Sunday, February 27, 2011

strummin' on the ol' banjo

I think cooking would be much more interesting to me if I had live banjo music available.
Anyhow, I believe it's a well established fact that I hate to cook and would never do it if I could afford someone else cooking my meals. (T helps some but generally gets home so late that we'd be eating after bedtime. And then there was that time he made "soup" where one of the ingredients was Cheezits...) So. We have the options of feeding the family on restaurant or fast food, or I get off my lazy butt and cook.
I'd been wishing for recipes that I knew would freeze, that were not all tomato-based or cream-soup-based. Unless we're talking about the fennel family, I refuse foods based on texture, so the stuff HAD to freeze well. In passing an office mate mentioned Once you get past the icky name, you get a website with a month's worth of recipes that you cook all in one day, adjusted for size and freezability (is too a word). If you follow the menu exactly, there's even a schedule that tells you what order to chop and cook, how to package, and (if you're working with a friend) who chops what. We are a somewhat picky family, so I've been picking and choosing recipes. (For example, the White Chicken Chili was FANTASTIC as written for T and me, but was too spicy for either boy to eat. The second time I made it I adjusted appropriately and they inhaled it.) Last weekend, I took a few hours and made three meals, and we ate them throughout the week. All three were ruled "delicious" by all members of the family. One was prepped ahead of time and cooked in the crock pot on the day we ate it, two were marinated and either grilled or roasted on the day.
This week I'm getting more ambitious and prepping six eight recipes. It's a boatload of work on the day you do all the prep, but I don't actually spend more than about half an hour each night afterwards making the main dish and fixing sides.

Here's the haul for today:
Meatloaf (my recipe)
Chili (my recipe)
Chicken Orzo Skillet
Bacon Broccoli Penne
Cauliflower Mac N Cheese
Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash
Slow Cooker Chicken with Pineapple and Peppers
Chicken Fried Rice


In most cases you do a double recipe and freeze two family-size servings, but I only did that with recipes we've tried already. We had the Chicken Fried Rice for dinner tonight, and next time I'll double it. I'm tempted to quadruple the white chicken chili next time.

Bug was hungry.


And a bit maniacal.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Oh sister mercy

Someone has a wild hair...

Apologies for the long absences. Mostly I knit slow and have nothing to show. Also, last week I was hit with strep (went to the ER and TOLD them it was strep but they didn't believe me until the culture came back positive TWO DAYS LATER no I'm not bitter why do you ask?) and had a miserable week. Friday I was feeling pretty good, and since it was Friday and the breezes were cool and the children were compliant, we went ouside, where they played and I flipped through the Keepsake Quilting catalog.


It may have stirred a long-dormant feeling of bed-linen-dissatisfaction.  Namely, I have no topper and shams that I love.  I don't even have one that I like much.  T was not much use in this department when he moved in, being a boy and therefore in possession of exactly one blanket and one set of sheets, the pattern of which he described ones as "slug-shaped".  (They're paisleys.)  So, here we are.  We have a day off, we have settled on a basic pattern and color scheme that is neither too girly nor too boy, and we have tossed the stash.  (You understand that I'm referring to the Royal We, here.  T is at work and blissfully unaware of my new project.)  


I had a scrap of something that would have been perfect, so I toddled off to JoAnn's in an effort to find something in a similar tone.  As luck would have it, I found the exact fabric (plus a couple others I will use instead of those from the above photo).  And (ahem) a few other little things.
I'm off to enjoy lunch with my aunts shortly, and when I return there will be ironing and cutting and arranging of fabrics, and possibly even sewing of same.  I ALWAYS underestimate how long it takes to cut perfectly good fabric and reassemble it into a blanket.  This is evidenced by the fact that I am already thinking about hand-quilting motifs in my head...
Anyway, whilst you chuckle at my startitis and my craft-fickleness, I will leave you with a couple photos of paperwhites I forced in a vase in my kitchen  Courtesy of T's mom at Christmas-time. 

0220111821 0220111820

Monday, February 07, 2011

wha? where am i?

welcome to february, my lovies. here we are, five weeks into the new year. is it just me or does that seem crazy-long and also not nearly long enough? on one hand i can't believe it's already february 7, and on the other hand new year's and christmas seem so far in the past.
incidentally, i seem to have given up capitalization for new year's.
hmm, well. life has been busy. last year my company purchased a smaller company and one group is working to bring the products in line with our way of doing things and our style, without changing their procedures (much). since i belong to all and no one at the same time, i was given the task of editing the manufacturing documentation. there are many people from all over the country involved, and we all zipped off to irvine, ca, for much of the work. i have come in on the tail end of the thing, so my travel has been much less than others'. still, it has been a bit difficult, mostly on T and the boys. T took over like he's been doing the daddy thing for a lifetime instead of less than a year, and i think the boys behaved better than when i'm around. they act like they miss me, though, so i keep coming home to loads of hugs and smiling faces, and there is nothing better. :D
the trips are getting shorter, though, and i can do most of what's left from the office in tempe, so i don't have much travel left. the first trip i took all my latvian-mitten yarn, my b-side, and a scarf. i didn't knit much that trip. the second time, i schlepped my sweater and the handspun nutkin i started a million years ago. i knitted a little on the nutkin on the plane, but not much else. this last time i took only the sock, and got a few repeats up the leg. after trying the thing on i have determined that i hate the toe i picked, and the short-row heel is about two rows too deep. i will fix those later. i expect i will take the sock along this week, and again if i have to go back next week. (in these trips i'm only really gone overnight.)
this weekend i devoted some time to b-side. when last you saw it, i'd picked up all the stitches for the sleeves and was short-rowing my way around. i hated the way it was turning out, and since i'd already knit three full sleeves i figured i'd better make darn sure this sweater was going to fit well and look good, so i ripped. i used the ratios as before for the proportion of the sleeve to short-row and just picked up the stitches as i got from side to side. i ended up with many more stitches, and many fewer decreases. i like the look of it much better, and the extra stitches ensure plenty of room for the bingo wings. i am now knitting round and round and round, decreasing my way down the sleeve. i haven't measured in a while, but i guess i'm 1/3 to 1/2 the way down. the thing that would be nifty about now would be the ability to find the paper i scribbled my sleeve notes on, so i can remember how long i intend to knit the decrease portion and/or how many stitches i'm supposed to end up with before starting the ribbing.
i still have that red scarf on the go - i didn't finish T's dad's christmas scarf in time so i appropriated the one from ofa's box, as it was the same style and color. i believe i am nearly finished with it, but truth be told, the nutkin and the sweater, both destined for me, get attention when it's cold. that's all i'm actively working on right now. i'm anxious to get them finished, both to wear them before the weather heats up, and to get out some other wips or new projects to play with.