Tuesday, January 31, 2012

10 favorite foods for the super bowl.

...this week, carole's prompt is about super bowl food. timely. and fun!
food shot (# one million!)
this photo is not from a super bowl spread...but it shows perfectly the kind of food I like!
1. vegetables and dip. I recently made giada's spinach white bean dip and it's delicious. of course the thai peanut dipping sauce shown in the photo above is also good (just not quite so healthy!)

2. shrimp. I'm a huge fan of ina's roasted shrimp cocktail.

3. cheese and crackers.

4. fruit.

5. nuts. ina's rosemary cashews are delicious. but any nuts will do.

6. chips and salsa.

7. something sweet, extra points for chocolate. maybe a good brownie?

8. popcorn.

...and of course I can't forget

9. potato chips and blue cheese dip (sara makes a healthy version and it's my favorite!)

and

10. buffalo chicken wings

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Friday, January 27, 2012

happy birthday.

...to katie. she turns 25 today. marc and I had fun flipping through the pages of her baby album last night. and I finally chose this photo to share. she's smiling (this was - and still is - pretty typical). she's styling (even more typical these days). and she's in motion. always going someplace. someplace new. someplace challenging. hopefully someplace fun and fulfilling.

   k, best wishes for your birthday and this next year. love. miss. xxoo - m.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

cranberry cornmeal muffins.

...quick bread #1 from my fifty for 50 list (item #2 in the because it's fun category is to bake 12 new (to me) quick breads).
71:365 cranberry cornmeal muffins.
vanessa and beth came over this morning for our first discussion about power of a praying woman. and a meeting like that always calls for a quick bread. today I tried a recipe from the pioneer woman.
cranberry cornmeal muffins
ingredients assembled
I didn't change much except to add fresh chopped cranberries in place of half the dried cranberries (and next time, I'd use only fresh) and - of course! - I didn't make the butter. the instructions weren't clear on how to mix the wet and dry ingredients. I added the dry to the wet - all at once, and stirred to combine before adding the melted shortening, then the vanilla and finally the cranberries and pecans. I also held out a tablespoon of the dry ingredients and tossed it with the cranberries before I added them so they didn't all sink to the bottom.
cranberry cornmeal muffins
cranberries and pecans stirred in last
I don't have any mini loaf pans, so I made muffins. and I only wanted a dozen, but I had enough batter left over for another two or three.
cranberry cornmeal muffins
ready for the oven
delicious - love the tang of the fresh cranberries and the texture of the cornmeal. I'll definitely make them again (after I try 11 more new recipes!)
cranberry cornmeal muffins

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

three things.

...I want to be sure to remember about today's photo.
69:365 sunshine.
snapped outside cast-on cottage about 5:20 pm today
1. today was sunny. and warm (ish for january). I wore a long-sleeved black t-shirt and linen tunic over black pants (with flats and no socks). I'm thinking it might be march, not january.

2. it was this light at 5:20 p.m.

3. I wore my hair curly. for the second day in the row. still love the straight, but curly = ten more minutes of knitting.

(apologies to the ten on tuesday crew...I'm really just not a movie person!)

Monday, January 23, 2012

currents.

67:365 playoffs.
me last night, "watching" the nfc playoff game...thank goodness for knitting!
listening - raindrops hitting the roof and the back deck.

eating - healthy nachos and fish tacos (two of marc's recent specialties - and as always when he cooks, we have leftovers for days).

drinking - coffee. this is seeming like a two-pot day.

wearing - the same 2-day shirt I wore last night (no need to dress up for a rainy walk with holly and housecleaning!)

reading - the language of flowers (vanessa's pick from january's bookclub) and the gargoyle, thinking this will be my pick for february bookclub.

weather - 40-ish degrees and raining.

knitting - maggiknits skerries capelet (and six other things, but I can only knit on one at a time!)

wanting - to see the sun. it's been days.

needing - to finish my december album before the details slip away from me; I've only got five more days to go and the photos and pages are prepped.

enjoying - having marc home.

looking forward - to my first test knit - the bulky cowl for this KAL; I have the yarn and will get the needles tonight. (and yes, that brings my project count to eight, but it's only 52 stitches and 28 rounds total - I'm thinking I can finish it in a few hours).

wondering - if we'll really escape snow and ice this winter. I hope so!

