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Showing posts from November, 2008

Knitting has temporarily defeated me - back to the crochet needles!

Ugh! After hours (and I am not exaggerating) of trying to get the k2p2 going or even the knitting, I have been defeated. My mother who also knits was unable to assist so it's back to the crochet until I get into one of the classes that are around.

We're not sure what the problem was, only that despite following the fabulous little pictures in Stitch 'n Bitch and numerous online sites, we couldn't get things to look right.

Since I really want a scarf finished before the next millenium, I whipped out the crotchet needles and am happily about a 1/4 of the way through my project.

And the book goes on - The Eyre Affair (Jasper Fforde)

Yup, two posts in one day! I believe this is a sign of an impending apocalypse or something along those lines so enjoy it before it starts raining frogs!

I am still plugging along with On the Road, but as always have another two or three books around the house, in the car, etc for breaks or just in case.

I was introduced to the Eyre Affair by a good friend of mine. Once again, I had been eyeing the book on the shelf for several months, but could not quite decide if it should come home with me.

This is a fabulous read for anyone who loves to read and has ever imagined themselves in the book. You do not need to be a fan of classic literature or that familiar with Jane Eyre to enjoy it, though it definitely makes it funnier if you are. Fforde packs his books with characters that are amazing developed, delightfully flawed and who have names of the utmost hilariousness.

I highly recommend this one to just about anyone and have been known to tell everyone to try it out. Happy reading!

On the menu tonight - cookies (speculaas)

As promised, though a day late due to technical difficulties the lovely recipe for the speculaas cookies. These are a Dutch holiday cookie and oh so yummy. I recommend making sure that you make them super thin as this definitely increased the yumminess in the trials we did.

I swiped this recipe from Martha Stewart's December 2008 issue, and you can find a link to the site here.

I didn't have any speculaas molds, so I used a star cookie cutter instead.

This recipe makes about 32 cookies according to the magazine, but we made quite a few more. Might have different results with the actual molds.

The ingredients sound and smell rather terrible I will admit, but oh they combine so well! Happy baking!

What are you thankful for??

I'm off to visit family on the coast for Thanksgiving. Ocean, sand, probably rain according to the forecast and the excitement is bubbling away. Since, it is not so coincidentally because of the Thanksgiving holiday that this trip is possible, I thought I would reflect for a minute on a few of the things I'm thankful for - that's what you are supposed to do right??

Here's my list:

My family - without them I would be a much less agreeable human being. It is best to have people who can tell you to stuff but still have to love you because you are related.

My friends - I have been truly blessed to have some amazing friends, who can also tell me to stuff when I'm being stupid and like me anyway.

My critters - nothing is better than unconditional love from a fuzzy little critter who thinks its the coolest thing ever that you just put food in their bowl and can be entertained for hours by a piece of string or a stick.

My freedom - I am so grateful to have the freedom to m…

And the book goes on - On the Road (Jack Kerouac)

I have been thinking a great deal about how to further organize my thoughts since I have so many interests. I have decided, after seeing this on a few other blogs, to select a few days a week that are solely devoted to some of my favorites interests.

As an avid reader, naturally I needed a book blog day. Sundays are my big reading day most weeks and I liked the title from my first book blog about Shantaram. so here is installment number 2.

So much of what I was reading reminded me of On the Road in a vague way. Really the two stories are quite different as are the authors styles, but I decided it was time for another read through on this one of my favorite books of all time. Sadly, I realized that my last copy (this happens frequently) had wandered off or is otherwise encased in one of my many boxes out in the garage so I had to pick up another one.

Yes, it was very sad to HAVE to go to a bookstore - haha!

I am only a few pages in, but as before I am so struck by Kerouac's easy…

On the menu tonight - French Onion Soup

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Oh look at the lovely color beginning on those onions. I posted the recipe for this lovely French Onion Soup a few days ago. I was a little worried as I started the process as I realized that it had been some time since I had eaten French Onion Soup and I began to worry about the flavor. There was no need to worry - it was fabulous, filling and definitely worth all the effort.

The initial prep - the cutting of the onions in particular was rather brutal. Thank goodness that I had help or I may still be trying to cut those little buggers. I was crying from the moment I get into the first onion and all its yummy juices started attacking me... but, oh how yummy.

We had it with a little cornbread and a lovely salad. Definitely not a weekly event, but I will definitely play with the recipe and make it my own.. mmmmm

A new adventure..

