Wednesday, September 14, 2011

nach Deutschland

Since we've now moved to Germany, there is a new blog. I'll figure out what to do with this one, but in the meantime, go here:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Berry-picking, this time with 100% more berries

A few weekends ago, we finally went back to the berry-picking site that we visited in winter. What a difference some sun and heat makes:

Shiny beads of yum

New surprise friend
Blackberries like whoa.
Straight up chillin'.

Not for picking. Just for photo-ops.

Oh, hi.

We got about a quart of blackberries for $7, and I made a blackberry cheesecake with some of them. I love this recipe - I used 1/3 fat cream cheese and added some blackberries on the top for decoration.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

me + sewing machine = ?

I have too much stuff. Some of it I can just banish; the rest of it needs a better, more compact home, that keeps it out of sight until it is actually needed. For example, whenever we are looking for a silly little document (the car registration renewal, for example) it is almost always hiding under a pile of my knitting crap.

Inspired by an idea for a knitting needle case on Design Sponge, I set to work. I was full of energy, and I do need a needle case, and aren't those photos pretty? It was one of those projects that seems like the best idea ever, and something that will definitely go well. I must go buy the canvas! I will measure and fold and calculate the things! I will dust off my sewing machine and just pick back up from where I left it in middle school  - sewing machines aren't that hard, right?

It's been a few weeks and it's finally done - sort of. It's full of crazy, drunken stitch lines, with loose ends everywhere. The canvas is uneven and I sort of forgot to consider backstitching to, you know, keep the threads in. However, it looks relatively cute and holds my needles. I'd love to find some number/letter stamps as shown on Design Sponge, and figure out other ways to add some details that cover up all the whoopsies. Hopefully this is just the first of many forays back into sewing machine projects. If enough people ask me if a kid that I'm babysitting made the needle case for me, I may direct my energies elsewhere.

And mom? Remember the Christmas where you got me the sewing machine, and while it was still wrapped up   I was convinced it was a Playstation, and then I opened it and it was not a Playstation and I threw a fit and refused to look at it for months and months? Sorry about that. For the record, sewing machines are definitely way cooler than video game systems. Unless we're talking about playing Mario Kart, which could make it a toss-up.

Monday, July 25, 2011

need some help with my Cuisinart

Does anyone know what this attachment does?

I call manufacturing defect. Off to check the warranty....

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Parking Lessons

Dear Ashley,

Since you did not leave any contact information (besides an adorable heart, which shows me how harmless and well-meaning you are), I can only post this on the internets and hope that it reaches you somehow. I know this means it may never reach you, since due to my husband’s ungodly parking job, you are most likely still driving around the city in 100 degree heat, searching desperately for a parking spot that suits you.

Maybe you can enlighten me: I'm not sure how I could be "taking two spaces" when the parking lot does not have “spaces.” It's a gravel wasteland with a lovely open dumpster in between. One parks where one can, generally away from the dumpster. I’m no rocket scientist, but basic physics will tell you that when cars leave, they leave a space that’s relative to their size, and that’s what is left for the next driver to work with. We parked as close to the adjacent car as we could; however, if you’re willing to fashion us some sort of mechanical pulley system for my car, perhaps we could park in a way that’s more to your convenience (Sideways? Generally up?). If you need my help, I’ve got some scotch tape and polyfill stuffing, and I can knit like a grandma on crack.

Putting aside the pesky semantics of a “space,” would you have left this note if I had a massive pickup that took up a lot of room? Like the one that happened to be parked right next to our car? Probably not. That truck has a gorgeous Confederate flag stretched across the back window, and stickers letting you know that the owner has a musket, and “these colors don’t run.” Perhaps out of fear and respect, you let that slide and moved on to a tiny hybrid that was clearly asking for trouble. If this is the case, I’d like to enlist your assistance. I’m considering getting some intimidating stickers for my car, and maybe you could help me pick out the ones that keep people like you away. I’m thinking something along the lines of “Original 40 MPG Gangsta,” “My Other Car DESTROYS the Environment,” or “Parks Like a Compact Motherfucker.” I’m totally open to brainstorming on this.

Regardless of our conflicting views on say, basic logic and how to interact with others, I wanted to thank you. You could have just as well left the note on any other car in that row, but you chose mine. I am honored that you decided that I was the one worthy of your teachings. I had never before considered how there are “alot” of cars and minimal parking. I myself have never had a problem finding a place to park in the lot in the year I’ve lived here, and if I did, I would just go back down to the street and grab one of the dozen spots that is always available there. I didn’t stop to consider people like you for whom the street just won’t cut it.

If you’d like, I can put out some traffic cones so that you can have the primo space downwind of the open-air dumpster. It’ll definitely mask the smell of whatever milk-based Starbucks drinks you’re always spilling all over the interior of your car and then bitching about on Facebook. You’ll also get to meet some really cool new bug species that will take up residence in your car. I’ll be vigilant about writing passive-aggressive smiley-face notes on any other car that dares to park there. We can make this work for you!

