Monday, March 30, 2015


So, yes, I already took this class.  "aced" it even.  Why am I signed up for it again??  First, there isn't anything good on tv.. Second in the almost year since I took it there has been a ton of new info from different space robots about the solar system.  I realize a lot of the lectures will be the same, but I know Mike Brown HAS filmed some new ones (he tweeted about it => yes I can be a stalker fangirl sometimes)  Third, I still have my notes -so should be able to write on the left page to add info.  Fourth, the Caltech homework was available but not required and I didn't look at it - if it is still like that I want to give it a try.  Fifth, I really like Mike Brown's teaching style.  I've even  forgiven him for demoting Pluto, and have to admit he's right! Sixth, after dropping 4  classes with a lot of promise that turned out to be duds, I really need a guaranteed fun class!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Random Thoughts

1.  Why is it when I request books from the library even when I space out the requests they all come at once???

2.  Do other people grab a crochet hook and "cheat " when the directions call to pick up stitches?

3.  How do I not have a 36-40in size 4 circ??

4.  Why does my ordering one of the above  end up with a $40 order?

5.  I get an Angie hug in 119 hours!!

6.  What do I want to be when I grow up??

7.  Why is the entire sporting world trying to kill me?

8.  How can I be really thirsty AND really have to pee at the same time.  This seems like an evolutionary misdirection.

9.  Would it be wrong, if they send C on the NY route tomorrow, to make whoever does bring my carpet wait for their 5pm appointment?

10. Do I want roasted poblanos stuffed with stuffed shells or gnocchi with Italian sausage for dinner?

11. Since my phone has 1% battery left (it's been used since 4am - can't complain much) does that mean I have to go to bed?

12.  I need to be awake in 6 1/2 hours I should go to bed.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Leftover Corned Beef?


I finally managed that elusive food - leftover corned beef!  Mind you - in order to obtain it - I bought 2 corned beefs - one was about 5.25 pounds, the other just over 2 pounds.  We had the smaller one on St Patrick's Day and some of that, plus the larger one was .. LEFTOVERS!!!!!

Last night we had hot corned beef with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and russian dressing on a mice crusty Russian rye (with seeds of course!)  But Sunday morning I made my chunky version of corned beef hash--- in a cast iron skillet - the best pan to make hash (You know who you are - yes, I'm pointing this out to you!  and Grace - don't get paranoid it isn't you ) 

the really tiny red potatoes- larger ones cut in half parboiled

some quartered/sixthed (don't think this is a word - but it's for the larger ones) Baby bellas

cast iron skillet with butter and olive oil heated  - I start the mushrooms first so they get a nice caramel and not weirdly waterlogged from the other ingredients.

add onion slices, lots of chopped garlic, red,yellow, green and poblano peppers

Some herbs de Provence - I like this brand - it's not overly lavender or rosemary spiced.



After this starts to brown - I barely smash the potatoes and put them in a layer on the bottom of the skillet (move stuff from half, put the potatoes down, put the stuff on top get potatoes in the other half) and press down so the potatoes get good contact to brown at the bottom of the pan. (this isn't a heavily potato hash- not a fan of the "hashes" that are basically meat flavoured potaotes)  I put large diced corned beef (when I make this from deli corned beef I have them slice it about 3/8" thick) and rough chop the carrots that I cooked the corned beef with originally,


I let them brown for a while before I turn, smash, let sit, turn, smash, let sit - until I decide they are done.


Then Curt got 2 poached eggs on his--- mine got properly peppered (never had a white egg white in my life!)



Thursday, March 26, 2015

Looking Back

It was suggested recently, that since I did go through a long blogging dry spell, but not a crafting dry spell, that I should occasionally post pictures of past finished objects.  Since the sock I finished yesterday at breakfast with Grace is still in my car and it's drizzling (as much as I love snow and thunderstorms - I turn into a cat with cold rain... let's not even discuss how grouchy I get when my feet get wet!) Here are two items from the recent unblogged past. 

My Dreambird shawl.  Love this shawl- perfect colors for me, I wore it a lot over the holidays.  A lot of people making this shawl did variegated yarn (color changing) for the feathers with a more solid background - I went in the reverse.

The second one took about three months to make - and believe it or not the back which is plain except for the roadway at the waist took longer - because it was somewhat boring to knit a plain grey rectangle.. I gave it to Christopher for Christmas.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to Knit a Lovesong, Moonshell Beach, When Snow Falls

When I'm grouchy I tend to read more.  I think it's a combination of escaping into a different place, and when I'm reading I can effectively tune everyone out around me.  So I've got three for you today. 

