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Knitting: KnitGirl
Hey gang,

I'm keeping my LJ, but mainly to keep up with my lovely friends  but, I have started posting again on blogger - so if you want to see what's been up lately, check out

www.emjayknits.blogspot.com

I'm starting to (slowly) post about Ireland and I have a new recipe!

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Spirtual Wanderings

Knitting: KnitGirl
For some time now, I've been wandering around trying to figure out what to do with my spiritual life.  For a time, I was very content where I was, but about 2 years ago, I felt that there was somewhere else I needed to be.  But I was afraid to move on, afraid of what others would think and so I stayed longer where I THOUGHT I was comfortable and only made myself, and probably others, dreadfully unhappy.  Finally, I gathered my courage in October 2007 and spoke with my leaders about my questions, problems, needs and finally decided that it was time for me to leave and go out in search what I needed.  They were gracious and wonderful and comforting and that was a great blessing. 

Just when I started this conversation with my leaders, things went haywire with my brother and all thoughts of spiritual searching went on hold.  Then, I got lazy and finally it took Brophy's grandfather's death to spark me back into my search for my religious and spiritual community.   And to be dead honest I was totally and utterly frightened.  Because I knew it was leading me back into the Christian Religion.  I knew that was where I wanted to go (for many reasons), but I just didn't know WHICH CHRISTIAN CHURCH TO GO TO.

Knitting: KnitGirl
Well, its been a bit since I've populated the blog with knitting stuff - so here is a picture of Sock #1 of a pair.

Berroco 1812 Sock Grass

Its actually finished and I've gotten started on Sock #2 of the pair, but haven't had a chance to give you a picture of it completed. I think I'll do that when I get both of them finished.  Yarn is Berroco Comfort Sock and the Pattern is the Right Twist Cable Rib Sock from the book called Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd.  This is a very simple pattern and a very nice sock to do.  With a few adjustments (a few less stitches or smaller needles) for future socks, I can see this  becoming my base sock pattern and then modifying the stitch pattern to suit.  YAY!!!!!  But then again, I have about 5 other sock patterns I want to do.  Next will be the Jaywalker Sock by Grumperina also in Berroco Comfort Sock.   It should look similar to this (but in the Hari Hari colorway)

Sunday was just packed full of fun and new things. 

First I went , with my friend Jen, to the First Existentialist Congregation of Atlanta in Decatur/Candler Park area.  This is probably one of the most unique and happy churches I have ever been in.  They really seemed aware of what they wanted and happy to be around each other.  Unfortunately they are just a little too far away for me to go to on a regular basis.  So I'll just keep on searching. 

After hanging out with Jen and the Existentialists, I met up with reikimaster, dancingwriter, Mia and K took me out to lunch at Feast for brunch using my past birthday (38th) as an excuse for good food, wine and later CHOCOLATE.  I also had a very lovely wine at lunch it was from a vineyard in Spain.  Las Rocas De San Alejandro Garnacha.  We all shared a taste and everyone enjoyed it.  Many, many thanks to reikimaster for taking on the challenge of herding us all to one location to meet and for planning such a nice day.  We all took turns being bossy after that! 

Oh and also, many kudos to reikimaster for getting me a Barak Obama car freshner.  Knowing how much she dislikes him, I am touched she would purchase it for me!  She also gave me the cutest purse and other little doodads that were perfect!  And I'm currently loving the book that dancingwriter gave me.  I'll report on those details later. 

After we got done feasting at Feast, we went window shopping in downtown Decatur (LOVE IT) and then around 5:30 we went to the Chocolate bar and pigged out on CHOCOLATE of all types to eat and drink.  Hot Chocolate (it was cold outside and I was wearing sandals), Chocolates, pastries and other lovely stuff and some really, really nice espresso.  Mmmmmm

Afterward, I went home and spent the rest of the evening with my wonderful hubby and toddled off to bed a very well fed and content person. 

Thank you ladies for such a wonderful day!

Goodwill

Knitting: KnitGirl
We have a Goodwill store near the office and I will occasionally go there during lunch to just shop around.  You can often find many cool things there.  (A lot of blecky stuff too.)  But I've found good odds and ends, odd types of coffee cups, forks, spoons etc...  But the best thing is when you are looking through clothes or other items, and you find a quality Handmade item.  So far, I've discovered a two.  But I'll keep hunting.

The first was a sweater that someone had obviously knitted and it was DETAILED.  Cabled and lovely.  It was a bit small for me, so I gave it to my Mom for Christmas.  The first words out of her mouth was - "DID YOU KNIT THIS???"  And a few other knitters I had showed this too just thought it was beautiful too.  So I know it was a well made sweater that someone had put a lot of effort in to.  I can only imagine the time that went into knitting this sweater not to mention the quality yarn that was purchased for it.  And you know what I paid for this sweater?  Less than $5.00.  PRICELESS!

