back yard, but here's what the left front of the house is sporting:

And here's what the right side and east corner are showing off:

Friday, May 24, 2013

Two more pairs of mittens!

I nearly pulled an all-nighter to finish these! Went to bed long after midnight, up before 8:00, and knitting furiously until 9:57 when I tucked in the final end and ran upstairs to get dressed for Commencement.

Pattern: DROPS 110-39 (rav link), with a different thumb
Needles: size 3 wooden 16 inch circulars (a pair)
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash

Pattern: NHM #12 (rav link), slightly rewritten to make them work with a larger gauge
Needles: size 3 wooden 16 inch circulars (a pair)
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

More new recipes (a dinner for a hot day)

It reached 90F in some areas near us on Tuesday, so I was feeling inspired to do minimal cooking and serve a lot of salads. I made steamed white race (always a must when my in-laws visit), steamed broccoli (which my kids like), and a big salad of romaine, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, toasted pepitas, and some shaved hard cheese that I found in the fridge. (It might have been an aged Gouda.) Dressed it with my go-to dressing of rice wine vinegar, olive oil, a little salt and pepper, and a trickle of agave nectar. All good so far.

The two new dishes were both hits with the family. First up was a vegan potato salad. The DH is considering going partially vegan for the summer, which has me in a bit of a panic because I've spent 13 years learning how to cook vegetarian for him but this is going to seriously limit what I can make. No cheese? eggs? milk? I told him he might be eating a lot of PB&J and cereal with almond milk. Since mayo isn't vegan (and none of us likes vegan "mayo") I tried this vegan potato salad recipe from Serious Eats. It was pretty straight-forward and everyone agreed that it was really yummy, but not quite as good as a standard mayo-based potato salad. (Part of what worked so well was that I undercooked the potatoes and let them finish steaming as I peeled them, so they were just past crunchy and held together really well.)

The other new dish comes from one of my new favorite food bloggers, Jamie at Cooking in Red Sox. She recently made a decadent lemon sauce to go with seared scallops, which I had to try at home. Now I managed to end up with the wrong kind of scallops, lemons, and white wine, but the dish still tasted fantastic! Even the kids went for seconds. (Obviously the DH didn't eat this, but he did like the lemon sauce on the broccoli.)

New recipe count: 25

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things to bring on a picnic

To be honest, we're not a picnicking family. Younger Son and I both have horrible reactions to bug bites and DH insists that everyone wash their hands just before eating. Older Son hates the heat and doesn't like most traditional picnic foods... and there you have it. We'd all rather stay inside and eat at the table in the air-conditioning.

But on the rare occasions that we go picnicking, this is what we bring:

1) Bug spray
2) Hand wipes
3) Citronella candles
4) Lots of blankets and beach towels for sitting on
5) Brownies
6) Lemonade and ginger ale (my favorite "mixed drink" ever!)
7) Hummus and veggies
8) Potato chips
9) My knitting
10) A word game

Monday, May 20, 2013

A bad soup and a good quick bread

Some more updates from last week:

The DH and I love cold soups, and I keep looking for the perfect vichyssoise, so I tried a new version and, alas, it was terrible. All the ingredients seemed out of proportion: the soup is rather too sweet for my liking and tastes only of leeks, and even after I doubled all the liquids it still seems far too thick. I will not be keeping this one.

On a brighter note, I dug up an old recipe for Pear Bread by Smitten Kitchen and, no surprise, it was terrific. I took it too work and convinced a wide array of people to try it - unanimous praise for its flavor and texture. Definitely a keeper!

New recipe count: 23

Finished Mittens: NHM #5, slightly bigger

Another finished pair of mittens! These are destined for GB, who's heading off to college in the fall. She requested blue and white, a "classic snowflake or star design." And it doesn't get more classic than the mittens in Selbuvotter... am I right?

Details: Cascade 220 superwash
Knit on a pair of size 3 wooden needles, 16"circular
Pattern based on NHM #5 (Rav link) but rewritten to achieve a slightly bigger mitten (all the stars are 5x5 instead of 4x4 as originally written)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Catching up on more new recipes

I've been doing more cooking as we approach the end of the school year. Last weekend, I bought two flats of strawberries and tried making jam. That didn't turn out so well and now we have a lot of third-rate strawberry jam taking up space in our freezer.

