Friday, October 31, 2008

October Recipes

October was a good month for new recipes! I'm two months shy of achieving my year long resolution and I am still loving it!

Creamy Potato Cabbage Soup
from Moosewood Daily Specials cookbook
We loved this soup! Loved it! It ain't real pretty but it tasted phenomenal.

Garlicky Oven Fries
from Vegetarian Times May 2008
This got too crispy. They were somewhere between fries and chips, but not in a good way. I wouldn't fault the recipe as I am still not used to our electric oven and it was probably my fault.

Cranberry Apple Butter from The Flying Biscuit Cafe Cookbook
I made this recipe once with Jamie and Charleen and once more by myself. The time by myself was my first solo canning experience. The canning part was no problem, but I did have a hard time getting the apples to break down so the whole venture ended up lasting over 7 hours! I would call this a "sauce" not apple butter, but that is good because I like the chunks. I think the length of cooking time turned my batch a deeper shade of red. The team effort is on the left and mine is on the right.

Superfast Mac 'n Cheese from Entertaining for a Veggie Planet

Buddha's Happy Belly of Curried Lentils, Cauliflower and Tomatoes
from Vegetarian Times Nov/Dec 2008 -Reader Recipe
This was really easy to make and I didn't even need to do any special shopping for it. When I came across the recipe, I already had all the ingredients at home. Paul and I both gives this recipe a thumbs up.

Swiss Chard and Red Pepper Gratin from the New York Times
Paul and I made this recipe together. When we sat down to eat it, he had one bite and then said something to the effect of, "It kinda sucks when you put that much work into making something that tastes so boring." We did get an amazing chunk of gruyere from the Wedge for this recipe and it seems that we probably would have been happier just eating the cheese and bread! It wasn't bad, it just wasn't that flavorful.

Iced Pumpkin Cookies
These are more like pumpkin bread than cookies but they are still tasty.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Very Necessary Seams

I'm hoping to finish seaming up this silliness, block it and have some F.O. shots by the end of the weekend. I was hoping to finish it on Sunday, the first day of snow, but it has been a challenge to get all of the lines to match up nicely. On Saturday, I seamed up the side and then took one look at the wonky, mismatched lines before totally ripping it back out. The seaming instructions are like none I have ever followed before. I am picking up and knitting all along both sides and then grafting them together. That is a whole lotta grafting and a really big pain to rip out! After getting back to where I started on Saturday, it needed to stay in timeout on Sunday. I've been chipping at it with a different strategy since then and so far things are lining up properly. At this point, Paul thinks I have just made him a really strange poncho.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Hanukkah of Birthdays

Last night Paul and I joined my "other" family for a birthday dinner. As was mentioned at dinner, Jamie is having a Hanukkah style birthday. Her birthday celebrations have spanned more than a week. Dinner was fantastic and it was great to see everyone. As I have mentioned before, Jamie's house was my second home growing up. Although, times have changed! We aren't the kids anymore as Leah and Jamie are both moms.

Jamie's candles are not in the piping hot apple crisp, because they learned their lesson via a melted candle on a past birthday.

Jamie and Charleen in the back and Leah with her boys Blake and Jared in the front

I was spoiled this weekend with not having to cook every meal. I went to the last farmer's market of the season over the weekend and stocked up on lots of good produce. So, this week I'll be back in the kitchen cooking up some good eats.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


After spending Friday afternoon at the outlet mall getting Paul equipped with a full professional-looking wardrobe, we headed out to a celebration dinner. The plan was to go to El Meson, one of Paul's favorite Minneapolis restaurants. He hadn't been there since we moved away and had uncharacteristically already decided what he was having before we got there. When we arrived, he was very disappointed to find the menu had changed and they no longer served his favorite entree and his favorite drink. That, paired with the 45 minute wait for a table, sent us down the road to French Meadow Bakery and Cafe. Ever since Mark and Jerri took me there in April, I have been looking forward to eating there again. I think the appetizer tasting flight is delicious and they do up the Tempeh Reuben real nice, too!

You know you are in the midwest when your beer bottle features a picture of a Walleye.