The second I found today and its just a nice quilted tote.  I know its handmade because I have bought pieces of this fabric at Joannn's.  Its sweet and red and just lovely.  I snatched it up and it is now holding a small knitting project.  Perfect. Again, I paid less than $5.00.

You know, it sometimes saddens me to see these things in Goodwill.  It ususallymeans either the receiver didn't understand the love that went into the item and just tossed it away when they had the chance or that maybe, someone has passed away and their clothes were given to Goodwill.  Sad.  But I know that when I find these things, I will gladly take them home and if I can't find a good use for them, I will gladly find a home to give it to so that the handmade item will be loved as is proper. 

Passing of a good man

Knitting: KnitGirl
Sorry I haven't posted about this before - but its been busy and stressful and I just haven't felt up to it until now.

Brophyswiftus' grandfather passed away on 3/27/08 around 8:30 pm.  This man was a very good man.  He always made me feel that I was one of HIS grandchildren.  That I was just as special to him as my husband and sister in law were.  We were no different.  More than that, he was a happy man even when he was in pain and having many physical problems.  His wife died four years ago and at the time, we all believed that Granddaddy would not live long past his wife.  He surprised us all by living this long.  He had some things to finish and settle and once they were, he decided it was time to be with his beloved wife!

God bless him and her, we miss you both.

The coolest thing about his death (doesn't that sound odd) and I think the thing that has helped us all is that he died on Grandmother's birthday.  We all said that night that Grandmother was getting the best birthday present that night when he died.  It made all of us smile a bittersweet smile and sigh. 

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Knitting: KnitGirl
I've made this recipe in many variations and have written it down in at least two different ways.  Here is yet another variation because last night I was feeling pretty lazy and didn't want to mess up lots of dishes cooking my meal.  SO, I decided to try this out and see if I can make this a ONE pot meal.  I'll be doing it this way more often. 

Serves 2

This is a to taste recipe.  I don't have the exact measurements for most of the ingredients.  You'll just have to play with it. 

Olive Oil (abt 1 tbsp)
2 Shallots (can be substituted with one small onion and 1 clove garlic, chopped)
Salt
Fennel Spice Rub (see my other recipes) (if you had to have a measurement, I would say it was about 1 tbsp of the mixture)
1 Can of diced tomatos (regular sized can) - next time I used chopped.  I don't want it that chunky
2 Chicken Breasts (I used boneless and skinless)
Baby Spinach (you know, the kind you find in a bag at the supermarket)
Wide Egg Noodles
Chicken Broth (I usually use low sodium broth - Campbell's)

  1. In a non stick frying/saute  pan (at least 10" diameter and not shallow) at medium high heat, pour olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add less than you would think because as it heats up it spreads out.  If you are using a pan that isn't non-stick, then add more oil.  When oil is shimmery (but not burning) add the shallots
  2. Saute the shallots and a few pinches of salt till soft for about 3-5 minutes.  A little browning won't hurt.  You don't want this to be burnt.
  3. Add the fennel spice rub to the shallots and let cook until very fragrant.  (till you smell it)  (The salt helps the shallots to release their juices) 
  4. Add the tomatoes to the pan and allow to cook on medium for about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken breast cover and cook until the breasts are cooked through. 
  6. Remove the chicken from the pan. (It is your choice, you can leave the chicken whole and serve it this way, or chop it up into big chunks.  Either way, you will be adding this back to the pan.)
  7. If the sauce is not juicy at this point, add some chicken broth and bring up to simmering.
  8. Add the Egg Noodles and cover.  You may need to come back and add a little more broth as it cooks.  Cook till the noodles are to your favorite doneness.  While cooking they soak up the lovely tomato mixture.
  9. Add chicken back to the pan.  If the sauce isn't juicy, add more chicken broth.  Top with as much spinach as you can fit in the pan and still cover it.  You may have to do this in two batches.  Cook until the spinach is cooked and then mix in.  This will take about a minute for the spinach to cook. 

When you add the chicken broth, you are just adding about a 1/2 cup at a time.  I just added it till the bottom of the pan looked juicy and loose.  The broth is there for flavor as well as to provide a simmering and steaming method of cooking the different ingredients.  You could use water, but water doesn't add much flavor. 

A very nice birthday

Knitting: KnitGirl
Yep - yesterday was my 38th birthday.  I don't mind a bit, I've earned every year.

