Tuesday, August 28, 2007

An Explanation and a Shrug

There are good parts and bad parts to walking to work. Good points: exercise, no worries about parking, nice 20 minutes to think every morning and afternoon. Bad points: what works clothing-wise at work isn't so great to walk in (e.g. heels, long-sleeved shirts in the summer), carrying stuff 20 minutes each way. So I decided to leave my laptop at work most nights. It's been less traumatic to break my internet addiction than I thought that it would be. (I made up a list of internet rules at work; we don't have filters or blocked sites -- at least not any that I visit -- but I don't let myself look at my Google Reader or Ravelry or Craftster or any of the blogs/comics sites that I waste time on at home. I do, however, keep all 4 email accounts visible most of the day...so I guess that I am still internet-addicted. Oh, and I'm allowed to look at NYT and CNN and anything else that comes up on the thingy at the top of my GMail. So yeah...still internet-addicted.) So the point of that, tangential though it may be, is that I'm not going to be blogging very frequently.

But yeah. Here's a shrug that I made, based on Tubey. I knit it with Lion Brand Microspun that had been in my stash so long that I can't even remember why I originally bought it. I made 3/4 length sleeves, with no bell, and just a regular knit BO. I did a 2 stitch garter edging along one edge of the back, hoping that it would be enough to keep the stockinette from curling along the top. No such luck, so I flipped it upside down -- the top part is now plain stockinette, and it does curl, but it actually makes a really warm-and-comfy-neck edge. I crocheted along the now-bottom edge to minimize the curling. I did a row of crochet slip stitches and then did a shell edging based on one that I saw in SnB Crochet: *sc in first garter ridge, skip a garter ridge, 5 dc in next garter ridge, skip a garter ridge. Rep from * until end. The shrug is surprisingly warm; I haven't actually worn it at work yet but I imagine that it will get a lot of use.

And a close-up of the edging. Apologies for both shots -- it's surprisingly difficult to photograph a shrug.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Cauliflower Casserole

It may look like a coconut cake, but it's not. It's a cauliflower casserole. Now, although approximately 84% of people prefer coconut cake to cauliflower casserole, don't be too disappointed. It's a damn good cauliflower casserole.

1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
1 potato, peeled and chopped
1 T olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
8 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 block (19 oz) soft tofu
3 T nutritional yeast
1 egg
salt and pepper
1/4 cup panko

Preheat the oven to 375F. Put the cauliflower and potato into a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until tender (10 minutes). Drain, reserving a cup of liquid, and mash, leaving some chunks. Meanwhile, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until lightly browned. Put the sauteed onion and garlic into a food processor with the tofu and blend until smooth. Mix the mashed cauliflower/potatoes with the tofu mixture in a 8"x8" pan. Add the nutritional yeast, egg, and salt and pepper to taste. You can add a small amount of reserved cooking liquid if the mixture seems too dry. Sprinkle with panko and bake 40 minutes, until the casserole is "set" and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.

The egg and panko are totally optional -- I just happened to have them around. The original recipe is from Vegan with a Vengeance, reprinted (totally without permission) here. (The chick who runs that blog annoys me, and I run across the blog all the time because we have similar taste in food.) Isa (of VWaV) modified it from a Bon Appetit recipe, reprinted (I'm guessing with permission) here. I liked my version and will definitely be making it again.

Good question

Courtesy of the Random Surrealism Generator:

Who do you think is more likely to crochet a face - Godzilla or Pearl Jam?

Ravelry is hard work!

So I got my Ravelry invite earlier this week, or maybe last week. Sometime recently. There's a lot to like about it (as about a zillion people have said so far), but what nobody talks about is how much WORK it is. Now, granted, there are a lot of people who've done tons of work to make it happen -- there are a lot of nifty little link-and-search buttons and other cool features that have obviously taken a lot of time and effort. And I suppose that, as a Ravelry user, it would be OK to just post a list of projects with no details and no pictures. But there's this vibe (at least so far in the beta-testing group; I'm still curious to see how things will change when it's open to everyone) of very high expectations. It takes a village to raise a sweater. And there are people out there (cough, Kabs) who document stuff, and are happy to have another outlet for documentation. Me, not so much. My goal today is to post 3 FOs. These will be the easy ones -- the pics are taken, stuff's already written in my blog, cut, paste, voila. WIPs will get dealt with at some point, and then, GROAN, I'll maybe just maybe deal with posting my stash. (Oh. And if you're not Kabs and don't already know, this is me on Ravelry.)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sopa de Lechuga

It's not often that you get to use the Spanish word for lettuce on an English-speaking blog. (Well, a blog by an English-speaking person.) And although there's nothing Spanish about my soup, I like the Spanish word for lettuce. So ha! This is also called Swamp Soup.