Then on Tuesday inflicted some new ideas on my in-laws (they're very patient and encouraging of my cooking efforts). And finally, last night, I didn't want to tackle my pile of grading so I dove into some cooking projects instead.

The first jam recipe I used was the one on the back of the box of pectin. Yikes! Far too much sugar and far too little strawberry, plus the sugar never fully dissolved so now I have four jars of crunchy pink spread that kind of tastes like strawberries.

The second jam recipe I used tastes good, but despite cooking it for longer than required the pectin from the green apple never fully took hold, so it's much more like overcooked strawberry spread than actual jam.

Oh - and I also figured out that my candy thermometer is set about 8 degrees too low. Dang it! This is why I overcook things: the thermometer never thinks that I've quite reached the target temperature.

Blue Apocalypse is one of my new faves in food blogging. Her recipes are pretty open-ended so it takes some independence on my part to get through them, but the results have been A+ thus far. I've previously blogged about her fabulous Prawn-Stuffed Mushrooms, which I modified this time with a large handful of cilantro ground up with the shrimp. They were oh-so-yummy and next time I might serve them without the sauce, because the one I snitched from the pan (pre-sauce) was terrific on its own. I also tried her Fried Spaghetti on Tuesday and despite a little confusion about what a "paprika" is when it isn't a spice, I think it came out really well. I had some fresh mozzarella in the fridge so I served that alongside everything else.

As we head into summer I've been collecting salad recipes, and so I made this Sweet Potato Salad to accompany the two dishes from Blue Apocalypse. I couldn't find my walnuts so I had to sub pine nuts, but the salad was still delicious and different. Planning to make it again this weekend, this time with the walnuts.

I think I'll wait to report on my efforts from last night after everyone eats them for lunch.

New recipe count: 21

Thursday, May 16, 2013

WIP... woops... Thursday?

Totally missed WIP Wednesday, and I even made a point of getting a decent shot of my mittens-in-progress so I'd have something to talk about!

Pattern: DROPS 110-39
Yarn: Cascade 220 superwash
Needles: size 3 wooden tip 16" circulars (2)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ten on Tuesday: 10 favorite TV Moms

This is a tough one for me. My taste in TV shows tends to run toward shows where mothers largely are nonexistent (Numb3rs) or pretty much duds (Angel). However, I'm always happy to try...

1) Sharon Agathon on the revamped "Battlestar Galactica"
2) Bones on "Bones" - and also her BFF, Angela
3) Grissom's mom on "CSI"
3) Callie got to adopt her two favorite kids just as "CSI - Miama" ended... does that count?
4) Snow White on "Once Upon a Time"
5) and also Emma on "Once Upon a Time"
6) Montana on "CSI - NY"
7) Doris McGarrett on "Hawaii 5-0"

Dang, I'm lame. Can't think of any more, and I have to leave for work in a few minutes.

Help me out?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Like I said, I've been knitting LOTS of worsted-weight snowflake mittens in the past couple of months. Here's a summary picture of all the mittens I've done thus far:

Details, Left to Right:
Red: NHM #2, modified to 60 stitches
Navy blue: NHM #5, unmodified
Green: NHM #2, modified to 54 stitches
Medium blue: NHM #12, modified to 54 stitches
Blue and pink: DROPS 110-39
Light blue on bottom: NHM #12, modified to 54 stitches

All knit on #3 needles with Cascade 220 Superwash.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A thumb! another mitten! Boston teams have a tough night!

Another hasty post: After the Kentucky Derby (Orb won, nobody made history) I was watching the Bruins game tonight (ouch! a 2-4 loss to the Maple Leafs) and then I was watching the Red Sox (a 1-5 drubbing by the Texas Rangers) and I managed to finish up G's first mitten (sans thumb) and then to put a thumb onto the first of Sarah's mittens.

Pictured below is the first of G's mittens; it's NHM #5 sized up for a woman's hand.

Pictured above is the thumb of Sarah's mitten, which astute readers will recall as a variation of NHM #12. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things I'm looking forward to in the month of May

Yikes! Totally forgot to post yesterday.  Super-quick post now, just before midnight...