Friday, January 20, 2012

happy mail.

(...and/or I obviously have a thing about red birds :-)
65:365 happy mail.

all this recently arrived in the mail from my dear friend honore. looking back on my blog, I think my last happy mail post was about mail from honore...back in early 2010. when we'd both just retired and were discovering how much we had in common beyond ali's passion for one little word. the quick and dirty version - we "met" in the comments on ali's post about her 2010 word and realized we were both retiring that january.

we've been in regular contact since then, sharing comments on each others' blogs, emails, birthday cards - we're both celebrating milestone birthdays this november - but mostly, encouragement. to find our passions, pursue them with energetic enthusiasm...and celebrate our successes.

I love that she combined her passion for sewing and art with one of my favorite photos of this winter season. she included two tag books -  both honore originals - filled with tags to encourage my art journaling, with covers she made from my winter 2011 banner photo.

of course she also recognized my passion for knitting.

and red birds!

(thank you dear friend... "real mail" coming soon!)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

one little word. shine.

...when I shared my one little word for 2012 way back on january 6, I never thought it would take me nearly two weeks to finish the january prompt. but it did (and not just because I've been knitting :-)

I did the work to create all the cards last week...and then waited days for the sun to come out. because the album opens with a portrait. and I really wanted the sunshine to feature prominently in this one.

yesterday we finally saw the sun.
thank you martha for taking the photo!
so this morning I spent 2+ hours sorting through my tremendous stash of pretty papers and embellishments to create a supply box just for this project. yellow papers, gold stickers, bits of ribbons and lace, and bling! and finally, I'm ready to share.
I'm using the gray printable from ali's downloads...and hopefully I'll use up lots and lots of those supplies!
I am really excited about this word. it found me as I was compiling my fifty for 50 list and many of the items I included are part of what I'm inviting this year...giving, serving others, spiritual growth and sharing.
 
it's going to be good - bring on the shine!
the cover page (the welcome photo posted above is on the back), with the january prompt behind it

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

don't mind me, I'm knitting.

...marc is due home in the morning from a ten day trip to asia. the day he left I had grand plans for finishing projects (my december journal, 2012's first one little word prompt, maybe even a photobook from our mexico trip and certainly I'd get my yarn room organized and my photo album updated), starting a few (a birthday gift for katie's mother-in-law-to-be and the two charity hats I hope to have finished before the month ends), getting the last of the holidays swept away and generally being in a great place to start the new year.

ten days later I haven't finished any of those projects, but I did make a good start on this year's one little word prompt. I watched an entire season of downton abbey while I finished a shawl...and I started five new knitting projects - two for shop KALs, one charity hat, that birthday gift and one maggiknits...and today, I couldn't help myself.

I started one more.
62:365 smitten.
seriously, I'm smitten with the new shibui heichi yarn - it's a rustic silk. gorgeous colors. worsted weight (it knits up pretty quickly) and the patterns in this book are stunning. I want to knit the entire book in those four colors - plus another medium brown I've asked theresa to order. all before summer hits.

(I might need help!)

10 things to do inside when it's too cold to go outside.

...carole's topic this week made me laugh out loud. maybe it's very rarely too cold here to go outside at all, but mostly because anyone who reads my blog knows that all ten are likely to be knitting, or at least knitting related. but I'm going to challenge myself to come up with at least a few things that aren't!
snow!
our house, after snow in february 2010
1. knit.

2. blog about what you're knitting or about the weather, or both.

3. browse ravelry...allow yourself to get get waylaid for a bit in the forums, favorite a few new projects, maybe rearrange your queue.

4. catch up on the tv shows you've recorded, but not found time to watch (for me, that's parenthood and very recently downton abbey, and soon to be mad men - I've also started recording revenge, but understand I need to go back to the beginning before I watch the new episodes).