I had several heads of romaine in the fridge that were starting to get wilted, so I took the outer leaves from 3 of them, chopped them and put them into a pot. I added 3 peeled chopped potatoes, 2 chopped onions, and a head of garlic, peeled and chopped. I added water to cover, brought it to a boil, then simmered it for 20 minutes or so until everything was soft. Then I blended it and seasoned it. (Usually just salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast.) This "recipe" works pretty well for any veggie -- carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, green peas, zucchini, asparagus...mixed veggies would taste good but look even scarier than the Swamp Soup above.

Odds and Ends

Just a few pics of things that aren't interesting enough for full posts. Begone with you, off of my camera and into the world!

Pineapple Bread
Potatoes and Cauliflower, pre-roasting
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Homemade Ice Cream (KindaSorta)

I've got a teeny-tiny passionate hatred for recipes that call for "gadgets" that I don't own. It just seems unfair. (And yes, I am aware that there are FAR greater injustices in this world.) I'm a decent cook, I know how to substitute ingredients no problem, but it's hard to substitute for a kitchen appliance. And I'm living pretty minimally appliance-wise this year. Stove, range, microwave, mini-blender, food processor, immersion blender. That's all. No KitchenAid, no grill, no breadmaker (never actually owned one of those), and no ice-cream maker. That last one is the problem, because it eliminates approximately 100% of recipes for homemade ice cream. Until NOW! (Wahaha.)

I used the recipe I mentioned in my previous post. I used 12 or 13 peaches, but I did cut away a lot of bruises and nastiness, so you really only need 9 or 10 if they're in good shape. I used a 6 oz container of nonfat plain yogurt (TJs house brand has no gelatin) and 1/3 cup white sugar. Dumping all of those peaches in at once totally overwhelmed my Cuisinart, so I blended as follows:

1/3 of peaches, 1/2 of yogurt, 1/2 of sugar. Blend until smooth, then add another 1/3 of peaches, 1/2 of yogurt, and 1/2 of sugar. Blend until smooth and then stir in remaining 1/3 peaches. (You could blend them in, but I like it with the little icy peach chunks.) This stuff is absolutely astounding.

And one more pic:
I like the texture shot, but wasn't real thrilled with the plastic bowl. So in the interest of blog-photography (and nothing else of course) I had to scoop myself up a bowl of ice cream. Mmmm.

Shopping, yes. Success, questionable.

I intended to take it light at the market this week since I'll be out of town this weekend. I only spent $15, but I still got a lot of food. Here's the rundown:

3 heads of cauliflower, $2
3ish lb peaches, $1
the best yellow tomatoes in the world, $3 (my impulse/splurge purchase)
3 bunches of asparagus, $4
3 lb string beans, $3
1 lb cherries, $2

The cherries are for eating plain, although I read somewhere that they can be roasted, so I'll look into that. The asparagus will be steamed -- they're too thin to be roasted. The beans will be steamed, roasted, and/or eaten raw. The cauliflower, whoops. No single person needs 3 heads of cauliflower, but they were on sale. Roasted, made into soup, uh, made into some recipes that I will immediately seek on the internet. Yes, that is the well-thought-out plan. And the peaches are for this recipe. I bought them from a stall that has amazing prices and questionable quality, but I knew that going in and I'm totally willing to cut away some nasty spots on some of the peaches when they're that cheap. So now I'm off to freeze and dice and do whatever else it takes so that I have food for the rest of the week.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Shopping Success!

And, shockingly, it doesn't involve food. (That's tomorrow's post.) I got a coupon for NY&Co. and decided to go there to find a dress for Kabs' weddingish. Didn't find one, but I did get 2 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of work pants, and a work shirt. All for less than $150 total, and I also got another $60 worth of coupons. (Sweet.) And I found out why I was having this problem. Apparently, they size big -- way big. And their stuff stretches even more once it's worn. (I am truly grateful to the saleswoman who clued me in to this. I'm a size 14 and didn't buy anything larger than a 10. And it fit. We'll see how this actually works when I wear the pants to work next week.) Woo for the weekend!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Taking Inventory

Today's farmers' market haul:

3 zucchini
2 heads of cauliflower
3 lb green beans
1 pineapple
1 pint yellow tomatoes
1 lb yellow onions
1 lb baby Yukon Gold potatoes (plus one potato to make it exactly a dollar)
1 lb roasted salted peanuts

Beaster paid for it all because she is awesome.

