Thursday, October 28, 2010
So it's time for pumpkin carving! We did ours the other night, as my work is having a pumpkin carving contest (and so far, there are 3 pumpkins entered. The deadline was extended to Friday in hopes of getting more participation but I'm not holding my breath here). Anyway, I figured I might as well save the seeds and roast them for a yummy snack. But what to put on them? Then I remembered a recipe I got from a friend a while back for rosemary almonds. I searched my email high and low in vain and eventually ended up just googling and finding something that sounded about right. I adapted this recipe from Cooking Light magazine to use pumpkin seeds instead of almonds.
Rosemary Roasted Almonds
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chile powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Dash of ground red pepper
1 (10-ounce) bag whole almonds (about 2 cups)
1. Preheat oven to 325°.
2. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Arrange nut mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake at 325° for 20 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool to room temperature.
We ate them warm pretty much out of the oven and man they are addictive! A few things I would do differently next time- first is to make sure your seeds are dry. Mine were pretty wet so I think they spent part of the time in the oven drying out before roasting. My seeds also took a lot longer to be the right level of done than in the recipe and I think that was part of the reason. Plus the seasonings didn't adhere as well as I would have liked. Second is to use a bit more olive oil. I didn't measure mine, but they ended up slightly on the scorched side (I thought so anyway, the boys had no complaints). When my friend gave me her recipe, I think it had me roasting the almonds and then adding the oil and seasonings, but I prefer it this way – the nuts ended up really oily (and all over your fingers) and the seasonings were a little intense. The boys loved these seeds so much one of them mentioned buying another pumpkin just for the seeds! Too bad he over-exaggerates about everything.
I cast on last night for a pair of sock. Shocker, I know, I've completed exactly 4.5 socks in my life, and out of that I only have one matching pair. Though if I do ever finish that other .5 socks I will have two pair. I think I figured out my sock problem though. Knee socks. For some reason I want to knit knee socks until I actually do. And considering it takes at least twice as long to knit knee socks I could have knit two pairs of shorter socks in that time. So this time I'm tackling a shorter sock. It's cold in my office so I need some warm hand knit socks stat! So I have some self striping sock yarn (another thing I used to hate) in Indulgence in a pink and green colorway (it's the second from the bottom on the right) and cast on last night for Anastasia Socks. I love them so far! Thought I started them at knit night last night, got through the short row toe and into the pattern when I got home and realized the pattern was only charted on the even rows. Ugh. I was wondering how it was going to work out though, the pattern states that two repeats of the chart is enough for the foot and it wasn't looking like it was going to work for me. So as I was groaning and ripping back, my brother says "You know you can buy socks at the store?" No sooner did the words come out of his mouth did he flinch and say "Don't hit me!" At least he knows, even if he isn't funny!
So I'll leave you with a crappy cell phone pic of my work in process. Enjoy!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
So yesterday could be only described in one way – I had a case of the Mondays. I was late for work, and I just started feeling very underappreciated with all I do and with all people just expect me to do and never seem to acknowledge. I wasn't very busy at work so it started festering and before I knew it, I was at Target on my lunch hour looking for a little retail therapy. I decided I need new jeans, because despite having probably 20 pairs hanging in my closet, I only wear 2 or 3 pairs and only one of those is year round work-appropriate. The others are fitted for high heels, and since for some reason they don't make stiletto steel toes (YET) I can't really wear those to work. So since I only have one pair of jeans (tut tut tut we're not talking about the other ones I keep because I might wear them again someday) I needed jeans. So I grabbed a stack of 5-6 pairs in my normal size, along with an adorable dress on clearance for half off, and hit the fitting room.
Well, I bet you can guess what happened. Since I was having a case of the Mondays, not a single pair fit. Should have tried those damn jeans on Tuesday instead!!! Oh, and the dress, it was cute but a not so flattering on me. Damn. So I said to myself, whatever, it's not the number on the tag it's the way they fit, and I bought two pairs in a size larger, and they do fit. Doesn't make me any happier though.