5. make soup.

6. bake cookies.

7. try a new cocktail. (and let yourself spend a few minutes browsing through old posts, reconfirming how much you love thea's blog and her designs and her cocktails!) - note that 5, 6 and 7 require paying special attention to the pantry to ensure there are appropriate staples on hand.

8. do laundry.

9. write a letter.

10. skype with someone...just because you can't leave the house doesn't mean you can't be social!

(huh, that wasn't even hard...and it almost makes me wish for a super cold day someday soon!)
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Friday, January 13, 2012

downton abbey.

57:365 downton abbey.
...as in my latest obsession. in class on sunday there was plenty of excitement about the start of the second season. I'm not sure where I was last year when season one debuted, but boy did I miss out! fortunately, the episodes are available on-line (through next tuesday, I think). so I spent many hours yesterday at my desk, with my knitting, watching tv. (and no worries, the coaster on the right started with coffee, moved to tea, and didn't get to wine til 7pm :-)

what a gem! I love the upstairs-downstairs aspect. and lord granville's strength of character. of course maggie smith makes anything better. and I can't believe elizabeth mcgovern is old enough to be the matron (she's my age, though, I guess we are that old!)

back to watching....

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

10 favorite soups.

...carole's prompt for this week is perfect for the chilly rainy weather we're having - I can't wait to see what everyone suggests. I'm always looking for a new soup recipe!
this is #5 below
1. split pea soup. a sara specialty. and since it's all vegetables, it's healthy.

2. rosemary white bean soup. another sara specialty. (I miss her cooking already!)

3. chickpea soup with tomato concasse. sara and I took a cooking class a few years back and this was one of the featured recipes. sadly, we misplaced our notes from the class, but sara's been able, pretty much anyway, to recreate it. the class also featured a savory rosemary walnut biscotti, which is, I think, the perfect accompaniment.

4. tomato soup. I'm not a fan of cream, and this one from ina garten (without the topping) uses bread as a thickener. it's especially good in the winter with a toasted cheese sandwich (a hearty multi-grain bread and an aged cheddar or gruyere with just a bit of dijon mustard...oh my is it really only 6:00am?)

5. pioneer woman's tuscan bean soup, as lightened by sara. (I'll be posting about this soon).

6. white chicken chili. no recipe to share, but I like it with plenty of beans, green chilis and a spoonful of greek yogurt.

7. gumbo. marc is great at throwing together a pot of turkey sausage, frozen vegetables (okra is a must for gumbo) and tony chachere's creole roux mix.

8. butternut squash soup. roasted squash (or even a mix of roasted vegetables if you happen to have a huge container of leftovers at thanksgiving), pureed, thinned with vegetable stock. heat and serve.

9. gazpacho. when it's warmer.

10. corn and seafood chowder. I haven't made this in years, but every now and then, I'll be tempted and order it out. especially if the seafood is crab or rock shrimp.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

the second lap.

54:365 the 2nd lap.
that's me - moving fast to keep up with holly...on the 2nd lap
...holly and I are two days back into our two laps at the park routine. a routine I don't think we've had since early december. weather, holiday visitors and vacation...those walks just didn't happen. I missed them. and judging by holly's pace on the second lap this morning, I think she did too. or maybe it's just so easy to spot the squirrels and the birds now, it's more fun for her?!

in any event, we did two laps in 41 minutes. I don't make that kind of time with some of my human friends.

that's a great change for holly since the summer. and for our weather since this time last year. yikes! for the record, today was shower-y and mild; highs in the low 60's and I'm guessing - based on my hair - humidity about 90% :-) ...make that 100%...it's raining now!

over lunch.

lunch at bistro vg

...I enjoyed another lunch at bistro vg last friday. this one with my sister. it's been a favorite holiday tradition of ours these past 15 years* to go out for lunch, and over several hours and a few glasses of wine (and a meal :-), revisit the highs (and occasionally the lows) of the past year and talk about our dreams and plans for the new one.

