Monday, March 31, 2008

Baby Snow Dragon

Pattern: Baby Snow Dragon
Yarn: Knit Picks Merino Style in Vanilla
Hook: F 3.75mm
Mods: I made the eyelids a bit smaller.

I wish I wasn't giving her away. Josh thought it looked like a massacre had occurred on our coffee table this weekend due to the amount of bird and dragon parts covering it. It looks better now. You can see the new recruits tomorrow when they get their beaks.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

March DB Challenge - Dorie's Perfect party Cake

When I saw this month's challenge was a cake I got rather excited. I love baking cakes; I don't need an occasion, though it usually helps. I am just glad Josh and I have friends and coworkers willing to eat my cakes. My family was never big on cakes. We much preferred brownies, which may explain why I prefer baking and decorating cakes to eating them.

I made this cake yesterday since all my plans to get this done on previous weekends failed miserably. Between forgetting to purchase one of the ingredients, weekend guests, car problems and other things it just didn't happen.

This cake required a cooked meringue butter cream, which was totally new to me. For the filling, I used blueberry spread made locally. I flavored the cake and butter cream with lemon, and used whole wheat pastry flour because I didn't realize that is what I had purchased. The cakes didn't rise as well as I had hoped, but still enough to allow me to split them in half for filling with blueberry goodness. I think I could use some new baking powder as evidenced by these cakes and last weekend's flat biscuits.

As for taste, the cake is lovely; so is the blueberry spread. I am definitely having peanut butter and jelly for lunch again. The butter cream is just not for me. Not a fan of frosting, with the exception of those containing cream cheese, I found the butter cream to fluffy and whipped cream like. I am not a fan of whipped cream mostly due to it's texture. I know, I am weird. I don't like ketchup either.

I have posted the recipe here if you want to try it, which I definitely suggest. Don't forget to check out the other, probably prettier variations, my fellow DBer's have made. I should really get a pretty plate for my cakes.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Eating, shopping, baking, Wii-ing, jogging, crocheting, picture taking, and grilling; not a bad Saturday.

First up are bird parts.

I have started three more birds for my army to bring the total to 9. I purchased the red yarn and two F hooks at our new Micheals. Not the greatest yarn selection but now I can get Cotton-Ease locally.

Next is the first of my ribbed socks made from TOFUtsies yarn.

Last night after tae kwon do, I helped Josh with his one steps. In one of them he does a leg sweep as I do a round house kick therefor landing on my back. I landed wrong the first time because I forgot what exactly was going to happen. I landed rather hard; I am pretty sure I am going to have a very lovely bruise in a few days. Luckily it didn't hurt while I was doing my workout today. It didn't hurt too much while I tried out a bunch of things on Wii Sports that I hadn't tried before.

Ok, now for some cake!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I woke up to what sounded like sand hitting my bedroom window around 4am. In reality it was just sleet, but in my dream, right before I woke up, I was driving down some road and my right wheels where rolling through some sort of sandy gravel. No idea where I was going though. At least it's not snowing or sleeting anymore, but the wind is making it rather chilly and apparently thundersnow is predicted for our area later today or tonight.

I wish I wore a pair of my wool socks today rather than Tuesday when it was almost 60F. I had to take them off when I got home because my feet were too warm. That rarely happens.

The next round of Sock Madness doesn't start until April 1 so I haven't been doing much knitting. I think the amount of knitting I did to finish that first pair of socks did my wrist in. The tendinitis returned for a few days after I finished so no knitting progress. i may need to go back to my bird army. I recently remembered I have some teal left over from Wicked and a couple skeins of Patons merino wool that are destined to become this hat, but could each spare a bit for a bird.

