Later alligator

We've taken the usual guide books out from the library. You can always count on a combination of Frommer's and Lonely Planet to get you where you want to go in a new city. Mr. T and I head out to New Orleans later this week for a few days. It's our first visit to Louisiana and we're looking forward to some good eating. I'm especially looking forward to beignets at Cafe du Monde, po' boys of all kinds, oysters and whatever seafood I can get my hands on. I've picked a knitting project to take along with me that is small enough to fit in my bag and uses the size 10 bamboo needles that I have (no metal on airplanes). Wishing everyone a great rest of the week and a very happy Easter/Passover.

Meeting a Challenge

I've conquered the art of baking bread from scratchety-scratch.  I think two perfect loaves counts as conquering.  Don't ask for a repeat performance just yet.  I'm still recuperating.  It takes a long time.  And I didn't use a bread machine.  Just two noodle-y arms.  Whew!  The rear loaf is whole wheat sandwich bread and the front loaf is cinnamon raisin.  A couple thick slices of the whole wheat with some cheddar made the most delicious grilled cheese sandwich I've had in forever!  MMmmmm.  I used Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads recipe book.  This book is very detailed, and I believe, if followed meticulously, one can not possibly go wrong.  I have a few of his other books on hold at the library.  By the time, my holds arrive, I'll be plenty rested up for another bread baking session.  :)


Friday Night Sights

I need to swatch for my EZ Project #4, but while I get my butt in gear swatching, I have been slowly working a row here and a row there on my Lacy Baktus.  I am using Knitpicks Palette from the stash in a nude colour.  I love how it is super squishy and drapey and light - perfect for warmer weather that is bound to arrive shortly.   And it has occurred to me that our Easter decorations have not been unearthed from the basement yet.  I will add that to the list for this weekend.

Happy Friday night!


A prize and a pie

Yesterday when I got home from work there was a little box tucked between the screen door and the storm door. At first I didn't recognize the name on the return, nor did I recognize the address. And then it hit me--the booties from Oats 'n Honey!How adorable are these?! Look at the perfect little flowers and the tiny little buttons. Thank you Adrian! You are very talented.
From one sweet thing to another, here is a random picture of a lemon curd tart that I made a few weeks ago. I decided to go for spiky meringue and it turned out looking like some sort of nicely toasted sea creature. Also, lemon curd is my new favorite thing. I can eat buckets of this stuff.

Monday Funday

We were making more gnomes to add to our collection when I soon realized that the glue was not adhering properly.  So gnome-making stalled, and the outdoors beckoned to us to strip off our jammies and get dressed.   A walk to the park was in order.  And when we were finished with that park, we headed to another park.  We're park hoppers.  I think this would make a sweet rapping ditty.  Later.

Let's get this over.  Here is my February Square Blanket  - the third project in the EZ throwdown.  I used Bernat Cashmere (which is a blend of a teensy bit cashmere and mega acrylic).  I started with 8 stitches, then I doubled those stitches, and then I did 8 increases every two rows.  This was great tv knitting, and when I thought it was big enough, I did about an inch of seed stitch while continuing to increase, and then I cast off.  It's soft and cuddly and perfect for a doll blanket.  If I did this pattern again, I would use wool and a bigger needle.  It'd make a great car seat blanket for a baby too.  That crazy dimple-y pucker going on in the middle is driving me batty.  Must.  Look.  Away. 


PS.  I thought it was cute this morning when I looked in the Bee's knapsack and saw four giant scrolls with her name written very large and our phone number tied with ribbons.  I no longer thought it was cute after thirteen four hundred giggly random phone calls.

Revolt of the Taste Buds

I got the Spring 2010 Kraft What's Cooking magazine last weekend and was drawn to the vanilla almond strawberry tart.  It looked very pretty.  Appearance-wise, this dessert is a ten.  But I would have liked the graham crust a bit sweeter, and I should know by now that I don't like whipped topping in a plastic tub.   Add this to the list of things I knew I didn't like so changed, but forgot and was quickly reminded.  This list includes knitting with acrylic, shopping in malls, and Aunt Jemima.  I've been whipping my own fresh whipped cream for several years now.  I love freshly whipped cream.  But this recipe called for whipped topping from a tub, and since it was being incorporated into the vanilla pudding, I didn't think I would taste it that much.  Turns out I can taste it from a mile away.  And not in a good way.  So next time, I would substitute this vanilla whipped topping with a good ol' fashioned vanilla custard made from scratch.   This is a case in point for slow is better. All things come to those who wait.  Lesson learned.  Again.