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There is an abandoned golf course near my house and I had never considered what great fun could be had biking along what used to be the path from hole to hole. Today, I finally decided to see what it had to offer. What I found was no less than a little piece of heaven just a few minutes away. While the paths are a little choppy in parts, in my imagination they were perfect. What used to be water traps are now delightful little ponds where ducks, swans and all manner of bird can swim. I think I have found new weekend fun!

Casting On...

After much discussion with my mom (some of it on the cranky side) I am now happily casting on my first project. It's still in that stage and I may cast on another time or two until I am happy with the the tightness of it, but I'm on my way!

Woo hoo!

Had a bad day..

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Today was a bad day. I mean one of those big, blow-out I need a good cry kind of days. It was not any one thing, but rather the culmination of a bunch of small things that all slammed together this afternoon.

On days like this I really miss the ocean. There is something so soothing about the ocean - the smell, the sounds, the whole thing. One of the places I lived in Alaska had this amazing beach. I spent alot of time here from the time I was young.

Today, I wish I was there, but this picture helps just a little. As will the sappy girl movies and ice cream I will be consuming shortly.

Can't wait for the weekend!

As I have the last couple of weeks, this weekend I am going to cook for my family and our friends. I am really excited about this weekend's selection, another soup, since if I do it well, it will be a great one to have in the back pocket so to speak. I swiped it from a search on All Recipes. It is called:

French Onion Soup XI

INGREDIENTS (Nutrition)

* 1/3 cup butter
* 10 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
* 1 quart beef broth
* 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1 bay leaf
* 6 slices French bread, toasted
* 3 cups shredded Gruyere cheese

* add to recipe box Add to Recipe Box
My folders:
* add to shopping list Add to Shopping List
* add a personal note Add a Personal Note

DIRECTIONS

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir and cook onions in butter until golden brown, 15 minutes.
2. Stir in the gar…

Picture this!

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Isn't it funny how a picture can make you remember so many things? I shot the above image on a really hot day and I was in a hurry there was a storm coming in. I find it fascinating that just looking at an image can bring all of that back. I can remember the heat on my back as I leaned in closer to the flower to get a better angle. I remember looking up the street at the dark clouds and wondering when they would be rolling over the house and drenching us (they were that dark and heavy). I remember the heaviness in the air, the mugginess. All of that from looking at one picture.

I just find it fascinating.

It's NaBloPoMo Time!

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Otherwise known as National Blog Posting Month. Don't worry if you didn't get started early, I just started last week. The premise is simple. Post a blog every day for a month. Some users have committed to 60 days or more, I am shooting for 30 days and am just a few days in.

If you want more information, check out the NaBloPoMo website here.

Happy Blogging!

Here is also another random photo from my trip to Washington...don't worry I wasn't driving:

Tonight's menu featured...

I am thinking of making cooking a big dinner a weekly event. I do not cook at all during the week. With working full-time and going to school nearly full-time, there just isn't enough left in me to go about it.

However, I made a lovely dinner last week and couldn't resist the opportunity to take another whack at it this week.

The menu: Freshly baked bread (love it!, Lentil, Barley and Sausage Soup (little recipe to follow) and Warm Cinnamon Bread for dessert.

We invited a couple of our neighbors over since I always seem to end up with a ton more than I started out making. I used to have dinner parties fairly regularly when I lived in Alaska and I have missed that, so this was great fun!

Lentil, Barley and Sausage Soup (modified from what was on the barley package)

You will need:
Onion - I used a full one
lentils - 1 cup
barley - 1 cup
Celery - I chopped up 3 of the stalks we had
can of diced tomatoes - flavor is up to you, I used onion and garlic seasoned
garlic - about 2 cloves worth

And the book goes on...

I have been reading Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. It was recommended to me by a friend of mine. The largest challenge has been finding the time. I am an avid reader and usually blast through books like they are nothing.

I think this one may have some kind of space-time-continuum-vortex thingy in the middle of it. It's roughly 1000 pages and I swear that I have been "halfway" through for weeks, but it doesn't seem to be making a dent! aaargh!

This said, it is a fabulous read. Roberts has an amazing way with words. At times, his descriptions border on the poetic even when he is describing such horrible things as prison torture and outbreaks of cholera. And laced through it all is a wonderful story of a man trying to find himself and the relationships he has with the people he meets along the way.

Like I said, I'm not finished with it yet, and I do not think I would recommend it to everyone, but it's really good for those that would appreciate it. I…

The one that got away...

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I had a great idea for today's blog. A really, really good one. Unfortunately, I was at work when the heavens opened and bestowed this wonderful idea upon me and I promptly forgot it. Apparently, there is a limit on how long the gifts remain. Guess it is time to start carrying a little notebook around for the next time.