For those of you who care what my DVD collection contains, I have not purchased the X-Files. I think I still want to though.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Growing up, I was a huge fan of the X-Files. I watched it every chance I had as well as Star Trek. The same was true for Buffy and now Stargate. I am obviously a sci-fi fan and have almost all the seasons of Buffy and Stargate as well as most of my other fave sci-fi TV shows except X-Files. The seasons of X-Files have always been expensive until recently. Today they are even cheaper. I just found the whole series on Amazon for $100 less than I have ever seen it. I am sooo tempted. I have the money and a gift certificate at Amazon. The seasons of Buffy that I don't have are also on sale as is Angel. Crap! I am trying to save money. Stupid Amazon.

Oh! I finally got my "run" in today. It was less of workout than I was hoping for so I will be bumping up the intensity a bit, I think. I thought about starting with the second week, since I am a fairly active person, but the info about the program said follow it exactly so you don't get burned out. I am pretty sure they were talking to those couch potatoes and not the somewhat-active-persons-who-hate-running.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Baking did not go well yesterday. First were the flat, dense biscuits for breakfast. Next was the failure to procure one of the needed ingredients for a cake. Second was my food processor being to small for a different cake recipe.

Third was cake refusing to come out of the pan in one piece.

Josh kindly cleaned the remnants of the cake from the pan for me. He did a good job. I helped a little.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Round 1 done! Did I make it?

Zombies are done as of about 3 minutes ago!

ETA: I did make it! Yay me.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy First Day of Spring.

I keep seeing videos on other blogs from the shows I watched as a kid. Here is my contribution.

I think snow is predicted for our area later today and this weekend.

ETA: Would someone please remind me that I am 25 not 6.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Small changes

I have been trying to make small changes that not only save money but are lest wasteful and less horrible for the environment. So far I have become a little fanatical about what gets recycled at our place, replaced our laundry detergent with some homemade phosphate-free detergent, replaced the kitchen cleaner with some homemade (and cheap!) cleaner, take public transportation to and from work, bring reusable bags to the grocery store and mall(when I remember) and now I am working on replacing paper towels with microfiber towels and other reusable towels after reading this article. Not only will it save money but it's less wasteful.

When Josh and I get our house we are going to try to make it as energy efficient as we can afford. Since Josh works at Lowe's (is there an apostrophe in Lowe's? I should know this), he is fairly informed about appliances and can get good deals sometimes. I am also going to look into fume-free paints. Can you tell I am a little excited about owning a home? We have been spending way more time talking about buying a house than planning a wedding.

I really wanted to finish the Zombies yesterday, well actually Monday, but realized quickly that was not going to happen. I have a couple more rows before the gusset is done, which will be a relief. I can get rid of the dpns I am using to hold the extra stitches!

Any ideas what I should have for dinner tonight? We kind of indulged during our long weekend so I am thinking something healthy, but I have some fingerling potatoes I really want to slice, roast and cover in parmesan. Mmmm.... I made beef stew and soda bread this weekend as well as pancakes and oatmeal scones, so we have had our share of hearty food. Salads would probably be a good choice. I guess the parmesan covered potatoes can wait.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Josh and I took both today and yesterday off so we could enjoy a long weekend together. It has been so nice. We haven't done a lot, but I feel we have been productive anyway. Well, sorta...We didn't get the laundry done.

On Saturday Josh and his dad fixed my car! I spent about $100 on parts and a meal. I still need to send a card with some cookies. My brake pads were worn down to almost nothing and the right rotor was really rough. I helped a little. I removed the lug nuts from the left front wheel. Josh failed to tell me the impact wrench was as heavy as it was so when he handed it to me I almost dropped it. It isn't really that heavy, I just wasn't expecting how heavy it was.

I also finally started the Zombie socks for SM2. I am knitting the socks two-at-a-time. I started using magic-loop but have switched to two circs to make the gusset a bit easier.

Today we talked to a mortgage lender and got pre-approved for a loan. It looks like the price range we were aiming for was what they are willing to loan us so we are good to go! Yay house!

Friday, March 14, 2008

My car needs new brake pads and rotors according to Josh's knowledgeable friend. Dang! I knew my car was going to need something replaced soon. I am guessing a new battery will be needed soon as well, since this is about the age the battery on my other car of the same make and model died. I also need to get the tires rotated, but I think I can get the done for free at the place I bought the tires a little over a year ago. After 7 years and 115,000

I keep typing "batter" instead of "battery" which means I need to make a cake.