This is the first book I've read by Rachael Herron, and I really enjoyed it.  I read the first couple chapters 20 minutes at a time on my lunches and then I got to a point, that I brought the book home and just finished it.  Very well written, easy to escape into the world she creates.  Abigail inherits a cottage and the land it's on from her knitting/design mentor.  Her mentor's grand nephew inherits the main house and the sheep ranch that surrounds it. He isn't happy about sharing, thinks Abigail is a gold digger.  Surprise, surprise by halfway they can't keep their hands off each other although they are still hostile in between.  The only caveat I have - and it really isn't just the author's fault, it's sort of the genre - I am getting tired of the lead character escaping an abusive/stalker boyfriend/husband theme that keeps showing up.  Makes me want to stick my daughter in Rapunzel's tower, and makes me glad I'm married and not looking.  Still I gave the book 5 stars on Goodreads and requested the next book in the series from the library.  ( I think I've mentioned i really do like series books, where you can get to know the town and side characters more - plus even though the next book focuses on different people you can still find out what happens  to the earlier characters) 

Moonshell Beach is #4 in the Shelter bay series.  I kind of like the twist of bringing in an Irish Movie star for ex-Marine JT Douchett to fall for.  I have a thing for Ireland, so adding sections there appeals to me, and adding some Irish folklore really gets me.  JT is the last unmarried Douchett brother so I guess she's going to have to bring in more of their ex-military troubled friends to couple off.  Quick read, good escape.

It's the second and a half  book from whiskey creek (there was a novella to begin the series) Not a whole lot of updates on Gail and Simon they make a few cameos in this book.  Another quick read - misunderstood badass falls for the girl both live on the wrong side of town because of their parents.  A background mystery, siblings who need rehab.  The good thing about this series is that between Gail's friends and Dylan's brothers there are a lot of people to read more books about. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Healthy Slow Cooker Revolution

I don't think America's Test Kitchen really understands why America loves a slow cooker.  The beauty of a slow cooker is you can put stuff in - go to work and have a yummy dinner almost ready when you return.  Now my slow cooker has the "keep warm" feature so I can set a timer for 5-6 hours and it will just keep it warm until I return - but when pork loin recipes call for 1 hour of cook time, keeping it warm for 7 more hours seems like it won't work.  Close to 3/4 of the recipes in this book are  between 1-5 hours!!  They sound like they'd be good- but unless you work from home, can run home on lunch to start it, or only use your slow cooker on your days off it really isn't very practical is it??  I can do many of these recipes in the same time on my stove or in my oven!

Meatballs Marinara in 4 hours, enchiladas in 1 hour, Spring polenta casserole in 3 hours, chipotle chicken chili in 2 hours??

All this being said, there are 10 recipes (out of 200) that I am going to try.  I'm glad I got this from the library and didn't buy it.

Monday, March 23, 2015

I need to rethink Monday and Tuesday.

When I decided to start blogging again, I came up with a sort of weekly outline to give it some structure:

  • Monday Musings:
  •      New things I'm learning/thinking about
  •      Coursera/Ted 
  •      Astronomy
  • Tuesday Training:
  •      Running
  •      Workouts
  •      Health
  • Wednesday Words:
  •      Books
  •      Articles
  •      Considering a language to learn
  • Thursday Twists:
  •      Crafty Updates
  •      Knitting /Crochet Projects 
  •      Ravelry
  • Friday Foodies:
  •      Recipes
  •      Restaurants
  •      Beers
  •      Veggie Gardens 
 Other than forgetting to finish a post (last wednesday's blog book review) I realize I do need to write some ahead and schedule them, because even though I have a plan for posts, if I get home late or tired from work I'm not always going to get those ideas to the computer. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are working out well.  I've been reading a lot, usually have been crafting somewhat and a girl's got to eat right??  Monday and Tuesday aren't working out quite so well however.  Apparently I think less than I thought for Mondays,  I dropped a bunch of Coursera classes that were just too ugh, I end up tweeting the cool stuff that's going on with the different Space probes and a blog posts of stuff I already tweeted seems lame. Other than "Hey! I worked out" which makes a boring Tweet much less blog post, I don't seem to have huge amounts to say on Tuesdays.

 So, much like Wile E.  It's back to the old drawing board.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

I may need to up my goal.

I seem to be on a roll here.  The year is 23% finished and my book challenge is 64% finished.  I may need to up my goal. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Pi Day Pie!

