Monday, December 22, 2008

So this is Christmas...

Or rather, it will be in a couple of days.

To be honest, this year is not what I had hoped it would be. Me and DW have been trying very hard to keep with the holiday spirit and maintain a level of cheeriness that we are accustomed to, but for some reason it just doesn't "feel" like Christmas to me. Maybe it's issues we've been having in the RL world having to do with a car accident that occured a month ago (well, accident is being nice. In reality it was a car slaughter since our car was parked when some stupid woman smashed into it head on...), or maybe it's just because of all the other troubles going on in the world around this time.

I really don't know any of that. All I do know is that this year, Christmas will be thrifty. Gifts will be handmade with inexpensive enhancements meant to personalize them, and hopefully everyone that receives them will enjoy them. I think they will. I like to think that my family prefers handmade seeing as those kinds of gifts really require more thought, time and care than just going to the store and buying them. And this happens to coincide with my decision to make the handmade pledge this year, so that's good news! However, me and DW have decide to hold off on exchaning gifts between us this year until the end of January. It's kind of sad, because I hate not giving my wife anything to open on Christmas...but in a way it's not.

I suppose in retrospect, despite my lack of Christmas spirit, I'm reminded of what Christmas really is about. It's not about toys and glitter, and all the lights and sparklies (although we do have lights and sparklies thanks to our pretty tree all lit up in our parlor), it's about family and friends and spending time with the people you care about. I may not get a gift from DW this year, but I will get my wife's company, and the fact that I have her is amazing to me, and I'm thankful for it. Also, we are getting a new puppy soon, so that, in a way , is a Christmas gift for both of us. I still plan on getting her at least some little stocking stuffers though, so that way she has something to enjoy from me. :)

So, on the handmade scene, I've been baking and candy-making up a storm. I'm going making my homemade marshmallows, some peppermint pinwheels , and some fudge.

So far, I've made the marshmallows and that's it...but the rest will be done in due time. I've got a couple of days. :) And if I can find the other box of gelatin I have kicking around somewhere, I'll be making some peppermint marshmallows with some crushed candycanes in them for additional gifts for family and friends that I couldn't afford to make baskets for.

On top of all that, I still have to make meltaways and pb&J sandwich cookies...dunno if they want me to make rolls or not.

So what the hell am I doing here? I gotta get cracking!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Busy Little Bee

That is me!!!! Life has been a flurry of activity this past week, including actual knitting activity! I've been cranking out the last-minute additions to Xmas gifts to beat the band and I finally have some photographic evidence of the fact, and I swear I'll include it shortly.

I've decided that while I shouldn't necessarily wait until the week before Xmas to actually go out and start shopping for presents, I'm really good at it. Actually, me and DW are good at it. In fact, we're so good that present shopping for roughly thirteen people only took an hour and a half and each gift still manages to portray that a lot of thought was put into every single one! It's great when stuff works out like that, isn't it? Now all I have to do is bake, make fudge and marshmallows and put together baskets...which isn't a big deal because DW is a genius when it comes to arranging things prettily. Odd isn't it, that for all my craftiness, I am incapable of artistically arranging gift baskets? Well, we all have our talents...

Anyway, on to the finished (or even semi-finished) gifts I've whipped up so far!

First on my list are Michael's Manly Mitts! I made these for my mom's boyfriend because he's one of the few grown men I know of that actually appreciates handknit items - and knows how to care for them! Last year I gave him this simple 4x4 rib scarf made out of this gorgeous chunky weight baby alpaca yarn and it still looks like it did when I gave it to him! So, here are the mitts.

Pattern Details
* Pattern: Boku Fingerless Gloves (Free Pattern Handout)
* Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Boku Colorway #60 - 1 skein
* Needles: US8 DPN - set of four
* Modifications:None
* Size Made:I made it exactly the way the pattern said to.

These mitts were literally cranked out over one single 8 hour period of time and were such easy knitting that I found I didn't have to pay too much mind to them until I got to the point where I had to start measuring. My attempts at matching up the stripes from glove to glove were a failure, as they usually are, but I thought I'd fouled it up a whole lot worse than I did, and when I saw the finished pair together I was relieved to be able to see that they did look like they came from the same ball of yarn at least. The Boku was a dream to work with, and I'm already plotting an entrelac stole knitted out of it for the future.

Next up, we have my brother's Big Head Hat. That's not the actual name of the pattern, but well, my brother has a sizeable noggin, so I thought that it was fitting.

Pattern Details
* Pattern: Helping Hat - Made in the Style of the Cranberry Hat
* Yarn: Plymouth Encore Chunky - Colorway 389
* Needles: US9 - 16" circs and US9 DPN's for decreasing
* Modifications: After the cables are finished, the designer recommends doing 19 rows of the ribbing, and I think I only did 12. My brother's head is big, but not pointy, and he likes his hats to fit quite snugly and I just had a feeling that if I made it as tall as the designer said to, he'd wind up with a point on top of his head.
* Size Made: Sized to fit my brother's head as best as I could without actually measuring it.

This took me no longer than three hours to whip up, and I did this while catching up on some old episodes of CSI and without a cable needle - which was surprisingly fun! I think I need to figure out how to do other types of cables without a cable needle as they can sometimes be awkward.

Third on my knitted objects list are yet another pair of fingerless mitts, intended to be made for my friend Faith, but inadvertently sized down for my shorter, stubbier hands. So, it looks like I have an early Xmas gift and I'll just have to make Faith another pair.


Pattern Details

* Pattern: Fetching
* Yarn: Wilfert's Verona in Colorway 60 (I think, couldn't tell, the label wasn't written in English)
* Needles: US6 DPN's
* Modifications: In order to conserve yarn as I wasn't sure I'd have enough to complete a full pair, I sized the hand down just a tad by only knitting three rounds above the thumb placement, and then only two rounds before the picot bind off. Also, I only knit two rounds for the thumb and then bound off. The result was a smaller, tighter fitting glove that was more suitable to my stubby fingers than Faith's...oops!
* Size Made: Basically the size the pattern recommends.

This yarn was a dream to work with and I love it's silky sheen! It's so soft, and so warm and just so mmmm...and the color is so rich! I'm secretly glad that I get to keep them because it would have broken my heart to give them away.

And finally, my most recent forray into last-minute gift knitting - a pair of footies for my friend Randi


Pattern Details

* Pattern: Cable Footies - "One Skein" by Leigh Radford
* Yarn: Universal Yarn Classic Worsted Tapestry in Rose Garden
* Needles: US8 DPN's - set of four
* Modifications: None
* Size Made: Size for a foot that wears a size 8 shoe.

Okay, normally, I hate yarns with a lot of acryllic in it, but I wanted to make something that was machine washable for Randi simply because she has a child and this child is not only energetic, but typically (and accidentally) destructive. So, just in case her little girl spills something on them,she can just pop them in the wash. And this stuff is nice and soft and not plasticky feeling - and the colors were so pretty I just had to!

My only issue with this pattern is that it knits up rather large. Not necessarily for Randi's feet, as hers are bigger and slightly wider than mine, but if I were knitting these for me, I'd drop down to a size 6 needle rather than stick with the size 8. That way I'd get a tighter fit. Still, these will do quite nicely for Randi and I'm sure she'll like them. Besides myself, DW and my mom, Randi and her boyfriend Ian are the only two people I would knit socks for. I just know that they'd appreciate them more than some of my other friends.

Ah well. In other news, I finally got my knit picks order in, and let me just say that the customer service people are excellent there! It turns out that I was waiting and waiting, when it was never gonna get to me that way at all seeing as the address part of my address went mysteriously they were shipping to just Apt 3 in Fall River Ma with no house number or street name at all! Silly me! Still, it's all here, and it's all lovely!


Yay for the swag! :D From top to bottom I have here: 2 skeins of Knit Picks Imagination in "Lost Boys, 2 skeins of Knit Picks Imagination in "Seven Dwarves", 2 skeins of Knit Picks Gloss Fingering in "Porcini", and 2 skeins of Knit Picks Palette - 1 in "Blue Note Heather" and the other in "Golden Heather".

I have plans for most of this stuff already. The Lost Boys are going to a pair of Zombie Socks[ravelry] for DW. She's obsessed with all things zombie and I know she'll love, love,love them. Plus, she won't have to steal the handknit socks I make for myself when she has her own! For the Gloss, I was thinking of making the Anniversary Socks [ravelry] from Favorite Socks. The color of the yarn is so elegant to me, and these socks just seem to scream elegance. Plus I think the pattern would look lovely in a pale, solid color.

Now the Palette is where I get sticky. See, the Golden Heather didn't look nearly so orange as it does in person...still, I think I'm going to plod through and hope for the best with what I have in mind for these two skeins. See, I've been itching to try colorwork, and a lot of people recommend starting off with Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts [ravelry]
, and at first I thought they weren't all that attractive. Yet I'd still go back and look at the pattern often and I'd admire other people's FO's in this pattern. Eventually it grew on me, and now I've decided that I must have them. I just hope they'll look all right in the colors I've chosen. If they don't, I'll gift them to someone and buy up two more skeins of Palette in different colors for myself.