PS.  This is not to say we did not eat it.  'Cause we did.  We are weak in the presence of pretty food however horrible it tastes.  Plus a part of me wanted to prove that it wasn't as bad as I describe it.  After eating half the tart, my opinion remains the same.  Bleh.

Five Alive in the Pocket

We drove out of the city to a pancake house and maple syrup shack, and we filled up on pancakes and sausages for the year.  Seriously.  I am good until March 2011.  Now I have a hankering for some greens.  :)

Dear weekend, it's so good to see you.  Please stay a while longer than last weekend, and let me enjoy you a bit. 


Oats 'n Honey

I won! I won! I never win anything! Thank you to Adrian of Oats 'n Honey for hosting the baby booties giveaway. Check out Adrian's knitting, crochet, baking and other awesome projects on her lovely blog. Who knows, maybe there will be a Baby T in the not too distant future who will look oh-so-sweet in these booties.

Spring Crafting

My sistah and I had a mega-crafting day yesterday from dawn to dusk.  It was insane the amount we accomplished.   This morning, I am a little hung over from the pomtini we shared and all the laughing that ensued.

While she worked on a quilt, I started and finished my first ever crochet project - a simple crocheted headband using some dishcloth cotton from the stash.  I am still working out some kinks in my stitches, but I'm still learning.  And the teen loves it.  She's not going to admit it, but she wore it for the rest of the day, I caught her smiling, and she took pictures of herself when I wasn't looking so she could show her friends.  Yeah, I'm certain that she loves it.

The bunnies in the glass canisters were my sister's idea to make - she saw them in a Martha Stewart magazine or something.   We got everything from the dollar store, so we're pretty sure that the chocolate will taste like crap, but they look really sweet, right?

Happy Sunday!


Another Week Bites the Dust

We've been busy.  I guess no more than usual, but I'm still grateful that it's the end of yet another work week and the last day of school before March Break.   I have finished an EZ blanket that will suffice as a baby bear blanket for the Bumblebee.  I should know this well by now that knitting with acrylic will disappoint me in the worst way because after knitting on this blanket nonstop like a fiend and with plenty of excitement, I cast off the hundreds of stitches to find myself with a tiny puckered diamond-shaped blanket.  I can't block it because of the acrylic.  I will take some pictures of it wrapped around a doll as evidence of another completed pattern eventually.  It's not a complete loss.  I re-learned the reason I prefer to use natural fibres, and it's definitely not because I am a yarn snob.  And the Bumblebee likes to spoil her bears with gifts, so we'll wrap it up, make a cake, and have a party for maybe Flower Bear or Erica Bear.

One of the highlights of our week was attending a free doll-making workshop at the library.  We made the Waldorf gnomes pictured above.   So much fun!  If you are from these parts, you should check out all of the other free workshops that are happening over March and April.  They are being offered through the Handmade Festival project.  We've already signed up again for the upcoming embroidery class.  I'm also interested in the salve-making.  Then in May I've rented a table at the Handmade Festival, so I really should be concentrating on making like crazy in order to have crafts to display!  I may need to put the EZ project on hold for a month.  Eek!

And because I should really be concentrating on the craft table and the EZ project, I am working quite steadily on a pair of purple cashmerino legwarmers for the Bumblebee.  They're mindless and almost done.  Really.  Then I'll get to work.  Promise.


(not quite) Long rabbit

Long rabbit is done! I'm pleased with how he turned out, even though I missed a couple of rows between the green stripe and the pink stripe, which makes him just a tiny bit shorter than he should be. I'm telling all of you non-crocheters, you've gotta try it! This little guy will be going to one of three babies of friends who are due in the spring. Thanks again, N, for the lovely pattern.

On the Mend

The Bee has been laid up in bed the last three days with yet another throat infection, and just when I thought we would be stuck inside on such a brilliant day, she sat up and ate a peanut butter sandwich.  Hallelujah.

We went out for a walk, and she brought along a camera and a banana.  It felt absolutely wonderful to get some fresh air.  She is still stuffed up - she says she's 'snuffy' - but I think we're going to be okay. :)


Beautiful Blogger Award

Robyn of the beautiful Knit & Purl Mama blog and owner of Robyn's Nest (go treat yourself to some yarn!)  has given us an award on her blog.  Merci beaucoup!  We are blushing with delight.