1) AP exams (I'm a high school teacher)
2) Graduation
3) My college reunion
4) Really putting my garden together
5) Hanging out in the backyard
6) Long walks with the dog
7) Mother's Day (I hear I may be getting a grill!)
8) Grilling
9) Wearing shorts again
10) Sleeping under something less bulky than a down comforter

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Quickly catching up... mittens

I've been working on a huge pile of worsted weight snowflake mittens. More on that later. Here's what I finished up over the weekend:

Pattern: this is a slight modification of DROPS 110-39 (rav link)
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash
Needles: size 3 wooden 16" circulars from Knitpicks

Pattern: this is a slight modification of NHM #12  (rav link) from Selbuvotter by Terri Shea
Yarn: Cascade 220 superwash
Needles: size 3 wooden 16" circulars from Knitpicks

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Broccoli Soup

Marcella Hazan's broccoli soup and pasta soup courtesy of The Wednesday Chef. Not easy, but yummy, and a great way to use up huge amounts of broccoli.

New recipe recap

Wow... getting the flu and then catching a cold right after that have really slowed me down. I tried a bunch of new recipes in March; here's a quick catch-up post on what worked and what didn't.

I tried a recipe of roasted tempeh and veggies with pomegranate molasses glaze. It wasn't AT ALL my speed, but my husband seemed to enjoy it. I might try it again with a different glaze.

On a brighter note, Smitten Kitchen struck gold again with this coconut bread. I didn't have flaked coconut so I used dried young coconut, finely chopped. Still delicious.

And another winner from Smitten Kitchen: cauliflower fritters. They didn't stick together properly but tasted delicious.

I needed to use up a bunch of Brussel sprouts and I stumbled onto this recipe of Brussel sprouts with a lime-honey-ginger glaze. Jack-pot! Quick and delicious. Definitely make again.

After we got back from Italy I wanted to try to recreate the flat-crust pizza that we ate over there. Well, I didn't get is crispy enough, but it was still yummy.

New recipe count: 17

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Old favorite: shrimp fried rice

One of the first things I learned how to cook as a teenager, and STILL one of my all-time favorite dinners, is the Williams Sonoma recipe for shrimp fried rice with basil and cilantro (or, as the new version up on the website clarifies, it's khao pad bai kraprow)

Just had to rave about it here, one more time...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Safely Home

We are safely returned from a week in Italy. I'll see about pictures a little later: my husband appropriated my camera early into the trip and took a number of great shots, which I currently cannot download to my computer.

Oy vey.

But we are back. The house is fine, the dog appears to be fine, and things already feel remarkably like normal. We timed our return perfectly with respect to Daylight Savings, in that we are now only 5 hours off of EDT instead of 6 hours.

I have 4 or 5 loads of laundry to accomplish. As I said, more later.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Round-up for early 2013

I made several resolutions regarding books this year. First, there's the usual "read a lot of books" resolution, which I then modified to include "read 26 new authors this year" to force myself to branch out a little more.

As of today, the end of February, I've read 14 new novels (5 by authors new to me), and reread 2 novels.

The rereads: March Upcountry by David Weber and John Ringo: a lot of fun if you just want action and aliens with a hint of romance.
One Shot by Lee Childs, which is the basis for the movie Jack Reacher: one of the best in the series, less action than the movie, and more plot lines.

The new authors:
Kylie Chan, author of Blue Dragon, Red Phoenix, and White Tiger. A fun fantasy/horror romance set in Hong Kong and Australia. Recommended if you're into that kind of book.

Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity. A wonderfully written first-person account of two teenaged girls, spying in France during WWII. Very moving and clever. Highly recommended.

James Smythe, author of The Explorer. A really strange SF novel that, IMHO, went too far to the literary and ended up disappointing me.

Maggie Stiefvater, author of Raven Boys. An excellent YA fantasy with sequels coming soon. I did NOT spot either of the major plot twists, which (I think) speaks highly of the author's story-telling skills. Recommended.

Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe. A YA generation-ship, dystopian SF novel that did a nice job of telling its story without overloading on either the science or the pathos. I'm looking forward to the sequels. (Note: my husband thought it was only so-so.) Recommended.

The rest of the new books:
RM Meluch: Wolf Star, The Ninth Circle, Sagittarius Command, and Strength and Honor. A fun SF series about a future where the Roman Empire has risen again to command the stars and challenge the USA for control of the galaxy. Recommended only if you like this kind of novel.

