darn it!

i’ve been trying to use up yarn… i’m not really sure why, since i seem to buy it at a rate that it will be impossible to use up.
so, i have some half-skeins of cascade220 (my second favorite yarn) with which i started the loopy velez cowl from the first stitch n’ bitch book… after three attempts at getting the loop stitch to work, i finally found a video to guide me.
i kinda want to write debbie stoller and tell her to print errata for that pattern because the instructions aren’t well written.
after finally getting 10 or so rwos into the pattern a third time, i noticed that i had dropped some loops, or not secured them correctly… so i said, “eff it. i’m not going to wear this thing anyway.” and i tore it out.
instead, i’m starting these arm warmers that will hopefully get some use.

almost spring

even tho the chickens have been laying since thanksgiving, we had our first six-egg day this weekend. this picture is not of that day, but it’s close enough.
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nero, the one-year-feral, one-year-scared kitty is finally and slowly coming out of his shell. if he’s *just* sleepy enough, he’ll let us pet him. especially if alex is there to protect him for a little while.
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here he is, basking in the morning sun. it was too early to get much closer than this.
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water bill

my water bill for the second half of last year went up by about $40. i’m not sure how much of that is due to annual increases in city costs, but i think a majority of it has to do with all of the food-making and subsequent dish-washing we’ve been doing.
i recently bought artisan bread in five minutes a day. they claim you just make a whole ton of wetter-than-normal dough and keep it in the fridge all week. then just pull off a clump and gluten cloak it and you’re set! so i gave it a whirl on saturday with successful results.
last night, i was determined to use up the rest of the dough, so we needed to come up with a dinner plan that involved bread. soup was decided upon. soup-dipped-bread was perfect for how ding dang cold it was last night. out came the pizza peel.
i figured i might as well make some “chicken” seitan to go in the soup. out came the pressure cooker.
and why not make homemade noodles to go in that soup? out came the rolling pin.
the bread was perfect; so much so that i intend on getting a 5qt cambro and lid to keep dough in the fridge.
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the stove was kept busy with pressure cooking the seitan, starting the soup broth, and making tea for matt.
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the noodles were unimpressive, tho.. i followed mom’s recipe but needed to add another egg because it was too dry (maybe that was my problem), and the whole wheat flour probably didn’t help. i’ll try it again… my heart wasn’t really in it since i had been standing, mixing, plopping, baking, and otherwise occupied for two straight hours.
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next time, i’ll plan better and not try to do everything.
but, i still have to do the dishes.

good enough

i went to visit my sweets at the tavern last night, and i brought along one of my new cookbooks, featuring indian slow cooker foods. it made me hungry just looking at all the legumes and spices and spinach, so when i got home, i fired up the ol’ pressure cooker, sautéed some onions, threw a hunk of frozen spinach in there, sorted some red lentils, threw in a bunch of spices and brought that puppy to pressure. five (!) minutes later, i had dal. and, it was the best dal i’ve ever made. the lentils got a little too mushy, i think i could have turned off the heat around two minutes and it would have been just fine.
and now i have a delicious soup for lunch, too.

addiction

i’m not really sure how it happened.
one day i had three or four vegetarian cookbooks, some old vegetarian times magazines, and the joy of cooking (an excellent encyclopedia).
now i have many.
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and three more are being delivered today.

pressure cooker part deux

i made gyro seitan on saturday for my lunches this week, and i decided to try using the pressure cooker instead of the steamer (for an hour) or the oven (for 3 hours)… i guess, aside from the time savings, another selling point is that the pressure cookers don’t use up so much energy. it worked out well, i’m happy to report.
i saw a video this morning, which highlights all the elements to look for in a pressure cooker. unfortunately, it came two weeks late, and it appears that i’ve chosen the exact opposite of what i should have.
i got a 6-quart aluminum with a pressure indicator that you have to lean over to see, when i should have gotten an 8-quart, stainless steel cooker with an indicator that i can see from across the (albeit, not very big) kitchen.
so, i have this puppy on my wishlist save-for-later list. i know it’s also 6-quarts, but i’m not browning meats in the bottom, and if i have some strange desire to sautée four large onions before cooking something, i’ll pull out the frying pan.
i’m not going to purchase the new one just yet, i need to make sure the pressure cooker earns its keep in my kitchen before i commit to a second one. come on, i’m not *that* crazy.