All that leaves me with, is the Seven Dwarves...and I have no idea what to make with it. I mean, I don't know how the yarn knits up. Does it stripe, or does it merely pool? Anyone have any clues? Anyone have any recommendations? Maybe I'll come up with something...

In the meantime, knitting isn't all I've been up to this past week. I've humiliated my dog yet again.
And bought and decorated a Xmas tree - which made me realize that no matter what we do, our Angel topper is always going to look HUGE.
And baked some gingerbread men from scratch(well, a couple of 'em got turned into drag queens thanks to DW)

Once DW gets her next day off, we'll be putting together our holiday gifts, and putting together a gingerbread house as well. We're determined to stuff our holiday full of as much xmassy goodness as possible since we pretty much crapped out on Halloween and so far, it's working.

Now, I'm off to forage for food in this house of mine, because I'm suddenly and irrevocably, starving! Cheers and thanks for reading! Also, if I don't get on here before then, I hope everyone has a very happy holiday - whatever they may be celebrating!

A little snippet in time...

I took the 43 Things Personality Quiz and found out I'm an
Extroverted Self-Improving Believer

Hrmm...not sure if I can believe my results...(apparently I'm an Extroverted Self-Improving Believer and only 1% of the 5552 people who have taken the quiz are like me), but it was entertaining to say the least.

Oh, and I swear, knitting pictures and a real blog post coming soon!!!! I just have to get off my ass and take the piccies and upload 'em to the computer and what not!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

So, I haven't blogged in a day or so, but I've wanted to and just haven't had all that much to write about. Until this!
I've been tagged by YarnPiggy...and when I'm done, some of you guys out there are about to be tagged as well! :)

Here's how it works:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Six random things about GirlMeetsNeedle:

1. I have grays...lots of them and I started to go gray when I was 18.
2. I can eat an entire jar of kosher dill pickles all by myself.
3. I am deathly afraid of tornadoes...even though I've never seen one/been in one in my entire life.
4. I am 27 years old and still do not have a driver's license.
5. I used to weigh 85 pounds all the way up through my sophomore year in college.
6. When I was nineteen, I worked as a stripper, but wound up quitting because I couldn't stand dirty old men trying to peek into my private parts!

Tag, you're it!


HummingBird Knits

Friday, December 12, 2008

This IS a knitting blog, right?

So, this week, I actually did some knitting. Some real, honest to goodness knitting! I (belatedly I know) started knitting one of the little "extras" for Christmas that I'm trying to include in all the gift baskets me and DW are putting together, and I finally finished knitting my Pomatomus Socks!


Pattern Details

* Pattern: Pomatomus
* Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Potluck Blues/Purples
* Needles: US2 DPN - set of five
* Modifications:N\A
* Size Made: Whatever size the pattern allows for! :)

I realize that the picture is crap and truly, I'm sorry for it as it doesn't show the awesomeness of the colors or stitch pattern to the socks' fullest advantage, nor does it show how truly cute my shoes are. You'll just have to trust me on this. The shoes are teh cute.

Anyway...on to the next thing I knitted. A cozy neck warmer for my momma! And yes, it's being modeled on top of my space heater. Sadly, I had no better lighting anywhere else, so I had to make do being as it was raining and winding way too frickin' hard for me to even consider going outside.


* Pattern: Tudora
* Yarn: TLC Cotton Plus
* Needles: US6 - 16" circulars
* Modifications: Well, rather than bind off at an angle, I knit it a little longer and bound off straight across, but sewed the buttons on in such a way (and made the button holes in such a way) that they'd button at an angle and leave a little room at the bottom for the wearer to be able to pull a bit down to form kind of a cravat-like thing...if that makes any sense.
* Size Made: One size fits all!

I'm pretty sure my mom will love it, being as she asked me to make her one sans upper flappy bit.

However, there my Xmas knitting has hit a stand still until I can get to my LYS to snag a few extra little bits for hats and mitts and such. Luckily, it doesn't take me all that long to whip up a hat, so we should be in good shape. :) Hopefully.

So, since I have no more knitting to write of, I thought I'd finish this post off with a recipe. And yes, I know this was supposed to be dinner, but I was hungry now,so I ate it for lunch.

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Carrots and Potatoes



1 Natural Pork Tenderloin
1 packet Onion Soup Mix (the powdery kind)
2 tbsp. Flour
2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Paprika
2 tsp Onion Powder
2 1/2 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp ground sage
1 c chicken stock
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
For the Vegetables:

Red potatoes - washed and cut into chunks
Carrots - peeled and cut into quarters
4 tbsp Olive Oil (or more depending on how many people you're hoping to serve with the veggies)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tbsp parsley flakes
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 packet onion soup mix

**EDIT #1** Prior to rubbing the tenderloin with the spices, take one of the packets of soup mix and thoroughly mix it with the chicken stock and let stand so the onions in the soup have some time to rehydrate. I microwave the mixture for 30-45 seconds to help the powdery stuff dissolve better and then stir it up and let it stand. :)

Rub the tenderloin with half of your spices and the ground sage (ie: 1 tsp of the garlic powder, etc.) and let sit, covered in the fridge for half an hour to an hour. Mix the rest of your spices in with the flour and remove tenderloin from the fridge. Rub with a little olive oil to moisten and then thoroughly dredge in the flour mixture. Heat up about two tbsp of oil in a frying pan and place the meat in the pan, making sure to brown each side before putting in a lightly greased, shallow 11x9" baking pan and pour in the chicken stock/onion soup mixture you made before.

Next, take the vegetables and put in a gallon sized freezer bag. Put in spices,honey oil and entire packet of onion soup mix and close bag and shake vigorously for about five minutes, making sure to thoroughly coat the potatoes and carrots in the mixture then spoon out of bag and place around the tenderloin, making sure to pour any excess liquid over the roast itself as well as the veggies. Then put the roast, uncovered in a 425 degree oven on a rack in the middle slot for 25 minutes or until veggies are tender. Remove from the middle rack and cook on a rack set lower (about 5" away from the flame) for an additional 5 minutes and then remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before removing from pan and putting on a serving platter.

For the Sauce:

Drippings from the roasting pan
1/2 cup of medium-dark beer (similar to Sam Adams Octoberfest if you don't have the actual Octoberfest on hand)
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. light cream
1/2 tsp of corn starch + more if needed

Spoon the drippings into the pan that you used to brown the tenderloin, and stir on low heat...scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon. Add the beer, and bring to a boil, stirring all the while so as not to burn it. Once it boils, reduce heat once the sauce begins to reduce a little and add the butter, cream and half of the corn starch at first. Whisk, and then add more corn starch as needed to get desired sauce consistency.

Allow the tenderloin to rest about twenty minutes total, then slice up and serve the slices with a thin line of sauce down the middle.

Also, if you like like less of an oniony flavor, you can use one packet of soup mix and divide it in half between the stock mixture and the vegetables, or you can use it all with the stock and nix it on the veggies. It's up to you. :) I just find you get maximum flavor with both packets.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Baguettes of EXTREME HATE!!!!!

Oh, baguettes. You should have been a chewy golden triumph of deliciousness. You should have been tender and soft, with a quite tasty and texturally pleasing crust holding all that softness in. You should have been perfect! I started with the "sponge"...and it fermented beautifully, and even fell like it was supposed to. It couldn't have been more ideal! When the fermentation process was finished, I added in more yeast, more flour and yes, a bit more water and mixed you all up until you were a scrappy ball of toughness that needed to be kneaded. And knead you I did, with nothing but love in my heart, and threw you into the counter forcefully enough to let you know I meant business this time, and I know you liked it. The recipe says you like it rough, and I don't expect a recipe to lie to me. I added the perfect amount of salt (I should know because I measured it exactly as the recipe said), used just enough water without keeping you too wet (Because we know you hate to be soggy from past experience) and by the time I was finally finished kneading you (a full 20 minutes later), you were supple and pliant, with a powdery smooth finish and were definitely not wet. You started out life as the perfect bread dough! And lo and behold, when I put you to rise, you rose beautifully! Perfectly! You were doubled in size at the exact moment you were supposed to be, which helped me keep you to your baking schedule. And then when it came to rounding? Piece of cake (er, bread actually). You continued to be compliant, and I appreciated it. I appreciated it even more when you shaped up nicely and doubled in size in loaf form over a period of 9-12 hours (as the recipe said you should). I suspected things would go wrong when I had to proof you, as when the knife slashed across you, you defensively deflated, but when I placed you in the puffed right back up again and once more you were showing only signs of perfection. So, why...why did you let yourself wind up looking like this on the bottom crust?


Why did you have to burn? I worked so hard to make you perfect, so you could be enjoyed by anyone who happened to want a slice, and here you are, betraying me once again by screwing yourself all up! Don't you know that you're meant to be eaten? I'm not some kind of bread cannibal, damn it. That's what bread's for. For dunking in soups, for munching on with layers of butter, and for cubing up for stuffings and panzanella salad. I thought you understood. In fact, you lead me to believe that you did understand, and now I realize that it was just part of your dastardly plot. You lured me in by tempting me with the prospect of still-warm bread right from the oven and then allowed your bottom half to turn to charcoal. You are EVIL. EVIL I say and I'm pretty sure I won't be attempting you again for a little while...but rest assured, oh baguette of hatred, I shall conquer you some day in the future. When you're least expecting it.