This Saturday was an epic once a century Pi Day (3.14.15)  So to celebrate I made Michael Symon's Pork Pie from his book Carnivore. (seriously one of my favorite cookbooks)


Yes I embellished the vent hole in the shape of Pi as well.  Super yummy as always, I cut the recipe in half since the full recipe makes 2 pies (believe me, if you are serving more than a couple people you need them).  I made one pie. We had enough for leftovers on Monday night, and Curt even took the last slice for lunch on Tuesday.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Not much to show

Not much to show on the crafting front this week.  I did finish the neckband of my vest, need to do the armbands, but that required more counting than I could successfully accomplish (had a low grade headache for most of the week) so no pictures on that yet.  I started a hexagon afghan for my mom from yarn leftover from projects I made for my nephew Christopher.  I screwed it up already - but I can work around it.  I made hexagon 1, then 2 then 7.. so I had to pick up 2 sides to do 3 and I'll have to fudge 4  a bit, 5 will be fine... no picture of this yet either.  I also got about 1/2 the foot of my second sock done.  Hopefully next week's post will be filled with pictures. 

What I actually have a picture of:


I crocheted a bunch of "charms" (shamrocks and some leprechaun hats) then crocheted a gold hatband and attached them.


close up

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Two Blogging Books

Both of these books are much better, and much more helpful than the Huffington Post book I talked about last month. (I'm pretty sure they aren't losing sleep over my opinion though..)

I really wish I had read one or both of these books before I started to blog, but even so, once I got past the start your blog chapters, they both had a lot of good pointers and suggestions.

Friday, March 13, 2015

My version of summer porridge.

 I kinda splashed too much extra milk here...

I joined Pinterest. Yup another time suck on my phone.  I really haven't done anything constructive, pinned some stuff, not sure how to go back and look at them, forgot about it for a week... you know the usual me.  Anyway, one of the things I kept seeing pop up was refrigerator oatmeal, which is a lot like my friend's Gran's summer porridge.  She used cream and sugar and lots of fruit in hers.  I have a lot of issues in what is edible for me.  I can't have a lot of sugar, can't have things high on the glycemic index, need fiber and protein and fat to slow my carb absorption down, can't use artificial sweeteners, like to have some crunch. A lot of the various versions I've seen on Pinterest use flavored Greek yogurt, honey, agave syrup, chia and have a lot of interesting add ins. I decided that this was worth experimenting with as a take along to work. 


A quarter cup measure is pretty much all you need to remember for this.  The basic recipe is 

1/4 cup oatmeal (I alternate between the thick and rough and steel cut oats)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce ( do you know how hard it is to find unsweetened chunky??)  or a half a smashed banana.  This is basically my sweetener.
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt ( I usually use non fat but the store was out) 
1/4 cup of milk
1 1/2 tablespoons of chia seeds

After stirring this together I leave it in the fridge overnight.  In this picture I added some apple pie spice - but I'll get to that in a bit.


Then  I divide it in half.  Here's the nutritional info calculated by myFitnessPal: ( I wish it calculated fiber as well)

 Depending on what I'm in the mood for, I add stuff in before I put it in the fridge.  The most common would be apple pie spice, pumpkin pie spice, or cinnamon.  I've recently tried some unsweetened shredded coconut (I subbed unsweetened coconut milk for the regular milk when I did that).  Also I've been using the PB2 peanut butter powder as well (that one is really good with the half a banana version and some unsweetened cocoa powder.

When I'm ready to eat it, I'll put some diced fresh apple or pear, or a handful of blueberries or a handful of the carb friendly nut mix and stir it in. (if I use the nut mix instead of fruit, I'll add a splash more of milk to loosen it up- not necessary with the fruit)  The fruit/nuts add some sweetness, texture to it.  

Between the protein and the fiber (and the good fat when I add nuts) the carbs absorb slowly, so I don't get a BG spike - which also means I don't get the sudden drop 30min to an hour later.  They also keep me feeling full for a long time (sometimes this is bad as I need to remember to eat again).  The sustained BG is helpful on days like Wednesday, when I didn't get to lunch when I should have at 1, then couldn't because I then unloaded 3 trucks in a row and didn't get to lunch until 3.  (One of our receivers is on vacation this week, another is out hurt - had to get the first two trucks  out of the way so I'd have an empty dock for Braun's at 2... if you  know me - not unloading Braun's wasn't an option...)


It's my mom's birthday today!


Thursday, March 12, 2015


I haven't actually finished anything yet this month. Had some startitis issues.  I started an "F" bomb, a Shamrock Charm necklace - no pictures of these yet - the necklace needs to be finished for Tuesday obviously..  I haven't touched my vest since seaming the shoulders - I need to pick that up soon if I want to be done for Easter.


I did finish one of my Bow Knot Ankle Socks and started the second.


