29 June 2009

28 is great.

Happy birthday wishes to Miss Birgit! Hope you have a Birgilicious day! (And I know you will {because I'll be there he he he he}!) Here's to a delicious 28th year. xoxoxo

25 June 2009

Not if we jam it.

I wanted to make jam, freeze fruit and herbs, and can last year. Did I? Noooooo. This year, I have no excuses (and I'm knitting now, so I should be canning, too, right?). So Wednesday, Lisa and I hit the very very hot and steamy Farmer's Market and I snagged a ton o' strawberries (which I almost forgot to pay for; luckily I realized what I'd done a few minutes later!) to make... jam! For my first time out, I decided to make freezer jam. I kept it super simple and followed this recipe. All told, I was with the jam in about 45 minutes, including cleaning and chopping time (occasionally interrupted by kitchen dance party time with Heidi and George).

All you need. Well, this, and a buttload of sugar.

Beautiful berries.

The most time-consuming step of freezer jam.

Smelled SO good.

Ta-dah! (...and I even had a baggie full of extra jam)

The jam had to sit at room temperature for 24 hours (luckily I'd finally given in and let Brad turn on the AC), then I moved them all to the freezer this afternoon. Seriously, couldn't have been easier. And now that I feel more confident in my skillz, I'll try out some more real canning projects as the summer progresses. Can't wait to try my hand at tomatoes. Mmm.

Quick shopping alert....

Sunday we needed some ice cream to slop some delicious fruit salad on top of, and I stumbled upon a) super cheap ice cream sale (score!, b) tart honey frozen yogurt! Hello? Yum! Lemon and honey -- I was sold on the spot. Did it go so well with the fruit? Um, no. BUT I am still excited to discover this new flavor. The lemon is very very mild, and who doesn't love honey? (Sara, I am STILL using the ice cream scoop you got me for our hs graduation! Best evs!)

Sale at Old Navy! Sale at Old Navy! Like SALE sale, not "oh oh we're having a sale but one thing is 5% off!" There are oodles of items for $5 and tons of stuff 50% off, and not just the crap that they have on the typical sale racks toward the back. We're talking $5 bikini pieces, tanks, sleeveless tops, khaki shorts, sweatpant shorts -- I don't even know all that was 50% off. And the size ranges seemed pretty good (ON sales tend to be only really small or really big sizes). No clue when the sale started or when it ended, though, so you better get your booty over there asap.

24 June 2009

Beat it, pickle.

This pickle is sad he is not allowed on my plate.

...cutest stuff ever! (Bittersweet Friends)

21 June 2009

A stitch in time.

I've been home from Colorado since Tuesday, and I sure miss my Jessica. And the whole Ryan troupe! It was great to see everyone, and I am ever grateful for their endless hospitality. Hugs and kisses to them all! The trip started off with an eager, full-on running hug greeting from Jack (once Jess and I determined how we could both be underneath the Alaska Airlines sign at the airport and not see each other [opposite floors!]) and the love just continued from there. Mountain trips, nature viewing, storm dodging, and lots of just-being-togetherness ensued. It was the perfect trip.

On the front porch of the Stanley Hotel

At Barr Lake State Park

What else did we do, you ask? Go ahead and take a peek (if everything works as it should, click below for the full photo album)!


Oh yeah, and we knitted!

Jessica taught herself to knit ages ago and I've been jealous ever since. She sent me a knitting care package this winter, and I tried to teach myself. Birgit gave me a lesson this spring, which definitely helped (thanks, Birgy!), but I still couldn't quite get the technique down.

My plane landed around 11:30 or 12 last Friday. I would say by 1 Jess had me knitting into the round! First up, a baby hat for Tracy and Fred's newborn, Owen. And I'll be damned, if I wasn't finished with the hat by Sunday morning or so. :) Now... I had Jess sitting next to me all weekend to help, fix, etc., so will I finish my next project with such ease? We shall see. Monday she took me to Michael's to get a few supplies to start my next project, a shawl for me.

Yeah for hat!

Fast forward a few days and a few trips to a real yarn store (oh la la), and I am now the proud owner of my own (sort of) stocked knitting bag! I even added a mini bag to hold my needles and markers. I feel so serious!

*thanks to Lexi's for the free and perfectly sized and shaped bag!