back in 2005, we actually documented a few of those "predictions" for the next 10 years (we had lunch at a little italian place, lucia's, and we wrote this down on the paper that covered the table...note to self - that paper doesn't age very well!)

we thought it would be fun to share those predictions...a few have come true, or are well on their way to coming true. jillian, sara and PJ have all graduated from high school and katie from college (jillian, PJ and sara are in college and on their way to graduating); and for me, we're planning a wedding, into our second year of empty nesting, I'm retired (and marc still has no plans to!), have been to paris with katie, and I'm turning 50 this year.

a few are likely not gonna happen. I don't play golf anymore (and I never did break 100 before I quit!) and sara wants to visit italy, not paris, for her college graduation trip.

and a few...who knows. maybe we'll move (once sara's out of college in 2014). maybe we'll take a trip to wine country. and maybe I'll be a grandmother! also, that one down in the bottom right "no tattoos"...so far so good, but I'm not betting on that one!

one that we haven't followed through on is our annual beach trip. we both agreed we need to get back. maybe in 2013.

*check out 2009, 2008, 2007 photos...I'm not sure what happened to 2010!

Friday, January 6, 2012

focus friday. december one little word.

...december's prompt was to document facts and feelings about our word. and things we wanted to remember.
one little word 2011...the end
the final spread - november on the left and december on the right
I have a lot more feelings than facts about my word. which makes sense since it was a feeling - having lost my focus - that set me on the journey in the first place.

the one thing I'd been putting off about the project was a binder for the completed pages. this morning I chose the easy route and simply grabbed one of the empty target binders I keep for knitting patterns. it might not be perfect, but it serves the purpose. I anticipate looking back over those pages a lot. they need to be accessible.

51:365 focus.
the binder is at the far left of row of books; I'll be adding the 2012 pages to it as I finish them, too
in closing, I feel proud of what I've done with my one little word. I love that this is a word I'm not going to lose (ask me my words for all the other years and I might not be able to even remember them).  I plan to continue focus fridays here on my blog. and I know what I learned last year is going to give me a jump start on my 2012 word. shine.



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

10 things for 2012.

...so glad to be back with carole's ten on tuesday!

this week - quite appropriate for this, the first tuesday of the new year - it's 10 things for 2012. I'm already working a pretty long list of things that I hope to wrap-up before mid-november, so I need to resist the urge to turn that into a list of sixty to-do's (even though I will have six more weeks after november 17th before 2012 ends). of course I couldn't resist altogether, but you can see...I've tried!

1. help katie & rob plan their wedding. the engagement came in early december, or this would've been on my fifty list already.

2. bring back wordless wednesday.  I stopped it when I started my photo-a-day project. but I miss it. and it's a fun way to break up a week of words.

3. keep my desk neat and my inspiration board inspiring.

4. do something different for my december daily journal. (and finish my 2011 one before I forget what we did!)

5. cook dinner at least once a week. how embarrassing that this is even a thought! but with marc's schedule, I've let myself get lazy about meals. not good.

6. keep the knitting fun (and don't set unrealistic deadlines for myself).

7. knit for others. really, how many sweaters can one person wear?

8. start my christmas knitting earlier. yep, I'm saying it now - I will not be knitting like a madwoman on christmas eve.

9. stop saving my stash of pretty paper and scrapbooking supplies...use them!

10. remember life is about more than simply checking off the boxes on my to-do list...celebrate the process.

Monday, January 2, 2012

what I did on my christmas vacation.

...apologies for the long silence here, but I was away...enjoying warm sunshine with my family*...in mexico!

we had a fabulous time. the weather was perfect, the hotel was beautiful, the food was delicious, the drinks were plentiful and, best of all, the company was delightful. I couldn't have asked for a better way to end 2011.

here are a few of my favorite photos - you can find all of them here (yes mom, even with captions!)

but now we're facing the reality of getting back - home for katie & rob (today), to school for sara (but not til the weekend), to work for marc (tomorrow), and for me and holly, to "normal". happy new year and all the best for 2012!!

*save holly who was in the excellent care of my sister for the week