And the ironic part in all this, is that upon tasting a patch of the golden brown, perfect top part of the bread, the taste was perfect! No play-dough without the salt...just perfect. Oh the agony! Still, at least I can salvage those top parts for bread crumbs or something.

Ugh. What a disappointment! I'm pretty sure I missed something somewhere in the maybe a part where it said I was supposed to turn the heat in the oven down from 500 degrees to 425...I don't know. I'll have to read it more thoroughly next time. Meaning, months from now when I forget about this little forray.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Operation: Train Wreck Watch!

Last night, I indulged in a glass or two of Sam Adam's Winter Lager, and some train wreck spotting. Oh, it was not what it usually is on a Wednesday night at the Bayside. There were no warbling old ladies with three inches of wrinkly, fake-tanned cleavage exponsed above a tacky, tight fitting zebra print top trying to shake their booties for the crowd to prove they were man pleasers (and I was kind of disappointed...but it seems that the other deejay only draws that kind of crowd), but there was a girl wearing the Belly Shirt of Doom, and that made for some entertainment. Especially since the girl obviously thought she was the hottest thing in the place, and was strutting around like all the mens up in there thought so too. She was probably wearing her vodka goggles when she got dressed, so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt - but believe me when I say there are just certain people that should not wear belly shirts, and she was one of them. Still, it takes a lot of confidence to go out in public like that and stripper-dance on guys like it's your job. So I give her props for that. Other than that, there weren't any other real train wrecks, except for "Crazy Dancing Girl", who was amazingly entertaining to watch as she swung arms and hips in circles that you only see in bad tv musicals. It was great, and me and my friend Randi enjoyed it most thoroughly. Oh, and of course there's always the stranger that comes and sits at your table to drunk-talk to you, so we weren't disappointed on that score either. At least he was a nice drunk-talker. Very polite, and even stated that he liked my shawl(read Clapotis) and asked if I knit it myself. I was impressed...and if he slurred the word shawl a bit, I forgave him.

So, after a night spent enjoying some bad karaoke-singing (and some really good since both my friend Alex and DW were there...and they're both exceptional singers),some tasty beer and alone time with DW, I woke up this morning feeling great! A bit floaty to be sure...kind of like every time I moved I was moving under water, but still nice. No headaches. No achiness...just wonderful,limbery, liquified limbs. It's the way I like to wake up after a night like that, so yeah, I was happy. So happy that I didn't want to move, and actually didn't until four or five hours later when I came to the conclusion that I needed to do some grocery shopping and that it sucked because I didn't want to get out of bed. I wound up dragging DW out anyway, if only to get the essentials considering I'm not planning on doing too much cooking this weekend. Of course, into the cart of essentials went not one, but TWO boxes of Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge brownie mix...and needless to say I'm thrilled! I finally get my brownie reward, and the house is a mess again. Go figure! DW agrees though, so I still get my chocolatey, fudgy yummy goodness, and will actually set about making them after she leaves for work so she can have some for breakfast when she gets home.

On the knitting front, I almost have the full pair of Pomatomus socks done, and will have pictures to prove it up here soon. They're coming out beautiful, and if there's a couple of little "oopses" in the legs of them, even I can't tell so obviously they're not that bad. Besides, according the Wampanoags, if a thing is perfect, then it's bad luck. I mean, if they weave a basket perfectly, they will undo the whole thing, re-weave it an purposely put in a mistake to make it good luck...and since DW's a Wampanoag Indian (along with being Scottish, Cape Verdean, Portuguese, and English), I get to adopt that theory and adopt it I will. So these socks will be good luck Pomatomus and that makes me happy!

On the NaBloPoMo front - I did it! I wrote on here for 30 days straight and I'm proud of myself. I just wish I could find a badge that says so on the site...because I'd like to add it to my blog.

And on that note, I'm taking my leave for a moment considering DW just woke up and I have to get her dinner all ready for her take to work! :D

Sunday, November 30, 2008


So, I managed to do everything on my list...and much to my back's relief, had some time left over to take a nice long soak in the tubby. When I was younger, I used to love bubble baths. I would beg my mother to buy me some pretty colored soap and squeeze enough into the tub to make sure there were lots and lots of suds to play with. Nowadays, I go more for milk baths, or baths with scented oils (not too heavily though, because my skin is a lot more sensitive then it used to be). Yesterday's had nothing in it but very, very hot water and myself. It was great. I just wish my tub would hold the heat in better...but at least it's big enough to kind of float around in.

In case you were wondering, I have one of those old-fashioned porcelain claw-footed numbers, and yes,I actually do love it. We have a shower head hooked up to it for those days where you just want to get clean, but the tub? The tub is great for relaxing in!

After my tubby, I of course went in search of a box of brownie mix so I could actually reward myself a little further for doing a nice job on the house and lo and behold, there wasn't one. I have three boxes of cake mix, but no brownies. How can this be? Especially since I know I bought some the last time I went out to the grocery store? Didn't I? At least, I'm pretty sure I did.

Maybe I sleep-bought them...and then sleep-baked and sleep-ate them. I dunno. Either way, there will be no brownies and this makes me incredibly sad. I have all the stuff to make them from scratch (which, though they do taste all right, they never come out as good as brownies from the box for some reason), but I'm far too lazy to actually get up, make a mess out of my kitchen again, and then clean it...again.

So maybe I'll have some fudge instead...nah. I really want brownies. Guess I'll have to wait until tomorrow then! ;) I just hate when I think I have something and then find out I don't though...

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Technically, I know it's already Saturday. But for me, Saturday doesn't begin until DW's off at work, because that's when I get all my chores done. It's odd really, being as I'm one of those people that has a genuine loathing of housework in most normal circumstances, and yet I'm finding that when I'm standing in a clean, nice smelling apartment, I'm quite satisfied and proud to know that I am the reason for all the sparkliness that abounds. Still, I've been lazy (read naughty) this week, and have done "bare bones" cleaning...and that means that the apartment hasn't truly been as clean as it should be. So, I did what I said I'd never do and made a list of all the stuff I need to get done by the time Sunday afternoon rolls around to make sure that DW doesn't feel the need to run around, last-minute tidying before she heads to bed after working a double shift. After all, she works a LOT (as my friends on Plurk can attest), so why should she have to come home and work too.

The problem is, I've been having some difficulty with getting motivated. I recently joined Chore Wars, signing up with some of my fellow Ravelrousing Housewives to team up against the household messies that tend to accumulate as part of life, and for a while, that really did help. I guess the novelty wore off because, I have to confess, I have been quite sadly inactive there of late. I'm hoping that making a much hated list and placing it on the fridge will change that...especially since list-making is a new approach for me.

And if I finish my massive amount of tasks in time, I'm rewarding myself with brownies - from the box because I actually like them better than home made (mine always come out too cake-like for my tastes). And maybe,just maybe I'll throw in a pound of some really excellent locally roasted coffee beans....but only if I finish my list, which though it is a doozy should be doable (hopeful here, can ya tell?).

I just hope I finish cleaning in enough time to catch up on my CSI's...;)

Friday, November 28, 2008

And the Day After.

I'm really wishing I'd though to do more than grab desserts on the way out of my MIL's house, but only having three hours of sleep might have had something to do with my lack of forethought. Here it is, the day after Thanksgiving and I have no leftovers to munch on. No stuffing to heat up and pour left over gravy all over. No cranberry sauce. No cold turkey sandwich. It's just sad...especially since I really, really want stuffing. A lot! I don't know why, but it was so good this year...better than it normally is. I think it has something to do with the fact that my MIL made it in a baking pan rather than muffin cups, so there was still some softer, mushier goodness inside the crispy, buttery stuffing crust. So GOOD! Just thinking about it is making me hungry.

Actually, I'm just hungry in general, mostly because I can smell the meatloaf I have roasting in the oven all throughout my house and it's making my belly grumble. Now, when I was younger, I hated meatloaf. Hated it with a passion beyond belief. Then again, my mother's meatloaf could quite easily turn off even the most staunch meatloaf supporter. It was always dry and flavorless (as my mom, who hated cooking, would just dump an egg, some salt, pepper, and too many Italian Seasoned breadcrumbs into the meat), and was topped with a not spiced up at all tomato paste. Oh don't get me wrong, I ate it. In my house, you ate what was put in front of you, and that was that. But it didn't mean I liked it. In fact, I also had a bit of a resentment harbored towards it because growing up on the poor side, meant that if you wanted meat in your meal, it was usually one of those icky, super-dry meatloaves. Depressing.

However, all that changed the first time I ate meat loaf at my MIL's. No tomatoey topping here, no sir. And dry? Hardly! It was the most moist, delicious meatloaf I'd ever tasted, and when I first moved out on my own with my then gf and now DW, I begged her for the recipe - which she happily divulged. And since I'm going on and on about it on here, I think I'll share the recipe.