Saturday evening's celebration was a housewarming party for Steve. Zoe came in her pumpkin costume, which is an appropriate choice as Mark and Jerri found out they were pregnant with her on Halloween last year.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Scrappy Jack

Since Jack is nearly healed, it is safe to talk about "the incident" from last week. Behold, bloody dog face:

It seems that our neighbor's dog does not much like Jack. Because of the way the building is set up we have to walk past their door when we leave the building. Whenever their dog hears us coming with the dogs, he body slams their door and barks like crazy. Up until recently it was nothing more than an annoyance and just required that Paul and I kept our dogs from having a hissy fit in response.

Then, about a week ago, I was coming home from walking the dogs. When we walked past the neighbor's door, their dog did the usual body slam, except this time the door opened and out came the dog. He went straight for Jack. I tried my best to keep them apart and yelled up a storm both at the dog and in hopes of getting our neighbor's attention. I found out later that he was in the bathroom, which was why it took him so long to get his dog away from us.

After bringing the dogs up to the apartment, I examined Jack and found that he had a pretty deep puncture wound on his face. Tchazo wasn't involved in the fight. He pretty much stood aside and barked and jumped around like a maniac. I imagine that if his barks were words, he would have been screaming this: "What? Where did you come from? Where is your leash? Leave us alone, you meanie!"

I had some ointment from Tchazo's recent visit to the vet so I cleaned Jack's wound and put the medicine on it before going down to talk the the neighbors about what happened. They were appropriately apologetic and swore to keep that door locked so their dog couldn't bust out. I confirmed that their dog had his shots and we had a nice neighborly chat about other stuff. I was hoping that would be the end of the situation.

Unfortunately, Paul had another run in much like mine a few days later. He was able to keep our dogs from getting hurt by giving the neighbor's dog a swift kick as it approached. I don't know if I am up for that, so I hope they follow through with their promise to get the latch fixed.

Friday, October 24, 2008

One Man Party

That suit was a good choice because Paul is employed! He got an offer that he accepted yesterday. It is a job that he is excited about and is a nice step for him career-wise. To mark the occasion, Paul treated himself to a bottle of bourbon. I tried to get a nice smiling photo of him to put up here, but in Paul fashion, he refused to succumb to the "hold still and smile" expectation. What resulted was the following:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Some Nice Things

In this time of poopy economics and high rates of unemployment, I am trying not to let it get me down. I am spending very little, but still meeting my needs. I am not eating out, but I am still eating well. I am not buying yarn, but I still have plenty of it to knit.

Things for us are not dire, by any means, but it is a frustrating process to look for jobs at any point. And, it is especially frustrating when I know there are so many other qualified, hard working people out there competing with me for the same few jobs that are available. I am a bit bummed because I was really close to getting an offer that I was excited about and it didn't happen. I am going to take the day to survey the job scene, spend some time with Paul and the pets, focus on the positives and then get back to applying for stuff again tomorrow.

Here are some nice things I think about to keep a healthy perspective...

The beauty of the season.

The bounty of food we have available to us, much of which is connected to people we love.
The breakfast shown here consisted of bread baked my grandma, raspberries grown by my dad and picked by Paul and I, and cheese bought straight from the source.

The ability to keep a sense of humor. Inappropriate wedding joke brought to you by Paul.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lacy Winged Shawl

I finished something! It has been a while since that has happened. This is the Lacy Winged Shawl pattern from the Knitting Pattern A Day 2007 calendar. I didn't follow the directions for the weight of yarn that pattern was written for...DK, I think. I used Malabrigo Lace yarn instead. It is a lace weight, single ply, buttery soft Merino yarn. The edging is knit out of a mystery yarn that I received in my goodie bag from the MetroWest Knitting Guild's retreat last winter.

Changing the weight of the yarn yielded a much smaller shawl. The center line of this shawl measures 18 inches. I could have made it longer, but after using the entire skein of Malabrigo, I was ready to work that edging and call it done.

The end result is very delicate and a bit frilly for my taste. I do think I will wear it when I am feeling a tinge of the extra girly/extra grandmotherly. because I really like the color and it is amazingly lightweight.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Today is Jamie's birthday! Since she is a working woman again, we needed to celebrate a day early. We went to dinner and a show at the Bryant Lake Bowl.