So then I go to pay. I applied for one of those Target cards over the weekend because I spend so much damn money at Target I might as well get my 5% back right? Well, I didn't have my info on the card and they couldn't look it up so I couldn't use it and get my 5% back on my jeans. Which with all the other stuff I bought came to $3.50! Damn.
I go out to my car, and as I head up to my driver's side door what do I see? A shopping cart firmly nestled right up next to my damn door. This had to have been my breaking point. I dropped every obscenity I (and probably anyone) has ever heard before. I mean, what kind of fucking piece of trash lets their cart hit another car when there's a cart return 10 feet away? My hands were full, and I had a full case of pop as well, so I couldn't even negotiate the fucking craptastic cart away so I could get in the door. I had to open up the back doors, put my stuff inside, and then move the cart before I could get in. And to answer your questions, yes, there were other people in the parking lot that witnessed my breakdown. They all gave my very weird apprehensive looks before being very sure to return their carts to the cart return. At least I had an impact on someone.
So I let the boy know I was having a bad day. He asked what he could do to help which made me feel a little better right away. Then after I left work I got a weird phone call.
(woman on the line. This is important later) Hello, I'm calling from Sports Illustrated and I would like to sell you a magazine subscription.
Excuse me? (with disdain in my voice. I'm on the DNC list, how DARE they call my cell to sell me shit. I don't recognize the name of the magazine at first so I think this is a scam anyway)
Hello, I'm calling from Sports Illustrated and I would like to sell you a magazine subscription. Actually, you sound pretty cute so I'm going to give you a free trial subscription, what do you think about that?
(Trying to analyze again whether it's a male or a female calling, but shocked and appalled at the same time) I think I'm not interested *click*
I shoot a text to the boy saying "OMG! It just got worse!" I immediately get a phone call from him at work. I tell him about the phone call I just got. He just says "you just hung up on them?" I'm like, yeah, of course I just hung up on them! WTF did you think I was going to do! Then he confessed he put my number into a prank call website because he thought it would cheer me up.
Anyway, in order to cheer myself up (at least I know how!) I went to this wonderful little produce market called Pipkins. A couple of weeks ago I picked up some $20 certificates on Groupon and I figured a pumpkin from Pipkins was exactly what I needed! Since I was there I decided a rerun of last week's Sweet Potato and Black Bean salad was in order. This time I threw in some raw chopped jicama since the ones they had weren't excessively huge (actually, nothing there was. Where does Kroger get their jumbo sized produce anyway?) The jicama was just the ticket, added an extra little bit of crunch to the salad and complimented the flavors nicely.
I promised some knitting content so here goes. I got my first order from a new online yarn place I found, Mr Yarn, and it is exactly what I wanted! Their prices are fabulous and shipping was super fast, I ordered Friday and had my yarn in hand Monday, and the prices are roughly what you'd pay at Webs if you spend enough to get the 25% discount, but shipping is a flat $5 anywhere in the US. Only caveat is that they only stock Malabrigo but I think I can live with that J I got some worsted to make a hat and cowl for when I'm freezing my bum off on the floor in two weeks during our union strike (it's not confirmed yet but I'm kind of counting on it) and I got some sock in red that I have no idea what I'm going to do with, but I'm sure I'll figure it out.
I also blocked my Featherweight Cardigan last night. I'm kind of iffy on how it's coming out though. I had to do a sewn bind-off because of the loose gauge of lace on 6's which I think came out a little sloppy. I also have some laddering on the sleeves due to the same issue. We'll have to see when I release it tonight how much I like it in the end though.
I finished my Glorious Cabled Mitts last night and got all the ends woven in this morning! Now I just need to block them and I'll be all done! Yay! I made a few mods, like making the cuff shorter and the fingers longer, which I'll go through when I post them as FO's.
Cast-on has also commenced for Aundrey in Unst which I'm making in Silky Wool in Faded Purple. Only 4 rounds in but I love it so far! I did have a brain fart moment already though. I put it down midrow (239 is a lot of stitches!) and somehow managed to twist it when I started back up. Luckily I figured it out before I got to far though.