Birthday fun actually started on March 1st and may not end until April 19th. 

March 1st  - I went to dinner with my cousin S, Mia and my hubby at Porto Bello (The best Italian Restaurant in NEGA) and got to see Jaime who just makes the place sparkle.  Had great food, great wine and actually let them sing happy birthday to me. 

March 4th - I learned how to make biscuits thanks to brophyswiftus giving me a class at Cook's Warehouse.  I tried several years (about 6 years) ago and make really pretty bricks.  Since then, I've "been afraid".  So when I saw that this class was being taught, I took the catalog to Brophy and said - THIS IS WHAT I WANT FOR MY BIRTHDAY.  He listened. (how could he not)  The class was demonstration only, but I finally learned all the things I had done wrong. 

March 6th - The Day - I got taken to lunch by many of my wonderful friends at the office at Domnick's Italian Restaurant (the third best Italian restaurant in NEGA) and then went to a meeting at Rape Response.  Came home and Brophy took me out for some Tapas and music at 37 Main in Buford, GA and then came home and had a wonderful evening talking and just hanging out together.  No phone, no tv, no computer just us. 

Today - I'm going out to lunch with friends, taking the afternoon off, family is coming to spend the night, I'm going to Menopause Diaries with the Knitters and family and then we'll go from there. 

Next weekend we are going to Columbia and meeting Suzy and Jenn to celebrate Suzy's b-day and a little bit of mine.  Then in April, we are going to Myrtle Beach to celebrate March and April birthdays with my family and then the birthday month will end. 

Gotta love birthdays!!!
Chef
A few years ago when we were in Myrtle Beach we stumbled upon an Italian deli called Toffino's and I discovered a part of my Italian dessert that I had never had.  Pine Nut Cookies or Pignoli Cookies.  YUM!!!!!  Little round balls of love!

Well, each time we go back to Myrtle, I pick up a bag.  Well, I decided getting these once a year and sharing them with my family (because I'm a good daughter) is not enough.  I set out to find the recipe.  I looked in all my Italian cookbooks.  Not one had it.  So I searched the web.  Recipezaar had several recipes and I probably could have used any of them, but I still wanted something from someone with a little more clout and experience.  I wanted something from an Italian.  So I searched one more place.  Lidia's Italy website.  And lo and behold, there it was.  For those of you who don't know who Lidia is, she is the chef on a PBS show called Lidia's Family Table.  She has several cookbooks.  She has the chops. and the credentials.  Her, I trust!

So, I copied the recipe, gathered the ingredients, and on Saturday decided to make the cookies  And then mess them up.  The recipe calls for THREE egg whites, but I wasn't paying attention and put in four egg whites.  The mixture was much to sticky and wet.  But as almond paste is not cheap, I decided to give it a whirl.  Fortunately, the extra egg white only made the cookies spread more than they should.  The flavor and chewiness of the cookie are spot on.   So, next time, I'll pay better attention.

Where to get this recipe - Follow this link.

(Since I followed this recipe exactly (except for that little egg mishap) and it is her recipe, I don't think I'll re-type it here)

Now I'm left with 4 egg yolks and 1 egg (it was the first egg I cracked when trying to get the yolk.  The yolk broke before I could get it away from the egg white)  What am I going to do?  I made Baked Egg Custard!  YUM

Baked Egg Custard
3 Egg Yolks
1 egg
1 Cup Milk (I used Skim)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract (or to taste)
Pumpkin Pie Spice

Combine eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla.
Beat until well combined, but not foamy.
Place four 6-ounce custard cups or one 3 1/2 cup souffle dish in a 88x2 inch baking dish on an oven rack.  Pour egg mixture into custard cups or dish.  Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice. (or with nutmeg or cinnamon).  Pour boiling water into the baking dish around custard cups oe dish to a depth of 1 inch.

Bake at 325 degree oven for 30-45 minutes for custard cups (50-60 minutes for dish) or till a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Serve warm or chilled. 

Serves 4.

(Directions for this recipe  comes from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (You know the red checked cookbook)).  I altered the recipe ingredients from their recipe

Recipe: Crockpot Chicken Curry

Chef
One of my favorite cooking podcasts is "The Splendid Table".  You can listen to this from their website or download the episodes from their website, or you can purchase a subscription of them via Audible or iTunes.  If you just search the podcast in iTunes (without purchasing the subscription), you'll only get the call in portion of the show. 

Anyway, one caller called in wanting a good source and recipe for her crockpot and the host (Lynn Rossetto Kasper) suggested a curry.  She listed a few ingredients and techniques and that hooked me.  However, she didn't give exact portions for the ingredients and well, I'm not that sure of myself when it comes to curry, so I kind of sought outside help when coming up with a curry blend.   Once I got that down, I put it together pretty much as she said and let me tell you - this was GREAT!