Truth be told, Jamie doesn't really knit all that much lately. She is more into dying and spinning than knitting. More recently, she is mostly into trying to go to work each day while simultaneously keeping an infant, her marriage, her friendships, her family relationships and herself alive. That doesn't leave a lot of time for crafting. For her birthday gift, I gave her a sock blank. A sock blank is, as the Knit Picks website declares, a double-stranded pre-knit stretch of sock yarn that you can hand dye then knit directly from the sock blank to create your own sock yarn. Jamie will be doing the dying part, since she likes that part, and I will knit her a pair of 30th birthday socks. It should be a fun collaboration to mark a significant birthday.

The reason we went to Bryant Lake Bowl is because of the knitting themed play, "Stitch, Bitch n' Die". The description of the play was:
Knitting based murder mystery comedy! The newest member of the knitting group has been brutally stabbed with a pair of knitting needles! Who is guilty? Who is innocent? Who will finish their scarf first?
It was hilarious, complete with gasps from the audience when a character menacingly threatens to rip out someones work and then DOES! Seriously, all of the knitters in the audience collectively cringed and gasped.

After the show, there was a little show and tell knitting competition. I brought the ever-lucky Mega Man hat and Jamie brought her felted one-good-reason-to-use-fun-fur monster slippers. It was a close competition but the Mega Man hat won and I am now the proud owner of the prize: a pair of knitted handcuffs.

Have a great birthday, Jamie!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Brunchity Welcome

We had a great day today, most of which was spent with Mark, Jerri, Zoe and Joey. Mark and Jerri prepared a fabulous brunch with delicious cheeses and crackers, egg scramble, toast with spreads made by Joey, and apple crisp. Yum!

Jerri and Zoe

Cheeses with fictitious names

The Brunch Crew: Paul (nice, Paul, real nice), Jerri, Mark, Zoe, Joey

After we ate, chatted and watched football (actually, I knitted, Jerri played with Zoe, and Joey read the New Yorker while Paul and Mark watched the game), Jerri and Zoe walked Paul and I home. The weather was perfect and it was fun to see the blanket I knitted them getting used.

Paul and I have been really good about not eating out, because it is an expense we don't need to have right now. We have been doing lots and lots of cooking, but I'll have to say, it was really nice to have someone else make us a meal. Well done, Mark and Jerri!

Who's that guy?

In the 6+ years Paul and I have been together, I have only seen him in a suit once and that was because he was one of the groomsmen in a wedding. Earlier this week, Paul voluntarily bought a suit AND got a haircut that didn't involve a set of clippers and our bathroom. It is amazing what job interviewing can make you do. Look at him! He is all grown up and businessy looking, especially since I caught him talking on the phone. I seized that moment so he couldn't prevent me from capturing him in his "getup." Although, I am not necessarily a fan of suits, it was nice to see him looking all snazzy. Keep your fingers crossed for him! Somebody in this house needs to start bringing home the veggie bacon soon.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Knock-Around Sweater

The projects I have been working on lately are all big and time consuming. I don't tend to like posting about projects as I am working on them, as I imagine most of those posts being rather uninteresting, i.e. "I am working on this thing. It is 3 inches longer. See." Unless there is some reason to post, I mostly keep it to myself until it is finished. Since most of the things I have been working on lately fit into that category, there hasn't been much knitting to post about.

I am not finished with Paul's sweater, but I think it is goofy enough that it deserves a post at this stage. Here is what it looks like right now:

This Unisex Knock-Around Cashmere Pullover from Weekend Knitting is knit mostly flat, seamed and then a few extra parts are added. This photo doesn't really convey the scale of this thing. The hole in the middle is the neck of the sweater. The longest parts are the arms and the flaps on either side are the front and back. All four sides will have more pieces added to them after I do some seaming.

The sweater is reversible. Here is what the inside shoulder shaping looks like.

Paul and I had some heated debates about how to make this sweater fit him. He has long arms and a narrow torso, so the pattern needed to be adjusted. He finally agreed to my solution. Stay tuned for the F.O. post and the wearability verdict from Paul.

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Support

I guess I could only go so long without something political appearing on the blog. Earlier this week, Paul and I were walking from our apartment to downtown, when we stumbled upon this gem on a relatively boring block. Click on the photo to make it bigger.

The buttons all said silly things like:


The whole time we were looking at the buttons, this gorgeous kitty was trying to get us to somehow reach through the window and pet her.

