Friday, November 30, 2007

is it really the last day of November?

how are everyone's Christmas gifts coming along? This needs some ironing - it's been laying around while I made an intertwined border for it. The center pinwheel section only comprises a 2' square, so I'm adding some 6" borders of the dark green, then the border I made, and then who knows what else? I don't plan to make a full-size quilt, just a lap quilt, something cozy to throw over the back of a sofa and have around for naps.

It doesn't feel much like Christmas to me, which is making me rather sad. I suppose it's because I've been so busy with classes and being sick that I haven't really had time to think about anything else, much less get in a "mood" of any kind (other than tired or stressed!). But there's a light at the end of that tunnel and it's getting closer. I'm nearly halfway through both of my final papers, about to start diving into textual analysis, which is my favorite part because it's the easiest, it doesn't require digging through multiple texts for evidentiary support, and it's something I'm good at. So! I'm off to do some of those final bits of research and then I'd like to get through all of the textual analysis for one of the papers today.

Monday is my birthday and I have this goofy desire to hunt down a tiny tiara and war it all day. I teach on Mondays, and for some reason, I can't seem to resist making a fool of myself in front of my students.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

we all scream for dumplings

I had a roommate once who swore that living with my boyfriend and I made her gain weight. We cooked every night and the food was so good that she was overeating, she said. So she joined Weight Watchers and started working out, and as part of her program, she brought home a Weight Watchers cookbook. Normally, we would have been snide (who knows, we may have been at the time, I can't remember), but curiosity got the best of us - we wanted to know what Weight Watchers food looked like. Here's the thing. That little cookbook had some dynamite recipes. Unfortunately, when we went our separate ways, we lost those little gems - that is, until a friend sent us a Colorado cookbook one year. Inside, we found the same recipe for one of our favorite quickie meals from the lost cookbook.

Anyhow, we lost track of this one again, somehow we hadn't made it in more than a year when Cass rediscovered it. Holy cow it's good - warm, comforting, and yet really light. I think it'll be just the thing for the upcoming post-Turkey week. I sometimes add a second bag of spinach to the broth and skip the salad for the night.

Herb Dumplings and Spinach in Broth

1 c flour
1 1/2 Tbl minced fresh herbs
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 ts salt
1 1/2 tsp shortening
1/2 c. milk (or soy milk)
6 c. vegetable broth (I use Trader Joe's boxed vegetable broth)
4 c. fresh baby spinach (I use one - or two! - bags of Trader Joe's baby spinach)

combine the flour, herbs, baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix well. Cut in the shortening until crumbly. Add the milk and stir with a wooden spoon until mixed. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead for 1 minutes. Pat the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Cut into 32 pieces.

Bring the broth to a simmer in a stockpot. add the dough pieces. Cook, covered, for 10-13 minutes; do not remove lid until the dumplings are cooked through. Fold in the spinach with a heatproof rubber spatula. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately.


still here! just busy!

hi, hi, sorry there! So busy these days - reading, writing papers, preparing presentations, and then there was that Thanksgiving dinner I made and now a tree and oh my goodness!

My work is done for the day, though, so let's see if I can't put a double dose out tonight. First off, some helpful links per your question, Jess: I honestly don't remember where I learned to embroider. I must have seen it in a craft book somewhere. All I know is that I learned the basic stitches a long time ago.

That said, here are two resources for getting started:

Adorn Blog has somewhat helpful images showing eight basic stitches at

However, the far more comprehensive (and beautifully explained) Stitch School over at Primrose Design will probably be more help. Have a look, Janet gives detailed instructions and step-by-step photos. Her website is and Stitch School posts are linked in the right column.

In fact, I am currently embroidering the blue wool jumper that I made last month (shown above) with the Palestrina Stitch that I learned from Janet!

hope this helps!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

God bless charley horses.

brillo de treviso, ricotta salata, Beecher's honey hazelnut crackers, pear and hazelnut pate

It would seem I'm a bit low on calcium. My calves are finely-tuned calcium-measuring machines, yes they are. But why am I telling you this? Well, in the delicious pursuit of pain management, I tried a new cheese and a new fruit accompaniment tonight. I highly recommend both, but it's the cheese I really want to tell you about. Now, I've had a handful of wine-cured/soaked cheeses, and I'm a huge fan of Drunken Goat, but I've never had a wine-soaked cheese actually smell and taste rather winey. Brillo de Treviso (Italy, cow's milk, on the soft side) is incredible! It smells like a very yeasty red wine (or like wine and freshly baked bread, the yeast smell is that strong). And the flavour? Smooth, yeasty, and fruity. It's like wine-and-cheese all in one bite. Holy cow, go track some down and charley-horse, begone!

In other news, I have been racking up foodie and sewing things to share with you! I'm going to spread it out over several days. I hope you won't mind, but it makes me feel better when I can post a little more regularly, and I'm so busy, it helps to rack up images to post. Anyhow, the sewing projects are partly selfless and partly selfISH sewing, which I can show you more of.

But for tonight, let's talk food. Here's a yummy salad I played around with the other day. The good news is, all of these ingredients are available at Trader Joe's!


Persimmon and Avocado Salad

1 fuyu persimmon
1/2 avocado
red and green oak lettuce (I used two small heads for a large salad)
raw pecan pieces
honey or agave nectar
1 Tbl olive oil (approx)
1/2 Tbl Champagne vinegar (trader joe's orange muscat champagne vinegar)
1/2 Tbl orange juice
salt and pepper

Cut persimmon in half. Drizzle lightly with honey (or agave nectar) and broil for about 10 minutes until slightly softened. Cut into chunks.

Meanwhile, make dressing: mix olive oil, vinegar, orange juice, and salt and pepper to taste together in a glass or jar with a fork. Adjust oil/vinegar balance to taste.

Slice the flesh of half an avocado into thin slices/chunks

Coarsely chop lettuce.

Toss lettuce, avocado, and persimmon chunks in a bowl. Pour 1 Tbl dressing over and toss by hand. If necessary, add more dressing to taste. Sprinkle about 1 oz of pecan pieces over the top and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

five things

Liz of be present, be here has invited all interested parties to name five good things. It's been another one of those helluvaweek this week, and after an evening out that was marred somewhat by intense, stabbing eyestrain-induced headaches, I think I could use a little positive reflection.

1.) Cassidy. I almost put a pic of him up, but I don't know if he'd want me to. This guy is my favorite person in the whole wide world. He keeps me grounded, he makes me laugh, he shows me daily that he loves me. He's a real catch, this one.

2.) My new assignment. I dare not elaborate too much, at least, not until the letters are signed and it's all official. Suffice to say, a huge weight is potentially off my shoulders for next quarter.

3.) My friends. Something I love about growing older has been building a community of the amazing, talented, intelligent, charming folks I meet. My friends are incredible people. One of them took this amazing photo last summer.

4.) My work is done for the night. I could do more, but heck. My eyes are strained. No reason to read in this dim light. Oh, plus, we need more light. Which equals lamps. Yay, we can get lamps this weekend! Required shopping!

5.)I'm going to either a.) go sew or b.) watch The Queen - do note: this will not count as eyestrain. =)

Monday, November 5, 2007

a good morning

begins with tea and its various accoutrements. I finally broke in the teapot Joel (Cassidy's dad) gave me last year with a pot of honey-pear last weekend, and books.

I like tea. That is all.