Now I'm off to enjoy some Baked Potato Soup I made over the weekend on this icky grey rainy day!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
So I woke up this morning at 7:52. Now many people usually get up at 7:52, but not me. My first alarm goes off at 6:15 and I hit snooze every 5 minutes until 6:30. I get an extra 5 minutes if I'm not planning on washing my hair. I usually am out the door by 7:05, 7:10 at the latest. Ok, who am I kidding, but I am always out the door by 7:20. Luckily given my ability to speed through getting ready for the day, honed from years of "5 minutes in the locker room or the bus is going to leave without you" I was out the door by 8:05. 13 minutes might be my new record.
Of course, I was about thisclose to being even later when some old ass crone in a shiny Jag cut across 3 lanes of traffic and slammed on the brakes in front of me to make her exit. I gave her the one finger salute, nach, but seriously, this is the thing that pisses me off more than anything. People do it all the freaking time too – they slam on their brakes and stop on the highway or put their car in reverse or something similarly utterly stupid to make their turn/exit/whatever. This is a public service announcement. STOP! If you find yourself going the wrong way, and you can't go the way you need to, find a safe place to TURN AROUND and go back. It's not rocket surgery here people. Don't F up traffic for the rest of us because you don't know where you're going/aren't paying attention. Of course I could go on all day about the stupid things people do in their cars but I'll save my other topics for another day.
Let me tell you about dinner last night. It was delicious. It was so delicious, in fact, that although I had the best intentions in the world of taking so pictures and showing it off, all I had were empty plates by the time I remembered about my camera. So you're going to have to deal with a stock picture I swiped off Martha's website instead.
Mine looked a lot like that, only less brown on the meat and more green in the salad. Oh, and I don't use serving dishes at the house, not unless we sit down to dinner and really, most dinners are served in the kitchen and eaten in front of the TV.
But I bet you're dying to know what that is…. It's Roasted Pork Loin with Black Bean and Sweet Potato Salad. It's also the recipe that will completely CHANGE the way you feel about sweet potatoes. I asked both the boys how they felt about sweet potatoes before making this recipe. One grunted and shrugged and the other said ew. I remember eating sweet potatoes as a kid. My mom would bake them and I would have to drown them in salt and butter in order to get them in my stomach. Not these sweet potatoes. I want to make this salad and keep it in the refrigerator and munch on it all day long. Don't get me wrong, the pork was delicious too. Martha claims you'll have enough left over for sandwiches the next day, and I do, but I actually swiped 4 slices of pork and hid it in the fridge before I let the boys eat (muhahaha). Of course, I think my pork loin might have been a little smaller than called for- I bought mine in a 4 pack from Costco so I have no idea how much each individual loin weighed (4 pork loins for $12? Seriously Costco, I love you). But anyway, about the salad. Delicious. And it couldn't be easier. Even if you don't like or want to make pork loin (though I think you could definitely make this with pork tenderloin as well) MAKE THE SALAD. Now. Don't skip the fresh cilantro either (well, unless you hate cilantro. Then I'd suggest learning to love it J). The boys must have had their minds changed too, considering they both went back for seconds of the salad. One said, it tastes like something you'd get at Chipotle. And it does. It's fresh and a little tart and a little spicy and just plain out yummy.
I have been knitting as well, but I don't have any pictures to share, though I hope to by the weekend. I'd heading into the homestretch on my Featherweight Cardigan done in two shades of Cascade Alpaca Lace, 1405 (ecru) and 1411 (turtle). I'm finished with the ecru and it only took one skein of that, so I have a whole other skein of that to play with, and I think I might have to overdye it, just for fun.
Friday, October 8, 2010
The cooking bug is back. During those 100°+ degree days of summer the last thing I wanted to do was fire up my stove and hover over it for an hour. Oh, we still ate, but it was usually some boxed carb concoction with a salad and some form of grilled meat. The days of fall are upon us now and it seems my desire to cook is inversely proportionate to the temperature on the scale. I've vastly looking forward to chili's, stews, soups, and baked dishes.
