Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Spunky Eclectic Fiber Of The Month Club, September - Aspen.

The camera did not pick up what a wonderful sheen this stuff has. OK, the camera probably has that capability, it is the photographer who is lacking skills. The yarn is a Merino/Tencel blend. Soft and shiny, lovely to look at and hold. There are only 2 ounces so I am not sure what to do with it. I wonder if there is enough to make some lacey wrist warmers? Maybe a pretty headband? Only I do not wear headbands, so that means I would have to give it away. I do not think I want to give it away.

December Spunky Club should arrive this week. Last STR club also. Yahoo!

Remember that whole What Was I Thinking When I Agreed To Make A Pair Of Leg Warmer's For Youngest Daughter's Giraffe Legs? She has used the yarn to make her very first sock. I am pretty pleased. If she sits right down and makes the match I will know she is on her way to becoming a fellow Sock Knitter. How great would that be?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

this week's dinners

Youngest Son's birthday. He does not want a cake, or a pie, or doughnuts, or pudding or anything else that you can think of. Instead he asked for pretzels. Big, soft pretzels. For both dinner and dessert. He is so cool.

Matzo Ball Soup

I do not have a written down soup recipe, I always make it up as I go. The Matzo Balls come from the back of the Streits Matzo Meal box. I beat everything longer than I think it needs and use bubble water instead of plain water.

Sloppy Joes aka Snobby Joes

Vegetarian Cassoulet
noodles or rice

This is the only empty calendar day this week. I will play this one by ear. Because there is nothing on the schedule for this day, I have time to make an elaborate meal. Because there is nothing on the calendar for this day, I may prefer to knit all day and bring home a pizza. There is no way to know until the days arrives.

Husband will not be home for dinner

Pasta w/Marinara Sauce and fake meatballs
Braised Greens

2 new recipes, I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Monday, December 17, 2007

the last birthday of the year

It is Youngest Son's birthday. He is beyond excited. Husband is at work and most of the present opening will need to wait until he arrives home. But to keep things from getting too ugly he is able to open the present from our neighbors. These are the neighbors from Denmark, whose own kids and grand kids are very far away. They spoil our kids something fierce and we love them. This is now in the house. Talk about cool!

I have finished spinning 4oz of Spook. It is possible I will not have enough for the Invisibility Shawl. (the little boy has the shawl on his head) If not, I have another 4 oz braid I can spin. I will wait and see. It would be nice to use the other braid for something else.

I am very happy with the results.

The Leaf & Sand Dollar Shawl is getting bigger and bigger. It has moved to the Loopy bag and my next task today will be to order longer cables. Yeah, yeah, I should have ordered the longer cables last week. I am so good at denial.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

its all good

Here it is 10:14 on a Saturday night and I am actually bored. Boy does it feel great. I can not remember the last time I had enough time to feel bored.

Presents are wrapped. The shawl has grown by 20 more rows and is resting from such hard work. The current spinning is done and hanging over the heating vent to dry. I have just caught up with my favorite knitting blogs and ogled my future spinning wheel. Now what? I even did some Girl Scouts work, that is all done until January.

Picture me, whistling, twiddling my fingers, looking out at the lights on the island...

I think I will go start a new spinning project. That would be better than sitting here trying not to order a spinning wheel.

Friday, December 14, 2007

holy crap

I just spent $95 mailing packages and I still have one left to send out. Perhaps it is time to have a conversation about continuing this whole Christmas present exchange thing. It may make more sense for people to purchase another present for their household then to spend extra money on shipping. Maybe we could send pictures of what we would have purchased for them and they can decide if they would indeed like that to be at their house? They could use the money they would have spent shipping a gift to us and visa versa. I think this idea has some merit.

Wednesday’s dance class gave me 9 more rows of lace. I am really loving this shawl. The yarn is so soft and is knitting up beautifully. The pattern is just enough to keep me interested. I am using considerably less yarn that I had calculated. I am almost done with the leaf repeats and am also almost done with the first skein of yarn. So I have altered the plan. I will knit leaf repeats until I have used 2 skeins. Switch to the sand dollar repeats with the third skein and begin the edging when it is time for skein 4. Yes, this will be a big shawl. It will be glorious!