under pressure

after loving my slow cookers and rice maker, i decided it was about time to see what all the fuss was with pressure cookers; so i ordered one from amazon. the cookbook i ordered came yesterday.
since i was home sick (migraine, other cyclical issues), i took the opportunity to read through the book. so far, i’m a little disappointed. maybe it’s because i’m not a hurried, over-scheduled parent who doesn’t have time to make dinner, maybe it’s because i don’t have to get a roast done in 10 seconds, maybe it’s because i plan out my meals pretty carefully, or at least can throw together something edible in a pan on the stove.
so, for the first run, i pressure cooked some garbanzo beans in order to make hummus. they turned out really well, and the hummus, too. but i’m still not impressed… it takes a little more than some beans to impress me. and i like beans.
so, i’ll let you know.

bleh

i was going to bore you with some story about how my monthly cycle is totally predictable and kinda cool to pay attention to. and how i wish i knew how to predict myself during my jr high and high school years. and how someone should really tell all of those girls that it’ll be ok and every single woman in the world has to deal with it. unless you’re an over-exercised gymnast or the victim of some unfortunate circumstance.
but, instead, i’ll tell you that i’m knitting a lot, enjoying the winter cooped up in the house with the warm laptop, my sweets, and dogs, making lots and lots of yummy food, putting up with the kitties that stalk the parakeets, and otherwise simply enjoying life while hoping that all my friends and family are doing the same.
here’s some quiche i made because we were overflowing with eggs:
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it’s crustless, and my first quiche ever. maybe it doesn’t count as quiche since i didn’t bother with a crust? it was really simple, anyway. i just mixed everything together and poured it in a pan. delicious.
here’s the minestrone soup i made for lunch this week. i wish i had added more spinach, but if i had, i wouldn’t have had any for the quiche! serendipity.
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pizza

we were lazy last night, and i didn’t feel like making anything since i’d spent the afternoon putting together a minestrone soup in the slow cooker.
we had received a flyer in the mail for a pizza place that we hadn’t tried before… so we thought we’d give it a go. opting for the “spinach classic” which claimed to use fresh spinach and garlic. they were having a 14″ deal for just a dollar more than the 12″, so i went for it. we also got the dinner salad with two dressings, to split.
the lettuce was rubber. i bet it could have doubled as an example salad on the counter by the register. in fact, i wouldn’t be surprised if that is where it was before the delivery guy grabbed it.
i have always contended that you can’t really eff up a pizza; i was proven wrong. it tasted like they used frozen creamed spinach and a tube of garlic paste.
and they charge $3 for delivery!

an update

facebook has made it too easy to ignore my blog… which kinda stinks because there are things that i’d like to document that are silly to put on facebook, cuz, who cares?
one of those things is that the chickens are hating this weather. it’s -2° today and i think the high will be 6°… the tips of their combs are turning a light tan, which is the start of frostbite, and their water heater has formed a crust of ice around half of the top of the bowl… i guess it wasn’t really meant for chickens, it *is* a dog water bowl. despite the cold, they’re still producing eggs. we got four yesterday, although one had frozen and cracked.
i’ve been working on a new craft… i’ve always wanted to make a duct tape wallet, but never really had the gumption. after an office event on wednesday provided some fancy patterns of tape, i started making them for co-workers! here’s one:
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the kitties are getting along famously… burnie keeps the guys young.
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however, she’s started to make funny noises and roll around on the rug in a weird way. we think she’s in pre-heat… so we need to get her in to be fixed. hopefully next friday. i’ll have to call the vet today.
the other night, martin tried to comfort her:
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which was nice, because her little coos were starting to get annoying.