Update: Josh and his dad are going to fix my car tomorrow. Do you think I can convince them to rotate the tires while they have the car jacked up?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I came home from tae kwon do with all sorts of goodies last night. I got a sweatshirt for $10, my new uniform, a blister the size of a dime on my right big toe and a blister slightly smaller than a dime on my left big toe. I also have a few sore arm muscles.

Now for some pictures. First is the pizza I mentioned in a previous post. It turned out rather well, except for the thin crust I was going for didn't really happen. The not-so-thin crust is topped with some light alfredo sauce I made, mozzarella, green peppers and chicken. The sauce seemed to be absorbed by the crust during baking. I will have to work on that.

Next up is the first sock of SKP2008. It now has an owner yet still needs a partner.

Third is the first of the Ribbed Tofutsie socks. About one more inch then the toe!

Last but not least is my favorite breakfast: steel-cut oatmeal with dried cranberries, Greek yogurt, pecans and honey.

I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures. I haven't had ideal light conditions at an opportune time when a picture needs to be taken, and I refuse to use the flash because it ruins pictures for the most part.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The time change is still kicking my butt. I am just waiting for the weekend so I can sleep in.

I finished one of the blah socks. I even wove in the ends! I will try to start the next one tonight. I promised them to a co-worker so now I have to finish them. If I don't like the next pattern chosen for SKP2008 I may give up. I don't see a point to knitting more things I won't enjoy.

Oh, for those of your curious about my bird army. I don't want any matching birds, but I have run out of different colors of worsted weight wool, so they are on hold. I can justifying the purchase of more wool for birds because the Happy Little Bird Army can provide security at my new house when I get one; therefor the money I spend on said wool is beneficial to the house I am saving money for. Right? Currently the birds are the overlords of the TV. Actually they are just sitting on it looking kinda innocent or malevolent; depends on the lighting.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I didn't realize one hour would make such a difference. I generally wake up just before my alarm goes off. Therefor, I was completely surprised when my alarm awakened me this morning. Not only that, but it was rather dark outside! It definitely took me awhile to get going this morning. It helped that it was only 55F in my apartment. The heat was set at 60F but hadn't kicked on. I turned it up and the furnace did turn on, so I know it works. I don't always trust the thermostat in our place.

I made pizza from scratch yesterday. I have a picture, but it is still on my camera. It was fun and quite tasty, though the alfredo sauce I made to top the pizza didn't hold up well during the baking. I think it was because I made a low-fat version which didn't contain any butter so the high heat of the oven didn't agree with it. Maybe adding a bit of olive oil would help. I think I may try a different pizza dough recipe next time, because this one was tricky to roll out. I think I will make another pizza tomorrow night with the blob of dough I have left in the fridge. I want to keep at least a couple pounds of pizza dough in the freezer so I can make pizzas rather than buying them all the time.

I was also going to make a cake yesterday but the headache that started while I was grocery shopping killed that idea pretty quickly. I made peanut butter blondies instead. I didn't measure the peanut butter, so I think I added a bit more than called for. I also skipped the cinnamon and I believe I baked them for less time than called for. I forgot to set the timer so I just pulled them out when I thought they looked done enough. Gotta have a gooey center! I think next time I make these I will decrease the leavening or leave it out all together like the other blondie recipe I use frequently.

ETA: Here's a pizza crust I can get behind. I wouldn't eat all that meat, but the crust sounds excellent!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Ack! I am pathetic. Josh is out of town, and I have no idea what to do with myself. I can't decide if I want to knit, read, play a video game, watch a movie, play on the computer... Currently watching something about how the Earth was made and playing on the compy, but I am not quite satisfied with this activity. Why am I so restless?