Joe Haldeman: Marsbound. YA SF novel about a teenaged girl and her family who move to Mars. The first 3/4 were ho-hum and then the last 1/4 was amazing. Not sure if I will seek out the sequels.

Charles Stross and Joe Haldeman: The Rapture of the Nerds. SF novel about the recent future, when half of humanity has uploaded, and a neo-Luddite seeks to avoid all things technological before he's called upon to save the world. I'll be honest... I nearly quit four or five times, and eventually skipped the middle 1/3 to see if the book got any better. It did - a lot better - so I went back and forced myself through the slow parts. It really is worth reading, but you'll have to be patient with it. Recommended for lovers of hard-extrapolation SF, or anyone who likes the authors' previous works.

Karen Lord: The Best of All Possible Worlds. A quietly SF, discretely romantic, totally wonderful utopian novel. The story is so gentle that you have to search behind the words to really piece out what's happening. After all the dystopian SF I've been reading, this just felt like a breath of fresh air. Highly recommended.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A dinner party of new recipes

It had been far too long since I had my advisees over for dinner (as they frequently reminded me) so I finally pulled myself together, cleaned up the house, and planned a menu.

Things I had cooked before:
brown rice
white rice
shrimp-fried rice from William Sonoma
stir-fried Chinese broccoli
cumin seed roasted cauliflower (without the dip)
longanisa (made with turkey, because one of my students doesn't eat pork)

Things I had not cooked before:
scallion pancakes from David Lebovitz: this is the Korean version, with which I'm not familiar, so while it didn't taste anything like the stuff we get from our local Chinese take-out, that was both expected and a good thing. They were easy and yummy... definitely a keeper!

Prawn-stuffed mushrooms from Blue Apocalypse: easy but not quite as stunning as I'd hoped. I wonder if adding cilantro to the shrimp mix would jack it up a level...?

Edited to add: when I was cleaning up, I realized that the only dish to be completely devoured was the prawn-stuffed mushrooms. I guess everyone else liked them even more than I did!

New recipe count: 11

Friday, February 8, 2013

Wild Mushroom Lasagna

We're all snowed in up here in New England, and probably about to lose power tonight, so we did our usual ritual of eating up and cooking up all the good stuff in the fridge. I'd been planning to make this wild mushroom lasagna all week. Since we weren't able to go shopping I had to do without ricotta, fresh thyme, or a third type of mushroom, but it was still fantastically good. I will definitely try it again with the full list of ingredients.

New recipe count: 9

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pie Crust with Vodka

I kept hearing about it during the Holiday season... make your pie crust with vodka! More tender! Easier to roll out! More flaking! Less chance of tough, overdeveloped crust!

I owed my kids an apple pie, so I went ahead and followed the recipe EXACTLY as written. Wow... it was like pancake batter! I chilled it for over an hour and it was still too tacky to roll out. I used a lot of flour to make the bottom crust release from the wax paper I was using to roll it out, and the top crust stuck to the paper so badly that I just pulled it off in strips and made an improved lattice crust.

So after all this cursing at the crust, I went back and read the comments about it - oh, I am an idiot. Should have read the comments first. Most people omitted 1 to 2 tablespoons of water in order to get a workable crust.

The verdict? Delicious! I will definitely try it again, omitting some of the water.

New recipe count: 8

Saturday, February 2, 2013

I love the 21st century!

I love this new century we're living in:

Watched CSI: NY on the TiVo. (that's Thing I Like #1)

Heard a song I really liked during the opening montage. Looked up its lyrics via the Internet (this is Thing #2)

In this case, it didn't work. Found a couple songs that come close, including an awesome cover by Adele of a Bonnie Raitt song, but not this one.

So I went to one of the CSI: NY fan websites and found not only this song, but EVERY song from this season listed there. (Fan websites that contain actual content = Thing #3)

For the record: the song is "Love is a Madness" by No Sinners and the lyrics I searched were

Well if I can't make you love me
And I can't make you pretend
And I can't make you want me, baby
Then there's nothing else to recommend
I guess it's gotta end

Friday, February 1, 2013

Chinese Steamed Eggplant

No pictures, because it's a pale puree with leaves of cilantro tucked into it, but this Chinese Steamed Eggplant turned out to be easy and surprisingly yummy. I think it's meant to be a summer dish, but eggplants were on sale this week and I had some old cilantro in the fridge...