I've been working on my shawl, practicing my straight needle work, and experimenting with different types of yarn. This is my cute cotton yarn/carry around in my purse project (it's a few inches long now -- I am so pleased with myself!):

I took a picture of my shawl project to post on Ravelry (Facebook for knitting, sweet) and was able to see some mistakes I'd made (I don't know how to fix them myself!) and the more I thought about it, the more it bugged me, even though I plan to keep it for myself. So after a nap yesterday (I've been falling asleep, dreaming about, and waking up thinking about knitting), I decided I would finish the super secret project I'm working on, then I would go back to the shawl and start over with some fuzzy yarn (I've also been rethinking the color [black]). This new hobby couldn't have come at a better time, either -- Brad's been watching golf ALL weekend. But do I care? Nope. I can just knit knit knit away and he can watch his boring golf! :)

One last thing before I get back to my project... My nephew Jordan turned FOUR on Friday. Four!!! WHAT a sweetie he is (even when he's pouting, ordering me to get away from him, and making me chase him to take photos).

19 June 2009

A decade in.

Who'd a thunk that fateful night when Amy, Brad, and I went to Necto (rather, the Nectarine) that our lives would never be the same? Specifically, that after Brad and I shared that dance to Milli Vanilli that our lives would never be the same? And here we are, 10 years later, and I wouldn't change a thing. Happy 10 years, hubby! xoxo

18 June 2009

Burning down the house.

I just had a 10-minute "discussion" with my dad about ovens. Back me up here, peeps. Have you EVER heard of the "rule" that you "have" to leave the oven open while you use the broiler, lest risk setting your house on fire?? I have never ever heard of such a thing, have used many broilers many times, and I've certainly never started a fire in my oven. I have to assume this is something he learned in the '70s or something -- he's a little stubborn when it comes to change. I'm just curious if anyone has anything that backs up my dad's whackadooness!?

11 June 2009

El cheapo scrapo.

For any crafters out there, Scrapbook Memories in Chelsea is closing. Starting today, everything is on sale, and everything must go. The sale is running at least through next Tuesday; beyond that I don't know what days it'll be open or what the hours are (although I think the sale is meant to run until there's nothing left to sell). I wasn't expecting much, but Lisa Z and I headed out there this afternoon (me armed with $60 in gift cards -- score!) and were pleasantly surprised at how much stuff really was left. Paper is almost 50% off, stickers are all on sale, ribbons, pens, literally everything (including fixtures). They also still have quite a decent album selection left, as well as tools and stamps and other crafty mumbo jumbo I don't typically fiddle with.

When it comes down to it, I'm still not much of a scrapbooker, but I love paper and stickers, and I always find some project to use my stuff on, even if not actually for scrapbooking. So even if you're like me, it might be worth the quick trip out to Chelsea. For $60 (free for me! woohoo!), I got 30+ sheets of paper, ~10 sticker packages, a sheet of cutouts, a few journaling blocks, a brown pen, and a glue stick. Here are just a few of my faves -- like I said, I'm a total sucker for paper... Sigh... :) (Lisa made out with about the same, so it wasn't even just me, FYI!)

I have no idea what I'll do with this, but I love Pepe!

Love my loot!

10 June 2009

Target alert.

Yes, I spend a lot of time at Target.

How cute is this? Personal lunch set, with divided box and reusable fork and knife! They also had a personal salad set, very similar, but including a built-in dressing container. Now, in theory -- not that big of a deal. There's a whole aisle of this stuff w/ the Tupperware. BUT... this is $2.99!! I couldn't pass it up. Plus, it's blue and green, so Brad's boss (who calls him Peaches) might lay off on the lunch bag taunting (it's just orange!): "What's with that sissy bag?"

Also noteworthy -- Target's new summer lines of picnic ware, which include a Summer of Love theme and are absolutely adorable. I could barely resist the plastic cups with floaty glitter and pictures of '70s camper vans (of which I of course can't find a pic). If I were the proud owner of, say, a brand new deck (I'm looking at you, LZ!), I might be in the market for some fun new schtuffs!

Flame drink dispenser! How cute is that?!
Finally, there are a few racks of 50% off bathing suits, with each piece ~7.50. They seemed to have a decent variety of sizes and designs left, including a super cute white and red polka dot suit and a surprisingly cute sailor theme suit.

Back in the game...?