I do not want to take the knitting off the needles and pin it out to get a good picture. You will have to take my word for it that all is well. It is currently on 32""cables and I hope it does not need to go up another size. I suppose that is me practicing denial and I should pull on my boot straps and order longer cables. The project no longer fits comfortably in a little project bag. The only other knitting bag I own is a big Loopy Groupie bag, which feels too big.

No more knitting will be done today. Boys begin arriving at 4 for Youngest Son’s birthday party.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

what's cookin'

When I was first married I could not cook a can of tomato soup. Really! I burned it every time. Some of you may be asking how this happened. Well, home cooked food never really happened at my house as a child. My mom was single, she was dating in the evening. She would pick me up from Hebrew School, we would hit the closest fast food, she would get me settled in at home and then head out for the evening. Seems strange now, but not so strange then. BTW, we did not keep Kosher.

As a young adult/college student I did not cook. I ate out all the time. Crappy food, but what did I know? See above fast food upbringing.

As young married people we also ate out all of the time. Better food, but still...

As a bride, Husband and I talked at length about raising children. We knew that we wanted one of us to stay home with the the baby(s). His job was WAY more conducive to raising a family, so it became me who stayed home. When making this decision it did not occur to me that I would be cooking.

The whole learning how to cook thing was not good, (this was WAY before Food Network). I checked out books from the library that told me to do things I did not know how to do. It was really hard. But I pressed on. After many years I felt I could hold my own in the kitchen, We began entertaining and before you could say, "come on over " our house became the go to spot for any celebration,

~Picture me here, doing the touch down dance, spiking the ball.~

Now, MANY years later I find that I am bored with cooking. I have been putting dinner on the table for 18 years and I am just plain tired. But there are still hungry people in the house to deal with, so I soldier on. We have a new dietary issue in the house, that makes for a new challenge, which I enjoy.

Background...2 vegetarians, 1 lactose intolerant, 1 MSG allergy, 3 who blissfully eat anything they want but are vocal about like and dislikes. GGGRRRR.

Here is what is cooking the week. If I take recipe word for word out of a book, I will list the reference, but not the recipe. Check it out from the library. If I have made the dish up, or sufficiently altered a recipe, I will post it. Hope this works for everyone. If not, let me know.

I have been making this recipe for years. I have to admit that I no longer use the
actual recipe and now make a doublish amount. Very rarely are there leftovers.

4 cups grated, russet potatoes
1 onion, grated
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper

Mix it all up and fry in olive oil. Using your hands pull 2-3 tablespoons of the potato mixture out of the bowl. Plunk it into the hot oil and spread it out a bit. Not so thin that you will burn your fingers, but not so thick that it will not cook through.
About half way through the batch you will notice a lot of moisture collecting at the bottom of the bowl holding the potato mixture. At this point I put what is left into a colander to drain. I know some people actually wrap their potato in paper towels to remove moisture. I feel that also removes quite a bit of starch and the starch is what gives the middles a creamy texture. Just drain it, its fine.

Don't buy it, this is so easy. If you have teenagers at home get them to peel the apples.

5 apples - any type will work, the more variety the better
1/3 cup unfiltered apple juice
2 tablespoons honey (I never use it)
a sprinkle of cinnamon (if you are so inclined, I never am)

Peel and quarter the apples and put them and the apple juice into a glass dish with a cover. Vent the cover slightly and microwave on high 10 minutes. An immersion blender works great here, but a food prosessor will also do the trick. Blend it to the texture you would like, chunky, smooth, whatever you like.

Sour Cream
Non-dairy will work if that is an issue at your house. Because of the MSG allergy we can
not use the off the shelf fake sour cream. The Uncheese Cookbook has a good recipe.
For me, latkes are special and I am willing to use the real stuff. Lactose Intolerant boy will not eat either variety, so we are good.

leftover roast chicken

I am not comfortable cooking or touching meat. I buy Lloyd's pre-sauced and bake them
in the oven. The carnivores approve and I do not get my hands dirty,

1 pound wide noodles, cooked
1 small onion, diced fine
1/4 cup butter, non dairy is fine, Earth's Best Vegan Non-Hydrogenated is my favorite
6 eggs, beaten
salt & pepper

While the noodles are cooking saute the onion in a couple tablespoons of butter. Let them get nice and golden. Once the noodles are done toss them with the remaining butter, add the onions and eggs and salt and pepper. Stir at all around and pour into a baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so. Uncover for the last 15 minutes to just barely brown the tips of the pasta.