Debbie's Meatloaf


2 lbs. Ground Beef
1 can Cream of Celery Soup
1/2 c minced onion
2 eggs
1 c dry bread crumbs - UNSEASONED
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix together all the ingredients except for the beef, making sure they're blended thoroughly. Add the meat, and squish together with your clean hands (or you can be non-messy and use a spoon or something...I just find you get a better, more blended result by using your hands), until all the ingredients are blended well with the beef. Form the mixture into a loaf on a baking sheet and roast in a 350 degree oven for about an hour and a half.

Simple, right? Incredibly! Serve it up with some brown gravy, mashed 'taters and some kind of vegetable and you have yourself a meal - sans that tomatoey ickiness that I hate on my meat loaf. This recipe would probably be delicious if you put barbecue sauce on top and maybe added some cheddar cheese in there as well too. (Mmm...that does sound good, maybe next time I'll try that!).

Now, I don't actually just put it on a baking sheet in a loaf-like shape. I have a small casserole dish that I put it in, but then again, I cut the recipe in half. Leave the recipe the way it is, and it'll serve 6-8 people, cut it in half and it'll serve 2-4 people. It's an easy recipe to double up on, or half, and it really is tasty.

No pictures right now, because I don't have a finished meatloaf to snap a photo of...yet. When it comes out of the oven though, I'll add in a picture so you can see what it looks like. :)

If you try this, I hope you enjoy!

And I also hope that all you people that do have Turkey Day leftovers...I hope you enjoy them as well. And possibly do a little happy dance for me as you bite into that bit of leftover stuffing...just once. Please?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Today on Thanksgiving...

Right now, I'm waiting on two bowls of bread dough for the no-knead rolls to finish rising so I can shape them into buns and then bake them. I know, kind of last minute since I could have done it yesterday, but then the rolls just wouldn't have been fresh, you know? And we can't have that! Oh, and I have no pants on because I just don't feel the need to be wearing 'em since I know that for most of today I will be full and fat to a level of uncomfortableness that is almost unimagineable and yet, I will still have to keep my pants ON! (TMI? Sorry! :) )Also, I'm kind of having to make up for a mistake at this late stage of the game, because one of the bowls of dough decided it hated me and didn't want to rise so I had to whip up a new batch an hour into their relegated rising time. Talk about a set-back...makes me wish I'd actually done the baking yesterday and sucked it up if they weren't "fresh"...

So anyway, while most people were doing useful Thanksgiving Day prep, I was off at my friend Ian's house with DW playing an impromptu game of D&D - which I thoroughly enjoyed! Don't get me wrong, playing with the group sans DW is alright, but for some reason we seem to gel as a group better when DW's there, making us crack up with her character's (usually) crazy antics! For instance, this particular group was comprised of a half-elf, a full elf, three humans and a HALF-ORC(DW)! And the best part? We all started out as 0 level characters with no actual class, but otherwise normal commoner type occupations...and we were all either teenagers or young adults (or the equivalent thereof according to how your race ages). It was so much fun, and since I've never actually played a character from the bottom up, it'll be interesting to see how things develop.

OH! And I broke through my Second Sock Syndrome (aided by some nifty calculations in my head that said that I actually might have enough yarn for the second sock after all!), and cast on for the other half of my Pomatomus Socks. I have the entire cuff, and the first repeat of the leg chart completed, and so far, so good.

Now, as much as I'd like to continue going on and on, I have some last minute, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants work to do so wish me luck and have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


In lieu of actually doing anything useful, I've decided that today, I'm going to head off to the Dungeon of Dorkdom and either watch some movies with DW and some pals or play D&D...whichever happens to be the case! In the meantime...

Enjoy this as a little prequel to the actual feasting day! :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I am covered!

Covered in powdered sugar that is. They fail to warn you that when you sift it, it tends to fly everywhere...and since I've never actually made anything that required that it be sifted I had to find it out the hard way. I guess it's a baker's rite of passage! Anyway, DW is curled up in bed (hopefully) fast asleep, and since I am not remotely tired because I took a loooong nap in the morning, I decided to do something productive. No, not making dinner. I did that at three this morning. Green Bean Soup, yum! Nope, I decided we needed some dessert...and as all my plurk friends know, I've decided that the dessert in question must be these Home Made Oreos!


The wafers are buttery and crisp, and the filling is perfect seeing as it has that slightly stiffer feel that real Oreo filling has, but it tastes better - less like candle wax and more like vanilla, sugar and buttery numminess. I did play with the recipe a bit, which is one of the reasons I suspect that my chocolate wafers spread as much as they did. See, I had planned on using my blender (since I'm sans food processor or stand up mixer) to make the batter...and when that didn't work out so well, I thought adding about 1 1/2 tsp. of vegetable oil might help it along. It didn't really so I wound up just mixing it all by hand in a big bowl - and actually, that worked out just fine. Just make sure your butter is soft enough, otherwise there will be chunkies. Also I added a bit more salt than the recipe called for and took away 1/2 c of the sugar for the cookies like Ms. SmittenKitchen recommends.

Seriously, if you're ever looking for something to cook and don't know what you feel like having, visit Smitten Kitchen. She has something for everyone, and even if you don't wanna cook, at least go and look at the pictures - because they alone are good enough to eat. ;)

Monday, November 24, 2008

At a stand still...

Well, I'm not really. I'm just suffering from a temporary dose of SSS (Second Sock Syndrome for you non-knitters out there). See, I finished the first of a pair of Pomatomus socks, and though I would love the finished pair to warm my feet, I can't quite get up the motivation to actually cast on for the second. I'd take a picture to prove that I have indeed finished the first sock, but well, the lighting sucks and my camera sucks even more (time for a new one? Yes, I think so!) so I can't get the pattern to show up. It's pretty though, and warm and I love it so why in hell can't I bring myself to cast on?

It's like this: I'm not sure I'm going to have enough yarn to actually make the second sock, and that pisses me off to no end since (even though I don't care if the stripes match up) I at least want the two socks to kind of match. And I've just discovered that it's not as simple as just picking up a new skein of the yarn because it's Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Potluck (not merino like I'd originally thought) and though it is in the Blues/Purples category, it's kind of just the luck of the dyepot with this yarn. I guess all I can do is actually cross my fingers and hope to GOD that I have enough yarn. Unless of course, one of you kind souls have a skein of this yarn that would match my current unpaired sock? I mean, it would be terribly convenient...really. :) I'd pay too! Money and homemade marshmallows! Yep. Just putting it out there...;)

Anyway, I've received my Thanksgiving Day assignment and I must say that I'm relieved that it's stuff I can more than handle.

My MIL would like me to bring two pans of some home-made rolls, and thanks to the lovely Mrs.B, these will be a piece of cake. And I have bread flour so I'm excited!

She would also like me to make some chocolate melt-a-ways (supah-secret family recipe that I'd love to share but MIL would most likely sacrifice me to whatever Gods she believes in if I did), and a couple of dozen of my grampa's PB&J sandwich cookies. The only snag for the cookies is that I don't have the recipe...yet. But I believe I can finagle it out of him in time to make them. So, I got kind of lucky because I get to make all the fun stuff! YAY!

I personally can't wait for Thanksgiving because it's one of my favorite holidays. I don't know why, I just really like it. And on top of that, the food's always amazing. Nobody makes a turkey like my MIL, I swear. Although, there was this one year that they deep-fried a turkey to go along with the roasted one and that was YUM too (wish they'd do it again...or at least give me the turkey fry-er so I could do it myself). Plus, with all the great Thanksgiving themed cooking show episodes playing this week, I'm really, really syked for it!

So, I guess I have a question to put to all my readers:

What are you thankful for?

I'm thankful for a great wife, a fantastic family (in-laws and blood relatives alike!), my Beeba-dog, a nice soft skwooshy skein of yarn (STR = teh YUMMY), bamboo DPN's, Plurk (not only did it help bring readers to this blog but it also introduced me to a WHOLE bunch of really great people - I love my plurk buds, I really do. They keep me sane!), Ravelry, and the wonderful world of the internetz. I love the internet. It's sad how much I love it really, but love it I do! :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008


This is a meme I found by googling the term "Knitting Memes",(thanks CmeKnit for creating this nifty meme three years ago!) and since I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel for stuff to blog about for this Nablopomo thing, I've decided that using google in such a way was probably a very, very smart thing for me to do!

Okay, here goes:

What is your all time favorite yarn to knit with?

Socks that Rock, hands down. It is the softest, skwooshiest, yarn I've ever been able to touch and I love, love, love it. The colors? They amaze and astound me. And is it bouncy? Oh yes it is! Does it have a lovely drape! It does, it does! Me and STR = total yarn love. Not just lust. Love.

Your favorite needl

Right now, I'd have to go with my Crystal Palace bamboo. They're smooth, they're sturdy, and they really warm up beneath my hands as I knit. I've been itching to try out those KP Harmony needles though, but for now Crystal Palace Bamboo rocks my socks. Literally actually since I wind up using the 6" size US2 DPN's for socks more often than not.