So maybe that was the hump I needed to get over... Just logging on and getting in here. Changing things up helped a little, too. Props to Rachel for finding and suggesting Picnik, which is the world's coolest photo editing (free [mostly]) software (photo finishes, frames, text, graphics); finally getting a real header made me happy and want to play on here. I still feel this weird twinge, but I'm trying to ignore it. Because it's just dumb. There are no rules about what this blog has to be, so I guess I'll just see where it goes....

As for now... I'm currently obsessed with rhubarb. Or should I say was, as I think my lucky grab at Arbor Farms yesterday was probably really really the last of it for the year. I've never cooked with it, but I'd been thinking about it for a while. My first attempt was a crumb cake Sara sent me from SmittenKitchen, which was such a disaster I appear to have deleted the link in my pissed-offed-ness. This week I went for simple and made a strawberry-rhubarb cake, which turned out just perfect and was devoured in two days. I had a few stalks left over, and, combined with the package I found at the store, I had enough to test out a recipe I found in my new favorite cookbook, Desserts 1-2-3.
This book is great -- all the recipes only have three ingredients. Can't beat that! Anyway, I'd been eyeing the rhubarb-chocolate pudding recipe for a few days, and now I had everything I needed to make it. Which is to say, I had 2 lbs of rhubarb, chopped into 1 in pieces; 8 oz of chocolate chips; and 1 cup of sugar. I combined the rhubarb in a saucepan with the sugar and two cups of water; then I heated everything, at medium-high, for 15 minutes -- no stirring!

When it's done, and the rhubarb is soft, you stir in the chocolate chips until all melted and combined. That's it! The book has fancy serving instructions involving wine glasses (four servings), but I just poured it into a bowl to thicken up in the fridge.

Last night it was very saucey, so we just had a scoop or two on top of our rhubarb cake (Brad: "Can you OD on rhubarb?"). Now that it's had the evening to thicken up some, it's, well, thicker. Not quite the consistency of a regular pudding, but thick enough to consider it not a sauce. It's VERY rich. It's very chocolately. And, strangely enough, it tastes chocolate-cherry-y. It's also rare for me to say this, but I don't think I could eat a whole serving of this. That being said -- I think it is SOO tasty. And it will certainly get eaten. Oh, I bet strawberries dipped in it would be DELICIOUS. However it gets eaten, it will be, and it will be loved.

Next I hope to try the 3 ingredient, low-cal brownies.... And oodles of the fruit dessert recipes as more fruits come into season!

Of course, while I am on quite the dessert kick, we do still have to eat dinner. And while my dinners are on the underwhelming side lately, I do think I make quite the mean homemade pizza, so we've been having this once a week. And a few weeks ago, I found the greatest thing ever -- squeeze pizza sauce! I never used the full can of pizza sauce, and the leftover sauce always just ended up getting tossed. I've gotten a good 2.25 pizzas out of one squeezer.

Cheap, at Target (and Meijer and everywhere else, I am sure), and pretty tasty. My pizza doesn't have any complaints!

A few weeks ago I bought a bucket and planted myself three basil plants (two green, one purple), and we've had quite the surplus of fresh herbs, most importantly for pizza usage. Mmm. Thanks for not dying on me (yet), basil!

09 June 2009


Yes, I'm alive. As you know... because my handful of faithful readers have all asked me what the heck my problem is. :) I've told them, and now I'll tell you, even though them and you are the same -- I'm just not feeling it. While healthy again, my appetite hasn't quite been the same for a while now. I don't much feel like eating (except dessert, great), I really don't feel like cooking, and, quite frankly, thinking about writing about any of those has given me kind of a yuck feeling. Like when I was in high school and had surgery and had Green Day stuck in my head that whole night in the hospital -- it was a good 10 years before I could listen to them again. I guess this is kind of like that -- food + blog reminds me of the not-so-stellar winter I had of losing my job and being sick. The association is so strong I've nearly just deleted this several times, but that seemed a little melodramatic (plus, I've put nearly three years into this and I'm not quite ready to kill my baby). Things are ok -- don't get me wrong -- but things are different. And I'm still adjusting to the different. And I'm too busy stuffing my face with sweets to write. :) BUT.... that's not to say I'll never write again. So keep me in the back of your mind... and check back in now and again. And thanks again for caring and reading and being the awesome peeps you all are!!