I like it lightly sauced. If you prefer more, go right ahead.

1 small head of cabbage, sliced thin
1-2 carrots, shredded
2 green onions, sliced thin
1 jalapeno - seeds and stems removed, diced very fine
1/4 cup mayo - fresh, fake, whatever you like
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
salt and pepper
Mix the vegetables. Whisk up the sauce. Toss.
Not so good the next day, so just make as much as you think you will need.

Wednesday's are hard because we walk in the door from dance class at 7:15ish. I need to make most of the meal in the afternoon. I made the hummus early in the day and put pita in the oven to warm and salmon burgers on the stove as soon as I walked in the door. We were eating 15 minutes later.
2 cans garbanzo beans
1/3 cup olive oil, as tasty as you can afford
3 tablespoons tahini
3 cloves garlic
juice of one lime
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
lots of salt
water to thin if needed

Pulse the beans in a food processor then add the olive oil. Get the mixture fairly smooth then add in the other stuff. Keep scrapping down the sides and processing until the Hummus is very smooth and creamy.

Salmon Burgers
I purchased the Salmon Burgers from You could make your own.

Potato and Kale Enchiladas
This recipe is in the new Veganomicon by Isa Moskowitz. She is a genius!
I make them in the pressure cooker, adding salt and 2-3 whole jalapenos at the halfwayish point.

I am using Angel Hair
Quinoa Croquettes with Mushroom Sauce
Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse. Its own flavor is quite bland. That means it can easily be mixed in with other flavorful things to make healthy, tasty meals. I have made this recipe before, it is quite good. I am thinking that this time I made add a bit of pureed chipotle to the croquettes.

I do not plan Saturday and Sunday meals. This leaves some flexibility in my schedule. Maybe we decide to have friends over. Maybe it is a nice day and we feel like BBQing. Maybe we take off for the day. Maybe the fridge is stuffed and we need to eat some leftovers. Maybe one of the days I planned I was too damn tired and/or stressed out to cook and we have ingredients for that meal still sitting around....We eat for 7 days on a 5 day plan all of the time.

So what are you cooking for dinner? I can use some inspiration.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I am up late when I should be sleeping. I guess I am feeling a bit of the Holiday Stress.

The extended family is all done and wrapped. I need to get things into boxes and then stand in line at the Post Office. That will be done Wednesday or Thursday. Mostly it is the kids I am working on right now. In the past we have stuffed stockings and given one gift to each child. This year I am afraid it will be 2 gifts per child. Only because I did some shopping before making my list and speaking with Husband. I am having a hard time with Youngest Daughter. She is the hardest one to shop for. She is so practical and at the same time the things she wants are quite expensive. Now that I think about it, that means she takes after me. Bummer.

Oldest Daughter's big gift is/are tickets to Mark O'Connor's string extravaganza. I bought 2 tickets, center orchestra row L. She will love it.

Oldest Son's big gift is a sporran to wear with his kilt. I thought I would buy him a Utilikilt instead, but their base model is $140! He can wear his new sporran with his old kilt.

Youngest Daughter? She has asked for a PDA. Tonight I learned that Riverdance tickets go on sale Friday. I will probably buy the tickets, but then what will her small gift be?

Youngest Son is so easy. He chose a Playmobil Pirate Set the last time we were at the toy store. I am also planning to purchase a leather jacket for him, a la Indiana Jones. He will be in heaven.

I am not a shopper. Would rather poke needles in my eyes than go to a mall. Most of our shopping is done with local artists or online. One of our favorite places to buy gifts for grown-ups is Bedrock. Boy did we drop some money there this year. So some of the stress is coming from the actual shopping. I am not a good consumer. Spending money makes me cranky. Then there is the whole time factor. My days are jam packed. Now I have to add shopping into those days. There is not time for all of this.

No knitting or spinning took place from Thursday through today. Today is a 2 dance class day. That equaled 20 rows of lace. 20! Oh yeah, it feels good.

Tomorrow I will post my menu plan for the week.

Monday, December 10, 2007

holiday music

Before I get to the music...

A favorite dyer is offering a fiber of the month club. She only opened it to 6 people, as of this typing it is down to 4. I have spun her stuff a couple of times and LOVE it. If you are inclined to join a club, this has the potential to be a great one. Dragon Fibers.