The worst thing you've ever knit?
I started to knit a Marley's Ghost, and became so disenchanted with the pattern that I pretended to "lose" the already knitted links when in reality I got aggravated and chucked them in the garbage. Yes, I actually threw them away. Thank goddess I never finished it!

Your most favorite knit pattern? (maybe you don't like wearing it...but it was the most fun to knit)

It's a toss up between DW's Greenery Hat, or the Goddess Knits June 2008 Mystery Sock , which I really hope gets named soon! Also, I really hope I find the finished pair because I miss them.

Most valuable knitting technique?

Learning how to purl backwards. Since I've discovered this past year that I really, really love to knit entrelac, this technique happens to be incredibly valuable because turning the work back and forth so much was a serious pain in the butt!

Best knit book or magazine?

It's kind of hard for me to answer this question since I won't buy a book or a magazine unless I like it enough to want to knit at least 10 patterns out of it - although sometimes I will buy one if it has just ONE really, really, WAY cool pattern in it, but if I had to make a choice, I'd say Interweave Knits...just because I love to LOOK at the stuff inside.

Your favorite knit-a-long?

Goddess Knits Mystery Sock-A-Long.

Your favorite knitblogs?

Flying Pig Knits, Crafty Crafter, and a whole bunch of others that I read. Actually, chances are, if it's on my blogroll, it's one of my faves. :)

Your favorite knitwear designer?

Though I haven't knit too much of her stuff, I love Evelyn Clark's shawls. They're gorgeous!

The knit item you wear the most? (how about a picture of it!)

My Clapotis!

Clapotis 001

Now for the tags!

I'm tagging Courtney,Betty, Yarnpiggy, Ms. Lori and anyone else who reads this blog, needs blogging material and hasn't done this meme before!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Left blank to protect the names of the innocent

So I don't know what to blog about, but I don't want to put another stupid video up.

Today was a pleasant day. DW came home at 7 a.m., like she was supposed to and I was thrilled considering I was expecting her to be forced (which has been her luck lately). After putting away all her stuff, we snuggled up in bed and then woke up at around 3 so we could watch American Beauty and order some Domino's. Not their pizza...actually, we hate their pizza. The cheese is never gooey enough and the sauce is just plain disgusting - and we all know that sauce makes the pizza. We just order their BBQ wings and bread sticks, and they were yummy. After that, we kinda finished the movie up and then went back to bed, because we are lazy, lazy human beings.

Right now, DW is off at work, doing workish type things and here I am, stirring up the dredges of my mind with some absolutely yummy coffee so I can find something interesting to say here and all I can think is that I've got nothin'. I could talk about the game last night. Shadow Run was fun, as usual. My team got into plenty of shenanigans and is now seriously wanted by what amounts to being a futuristic version of the FBI because we kind of had to kill four of their boys in the process of trying to get what we were being paid to get. I ate some yummy japanese stir-fried noodles last night from a local Japanese steak house, and watched my friends enjoy some of my very tasty fudge, and decided not to go and play D&D tonight in lieu of sitting at home and vegging out - trying to decide what I want to do now.

I could play some video games. I could knit. I could watch TV, or I could sit at this computer desk and just play Zilch all night. I dunno. It's kind of a toss up.

Anyway, before I bore you any more with my mindless blather, I'll just leave you with the hopes that you're having a more active night than I am. And as always, thanks for reading!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm sorry...

But it has to be done!


And now I'm off to go play ShadowRun and Rockband!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

So I screwed up the bread...

But I made awesome fudge! Of course, that was mostly because the wifey was there, guiding me through step by step. See, I love the kitchen...and for the most part, my kitchen loves me. I keep it clean and orderly and cook yummy foods in it and don't let my dog pee on it's floor. However, with fudge, I have a bad track record. I tend to put the heat up too high on the stove and therefore wind up burning it on the bottom...which results in a none too desirable "crunchy bits" texture. Now, imagine biting into what you think is a creamy hunk of chocolate fudge, only to find crunchy bits that aren't nuts. Eeeew.

So, DW watched me every step of the way, and pitched in when it came to readying the ingredients, eyeing the cooking fudge for consistency and using her big, strong arms to stir the pot - as anyone who has made home made fudge before knows that stirring that shit is hard work!!! It came out perfect! Excellent creamy consistency, that perfect balance of salt and chocolate, and it just melts on the tongue! Before I knew it, I'd eaten three pieces of it...and DW had eaten four! Oh don't worry, there's plenty left as we made a double batch. We had to. DW promised one of her co-workers (as well as a friend of ours) fudge because his fiancee' neglected to share the double serving size portion of shepherd's pie that I sent for them to eat for dinner. Of course, he'll probably share it because she'll be all cutesy so she can get some. S'all right. I understand - that's how we women roll, right?

Anyway, I'm sure you're just aching for some chocolate porn, so here it is!


This is the fudge right after it was poured into the pan to set. See how it's already beginning to set? Score! The last time I made this, I didn't burn it like usual, but I did add too much cream and it wound up making excellent hot fudge (meaning if you want to tamper with the recipe, make sure you have ice cream on hand just in case ;) ).


This is not the full pan of fudge cut up, but rather about a quarter of it (maybe a little less after I munched on a few pieces). I just wish you could smell this through the internet because the chocolatey goodness that permeated my apartment during and after the making of this fudge was just heavenly. Made me feel like it was Xmas already!

Now, in case you're curious about what recipe I use, I'm going to share it here (or you can just go and buy the box of Domino Confectioner's Sugar and use the recipe found on the side of the box itself - same thing!)

QUICK NUT FUDGE - Domino Sugar

4 c of Confectioner's Sugar (1 1 lb. box)
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tbsp - butter or margarine
1/4 c Milk
1 tsp - vanilla
1/4 teaspoon - salt
1 c chopped walnuts or pecans (optional...I usually nix this because the wifey and I hate nutty fudge)

*First off, we use a whole stick of butter rather than the 6 tbsp. because we rounded up the amount of sugar we needed to 4 c. Also, we didn't use milk, we used heavy cream and though we started with the 1/4 c, we actually wound up adding more because the consistency just wasn't right. Also, some advice. Melt the butter first, because otherwise you may burn the chocolate while you're waiting for the butter to melt in the pan if you follow these directions.*

Grease a 9x5x2-inch loaf pan; set aside.

In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, add all ingredients except nuts. Over very low heat, constantly stir mixture until well combined and smooth. Remove from heat; stir in nuts. Quickly spread into pan.

Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. (We didn't need to do this because it set up just fine without it, but you may feel more comfortable doing this.) Cut into squares.

Makes 24 pieces.

Now, after you're done making the fudge and it's all cut up and ready to NOM, just remember. Do not refrigerate. It will sweat and turn gross, or it will get too hard and turn grainy. Refrigerating fudge after it's fully set is a no-no. Or at least it is with this particular recipe.

Now, enjoy! :)

Oh, and I think I figured out what happened with the bread. I did add the salt, but I don't think I added enough salt to the mixture and that's why it was so horribly bland. Next time, I won't eyeball it, I'll actually measure it (and maybe add a dash extra to be on the safe side). Yes, there will be a next time. I am determined to conquer the baguette. Determined I say!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just to set things straight...

I did everything that stupid baguette recipe said to do. I made a starter, using exact measurements for everything (even down to the 1/16 tsp of yeast for chrissakes!), and set it out to ferment for the 14 hours it was supposed to. I then made the dough, this time not putting too much water and wound up with a PERFECT frickin' consistency for bread. PERFECT! True, I refrigerated the starter, so maybe that had something to do with it, but I doubt it. The dough rose, and I even gently deflated and turned after the first hour before putting it back inside a heated (heated to warm) then turned off oven to rise some more. (Okay, I had to take it right along with me to my friend Ian's house, but still, it rose and it was doing everything it was supposed to. It even got nice and puffy when finally shaped them before putting them into bake.) After I removed them from the oven, they were a lovely deep golden brown, and yes, they looked like baguettes! We let them cool, and then each ripped off a good sized hunk and bit in.

Texture wise-they were perfect. The crust was chewy-crisp, it had a moist, slightly dense but still fluffy inside, and it smelled like heaven. But that was where all happiness at these baguettes ended. They tasted awful. Well, not awful, but bland. Seriously, seriously bland. I'm talking reminiscent of home-made play-dough but without the salt.

What the heck did I do wrong? Did I just use the wrong recipe (yes, the link takes you to the recipe I did use)? Is there another recipe out there that is perhaps more flavorful than this disappointment? I mean, after all that effort to make some goddamned bread I could buy in the store (and have it taste DELICIOUS!), to have it taste like NOTHING at all?!?!?! Ridiculous, I say! RI-DICK-U-LOUS!!!!!!