To accept this award, here are the rules: 
  • Thank the person who gave you the award
  • Paste the award on your blog
  • Link to the person who nominated you
  • Tell 7 interesting things about yourself (see below)
  • Nominate 7 blogs and post links
  • Leave a comment on your nominated blogs to let them know (I'm kind of chicken about doing this. It's kind of like calling someone up and saying your name, and the person asking, "WHO?"  It makes me really self conscious in the worst way.  So I'll just leave this part to the fates.  Seriously.  See interesting fact #6.)
Seven things about us that you might find interesting:


:: We LOVE Hawksley Workman.  He sang to us at the Aeolian Hall late into the night once, and we fell head over heels.
:: We love grammar and language in the most ridiculous way.
:: We used to work at the same organization except I worked upstairs, and T worked downstairs.  We weren't supposed to chat during work hours, so we emailed each other a lot.  To this day, not a working day goes by when we don't email.  So when T moved a million miles away, it's like she's still downstairs, and I'm upstairs.
:: We don't plan our posts at all.  There have been a few times when we literally post within minutes of each other.  It gives me goosebumps 'cause I'm pretty sure she yells out, "TWINS!!!" really loudly at the same time I do.
:: We can eat a lot of meat.  Plates and bowls of meat.  Don't believe me? Please see photographic evidence.
:: We could happily live like hermits and eat hermit cookies.
:: We can both speak, read, and write French.  Alas, I do concur that her French is better than mine.
In no particular order, we would like to declare the following blogs as full of beauty -  tollipop, inspired I amresurrection fern,  kindred crafters, bluebirdbaby, waking up in bavaria, and knitting like it's my job.


Ol' Days Sweet & Sour Chicken

This pile of messy saucy chicken on rice is my favouritest meal from my childhood (and maybe to this day!).  This is the meal my sister and I chose over every meal in the world for our birthday dinners.  And we've made it for our children, but those silly kids don't beg us to make it more often.  If they did, I might remember to make it more often.  'Cause it's ridiculously simple to make.  And that's not to say that I've not messed it up 'cause I have.  I've been known to stew for hours wondering what I did wrong.  However easy it is, it is also very important, you don't leave anything out.  Trust me. And while it is my favouritest meal, I can't seem to keep the recipe (handed down from my mum) at hand.  I've lost it at least a dozen times to the point that I am fairly certain my mum keeps it by her phone.  I may even be guilty for timing how long it takes for her to start reciting the recipe from when she picks up the phone.  So last weekend when she last gave me the recipe at 8:30 on a Sunday morning, I vowed to never bother her again in the hopes to impress her.   After polishing off another sweet & sour chicken dinner, I sat down to type out the recipe on the blog.  Wouldn't you know that my dear family had ACTUALLY cleaned up the kitchen after me?  This never happens.  In their tidying up, my scrap of paper with all the careful measurements and ingredients was discarded.  I stared out the window at the garbage bags on the curb, and rather than cry, I did my darndest to recall exactly what and how much I threw in the crockpot.  I will not call my mum and declare defeat for the 13th time.  That is what she expects me to do.  Here is what I remember.

2 lbs chicken (I used some cheap skin-on, bone-in thighs)
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/4 vinegar
20 oz can of pineapple (I used tidbits this time, but I've also used crushed)
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 clove of garlic, minced

Brown the chicken in the oil.  Drain chicken and place in slow cooker.
Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over the chicken.
Slow cook (I'm humming Slow Ride now) for 6 to 8 hours on low (this is what my mum said, but I did it on high - maybe because my slow cooker is crap).
Remove the chicken to a dish and keep warm. Turn the slow cooker to high. (Mine was already there!) Make some rice while you're at it.
Mix 3 tbsp of cornstarch with 3 tbsp of cold water.
Slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce left in the slow cooker while stirring with a whisk until it thickens.  I find the more cornstarch mixture I use, the more blander the sauce becomes so take it easy.
Serve the chicken over rice, and top with your sweet and sour sauce.  Enjoy!


March Onward

Just so you know that she eventually got dressed and brushed her hair.


PS.  T, just so you know, I have had a tiramisu blog post in the works for some time.  I must have taken 30 gazillion pictures to document the five minutes it takes me to whip one of those puppies up.  I promised my peeps!  I didn't make up no stinkin' cheese, and I used some old coffee that we didn't get around to drinking, and my ladyfinger cookies were from the flippin' store.  And then you go and document that sweet extravaganza yesterday, and I nearly fell off my chair.   How does one compete with that?  But maybe we're like those style mags where they show one "High" design, and then they show the "Low" design.  Both are always stunning.  I'll be the "Low" (for effort and skill), and you can be the "High" (again for effort and skill).  What do you think?