I spent today with my mom and grandma. I brought the Snickery Bars and Granny loved them then asked for the recipe. We ate lunch at the new Maid Rite in town, but Granny said it didn't taste like she remembered. We stopped at the new Wal-Mart and I picked up Muppets in Space and The Muppets Take Manhatten. I wish I felt like watching them.

Mom, Granny and me

I think knitting and video games may be out due to the tendinitis plaguing my left wrist. I don't think I feel like reading or watching TV. What am I going to do?

ETA: Don't forget DST!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Josh's truck is stuck in the ice that has plagued our apartment complex's parking lot. The warmer temperatures of this past weekend didn't help much. He usually drives my car; it has front wheel drive, so his truck hasn't gotten out much this winter. I don't think it will be going anywhere for the next few days.

This wouldn't be much of a problem, but we both have places to be this weekend. He is going on a trip with his dad. They want to get going fairly early tomorrow, so he planned to be at his parents' house tonight. I am going to my grandma's this weekend to meet-up with my mom and her for lunch tomorrow.

Ergo, I am going with Josh to his parents' house tonight then driving back so I can make my grandma's birthday treat. The drive isn't more than an hour, but still not what I was hoping to do tonight. I guess tae kwon do class is out of the question. Oh well!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Oh sock, how I dislike you. The color is blah; the pattern is blah. But, I signed up for this challenge, and I am going to complete it. I thought these might be good socks for my granny, but I don't think they will fit her, and since I am supposed to follow the pattern I won't be changing things. At least they go fast, so if I decide to frog at the end of this I won't be too upset. Maybe Josh's mom or my small-footed co-worker will like them. This picture nicely shows my crappy short-row heel too! I hate short-row heels for some reason. Oh! I did change one thing, I knit this top-down instead of toe-up, but since the amount of stitches is the same either way, the lovely folks at SKP2008 are allowing this. I still think my grandma needs a pair of socks though. Sorry for the whining.

Since Granny won't be getting any socks, I am going to make her a birthday treat. My mom and I are visiting her Saturday so I am going to bring Snickery Squares because she loves Snickers. I think I will bake the cookie base tomorrow night and assemble Saturday morning before I leave.

I finally slept well last night and I can definitely tell a difference. I awakened easily and am not trying to nap at my desk! I didn't wake up due to coughing at all during the night. We skipped tae kwon do so we could rest and get to bed early because neither of us were feeling well and it was a good decision. I also got to make enchiladas last night which was a nice change from our usual Wednesday night salad. The salad has been pushed to tonight since they are easy to throw together after three hours of teaching tae kwon do. Though, we are changing it up and making it a taco salad rather than the usual salad with chicken. I saved a little ground turkey from the enchiladas to tacoize tonight for the salads.

Monday, March 03, 2008

I am feeling better than I was most of this weekend. The sinus headaches are gone for the most part, and I was able to sleep most of last night without waking myself up with coughing. I call that improvement!

Saturday was exhausting. I didn't sleep much the night before and we had 8 people coming over to watch another UFC fight. We fondued again but added a chocolate fondue for dessert. We made rice krispie treats, cheesecake and pound cake to slather with chocolate and also had marshmallows and strawberries to dip in it. Everything went well until we tried to melt the chocolate. I have made ganache in the past without a problem and assumed this would be the same. I was wrong. The chocolate separated and got rather chunky and not good for dipping. We tossed it and I melted some more chocolate with cream on the stove top, but the same thing happened. I am guessing it was because I used chocolate chips rather than a bar. Extra stuff is added to chocolate chips that isn't usually in bar chocolate. I am guessing this was the problem, but I will have to do some more experimentation. I have most likely used bar chocolate for ganache in the past.

I started my first SKP2008 sock. I am not a fan of the pattern so I picked yarn accordingly. The color is not really to my liking so I thought it and a pattern I don't like well either would go quite well together. At least the sock is a fast knit. I finished most of the leg Sunday morning and started turning the heel last night. I can hopefully finish them rather quickly. I am not going to place very high, but I didn't figure I would no matter what the pattern. Several people were done the day the pattern was released!