Just now, I began my holiday music list and hit what I thought was the TAB key, but in reality must have been CAPS LOCK or CAPS LOCK and something else. It made the computer go dark and lock up. My computer NEVER locks up. Be careful out there people.

Favorite Holiday Music:
Christmas - old
Christmas with the Rat Pack
looking up the link for this disc gives me LOTS more to investigate
Charlie Brown Christmas
Ella Wishes You a Swinging Little Christmas

Christmas - new
Brian Setzer - both
Los Straitjackets-Tis the Season For
Raul Malo - Marshmallow World

The Leevees-Hanukkah Rocks
Kenny Ellis-Hanukkah Swings

Bare Naked Ladies-Bare Naked for the Holidays
The sweetest new Hanukkah song and the Elf's Lament ("I make toys but I
have aspirations..."). LOVE this disc.

What are your favorites?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

a funny thing happened

Oldest Daughter is 18 and has 1 1/2 years of college under her belt. She is a fine and wonderful person. I am excited for her to go out into the world, sow her oats, find her niche, make her mark... this is going to happen at the end of the summer. She will probably not go to university close to home. She will probably go to university abroad. I have been totally OK with this, until this afternoon.

This afternoon Oldest Daughter was late to return home. I was not concerned until I realized that she did not have a phone. Dad had the black phone and the silver phone was on my desk. I had not seen her since 7AM when she walked out the door with a grunt. Did she need me? Would she ask a stranger to use their phone? Did she have money? Had she eaten? Was she stranded? Did she need me and I was not there? This is a bad feeling for a parent to have. REALLY bad.

It was time to leave with Youngest Daughter for a dance class, but I could not leave without knowing that Oldest Daughter was safe and sound. I told the kids I was going to see if she was stuck at the transfer station. I took a phone in case she showed up. The drive to her transfer spot was not good. My imagination ran wild and I was full of the fear that she needed help and I was not there to help her.

Yes, she was there. She had missed 4, count 'em 4, buses that afternoon and was doing her best to limp her way home. She was fine. Hungry, tired, pissed off, but fine.

Me? Not so good. If this is the reaction I have to her being "on her own" while 5 miles from home, how am I going to cope with her being an 18 hour plane ride away?

I am going to need a Passport. And lots of wine.

Happy Hanukkah/Birthday

I love the first night of Hanukkah. Opening the new boxes of candles. Setting out bags of gelt for the kids. Latkes. MMM latkes.
A few months ago Youngest Daughter switched dance studios. The studio is fairly new. They have lots of kids in the beginner program, but only 4 in the advanced program. We are slowly getting to know people. Turns out that one of the other families is Jewish, so we had three girls with bellies full of latkes at dance last night. This may not seem unusual to people living in New York, or LA, but here in Jewish free Edmonds it is pretty remarkable. If Edmonds had a golf course it would probably be restricted!

Things have changed a bit in my knitting world. How? No socks. I am officially in a sock free period. For quite a while I have been winding balls, casting on, hating it and frogging. Over and over. Clang! OK, I get it, I need to stop socks for a while.

All last week I worked only on the Russian Stole and spinning. I got up early this morning to finish up page 2 of the pattern.
I am at the halfway point!

It is so exciting to move from the wrinkled marked up page
to a clean shiny copy.

And spinning? I am spinning so that I can start The Invisibility Shawl as soon as the Russian is done. There is a good weeks worth of spinning left. I will take pics when it is finished.

This no sock thing left me with a dilemma. What am i going to carry around to dance classes and doc appointments if socks are on hiatus? Another shawl? What else am I going to do with all this socks yarn?

This one is my own design pulled from Evelyn Clark's Knitting Lace Triangles. A good travel project in its earlier stages. This yarn is so nice. REALLY! The colors are knitting up beautifully and it is super soft. Oceanwind Knits, fingering, Vancouver Island. I purchased the first 2 skeins from Loopy Ewe and ordered the next 2 skeins directly from the dyer. Lovely.

Today is Oldest Son's birthday! I have a pie to make. He requests pies, not cake for his birthday. Beef Stroganoff is his dinner of choice, he has a thing about mushrooms. Last time I made this dish I did the sauce part the same as always but instead of the normal sliced steak I threw in some veggie meatballs. He never knew the difference and it turned into a meal the whole family would eat. I get a little thrill when that happens.

There are also cookies to be made today and delivered tonight to our neighbors. That means a full day in the kitchen. Better put on the tea kettle.