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Concentration and a little adventure

I thought I’d try to post a little more.  Mostly, I am a photo-inspired blogger, so I’m participating in the post-a-week “thing” at wordpress.  One of the topics for yesterday was about concentration.  I can be very focused and actually work better that way.  Multi-tasking dilutes my concentration and I am especially distracted by sound.  So, when I want to concentrate, I try to remove all distractions, particularly noise.   I can focus intensely some times to the point of ignoring all the distractions, but that is not the best.

In other things… Classes don’t start back here until Jan 13, so I’ve been working at school in the mornings and then playing hooky in the afternoons. Syllabi are mostly done and I’m working on writing up new projects and revising lectures.  I’m back to working on my blue malabrigo scarf (one row scarf) and am done.

I finished Bug’s pink kitty (crochet, variation on the reindeer pattern).

We also went to high tea at the Savannah Tea Company in Nashville.  It was delicious.  I had mountain huckleberry black tea and DH had rhubarb-strawberry black tea.  We bought some red currant to take home.

Today was a snow day (and tomorrow is, too), so I made chili and peanut butter gelato (variation on Mario Batali’s Vanilla gelato recipe).

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The goings-on…

Lots of working going on around here, so there is little of most everything else.  I did try a few new recipes – the winners of the bunch were Grilled turkey with apple chutney and candied garlic green beans.  DH picked up the recipe card from Publix – where he tasted the dishes.  It is a hit in my book.  I changed the apple drink to apple cider, actually grilled the turkey loin (not pan seared),  and used more green beans than were called for.   I think we’ll even make this over the holiday.

As for crafting, I’ve been working on a small shawl that I learned about from Manic Purl’s podcast: Multnomah.  I’m doing mine in Malabrigo sock and will do more repeats to use up the yarn.  The pattern calls for 10 repeats, but I’ll probably have enough to do 12 or 13 (on 11 right now).

Miss Bug enjoyed her first venture into trick-or-treating.  It was the first time she has been able to stay awake until dark on the actual day.  She was a ferocious black cat.

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Dad took her to the pumpkin patch for school, but she has become terrified of the wagon or the ride or something.  She cried on the wagon, but managed to pick out a pumpkin.

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We’ve been enjoying the outside…

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Cheesecake-o-rama

Things are the same here – work, cook, sleep, etc, etc.

The butternut squash soup from the Sheepish Little Blog (Knitscape) has been THE SOUP for a few weeks now – sad to see they are giving it up.

Pumpkin Cheesecake and Banana Cheesecake were some of the cheesecake experiments here – both were a bit mushy, but good.  Both were based on the “Mary’s outstanding chocolate cheesecake” without the chocolate.  For the pumpkin I added 1 cup of fresh pumpkin and 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice and used half brown sugar instead of all white sugar.  The banana one had one ripe banana that was pulverized in the blender with the sugar.  I also put a little cinnamon in the topping (a la bananas foster)

Both pairs of slippers have been felted and sent to their new owners. Spring Green Ice Queen is finished…

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Little Monkey is growing up…

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Pound cake and socks (mostly) with no pictures :(

Well, that title describes what I’ve been doing with my “free” time lately.

I’ve been working on finding a good pound cake recipe since the horrible disaster a few weeks ago.  I tried the Pound cake recipe (with fresh blackberries) from the next to latest Martha Stewart Living – it was HORRIBLE!  too salty!  I should have known adding 1 tablespoon of salt was too much, but I reasoned that it was ‘course’ salt AND it was for 2 loaves…. ICK!

Last night was a better trial – Cream cheese pound cake from Bakerella.  I made one blackberry and one chocolate chip.  The pans overflowed in the oven badly, but the cake turned out ok.  Not the dense pound-like texture, but good cake.

I also tried making Blueberry Boy Bait from Smitten Kitchen except with Ranier cherries.  It was ok, but didn’t look like the pictures.  I had to use dark brown sugar and I don’t think I beat the sugar and butter long enough.

As for crafting…

I am done with the lace scarf.  It needs blocking and pictures.  I am working on the Cookie A socks and a ‘vanilla’ 3x2rib sock (both at the gusset increases).  There will be pictures next post…. 🙂

Hamburgers from scratch

The Bug and I helped Uncle G make hamburgers from scratch (grind meat, bake buns, make ketchup, relish, and mustard) as inspired by an article in Gourmet magazine.  They were very good, especially those that were more coursely ground.

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I’ve also made a few dishcloths…

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This last one didn’t handle the ‘up-sizing’ as well as the other blocks.

I’ve also made progress on the lace scarf (a la MeghanJasmin‘s Lace Throwdown)…no pix just yet.

The blackberries are going full-ahead, so we also made blackberry crisp using this recipe from Alton Brown.  I made a double batch in a 9×13 pan and just used all the ‘crumble’ part.  We used gingersnaps for the cookies.  It was yummy!

Summer, finally…

My last class for the summer was today – whew!  It has been a whirlwind of classes…  only grades left to assign and calculate.

We’ve gotten some green beans out of the garden and the squash are doing some serious blooming.  The blackberries are formed their nice little green orbs.  The CSA boxes are started to have more variety than just lettuces – I get tired of lettuce easily and have been looking forward to the changes.

CSA box: week 5 contained carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, eggs, sirloin steak, red romaine (or swiss chard?), radishes, butter lettuce, peas

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We used everything but a bit of the butter lettuce which is still in the fridge.  I made cabbage au gratin (new recipe) from the UK extension office using 1/2 head of cabbage and some green onions added in – this one is a keeper!  We steamed the cauliflower and the peas.  DH loved the peas.  I gave away the radishes and we froze the steaks.  I made a spinach provolone frittata (new recipe) from the Mixing Bowl site using several eggs.  It was rated good by me, but not by DH.  I also used some of the eggs to make a chocolate cheesecake for a friend’s birthday.

CSA box: week 6 contained peaches, radishes, green onions, white onion, basil, mint, dill, swiss chard (or red romaine?), eggs, chicken breast, peas, red potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash

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I made a skillet fried chicken breast to use up the chicken (rating = ok).  We steamed the peas (again a hit according to DH) tonight.  I used the last carrot from the last box, along with the big onion, the basil, and our own oregano to make pasta prima vera tonight.

I have been working slowly on the sock from the Cookie A book.  It is a nice, but complex pattern (Bex), but I modified it by going toe up and may leave the large diamond areas to just adorn the cuff/leg area.

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OK here

Many of our family have been in winter storm areas with horrible ice and snow in various states west of the Mississippi.  Several were without power for days, but thankfully are all ok.  MIL sent pictures of Paducah, KY with inches of ice and my mom and brother sent pictures of Ripley, OH where you couldn’t tell where interstate roads were amidst the snow.  We missed everything so far this winter but a tiny bit of snow and a few inches of rain.

Anyway, I’ve finished several things and tried a few new recipes – I’ll take pictures soon and post them.  The risotto from the Splendid Table webpage was good (see last post).  DH really liked it; it was ok to me, but needed something.  I tried to make a frittata, but it turned out kind of icky.

Right now I’m working on another pair of fetching, the MIL clogs, a crochet scarf, and the same pair of socks… just jugging along, waiting for spring!