Did it have something to do with the fact that I had to substitute all-purpose unbleached flour for the bread flour it recommended? Maybe the flavor comes from all that extra wheat-gluten? I've subbed all-purpose for bread before and the breads always came out fine! Yes, I admit it, I'm whining. I don't like to be thwarted damn it. I was craving some warm, delicious, fresh out of the oven baguettes and wound up with a chewy bit of ickiness that made me toss out the other two baguettes. Please, if you have a better recipe than that one, let me know. I'd love to try again. Later, though...much later. Unless I get bored enough. ;)

To console myself over the great Baguette Disappointment, I've decided that I'm going to make fudge with DW - who is the expert of all things fudgey. She likes to claim that she's not crafty, but when it comes to baked goods and anything chocolate - she is queen! I mean it. QUEEN!

This will be fun and a treat considering I can hardly ever convince DW to do kitcheny/crafty things with me.

Not to mention this counts as practice for Xmas (or giftmas as a friend calls it - I may start to adopt that term btw!)considering we're planning on giving out a whole bunch of goodie baskets this year!

Anyway, what the hell am I doing writing this? I should be elbow deep in chocolatey goodness! Thanks for reading guys! And thanks for letting me rant! :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Before I head off into the sunset,

I just wanted to tell you all that so far, the baguette experiment is working out well! The starter finished fermenting at 8am and I refrigerated it so I could make the dough and set it to rise later in the day after DW and I got up. Dough is rising beautifully, no baking onto the side of the bowls. However, I'm about to kind of mix things up by making this a Traveling Baguette. I'm heading out to my friend Ian's house to watch Tropic Thunder and play some Rock Band, so since the dough's not finished rising, I figured I'd take it with me, let it rise the rest of the way and then bake it there. Hopefully, this doesn't screw things up. I know that I'm tempting fate, but maybe, just maybe I can pull this off!

Also, I plan on knitting some tonight too...but mostly my plans include plenty of one on one time with the wifey. ;)

And while she's over here making "Ooowaaaaah" noises on my neck, I figure I'll give you this website to check out.

It's fun! Type in a command and he'll follow it!

Monday, November 17, 2008


I totally almost forgot to blog for today!

So, my first attempt at making baguettes was an abject failure. Oh, the starter came out fine...did what it was supposed to do and therefore was all risen and bubbly, but the dough...well, the dough itself didn't come out right. I put in too much water I think, which is why the dough was probably too sticky, next time I'll use less as I'll remember that it is supposed to be a bit dry. But even with the dough being a tad sticky, it would still have been okay if I had not set the dough in a not-quite oiled enough metal bowl on a much too hot space heater to rise! I went to turn the dough out for shaping and much to my surprise found that only half of it came out - the rest was baked to the inside of the bowl.

I had a fun time washing that dish I'll tell ya. Not!

Well, needless to say, I wanted to pitch the bowl out the window, but instead I soaked it so I could use it again. After all, I can't just give up. I am NeedleGirl - Housewife extraordinaire and baker of delights damnit!!! So, I totally made another starter today. Now I'm just waiting for it to ferment - and this time, I'm following Betty's advice and sticking it in an unheated oven to rise rather than on the space heater of HATE!

As for the rest of life, I'm waiting for an order from Knit Picks to come in, contemplating knitting some more of my Pomatomus sock (I'm on the gusset now!) and hoping that DW doesn't get forced because I selfishly want her to come home at 7 so we can cuddle.

I love cuddling and DW is the best at it! The best EVAR!:)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I totally promise

No Mr. Pregnant video. I swear!

So, I've discovered Guitar Hero. I know, I know, it took me a very long time to jump on the bandwagon on this game, but that's just how I tend to be. I will purposely avoid heavy trends. I don't know why. I guess that just makes me slightly perverse - especially since by avoiding Guitar Hero (and Rock Band) I've been avoiding some very fun times! Although, this past weekend I maybe played a little bit too much of it because every time I close my eyes I keep seeing these colored blobs coming flying at me and I'm like "Whoa! Hit the red! The Blue! The Green!" Well...actually I didn't have to touch the blue key...I played on "Easy", but you get my drift. Oh, and I have all kinds of songs that I don't usually listen to running in blurts of lyrics through my head. Also, if I ever hear the song "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" again, it'll probably be too soon (It took me and Ian like twenty times to play all the way through because I suck at playing guitar - managed it when I switched to Bass. :) )

Video gaming isn't the only kind of gaming I did though. We also played some Shadow Run (my all time favorite game ever!) and some D&D! Now, you've all heard me blab about D&D, so I won't get into it. But Shadow Run? The only way I can explain it is think The Matrix - since basically the entire story line of that movie was ripped from a Shadow Run campaign. I'd get into heavy duty detail, but I have a feeling I'd lose y'all, so let's just suffice it to say it's a game set in a futuristic world run by corporations. Elves, Orcs, Trolls, Humans...and a variety of other races co-exist, and life is tough. So, to supplement income from a day job (or hell just to make the REAL money), people become Shadow Runners (basically criminals - but really skilled ones)and perform illegal acts for cash.

The story teller for Shadow Run is my friend Rob. He's devious, and he likes to put our characters in very, very difficult situations. Practically kill us really, but mostly he just likes to make us think. Now, since I haven't played in a while I didn't have a character written up so me and Rob put our heads together and came up with, basically, this: A gun-crazy paranoid schizophrenic who believes she's a Shaman and can conjure and speak to Spirits (ie: the voices in her head). Believe it or not, this was incredibly fun to play. So much fun that I can hardly wait to play again! I just wish DW didn't work Fridays so she could come along and play too. :( Sad, I know, but we're hoping to start a game either Tuesdays or Wednesdays so DW can participate!

Anyway, aside from playing too much Guitar Hero, panicking about the storminess of the outdoors, and gaming my brains out, my weekend was uneventful. I've put together a starter for some French Baguettes, and when they're done, stories of my success (or failure as this is my first time making artisan type bread) will be posted here! Until tomorrow...and thanks for reading! :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nothing to say...

So have a laugh at this instead.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Just a quickie

This has to be fast, because I really don't have too much time to write much now, nor will I have much time later! Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like you're entirely well organized (for once!)? The dishes are done, something is out of the freezer already mostly thawed for supper, and all that's left to do is cook it and then veg out for the night? Well, that was me this past Wednesday. I had these lovely center cut pork chops out and ready to roll for dinner, all the errands for the day had been done and the house was spotless. I was ahead of the game, and it was great while it lasted. At about 4:30 p.m., I was informed by DW that the in-laws were coming over for dinner at 7:30 p.m., and then from there we were going to go and see RocknRolla at a nearby cinema. The movie was something I was all for, considering I absolutely love going to see movies in the theatres, but the in-laws coming over for dinner? It was almost instant panic! Not only did I have to change my plans for dinner over, but I had to do it in a way that would satisfy the in-laws' picky palates and I had three hours to do it!

See, since there are only two people in the house, I generally buy a lot of meats sized for just that - two, but I do buy a couple of things that will feed at least four people knowing that I do enjoy to occasionally have a couple of folks over for dinner. Still, I had to put the pork chops back in and thaw out one of those bigger sized things (for them I chose a nice chuck roast that I could put in the oven with some braising liquid and let it just sit for a few hours) and then get it in the oven too cook, peel enough potatoes to make a mountain of mashed (the people in my family love, love, love mashed taters. I don't blame them as they're my favorite thing to eat and I could eat them all day every day!) and set some fresh broccoli on the stove top to steam. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, it was...but I'm the kind of person that strives to impress - especially when it comes to my MIL. She's a culinary genius, and I like to show that I'm doing her proud by feeding her daughter up as well as she can. Naturally, for this meal, this meant putting the canned biscuits aside and digging out the makings for fresh bread.

I know what you're thinking? Fresh bread?! Are you nuts? Are you trying to make your life more difficult? Well, normally I'd have said screw it and dealt with the canned biscuits I keep in my fridge in case I feel like making southern-style biscuits and sausage gravy or Monkey Bread because they're coming over for dinner was kind of short notice. But for some reason, on this day I was determined to find a decent recipe for fresh out of the oven dinner rolls - because let's face it, nothing says home cookin' like fresh-baked dinner rolls. Not to mention the fact that the yeasty bready smell that pervades the house while stuff like that bakes is divine!

So, I was looking on the internet, hoping to find something easy, when it occured to me that Mrs.B had a recipe for these yummy sounding, no knead, relatively quick rising yeast rolls over on her blog. I said, what the hell? I have yeast, I have flour. Let's give 'em a try!

I whipped up the ingredients as stated in the recipe - except since I didn't have bread flour I used all purpose unbleached flour - and set the dough in an oiled bowl covered over with a damp, clean kitchen towel and put it on top of my handy dandy space heater to let it rise. I put the dough to rise at approximately 4:50 and at approximately 6:50 the dough had doubled in size as the recipe recommends. I then followed the rest of the directions from there and wound up with rolls that looked like this!