I started the left sleeve of my Sleeves.


I started a Hexagon Afghan with yarn leftover from my various projects for my nephew, Christopher.  Some of them are almost full rolls - but most aren't something I'd use for other things.  Of course, Miss Can't Follow Directions, screwed it up already.  I did hexagon 1, then hexagon 2, then I attached on the wrong side so am doing hexagon 7... sigh, It's very fixable though. The hexagons are connected with picked up stitches during the cast on, so they are knit together - no seaming needed (that's what drew me to the pattern)  I'm not using a self striping yarn like the pattern calls for - so at random points I'll switch colors to make "bullseyes"  and I'm (so far) weaving in ends as I go. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Just a quickie

One of Debbie Macomber's republish two older shorter stories together in one book.  The Trouble With Caasi -- workaholic daughter trying to live up to her deceased father's expectations as CEO of hotel chain doesn't notice her general manager as a person until he quits... you can guess how that ends.  Reflections of Yesterday --  super wealthy parents pay off son's high school love & her dad from the wrong side of the tracks to leave town (after they tell her he found a new girl at college) Twelve years later she returns to pay back the money and interest which she always felt wrong about taking, they meet, there is conflict... guess where this ends....

 Just a quick, fluffy read - but perfect for when I'm in my hate the world kind of mood.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

John cancelled

My brother John was supposed to be flying home for a visit today, but he had a bad cold that turned into bronchitis. (I thought California was supposed to be a healthy state if you've had a measles vaccine...) So he had to cancel the trip .

So now I am a sad bear monster..... sigh.

I guess now I know why I was feeling so dark, and angry yesterday...  

Monday, March 9, 2015

Monday Ramble...

Since my catphew is clearly impatient...  After spending a fun day with the Angie on FRIDAY (must buy Fe a calendar)  we spent the night (Doubletree gives you warm cookies when you check in.... just saying...) and we met Fe's mom for brunch at The Gold Standard Cafe (just imagine snow and ice)

Food there is delicious... even if some of the veganish choices scare me a bit...  I had chopped lamb steak with sunny side up eggs... really good!  There was a very bizarre older clearly anti-social couple at the table next to us.  The woman barely got off her phone (they say teenagers and millenials are bad???  OMG)  The grumpy old man next to her mostly just stared out the window.  She had a large glass of orange juice, and then when it was barely 1/4 emptied got another one.  Then she drank about 1/4 of the new glass and tried pouring the old glass into the new glass.. repeatedly.  My theory is the hand we weren't seeing had vodka in it.  (Curt in these situations is very unhelpful) She sent back her plate, it came back looking exactly the same as when it went back.. and she looked seriously put out that she had to put down her phone and use a fork... the HORROR!!!!. By the time they left she had picked all the egg off and left  it in a pile on the plate.  (When the Angie was young she hated eggs... there is a solution .. tell them you don't want the damn egg!!!)

But here's the anti-social part (other than I think they maybe spoke 4 sentences to each other and I'm pretty sure 3 were to bitch about us being happy at brunch)  Now it's brunch... it isn't 5am (although 5am is not a bad time for me..) there weren't a lot of people when we got there, but it filled up quickly ( I almost forgot that Min and I needed to seat ourselves strategically, because Curt is a very unhelpful people noticer)  People are talking and laughing and having fun... it's Saturday Brunch!  Well every time we laughed, the woman turned around and glared at us... we turned it into a drinking game, and Curt ended up imbibing way more coffee than normal!  I think we were at 14? but we weren't sure how to categorize the one really long glare she gave us before she left...

There was man there as well ( well a few but we needed outside help with this one) who came in with 4 boys about the same age - none of whom appeared to own a comb.My best guess is sleepover & Dad either can't or didn't want to cook, or Mom wanted them out. Tue man was wearing a BLACK shirt and on the back in white letters it said MARCH 17.  Since it was 17 days until March 17th, we were trying to figure out why.  Why was it not green? Was he so Irish he celebrated all month? was he confused about the date? was it from a previous year's pub crawl?  Here Curt  proved helpful. After getting a waitress (not ours)  to refill our coffee (woman wouldn't stop glaring!- - come to think of it , it's very rude to force people to drink so much they can barely eat or talk!) Curt got her to go back over to the other table and see what was on the FRONT of his shirt.  Which turned out to be a pub in Boston.