So I was knocking about on Martha Stewart's website the other day and found a segment of recipes for fast Italian dishes. My roommate mentioned the other day wanting lasagna and Stouffer's in the same sentence, but I couldn't bring myself to that. I did find this recipe Spinach and Prosciutto Lasagna which can be whipped up and ready to bake in seriously, 10 minutes. I made a few mods from the recipe and here it is. The boys each devoured two servings so they must have given it their stamp of approval too! Next time, I think I will use regular lasagna noodles instead of the no-boil ones- they seem to be a bit thicker and therefore, more delicious!
- 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta (actually just bought a standard sized tub and used the whole thing)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 2 1/2 cups jarred tomato sauce (again, I bought a jar of sauce and used the whole thing, but ran short and ended up using some additional sauce I found in the fridge)
- 8 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
- 9 no-boil lasagna noodles
- 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make filling: In a medium bowl, stir together spinach, ricotta, garlic, teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside (I also threw in some bread dipping seasoning I had on hand Dean Jacob's Seasoning in the Tuscany Blend).
- In an 9X12-inch baking dish, spread cup tomato sauce. Layer 3 noodles, 1/3 filling, 1/3 prosciutto and 1/3 remaining tomato sauce; repeat twice. Top with mozzarella. Bake until browned, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Ok, not all the time, but I'm super pissed off today so I got to get it out.
Yesterday was knit night (yay!) but it was also the first Reds playoff game. So the boys decided to meet up at Hooters on the river to get some wings and watch the game. When I showed up at home at 9:30ish only one of them was home. My brother showed up about a half hour later with two friends in tow. However, he was also trying to get a couple of girls to come with and party back at the house.
Not ok. It's Wednesday night. I have to go to work Thursday. The other A was also sick, so not like he needed to stay up late either.
So about 11 or so I went to bed. After a few shut up requests via text message the noise on the front porch died down enough for me to fall asleep. About 2 or so I woke up needing to pee. The lights were still on downstairs and I could hear some talking, so I just turned off the hall light on my way back to bed. When I woke up at 7 I could see the lights were still on.
So I get ready, come downstairs, and one of my brother's friends is sleeping on the couch. Fine, rather him do that than drive drunk. However, my front door is standing WIDE open and every single light on the first floor, including the two outside lights (one in the backyard which I don't even think they used) was on. I venture into the kitchen to grab my lunch and it's a train wreck. The burners on my stove have been moved, there's an empty take out container on the stove, half a slice of pizza on the floor, crushed peanut shells and what looks like a brownie on the counter, a sample pack of coffee on the floor, along with various other assorted food item sprinkles and the kitty fountain is moved from its normal location. I can't help it, I cleaned most of this stuff up. I can't just leave my kitchen looking like a train wreck.
So then I go to leave. The handle of Jameson's my brother bought last week is sitting on the front porch, empty, along with a handle of Captain's and a bottle of gin. Glasses are all over the front porch, there's a can of dip on the steps, and 2 or 3 of (MY!!!!) empty Yuenglings, which I had to import from TENNESSEE.
It's like a Saturday night party happened on a Wednesday. Seriously, I'm too old for this shit. Is it overreacting to not want to let my brother's friend back over? Oh yeah, I was informed there will also be a party at my house Friday night. With the way my house looked today after a Wednesday night party I shudder to think what the aftermath of a Friday night party would be. Especially one I'm not planning on attending. Not to mention, it's my house, they just live there and I should at least be ASKED if there's going to be a party going on.
I also told them the toilet had to be fixed before they could have people over. They plan to fix it with duct tape. That is NOT fixing it. I also wanted to get my front porch steps fixed soon and the grass cut. Too bad they are so busy this weekend watching football to be bothered to do a damn thing.
Ask me if either one of them have paid rent yet this month.