Now, this recipe made about 24 or 26 rolls, and between four people, we pretty much devoured the whole pan. They were fantastic! A nice, dense chewy roll that, when paired with pats of butter, were an excellent accompaniment to a savory roast dinner. In fact, just thinking about them makes me want to make more and I don't even have a clue what I'm going to make for supper tonight! I bet they'd be even better with the bread flour - probably more light and airy and less likely to have a consistency almost like a biscuit. Still, they were so easy to make and had the added side benefit of thoroughly impressing my in-laws. :)

Thanks for sharing that recipe Mrs. B!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Swap Shenanigans

So, last month I joined in on a Chocolate and Yarn Swap through the Chocolate group on Ravelry. Let me just say that this is the first swap in a long time that I've thoroughly enjoyed. Not only was it fun for me to shop for my spoilee, but my spoiler- well she definitely spoiled me!


Let's just say that MrsDarcy knows me well! Now, I know the picture kind of sucks, but see I couldn't wait for better light because I absolutely had to have that Sansibar sesam and havsalt(sesame and sea salt I think it means)candy bar and I had to have it yesterday. But today had to be good enough, and for all you jealous chocaholics out there - it was delicious! I got three bars of chocolate the Sansibar and the Bocca both made in a local factory to where Mrs. Darcy lives in Norway, and the third one (little yellow bar I think it's Freia or Freida) is produced in Oslo. I've only tried the Sansibar because I'm trying really hard to savor them. It's working out so far, but the temptation of that Bocca is really getting to me.

For the yarn, I got four lovely skeins of it! Two skeins of Falk by Dale of Norway, one skein of Verona (a merino/silk blend that's from a Danish company), and a skein of Alpakka - 100% Alpaca sock yarn imported from Bolivia! Also, she included a lovely pair of super comfy, pretty and warm crocheted wristers and two fantastic buttons plus a lovely postcard featuring the place where she's from as it's picture! Oh! And some delicious loose leaf tea! Thanks again, and here are a couple of more pics!

A closer look at the yarn and tea.

A better (if a little blurry) look at the chocolate and the gorgeous post card that she wrote her note on!

A better look at the wristers and the two awesome buttons she sent me (I love, love, LOVE interesting buttons! Squeee!!!!)

Once again, MrsDarcy, you rock!

And for those that are curious, this is what I wound up sending my swap pal, PrincessPurling over in England!

Swap package

I sent her two packets of Milk Chocolate Pretzel Flips (She asked for them because she loves them and can't get them over in England), and one packet of chocolate swirl. Two Dagoba chocolate bars - Chai and Chili and Nibs. Two 100g skeins of Knitpicks' Gloss Bare and a bunch of kool-aid packets to dye it with and I made her a Tudora to keep her neck all warm and cozy while she enjoys these things.

Truthfully, I agonize over whether the person I'm sending to will like the stuff I give to them, but I usually find that all that agonizing is for naught as they wind up loving it! I am however, glad that the swap is over because now I have all kinds of fun stuff to play with. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Two people in a car

Apparently, when me and DW get together with little else on our minds but getting out of the house for a little bit to get some fresh air, it winds up being just a bit of an unexpected escapade. See, we hopped in the Jeep at 11 in the morning, and just planned on a quick little drive and chat, maybe grab a couple of coffees and then when the coffee was finished - boom, we go home. Yeah, we should have known that was so not how it was going to be. We didn't actually get home until 2 p.m., and that was because somehow, someway we got lost. LOST! It was kind of fun actually, looking around to see where exactly in Massachusetts (or Rhode Island depending on what part of the trip we were on)we were and giggling over how far we accidentally drove. And it gave us an excellent opportunity to just talk.

Talking is something that I find to be highly underrated by society today. Either you talk "too much", or talk "too little" and never talk "just enough". It's always something that is spoken of in a negative way...this talking. I wonder why. Me, I love to talk (in case you couldn't tell), and I'm always willing to listen to other people talk too. In fact, in my opinion, you can never really talk enough! Talk about the weather, talk about politics, talk about silliness...talking is a basic human need that not too many folks indulge in around here it seems. I've been told I talk "too much" on more than one occasion, really, but I tend to just shrug that off. I mean, isn't it more interesting if you're a talker. Doesn't that mean that you lead a rich, full life just bursting to be spoken of?

Sure some of the things I talk about might be boring to some people (like knitting...for some reason that makes quite a few people look at me odd...and needless to say I am not close to those people)but for the most part, a great many folks out there seem to find what I have to say interesting and I am well-liked because I talk a lot. It just makes me wonder about those people that are negative about it. Are they hiding something? Are they somehow jealous of my mad talkin' skillz? Or perhaps...they are secretly mute? I don't know.

What about you guys out there? All you folks that are reading my blog and wondering what's what in the Needle household? Are you guys talkers or are you of the opinion that too much talk is just that - too much?

Seriously, I wanna know!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Because I have no time

I've decided that today I'd let Keith Oberlmann speak for me.

You should listen to him. He knows what he's talking about! :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

One word

Saw this meme on Jeanne's blog and decided that since I could use some blogging material for tonight I'd steal it and then tag a few folks out there!

Where is your mobile phone?

Where is your significant other?

Your hair colour?

Your mother?

Your father?

Your favorite thing?

Your dream last night?

Your dream goal?

The room you’re in?

Your hobby?

Your fear?

Where do you want to be in 6 years?

Where were you last night?

What you’re not?

One of your wish-list items?

Where you grew up?

The last thing you did?

What are you wearing?

Your TV?

Your pets?

Your computer?

Your mood?

Missing someone?

Your car?

Something you’re not wearing?

Favourite shop?

Your summer?

Love someone?

Your favorite color?

When is the last time you laughed?

When was the last time you cried?

And that's all folks!

Oh, and by the way, I'm tagging Yarnpiggy, Betty and anyone else out there who feels like doing this! :) And don't forget, you can only use one word! :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Slave to the oven

So, today being a nice, happy Sunday that makes me long for cool, crispy air and scents (and for some reason,neither are so totally not even remotely here in Massachusetts and it's frickin' November for crying out loud)so I decided to do some baking and cooking with all kinds of yummy autumn flavors hoping that by doing so I'd bring those things on.

Today's Menu:


Creamy Sweet Potato Soup!

It was easy to make really, and is totally worth the pain in the assiness of having to drag my blender down from the uppermost shelf of my pantry. I followed the recipe exactly, except I didn't have any stock so I made stock using four cups of water and six chicken bullion cubes. It worked out pretty well. I also added just a bit of brown sugar to the mix so we could have sweet and savory flavors. Oh, and I know you might cringe a little when it says to top with celery leaves...but really, I've tried it (as you can see from the picture above) and it's simply delicious. I also added a nice dollop of sour cream to counter-act with the sweetness of the soup. Yum!

And for dessert? Well, it was supposed to be a caramel apple upside down pumpkin spice cake, but wound up being more like a cobbler or a molten caramel cake. But even though it wasn't as pretty as I wanted it to be, it still tasted phenomenal! It was so gooey, and just sweet enough and served with some very lightly sweetened whipped cream sprinkled with cinnamon? Delicious!

So, I know a few of you are wanting the recipe, right? Now, I could be a tease and wait and post it tomorrow, but I won't. I'm not nearly cruel enough for that, so here it is.

Caramel Apple Upside Down Pumpkin Spice Cake (or cobbler...whatever you want to call it!;) )


For the Cake:

I used this recipe for it. But, if you don't feel like making a cake from scratch, feel free to use a box of spice cake mix and add a 15 oz of canned pumpkin to it!

Now, in this recipe, I find a little bit less sugar than is called for is good, because you don't want the cake to be overly sweet. Trust me, the caramel makes up for it!

For the caramel:

A stick of butter
1c white sugar
Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp vanilla

How to put it all together.

Peel and slice about 7 or eight medium sized apples (I used Cortland, but next time I might use a mix of Granny Smith and Cortland)and line the bottom of a 13x9 greased and floured cake pan. Now, don't be stingy on how thick you cut the apples because they will disintegrate in the caramel while it's baking and you don't want that! I cut it into chunks rather than slices because I wanted a nice thick layer of apple, and it worked out very, very well!

Now, melt the stick of butter in a pan on the stove and mix in the sugar, cooking over high heat until the mixture starts to darken. Add vanilla and cream and keep stirring until the caramel is a nice golden-brown. It's okay if it seems a little gritty, because it will get creamy again when it bakes and the juice from the apples mixes in with it. Let cool a bit and pour over the apples, spreading evenly so it coats the entire bottom of the pan. (I actually doubled the recipe, and it worked out great, but it was messy. If you do this, make sure you line the bottom of your oven with some heavy duty foil to catch any caramel that bubbles up and drips over the sides. It will smoke, it will smell awful when the caramel burns on the foil, but it does not affect the cake. Not even a little. Trust me. :) ) Mix together your cake and pour over the apples, and bake until a fork inserted into the center of the cake comes away relatively clean!

For the Whipped Cream

Now, you can use Cool Whip if you like because it's not overly sweet, but I preferred fresh for this dish since whipping it up myself allows it to be sweetened as I go.

Chill a metal bowl in the freezer for five minutes, and then remove. Pour in cream (as much as you think you'll need). Add a tsp. of sugar to start and 1 tsp. of vanilla and start whipping. You can hand whip if you like, but I used my electric mixer with a whisk attatchment. Beat until light and fluffy and then top a big hunk of the cake with it and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon to make it pretty and ta-da! Yummy!