AFTER we finished, we walked back to Min's house to hang out with Felix and exchange Christmas/birthday presents.  Mr Sleepy Head (yes you FE!) didn't want to wake up and then when he saw us, he decided to act all happy... hmmf.   He was VERY interested in sniffing my Barnes and Noble tote (makes me wonder what exactly it was recycled from.. one never thinks to ask that question.  Then claimed all the wrapping & tissue paper and of course the box for himself.  He decidedly DID NOT approve of the Carl head we got his mom.  He seemed disinterested in the cast iron skillets we got her as well  (his grandmother is a retired Home Ec teacher!!  Clearly Home Ec is different in MO. How do you not have a cast iron skillet as required kitchen basics???)  And of course when it was time for us to leave (couldn't stay as long as our normal visit.. it was BOWLING night you know) Fe went in the kitchen and refused to say goodbye.

I guess that was longer than I thought it would be, not a huge amount of time left for my ramble.  I'm in a really, really, really, dark, angry hate everything kind of mood the last couple of days.  I don't like when my head get's this way, but I don't know how to fix my head until it sort of runs its course.  Works been pissing me off, but realistically not more than normal, I'm just reacting to it more, so I really can't blame that.  Knitting isn't relaxing me.  I want something to change, but I don't know what.  It may just be my normal winter is almost over sadness amplified a bit. (yes, I get sad that winter is ending.  I really do love winter. I realize after all the snow and ice we've had for the last 7 weeks - I don't really like the ice and freezing rain and wintry mix part, it ruins the snow - I'm probably the only one who feels this way... but summer... is... hot... yuck) My friends know it's bad when even the fact that my favorite driver is bringing me 4 rolls of carpet on Braun's and 2 need to get racked which means playing with the boom won't cheer me up....     

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Inside Animals - more from Philly

One last carryover Lego picture - because one of those people looks surprisingly familiar...


We also checked out the brain exhibit- that was a lot of fun - I really likes the "steampunkish signs"

This was a weird thing that took a picture of you and then morphed it based on how much of your brain was connected to individual parts.. (that's Angie - of course her brain is probably not normal...)

They had a whole case of books aimed at female scientist/engineers and interested girls..

cold enough for a really cool ice sculpture copy of the Love sign.

I'm adding a page break here because some people may not want to see some of the animal pictures.  (7 pictures after the break) We saw the Human exhibit some years ago at the Franklin - and it was much larger, there were more different types of displays, and the animals were a tad bit disappointing.  They take animals that have died (no animals were actually killed for this) and plasticize systems, dissolve the rest and it gives an interesting look at the anatomy of the various animals.  I was somewhat a moron when I first saw this I thought "3 headed camel?" Then the Angie pointed out - it was cut in thirds so you could see different features...

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Trip to Philly

We drove down to Philly last Friday to spend the day with the Angie, she wanted to celebrate out anniversary with us.  She wanted to go to the Animals exhibit at the Franklin Museum, and since there was a Lego art exhibit there at the same time she knew she could lure me in.  The Lego art was amazing, although part of me feels that since most of his work is all one color lego, he kind of cheated - you know?  Also a lot of his stuff is copies of famous art pieces, also kind of cheating no?  Sorry if this post is too picture heavy, I put a page break in so you don't have to look if you don't want to... 14 shots in all

Loved Starry Night.

The Great Wave

The Stained Glass Window of Chatres used translucent blocks and left a pattern on the floor as well!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Made recipes from Mario Batali & Michael Symon


Wow!  Totally get why they are both super star chefs!  Above is a picture of the chicken and dumplings I made from Mario Batali's new cookbook Farm to Table.  As a good southern girl, I have made a lot of different versions of this.  Usually it involves baked chicken, poached chicken, or picking the meat off of a rotisserie chicken.  When this recipe starts with a whole chicken cut into 10 pieces (bone in skin on) discard the backbone, I was kind of intrigued, but still unsure.  ( I did end up making excellent stock with the back, neck, heart, wings, extra leeks carrots and celery ) The dumplings are made with whole wheat flour, which is perfect for me - I didn't have to figure out how to adapt it to use the ww. There is fresh tarragon in the dumplings - more like drop biscuits and some sprinkled on top as garnish. Leeks are used instead of onions and I really love thyme.  Another touch that you  know I would LOVE, the addition of bacon with the veggies into the roux!!  This is now my go to chicken and dumplings recipe!!!


I made Michael Symon's venison sloppy joes also. (from his book Carnivore - I've had it awhile, haven't had a recipe not be a win yet!) I ended up using the Guinness instead of the red wine- the only reason I even have wine is to cook with, but I made the last minute decision to swap in the Guinness instead ( you can see I had both ready) Not all the Guinness went in the pot, some when in the chef!  Came out really, really, really yummy! Served it with fried pickle chips because I like some vinegar action when I have venison!