Friday, August 10, 2007

In Which Things Return to My Life

First off, just have to say it: 100th post! Woo! I am sad that I don't have a 100th-post booty-fruity, since that is still my favorite part of this blog, few and far between as those posts are. Oh well, I can always edit that in later.

And in the past few days, I've had things show up that were randomly missing. And I am excited.

The first: Freedomland. It's a book that I read ages ago (as in, high school, but not for school), loved, and then promptly forgot all identifying information. I remembered a few scenes, the cover picture, and that the author's last name started with a P. And I've been looking for it ever since. I stumbled across it a few days ago at the (otherwise deficient) St. Louis Public Library. And I still love it. But apparently other people don't -- you can get a one-cent copy on Amazon. So I'm buying it. Whee!

The second: my dog. She was only gone for about 5 minutes -- slipped out the front gate, then ran around to the back of the house, and appeared outside of the back gate. I'm confused and happy that she came back rather than running away when she had the chance, because shame on me, I hadn't even noticed that she'd disappeared.

The third: my favorite vegetable peeler. I am indeed a big enough kitchen dork to have one. I lost it during the move, and I've been using a random crappy one for the last 2 months. (I kept forgetting to buy a new one -- it wouldn't have lived up to my favorite one anyways.) Well, I was digging around for my Cuisinart shredder attachment and found my peeler in the "useless stuff" box. Yay!

And the fourth: my seeeeeestar! I haven't seen her in a few months either, and she's been gradually becoming one of the Corn People. (Kraki.) But she has decided to come visit me this weekend, just for the hell of it. And we will go shopping and eating and wandering. And that is sweet.

Happy weekend! (And be afraid for Monday the 13th...)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

More Bags!

So I finally finished the bags for the Reusable Bag Challenge. It's crazy how fast stenciling is -- not that my results are amazing or anything, but still. You can make something in like 15 minutes. (I sense more stenciling in my future...I have a ton of leftover paint. And cardboard. And an X-acto knife. Mmmmm X-acto knife.)

So here's the final products:

(It's fronts and backs -- I wish that I had 6 of them, but there's only 3.) I had great ideas for cheesy eco-slogans, but my crappy stenciling "skills" would have left smaller letters looking like random blotches. So I went with short-and-sweet and then made potato-print hearts and stars. Overall, very fun, and now I have more bags. Woot!

Turnip Greens? Eh.

So I cooked them -- just boiled them for about 3 minutes to decrease the bitterness and toughness that greens in general are known for. They weren't bad, but they certainly weren't kale. More like spinach, nothing exciting. And it didn't really seem like it would hold up well in the fridge -- one of the great benefits for me with kale is that it keeps well, and I get to eat fresh veggies all week. So I used all of the turnip greens in the following "recipe", and I'll try mustard or collard greens next week and see how they stack up. (This is for 1 bunch of greens; I made a triple batch.)

Peel and slice 10 cloves of garlic. Saute garlic in olive oil in a large-medium saucepan. Sprinkle garlic with cayenne pepper -- I never measure and I usually add too much, but I like it that way...

When the garlic is tender but not brown, add 1 bunch of chopped cooked greens. Stir well and heat 2-3 minutes until everything is hot. Stir in 1/2 can of (rinsed and drained) white beans. Salt and pepper to taste. Great served over hot pasta with diced tomatoes.

Drool, Purchase, Repeat

OK, I was just being ridiculous today at the farmers' market. I think that I spent between $20 and $25, but I can't be sure. I intended to buy some zucchini and tomatoes,and maybe some beans. Here's what I left with:

1 seedless watermelon
1 pineapple
3 lb green beans
2 lb snap peas
3.5 lb Roma tomatoes
3 lb turnip greens (no more kale...)
4 fresh figs (my absolute favorite fruit ever...)
2 heads cauliflower
3 regular zucchini
and this:
Well, OK, the cat I had before. The zucchini is new. (And for those more inclined toward standard measurements, it's 15" long.) It will be soup. The little zucchini will be brownies. The beans and the cauliflower will be roasted; the greens will be boiled. (Then what, dunno. I've never made turnip greens before, but that's what the produce people said would be most kale-like.) Everything else will be dealt with in one way or another. Except for the watermelon, which required urgent chopping. Because I put all of my stuff in a cardboard box in the trunk of my car. Upon removal of said box from said trunk, the bottom of the box fell out, as did all of the produce. Most of the stuff survived intact. The watermelon cracked in half. Note to self: next time, no watermelon.