Let it be hereby declared that I support Obama, funny buttons, ice cream, mohawks and cute kitties.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My First Meme

Sarah tagged me for a Meme. Which, by the way, Sarah, means that I have to give my answers and then pass it on. It is basically like a blog chain letter.

Here it goes...

Four jobs I've had:
  1. Bus Girl in a hotel restaurant - This was my high school job. All of the other bussers were boys. I had to prove my toughness by winning bloody knuckle contests in the bussing station.
  2. Karate Teacher - This was my other high school job. Most of my time at this job was spent yelling "Kick! Punch! Kick! Punch!"
  3. Door to Door Canvasser for the Sierra Club - I had this job the summer after my senior year of high school. It sucked. I frequently called my mom from pay phones at gas stations in random neighborhoods to keep from sitting down on the curb and crying.
  4. Summer Camp Counselor - I had this job in Boston. It was the most fun job I have ever had. I got to see so much of the city and play with kids at the same time. Loved it.
Four movies I can watch over and over:
  1. Amelie
  2. Running on Empty
  3. Run Lola Run
  4. A Christmas Story
Four places I have lived:
  1. Boston, Massachusetts
  2. Grinnell, Iowa
  3. Florence, Italy
  4. Washington D.C.
Four TV shows I love:
  1. Six Feet Under - This show had the most impacting series finale I have ever seen.
  2. Mysterious Diagnosis - Gotta love the frequent and dramatic eye closeups!
  3. Crime TV shows - These are my favorite shows to watch while I knit. I have no loyalty to any particular one in the genre, so I am lumping them together as one show.
  4. Sex and the City - I know, I know. But, I really like it.
Four places I've vacationed:
  1. Costa Rica
  2. Paris, France
  3. Londonderry/Derry, Northern Ireland
  4. Sicily, Italy
Four of my favorite dishes:
  1. Homemade Pizza - This started as a tradition with my dad, but has been adopted by Paul and I. When I say homemade, I am talking about from scratch, crust and all.
  2. Paul's Omelettes - He is the Omelette Master. Also, he is the Chili Master, but I can only name 4 faves.
  3. Modified Mac & Cheese - This meal is a mainstay at our house. We are working on perfecting the art of upping the fanciness of boxed Mac n Cheese...Annie's brand, specifically. One of our many favorite substitutes is using white wine instead of milk.
  4. Anything made while on a camping trip. Everything tastes better when you work that hard to prepare it.
Four sites I visit daily:
  1. Ravelry
  2. MNCN - I hope to stop visiting this one soon as this is one of the main sites I look at for job searching.
  3. Yarn Harlot
  4. Already Pretty - My friend Sally's blog. This girl is a posting maniac!
Four places I would rather be right now:
  1. Rhinebeck - I am really sad that I have to miss it this year.
  2. Work - Oddly enough, I'd rather be at work because that would mean I have a job! Job searching is rough!
  3. Italy - I have been wanting to go back to Italy ever since my mom's friends started their crazy adventure.
  4. Somewhere new - I always like going somewhere new.
Five people I am tagging: (I'm following suit here with Sarah and only tagging two people)
  1. Beth
  2. Jerri

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Knitting Interview with Paul

It seems this interview is making the knitblog rounds. I saw it first on Minisoup's blog and recently came across it again on a few other blogs. Fortunately, Paul was willing to play along.