I hope anybody that makes this cake really really enjoys it! I know I did, and it's odd because I'm not overly fond of pumpkin anything!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The things I did today...


1. Run around 20 minutes before DW gets home doing dishes so she doesn't think I've been a lazy twat - check

2. Go Nascar grocery shopping (so called because my methodology is to zip in and out of the aisles as quickly as possible and I don't care who I have to slam into to make certain that's possible) - Check

3. Come home and go to put away the groceries only to discover that I had to clean out the fridge first? - Check

4. Actually put the groceries away - Check

4. Locate a friend of a friend's boxer shorts and let wife tape them with a little love note outside Mr. Stick's second story window - check.

Yeah, today's been a full day. And now, I'm left waiting around for my friends Ian and Randi to call me so I can go and be a nerd and play D&D with them...hopefully he's sober enough to run a game though. He went to some beer fest today (I think it was somewhere in Rhode Island) so goodness knows when I'll be hearing from him. I hope soon though. I'm wide awake and wanting to get out of the house for some fun! I know, I'm a geek...dweeb, and a nerd. All three, yes...yes I am. But I love Dungeons and Dragons. I've been playing since I was in junior high, and I don't care how many people tell me to "grow up"...I won't. Not if it means I don't get to play a Drow Necromancer and do all kinds of woggy stuff that normal people can't do!

What is it about D&D that inspires that kind of "Ew, you're a nerd" response anyway? I mean, it's fun for all ages and actually requires some modicum of intelligence, ingenuity and just general imagination to play it. It's not like a video game where you push a bunch of buttons and then start slashing away (not that there's anything wrong with some good old button pushing - I do loves me some video games). It requires slight acting skills. Oh, and reading. Maybe that's it. Not all that many people of the younger generation (or heck older generation) actually seem to like to read.

I tell you, it's a sad state of affairs when something as simple and entertaining as reading deterrs people from a fun time. I've recommended so many good books to so many people over the last few weeks and they just stare at me - usually with their eyebrows all frowny and a glazed look in their eye- slack-jawed that I would even suggest something like actually picking up a book (without pictures mind you) and expanding their minds. Thank goodness my nearest and dearest aren't like that, otherwise I'd go crazy! I read and I read a lot and quickly. I can finish a novel in a day or two usually and still get a good grasp of what's going on in the story.

How about all you readers out there? Are you a speed reader, or are you a slow goer?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Your regularly scheduled Programming

I've decided to break up the monotony of me basically rambling on and on and on in complete randomness with some happy, dancy, singy music!

Don't you just love Cyndi Lauper?

Yeah, I know this is kind of cheating, and I swear the next one I'll actually have something to write about.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Well now...

There's been a lot of chatter on Plurk about the "ding". I have to confess I had severely underestimated the "ding", mostly because I usually keep my speakers turned off unless I know I'm going to need sound. Well, this time, when I signed on to Plurk to catch up (which I love, love, love to do because to me, plurk is just as much of a time suck as Ravelry)I heard the "ding" five times before I got sick of it enough to remember to turn the speakers back off. I guess DW had turned them on because she's obsessed with YouTube. And now that the "ding" is taken care of, I can happily continue blogging without having to worry about being caught off guard by that noise and practically falling off my chair in the process. See, DW likes to turn the speaker volume up real loud, and sometimes she forgets to turn them down/off...which often leads to a near heart attack for the knitter. It's okay honey, I love you anyway.

Well, last night we actually got out of the house, and even though I have no photographic evidence of this, I assure you it did happen. We got gussied up and went down to ye olde karaoke bar, also known as The Bayside. Now, I know that the singing is supposed to be bad, with some good interspersed just to make it less hard on the ears, but there was this one annoying old lady that was so drunk by the time she walked into the bar that every song she got up to sing hurt me. Not just because of her horrible singing either, but because she only spoke every other word of the song she chose before elapsing into a fit of cuss words and generally insulting terms directed at the karaoke deejay while chugging back various alcoholic beverages in between. In hindsight, she was a very LSG type of lady...but was painfully embarrassing to watch. Especially since she had about three inches of highly wrinkled cleavage on display...and I didn't even know that you could have wrinkly cleavage! :(

But at least the beer was good. I got to enjoy my first pint of Sam Adams' Winter Lager of the Season, and considering how much I love that beer, it was a very happy time for me. And a couple of good friends met me and DW there, so fun times were had by all...until I had the Horrible Shot of Vodka. It was supposed to be a lemon drop, but they didn't put any sugar (because they'd run out and I foolishly thought it would be okay without it), and they failed to give me a lemon wedge to suck on after downing the shot. Also, I'm pretty sure they used cheap, horrible, rubbing alcohol type vodka instead of the good, smooth stuff. It was awful, and a serious let down after the yumminess of the beer. Oh well, you win some you lose some!

Other than that, my life's been pretty boring. Same old thing, same old place, but at least I'm comfortable with it. And I'm seriously running out of things to say...damn this Nablopomo thing is hard!

I wonder if my blog's listed on the blogroll for November yet...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm running out of material here folks!

So I decided to post this thing!

The Recipe For Cadence

3 parts Prosperity

2 parts Shrewdness

1 part Grace

Splash of Cleverness

Shake vigorously

Also, my Pomatomus sock is coming along swimmingly. I almost have the whole leg done on it and I only cast on for it yesterday...or maybe the day before. I can't remember. The days kind of just smoosh into one another when one is unemployed!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Now that that's over with...

So, I voted, and I have to say that I was a bit disappointed with the turnout at the polling place where I had to go. I mean, I don't know if there was a larger amount of people earlier in the day, but when I got there at about five p.m., there were only three people ahead of me in line to vote, and I was pretty much in and out of there. Still, I voted and that's going to count for something. Especially since as I'm typing this Barack Obama is 70 electoral votes away from becoming the next U.S. President. Here's hoping that those 70 people chip in for a change in the way our country is run! WooT! This makes me more happy than you can possibly believe! It's been a while since a presidential candidate has moved me to the point that the prospect of him actually winning the election makes me giddy beyond belief, and if he doesn't win I will honestly be heartbroken...not to mention seriously considering a move to Canada.

Okay, so enough of the politics. I know a great many people out there are getting royally sick of it, and I can't blame them. It's just such an emotional time, especially since our candidates seem to inspire so many people on so many different fact, I'm pretty sure it's the first time I can recall folks getting so riled up over a presidential election, but well, this time I guess people feel that it really will make a difference. I know I do. I know! I said no more politics. I'm done. Promise! ;)

As I mentioned a post or so back, I cast on for a pair of Pomatomus Socks. I have to say that I really, really like this pattern. It's not so difficult that it's impossible to knit, but it's not so simple that you get bored with it after knitting it for two seconds. Even the 1x1 ribbing on the cuff is entertaining, and that's saying something considering I hate 1x1 ribbing...seriously. Hate! And it's weird that I should be enjoying knitting this pattern so much because I'm knitting it in my least ever favorite color yarn...purple. Blech. Now listen, I know there are a lot of people out there who are like "What? This bitch doesn't like purple?! That's it, I'm gonna go and stab her with my needles." It's not really that I don't like the color purple, because I do like it - just in an offhand-as-long-as-it's-not-on-me kind of way. It makes my skin look yellow and doesn't really flatter me. Still, I happen to have this skein of purple Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn mocking me from my stash every time I so much as look at it so I guess I decided to put it in it's place by making something beautiful out of it despite it's color. Surprisingly, I really, really like the way the color looks in the pattern. It's lovely! And on top of that, the yarn has some blue in it too, providing a nice thin stripe to break up the purple so the colors don't bore me to tears.


The colors aren't quite as dark as the photo, but what can I say...the lighting's crappy. The purple is nearly as dark as it looks, but that dark blue stripe that you can see running through it? It's not as dark as that at all. In fact, it's a lovely bright cobalty blue...if I'm thinking of the right shade. If not I'll just come back here and edit it or something. Anyway, that's what the first knit through of chart A looks like, and I'll only say it one more time, I'm loving it! Cookie A. is a genius! I swear, the girl is dangerous for me because every time I see one of her new sock patterns come out I'm like "Oh! I have to knit that!" and that often gets me in trouble because that usually gives me an 'excuse' (like I really need to hunt one up, right?) to go and buy more yarn!

And as for the rest, well, all I'm going to leave you with is a picture of my dog in her Halloween Costume. I didn't really get to take her out and show it off, but I did make her wear it around the house, and she was kind enough to keep it on for an hour or so to amuse her mommy. What a good little Beeba dog I have!


For future reference, I need to knit sweaters for this dog a little longer because the green "stem" barely covered her doxie-like brisket! And also, I should make the poor thing's neckband a little looser. Poor darling got her head stuck every time we tried to take it off her! Maybe I need a looser cast off? I don't know...maybe I just need a few more stitches...

Well, at any rate, I'm off for the moment to be generally lazy and take a cat nap - mostly so I can avoid the after election stress of wanting to be glued to the tv screen to watch the votes pour in. That's the worst part for me! ;)

Night all, and as always, thanks so much for reading!