So, here it is. Inspired by "The Splendid Table" and "Herb Mixtures & Spicy Blends" cookbook.  You'll need to make the curry powder recipe first.  Or go out and buy a curry powder blend that you like.  (I don't think that means go out and buy Curry spice - I think those are two separate things.)

Pungent Curry Powder Recipe
recipe found in "Herb Mixtures & Spicy Blends"  ISBN # 0-88266-91-4
4Tbsp Dried Coriander (I used ground)
2 tbsp ground Tumeric
1 1/2 Tbsp ground Cumin
1Tbsp Fenugreek (anyone know where to find this???)
1 1/2 tsp ground Black Pepper
1 1/2 tsp Poppy Seeds (didn't have this on hand)
1 1/2 tsp ground Ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground, dried red chile (I used chile powder)
3/4 tsp dried mustard
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (didn't have this on hand)

Blend and store in a tightly capped jar away from heat and light

Crockpot Chicken Curry
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil (or neutral flavored oil)
1 large Onion, sliced

3 boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs
3 Chicken thighs (with bone and skin) (trust me)
Pungent Curry Powder to taste (I used 2 tbsp and would use more next time)
1 can (14.5 oz) Light Coconut Milk
2 cups Trader Joe's Carrot Ginger Soup (or Chicken Broth)
1 can (14.5 oz) tomatoes, diced, drained (I used fresh since I had it on hand)

Put onion, oil and curry powder in crockpot and cook on high till onion is soft and fragrant (about 15 minutes).
Put chicken thighs on top of onion mixture and pour in the light coconut milk.  Then pour in enough of the soup or broth to cover the meat.  (About 2 cups)
Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. 
Before serving, take out the thighs.  Take the chicken off the bone and shred all the chicken and put back into the curry sauce.  Mix well and serve over rice.  You could probably add in other vegetables, but I haven't figured out that much yet.

Why the bone and skin chicken thighs.  Well, when making chicken soup or just about any other kind of meat stock.  Usually stock is made with bones.  Because the bones are cooked for that long period of time, it makes soups and stocks richer and gives it a better mouth feel.  I also wanted some of the fat from the skin, but I didn't want tons of fat if I had done all of them with skin.  It may not make a difference, but that was my thinking when I purchased the chicken.  Of course, I was starting to feel sick at this point, so who knows....

Anyway, this turned out yummy and I am definately going to make it again and next time add more curry.  Now I need to go out and purchase some Fenugreek and Cardamom.  I was missing that when I made the curry recipe.

On Being Home Sick

Chef
Brophyswiftus got sick last week.  He started feeling pretty cruddy on Saturday night and then proceeded to get worse as the weekend progressed.  I went into work on Monday knowing that I would probably get sick too.  I did.  He went to the doctor on Wednesday and they said he had the flu and was very contagious (good thing I made him stay home) yay for me.  I'm next . . .  Tuesday - feeling a bit cruddy - when I felt my lymph nodes (or whatever they are) under my chin - they were tender.  Wednesday, I'm feeling a little more cruddy and I decide I'm going to go do my yoga class and sweat myself.  Afterall, a fever is your body trying to get hot enough to kill the virus right?  So, if I can get myself hot enough, maybe I can start the burning process a little sooner.  Sure enough, I worked hard and worked up a big sweat.  I went down to saunas in the club and alternated dry sauna with a wet sauna and finished it up with a nice hot shower.  The wet sauna also had a nice eucalyptus smell in the air so that was nice too.  Thursday - I'm feeling cruddier, but I make it through the day (barely).  I told everyone that I would probably not be into work on Friday and went home and went to bed.  Friday, sick.  Stayed in bed.  Saturday, feeling better.  I cautiously started puttering around in the kitchen.  Sunday - Feeling even better.  Went out to the grocery store.  Puttering in kitchen was fun.  Need more stuff to putter with.

I'm not 100% and Brophyswiftus is probably 60%.  I think the worst of his problems is that his allergies is complicating the other stuff happening. 

Sigh.

Irony has it - he got the flu shot - I didn't.  He got the flu, I got a cold.  It appears that the flu shot didn't cover this strain of the flu.

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Knitting: KnitGirl
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2008 Things I've Learned This Year

Knitting:
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T1R/T1L - Twist 1 Stich Right/Left
CB4/CF4 - Cable 4 back/front
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Stansfield 207
Baby Fern
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Cables without Cable Needles
More to come . . .

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