What is your favorite thing about my knitting?
Him: I guess that you enjoy it so much and you have a hobby that you really get a lot out of.
What is your least favorite thing about my knitting?
Him: I don't have a least favorite thing about your knitting. Oh wait. I change my mind. When you ask me for permission about knitting stuff.
: What do you mean?
Him: When you ask me for permission to sit down and knit and be lazy.
What is something I have knitted that you recall as being good?
Him: Mega man helmet.
Do you think knitters have an expensive hobby?
Him: All hobbies are expensive.
Do you have any hobbies?
Him: Of course.
What are your hobbies?
Him: Being awesome in all different kinds of ways.
Me: For real, Paul.
Him: That's my answer.
If we compared money spent on hobbies, who would win?
Him: I'd probably win. It might be close.
Has my knitting in public ever embarrassed you?
Him: Um, just the thought of you knitting at a sporting event does.
You can't remember any times that it has embarrassed you?
Him: Nope.
Do you know my favorite kind of yarn?
Him: Yes! Mothless yarn.
Good answer. Can you name another knitting blog?
Him: Yeah. The Yarn Harlot.
Do you mind that I want to check out yarn stores everywhere we go?
Him: As long as I don't have to go with.
What is the importance of a swatch?
Him: It gives you an idea about how the stitches will come together when you actually make the pattern. Right?
Me: Close enough. Do you read TrinKnitty?
Him: Yup. I'm in it.
Me: Have you ever left a comment?
Him: Yup.
Me: Do you think the house would be cleaner if I didn't knit?
Him: That's a weird question. No, because you are freaky about cleaning the way that it is.
Me: Is there anything you would like to add in closing?
Him: Nope.
Me: Thank you!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy Birthday to Joanne!

Yesterday was my mother-in-law's birthday. We headed over to her house last night with a raspberry cheesecake (made with raspberries picking from my dad's garden) and a bottle of wine to celebrate. She deserves lots of spoiling, so we hope we helped to make her birthday special. I learned that she is pretty camera shy, so you'll have to accept a photo of the cheesecake instead of the one where she is covering her face :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Outside the Lines

The very charming and clever Mason-Dixon Knitting ladies, Ann and Kay, were in town yesterday. Charleen and I joined the many, many women and the few men to partake of some knitting and entertainment hosted by The Yarnery. The afternoon was opened up by the Yarnery Singers, who sang clever knitting related songs with great enthusiasm.

There were also a table of samples from the book for a little knitting show and feel.

I was at an exciting point in knitting Paul's sweater so I didn't do so well with the photo taking. What I should have taken a photo of was the Kiki Mariko rug that I LOVE. Luckily, Flickr can help me out. Here is someone else's photo of the rug, I am guessing this was the photo in the book, click here. Kay is working on one and has posted on their blog (Oct. 9th post) about hers. As I've mentioned before, I am itching to try a steek and I think felted colorwork would be a good intro to fair isle project. I just added this rug to my queue in hopes of knitting it sometime soon.

On the other end of spectrum from trying new techniques is a topic that Ann and Kay discussed during their talk. They spoke of "knitting below your skill level." As much as I am a fan of learning new things and trying challenging projects, I wholeheartedly agree with that concept. Sometimes the best kind of knitting is something you have already made a bunch of times and requires no more from you than the motions of knitting it. I do dig me some knitting below my skill level. For this same reason, I sometimes like miles and miles of stockinette or garter stitch too. It's all about the balance.

I had a great time and am glad that I moved from one knitting city to another. Yay, Minneapolis! One of the handouts I got at the event was advertising an upcoming knitting event called Button Up for Fall. It sounds interesting so I will likely be checking that out.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wedded - Arturo and Sam

Yesterday Arturo and Sam, AKA Jin and Samantha, got married at the Elm Creek Park Reserve.

The ceremony was outdoors. Luckily it rained a little right before the ceremony and then cleared up for the duration of the ceremony and the cocktail hour before the indoor reception.

Arturo and Sam live in Boston now but they are both from Minnesota, so there were lots of friends and family in attendance.

The ceremony recognized that they have already been living a committed life together for nearly 10 years, but that becoming married provides them with social recognition as a family. Besides all of the serious and heartfelt, emotional moments, Jermaine provided some good comic relief in his speech during the ceremony. Some highlights included quoting Paula Abdul's Opposites Attract and referencing Sam's gourmet food tastes as compared to Arturo's tendency towards Cheese Whiz and Pizza Rolls. Here is a photo of Jermaine proving his comments about Sam's amazing coordinating abilities. The invitations were the basis for the color scheme and patterns for everything at the ceremony and reception.

One of the touches I really appreciated was the seating organization. Each table at the reception was named after a location that was significant to Arturo and Sam and each guest was assigned to a table with a place card that was color coded based on your meal choice (see! mad organizational skills!). On each table was a card with a little story about the place. Instead of the traditional giant wedding cake, the centerpieces at each table were cakes from which each table served themselves.

We had a great time reconnecting with some old friends and busting up the dance floor. Congratulations to the newlyweds!
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