This will just be the one that got away. Until next time.

Just so you are not left completely empty-handed, here is one of my favorite pictures from my recent visit to Washington State. This is a view of the Skagit River from along this trail by my aunt's house. Oh, how I long to be there again! =)

The sun also sets..

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For all that I whine about how much the desert is not where I want to be, there are a few redeeming qualities about this crazy burnt land. The first being the sunsets. There have been few places where they have been so beautiful.

There is something very magical about watching the sky go through this nightly metamorphosis. It is a rapid change from one shade of bright reds, oranges and yellows to darker and darker shades until it is completely gone.

I hope to carry a little of this magic with me through the rest of the week.

Holidays at Home - What a great idea!

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I just snagged this from another blogger friend of mine and it was a fabulous idea! It is a challenge of sorts, or I guess in blogging world, what you would call a blog-a-long, a group of bloggers writing about the same basic things. To get the specific details of this blog-a-long (isn't that fun to say) go the main blog Sew, Mamma, Sew!

It's not just a challenge but a blog chock full of all kind of wonderful hand-made ideas, something I have been meaning to do for years. I do not know if I have enough time to get many done this year, but I am certainly going to give it a whirl. There goes the rest of my free time!

Veteran's Day - Remembering where my dad has been..

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My dad went to Vietnam. He doesn't talk about it at all, but that's pretty common among his set. He has recently begun a massive negative scanning project including his Vietnam pictures. He bought the scanner mostly so he could scan and back up all of these images.

Recently, he sent the pic below, with his caption:

"me after I found out where I had volunteered to go, didn't think I would come back.
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I had my buddy take my picture just in case I was right."

That's verbatim from the email including the picture. Even though he never talks about it, I always think about him everytime I hear anything about war. Whether it's a historical discussion, or one about the modern events.

I am grateful for his choice to go. He enlisted instead of being drafted. And, I am most grateful that he returned. I wouldn't be here if he hadn't.

To all our soldiers, thank you.

My Ravelry.com invite has arrived!

Really, that is all I had to say. I have been waiting for a couple of weeks for it to arrive, so I am quite happy!

Find me on Ravelry - backwoodsknitter!

Catch ya online! =)

Let there be BREAD!

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This was round 2 of me vs the bread recipe that came with my Kitchenaid. Let me just say that I believe it came out beautifully and tasty too! Check out the pretty crust!



Round 1 did not go so well. I got a little anxious toward the end of the baking and decided the bread was done enough.. it is so hard to leave it in there when it smells so yummy!

I also went a little fancy and made pork roast with caraway and paprika, homemade applesauce, gravy and potatoes. Yummy homecooked food! I may have to do this more often!

Calling all newbie scarf patterns!

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I visited a great little yarn shop in Vegas yesterday called Gail Knits. It is in this sketchy looking looking strip mall and was a little difficult to find, but the people were nice. I have a couple of others on my list, but this one was the closest to where I was already going to be. They have an open knit any time the store is open and it was really full on Saturday, so that is encouraging as I may need their help if I can't find a group out here in Pahrump.

I wandered around and of course, fell in love with this soft, soft alpaca lovliness, but could not reconcile the price for my first project. Instead, I settled on this cashmere blend, that didn't give me sticker shock and seems promisingly soft for a lovely little scarf. After much discussion, I have a pair of bamboo needles size 9 to start with. Now to find a pattern that will look cute (though I'll wear my creation even if it is the ugliest thing on earth just because I made it) and will be fairly simple for …

Can't bear to have blank spaces...

I really haven't started anything fancy yet, but I can't bear blank spaces, so I'll put something in here.

In my brief little foray into the knitting world. I already feel like I am going to be learning a foreign language. k2, p2??? Hello, does that makes sense to the average person, not really.

Thank goodness, there are a multitude of resources available for the newbies. I have received some wonderful links from a good friend of mine and I also found a couple of promising looking shops over in Vegas for next weekend after payday.

For my first project, I am going to do a scarf. There are a number of reasons really. I love scarves; it should be relatively simple and it will be useful. If it goes well, I may start sending them as presents...

I was introduced to this wonderful thing called organic cotton and I am hoping I can find some in Vegas. Stupid me, I didn't stock up before flying back from Washington.

Friends beware, you may soon be flooded with all kinds of …

My adventures in knitting

Since I am primarily a babbler here.. I am starting a new adventure in knitting.

It might be awhile before anything interesting is here, but I thought it would be fun!

I will be adding some updates here soon as well from my fun filled Washington state adventure! =)