If I come home Sunday to my house looking anything like it did this morning, I think they will be looking for a new place to live. I'm too old to be putting up with this shit.
Friday, October 1, 2010
It's hard to blog when you're not even sure if anyone is reading it. Yeah, you could consider it "getting it all out" or whatever but I'm not really that type of person. I'm going to try blogging through word, the theory is if I can make it faster and easier maybe I'll actually do it!
Lots of things going on lately. I have roommates now. Young roommates, sometimes I feel like a mom! But I haven't lived with people in a while so I'm really relearning how to do that. I think I'm doing pretty well, I now have them both to the point where they will clean, do dishes, and take out the trash unprompted. We're working on the lights – it's amazing how people can just leave lights on all over the house! But I've found if I just ask for what I want in a fairly diplomatic way it's not that big of an issue. Hinting and passive aggressiveness don't work so well!
I'm heading to Nashville this weekend to go to a baby shower for my roommate from college. I haven't seen her in years and I'm really glad this shower is in Nashville and not Memphis, because a weekend trip to Nashville by car is just a little more doable than Memphis. I didn't buy her a gift – I made one! I made her an Op Art blanket from Knitty and an Elijah by Ysolda. Actually, I first made one Op Art blanket in blue and brown because I didn't know what she was having and thought that to be a versatile color combo (with sport weight yarn on 7's, nach). Then she finally registered so I popped over there and discovered from the abundance of pink items on the registry that she's actually having a girl. Not just pink, pink and BROWN. Ugh. So now I have a blue and brown Op Art blanket waiting in the wings for the next friend who has a boy and a second in pink and brown that's going to R. Of course, the second time around I picked up some worsted weight cotton/acrylic blend and knit it on 10.5's instead – much faster. Now, Elijah, who I actually have named Ella Elephant instead (she's a girl. Duh) was done in the same pink yarn the blanket is made from and I made some brown eyes out of the brown blanket yarn, and I have to say, she's pretty fucking cute. I finished her up last night and managed to wrap her up without taking a single picture (I should stop drinking so much, I forget things!) And of course I forgot my camera today to take this weekend. However, I do have a camera that work owns sitting on my desk so I might just kidnap that for the weekend, maybe no one will notice it sneaking out on non-work hours J
My life is getting to be fairly busy. Next weekend I'm going to a wedding with my new boy. Not just any wedding, his brother's wedding. So I'll get to meet his whole family, yay. He's already coaching me on what to do and not to do. I'm not allowed to look at my Crackberry at all (!@*&$@)?????) and I'm supposed to talk to his mom about cooking and my cats. Oh, and I'm not allowed to say BTW either. I don't know why people judge me when I say BTW, I mean, people say FYI, ASAP, GE, and IHOP. It's a perfectly valid acronym! He just better not give me any grief when I tell him not to smoke around my parents, I know my mother will not approve of that AT ALL. I don't see this going well though. He was complaining about money last night and how he might move and find a cheaper place for a while. I was TRYING to be helpful when I suggested that he might consider quitting smoking, that he would save a lot of money that way and he kind of freaked out about that. I got really upset about that, I mean, it's a win-win. More money, better health, and he's planning on quitting at 35 anyway so why wait? Putting a deadline on it is just going to make quitting worse for him. But I guess I should just keep my mouth shut about it for now.
The weather's finally starting to turn and I need warm snuggly knits NOW! I have my Featherweight Cardigan also on the needles but I had to take a break from it to finish my baby gift. I'm doing it in laceweight yarn (soo skinny!) and striping skinny sage green and winter white stripes, with thick bands of green at the hem, cuffs, and collar. I want it NOW! I'm also making a second set of Glorious Cabled Mitts so I can wear them at work. My first pair were done in a winter white color, white make them very feminine and delicate. The second set are going to be done in a heathered grey brown color, and are going to look much more rustic. I love that you can change things to make them suit you, and that something as simple as a yarn substitution can make such a huge change. I also have yarn lined up for Cerisara and Audrey in Unst so I'm going to be one busy girl!