I also want to commend you on your problem-solving skills. By writing that note, you’ve cut to the heart of the “problem” (notice how I put the word problem in quotation marks? Let’s think about why I might have done that…) and ensured that you will always be able to find a place to park that is to your liking.

Please have a wonderful day as well, at least better than it was when you wrote that note,


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Spinach Gnocchi

These are mostly ricotta cheese, spinach, and eggs, with just a little bit of flour. It's a perfect meal for when it's too hot to eat much, but it still fills you up. The recipe is from my Bartlett Farm Nantucket cookbook, which I don't look at nearly as much as I should.

My photos skip a few steps in the middle, and then I almost forgot to take pictures before they were devoured, but here is an abbreviated version of the process:

Cook that spinach!

Eggs and cheese and stuff

Oh look, they're fully formed and baked and there is cheese on top. That was quick and painless. Time for eating!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

craigslist --> personals --> missed connections --> my apartment

Saw you in the kitchen last week - cat4bug

Dear squash bug,

We had fun the other night. I really liked chasing you until you flew onto the ceiling. Then you crawled away somewhere and we lost touch. I've been waiting, staring at random spots on the wall, hoping I'll hear from you again. I hope I didn't come off as too aggressive - I just really liked watching you crawl around and then knocking you off of things. I think we can make it work.

If you're interested in getting together again, shoot me an e-mail. Let me know what color my paws were. (You were gray and a bug).

Hoping to hear from you,

The cat

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cold Coffee? a good way. The ever-addictive Tastespotting led me to a recipe for coffee popsicles.

As good as these promise to be right from the recipe, they are actually even better if you stop before freezing the drink into popsicles. I tried some of the slushy wonderfulness right from the blender, and it puts a Starbucks Frappuccino to shame. Just the thing you may need to calm down from the stress of bathing suit shopping.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Let's all go to the movies

Before last night, I knew little about drive-in movie theaters. I had an idea that people would go there to do things in their cars that seemed vaguely inappropriate but not yet definable to the elementary-school mind. Also, sometimes they sing and sometimes they think they might be pregnant. (Thanks, Grease!) Also, there is a movie and one can probably buy snacks.

This scattered and strange understanding of drive-ins made me a little jittery as we waited in line for the gates to open to Hull's Drive-In in Lexington last night. Would everyone in the cars around us be "making out"? Or *worse*? Would we not be cool enough if we didn't do it, too? Does one sit in the car, outside of the car, on the car, in someone else's car? Where does the sound come from? Can I get it on my iPad?

It was a little refreshing to be out of our element due to *old* technology, rather than something new and flashy that those Twitterers use to e-message and do the internets. Also, we were particularly excited because it was a double feature of True Grit and Rango for only $6/person.

First step was to figure out what this alien sound device was:

After getting some onion rings and a lime Sno-Cone, we spread out blankets on the grass in front of the car to watch True Grit. And then the intermission movie:

Aside from a brief moment of panic*, the evening was really fun. Admission and snacks were cheap, and the company was wonderful. Having a pickup truck would have been nice - if we had crawled into the back of my aerodynamic little hybrid and tied down the hatch, we would have been left with about 3 inches of space through which to watch the movie.

*Important cultural note: No one is going to take you seriously if you leave the restroom, return to the now-dark parking lot with the second movie playing, and start running up to random families while sobbing and yelling that you can't find your husband. Not that anyone did. Maybe some people just had to quickly remind themselves of this important cultural note, before they found their car and there were yogurt pretzels and everything was okay.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Attack of the Scones

Scones are tricky. You can make them sweet or savory and put just about anything in them, but they need a certain consistency to be a hit. I recently made cheddar-rosemary scones and orange-ginger scones for a brunch. Both were good, though definitely not very scone-like. I cut them very small to make more of them and substituted ingredients left and right, either out of necessity or because I did not want to give any guests an instant heart attack.

Then, more recently, I made Ina Garten's maple oatmeal scones:

They were both crunchy and soft, and just sweet enough to earn non-biscuit status. They were the best I have tried to make so far. Oh, and the recipe calls for four sticks of butter and four eggs.

With scones, there is not too much you can do to make things healthier. They need butter, cold chunks of butter, and lots of it. If you're going to throw in fruit and yogurt and flaxseed instead, just go ahead and make yourself some wimpy muffins. Go on, get out. Scones don't have time for this healthy crap. They're busy getting all flaky and heavenly-like.

I'm not sure whether to hang my head in shame or pat myself on the back about this, but I've never successfully been able to follow a recipe like this completely. In the end, I used half margarine and half butter, and put in a tablespoon of corn starch and three tablespoons of water to replace one of the eggs. Of course, no one knew the difference and there were certainly no complaints. I have only my inner turmoil to remind me of how much better these scones could have been, if I could only be true to their origin. Namely, butter. So. Much. Butter.