New recipe count: 7

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Work in Progress Sunday

... because I never remember to do this on Wednesday!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

About to be frogged

One of my students gave me a copy of Colorwork Creations as a good-bye present last year. I've been planning to knit her something from it and I finally got the chance to cast on after  Christmas. Unfortunately, the gauge in the book is 10.5 stitches per inch and the best I could achieve was 7.5 stitches per inch. (Yes, I'm a loose knitter.)

And yes, the mitten is almost double the width of my hand. The recipient's hands are even smaller than mine, so this clearly wasn't going to work.

I think I can rejigger the Sanquhar Squares pattern to reduce the mitten by about 25%. We'll see...

A failure of curry

I have two blocks of paneer in my fridge so I've been searching for good ways to use them up. This was my first attempt: a basic paneer curry from It was perfectly edible but really boring. (My husband, while eating it, expressed surprise that it was an Indian-derived recipe.)

New recipe count: 6

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Another whole wheat muffin recipe

My son keeps requesting "healthy muffins" so I've been trying different whole wheat muffin recipes. This recipe for whole wheat muffins with apples is probably not very healthy, but certainly is delicious and fairly easy to make.

Edited to add: they were so good that I made another batch the next day!

New recipe count: 5

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

400 and a Finished Object!

This is my 400th blog post. Not sure where the time has gone...

Two days ago, I finally put the second thumb on a pair of mittens I started over the summer.

The pattern is Norwegian Selbu Mittens (rav link) by Henriette Hope.
The yarn is Cascade Heritage Sock in Army and Natural.
The needles were size 3 wooden 16" circs (a pair) from Knitpicks.

I agree with Ms. Hope when she says that this is a not a pattern for beginners. While the charts were lovely and quite clear, one should definitely have knit at least one pair of mittens with charts and a gusset thumb before tackling these.

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Goals for 2013

I have a bunch of goals for this year. Many of them are the same as last year, because I actually met all my major goals for last year and felt really good while doing so.

1) Read at least 104 books (rereads are OK so long as they aren't the majority of the list)
2) Try at least 52 new recipes. (sandwiches do not count. Paninis and smoothies do.)
3) Watch at least 26 movies that are new to me.
4) Be kind.
5) Get more exercise.
6) Keep losing weight.
7) Be better at keeping track of everything.
8) Focus on the positive
9) Try to eat raw vegetables every day (NOTE: I'm already failing at this!)
10) Knit at least a little bit every day

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Another success from SmittenKitchen: german pancakes

Just to be clear: I have made German Pancakes (also known as Dutch Babies) before. I was first introduced to them by my college roommate and I've continued to make them, on-and-off, ever since. This is, however, my first time with this particular recipe. I actually meant to make the Gingerbread version from Smitten Kitchen's cookbook, but at the last minute decided I wanted something with fewer ingredients.

Verdict: very good, and very easy if you have a blender.

New recipe count: 4

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mediocre whole wheat muffins

My older son requested "healthy muffins" for dinner so I poked around online for a bit and dug up these Whole Wheat Muffins from the NYT. We still have a bunch of pumpkin butter sitting in the fridge so I used a cup of that as my "choice of fruit or vegetable." I didn't have whole wheat pastry flour, so I subbed in a cup of white flour for wheat.

And they were only OK. I'm pretty sure there's a better recipe for whole wheat muffins somewhere, so I will keep searching. Feel free to point me at a recipe if you know of a good one.

New recipe count 2013: 3

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Two new recipes for the new year

Just before Thanksgiving the NYT posted a long article on vegetarian food inspired by Southern traditions. I've previously made the mushroom gravy and stuffed squash (both delicious) and now I can confidently add that the salad of Brussel sprouts and candied pecans is also fantastic.

Be warned: it's a lot of work, and I didn't have any luck using their method of making the pecans.

Hence the second recipe: an easier way to make candied pecans. These weren't quite as crisp as I'd like, but given that the pecans were going stale, I think this did a great job of rescuing them.

New recipe count (for 2013): 1, 2